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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

L'Occitane Shea Butter Whipped Collection


This year marks the 20th anniversary of L'Occitane's best-selling shea hand cream. In honor of this event they have released a new limited-edition Shea Butter Whipped line with a special lightweight cushiony texture. The new items look and smell amazing, the collection smells good enough to eat (I have resisted so far). The new items available include:
  • Hand Cream ($12) has a 25% concentration of Shea Butter. It's just as hydrating as their Classic version but more lightweight in texture. It has a whipped/airy formula. The scent is soothing but slightly more fresh compared to the other items in the Shea Butter line. The Whipped Shea Butter hand cream has a nice dry down and is really nice for dry hands.
  • Body Cream ($24) is a whipped body cream. This has a 10% shea concentration and is very hydrating and creamy but easy to blend. It absorbs quickly into the skin and has a nice medium dry down so there isn't any greasy feel but you can still feel the moisture on the skin. There are few body moisturizers that work as well as L'Occitane does on my sensitive skin. It can get itchy and dry during fall and winter months, my favorite is the Extra Gentle Hand and Body Lotion.
  • Shower Foam ($20) is a unique liquid shower foam. It has a pump that creates a foamy texture once you dispense the product. This is a nice treat to have, for me a week of use (for both myself and my husband) used up about half the bottle, but it does feel nice and lightweight while hydrating the skin. It's definitely worth trying, but might end up being a bit pricey if you use it up quickly like me. (This Shower Foam + Body Cream Duo gives a slight price break.)   

Close up of the packaging:


Shower foam in action (Burberry Elderberry on the nails):


The hand cream and body cream are musts for me, especially this season when my skin tends to feel dry. The shower foam is nice to have (or try) but not a must. I see it as more of a luxurious splurge or nice treat. The packaging and product design are both really unique though.

You can find the collection online at L'Occitane and also in their boutiques (Store Locator here). If you're starting to shop online for holiday gifts, be sure to check out their deals and promos. L'Occitane always makes it to my gifting list every year, they have great stocking stuffer ideas and nice gift sets. I find them perfect for those who are hard to shop for. There's always something new to discover.
Thanks to L'Occitane for sending these samples for review consideration.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


A few new items on my beauty radar this week:

Jo Malone has released the Cologne Intense Mini Collection (1) in a set for the first time this holiday. It has Tuberose Angelica, Velvet Rose and Oud, Saffron, Dark Amber and Ginger Lily and Oud and Bergamot. I was almost ready to purchase but have never smelled Saffron before. Have you? What do you think?

Edward Bess has released four new shades of Lasting Kiss Lip Stain (2). I will have swatches to share with you very soon but first impressions are they are to die for.

Tom Ford Beauty has re-released two of the Cream Color for Eyes (3) in Platinum and Spice. Those who missed out before will be happy to know you can purchase them now with the holiday collection (but take note they are limited-edition again).

L'Occitane never fails to get me with their Shea Butter Hand Cream releases (4). With the holiday season approaching, I'm excited to see what sets they will release this year. Three new ones on my radar are the Rose Heart, Vanilla Bouquet and Whipped Shea Butter.

NARS has several holiday gifting sets out this year. This Virtual Domination Cheek Palette (5) looks like it could be the perfect compact size to slip into your purse for touchups or application on-the-go.

I've been getting lots of e-mails about the new Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss (6). Chanel.com released three shades as a preview, but all the colors have finally arrived at Nordstrom in case you have been looking. I have five I'll be swatching and reviewing.

Diptyque has some amazing holiday offerings this year. The packaging on their holiday candles are breathtakingly beautiful. There will be candle sets available as well. For the first time they will have one of their photophores available for purchase outside of Diptyque Boutiques in a Limited Edition Set with a Candle Holder + Feu de Bois, 6.5 oz. (7).

Dior Holiday is also stunning. There are two limited-edition quints in Golden Shock and Golden Reflection (8). (P.S. for a limited time, Nordstrom.com has these on sale with 10% off for their price matching, check out the Sale Section on their website under Beauty to see what else is on a discount.)

