Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Armani Beauty Prima Skincare, Crema Nuda and Him/Her Lip Care

Armani Beauty - The Beauty Look Book

I've been testing out some items from Armani Beauty in skincare and just purchased a newly packaged foundation from the line. After a few misses over the spring I've been very nervous to test anything even though I've used many items from their line for over a decade. I used their Crema Nera cream in the original version for quite some time and absolutely loved it (I believe it's since been reformulated or repackaged). I have three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line that I've been testing for a few months now, the new travel-size Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream and additional thoughts on the Him/Her Lip Care.

Up first are three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line. This line was designed to keep the glow in your morning makeup look fresh and stay put all day long and the three items that first launched really do work. They smooth the skin, give it a very natural glow without the greasy feel and work well with my makeup (all brands including NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hourglass).

Armani Prima Skincare Review

I'm one who finds that my face makeup does indeed disappear or absorb into the skin and requires a little touch up mid-day. Foundation and powder usually stay put pretty well but I hate layers of product on my face so while I've tried and liked a lot of primers, I don't think I've ever found one I absolutely love. Something is always wrong with primers I test, either it just doesn't do anything for the foundation I wear, isn't compatible with my skincare, causes an allergic reaction or it works but has that silicone feel that I really don't like.

The Armani team sent three items over the summer and after a few bad skin reactions to their Maestro Glow Foundation and UV Primer I was terrified of trying these. I waited several weeks before being brave enough to test them and reminded myself that I had used a number of serums and creams from the line before and had great success with them. (I stopped repurchasing because of the high price points.) I'm glad I did. Thoughts on each.

Armani Prima Skincare Review

Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is a moisturizer that is designed to give skin a natural glow, plump and smooth the skin. It does all the things it claims and has a very unique texture. It's hydrating but has a very lightweight texture, almost airy and dries to a semi-matte finish. There is a very slight scent to it but it's pleasant and disappears within a few minutes. For me it has enough hydration to use in place of moisturizer. I have normal combination skin and find it is odd that it gives skin a glow yet has a matte looking effect. Kinda like how Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are luminous mattes. For me this is what I had hoped the Natasha Denona Face Glow Primer Hydrating Underbase to be (which turned out to be a bit too rich for my skintype).

If you're more on the oily side or normal for that matter and find foundation disappears within hours the Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector is the best makeup primer I have ever tried. It smooths out the skin and really does make foundation look fresh longer. I have not tested it in hot humid weather but I wish I had this a year ago during our summer trip to Europe to try. Last year there were days in Paris and Rome where I just gave up on wearing any makeup because the heat and humidity caused everything to slide off within minutes. In warm California weather the Day-Long Skin Perfector really does smooth the skin and prime it well for your base makeup. It has a lightweight texture that glides onto the skin. I use it over my moisturizers (La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream, La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer etc.) and it's compatible with all of them. I have small but noticeable-to-me sized pores and this works well to smooth them out. It's supposed to help absorb excess oil and it does help to keep the shine at bay for me.

The Lip and Eye Contour was featured earlier this week and works to smooth out lips and give them a slightly plumped effect. I have not tried it on the eyes yet. It does indeed smooth out the lip and help prime them for lip color. It does come at a very steep price tag. It's a nice one that I like but given the price I do not know if it's something I will repurchase once used up. It does smooth out lip lines and I suspect it will do the same for eyes. With the eye area and skincare I've tried a number of items (still testing quite a few). I feel like eye creams are hard to test because they take so much time to see results. If you've tried this on the eye area let me know what you thought.

Up next are the Him/Her Lip Care tinted shades in 2, 3 and 5. These were also featured in this week's lip basics roundup so I won't recap the full review. A few of you asked for lip swatches even though I felt they all looked pretty much the same and sheer on my lips. I have pigmented lips but they do seem to be darker on some days compared to others. I managed to get lip swatches on a day where my lips were on the lighter side. I swatched them heavily so you could see the color but I normally would not wear them this thick on the lips. They have a nice moisturizing balmy feel. They aren't lightweight and you can feel them once on the lip area. If you need something weightless these will be too heavy for you. I also swatched all the colors at the counter for reference.

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Shades I bought, 2 is peachy, 3 is a lilac, 5 is a plum:

On the skin is MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation shade NC37:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

All the options, swatched at the counter:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream which now comes in a travel sized version with a pump. When the original version came out in the large tub with a $200 price tag my jaw literally dropped and I told myself "I can't check it out, I just can't do it." The most I've spent on a foundation before was for Cle de Peau and I did love it but never repurchased. When I saw a travel size of the Crema Nuda for $120 pop up online I was also debating the new Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation which is $125. It turned out to be too pink for me (I tried O30 too pink and O40 was too dark) and at the price tag I needed an exact or pretty exact match so I passed.

Armani Beauty Crema Nuda Review - The Beauty Look Book

Before trying the Crema Nuda I did reach out to a few beauty friends asking if they tried it. One confirmed it was good but the original price was too much. I went to investigate and a quick hand swatch had me worried because I thought I'd be in between shades. #3 looked very pink and peach when blended on my hand and #4 was clearly too dark. A kind associate gave me samples to try and said to give it whirl on my skin because they blended out differently on the face because of the unique texture.

Armani Crema Nuda packaging

I had a serious OMG moment when I tried #3. It did indeed look a bit peachy-pink at first swipe but a beauty blender smoothed it out and after a minute it adjusted to a perfect match. I've never tried anything that made my skin look so blurred and smooth as the Crema Nuda. I do wish that it came in the same shades as the Luminous Silk because the colors in that line are perfect for my skin undertone but formula is too rich. At any rate, the Crema Nuda works for my normal combination skin even though I thought it would be too moisturizing and heavy. It looks very natural with medium coverage. I do still need to layer on a bit of concealer on spots and under eyes but it's pretty near perfect.

I thought I had mini samples of all the shades but turns out I'm missing the darkest one #6. But for reference here are the colors I did get samples of at the counter. There is a new one #4.5 which once it sets looks darker than #4 even though they look pretty close with a fresh swatch.

Armani Crema Nuda foundation swatches

Here is how Armani Crema Nuda #3 looks on my face with a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2 to set (no concealer or other foundations added to the mix). On the lips is Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick.

Armani Crema Nuda #3

A few comparison swatches for reference. As I've mentioned in a few recent posts I went to investigate what my MAC shade was because so many of you have asked. In the past years I've been anywhere from NC30, NC35, NC40, C3 and C4 depending on how tan I was. I stopped using the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation because I found I was severely allergic - this was in my college days that I stopped which was over 10 years ago. I was also allergic to their Face and Body and a number of other formulas. Since then many years have gone by and I don't know if the foundations have been reformulated but I did give the Studio Fluid Fix Foundation a try.

The girls at the store said I was an NC35 but I felt NC37 was a better match (in this formula it's a bit lighter and less olive). I bought both so I could test and swatch them for you. As my skin gets lighter though I suspect I might be able to pull off NC30 - but I'll have to investigate further. I still promise to have my base foundation and concealer roundup as soon as possible.

For now here are some swatch comparisons for reference, Set #1:

Set #2:

At the $120 price tag it's still very expensive but easier for me to justify compared to $200. Plus I really like that it comes in a pump and wears well on my skin. Color options in the Crema Nuda line are limited but since it's not a full covearage foundation I do think the shades are more forgiving. If you try it I do suggest letting the color sit on the skin as it won't oxidize but it will adjust.

Bottom line, lots to love from the line. I'm slowly rediscovering bits - I used to be a die hard fan until they started reformulating everything and I'm still upset they discontinued some of the most amazing blush colors and the original formula. I know some will say the new one is better but I stocked up on some of the originals because in my mind those were the best on the market for a long long time.

For the skincare items, I like the Day-Long Skin Perfector the best. Even though it's the best primer I've used I still don't use it everyday simply because it's an extra step I just am too lazy for on most days. When I do use it though it does not let me down. I highly recommend it.

Have you tried any of the Armani Prima skincare line? Or the Crema Nuda? I just saw they added more to the Prima skincare line but have yet to investigate. If you have any skincare favorites from the line let me know - it's been years since I used their serums and creams. I suspect what I used to use no longer exists as new products have most likely taken their place.

Prima items provided courtesy of Armani for review. Other items purchased by me from Nordstrom.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Haul - Skincare and Fashion Picks

By request, I've rounded up my skincare and clothing haul picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Today is the last day for early access and the public sale starts tomorrow July 22nd. Although I did shop the sale early, many items sold out in stores near me so I ordered a few items online. My husband did not want to go in store (like most men I think) and since he knows his sizes, he gave me a list of things to order online for him. He tends to stick with classic staples.

First up are my picks. For clothes I had a lot on my list to check out but ended up getting only a few items including:

I tried on a few more items in store including the Trouve Drape Front Leather Jacket in Black and Brown Saddle. I found the XS fit perfectly across the shoulders and the arm length was good (rare for me with leather jackets, they're always so long!). It's definitely one of the more affordable jackets with super soft leather. It's still on my wishlist but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I fell in love with the Whiskey color of the Marc New York by Andrew Marc Felix Stand Collar Leather Jacket but they didn't have my size in store to try and the collar was on the large size for my preference. In terms of leather jackets, Vince makes my favorite ones but they are quite the splurge and since I don't think I could keep anything suede nice for long I will save for a regular leather one.

A quick look at the Trouve Drape Front Leather Jackets in two colors and the Rag and Bone Split Back Tank (ordered once I got home).

Rest of what's on my radar/wishlist:

For skincare I picked up the Foreo Luna Play which comes in one color at Nordstrom. I thought it was an Anniversary Sale Exclusive but appears that it's not (you can also get it at Sephora and other retailers in different colors). It's a mini sized device that has 100 uses and is non-rechargeable but at the price I think it's worth it. I have yet to test it out, but it was too cute to pass up. I've shown it next to my Clarisonic Mia Fit (c/o) which I received a few weeks ago but is currently on sale at Nordstrom marked down on mega sale. The Pink Mia Fit is currently on backorder online but will still let you put it in your cart at the sale price. White Mia Fit and Blue Mia Fit are both still in stock online.

La Mer has a Gift With $350 Purchase so I bought the new Cleansing Micellar Water to try out along with the Revitalizing Collection set. I did not realize the Nordstrom set had the regular Creme de La Mer instead of the Moisturizing Soft Cream that I typically use. I haven't used the set yet so I'm debating whether to give the regular cream a go or exchange it for my Moisturizing Soft Cream. If you have normal/combo skin let me know if you've tried the regular cream and what you thought.

I look forward to the Moroccan Oil offerings each year. Last year they had supersized shampoos and conditioners and I stocked up on a few. This year's Moroccan Oil Hair Care Set has the dry oil, moisture shampoo and conditioner and moroccan oil. These are among my favorite shampoo and conditioner products out of all the ones I've tried. My husband likes the smell so much he decided to use it to wash our dogs and I almost died when I found out.

Husband's fashion picks that have arrived so far include the Cole Haan Owen Sport Sneakers (which aren't on sale but hubby wanted them) and the Ted Baker London Alex Slim Fit Bomber Jacket. He's usually a Large (he's 6'3") and we found Size 5 worked best.

Other items we are waiting for in the mail, he stocked up on jeans from AG (he likes the Protege fit), Joe's (classic fit) and 7 for All Mankind (Austyn fit). Image is interactive so you can click directly on the icons to shop them on Nordstrom.

For those curious about my skincare and fashion picks, I hope you enjoyed this roundup in a his and hers edition. If you have any input in the La Mer I'm all ears! It looks like there's a new Moisturizing Soft Lotion that just launched at Nordstrom too. I'm torn between keeping or exchanging the set because it's such a good deal, but I suspect the regular creme might just be too heavy for my skintype.

Did you haul any skincare or fashion goodies during early access or are you shopping the sale tomorrow? Let me know what you found!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AmorePacific Skincare Testing with the Time Response Collection, Resort Sun Protection Mist and Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masques

I've been intrigued by Korean skincare for quite some time now and have played with items here and there incorporating bits into my skincare routine. Many of you frequently recommended items from AmorePacific and thanks to your recommendations I've found some favorites including the Color Control Cushion Compact (204 is my match), the Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (best unscented lip treatment I've used), the Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (Oil Free) and the Treatment Cleansing Foam. This summer I've had the opportunity to team up with AmorePacific and try out some items from their Time Response Collection, Resort Collection and Moisture Bound Collection. I've put select skincare items to the test for the past three weeks and have reviews to share today.

First I want to mention the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compacts as they are great foundations for warm summer weather. I've reviewed them before and in case you missed previous posts a quick recap is that these are weightless sheer to medium coverage foundations in a sponge filled compact. I use 204 which has a golden yellow undertone. It's the most natural foundation I've tried makes the skin look like your own skin but better. They come in a silver mirrored compact filled with a white insert, but there is another sealed package with a refill so I find the price quite reasonable. Below are two separate compacts shown, open vs closed:

Coverage is at most medium if you build it and you can do so without it looking cakey or feeling heavy. It also has SPF 50 and does not irritate my sensitive skin. Since it's really lightweight I think it's ideal for summer weather. I have normal combo skin and it works for me. One of my friends has super dry skin and she loves it too. Swatches of four of the options - I don't have 104 shown, but there's a face chart on their website to help you match online:

Next up is the Time Response Collection which is AmorePacific's most popular skincare line. It's a line that has Green Tea Flower Extract - the benefits of these ingredients are to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen production, stimulate hyaluronic production to balance the skin and regulate melanin to help with hyper pigmentation. A few of my close friends have urged me to try the Time Response line - stating that the Skin Renewal Cream and Eye Renewal Cream as the best wrinkle-fighters on the planet. The pieces from the collection are very expensive and I decided the best way to get a sense of the line was to try one of the trial sets. The current Time Response Collection set from AmorePacific is the Time Response Skin Renewal Set which has deluxe mini sizes of 6 items. The team ended up sending me a slightly different variation - two items from other lines are mixed into the set I have, so I'll be reviewing items I received.

Below is the Time Response Introductory Set:

Items I tried out with thoughts on each product, full size options are linked in case you want to see the full ingredient list which is on each product page:
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Serum 5ml - this is a highly concentrated serum formula that you apply morning and night before the cream, serums in general help boost the results of moisturizers and when I use them, I notice my skin looks better but I usually prefer to use as few skincare products under my makeup so it's often neglected
  • All Day Balancing Care Serum 10 ml - this is a more lightweight serum compared to the Time Response version, this one is almost like a toner in the sense that it rebalances the skin, I prefer this version to the Time Response, when using this under moisturizer I notice fine lines disappear and skin looks more alive
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid 30 ml - this is a lightweight moisturizer which is a less intense version of the cream, it leaves the skin feeling very moisturized but has a lightweight finish
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Toner 30 ml - this is a balancing toner that restores skin's pH levels and also works to make sure remaining residue after cleansing is removed, it's a moisturizing toner and left the skin feeling well hydrated and plump
  • Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System 30 ml - is a face spray that comes highly recommended by many of my readers and it's really great at refreshing and cooling the skin during the day
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Cream 15 ml - this is a luxurious face cream designed to reduce wrinkles and sagging, after using this for three weeks I found that it feels very rich and I was worried it would be too heavy but it is not, a little goes a very long way so the small container will probably last me at least a couple of months, I have wrinkles on my forehead and this has started to noticeably reduced fine lines
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Eye Cream 3 ml - another highly recommended product which I've found also goes a very long way with a tiny bit, it works really well to reduce puffiness on me which is my main concern for the eyes right now
I also tried the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque which comes in a box of 2 for $32 or box of 6 for $90. I love trying sheet masks and was really excited to try these and the price seemed really affordable especially if I were to fall in love and want to use these weekly or every other week. These are two-piece masks for the upper and lower face. It comes with a vial filled with serum that you apply directly to the face first before applying the sheet masks on top. They are the thickest most cushiony sheets I've ever tried, there is a peel off section to reveal a gel-like side you apply to the face on top of the serum. It has a soothing cooling feel and leaves the skin feeling plump, revived and glowing. I used one as an at-home face treat so I don't know how the results perform under makeup. The next day after I used the mask my skin felt noticeably smoother and more hydrated.

Last but not least is the new Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 from the new Resort Collection. These days I'm really concerned about anti-aging and protecting my skin from sun exposure. Living in Southern California we have lots of sunshine and I love being outdoors so I'm forever searching for sunscreens. So far there's no one sunscreen for all occasions. Some work better under makeup, others are good for outdoors, and then there are ones I need for sport activity that are sweat-proof. For me there are quite a few good ones that fit the bill on all aspects of what I look for - lasts long, doesn't irritate skin, doesn't clog pores, doesn't sting the eyes but so many have that white cast on the skin. There are very few that have passed my test - the AmorePacific Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has joined the club.

It's a lightweight mist sunscreen that's completely clear. I sprayed it directly on my face when I first received it then read the instructions and realized that you are supposed to spray on your hands and not on the face. It has a fluid texture that's clear making it disappear on the skin. It has plum extract which helps protect against heat-aging which is new to me and something I wasn't aware of. According to AmorePacific heat exposure accelerates oxidization and inflammation which are the two major causes of premature aging. It also includes ingredients to reduce irritation, keep skin moisturized and cool. Applying on the skin I tried it over the Time Response moisturizers (I tried it over the cream and serum on separate occasions) and it is lightweight enough that it doesn't feel heavy by adding that one more layer. Alone it will look very dewy on the skin but does not feel greasy - let it set on the skin before making any judgements. It works well under makeup. It appears to be designed for the face but I would also use this on the body.

I researched a lot of reviews online before deciding what to try from the line, since the items are pricey I wanted to pick wisely. The reviews on the Time Response Collection are overwhelmingly positive and I was thrilled to be able to test some pieces. I do believe seeing results from skincare takes a lot of time and diligent use - after three weeks I have noticed improvement with fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have creeped up on me. Since the collection is on the expensive side and if you're unsure of what formulas will work best for your skintype, I hands down recommend trying one of the trial sets first which will allow you to sample items at a more affordable price compared to splurging on the full size items.

My favorites from what I tested include the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, Moisture Bound Face Mist, Sun Protection Mist, All Day Balancing Serum and Time Response Renewal Eye Cream. Once the trial box set is used but I plan on buying the eye cream. Another box of the sheet masks are in my online cart as I type this post ready for checkout.

Serum-wise going forward it's a toss up whether I would decide to splurge on a box of sheet masks which have the serum vials or just purchase a bottle of the serum which sounds more expensive but would probably last a lot longer.

For the face creams, my favorite is still the Moisture Bound Hydra Gel because it's more lightweight and better suited for my normal/combo skin (especially in the summer) and the price points of the Gel and Cream in the Moisture Bound line is a lot easier to swallow for luxury skincare. However the Time Response Renewal Cream is everything everyone has raved about - nothing I've tried has reduced my forehead fine lines and wrinkles as well as this has. My forehead area is probably the part of my face that is most exposed to sun and heat and is more normal-dry versus the rest of my face which is more normal-combo. The main difference between the two lines is the Moisture Bound is more geared towards anti-aging prevention and age delay while Time Response is more reactive to reduce effects of aging. It's noticeable that the effects of the Time Response line are more potent. Now that I just turned 35 I feel like my awareness of wrinkles and fine lines has heightened. I don't know if I will purchase a full size of the cream when my deluxe size is used up but given that the deluxe size has quite a bit of product I will have some time to think about it before splurging.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience testing items from AmorePacific! So many of you have given me such great advice about skincare, especially from the AmorePacific line. If you have anything to add about your experiences, loves or hates please do so in the comments.

Many thanks to AmorePacific for sponsoring this post. Products featured gifted for review. As always all opinons my own. More information in 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.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Favorite At-Home Pamper Essentials

I have a roundup of things I wanted to share that I find best for at-home pampering. I try to take care of my skin on a daily basis but try to give it extra care on the weekends - kinda like doing a DIY at home spa session for a good reset or cleanse. There are a few body products I've been meaning to write about for a while - ones I found well worth the splurge. I've included several recommendations by category - there's no one product fits all so I've tried to cover a variety of options in case you're looking for something specific whether it's to purify skin, firm the skin, etc.


  • Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap is probably one of the most expensive face cleansing products I've ever bought. I've gone through 4 of these - I probably would have purchased more if it came with a cheaper price tag. It gives the skin a very thorough cleanse without leaving a film. It cleans out all the pores and leaves skin feeling squeaky clean. When I feel like my face is getting clogged this helps clear up the complexion. With daily use 2x a day a single bar lasts about 4 months.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser has been mentioned before in my spring cleanser roundup. I really can't rave enough about this - I used mine up so I stocked up on a few more during the Sephora sale earlier this month. It cleanses the skin and helps keep it clear but gentle enough for daily use.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (c/o) is a super gentle milk cleanser that won't leave a film. I really don't like milk cleansers because I often find them too rich for my skin type and they rarely leave my face feeling fully clean. A few of you mentioned you have really sensitive skin - this is a good one to try. It does give the face a good cleanse without drying it out. I still do a double cleanse with this one in the evenings (I remove all my makeup first with a cleansing oil or cleansing water), but in the morning it's perfect to use alone.
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is one of my favorite purifying cleansers. I've gone through several bottles and it's one I keep going to. In hot summer months I can use this daily (usually in the late afternoon or evenings, or post work out), for now I like to use it weekly to help give the skin a thorough cleanse. It helps reduce redness and irritation too.


  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment is hands down one of the most effective clearing face masks. It does have a tingle feeling when you apply it but it's not too strong and doesn't irritate the skin. It sucks out impurities and leaves the skin feeling super firm and tight.
  • Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment is one of the newer masks from Glamglow. This one you leave on the face for 20-30 minutes and peel off. I normally don't like masks that require more than 15 minutes of application because I'm super impatient with skincare, but this one is worth the extra time. It is more on the gentle side for a firming mask and I feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term, but it does leave the skin feeling super firm and lifted.
  • Aesop Parsley Seed Mask is the best purifying mask for my sensitive skin. It dries up the gunk in your skin and leaves it feeling thoroughly clean and tight. Many have mentioned to me that their skin cannot handle the Glamglow because they find it too harsh. If that is the case and you still want a purifying mask to draw out impurities, try the Aesop.
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate is one of the most gentle acne-clearing masks. It works in a similar way to the other clarifying masks mentioned above but is super gentle and non-irritating. It won't leave the skin feeling tight. It's gentle enough to use daily - I wouldn't recommend using it every single day, but on weeks where I have some breakouts, I use this nightly for about 4-5 nights and it really helps clear up the skin.

I usually don't splurge on body products. I typically keep things simple with L'Occitane or Nuxe, but I've discovered some new-to-me things that I am really excited to share with you.

  • Chanel Fresh Body Cream is something I'm beyond obsessed with. It's one of the most expensive body products I've ever bought and it's a bit hard to find (you can't find it at all counters). You can basically find this at any store or counter that sells the Exclusifs Fragrances. It's a super gentle body cream that smells really fresh but won't interfere with perfumes. I like to use this at night before bed because I have a sensitive nose and scents sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. This one is soothing enough that it doesn't interfere with my sleep. It's hydrating and non-greasy. I will keep repurchasing this one for as long as they make it.
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique Body Cream is another pricey splurge but I adore the Bal D'Afrique scent I had to try it in the body cream. This one is super emollient and has a body butter feel which is super lush. A little goes a long way and the moisture lingers for an emollient feel. You can definitely feel the moisture after you apply but it's not greasy. That being said if you need a body product to have a dry-down you may find this too rich.
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body is another favorite. I've featured this a few times in past years. It has all the moisturizing and soothing qualities of items from the regular Shea line but it's lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. Anytime I have irritation or flare ups - I use this and skin is instantly soothed. I love that it's non greasy, gentle, but effective.
  • NARS Monoii Body Glow II is the ultimate scented tiare body oil that makes you feel like you're on a tropical vacation. It lifts the mood instantly and absorbs quickly into the skin. There's no greasy feel or residue after it's absorbed into the skin. I'm about 99% happy with this one - if it came with a pump dispenser it would be perfect.
Home Fragrance

  • Lumira Travel Candles (c/o) are super compact and cute, I love having a few scattered around the house to burn. To date I don't think I've brought a candle with me while I travel but there are times when I have traveled that I wish I had one with me. I'm trying my best to save the mini ones for my next trip. My favorite from their line is the Tahitian Coconut.
  • Lumira Mini Destinations Box Set (c/o) launched over the holiday a boxed trio of the most popular scents from the line in Tuscan Fig, Cuban Tobacco, Persian Rose. I just finally started burning Tuscan Fig today - it's amazing and smells of sweet figs (Diptyque's Figuier by comparison is greener). Top notes are fig leaves and fig tree, middle notes are blackcurrant and cedarwood, base is iris and musk.
  • Diptyque Gingembre Room Spray (c/o) was reviewed a month ago (I can't believe an entire month has gone by). I won't repeat the review but it's a really nice bright and cheery kind of home scent.
  • Diptyque Colored Candle in Baies (c/o) is a classic. The larger size gives this one a stronger throw compared to the smaller ones. Don't forget if you have any Diptyque on your wishlist you can save online at Space NK US by using my special promo code through May 1st.


I have very sensitive lips when it comes to lip treatments. There are quite a few very popular options that make my lips go numb (Kiehl's, CO Bigelow, Chapstick etc.) so that may give you an idea of just how sensitive they are. The ones below are Beauty Look Book approved. Of course it's not a list of all the ones I've tested or like, but ones I like most for right now.

  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm is a great lip treatments that is also affordable. It's emollient and I love the simple classic squeeze tube packaging.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed is my current favorite for the most moisturizing lip treatment to help with dry or cracked lips (swatched in this post here and here).
  • AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is one I just used up (review from winter in this post here), it's the best scent and taste-free lip treatment I've tried. Most others have some kind of scent or flavor. If you're really sensitive to any scent, I'd recommend you try this one.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur in Coral Stellar is one of the prettiest tinted lip treatments I've tried. Review + swatches here. It's worth the splurge.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is a good lip treatment but I do think it's overpriced for what you get. That being said I've never regretted buying this one and if you're willing to splurge it's a good gentle one that always soothes my lips. (More on this compared to others in this post here.)
If you're looking for something to help reset the skin, calm the complexion or give your body an extra boost of moisture, I hope you found this roundup helpful! I have super sensitive skin and there are some body lotions and creams that cause an immediate allergic reaction (I always do a patch test first). If a good purifying mask is what you have been looking for but want something suitable for sensitive skin I hope the recs above help you find something gentle enough for your skin type!

What are your favorite at-home pampering products? I really love hearing about your favorites. So many of you have recommended some great things for me to try. I'm pretty set on masks but I do have my eye on a few sheet masks. I'm intrigued by mainly the two from La Mer - if you've tried them should I go for the Brightening Facial Masks or Hydrating Sheet Masks? Or should I wait for the Eve Lom Brightening Sheet Mask to launch in the US?

I hope you had a great week! Enjoy the weekend :)


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