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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Skincare Treats and Splurges


Following this month's theme of "treat yourself," today I'm sharing some of my favorite skincare treats and splurges. I'll highlight some items I view as game-changers based on what I've tested focusing on things I believe are worth the splurge to pamper the skin. For a bit of background on my skin, I have normal but sensitive skin. This winter it leans on the slightly dry side, but still is relatively normal. I'm in my early 30's right now and a year ago, my skin went through some changes with major break outs causing some scars and texture issues. I spent the last year working to streamline my skincare routine and am really thankful that it's returned to it's normal state over the past few months. I'll be sharing more about my skincare routine later, but for today I want to highlight items I feel are good for pampering. 


Up first is sunscreen. I've always hated wearing sunscreen on the face because of the strong sunscreen scent or greasy feel. I don't like wearing layers of product under my foundation and powder and since I've always spent the majority of my day indoors I thought it was pointless to wear extra sunscreen. So many have emphasized the importance of protecting your skin and wearing sunscreen has become a priority. Unfortunately, I since I can't tolerate the sunscreen smell, I have had to splurge on sunscreen for the face. Three that I really like that won't turn the face white and that don't have that traditional sunscreen smell include:

1 / Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen SPF 40  ($41 for 1.7 oz) is my latest sunscreen discovery. It's a lightweight white fluid that has a semi-matte feel. I picked this up because of recommendations from friends and also wanted to take advantage of the Nordstrom gift with purchase going on right now (details here). I like that it doesn't feel runny or have that greasy fluid feel. It stays put and doesn't feel like you have anything on the skin. Straight out of the bottle there is a very faint fresh linen-like scent but once on the face, there is no detectable scent. I love that it doesn't turn the face white.

2 / Chanel UV Essentiel Complete Sunscreen UV Protection SPF 50 ($55 for 1 fl oz) is something I've used for years. Chanel has three different sunscreens with SPF 20, 30 and 50. This is a lightweight product that is very fluid. The color is also white but it's transparent on the skin. I've used and repurchased this numerous times because it layers well over moisturizer and under foundation. My husband and I have shared this for years. This one is heavily fragranced though, so if you have a super sensitive nose and can't wear fragranced skincare products, you may want to skip this one.

3 / Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 43 ($32 for 1 fl oz) is something I discovered a couple months ago. I adore Shiseido as a skincare line, but was really disappointed to find almost all their facial sunscreens left a white cast on my skin. Since I wear medium to full coverage foundation daily, it didn't really matter in the end, however, I prefer sunscreens and skincare that doesn't leave a white residue on the skin. This one comes in three colors which makes it the perfect tint + sunscreen in one. The color selection is pretty limited but the color is sheer enough to be quite forgiving on the face. I found Shade No. 2 to be the best match although for an exact match I'm really in between No. 2 and 3. It's a lightweight sheer coverage tint that can be worn as a base for your regular makeup. 


Next up includes facial cotton and cleansing water. Both of which aren't really necessities but these three have been life-changing for me.

4 / Cle de Peau Beaute Cotton ($20 for 120 pads) is hands down the best facial cotton I've tried. It comes in a box which keeps the cotton's shape in tact. I used to use Shiseido's facial cotton for years, but a friend insisted I try the ones by Cle de Peau and the difference is really noticeable. The Cle de Peau is sturdier and larger in size compared to other cotton. It's soft, silky, doesn't separate and glides on the skin without leaving any cotton remnants or fibers on the face. It's the ultimate luxurious splurge for the skin and I can't recommend it enough.

5 / Caudalie Cleansing Water ($14 for 3.38 fl oz) is a classic favorite for me. This refreshes the skin and cleanses it gently. I wouldn't recommend using it in place of a cleanser on a regular basis, but I like to use this to remove all my makeup at the end of the day and then follow up with a regular cleanser if I have long-wear foundation or powder on. It doesn't irritate the skin and does a good job at removing makeup (not eye makeup/mascara though). 

6 / Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($39 for 10.15 fl oz) is the best cleansing water I've tried. I've tried lots of different cleansing waters from NARS, Dior, Lancome etc. and the Koh Gen Do is my most repurchased cleansing water. I've found it's the most effective but is still very gentle on the skin. It's definitely worth the splurge.


Testing out masks can be very expensive. For me it's hard to splurge on a $50+ box of sheet masks or any mask in general unless I can test a small sample first, so I've relied on online reviews and blog reviews heavily before splurging. Four skin pampers I adore:

7 / Kiehl's Clearly Corrective™ Clarifying & Hydrating Intensive Treatment Masque ($58 for 6 sheets, 0.85 oz each) is a surprisingly good sheet mask that I think is highly under-rated. I don't know why it's a limited-edition product or exclusive to Nordstrom because it's amazing. I've tried a number of sheet masks and this one is very gentle but makes a visible difference in the texture, appearance and clarity of the skin. After use your face is left hydrated and super soft.

