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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monthly Favorites | Skincare, Haircare, Body and Fragrance


Several have requested a monthly favorites round up - welcome to The Beauty Look Book's first monthly favorites feature! I wanted to feature some midsummer beauty favorites for the skin, body and hair. Many of these items are things I've been using all summer long.
  • Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Water is a gentle lightweight cleansing water that refreshes the skin. It won't remove waterproof eye makeup or mascara all the way, but I like this for the face. I have this in the full size as well but like to keep the small travel sizes.
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse has been a favorite this summer for dry body oils. (Three I tested here.) I alternate between this and the Caudalie Divine Oil, but lately I've been reaching more for the Nuxe, the fresh floral beach-like scent is perfect for summer. It layers nicely with most perfumes as it's very gentle and not overpowering. I love that the skin absorbs it quickly.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is an alternative to dry shampoo. I've tried several and don't like the powdery crunchy look they give to the hair. The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is the only one I've tried that doesn't leave any residue. It's more of a texturizing spray that I like to use on days where my hair looks a bit flat. I love all things Oribe that I've tried it's a brand I keep exploring and looking into. The signature Oribe scent is incredible.
  • St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is a new discovery this year and it is hands down my favorite self tan product. I purchased the mini size to compare it to the Gradual an Everyday Body Lotion from Sephora. I tested each one simultaneously with the mousse on one leg and the lotion on the other. The mousse gives a better tan without being orange. The lotion has a more gradual darkening effect. The tint to the mousse also helps you see where you applied product and helps as a guide for even application. It didn't stain or transfer to white sheets and after letting it set for 10 minutes I found it didn't transfer to a white denim skirt. I applied it for two consecutive days and my tan will last about 5 days. I have super sensitive skin and I've gotten allergic reactions to spray tans and other self tan products (like Clarins).
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser was sent for review and it is an amazing cleanser. It has red clay which is suppose to draw out toxins, remove oil and unclog pores. It's designed for combination or oily skin. My skin is slightly combination, dry on the cheeks area and slightly oily in the T zone. I found this to be amazing at unclogging pores. It comes with a slightly gel-like texture that is a reddish pink with a pearly shimmer. It works well with the hands, a washcloth and my Clarisonic Aria. It's gentle enough for my sensitive skin but very effective. I'm on my second tube.
  • Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi is one of Tom Ford's latest, it's one of two new scents that are an extension of the Neroli Portofino line. I can't wear a lot of orange citrus scents but Tom Ford is the only one I can pull off. It's the perfect summertime scent with citrus, florals and musk.
  • Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream is something I bought from the Flower Power Kit (has the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream in 1 oz, Rose Face Mask in 1 oz, Sugar Tulip and Rose Floral Toner 0.5 oz). I love this lightweight face cream for hydration. It's too heavy for me right now for daily use but I like to use it 2x per week during the day and alternate this as a night cream. It has a refreshing cucumber scent and feels amazing on the skin. It makes the skin look refreshed and improves the overall skin tone by smoothing over time and is great for calming the skin.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil has been my favorite go-to for removing makeup at the end of the day. I did a roundup of several oils I tested and the MAC is one I keep reaching for because it has the best emulsifying quality and gets everything off without leaving a residue or drying out the skin.
  • Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask is something I tried with the mini pods first. I liked it so much I bought the full size. It's a mask that really works and clears pores. It has a slight tingly effect the first few minutes but it goes away. The charcoal and white clay both work to draw out pore-cloggers. I've used it up to 3x per week when my skin was messed up. I don't recommend using it if you have broken skin or areas with irritation, but it is a gentle enough mask that won't sting your skin. 
  • Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer is my summer favorite for a relative inexpensive lip balm with a nice lightweight gel formula. It's super effective without being too rich or heavy for summer.
  • L'Occitane Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body has been a staple for me for years. It's the only body lotion I've repurchased. It has a super lightweight feel that absorbs into the skin. It's part of the Shea Butter line and is moisturizing and soothing.
  • Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer was a Sephora freebie. It's a pre-styler product that I apply to the hair before blow drying and it helps smooth the hair, decreases frizz and protects it from heat styling. It smells absolutely amazing like coconut and vanilla. It adds softness and shine without weighing down the hair.
  • L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine Hand Cream Gel is a great alternative to regular hand creams for the summer. It's a unique hand moisturizer that absorbs into the skin really quickly. It has an interesting dry down that's smooth and soothing with a slight velvety feel. It comes in the new Frisson Verbena scent which is a lightweight summery lime. One tube was sent for review and I've already purchased a second one.
  • Tatcha Aburatorigami Beauty Papers are the perfect blotting papers for me. They are compact and easy to carry in the purse. I love how they are super absorbent without having any powdery residue. I use about one sheet with every use and it's so much better than touching up with powder mid-day or late afternoon. Sometimes with the summer heat and humidity I've found adding powder to oily skin can get cakey (at least on me).
  • Chanel UV Essential Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is the only face sunscreen I like to use. It's lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. I like to layer serum with moisturizer under my foundation but I don't like anything that feels heavy. This sunscreen is light enough to wear with both a serum and moisturizer and foundation. It's suitable for my sensitive skin. It also comes with an SPF 20 and SPF 30 versions as well.



