Showing posts with label Hourglass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hourglass. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Barneys New York Love Yourself Event: March 8 - 12


The Barneys New York Love Yourself Event starts today March 8th and runs through March 12th (while supplies last). This is one of the best gift with purchase events for beauty that I've shopped over the years. It usually only happens twice a year for Barneys and with any $200+ order in beauty or grooming (cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, men's or women's) you get a complimentary gift bag filled with selected Barneys favorites. There are two gift bag options, one for men and one for women - the sampling selection is top notch. I always find great minis to try out and some favorites I like to keep for when I travel. Today I've teamed up with Barneys to share the women's gift along with a selection of some luxury favorites in case you're in need of recommendations or ideas. The event happens in store and also online - over the past several years I've ordered through both methods which have worked equally well. I do recommend you put together your lists and order sooner than later as the gifts usually do run out every year.


Here's a list of the contents of the women's gift which comes in a zip cosmetic case. Contents per bag may have a few variations for scent options or colors (as indicated below):
  • Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara 2 ml
  • 3LAB M Cream Ultimate Lift 6 ml
  • Chantecaille Mini Brilliant Gloss 1.5 ml (assorted colors, Lucky shown above)
  • Costume National Parfum in Soul 1.5 ml
  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye 3 ml
  • Malin + Goetz Geranium Face Cleanser 15 ml
  • Moroccanoil Fragrance Originale Body Souffle 20 ml
  • Oribe Supershine Moisture Cream 15 ml
  • R & Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo 75 ml/1.6 oz
  • REN Keep Young and Beautiful Beauty Shot 3 ml
  • Ritual Wai Wang Body Scrub 70 ml
  • Bellatora Cellular Renewal Cream 12 ml
  • Tatcha Deep Brightening Serum 10 ml
  • Givenchy Phenomen Eye or Mini Le Rouge 1.5 g
  • La Mer New Lifting Eye Serum 3 ml
  • NARS Audacious Mascara mini 3 ml
  • Byredo Mojave Ghost mini 2 ml
  • Maison Martin Margiela mini spray 1.2 ml (assorted options Sunday Morning or Beach Walk)
  • Rene Furterer Hair Care (assorted options)
  • Raw Spirit mini 1 ml (assorted Desert Blush or Summer Rain)
  • Verso Reviving Eye Mask packet
The men's grooming bag (not shown) contains:
  • Ulrich Lang NY Fragrance - Lightscape and Nightscape mix 50 ml
  • Byredo Sunday Cologne 1 ml
  • Rituals for Men Magic Shave cream 70 ml
  • Kieh's Facial Fuel Heavy Lift Moist 7ml DLX
  • La Mer Eye Concentrate
  • Chantecaille Magnolia healing emulsion 8ml
  • Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face cleanser
  • Aesop Mouthwash
  • Harry's 4oz Aftershave Moisturizer
  • 3LAB M Cream 6 ml
  • Tatcha Deep Brightening serum
  • Raw Spirit Assorted: Winter Oak or Citadelle
  • Verso Reviving Eye Mask
  • Illuminum Assorted: Tahitian Yuzu Vaporizor, Vetiver OUD, Bergamot Blossom Vaporizor, Phool, Rajamusk Vaporizor, or Hindi OUD, 1.5 ml each
  • Tizian Terenzi Assorted: White Fire or Ecstasy
  • Sisley Botanical D-Tox 2ml
  • Bellatorra Cellular Renewal Cream 12 ml
  • Marital Vivot Shampoo
I've rounded up ten luxury items in cosmetics and fragrance featuring some brands almost never go on sale. These kinds of events are the best time to splurge on things like Diptyque, Byredo or even on luxury skincare.