8 / SK-II Facial Treatment Mask ($17 for 1 sheet, or $135 for a 10 pack) is something that has reached cult-status but is an extremely expensive splurge. I resisted buying the box for a long time because I couldn't justify spending that much on a mask without having tested it. I took the plunge a year ago and have no regrets. Due to the price tag, I do try to limit use to one per month. If you've been interested in this but didn't want to splurge without testing, the good news is that they now offer this mask in a 1 sheet option for $17. There are a number of good sheet masks on the market, the SK-II is my favorite in terms of how it leaves the skin glowing.

9 / Glamglow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz) is something I discovered last August. It's one of my top picks for clarifying masks that is super effective at drawing out impurities from the pores. I like that you can feel it work on the face but it's still gentle enough for my super sensitive skin. I've repurchased this four times since my initial purchase - it's that good. Use for this one varies for me from 1 to 3 times per week. I like that it's non-irritating.

10 / Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz) is something I discovered thanks to my readers. I had a couple mini sample packets from gift with purchase events but was a bit nervous about testing this one. A number of readers recommended that I use the Supermud first and then follow with the Thirstymud right after for the ultimate at-home facial treatment. I tried this and it's pure genius. It seemed a bit odd to apply something to dry out the skin and then apply something right after to put the moisture back in the skin, but the combination is really quite amazing. To those who recommended this tip to me, THANK YOU!!


For face mists, I've used the MAC Fix+ for years but it is extremely lightweight. It's a good basic refresher for mid-day or even to prep the skin for foundation but there are others I've tried that are better in terms of how they impact the skin.

11 / Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18 for 1 oz) is the ultimate spa-like facial mist. Spraying it on the face instantly lifts the mood and makes you feel like your skin has gone through a mini facial. It is heavily fragranced with a minty touch so I know it won't appeal to all. I personally really like it. It cools and refreshes the skin and pores will tighten with this spray. I like that it doesn't interfere with your makeup. My mom really likes this one too.

12 / La Mer "The Mist" ($65 for 3.4 oz) is an amazing facial spray. It dispenses a fine mist that is fragrance free. It's really good at calming any redness or irritation and suitable for super sensitive skin. The packaging makes this well worth the splurge - the spritzer dispenses a perfect spritz of mist evenly over the face. If you're in the market for an unfragranced face mist that refreshes the face, this is a good one to look at.

13 / Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist ($90 for 1.7 oz) is something that has been on my radar for a long long time. It's used on me at almost every Chanel makeover I've had. I couldn't bring myself to splurge on it. For me it's the best thing you can splurge on for a face mist - but it's still quite a splurge. If this were priced at the $60-$65 price point I would say hands down "you need this." At the $90 price point it's a stretch and for me it was hard for me to part with that much money for something this size. This is one of those products I really adore but I do believe it's overpriced. Am I happy I bought this? Absolutely yes. Will I repurchase? I don't know.

I hope you found this roundup of skincare treats and splurges helpful. As always I'd love to hear about your skincare favorites. What do you like to use to pamper or protect your skin to give it that extra love and care?



This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All items purchased by me. For more information refer to my disclosures.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Current Skincare Routine

Another request I received from my February survey was to write an article on what I use in my current skincare routine. This is a tough issue for me to write about because my skin is so finicky that I often change up products as soon as I finish using something up. Also, I haven't found many holy grails which means I rarely repurchase a skincare item. Quite a few of my favorites have been discontinued (such as the Chanel Age Delay line, Shiseido's original Pureness line before it was revamped and reformulated and Prescriptives Super Line Smoothing Cleanser).


Also, I know this is a no-no, but I don't really take good care of my skin. Yes, I wash every morning and evening and tone afterwards. But I don't always scrub, moisturize, mask or use sunscreen. So do please note, I am probably not the best resource for your skincare questions or advice. But at least 4 of you asked for skincare posts, so here it is!

My skin-type is overall normal, but super sensitive. I get breakouts occasionally, maybe once every other month and it typically takes a week for my skin to clear up. Considering that I'm pretty low maintenance with my skincare routine, I suppose I have decent skin. It's by no means perfect - but this is something due to my own neglect.

I've used a variety of brands from Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, Clinique, La Mer, La Prairie, Shiseido, Awake, NARS, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Paul & Joe, MAC, Prescriptives, Laura Mercier etc. So the range is from the drugstore product to the luxury lines. Skincare always intrigues me, but I am the biggest skeptic when it comes to those product descriptions and marketing campaigns claiming "best product." I'm not am expert with ingredients, so if something claims to have some protein complex from an exotic plant that comes from the rain forest, I really have no idea how to process that information much less interpret how it will benefit me as a consumer.

