Showing posts with label La Mer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Mer. Show all posts

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bergdorf Goodman Rewarding Beauty Event 9/15 to 9/18


There's a promotion happening now at Bergdorf Goodman called the Rewarding Beauty Event. It's available in store and online where you receive savings off purchases in three tiers. If you're shopping online use code BEAUTY at checkout (now through 9/18), savings are as follows:
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
I've teamed up with Bergdorfs to share a roundup of items I consider splurge-worthy in skincare, face basics and makeup. Many of these are tried and true staples but a few are newly launched items.

Up first are a few base favorites. I'm still in the process of testing foundation and frequently rotate product. For setting powders I prefer pressed because it's less messy and just easier for me to use in general. Two holy grail setting powders for me are the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (I use #2) and Armani Luminous Silk Compact (I use #4). Both work well to set foundation, they're great for touchups, they add just the right amount of coverage to smooth the skin without getting cakey or darkening.

For concealer, I've tried a number and have quite a few favorites, but if I were pressed to pick just one for the rest of my life it would be Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. There is a reason why this one has reached cult status. It nearly killed me to spend this much the first round, but it lasts forever, a little goes a long way, and coverage is perfect. At my lightest I used to use Beige. About a year ago they added a few more shades so I found Almond to be a good match. Right now that I'm tan Ochre is best for me. I'll repost swatches of all the shades that I did a year ago.




For the face two of the most unique luminous cheek products include the Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush (reviewed here) and Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders (reviewed here). I've reviewed both in detail and will include swatches below for reference. The Marc Jacobs Air Blush melds beautifully with the skin and gives a natural glow of color. The Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders are just the prettiest powders I've ever seen. They'll add shimmer without being frosted.

Marc Jacobs Air Blush:


Edward Bess Threads of Silk:


For lips plums and mauves are always what I'm in the mood for during the summer to fall transition. Left to right are:


For eyes, two staples are the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes, favorites include Pink Haze and Platinum. I already own the original Pink Haze from a while ago that was in a larger pot. When I saw this one pop up online I did not realize I already owned it until my order arrived. It's a pretty pink color you can use as a wash without getting a pink eye look. If you need something more neutral Platinum is my favorite base shade. If you remember when Tom Ford launched new quads during the spring, Honeymoon sold out and was gone for months. It's now back and has the perfect mix of warm shimmery colors for fall.


Next up are skincare splurges and staples. I really don't like spending a lot on skincare but sometimes one just has to. The best affordable line for me is Kate Somerville. I could do an entire dedicated post on the items I use and love from her line, but for now three things I swear by include:
  • Gentle Daily Wash which is the best daily cleanser for me that won't strip the skin
  • Dry Skin Saver (formerly known as her Eczema Cream) is something you can use on face and body and really does work to calm flare ups, soothe skin, moisturize and for me it reduces redness from irritation, when my skin gets irritated on the legs or arms sometimes it feels tight from the dryness and I don't want to put anything on it because products often sting when my skin flares up, this one never stings for me
  • Nourish Daily Moisturizer never lets me down and her moisturizers in the tubs come with the most innovative push pump dispenser so you don't have to worry about dipping hands or fingers into the container
In terms of luxury skincare I've had luck with La Mer and SK-II even though I am always reluctant to splurge due to the high price tag. I can say these are worth the splurge and I know many of my friends and probably some of you will agree.


  • La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream has been a favorite for me, it's a softer and lighter weight version of the regular cream (which is too heavy for me), I did not want to splurge on this so for a long time I lived off minis I got as GWPs, this is worth the splurge! For summer I've had to use this sparingly because even though it's lighter than the cream in hot humid weather it can get a bit heavy feeling.
  • La Mer Soft The Moisturizing Soft Lotion is one of La Mer's latest launches, it's been out for a few months and it took me a while to decide whether or not to buy it because it does come with a hefty price tag, for me it's almost identical in performance to the Moisturizing Soft Cream, but it's a bit more fluid and comes with a pump. I'm all about the packaging and pump as I really don't like dipping fingers into cream pots. After using this one skin feels noticeably softer by the next few days even though I only use this for day time. If I had to pick the Soft Cream or Soft Lotion, I would say I have a slight preference for the Soft Lotion.
  • La Mer The Tonic is the toner I've repurchased the most in my adult life, it never fails me, doesn't strip the skin but at the same time makes sure skin is clean and rebalanced .
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks are my weakness when it comes to sheet masks, I love that they are soft and feel cool upon application, skin is always left brighter and refreshed, if I could afford to use these every day I would.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is something some may find silly to splurge on, but they are worth every penny, they're thick but soft and don't leave tiny fibers in my eyes when I use them to remove mascara or eyeliner, I've lost count of how many boxes I've bought and hope they never discontinue them.


