Browsing Category

Skincare

Skincare

Favorite Face Scrubs + Exfoliators: His and Hers Edition

November 17, 2017

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Today I have Part 2 of my current skincare routine focused on my favorite face scrubs and exfoliators. This post has an added portion for Andrew’s favorites as several of you mentioned you liked the men’s grooming recommendations I’ve done in the past. I haven’t always been a fan of face scrubs. I’ve found so many too gritty and harsh for my skin but with a lot of trial, error and recommendations from friends and experts I’ve discovered that regular exfoliation has been a major key to maintaining good skin. Both Andrew and I have used each other’s skincare to see what works best. In general ones for men are indeed tougher or more gritty as I think men typically have tougher and thicker skin than women but there are actually some of his skincare items that I like to borrow on a regular basis from Jack Black.

Favorite Face Scrubs for Her

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

My favorite exfoliators are gentle ones. I don’t usually exfoliate everyday unless it’s with a rice powder that’s activated by water. I’ve found scrubs gentle enough for daily use but really find that every other day is enough for me. I’ve used several variations of the Clarisonic including the Mia2 and Mia Fit. I must admit that I’m not the most diligent about using it consistently – especially when traveling. Sometimes having a small bottle or tube of face scrub is just so much easier and convenient. My favorites below plus one that I’ve just started trying:

  • Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator is the newest scrub I’ve tried. I bought it during the Sephora sale because of the high ratings. It has a cream base which makes it less harsh than a lot of scrubs and it works well over wet skin. I like that it’s gentle for me and effective. Skin feels cleaner and smoother. I do think it’s better for oily or combination skin. It has a slight citrus scent that I’m not the biggest fan of. I will use it until the end but don’t know if I’ll repurchase.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion is in my top picks for face scrubs. I thought it would be too harsh based on what I felt on my hands. When applied over a wet face it’s a great scrub. It’s also one Andrew has used and liked. It has crush microshells from the ocean sand, Willow Herb to sooth, shea butter and sea algeanates. Over time with regular use I do believe it helped minimize our pores.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle is one of my most repurchased face scrubs. It has papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes reduce pore size, stimulate circulation, and improve oxygen flow. It’s a more gentle version of her regular Exfolikate which sometimes has too much tingle for me. I’ve had both applied on me during Kate Somerville facials which are the best facials I’ve ever had. I recommend any of her products.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Laura Mercier Face Polish is one I have in a mini right now but I have bought and used up the full size multiple times. It’s a great all around basic face scrub that does the job well without being too harsh. It does have a grittier texture but there’s a good cream base to balance it. With this one there is a slight almost apricot scent to it. Once you rinse it off you don’t notice it as much. I would say this one is better for normal to dry skin.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Fresh Sugar Face Polish is a newer favorite that I suspect will be in my top three. I bought mine in a mini size from the cutest Fresh Mask Wardrobe which I think would make a super cute gift. This scrub is an emollient brown sugar scrub with strawberry seeds that smells like sugary lemons. It’s emollient and leaves the skin feeling well nourished without leaving any oily film or residue. Skin feels super soft and has the smoothest feel out of the scrubs I’ve tried. I 100% recommend and will be getting the full size soon.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Sisley-Paris Gentle Facial Buffing Cream is an excellent face scrub that I reviewed here. It’s very pricey but one I think is excellent with one of the best formulas I’ve tried. It is better suited for normal or dry skin types in my opinion. I’ve been trying to use mine as sparingly as possible because it’s so good and I want to make it last as long as I can.
    • Currently working on finding the full ingredient list.
  • Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders come in different formulas for skin type. I’ve tried all of them and find the difference between them is subtle but still noticeable. Over the summer I used the Deep Polish (green one) but also alternate with the Indigo Soothing Rice (for sensitive skin) and Classic. You can find these in travel sizes online at Tatcha.
  • Clarisonic Mia2 shown in purple is the traditional Clarisonic with the handle. It comes with a compact storage case that doesn’t take up a lot of room making it convenient for travel and it also protects the brush. This helps with gentle exfoliation and the sonic facial brush cleanses the skin up to 6 times better than hands alone. I do think it does a better job at keeping skin clear and washing the face than hands. It’s just one more step in the routine that I skip when I’m rushed in the mornings or feel tired at night.

Favorite Exfoliators for Andrew

Men's Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Andrew and I are really close in age. He has thicker skin than I do. His main concerns are primarily related to sun damage and sun spots. His skin type is normal to oily and with the Florida heat and humidity his skin has become more oily. Out of all the skincare he’s tried he feels daily exfoliation is the one thing that has improved his skin (or rather to maintain clear smooth skin). There are four he’s tried recently, his favorite is the same no matter what he tries (ones for men or even mine). In general his two favorite skincare lines are Kiehl’s and Jack Black. I’ve bought him numerous skincare gift sets over the years and that’s how he’s discovered what he’s liked.

