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Beauty Empties

May 2, 2018

Beauty Empties - What I Used Up | The Beauty Look Book

As promised I have another round of beauty empties of things Andrew and I have used up in the last couple months! (Round 1 here.) As usual most of our empties are skincare-related but I have a mix of everything from makeup, hair care, skincare and men’s grooming. If you have any recent empties let me know in the comments!

Skincare

Beauty Empties Skincare Makeup Wipes, Cleansers, Masks

I’ve been experimenting more with makeup wipes but at the end of the day my favorites are still the Koh Gen Do and MAC Gently Off. Skincare I used up in March and April:

Andrew’s Empties

Men's Grooming Empties

Andrew’s empties from the last couple months include:

  • Aesop Mouthwash – This is his second bottle and he put it on his list to repurchase a third one this week.
  • Baxter Grooming Cream – A gentle and not overly greasy grooming cream for the hair.
  • Jack Black Turbo Wash (not shown) – This is his favorite body wash + shampoo in one with a good lather and cleanses the skin well. (I often borrow it.) We buy the largest size with a pump. I think I might have purchased this over 50 times since we discovered this.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – This is his favorite hand cream because it’s the most moisturizing one he’s used and he likes that it’s not really scented.
  • L’Occitane L’Occitan Roll-On Deodorant – He just went through 2 of these and we just stopped by L’Occitane today and bought him two more, he likes that it doesn’t irritate his sensitive under arms and lasts all day. He loves the natural way the L’Occitan line for men smells (they also have shower gels, cologne etc.).
  • Le Labo Shower Gel Mandarin – He discovered the Le Labo shower gels that I ordered and is obsessed with the scent, it’s really strong in the shower or bath, he thinks Hinoki and Mandarin are the best ones. Note these are the newer ones which I think smell a lot stronger and better than the ones that coincide with the perfumes.
  • Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen – Our favorite, but if you read this blog you already know that!

Home

Diptyque Empties, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Detergent, Boy Smells

Home candles I burned up and a fancy detergent I’ve become obsessed with:

  • Boy Smells Candle in Gardener – Most of these come in the black jar, I found the white jar as a limited-edition release sometime last year, this smells like a fresh garden that isn’t too floral or too green, it’s the perfect in between of sweet and fresh.
  • Diptyque Baies Candle – Always a favorite! Burned up another full size and small size.
  • Diptyque Tomas Maier Palm Beach – Smells of a tropical vacation with iris, jasmine, lemon, salt and grass (Diptyque boutique exclusive). Aside from Baies this is probably the one I’ve burned the second most. I stocked up the last time I was at boutique!
  • Diptyque Holiday 2017 Incense Tears Phoenix – Limited-edition release, previously reviewed here, I have plenty of other candles to explore but wish I had bought a backup of this one!
  • Diptyque Miami Candle – Another great fresh tropical scent that smells of lime, magnolia, citrus and a hint of vanilla (available only in Miami boutiques).
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Laundry Detergent – This comes in three forms that are currently exclusive to Neiman Marcus, there is one for light clothes, dark clothes and a fabric softener, the detergent smells like a more fresh grown up version of the perfume, it has enough strength to be noticeable on the clothes and sheets, we can smell it on our sheets for several days before it fades, I used up the Light version first and immediately bought it again along with the other two. I highly recommend these.

A Little Bit of Everything Else

Empties Oribe, L'Occitane, Sisley Rituel, Maybelline Mascara, HUM Hair Sweet Hair

Other items:

  • Drybar On The Rocks Shampoo and Conditioner – I really loved both of these for a clarifying shampoo and gentle conditioner, I’m considering buying again but currently experimenting with other formulas and brands.
  • Oribe Cleansing Crème for Moisture and Control – One of my favorite cleansing creams to re-hydrate dry hair, I’ve gone through so many bottles I’ve lost count!
  • Sisley Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Care Mask – Full review on Sisley Hair Rituel soon, but this is the best hair mask I’ve ever tried, it’s designed to nourish both the scalp and hair, it leaves hair soft and tangle free and shiny!
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (mini) – My most-used cream shadow base for an all over wash or base for powder shadows.
  • L’Occitane Lavande Lavender Foaming Bath – Creates the best bath bubbles EVER! Also love the relaxing scent.
  • Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara Regular and the Total Temptation Mascara Waterproof – I was really underwhelmed by both of these, I had really high hopes they would work but they fell short of my expectations. The waterproof version is decent and makes for a great layering mascara, but I feel there are much better ones out there on the market for me.
  • Beautyblender Liquid Beautycleanser – I need to find this in a supersize version or cheaper alternative because I go through this way too fast. I know so many of you like baby shampoo, I don’t like using it because it always leaves a film on the brushes no matter how much I rinse.
  • HUM Hair Sweet Hair Gummies – When I bought these in March they were a Sephora exclusive, but now they’re available elsewhere like Nordstrom, I found they tasted AMAZING but results were just ok. My hair did grow a little over 2 inches within 1 month and I noticed it was stronger with less breakage. However I don’t typically measure my hair growth so I don’t know if this was more than usual. I didn’t see any added shine or bounce so I’ve now switched to trying Nature’s Bounty (will report once those are finished).

Beauty Empties Used Up Products | The Beauty Look Book

That wraps it up for the last couple months of empties! As usual let me know what you’ve used up recently, would love to know what you’re using! Do you use any biotin supplements that you love or have any favorite hair masks/face wipes?

The only press sample featured is the Sisley Hair Rituel mask. All other items purchased by me.

Holiday Gift Guide Men's Grooming

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts For the Guys

December 9, 2017

Best Holiday Gifts for Guys

It’s a countdown to Christmas which is just around the corner. I can’t believe how fast this holiday season has flown by! I have a few more gift guides to share before the shipping cut off times for Christmas delivery. Today’s gift guide is a roundup of gifts for the guys. For me the guys in my life are the easiest to shop for. They tend to be very loyal to a few small handful of brands in each category, so I know what skincare, body care or fragrance to look for. They don’t mind repeats because for grooming they prefer to stock up. On the flip side for those who don’t know what to try starter and travel sets are a great way to nudge the men in your life to up their grooming game without being too pushy.

I’ve already given these gifts to the guys in my life (Christmas came early for them). Cologne can be a tricky one to give. I feel like it’s something you should only give if you really know their taste or if that person is close to you. However Andrew has tested a number of colognes I’ve bought him and I do think the ones in this post are ones you cannot go wrong with.

  1. Kiehl’s First Class Essentials Collection $30 – this has a little bit of everything perfect for traveling and quick trips, there are a number of other men’s grooming sets to pick from as well
  2. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette Set $123 – this one is is a classic for everyday wear
  3. Leica Sofort Compact Instant Camera $299 – such a fun gift and it works better than other instant print cameras I’ve tried
  4. Apple iPad Mini starts at $399 – perfect size for on-the-go
  5. Away Mini Suitcase $35 individually, sets start at $45 (see the inside and review here)
  6. Creed Aventus $375 for 75 ml, this holiday if you order direct from Creedboutique.com, with any 75 ml or larger purchase you receive complimentary engraving on a gold medallion which adds a personalized touch!
  7. Creed Travel Atomizer $175 is a perfect way to travel with colognes or perfumes
  8. Penhaligon’s Gentleman’s Fragrance Collection Gift Set $59 – something Andrew picked himself to sample as he’s a huge fan of the Blenheim Bouquet Shaving Cream (he says it’s THE best shaving cream he’s tried)
  9. malin+goetz Grooming Kit $40 – another great starter set with a little bit of everything to try, my brother really likes this line
  10. Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker $109 – I’ve bought Andrew multiple Bose speakers for his office, for his work space at home and this one is perfect for bringing along to the beach or if you’re outdoors
  11. Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair $30 – this is what Andrew is currently using
  12. Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Set $120, is a classic date night scent, also in a square gift box here
  13. Jack Black The Jack Pack Set $49 – they have the best men’s grooming body care, I also borrow the Jack Black items from Andrew
  14. Jack Black The Balm Squad Set $25 – a great manly looking lip balm option
  15. Ray-Ban Chris 54mm Gradient Lens Sunglasses $143 – not shown because I forgot to add them to the photo, but sunglasses are always a good idea and you can’t go wrong with Ray-Ban, I just bought these ones for Andrew which are a nice more trendy variation of classic aviators

That wraps up my Men’s Holiday gift guide! If you have any questions or need recommendations let me know, I’ve had both my husband and my brother test out a lot of product to see what works for them!

Press samples featured from Creed and Chanel.

 

Beauty Favorites Men's Grooming

Men’s Grooming and Skincare Essentials For 2016

December 31, 2016

Top 20 Men's Skincare and Grooming Essentials

This year my husband tested quite a few products, razors, face cleansers and moisturizers in search for the best in men’s grooming. Several of you have sent me e-mails asking for a list of his favorites to share with your husbands and boyfriends. I’ve incorporated men’s grooming bits here and there over the past year and I’m always thrilled anytime I receive feedback from you! Most of these he did the research on his own to pick and purchase what to test out. There are a couple items I bought for him as gifts over past years that he ended up loving and repurchasing. In the past he always used an electric shaver but recently decided to try razors for a better closer shave. Finding the right one along with the right blades was a tedious process for him, as you can imagine one of the biggest challenges with shaving is finding the right items to avoid razor burn. He had quite a few misses for moisturizers and cleansers. Some either were too heavy or greasy feeling, others dried out the skin, some didn’t lather to his satisfaction. For the final cut, here is my husband Andrew’s top 20 for what he considers his grooming and skincare essentials for the year.

  1. Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette – in his top three for everyday light and fresh men’s fragrances, his brother stopped by smelled this one and promptly asked for me to buy one for him as well
  2. Dior Sauvage Deodorant tied with the YSL L’Homme for best smell and lasting power
  3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette – a long time staple, by now I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve repurchased for him (he also likes the travel sized versions)
  4. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35 – loves this because it dries to a matte finish
  5. Gilette Silver Blue Razor Blades – these have a medium sharpness so there is no razor burn, others he tested were too sharp
  6. Muhle Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor, R89, Chrome Plated Metal – Andrew tested 10 different razors this year, this was the best for weight, balance and angle of blade for control and ease of shaving
  7. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Facial Wash – energizing and deep cleaning, he tried approximately a dozen face cleansers over the year designed for men, this is his favorite
  8. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP 10 Nourishing Oil –  an essential product to help moisturize the skin and create a proper barrier between the razor and the face
  9. Art of Shaving Unscented Shave Cream – really rich lather
  10. Baxter of California Shave Tonic – soothing aftershave without alcohol or burn
  11. Clarisonic Alphafit – he’s dedicated to using this daily and has improved texture of his skin, reduced the number of breakouts drastically and helps exfoliate
  12. Mangroomer Ultimate Pro Back Shaver – the back shaver can reach anywhere
  13. Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 – most days he doesn’t need any added moisturizer, but when he does use it, this is his favorite because it’s not oily or greasy feeling
  14. Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 – has the best and most effective coverage
  15. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush – best sonic toothbrush that gets all the hard to reach places, he says it is worth every penny
  16. Wahl Professional Half Pint Travel Trimmer – for around the ears and back of the neck
  17. Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette – best date night scent for him
  18. Hermes Terre D’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche – has an earthy raw quality
  19. Baxter Grooming Lotion – favorite hair grooming product to add a tiny bit of shine and it’s also weightless and doesn’t get greasy or heavy as the day progresses
  20. Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser – exfoliates and tightens skin, also doubles as a mask and sometimes I borrow this for myself too

A quick note on the sequence of products and steps used for shaving for those who don’t know when to use the items. His shave process to get a clean shave and avoid razor burn is:

  1. Clean the face with the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel + Clarisonic Alphafit to exfoliate and smooth skin
  2. Sometimes double cleanse with the Jack Black Deep Dive Facial Cleanser to tighten the skin and draw out impurities
  3. Apply the Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil to hydrate the skin and help create a good barrier for shaving, allow this to absorb and dry
  4. Apply the Art of Shaving Cream
  5. Shave
  6. Use the Baxter Shave Tonic as an aftershave to tighten pores, tone skin and seal in moisture

If your husband, boyfriend, brother or any of the men in your life have grooming favorites you know of, please share in the comments! Always love hearing what you recommend, in particular if you have any eye cream recommendations for men let me know.

That wraps it up for 2016! I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful New Year!

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Fragrance Men's Grooming

Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her

September 30, 2016
Best fall perfumes and colognes

There are so many new scents that have launched this season. I usually find one or two new scents each season that I love but this season almost every new fragrance I’ve tested I’ve fallen in love with. I have a roundup of ones I have in rotation right now along with a men’s rotation for my husband. He usually sticks to the same colognes so many of the ones you’ll see here have been featured numerous times. I like to switch things up frequently so some of mine are newer ones.

Up first are my favorites along with thoughts on some others I’ve tested:

The three most exciting fragrance launches this season for me have been from Louis Vuitton, Louboutin and Edward Bess. I will have dedicated reviews coming soon on the launches but wanted to give you a roundup of highlights right now. Shown above:
  • Chanel N°5 L’Eau (c/o, reviewed here) is a light clean floral that dries down to a slightly powdery musk. Many of you have bought or tried this one too and mentioned that you either love or hate it. I really like it for the clean lively feel. It was a Chanel.com exclusive for a few weeks but you can find it now at all Chanel counters (for those wondering).
    • Notes include lemon, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, cedar and cotton musk.
  • L’Artisan Mûre et Musc has been a long time favorite. I discovered it thanks to one of my best friends who always smells amazing. L’artisan recently redesigned all their packaging so out of curiosity I ordered one of the new ones and was relieved to find the scent is still the same. Sometimes I worry formulas change when packaging does. In this case it’s the classic berry musk.
    • Notes include lemon, orange, basil, lavender, blackberry, jasmine, musk, patchouli and oakmoss. It’s one of my husband’s favorites on me.
  • Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Eau de Toilette is one of my favorite Molton Brown scents, I discovered it in the hand cream and shower gel and loved it so much I bought the perfume. It’s difficult to describe but it has a pink pepper, patchouli and cedarwood mix with a girly zest. They have a Discovery Set online that has 8 small spritzers of their scents you can order.
    • Pink Pepperpod notes include pink pepper, tangerine, elemi oil, nutmeg, ginger oil, patchouli and cedarwood oil.
    • This weekend their Friends and Family 20% off sale is happening through October 3 with code USFF20 at checkout. I won’t have a home fragrance roundup in time before the sale ends, but their Coco and Sandalwood Candle is to die for for fall.
  • Replica Filter in Glow is a new perfume primer designed to layer with your perfume. It’s an oil based spray and scented so it adheres well to the skin. I like using it alone or layering it with Replica Lipstick On afterwards. It’s a soft warm citrus that feels bright but not sharp.
    • Notes citrus neroli.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique is one of the few sweet scents I find I can wear. It’s one of the most unique fragrances I’ve tried and to me I smell a slight hint of apricot in it but it’s not really like that at all. For me it’s a bright sweet with a hint of musk, amber and cedarwood mixed in. It’s floral but sweet. I find it impossible to describe. I know many of you also love this one. If you can chime in the comments how you’d describe it I would so greatly appreciate your help!
    • Notes Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, Jasmine petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Byredo Unnamed (not shown) is a new one that I tried at Barneys over the week. It was truly love at first spritz but I decided to wait on this. I cannot find the notes on this one anywhere but if Gypsy Water and Black Saffron had a baby together this would be it. It’s fresh and modern like Gypsy Water and but not as sweet as Black Saffron. I’m seriously tempted.
  • Edward Bess Spanish Veil (c/o) is one of three new scents launched by Edward. I’ll have a full review on all three very soon. Right now they are exclusive online to his website. I do believe you can call the Bergdorf Goodman counter to order but they should launch online very soon. Spanish Veil is one of my favorites. It has a Byredo Gypsy Water feel but is less sweet and more woodsy. For some reason I detect a hint of licorice.
    • Notes include Pure Sandalwood, Tonka and Guaiac Wood
  • Louis Vuitton Apogee is one of seven new perfumes launched. I bought the mini set and owe you a full review. For now my top two include Apogee which is lily of the valley. I normally do not gravitate towards lily of the valley scents but this one is just one of the prettiest florals I’ve ever smelled. It has a powdery feel so if you don’t like powdery scents this may not be for you.  It’s fresh and feminine.
    • Notes include lily of the valley, jasmine, magnolia, rose, guaiac wood, and sandalwood essence.
  • Louis Vuitton Matiere Noire is my second favorite and is more of an evening night scent. If you like fragrances like L’Artisan Mure et Musc, Byredo Black Saffron or any blackcurrant kinds you will like this one. It’s a woodsy blackcurrant kind of scent that is more of an evening one rather than day to day. There is a floral mix in it which makes it smell rich but feminine.
    • Notes include blackcurrant, marcissus, jasmine, patchouli, Laos agarwood.
  • Louboutin Tornade Blonde (c/o) is one of the most luxurious perfumes I own. If you have a current Saks or Neimans catalog you can find a small sampler card inside one of the pages to try. All three are really amazing but I fell in love with Tornade Blonde which is exactly what I think of when I think of a perfume kind of scent. It’s a very strong floral with red rose, violet and cassis along with hints of jasmine. The bottle is just incredible in the design.
    • Notes Rhubarb, Violet Leaves, Ambrette Signature, Cassis, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin Sambac Absolut, Orange Flower Petals Firnat, Gardenia from Brazil, Ambregris, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, Patchouli.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon (not shown) is one of two new Nirvana additions. As you can see from my list I like soft florals but also fresh scents. Many of you prefer sweeter more gourmand fragrances and unfortunately for me my husband does not like vanilla at all. As I do not want to repulse him I do not wear it. Nirvana Bourbon is a seductive smoky vanilla. If you like vanilla scents this one is perfect for fall. You can also now find all four in this Nirvana Mini Rollerball Set for holiday which is just so cute!
    • Notes Vanilla Bourbon. Oakwood. Tuberose.
  • Viktor and Rolf BonBon (not shown) is one I had high hopes for. As a Flowerbomb fan I thought BonBon could be a great alternative. For me it has a similar vibe but is very very sweet. If you like sweet scents I suspect you might like this. For me it was too sweet, almost like a cookie or dessert.
    • Notes Tangerine, Blackcurrant, Orange, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Peach, Guaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Caramel.
For a cologne roundup I asked him to pull his favorites for right now. Many of these you’ll recognize from past roundups. For him cologne and scent picks are more a year round kind of thing. He’ll pick one depending on occasion whether he’s looking for an everyday kind of scent or something more dressy for going out:

Bleu de Chanel, Tom Ford, Dior Sauvage

  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel is in my husband’s top three favorites. Out of all the colognes he has tried this is probably the one he’s asked me to repurchase for him the most. He prefers using the Refillable Travel Spray version so he can carry it with him in his briefcase or store easily in his desk at his office. It is hard for him to describe scents but he says this is a good everyday cologne that smells clean and modern but a woodsy feel. It’s strong enough without being too strong.
    • Notes are citrus and wood.
  • Tom Ford Costa Azzurra is more of a summery kind of cologne. It’s a unisex kind of scent that I adore and would actually wear myself except my husband says it’s too masculine for me. After spritzing it a few times I actually did have to agree it’s clearly more masculine with a woodsy oak with a slight green juniper mix.
    • Notes Juniper, Herbs, Green Notes, Oak, Warm Woods.
  • Tom Ford Vert des Bois (c/o) is a new one this season part of the Vert line. This too is another unisex one but still pulls more masculine. I’ve worn this myself this week as my husband has been traveling and it makes me think of him. If you liked Oud Wood you will really like this one. For a more feminine option the Vert Boheme is just lovely. It’s on my wishlist but given my long list for now I’m relying on my mini decant sample.
    • Notes Poplar Bud. Ouzo. Woods.
  • Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb is hands down the best hot-guy date night scent I’ve smelled and also is my husband’s favorite. He’s already gone through a few bottles. Since we were such big fans of this I picked up the Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Fresh thinking it would be a more modern version. We both agree the original is still the best as by comparison the Fresh one almost has a feminine feel which is nice but the original is better.
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
  • Dior Sauvage (c/o) is the third in the top three colognes for my husband. He believes most men like to stick to one or two colognes versus women who like to try lots of things. For the longest time no matter what I bought him to try he stuck with the Bleu de Chanel which works, but he did get a bit bored using the same one everyday. He says if you like the Bleu de Chanel but want something different to switch things up, the Dior Sauvage is the one to go with. This marks the one year anniversary of Dior Sauvage and they launched a larger 6.8 fl oz version. My husband owns and has already gone through a few of the smaller size. He likes the way the bottle is designed with a round sturdy glass jar and magnetic cap.
    • Notes Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan.
  • Dior Sauvage Deoderant (c/o) is one I think smells amazing for a men’s deodorant and matches the cologne. My husband has sensitive skin under his arms and many will make his skin peel. This one does not and lasts all day for him so it’s a winner. There’s a Deodorant Spray as well which I’ve been trying to get him to try but he’s a creature of habit and uses the stick.
  • YSL L’Homme Deodorant is another winning scent for him and he says this is the best scented deoderant he’s ever tried. When I bought it he had very low expectations for this because he’s tried a lot and found they either didn’t last or didn’t smell good. The rep at Sephora swore by this one as his favorite and said “your husband won’t be disappointed, I promise.” So I gave it a go and I’m glad I did.
That rounds up our current scent rotation favorites for fall. I have a few others I’ve kept in rotation but I tried to narrow it down to my absolute favorites for right now. If I had to pick three, they would probably be Replica Filter in Glow, L’Artisan Mure et Musc and Byredo Bal D’Afrique. Out of the ones on my wishlist I’m gravitating most towards the Byredo Unnamed perfume but there are some others I still want to smell before deciding on another one.

As always I’d love to hear what you are wearing for fall. I’m also curious to hear how you buy your perfumes. I always find it overwhelming trying to decide. Do you ever buy perfume sight unseen? I try to at least test in store if I can, although sometimes I will order online after thinking about it for a while if I can’t get to a store or if there are no stores that carry a specific brand. (For me no nearby stores carry Le Labo, Byredo, Frederic Malle, L’Artisan.) Let me know in the comments how you go about trying new perfumes or deciding on a new purchase!
Are there any new ones launching that you’re excited about or have anything on your wishlist?

I will have dedicated reviews on the Louis Vuitton, Replica Filters and Edward Bess perfumes soon. If you want any other detailed posts let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fit them in.

Press samples featured have been indicated with “c/o” next to them.

Fragrance Men's Grooming

Spring Fragrance Rotation for Him and Her

February 12, 2016

When it comes to fragrance, I feel like it takes me forever to pick something new and also forever to use one up. I have a few go-to’s but love trying new things and if you’re like me you will take a long time to build up a fragrance collection. If you’re looking for a new fragrance for spring, here’s what I have in rotation right now. I also have some of my husband’s favorites if you’re looking for gift ideas for any of the special men in your life.


My go-to spring scents are Byredo Black Saffron and Chanel Beige. Even though we have mild somewhat warm weather year round here in Southern California, I still think some fragrances are seasonal. It’s finally that time of year when I feel like I can wear the sweeter florals. Most of these last pretty long on my skin, at least until early afternoon. I do have an extremely sensitive nose though, so what smells strong to me might be non-existent to others. Out of the ones below I would say Byredo, Tom Ford and Creed have the longest lasting power on my skin.
  • Byredo Black Saffron is a mix of berry and musk, I’ve had this one for like forever, it’s one of the few berry scents I can wear because it’s not too sweet yet not too musky
    • Top notes: pomelo, saffron, juniper berry
    • Middle notes: black violet,
      accord cuir, cristal rose
    • Base notes: blonde woods, raspberry, vetiver
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique is something I am beyond obsessed with, I have this in the single mini from the holiday Discovery Set, it’s a sweeter scent to me it smells kinda peachy and floral all at the same time, I also have it in the oil rollerball version, if you’re debating between the oil or spray, get the traditional spray version, it has better lasting power
    • Top notes: bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu
    • Middle
      notes: violet, jasmine petals, cyclamen
    • Base notes: black amber, musk,
      vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is one of the latest fragrance launches from Tom Ford, it’s a clean white floral that has a summery beachy feel, there’s a hint of amber in it to prevent it from feeling too powdery or too floral (review here)
  • Chloe Eau de Parfum is one of the most popular fragrances on Sephora’s website, it’s been on my radar for a long time, it’s very soft and girly, for something this strong a floral I’m surprised that I liked it, I decided on the 10th time of trying it in store after spritzing samples on myself to just go ahead and go for it
    • Notes: Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey
  • Chanel Beige Exclusifs is one of my all time favorites, it’s one of the only Chanel fragrances I’ve liked enough to splurge on, it’s a clean white and warm floral mix that smells very natural and fresh
    • Notes: Hawthorn, freesia, frangipani, honey
  • L’Artisan Mure et Musc is one of the fragrances I’ve used for the longest period of time, I discovered this line from one of my long-time friends from college, it’s a blackberry musk described as having notes of lemon, basil, blackberry and musk, I feel like this one is my no-fail everyday, every season kind of fragrance
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Lipstick On is my newest discovery, it’s a soft feminine blush floral kind of scent that smells like makeup, it’s a floral and has powdery notes, so it surprised me how much I like it because powdery scents typically make me gag, there is a very slight hint of vanilla in it which makes it feel warm and well rounded
    • Notes: Bergamot Oil, Heliotrope Accord, Neroli Oil, Orange Flower Absolute,
      Iris Concrete, Galbanum Oil, Tonka Bean Absolute, Vanilla Bourbon
      Extract, Patchouli Oil
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Beach Walk in the rollerball is the prettiest relaxing soothing beachy scents I’ve ever tried, if you’ve smelled the Henri Bendel Beach Candle, this is similar in fragrance form that’s wearable, it smells like a fresh mix of musk and coconut with peppery notes, it’s a beachy scent without the floral notes many others have
    • Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Coconut Milk, Heliotrope, Musk, Cedarwood, Benzoin
  • Creed Royal Princess Oud is the most exquisite and most expensive perfume I have ever owned, the Creed team kindly sent me a sample to try – I love Oud fragrances but my husband always says they are too masculine for me (even though I disagree and think they are unisex), this one has a distinct feminine touch to it, this is a lovely mix of violet, iris and sandalwood, lasting power is extremely good, one of the longest lasting fragrances I’ve ever tried
    • Top notes: bitter Sicilian bergamot, rose, sweet violet
    • Middle notes: jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, iris from Tuscany
    • Base: benzoin from Thailand, Mysore sandalwood, styrax
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is a classic favorite, this one is my special occasion or date night kind of scent to wear, it’s too strong to wear everyday for me, but I know many other women have told me this is their all time favorite, the notes of patchouli are dominant in this one, noticeable floral notes are rose and freesia
    • Notes: Sambac Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Cattleya Orchid, Ballerina Freesia, Patchouli
My husband is the kind of guy who wants to use 2 colognes at most. I think he smells amazing no matter what he has on so I don’t mind if he wears the same scent on a regular basis, but I’ve been trying to get him to explore more which is where the little mini samples come in. Every time I order something online and they have the option to pick samples I try to find men’s skincare or fragrance minis. If he has a mini sitting on his counter, he will try it. He’s discovered a few new loves this way. Right now here is what he has in rotation:
  • Hermes fragrances can be found at a wide range of retailers, but at the Hermes Boutiques and online they have a Pocket Fragrance Set where you can customize your own travel set of 4 fragrances. You can mix and match any ones they have available, pricing varies depend on what you select, but it’s around the $125ish range, I picked four for him:
    • Voyage d’Hermes Eau de Toilette smells of citrus, musk and leather
    • Voyage d’Hermes Eau de Parfum smells of amber and citrus with a hint of floral, this is more masculine compared to the Eau de Toilette version
    • Terre d’Hermes Eau de Toilette smells like a mix of wood, bitter citrus, spice and vetiver
    • Terre d’Hermes Eau de Parfum is a more masculine, woody, stronger version of the Eau de Toilette
  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette is his favorite fragrance of all time, he’s gone through at least a dozen of the travel size versions and multiples of the full size bottles, every so often they will have gift sets with aftershave or showergel travel size minis that he likes to try, this one is a clean masculine woody scent
  • Dior Sauvage is a lightweight clean masculine scent, it has notes of citrus mixed in with pepper, in terms of everyday scents, he says this is one of them, but he prefers the Chanel Bleu de Chanel, he wanted me to mention that if the man in your life likes something simple but polished and new from his everyday cologne, the Dior is a good one to try
    • Notes: Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb comes in a limited-edition gift set trio for Valentine’s Day, this is one of the most peppery fragrances I’ve smelled for men, I thought it might be too strong or peppery for my husband, but for some reason everything transform into an amazing kind of smell on his skin, this one according to him is more for a date night or special occasion kind of fragrance, not for everyday, you can really smell the saffron, vetiver and pink pepper notes
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink
      Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White
      Leather Accord
  • One last men’s fragrance of special note, he also really likes Tom Ford Azure Lime which he is currently out of, I will be getting this for him for Valentine’s Day, it’s a clean fresh masculine scent, for something so clean and simple smelling the notes are really complex
    • Notes: bergamot, lemon, Valencia orange, Thai basil, mint, rosemary,
      lime tonic accord, juniper berry, fennel, iris, jasmine, neroli, orange
      blossom, pittosporum, bucchu leaves, violet leaves, black currant buds,
      cypress, oak, patchouli, sandalwood, moss, skin accord, tonka bean
I always get the best recommendations from my readers of what to try. I’m pretty set on a lot right now, but it’s always nice to explore and add things to the fragrance wishlist. If you have anything you love right now please share. Also if there are any new discoveries for you or the men in your life – let me know in the comments!

Press samples include the Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, Spicebomb, Maison Margiela Lipstick On and Creed Royal Princess Oud.

Men's Grooming Monthly Favorites

July Beauty and Grooming Favorites

August 1, 2015

The month of July has flown by so quickly I can’t believe it’s already over. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my monthly favorites so I decided to try something new – I’ve compiled a list of favorites in skincare, haircare, makeup and grooming in a his and hers edition. My husband has always been a well-groomed man and likes testing new things but is very particular about smells, textures and performance. He will research products to death before he splurges on grooming products so I always try to bring him home samples to try when I shop at Sephora or Nordstrom. When he saw me gathering a pile of products for this post, he said wanted to participate by sharing a few of his favorite grooming products too. I hope you enjoy this roundup of favorites we’ve been testing for the past month!

First up for me include fragrance, body, skin care and hair care favorites.

  • It was love at first smell with L’Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette. This tiny Coffret Miniatures Set is the cutest thing ever with my two favorites the Mûre et Musc and Las Chasse Papillons. It’s too small to have a spritzer so you
    have to dab it on the skin but it’s perfect for a clutch or
    small bag.
  • For body I’ve been loving the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for a dry body oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an amazing smell. You can often find the deluxe minis online from https://us.nuxe.com/ – they have lots of good promos from time to time.
  • For the face I’ve been loving the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist. It’s hard to describe the smell but it is very fresh and slightly sweet/citrusy. It makes the skin feel nice and hydrated and has a lightweight feel.
  • Beautylish has finally started carrying the travel sized Bioderma Sébium and Sensibio H20 Cleansing waters separately. They are the perfect size and price to try them out before buying the full sized versions. I’m obsessed with mini sized beauty products – these are beyond cute.
  • The Drybar Mudslide Hair Mask is the most incredible hair treatment that I’ve tried. I bought mine from Sephora in store (I don’t see it online, but it is available as a mini in this set). It leaves the hair super soft and silky. After I use it I can air dry my hair without it getting frizzy (no hair dryer or flat iron needed). I use it as a weekly treatment.
  • R+Co is a new brand I’ve been experimenting with. I picked up two of the items from Space NK and the Moon Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are among the best I’ve tried ever. It cleans the hair really well and leaves it feeling well hydrated, soft and shiny smooth without being too heavy. It leaves the hair feeling bouncy and weightless all day long. Since it is a hydrating product I wouldn’t recommend it for daily use but I like it 2 to 3x per week (I wash my hair daily but alternate shampoos). It smells amazing with a mix of orange, cardamom, fig, guava and amber. It sounds like a lot but it’s not too sweet or rich in scent.

My husband’s name is Andrew. He’s always been a well-groomed man for which I am really grateful. For his group of favorites, he’s tested a few new brands in shaving and also pulled out some tried and true staples to share in this month’s roundup. In case you shop for any of the men in your life, he says he hope this is helpful for gift ideas or recommendations if they are looking for something new to try.
  • The L’Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant is an alcohol-free and aluminum salts-free deoderant (two of the things he checks for on the ingredient list). This one from L’Occitane lasts all day and smells really good. It doesn’t make his skin peel or feel oily. The entire Cedrat line has a good mix of masculine citrus and wood.
  • For skin his go-to moisturizer is the Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this daily and it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. It dries down to a nice feel so there is no oily or greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. He does wish it came with a higher SPF but so far it’s the best one he’s tried and he’s stuck with it for quite some time.
  • For shaving, two brands have been in rotation. First his regular go-to is the L’Occitane Cade Plisson Razor + Shave Cream Duo. His quick take on each:
    • The L’Occitane Shave Cream is the best he’s tried because it’s thick, it lathers up well, and it keeps the blade from touching his skin. According to my husband, the cream is gentle with a clean scent and doesn’t break out his skin.
    • The L’Occitane Plisson Razor is crafted in France and comes with wood, chrome and brass handle. These come with the Gillette Blades that are easy replace. He likes the look of the wooden handle and the shape is tapered and long so it fits well into his large hands and won’t slip while he shaves.
  • Harry’s Shaving Sets come in several options. He tried the Truman Set which is priced at $15. It includes 1 Truman Razor Handle, a 3.4 oz shave cream, 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges and 1 Travel Blade Cover. The packaging and presentation for the price point is all on point. According to my husband, he believes this is truly is the best shaving set for the price (he says drugstore prices can’t even beat all that is in the box for $15).
    • The Truman Razor is well designed and even though the handles are plastic, it’s very good quality with some weight to it so it doesn’t feel cheap. He likes the modern look and design and the blades are good for the price but not quite as sharp as Gillette.
    • The Shave Cream is ok – the packaging is on point and it does the job but it has a slight menthol scent and isn’t as thick as the L’Occitane (which gives him a better shave). He still thinks it’s definitely worth trying out. He ordered the Foaming Gel to give it a try.
  • For scent, his go-to these days is the Chanel Bleu de Chanel. He likes the travel size because it’s easy to carry in his briefcase and also doesn’t take up a lot of space on his desk at his office. He says it’s got a good masculine scent (that’s all he gave me for the description, lol).
  • For the hair, his favorite styling product is the Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade. He’s claimed several of my tubes as his own. He likes this because it’s lightweight and keeps the hair looking groomed and soft. It helps manage his hair without feeling or looking greasy. I agree with him and like how it adds shine and makes the hair soft – it lasts all day and leaves the hair feeling soft. Because we use it daily, we’ve gone through around 8 tubes already.
  • Last but not least he’s obsessed with the Muji clear flat zip pouches. The website is under construction but the options we bought are shown here. He likes the texture and feel.
That wraps up our July favorites for beauty and grooming. As always I would love to hear what your favorites were for the last month. If you have any recommendations for men grooming products my husband says he is open to suggestions! Also if any of you or if the men in your life know of any good men’s grooming blogs – please shoot me an e-mail or let me know in the comments below 🙂

This post features some items that were sent for review consideration including the Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquers, Harry’s Truman Set, L’Occitane Cedrat, Clarins Lip Perfectors and Burberry Shell Eyeshadow. All other items purchased by me.

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