I'll be posting swatches and reviews of Tom Ford AW16 and Edward Bess Lipsticks over the next two days so you can take advantage of the savings if you're buying sight unseen.

In the meantime I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you end up ordering anything let me know in the comments :) I always love hearing about your hauls and picks. Some of you have asked for a "best of ..." series. This roundup was a little teaser with a few categories. If more of you are interested let me know in the comments and what categories you'd like to see.

To recap, enter code BEAUTY at checkout if you're shopping online at Bergdorf Goodman. Promotion runs through September 18th.
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
Many thanks to Bergdorf Goodman for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the Edward Bess Lipsticks and Powders, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer, Tom Ford Platinum Eyeshadow and Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer + Air Blushes.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Loving Right Now + Gift Card Giveaway


Happy Friday everyone! It's been one of those weeks I thought would never end and I am relieved that it's almost the weekend. Thank you to everyone who shared what you wanted to see on The Beauty Look Book blog in my last giveaway post. It's always great to hear feedback on what you've liked and also what you would like to read more about. There were a lot of requests for features on a wide range of topics and I am beyond flattered so many of you want to know what I think about well basically anything! Most popular requests were for higher end skincare (I did not realize you guys liked the skincare posts!), budget-friendly cosmetics, full skincare routine, current hair care routine, more hauls, favorites roundups, inside my purse posts, shoe features, tutorials, makeup storage, more travel (so happy many of you loved this), time management, exclusive promo events and videos!

Since reading your requests, I've started to pull items for a full summer skincare routine and hair care routine post. I do tend to test a lot of products on myself to review for you so my routine changes frequently - but I will pull my favorites and include items I've used up. A few notes:
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale hauls posted on the blog, makeup picks here and fashion and skincare items hauled here
  • Exclusive promo savings for readers via Space NK US here - my apologies for those who were not able to use the code on Oribe, after several e-mails to the team, they've fixed the code and it works on all Oribe items (full size and travel sizes)
  • Antica Farmacista is doing a special online promo code, enter code ANTICABLB at checkout for a mini body butter with any online order!
  • Summer bronzer edit posted here (many of you have been asking for this for weeks!)
  • On videos I am hoping to do some in the future!
  • Loving right now/favorites in this post here today!


Right now for skincare, hair care and the home, I'm loving the following:
  1. Chanel Fresh Body Cream is a summer go-to for body lotions. It smells lightweight and fresh and even though a tub is pricey. I use it sparingly but it has lasted a long time. It hydrates without feeling sticky and won't interfere with perfume. My wallet is crying at the thought of having to buy again but I think it is 100% worth the splurge.
  2. Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover is what I use right now to remove mascara and eye makeup, its gentle but effective and doesn't feel greasy. You can find it in two sets for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the Chubby Lash Set and Take the Day Off Set
  3. Antica Farmacista is a line I just discovered and I really don't know how this has passed my radar for so long, I received a few samples and the line is exquisite! My favorite item is the Cucumber and Lotus Flower Candle which is the perfect cooling relaxing scent for the home, I am going to need this one in all formats, detailed review next week - if you have any favorites from the line let me know! If you order online they're offering a free mini body butter with any order, use code ANTICABLB
  4. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora Volumizing Mousse is something new to me, I will say up front I typically hate mousse products because they're usually sticky and make my hair hard to comb/brush, this one is really good though. I have naturally thick hair and find most volumizing products don't really add that much volume to my already thick hair (I have tried dozens of sprays, creams, lotions, shampoos etc.) This one combined with heat styling of the T3 PROi Dryer (best dryer ever, thanks RaeView for recommending to me!!) gives serious volume all the way through from roots to ends.
  5. La Mer The Tonic is a toner I alternate with the SK-II Clear Treatment Lotion, I like both but reach for the La Mer more these days to help remove impurities after cleansing and rebalance the skin. The formula has been a go-to for years and often times I try others in attempts to find a more affordable option, but this one never fails me.
  6. Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash is a favorite for every day multiple times a day. It's one of the few I can use frequently without it stripping my skin. I've tried and repurchased all her cleansers and this is the only one that won't irritate my skin on tender skin days. My brother has acne-prone skin that is even more sensitive than mine. I bought him this one to try and it's one of the few he says is gentle enough for his skin (he's in his early 20s). Also available in a larger 16 oz size with a pump and her Clinic Solutions Kit (I bought this for travel).

