Showing posts with label LOccitane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LOccitane. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hand Creams and Treatment Rotation, Favorites and Recommendations for Him and Her

I'm a bit of a hand cream addict. There's not a week that I don't have at least 2 hand creams in my purse not to mention all the drawers in my home that I have little hand cream tubes stashed. The weather has turned in the past few weeks, the air is extremely dry and my skin has really felt it. Extra help with moisture has been essential for me on all fronts. Last year I put together a list of my favorite hand creams that I had in rotation. Today I have a roundup of some new ones that I've been putting to the test including three designed more for men (thanks to my husband for testing some too).

When it comes to hand creams, there are three things I look for: good packaging, quick absorption, noticeable hydration. While I don't mind feeling the moisture, I like treatments don't have a greasy feel or silicone-like slip in the finish. On scented hand creams, I'm all for a good one with fragrance because it lifts the mood but sometimes I want something fragrance-free so it doesn't interfere with my perfume. For my husband, he doesn't like any of the ones I have that have girly scents. He has used and likes the one from Kiehl's, but it's pretty emollient and he's been asking me to find him something that has a quick dry time.

Up first is my favorite hand cream formula ever, L'Occitane. I've been hooked on L'Occitane since a family friend gifted me a tube of the regular Shea Butter version to help me with my peeling cuticles and dry hands. The regular Shea Butter is extra gentle and perfect for those with sensitive skin and noses. It's also thick and ultra hydrating. This one is L'Occitane's best-seller and comes in a few different size options. There are some value sets which give you a price break, so before you buy, definitely check out the sets like this Hugs & Kisses Duo or this Hand Cream Trio (there are larger value sets too).

I'm super picky when it comes to scented body products so it's somewhat of a miracle that I've loved every single L'Occitane scented hand cream. The options vary in thickness and texture depending on formula, but all are pretty much the same in terms of hydration. There are two whipped formulas in the Shea Butter Whipped* and Melting Honey Whipped* (review here) both have 25% shea butter and have a lighter texture but are very moisturizing.

Amande (Almond) is one of the few that doesn't have shea butter. It's made with almond oil and has an emollient and thinner texture. It's a favorite of mine but the scent is pretty strong. The Collection de Grasse scents (reviewed here) are also stronger in fragrance, many of which are very floral.

By far, my favorite is the Pierre Hermé x L'Occitane collaboration. I've stocked up on the Pierre Hermé Hand Cream Trios because you save $7 by purchasing the set, and it also comes packaged in a cute limited-edition tin which makes it perfect for gifting. Pamplemousse Rhubarbe is a warm well rounded grapefruit. You can smell the citrus but the rhubarb makes it softer, warmer and not as sharp as a true grapefruit. Jamine-Immortelle Neroli is a very soft gentle jasmin and citrus mix. I normally don't like wearing jasmin scents, but this one is very soothing and I adore it. Miel Mandarine is soft orange scented hand cream. It's got a creamy roundness to the scent because of the honey in it. All three are hydrating but have a quick drydown and leave the hands feeling silky smooth. There's no greasy feel and it absorbs super quick (quick as in less than 30 seconds).

L'Occitane wins for most fun packaging designs, best formula for sensitive but dry skin, and widest variety of scents and ingredients to suit your preferences and needs.

Next up are the Molton Brown Hand Creams*. I've been a fan of the line for a long time (long before most everything was reformulated or scents renamed). Their current line up of their hand creams are just as good as L'Occitane but the Molton Brown has different scents and packaging. There are currently seven scented options, some are called Replenishing Hand Creams and others simply Hand Creams. I tested all the scents and formulas and they perform the same. They have a fast absorbing texture that is not too thin but not too thick. Hands feel moisturized and smooth. With scented body products there's often a hit or miss, but in this case there's not a bad one in the entire lineup. Scents are noticeable and last a decent amount of time. My top three favorites are Gingerlily, Pink Pepperpod (also available in this cute holiday cracker) and Ylang-Ylang.

The latest launch is the Alba White Truffle line which consists of a Hand Treatment and Hand Exfoliator. You can buy them individually or in a boxed duo gift set (prices are the same whether you buy separate or together). These are scented with nutmeg, olibanum and vanilla and they smell absolutely delicious without being overpowering or too sweet. The formula of the hand cream is a lot richer than the other ones in the Molton Brown line. It's very very moisturizing and you can definitely feel the strength of it. It does absorb fast and doesn't leave a greasy feel although you can feel the moisture. It's a pampering kind of treatment that I really like. The best part of this line is the Hand Exfoliator. I've had scrubs with pedicures before but never on the hands. This is new to me but I'm hooked. The scrub gets rid of all the dead skin and build up and leaves the hands feeling refreshed, moisturized, ultra smooth and just so much better. I would love to use it everyday but that would be overdoing it. I've used this 1x per week and my hands feel like dead weight has been lifted off that I didn't know was there. If you're looking for a hand duo for someone who already has almost everything this is a good option as it just launched in mid-October and is relatively new.

