Showing posts with label Hand Cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hand Cream. Show all posts

Friday, August 1, 2014

Deal Alert: L'Occitane Hand Cream Trio (Limited Time Offer)

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=MeQoh28EORo&subid=&offerid=311548.1&type=10&tmpid=14033&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fusa.loccitane.com%252Fhand-cream-pouch%252C82%252C1%252C29479%252C523286.htm

For a limited time, L'Occitane's best selling hand cream is available in a trio for $3 (normally $10) in this cute Hand Cream Pouch Set. It has travel sizes of: Shea Butter Hand Cream 0.3 .oz, Cherry Blossom Hand Cream 0.3 .oz and Almond Delicious Hand Cream 0.3 .oz. (Note the regular hand creams are 1 oz.)

If you're looking to stock up on L'Occitane favorites, be sure to check their Special Offers. Some other deals and codes to take note of, valid while supplies last:
  • Enjoy a travel set for $22 with any $45 Purchase, use code GETAWAY, includes travel sizes of Lavender Perfumed Sachet, Verbena Shower Gel, Peony Hand Cream, Bonne Mere Rose Soap, Aromachologie Repairing Shampoo (Valid 7/30 thru 8/19/2014)
  • Receive a travel ready set free with any $125 purchase, use code DIVINESUMMER, includes 3 Divine Cream Samples, Immortelle Essential Face Water, Rose et Reines Hand Cream, Jamsin & Bergamot mini Eau de Toilette, Divine Eyes (Valid 7/30 thru 8/19/2014)
  • Enjoy our Provencal jumbo sized shower gels free with any $40 purchase, use code JUMBO (Valid 7/30-8/19/2014)
  • Receive free tropical sandals with any $35 purchase, use code TROPICAL (Valid 7/31 thru 8/20/201) 
  • Receive a free Ambre & Santal Shower Gel and Body Milk with any La Collection de Grasse Ambre and Santal Eau de Toilette Purchase, use code AMBRE (Valid July 30th thru August 19th 2014) 
Have a great Friday!
 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nail and Hand Care Essentials


The most frequently asked questions I've received have been focused around hand and nail care. I review lots of nail polishes and change colors frequently and taking care of my hands has always been a must. I'll go through my hand and nail care routine and answer some questions that I receive on a regular basis.


I'll share a bit of background on my nail/hand care routine and history. I played the violin when I was younger and kept playing through through college. This required me to keep my nails extremely short with only a sliver of the white tips showing. Out of habit and personal preference I've always kept my nails on the shorter end, although in recent years I've started growing them a bit longer. You can see the difference then in 2010 vs. now in 2014. For everyday hand activity I've had a diverse work history that has required a lot of typing from number crunching and market research. I tend to type with my hands at an angle (rather than having finger more at a 90 degree angle) so my nails don't tend to hit the keys as much as someone who holds their hands at a more perpendicular angle to the keyboards. Some frequently asked questions:
  • Are your nails always professionally manicured? Or do you maintain them yourself? My manicures are a mix of both professionally applied nail polish and DIY. For the longest time I couldn't properly do my own nail polish for a full manicure. Being able to paint one's nails doesn't always come naturally, it takes lots and lots of practice. I would say my manicures are 50/50 done myself versus at a professional salon.
  • How often do you get professional manicures? It varies depending on what I'm testing out, swatching, and also time constraints. I would say it ranges from every other week to once a month.
  • Your nail polish seems to have a long wear life without tip wear, I work at an office job that requires a lot of typing, how do you avoid tip wear? Tip wear will probably depend on how long your nails are, if they are on the long side there will be a lot of surface contact which can lend to more tip wear. I recommend keeping them on the shorter end to avoid breakage. Make sure you use a good base coat, brush the tips of the nails with a bit of color to cover the end of the nail, make sure your top coat covers not just the top of your nail but brush over the tip end as well.
  • What base and top coats do you use? I'll go into what I use below, I usually use Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat and Chanel Top Coat but it varies depending on what brand of color I'm using.
  • My nail polish never lasts more than 3 days, it starts to peel and chip no matter what brand, help? Several things could contribute to short-lived manicures. For prep, your nail might not be entirely clean. Even with polish remover, if you've used oils or lotions, there could be remnants of product still lingering on the nail. Use a nail cleaner or polish remover that helps clean (more below). You could be loading on too much color too soon. While it may seem to be a time saver to load up more color for 1 coat, don't do it. Apply your polish in thin coats even if it looks uneven the first coat. The second or third (for sheerer colors) will smooth out the surface. You also might not be covering your entire nail tip with top coat - doing so will make sure you covered the entire nail.
  • What advice would you give to those who are a novice to DIY manicures? I would recommend getting your nails professionally manicured the first 3-4 manicures you have so you can observe their application technique in person. You really only need salon manicures every once in a while for a clean up. It's easy to maintain your nails yourself in between salon visits. You don't necessarily have to do it yourself, as some can vouch, manicuring your own nails can sometimes take longer and be more frustrating.
  • Do you need to stick with the same brand of polish and base/top coats? Or can you mix and match? I don't think you need to stick with the same brands, although using the same can often be best. Different brands have different formulas and don't always work well together for me. For example I'm super picky with top coats - I don't like any sign of shrinkage where the top coats dry and shrink over the nail polish leaving a visible line around the edges. (Seche and OPI do that with Chanel for me). I like to mix and match.
The items I use are going to broken down into the following categories: Removers, Treatments, Tools, Base Prep and Top Coats. Like most beauty routines, I believe nail care items should be built slowly over time with testing or by researching reviews online.