For makeup and fragrance:
  1. Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette is nothing but pure love, it's a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for this year's Anniversary Sale and I think it is perfect. If you already own the palette from last holiday or the individual colors you can skip this one. Also there's a new marble palette that's coming out for holiday that you might want to wait for as previewed on @gossmakeupartist's Instagram (it looks dreamy but I think the colors are different!). My review + swatches in this post here.
  2. Chanel Aqua Glossimers for summer are sheered out glossimers new for summer. Review on all the shades in this post here. These are nice for an effortless wash of shine and a hint of color.
  3. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Sugarcane is a perfect baby pink that covers the lip entirely, I also like Honeycomb which is a perfect nude, swatches + review of the neutrals in this formula can be found in this post here
  4. MAC Sunblessed Cremesheen (in the Nordstrom Sunblessed Kit) is a great pinky nude on me even though it looks more peachy in the tube. Swatched on my lips here.
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips are almost too hot to handle. I adore her Matte Revolution formula and was thrilled to see more neutrals and brights launched in her Hot Lips Collection. All the shades purchased by me and swatched in this post.
  6. NARS Long Hot Summer Eyeshadow Palette (review soon) is an exclusive to NARS online and boutiques. This has great neutrals deep enough for medium to tan skintones. I'll review and swatch this soon.
  7. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral summer fragrance. I love it. Review here.
  8. YSL Glossy Stain 07 is a ripe juicy peach that has enough color to be more than a neutral but isn't too bright so it will suit neutral makeup lovers (also in the Nordstrom Rebel Nudes Set)
I'm hosting one more Nordstrom eGift Card Giveaway! I'm giving away 3 $100 USD eGift Cards to Nordstrom. Details as follows:
  • Open internationally
  • You must be 18 years old or older
  • Enter through widget
  • Entries will be collected through Sunday 7/24/2016 11:30 AM PST
  • Winners will be selected at random via the widget, emailed Sunday evening
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What are you loving right now? Did you haul anything good from the Nordstrom sale or any other places recently?

Press samples featured include Shu Uemura, Antica Farmacista, Bite Amuse Bouche.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Summer Beauty Essentials


Summer is just around the corner but it's on my mind right now. For the beauty world, seasonal collections launch ahead of season so many of you have probably already started to update your makeup wardrobe for warm weather. For me - I love wearing summery bronze shades year round, it's a color I like to incorporate in bits to add warmth and life. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my summer beauty favorites covering a bit of everything from lips, eyes, cheeks, skin and fragrance. They have an entire page dedicated to Sexy Summer Must-Haves if you're looking for something new. Up first are fragrance and body must-haves.

Sunnies by Marc Jacobs here, hat from Nordstrom here

First up are items for the skin and body. In the summer I love a bright nail polish whether it's bright coral, red, orange or pink. My current obsession of the moment is Chanel Espadrilles which is a bright orangey-red cream. Two coats give full coverage and the new formula is a huge improvement in terms of lasting power over the original (even though I was a fan of the original). For fragrance, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral for summer but if you want something lighter the new Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is really quite amazing. I've been wearing this for a few months now but haven't felt like I was ready to talk about it just yet - it's one of the lightest Tom Ford scents to date but still has very good lasting power. If you found the original Neroli Portofino too strong, the new Acqua version is the best one yet.

For self tanners - I've tried quite a few and they either smell really bad or cause an allergic reaction on my skin. A long-time favorite for a very natural gradual glow is the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster which you mix in with moisturizer, but the effect is very natural. I read a ton of reviews online to find another one before deciding to cave and try the Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan. It's quite pricey but worth every penny. I've only tried on the body so far, but it gives a nice golden tan and smells amazing for a self tanner. You can use until you get the color you want, I found it worked for me after 4 days of use. Color lasts several days while fading gradually afterwards. It's streak free, didn't stain white jean shorts and non-orangey.

Protecting your skin with sunscreen that lasts is important. I have very sensitive skin and most sunscreens cause tiny little bumps to form on my skin by the end of the day. Two that I swear by are the Supergoop! Sunscreen Oil with SPF 50 and Coola Sunscreen Sprays which range from SPF 30 to 50 and come in unscented or scented options. I like the Coola because I can apply to my back easily in harder to reach areas. It's weightless so you don't feel like it's greasy or heavy on the skin. I ask my husband to try out sunscreens I use as well - he's really particular about products having a non-greasy feel and he approves of the Coola line.