  • Away has brought back their Minis for the holiday! You can buy the Mini Suitcase Individually, as a Gift Set (there are multiple options) or as a Gift Card Set. I’d recommend ordering soon as they are selling out really fast. I was lucky to get my hands on a few over the past year and absolutely love them for travel.
    • You can see my review on their Bigger Carry On here. Regular Carry On here.
  • Kiehl’s Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser is something I bought for him because he likes multi-tasking products and I thought this could be a good 2-in-1 scrub. Turns out he says it’s more like a cleansing cream with tiny beads but not really a scrub. It’s supposed to double as a mask that you can leave on to help exfoliate skin. He says it’s not bad, he just doesn’t love it and feels like it’s a knock-off of the Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser which is another one of his staple go-to’s.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub is his favorite face scrub. He’s tried to convert me to loving this as much as he does. I do like it a lot and have used it many times. It has fine particles, methol and vitamin c to invigorate the skin and help prepare it for shaving. He finds this helps clear up congested pores the best and helps prevent breakouts.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion (also shown above in my review) is one Andrew thought he liked the most, but after going back to his Jack Black decided that was his favorite. This one is good according to him but he likes something with more grit to exfoliate more.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Clarisonic Alpha Fit is something Andrew was diligent about using every day in the shower until we moved and started living the nomadic life in August. After moving month to month exploring and traveling he stopped using it and opted for face scrubs instead. In case you missed it our six months in Florida post here.

A few other favorites of his shown but that aren’t scrubs include the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Cleanser, Molton Brown Russian Leather Eau de Toilette, Creed Aventus for Men.

That wraps up our favorite face exfoliators of the moment! What are your favorites?

Press samples featured include the Sisley Gentle Face Scrub, Away Mini Suitcase, Molton Brown Russian Leather.

Skincare Tatcha

Tatcha Holiday Gift Sets + A Few of My Favorite Things

November 13, 2017

Tatcha Holiday Gift Sets and Favorite Skincare | The Beauty Look Book

Tatcha is having their holiday Friends and Family Sale online at Tatcha.com until November 16th! With code FF2017 you will receive 20% off your order. They have a few lovely holiday gift sets you can only find on their website. I have a few to review for you today along with a roundup of my favorites. I’ve found Tatcha skincare to be great for sensitive and normal to dry skin. They’ve recently added more items for normal to combination skin which I’ve really loved. A few years ago they launched their first makeup item the Kyoto Red Lipstick. They’ve also added Plum Blossom and Cherry Blossom all of which have sold out numerous times. I hope they will restock and bring them back to be added to their permanent lineup because they are really beautiful!

Tatcha Holiday Gift Sets and Favorite Skincare | The Beauty Look Book

Up first is a look at some holiday launches. Their Holiday Gift Sets are always so beautifully packaged. Even their shipping boxes have a special touch with the packing and purple packing stickers on the outside. I’ve gifted Tatcha to a number of friends and the first thing they comment on is the beautiful packaging. Hearts are won even before they open the box!

Tatcha Holiday Gift Sets A Joyful Discovery and Kissed with Gold Set | The Beauty Look Book

If you’re looking for a good sampler set with minis the Joyful Discovery Set ($115) has six of their travel-sized favorites. If you’re new to Tatcha I think the best thing is that they have travel sizes they sell separately that have exceptional packaging. This one has:

  • One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil 25 ml
  • Classic Rice Enzyme Powder 10 g
  • The Essence 25 ml
  • Radiant Deep Brightening Serum 10 ml
  • The Silk Cream 10 ml
  • Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream 3 ml

Another cute set is the Kissed With Gold Set Duo ($32) which has their Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm and a beautiful Gold Leaf Travel Mirror. This would make for an adorable stocking stuffer for anyone that wants a special lip balm. It’s smooth and nourishing and the gold flecks make for a beautiful looking balm.

Tatcha Holiday Lip Sets and Oil | The Beauty Look Book

For lip color there are three offerings this holiday. Two sets including the Camellia Kisses Lip Balm Trio ($85) which has three full-size tinted lip balms and the Blossoming Joy Silk Lipstick Trio ($60) which has three miniature lipsticks of their Kyoto Red, Sunrise A Plum Blossom and Twilight A Cherry Blossom. Unfortunately the lipstick set has sold out but I’m hoping it will be restocked because this is the perfect mini lipstick set! I ordered these during their early access sale and am glad to have snagged them! The third item launches is the Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil ($30) which is a beautiful sheer moisturizing red. I rarely wear reds but sheer ones are perfect for neutral lip lovers like me. They look more natural but still have a lovely tint.

As a quick FYI in case you don’t want the balms as a set, you can find the Red Camellia, Gold Spun and Cherry Blossom available individually online.

Tatcha Blossoming Joy Lipstick Miniatures, Camellia Kisses Lip Balm Trio, Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil

Tatcha Blossoming Joy Lipstick Miniatures, Camellia Kisses Lip Balm Trio, Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil swatches

Tatcha Blossoming Joy Lipstick Miniatures, Camellia Kisses Lip Balm Trio, Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil Lip Swatches

Last but not least are my favorites from Tatcha. I test a lot of skincare and Tatcha is one that always manages to calm my skin down and helps immensely with dryness when it occurs. My two absolute favorites for normal combination skin are the items in the soft sea green packaging. I hope they expand the line!

Tatcha Skincare Favorites from The Beauty Look Book

My personal favorites:

  • The Water Cream is one of my favorite water burst moisturizers. It’s super lightweight and feels like water on the skin but does adhere well to give it moisture. I’m beyond obsessed with it – it’s worked extremely well in humid Florida weather. It hydrates without looking shiny or getting too moisturizing.
  • The Water Gel (sold out on Tatcha but available at Sephora) is practically the only face gel I like and use. It’s gone on many travels with me and has a bit more substance/thickness than the water cream but applies smoothly and works well under all my liquid foundations.
  • The Silk Cream is best suited for dry skin, I will use this at night sometimes because during the day it’s a bit too rich for hot humid climates. It works well to hydrate and smooth the skin.
  • The Essence is my favorite essence of the moment. I really didn’t think it was doing anything to my skin but once I used it regularly I noticed everything else that followed absorbed better into my face. Also I notice when I don’t use it my skin doesn’t feel as balanced.
  • Camellia Lip Balm (sold out on Tatcha but available at Sephora) is a classic lip balm that smooths, hydrates and plumps. The gold leaf adds a special touch to it!
  • Violet-C Radiance Mask is one of the softest most gentle brightening masks I’ve tried. It has ingredients that give the skin a brighter glowing look. I didn’t notice immediate visible results from a one-time use, but skin feels very soft after you rinse it off. Regular weekly use has improved brightness for me. If you need a stronger mask this may not be the one for you.
  • Classic Enzyme Rice Powder is a staple for soft gentle daily exfoliation. I use this in conjunction with my regular liquid cleansers from other brands because I like traditional cleansers better for clean skin. I use the Tatcha Rice Powders in place of a face scrub to exfoliate in the most gentle way possible.
  • Dewy Skin Mist is a must for travel as my skin gets dried out on airplanes. I do find it too dewy for mid-day touch ups here in Florida. I hope they consider launching a lighter weight spray mist for oily skin because that would be my dream come true!

Favorites not shown because I’m all out and plan on restocking:

Do you have any favorites from Tatcha? I know a lot of you are huge fans of the line – let me know what you’ve tried and what has worked for you! The 20% off sale runs online at Tatcha.com through November 16th with code FF2017.

Holiday gift sets gifted courtesy of Tatcha for review. All full-size items featured have also been press samples in past features but I’ve since repurchased all the items featured in this post on my own.

 

Skincare

Updated Skincare Routine and Testing: Cleansers and Toners

November 6, 2017

Favorite Face Cleansers and Toners | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I’ve compiled a series of posts on my updated skincare routine and testing. Skincare routines are challenging for me to write about as I am frequently testing new things and I like to switch things up on a regular basis. Since moving from California to Florida my skin has had quite a time trying to adjust to new climates and water conditions. My skin has become truly combination as the weather can make me a bit oily outdoors but the water dries out my skin. I’ve always had sensitive skin and that has pretty much remained the same – I usually react immediately if I have any kind of allergic reaction and then it takes at least a full week for my skin to recover. Luckily with cleansers I’ve had no reactions with what I’ve tested and I’m kicking off my skincare series with cleansers and toners.

I have a rather complex cleansing routine and you definitely don’t need to have one this complex. In the mornings I use one cleanser and then follow with one toner. In the afternoons after workouts or in the evening I definitely double cleanse on a regular basis, sometimes I triple cleanse with an exfoliator added to the routine (scrubs and exfoliators will be covered in a separate post). To try and help simplify things I’ve split all my testing this year by category. At the end of the post I’ll list my top picks and recommendations.

Cream and Gel Cleansers

Favorite Cleansers Sisley, Kate Somerville, L'Occitane, Glamglow, Saturday Skin | The Beauty Look Book

I prefer traditional liquid cleansers because I find they lather best to really clean the skin (vs gels, balms or oils). Ones I’ve been testing this year along with some tried and true favorites:

  • Sisley Phyto-Blanc Lightening Foaming Cleanser * ($130 for 3.8 oz/108 g) is a creamy gel cleanser that has a foaming quality when you add water. It’s gentle but effective and does help give the skin a more glowing look to it. It removes excess oil without stripping the skin and doesn’t make the face feel tight after rinsing. Key ingredients according to their website includes white mulberry and scutellaria extracts to lighten the complexion, lemon extract to tone and restore radiance, vegetable glycerine to moisturize, lavender essential oil to sooth and balance and marjoram essential oil to soothe.
  • Kate Somerville cleansers in general are my favorite because they work the best for my skin type and are affordable for the quality and performance. I often have to rotate skincare because my skin gets used to a product and then I find it becomes less effective. This is not the case with Kate Somerville. My husband also uses these and my brother who is in his early 20’s with sensitive skin also loves these as well.
    • EradiKate Daily Cleanser Acne Treatment ($19 for 1.7 oz/50 ml to $38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is the best for clearing up the skin. It is part of the EradiKate line with sulfur which is their line that helps with acne and blemishes. It’s meant for oily combination skin, but if you’re dry I think it’s still suitable for weekly use or during times you have break outs. Often times anti-acne skincare is too strong for me and ends up stripping my skin so much. This does not dry me out. Ingredients here.
    • Gentle Daily Wash ($36 for 4 oz/120 ml, also available in a larger 16 oz size with pump at Nordstrom) is the best everyday kind of gentle wash. I use it in the morning frequently and in the evenings as well. This is my brother’s favorite. Ingredients listed here.
    • Exfolikate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash ($38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is a exfoliating cleanser but doesn’t feel like a scrub. It has AHAs and natural fruit enzymes to purify the skin. If you’re looking for an exfoliating wash that doesn’t have scrubby particles this is a great one. Regular use for me helped improve texture and glow. Ingredients listed here.
  • Glamglow SUPERCLEANSE™ Clearing Cream-to-Foam Cleanser * ($32 for 5 oz/150 g) is the new formula and packaging of their Supercleanse Cleanser. I really loved the original version and was really upset to find there was a new one. I still prefer the original version because I found it stronger and better for clarifying and reducing redness. The new one is still good but it’s creamier, a little more gentle and almost feels like it’s hydrating. It has a pore refining triple charcoal complex with three charcoals: coconut, ubame white oak, and gray bamboo, all designed to detox skin. Mediterranean clays absorb oils to mattify skin and restore balance. I just think the original was better. Ingredients listed here.
  • Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser * ($80 for 5.1 oz/150 ml) is one of the most hydrating cleansers I’ve tried. It has a cream feel with a cream finish to the skin. It’s a detoxifying cleanser and almost has a cooling hydrating feel once you rinse it off. Skin is left feeling refreshed and hydrated. If you want to try this in a smaller size you can find it in the Holiday Cracker duo the or on Omorovicza’s site you can create your own custom mini travel trio. I would not recommend this for oily skin. My husband and I like to use this on our triple cleanse days to add moisture. Ingredients listed here.
  • Saturday Skin Rise + Shine Purifying Cleanser ($26 for 4.05 oz) is something I tried and liked, but didn’t love. I think it’s a good basic purifying cleanser, but there’s not really anything special that it did for my skin. It has apple and peach extracts which are supposed to remove impurities without stripping. It is paraben-free, sulfate-free, synthetic fragrance-free, synthetic color-free if these factors are important to you. It does a good job at cleaning the skin without drying.
  • L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Foaming Cleansing Cream * ($39 for 4.2 oz) was something I previously reviewed here. Quick recap is that it’s a great cleanser that gentle and soothing  on the skin. I’m nearly done with a tube. It does have a soft scent that you find in the Immortelle line but it’s not strong and does not irritate my skin.
  • Huxley Secret of Sahara Be Clean Be Moist Cleansing Gel ($30 for 6.76 oz) was something I purchased from Nordstrom when they had the Korean Beauty Pop Up. They no longer carry it but you can find it now at Saks Fifth Avenue. This is one of the most gentle gel cleansers I’ve used. It is a hydrating cleanser but doesn’t leave a film on the skin and it leaves the skin feeling very clean. In general I find I don’t really like gel-like cleansers as they don’t lather as well as others. This one is one I used up entirely and liked, but I prefer Kate Somerville and Sisley.

