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

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 https://us.nuxe.com/ - 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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

His and Hers Travel Essentials: Skincare and Fragrance


I've been working on a three-part series focusing on travel and packing. I'll be sharing what I packed for a three week trip through Europe - all of which I fit into a travel backpack and a medium-sized nylon tote. I would say about 1/4 to 1/3 of my luggage contents consisted of beauty products (primarily skincare and sunscreen). Part one is going to cover skincare, bodycare and fragrance. Part two will focus on makeup. Part three will cover a full list of all the items I fit inside my bags and thoughts on surviving three weeks in Europe with a carry-on.

Up first is skincare, body care and fragrance in a his and hers overview. For me packing skincare is a challenge with the liquid restrictions for carry-on bags. I almost always do a carry-on because I find it easier and less stressful compared to lugging large suitcases or waiting for items at the baggage claim. Most US airlines allow for slightly larger carry-on suitcases compared to the airlines in Europe. I tried to keep my list of beauty products as edited as possible. Thankfully my husband didn't have a lot he had to pack in terms of liquids so I borrowed some of his space.

First some quick thoughts and options on how to pack your liquids. I've done several travel features in the past. Most of my trips have been around 1 week long so I usually just pack liquids in a traditional ziploc bag. You can see how I fit everything in this post here and also this one here. Ziplocs vary in durability depending on what kind you have. I've had several break on me so I usually try to bring a backup although some airports have disposable ones at the security gate. This round I knew that a ziploc wouldn't last 3 weeks so I looked for some more durable options that are flight approved. I found a good option on Amazon from Flight001 and also a few from Muji.

Muji has two flight-approved options called the TPU Clear Case which measures W11 x D18.5 x H4 cm. Another options is a flat zip pouch called the TPU Clear Case S which measures 19.5 x 16 cm. For other items like passports, cards, currency etc. we really liked the EVA Zip Pouches from Muji. They have ones that are a bit frosted but clear and then others that are completely clear. The one at the Top/Middle is the EVA Zip Case B4 which my husband and I really liked for currency and passports. We used some of the others for tour or bus tickets. Having things separated in a few pouches for day trips makes it easy to find things quickly.

I also ordered a bunch of the travel-sized containers from Muji - there are a lot of different options and sizes. I filled mine with moisturizer, foundation and other creams (I threw a few away on the trip as the products were used up).

The bottom right case is the Flight001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag which says "carry-on approved." It does seem to fit a lot more than a flat ziploc because of the depth (it measures 2 x 5 x 7.1 inches; 2.1 ounces). It's very sturdy and durable. For flying within the US you should be completely ok using this. In Europe your mileage may vary depending on security. I had one upset agent at the airport security when flying from Paris to Rome. One agent didn't want to let it through. There was a mini discussion between three agents about the liquids, two of them inspected the labels on all the bottles to make sure they were under the 100ml limit and let me through although the first one was still visibly upset about it. 

Different bags side by side for size comparison. We used the Muji case in the middle and Flight001 at the bottom for our liquids. The others were used for non-liquid travel items. Ziploc included below for size reference only.
Note, the bottom left zip Muji pouch is sold empty, the above featured pouch was filled with cotton and q-tips from my own collection for size reference

Onto the travel products we brought with us. I brought three sheet masks with me including one Tatcha Deep Hydration Mask and two SK-II Facial Treatment Masks. I used all three. Since it was very hot and warm in Paris, Rome and all through Greece, I could have skipped these as my skin did not need any additional moisture. They were still nice to have but for summer I would say they aren't must-haves. For body/fragrance, I brought along the Lavanila Pure Vanilla Deoderant which lasts all day long and doesn't leave any white or sticky residue. (There is a mini travel-size option available too in one scent.)

For body sunscreen, I fell in love with the Korres Suncreen Spray with SPF 50 that we found in a pharmacy in Athens. It is easy to apply and helped tremendously - we didn't get any sunburns when we used this although we did still get quite a bit darker (some areas it was impossible to avoid the sun). I wish Korres would bring back their full line to the US - I always loved their body lotions and shower gels which were really good for my super sensitive skin. You can find the SPF 30 version at Asos, otherwise it seems pretty impossible to find in the US.