Some of my favorites and a few new recent discoveries featured above:
  1. Frederic Malle Carnal Flower ($74 to $380) is one of my most favorite perfumes of all time. There are several different sizes that you can purchase. The travel sprays come individually for most fragrances or in a set of 3. The set or full size bottles are a better buy price per oz wise but if you just want to try one and see how it wears, I think buying the individual ones are the best way to go. It's the best tuberose I've tried.
  2. Le Labo Travel Trios in Santal 33 ($145 for ml) is my latest perfume splurge. I ordered mine last week because I could not wait for the event. Again I decided to go the travel size route (I'm splitting this one with a friend for her to try one). So far I'm obsessed. It has a mix of sandalwood, virginia cedar, cardamom, violet, papyrus, spices, leather, musk and amber.
  3. Byredo La Selection Perfume Set ($145) this is a discovery set that has an assortment of 6 Byredo scents including Bal D'Afrique, Blanche, La Tulip, Black Saffron, Gypsy Water, Oud Immortel, I've had mine since the holiday and love it as a way to explore a number of fragrances without having to splurge on the full size bottle (my favorites are Bal D'Afrique and Black Saffron).
  4. The Laundress Detergent x Le Labo Signature Detergent in Rose ($45, also in Santal) is something I discovered through one of my readers via Instagram, I've since purchased and tried both, I prefer the Rose because I think the scent is stronger and more noticeable. It's a soft sweet rose that I'm obsessed with for washing bed sheets. It's noticeable but still soft enough that it won't keep you awake at night.
  5. Diptyque Baies Mini Candle ($32) is a classic, if you're unsure about buying the full size the travel mini is a good way to ease into the brand.
  6. Byredo Hand Cream in Gypsy Water ($35, also available in Flowerhead, Blanche, La Tulipe and Bal D'Afrique) is as luxurious as hand creams get.
  7. NARS Lip Gloss in Chelsea Girls ($26) is one of my most reached-for peachy nudes these days. I'll repost a swatch of it below for reference.
  8. Lipstick Queen Seven Deadly Sins in Indolence ($24) is a pretty sheer to medium classic rose pink gloss. It has no detectable scent and has a nice natural healthy color to it.
  9. Surratt Beauty Prismatique Lips in Lili Doree ($36) gives the lips the prettiest wash of shimmer, it's a peachy shade that makes for a very youthful luminous glow.
  10. Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38 each) are some of the prettiest powder highlighters I've tried. I think all four shades are winners but I've been reaching for Brilliant the most. 
  11. By Terry Baume de Rose in Coral Stellar and Mauve Moon (not shown above) are two of the latest tinted lip balm launches from By Terry. The colors are to die for gorgeous and if you were looking to shop these but didn't want to splurge, the Barneys gift event might be a good time to buy because you get goodies for splurging.





By Terry Mauve Moon and Coral Stellar swatches reposted:




You can find the Love Yourself gift with purchase online and in stores at Barneys New York now through March 12 while supplies last. I recommend ordering soon if you have your eye on anything. The gift bag should be added to your cart automatically as soon as the contents total $200 in beauty (men's or women's). Are you ordering anything yet for this event? If you do - please let me know! Would love to hear about what you hauled!

This post was created in partnership with Barneys New York. More information in my disclosures but as always all opinions my own.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders


This spring Hourglass has launched some additions to the Ambient Lighting family with the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38 each for 0.16 oz/4.6 g) and the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor ($22). I stopped by the Hourglass Store in Venice Beach last week to check these out and fell in love. One of the strobe powders Incandescent Strobe Light was introduced to us before in the Ambient Lighting Palette (Trio) as an exclusive. If you have this palette, you're familiar with the beautiful natural glowy finish and smooth texture of the strobe powders. They look sheer on the hands/arms. On the face they add the perfect natural glow and highlight. The sparkle isn't over the top and it makes the skin glow without being too frosty and they do not emphasize pores.

There are four shades of the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders. If you ask me if you think all four are necessary to have, I would say no - but after seeing them at the store, I had to buy all four. The colors are:
  • Euphoric Strobe Light - A pearlescent beige powder bestowing a natural highlight
  • Iridescent Strobe Light - An illuminating pink powder imparting a soft highlight
  • Brilliant Strobe Light - A shimmering gold powder imparting a lustrous highlight
  • Incandescent Strobe Light - An opalescent pearl powder bestowing a celestial highlight
Euphoric is the darkest option available. Iridescent and Incandescent are very similar, Iridescent is slightly deeper and more pink. Brilliant is a gorgeous yellow/gold option. I find the powders very finely milled and apply flawlessly with the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor or a regular powder brush.


The packaging of the Strobe Powders is similar in size to the Ambient Lighting Blushes, except the color is silver.


A quick look at size comparisons:


Ambient Lighting Powders $45 for 0.35 oz/10 g (review)
Ambient Lighting Bronzers $50 for 0.39 oz / 11 g (review)
Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder $38 for 0.16 oz/4.6 g
Ambient Lighting Palette $58 for 0.35 oz/9.9 g (review)
Ambient Lighting Blush $35 for 0.15 oz/4.2 g (review)

Close ups of each powder in sunlight:





The product in the pans will look different depending on lighting situations. The shimmer particles are highly reflective. I have a couple shots to show the base color and the shimmers depending on light. Both sets are in the same order.

Top: Incandescent Strobe Light, Euphoric Strobe Light
Bottom: Iridescent Strobe Light, Brilliant Strobe Light



Swatches and three sets of comparison swatches, first in natural light:


With sun + flash - they look frosty here, but I can assure you on the face they are more finely milled and naturally glowy:


A quick look at the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor - it applies these perfectly to the cheek bones by tapping on the areas you want highlighted. A regular blush brush works just as good, although if you want to apply the powders damp for more color, I found the brush worked better.



Comparison Set 1: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Luminous Light (reviewed here), Diffused Light and Dim Light. Luminous Light has a shimmery quality that acts as a highlighter while some other shades like Diffused and Dim Light are less shimmery and can be used as an all over setting powder for me without looking too glowy. Below the swatches are done with a heavy hand to show the color differences.


Comparison Set 2: Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powders in Starlight and Candlelight (reviewed here) are a lot more shimmery. On me Candlelight looks too white for my olive/yellow skin although it looks good on many of my friends. I prefer the Hourglass Strobe Powders by far. Also shown is Becca Champagne Pop (swatched here) and the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (review). The Becca is one of the most shimmery highlighters I own (and adore). By comparison the Becca Champagne Pop almost feels sharp because the shimmer is so pigmented.


Comparison Set 3: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade is one of the softest most finely milled highlighters from MAC that I own. It's a lot paler than any of the Ambient Lighting Strobe Powders but has a similar effect. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle by comparison has a lot more shimmer/frost. I added a swatch of the MAC Extra Dimension Highlighter in Whisper of Gilt (d/c, review here) to show texture comparison. The effect of the powders is similar to that of NARS Hot Sand Duos (review here). If you already own Hot Sand, you can probably skip Incandescent or Iridescent.


Quick look at the beautiful store on Abbot Kinney:




One last shot, clockwise from top left: Euphoric, Iridescent, Brilliant and Incandescent

Bottom line all winners. I tested these over the past week and am thoroughly impressed. They lasted all day on the cheek bones without getting too glowy or dewy looking by late afternoon. I've been testing them over a number of foundations from Tom Ford, NARS, Laura Mercier and Natasha Denona. They all held up remarkably well. I am already on highlighter/glow overload - I'm completely obsessed with glowy highlighters, but I thnk these are well worth a look. If I had to narrow down my picks, I would say Brilliant Strobe Light offers the best strobe highlight for my olive skintone. It brightens the complexion with a gorgeous candlelight glow. Euphoric is the most natural on me since it's deeper, but it still shows up like skin but better. I would say there's a tie between Iridescent and Incandescent - I think the pink tones in Iridescent make it more special, but you can't go wrong with either. The sponge is nice to have, but not a must.

You can find the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38) and Sculptor ($22) at Sephora and Hourglass Cosmetics right now. It is expected to launch at other retailers later this spring.

Have you checked these out yet? What's your favorite highlighter right now?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On My Radar / New in Beauty


1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /
7  /  8 (launches on the 15th) /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12

There are so many gorgeous new items launching this spring. It seems to be the season focused on glowing complexions with new foundation formulas, blushes and highlighters. I'm still smitten with the NARS Hot Sand/Laguna Duo (I've finally found my holy grail highlight/contour powder duo). I've been testing the new NARS Velvet Skin Tint which is slated to launch this Friday on January 15th online at NARS and NARS Boutiques (elsewhere February 1st). First impressions are very good, I'll have a review posted this Friday with swatches.

Also on the NARS front (they've been killing it this spring!) are two palettes. There is an eyeshadow palette called L'Amour Toujours Palette which I've been testing. It's incredible - if you visit the NARS website they've done eye swatches of all shades on three skintone which is so helpful. Second, there is a new cheek compact called the NARSissist Cheek Palette which is a Sephora Exclusive. I'm working on swatches right now, I hope to publish by the end of the week.

Diptyque has launched their Valentine's Day collection early with the new Rosaviola Collection in a collaboration with fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan. The packaging is beyond adorable I can't wait to see these in person.

For cheeks Hourglass launched their Ambient Lighting Strobe Powders and I'm saying yes to all even before testing or swatching them in person. I hope to check them out at the Hourglass Boutique sometime this weekend as I'll be in Los Angeles for IMATS. Kat Von D Beauty fans will be thrilled to know she's launched seven blush duos called Shade + Light Two Tone Blush.

For the glowing complexion, Beautylish just launched some items from Natasha Denona. Her line is new to me, but so far you can customize your own glow kit with items such as primer, foundation, cream highlighter, powder highlighter and body shimmer. I just started testing the Face Glow Foundation in Shade 30 Light Medium which is an amazing cream formula. The color seems to be just slightly too light - I'll have to do more testing before I can review.

I just posted a roundup on winter skincare focusing on face masks. I'll be sharing more of my current winter skincare routine in the next couple of weeks including some thoughts on new cleansers - the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser is really good.

Last but not least, Edward Bess just launched a new lipliner shade called Barely which is my new holy grail nude lipliner. It's the best nude pink ever made.

I'll have a foundation review post up soon and some swatches of spring glossy tints from YSL. What's on your radar right now? Any new discoveries you'd like to share? Spring beauty collections are still trickling in - what do you have your eye on?


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best in Skincare and Grooming 2015



I discovered a lot of new favorites in 2015 for skincare. I've compiled a list of items I consider game changers that have made a significant difference for my skin over the past year improving texture, clarity, and smoothness. I struggled over 2014 with lots of stress with some life changes and didn't take the best care of myself health-wise. It impacted my skin and took months to recover. In 2015 my husband also went outside of his comfort zone to try more in skincare and grooming. We've rounded up our favorites for the past year. First up, best skincare picks for me:

Shown above featured from left to right:
  • Le Mieux 4-in-1 Ultrasonic Anti-Aging Skin Perfecter* (review here) best cleaning device tool discovered this year, helps to clean pores and with gentle extractions that won't break the skin
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) best daily cleanser to help clarify skin, clean pores and help prevent breakouts
  • Tatcha Indigo Triple Recovery Cream* the entire Tatcha Indigo Line actually should be on the list as I've found every item I've tried to be a game changer for my sensitive skin. It's great for those who have eczema, for me it helped moisturize and soothe irritated and inflamed skin on flare up days, you can try the entire line in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (review here) one of my top day creams
  • Eve Lom Brightening Cream* (review here and here) also in the top day creams which really helped with brightening the complexion and lightening dark spots and acne scars
  • Kate Somerville Dermal Quench and Dermal Quench with Retinol * (review here and here) experiencing the Kate Somerville line in person this year at the clinic in Los Angeles changed my life, I had always been interested in the line but didn't know where to start, having an in person assessment and facial helped me pick out what would be best for my skin, the Dermal Quench items have been game changers to improve skin texture for day and night, helps give the skin a lift and also reduce redness
  • Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum* (review here) I wrote about this back in February after giving it a thorough 50+ day test (or night that is), it comes with a hefty price tag but I found it to be the biggest game changer for my skin, at the beginning of the year I had horrible skin texture, lots of dark spots from acne scars, breakouts on the chin area - nothing I tried seemed to restore my skin and at that point I was too scared to use anything with retinol. This completely restored my skin in a gentle non-irritating way. It's a night treatment that helped with resurfacing and rebalancing. I continued using it weekly throughout the year as needed and I'm almost finished with the bottle. Whenever I feel my skin starting to act up this has hands down been the best treatment to help improve texture.
  • Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen* (reviewed here and here) best sunscreen I've ever tried that doubles as a matte primer, helps smooth skin, doesn't look white on the face, keeps oil controlled
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream* back in November, my skin suffered a serious allergic reaction to Neosporin. I put it on a couple scabs that I had picked from acne to help with the healing process, instead my face literally blew up into a serious rash with tons of deep red bumps and swelling. It took around five weeks for my face to recover (it wasn't bad enough for any prescription treatment, I was told the only thing to do was wait for it all to heal). The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream was one of the few creams I could use for my irritated inflamed skin. My friends swear by it. I really love it.
  • L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil* best facial oil that I like to use at night or weekends on no makeup days, helps restore the skin's glow and moisturize without being too greasy, bottle lasts forever as a little goes a long way
  • Chanel Sublimage Eye Cream after all the eye creams I've tested this is still my favorite

For my husband, best in men's grooming:

Men's grooming favorites shown from left to right:

What were your skincare favorites? Any new discoveries that you found to be game changers?

Press samples featured with a * indicator next to the product names.
 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best in Beauty 2015: The Beauty Look Book Makeup Favorites


I look back on the last twelve months and can't believe an entire year has gone by. This has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding years I've had yet and I have lots to look forward to for 2016. I took a quick look at my blog posts for the past year along with an inventory of my favorite beauty products. I started with a massive list - there were so many good launches this past year, especially for lipsticks. Brands have really upped their beauty game with better formulas. I've edited my list as much as I could to what I considered game changers this year.

I have four categories of best in beauty this year. The first up is makeup favorites. I have 20 of my top makeup picks for lips, eyes and face - nails have their own category (up next).
  1. NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss is this year's best creamy nude (review here)
  2. Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink, Iconic Nude + Seduction make for the best nude lip combo ever, I used up an entire tube of Penelope Pink this year! (swatched here and here)
  3. Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Lip Glosses = the best lip gloss launch (swatches here)
  4. Rouge Louboutin Silky Satin = most luxurious lipstick formula created and the best red lipstick I've ever swatched (3 formulas swatched here
  5. MAC x Ellie Goulding Lipsticks were the best pinks launched (swatches here)
  6. Burberry Kisses Lipstick = the best lipstick formula launch this year huge plus that they are unscented and also non-drying on the lips (my picks swatched here
  7. Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil (swatches here) were the best new colors launched for the entire year (so good I have backups even though they are permanent)
  8. Hourglass Lip Treatment Oil in Icon is best new tinted lip treatment formula (swatched here)
  9. Urban Decay Naked3 was my most-used eyeshadow palette of the year (swatches here)
  10. Burberry Wet & Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell = best all over eyeshadow shimmer color for the lids ever made (review here)
  11. Clio Kill Bill Liquid Liner was the best liquid eyeliner discovery (review here)
  12. NARS Yeux Irresistible Palette wins for the best smoky eye palette of the year (swatches here)
  13. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise colors are the best cream shadow launched this year for formula and color selection (swatched here)
  14. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer wins for most luminous bronzer + highlighter combination (swatches + review here)
  15. Tom Ford Moodlight is the best highlighter launch of 2015 (look + review here)
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium Dark = the best bronzing duo launched and also the one I used the most this past year (look shown on face here)
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is best setting powder of the year, if it ever gets discontinued I will literally want to die (thoughts + review here)
  18. Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation Brush #53 best foundation brush discovery for flawless streak-free coverage (review here)
  19. Wayne Goss Anniversary Set = the best brush set launch of the year (review here)
  20. Edward Bess All Over Seduction = most-used cream highlighters of the year (swatches here)
What were your favorite makeup picks this past year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Makeup Must-Haves for a Glowing Beauty Look



During the holidays the bold red lips and gold sparkles are always in for beauty, but as a neutral makeup lover, I opt for colors that make the skin glow naturally for a fresh-faced look. It's this time of year that I start to lighten in skin tone so I like to add and layer colors to give the face a little life. Also being someone who likes to wear red clothing during the holidays - I find that neutral makeup goes best with a red dress or sweater (although brighter pinks also complement red outfits). I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite beauty items along with a few new discoveries.

For glowing skin I like to layer bronzer and highlighters. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duos are incredible for adding life to the face. I have both the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the newer Medium to Dark version and like both. Either would make beautiful luxe gifts too for any beauty lover - especially the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set that comes with the sculpting brush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes are in my top picks for a natural glowy look. The Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light is the perfect mix of bronzer and highlighter swirled into one compact. It gives the complexion a radiant bronzed glow. I also really love the Ambient Lighting Blushes, Luminous Flush (shown below) and Incandescent Electra are my favorites. If you don't own any yet, I highly recommend the holiday Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. It's oh so gorgeous!!! I own 5 of the 6 shades individually and although it would make an excellent travel companion, I decided to pass this season.

