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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Body Care Staples for Soft and Smooth Skin

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care Routine for Soft Skin

As the weather has started to shift to cooler and dryer temperatures I've felt the need for some extra skincare boosts when it comes to body care. I have extremely sensitive skin so I usually stick to a few select brands for body lotions, scrubs and shower gels. There are some lines that cause an allergic reaction for me (scent or fragrance isn't always the issue) so I always try to do a patch test first. Today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some tried-and-true body care staples I use to keep my skin smooth, itch-free, and hydrated.

I usually prefer light weight lotions or dry oils because I don't like things that feel thick or heavy. Three I swear by include the L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver, and L'Occitane Foot Cream. You can click on the icons in the images below to shop the products directly from Nordstrom.

My most repurchased lotion is the L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body because it's truly gentle but still effective. I love the Shea Butter line from L'Occitane for the soft soothing scent it has that's truly comforting. It absorbs into the skin well, leaves skin feeling soft, and I can wear this at night while I sleep without sticking to my sheets or blankets.

Kate Somerville previously had their Eczema Cream which has been renamed Dry Skin Saver. This has a slightly thicker texture compared to the L'Occitane Lotion but is unscented and helps give instant relief for dry skin. It's suitable for face, body and lips. I gave one of these to my brother who is in his early 20's, has dry skin that is probably more sensitive than mine and he really likes this one.

I tend to neglect my feet as I find that my 2x a month pedicures are usually enough to keep them looking decent. There are a number of foot creams I've tried but they usually feel greasy or smell horrible. I tried the L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream from a small travel size I received from a gift with purchase years ago and was immediately hooked because it's not thick, it absorbs quickly, instantly soothes any dry spots and has a slight lavender oil scent which is really relaxing.

Next are a few bath products and scrubs. I almost could say that I'm one who lives for bubble baths. There are few things that I enjoy as much as a long bath. It really does help melt away stress and helps me relax.

Fresh Bath and Shower Gels are one of the few shower gels where the scent actually lasts bath the shower or bath. There are a wide range of options and my current favorite is the Fresh Life which is a bright sweet citrus kind of scent. It lathers up really well with a wash cloth or loofa and leaves the skin clean.

In one of my previous shower gel posts a few of you told me to try the Le Labo Santal 33 Shower Gel. I'm all for trying new luxury products but the $50 price tag prevented me from buying for a long time. I eventually did and was instantly hooked. This is a truly luxurious splurge - but I'm one who loves sandalwood scents that aren't too woody or earthy and this one is just perfect. I'm on my third bottle and the price is indeed very steep so I will be using this sparingly.

For scrubs, my favorite body scrub formulas have all been discontinued (from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Kiehl's). They've either brought new formulas out or discontinued the items completely which has made me very sad. The one favorite that I've found hasn't changed is the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub which leaves the skin revitalized and super smooth. It has an emollient base which makes it easy to move over areas of the body in the shower but doesn't leave the skin with a greasy film.

Bath and shower oils are items I try every now and then. I know many of my readers love them because they leave the skin feeling super hydrated and soft. I'm still more of a shower gel kind of person but the ones from Jo Malone are very good. They come in a number of scent options and they have both bath oils and shower oil options. I bought the Blackberry and Bay Bath Oil and it's amazing. It also comes in the smaller travel size and also the shower gel format.

One more shower gel that deserves a mention is the Diptyque Revitalizing Shower Gel for Body and Hair. This is probably my favorite one of all time but I go through it so quickly I've tried to find cheaper alternatives because it gets spendy. I have yet to find one I like as much as I like this one though.

Last but not least two items I think we usually associate with summer beauty routines but I still find suitable for year round use.

The Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan Lotion is the only one I've liked enough to use on a regular basis. The formula is gentle so it doesn't cause an allergic reaction on my skin (many other formulas do). The scent is pleasant and doesn't have that strong chemical odor you find in self tanners. It also doesn't turn my skin orangey or yellow which is a huge plus. I see a tan start to develop by the second day of use. There's no streaking or transfer to clothing. It's expensive but worth the splurge.

I alternate between body oils and find I gravitate towards different ones depending on season. The Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil is one I found too heavy during the summer but I love it for right now. It has that signature Moroccanoil scent which I find natural, earthy and soothing all at the same time. I love that this comes with a spray dispenser - I think all body oils should come with one. It absorbs quickly into the skin. The scent has a warm and cozy feel which was probably why I didn't really use it a lot over the summer time but now that it's cooler, it's perfect.

For those who like body care products I hope you found this post helpful in case you're looking for items to soothe dry skin that are also suitable for sensitive skin (and noses). As always I'd love to hear your favorites! Many of you have asked for a roundup on face moisturizers and serums I use since I have sensitive skin. I'm in the process of testing a few brands but will have a post up in the next few weeks.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Perfect Beauty Case for a Mini Getaway

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

Many of you have asked for a review on this year's edition of the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case ($160, limited-edition) and today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share what I can fit inside it. This is a new travel case for the holiday season with two zippered tiers and compartments to house anything from makeup, skincare, beauty tools and travel-sized minis.

There have been various launches of the Bobbi Brown train case over the years in different materials, colors and set options. The first one I received was the classic black leather one back in the 2002 time frame and it has special meaning to me. My boyfriend bought it for me when we first started dating (now my husband). He picked it up while in London at the airport and was so excited when he came back to the US that he had found something he knew I would get a lot of use out of. He said "it can hold all your makeup!" It was just so thoughtful and since we had only been dating for under a year I was so surprised he would know to even look for something like that as a gift for me. I was even more touched that he carried it on the plane all the way from London. It's held up remarkably well and I've carried it on the plane (without liquids of course) and also on other occasions packed in my suit case.

This year's version comes in a rich burgundy faux patent leather material. As with most patent materials it will be on the more delicate side so you will need to be careful about it touching materials that could have color transfer. Fingerprints will show so I'd recommend using clean hands to handle it, but I would recommend that for any type of leather good whether it's patent or not. It is well made though and very sturdy so I do believe it will hold up well. The color is simply gorgeous.

Bobbi Brown Beauty Case Holiday 2016

It's the exact same in size as the previous cases on the exterior measuring approximately 9 inches wide, 5.75 inches tall and 5.75 inches deep. The configuration inside is a bit different in this year's version as the top portion has a horizontal separator to help keep items in place and the base has no pockets. The top of the lid does have a pocket to store items. It has another elastic pocket inside which can hold your brushes in place.

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

If you've followed me for a while you will know that I pack a lot with me on travel and even in my daily or weekly bag I tend to accumulate a lot with me. Many of you are amazed that I'm able to pack so much in limited spaces -  it does take careful placement and maneuvering like Tetris to make things fit in a way that as little space is wasted, but you can fit a lot inside a suitcase or travel case if you arrange things in a certain way. I've included a wide variety of items, brands and products I would actually travel with to see what I could fit in the Beauty Case. As usual I've found that this little case can house a lot of items from face and base makeup, blush, highlighters, skincare, brushes, lip color, eyeshadow, powders, mascara, gloss, eyeliner and an eyelash curler. As I've used my black travel case on numerous occasions and weekend getaway trips I really find it to be perfect. 

A look at the top tier:

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

In the lid I can fit in quite a few brushes and slim lipsticks (I have two of the Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos inside). In the base of the lid there's enough depth to stack two compacts where I put the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder and Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Muse Eyeshadow palette. Two stacked rows of lipsticks will fit as you can see two layers of MAC Liptensity, and the YSL Rouge Volupte Shines stacked on top of two Tom Ford Lip Colors. All the products and brushes linked below.

A look at the bottom tier, two views from the side and from the top:

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

What fits inside the base includes the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Surreal Light Palette, Moroccanoil Treatment (the 1.7 fl oz version is shown), Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder (best setting powder ever, I use Shade #2), MAC Blemish Control Gel, various face oils including the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil, sunscreen, lip gloss, lipsticks, shadow stick, blush, eyelash curler, mini perfumes and more. There's a bit of a gap in the upper portion so there's a bit of extra room to fit items in case they are a bit taller than the base. Products shown linked below as well.

The Beauty Look Book - Travel Beauty

If you've been eyeing the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case for holiday I hope this gives you an idea of what kinds of things you can fit inside. I think it's great for travel or mini getaways - especially if you'll have some trips coming up for the holiday season for family get-togethers you can store a little bit of everything inside. I've used mine on mini trips ranging from 3 days to a full week. It's worked for me on road trips as well. I'm glad she re-launched the case in a new version this year. I would still love for it to be a permanent addition to the line. It is on the pricey side but I've gotten a lot of use out of my black leather one (going on 15 years now!) and it's held up really well.

You can find the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case right now at Nordstrom. Don't forget to check out the Gift with Purchase page as they do update their special offers section frequently.

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. Press samples featured include the Armani Prima, Kate Somerville Dilo Oil, Kate Somerville Eye Serum, MAC Liptensity, Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick. As always all opinions my own.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Hauls from Sephora and Nordstrom + eGift Card Giveaway

Happy Friday everyone! In the "what would you like to see" survey posted a few giveaways ago, an overwhelming number of you requested I do more haul posts. I tend to buy things in little bits here and there - with free shipping or affordable rush shipping, it's easy to place several orders as I think about things rather than do a larger one-time haul. Sometimes I'll see something in store and decide to wait and think about it and then a few days later I decide to buy it. July was a very pricey and spendy month due to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I already did two haul posts on my picks (here and here) - since it only happens once a year and there were so many good exclusives/value sets I could justify the extra haul. I also found a lot of little things at Sephora so I've combined my recent picks into a haul post.

Up first are Nordstrom picks, some are non-sale items:

My Nordstrom hauls, mostly from online orders:
  1. Antica Farmacista Santorini Reed Diffuser - I discovered the Acqua Reed Diffuser as shown in this home luxuries post and fell in love. Several of you told me there were a number of options on sale at Nordstrom. I bought five variations of the 8.5 oz version. I haven't opened any of them yet - for those who use these, do you use one at a time completely before opening another one? Unlike candles, I suspect you can use for a little bit and store away since the reeds become completely soaked with the oils?
  2. Antica Farmacista Reed Diffuser in Bergamot and Ocean Aria because I love the body cream version of this scent.
  3. Ivanka Trump Ellyn Lace Up Sandals in Rich Chestnut suede are super comfortable and I found them to be true to size. The color is just a tiny bit darker than the stock photo but very close, heel is at 2.5 inches which makes them easy to walk in and 100% pain-free (at least for me).
  4. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Telluride is actually something I ordered from Sephora, but accidentally put it with the Nordstrom haul, it's a luminous soft pink with a very pearly finish, full review next week.
  5. Louboutin Loubilaque in Akenana and Bikini (not on sale), based on the good performance I saw with the Rouge Louboutin Loubilaque, I decided to order a few other shades, I haven't tested them on my lips yet because I swatched a number of other lip products the past couple of days and one item ruined my lips so I'm waiting for them to rebalance/recover.
  6. YSL Vinyl Lip Cream in 404, 407 and 412 are items I was really excited to try. I adore the Glossy Stains (reviewed here and here) and a cream version just sounded like a dream come true. 407 and 412 worked perfectly like a lightweight stain but in creamy form. 404 gave me a WTF moment - it was extremely streaky and for some reason turned my bottom lip bright red, almost like a reaction but there was no tingle, sting or odd feeling. It's now about 24 hours after I lip swatched it and my lip is still red. I tried makeup remover, cleanser and a very gentle rub with a washcloth - it's the oddest thing!
  7. Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer is something I stalked the web for the anniversary sale, it went out of stock in Size 0 and 2 but restocked. I've been searching for a white blazer for a long time and this has a drapey flowy fabric that feels comfortable. It's a tiny bit long in the arms for me, but fits the shoulders well - it will need minor alterations for me, but I really like it.
  8. Vince Camuto Feina Booties are items I ordered as well, my local store was sold out, but they found them for me and had them shipped to my home. This is the first time I've tried Vince Camuto boots so I don't know how they size compared to other styles. The sales associate recommended I size down since in her experience they run big. Size 6 fits like a glove with room for thin socks.
  9. Hudson Nico Ankle Super Skinny Jeans are very comfortable and they fit like a glove. The fabric is thick enough to be sturdy but not stiff so these feel good to wear. I'm normally one who opts for Paige, but I was really pleased with these. The raw hem gives them an edgy look. As one who is short, these are the perfect length that I don't need them hemmed.
A look at the Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer (Size 2, for reference I'm 5'3" and 125 pounds) and Hudson Nico Ankle Jeans (Size 27, sized the same as Paige and Citizens, I go up for Frame with 28s).

More views on the blazer, for those curious about the home bits, bed is from Crate and Barrel, rug is from Pottery Barn, on the far right the reflection of the white block is an Ikea Alex unit.

Shoes, left are the Ivanka Trump Ellyn Sandals, true to size 6.5, right are the Vince Camuto Feina Booties which I bought in a 6 based on the sales associate's recommendation that they stretch out.

One more look at the Hudson Nico Jeans (top is an older style silk tee from J.Crew, shoes worn are by Stuart Weitzman which run large on me so I take these in a 6):

Up next are the Sephora haul picks:

Shown above:
  1. Sephora Play! July box contents includes minis of Benefit Dew the Hoola, Ouai Wave Spray, Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, NEST Citrine Perfume and Beautyblender Blottertazzi, I have yet to try everything in last month's box, but Dew the Hoola is swatched here
  2. Urban Decay 24-7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Peyote is a cool-toned neutral pink with a tiny bit of shimmer, it's a great light pinky color that does last a long time
  3. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Strip is a medium nude pink beige - finally balmy glossy lipsticks that have pigment! I picked up two shades (yes, they look almost identical) and love love love the way these feel and look, they're effortless kinds of nude with the feel of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines but more pigment.
  4. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Trance is a gorgeous pinky mauve shimmer, formula feels a bit thick and dry without a base but it does stay put on the lips, I'll need to experiment more with bases on this one. It's not drying, it just looks a bit dry if that makes sense.
  5. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Honeybun is a nude beige tan cream.
  6. Formula X Color Curators in Makeup by Rose XOXO Edition in Mahhveous Rose, Puffin! and Acoustick Dreams, these look gorgeous for fall, I'll have swatches of all three shades soon.
  7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Nude which is one shade darker than Warm Ivory but too dark for my skintone. Warm Ivory is a better match, but if I mix both shades the match is a 100% exact match.
  8. Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer in M19 and M27 - I matched myself in store and can't believe I braved using a tester on my face in store. When I applied it my skin was a bit dewy as it was late afternoon and hot. It blended to a flawless finish so I bought two shades. When I got home and tested it the following days I found it looked cakey and patchy under eyes on my regular skin. I'm still testing with other eye creams and primers as a base to see how best to make it work. I'm not ruling it out quite yet, I'm determined to put it to the full test as I really like her foundation.
  9. Becca Champagne Splits in Flowerchild and Champagne Pop - by this point I have Champagne Pop in all the forms possible and I do think it's a bit overkill. The individual powder and poured cream (both swatched here) are my favorites. I definitely did not need it in a split pan with a blush, but what can I say - I think we all get sucked in sometimes by pretty packaging.
  10. NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos in all three options, review to follow as soon as I can!
  11. Formula X The System Xcel is something that just popped up online, I already own and use the original System (reviewed here a while ago), the Xcel set is designed for a gel-effect so I'm curious to see how it compares to the original!
  12. Beauty Insider Points minis
Lip picks swatched:

I won't be reviewing everything in this haul in a separate posts, so here are lip swatches for reference. The Bare Minerals GEN Nude Matte Liquid Lipstick in Swag was one of the Beauty Insider minis (love the color, not a fan of the matte finish). Above Bare Minerals Strip and Honeybun look identical, on the lips you can see the difference. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see how patchy YSL 404 applied on my lips, especially on the lower lip.

All the Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer shades swatched, if you're NARS Ginger the closest match is M25 and M27:

That concludes my haul picks from July from Nordstrom and Sephora. There are still a few more days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (prices go back up Aug 8th). I'm hosting one last giveaway for the summer and giving away three $100 eGift Cards. The selected winners will have a choice of getting an e-gift card to either Nordstrom or Sephora. Details:

Enter via the widget below, there are several ways to enter:
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open internationally
  • Three distinct winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter
  • Winners will be selected at random on Sunday afternoon and contacted via e-mail by me
  • If you're a selected winner you must send me a response confirming within 48 hours or another winner will be selected, prizes will be sent by the following business day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Hair Care Rotation - Shampoo and Conditioners

Many of you have asked for an update on my current hair care routine along with favorites. I have a two part post planned. Part 1 goes live today with a roundup of shampoo and conditioners. Part 2 will go live next week with a list of what I use for styling and treatments. I did an hair care loves roundup earlier this year and have done a few review posts but some of you prefer routine types of posts. For hair care, I wash my hair daily most of the time. There are occasions where I skip 1 day in between washes but those are rare, especially in the summer. On days I work out, I wash my hair twice in the same day. I have thick hair prone to frizz, I heat treat with a blow dryer or flat iron frequently, it's never been dyed. When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, I love trying new formulas and brands - smell is probably the most important factor for me. If it doesn't pass the smell test then I won't even try it (no matter how many raves it has).

For shampoos and conditioners, I like to rotate frequently and often times I have more than 2 sets in the shower which drives my husband nuts because of the space it takes up. He has his 1 go to, often times it's a 2 in 1 kind of product for hair and body (his favorite is Jack Black Turbo Wash). I on the other hand find that I do need different kinds. There's the everyday kind of wash, the weekly cleansing or clarifying wash and then the wash for days you need extra moisture. Not to mention the masks or leave in products. (Please tell me I am not the only one who is high maintenance with their hair.)

Today I have a roundup of 7 brands of shampoo and conditioner I've put to the test with thoughts on each one. I will say up front that when it comes to shampoo I'm the type who will keep one around even if it's not mind blowing or amazing. As long as it smells ok, cleans the hair well and doesn't make it fall out or dry, I just can't bring myself to throw out a partially used bottle.

My all time favorite that I can use daily is the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. I stock up on this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because they either have larger sizes or value sets. (This year's set shown in this haul post.) This formula lathers well, moisturizes, strengthens, cleans the scalp well and leaves the hair shiny and healthy. Full ingredients list of the shampoo here and conditioner here. A huge part of me wants to try out all the shampoos from the brand but as some say, when you find something you love, you stick with it. In this case I've stuck with this formula.

Next best everyday is the Kerastase Cristalliste line which is designed for those with long hair. There have been a few formulas for fine or thick hair, I've tried the one for fine hair and it worked perfectly for my thick hair. It's a great everyday option and I use both the shampoo and conditioner together. It cleanses the hair and and gets the roots clean too. It's got a lightweight feel that leaves the hair feeling clean and bouncy with a super soft feel. I gave a few partially used bottles to a friend with long fine hair because she was curious about it but didn't want to splurge without trying. She loved it too.

One line I had high hopes for is Ouai created by Jen Atkin. I started out testing a few styling products from Birchbox which included the Ouai Dry Shampoo and Wave Spray. I adore both and think they are worth trying out. More on both of these in my upcoming styling post. Since I had such a great experience with a couple of the styling products, I bought the Treatment Masque (pack of 8), Volume Shampoo and Volume Conditioner from Space NK. The Treatment Mask is great but the packaging isn't the easiest to use. Both the Volume Shampoo and Conditioner were just ok for me - perhaps my expectations were just too high. They are both described as containing "Smart technology" to replenish moisture and lift strands. I found neither added volume. That being said I have yet to find a volumizing shampoo that will actually add volume to my thick hair (I've tried formulas from Living Proof, Phyto, Drybar - all lines I like, but the volumizing shampoos just don't work for me). I've read a lot of reviews that this does work for those with fine hair. For me the Volume formula does a good job at cleansing daily - I do need to use both the shampoo + conditioner because the shampoo alone can be a bit drying on my hair type. I won't be repurchasing but it's one I can't bring myself to throw out. (If you have any Ouai on your list there are still a few more days of the SpaceNK Explore Online Promotion, enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more until Aug 2nd.)

Bumble and Bumble is a line I'm always keen on trying out. Some of the shampoos and conditioners are heavily fragranced though and too strong so I've often tried minis or sets, used them up, but never repurchase. Two that I started using are the Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Creme Rinse Conditioner and WOW these get a huge thumbs up from me. Based on what I've read from other reviews it seemed to be best suited for those with thicker hair. I have thick hair and love this. It doesn't necessarily add volume but it gives my hair that smooth fluffy beachy look. The scent is mild enough that I don't notice it after rinsing. I can air dry my hair after using this duo and it gives a natural slightly beachy look.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo in the Gentle Radiance formula for Normal Hair and Scalp. I previously reviewed the Shampoo and tried it by itself. The shampoo by itself is good once in a while as a clarifying shampoo, but for everyday I found it a bit drying. I used up a few bottles entirely and since I didn't use it daily, they lasted a long time. I was just sent a sample of the Cleansing Oil Conditioner which is another rinse out product and was completely blown away with the combination of the two. The Shampoo by itself was good but not great. Add the Conditioner to the mix and my hair and scalp are left super smooth, tangle free, naturally shiny and also gives it the ability to air dry without any frizz. Most of the time I have to blow dry or add some kind of oil or cream to tame the frizz. I don't use conditioners everyday even if I do wash the hair daily - I find most of the time I just don't feel like I need it. This Cleansing Oil Conditioner is really a good one. I will definitely be repurchasing it once it's used up.

Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture and Control is a favorite I've repurchased multiple times. Unfortunately it's sold out online at Space NK so you can't buy it to take advantage of the promo going on right now, but you can find it at places like Birchbox or Neiman Marcus. It could almost go into the treatment category for me, I don't use it daily because I just don't need that much added moisture, but it helps rebalance and rehydrate the hair and scalp. It tames frizz, adds shine and leaves hair feeling super soft.

New to me is Gloss Moderne which I've seen at Space NK quite a few times. In terms of shine shampoos, I find a lot are great as a 1 to 2x per week use kind of product otherwise they get heavy-feeling and weigh down my hair. The R+Co Moonshine Shampoo and Conditioner were both at the top of my list in terms of scent, shine and performance. I've used up a few bottles of both but haven't repurchased for a while. The Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Shampoo and High-Gloss Conditioner have a similar effect but they both have a lush vanilla scent. I have to say that I had low expectations on this one before trying because the reviews are so mixed. I was beyond impressed with how this performed on my long thick hair - it restored shine and left the hair looking healthy and super glossy. Even though my hair is not color treated, the summer sun and heat has turned it into a reddish color about 2-3 shades lighter than it normally is. The heat from the sun also leaves the ends of my hair looking dry so they need a little something extra to get it back to it's normal state. I really liked how the High-Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner added shine without weighing it down. I was able to use it three days in a row without it feeling heavy or without giving the hair the weighed down look. I will use these up to the end and I do really like these. Although for the shine and gloss effect, I think a styling product could provide the same result.

A few of you have asked for a full list of every shampoo and conditioner I've ever tried - to recall all the ones I've bought and used up would be a monumental task as I've tried a lot. There are very few that stand out to me as ones I loved and repurchased multiple times, so I can list those: Drybar Happy Hour Shampoo, Drybar Happy Hour Conditioner, Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo. In addition to those, other favorites include the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair, Kerastase Cristalliste and Oribe Cleansing Creme.

In terms of new discoveries for me, I'm beyond impressed with the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Conditioner and Bumble Surf Collection - both work extremely well for my thick hair.

If you're looking for a good shine/gloss finish shampoo, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Gloss Moderne Shampoo and Conditioners - some may feel they are overpriced but I do think they are solid performers. I've totally been in that place where I really like a product but don't repurchase because of the price. It doesn't mean something is bad - just that there are other alternatives I'd rather spend my money on. I hope this won't deter you though - the Gloss Moderne line is really quite good.

If you're looking for good travel-sized or trial-sized sets, I find that some brands will occasionally have a good travel set to try items out. Birchbox has sets of minis by product type with a mix of brands for you to test out multiple formulas which is nice. They're $18-$28 each, some options include the Frizz Fighters Kit, Wavy Curly Hair Kit, Coily Curly Hair Kit and Beachy Keen Hair Kit.

In terms of finding a good volumizing shampoo and conditioner for my thick hair, I'm still looking for one that has that wow factor. I think many work well for fine hair but hair type does make a huge difference in performance. Some may feel that if you have thick hair you don't really need a volume boost, I sometimes do need it and that's where styling products come into play.

Don't forget there are still a few more days for the Space NK Explore Promotion (US online only). Details in this post here but you can enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more. A few of you mentioned the code did not work for you - the issues have been fixed and it should work as long as you have non-sale items in your cart. The Space NK team did tell me if it still does not work you should be able to call their customer service and they will be able to help you. Brands they carry featured in this post include Oribe, Ouai, Bumble and Bumble, Gloss Moderne.

What are your favorite shampoos and conditioners for the summer? Do you change things up when the seasons change or do you stick to your go-tos year round?

Press samples featured include items from the Ouai (styling products only), Shu Uemura Art of Hair, and Gloss Moderne.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016 Beauty Exclusives Haul

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year has quite a lot to offer for beauty exclusives. I've been a busy bee all weekend swatching and photographing my haul and today I have close ups and swatches of the palettes and sets I picked up. Early access goes through the end of 7/21 for card holders and the sale goes live for the public on 7/22. This beauty haul is quite extensive so grab a cup of tea or coffee or maybe a snack. While browsing the Beauty Exclusives section I noticed quite a few items weren't available at stores near me so I ordered a couple items sight unseen. For those who can't get to a store and need to order online I feel your pain about not being able to see things in person, I hope these swatches help! Don't forget to check out the Gift With Purchase listings too, there are some nice gifts available, I'm glad I checked for the La Mer and Hourglass gifts.

First a quick look at the Early Access Sections in store, walls of skincare from a wide range of brands. Skincare sets this year are priced at really good values/savings.

A look at some of the gift with purchase sets (full list online), there are some lines that give you options to choose from with different sets:

If you've been wanting to splurge on a Clarisonic, the sale is one of the best times to do so because they offer them at a discount. The Mia Fit is marked down to $153 from $219. The Alpha Fit for men is also marked down to $153. My husband loves his and recommended I buy another one for my brother.

Onto my haul picks. In this post I've focused primarily on the makeup and palettes. I did pick out a few hair care items and skincare sets, I'll post those in a separate post if you're interested so let me know in the comments. Bobbi Brown has several Bobbi On Trend Sets. It's been a while since I've explored her line but the options were too good to pass up.

The Sultry Bronze Eye Set has an eyeshadow palette with 6 colors (Pale Cream, Bikini Bronze Metallic, Seashell Shimmer Wash, Beach Bronze Shimmer Wash, Frappe and Smokey Brown), Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Truffle, and Eye Opening Mascara in Black. The palette has 6 easy to use neutrals and the eyeliner is a nice alternative to black. I had low expectations for the mascara because I usually do not like mascaras in sets, but I was beyond impressed. It volumizes, thickens, defines and did not smudge all day. Thumbs up! There is a cooler-neutral toned option called Sultry Topaz which is also very pretty.

For lips there are two options Pink Lips Set and Nude Lips Set. I picked out the Nudes which has her Art Stick in Brown Berry (neutral nude peach), Sheer Lip Color in Pink Buff (perfect neutral pink) and Lip Gloss in Pink Sunset (sheer sparkling pink). I have lip swatches of all the lip items I picked out at the bottom of the post. Many of you like the lips lined up side by side for reference.

Charlotte Tilbury launched an exclusive Instant Look in a Palette called the Seductive Beauty for what she calls The Dolce Vita Look with deeper shades compared to her original. I was not impressed with the first one and found it sheer and chalky for my complexion. I am happy to report the Nordstrom Exclusive is a lot better, shows up on my skintone and is not chalky at all. The texture has the same softness for the powders but pigment is significantly better. The Nordstrom set comes with a mini mascara.
 The Nordstrom Seductive Look Palette:

Original Natural Look vs Nordstrom Seductive Look swatched side by side:

Diptyque has the cutest 5-piece set available for the sale. These are the baby sized candles you can't purchase individually in the 1.2 oz size (these are smaller than the 2.4 oz versions). This is the perfect way to try the line as it has the best Diptyque scents available. It would also make a great hostess gift.

Hourglass has launched an exclusive palette called the Ambient Luminous Light Palette which has Luminous Light, Luminous Flush and Luminous Bronze Light. I already own the shades individually but could not pass on the set because it's perfect for travel. There is a gift with purchase I took advantage of (I ordered 3 palettes, one for myself, two as gifts).

Palette swatched next to the individual colors I own to show that the colors in the palette are indeed the same color, pigment and quality as the individual ones:

NARS has quite a few options for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale including Survival Kit 1, Survival Kit 2, Nordstrom's Best Cheek Kit and the Cult Survival Kit. All the sets are seriously good - it as really hard to narrow down my pick given all options. I picked out the Survival Kit 1 which has Naiad Eyeshadow, Kalahari II Eyeshadow, Off Limits Blush, Mata Hari Blush, a mini Lip Gloss in Party Girl and a mini Audacious Mascara. This set is the most neutral and easy to wear option. Outer Limits Blush looked very shimmery upon first swipe on my face, but adding the matte Mata Hari on top softened the frost in a nice way.

YSL Rebel Nudes has three lip products in a black zip pouch. I actually already own all three items in the set but a friend asked me to pick it up for her as she was worried it would be sold out by the time the public sale started. I swatched the colors from my own stash, I think this set is a really good one. It has Glossy Stain in 200 Plump Up (clear which does plump and tingle), Glossy Stain 07 Corail Aquatique which pulls a brighter peach on my lips, and Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick 47 Beige Blouse which is one of my favorite pink nudes for everyday.

Nordstrom has an exclusive Dior Anniversary Collection that seems to be more spring-like rather than summer or fall. The offerings are still really pretty. I picked up three of the Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster Pens in 003 Apricot (my match) and two of the shimmers in 500 Pearly Vanilla (gold) and 800 Pearly Pink (shimmering opal). These take about 40 clicks to get product going the first round (just as an FYI). I have only tested for a few days so I can't say yet if I think they are worth the splurge. I do like 003 under eyes as a medium coverage brightening under eye concealer. The shimmers help add radiance anywhere you want a soft glowy shimmer.

There is a new Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipstick which is the first time I've tried the new formula. Baby Dior is a sheer peachy pink in the tube but applies a sheer pale cool pink on my lips. It's hydrating and smooth with a glossy finish.

There are also two nail colors in the collection in Ruban and Steel Grey. I was hoping to swatch these on the nail for you but I just broke three of my nails so arm swatches will have to do for now.

Last but not least are two options from MAC. First is the C'est Chic Eyeshadow Palette which I am seriously tempted to buy for myself. The one I have shown below is a gift for a friend (her birthday is this month) and it has all mattes in neutral to warms and plums. She saw this and asked for it specifically. The one MAC set I picked up for myself is the Look in a Box Sunblessed Kit which has a full sized Frost Eyeshadow in Deception (plum taupe), Fluidline in Blacktrack, False Lashes Mascara and Cremesheen in Sunblessed (peachy nude). I think all four items in the set are excellent, the mascara doesn't really give me a false lash look, but it's a good defining deepening mascara that adds a bit of volume and doesn't smudge. I believe the eyeshadow and lipstick are exclusive to the set.

Lip swatches:

That wraps it up for my massive Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Haul! I hope you found the swatches and detailed photos helpful to help with your shopping decisions. Definitely browse the options online first, especially the gift with purchase options. I think I missed out on a few because I didn't realize there was a Bobbi Brown GWP available and my sales associate did not know either. There is a lot to choose from and these sets and savings are offered only once each year.

I'm really impressed with the offerings this year and am pleased with all my purchases. Out of all the color options for makeup, I think you really can't go wrong with anything. Lots of value sets to pick from. My top 3 favorite items I hauled include the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette Set, Bobbi Brown on Trend Nude Lip Set and Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette. If I did not already own all the lip items in the YSL set, the Rebel Nudes set would also be added to my favorites list.

Have you shopped the sale for early access yet? What did you haul? Or are you waiting for the public sale on the 22nd? Let me know in the comments!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. All items selected and purchased by me.


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