For the lips, even though many associate summer color with brights or bronze shades, I love pinks, nudes and corals for a softer look. The best nude I've tried in a long time is Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o). It looks boring in the tube but on the lips it's so so good! The Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Colors (c/o) are perfect color-wise and come in six options ranging from a soft gold nude, deep copper, berry, coral and a few neutrals. The one I've been reaching for the most is Pipa (I bought back ups of both shades).

Chanel launched new Glossimers in the summer collection. I'll have a full review on all the shades soon, but they are a new formula called Aqua Glossimer which comes with a slightly different applicator and a sheerer almost jelly like finish.

In an attempt to find more affordable color options to the Tom Ford I picked up a few other formulas. The Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color has a similar finish and feel to the Moisturecore Lip Colors but feels so much smoother and glide on the lips. I picked up Boho Bronze which is similar to Cala di Volpe and is $27 vs the $55 price tag of the Tom Ford. MAC Huggable Lip Colors have been a favorite (Touche is a really good nude) for an effortless kind of lip color that adheres well to the lips and makes them glow with a natural hint of color. They launched a few more shades recently and I picked up Seoul-Ful, Bare Hug and Bonsai Bloom.

Last but not least I was really excited to see a new Kevyn Aucoin Lip Gloss in Sunlight. It's one of the prettiest bronzey shades I've tried. However when I got home I found it really close to Chanel Unity Glossimer.




For eyes I love shimmer. Even neutral shimmers add a little something that's fun but wearable for every day. I've been on the hunt for a good copper nude shimmer. Many coppers are too warm or red for my eyes/skintone. Bronze has been a go-to but I have been on the hunt for something a little different.


Long-time readers know Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold is a staple of mine. Shadow sticks are so easy to use and convenient to apply - you just smudge and blend with a finger. If you're looking for something a little more glitzy, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink is more shimmery and more visible on the skin. If you want something lighter for an all over wash Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in Opale (c/o) is really one of the best there is.

For other shadow sticks, the Burberry Eye Color Contour Smoke and Sculpt Pens are really good. Pale Copper is more of a bronzey taupe on my skin but still very pretty. A more affordable option is the new MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Color Sticks which are pretty much budgeproof after you apply them.

In terms of golden copper shades, Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize in Bette is one of my favorites. I know a few of you have mentioned you found it too emollient for your skin type in which case I'd recommend you try Tom Ford ones or the Burberry Eye Color Creams which has a harder stiffer texture and more suitable for oily lids.

My perfect copper shade is the Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Eyeshadow in Sunstone which comes with a rollerball applicator. Just glide them across the eyes and then blend with a finger or brush.

The hunt for the perfect bronze eyeliner ends with NARS Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia for me. No matter what other colors or brands I try, this one is my tried and true.


For complexion I love glowing skin. I wear bronzer year round so when summer rolls around I'm happy that bronzer is "in." I've already reviewed a number of these shown below on the blog - some of which are back-up worthy in my mind which is why I have pristine new ones featured below. I've added other swatch shades as well for reference.

If you ask me what one bronzer I would recommend - it would be a very tough choice for me to pick just one. If you like a luminous glow, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzing Powders are really good because they mix highlighter and bronzer in one. They can pull warm and if you are fair you may find them too dark or too warm in which case I'd recommend Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra which is a cooler-toned matte. My personal favorite is Gold Dust (shown below) because it's the perfect mix of tan and gold in one. Both are goof-proof - the texture is really smooth and easy to layer without overdoing it.

NARS Laguna Bronzer is always a classic staple you can't go wrong with. They launched a Liquid Laguna Bronzer this year which is easier to control for a soft sheer warm glow. Also new is a Laguna-Tiare Bronzer in a scented option which smells heavenly!!

If you're set on bronzer and just want something to add to your cheeks for a glow, Tom Ford Fire Lust is hands down the best liquid illuminator I've tried. It's subtle but one of the prettiest I've tried. It's steep in price but worth it. You get a lot of product so it will last a long time.

In terms of blush, two that I deem absolute must-haves are Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand and NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content (c/o). Pink Sand was limited-edition last year but brought back again this season. It's a really special pink gold cream that is oh so pretty. NARS Dual Intensity Blushes aren't new but there are two new shades for summer in Sexual Content (shown below) and Liberation. The best thing about these is they have a unique cream to powder texture which is good for warm weather - it holds up on my skin without getting greasy or oily looking.