Another sunscreen I tried on our trip was the Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in the mini size from Sephora. I am extremely sensitive to body sunscreens - I get an allergic reaction to most and end up with red bumps all over my arms and legs with most. This one from Supergoop! proved to be gentle enough for me for the body (I can't say how it works on the face). It's lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. You don't feel greasy or oily after applying it. The scent is very light unlike other sunscreens. I like that they have a small travel size option - even though it worked for me, I recommend you patch test first before applying all over.


For other body and fragrance items, I packed my By Terry Baume de Rose Crystal Gloss for my daily lip balm treatment. In Paris I picked up a cute Hand and Lip Duo from Nuxe (also available online, on sale in July). I had a mini Huile Prodigieuse from an online order that I brought with me although one of the hotels in Paris that we stayed at had these as toiletries. I brought the Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream mini with me as it's one of my top picks for hand creams - it's a must if you get dry skin from flights. For perfume I picked up a roll-on L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball in Paris although it looks like they just started carrying it in the US too. I brought one mini L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Extrême with me for the trip - so after the end of the first week, I had two perfumes to alternate.

For face skincare and other liquids, I probably could have skipped all the foundation. Most of the days it was very warm and too hot for any makeup. I think I wore makeup on only 1/2 of the trip. I did not bring any concealer with me and didn't miss it at all. Left to right includes: Tatcha One-Step Cleansing Oil (travel size), Chanel UV Essential SPF 50, Chanel Sublimage SPF 50 (exclusive to Europe right now, I picked this up in Paris), Chanel CC Cream in 40 Beige (swatches here), NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Travel Size in St. Moritz, MAC Prep +  Prime Blemish Control Gel, Muji Containers filled with moisturizer and toner, minis of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum and Makeup Remover, Tatcha Indigo Rice Enzyme Powder travel size, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser mini size (from Sephora Beauty Insider points).

For my husband's skincare and fragrance, he brought a few staples. He packed his L'Occitane Cade Plisson Razor and Shaving Cream Duo. The L'Occitane Shaving Cream is one of the few he can use. Most other creams won't prevent razor burn. Chanel Bleu de Chanel is his go-to cologne, he loves the travel size versions because you can refill them. (Refills are available at Chanel.com, travel options also come in the Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme and Allure Homme Sport scents). We shared sunscreens throughout the trip to see which one was sweat proof and water proof. We found it too hot for anything to be truly sweat proof although he really liked the Korres Sunscreen because of the dry down. Most others felt oily to him.

Also in his packed bag included the L'Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant (c/o). He rarely tries new ones because they often make his skin peel, this one from L'Occitane is non-sticky and free of alcohol or aluminum salts and dried quickly. It lasted all day on him even in the hot summer heat. Other staples he brought in his bag included a tube of the small travel-sized Jack Black Turbo Wash, Dream Team Duo which has a small Face Moisturizer with SPF 20 and Deep Dive Glycolic Face Cleanser. At our local Target he picked up a travel tube of Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen (I can't use this because it make my skin blow up, his skin is tougher though and it works just fine for him).

Last but not least, he brought his pot of the Kiehl's Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair eye cream. He's almost finished with this one (it's his second pot) and likes it enough to repurchase a third time. Although if you have any good eye cream recommendations for men, he says he would really appreciate any recs.

Items we skipped and bought and threw out along the way included shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other things you can find in hotels. So how did it all last for us during our three week trip? I ran out of my face cleanser and makeup remover by Day 8 (when we were in Rome). Luckily I had a few extra minis from Paris that sales associates threw in from the Chanel counter so I could take off eye makeup. For face cleanser, after I ran out, I used my husband's Jack Black Deep Dive. I found out that he somehow managed to pack two, one in the clear bag, one buried somewhere in his clothing. I could have limited myself to one foundation product - the CC cream offered good coverage with high SPF but it felt a bit thick in super hot weather. During the trip we were exposed to a lot of sun - there was no avoiding it. I wore long sleeved lightweight tees to protect my arms but most of the time it was too hot for anything but tank tops or short sleeved tees.

What I missed: I missed a lot of my face masks, especially the purifying ones. I had a few minis I thought about bringing with me but decided against it because of the limited packing space. I also missed my nail polishes. I did buy one polish on my trip (Dior Sundown) and had a manicure refresh half way through our trip. I also missed all of the shower gels I alternate between at home. I am more of a shower gel person versus bar soap, but most of the hotels had nice ones to try out. One last thing I missed included hair products. I skipped bringing all gels, creams and pomades. 

Do you have any packing tips for liquid skincare/bodycare and fragrance products? Any other tips or advice you want to share for carry-on travelers?

The L'Occitane Cedrat Deodorant was provided for review consideration. Post also includes mini gift with purchase items from various events or retail point programs including the Chanel minis, First Aid Beauty cleanser and Nuxe mini oil. All other items purchased by me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On My Radar / New in Beauty


Happy Wednesday everyone! Here are some new releases that are on my beauty radar this week.

1 / Dior has released a Peter Philips Collection on Dior.com inspired by the Cruise 2015 show. The two nail polishes in NYC Peach 130 and BKLYN Pink 560 caught my eye along with the Diorette Addict 179 Lipstick. I ordered both nail polishes and will share swatches as soon as they arrive.

2 / With warm weather and sun I'm on the hunt for a good sport sunscreen. Most sunscreens irritate my skin with the exception of Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50 and Clarins (the one I use has been discontinued), but they aren't sweat proof for outdoor sports and are prone to stinging the eyes with the tiniest bit of sweat. I have my eye on the Jack Black Sun Guard SPF 45 (which is supposed to be water resistant), Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 40. Do you have any recs for a good sport sunscreen for sensitive skin?

3 / Marc Jacobs Beauty has released 18 shades of Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer which have replaced their original Sheer and Full Lip Vinyls. I've been playing with these for a few weeks now. First impressions = thumbs up, they give the lips a smooth cushiony feel. I will have swatches and the full review next week.

4 / L'Occitane has launched their Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balms which are inspired by the peonies sustainably grown by Jean-Luc Rivière in the foothills of the Vercors Mountains of Provence. Each tinted lip balm is enriched with shea butter and three of them have a colored tint. Review soon!

5 / Burberry Beauty has six shades of Lip & Cheek Blooms. I have Rose, Orange Blossom and Poppy shown above which were sent to me for review. I haven't had a chance to play with them yet but the colors look really pretty in the pots.

6 / Charlotte Tilbury has launched her Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Shadows in the US. I have high hopes for these but haven't ordered any of the colors. I'm trying to narrow down my picks to 2 or 3 colors! If you've tried these what did you think? These are available now at Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Beautylish, and Charlotte Tilbury.

7 / Givenchy has a new lipstick called Le Rouge-À-Porter. There's something striking about the long sleek silver tube that makes these look incredible. I'm trying to resist the urge to order sight unseen as online stock swatches make it difficult to see what the colors really look like.

8 / Last but not least, Chanel Les Beiges has started to trickle in. I saw it in store at Saks Fifth Avenue, I still haven't had a chance to properly play with the summer collection but I have high hopes for the nude nail polishes. It's also online now:

What's on your beauty radar this week?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

L'Occitane La Collection de Grasse Hand Creams



For spring L'Occitane has a number of boxed sets with new scents and skincare items. L'Occitane's La Collection de Grasse Hand Cream Trio is my one of favorites which includes three 1 oz hand creams of Iris Bleu and Blanc, Neroli and Orchidee and Jasmine and Bergamot ($28 for a boxed set or $12 each individually). As usual the presentation is beautiful and hand creams come packaged in a lovely box for the set. 


The three hand creams have shea butter and are smooth in texture. They dry down to a silky finish. Each scent in the set is a floral. The perfume/fragrance factor is stronger in these than most of the other L'Occitane Hand Creams since they are extensions of each perfume fragrance. Iris Bleu and Iris Blanc is a refreshing iris floral scent. It has a bright fresh feel to it. Jasmin and Bergamot is a strong floral mix of bergamot and reminds me of clean fresh laundry mixed in with florals. Neroli and Orchidee is a citrus floral. My personal favorite is the Iris Bleu and Iris Blanc. It smells clean and refreshing. All three leave the hands nicely moisturized without that greasy or film-like feel.


Here's a quick snapshot of the ingredients of two of the hand creams:



Bottom line a winner. You can't go wrong with L'Occitane for spring gifting whether it's a birthday, thank you, small housewarming gift or just because. They package everything beautifully so there's no extra work needed on your end to gift wrap or box it. However I know there are many who prefer unscented body products so there is no interference with your everyday perfume. In case you're not a fan of fragrance in hand creams, L'Occitane's classic Shea Butter Hand Cream or Whipped Shea Butter Hand Cream are both softer in scent without perfume mixed in. For more hand cream options, a list of my favorites from other brands in this post here.

Have you tried anything from L'Occitane's La Collection de Grasse? Did you check out the hand creams yet? If not do you have a current L'Occitane favorite? You can find the Hand Cream Trio at L'Occitane stores now. Also online at L'Occitane (US).

The L'Occitane Hand Creams were provided courtesy of L'Occitane for review consideration. As always, all opinions my own. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

What's In My Bag - May 2015


TGIF everyone! This week feels like it has been a really long one for some reason so I'm really happy it's Friday. It's been a gloomy week here in Southern California and we've had a bit of rain. I've been chasing the sun as it peeks through the clouds every once in a while - I shouldn't complain because we have sunny weather here 90% of the year. I have a what's in my handbag post today. Here's what I've been carrying around lately. The tote is the St. Louis by Goyard in the PM size. In case you are wondering, the color is called Gris.


Inside my bag I have the Goyard Pouch that comes with the St. Louis Tote, also:


For makeup most of these things fit inside the bag with the exception of the Tatcha Beauty Papers, Chanel Kabuki Brush and L'Occitane Hand Cream. The base of the Clearly MAC Trio Bag is wide at the bottom so you can fit more items inside compared to the MAC Clear Bag Set (featured here). What I have with me is way too many lip products - I add one each day to the bag and end up with more lip products that I can wear at any given time.


I hope you have a lovely weekend! What has been in your bag this week?

Some press samples have been included in the post, those noted by c/o note by each item.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring Scent Rotation


Today I have a roundup of some of my favorite spring fragrances for right now. I have a mix of newly released fragrances alongside some classic staples. Purchasing fragrance is something I used to be so intimidated by. I found the options overwhelming and didn't understand notes. When shopping I always used to say, "I prefer something light." These days I'm not as timid in trying fragrances although I do prefer scent that are on the light fresh and floral side, sometimes with a bit of spice or amber mixed in. I think the best way to shop with fragrance is with a friend so they can give you a second opinion on the spot. It's something that can take time - if you're like me your nose can probably only take so many sniffs in one session. I like to browse reviews or new releases online and often make a smell list and take it to the counters with me. What I'm loving right now listed below. 

Diptyque Florabellio Eau de Toilette is a mix of apple blossom, sea salt, fennel, apricot-scented osmanthus mist and a hint of coffee. It's a sweet floral with a very slight musk feel. I like that it's light and refreshing and sweet but not too sweet. The coffee and sea salt give this one a bit of a more complex feel and prevents it from being too floral. Full review here.


Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino Eau de Parfum is the latest from Tom Ford and is new for summer. I have been a huge fan of the Mandarino di Almalfi for a bright citrus. I have a small decant of the first one released Neroli Portofino which is a stronger and deeper version. All three have a very similar vibe. The Mandarino is the brightest and most citrus. Neroli has more musk making it more unisex. The latest Fleur de Portofino has White Acacia Honey in it which gives it a more feminine feel and makes it less citrusy (but the citrus is still noticeable).

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Eau de Toilette is the latest addition to the La Collection de Grasse line. It's described as a velvety iris and has a mix of both blue and white iris. This one is predominantly floral and is very sweet. Lasting power and strength seems to be much stronger than the other fragrances from the line. It's a fragrance that feels like pure spring. It's also available in some cute sets like the Mini Fragrance Set, Iris Bleu and Blanc Duo, and the Iris Bleu and Blanc Collection Set.


Chanel Beige Les Exclusifs de Chanel is my husband's current favorite on me. It took me forever to splurge on a bottle and I can see myself wearing this one for many years to come. It's described as having "Hawthorn, Freesia and Frangipani, with shimmering hints of honey" and I can't think of better words to describe it. It's the perfect floral and honey mix. The honey isn't overpowering so it's not overly powdery or sweet. Full review here.

L'Artisan Mûre Et Musc is my husband's second favorite and one of my top picks in terms of fragrance. I bought this based on the recommendation of one of my long-time friends Laura. She's a fragrance aficionada and my go-to when it comes to fragrance recommendations. It's my most repurchased scent. I always try to buy the smaller 50 ml size even though the 100 ml size is a better buy. This is one of the few sweet blackberry scents I can wear without getting a headache or feeling like I am wearing a fruit smoothie. It has a mix of black berries, red berries and musk. The musk is pretty strong in this one it dries down to a soft feel. If you like blackberry scents you might also want to look into Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay. I prefer the L'Artisan because it's not as sharp or sweet.


Tom Ford Shimmering Body Oil isn't a traditional fragrance but I'm completely in love with this one. I don't typically like shimmer or glitters but this body oil smells so incredible I am doing everything I can to make it work. This sprays a fine mist of tiny glitter particles but it's not overly glitzy. The body oil has a mix of white florals and amber sandalwood which I love in scents. My husband prefers florals on me rather than sandalwood or amber and this is the first scented product I've found that he approves of on me. It smells like summer in a bottle.

Byredo Black Saffron is another fragrance that has been on my wish list for ages. I bought this at Neiman Marcus Fashion Island which has the best Byredo counter I've been to. They are super friendly, patient and don't pressure you to buy anything. I like that they take the time to walk you through the fragrance options. Black Saffron is another berry scent that I can wear. The notes in this one are complex with the top notes: Pomelo, saffron, juniper berr, heart notes: Black violet, accord cuir, cristal rose and base notes: Blond woods, raspberry, vetiver. I have the travel size vials on my wish list.


Do you have a go-to scent this spring? I'd love to hear about your tried-and-true staples or any new discoveries. I'm always looking for recommendations!

The L'Occitane and Diptyque scents were provided as courtesy press samples for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Favorite Bath and Shower Gel Splurges


For most of my life, I've been a bath and shower gel kind of person versus the bar soap kind mainly because I find shower gels do a better job at making the skin feel clean without leaving any film or making the skin feel dry. My favorite go-to shower gel has been the Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower Gel in the Original Scent. It's one of the classic staples that is gentle enough for my super sensitive skin. I like it because it lathers up really well and leaves the skin feeling super clean and it's also unisex. For scented shower gels I've tested quite a few over the years. There is nothing like a beautifully scented shower gel to wake you up in the morning or to help you relax at the end of a day. I have a roundup of my favorites that I've purchased numerous times along with a few new discoveries.

Diptyque has a few of their fragrances available in shower gel form including the Tam Dao, Do Son, and L'Ombre Dans L'Eau to name a few. These are quite spendy but if you're a fan of the fragrances this is another nice way to experience it. I've tried a couple - Tam Dao is very lightly fragranced with a thicker gel-like texture. It doesn't lather up like some others but makes for a nice bubble bath. L'Ombre Dans L'Eau has a stronger scent to it (it's the fragrance version of their Baies candle) and a better lather. A little goes a very long way. Out of all the shower gels from Diptyque my favorite is the Revitalizing Shower Gel for Hair and Body. I can't count the number of times I've bought this one, it's worth every penny in my opinion because it lathers up really nicely and smells refreshingly clean and unique. My husband really likes this one as well (for him). It leaves the skin feeling super soft and lingers on the skin but won't interfere with your perfumes. Ingredients listed online here.

Next up is the Jack Black Turbo Wash Energizing Cleanser for Hair and Body (also available in a smaller size). This one is designed for men and is my husband's all time favorite, but I like to borrow it too. My husband is all about products that multi-task, this one really is good for both hair and body. This one is his favorite because it suds up really well and cleans the skin without leaving any film or residue. It has a mix of rosemary, eucalyptus and juniper berry which makes it smell incredibly fresh and crisp. The eucalyptus has a cooling feel that energizes the body and wakes you up in the morning but it's not as sharp or strong as other scents with eucalyptus making it softer around the edges. I've bought him a number of travel sized minis from other brands to try out but this one remains his favorite. Ingredients listed online here.

My latest discovery is the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Cleansing Gel for Face and Body. This one is designed for dry skin. It has that sweet honey and sunflower scent which I usually find too powdery or floral in other lines but it's something Nuxe does the best. It's really thick and concentrated so a little goes a very long way. I like that it lathers up to a gentle lather - since it's on the thicker side it won't foam up like some others making it adhere better to the skin when you're in the shower or bath. That being said it does rinse off completely but leaves the body feeling well hydrated. I haven't tested this on the face yet but if you have dry skin and like honey-scented products this is amazing for the body.

Ingredients:


Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser is a staple but also extremely pricey. This has a gel texture that lathers up nicely but since it's more liquid than others it won't necessarily foam up like the Diptyque or Neutrogena. It's a nice soft geranium scent that is very mellow but still refreshing. You only need two pumps for the entire body and it cleans the skin like nothing else I've tried. Ingredients listed here.

Last but not least is the L'Occitane Bonne Mere Rosemary Shower Gel. I'm normally not a fan of rosemary scents for the body because they are often too sharp and too herbal-smelling. This one is very different. It's incredibly difficult to describe but it's a softer more refreshing version of the Jack Black Turbo Wash minus the eucalyptus. The entire Bonne Mere collection is designed to be extremely gentle on the skin. I've tried several items from the line and love the Rosemary Shower Gel, Olive Shower Gel and Liquid Marseille Hand Soap. The Rosemary has been repurchased 4 times already.

Ingredients:


If you're in the market for a new bath or shower gel I hope you found this roundup helpful. There are a number of scented showers gels I love for the fragrance but aren't so great in terms of giving the skin a good clean feeling. The ones above do both for me and are gentle enough for my sensitive skin. Do you have a favorite splurge? I would love to hear about your favorites!

The Nuxe and L'Occitane were press samples provided for review consideration. All other items purchased and repurchased by me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hand Creams, Lotions and Treatments in Winter Rotation


This post has been several months in the works and with the winter weather I thought it the perfect time to share my favorite hand creams to battle dry skin. I've had my favorites in hand creams that I've tried, loved and been very loyal to which include L'Occitane, Tatcha and Caudalie. A few close friends have sworn by their personal favorites from different lines and insisted that I give them a test drive. Based on their recommendations I compiled a list of what to check out at stores near me and put several others to the test. Today I have a roundup of what I've tested, liked and my thoughts. Shown above from left to right:

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream ($15 for 2.5 fl oz)
This one is purse friendly, absorbs quickly, lightweight texture, soft sweet grape scent. I'm really particular with scented hand treatments this one has a nice smell. If you're in need of quick and instant hydration I highly recommend this one. Moisturized feel lingers for a few minutes but the skin absorbs it fast and the hands are left feeling nicely hydrated and silky for hours.

Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15 for 2.5 fl oz, $22 for 5 fl oz)
I never tried this until last month even though so many have raved about it. It is an intense treatment and I've found offers the most hydration out of all the ones I tested. There is a soft eucalyptus almost minty scent to it straight out of the tube, but the scent disappears almost instantly and leaves a very slight hint of fragrance. If you're sensitive to fragrance this is a good pick. It absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a greasy feel. I bought the smaller size which is purse-friendly.

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme ($60 for 3.4 fl oz)
I got this as a gift with purchase over a year ago and it has lasted a long time (still going strong). I remember when I researched this after receiving it thinking the price tag was extremely high for a hand treatment. I put it to the test and have been thoroughly impressed with the way it smooths the look of the hands instantly and improves texture over time. It is on the thick side but doesn't leave any greasy residue on the hands because it also absorbs nicely. I wish it came in a smaller size option.

Formula X Hydrate Hand Crème with Kpangnan Butter ($16 for 3.4 fl oz)
Is a new hand cream from the Formula X line at Sephora. It smells absolutely delicious without being overpowering. It has a mix of shea butter with almond scent. It is very emollient and you can feel instant relief after applying. It is on the rich side so you can feel the moisture linger for about 15 to 20 minutes before it absorbs entirely. That being said it doesn't feel heavy even though the formula is rich. I do wish the scent lasted a bit longer, it fades after 15 minutes or so, but the formula is good. It comes in a medium sized tube (also wish it came in a smaller option).

Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 ($35 for 1.6 fl oz)
This has been on my radar for months and I finally put it to the test in December. It's the most lightweight hand cream I've tried with an airy texture and it absorbs into the skin instantly. There is no detectable scent so if you're super sensitive to fragrance this is an excellent choice. It offers instant relief for dryness and lasts a long time. Although it is moisturizing, I found it on the lighter side compared to other treatments.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment ($20 for 1.7 oz)
Is a rich hand treatment that's oil-free and made with a very soft almond-like scent. It claims to be quick absorbing which I agree with, but it has a super emollient texture which makes it feel a bit greasy even after 10 minutes. I found it a bit too heavy for my hands for day but do like it for night. That being said I did try this multiple times in stores before purchasing to give it more extensive testing. When my hands were super dry, testing this at the store gave my hands instant relief. The initial scent is really nice but after the dry down the scent disappears completely. 

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 60 ml / 2 fl oz)
This has been a long-time favorite. It comes in a travel size option which is nice to test it at a cheaper price point. If you have super dry or itchy hands, this is my ultimate pick for relief, hydration and also has the best lightweight scent. It has a blue tint but it disappears and absorbs into the skin (and doesn't stain). I usually prefer hand creams that are priced $20 and under, but this one is so so good, I'm willing to overlook the price.

Diptyque Eau Rose Hand Cream ($28 for 1.7 oz)
This was released last year with the limited-edition Rosa Mundi collection. The Eau Rose Hand Cream is still available and is the sweetest rose I've tried. I think rose fragrances can be hard to do right, Diptyque's Eau Rose has bergamot, blackcurrant, musk, cedar and honey mixed in making it more complex and less floral. The packaging is to die for.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 to $28, 1 oz to 5.2 oz)
This was the first hand cream I used when I was in high school and in my college days. I love the small travel size tubes these come in and also love every single one of the different scents and formulas. The Shea Butter formula is the classic one with the thickest and richest texture. I can't count the times I've purchased this or tubes I've used up. L'Occitane is on my list every year to purchase as stocking stuffers. I'll purchase tubes throughout the year as mini gifts, combine a mini hand cream and small box of chocolates and it makes a nice affordable treat for any occasion.

L'Occitane Scented Hand Treatments, assorted
L'Occitane's scented hand creams are among the few that my sensitive nose can tolerate. They are subtle enough for me to wear without feeling self-conscious but strong enough that you can still smell them. I adore the sets L'Occitane offers, the holiday Arlésienne Velvet Hand Cream (.35 oz mini from the holiday L'Occibox shown, but available for purchase in the 1 oz size) is rose, sweet violet and saffron mix which is a pretty feminine scent (my husband approves of it on me). If you missed out on the holiday L'Occibox Elle x L'Occitane illustrated hand creams, the good news is that there is a cute 4-piece tin called the Irresistible Hand Collection which has the full sized 1 oz tubes. 

As you can tell, I'm a bit of a hand cream fanatic. Taking good care of my hands is a must, especially since I tend to wash them frequently and they are prone to dryness. In terms of picking my favorites, my criteria includes: has to absorb quickly, medium or lightweight fragrance, must be purse-friendly, cute packaging, and prefer something $20 and under. My recommendations to you will depend on what your skin is like, fragrance tolerance and also what your personal needs are. My quick take:

My personal top three picks for best formula for hydration:
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L'Occitane Shea Butter
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Best fragrance (for sensitive noses):
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L'Occitane any, my favs are Arlésienne, Amande and Cherry Blossom
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream

Fragrance free (or almost no fragrance):
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Eve Lom Hand Cream

Most rich and moisturizing:
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Malin + Goetz
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv

What are your favorite hand creams? I've been looking for a good liquid hand soaps, if you have any favorites that are gentle on the hands I'm all ears for your recommendations.

The Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream and L'Occitane baby hand creams were part of press samples provided for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

 

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