Showing posts with label Molton Brown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Molton Brown. Show all posts

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scented Luxuries for the Home


I love little home accents to add a bit of luxury whether it's something as simple as a nice hand wash or a beautiful candle. Little details can add a bit of life to the home or give it a more personal touch. As many of you know, I'm beyond obsessed with Diptyque (my favorites in this round up here). There's nothing quite like a good scented candle to set the mood and since Diptyque has a wide range of options, there is something for everyone. They are quite the splurge but worth every penny.

I've rounded up a few more home fragrance options that I love including items that aren't candles. All of these can double as great hostess gifts - or really gifts for any occasion. I always have extra Diptyque candles stocked up for those moments I need a last minute gift, or when my husband needs a gift. Of course as one of my friends and I discussed, there are some people who won't appreciate the special nature of a Diptyque candle in which case we both agree great alternatives are hand creams.

Up first is a line that I just discovered called Antica Farmacista. I've seen it at Nordstrom and other retailers and after trying a few items I can't believe it took me this long to try it out. They've been kind enough to offer Beauty Look Book readers a mini body butter with any order, simply use code ANTICABLB at checkout.


I've tested out three products so far and a few of you have e-mailed me a few additional recommendations after seeing it featured on my social last week. Their Platinum Round Candles come in a 9 oz size with 60 hours of burn time. They're cased in a glass jar with a platinum leaf pattern. I've been burning Cucumber and Lotus Flower and scent fills the whole room even without burning. The throw is very good once burned and this is such a calming scent. It has a mix of Crenshaw melon, green apple, olive, coriander, heliotrope, rose and jasmine with cucumber. For something that has a lot of notes it smells very streamlined and clean. It is a green scent but a cucumber green versus a leafy green. I highly recommend it, especially with the hot summer heat - it gives the home a cooled effect.

The Reed Diffusers are beautiful. I've been using Aqua which is another fresh and clean scent. As with most diffusers the effect is softer than burning a candle or using a room spray but the scent is definitely noticeable. It's more prominent in smaller rooms like a bathroom, but I've placed this in our living room and it gives the entire room a soft clean scent. It's a huge plus for us since we have 3 furry critters at home (thank God for roombas). We bathe them frequently but and added help with scents is a life saver.

Last but not least are the Body Butters which are ultra luxurious. I normally prefer unscented body products or dry oils (the L'Occitane Extra Gentle Shea Butter is my go-to) but the Bergamot and Ocean Aria is one of the most incredible to die for clean scents I've ever tried. It leaves the body feeling silky smooth - no greasy residue left behind. I found it moisturized the body well and didn't irritate my super sensitive skin (I blow up in bumps if I use Kiehl's lotions, although I can use their shower gels just fine). Unlike other body butters, the scent lasted all day but was soft enough that it didn't give me a migraine. I was sent a couple minis, Orange Blossom, Lilac and Jasmine is a sweet orange blossom kind of scent. Prosecco is a citrus floral with black currant, apricot and passionfruit - it smells like a spa.



Next up includes the cutest travel sized set I think I've ever seen. I had to replenish on some shower gels from Molton Brown last month and browsed the site for a few things to add on to my order. I came across the Best Sellers Travel Hand Wash Set and immediately ordered. I literally squealed when they arrived in the mail because I'm a sucker for minis and these each come with a pump. They're bigger than the tiny baby shower gels which makes them a good trial size but more than a 3x use kind of product. They clean the hands nicely without drying them out and there's no film leftover after rinsing. My favorite is Pomegranate and Ginger.


These are 100 ml each compared to the full sized Hand Washes that are 300 ml each. Shown hand held also to show scale. I can't get over how cute these are! They are a little spendy if you break down the set price of $45, it comes out to a little over $11 per mini bottle. There are a few good promos offers online right now though. You can get a free 3.3 fl oz body wash when you spend $70 with code 70WASH at checkout (you get a choice from 15 options) and if you spend $150 you get a 4-piece Travel Set + Luxury Luggage Tag with code GETAWAY150.


Acrylic Tray by West Elm, on the nails Marc Jacobs Resurrection

Other favorite home luxuries include the Lumira Darsana Candle (review here). For those new to Lumira, they are an Australia-based candle company and their scents are incredible. My husband has the Cuban Tobacco in his office. My personal favorite is Tahitian Coconut. Darsana is part of their limited-edition Collezione Bianca launch and I love the clean white packaging.

Diptyque Baies and Figuier are my top two favorites from the line. They have a special limited-edition box in the mini size as part of their summer voyages collection. I splurged on the Large Scented Candle in Figuier once - it cost me an arm and a leg, but my husband wanted one for our home so I didn't resist. It lasted us for months because I burned a little at a time. We've since recycled it and I use it for large flowers or to chill champagne. If you shop at Club Monaco stores they often burn the large Baies candles there and it always smells great in the stores.

Last but not least are Le Labo x The Laundress Detergent. These are extremely pricey so I use them sparingly but they are worth every penny. I can't decide which one I prefer, Santal has that amazing musky sandalwood and cedar mix which I love. Rose on the other hand smells incredible for sheets and it's not too girly. On the last special gifting occasion we had my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for a Le Labo Detergent lol! He got me something else instead, he said, "I am not getting you laundry detergent for your birthday - even if it's fancy."


That wraps up my roundup of scented luxuries for the home. As always I'd love to hear about your favorites! I think the Antica Farmacista Reed Diffusers are nice alternatives to candles - especially since you don't have to worry about flames or smoke.

What ways do you add little touches to your home to give it an extra special touch? It doesn't have be something fragranced! I love adding little decorative objects but it usually takes me ages to find ones that I like. Flowers or candles are the easiest for me because they are so simple. I'd love to hear ideas from you!

Press samples include items from Lumira and Antica Farmacista. All others purchased by me.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bright + Fresh Fragrance Favorites for the Spring to Summer Transition


I have another fragrance roundup of a few new perfumes I've been trying out combined with a repeat of a few favorites I've been loving right now. I have summer on my mind but it's still spring so I don't feel quite ready to wear full-on summer scents yet. I did my first round up earlier this year here (for him and her). Here are a few more to check out if you're in the market for something new as we transition from the spring to summer season.

Up first are two from Diptyque. The Eau de Sens is the latest fragrance release from Diptyque (my favorites from the brand rounded up here). It's one of the few orange blossom scents I feel I can wear. The combination of orange and floral is usually too powdery for me to wear although I do love orange-based fragrances. Many are great as a home fragrance whether it's a spray or candle but I simply cannot wear a lot of them. Eau de Sens is the first one I've fallen in love with - it's bright and lifts the mood.

Florabellio isn't a new fragrance, but it was recently launched in a Travel Size 30 ml size as part of the Voyage Collection and is cute beyond words. There are select items available in the collection, a few perfumes include Philosykos, Do Son, L'Ombre Dans L'Eau and Tam Dao. There are a few small size candles available in the special print boxes (jars are still clear glass) and a few minis of the body products. As of right now the entire collection is limited-edition and at most Diptyque retailers if you purchase any 3 items from the travel line you can get a complimentary travel zip pouch. More on the travel collection in a separate post but Florabellio is the most unique sweet floral with apple that I've ever tried. I would have never thought to wear something with apple blossoms, apricot, fennel, sea salt, coffee and toasted sesame - but it's really quite nice, especially for spring.

In general Diptyque fragrances have a medium lasting power. I have a very sensitive nose and can usually detect remnants of the scent many hours later even though often times others around me cannot. The scents do start to fade by hour 4-5 of wear.
 

Lumira Paradisium is also another one I adore. This is the perfect spring to summer kind of scent that makes me feel very much put together. It has bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, fig nectar, guava, vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood. It's a fig scent I can actually wear. I love fig scents for the home but whenever I try it in perfume form I feel like I'm wearing a sweet dessert. The bergamot, vetiver and cedarwood give this a slightly raw feel that balances out the sweetness. I've been wearing this one for a couples years now and I hope it's here to stay forever. In terms of lasting power this is one of the best and longest lasting. It's up there with Tom Ford and Frederic Malle.


Maison Margiela Replica scents are simply incredible. I first tried Beach Walk in a rollerball and it's definitely one of those perfect summertime scents. Lipstick On is a classic feminine blush kind of scent that smells like vintage makeup. If you don't really care for the makeup-like vibe Lipstick On has but do like the level of intensity/feminine quality it has, you might want to check out Flower Market or Promenade in the Garden. Both florals that are very wearable.

Flower Market smells just like a flower market. It's a soft bright floral that has freesia, sambac jasmine, Egyptian jasmine, tuberose, rose, peach, cedarwood and oak moss. To me it smells primarily of jasmine and with a hint of tuberose and moss.

Promenade in the Gardens is more green and less floral. It has a mix of green accord, freesia accord, coriander oil, turkish rose oil, peony accord, sambac jasmine, patchouli, vetiver and Australian sandalwood. It's clearly feminine to me, but it's not girly like Flower Market or Lipstick On if that makes sense.