Last but not least - for foundation, I think finding the right one depends on skin type, coverage preference, color options and humidity levels. I've been loving the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (c/o) for months now - it offers natural medium coverage and blends perfectly into the skin. I wore this over the holiday weekend - we went to the desert in Borrego Springs and it was almost 90 degrees (it was dry vs humid). The foundation stayed put all day long without needing a single touch up. This is my foundation of choice right now and I will be taking it with me while I travel later this month.

Above: hat from Nordstrom here (I bought it in both colors because it's a perfect fit)




I hope you enjoyed this summer beauty roundup! I tried to include swatches of multiple colors as a reference guide in case you're looking for a specific color or formula. Sometimes you'll find the perfect color in a lipstick or eyeshadow but want it in a different formula (ie powder vs cream). Or you may find a bronzer formula you like but want it in a matte version vs shimmer. I love mixing things up. Many of you have asked for a dedicated summer bronzer post so stay tuned for that one in the upcoming weeks. I'm still testing out a few to see if they will make the cut for what I would recommend.



As always please share your favorites for summer below. Especially if you have sensitive skin, would love to hear about what you've tried and love for sunscreen and self tanning! I've seen a few sunscreen sprays pop up that are new for the season  but would love to hear about your favorites too.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. Some items in the post were press samples marked with a c/o next to the product names. More information in my Disclosures.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Skin Savers: Face Masks for Every Need


Today I'm chatting with you about the face masks I have in rotation right now. Winter weather usually means my skin starts to feels dry or lacking in luster and the best way to help improve my skin's texture, clarity and the way it feels in general is by using weekly mask treatments. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of 12 masks which include a mix of tried and true treatments along with a few new discoveries. I'm obsessed with masks in general - I often use them 2x per week, sometimes I mix it up depending on how my skin feels at a specific time.

First, a bit of background. When it comes to masks, or with any skincare in general, I would say recommendations depend on your skin type and what kind of treatment you're looking for. I've split up my recommendations into four main categories: 1) lift and firm, 2) moisturize, 3) clarify/purify and 4) boost radiance. I've put 12 to the test to see how they hold up for my sensitive skin and super sensitive nose. In terms of types, I love a good sheet mask, but for today I've rounded up the kind you apply, leave on for 5-15 minutes and rinse off. The traditional apply-then-rinse-off kind is what I prefer, they are easy and fun to apply and I like the whole process of rinsing with water for that squeaky clean feeling.



Up first are two lifting and firming face masks. I'll start with the best face mask I have ever tried which is the the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask ($245 for 1.7 oz/50 ml). I was lucky to find a mini sample of this one during a gift with purchase event and it was pure love the first time I tried it. This is the most I've ever splurged on a mask, but it's one of those skincare products I tested and immediately thought, "oh my god this is amazing." It comes in a large tub with a brush applicator. I'm relatively new to using brushes to apply masks but after testing a few, I think I kinda like it. With this mask, skin feels ultra soft after using it. It's formulated to tighten, firm and refine the face and neck although I've only tested this on the face so far. Skin does indeed look and feel noticeably firmer after using this. Fine lines are minimized. After using this you can feel the moisture without any greasy feel and the skin glows. I would call this one life changing and at the high price I think it should be. It's a luxurious splurge but worth every penny. I don't think I've ever been so in love with a skincare product in my life.

Another good firming mask is the Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($70 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is formulated to lift, smooth, brighten and tighten pores. It sounds like an all-in-one kind of mask and I think it works wonders to lift and plump the skin. This one needs a very thin layer, if you apply too much it won't dry properly and will be difficult to wash off. This one is heavily fragranced so it won't be everyone's cup of tea. I don't mind the scent (I find it pleasant and unique). After using it skin feels smooth and lifted. The skin glows and looks noticeably brighter after using it. I noticed redness was reduced drastically. It does shrink pores around the nose area too. If you want a sampler of her skincare (trial or travel size) you can still find the mask in her Red Carpet Skin Set ($85) or the Gift of Goddess Skin Trio ($59) and the sizes seem large enough to get several uses out of the tubes.


Next are masks for an added moisture boost. My favorite gentle moisturizing mask is the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is a game changer for me, most moisturizing masks are too heavy or leave the skin feeling too glowy so for moisture I prefer sheet masks. For a more traditional mask, this one adds enough moisture to soothe dry skin and makes it glow without the heavy feel. It has the most wonderful refreshing clean scent making it feel extra nice. It also works really well to help calm irritated skin and reduce redness. I really like Caudalie for the gentle but effective skincare.

Bobbi Brown just launched new face masks. I bought the Mini Mask Trio ($20 for 3 minis each .24 fl oz/7 ml) which comes with super tiny tubes. For these I was able to get 2 uses out of each one which is enough to get a sense of how it will feel on the skin, but not quite enough to get a true sense of how it will perform. The moisturizing option is the Skin Nourish Mask ($47 for the full size). It has an ultra smooth almost gel-like texture. It has coral grass and green algae to help boost collagen production and smooth the skin. I felt it did smooth and sooth the skin. Given the fact that I already have some other favorites for moisture masks, I'm not sure I will purchase the full size.

My second most favorite moisture mask is the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz/50 g). This one smells delicious (I almost want to eat it). It adds the most moisture to my skin out of all the masks I've tried. It helps reduce any flaky areas or patches. It can tingle a little but it's not too strong. If you're super sensitive to tingle or scent, you might want to skip this one and opt for the Bobbi Brown instead which is more gentle but still adds moisture.



Next up are some clarifying and purifying options. This type is my favorite kind of mask to use but many purifying/detox masks can be really strong and end up drying out my skin. Some dry my skin so much it leaves my face red afterwards and flaky by the next day. My newest discovery is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask ($54 for 60 ml/2 fl oz). This was used on me during a facial, my aesthetician mentioned that a lot of her clients had been raving about it. I saw really good results from my facial so I bought this the very next week. It's part of the anti-acne line and normally these kinds of products are too strong for my skin, but this one is pretty gentle. It's foam activated so you apply it to your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. It starts to foam as it works and removes impurities. It tingles slightly as it foams up but does not sting (and I'm a huge wimp when it comes to skincare that tingles). It contains colloidal sulfur which helps reduce redness (it really works wonders in this area) and reduce acne. I highly recommend it.

Caudalie of course is on the list for favorites. The Purifying Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) targets spots to reduce blemishes. It clarifies the skin by drawing out impurities but it's super gentle. Out of all the purifying masks, I would say this is the most gentle purifying mask I've ever tried. If you need something stronger the Instant Detox Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) is really good at drawing out the gunk that builds up in your pores. It's a super deep cleansing mask - I prefer this on the T-zone or on spots (with Caudalie they recommend you mix masks at one time to target different needs on different areas of the face). It's on the strong side so I would recommend on the nose or on trouble spots, I would not recommend using it all over the face.

My most-used clarifying mask is the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz/34 g). I've lost count of how many I've used up and repurchased. Anytime my skin starts to break out from buildup or hormonal acne, I use this and it clears up within the week. It cleans out the skin like nothing else I've tried. Regular use has also helped tremendously with acne scars. It's good for oily skin and helps rebalance the face. It's a more gentle version of the Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Mask. If you still find the Supermud too strong, try the Caudalie or Kate Somerville ones instead.

Bobbi Brown has a mask called the Instant Detox Mask ($47 for the full size). This is a like a gentler version of the Caudalie Detox Mask. I liked that it acted like a clarifying mud mask without being too strong. It cleared up my skin and helped to rebalance oily and dry areas without being too strong or too drying. I will be purchasing the full size of this one once I use up my Glamglow and Kate Somerville Masks. Pores were significantly reduced.

The last category is radiance boosting or complexion savers. Bobbi Brown has one called Radiance Boost ($47). This one felt like it had exfoliating properties with tiny grains inside. For radiance, I tend to prefer sheet masks, but decided to give this one a try from the mini trio set. It has superfine walnut grain to exfoliate dead skin cells and orange oil extract to rebalance the oils in your skin. I didn't notice as much of a glow as I did with the La Mer or Charlotte Tilbury masks, but I did notice a subtle glow and my skin did feel smoother with the exfoliating properties. This one has a gentle citrus scent. For now I will be sticking to my sheet masks for radiance.

Last but not least is the Caudalie Glycolic Peel ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is the most gentle peel mask I've tried. I do an occasional peel treatment with other brands but my skin is so sensitive that I can't tolerate the tingling sensation (some make my eyes water). The Caudalie has no tingle and is non-irritating. For this one you will see results over time. It's a super gentle treatment that helps with exfoliation that improves the skin texture and radiance over the course of a few weeks. It's the most gentle kind of peeling mask I've tried.
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If you're in search for a new mask, I hope you found this roundup helpful. There are so many different kinds of masks and brands. Nordstrom has over 200 options to choose from and you can filter options by benefit, price point and brand to find the one that suits your specific needs. I have tested quite a few, but for me testing has happened over the span of several months before I usually decide if something really works. My rotation changes as the season shifts to warmer weather. My top picks for right now are:
  1. La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask - for the most impressive results in terms of skin texture, appearance and feel (gives you baby soft skin)
  2. Caudalie Moisture Mask - best moisturizing mask
  3. Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask - best anti-acne redness reducing mask
  4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment - best clarifying and brightening mask for me




Do you have any favorite winter skincare masks? What's in your rotation right now? I always get the best recommendations from my readers, if you have any tried and true or new discoveries please share!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering with me to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Splurge vs. Save


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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Monday!




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Foundations


It's time for a foundation update now that we are transitioning to fall weather. I've been testing some new base formulas over the past few months. I have an assortment of foundations to share today by coverage type which I've found suitable for my normal combination skin. These days my skin is slightly oily in the T-zone with a few dry patches around the chin area as I'm working to clear up my skin. I still have super sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of foundations so if you're like me, I this roundup helps you find something new to try.

In case you have completely different skin type and foundation preferences, I highly recommend you give Nordstrom's online foundation search tool to help you find the right foundation for you. There is a quick and easy form for you to fill out where you select skin type, coverage and finish preference. This filters brands and formulas for you to check out. I highly recommend you give it a try.



I've split my fall foundation edit into three categories: Natural Coverage, Medium-to-Full Coverage and Powder Foundations. My personal foundation preference is for something that is natural looking and lightweight but also has decent coverage to even out the skin and create a flawless base. Many have asked me if it's necessary for add-ons like primers and powder. I don't think all foundations need a primer, but I'm a firm believer in setting with powder. Many times I set with a powder foundation by dusting the face with a brush. Some think it's too much to layer powder foundation on top of liquid foundation but if you layer it right, it's not too much. (More on primers and powders in a separate post.)


Up first are three new powder foundations I've been testing. If you've read The Beauty Look Book for a long time you will know that my holy grail powder foundation is the Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte Powder Foundation. My color is usually Warm 100 and has worked for me even though I've gotten darker over the summer. I decided to try a few new formulas.


Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is indeed a high-def kind of product. It's a super pigmented and super velvety kind of powder foundation that has medium to full coverage. You can use this one wet or dry, I prefer dry with a sponge or dusted with a brush. For me trying powder foundation is tricky - as the skin warms up, powders often darken or oxidize in color. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation does warm up to the skin but doesn't darken. It holds up really well with minor touch ups needed on the nose for me. I use Medium Light Warm. There are a number of shade options with different undertones.

The Tom Ford Flawless Powder Foundation launched a few months ago. This is extremely pricey at $80 but the formula is amazing. With a simple base of moisturizer the sponge applies this on the skin and makes all your pores disappear. Skin appears smooth and truly flawless. It's easy to build - the texture in the compact looks and feels powdery but there is no fall out on the face and it doesn't cake. The downside (aside from the steep price tag) is the limited color selection. I'm in between Fawn and Sable. It was suggested I opt for Fawn as the closest match. I'm about 1.5 shades darker now compared to what I am most of the year. For right now I can get by with Fawn but it's a tad bit too pale. It will be perfect for winter. That being said I do hope they expand the color selection to match the liquids because this formula is incredible.

Giorgio Armani also launched a new foundation called the Luminous Silk Compact. Color selection jumps around in this one as well. I am normally anywhere from a 6, 6.5 to 7 in the Luminous Silk and Lasting Silk. The powders I saw seemed to run on the dark side. I was matched to 4 and I was super skeptical about the counter rep's matching skills because I expected to be 5.5 or 6.5. She was right. It warms up on the skin. I would say this is one of the sheerer powder foundations I've tried. If you like a super natural look this is a good one. It is very smooth and finely milled. I prefer more coverage but it's great as a setting powder or layered over a sheer foundation.


Swatches next to Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere Powder Foundation (right now I use 40 Beige) and Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte in Warm 100

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Next up are some natural medium coverage foundations. Some of these are more on the sheer side but each of these will offer enough coverage to even the skin and cover minor imperfections. I have a few tried and true mixed in with a new to me formula.



Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact was featured a few weeks ago. This is the first cushion compact I've tried and my color match is Tan Gold 204. Several of you mentioned you hoped shade 102 would launch in the US and the good news is that I just noticed that it's now online at Nordstrom! The Amore Pacific Cushion Compact is the most natural looking foundation I've tried that still gives medium coverage. It melts into your face to look like skin but as you press it into your face you will see it transform into what I call your skin but better. Color selection is limited so I'm thrilled that Tan Gold is my perfect match (it warms up and adjusts within the first 2-5 minutes but doesn't darken further after it sets).

The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is one of my holy grail base products because it's really not like a traditional tinted moisturizer. When my friends ask me for a recommendation on a foundation that's natural this is the one I recommend first. It's usually followed by a response along the lines of, "oh but I don't like tinted moisturizers, they're too sheer and greasy." I agree that most are, but this one is very different. It's more like a natural foundation with a super lightweight texture that makes the skin glow naturally. I'm usually Groenland year round but after getting a tan I've found the next shade up St. Moritz to be a better match. If you haven't tried this formula I highly recommend you do. It has the perfect natural coverage and glows without feeling too glowy and doesn't get greasy or too emollient throughout the day.

La Mer Reparative Skin Tint is something I featured over the summer. This is one of the few skincare + foundation in one kind of products that I actually like. The formula melds into the skin beautifully and offers natural medium coverage. Over time it improves the texture of the skin adding moisture without feeling heavy. The only downside is the color selection is limited and it's also very expensive but if you can find a color match it's well worth the splurge. It helps rebalance the skin and lasts all day long. If you have normal to dry skin this one is really good.

The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream was a pleasant surprise for me. I received a few press sample recently and gave it a try. I have to say it far exceeded my expectations - the concept of a gel cream didn't sound appealing to me since most gel-like foundations feel sticky and often look too dewy on my skin. This formula has thoroughly impressed me, I like it just as much as the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the added bonus is the color selection seems better than most lines. This is a BB Cream, CC Cream and Tinted Moisturizer in one. I'm usually not a fan of BB or CC creams because I don't like the way they feel on my face. The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue feels weightless and blends into the skin beautifully.
 

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The final category for my fall foundation roundup is medium to full coverage formulas. This is my formula of choice since I prefer bases that cover my skin more to create an even base. All of these have been featured before on the blog, they are my tried and true.


Tom Ford makes excellent foundation. The Traceless Foundation Stick is hands down the best foundation stick I've ever tried. It's super creamy and easy to blend on the skin. It covers imperfections without looking cakey. Since it's super pigmented I recommend layering this on areas you need extra coverage instead of applying it all over the face. I love the formula but the pigment is too rich for the entire face everyday (at least for me). The Traceless Perfecting Foundation is something I use regularly. I am normally a match to Bisque 4 but right now Natural 5 is my perfect summer match.

The NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is another holy grail for full coverage foundations. This one gets mixed reviews - some love it, others hate it. It's super concentrated and a little goes a long way. It lasts all day on my normal combination skin and covers the face really really well. If I were to compare this to a lipstick, I would say this is similar to Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution. Both are more matte in finish but have this luminous quality that makes it look natural and not flat. I do think you need to prep the skin properly with a good moisturizer and primer if you have any dryness or uneven texture on the skin (I like the Dolce & Gabbana Primer or any of the ones from NARS). My shades are Santa Fe and Punjab, both of which are too light for me now. Since a little goes a long way I still have a lot of both shades and didn't want to purchase a third since I'll be losing my tan soon.

Last but not least, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is a classic staple for me. I've repurchased it several times. I alternate between Beige 30 and Beige 40 depending on my skintone. It offers medium buildable coverage and feels lightweight. Even though the name "velvet" implies a matte finish, I find it's a natural luminous matte. It doesn't look or feel heavy. In terms of foundation recommendations this one usually is #2 on my list. Many often ask, "but what about the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua? it sounds better and lighter." Both are good formulas, the Perfection Lumiere Velvet is my favorite because it covers better and has a slightly matte finish. It also lasts all day and feels weightless. The Vitalumiere Aqua is also natural looking and I know many love it. On me it feels a bit too dewy, I would say it's better suited for you if you like glowy makeup or have normal to dry skin.


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If you're looking for a new foundation to try, I hope you found this roundup helpful. Finding the right foundation can take time. There are so many factors to consider from color matching, formula, finish and lasting power. As usual, I'd love to hear about your foundation favorites or new discoveries. Do you have anything that's a go-to for fall?




Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the items from Bare Minerals and Amore Pacific. All others purchased by me. 

 

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