Toners + Cleansing Waters

Face Toner and Cleansing Water Favorites La Mer, Sisley, Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Erborian

Finding good toners that don’t cause my entire face to flare up has been a challenge. My three go-to’s below:

  • Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion * ($103 for 8.4 fl oz/250 ml) is one of the best toners I’ve tried. It’s an alchohol free toner that is designed for dry/sensitive skin, but suitable for my normal combination skin. Since the water here in Florida tends to dry out my skin having a slightly moisturizing toner works well for me as the water strips my face and the toner helps rebalance everything. It has rose extracts, cornflower and witch hazel. The rose scent is super soft and soothing. I’m super picky about rose scents. The By Terry line is excellent but their skincare is often too strong in scent for me (I’m ok with the lip products though). The Sisley toner is soothing and softening. I’ve accumulated minis from GWPs and have been hoarding them.
  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion ($9.90 to $16.90) is the best toner I’ve used under $25. It’s soothing and softly hydrating. I’ve bought several travel-sized options which is still a bit pricey but cheaper than high-end brands. Ingredients online at Beautylish.
  • La Mer The Tonic ($90 for 6.7 oz) has been one of my favorite toners for years. I can’t recall how many bottles I’ve purchased. It helps to rebalance the skin and make it feel completely refreshed and clean. I hate repurchasing it though because it’s so expensive. It does last a long time but the price is always a huge ouch to the wallet. Ingredients listed here.
  • Another not shown:
    • Darphin Intral Toner is another favorite to soothe skin and help with redness. It doesn’t sting even on sensitive days. I’ve actually been a fan of multiple products from the Intral Line including the Sunscreen and Mousse Cleanser.

Cleansing Waters have been in my skincare rotation for years. I find using these in the evenings to remove makeup really help improve clarity of my skin if I use in conjunction with a regular cleanser.

  • Bioderma makeup removers have been great for gentle makeup removing. I’ve tried multiple formulas that I’ve ordered from Beautylish. I really like that they have small travel sizes which are convenient to pack for short trips. The Sensibio H20 is the most gentle, Hydrabio H20 is for dry skin, Sebium H20 is for oily skin. None of these remove waterproof mascara or eye makeup for me, but they do work nicely to remove face makeup. I still need to do a regular cleanse with a regular cleanser but doing a double cleanse with a cleansing water or oil first really helps to make sure all traces of makeup are washed off and gone. Ingredients are all listed on Beautylish.
  • La Roche-Posay Micellar Water ($19.99 for 400 ml, available at Dermstore, Ulta, La Roche-Posay) is a great all purpose cleansing water. It does a really good job at removing face makeup – it’s more effective at removing makeup than the Bioderma for me. It’s gentle but effective. It doesn’t leave a film on the skin. It comes in multiple size options. Ingredients at Dermstore.
  • La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water ($50 to $90 for 3.4 oz to 6.7 oz) is something I had high hopes for. I ordered mine from Nordstrom and it’s lasted a long time. I think it’s a great cleansing water, but you can get something similar or just as good for a lot less. Still I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it. Ingredients listed here.
  • Erborian Cleansing Micellar Water ($26 for 6.4 oz/190 ml) is another great cleansing water that I tried. It’s a three-in-one like many other micellar waters to remove makeup, refresh and clean the skin. It feels more fresh than others although performance is very similar to others I’ve tried. Ingredients here.
  • Other favorites not shown:

Cleansing Oils

Cleansing Oils Shu Uemura, Tatcha, Sunday Riley | The Beauty Look Book

Cleansing Oils are also fun to use. I like these for the double or triple cleanse to dissolve and remove face makeup before I wash the face. Sometimes I’ll use a cleansing oil, follow with cleansing water + cotton pad and then use a regular cleanser.

  • Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils * were previously reviewed in this post here. You can find all the details plus a special Shu Uemura promo code for beauty look book readers. Ingredients for all the oils in my original review post.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 150 ml) has been a long-time go to for years. It has a mix of Camellia and Rice Bran oils and is super gentle with a hydrating finish. It removes all face makeup well. You can find smaller trial/travel sizes in a number of Holiday Gift Sets. Also in a few duos at Sephora. Ingredients at Tatcha.
  • Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil * ($38 for 3.4 oz/100 ml) is one that I didn’t like for my skin. I found it a bit too drying for my skin type. If you have normal or oily skin you will probably like this. It is very effective and rinses off well without leaving a film. Skin is left smooth and completely clean, just a little too tight for me. Ingredients here.

Cleansing Balms and Solid Cleansers

Cleansing Balms and Solid Cleansers | The Beauty Look Book

Balm Cleansers have a melting effect on the skin. They are often solid or thick and once you work it into the face it melts and transforms into a balm or oil. I have mixed feelings about these. I feel like they are better suited for normal to dry skin. They often have a creamy moisturizing finish on the skin, almost like a film of moisture. I often follow with a regular cleanser after to make my skin feel more clean.

  • L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cleansing Balm * ($44 for 2.3 oz) was reviewed here. I like this for a super relaxing feel on the face.
  • Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser ($60 for 3.2 fl oz/100 ml) is a new cleanser from Eve Lom similar to their classic  Cleanser but in a pump with a hybrid gel-to-balm like finish. This has a similar oil/balm like formula. It has clove oil, Egyptian chamomile oil, grapeseed oil and eucalytus oil. This one has antiseptic properties for healing and protection. It has a rich moisturizing feel with a strong scent, but it’s not irritating. If you have normal to dry skin but found the regular solid Cleanser too rich, give this one a try. Ingredients at Space NK.
  • Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy * ($34 for 3.2 oz/90 ml) is probably my favorite melt away balm cleanser that I’ve tried. It has a similar gentle feel to the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm which I liked but found it didn’t take off all my face makeup. The Farmacy is more effective at removing my foundation, powder and blush and leaves the skin feeling very soft. Ingredients here.
  • Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm * is something I got in a mini. It comes highly rated by online reviews but did not work for me. I found it too rich and oily feeling. I couldn’t get it to rinse off properly with just my hands and after reading the instructions I found you have to use a wash cloth to remove. I tried it with that method and it did come off, I still found it left a film on my skin. For me it was too rich. Ingredients here.

So after this year’s testing so far my favorites have remained my favorite cleansers are from Kate Somerville. I find all the ones I’ve tried to be the most effective yet gentle for my super sensitive skin. They work well to remove dirt, makeup and impurities and keep my skin clear and smooth. I really can’t pick one – every one I’ve tried works well. Still with the heat, humidity, sun, and long-wear makeup a single cleanser can’t remove everything 100%. My favorite cleansing water is still the Lancome Micellar Cleansign Water (I’ve used up two bottles this year) although I’ve really been enjoying La Roche Posay as well. Bioderma is still very good and remains a classic but sometimes it’s nice to try new things. In terms of cleansing oils, I rediscovered the Shu Ueumura ones this year and have been pleasantly surprised. I have reviewed and used up the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil which I feel is one of the best ones I’ve tried alongside Tatcha’s. I haven’t repurchased the SK-II as I’m trying to work my way through other formulas. When it comes to balms or solid cleansers I think they are definitely interesting and there are a number of great options – I’m still one that prefers liquid ones instead.

That wraps up Part 1 of my updated skincare routine and testing. I tried to link ingredients where I could find them for each product. I’ll hope to have the rest of my skincare posts up before the end of the month to cover exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers, masks and face mists. If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.

As always I’d love to hear what your favorite face cleansers are!

Press samples and GWPs indicated with a *.

 

Skincare

Glowing Skin with the L’Occitane Divine Collection

September 21, 2017

L'Occitane Divine Collection Skincare Immortelle Oil | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve been a long-time fan of the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil and Youth Cream for the gentle yet effective anti-aging properties. This fall season they reformulated their Divine Youth Oil to increase the concentration of Immortelle essential oils to improve the anti-aging properties. L’Occitane has also expanded the Divine Skincare Collection with new cleansers and I’m thrilled to have been able to get an early peek at them to put to the test. I have five items featured today. For those new to my blog I’ll give you a little background on my skin type and concerns. I’m in my mid-30’s and have sensitive but otherwise normal skin. I’m extremely sensitive to many kinds of fragrance and any kind of reaction (to scent, ingredients etc.) usually happens immediately. I’ve used L’Occitane since I was a freshman in college starting with their Shea Butter hand creams and cuticle treatments, ventured into their body treatments and then skincare. They’ve consistently been a favorite for natural gentle and effective formulas for my skin type. For most of my life I lived in Southern California where there was mild but warm climate and the Divine Youth Oil was perfect for cooler weather and also for times I felt dry. I currently live in Florida where the heat and humidity are pretty high but I’ve still experienced dryness due to the water. My primary concerns are anti-aging, finding something lightweight but with enough moisture to hydrate the skin, and also finding cleansers that will remove all traces of sweat, makeup and dirt at the end of the day.

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil Review | The Beauty Look Book

The Immortelle Divine Youth Oil has been a long-time go-to and the new formula is just as good as the original. It has a lightweight soothing natural earthy scent to it, absorbs quickly into the skin and makes all tightness (if you are dry) disappear. On me it’s instantly soothing and hydrating with a good dry down but still has that soft emollient feel. Skin feels noticeably more plump and smooth. It’s one of my favorite oils ever.

______________

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream Review | The Beauty Look Book

The Immortelle Divine Youth Cream is also one of my favorite face moisturizers because it has a very soft consistency. This one also absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave any heavy or goopy residue. It leaves the skin looking like it has a natural glow and it’s compatible with the different formulas of foundation that I use. In general I’m more of a cream person than an oil person for day so if I had to pick one, I’d probably opt for the cream over the oil.

______________

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Eyes Review | The Beauty Look Book

The Immortelle Divine Eyes isn’t new, but it’s new to me. My personal favorite eye treatment has actually been the Immortelle Precious Eye Balm, but I love trying all kinds of eye treatments. The Immortelle Divine Eyes comes with a nice pump that dispenses just the right amount of product for me to cover both eyes (I only use a tiny bit). It’s a creamy gel formula that has a lightweight feel. Often times I can’t use the rich formulas for eye cream because they run into my eyes and sting them. This one has a light enough texture that it sets within a few minutes and make the skin feel smoother and softer.

______________

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cleansing Balm | The Beauty Look Book

There are two new cleansers this season for a double cleanse routine including the Immortelle Divine Cleansing Balm (in a jar) and Cleansing Foam (comes in a squeeze tube). The Divine Cleansing Balm is a super hydrating balm-in-oil formula that you massage into the skin to remove makeup. Once you work it in a circular motion on the face it transforms into an oil. It removes all face makeup (I still use a regular eye makeup remover to remove mascara and eyeliner first) and almost feels like a mask treatment after you rinse. L’Occitane recommends using the Cleansing Foam after as a double cleanse to further remove impurities from the skin. I’ve tried both together and also separately. In the mornings I find I can just use the Cleansing Foam. In the evenings I like the double cleanse routine to completely clean the skin. It’s something I do anyways as I wear makeup pretty much everyday and with the long-wear formulas I find double cleansing essential to fully cleanse the skin.

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cleansing Foam

As a beauty blogger I love putting new things to the test but I still like to have a routine. The nice thing about brands like L’Occitane is that you can easily incorporate one or two new items into your morning or nightly skincare rituals without having to overhaul your entire routine. As cooler weather approaches I always have to switch things up a bit as my skin adjusts to temperature changes. I start using oils more frequently and if you’re looking for a nice gentle one I highly recommend giving the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil a try for glowing skin.

L'Occitane Divine Collection | The Beauty Look Book

As an added bonus the L’Occitane team is giving away everything featured in this post to 1 lucky winner. Enter through the widget below. It’s open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to enter. Simply follow through the instructions in the widget and a winner will be selected at random and contacted by me via e-mail by 9/25/2017 11:45 PM EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shop the post:

Many thanks to L’Occitane for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own.

Clarins Skincare

Clarins Double Serum #NextGenSerum

September 1, 2017

Clarins Double Serum Next Generation Serum Review

One of my newest skincare discoveries is the Clarins Double Serum Hydric + Lipidic Serum ($89 for 1 fl oz/30 ml). This is a reformulation of one of Clarins’ cult anti-aging classics which they call their Next Generation Serum. I’ve never tried the previous versions but Clarins reached out and asked me to put this one to the test and after regular daily use I can say it’s a winner for me.

The Clarins Double Serum is an age control serum. It’s packed with two anti-aging serums in one and there’s a dial that allows you to control the dosage you dispense. I’ve been using the smaller one as I find it is better suited for my combination skin, warm climate and summer season. The larger dose is what they call a power shot for normal or dry skin, cold dry climates or winter. I’ve tried both dosage options and for me the smaller dose is the best for both day and night. The power shot was too strong and rich for my skin to handle, even at night.

Clarins Double Serum Next Generation Serum Review

This is a wrinkle treatment that has 20+ plant extracts including Tumeric to help with wrinkles, fine lines and boost radiance. The description says you’ll see results in 7 days and after using this a multitude of ways I have definitely seen an improvement in skin texture. I did see results after using this daily for 7 days (morning and night) and I did notice brighter smoother skin after that period. I especially noticed improvement when using this at night – I find my skin noticably smoother and fine lines diminished on my forehead when I wake up.

I’ve continued using this for the past month on a regular basis although after the 7 day period I’ve used it on and off with other serums in my routine for day but have used it nightly on a more regular basis. The smaller dose allows the product to last longer for me as a little goes a long way. If you think you’ll use the larger dose and have dry skin I’d recommend option for the larger size.

Clarins Double Serum Next Generation Serum Review

I have very sensitive skin – you might have noticed that I am prone to allergic reactions with a lot of fragranced skincare and even foundations. This one was suitable for my sensitive skin without any irritation. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue even though it has that serum formula. Application is smooth and easy to apply and the best thing about this one is that I’ve found it compatible with all my other moisturizers from other brands so I don’t have to switch around what I use with this one. A quick note on serums though is that I think they are best worn with a regular moisturizer on top – especially if you wear foundation or any kind of base product.

The packaging is phenomenal – it’s well designed, sturdy, has the right size/shape to hold easily in the hand. It also comes with a sturdy cap to protect the pump. The pump will dispense both phases into your hand – you just need to rub them together to combine before applying to your face. I have a huge appreciation for packaging that is functional, sturdy and innovative – I really like the way this serum has been put together.

Clarins Double Serum Next Generation Serum Review

Below you can see the two serums have been dispensed – it’s separated when you first pump it out but it blends easily in the hands before you apply to the face.

Clarins Double Serum Next Generation Serum Packaging

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Ppg-3 Myristyl Ether, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Dipsacus Sylvestris Extract, Butylene Glycol, Parfum/ Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Propanediol, Tromethamine, Silybum Marianum Seed Oil, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Escin, Cheno -Podium Quinoa Seed Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Squalane, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Xanthan Gum, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Caramel, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Leaf/Stem Extract, Disodium Edta, Tocopherol, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Maltodextrin, Orthosiphon Stamineus Extract, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Jania Rubens Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Engelhardtia Chrysolepis Leaf Extract, Ci 14700/Red 4, Callicarpa Japonica Fruit Extract.

Bottom line a solid winner and exactly what I need for my skin now that fine lines have started to surface on my face. You can find the Clarins Double Serum in two sizes in a 1.0 oz ($89) and 1.6 oz ($122), available at Clarins and Dillard’s and all other Clarins counters.

Have you tried this one yet? If not do you have any Clarins skincare favorites? I’m obsessed with their lip oils!

Thanks to Clarins for partnering to sponsor this post.

 

Beauty Skincare

Coconut Love with Kopari Hydrating Multitaskers

August 23, 2017

Kopari Coconut Melt, Milk, Oil and Scrub | The Beauty Look Book

I first discovered the Kopari Coconut Melt earlier this spring and as the ultimate coconut lover I feel like it was made for me. It’s a simple multitasking product you can use in a number of ways on the face, hair and body and it has been a skin savior for me since relocating to the east coast with the Florida. The water, heat, ocean and pools have all contributed to drying out my skin. Regular use of the Coconut Melt helps restore my skin to a better hydrated state and keeps it looking smooth and glowing without being greasy. I’ve teamed up with Kopari to try and review some of their other body products.

Kopari Beauty Coconut Melt and Body Line | The Beauty Look Book

Kopari Coconut | The Beauty Look Book

Up first is the Coconut Melt which I’ve already been using and love. It’s not your standard grocery store grade coconut oil – yes, coconut oil is coconut oil, but according to Kopari there is a difference between oils depending on where they are sourced and how they are harvested. There’s also a difference in how the melt is made with the straining process. The Coconut Melt is free of silicones, sulfates, parabens and GMOs. It’s also cased in a sturdy glass jar. A little goes a long way and I usually need to give it around 5 to 10 minutes to let it soak in with the amount I use. For day I use a little less but I also like to use it at night before I go to sleep. It has worked wonders to restore moisture to my skin and keep it from drying out with the Florida heat.

Other recommended ways to use this coconut oil:

  • Hair Mask – recommended you leave it on for 40 minutes or sleep on it overnight, I’ve tried it as a mask and it does hydrate the hair
  • Body Moisturizer – they recommend you apply on damp skin to lock in moisture, I find it works on both damp and dry skin
  • Makeup remover – I did not know you could use this to remove eye makeup and it works! I apply a little on a q-tip and it helps remove stubborn waterproof eye makeup
  • Dry shave oil
  • Bath boost
  • Under eye moisturizer
  • Baby butter
  • Belly balm

Kopari Coconut Melt Review | The Beauty Look Book

The full size comes with a scooper. Consistency can change with temperature so if you’re in a hot humid area like me it can liquefy. It will go back to a harder state once it reaches room temperature.

Kopari Coconut Melt Review | The Beauty Look Book

It also comes in a mini with their cute Coconut Multitasking Kit. A quick look at the full size Coconut Melt compared to the Multitasking Kit minis which are super cute and a nice way to try multiple items.

Kopari Coconut Melt Full Size vs Set Minis

The Coconut Crush Scrub is a super hydrating body scrub with brown sugar and Tahitian coconut shells to buff all the dead dry skin off. This is also silicone-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free and GMO free. It has a very sweet coconut vanilla milk kind of scent. It’s one of those oil-infused scrubs that leave the skin coated with a layer of moisture that you can feel in the shower. I love body scrubs and use this one about once a week – it’s definitely one of the most hydrating ones. They recommend you buff it onto dry skin and rinse but I’ve used it on both dry and wet skin and it works well either way.

Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub Review | The Beauty Look Book

Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub Review | The Beauty Look Book

Kopari Coconut | The Beauty Look Book

The Coconut Body Milk and Coconut Body Oil both have a sweeter scent to them while the Coconut Melt has the most natural coconut scent. These are other ways to incorporate coconut oil into your body routine in case the melt isn’t quite your thing formula-wise. The Body Milk is a creamy lotion that in a milk-lotion format. It’s rich in hydration but not greasy. It smells like a sugar, coconut and vanilla blend. There is a nice velvety dry down to it.

The Body Oil is a spray and it’s a dry oil that is a more lightweight option for those who just want a little bit of hydration. It has a sweet gardenia scent to it that transports me to a vacation state of mind. This leaves the skin smooth and naturally glowy.

Coconut Body Milk and Body Oil

A look at the body milk texture straight out of the bottle. Oil not shown because it’s clear.

Coconut Body Milk

Kopari Beauty Coconut Melt and Body Line | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line wonderful. I’m a huge fan of the Coconut Melt and it continues to be my personal favorite from the Kopari items I’ve tried. The scrub is a wonderful discovery with the hydrating element. The oil is a nice lightweight and less messy alternative as it comes with a spray. The milk is the more traditional moisturizer formula which is best if you want a nice velvety dry down.

Shop the post:

Have you tried anything from Kopari before? What did you think? Any favorites? If not what is your current go-to body moisturizer or oil?

Sponsored by Kopari.

Shu Uemura Skincare

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils

August 10, 2017

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Review | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve rediscovered cleansing oils from Shu Uemura and they’ve become a regular part of my daily skincare routine this summer. With the heat, sunshine and humidity I have multiple layers products on my face in order to prep, moisturize, protect the skin and also and make my base last. I’ve switched up my skincare routine over the past few months since moving to Florida because I found the water dried out my skin. At the same time the increasing humidity levels cause me to sweat while I’m outside. I’ve finally re-balanced my skin and will share my full skincare routine soon – but today I have a review on all six cleansing oils from Shu Uemura. This year marks their 50th Anniversary.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Review | The Beauty Look Book

I’m fairly certain that every one of my readers are already familiar with cleansing oils. In case you are not these are cleansers in oil format where you apply to a dry face then massage into the skin. You can use them on bare skin or as a makeup remover. Simply add warm water to emulsify afterwards and rinse. It’s a skincare product that allows you to remove makeup and cleanse the skin effectively in a single step. With these I only need 2 pumps to cover the entire face although they recommend 3 to 4.

For a bit of background on my skin type, I have normal skin that is on the sensitive side. I tend to double cleanse with cleansing oils or cleansing waters because I like to have my skin squeaky clean. With the Shu Uemura oils they have enough power to do a single cleanse to remove all of my face makeup. With eye makeup or lipstick I still prefer to remove that separately first with a cotton pad and bi-phase makeup remover. It’s just easier and less messy for me. Also with waterproof mascaras and long-wear shadows most cleansing oils simply don’t take it off 100%.

There are currently 7 Shu Uemura cleansing oils – I have 6 of them that I put to the test. Each one has a different formula designed to be suited to certain skin types or preferences. I found they all performed similar in terms of how well they emulsified with water and also how they removed face makeup. Some are better suited for oily skin vs. normal/dry skin and there is a noticeable difference in texture between them. Most of these come in various size options – I have the 150 ml options shown in this post.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Review | The Beauty Look Book

Thoughts on each one shown above from left to right. Up first is the one I’d consider the classic which is the High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula. It’s actually “an evolved” formula of the classic with ingredients designed for waterproof make-up. This one is designed for sensitive skin and it has the most emollient medium-weight smooth feel out of the ones I tested. It leaves the skin completely clean and soft. In terms of mascara removal it didn’t take off 100% of my mascara but it was a very good first pass to remove most of it. For the face it will remove sunscreen, foundation, powder and concealer nicely without stripping the skin.

Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Advanced Cleansing Oil

POREfinist is designed for acne-prone/oily skin but is the lightest weight option in terms of texture. This has a floral petal scent and is designed to remove excess oil and dirt from pores. For my skin it felt the strongest in terms of cleansing power. It was a bit too strong for daily use for me, but if you have oily skin this is probably the best option. This was the second best in terms of waterproof mascara removal.

Shu Uemura POREfinist Cleansing Oil

Anti/Oxi+ is designed for those with aging concerns. It has moringa and green tea extracts to remove pollutants and balance the skin. This one has a fairly strong scent which my nose was a bit sensitive to. In terms of cleansing this removed all traces of makeup, mascara included without stripping the skin. The scent is a relaxing spa-like scent which is nice – but I preferred the unscented/fresh options. It does leave the skin looking completely refreshed with a smooth feel and the scent did not irritate my skin.

Shu Uemura Anti-Oxi+ Cleansing Oil

Blanc:Chroma is my favorite. It’s a lightweight oil with a brightening effect. On me it was the most gentle and it’s designed for combination skin. I have yet to see noticeable results for brightening with this one – I suspect it’s one that will take months and months of regular use to see visible results. I like this one for the way it makes my skin feel clean and soft.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Cleansing Oil

Nutri:nectar is the newest cleansing oil from Shu Uemura and the most unique. It has a thick almost gel-like texture so it won’t slide into the eyes as easily as fluid options. It is designed for delicate skin and for me was definitely one of the most gentle feeling. It has calming Acai, magnolia to replenish and mushroom to improve resilience.

Shu Uemura NutriNectar Cleansing Oil

Ultime8 Sublime is the option best suited for normal/dry skin. On me this was the richest feeling option without any film. It removes all traces of face makeup and leaves the skin feeling plump and soft.

Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil

Ingredients on each of the boxes, left to right is blanc:chroma, high performance balancing cleansing oil advanced formula, nutri:nectar:

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Ingredients

Left to right: anti/oxi+, POREfinist, ultime8 sublime

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Ingredients

Out of all of the cleansing oils I found that Blanc:chroma worked best for me. It has a lightweight texture and soft scent that I really liked. Anti/Oxi+ was the best for makeup removal including waterproof mascara and liner. The new nutri:nectar was the most gentle. If you have any favorites from the line let me know in the comments!

You can find all the cleansing oils online at Shu Uemura. They are also offering Beauty Look Book readers a special promo of 5 deluxe samples + free shipping on orders $50+ with code BLBXSHU. Deluxe samples include: mini laque supreme sample rd01, maxi:hydrability essence-in cream 13 ml, sakura-rose-petal-mask 13 ml, ultime8 sublime cleansing oil 15 ml and nutri:nectar sample 15 ml. Valid online at both Shu Uemura US and Shu Uemura Canada.

Shu Uemura x The Beauty Look Book GWP

Do you have any Shu Uemura favorites? Let me know what you recommend in the comments!

Cleansing oils provided courtesy of Shu Uemura.