The Replica scents are medium to long lasting on my skin. They're strong enough to notice hours after but aren't overpowering when you first spray them which is nice.


 Beautiful floral arrangement created by Hessney & Co @chrishessney


If you like to layer bright spring florals with shower gels and body lotions, Molton Brown is always a good idea :) The Dewy Lily of the Valley Star Anise Collection has everything covered including Hand Creams. If you're one is really particular about florals and wants something that isn't too strong, too powdery or too mature, this one is a good one. Notes are as follows:

Top notes: star anise, magnolia, green mandarin
Heart notes: lily of the valley, peony, white tea
Base notes: ylang-ylang, sandalwood and white musk

To me it resembles a more green + lily version of Diptyque Florabellio so it's no surprise this is one I like as well. I can smell the white tea and green mandarin and lily of the valley. It has a refreshing bright feel like jasmine even though there aren't any jasmine notes. If I had to describe this one in one word it would be fresh. You can buy items individually but they have a few sets that are beautifully packaged. The Fragrance Gift Set has the shower gel, body lotion and perfume at a value price. Lasting power of the Eau de Toilette is medium to long.

Last but not least is the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc which I know many would designate as a summer fragrance. It's a white floral that has beachy summer vibes but it's not so summery that I can't wear it right now (I've actually bought this months ago and have been loving it). In my experience Tom Ford fragrances are among the ones that last the longest on me from morning until late evening - but it does vary a little bit per scent. Some are stronger than others, but even the lighter ones still last a long time.


If you're looking for a new fragrance I hope you found this roundup helpful! I don't know if many of you are like me - but I feel the need to rotate scents frequently. I have some close friends who stick to 2-3 signature scents each season. I like to play around with different ones each season.

Do you have any favorites in rotation right now? If yes please let me know! I always love to read about your loves - especially when it comes to fragrance, layering etc.

Press samples featured include the Lumira Pardisium, Diptyque Eau de Sens, Replica and Molton Brown. Other items purchased by me.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What's In My Bag


I'm spilling what's inside my bag this week - as usual I have a couple small cosmetic bags or pouches to help keep makeup separated and somewhat organized from the rest of what I carry with me. Most of the purses I have tend to be open totes without dividers or pockets. I finally splurged on a Neverfull MM which has some pockets inside and comes with a flat zip pouch, but for the most part it's one of those open totes. Shown above is the Tory Burch York Cosmetic Case (also cute in red) and the Truffle Small Clarity Clutch (also available in mini and large). iPhone Case is one of the Gray Malin Lisbon prints.

Face Products:

Skin care and hand care:
  • Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream (travel size) is a go-to for calming and hydrating, the full size one is actually compact enough to carry around with me, but the small one is best for those who prefer to carry smaller bags, the entire Indigo line is really good for sensitive skin and helps calm down irritation or flare ups, they have a four piece set called the Soothing Indigo Mini Set which I highly recommend if you want to try the line in smaller sizes
  • The Lotus Leaf and Camellia Mist from Peach and Lily was sent as a sample for me to try, it's hydrating and refreshing with a soft citrus scent - the mist pump dispenses a fine mist which calms the skin. I've been playing with it for a few weeks now and am obsessed.
  • Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist (travel size) is the best-designed travel sized mist - it's been a go-to staple for a long long time, the packaging is really the best I've ever seen. If you haven't tried this you need to!
  • Le Labo Santal is one of my latest discoveries (actually from a few months ago), it's not really a spring scent to me since it has sandalwood, amber and musk, but I still love it. At this time I'm still working my way through a few of the mini vials - I don't know that I love it enough to buy the full size, but I suspect it's because I'm feeling the spring to summer vibes.
  • Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod is probably my favorite scented hand cream of all time, I just can't get enough of the scent - I'm seriously considering buying the perfume version. If you love Molton Brown hand creams, they just launched the Dewy Lily of the Valley Star Anise which is the ultimate floral lily spring scent (review on this one soon).
Lips:
I'm always on lip overload when it comes to what I carry in my bag, right now I have:
  • Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Color in Mustique (reviewed here) is such a pretty baby pink that is on the light side but doesn't wash out the complexion.
  • Glossier Cherry Balm Dotcom is one of three new flavored lip balms from the line, I ordered immediately and have been obsessed with all of them - if you click this link here you can save 20% off your first purchase.
  • Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss in Lover's Desire is a pretty peachy pink with a rich shine, I love all the glosses I've tried from his line, they add the prettiest healthy gloss to the lips. I like using them on top of lipstick. If you like a cool-nude, Nude Satin is amazing.
  • Edward Bess Defining Lip Liner in Natural (swatched here) is my holy grail go with everything neutral, if I were forced to live with one lipliner color the rest of my life this would be it, although his newest shade Barely is pretty awesome too.
  • Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in Goals is a pretty full pigment glossy warm pink (review soon).
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Eddie (on the lips here) is a a pretty shimmering cool beige neutral that's easy to throw on for a neutral wash of shimmer.
Lip swatches with Anastasia Vintage as a comparison:

Eyes:

I have two items for the eyes in my bag, the By Terry Mascara is one of my favorites these days because it thickens and lengthens without smudging. Also in my bag is the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Dune. These come with a twist click packaging and brush applicator at the end. The one I have shown is a brand new one but I keep multiples so I don't run out. It evens out the lids and preps the eyes for powder shadow. It's my holy grail and comes in three colors. Swatched below next to Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold which I use a lot as an eye base and also next to NARS Concealers in Custard and Ginger as a baseline (full concealer roundup from last fall here). The Edward Bess Eye Bases have a more pink undertone which is exactly what I want on my lids. Yellow concealers match my skin for concealing but on the lids the pink helps neutralize red a bit and evens out without making the face look sallow.


I hope you enjoyed peeking into my bag! Also hope the swatches helped in case you're new to any of the color items I featured. What's in your bag this week? Do you have any favorites you are carrying with you right now?

Press samples featured include the MustaeV Easy Go Brush, Tom Ford Mustique, Edward Bess Natural, Edward Bess Lover's Desire, Lotus Face Mist, Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream, Truffle Clarity Clutch.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Inside My Bag


February flew by so quickly, I cannot believe it's March but I'm excited for spring. I've been working my way through swatching all of the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks and hope to have the post up by the end of the week (fingers crossed my lips can handle the swatching). A few of you have asked for a review of my Celine mini belt bags (seen here and here) - I haven't really done purse or accessory reviews but will definitely do one on both in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!

Here's a peek of what I have in my bag right now. I've been loving my Prada Saffiano still - I think I've had it going on 2.5+ years now and it's held it's shape remarkably well, hasn't shown any signs of wear or scratches and is extremely versatile for a number of different occasions and outfits. I've had my eye on the Saffiano Cuir Double Bag in black ever since I saw that they started carrying a small one on Extra Petite. She has a really good review and comparison (although my camel tote is a different style and has different dimensions compared to hers). It takes me months to decide on a splurge - I've been looking for a classic black leather tote for a long time, but cannot make up my mind because size and structure is really important to me.

Inside my Saffiano Tote this week:
What's in your bag this week? Any new beauty discoveries from the weekend?

Press samples featured include the Tatcha beauty papers and Truffle clutch+case.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What's Inside My Makeup Bag

Inside my makeup bag truffle clarity pouch

It's only the first week of the year and even though I've tried to clean out some of my purses and reorganize, I've already accumulated way too much in my makeup bag. I just emptied it this morning and counted 12 lip items ... wait no, 13 eek! Everytime I go out with my husband, he's always asking what it is that I'm lugging around and if I really need to carry all this stuff. Of course I don't, but I still do. Here's a peek at what's inside my makeup bag which is the Truffle Clarity Clutch Small in Nude. Some will be reviewed on the blog very soon.
______________

Lips


Featured from left to right:
______________

All the other stuff


From left to right:
______________


I'll say now that the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac is way better than the Pink one (which turns fuchsia on my lips sometimes). I ordered all the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks from the chocolate launch because how can one resist anything chocolate? There are hits and misses with the colors - I'll be editing swatches to upload later this week (my husband said one of the colors looked absolutely hideous on me). I pulled out my Tisse Rivoli eyeshadow quad recently - it is one of my favorite neutrals in quad form but I misplaced it and couldn't find it for months (I had put the compact in my blush drawer which is why I couldn't find it with all the other eyeshadow compacts). My goal for the new year is to find some more makeup organization solutions. I've been using Muji Acrylic organizers and drawers, but I need something bigger with taller drawers - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. There are a number of options out there I've been researching - I've been making notes on dimensions and picing, it's kinda overwhelming to sort out! 

What's in your makeup bag this week? If you keep your makeup contents to a minimum, how do you edit/organize what you carry? 