This is what I'm using right now:

Cleanser - I typically like gel cleansers but my current ones are foaming/creamy:


  • Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser ($18.50 for 5 fl oz)- Foaming cream-mousse cleanser which is effective in cleansing but not too strong. My husband loves this stuff too.
  • NARS Balancing Foam Cleanser ($35.00 for 4.4 oz/125 ml) - Another foaming cleanser which is nice, I wouldn't recommend it for dry skin, it's not too strong for me, but it does strip away quite a bit in the cleansing process, I use this in the evenings. One thing I love about this is a little goes a long way. You only need a pea-sized amount.

Toner - I like that fresh clean feeling, so I tend to stay away from Shiseido toners or ones that have a gel-like texture or ones that are too strong which sting the skin:


  • La Mer The Tonic ($60.00 for 6.7 fl oz) - This is pricey, but I've repurchased this at least 6 times. It's soothing and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean.
  • Paul & Joe Refreshing Skin Toner ($33.00 for 200 ml) - I've written about this before, but I tried this from a mini sized sample I received in a GWP. I took it with me on a trip to DC and fell in love. I think this is a good one for normal to dry skin. It's not too rich, but just rich enough to help rebalance your skin. Whenever I get that over-washed tight feeling in my skin, this helps make your face feel more normal. I hope they never discontinue or reformulate this. I am on my second full sized bottle right now.
Scrub - I don't scrub a lot. I actually like to use a washcloth to scrub my face with soap and water because I feel like it's less harsh feeling on my skin. I have purchased a few from Laura Mercier, Clinique, Shiseido in the past, but right now I'm not using any. I've contemplated getting a Clarisonic but again, the ultimate skin-care skeptic that I am, I don't know that I believe all the rave reviews are from actual consumers like you and me. If anyone has a recommendation, I'm all ears!

Mask - Again, I don't use face masks very often. As you will read below, I don't really use these masks for their intended purpose.


  • NARS Mud Mask ($45.00 for 3.6 oz/100 ml) - I've gone through 2 of these since NARS first released his skincare line. I have to admit I like this the most for the fun-factor. Yes, I'm weird, but there's something I find fun about slathering your face with this thick black greyish mud. I can't tell the visible difference it makes for my skin, but it does leave my face feeling clean and refined after 10-15 minutes. Scares the bejesus out of my dogs when I put it on though.
  • MAC Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask ($20 for 100 ml/3.4 fl oz) - This is my favorite mask ever and one I can definitely see results with. It's so great I have to hide it from my husband who loves the fact that it heats up. Dear MAC, if you read this at all - please release this again in the exact same formula!
  • Paul & Joe Treatment Peel-Off Mask ($45 for 120 ml) - This tightens and firms the skin by clarifying. Similar to the NARS Mud Mask, I like this for the peel-off factor which I find fun. I had an obsession with peeling off dried glue from my fingers when I was in art class during grade school. Clearly I was not the brightest crayon in the box when it came to school. I would say this product is definitely not for dry skin.

Miscellaneous - I don't have a current moisturizer favorite. I'm actually testing out a few sample minis but have yet to find one that doesn't cause an allergic reaction and one that's not too heavy. I've used La Mer's Lotion, Shiseido White Lucent, Estee Lauder's Ultimate Youth Cream, Dior Capture Totale, Px, Armani Crema Nera to name a few. Right now I'm trying to find one that doesn't break the bank. I just cannot justify spending over $100 on a face lotion! My eye cream and sunscreen picks:


  • NARS Nourishing Eye Cream ($76 for .5 oz/15 ml) - Yes this is super pricey for the amount you get but a little seriously goes a REALLY long way. It's a lightweight gel that I like to use on my lids which actually helps my shadow stay on longer throughout the day if I use this as a base. I don't have eye wrinkles, so I can't say whether or not it helps with fine lines or not.
  • Chanel UV Essential ($52 for 1 oz) - Again pricey, but this goes a long way too. It has a very fluid texture which helps it apply really easily. I've been using this over my moisturizer samples and it seems to help make the foundation apply better on the skin and last longer. Bonus is that it has SPF 50 which is something I definitely should start using. I've used this for about a month daily and no irritations, breakouts or problems. I definitely see myself repurchasing this in the future.

If any of you would like to share your holy grails for skincare, I'd love to hear your recommendations! I've been told (by the brand reps of course) that the 2-week skincare systems from Shiseido and Chanel are amazing and will give me perfect glowing skin, but I don't want to spend the $200+ and wait 2+ weeks to see if there are any results.
 

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