Showing posts with label Nordstrom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nordstrom. Show all posts

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.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Clinique x Nordstrom Bonus Gift with Purchase - May 2016


There's a Clinique Bonus Gift with Purchase going on right now at Nordstrom through the end of the month which has some really cute items. With any $27 Clinique purchase you can get a 7 piece gift set that includes your pick of one Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer shade in Alabaster, Ivory, Neutral or Nutty (note you have to enter in a code at checkout).

There are also a few step up gift options - if you spend $55 a full-sized skincare product will be added to your cart online (or in store). When I bought mine in store last week there was the 7-Day Scrub Option available online and in stores. Right now it looks like they have the full size Moisture Surge as the step up online. (Options may also vary in store.)

Here's what you get in the gift with $27 purchase:

Foaming Face Sonic Soap (1 fl oz/30 ml)
High Impact Mascara in Black (0.14 oz/3.5 ml)
Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (0.5 oz/15 ml)
Clinique Color Compact with two mini eyeshadows in Sunset Glow
Morning Java + Fig Blush
Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Petal (0.12 oz/3.6 g)
Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer (0.17 fl oz/5 ml) - pick 1 of 4 shades


Swatches of the gift colors I picked out, Ivory is the match for me:


If you order online, be sure to enter one of four codes at checkout for the Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer shades, I swatched the four gift options at the counter in case you can't get to one in person, I hope this helps as an online guide for you:

For Alabaster enter code LIGHT at checkout
For Ivory enter code LTMED at checkout
For Neutral enter code MED at checkout
For Nutty enter code DEEP at checkout


I re-stocked up on a few staples and took advantage of the step up to pick up some items I had been wanting to try for a while. The color pop items have been on my radar for a long time but I always forget to try them in store. I made a list before I went so I would not forget this round. What I ended up picking up:
  • Lid Pop Eyeshadow in Cream Pop is one of the prettiest golden nude shimmers, it has a unique cream to powder kind of finish that adheres well to the lids but doesn't make them look dry
  • Cheek Pop Blush in Nude Pop has also been on my list for ages, it's a good neutral warm nude that adds a bit of natural color without looking too dark, it has a very soft sheen
  • Pop Lip Color + Primer in Nude Pop and Beige Pop (yes, more neutrals!) are great wearable neutrals that add a natural hint of color and shine, I like that they didn't dry out my lips and had no detectable taste or scent, there are a lot of other colors to choose from, I picked to to test out and really like the formula, Clinique also has two other formulas in the Pop Glaze Sheer and Pop Lacquers - I swatched a few briefly at the counter but decided to think about them
  • Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder (Oil Free) in Stay Neutral is something I used a long time ago but never repurchased, it's a very natural matte powder that doesn't look cakey and is good for touch ups, I like the price point too which I find reasonable for a good quality powder
  • High Impact Mascara in Black is also one of my oldie but goodie mascaras, there are so many different options from other brands, I often forget about my tried and true (do note if you haven't tried this there is a mini in the gift with purchase)
  • Take the Day Off Makeup Remover is one of the most gentle makeup removers that will remove eye makeup without stinging my super sensitive eyes (the one I have shown is the 4.2 fl oz size), sometimes I can rub my eyes a bit too hard because waterproof mascara can be hard to remove, this one won't sting, I just noticed that they now carry a Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm which has really good reviews online, let me know if you've tried this and you think it's worth a go
  • Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlighter in Hefty Highlight has been on my wishlist for forever and I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not to buy it. It's a very pale almost white shimmer straight out of the tube, but it blends out to a very natural glowy dewy sheen. I tested it out over the weekend and it held up very well, didn't get greasy as the day progressed and did not emphasize pores. I like that it's a twist up which makes it very easy to use and blend. I hope that Clinique makes more colors in this because I think the formula is great.