What have been your summer favorites this past month?

Friday, August 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On My Radar | New in Beauty and Deals of the Week


New items on my radar in the beauty world:
  • Dior Beauty has launched some new fall products for eyes, lips and nails:
    • 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette ($60) comes in five new shades in Bar 56, Carre Bleu 276, Pied De Poule 96, Trafalgar 876, Tutu 846
    • Rouge Dior Lipstick ($35) is available in five new colors with Carre D'Or 135, Bar 317, Rose Tutu 354, Rouge Massai 869 and Pied-de-Poule 977
    • Vernis Gel-Shine Nail Lacquer ($25) comes in four new cream finish shades in Pied de Poule 206, Rose Tutu 254, Bar 902 and Carre Bleu 769
  • Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner ($16 for single, $45 for set of 3) is the latest innovation from Hourglass with the thinnest waterproof gel liner that offers precision accuracy with a single stroke, available now at Hourglasscosmetics.com, at Sephora July 29, all other counters August 15
  • L'Occitane Frisson Verbena Collection ($12 to $55) has a range of fresh green and citrus body products perfect for summer, I'm in love with the Frisson Verbena Fresh Shower Gel and Hand Cream (thoughts on these soon)
  • Net-A-Porter Beautified Natural Nomad Pouch ($50) with Tata Harper Fortifying Body Oil and Lotion, Illia Sway Multistick, RGB Nail Polish, Remover Pad and Cuticle Oil, Rahua Volume Spray, Joya's Composition No. 1 Perfume, LAFCO Hand Lotion
  • YSL Volupté Sheer Candy ($34) has launched in four new shades in Belle Cannelle #14, Rose Candy #15, Cherise Desir #16 and Fraise Ganache #17

Some deals and codes that have come through my inbox recently:
  • Benefit Cosmetics - Free US Standard Shipping on any order with code SUNSHIP
  • Bloomingdales - bRejuvinated Beauty Event Gift with Purchase offers (over 60 offers) through July 28 or while supplies last, plus 4 free beauty samples with any online order
  • Clinique - Three free summer saver minis Moisture Surge Face Spray, 7 Day Scrub Rinse-Off, Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel with any online Clinique purchase, 7/23 – 7/24 or while supplies last
  • L'Occitane - 12 Hour Beauty Break sale, you have 12 hours to shop for select products up to 50% off, online only July 23rd 10:00 AM EST to 10:00 PM EST
    • L'Occitane code offerings while supplies last:
      • Receive 3 Hand Creams + Adorable Pouch with any $25 Purchase with code SHEAHANDS, valid through 7/29
      • Free 50ml Shea Cleansing Milk with any $30 Purchase with code REFRESH, valid through 7/29
      • Free Angelica skincare duo of hydrating Toner and Cleansing gel with $45 purchase, code ANGELICA, valid through 7/29
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty - Free shipping on orders $50+, free mini Highliner in Blacquer with any $75+ order with code MINI, while supplies last
  • Macy's - Over 150 online only gift with purchase deals from Clinique, Origins, Elizabeth Arden, Laura Mercier
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Gift With Purchase over 70 gifts with purchases available for the sale from Caudalie, YSL, Jo Malone, Jouer, Guerlain, Cle de Peau, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Chantecaille and more
  • Sephora - Online Limited Beauty Insider Offers with $25+ orders (one code per order) while supplies last:
    • Ole Henriksen's 3 Little Wonders 7-Day Sampler with code WONDERS
    • Choose 1 of 3 Lip Minis from Too Faced, NARS or Sephora Collection with code LIPMINI
    • Fresh Soy Conditioning Eye Makeup Remover with code FRESHSOY
    • Deluxe sample of Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel with code EYELIFT
    • Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Push-Up Liner 30-day Sample with code PUSHUP
    • Choose 1 of 3 Deluxe Sized Self-Tanners from Vita Liberata, St. Tropez, bareMinerals with code BRONZED
    • Early Access sample of Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara Deluxe Sample for VIBs/Rouge, use code VIBJOSIE
  • Shu Uemura USA - A Midsummer's Night Sample Set with any $50+ order, includes Tsuya Radiance Essense, Classic Cleansing Oil (20 ml), Anti-Oxi Deluxe Cleansing Oil (20 ml), Stage Performer Instant Glow (10 ml), Mini PK70C Gloss, use code UNWIND
If you have any good deals or codes, please share in the comments :)