Press samples featured above indicated by a *. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best in Beauty 2015: The Beauty Look Book Favorites for Hands and Nails


Hands and nails get their own favorites category this year. There were a lot of really good colors launched this year - unfortunately quite a few were limited-edition. My top picks for hand creams, treatments, polishes and other basics. Previous reviews linked for reference:
  1. Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Nail Lacquer in Daisy - this is one I've owned for a couple years but everytime I wear it I always get asked "what's on your nails?" it's the prettiest soft pearly color that makes the hands look polished
  2. Chanel Le Vernis in Beige Rose - best baby pink cream nail color
  3. Dior Vernis in Lady - so sad this was limited-edition, the prettiest powder pink, I wish I bought a backup bottle
  4. Dior Vernis in Sunkissed - also limited-edition but still available at Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, the best nude peach cream
  5. Tom Ford Sugar Dune - this was a limited-edition color from spring 2014 but made a comeback this year and was added to the permanent lineup, it's the closest one to Dior Lady and such a polished beauty
  6. Louboutin Scarabée Nail Polish Collection - the three had to be the prettiest nail colors launched this past year, I was happy to get them before they sold out, looking forward to what they will release this upcoming year
  7. Rescue Beauty Lounge everything, in particular the R29 Collection - RIP RBL, you were one of my favorite nail polish lines, I was very sad to see the line go, but their polishes will always have a very special place in my heart
  8. L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Hand Creams - L'Occitane launched such an amazing with their holiday collection this year, I fell in love with everything in the Pierre Hermé line and am embarrassed to admit how many shower gels and hand creams I stocked up on because they are limited-edition, right now you can still find Miel Mandarine and Pamplemousse Rhubarbe online but I don't suspect they will be available for long
  9. Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover and Cuticle Oil - both of these remain at the top of my list for DIY nail essentials, I use them weekly and had to replace both because I use them so often
  10. Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod - the most unique refreshing scent I've tried
  11. Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher - still the best one I've tried, although if you have any good ones to recommend I'm all ears
  12. Chanel Chataigne - from the fall collection earlier this year, initially I thought it was so similar to other vamps but it grew on me, best vampy shade launched this year
  13. Chanel Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir - prettiest gold glitter top coat launched this year, I hope you were able to get one! It's limited-edition
  14. Marc Jacobs Hi Shine Enamored Nail Lacquer in Wine Not - best metallic wine color released this year, it sold out almost instantly but was restocked online at Marc Jacobs Beauty, if you haven't tried it you need to
  15. Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat - I don't think I reviewed this in detail although I did mention it in this post here, one of the best top coats I tried this year and doesn't cause shrinkage with other nail polish brands
  16. Formula X Nail Cleaner and Base Coat - I've found the Nail Cleaner to be a game changer, having a completely clean nail surface makes all the difference in helping polish adhere to the nails, the Base Coat has been a staple all year long, it's what I've used the most and I can't recommend it enough
Nail polish and hand cream fanatics - what were your favorites this year?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Molton Brown Holiday 2015


It's crunch time for holiday shopping if you're ordering items online. Many retailers are offering shipping upgrades for last-minute gifts, but it's better to be safe than in a panic so be sure to organize your lists and check the cut-off dates today. Molton Brown is still having their 20% off orders $85+ online with code HOLIDAY at checkout (valid until Thursday 12/17). Today is their last day to order for standard shipping (by midnight EST). Express Shipping cutoff is December 18th and Priority Shipping cutoff is December 21st. (Full shipping deadlines listed here.) I have some of their holiday selection to feature today in case you're looking for some gift ideas.

There are a number of limited-edition holiday scents this season. My favorite is the Vintage 2015 with White Elderflower. The packaging comes with gold colored labels and a gorgeous dove grey bow which is so glamorous with the perfect holiday vibe. The scent is a floral sparkling grapefruit. It's a soft well rounded grapefruit that smells delicious. I like that it's soft and not overly sharp or sweet. It has a very cheerful feel to it. I love that the shower gel has shimmer mixed in which makes it so beautiful to look at.

Top Notes: grapefruit
Heart Notes: petitgrain
Base notes: vetiver
Extract: English Elderflower

The options for this scent:


My favorite items from Molton Brown are the stocking stuffers. The holiday Festive Body Wash Ornament Baubles come in 10 scents and are $15 each. The boxes are exquisite! You can also find these in the 9-Piece Festive Bauble Collection ($115) or Festive Bauble Trio ($40) - both expertly wrapped in a gorgeous silver box.


The holiday crackers are always fun. There is one option still available. The Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker ($25) has a mini body lotion, mini shower gel and a full-sized hand cream in the Pink Pepperpod scent which is really hard for me to describe, but it's a clean peppery scent that's surprisingly nice even though I'm not usually a fan of wearing spicy pepper scents. Notes are fiery pink pepper, ginger and rich patchouli.


Long time Beauty Look Book readers know I'm loyal to Diptyque, Jo Malone and Henri Bendel when it comes to candles. I'm relatively new to the ones from Molton Brown but I was immediately impressed the first time I took a close look. They come packaged in a hefty glass jar (the thickest I've ever seen). They have a split in the outside between frosted and regular glass which makes for a beautiful decorative piece. The scents have serious throw - the tiny ones filled the entire room with scent even before I started burning them. Two shown below are the  Garden Bloom Mini Candle Collection ($58) has 4 candles in Gingerlily, Orange and Bergamot, Ylang-Ylang and Lily of the Valley Violet Leaf scents. For holiday there is the Festive Frankincense and Allspice Single Wick Candle ($49, sold out most everywhere, full size is still available at Barney's New York also available in the Festive Holiday Candle Mini Trio Set). This one smells just like Christmas with allspice, frankincense and vetiver. It's strong on all three notes and has a spicy-incense feel that's all kinds of warm and cozy.

Ylang-Ylang is my favorite for right now. It's the perfect calming scent. I'm still obsessed with the body scrub and shower gel.


Last but not least, not really a holiday launch, but I have to mention the Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment and Hand Exfoliator Duo Set again ($40 for the duo, or $20 if you buy them separately). Full review on this along with the other Molton Brown Hand Creams in this post here.


Bottom line lots to love. If you're looking for any last minute gifts that come beautifully packaged and boxed (so no extra work on your part is required), there's lots to choose from at Molton Brown. You can find their products at a number of different retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney's New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Right now Molton Brown is offering 20% off orders $85+ plus free standard shipping (plus their items come beautifully wrapped when you order from them). Enter in code HOLIDAY at checkout (offer ends 12/17).

If you have any Molton Brown favorites please share! 

Items featured were sent as press samples for review consideration. As always all opinions my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hand Creams and Treatment Rotation, Favorites and Recommendations for Him and Her


I'm a bit of a hand cream addict. There's not a week that I don't have at least 2 hand creams in my purse not to mention all the drawers in my home that I have little hand cream tubes stashed. The weather has turned in the past few weeks, the air is extremely dry and my skin has really felt it. Extra help with moisture has been essential for me on all fronts. Last year I put together a list of my favorite hand creams that I had in rotation. Today I have a roundup of some new ones that I've been putting to the test including three designed more for men (thanks to my husband for testing some too).

When it comes to hand creams, there are three things I look for: good packaging, quick absorption, noticeable hydration. While I don't mind feeling the moisture, I like treatments don't have a greasy feel or silicone-like slip in the finish. On scented hand creams, I'm all for a good one with fragrance because it lifts the mood but sometimes I want something fragrance-free so it doesn't interfere with my perfume. For my husband, he doesn't like any of the ones I have that have girly scents. He has used and likes the one from Kiehl's, but it's pretty emollient and he's been asking me to find him something that has a quick dry time.

Up first is my favorite hand cream formula ever, L'Occitane. I've been hooked on L'Occitane since a family friend gifted me a tube of the regular Shea Butter version to help me with my peeling cuticles and dry hands. The regular Shea Butter is extra gentle and perfect for those with sensitive skin and noses. It's also thick and ultra hydrating. This one is L'Occitane's best-seller and comes in a few different size options. There are some value sets which give you a price break, so before you buy, definitely check out the sets like this Hugs & Kisses Duo or this Hand Cream Trio (there are larger value sets too).

I'm super picky when it comes to scented body products so it's somewhat of a miracle that I've loved every single L'Occitane scented hand cream. The options vary in thickness and texture depending on formula, but all are pretty much the same in terms of hydration. There are two whipped formulas in the Shea Butter Whipped* and Melting Honey Whipped* (review here) both have 25% shea butter and have a lighter texture but are very moisturizing.

Amande (Almond) is one of the few that doesn't have shea butter. It's made with almond oil and has an emollient and thinner texture. It's a favorite of mine but the scent is pretty strong. The Collection de Grasse scents (reviewed here) are also stronger in fragrance, many of which are very floral.

By far, my favorite is the Pierre Hermé x L'Occitane collaboration. I've stocked up on the Pierre Hermé Hand Cream Trios because you save $7 by purchasing the set, and it also comes packaged in a cute limited-edition tin which makes it perfect for gifting. Pamplemousse Rhubarbe is a warm well rounded grapefruit. You can smell the citrus but the rhubarb makes it softer, warmer and not as sharp as a true grapefruit. Jamine-Immortelle Neroli is a very soft gentle jasmin and citrus mix. I normally don't like wearing jasmin scents, but this one is very soothing and I adore it. Miel Mandarine is soft orange scented hand cream. It's got a creamy roundness to the scent because of the honey in it. All three are hydrating but have a quick drydown and leave the hands feeling silky smooth. There's no greasy feel and it absorbs super quick (quick as in less than 30 seconds).

L'Occitane wins for most fun packaging designs, best formula for sensitive but dry skin, and widest variety of scents and ingredients to suit your preferences and needs.


Next up are the Molton Brown Hand Creams*. I've been a fan of the line for a long time (long before most everything was reformulated or scents renamed). Their current line up of their hand creams are just as good as L'Occitane but the Molton Brown has different scents and packaging. There are currently seven scented options, some are called Replenishing Hand Creams and others simply Hand Creams. I tested all the scents and formulas and they perform the same. They have a fast absorbing texture that is not too thin but not too thick. Hands feel moisturized and smooth. With scented body products there's often a hit or miss, but in this case there's not a bad one in the entire lineup. Scents are noticeable and last a decent amount of time. My top three favorites are Gingerlily, Pink Pepperpod (also available in this cute holiday cracker) and Ylang-Ylang.

The latest launch is the Alba White Truffle line which consists of a Hand Treatment and Hand Exfoliator. You can buy them individually or in a boxed duo gift set (prices are the same whether you buy separate or together). These are scented with nutmeg, olibanum and vanilla and they smell absolutely delicious without being overpowering or too sweet. The formula of the hand cream is a lot richer than the other ones in the Molton Brown line. It's very very moisturizing and you can definitely feel the strength of it. It does absorb fast and doesn't leave a greasy feel although you can feel the moisture. It's a pampering kind of treatment that I really like. The best part of this line is the Hand Exfoliator. I've had scrubs with pedicures before but never on the hands. This is new to me but I'm hooked. The scrub gets rid of all the dead skin and build up and leaves the hands feeling refreshed, moisturized, ultra smooth and just so much better. I would love to use it everyday but that would be overdoing it. I've used this 1x per week and my hands feel like dead weight has been lifted off that I didn't know was there. If you're looking for a hand duo for someone who already has almost everything this is a good option as it just launched in mid-October and is relatively new.



Next up are some other brands that have one formula or scent of hand cream. Many are either skincare or fragrance lines.
  • Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 is one of the most gentle hand creams I've tried that's unscented. If you're super sensitive to any fragrance or simply don't like it, this is a good option. The formula is on the thick side so a little goes a long way. It absorbs quickly.
  • Nuxe Rêve de Miel is the most lightweight in texture that I've tried. I'm a fan of all things Nuxe, I bought mine in a duo set from Paris, but you can buy the individual tubes online (currently there's a sale online at Nuxe). It has a soothing but very soft and gentle honey scent.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White Hand Creams restocked at Sephora.com, both are limited-edition and come in sleek slim tubes perfect to slip into a clutch or small bag. I bought a couple tubes of both since I love the fragrance. The formula is nicely moisturizing and scent is pretty strong.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Hydrating Hand Cream* is a new formula from Ole Henriksen. It's a lightweight super absorbent hand cream that strengthens and protects the skin. It also has Willowbark which is a natural exfoliant (salicylic acid) to sheds dead skin cells and stimulate new cell formation. I like that it absorbs fast and the moisture lasts a long time. Even though it has a natural exfoliant I was relieved to find it didn't make the skin peel or pill. It has a super lightweight clean scent. It makes the hands look smoother instantly. (Also available at Sephora.)
  • Leif Kakadu Plum and Macadamia Nut Hand Balm* is a super hydrating emollient hand treatment. It smells really good like macadamia and it's so good I almost want to eat it. This one is larger than most of the tubes I have but still works to fit inside my purse. I would say it's as moisturizing as the Kiehl's but has a thinner texture. I really like the Leif as a cuticle treatment too.
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream* is hands down my favorite treatment hand cream. The Indigo line is really good for sensitive, dry or itchy skin. It has a lightweight refreshing sakura-like scent to it. I would recommend it to anyone for any skin type. If you don't want to buy the full size without trying it, Tatcha has it in a smaller Travel Size. It's also available in a mini in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set. If you want the full size there's a Aiiro Soothing Duo set that has the hand and body cream.



For men, I've been on the hunt for a good basic hand cream designed more for men versus something that is unisex. When it comes to skincare, packaging is key for my husband. It has to look good and have easy to use packaging. He won't use anything pink or girly-looking. The Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve comes in a small size in the Men's Starter Set and my husband likes it and uses it daily. It is very hydrating and when it comes to waiting for something to absorb into the skin, my husband (Andrew) wants it to be fast (he doesn't like waiting). With the Kiehl's, he will apply it to his hands or feet. Any excess is rubbed off onto his arms or on a towel. I also like it because it's very good for super dry skin is unscented and even though it's emollient I find it dries within a few minutes. It's available in a number of holiday sets and bundles where you can save like this trio.

Andrew's been a fan of Baxter and Jack Black, so I ordered both for him to try. He's a fan of the Jack Black Cool Body Moisturizer because it has a nice clean scent and feels refreshing. He says it applies well and absorbs into the skin quickly without feeling greasy. The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer comes with a lot of high ratings on online reviews. It's also been recommended by many of my female readers. I had high hopes that my husband would like this one because he's a fan of the line. After trying this - he felt it too emollient, too thick and he kept wanting to wipe off the excess from his hands. I thought he was in one of his impatient moods and tried it myself. He was right. I also found it very thick in texture and a bit sticky. The benefits of the Jack Black are that it's very very hydrating. It soothes dry spots instantly. There is a slight menthol scent to it but it fades. I let it sit for as long as I could to see if it would dry down. It never did but I found I could tolerate the texture as an overnight treatment. It makes the hands look visibly smoother and in the morning they look and feel a lot better.

Baxter of California is a men's grooming line my husband discovered at the Birchbox Roadtrip event earlier this year. He's been a fan of everything he's tried so far and has some of the value sets on his holiday wishlist. A couple reviewed in this monthly favorites post here. I ordered the Hydro Salve Hand Cream which is a white cream in a squeeze tube. This one is his favorite because it adds noticeable hydration but dries quickly. It leaves the hands feeling moisturized, fixes dry cracks and soothes the skin without any greasy residue. I tried it as well. On one of the days I had some issues with cuticle dryness (some were starting to crack). Within minutes my hands felt instant relief and by the afternoon, my cuticles were almost healed. The description of this one is "Packed with aloe, shea butter and avocado oil, this unscented moisturizing cream hydrates and helps repair very dry skin. Infused with vitamins E, C and B5, the extra thick cream delivers nutrients to rough and chapped areas." It's exactly as described.


Above: Collar Stays from Nordstrom, Travel Case by Tumi (current style here)

There are several I did test in store that had very high ratings online in customer reviews but that I didn't like enough to purchase. I'll mention three briefly. Ahava Mineral Hand Cream came highly recommended to me by several readers. I bought this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and had very high hopes. I couldn't tolerate the smell and the while formula dried quickly it had an almost silicone-slip to my hands that I couldn't wait to wash off. Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream also came highly recommended to me. I liked the formula but found the scent overpoweringly sweet. La Mer The Hand Treatment is a cult classic. I actually splurged on a tube many years ago and used it up. I considered repurchasing recently but found the formula overpowering in fragrance. I also found it felt very emollient, almost greasy. I do think it will be good for super dry hands or an overnight treatment.

That wraps up my roundup of hand cream testing for fall to winter. If you're in the market for a new hand treatment especially in this dry weather, my top picks include:

Most variety and best formula:
L'Occitane and Molton Brown

Best unscented options:
L'Occitane Shea Butter, Eve Lom and Baxter of California

Most intense for super dry skin:
Kiehl's, Jack Black, Molton Brown Alba White Truffle and Leif

Most lightweight texture: 
Nuxe Rêve de Miel

Best for sensitive skin/instant relief:
Tatcha

Personal favorites for scented hand creams:
L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé (all three)
Molton Brown Gingerlily
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black
Leif 

Husband's favorite for men:
Baxter of California

There are a number of really good gift sets this holiday. I can't get over how good they are this year. You can find the brands above at a number of different retailers but some products and sets are exclusive to the brands own retail website. All the products are linked above in the reviews to where you can buy them so you don't have to click around to find things. Many times it's easier to shop at larger retailers but if you're looking for good deals or savings, I'd recommend researching ones that sound interesting to you, make a list and bookmark websites. A lot of the individual brands will have savings and gift with purchase offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - so while it might be a bit of extra work to shop, I do believe it will be worth the effort. I'll have a roundup of promotions, codes and deals on Friday and Monday so stay tuned. 

I think skincare or scented products are often tricky to gift to people, especially if you don't know them extremely well. I think hand creams fall into the more neutral category. I've gifted L'Occitane for years and it's always well received. There's been confirmation in this conclusion since those I've gifted the hand creams have always repurchased what I've bought them, they often buy as gifts for their friends as well.

As usual, I've love for you to share what your favorites are. Please let me know in the comments!  

Press samples included in the feature indicated by a *. All others purchased by me.

 

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