Swatches:


Swatches of the two lip items I picked up plus the gift lipstick (I'm wearing the gift with purchase Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in Ivory in the photos below). Bare Pop has some visible shimmer while Nude Pop is more creamy:


If you're ordering online don't forget you need to enter the shade code for the Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer at checkout for it to be added to your cart, code options shown below. After swatching in store I thought Neutral would be my match but it was visibly darker than my skintone when I dabbed along my jawline. Ivory looks light but on my face it's almost an exact match. Since it's full coverage you do need to find the best match possible. I was impressed with the coverage - it covered all my blemish scars, dark spots and under eye circles without looking cakey or flat (just make sure you blend). Ivory is the tiniest bit too pink but I tested it out on several days and as long as I blended it onto the neckline it matched pretty well.

http://rstyle.me/n/bqsf5vubf6


For Alabaster enter code LIGHT at checkout
For Ivory enter code LTMED at checkout
For Neutral enter code MED at checkout
For Nutty enter code DEEP at checkout



Do you have any Clinique favorites? I find the line has a lot of great staples! The Bonus Gift with Purchase is good with any Clinique purchase of $27+, online and in stores at Nordstrom while supplies last.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own, for more information you can refer to my Disclosures.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin


Today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of my favorite tried-and-true skincare products for spring - ones that I find particularly good for my super sensitive skin. When it comes to skincare I like to rotate through different products depending on the season and how my skin feels during a particular moment in time but many of you have asked for a list of my most re-purchased beauty items so I'm sharing a roundup of some of those items with you today. I just turned 35 and anti-aging is a big focus for me. For right now my main concerns with skincare are finding products that have anti-aging ingredients, help maintain a healthy glow and most importantly help keep texture smooth.

First up is my favorite toner of all time which is the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. It's which is one of the skincare items I find essential to my daily routine. Having a good toner keeps the skin clear and break-out free by removing dirt, dead skin cells or any remnants of soap/cleanser residue on the skin that may remain after washing the face. The SK-II toner helps rebalance or soothe my skin. It works wonders to help smooth texture, makes it feel clean, isn't sticky, makes pores smaller, softens the complexion, doesn't irritate and doesn't leave a film but still hydrates. I've purchased numerous bottles and no matter what other toners I try, I keep coming back to this one.

Using cleansing oils to double cleanse is also really important to help me have clear skin. I alternate between cleansing waters and cleansing oils to remove face makeup as a first step, then follow with a regular liquid or clay cleanser. I've found a lot of loves for cleansing oil, but the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil is the best for sensitive skin. It took me a long time to decide to splurge on this one because it's on the pricey side. There are definitely a lot of more affordable options that will work just as well (even for sensitive skin) but the one from SK-II has one of the most pleasant unique smells that is soothing. It almost has a cushiony feel when you apply it to the face. It's soothing, emulsifies well with warm water, removes all traces of face makeup without leaving any residue. I feel like I'm hypersensitive to any kind of residue from makeup removers and this one leaves the skin feeling softly hydrated and clean but not tight and there's no film leftover.

Finding a good facial cotton is important to me because tiny little fibers often stick to my lashes and irritate my eyes. The Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is hands down worth the splurge and my most repurchased face cotton since discovering. Many have said in previous posts they feel that the Shiseido Facial Cotton is identical for a fraction of the price. I've tried both and used Shiseido for a long time (I still do). I personally didn't believe there would be a difference either - I'm glad I gave it a chance because it's thicker and more sturdy while still being super soft. The size is perfect to remove all face makeup and eye makeup with 1 pad while with other brands I find I often have to use 2-3 to remove eye makeup and then all the face makeup.


Another game changer for me has been the Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment Swaps. These are the one-time-use on-the-go version of the original Kate Somervillle Eradikate Acne Treatment (which comes in a bottle). These contain the highest level of sulfur allowed to treat acne and it really helps keep skin clear of new breakouts - if I feel one surfacing I use this at night because of the pink tint and it helps dry out the area without making it sting or peel. The full size bottle is a better buy but the individually packaged swabs are super easy to use, convenient and you can take them anywhere with you. These work on my husband's skin too. He uses them on a regular basis for spot treatments. Really anything in the Eradikate line is good. I've tried several items during a few Kate Somerville facials - the Eradikate Mask Foam is amazing!


It took me a long time to get into beauty oils because I felt like a regular cream just felt better on the skin. However two I swear by are the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil. Both recommended to me by Beauty Look Book readers and friends. With so many raves I knew I had to try them and I'm glad I did. There have been a few oils that were too rich for my skin and caused tiny bumps (a few from Lancome and some other brands) so I'm always very nervous to put these on my skin. My personal go-to is still the L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil which I've used up entirely and repurchased but several of my friends who tried it said it wasn't hydrating enough. I have normal combination skin (not oily though). Friends with normal to dry skin said they needed something more and I had them test out the Kiehl's and Kate Somerville as well. Both are really good at restoring the skin's moisture but are quick to absorb. They leave the skin feeling well hydrated without the greasy feel and both are suitable for super sensitive skin. For me and a couple of my friends - no break outs, no irritation and no clogging with these.

The Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate has antioxidants to protect the skin from daily pollutants. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing. I find it suitable for my combination skin but if you're on the oily side you may find it too rich. The Kate Somerville Dilo Oil helps restore the skin's moisture but has a firming feel to it. It smooths the skin's appearance and helps reduce fine lines and has the most amazing scent ever.


For the lips many of you know I'm a lip balm addict but am also highly allergic to some formulas (like the one from Kiehl's unfortunately). The AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is my favorite unscented and unflavored no fuss option. If you want one that's easy to use and adds a good amount of hydration without feeling too goopy or too runny, this is the perfect in between.


Last but not least - the two best anti-aging skincare products I've tried that help with my skin's surface texture are the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (for day) and DermalQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol (for night). Both have been featured before on the blog. The original DermalQuench is something I use every other day to daily. It's designed to help combat wrinkles and sagging and although I don't have sagging yet, I do have some forehead wrinkles and firmness under the eyes has started to decrease. With regular use the daytime DermalQuench has noticeably improved my skin's texture and radiance - skin is smoother and it does feel firmer without feeling tight.

The DermalQuench with Retinol is gentle enough for my sensitive skin to use nightly and it's worked wonders with skin discoloration from acne scars - although I will say my scars aren't too bad but linger for a while. This works over time to even out the skin tone, brightness and texture. It helps with fine lines - I've tried to convince my husband to use it because he's developed more fine lines around the eyes (sides and underneath). He tried it for a week and I think it helped his skin too, but he hasn't been disciplined in using it although I think it would really help his skin as well.

On the nails, Tom Ford Sugar Dune

I hope you found this roundup helpful! I feel like I have quite a few favorites - enough to repurchase items on a regular basis, but these are my absolute favorites for sensitive skin. Let me know in the comments if you're looking for any other recommendations or want another roundup post. I don't think I've ever done a full skincare routine post since my routine changes frequently but if you're interested I can definitely put one together.

Do you have any tried-and-true skincare that you love? Ones you've repurchased multiple times? If yes please share in the comments!



Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

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.
_____________________________________________


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, January 4, 2016

NARS Hot Sand Collection (Nordstrom Exclusive)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

For the new year NARS x Nordstrom have launched an exclusive collection called Hot Sand which is all about glow. There are six pieces in the collection all with a champagne color focus which give the most natural incandescent luminous finish. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a review on the collection along with lots of comparison swatches to other champagne shimmers.

The six items in the Hot Sand Collection are all exclusive to Nordstrom, items include:
  • Hot Sand Lip Gloss ($26 for 0.18 oz/6 ml) is a pale sandy gold, it has a bit of shimmer in it which comes off as a shimmering frost, finish is sheer to medium but smooth and makes the lips look light and glossy
  • Hot Sand Illuminator ($30 for 1.1 oz/30 ml, repromoted) is a sheer pearlized champagne peachy glow, this is one of my favorite liquid illuminators to add the most natural sheen, it's perfect for my medium-olive skin because the peach gives it color while most champagne highlighters look light and pearly on my skin, it gives the skin that glow from within candlelit look without looking frosted
  • Hot Sand Multiple ($39 for .5 oz/14g) is a new color, it's almost identical to the Illuminator, it gives a more visible glow to the skin, I find it slightly lighter in color because of the pearl particles and more pigmented, two swipes on each cheek are just slightly lighter than my natural skintone and once blended the skin simply glows
  • Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand + Laguna ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is called a blush / bronzer duo, it has a powder blush which on me acts more like a soft highlighter, it's a champagne pearl similar to the Illuminator and Multiple, the powder has a more shimmery glowy finish while the others are more natural looking, Laguna is a cult-classic bronzer, in this compact I found the color to be just slightly different from the regular full-size, the compact one is slightly cooler-toned and sheerer
  • Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is a blush duo with Hot Sand Blush a peachy champagne shimmer combined with Orgasm a peachy pink shimmer
  • Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection


Wearing above: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland mixed with St. Tropez, Powder Foundation in Punjab, Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm, Bronzer in Laguna, Lip Gloss in Hot Sand, Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia, Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve

First up is the new Kabuki Brush. This is a small domed brush that is very dense but soft. Size-wise it fits nicely in the hand - it's small enough to be compact, but not so small I feel like I can't grip it easily. The bristles are evenly distributed and it's very soft and smooth around the edges. There are no hairs poking out and it blends powders seamlessly around the cheeks. I own a number of other kabuki brushes and this one is extremely good. I can see myself using it for setting powders as well. I've shown it below next to the #21 Contour Brush for scale.
NARS Kabuki Brush and Contour Brush

Next up are the Hot Sand + Orgasm Blush Duo and Hot Sand + Laguna Bronzer Blush Duo. Both contain Hot Sand which is listed as a powder blush. The texture of both duos is very good. It's smooth, finely milled, easy to apply and blend. There is a luminous quality to Hot Sand which is very pretty and glowy. I like that they have a slight peachy tone to them which makes for a more natural glow rather than a pearl shimmer which contrasts with my olive skin. I can't pick one over the other, but I do think the Hot Sand + Laguna Duo is my new favorite contouring duo. It's super easy to use for the contouring-challenged (like me). It's great for a no-makeup makeup look to add depth and dimension without looking over the top.
NARS Hot Sand Nordstrom Blush Bronzer Duos


There are three individual items in the collection with the name Hot Sand. Below is the Illuminator, Multiple Stick and Lip Gloss. I'm a huge fan of pale pearly glosses but since I have pigmented lips, many often end up looking like concealer on me. Hot Sand thankfully has enough color to show up with some shine. It's pale but not too pale and the application/color goes on smoothly without streaks. It makes for a good layering gloss too.
NARS Hot Sand Illuminator Multiple Lip Gloss


Close up of the Hot Sand Multiple:
NARS Hot Sand Multiple Nordstrom

Close up of the Hot Sand Lip Gloss:  

NARS Nordstrom Hot Sand Lip Gloss

Hot Sand Lip Gloss on bare lips:


_________________________

Some comparison swatch sets in case you're wondering how these compare to other champagne shimmered items from NARS:


Illuminator in Hot Sand
Illuminator in Orgasm
Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush in Hot Sand (part of the duos)
Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve
Eyeshadow Duo in Alhambra
_________________________


Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand/Laguna
Bronzer in Laguna (individual one is more luminous and warmer)
Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation
 _________________________


Lip Glosses in Supervixen, Chelsea Girls, Striptease, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge and Orgasm
_________________________

NARS Hot Sand Collection

Overall lots to love in this collection - especially those looking for a natural luminous glow. I am addicted to glowy highlighters so I found it necessary to buy all the Hot Sand face items even though the colors are similar among the different formulas. I've owned the Illuminator for a long time and I find the peachy undertone unique in a beauty world filled with pale white champagne highlighters which I love, but often want something that doesn't look white on my skin. The peach in the Multiple, Powder Blush and Illuminator meld more with my olive skintone which makes for a more natural looking glow.

For those who are glow-conscious - I do think these are suitable for those who are ultra conservative in the glow department. Many with oily skin often are wary of anything that glows since oil + shimmer tends to = shiny by afternoon. If you have oily skin the Illuminator is the most natural of the face items. The Multiple Stick has a nice semi-matte finish compared to other multiples and I found it stayed put. The most glowy of the face items is the Powder Blush which I really like - it's not too shimmery but shimmery enough that you can see it.

If I had to pick just one of the face products, I would say I can't because I really like all of them, but I think the Multiple adds the most natural luminous quality in a highlighter I've seen that makes the face glow - your mileage may vary depending on your skintone.

Bottom line thumbs up. I'm really liking the way Hot Sand Lip Gloss looks - it's what I wanted Striptease to look like on the lips which is too pale for me to wear alone while Hot Sand just works. Alone or layered.

Have you checked out the NARS Hot Sand Collection yet? Or do you already own the Illuminator? For this time of year what's your go-to for a glow?



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions my own.


 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2016 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK