Showing posts with label Tom Ford Beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Ford Beauty. Show all posts

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Black Orchid Eau de Parfum + Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom


For fall Tom Ford Beauty is launching a few mini collections, the first is the Orchid Collection which highlights two fragrances in Black Orchid and Orchid Soleil along with corresponding powders and lipsticks to match the mood of each scent. A lovely package of the Black Orchid Eau de Parfum ($120 for 50 ml) and Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom ($80) arrived a few months ago but I decided to wait closer to fall to review these. Scent is often very seasonal for me and some perfumes I can't get in the mood for if it's not the right time of year. Now that fall is approaching I am ready to review two items from the Orchid Collection. I have also purchased the Orchid Soleil perfume and a few other pieces which I hope to review in the next couple of weeks.

Both the Nightbloom Powder and Black Orchid Eau de Parfum come in matching packaging with the embossed striped black case and gold accent. The powder compact is the same size as the small bronzing powders and cream cheek colors from summer.


Black Orchid Eau de Parfum is not a new frangrance - it's been a classic in the Tom Ford Beauty line for many years. For me this is a rich and spicy scent with a dark feel. To me it's distinctly feminine, but pulls on the masculine side. Notes include bergamot, citrus accord, mandarin, gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lotus, orchid spicy floral accord, orchid, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, vanilla. If I were to sum it up in three words it would be "dark seductive floral." Lasting power is very good - I find all Tom Ford scents to be long lasting, but this one is one of the strongest I've tried. While I am drawn to unisex scents that have notes like sandalwood and amber, Tom Ford Black Orchid is a bit darker than I would normally wear, even for date nights. It has a distinct and unique scent that feels very luxurious. I'm just not sure that it's my cup of tea - but my nose has been known to change in taste. There are a few fragrances I did not like in my mid-20's that I adore right now that I'm in my mid-30's.


The Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom is a gold shimmery highlighter with a strong yellow sheen. It has a very soft fragrance added but it does not really smell like the Black Orchid perfume. The shimmer is visible with lovely silver and gold sparkles. It has a smooth medium to medium-full coverage for pigment and is easy to blend. Quality-wise it's excellent, doesn't emphasize pores, doesn't look overly frosted and stays put all day long without fall out or fading. Color-wise, I've mentioned numerous times before that I tend to stay away from yellowy-gold highlighters because it often clashes with my skintone. Alone on the skin it is indeed very yellow, but once I add a bronzer or blush, the yellow tones balance out a bit.



Swatch comparisons below to a few other highlighters. Tom Ford Night Bloom as the strongest yellow undertones.



Both the Black Orchid Eau de Parfum and Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom are luxurious splurges that I was thrilled to be able to try. I'm a huge fan of Tom Ford Beauty and some of his fragrances are among my favorites (right now I'm obsessed with Soleil Blanc). Black Orchid as I suspected based on previous sniffs and spritzes at the counter is one of those scents that I distinctly seductive and beautiful, just not one I can see myself wearing on a regular basis. For me, my best date night scent is still Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.

The Nightbloom Powder is beyond gorgeous in every aspect from the packaging, texture, shimmer and color. However, since I tend to gravitate to peachy champagne colors for highlighters I can't call this a must-have for me but I am very grateful a sample was sent for me to test out. I have high hopes for the pink one which I just ordered so stay tuned for a review on that one soon! Quality wise both items are a solid thumbs up.

Right now the Orchid Collection appears to have certain pieces that are available at select locations. The powders, lipsticks and solid perfumes can be found only at Tom Ford, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman (for pre-order) and Selfridges (each of the stores list the collection as exclusive). The regular spray perfumes can be found at all other Tom Ford counters and stores.

Have you tried anything from the Orchid Collection yet? What did you think?

Black Orchid and Black Bloom both provided for review consideration.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Fragrance Rotation


Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of those busy weeks where I felt like I was not able to be as productive as I had hoped. I'm relieved that the weekend is almost here. I have quite a few reviews in the works. Testing is a non-stop continuous process and I have a lot of posts partially completed - stay tuned for posts on new launches from Lancôme, Dior, Chanel, Birchbox, Cle de Peau Beaute along with the roundup/routine type posts many of you have requested. Continuing another one of my routine posts you asked for, today I'm rounding up my warm weather fragrance edit. Summer is nearing it's end (I keep seeing end of summer promos everywhere!) but scents are the kind of beauty product I feel can be transitional in some cases. It takes me forever to use up a perfume and I tend to accumulate them in batches - there are a few of these I've had for a long time.

Up first are the scents I think are most unique. I don't mind wearing popular mainstream perfumes but sometimes it's nice to have something a little more unique.

Shown above, left to right:
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique has been on my wishlist for ages. I have it in the small travel sized vial from a holiday discovery set I bought last year. I finally caved and bought the full size. It's a sweet warm floral that I feel smells like it has apricot but it does not. Notes include bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, jasmin petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver and Moroccan cedarwood. It also comes in other formats such as the Body Wash (just splurged), Body Cream (review here), Bath Oil and is also in the current Floral Discovery Set.
  • Lumira Paradisium (c/o) is one of my favorites and it's very unique. I feel I can wear this one year round. Full detailed review here. For a quick take, it has bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, heart of fig nectar, guava, vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood. It's one of the few scents that has fig that I can wear.
  • Diptyque Eau de Sens (c/o) is an orange blossom which I think most will think is best as a spring scent. I agree except that this is one of the very few orange blossom scents I've been able to wear so I've been spritzing it over the summer. Also reviewed in this post here.
  • Oribe Côte d'Azur (c/o) is an Oribe lover's dream come true. The signature scent that you find in most Oribe products is bottled in a perfume version and it's amazing. If you find the hair products to be strongly scented you probably can get away with just wearing the styling creams or sprays instead of buying the perfume. I personally find the hair sprays fade in scent after a few hours, the perfume definitely lasts all day long on me.

Next are two sweet options from Urban Outfitters. These are part of the Gourmand Line and are priced at $18 each. They are both on the sweet vanilla coco side - I know many of you like vanilla-based scents. I have a hard time wearing them because so many are too strong.
  • Sel Ocean is described as having honeysuckle, muguet, pink sea salt which I think is an accurate description. It's very sweet so if you don't like sweet scents, definitely try to test before buying.
  • Lait de Coco is a milky white fragrance you shake to mix the contents. Notes include bergamot, vanilla praline and creamy coconut. It's the closest scent I've found to the long discontinued Jo Malone Sweet Milk.

In my experience and opinion, the best date night fragrances are from Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb. It has a distinct scent that is easily recognizable but smells amazing on everyone.
  • Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb note include bergamot, tea, freesia, jasmine, orange blossom, orchid, rose, patchouli.
  • There are occasional limited-edition variations launched, the Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose is a lighter version of the original with a sparkling feel if that makes sense. Top notes are grapefruit, mandarin, pink pepper, green tea. Middle notes have jasmin, orchid and rose. Base notes have patchouli and amber.
  • Spicebomb is the cologne version for men and it's my husband's favorite. It's what I think all hot guys smell like lol. It's more of a date night fragrance but my husband find it suitable to wear everyday. He's already used up a travel size and full size bottle. I bought the Spicebomb Fresh for him because I often like the lighter/fresh versions. We both agreed it's too light and not masculine enough. It's a good one for those who like light scents but Spicebomb is better.

Last but not least, the scents that are true summer and warm weather scents that make you feel like you're on a tropical vacation somewhere on the beach.
  • NARS Monoi Body Glow II is the ultimate tropical vacation scent. It's not a perfume but rather a scented body oil which I can't get enough of. It has the most delicious monoi oil scent and has a tiare flower inside that has been soaked in refined coconut oil to capture the essence of the unique process used to make the oil. Scent lasts all day on me and gives the skin a nice glow.
  • Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is the lightest Tom Ford fragrance launched and therefore priced at a lower price point compared to his perfumes. It's a lighter version of the Neroli Portofino which I like on others but don't really like on myself. The Neroli Aqua Portofino is a citrus beachy scent with hints of amber. Also featured in this post here.
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is a white floral that has a beachy vacation like feel. Full review in this post here.
  • Urban Outfitters Gourmand Thé Matcha is one of the few I've used up entirely and am on my second bottle. It's a simple fresh fragrance that has a sweet clean green tea scent with citrus and white flowers.
My most-worn scents of the summer are the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua, Soleil Blanc and Lumira Paradisium. For evenings out or special occasions it's been either of the Viktor and Rolf fragrances. I also really like Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'Eau (reviewed here) which wasn't featured in the roundup because I feel it's moer of a fall scent, but still nice for going out.

Do you have a favorite go-to for summer? Or do you stick with scents that you wear year round? As always I'd love to hear your favorites - for any season! There are so many scent options out there it's overwhelming to find a good scent so I rely heavily on recommendations!

Items provided courtesy for review consideration marked with a "c/o".

Friday, July 29, 2016

Favorite Luxury Lipstick Formulas


It's National Lipstick Day today so I'm rounding up some of my favorite luxury lipstick formulas. I think everyone has their favorites - many of you want to know what I think the best ones are and as always, I have to say it depends! It depends on color preference, formula, finish, coverage and packaging. I gravitate towards neutrals and nudes, often times I have duplicates of the same color - but there are so many nuances in undertone, shimmer, finish I think often times they are different enough to justify owning. I've split mine into formula categories.


Best Full Coverage
Best Matte
  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution (Very Victoria and Sexy Sienna shown) hands down best matte because it's a luminous matte that also has a hydrating formula that won't dry out the lips, swatches here and here
Favorite Classic Formulas
  • Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lip Color (Pure Impulse shown) my all time favorite in the top 3 lipstick formula, I will have a dedicated post swatching and reviewing all of his lipsticks soon, they are fig scented, creamy and just perfect in terms of pigment and coverage
  • Tom Ford Lip Colors (Guilty Pleasure shown) always a favorite, this is also in my top 3 for the ultimate luxury splurge, formulas have either a cream or shimmer finish, coverage is smooth with medium to full coverage, swatches here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys (Austin shown) perfect clutch-sized lip colors, multiple colors and shades reviewed and swatched here
  • Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G (Penelope Pink shown) review and swatches here and here
  • Chanel Rouge Coco (Marie shown) is a classic, they have a wide range of colors from neutral, pink, plum, reds and browns, eight shades reviewed + swatched here
  • MAC Lipstick (not shown but Sunblessed a Nordstrom exclusive featured in intro and final images) this has to be added to my favorites list because even though the formula makes my lips dry and peel a bit by day 2, I just can't resist the classic and edgy colors, they wear really well all day long and I wear them frequently, I just have to add lip balm to my lips like crazy at night
Most Hydrating
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo (Recit and Message shown) is the most hydrating and comfortable lipstick formula I've tried, I love the slim click up wand and the best thing about this one is it's not just a one-way click (you can click it back down too), all the colors reviewed here
Best Sheer and Glossy Formulas
  • Louboutin Sheer Voile (Rose du Desert) is the most expensive lipstick on the market and comes with a hefty price tag, I will say that I don't know that I think any lipstick is worth $90, but it doesn't mean that I won't buy one (or several), the Sheer Voile has a gorgeous glossy finish, it's sheer but gives the lips a visible tint, review on these soon
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine (Boy shown) is what I think of as the epitome of classic beauty, Rouge Coco Shines have been a favorite for years, if you want a natural tint of effortless color, these are the way to go
  • YSL Rouge Volupte Shine (Shade 47 shown) are another favorite, they are similar to Rouge Coco Shines but the YSL is a bit more emollient and comes with a fruity mango scent (swatches of the latest Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick eight shades here)



Best Liquid Lipstick Formulas
  • Too Faced Melted Chocolate are my favorites for liquid lipstick because these also have a chocolate scent! They come with a sponge tip applicator. Swatches of all the chocolate shades in this post here.
  • Anastasia Liquid Lipstick (Crush shown) come with a love-hate feeling from me. I love these because the color really does last all day long but I am not a fan of matte finish lipsticks. This one can be fixed by adding a bit of balm or clear gloss on top and then I have a lipstick that will last from morning to night and through snacks/lunch.
  • Chanel Rouge Double Intensite (shades shown Darling Pink, Bright Rose and Light Rose) is another one that will literally last all day on my lips. It's a two step application process, first color, let dry, then top with the clear gloss on the other end. Bright Rose swatched here. Darling Pink is the best baby pink I've ever tried (I don't think I've reviewed it) and Light Rose is a gorgeous pinky rose color too.
  • NARS Lip Cover (Get Dirty shown) is a liquid lipstick with a glossy finish. I have two shades in Get Dirty and Overheated. I believe these are limited-edition from summer, I hope NARS considers adding this formula to the permanent line because the formula is really really good. Both shades swatched on lips here.


That wraps up my lipstick favorites in honor of National Lipstick Day! What are your favorite lipstick formulas or colors?


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Bronzer Edit


By popular request, I've rounded up some new bronzers I've tried this summer along with tried and true favorites. Bronzers are probably one of most favorite makeup products - there's just something about a glowing tan that I love. Living in Southern California we have warm sunny weather almost year round. I do use sun protection for the face and body, but living here there's just no avoiding the sun - but I love it.

I've pulled an extensive list of bronzers and split them by type. It's by no means a comprehensive list of all the bronzers on the market, nor is it a list of all the bronzers I have tried or own (that would be a post a mile long). I have picked out the ones I thought were either new and interesting, tried and true or new found loves. A quick note before I go into the details - I have medium olive toned skin with normal/combination skin. I prefer warmer bronzers as cool-toned bronzers often look ashy or grey on my complexion. Foundation shades most reached for include the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 6 + 7 mixed, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed. I love bronzers of all types whether it's liquid, powder, shimmer or matte.

Finding the right shade or formula for you will depend skin undertone (pink or yellow), skin tone (fair, light, medium, tan or deep), skin type (oily, dry, combo, etc.) and also things such as shimmer or formula preference.

Up first are some matte bronzing powders. Several of you have asked for recommendations on more affordable options. Two lines I've tried I think are excellent are the Colour Pop and Benefit.


Shown above:
  • Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed (reviewed here) is a deep warm matte bronze, I think this is best suited for deeper skintones, on me it's a bit dark, but good for days I want a more dramatic look.
  • Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Skinnydip is a soft light neutral matte bronze that looks like a skintone color for me, for those with fair skins who find most options too dark, this might be a good option to look at.
  • Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder (c/o) is a classic that is neutral so it will work with a wide range of skin undertones, it's one of the best more affordable matte bronzers I've tried.
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Tantric (c/o, on the face here) is another well-loved one by me, it's huge! The color and pigment is semi sheer but buildable, so if you're looking for one that is impossible to overdo, this is a good one.
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra and Bronze Age (c/o review and both shown on the face here), Terra is one of the few wearable cool-toned bronzers I can wear, Bronze Age is one of the darkest bronzers I own, it's a deep warm golden color, if you need something deeper try the Chanel Les Beiges Summer Duo reviewed here.


Next up are more luminous glowy bronzers ranging from a soft shimmer to high shimmer.


Shown above:
  • Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Bronzer in Poolside (medium-deep bronze) and Paradise Cove (cool-toned neutral) both have a soft luminous finish. They have a unique formula that I thought would be powders but are more of a bouncy gel cream. The price is affordable but the amount of product you get pretty small at 4.2g. Still I think these are fun and easy to build.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light (reviewed here) is a soft luminous highlighter + bronzer in one. More details on the review linked above. It's almost identical on my skin to the lighter version Luminous Bronze Light which happens to be the shade in the Nordstrom Hourglass Luminous Light Palette.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium- Dark (review + look here) is a gorgeous bronze and orange shimmer duo. It's more dramatic on me, but still wearable. For tan to deeper skintones I think you will love this one. More details in the review linked above.
  • Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Sunlight is one of the latest additions to the celestial powder line, it's not really a bronzer, but on my skintone it is. It's a medium to deep golden shimmer that gives my skin a golden sunkissed look. (It's also coming soon in the Celestial Skin Liquid formula, available for pre-order.)
  • Edward Bess Black Sea Golden Hour Mousse Bronzer is something I bought while in New York. It's the most beautiful warm golden coppery shimmer I've ever seen. It's a mousse formula that is super lightweight and easy to blend. I swatched it with a heavy hand below but once you blend it on the skin it becomes a more soft glowy gold that gives the face a beautiful golden glow. I highly recommend it.


Liquid bronzers up next. I have used and liked the Armani Liquid Summer Bronzers but didn't love it enough to repurchase (even though they added more shades). A few more affordable options below.


Shown above:
  • Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (c/o) come in 4 highlighter shades and 2 bronzers. I'll have a post on the entire collection soon, but for now a quick peek at the bronzers in Sunset and Sunkissed. Both are neutral to cool toned. Sunset offers a deeper bronzed look. If I look in the bottle there is a sheen but on the face it looks more creamy. Sunkissed is my skin but better. These have been swatched heavily but blend out nicely and are very easy to layer and blend.
  • Benefit Dew the Hoola (c/o) looks super orangey in the swatch, but let me assure you, it is not orangey on the face. It is on the warm and peachy side but I think that's what makes it work. It's sheer but buildable and dries to a semi-matte finish. I've worn it alone or with a tiny bit of powder blush layered on top.
  • NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is another new one that looks super warm and almost orangey in the swatch but often times with any kind of cheek product what you swatch on the hand/arm looks very different on the face. I love this one because it's fluid and blends into a very soft finish on the cheeks. It leaves a soft sheen without looking greasy. I almost hate posting these swatches because I think they will deter many of you from trying it, but I really urge you to try if you have a NARS counter near you. It's one of the most natural looking bronzers I've tried that is visible but looks like your skin, just better and with a bit more life.


Last but not least, the three I consider classic staples:
  • Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream is my holy grail of all bronzers. It's soft and luminous just like the name implies, it's impossible to overdo, not too shimmery and warms up the skin beautifully.
  • NARS Laguna Tiare (limited-edition Tiare version shown) is a classic with a scented twist for summer. It's the same as the classic Laguna but has a summery tiare scent added in a special limited-edition packaging. The original was one of the first high end bronzers I splurged on and it lasted for what seemed like forever. It's a classic soft luminous medium bronze that doubles as a soft contour powder. In the event you don't want something scented or want this in a palette form, there are a few Nordstrom Sets you may want to check out including the Cult Survival Kit or the Nordstrom's Best Cheek Palette.
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust is another classic, it was quite the splurge when I first bought it because they only had the large size which is over $90. They've since launched smaller versions for the past couple of years which are still pricey but more affordable and nice to travel with.


For those who were asking for a summer bronzer roundup, I hope you found this helpful! I focused mainly on stand alone bronzers rather than ones in palettes. If you have any favorites please share them in the comments along with your skintone, maybe 1 foundation shade you use for reader reference.


Press samples featured indicated with c/o.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Date Night Beauty Favorites and Clutch Essentials


Summer is in full swing and I thought I'd put together a roundup of some date night beauty favorites for the season. I like to keep things on the makeup side soft and shimmery - pretty much the same as everyday kind of colors but add more on the eyes. A good neutral lip can give a nice polished look and will go with every color of outfit. A good classic red, coral or bright pink lip can add more oomph to your look - if you like a good bright classic, I think the best color and formula right now are from the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips and Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo lines. If you're a neutral lip lover, read on for my top picks.

First a note on clutches and pouches. Finding a good classic flat zip clutch is harder than you would think. For as long as I can remember I've been into the simple classic streamlined zip pouch, but being petite at 5'3" it's hard for me to find one that isn't too large. I'm forever looking for good classic options. The envelope style is pretty chic (one affordable option featured in this post here also eyeing this nude blush one here) but for some reason my heart belong to the flat zip ones.

My two most-used clutches are the Clare V Leopard Clutch (8" H x 11" W) and Truffle Privacy Clutch (6 1/2" H x 10 1/2" W). Small compact coin purses or card cases are also essentials for me. Any kind of textured leather makes wallets more sturdy and last longer, the Chanel classic quilted caviar is one of my favorites. The Tory Burch Robinson Coin Case is actually more like card case but also works as a more affordable option but still extremely well made and sturdy.


The best date night fragrances for me, some come in the tiny roller ball or small spritzer version to fit inside a clutch:
  • Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'Eau which comes in a limited-edition travel size for summer. It's the fragrance version of Baies candle which I was surprised works well as perfume and has a mix of blackcurrant leaves and rose.
  • Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb is the ultimate date night fragrance (travel spray was taken with me on my summer trip). For daytime I feel like it's more of a fall/winter fragrance, but I think it's amazing for summer nights. It's a hard one to describe but the notes are bergamot, tea, freesia, jasmine, orange blossom, orchid, rose, patchouli.
  • Chloé Eau de Parfume is another favorite, I have a small bottle, but you can find it in a travel size as well, it's another classic floral with notes of Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey.
  • For those who want something more unique, Byredo is always a good option. I bought the Discovery Set over the holiday which has a sampler mix of scents. It's been discontinued but the current version is the Floral Discovery 6 Piece Set which has Blanche, La Tulipe, Bal D'Afrique, Inflorescence, Flowerhead and Rose Of No Man's Land. I highly recommend the travel/discovery sets. It's a great way to try out different ones without having to splurge on the full size bottle. Another option is the Nécessaire de Voyage Eau de Parfum Travel Set which has Black Saffron and Blanche with a case.


For eyes I like shadow sticks because they're easy to apply and blend with the fingers. They're great for touch ups or if you're on the go and compact enough to carry in a clutch if you don't have time to go back home to fix your makeup for date.


I like a good shimmer for the eyes because it dresses them up a bit whether it's to add highlight or deepen with a golden smokey shade. Favorites shown and swatched below include:


For lips, I'm all about the soft pink and peachy shades. Current favorites shown below to mix and match or layer:


Shown above but not swatched:
Swatched below:


For pressed powders, the two I've been reaching for the most include the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder in No. 20 and Clinique Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in Stay Neutral. I've been on the hunt for a good retractable brush that's flat but not too small and I finally found one from Hakuhodo which is the H611 Portable Brush. It's soft and fluffy and super compact. If you don't need a powder to touch up, but want a good blotting paper to carry to absorb shine, the Tatcha Blotting Papers are the best ones I've tried (details on why they're the best in this review here).


That rounds up my summer date night beauty favorites! As always I'd love to hear what you love to wear and/or carry with you. If you have any favorite clutches or zip pouches - please share! One last note, shoes featured are from Ann Taylor.




Press samples featured include Tatcha Blotting Papers, Tom Ford Lip Color, Edward Bess Lip Definers, Truffle Clutch.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Loving Right Now


Right now it's sandal season and I've been on the hunt for cute new sandals. I splurged on a pair of the Tory Burch Miller Flip Flops and am beyond obsessed. They are super comfy and I found them to be true to size. For the toes I usually love bright corals and reds but I've been wearing Tom Ford Sugar Dune and it's always so perfect. You can see the sandal + polish combo shown on the toes here, original review here. (P.S. The image above is interactive so you can shop the products by clicking the icons on the image.)

A few of you have asked about the sunglasses I've been featuring lately - if you remember posts from last year, I discovered the Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators which were the perfect small frames and I bought like 5 of the colors because they were so affordable and the size was just right. Since the Marc by Marc Jacobs line has been discontinued the style I had sold out eventually as the line was phased out. I bought newly listed ones by Marc Jacobs called the 59MM Semi Rimless Sunglasses and found that they are identical with the exception of the frame sides. They have a slightly different look and now say Marc Jacobs. Aside from that they are a bit more expensive but the same small size and they fit me perfectly.

Makeup wise I tried the Anastasia Liquid Lipsticks in Stripped and Crush both of which are perfect neutrals but look really dried out with the matte look. I add a clear gloss like the Chanel or a balm like the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Magic on top to give it a bit of shine and the color lasts all day without caking, creasing or budging. Balms help prevent them from drying out my lips a bit more but overall they are still like MAC lipsticks to me in the sense that they dry out my lips by the next day they are peeling. Still the colors are beyond perfect and adding a balm makes them more wearable.

I also picked up some of the Anastasia Eyeshadows and OMG they are incredible! The size of the pans are same to MAC's but the texture of the Anastasia shadows are rich and velvety with impressive pigment payoff. The quad above has colors Sateen (cream shimmer), Chiffon (olive shimmer), Warm Taupe (soft matte taupe) and Chocolate (shimmering cool brown). You buy the pans individually and there is a 4-pan palette you can buy separately to put the shadows in. Review to follow soon.

For the face I just rediscovered Becca Mineral Blushes. Wild Honey is the perfect warm nude neutral. I still think the Luminous Blushes (reviewed here) are beyond amazing but if you need something less shimmery the Mineral Blushes are the way to go. The Estée Edit Flash Illuminators are a pretty close dupe to the Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust in terms of finish. I picked up two shades, Day Light is shown above and is the closest to Fire Lust. They aren't identical - but pretty close and the Estée Edit version is a lot cheaper.

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is my go-to base of the season and I've been reaching for the Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer a lot because the color is a good match and it really does stay in place without creasing or separating as the day progresses. I picked up the concealer during my color correcting makeover back in March. For those curious about what I think about the whole color correcting trend months after it was seen everywhere - I think it's been life changing. The green corrector has been a life saver for covering dark spots for me. The Algenist Color Drops in Blue help brighten the overall complexion. Out of all the tips I learned - I would say I use the green corrector the most frequently. The other steps I use on a weekly basis depending on what my skin needs. 

Scent of the day is Diptyque Florabellio in the limited-edition travel size although I've been rotating scents on a daily basis. Summer fragrance roundup to follow soon as well.

What have you been loving these days? Do you have any sandal favorites?


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Summer Beauty Essentials


Summer is just around the corner but it's on my mind right now. For the beauty world, seasonal collections launch ahead of season so many of you have probably already started to update your makeup wardrobe for warm weather. For me - I love wearing summery bronze shades year round, it's a color I like to incorporate in bits to add warmth and life. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my summer beauty favorites covering a bit of everything from lips, eyes, cheeks, skin and fragrance. They have an entire page dedicated to Sexy Summer Must-Haves if you're looking for something new. Up first are fragrance and body must-haves.

Sunnies by Marc Jacobs here, hat from Nordstrom here

First up are items for the skin and body. In the summer I love a bright nail polish whether it's bright coral, red, orange or pink. My current obsession of the moment is Chanel Espadrilles which is a bright orangey-red cream. Two coats give full coverage and the new formula is a huge improvement in terms of lasting power over the original (even though I was a fan of the original). For fragrance, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral for summer but if you want something lighter the new Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is really quite amazing. I've been wearing this for a few months now but haven't felt like I was ready to talk about it just yet - it's one of the lightest Tom Ford scents to date but still has very good lasting power. If you found the original Neroli Portofino too strong, the new Acqua version is the best one yet.

For self tanners - I've tried quite a few and they either smell really bad or cause an allergic reaction on my skin. A long-time favorite for a very natural gradual glow is the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster which you mix in with moisturizer, but the effect is very natural. I read a ton of reviews online to find another one before deciding to cave and try the Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan. It's quite pricey but worth every penny. I've only tried on the body so far, but it gives a nice golden tan and smells amazing for a self tanner. You can use until you get the color you want, I found it worked for me after 4 days of use. Color lasts several days while fading gradually afterwards. It's streak free, didn't stain white jean shorts and non-orangey.

Protecting your skin with sunscreen that lasts is important. I have very sensitive skin and most sunscreens cause tiny little bumps to form on my skin by the end of the day. Two that I swear by are the Supergoop! Sunscreen Oil with SPF 50 and Coola Sunscreen Sprays which range from SPF 30 to 50 and come in unscented or scented options. I like the Coola because I can apply to my back easily in harder to reach areas. It's weightless so you don't feel like it's greasy or heavy on the skin. I ask my husband to try out sunscreens I use as well - he's really particular about products having a non-greasy feel and he approves of the Coola line.


For the lips, even though many associate summer color with brights or bronze shades, I love pinks, nudes and corals for a softer look. The best nude I've tried in a long time is Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o). It looks boring in the tube but on the lips it's so so good! The Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Colors (c/o) are perfect color-wise and come in six options ranging from a soft gold nude, deep copper, berry, coral and a few neutrals. The one I've been reaching for the most is Pipa (I bought back ups of both shades).

Chanel launched new Glossimers in the summer collection. I'll have a full review on all the shades soon, but they are a new formula called Aqua Glossimer which comes with a slightly different applicator and a sheerer almost jelly like finish.

In an attempt to find more affordable color options to the Tom Ford I picked up a few other formulas. The Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color has a similar finish and feel to the Moisturecore Lip Colors but feels so much smoother and glide on the lips. I picked up Boho Bronze which is similar to Cala di Volpe and is $27 vs the $55 price tag of the Tom Ford. MAC Huggable Lip Colors have been a favorite (Touche is a really good nude) for an effortless kind of lip color that adheres well to the lips and makes them glow with a natural hint of color. They launched a few more shades recently and I picked up Seoul-Ful, Bare Hug and Bonsai Bloom.

Last but not least I was really excited to see a new Kevyn Aucoin Lip Gloss in Sunlight. It's one of the prettiest bronzey shades I've tried. However when I got home I found it really close to Chanel Unity Glossimer.




For eyes I love shimmer. Even neutral shimmers add a little something that's fun but wearable for every day. I've been on the hunt for a good copper nude shimmer. Many coppers are too warm or red for my eyes/skintone. Bronze has been a go-to but I have been on the hunt for something a little different.


Long-time readers know Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold is a staple of mine. Shadow sticks are so easy to use and convenient to apply - you just smudge and blend with a finger. If you're looking for something a little more glitzy, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink is more shimmery and more visible on the skin. If you want something lighter for an all over wash Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in Opale (c/o) is really one of the best there is.

For other shadow sticks, the Burberry Eye Color Contour Smoke and Sculpt Pens are really good. Pale Copper is more of a bronzey taupe on my skin but still very pretty. A more affordable option is the new MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Color Sticks which are pretty much budgeproof after you apply them.

In terms of golden copper shades, Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize in Bette is one of my favorites. I know a few of you have mentioned you found it too emollient for your skin type in which case I'd recommend you try Tom Ford ones or the Burberry Eye Color Creams which has a harder stiffer texture and more suitable for oily lids.

My perfect copper shade is the Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Eyeshadow in Sunstone which comes with a rollerball applicator. Just glide them across the eyes and then blend with a finger or brush.

The hunt for the perfect bronze eyeliner ends with NARS Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia for me. No matter what other colors or brands I try, this one is my tried and true.


For complexion I love glowing skin. I wear bronzer year round so when summer rolls around I'm happy that bronzer is "in." I've already reviewed a number of these shown below on the blog - some of which are back-up worthy in my mind which is why I have pristine new ones featured below. I've added other swatch shades as well for reference.

If you ask me what one bronzer I would recommend - it would be a very tough choice for me to pick just one. If you like a luminous glow, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzing Powders are really good because they mix highlighter and bronzer in one. They can pull warm and if you are fair you may find them too dark or too warm in which case I'd recommend Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra which is a cooler-toned matte. My personal favorite is Gold Dust (shown below) because it's the perfect mix of tan and gold in one. Both are goof-proof - the texture is really smooth and easy to layer without overdoing it.

NARS Laguna Bronzer is always a classic staple you can't go wrong with. They launched a Liquid Laguna Bronzer this year which is easier to control for a soft sheer warm glow. Also new is a Laguna-Tiare Bronzer in a scented option which smells heavenly!!

If you're set on bronzer and just want something to add to your cheeks for a glow, Tom Ford Fire Lust is hands down the best liquid illuminator I've tried. It's subtle but one of the prettiest I've tried. It's steep in price but worth it. You get a lot of product so it will last a long time.

In terms of blush, two that I deem absolute must-haves are Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand and NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content (c/o). Pink Sand was limited-edition last year but brought back again this season. It's a really special pink gold cream that is oh so pretty. NARS Dual Intensity Blushes aren't new but there are two new shades for summer in Sexual Content (shown below) and Liberation. The best thing about these is they have a unique cream to powder texture which is good for warm weather - it holds up on my skin without getting greasy or oily looking.

Last but not least - for foundation, I think finding the right one depends on skin type, coverage preference, color options and humidity levels. I've been loving the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (c/o) for months now - it offers natural medium coverage and blends perfectly into the skin. I wore this over the holiday weekend - we went to the desert in Borrego Springs and it was almost 90 degrees (it was dry vs humid). The foundation stayed put all day long without needing a single touch up. This is my foundation of choice right now and I will be taking it with me while I travel later this month.

Above: hat from Nordstrom here (I bought it in both colors because it's a perfect fit)




I hope you enjoyed this summer beauty roundup! I tried to include swatches of multiple colors as a reference guide in case you're looking for a specific color or formula. Sometimes you'll find the perfect color in a lipstick or eyeshadow but want it in a different formula (ie powder vs cream). Or you may find a bronzer formula you like but want it in a matte version vs shimmer. I love mixing things up. Many of you have asked for a dedicated summer bronzer post so stay tuned for that one in the upcoming weeks. I'm still testing out a few to see if they will make the cut for what I would recommend.



As always please share your favorites for summer below. Especially if you have sensitive skin, would love to hear about what you've tried and love for sunscreen and self tanning! I've seen a few sunscreen sprays pop up that are new for the season  but would love to hear about your favorites too.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. Some items in the post were press samples marked with a c/o next to the product names. More information in my Disclosures.

 

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