I cannot believe the first month of 2017 has come and gone – I feel like the last few weeks have been a blur! I hope each of you have had a great start to the new year. In the beauty world I feel like things have been all about lips and highlighters. It appears the liquid lipstick trend is here to stay for quite some time. I still have my battle of the liquid lipstick post coming soon – with new launches almost weekly it seems like there’s more to test and try out. I’ve put a cut-off for testing though – I have two more detailed reviews to post before the official roundup. Today I have a roundup of the best and worst in beauty testing for January even though many of these have been put to the test for more than a month. Sometimes with products you know by the second or third use that a particular item just won’t work. Other items take a bit more testing to decide. By popular request here is my first Hits and Misses post of the year. We’ll start off with the hits.
January Favorites – Makeup
This month’s favorite items and discoveries include:
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is something I finally tried and can’t believe it took me so long, it gives the skin a nice soft diffused look, it removes shine without looking heavy or overly matte and the best thing about this one is the color selection which I think is pretty good (shown on the skin here and also worn here)
Diorskin Nude Air Glow Powder in 002 Freshlight (shown on the face here) has been my go-to soft bronzer shade for the past few months, it has the perfect amount of warmth and has a sheer but buildable finish that works for my winter skintone color right now
Chanel Joues Contraste in Elegance (review here) is my perfect everyday beige blush, it goes with everything and adds life to the face without looking too dark or orange
Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara is one that took me years to try because I tried a mini and thought it literally was the worst thing ever. Based on raves of a few friends who swore it was THE best thing in mascara I decided to order one and was blown away. They assured me the full size was better than the minis and they were right. I don’t know that I’ll repurchase this because even I have limits when it comes to expensive items. At a whopping $72 I don’t know that I can say it’s worth it but this mascara is really good. It lengthens, volumizes, holds curl, doesn’t smudge and doesn’t look crunchy. It’s supposed to have lash-growth ingredients but I haven’t used it long enough to see results.
Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur (c/o, all shades swatched here) are my favorite lip launch of the year so far, I love a good glossy lip and these have a feel and look like the Rouge Coco Shines but with a lot more pigment
Dior Addict Lip Glow is something that is almost always in my purse these days (review of all shades here), my most-worn shade is either Lilac or Coral, the new Berry color (c/o) is a really pretty one too
I’ve found myself reaching a lot for the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and the Midnight Recovery Concentrate for evenings, both feel just so amazing on the skin giving it just the right amount of hydration, it’s brightened the skin and makes it feel healthier and smoother, if you don’t want to splurge on the full sizes you may want to consider the Day to Night Set which has miniatures of six items at a value price, alternatively if you visit you local Kiehl’s store they usually have samples so ask if they have these available (making a purchase will usually make it easier to get a couple samples)
Bioderma Sensibio was mentioned in my 2016 favorites, I use this as a toner and it’s just perfect for my sensitive skin, it leaves the skin feeling refreshed and clean, it has helped calm and comfort the skin, especially since I’m prone to flare ups or sensitivity, I have both the 250 and 100 ml versions (one I took with me on travel), can’t rave about this enough
Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is another good gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin, I’ve been reaching for this a lot, it hydrates without feeling greasy and gives relief for dry skin without being heavy, I will definitely repurchase once this is used up
Tatcha The Essence (c/o) is something I got a mini of with an order (I had a promo code) and fell in love with it immediately, I discussed essence a few posts back and many of you gave me some really good feedback on what to try! I’m currently testing three, this one from Tatcha and the SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence and Genoptics Spot Essence (c/o). It’s going to take me several weeks to see which one is truly the best, but I noticed results immediately from the Tatcha Essence. It softens the skin without feeling heavy or leaving a film on the skin like some other essence or serums do. It’s watery but not too runny so it’s easy to apply. It does make my moisturizer absorb into the skin better. As one who doesn’t like things that feel heavy on the skin I absolutely love this one.
Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser is something I ordered the day it launched online at Sephora. By the time this post is going live I’ve already used up one full tube 85% of the way and the one shown is a backup. I don’t have acne but I do experience breakouts and earlier this month I started breaking out around the chin and cheeks from a combination of getting really sick and experiencing a high level of stress. Using this helped clear up the skin without drying it out. It has sulfur which targets acne and blemishes. Based on the formula I don’t think it’s going to be for everyone, but I’ve tried every single one of Kate Somerville’s cleansers and her line is the one I keep replenishing for cleansers. I can use this daily without it drying out my skin and love it. That being said I still love her Gentle Daily Wash for times when I don’t have skin issues.
Four items that did not work for me include:
Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet (review here) did not work for me because the color selection just wasn’t flattering for my olive skin tone, even the neutrals did not work. Shades were either too light or too dark, colors lacked life and washed out my complexion. Formula-wise they were ok, but none of the colors worked for me leading me to call these a miss.
Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation is something I bought months ago back in early fall. I had high hopes as it looked amazing on a few of my fellow blogger friends. I mixed two shades in Y315 and Y405 to get a good match although the product is so sheer an exact color match isn’t really necessary. This was a miss for me because it caused my skin to become irritated which I suspect is from the fragrance. Tiny bumps surfaced all over my cheeks and since I test a lot of skincare and foundations, this took months of testing to make sure this was the culprit and not something else. Formula also felt sticky because of the gel-like texture. Coverage was not enough for me. This was a huge let-down since I consider the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick and Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation to be in my top picks for foundation.
Glamglow PLUMPRAGEOUS Nudes got me based on their social media marketing. As a nude lip lover I just couldn’t resist and ordered 4 online sight unseen. The colors looked SO perfect! These come with a plastic spatula applicator which I found did not apply product evenly or easily. Second these are THE most painful lip plumping products I’ve ever tested – they burned my lips and if a tiny bit touched my tongue, a spicy tingle sensation went shooting to the back of my mouth. I tested two on separate occasions and the most I could tolerate was 45 minutes on the lips before I had to wipe it off and give the lips a thorough cleanse. I returned 3 of the 4. The one shown is going to a friend who is curious about this and doesn’t mind a tingle.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara was an impulse buy. The packaging has written on it a few statements like 1,944% more volume, 97% saw intense volume and length, 94% said this mascara stays put all day. There is an asterisk that says based on consumer study results. I did not research how many people tested this or were part of it, but at $23 it seemed worth a try. I know some mascaras take a few pumps or uses to get going so I gave this one 6 tries on 6 separate occasions. It does add volume and length and the color is a rich deep black. However the clumps were seriously horrible with this one. Layering was an absolute no for me. It made my lashes look super spidery and when I tried to separate or comb them out the mascara just looked even more clumpy and made the lashes stick together. It’s also extremely difficult to remove.
That’s wraps it up for January’s beauty hits and misses! I’d love to hear about yours as well – so please feel free to share them in the comments. If you have any feedback about the items I tried let me know.
P.S. A number of you have sent me e-mails saying you weren’t getting the email newsletters anymore. I’ve re-added the subscribe feature on the sidebar at the top of the page (if you’re on a desktop computer). Let me know if you have any issues – if you enter your email address you’ll be sent a verification link and should be good to go!
Onto my favorites for this month which was difficult for me to narrow down. I’m still enjoying these Molton Brown mini hand washes and these lip treatments. In addition these liquid lips are really very good. I have managed to narrow down a list of my top favorites for this past month though even though a lot of loves have gone unmentioned:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows have been in heavy rotation because of their silky smooth texture, rich pigment, blendable finish and easy to wear shades. You can pick and choose your own colors to create quads, the one shown above has Sateen, Chiffon, Warm Taupe and Chocolate. To date I’ve accumulated quite a few you can see swatched here and here.
Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara is something I discovered in a set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this because it thickens, volumizes and holds the curl. It also looks super dark on the lashes. I will repurchase this.
Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped is one of the prettiest palettes I think I’ve seen in a while. If you don’t mind a good shimmer this is a great one for eyes and cheeks. I like mixing and swirling colors before applying to the eyes. Review + swatches here.
MAC Eyelash Curler is something I picked up recently and was pleasantly surprised. My go-to Chanel lash curlers have seen better days after years of use and I don’t think they’re carried in the US anymore. The one from MAC comes in close second for my eye shape.
Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kidman’s Kiss (shown) and Super Cindy are both pretty close neutral peachy colors, I think the entire Hot Lips Lipsticks have been a knock out success, especially for those who like matte lips (she has the best matte lipstick formula in my opinion). The entire launch reviewed and swatched here.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo wins for best shampoo to clean the hair well with a squeaky clean feel but won’t dry out the hair. It has a mild but fresh beachy kind of scent. Leaves the hair feeling soft and fluffy (but not frizzy). Even my husband likes it. September beauty events are just around the corner. I recommend putting this on your shopping list. I will repurchase this.
Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel (c/o) is something I received earlier in the spring. It took me a long time to get into testing this because frankly I don’t like face gels. They’re often sticky or tacky and just don’t absorb well into my skin. This one does indeed have a gel like consistency but if you massage it into the skin it melds in nicely and doesn’t leave a film like other brands. I’ve been alternating this with Kate Somerville Nourish, both of which are lightweight for warmer weather. Neither will get greasy but have enough for my normal-combination skin. They wear very well under foundation too. The Pore Perfecting Water Gel is also available in a mini travel size. I love the packaging, the pump and the way it feels on the skin. Huge thumbs up. It also helps to smooth out pores.
Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask remains my tried and true clarifying mask that is gentle, even when my skin has flare ups. It sucks up excess dirt and oil. I have finally lost count of how many tubes I’ve bought and used up.
Kate Somerville RetAsphere™ Micro Peel (c/o) is a leave-on treatment for night that helps with skin uneveness and really works to improve texture. It’s very gentle but I use it once a week. It’s a micro-peel that infuses skin with retinol with 10% glycolic acid and lactose to help resurface skin. Out of all the skincare lines I’ve tried, I feel that Kate Somerville has truly been one of the game changers for my skin as I transitioned from my 20’s to 30’s. During that transition I went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered a lot with texture issues and repeated break outs. While I’ve worked to manage the stress, finding the right skincare has played a major role in improving texture. I’ve tried so many lines and out of all the ones I have tried, Kate Somerville all around has worked the best for me. I don’t use a night treatment every night because I sometimes just want to let the skin breathe. The RetAsphere™ 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is one of the best most gentle yet effective night treatments I alternate with the Micro-Peel. The Micro-Peel makes the favorites list though because just using this once a week has improved my skin texture tremendously.
What are you loving right now? Do you have any favorites from the past month? As always I love reading about what you’ve tried, love and recommend. Even if something you tried hasn’t worked for you, I still love reading about those experiences as well. Are there any colors or collections you’ve been smitten with as we transition to fall beauty?
Press samples featured indicated with a “c/o”. As always all opinions my own.
I have a monthly favorites roundup today featuring both beauty and grooming products for him and her. My husband had so much fun pulling his favorite things last month he wanted to participate again. We’ve both been experimenting with new products – for me it’s a regular thing since I’m a beauty blogger and constantly trying new things. For him, he’s found out trying new products takes quite a bit of time to figure out how they really perform. There are some things he wanted to toss after one use, but in the interest of giving things a thorough test drive he’s opened up to giving items more than 1-2 uses before writing things off. Our August beauty and grooming favorites this month:
Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is the must-have highlighter duo this season. It gives the skin the most stunning glow. There seems to be mixed information about whether or not it’s limited-edition. I received an e-mail from the team at Tom Ford confirming that it’s limited-edition. Others report it is permanent. To be safe I bought 2 backups. It’s that good.
R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo Spray (Travel Size) is something I picked up a month ago. I’m the type of person who washes her hair daily so I don’t use dry shampoos a lot. There are days though where it’s so hot my hair needs a quick refresh. Many are white in color and leave my black-brown hair looking dusty and grey (even if I brush it out). This one is colorless and smells amazing. A few spritzes absorbs oil and gives the hair texture. I give it a huge thumbs up.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay has been a long time favorite. I’ve used this on and off for a year now (I like to switch up my cleansers). I think I’ve gone through 4 tubes. It’s amazing in this hot humid weather at cleaning the skin, unclogs pores and is gentle but really effective.
YSL Pop Water Glossy Stains have been in regular rotation (previously swatched/reviewed here). The colors are summer-perfect. It’s so easy to swipe on the lips and the stain makes the color last long. My two favorites for the last month have been Pink Rain and Wet Nude.
I acquired a few minis of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and it’s heavenly. I have been rationing three tiny bottles for months now (since around May) and I’ve fallen head over heels. I don’t want to splurge on the full size but there are some deal/value sets. I need to buy soon. It will be one of my biggest skincare splurges but it’s amazing on my skin. It hydrates, feels smooth, doesn’t get greasy and makes my face glow.
Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow is something I’ve been mixing in with foundation to add a subtle glow. I like that it has a yellowish golden undertone which I find rare in liquid illuminators which are often pinkish/opal.
La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel is something I’ve been using since the spring. It’s a good lightweight product for day and in this hot summer weather it’s just what I need. For a real deep treatment my go-to is still Chanel Sublimage but it’s a bit heavy for day in this super hot weather.
For the longest time my husband has been a loyal Jack Black user, but he opened up to trying some items I brought home from Kiehl’s. He really likes the Facial Fuel Energizing Facewash for Men. It lathers up well and really cleans the skin making it feel refreshed without leaving any film or stripping the face. The entire Facial Fuel line has a good masculine look to the packaging which he finds appealing. I tried this one and have to say it’s pretty darn good. For him, it helps prepare his skin for shaving by making it feel smooth.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair is what he uses under his eyes to try and treat wrinkles and dry skin. This year he’s been keen on researching products and changing his lifestyle to prevent aging (or at least try to delay it). He’s on his second jar of this. He likes it because it hydrates and really helps with his wrinkles.
Clarisonic Alpha Fit Cleansing System for Men is a new device designed specifically for men. My husband had tried my Aria with his own brush heads. He liked the concept but didn’t like the design (he said it looked too girly and felt bulky). I bought this one for him – the video sold it for me. It has a good masculine look and fits in the hands easily. He uses his in the shower daily and finds it gives his skin a deep clean and has made a noticeable difference in texture and preventing blackheads/clogged pores. He has super thick facial hair and this Clarisonic has softened the ends of his hair so when he shaves it feels softer. It’s on the pricey side but he’s really happy with it. It fits on the shelf in our shower without taking up a lot of space.
Nuxe Men Multi-Use Shower Gel is his favorite right now. He likes the way it smells and how it lathers (for him the lather is important). It leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturized. I’m a fan of the way it smells on him too. Review here.
Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet Deodorant is something he bought because he was researching Penhaligon’s shaving products. He decided to give this one a try based on online reviews he read. He likes it because it has a good fresh manly scent and doesn’t make his skin peel.
That wraps it up for our beauty and grooming favorites for the month!
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
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.
Finally, the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Shadows are so so good. I’ve bought backups. They are on the same level as Tom Ford Cream shadows but come in more colors. Let me know if you want to see a review on these.
For the face, I finally got around to trying the Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super–Charged Oil–Free Foundation in Golden Medium. The formula is so incredible – I don’t know what took me so long to try this. It gives natural medium coverage that evens out the skin and lasts all day long. The color range seems pretty good with different undertones.
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.
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.
I haven’t done a monthly favorites roundup in a while since I find my favorites rotate quite frequently. I like to mix things up and change things around. This month I narrowed down a favorites list to some items I’ve been enjoying thoroughly. As always I’d love to hear from you about your favorites for the past month. (The items below include links to previous reviews where applicable.)
This month feels like it’s been all about new lip releases. I’m still working on reviews for the new Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine but will say right now these new Dior glosses are phenomenal. I’ve been loving them a lot – they have the perfect mix of color and shine. I have all the swatches and review finished but still need to pull colors for comparison swatches.
For the skin I’ve been going through a lot of masks. My favorite is the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask. It’s the best clarifying face mask I’ve tried that is good for sensitive skin. It will draw out impurities and is gentle enough to use multiple times a week. I like it because it smells like a spa and it doesn’t irritate the skin. My favorite new cleanser discovery is the Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser. It’s a bit too strong for daily use but I do use it multiple times per week.
For eyeshadow palettes, the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con in The Dreamer has a beautiful mix of warm neutrals. There are golds, corals, champagnes and tan shimmers with a really good matte brown. This one is what I wanted Lolita to be. Let me know if you want a full review of this one.
For fragrance, I’ve become smitten with the Byredo Bibliothèque, Cotton Poplin and Fleur Fantôme set from Net-A-Porter. These are so cute although pricey, it’s a nice way to try the candles at a cheaper price than buying the full size. My favorite is still Fleur Fantôme (which I have the full size of). Full review to come soon.
Last but not least, I’ve still been loving the Lumira Paradisium perfume. It’s the perfect mix of florals with a hint of fig.