Hands down the best highlighting duo launched this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight. It has a pearly opal color and a medium light tan champagne. Together they give the skin a candlelit glow that's just so so so pretty.

Armani Fluid Sheers are always a favorite to add a glow on top of the cheek bones (I apply after foundation and powder and dab it onto the cheeks). They're also great to mix in with foundation to add luminosity in a natural way. #2 is the classic champagne ivory shimmer and #17 is a newer one that's the prettiest neutral pink. I have a few more shades swatched below.




For eyes, I like to keep things simple and light. I'm all about a champagne base and I've finally mastered the liquid liner application (success!). The best neutral quad is Tom Ford Nude Dip (brand new fresh one shown below). It is on the shimmery side but I don't think it's over the top. Armani Eye Tints offer a nice wash of color, there are lots of neutrals - many of which look similar but have slight variations in undertone.

Other champagne favorites include NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Goddess (pretty much budge-proof once it sets), Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (super creamy and easy to blend, if you have oily lids it might be too emollient), Burberry Wet and Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell (the perfect shimmer for the lids) and if you want something more glitzy Armani Eyes to Kill in #8 is pretty awesome.

I've been experimenting more with different kinds of liquid eyeliners this year. I've found so many good ones. Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen still remains at the top of my list. Burberry's Effortless Liquid Liner has a felt-tip stiffer tip which is also super easy to use. Both colors are super rich black shades and stay true-to color (some liners I've tried dry to a lighter color and look grey on my skin).

To add a bit of definition or color, just add a smudge of something deeper along the upper lash line. I am really loving the Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Rouge Noir that is new for holiday. Charlotte Tilbury Color Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencils are super long-lasting. They are creamy enough that you can apply and smudge/blend with ease, but once it sets, it stays put with impressive lasting power.



Reds and berries and plums are always in for holiday. I love a good plum, but as one with full lips, I always feel so self conscious with reds or brights. I feel like they draw extra attention to my lips. I prefer fresh colors that make the face glow. I've been obsessed with the Tom Ford Lips and Boys launch this year. There are 25 new shades, I will have swatches of 12 of my picks soon (I promise!). Most of the new colors have shimmer in them, but it's a luminous shimmer for most. From what I recall there were only a few glitzy colors in the bold range. Demsey is the perfect peachy color (it's a darker and less frosty version compared to last year's William). Ansel is a gorgeous bright warm pink shimmer (this fits the gap I've seen in the Tom Ford line for something that's in between pale and super bright). Malik is the most intriguing cool lavender mauve with gold shimmer (not the most holiday-like color, more for spring, but layer a gloss on top and it transforms into a gorgeous mauve). If I found this 10-piece Lips and Boys Set under my Christmas Tree I think I would die of happiness.

I've been playing with some of the Burberry Kisses Glosses. They were reformulated along with the Kisses Lipsticks (which I think are the best scent-free lipsticks on the market). Pale Nude is my kind of color - shimmering gold nude. Coral Rose is a sheer but pretty shimmering pink. Antique Rose is a mauve with a hint of silver sparkle. They are scent-free and taste-free. Texture is glossy and smooth. Lasting power is average for a gloss, but I don't mind reapplying after a few hours.




For holiday fragrance I've been loving the Chanel Allure Parfum Bottle which is a concentrated version of the perfume. It comes in a bottle with a dabber. I bought mine which is the larger size in Paris over the summer (which is still compact in size). I was thrilled to see it available in the US in the smaller size. Another layering combination I've been loving lately is Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede spritzed over Blackberry and Bay. These minis are in the Cologne Collection Set (5 colognes) which are perfect for putting in your clutch.


I hope you found this roundup helpful if you're looking for ways to add a natural glow to your beauty routine this holiday. I am always trying to be braver in wearing bold reds and plums on the lips, but I like makeup that makes me feel comfortable and a better version of myself. There are a number of ways to add a bit of color but still look natural and there are tons of options to pick from at Nordstrom (it's my favorite place to shop because they have the majority of my favorite brands). If you're shopping for gifts online, take note of their holiday shipping deadlines here.

What's your beauty routine for the holiday season? Do you like to add bold shades for a glamorous bright look? Or do you like to keep things neutral too? If you have any favorites or go-to's you've been loving please share! I always get such great recommendations and ideas from you :)

This Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rosegold also looks like the perfect glowy gloss, I've had my eye on it but haven't tried it yet - if you have what did you think? Is it a must-have?



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lip Balm Testing and Recommendations for Winter Weather

Winter Lip Treatments Balms

Above: Tray from J.Crew (similar here and here), Clare V Wallet Clutch, Celine Knot Bracelet, Gorjana Crossover Cuff

I've been testing a number of new-to-me lip treatments, balms and oils since late fall. I did a roundup of rosy red tinted lip treatments for holiday last month, but it's been a year since I rounded up what I've been testing and loving in the non-tinted version. Today after weeks and weeks of testing, I have thoughts on 16 different lip balms in multiple formulas to share today. I've split the lip balms into three categories: the pots, the tubes, and the squeeze tubes.

______________________________

Potted Lip Treatments

Fresh Dior Chanel Tatcha Nuxe Lip Balms

Some of my favorite lip balms formulas are in pot format even though I prefer the tube or stick version so I don't have to stick my finger in. I've raved about the By Terry Baume de Rose so many times I thought I'd round up some others I've been testing.
  • Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy ($30) - I had high hopes for this one as I really like the stick sugar lip balms but find they can get soft and be prone to breakage. One in pot format seemed more ideal for a soft formula, but this one is actually harder in texture. I had to take a lip brush to break the surface and get enough product for my lips. With just fingers I could barely get anything on and the result was a barely-there veil of moisture. If you dip into the surface and dig out enough of the product to layer on the lips, it makes the lips feel moisturized, smooth, slightly minty and cool but without the tingle. Unfortunately it doesn't give the lips a long-lasting moisturized feel. I would say the effects are immediate and temporary for fall to winter weather. It would be better suited for warm weather.
  • Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Rêve de Miel ($19) - This is one I bought in the limited-edition packaging, but the formula is the same as the regular pots with the white caps. This is an ultra creamy highly concentrated rich balm that smells like honey and grapefruit. I find it on the thick side of creamy so it really coats the lips with a cushion of moisture. It stays put and doesn't slide around. It comes in a hefty glass jar. The scent is very natural and barely has any taste. I like this one for an ultra rich and creamy treatment.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care ($50) This is one I used up and repurchased. I go back and forth with this one, mainly because it comes with a very high price tag. It's smooth and lightweight in feel but does moisturize the lips. If you read my post from last year I said I would probably use it to the end but not repurchase (well I ended up repurchasing). It's a good basic lip balm that works for me, but I think others like the Nuxe or the Clarins Lip Oils have a deeper more moisturizing treatment and more affordable.
  • Dior Crème de Rose ($28) - This has been on my radar for years and I finally bought it and tried it this year. It's super smooth and creamy without the greasy feel. It has the most lush rose scent, similar to By Terry but slightly less floral/sharp which makes it easier for those with sensitive noses. It's very hydrating and the effects truly make a difference in the moisture of the lips.
  • Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36, also in the Travel Kit and several other holiday sets) This is an extra special lip balm. It's such a unique formula. The base is a clear jelly-like balm that smells refreshingly sweet. It's dewy and adds the perfect amount of moisture to the lips and feels lightweight. It's topped with a thin layer of 24-karat gold leaf that gives it an ultra luxe look. It's a winner and I really can't imagine life without it.
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Lip Balms in Squeeze Tubes

Amore Pacific Laura Mercier Lip Balm L'Occitane First Aid Beauty Bite Beauty Malin+Goetz

Squeeze tubes are the best format for lip balms in my opinion. They're compact, easy to use and don't require fingers. Many come with angled applicators which makes it easier to apply these days. A few new ones along with tried-and-true favs:
  • Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35) This is something I tried because so many of my readers raved about AmorePacific. This is a tiny tube of balm but the formula is excellent. It offers instant relief to super dry lips. There were a few days my lips were painfully dry and this helped restore them to their natural state. I would say that it's almost entirely scent and taste-free. I can't detect any scent but it's possible there's a slight natural scent to it. Out of all the tubes, this is in my top 3.
  • Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Lip Balm ($24 or in the Rose Infusion Set* for $110) This is a new launch from Laura Mercier. It was first exclusive to the Rose Infusion Set, but you can purchase it separately now at Laura Mercier. It's a nourishing lip balm that smells like soft roses. It has Rosehip Seed, Kukui, and Macadamia Seed Oils helps soothe and comfort lips - I really like the way this feels on the lips. There is a slight floral taste to it - it's not bad or too strong, but definitely noticeable. I really like the way it hydrates the lips.
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm * ($25, from the Hugs and Kisses Set) is one of the most gentle lip treatments for super sensitive skin that's still hydrating. Since it's lightweight the lasting power isn't as long as some other treatments, but it still does the job at adding moisture and soothing the lips. Many lip treatments make my lips go numb (like Kiehl's and almost all the drugstore brands), whenever I'm in doubt I go with L'Occitane.
  • L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Pamplemousse Rhubarb Lip Balm ($25 from the Voyage Trio Set) is part of the Pierre Hermé Collaboration. It has the most delicious grapefruit scent to it and adds a tiny bit of moisture. As a quick fix it's good, but the formula is pretty light in terms of moisture and texture. If you don't mind reapplying the scent is heavenly, but if you're looking for a deep treatment, you may want to pass.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy* ($12, or in the FAB to the Rescue Sampler Set $32 and Freshen Up Duo $15) This is a life-saver for dry lips. It's got a minty scent which I'm not the biggest fan of, but it's a pleasant mint. It's super smooth and emollient and has just the right texture of creaminess to it. It gives the lips instant relief and really helps with dry lips.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26, swatched here, Smashed swatched here) is a tinted treatment, but it's pretty much clear. This is one of the best lip treatments I've tried. It's super plush and hydrating. I use it on no-makeup days and it fixes dry lips like magic.
  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is a long-time favorite. There are two formulas of lip balm, both are equally good. I think the Mojito one is fun because it's scented in a fun mojito flavor. It has a clear almost gel-like consistency. I like the way this feels on the lips the best out of all the lip balms. It's moisturizing and you can feel it, but it's not heavy or greasy.
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Twist Up Sticks and Oils

lip oil clarins hourglass nuxe lip balm caudalie lip balm

Last but not least, a few others in oil and stick format:
  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey* ($24) Lip Oils were really popular this time last year. I tried a few different brands and found I didn't really like the concept of oils because many just felt too runny and thin. The Clarins is phenomenal though. It does offer instant comfort and a natural shine. Honey is pretty much clear on the lips but it has a thickness to it which prevents it from feeling like it will slip off your lips. Cafe Makeup did a review on the pink version. I think her thoughts and review are excellent.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Treatment Oil in Icon* ($42, review here) is also tinted. I've tried both the original clear and tinted version. Both have a really good nourishing formula I find unique and extremely hydrating. The red one is fun for holiday and pretty sheer/natural so if you're a neutral lip lover like me, it's definitely wearable. It's one of the deeper treatments I've tried for lips - it has a press pump to dispense product. I think it's definitely worth the splurge.
  • Nuxe Lip Moisturizing Stick Rêve de Miel ($9) is something I've loved and used up. The stick for right now is probably too light in the sense that it doesn't give me enough moisture. If you're a Reve de Miel fan, go for the pot instead.
  • Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12, also in this Winter Favorites Set or Winter Duo) this is my favorite twist up tube balm. It has a really nice fruity fresh scent and taste to it. It glides on the lips easily. It hydrates my lips nicely. I used up the tube from last year's post and repurchased it in one of the duos.
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If you're looking for a new lip treatment I hope this roundup helps give you some ideas of what to try. My bottom line:

Top Formula Picks for Fall/Winter Weather

Most hydrating formulas:

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
Bite Agave Lip Mask (any of the colors)
Dior Creme de Rose
Nuxe Rêve de Miel (pot)
Clarins Lip Oil

Best for everyday, lightweight but still moisturizing:

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm
Tatcha Camellia Lip Balm

Best in luxury:

Hourglass Lip Oils

Ones I'd pass on if I could do it over:

L'Occitane Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarb - nice but not hydrating enough
Fresh Sugar Nourshing Lip Care - just not what I expected

As always, I'd love to hear about your favorites! If you have any tried and true - please share in the comments. 



Some press samples included in this post indicated with a * from L'Occitane, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty, Hourglass, Clarins.
 

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