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Fresh Sugar Tulip Giveaway! There are up to four ways to enter and the entry period is almost up. I'll be selecting the winner over the weekend and announce who won next week.

Monday, June 2, 2014

L'Occitane La Collection de Grasse | Néroli & Orchidée


L'Occitane recently released Néroli & Orchidée as a new addition to their La Collection de Grasse line, inspired by the world perfume capital in the south of France. There is a lovely Néroli & Orchidée Collector's Set ($85) which the 2.5 fl.oz Eau de Toilette, 6 fl.oz Shower Gel, and 6 fl.oz Body Milk. This fragrance line is a mix of both neroli and orchid, making it a lively juicy floral. I like that this set has a variety of items to sample. All are packaged in a lovely simply pink-beige tone making these lovely additions to your bathroom or guest room. The box is also quite lovely making this a great gift. Notes for these include orange, mandarin neroli, lily of the valley, fig milk, peach orchid, iris, musk - it is very feminine.


My favorite item of the three is the Shower Gel. It leaves the skin feeling very clean, I like to run a little bit into the bath - it bubbles nicely and I like that this feels nice on the skin.


The Body Milk has a soft and silky feel. The texture is thin but not too fluid, it's very moisturizing and absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves the skin feeling refreshed and soft (no sticky remnants or dry-down). The Eau de Toilette has a very lightweight airy feel. With both of these the initial scent after first application is on the strong side of sweet. The best part in my opinion is the dry down. It turns less sharp and less sweet to a soft fruity floral. Lasting power on both of these layered is medium - but I usually prefer body products that are more subtle. I like that these are compact and small enough to fit on your night stand or dresser table without taking up a lot of space.


The Néroli & Orchidée Collector's Set is available in stores and online at L'Occitane for $85 or individually as well. If you're shopping online, don't forget to check their Special Offers page for deals and gift with purchase offers. I've been eyeing the Vanille and Narcisse along with Mer and Mistral but have been avoiding the store because I always leave with more than what I have on my shopping list.

Have you tried anything from the La Collection de Grasse? What scent is your favorite?


This set was provided as a press sample by L'Occitane for review consideration, for more information see my Disclosures.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nail and Hand Care Essentials


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


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



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



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



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



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



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





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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sephora Beauty Insider 500 Point Reward L'Occitane Set


I've been saving up my Sephora Beauty Insider points for months (I had accumulated around 780 points to be exact). I received an email alert about this 500 Point Reward with five L'Occitane minis. I decided to redeem my points with a recent order of the NARS Matte Multiples and added the Beauty Insider 500 Point set to my basket at checkout. It arrived last week and the minis are adorable. I've never seen such cute hand creams (they are 0.3 oz versus the full sized 1 oz tubes). I haven't seen this set in stores near me but it's still online while supplies last (if you've spotted it in store please share in the comments). The set that is available online comes with:
  • Shea Butter Hand Cream 0.3 oz/10 ml
  • Amande Delicious Hand Cream 0.3 oz/10 ml
  • Amande Shower Oil 1.18 fl oz/35 ml
  • Amande Supple Skin Oil 0.5 fl oz/15 ml
  • Verbena Body Lotion 1 oz/30 ml
  • Small canvas pouch

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=MeQoh28EORo&subid=&offerid=322274.1&type=10&tmpid=10002&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.sephora.com%252Frewards





I've tried all the items before except the face oil. All are classic staples and the sizes are perfect for your purse, to store in your work desk or small enough for travel. I get a bit nervous when it comes to trying face oils so if you've tried this one I'd love your input. Have you seen any good Sephora Beauty Insider minis lately? I find it's hit or miss but I love that Sephora stores and tracks your points for you and allows you to save them. Any other deals you've spotted?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Skin and Hair Savers


It's that time of the year where my skin and hair is in desperate need of that extra boost of moisture to fight dry patches. Finding lightweight moisturizing products can be a bit of a challenge for my sensitive skin. My nose is particularly sensitive so light-fragranced items are a must. My go-to fixes and staples this season right now:
  • Aerin Rose Hand and Body Cream $40 is a lovely light-scented hand treatment, it's a bit pricey for me to justify using on the body, but it's a nice moisturizing cream for the hands. It smells like candied roses which is really nice (coming from a person who doesn't really like strong rose florals).
  • Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Cream $55 is probably the priciest hand cream I own, I was lucky to get this as a gift with purchase one year. It smells like a spa treatment. It's a bit heavier than most hand creams I use but it dries down to a soft silky finish. It helps diminish those dry lines in the hands upon application. Read the reviews on Nordstrom.com and you'll see this is well worth the price.
  • L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body $20 is the perfect body lotion for me. I've gone through five bottles already and keep one at work and one at home. I'm a huge fan of L'occitane's Shea Butter line. They have several different options of moisturizing intensity depending on your skin needs. I like this one because it melts into the skin and makes any itchy dryness disappear without being too greasy. I love the lightweight scent - it's very soothing and comforting. It's neutral enough to be unisex. My husband and male co-workers always borrow mine.
  • Caudalie Divine Oil $49 is relatively new to me. I've written about the mini size that I've tried which is perfect for the purse. I loved it so much I bought the full size in the trio set. I spray it on the legs and elbows. It smells fresh and light and feels nice on the skin. It's also designed for the face and hair - I've only tried it on the ends of my hair to add a bit of shine (although I prefer other hair treatments).
  • Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner $25 is one of my favorite lip treatments. Review here. It's soft, moisturizing and you can feel the results instantly.
  • Jo Malone Vitamin E Vitamin E' Body Treatment Scrub $90 is the ultimate luxury body scrub. It's a spa in a tub and smells like a luscious honey dessert. It's strongly scented and extremely moisturizing - if you visit your local Jo Malone store or counter they should be able to make a small sample for you to try. It's really REALLY amazing.
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil $20 is one of the first cuticle oils I've tried. In the past I've tried substituting baby oil but found it hasn't really helped my dry cuticles. This one is made of pure white jojoba oil, vitamin E and coconut oil (it smells like coconuts). It works well on my cuticles and a little goes a long way. Be careful to keep application to the cuticles as it can feel a bit sticky on the finger tips. The texture is perfect to actually stay on the cuticles (versus some oils that are so liquid/fluid they roll off quickly).
  • By Terry Baume de Rose $60 review here. My holy grail lip treatment, but still a three way tie with the Jo Malone and Hourglass.
  • Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade $28 is the hair cream of all hair creams. It adds shine without being too heavy or greasy looking on the hair. I find it lasts all day long. I've used it a couple of ways. One is right after I shower on towel-dried damp hair. This is the only thing I've tried that lets my hair air dry perfectly without any frizz. It makes the perfect pre-heat treatment as well (whether it's blow drying or straightening). I also find it makes a great finishing product to add a bit of texture and shine. Bonus is that my husband likes it on his hair as a pomade (even though it's really a cream). The smell is incredible too.
What are you winter skin and hair savers? I'm all ears to hear what your favorites are!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekend Pampering - The Extras