Next up are some other brands that have one formula or scent of hand cream. Many are either skincare or fragrance lines.
  • Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 is one of the most gentle hand creams I've tried that's unscented. If you're super sensitive to any fragrance or simply don't like it, this is a good option. The formula is on the thick side so a little goes a long way. It absorbs quickly.
  • Nuxe Rêve de Miel is the most lightweight in texture that I've tried. I'm a fan of all things Nuxe, I bought mine in a duo set from Paris, but you can buy the individual tubes online (currently there's a sale online at Nuxe). It has a soothing but very soft and gentle honey scent.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White Hand Creams restocked at, both are limited-edition and come in sleek slim tubes perfect to slip into a clutch or small bag. I bought a couple tubes of both since I love the fragrance. The formula is nicely moisturizing and scent is pretty strong.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Hydrating Hand Cream* is a new formula from Ole Henriksen. It's a lightweight super absorbent hand cream that strengthens and protects the skin. It also has Willowbark which is a natural exfoliant (salicylic acid) to sheds dead skin cells and stimulate new cell formation. I like that it absorbs fast and the moisture lasts a long time. Even though it has a natural exfoliant I was relieved to find it didn't make the skin peel or pill. It has a super lightweight clean scent. It makes the hands look smoother instantly. (Also available at Sephora.)
  • Leif Kakadu Plum and Macadamia Nut Hand Balm* is a super hydrating emollient hand treatment. It smells really good like macadamia and it's so good I almost want to eat it. This one is larger than most of the tubes I have but still works to fit inside my purse. I would say it's as moisturizing as the Kiehl's but has a thinner texture. I really like the Leif as a cuticle treatment too.
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream* is hands down my favorite treatment hand cream. The Indigo line is really good for sensitive, dry or itchy skin. It has a lightweight refreshing sakura-like scent to it. I would recommend it to anyone for any skin type. If you don't want to buy the full size without trying it, Tatcha has it in a smaller Travel Size. It's also available in a mini in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set. If you want the full size there's a Aiiro Soothing Duo set that has the hand and body cream.

For men, I've been on the hunt for a good basic hand cream designed more for men versus something that is unisex. When it comes to skincare, packaging is key for my husband. It has to look good and have easy to use packaging. He won't use anything pink or girly-looking. The Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve comes in a small size in the Men's Starter Set and my husband likes it and uses it daily. It is very hydrating and when it comes to waiting for something to absorb into the skin, my husband (Andrew) wants it to be fast (he doesn't like waiting). With the Kiehl's, he will apply it to his hands or feet. Any excess is rubbed off onto his arms or on a towel. I also like it because it's very good for super dry skin is unscented and even though it's emollient I find it dries within a few minutes. It's available in a number of holiday sets and bundles where you can save like this trio.

Andrew's been a fan of Baxter and Jack Black, so I ordered both for him to try. He's a fan of the Jack Black Cool Body Moisturizer because it has a nice clean scent and feels refreshing. He says it applies well and absorbs into the skin quickly without feeling greasy. The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer comes with a lot of high ratings on online reviews. It's also been recommended by many of my female readers. I had high hopes that my husband would like this one because he's a fan of the line. After trying this - he felt it too emollient, too thick and he kept wanting to wipe off the excess from his hands. I thought he was in one of his impatient moods and tried it myself. He was right. I also found it very thick in texture and a bit sticky. The benefits of the Jack Black are that it's very very hydrating. It soothes dry spots instantly. There is a slight menthol scent to it but it fades. I let it sit for as long as I could to see if it would dry down. It never did but I found I could tolerate the texture as an overnight treatment. It makes the hands look visibly smoother and in the morning they look and feel a lot better.

Baxter of California is a men's grooming line my husband discovered at the Birchbox Roadtrip event earlier this year. He's been a fan of everything he's tried so far and has some of the value sets on his holiday wishlist. A couple reviewed in this monthly favorites post here. I ordered the Hydro Salve Hand Cream which is a white cream in a squeeze tube. This one is his favorite because it adds noticeable hydration but dries quickly. It leaves the hands feeling moisturized, fixes dry cracks and soothes the skin without any greasy residue. I tried it as well. On one of the days I had some issues with cuticle dryness (some were starting to crack). Within minutes my hands felt instant relief and by the afternoon, my cuticles were almost healed. The description of this one is "Packed with aloe, shea butter and avocado oil, this unscented moisturizing cream hydrates and helps repair very dry skin. Infused with vitamins E, C and B5, the extra thick cream delivers nutrients to rough and chapped areas." It's exactly as described.

Above: Collar Stays from Nordstrom, Travel Case by Tumi (current style here)

There are several I did test in store that had very high ratings online in customer reviews but that I didn't like enough to purchase. I'll mention three briefly. Ahava Mineral Hand Cream came highly recommended to me by several readers. I bought this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and had very high hopes. I couldn't tolerate the smell and the while formula dried quickly it had an almost silicone-slip to my hands that I couldn't wait to wash off. Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream also came highly recommended to me. I liked the formula but found the scent overpoweringly sweet. La Mer The Hand Treatment is a cult classic. I actually splurged on a tube many years ago and used it up. I considered repurchasing recently but found the formula overpowering in fragrance. I also found it felt very emollient, almost greasy. I do think it will be good for super dry hands or an overnight treatment.

That wraps up my roundup of hand cream testing for fall to winter. If you're in the market for a new hand treatment especially in this dry weather, my top picks include:

Most variety and best formula:
L'Occitane and Molton Brown

Best unscented options:
L'Occitane Shea Butter, Eve Lom and Baxter of California

Most intense for super dry skin:
Kiehl's, Jack Black, Molton Brown Alba White Truffle and Leif

Most lightweight texture: 
Nuxe Rêve de Miel

Best for sensitive skin/instant relief:

Personal favorites for scented hand creams:
L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé (all three)
Molton Brown Gingerlily
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black

Husband's favorite for men:
Baxter of California

There are a number of really good gift sets this holiday. I can't get over how good they are this year. You can find the brands above at a number of different retailers but some products and sets are exclusive to the brands own retail website. All the products are linked above in the reviews to where you can buy them so you don't have to click around to find things. Many times it's easier to shop at larger retailers but if you're looking for good deals or savings, I'd recommend researching ones that sound interesting to you, make a list and bookmark websites. A lot of the individual brands will have savings and gift with purchase offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - so while it might be a bit of extra work to shop, I do believe it will be worth the effort. I'll have a roundup of promotions, codes and deals on Friday and Monday so stay tuned. 

I think skincare or scented products are often tricky to gift to people, especially if you don't know them extremely well. I think hand creams fall into the more neutral category. I've gifted L'Occitane for years and it's always well received. There's been confirmation in this conclusion since those I've gifted the hand creams have always repurchased what I've bought them, they often buy as gifts for their friends as well.

As usual, I've love for you to share what your favorites are. Please let me know in the comments!  

Press samples included in the feature indicated by a *. All others purchased by me.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Festive Beauty Ornaments, Charms and Crackers

1   /   2   /   3   /   4   /   5   /   6 
 7   /   8   /   9   /   10   /   11   /   12   /   13
14   /   15   /   16   /   17   /   18   /   19 

This holiday season there are so many cute beauty gifts and sets. In case you're looking for a festive beauty gift that comes in cute packaging to save time on wrapping, I've rounded up some cute ideas that I call quick and easy gifts. You can pick up multiples without breaking the bank and have some on hand for last minute gifting. They can also make cute stocking stuffers or add-ons to something like a chic book, a bouquet of flowers or baked goods.

I'm smitten with the Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Cracker. The Rhubarb and Rose Cracker has a full-size hand cream in it.

This Christmas, Charlotte Tilbury brought back her Mini Lipstick Charm Set again this year which is good because even though they are uber tiny, they are so so cute. Swatches of Bitch Perfect and Penelope Pink in this post here.

L'Occitane never disappoints for gifting any time of year really. Year over year I buy most of my gifts from them because it never fails to make friends and family happy. There are so many good Hugs & Kisses Hand and Lip Duos this year. My favorite is the Pierre Hermé Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli which surprised me because I love Jasmin scents for the home, but rarely like to wear them. The Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe duo is perfect for any grapefruit/citrus scent lover. Other classics include the Shea Butter and Delightful Rose.

Hope you have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Loving Right Now

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is going well so far. A few things I'm loving right now, especially since the weather seems to have shifted overnight here in Southern California. It's still relatively warm compared to most parts of the US, but we've had some rain, lots of wind and dry weather. My skin has definitely felt the impact and my lips and skin have felt dry so I've needed to switch things up.

For lips I've been loving the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment that I picked up from Sephora. It comes in a sleek little squeeze tube and has an angled applicator so you can apply it without using fingers. It's hydrating and feels lush on the lips. I'll give an update later as I'm testing a few new lip treatments. Also great for dry skin is the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil-Free Essentials Set (not shown). I bought this a couple months ago and loved the items but found them too hydrating when we had super warm and humid weather in the high 80s (I thought fall weather would never arrive here). For right now, the cleanser and toner are just what I need to mix into my routine on days I feel extra dry.

These days I feel like I can't live without the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist*, the travel size is perfect to keep in my purse and I love that the mini packaging is just as good as the full size. Be sure to check out their gift sets this year. Their packages are beautifully wrapped so you really don't need to do any extra work if you gift something.

For under eye concealer, I'm still loving the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer as the best under-eye and spot cover up (I use Shade 3). Pigment and coverage is impressive but it blends out to a completely natural looking finish. Swatches of all the shades in this post here. Because many of you have been asking about the newer Mini Miracle Eye Wand Dynamic Duo Lift and Light Reflector, I picked up one in Shade 3. I'll report once I've given it a thorough test drive.

Another staple in my daily makeup rotation is the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base. Many of you have repeatedly asked what my favorite eye base is, and it's the one from Edward Bess. It evens out the lids and primes it for eyeshadow. It extends eyeshadow wear and doesn't crease. Many skin-tone colored primers dry out my lids or make them look wrinkly, the Edward Bess smooths out the skin and makes it glow naturally (even though there is no shimmer).

For color, I'm obsessed with Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Versatile (swatched here), Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Eyeshadow* in Bronze (swatched here), and Chanel Rouge No. 19 Le Vernis (released last year, but still available at, swatch here).

I've been testing a number of different hand creams. I did a roundup of my staples back in January. I'll have another update soon. The Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment* and Hand Exfoliator* are really quite amazing. I've never done a hand scrub but the exfoliating treatment is incredibly helpful in scrubbing off dead skin and also offers hydration leaving hand silky smooth and feeling really good. (Not to mention is smells delicious.) The Alba White Truffle Hand Cream is ultra hydrating. 

Also not to be missed is the L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Collaboration. Both brands have a special place in my heart and I couldn't be more thrilled that they partnered for a holiday launch. The packaging on the Hand Cream Trio is to die for. As soon as I saw it online I immediately went to my local store to pick it up. Unfortunately it appears to be an online exclusive in the US. If you're one to shop in store, there is a lot to choose from - but don't forget to check online for exclusive sets. The gift sets this year are so beautiful (more on these soon). There are some cute Lip/Hand Duos and other items that are only available online. (I ordered multiples of the trio and duos.)

Last three things I've been loving are the Gourmand Eau De Parfums from Urban Outfitters. I have Thé Matcha which is a super clean fresh scent. I have several others on my wishlist. Truffle pouches are always on my love-list. The Rose Gold Privacy Clutch is always fun around the holiday season. New for holiday is the Ivory Pearl Cranberry Pouch in Small* and Large. Right now Truffle has a 20% off sale on this color through 11/25 with code CRANBERRY at checkout.

Stay tuned for a hand cream and lip treatment roundup along with more holiday reviews and gift guides. What are you loving this week? Do you have any go-to's for dry skin during the colder fall/winter months?

P.S. The Garance Doré Book is so incredibly fun and chic!

Press samples included indicated by a * next to the items featured. All others purchased by me.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Splurge vs. Save

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5
6  /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10

A few holiday treat ideas whether you're looking for a splurge or something more affordable.

There are so many good sets this year, I'll have holiday gift guide roundups of the best gifts I've found by price point and recipient coming soon. I love a good lip and hand duo - who doesn't need an extra boost of moisture during the holiday season? La Mer's The Replenishing Collection Duo ($75) is quite the splurge with a 1.7 oz of The Hand Treatment and 0.32 oz. of The Lip Balm. A more affordable option is the L'Occitane Shea Butter Hugs and Kisses Duo ($20 each) which is perfect for sensitive noses and skin. The Hugs and Kisses Duos come in a variety of other scented options (this one for example is to die for!!).

For the lips, matte full coverage lip colors are often in. They have bold color, rich pigment and matte formulas tend to last longer. Hands down the one of the best matte lipstick formula is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks ($32 each) because it's a luminous long-wearing and hydrating matte. Very Victoria (swatched here) is an amazing nude. 1975 Red is a limited-edition color that's a vibrant bright warm red (swatched here). Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick ($22) is a more affordable option. The Matte formula is pretty darn good and priced right (plus if you're a Sephora VIB you can get 20% off until November 16th with code VIB20). Swatches of all the Buxom Bold Gel Lipsticks here. I found Buxom Sinful Cinnamon to be an almost exact dupe for Charlotte Tilbury Very Victoria. Also Buxom Wildfire is identical in color to Charlotte Tilbury 1975 Red. I will say though that the Charlotte Tilbury formula really can't be beat (or matched).

For the holiday season, quick and easy gifts are candles. I'm a huge fan of Jo Malone and Diptyque candles for pine scents. Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus ($65) has the perfect Christmas-y vibe to it. A couple cheaper alternatives for holiday home scents are the Nest Birchwood Pine ($35) and Henri Bendel White Spruce ($35).

For the nails, I love a good sparkly gold, bright red or deep vamp, but for those who like a good neutral nude pink that will give your hands a polished look without making them look dead, Tom Ford Sugar Dune ($35, swatched here) is my holy grail nude pink cream. Dior Lady (review here) also reached holy grail status but was limited-edition and I'm so sad you can't find it anymore. The closest dupe I've found is Essie Topless and Barefoot (swatched here). It's a really good neutral that isn't sheer and gives the hands a polished feel.

Last but not least for those who love flat zip pouches, the Tory Burch York Duo Leather Pouches ($195 for set of 2) is quite the splurge. Both are made of textured Saffiano leather and are very thick and sturdy. I own the Black and Light Oak duo, I really like both, but it was a big ouch to the wallet. A less expensive alternative but something still high quality is the Truffle Privacy Clutch ($54). It's made of textured leather and is quite sturdy. With these two, you can't compare them exactly since one is a duo and one is a single, but the function is similar. I use the Truffle Privacy Clutches more often - the shape, size and simple sleek design is versatile as a makeup bag, pouch for your purse or a clutch. For those who like smaller pouches Truffle launched the Privacy Wristlet ($48 in three colors).

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

L'Occitane Shea Melting Honey Collection Launches

Earlier this fall L'Occitane launched their Shea Honey Body Collection which combines the rich smoothness of Shea butter and the soft gentle scent of Provençal honey. The collection is exclusive to L'Occitane stores and online. I was a huge fan of some of the older honey items that they discontinued and was sad when it was pulled, but the items in the new collection are just as divine. There are six pieces in this collection covering bath, body, lip and hand care. I have four pieces to share a review of today.

The Shea Honey items smell like a soft sweet soothing honey. It's a warm and well-rounded kind of scent that is amazing. There is a very slight hint of floral to the scent, it's not overpowering like some honey scents can be. If you have an ultra sensitive nose and don't want any fragrance in your body products, I highly recommend the Shea Butter line. The Extra Gentle Lotion for Body and Hands has been a staple for years. I've repurchased so many times I've lost count. It's lightweight but super hydrating and good for sensitive skin.

There are two bath items in this collection. The Shea Melting Honey Soft Shower Gel ($20 for 8.4 fl oz) is a gentle body cleanser that lathers up nicely in the bath or shower. It has a thick consistency but foams up well to leave the skin feeling super smooth and well hydrated. I've had some dry patches on my legs this past week and this has really helped hydrate my skin. A little goes a long way.

There is also a Melting Honey Solidarity Soap ($3 for 1.7 oz, sold out online, but I did spot this available in stores still). I'm not a bar soap kind of girl, but L'Occitane is the one of the few lines I actually like and use for bar soaps. They have the best lather and are moisturizing but don't leave any film on the skin.

My favorite item in the collection is the Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream ($36 for 3.4 fl oz). This is a super lush and soft cream that melts into the skin. It's like a body cream or body butter but with a much softer texture. It feels super emollient without any greasy feel. I'm completely obsessed with the formula. I hope L'Occitane expands this formula into other lines like the Almond and Shea Butter (they currently have it in the Rose Heart, Vanilla Bouquet and Zesty Lime). The Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream has 10% shea butter.

Last but not is the Shea Melting Honey Whipped Hand Cream ($12 for .59 fl oz). I'm a sucker for hand creams that come in cute packaging and L'Occitane launches are always among my favorite. (Have you seen the packaging for the new Pierre Herme x L'Occitane launch? The hand cream trio to die for!!) The whipped hand creams come in an airy whipped formula that feels lightweight but is still super hydrating and creamy. The texture has just the right consistency where you feel moisturized but not greasy. It absorbs nicely into the hand and smells really good. The Melting Honey Whipped Hand Cream is made with 25% shea butter. The honey is very softening on the skin.

I'm thrilled with each item in the new collection. Everything is super hydrating which is perfect for this time of year but lightweight enough so it doesn't have any heavy feel. The best part about L'Occitane is that they have a wide range of body products to suit everyone's tastes. I buy the gift sets every holiday as Christmas gifts because they are beautifully packaged and never fail to make friends and family happy (even for the super picky ones that are so hard to shop for). I'm looking forward to seeing this year's holiday collection and sets in person. The Advent Calendar is the cutest set I've ever seen.

Have you checked out anything from the Shea Melting Honey Collection yet? If not, what are your L'occitane favorites? All the Shea Melting Honey items are exclusive to L'Occitane Boutiques and online. Also all pieces are limited-edition.

The Shea Melting Honey items were sent courtesy of L'Occitane for review consideration. All opinions my own.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Beauty and Grooming Favorites

I fell in love with a lot this past month. I have a roundup of my favorites in beauty and skincare today along with my husband's October grooming lineup. Cases shown above are from Muji (left) and Truffle (right).

Skincare and Haircare

Up first is hair care and skin care. The items in last month's roundup are still in heavy rotation right now but instead of re-posting everything, I've highlighted some new favorites for this month.

Featured above from left to right:
  • Original and Mineral No Knott Detangling Spray is something I've been loving for months now. I bought this in a travel set online which has mini sizes. It's a miracle worker for my hair - I spritz it on after I wash my hair and I can brush my hair without any tugging or pulling. I've ordered the full size from Net-A-Porter. It has a lightweight clean scent, the product is certified organic and made in the USA. It adds a tiny bit of shine.
  • Kate Somerville Age Arrest Serum is something I've been using the past two months and it's possibly my new favorite serum. It's part of the anti-aging line and it's a skin renewal product. It contains tetrapeptides which help support collagen and elastin production. It also has marine extracts to reduce lines, wrinkles and sooth skin. One to two pumps of this gives the skin a smooth base and it really does make lines disappear in front of my eyes. It gives the skin a smooth look and feel unlike any serum I've tried before. I haven't tried the cream or other items in the line but I'm super curious now.
  • Pixi Glow Tonic has been raved about on so many blogs I read (it seems to have a cult following) I had to stop by my Target to check it out. I picked up the mini size and have been using it daily (morning and night after washing). I can't say that it gives my skin a glow, but as an exfoliating toner I am impressed. It brightens and makes the skin feel clean and hydrated. There's no stinging. It's very gentle. For those who are anti-alcohol in skincare this one is alcohol-free. It's seemed to keep my skin clear and texture seems better.
  • Molton Brown Replenishing Hand Cream in Gingerlily is a go-to right now. I'm really a huge fan of all the Molton Brown hand creams, but there's something refreshing and bright about Gingerlily that lifts the mood. You can also find it in this set here and also here. This weekend they have a sale at Receive 10% off orders $65+ with code FALL10, receive 20% off orders $95+ with code FALL20 at checkout.
  • L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Mist is one of my top two picks for face mists right now. The bottle dispenses a superfine mist and it's ultra refreshing and lightweight. Skin feels well hydrated but not overly moisturized. I love the fresh smell it has.
  • Erborian Bamboo Waterlock has been a favorite for moisture masks. It's a gel-like green mask. I featured it a few weeks ago in my Korean Beauty roundup. You can read the full review here.


For makeup, I've been really loving neutral lips. Lip glosses and lip sticks seem to be what I've been gravitating towards a lot lately. There are a lot of really good rich-in-pigment formulas these days.

From left to right:
  • Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 is hands down my favorite foundation brush right now. It gives smooth streak-free coverage for liquid foundations. I like the Mini #53.5 version as well for cream contours, but the full size is better for foundation. Find the full review here.
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Mascara is something I've used up and repurchased. It's something I've been reaching for because it's super dark and rich in color. The brush is well designed so it defines and separates lashes but is also volumizing. On me it doesn't smudge or flake.
  • Club Clio Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black is at the top of my list for glossy liquid liners. I got this in the Birchbox From Korea With Love set and I've been hooked. It dries to a glossy finish. It's cry proof (lasted through a tear-jerker movie for me). You can find it at Birchbox (waitlisted), Peach and Lily (in a set), Club Clio and Amazon.
  • MAC Vamplify Lip Glosses launched months ago. I was super late to the game with this and by the time they popped on my radar almost all the colors sold out. The good news is Spanking Haute and Tuned in restocked online. I ordered them immediately. I hope MAC makes them permanent, these are really good creamy full coverage glosses.
  • MAC Subculture is my perfect nude pink your lips but better lip liner. Swatches and roundup of neutral lipliners in this post here.
  • Chanel Glossimers in Beige Star 206 and Rose Tendre 204 are still in heavy rotation. They were part of the Les Beiges collection this year. Swatches + review here. For holiday both colors are also in this Turn Up The Shine Glossimer Trio Set.
  • For lipsticks, October's top three favorites are the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Very Victoria (reviewed here), Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose (swatches here) and Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Avante Garde (swatches here). All three are neutrals that wear beautifully for everyday.
  • The Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer in #3 has been really good for concealing under the eyes and brightening the complexion. Swatches of all the Charlotte Tilbury concealer shades in this Concealer Roundup here.
  • Last but not least is the Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight. It's still my holy grail cream luminizer. It's perfect for cheeks and eyes. I've hit pan on mine again and just opened up a new one.

Men's Grooming

My husband rounded up several of his grooming favorites from the past month. Some he tried first in sample mini sizes from various gift with purchases or samples I got for him. There are a few he liked so much that he bought the full size of. Others are repeat staples. From left to right below:
  • Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil is a lightweight pre-shave oil. According to my husband this is the best one he's tried so far. Pre-shave oils are designed to prepare the face for shaving by moisturize the skin and creating a barrier in between the skin and razor. It's been instrumental in preventing razor burn. He likes that it comes beautifully packaged in a large container. Most other pre-shave oils come in small plastic bottles. The one from Jack Black lasts longer because of the size. It also comes in glass which makes it sturdy. It has no scent which is a huge plus compared to other brands that often smell earthy or like vegetable oil.
  • Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a hand cream he got in the Men's Starter Kit. He's completely obsessed with this and keeps stealing mine even though he has two of his own. He's really picky with hand creams. Scent and texture are key because he doesn't like heavily scented hand lotions. The Kiehl's has a soft scent but it disappears after a few minutes. Texture is also important, he likes this one because it absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn't have any greasy residue but hydrates the hands really well. You can find it in a number of gift sets this holiday. If you're looking for a good one for your dad, brother, boyfriend or husband, the Costello Tagliapietra for Kiehl's Ultimate Man Full Body Refueling Set is a really good one. It also has the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap which is another staple/favorite.
  • Baxter of California is a line my husband recently started testing. He ordered the Herbal Mint Toner and Shave Tonic to start. In terms of toner he says he's not a toner kind of guy but since I told him it's something I found essential in my skincare routine he looked for one to purchase and test out. He's liked the Baxter Herbal Mint Toner enough to keep using it (he's about 1/2 way through the bottle). It makes his skin feel clean but moisturized. He likes that it has Witch Hazel which helps calm the skin. The Shave Tonic is something he says is kick a** awesome. For him packaging is key and the glass sturdy bottle and color of the green liquid is amazing for him. He uses this as the first step in shaving to prep the skin. It's also really good post-shave to moisturize the skin.
  • For hair Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade is still a regular staple for grooming his hair (it's also my favorite). It's great for shine and styling but for him, once he puts it on, he can't touch his hair for the rest of the day or else there is glossy residue that will transfer to hands, hats or the headrest of the car. He tested out a mini size of Baxter's Grooming Lotion and says that it's better for everyday. It does the same thing and makes hair more manageable but without the added shine. Comparing the two, he prefers the Baxter feel and look. His hair is still soft and not greasy. However he likes the way the Drybar Chaser looks better.
  • For cologne, I got him a mini sample of Dior Sauvage (Sephora Beauty Insider 250 point perk). He likes it as a good everyday cologne that is suitable for year round wear. He says the intensity is just right that it's strong enough to smell manly but not so overpowering that it's overwhelming. In terms of lasting power he says it lasts just as long as Tom Ford and Chanel. It will stay on through lunch time before he notices it disappears. The scent is mild enough that he can touch up mid-day without feeling like he doused himself with cologne. He likes it enough that he's willing to buy the full size.
  • Harry's After Shave Lotion is one of his favorite after shave lotions because of the packaging and texture. He likes that it moisturizes the face and helps the skin heal after shaving. It smells clean and isn't heavy. The dispenser pump packaging is a huge plus for him.
  • Last but not least is the Nuxe Men 24 Hour Protection Deodorant. I bought this for him since he liked the Men's Shower Gel from the line. He's usually not a fan of rollerball deodorants but he gave this a try and it's the best men's deodorant he has tried. It has no alcohol or aluminum salts. It dries quickly, after he showers and puts it on, it's dried by the time he puts on his shirt. It leaves no white marks or residue. It prevents sweaty patches on the shirt. It is the best thing he's tried that prevents under arm odor. He has super sensitive skin that peels or gets irritated with a lot of deodorants, with this one his skin is perfectly fine without any reactions. You can find it at a number of different places. I've ordered from Nuxe. He's ordered some from
That wraps up our October beauty and grooming favorites! I hope enjoyed reading about what we tested and loved this past month. As usual I'd love to hear about your top beauty and grooming favorites. If you have any new discoveries please share in the comments!

Press samples in this post sent for review consideration include items from Kate Somerville, Molton Brown, Buxom Cosmetics and Erborian. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July Beauty and Grooming Favorites

The month of July has flown by so quickly I can't believe it's already over. It's been a while since I've shared my monthly favorites so I decided to try something new - I've compiled a list of favorites in skincare, haircare, makeup and grooming in a his and hers edition. My husband has always been a well-groomed man and likes testing new things but is very particular about smells, textures and performance. He will research products to death before he splurges on grooming products so I always try to bring him home samples to try when I shop at Sephora or Nordstrom. When he saw me gathering a pile of products for this post, he said wanted to participate by sharing a few of his favorite grooming products too. I hope you enjoy this roundup of favorites we've been testing for the past month!

First up for me include fragrance, body, skin care and hair care favorites.

  • It was love at first smell with L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette. This tiny Coffret Miniatures Set is the cutest thing ever with my two favorites the Mûre et Musc and Las Chasse Papillons. It's too small to have a spritzer so you have to dab it on the skin but it's perfect for a clutch or small bag.
  • For body I've been loving the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for a dry body oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an amazing smell. You can often find the deluxe minis online from - they have lots of good promos from time to time.
  • For the face I've been loving the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist. It's hard to describe the smell but it is very fresh and slightly sweet/citrusy. It makes the skin feel nice and hydrated and has a lightweight feel.
  • Beautylish has finally started carrying the travel sized Bioderma Sébium and Sensibio H20 Cleansing waters separately. They are the perfect size and price to try them out before buying the full sized versions. I'm obsessed with mini sized beauty products - these are beyond cute.
  • The Drybar Mudslide Hair Mask is the most incredible hair treatment that I've tried. I bought mine from Sephora in store (I don't see it online, but it is available as a mini in this set). It leaves the hair super soft and silky. After I use it I can air dry my hair without it getting frizzy (no hair dryer or flat iron needed). I use it as a weekly treatment.
  • R+Co is a new brand I've been experimenting with. I picked up two of the items from Space NK and the Moon Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are among the best I've tried ever. It cleans the hair really well and leaves it feeling well hydrated, soft and shiny smooth without being too heavy. It leaves the hair feeling bouncy and weightless all day long. Since it is a hydrating product I wouldn't recommend it for daily use but I like it 2 to 3x per week (I wash my hair daily but alternate shampoos). It smells amazing with a mix of orange, cardamom, fig, guava and amber. It sounds like a lot but it's not too sweet or rich in scent.

My husband's name is Andrew. He's always been a well-groomed man for which I am really grateful. For his group of favorites, he's tested a few new brands in shaving and also pulled out some tried and true staples to share in this month's roundup. In case you shop for any of the men in your life, he says he hope this is helpful for gift ideas or recommendations if they are looking for something new to try.
  • The L'Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant is an alcohol-free and aluminum salts-free deoderant (two of the things he checks for on the ingredient list). This one from L'Occitane lasts all day and smells really good. It doesn't make his skin peel or feel oily. The entire Cedrat line has a good mix of masculine citrus and wood.
  • For skin his go-to moisturizer is the Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this daily and it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. It dries down to a nice feel so there is no oily or greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. He does wish it came with a higher SPF but so far it's the best one he's tried and he's stuck with it for quite some time.
  • For shaving, two brands have been in rotation. First his regular go-to is the L'Occitane Cade Plisson Razor + Shave Cream Duo. His quick take on each:
    • The L'Occitane Shave Cream is the best he's tried because it's thick, it lathers up well, and it keeps the blade from touching his skin. According to my husband, the cream is gentle with a clean scent and doesn't break out his skin.
    • The L'Occitane Plisson Razor is crafted in France and comes with wood, chrome and brass handle. These come with the Gillette Blades that are easy replace. He likes the look of the wooden handle and the shape is tapered and long so it fits well into his large hands and won't slip while he shaves.
  • Harry's Shaving Sets come in several options. He tried the Truman Set which is priced at $15. It includes 1 Truman Razor Handle, a 3.4 oz shave cream, 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges and 1 Travel Blade Cover. The packaging and presentation for the price point is all on point. According to my husband, he believes this is truly is the best shaving set for the price (he says drugstore prices can't even beat all that is in the box for $15).
    • The Truman Razor is well designed and even though the handles are plastic, it's very good quality with some weight to it so it doesn't feel cheap. He likes the modern look and design and the blades are good for the price but not quite as sharp as Gillette.
    • The Shave Cream is ok - the packaging is on point and it does the job but it has a slight menthol scent and isn't as thick as the L'Occitane (which gives him a better shave). He still thinks it's definitely worth trying out. He ordered the Foaming Gel to give it a try.
  • For scent, his go-to these days is the Chanel Bleu de Chanel. He likes the travel size because it's easy to carry in his briefcase and also doesn't take up a lot of space on his desk at his office. He says it's got a good masculine scent (that's all he gave me for the description, lol).
  • For the hair, his favorite styling product is the Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade. He's claimed several of my tubes as his own. He likes this because it's lightweight and keeps the hair looking groomed and soft. It helps manage his hair without feeling or looking greasy. I agree with him and like how it adds shine and makes the hair soft - it lasts all day and leaves the hair feeling soft. Because we use it daily, we've gone through around 8 tubes already.
  • Last but not least he's obsessed with the Muji clear flat zip pouches. The website is under construction but the options we bought are shown here. He likes the texture and feel.
That wraps up our July favorites for beauty and grooming. As always I would love to hear what your favorites were for the last month. If you have any recommendations for men grooming products my husband says he is open to suggestions! Also if any of you or if the men in your life know of any good men's grooming blogs - please shoot me an e-mail or let me know in the comments below :)

This post features some items that were sent for review consideration including the Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquers, Harry's Truman Set, L'Occitane Cedrat, Clarins Lip Perfectors and Burberry Shell Eyeshadow. All other items purchased by me.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Summer Haul from Europe

As promised I have a post today on the items I bought while traveling in Europe. Out of the ten cities we visited across France, Italy, Greece and Turkey, I did most of my shopping in Paris. At the top of my list was the Diptyque store on 34 Boulevard St. Germain. The store is so beautiful inside - I wish I could transport the entire store to my home. At the store I picked up two items including the Feuille de Lavande Room Spray and the Mousses Candle. I've burned through one Moss candle before as it's available at the boutiques in the US but it suffered really bad tunneling because I didn't burn it properly the first time (my candle care tips here). For the room sprays there were a number of unique scents. Cypress was really interesting and Mimosa was so pretty. I wish I had bought a few more - we only have three in the US (Figuier, Baies and 34).

First up for splurges are two picks from Fauré Le Page. I've been researching this brand via the Fauré Le Page Purse Forum. There are a number of helpful pictures, descriptions and other bits of information on everything Fauré Le Page. The pretty patterns of their bags caught my eye. It has a similar vibe to Goyard which I adore. In Paris I visited two locations: there is a stand alone boutique on Rue Cambon and also a store at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. I went in for just the Pochette 20 (currently 190 euros). They were very limited on stock for most of the colors, I was hoping for the blue and grey, but were out. The green one is pretty though so I left with one. A shoulder tote called Daily Battle caught my eye (small size I bought was 650 euros). There were two grey versions, one with a light beige-grey trim and one with the navy. It's very sturdy and made of a thick canvas. The material is slightly textured and looks like it will hold up really well.

Below I've posted a comparison of the Daily Battle to a Goyard St. Louis Tote. In Paris the Daily Battle for the small size was priced at 650 euros which converts to a little over $700 making it much more affordable than the Goyard St. Louis totes (last I checked they were priced at $1,200-$1,600ish depending on color). The style is similar - open inside without any pockets and lined with canvas. The finish and textures are different though. The Goyard is thinner in material but still very sturdy. It also comes with a detatchable pouch. Fauré Le Page is thicker with an adjustable strap. There is a ring inside to attach items to but it does not come with a separate pouch inside. Measurements of the ones I have to compare:

Fauré Le Page Daily Battle (small)
17.5 inches wide
11.25 inches tall
base is about 6.25 inches x 12.25 inches

Goyard St. Louis PM
18 inches wide
11 inches tall
base is about 5.25 inches x 13 inches

For the Pochettes the smallest Fauré le Page makes is the Pochette 20 which measures about 6 inches tall by 8 inches wide. Goyard makes a smaller size (shown in black below). The comparable one in Goyard is the same width at 8 inches wide but is slightly shorter at 5.5 inches tall. I don't remember what the prices were for Goyard, I bought mine a long time ago - I want to say the small one was around $300ish and the medium was at least double. The Fauré Le Page Pouch comes with a detachable wristlet strap and was priced at 190 euros.

At Hermes I picked up two Micro Rivale leather bracelets with the rose gold hardware. I have small wrists and it's hard to find the leather bracelets in the XS size. Rose Gold is relatively new so I splurged on the ivory and teal leather. A sneaky photo from inside the store.

In Rome, I bought some small L'Occitane Bonne Mere cubes. I thought they were mini soaps but they're actually bath cubes (oops). I still really like them and wish they were available in the US but the shower gels are just as good and I've repurchased the Rosemary and Oilive Oil ones several times over. At the French Pharmacies I was like a deer in headlights. I didn't pick up a lot because we were traveling with carry on only. I picked up a small Bioderma Cleansing Water, Avene Cleanance Micellar Water for oily skin and a small Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm duo. In the US you can find the travel size Bioderma Sensibio (same as the French Crealine) from Beautylish. The Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm Duo is available online at Nuxe. I haven't been able to find the Avene Cleanance Micellar Water in the US.

In Athens we picked up a Korres Sunscreen set with SPF 50. The Body Spray is very gentle but lasts a long time on the skin. The Face Cream Sunscreen is amazing as well. I haven't been able to find the SPF versions in the US.

From Printemps, I picked up their exclusive Primavera Diptyque Candle (launched to celebrate their 150th anniversary) which smells like really sweet roses. I haven't burned it yet but I'm in love with the white and pink packaging. From Chanel I picked up a few things exclusive to Europe. The Vitalumiere Loose Powder comes with a brush. I picked up three shades, 20, 30 and 40 (right now I'm a match to 40). It's quite messy but gives enough coverage that you can use it alone instead of foundation or powder foundation. Also new in Paris is the Sublimage SPF 50 which is wonderful. It's thicker than the UV Essential and acts more like a cream. It has the Sublimage skincare ingredients in it so it's not just a sunscreen. I wish I had stocked up on a few more tubes while I was in Paris (it was 98 euros). For fragrances almost all the scents had multiple versions and sizes. They have the small concentrated parfum bottles - I was torn between three of them, they were on the pricey side because they are concentrates. I picked up Allure. From L'Artisan I bought a few items as gifts including a fragrance sampler set and the La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball (which you can find now at Sephora).

Sephora France was probably one of my favorite places to shop. I left with a few things, I'm surprised it was this limited. I picked up a Dior Nail Polish in Sundown and Addict Fluid Stick in Beige Passion (both of which don't appear to be available in the US). I also picked up the Addict Fluid Stick in Ciel Rose which is a US color you can find at Sephora. In Paris they had these tiny empty clear containers in the travel section. I picked up several which I think will come in handy for future trips. Also at the check out line were these cute Craig and Karl hand creams. There were two other scents in Peony and Lagoon. I wish I had picked up a few as they had fun designs and prints on the cases. Two other items I picked up: the By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Lipstick in #3 Nude Pulp (you can find it in the US at Beautylish) and a Chanel Sublime Waterproof Mascara (not available in the US).

Last but not least, I brought home some chocolates, tea and jellies from Angelina and Laduree. A lot of the chocolates are already gone. I'm surprised there is still anything left after a couple of weeks but I've been rationing the hazelnut spreads. I may or may not have been hiding them from my husband.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Europe haul! Next time I go, I will plan the shopping better and make sure I bring a proper suitcase so I can bring home more of the chocolates, teas and one of each of the Diptyque Room Sprays.


design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2014 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK