Showing posts with label Sephora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sephora. Show all posts

Monday, August 17, 2015

On My Radar / New in Beauty


I hope everyone had a great weekend! We had a hot weekend here in Southern California - it was nice to have lots of sunny weather but I do hope it will cool down soon. A few new items on my beauty radar right now:
  1. Louboutin Beauté is launching 38 shades of lipstick in September retailing at $90 each. These are encased in a heavy duty metal cases that look like mini jeweled ornaments. There will be three formulas in Silky Satin, Sheer Voile and Velvet Matte. All will come encased in a gold base and cap except three Rouge Louboutin shades (one in each formula) which comes in a solid black metal case.
  2. Lipstick Queen has six new shades of a Cupid Strikes Lip Pencil ($22 each). These are a lipliner and lipstick in one kind of product. I have my eye on the colors in Golden Arrow and Apollo - they look really pretty.
  3. Clinique for Men launched a new Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush ($89.50). My husband has been using my Clarisonic for a while (he has his own brush heads) but I'm glad to see some lines launching ones for men's skin. Reports indicate the brushes are slightly different for men's facial hair. This one has a nice sleek masculine look to it.
  4. Clarisonic has a men's tool in the new Alpha Fit Cleansing System for Men ($189). This one is quite a bit more pricey compared to the Clinique. I ordered this already a few weeks ago - the video demonstrated how how versatile it is. My husband likes the look - it has a good design and compact look. He's testing it right now.
  5. Tom Ford Beauty has launched 13 new shades of Lip Color (in the full size, $52 each). I have my eye on so many colors, in particular Guilty Pleasure, So Vain and Lilac. Some swatches of the colors on the Tom Ford Forum via Specktra.net.
  6. Allure and Butter London teamed up to create a collection of 6 nail lacquers ($15 each). The colors include Disco Nap, I'm On the List, It's Vintage, Lust or Must?, Nude Stilettos and Statement Piece.
  7. Bobbi Brown has a small Greige Collection with a Eye Palette, two Nail Polishes and two Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks. I need to investigate the eyeshadows.
  8. Frederic Malle now carries the travel sized vials individually. They are expensive when you break down the price per ounce but it's still a nice way to buy a smaller size instead of splurging on the full size bottle if you're unsure. My go-to scent is Carnal Flower. I have my eye on Eau de Magnolia, Lipstick Rose and Dries Van Noten.
  9. and 10. Last but not least, Burberry Beauty has launched at Sephora.com! The full makeup line is available along with some new releases. Sephora has an exclusive Burberry Beauty Box (VIB Rouge exclusive). Other new items include the Kisses Lip Gloss, First Kiss Glossy Lip Balm, Face Contour Pen for Face & Eyes and a new 3-Piece Nail Color Set for Fall.
What's on your beauty radar this week?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection


The Sephora Pro team worked in collaboration with Japanese craftsman to launch their hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection. There are five brushes for the cheeks and face with the initial release. Each brush is sold separately and the presentation and packaging of each brush is quite stunning. According to Sephora:

"This line of brushes is the result of the first ever collaboration between a beauty company and traditional Hakuho-do craftsmen. Each of these brushes benefits from the expertise of the Sephora Pro team and is handmade by highly skilled craftsmen in Japan using the traditional, 200-year-old manufacturing technique. This ensures the highest quality design, materials, and assembly for astounding results."


The five brushes are made of a synthetic material. In addition they are not tested on animals and cruelty-free. The brushes and descriptions from Sephora:


I've been playing with these brushes for the last month. I was a bit skeptical about how they would perform with powders since the brushes are made of a synthetic blend but they perform very well. Each brush appears to have been crafted with great care. The handles are sturdy, well balanced in weight and the perfect length to fit into my hand without feeling too small or too large. The longest ones are about 7 inches in length - they are all pretty similar in terms of how long they are. In addition, the handles have a tapered shape so it allows for a better grip. The bristles are extremely soft and evenly distributed. The craftsmanship is excellent. My thoughts on each one below.


On the nails: Chanel Ecorce Sanguine

Up first is my favorite of the five: the Kusuriyubi Angled Concealer Brush. It's designed for concealer but I think it is a multi-tasking brush. It's quite dense and the perfect width. Most concealer brushes are either too wide/flat or too small/skinny. This one is perfect for blending concealer under the eye. It also works well with both powder and cream shadows. It's extremely soft even though it's dense - the shape is perfect and there is no poking whatsoever. I've shown it below to an Edward Bess and Cle de Peau Beaute concealer for size reference (thoughts + swatches here in case you are interested). I do think it's worth buying a second one to keep separate for eye products. It's dense enough to use as a detail highlighter for the eyes as well.


Next up are the Ougi Fan Cheek Brush and Kusabi Wedge Sloping Brush. The Ougi Fan Cheek Brush is the smaller one shown on the left. I placed it next to a Tom Ford Blush for size reference. This one is supposed to be a multi-tasking brush for powder, contour or bronzer. I thought the name "fan" to be odd because it's not fan-shaped at all - however it does fan out a little when you press it to your face. This was the one I was least excited about simply because it looks so slim - but it really surprised me. I tried it with several super pigmented blushes and it picked up just the right amount of color to give a smooth even application. Since it's a synthetic material and slim I thought I'd try it with foundation too - it works surprisingly well to blend liquids into a flawless finish on the skin.

The Kusabi Wedge Sloping Brush is a powder brush. It has an angled tip that has a very slight slope. This one is designed for powder, bronzer or neck shading. I didn't like this for all over face powders (pressed or loose). I found it didn't pick up enough powder for my entire face - the shape and angle made application feel odd. For bronzer on the other hand it's amazing. The sloped shape makes it glide along the side of the face easily. For bronzers it picks up just the right amount of product to apply to the cheeks. It blends powders beautifully. Given the fact that I usually use powder brushes for bronzer though I don't think this one is a must.


Above shown: Eve Snow Nail Polishes, Tom Ford Cheek Color Blush in Flush, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, Chanel Les Beiges, Chanel Eyelash Curler (discontinued), Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Mascara, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Shooting Star (discontinued)

Below are a couple quick front versus side views of the three brushes mentioned above so you can see the tapered angle/shape the Wedge Sloping and Angled Concealer brushes have:


The last two brushes are the tapered teardrop ones. They are both extremely soft and plush. The Large Teardrop Pointed Powder Brush isn't as dense as the others in the collection. It is a super soft almost fluffy-feeling brush. Since it's not quite as dense it will give the face more of a sheer wash of color if you use bronzer or highlighter. I would recommend this one over the Wedge Sloping Brush if you wanted to narrow down your picks. It has a similar function but performs better.

The Small Teardrop Pointed Highlighter Brush is similar in shape but smaller and more dense. It has a similar shape and size compared to the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush. The Sephora Pro brush does the job in terms of picking up highlighter for the cheek bone area or cheek sculpting but I find the Charlotte Tilbury far superior. It picks up powder product better while the synthetic material of the Sephora Pro brush works, it's just not as good in my experience.

A few comparisons below to Wayne Goss and Charlotte Tilbury brushes for size reference:


Overall these exceeded my expectations, especially considering they are synthetic brushes and I don't usually like synthetic material for powders. They performed really well with face and cheek powder products and I'm really impressed with the quality and craftsmanship. Each brush is well designed and although they are on the pricey side they are very well made. I've accumulated a number of brushes over the years - it's only recently that I started using Japanese brushes because they are usually so expensive. The ones I've tested that are made in Japan are far superior to any other brushes I've tried. These are no exception. Still the synthetic material for powders is new to me. I would say the Concealer Brush and Large Teardrop Brushes are the two I would recommend the most. I've already ordered a second of the concealer brush. The Fan Cheek brush surprised me - it performs really well for powder blush and foundation, but since I already own a number of blush and foundation brushes I can't call it a must-have. I do like it a lot though. For the other two I would say skip - however they are extremely well made and soft.


Above: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse mini, Muji Acrylic Cylinder, Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super Charged Foundation, Chanel Coquelicot Le Vernis, simplehuman Sensor Mirror

Have you checked out these brushes yet? If not do you have any favorite synthetic brushes in your collection? If you're curious on how to use these, Sephora has short videos on how to use each brush online.

The hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection currently consists of five brushes, each available for purchase individually. They are exclusive to Sephora and prices range from $30 to $54.

The hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection brushes were provided courtesy of Sephora for review consideration. All opinions my own.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop


Becca x Jaclyn Hill teamed up to create a Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop ($38 for 8 g / 0.28 oz, limited-edition, exclusive to Sephora). The shimmering skin perfector comes in a round mirrored compact in powder form but it's very soft and buttery - it almost has a creamy texture to it. The color is described as a soft white gold with pinky peach undertones and it's exactly how it appears on my skin. In the pot it's this gorgeous luminous peachy gold champagne shimmer on the skin it pulls a bit more cool-toned than what I see in the compact. It is very complex in color and the powder shifts depending on how the light hits the shimmer particles. The color is super pigmented so you only need a tiny bit. I love how easy it is to blend. It gives a very visible and noticeable highlight. If you want something subtle this is not the product for you. I did find it went on the cheeks smoothly. It blends into this dreamy soft glow if you buff or blend it out. Huge plus is that it doesn't emphasize pores. I have tons of highlighters in all forms and I find this one to be very special and quite amazing.

Pictures can't do this Becca x Jaclyn Hill highlighter justice. I've taken a few photos to show the complexity but it's something you have to see in person to really understand how gorgeous it is. Below in direct sunlight. I would say this shot is the closest to getting what the color looks like once on the skin.


At an angle, it looks more peachy. The peachy champagne base color helps add depth and dimension to the highlighter:


Close up of all the shimmers:


On the skin it's more of a white-gold like the Sephora description:




I swatched the Becca Champagne Pop highlighter next to the Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Highlighter, Hourglass Luminous Light and NARS Tribulation Blush in this post here.


I pulled a few more to compare.


Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Colour Duo (discontinued, review here)
Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight (reviewed here)
MAC Mineralized Skinfinish in New Vegas (discontinued)
MAC Mineralized Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle
Estee Lauder Courreges Illuminations Face Powder (limited-edition)

One last shot with partial sunlight reflecting from the mirror to show the complexity of the powder:


Bottom line a winner. I give it a huge thumbs up. The powder has a finely milled texture and although it is very shimmery and very pigmented it blends easily onto the skin. You only need a tiny bit to highlight the cheeks or eyes. I found lasting power to be quite good - it stayed put from morning to late evening and it adheres well to the skin. Since it is so pigmented I recommend using a very loose fluffy brush to apply on the cheeks. I've been using either a Stila Powder Brush (one I got years ago with the silver handle, I don't think they make it anymore) or my MAC Duo Fibre Brush #187 to apply it. I didn't experience fall out on the face since my skin was well prepped with a layer of serum, moisturizer and foundation. On my arm swatches I didn't have any product so there was a bit of product that fell off my brush in a few fly-aways.

Overall gorgeous. I highly recommend it unless you're a fan of the ultra-subtle-almost-invisible shimmer because this one will probably be too shimmery for you. The Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop is limited-edition. Currently exclusive to Sephora. Starting August 10th Sephora is launching their Epic Rewards Perks. One of the 1,000 Point Perks is a Becca set that will include Champagne Pop although I can't tell if it's full-sized.

Have you tried Becca highlighters? Which ones are your favorites? I still own some from the days where they had the loose versions in the larger sifter containers. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a roundup of new beauty releases on my radar. I was planning to share this tomorrow but there's a super special amazing deal that can't wait. Fall collections are trickling in and the new releases look amazing. My first post will be on NARS fall (which is incredible) and I'm currently swatching my picks from Chanel. Several have asked for the post on my travel carry-on contents - I promise to have it up as soon as I can! I'm editing the photos today and tomorrow. Here's what's on my radar from the top left then clockwise:

Sephora Pro has launched a collection of 5 brushes in the hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection. Each brush comes encased in a beautiful rich red box. The brush tips are a pale white and grey color. Handles are lacquered in a shiny red with silver embossed labels. The presentation is just phenomenal. I'm testing the brushes this week and hope to have a review with first impressions soon.

Tom Ford Beauty has some amazing things coming out this fall. I'm most excited about the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo (currently available for pre-order, I've ordered it). I'm also intrigued by the Skin Primers that come in a Pink and Peach version.

One of my BFFs shared her love about Korean Skincare Peach and Lily over the weekend. She ordered some of the Cremorlab Sheet Masks and said "you need to try them." She has super sensitive skin and also knows her ingredients as she works in product development and closely with chemists. If she says something is good I trust her 100% - I'm ordering a few over the weekend. If you have any recommendations I'm all ears!

For Chanel fall I'm obsessed with the new Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. Two are very very dark but they are perfect for fall. The new Les 5 Ombres de Chanel is to die for. My personal favorites are the four new Stylo Yeux Eyeliners.

Fresh has a new Limited-Edition Rose Face Mask launched to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. They've teamed up with London-based artist Jo Ratcliffe to create a beautiful special-edition floral design for the packaging. It's gorgeous.

Guerlain Fall isn't expected to arrive until next month but there is a new Terracotta Bayadère Face & Eyes Contour Palette that has caught my eye. I need to check it out immediately.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has three new face products that just launched. I need the Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer for sure. It wasn't on display at my Sephora last week but I hope to check it out soon. There is also a new Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate and a a new brush to go with it called The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush.

Armani has a new Luminous Silk Powder Foundation. I'm a 6.5 in the Luminous Silk and was matched to shade 4 at the counter. I'm not entirely sure it's the right match but I'm giving it a go anyways. The other colors in the 5, 5.5 and 6.5 range looked very pink to me. I'll report once I've given it a proper test.

Tatcha just launched a new Pore Perfecting Suncreen with SPF 35 (also available in a travel size). I'm really anxious to try this as I've been testing sunscreens all summer long. I have high hopes for this one.

Last but not least, many thanks to a couple of my readers who let me know Diptyque is on Hautelook for a limited time. There are a few select pieces available - but the deals are really good and it's worth a look. I bought two of the Lilac pillars although now I need a photophore to store it. This is my first time ordering from Hautelook.

What's on your beauty radar this week?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Summer Haul from Europe


As promised I have a post today on the items I bought while traveling in Europe. Out of the ten cities we visited across France, Italy, Greece and Turkey, I did most of my shopping in Paris. At the top of my list was the Diptyque store on 34 Boulevard St. Germain. The store is so beautiful inside - I wish I could transport the entire store to my home. At the store I picked up two items including the Feuille de Lavande Room Spray and the Mousses Candle. I've burned through one Moss candle before as it's available at the boutiques in the US but it suffered really bad tunneling because I didn't burn it properly the first time (my candle care tips here). For the room sprays there were a number of unique scents. Cypress was really interesting and Mimosa was so pretty. I wish I had bought a few more - we only have three in the US (Figuier, Baies and 34).




First up for splurges are two picks from Fauré Le Page. I've been researching this brand via the Fauré Le Page Purse Forum. There are a number of helpful pictures, descriptions and other bits of information on everything Fauré Le Page. The pretty patterns of their bags caught my eye. It has a similar vibe to Goyard which I adore. In Paris I visited two locations: there is a stand alone boutique on Rue Cambon and also a store at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. I went in for just the Pochette 20 (currently 190 euros). They were very limited on stock for most of the colors, I was hoping for the blue and grey, but were out. The green one is pretty though so I left with one. A shoulder tote called Daily Battle caught my eye (small size I bought was 650 euros). There were two grey versions, one with a light beige-grey trim and one with the navy. It's very sturdy and made of a thick canvas. The material is slightly textured and looks like it will hold up really well.


Below I've posted a comparison of the Daily Battle to a Goyard St. Louis Tote. In Paris the Daily Battle for the small size was priced at 650 euros which converts to a little over $700 making it much more affordable than the Goyard St. Louis totes (last I checked they were priced at $1,200-$1,600ish depending on color). The style is similar - open inside without any pockets and lined with canvas. The finish and textures are different though. The Goyard is thinner in material but still very sturdy. It also comes with a detatchable pouch. Fauré Le Page is thicker with an adjustable strap. There is a ring inside to attach items to but it does not come with a separate pouch inside. Measurements of the ones I have to compare:

Fauré Le Page Daily Battle (small)
17.5 inches wide
11.25 inches tall
base is about 6.25 inches x 12.25 inches

Goyard St. Louis PM
18 inches wide
11 inches tall
base is about 5.25 inches x 13 inches

For the Pochettes the smallest Fauré le Page makes is the Pochette 20 which measures about 6 inches tall by 8 inches wide. Goyard makes a smaller size (shown in black below). The comparable one in Goyard is the same width at 8 inches wide but is slightly shorter at 5.5 inches tall. I don't remember what the prices were for Goyard, I bought mine a long time ago - I want to say the small one was around $300ish and the medium was at least double. The Fauré Le Page Pouch comes with a detachable wristlet strap and was priced at 190 euros.

At Hermes I picked up two Micro Rivale leather bracelets with the rose gold hardware. I have small wrists and it's hard to find the leather bracelets in the XS size. Rose Gold is relatively new so I splurged on the ivory and teal leather. A sneaky photo from inside the store.



In Rome, I bought some small L'Occitane Bonne Mere cubes. I thought they were mini soaps but they're actually bath cubes (oops). I still really like them and wish they were available in the US but the shower gels are just as good and I've repurchased the Rosemary and Oilive Oil ones several times over. At the French Pharmacies I was like a deer in headlights. I didn't pick up a lot because we were traveling with carry on only. I picked up a small Bioderma Cleansing Water, Avene Cleanance Micellar Water for oily skin and a small Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm duo. In the US you can find the travel size Bioderma Sensibio (same as the French Crealine) from Beautylish. The Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm Duo is available online at Nuxe. I haven't been able to find the Avene Cleanance Micellar Water in the US.


In Athens we picked up a Korres Sunscreen set with SPF 50. The Body Spray is very gentle but lasts a long time on the skin. The Face Cream Sunscreen is amazing as well. I haven't been able to find the SPF versions in the US.


From Printemps, I picked up their exclusive Primavera Diptyque Candle (launched to celebrate their 150th anniversary) which smells like really sweet roses. I haven't burned it yet but I'm in love with the white and pink packaging. From Chanel I picked up a few things exclusive to Europe. The Vitalumiere Loose Powder comes with a brush. I picked up three shades, 20, 30 and 40 (right now I'm a match to 40). It's quite messy but gives enough coverage that you can use it alone instead of foundation or powder foundation. Also new in Paris is the Sublimage SPF 50 which is wonderful. It's thicker than the UV Essential and acts more like a cream. It has the Sublimage skincare ingredients in it so it's not just a sunscreen. I wish I had stocked up on a few more tubes while I was in Paris (it was 98 euros). For fragrances almost all the scents had multiple versions and sizes. They have the small concentrated parfum bottles - I was torn between three of them, they were on the pricey side because they are concentrates. I picked up Allure. From L'Artisan I bought a few items as gifts including a fragrance sampler set and the La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball (which you can find now at Sephora).


Sephora France was probably one of my favorite places to shop. I left with a few things, I'm surprised it was this limited. I picked up a Dior Nail Polish in Sundown and Addict Fluid Stick in Beige Passion (both of which don't appear to be available in the US). I also picked up the Addict Fluid Stick in Ciel Rose which is a US color you can find at Sephora. In Paris they had these tiny empty clear containers in the travel section. I picked up several which I think will come in handy for future trips. Also at the check out line were these cute Craig and Karl hand creams. There were two other scents in Peony and Lagoon. I wish I had picked up a few as they had fun designs and prints on the cases. Two other items I picked up: the By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Lipstick in #3 Nude Pulp (you can find it in the US at Beautylish) and a Chanel Sublime Waterproof Mascara (not available in the US).

Last but not least, I brought home some chocolates, tea and jellies from Angelina and Laduree. A lot of the chocolates are already gone. I'm surprised there is still anything left after a couple of weeks but I've been rationing the hazelnut spreads. I may or may not have been hiding them from my husband.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my Europe haul! Next time I go, I will plan the shopping better and make sure I bring a proper suitcase so I can bring home more of the chocolates, teas and one of each of the Diptyque Room Sprays.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Paris Shopping Guide: Beauty


Shopping in Paris was quite an experience. I was thoroughly impressed by the excellent customer service. We observed tourists shopping from a number of different countries - I was impressed by the fact that many associates were fluent in multiple languages including English, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and more. Beauty shopping in Paris is unlike anything else - almost all the stores we stopped by had associates that were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and very patient.

Before I left the US for Europe, I made a list of stores I wanted to visit and mapped them out. The city of Paris is divided into twenty districts called arrondissements. Mapping out all the monuments, shops, restaurants and hotels of interest helped us plan our days in Paris. In the time we were in Paris - we spent most of our time sight-seeing and enjoying the parks and cafes. I didn't get to see all the shopping places on my list - I could have spent an entire week just window shopping or browsing and still not have made a dent in seeing what the city has to offer.

The beauty places I shopped, browsed and stopped by, sorted by arrondissment:

French Pharmacies
Location: all over the city

I was thrilled to visit several French Pharmacies around Paris. Quite a few of my friends here in the US who have been to France and studied French in college said the pharmacies are like CVS and Rite Aid in the US - they are on almost every corner and stock items locals aren't really excited about. I didn't know what to expect but was really impressed by the selection. Stores were stocked with Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Phyto, Caudalie, Nuxe and more. Some had an entire wall of Nuxe or Phyto. I only made a few small purchases since most of what I was interested in were liquids - I wouldn't have been able to fit them in my quart-sized carry on. I went inside about a dozen - most stock similar items. Some have more variety compared to others. I was really impressed with the reps in each store. The vast majority seemed to wear white lab coats, they were very knowledgeable in all the lines and options. They were really helpful too. I was able to snap few quick photos inside a couple with my iPhone. I was really impressed by the selection of sunscreens available - had I planned our itinerary better, I would have shifted our Paris week to the end of the trip and filled a suitcase with liquids (skincare, body care, jams, jellies, tea and all the things you can't carry on). Bioderma minis were plentiful and cheap - usually around 2-3 € or sometimes in packs.








Printemps Louvre
Location: 99 Rue de Rivoli, 1st Arrondissment

There is a small Printemps store underneath the Louvre in the Carrousel Shops. The upside of shopping here is there are a lot of stores in one place and most are opened on Sunday. The beauty section in Printemps Louvre was the only store in Paris I wasn't thrilled with. The store was extremely packed and busy the first time I visited (although it was on a weekend). Associates weren't as friendly as other stores I had visited. There was a beautiful Louboutin display of all the nail colors along with shoes, clutches and wallets. I stopped by a second time on our trip back to the US to buy one of the new Scarabée colors - however all the associates were visibly upset with all the shoppers touching and moving the Louboutin nail polishes. They stood guard and kept moving them back into place - understandable if they wanted to keep the display pristine, however if there was a look but don't touch rule, they should have sectioned it off or put up a sigh. I made sure not to touch any since I didn't want to make them upset. I wanted to purchase a few but they were so rude I left without buying anything. (I ordered the three new ones from Nordstrom and they were waiting for me at my house when I returned to the US, I hope to swatch soon - they are gorgeous!)




Diptyque Paris
Location: 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 5th Arrondissment

Being the die-hard Diptyque fan that I am, visiting the store on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain was at the top of my list. The store is exquisite in a quaint and inviting kind of way. I wish I could have transported the store and put it inside my home - the decorations and displays were beautiful. The store associate was very friendly - we chatted about the boutiques that had opened up in California (San Francisco, Beverly Hills, South Coast Plaza and Larchmont). The store offerings were almost identical to those in the US with the exception of the room sprays. When I go back to Paris I hope to buy more of the room sprays. I left buying one, Feuille de Lavande which is incredible (similar but stronger than the candle version). For me this was heaven.










Cire Trudon
Location: 78 Rue de Seine, 6th Arrondissment

I wasn't able to make it into the Cire Trudon store. We stopped by it on the way to dinner but they had already closed and I never made it back. I hope to visit on my next trip to Paris. The displays in the store looked beautiful - the photos I took were too dark but I did get one snapshot of the outside.


Sephora Champs-Élysées
Location: 70-72 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 8th Arrondissment

The Sephora store on the Champs-Élysées was unreal. It was the ultimate beauty shopping store. I've never seen such a large store and it was amazing. The entrance had a large red carpet with kiosks along the side with beautiful Dior displays. The entire wall was covered with Dior. Also inside included brands you don't see in Sephora stores in the US: MAC, Serge Lutens, a beauty bar for makeup application, a nail bar where women were getting nail touch ups, By Terry, Chanel and so much more. I could have spent an entire day inside - but I limited myself to the Dior and travel section so I wouldn't do too much damage.








Guerlain Champs-Élysées
Location: 68 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 8th Arrondissment

I only briefly walked through this beautiful boutique. It was filled with so many different perfumes I think it would take me weeks to learn about all the options. I only use a couple items from Guerlain so I didn't purchase anything from the store. If I could describe it in one word though it would be "magical." There is at least one more Guerlain store in Paris, but this one was recommended as the best to me.







Chanel Beauté
Location: 382 Rue Saint Honoré, 8th Arrondissment

Chanel is easy to find in Paris. The Rue Cambon Boutique has a beauty section in the store but it was very busy. Around the corner there is a little beauty store on Rue Saint Honoré which is dedicated to beauty, skincare and fragrance. The store itself is extremely small. There were 5 other customers inside, myself and 3-4 associates roaming around helping people and we barely had room to navigate. It's very cute inside and minimalist. The associate who helped me was very nice - I asked to test a few powders and she showed me some of the new Sublimage skincare that had just launched. They have the Exclusifs line - the bottles lined up on the wall looked so beautiful.




Printemps Haussmann
Location: 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th Arrondissment

This was my favorite store out of all the shops I visited. So many brands within one store, beauty floors on multiple levels. They have a special Diptyque candle called Primavera to celebrate the 150th anniversary. I think pictures are worth a thousand words - so I'll let the pictures do the talking here even though they don't do the store justice. Here are some snapshots I took with my iPhone. It's a beauty addict's makeup heaven.











Galeries Lafayette
Location: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th Arrondissment

Galeries Lafayette is one of the most famous department stores in Paris. The inside of the store is beautiful from every angle. The ceiling is exquisite. They carry a diverse range of luxury beauty and fashion items - Hermes, Goyard, Chanel, Dior, Guerlain and so much more. Since this store carries a lot of brands under one house, it is extremely packed and very busy. I made a few fashion purchases here but wasn't able to go to any of the counters. There were simply too many people although I did venture in on a Saturday - probably not the best time to shop.




A few thoughts on beauty shopping in Paris:

Take note, most stores and shops are closed on Sunday, although some in major tourist areas are open on Sundays (i.e. those on the Champs-Elysees). Visiting individual brand boutiques can be really fun to see each line in their independent settings - how each brand displays the products and the presentation of collections is a sight to behold and really quite stunning. This however can be a bit time consuming so if your shopping time is limited, you can find most items at the larger department stores. My personal favorite was Printemps Haussmann (many readers commented this was the best department store to shop in Paris and I agree!) - the associates at Diptyque, Chanel and L'Artisan were so helpful and threw in so many samples my jaw dropped.

Many international travelers already know this, but if you reside outside of the European Union, are 16 years +, have a passport and spend €175+ in the same store on the same day in Paris, you can be eligible for a 12% tax refund. There are several ways to claim it - by mailed check, ACH back to your credit card, or cash back upfront at certain department stores. Some have automatic kiosks to process your receipts that are easy to use but often have lines. I used a kiosk at one of the stores and accidentally pushed the button for cash refund - in total we waited about 35 minutes in the line. Each store may have a slightly different policy for what you can or can't combine if it's a department store - any associate can help explain how it works. To process your refund, you need to have it validated by customs within 3 months of purchase date at the airport, train station or border. Galeries Lafayette has a comprehensive overview of the tax refund process here.

When in doubt, ask for assistance - I was impressed by the French men and women who worked at the beauty shops and counters. Many of my readers and other bloggers have mentioned they learn something new every time they venture into Paris for shopping. This was my first time to Paris and I was really impressed by the level of customer service, professionalism and friendliness. The French take shopping to a new level. A few personal observations:
  • The stores in Paris are well stocked with inventory where in the US often times stores like J.Crew or even Nordstrom (these days) don't carry as much inventory compared to online. In the US I am fed the phrase "we can order it for you online" more and more in physical stores these days. It's a nice service to have - but time is precious and the more I find things sold out in stores (and not even limited-edition items) the more I feel like just shopping online to save time. Shopping in person is better to see things in person whether it's clothes, makeup, items for the house or really anything. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I find in-store inventory decreases more and more even though the number of physical stores sometimes increases.
  • Department stores and retailers like Sephora France carry a wide range of brands making one-stop-shopping truly possible. Printemps for example has multiple beauty floors - I found this a bit confusing as we moved from one floor to the next seeing multiple Dior or Chanel booths. But it did make it nice to navigate and see different setups. In the US, if I want to see all the beauty brands I have on a list, I often have to visit 3-4 distinct stores to purchase to Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Diptyque, Caudalie, Fresh and Hourglass (as an example).
  • Parisian beauty counters and shops seem very generous with samples and not just any flimsy sample packets, actual good ones! The Chanel Beauty boutique on Rue Saint Honore gifted a deluxe mini of the exclusifs bottle of Gardenia along with skincare and foundation packets (although I did spend a substantial amount there). Printemps Chanel threw in minis and a deluxe-sized mini of Bleu de Chanel for my husband. For Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain threw in so many skincare packets and some fragrance minis although I have to say the Diptyque store at South Coast Plaza in the US is also very generous to loyal customers.
Have you shopped for beauty in Paris before? What was your experience? Did you have any favorite stores or amazing beauty finds? I hope to go back in the near future. There is so much to explore!

 

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