What's on your beauty radar this week?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inside My Bag


Inside my Prada Saffiano (in camel) bag this week:

NARS Lipgloss in Ophelia (swatches here)
Urban Decay Naked Lipgloss in Liar (swatches soon)
Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof Mascara (review here)
Chanel Les Beiges 20 (swatches)
Revlon Marchesa Tweezers
Louis Vuitton Empriente Wallet
Dior Rouge Baume in Milly (review soon)
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black mini (review)
Smythson Notebook

What's in your handbag right now?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend. We're still experiencing really warm weather in Southern California but it's finally started to cool down a little bit. Fall and holiday items are trickling in stores but it doesn't feel like fall yet. A few new items I've spotted that are on my current beauty radar:

Chanel has re-released some cult classics in the new Collection Les Rouges Culte (1). There are three Le Vernis shades in Rouge Flamboyant, Laque Rouge, and Rouge No. 19 along with three featured shades of Rouge Coco Shine in Boheme, Dialogue and Suspense. In my mind Chanel can do no wrong when it comes to reds so I ordered the nail polishes and will swatch them as soon as they arrive.

I'm always on the hunt for cool stationery. I find hand-written notes can be fun and they add that personal touch which I feel is slowly disappearing in this digital age of e-mails and texts. Connor has this cute Emoji Stationery Set (2) which I have on my wish list. I have their desk calendar and love their exquisite designs and the card stock they use is very good quality.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has some new items for fall and holiday. There are 9 new shades of Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer (3) for fall (hover over the shades on Sephora to see which colors are labeled as "new"). I have my eyes on Blanche (white cream), Cobra (black grape) and Louise (ballet pink beige). There are some new items for holiday which includes a new Collector's Edition Midnight in Paris shade that comes in a keepsake box.

Also for fall, there are several new palettes of the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 - Plush Shadow (4). I just ordered Enigma which has a mix of black, grey, taupe and pink. I'll be swatching in the next couple weeks and report back.

L'Occitane recently released the Bonne Mère Collection (5). There are a number of shower gels and soaps in this line that is very gentle. Each comforting formula is hypoallergenic and PH neutral, made without parabens or phenoxyethanol. I've been testing a couple of the shower gels in Rosemary and Olive over the past couple of months and they are amazing. Rosemary is such a unique one with a refreshing one that has a beautiful scent (it's not like actual rosemary like I expected).

Laura Mercier Peach Hope Lip Glacé (6) is a shimmering coral peach with gold flecks. 100% of the profits go to the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (7) will launch next month (you can add your e-mail to the wait list at Sephora). It's a definite must-have on my list, I hope to have swatches of this beauty this week as well. First impressions are that it took my breath away as soon as I opened it.

Diptyque Benjoin (8) is an online exclusive that is described as somewhere in between vanilla and caramel. It sounds like it could be either incredibly amazing or overly sweet. I have this on the way to my house and will report back as soon as I am able to burn it. This one is available for a limited time.

What's on your beauty radar this week?

P.S. Thank you to everyone who entered last week's giveaway! The winner has been announced on the widget, congrats to Denise P at e-mail deniseg*******d@sbcglobal.net, check your inbox, i just sent you a message :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil


L'Occitane's latest skincare addition to the Divine Collection in skincare is their new Divine Youth Oil ($96 for 30 ml/1 fl oz, made in France). It's an extension of their Anti-Aging line all of which contains a unique blend of natural ingredients that help the skin's regeneration process and give it a radiant glow. I was lucky to get an early preview of L'Occitane's fall releases back in August and received a sample of the Divine Youth Oil to try. I've been testing this oil for almost one full month and have been really happy with the results.

L'Occitane fall preview (more on the Bonne Mere soon)


The new Divine Youth Oil is a lightweight face oil that I've found to be really lovely for sensitive skin. It's a moisturizing oil that absorbs quickly into the skin that doesn't feel heavy or greasy. The Divine Youth Oil is made with 100% natural oils. According to L'Occitane, it contains the "anti-ageing properties of immortelle essential oil from Corsica, soothing and regenerating properties of the borage, evening primrose, camelina, echium, sea buckthorn, apricot and rose hip oils." All of these ingredients combined have been formulated to give the skin a smoother and more radiant look. The oil comes in one size right now, packaged in a glass bottle with a push pump at the top to dispense product through a dropper. The oil is a very light weight fluid where a little goes a long way. I only need one small drop to cover the entire face.


When it comes to testing beauty oils on my face I usually proceed with extreme caution. I've found several that have a luxuriously moisturizing feel that does wonders for the skin, but many have an extremely strong herbal scent which I have not been able to tolerate. L'Occitane's body products have been a go-to for me since many of their items are extremely gentle for sensitive skin (and noses) so I had high hopes for the oil and was relieved to find that the Divine Youth Oil has a very pleasant and gentle scent. The oil has a light soothing floral smell that did not irritate my sensitive nose. For those sensitive to florals, this one is not a super strong floral, it has warm notes that smell like honey to me.


The Divine Youth Oil can be used for both day or night, but it's recommended mainly to be used at night when the skin is least exposed to environmental toxins and stresses so the skin can absorb it better. My skin had recently gone through another break-out episode for the past few months (from foundation testing) so I stopped all of my night time treatments to let the skin breathe and take a break from everything. The breakouts increased sensitivity to everything and I stopped using moisturizers at night because they would sting my skin. There were several days (and weekends) where I skipped makeup and moisturizer entirely during the day. I started to get dry patches but didn't want to use anything that might irritate my skin further or clog pores. I was very nervous about trying this oil even after some of the spots had healed, but given my luck with the other items from their line combined with the reviews on the oil from the UK website about the regenerative properties, I decided to try this in spots before applying to the entire face and I've found it to be perfect for my sensitive skin.


For the past month I've been using this at night 2 to 3 times per week and my skin has improved tremendously. A little drop goes a long way and I like the way it absorbs quickly into the skin. It hydrates the skin without feeling heavy or greasy but you do need to make sure you use only a tiny bit. It leaves the skin glowing and healthy looking. If you're a fan of beauty oils and use them regularly you can definitely use this during the day. I prefer to use a cream or a gel moisturizer for day since I find oils to be a bit too heavy and rich for my normal-combination skin. I really liked how it helped restore my skin.

Some close ups of the bottle and packaging, the cap has a push pump to draw and dispense the oil:



Ingredients:




The oil is bottom line another winner from L'Occitane. A little goes a very long way and absorbs into the skin quickly so the bottle will last a long time. The Divine Youth Oil launched in the US last week  online and in stores and retails at $96 for 1 fl oz.

Right now, L'Occitane has a special offer where you can register to receive a deluxe sample mini of the Divine Oil by registering here (valid through October 1st or while supplies last). I highly recommend you make a visit to your nearest L'Occitane store soon to test this in person.


Have you tried the new Divine Youth Oil? If not, do you have any L'Occitane favorites? Their Shea Butter Extra Gentle Body Lotion and Hand Creams are at the top of my list for go-to hand and body products. When my friends have baby showers, I usually bring something extra for the mom-to-be and the items are usually from L'Occitane (the Mom & Baby line is usually a big hit). The hand creams are always great add-ons during holidays and special occasions too.

For more on L'Occitane, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter @Loccitane and Instagram @Loccitane (for more reviews and features search using #DivineYouthOil). 

Many thanks to L'Occitane for sponsoring this post.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Monthly Beauty Favorites


I discovered quite a few new favorites in August it was difficult to narrow down my list to under 20 items. My Sony NEX-6L/B just broke right after photographed my monthly favorites along with some new items from Tom Ford Fall and Edward Bess. It will take 2-3 weeks for me to get it back after it goes to the repair center. As a blogger and photographer, I really should have more than one camera for times just like this. I called up my brother to ask for a camera recommendation. I wanted something that was super easy to use, easy to hold, affordable and compact. He said hands down buy something from the Canon G Series - after doing a few hours of research and watching several videos, I ordered a Canon PowerShot G16 as my second camera. I took my first photos with it for the Tom Ford Black Cherry post and am so impressed with the image quality and functions. Many of you have asked me for more info on my cameras, as soon as the Sony gets back from repair, I'll do a post on both to compare. If you have any camera favorites I'd love to hear what you love. I hope to upgrade to an SLR by the end of the year.

Onto my favorites for the month of August:
  1. Truffle Privacy Clutch in Blush has become a favorite for a classic, sleek and compact clutch. It's super sturdy and extremely well made. Use code LABORDAY for free US shipping through Monday. (Review and more photos here.)
  2. Clare Vivier Wallet Clutch is another new favorite, it's the compact version (measures 8" x 5") of their regular Flat Clutch (measures 11.5" x 7") making it perfect as a change purse that will also hold a lipstick, business cards, and keys. 
  3. West Elm Acrylic Trays are a new discovery for me. I've been a huge fan of their Lacquer Trays (we have them all over the house). I'm thrilled West Elm made one that is high quality at an affordable price. Huge thumbs up (they come in the square and rectangle options).
  4. YSL Volupté Sheer Candy has been a go-to this summer, I almost always have one in my bag or purse with me. (Review on new shades here.)
  5. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is a favorite darker scent. It will be perfect as we transition to fall and suitable to wear through winter. (Full review here.)
  6. YSL Gris Deco has been the most commented-on polish I've worn all month. It was amazing how many people asked me "what nail polish are you wearing?" It has this unique mix of blue in it to make you wonder if it's blue, grey or white. I love it for a super polished look that's not too pale. (Swatches and review here.)
  7. Diptyque Figuier is one of my favorite Diptyque scents. I never tire of it no matter what the season is. I'm particularly fond of it in fall/winter. It's a warming soothing scent that completely lifts one's mood. It's super relaxing and lush. (Cleaning and recycle tutorial here, find the 411 on size options here.)
  8. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Nude Dip sold out online within a few hours, I still haven't seen it pop up on Nordstrom or Bloomingdales yet, there is a possibility some other retailers might re-stock. You will have to do a bit of calling around to locate one but it's definitely worth the extra effort. I'd recommend calling Neiman Marcus Fashion Island or Beverly Hills to see if they have any left. (Review soon.)
  9. Guerlain Cils D'Enfer Waterproof Mascara is something I've been obsessed with for a few months now. I discovered this one thanks to The RaeViewer's channel (if she loves it, I usually end up loving it too). It really stays put, doesn't smudge, has a deep lush black finish and doesn't make the lashes look crunchy. (My review here.)
  10. Garance Doré x Rifle Paper is one of the cutest collections I've seen for stationary. I love the chic designs, they have cards that are really fun. They make great gifts, I know my friends have loved the notepads and birthday cards. 
  11. L'Occitane Hand Cream Pouch has been selling out very quickly (it's a steal!), I managed to buy three sets when they restocked a couple weeks ago, it looks like it just sold out again, but I recommend you keep checking, I expect they will restock again.
  12. Clé de Peau Beauté Almond Concealer is an exact match for me. I'm thrilled they expanded their color options. I hope they do the same for foundations as well, I just tested a couple and fell head over heels with two of the formulas (my wallet is crying now). (Swatches here.)
  13. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow has been a staple duo this month. The line will launch in a few days in the US. (I'm so excited!) I am still photographing the two sets I ordered from the UK. Reviews will be posted as soon as possible.
  14. Edward Bess Illuminating Eyeshadow Base is one of my holy grail eye bases. (My thoughts here and here.)
  15. Kat Von D Ink Liner has seriously made my life easier when it comes to liquid liner. (Review here.) You can't beat the ease of use, color, pigment, and quality at an affordable price.
  16. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Raquel is my new favorite nude pink. It's literally everything I have ever wanted for that perfect nude pink lip color. I can't always pull off nudes on the lips because they often look so pale. This one is absolutely perfect. It's a good nude pink that doesn't wash out the complexion. (Swatches here.)



What have been your favorites this past month?

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.
 

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