I used to use cheap nail polish removers from CVS and Target, but after I started changing my nail polish frequently, I found that they made my nails and fingers extremely sensitive and that my nails started to peel (the actual nail). Based on reviews and recommendations I've found several new removers that are gentle for sensitive fingers but still very effective in removing all traces of polish. Items shown above described left to right:
  • Zoya Remove + Big Flipper is a 3 in 1 product that removes color, preps the nail and conditions. I discovered this thanks to the recommendation of Café Makeup - we discussed nail care, I shared my finger woes, she said try the Zoya, it's "so good." She was right. Read the reviews on Zoya or Makeupalley and you'll see others agree. There are different size options, I like the Big Flipper because it has an easy push down dispenser.
  • Sephora Formula X Delete Nail Polish Remover is another love (reviewed here). This is another item I bought based on online reviews. It has a similar push down dispenser lid. I like this one because it's compact and the design is very sleek and simple. The easy to use pump action makes it super handy -  you don't have to flip over the bottle and risk ruining painted nails if you need to clean edges or mess-ups.
  • Dior Dissolvant Abricot is an ultra luxurious and pricey non-acetone remover, it has a rich abricot scent formulated with ingredients to nourish, hydrate and strengthen. I found it was extremely effective in removing Dior's Gel Top Coat and dark polish underneath. I'm not a fan of the price and those sensitive to fragrance may find this too heavy. I went through one bottle pretty quickly and repurchased a second. It's the only remover I've tried that has a slightly moisturizing/hydrating feel. If the bottle were about 3-4 times larger I think I could justify the price for more frequent use.
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover is the only cuticle softener that I've tried but I was lucky to find a really good one on my first try. It comes in a milky white liquid with a dropper. Apply to the cuticle area for a minute and then push back with a cuticle tool and it removes excess cuticle skin easily. This is a definite must for anyone who does their own manicures. It's gentle but super effective.



I attribute good looking hands to good hand care. I'm almost always carrying one to two hand creams in my purse. I rely on L'Occitane because they come in travel sizes, a variety of scents and have fun packaging. Plus the formula is hard to beat. For extra care I've discovered layering oil into hand cream can help give an added boost of moisture. I prefer hand creams that absorb quickly into the skin and that aren't greasy feeling so it doesn't ruin paper, clothes or get everywhere you touch. My current loves, left to right:
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil is as good as it gets (there's a mini version as well). A little goes a long way with the dropper, you only need a little bit. It's not greasy but can get sticky, I recommend applying this with precision to the cuticles and rub in quickly. It has Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Mineral Oil and smells amazing. I use this about once a week and it keeps the cuticles looking really good.
  • Caudalie Divine Oil is a must for me (review here), unfortunately they've changed the packaging of the mini size and it doesn't come with the spray pump dispenser. When I visited the Venice Boutique, they had hand massage treatments and they mixed the oil with their Hand and Nail Cream (review here) which is another staple of mine. I can't rave enough about these.
  • Tatcha Soothing Silk Indigo Hand Cream (review here) helps to soothe dry or irritated hands, it hydrates well and absorbs quickly into the skin, the packaging is compact enough to fit into the purse
  • L'Occitane Hand Creams have been a classic for me for years (check out the L'Occitane Hand Cream Bar), they can be on the pricey side for the side, but the formula is worth every penny, these come in a variety of scents and special formulas, my current favorites are the Shea Butter Honey (soothing and creamy) along with the new Vitória-Régia from the Viva Brazil collection (lush sweet floral). L'Occitane has monthly gift with purchase promotions in stores and online, it's one of the few brand newsletters I subscribe to that I don't mind receiving weekly (they have good deals). I've converted so many of my friends to L'Occitane as these hand creams make good small gifts or add-ons (just add a box of Godiva chocolate or small bouquet of flowers).
  • Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Hand Cream was a huge step-up gift with purchase from Neiman Marcus at one of the Estee Lauder events they had a year ago in store. I was a bit intimidated by the size and packaging as it looks like an intensive treatment. It is indeed an intense hand cream but still very gentle and is the best at smoothing lines. You can see the effects immediately and over time it does improve the overall look and appearance of your hands.



My tools are very basic, items were either found at local drugstores or Ulta. There are a wide number of tools out on the market, I'm sure there are more experienced nail experts who know more about tools, my picks were picked out without much research or planning.
  • Revlon Nail Clipper is an older version that I have, they've gone through a few revamps and upgrades in packaging design but the overall shape and size remains the same
  • Tweezerman Nail File I've picked up various nail files over the years, I find Tweezerman to be sturdy but with a rough enough surface to be effective on harder nails but not too harsh, the ones from Sephora that I've bought come with a plastic storage sleeve which is convenient for storage (and makes sure it doesn't scratch your other products)
  • Ulta Crystal Nail File if you're one who hates the feeling of filing nails, you need to check out Crystal Nail Files, a multitude of brands have these such as OPI and Sephora. These have a unique fine-grade glass surface that is good for sensitive or thinner nails, it gently smooths edges and also has a tapered precision tip to clean beneath the nail.
  • Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher is a smaller tool for cuticles, I prefer smaller shapes, although some prefer ones with larger curved tips to match the natural shape of the nails. I find the Tweezerman one to be small enough for my small fingers, it's sturdy and effective for me. For any kind of cuticle removal or care, I recommend you proceed with extra caution. Don't push too hard and be extra gentle with the cuticles - this is where I recommend you observe a professional several times before attempting on your own.
  • Revlon Cuticle Nippers are another basic drugstore purchase, I've had two from Revlon, both have lasted over 5 years, just make sure you clean them regularly with warm water and soap (I use antibacterial dish soap) or alcohol. I wouldn't recommend using cuticle clippers regularly, I use them to clip hang nails or only use if the cuticles have been softened and properly prepped.



For base coats, I look for something that helps protect bare nails. I look for items that won't turn the nails yellow, items that aren't drying and that also don't make the nails peel. I'll highlight the ones I use briefly, let me know if you need more information on any of these, I find they all work well with other brands such as Chanel, OPI, YSL, Dior, Tom Ford and NARS.
  • Sephora Formula X Nail Cleanser (reviewed here) is a relatively new discovery for me but I find that having a completely clean nail surface before using base coat or color really makes a difference in the wear of nail polish
  • Sephora Formula X Base Coat (reviewed here) is a sticky formula that helps polish adhere well, I like this best with the Formula X polishes but I've also tried (and love it) with Dior, Marc Jacobs and Chanel
  • CND Stickey Base Coat is a classic that I've repurchased multiple times, it's an affordable option that works well with all brands I've tried
  • Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat is my most-frequently used base coat, I don't usually have nails that peel except when I do a lot of swatching and comparisons on the fingers, this helps immensely



  • Sephora Formula X Shine Top Coat (review here) is an awesome top coat but is on the thicker side, it works best with Formula X brand nail colors, when I used The System and their Nail Color, I had a manicure last over 7 days without any tip wear or chipping
  • Creative Nail Design Super Shiny Top Coat is another beauty staple, some of the nail salons I go to layer this with a Revlon top coat for an ultra cushy look (I haven't looked into the Revlon personally)
  • Chanel Laque Brilliance Extreme is my all time favorite top coat, it helps my polishes last long, doesn't crack or chip and give a lush shiny gloss
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Top Coat is another item I've repurchased (I'm on my third bottle), it's just as good as Chanel, some say it's better, mine has a pinkish tinge because I didn't let my pink nail polish dry long enough and had some color transfer
  • Dior Gel Coat is a top coat I've found works best with Dior Polishes (Chanel v Dior post here), it works well over other brands for a gel-shine finish and lush look, but can be prone to cracking on certain brands
This sums up my hand and nail care favorites. I hope this give you a comprehensive overview on my personal hand and nail care routine. To recap, I definitely think you can maintain your hands and nails on your own but regular salon visits help keep hands looking better. You don't need an expensive salon to maintain your nails, there are a lot of good ones that are more affordable.





This post contains some items that were sent for review consideration. Most items were purchased by me. Press samples include Sephora The System, Tatcha Indigo, L'Occitane Vitória-Régia. For more information refer to my Disclosures.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tatcha Indigo Collection


Tatcha's latest release is the Indigo Collection with new body and skincare products formulated to soothe, renew and soften the skin. For those new to Tatcha, the line was created by Victoria Tsai who based her products on Japanese geisha practices. More behind her story here. I discovered the brand thanks to some of my long-time readers who have been raving about the line for months. Several reached out through email and convinced me to order the Gold Camellia Lip Balm (which I adore). I was fortunate to meet part of the Tatcha team in San Francisco last month and they kindly sent me samples of the Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter ($48 for 200 ml/6.7 fl oz) and Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 60 ml/2 fl oz). Both products are made with the stems, leaves and petals of the Indigo plant. This is combined with other anti-flammatory ingredients to help soothe irritated skin. Both the hand and body cream have a blue tint to the product. I was worried the color would transfer or stain clothing but the good news is the color disappears upon application. The Indigo products have this beautiful scent that I find impossible to describe. It's a relaxing refreshing spa-like scent that is very calming.


The products come beautifully packaged as you can see below. Anyone who has ordered from Tatcha online knows that everything arrives with everything from the products to samples wrapped beautifully.


I've been testing these for the past month and both perform exactly as described. The Silk Body Butter is rich and with a medium-thickness for texture and blends easily. I rarely use body creams because I find them to be either too heavy in texture and scent. (I prefer dry oils.) The Tatcha cream blends easily with only a tiny bit and the scent balance is perfect. I can wear this at night and apply before bed without the scent interfering with my sleep. (I am sensitive to scents when it comes to being able to fall asleep.) A little goes a long way and it absorbs quickly into the skin and soothes any dry areas that might be irritating. If you've applied this and it feels sticky - it means you've applied too much.

The Soothing Silk Hand Cream is a new favorite. It also has a rich in texture so you only need a little bit. This past month has been a dry one for me causing my hands to be extra sensitive and dry. I alternate hand creams on a daily basis (between L'Occitane, Aerin and Diptyque) and the Tatcha has proved to be the most neutral in scent making it the most appropriate for my conservative corporate work place. It comes with a purse-friendly squeeze tube that seals all the way so you don't have to worry about it leaking all over your bag.


I have the Soothing Body Butter nearby when I'm at home either on my home work desk or by my nightstand. I have the hand cream in my purse and have been reaching for it more than others lately. I can see myself using up the hand cream within a few months and will most likely need to replenish soon.

You can find Tatcha at online at Tatcha.com (lovely samples with every order) and Barneys New York. The line is available in stores in the US at Barneys in New York, Beverly Hills and San Francisco. (PS follow Tatcha on Twitter @tatcha_v for extra sample codes.)

Have you tried anything from Tatcha? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New L'Occitane Limited Edition Scented Shea Butter Hand Creams

My favorite hand cream is L'Occitane's Shea Butter Hand Cream. I almost always have a small tube in my purse or car in the Original Formula or Cherry Blossom scent. This holiday, they have released some new scents and kits that are great for gifts. The scents are subtle enough to not be overwhelming but not so faint that you can't smell them.

The two sets I got were from the L'Occitane boutique and Nordstrom. I plan on splitting them up into little gift sets for friends and mixing them with some other items.


Individually, they retail at L'Occitane Boutiques for $10. However, there are several specials, promotions and sets where you can save money.

At L'Occitane Boutiques, they have a 6-pack set called Hand Cream Bouquet for $45 (comes to $7.50 each) that has 2 regular Shea Butter creams and 1 of each of the new scents Ylang, Rosebud, Frangipani, and Acacia.


If you don't like all the scents, they currently have a promotion where you can mix and match any 3 for $27 (discount comes to $9 each).

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At Nordstrom, they have a cute 3-pack called Enchanting Hands for $25 that has Shea Vanilla, regular Shea Butter and Frangipani.


There were a few other sets I saw instore that I don't see online yet. Also new is a hand cream/lipgloss set which is cute. Check out your local Nordstrom for more sets.

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Sephora has a few sets as well. Their Hands Celebration for $25 is a 3-pack containing Shea Vanilla, regular Shea Butter and Lavendar hand creams. Their Hands Delice set for $25 has Cherry Blossom, regular Shea butter and Lavendar hand creams.

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I'm sure there are a lot more sets to check out and I expect more to be released in the next month or so for the holidays.
 

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