I've been to spas on a few occasions in the past and each occasion was beyond amazing (four visits to be exact, La Costa Resort and a few Four Seasons locations). However they can be extremely pricey and take up an entire day, so they are a luxury I cannot justify splurging for on a regular basis ($ or time wise). While nothing at home can replicate a resort spa, there are a few simple things I consider to be pampering extras. Bubble baths, luxurious face masks, beautiful candles and moisturizing lotions. It's my simplified version of a DIY spa treatment. Do note I have sensitive skin so I'm careful when it comes to trying shower gels, bath soaks and facial treatments. While I'd like to do this every day, I usually have a pampering night once every other week to once a month. I do try to use the face masks more frequently. My favorites:
  • Moisturizing Face Masks - Koh Gen Do is becoming one of my top picks for skincare. Their Macro Vintage Face Mask ($110 for 6 sheets) is the best I've ever tried. Most face masks did not do anything for my skin. This one by Koh Gen Do (reviewed here) left my skin feeling hydrated and soft like baby's skin. I split my pack of 6 with 3 friends to try, all confirmed that it was beyond amazing.
  • Clarifying Face Masks - Koh Gen Do's Brightening Moisture Mask ($75 for 3.53 oz. / 100g) is equally amazing. It's called a moisturizing mask, but to me it feels more like a clarifying mask. It is a clay mask that contains "6 botanical extracts in the mask will heal your tired skin, helping your skin to calm and reduce inflammation and redness." MAC's Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask was one of my favorite masks for clarifying and removing impurities. I was so sad that it was limited edition. Koh Gen Do's Brightening Face Mask is the closest thing I've found in terms of effect/benefits on my skin (minus the heating element on the skin). I highly recommend you visit their website to learn more. They have helpful diagrams and often have promotions/specials on their website.
  • Bubble Baths - L'Occitane makes some of my favorite bath and body products that are suitable for sensitive skin. I am currently loving the L'Occitane Shea Foaming Cream Bath ($32 for 16.8 fl.oz). The scent is very subtle and soothing. It bubbles up in a way that is very relaxing. It doesn't dry out the skin or leave any residue. There are reviews on their website which I found useful.
  • Shower Oils - I'm new to bath oils and shower oils. I've tried Jo Malone in the past and love them. L'Occitane had a gift with purchase promotion recently (for those who sign up on their mailing list) to launch their new Amande Almond Line. One of the gifts was a mini Shower Oil (see the details on the full size Almond Shower Oil here). It's a softening oil that foams up when combined with water and leaves the skin feeling smooth and moisturized without having that oily feeling. The scent is soft and subtle (but still noticeable). The effect is amazing. I'm not sure I'm 100% in love with the scent although it is extremely soothing and pleasant.
  • Hand Care - Thanks to a few of my readers who recommended I try Lush's Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter ($14.95 for 1.5 oz). I love it. The scent is a highly citrus lemon (smells a bit horrid to me) but it does fade a bit after a while. I use this more as a once a week treatment rather than everyday and it has improved the cuticle area for my hands. (For everyday I rely on L'Occitane Hand Creams they smell great and feel nice). I'm again going to refer you to the company website - I love it when brands and stores have sections with useful customer reviews. Also check out Daly Beauty's recent review (she sums it up perfectly!).
  • Candles - I love almost any scented candle Jo Malone, Diptyque, Henri Bendel, Tommy Bahama make my favorites. Occasionally you can get a free mini candle in gift with purchase events. A simple candle can add that extra oomph to the home or bath to make it feel more soothing.
What are your pampering extras?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now

Here's November's List of Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now. As always, I want to hear your lists too! And they don't have to be beauty/makeup related.

1) Henri Bendel Candles from Bath & Body Works $26 - these are the best candles I've tried with so many feel-good scents. My favorites are Vanilla Bean, Fig, Quince, Pomegranate - and my husband loves these too.


2) L'Occitane Holiday Sets - Still loving the scented hand creams, in particular the Shea Vanilla and Frangipani scented ones! I wish they weren't limited edition. Also love the Shower Celebration set - wish all the scents came in larger sizes (I believe the only one available individually right now is the Almond Shower Gel).


3) Paul & Joe Lip Lacquers $20 - You've seen these in my look features earlier in the month and my regular readers know that I bought practically every color. They are absolutely fabulous and I hope these are here to stay. They are great alone or over a liner/lipstick. I can't rave enough about them. Cute packaging, nice pigment, non-sticky texture, very wearable colors. I've purchased my Paul & Joe items from Bergdorf Goodman, The Primping Parleur's Online Boutique, Beautyhabit.com and Dermstore.com - but check the Paul & Joe Beauty website for locations around the world.


4) PhytoSpecific Integral Hair Care - this is a spray hair treatment which is supposed to "restore moisture, smooth, redefine curls, detangle, make setting easier, and protect hair from heat damage." I have thick slightly wavy hair which I cannot air dry because it poofs up into a huge frizz ball. Up until a year ago when I started using this, I religiously blow dried and straightened my hair daily. I tried a number of no-frizz serums and straightening sprays, but I still had to go through the daily ritual of blow dry/straighten. This spray is incredible for me and once I spray and comb through, it allows my hair to air dry without turning into a huge frizz ball. I haven't tried any of the other PhytoSpecific products, but I do love the shampoos in the regular Phyto line.


5) Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Blush $44 - I love nude blushes and this one is pretty without looking muddy on my skin. You can buy D&G online at saks.com, but I highly recommend ordering through the Saks NY or Beverly Hills counters because you get excellent customer service and the makeup artists who run the counter are very good at recommending colors. If you have any questions about other products, you can ask me too! I've accumulated quite a few things from them since they launched the line.


6) Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer $48 - By far my favorite powder bronzer of the moment. Wasn't so thrilled with the hefty price tag, but I have to say that it gives that natural tanned glow. My skintone is on the pale side right now, I'm the equivalent of what's in between MAC NC30-35. Normally I'm more of a NC35-40ish. You can purchase Edward Bess at Bergdorf Goodman or online at EdwardBess.com. Compared to some other bronzers:


7) Le Metier Eye Brightening & Setting Powder $36 - I've always been skeptical of brightening powders mainly because I usually don't see a difference when using them. This, however, is every bit as great as Ellyn (from Neimans King of Prussia) and Lisa (my fellow Le Metier fan) have both raved. I use the shade Revive which is good for medium-tanned skintones. The next shade down Refresh is quite a bit paler. Seems like they need a shade in between. I use it after I apply my foundation in place of concealer under the eyes and it is an instant-brightener/evener all in one. (FYI - Neimanmarcus.com has free shipping with code and a promotional Peche Lip Creme with any Le Metier purchase, good as long as supplies last.)


8) MAC Pigments: Naked, Fairylite, Your Ladyship, Shimmertime - I like light/neutral pink shimmers for a natural barely-there all over eye color. I believe all of them have been discontinued except Naked, but you can get a full sized Shimmertime Pigment in one of the MAC holiday sets and Naked is also available as a mini in one of the holiday pigment sets.


The swatch picture couldn't capture the real color, so I'll try my best to describe the differences:
  • Naked is the most neutral
  • Fairylite has the most pink and most visible silver sparkle/micro glitter
  • Your Ladyship has a golden sheen to it
  • Shimmertime is the most pink/frosty throughout

9) MAC Style Black Mineralize Eyeshadows: Gilt by Association, Cinderfella, Young Punk $19.50 each - Yes, I do like MAC products even though I don't write much about the line! I was afraid these would be too glittery, but they work well when applied with a damp brush or over a gel liner for a pretty smoky eye. It appears they are sold out online, but most MAC stores usually still carry seasonal stock so check your local store.


10) Hot Chocolate - I know many of you prefer I stay on the beauty topic, but I really love this time of year because it's the perfect time for hot chocolate, apple cider, and warm teas. A classic favorite is the Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate that they only carry during the holidays. I've seen a few at Godiva and Crate & Barrel that I'm dying to try out. I know Trader Joes has a lot of holiday ciders and goodies, so I'm hoping they have a hot chocolate too. Do you have a favorite hot chocolate?

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's Your Favorite Lip Balm/Lip Treatment?

Do you have a favorite lip balm? I've always had an obsession with tinted and flavored lip balms which started in high school (over 10 years ago) with Vanilla Lip Smackers, The Body Shop Kiwi Fruit Flavored Lip Balm, and SoftLips Lip Balms.

Trying out different lip balms has always been a relatively inexpensive and fun hobby for me with the different scents and flavors, but for years I could never find one that properly moisturized my lips. I have full lips that tend to dry easily with certain brands of lipsticks - but in recent years, thanks to some new product releases, I have finally found some that work for me.

Tried and true:

  1. MAC Tendertones $14.50 - these were limited edition, I hope they bring these back eventually
  2. C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm $5.50 - soothing almond scent, from Bath & Body Works (there's a promotion for buy 2 get 1 free right now)
  3. NARS Sabrina Lip Treatment $24 - a light milky pink with shimmer with a watermelon scent
  4. MAC Tinted Lip Conditioners $14.50 - the ones I have are in the older packaging and were part of limited edition collections like the Luella and Disney
  5. Aquaphor $6 for a 2-pack at CVS - thanks to a very sweet swapper who included this as an extra for me to try and got me hooked!
Trying out right now:


  1. Shiseido Water In Lip Sakura $8 - found this at my local Japanese supermarket
  2. Bobbi Brown Glitter Lip Balm in Pink Crystal - part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Set which is $40 for the lip balm and a creamy lip color
  3. L'Occitane Vanilla Fondant Lip Balm - from the Vanilla Hugs & Kisses Holiday set which is $18 for the lip balm and mini Vanilla Shea Hand Cream
  4. Paul & Joe Disney Milky Lip Treatment $18 - couldn't resist the cute packaging
  5. C.O. Bigelow Lemon Pomegranate Lip Cream $7.50 - from Bath & Body works
  6. Korres Lip Butter $9 each or $19.50 for 3 at Sephora - I've heard a lot of raves about these, so I stopped by Sephora to check these out
What are your favorites?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New L'Occitane Limited Edition Scented Shea Butter Hand Creams

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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