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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.

Skincare

Sisley-Paris Beauty Subscription 6 Months

July 11, 2017

Sisley-Paris Beauty Subscription | The Beauty Look Book

Sisley-Paris is one of those beautiful skincare lines with cult-status products and extremely expensive prices. I’ve tried a small handful of things to date and splurged on a few face masks which are really quite amazing. Due to the price points I haven’t looked at the line in detail even though many readers recommend the Black Rose Precious Face Oil. They launched a beauty subscription program which allows you to sample five things a month at a pretty reasonable price. The Beauty Subscription service is exclusive to the Sisley-Paris website in either a 6-month subscription for $60 or 12-month subscription for $100. The cost is like you are essentially paying for postage. I’ve been lucky to receive it for a few months now courtesy of Sisley. However since my move across country, other skincare projects, having to adjust to new surroundings and weather, and also other things happening in life I haven’t had a chance to try most of the items. The good news is that I saved up six months worth of boxes to be able to share with you today what 6 months looks like. Sometimes seeing more than one month’s worth makes it easier to decide whether or not to sign up for a subscription program.

Sisley-Paris Beauty Subscription | The Beauty Look Book

Each month you receive a little black box, small drawstring bag, five skincare, fragrance or makeup samples, a little card explaining each product and a promo code for extra points if you purchase anything from the box. I’ve never ordered anything direct from their site as I used to buy my Sisley-Paris items from my Neiman Marcus back in San Diego, however they do have a rewards program. Gold and Platinum members receive the subscription for free. Here are the box contents from January through June 2017, US:

Sisley-Paris Beauty Subscription USA 6 Months | The Beauty Look Book

What was in each box by month. Each month has a different theme to add a fun twist. Notes on what I tested below:

  • January – The Detox
    • Ecological Compount
    • All Day All Year
    • Botanical D-Tox
    • Phyto-Blanc Buff and Wsh
    • Eau du Soir Shower Gel
  • February – The At-Home Spa
    • Buff and Wash Facial Gel
    • Facial Mask with Linden Blossom
    • Moisturizer with Cucumber
    • Energizing Foaming Exfoliant for the Body
    • Eau de Champagne Lotion
  • March – The Instant Beautifiers
    • Eau Efficace
    • Sisleya L’Integral Anti-Age
    • Double Tenseur
    • Sisleya Le Teint
    • Izia Eau de Parfum
  • April – April Showers
    • Phyto-Blanc Lightening Cleansing Mil
    • Hydra-Flash Mask
    • Hydra Global
    • White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs
    • Restorative Body Cream
  • May – May Flowers
    • Lyslait Cleansing Milk
    • Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate
    • Black Rose Precious Face Oil
    • Phyto-Teint Eclat Foundation
    • Eau Tropicale Eau de Toilette
  • June – Long Weekend
    • Sisleya Essential Skincare Lotion
    • Supreyma Cream
    • Eye Contour Mask
    • The Neck Cream
    • Eau de Champagne Body Lotion

As you can see I had saved all the packets but was able to test some of them over the past few weeks. With skincare I like to take my time anyways so I have these saved in a box that I can try at my leisure. Things I really loved:

  • Buff and Wash Facial Gel is a very gentle facial scrub suspended in a gel wash, this was very gentle but still effective, I find most scrubs too harsh for my skin and this one is among the most gentle that I’ve tried.
  • Facial Mask with Linden Blossom is designed for the most sensitive skin, it has a very soft and soothing feel to calm and smooth the skin, you leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse off, it’s an excellent calming mask.
  • Energizing Foaming Exfoliant for the Body is such an amazing body scrub, I’ve mentioned that I’m a die-hard loyal fan to Aesop, this one is more gentle with a more feminine spa-like feel, I’m adding this to my buy list for when I see a good GWP.
  • Eau de Champagne Lotion is a lightweight cream that smells like a bright citrus champagne green scent, it has a light enough scent that it’s not overpowering, I love how it absorbs quickly, I’m more of a body oil kind of girl now, but would consider using this in humid weather as it’s quite refreshing.
  • Izia Eau de Parfum is a lovely soft rose scent, I’m more into green or white florals, but this is one of the most wearable rose scents I’ve tried.
  • Black Rose Precious Face Oil is the most raved about item and most recommended from my readers, I’ve been a long-time devotee to Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Oil. I tried the Black Rose Oil twice (each sample is a 1-time use and I had an extra one from another GWP) – both at night. It’s a richer oil but a little goes a long way, it’s beautifully hydrating and when I use it overnight I wake up with super soft skin.
  • I’ve also tried all the milk cleansers, I’m more of a liquid or gel cleanser person but these have been nice to try.

Sisley-Paris Beauty Subscription | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve featured a few other beauty subscriptions on the blog that I signed up for including this one from Sephora and this one from Birchbox. I cancelled both before I moved from San Diego. The monthly cost was reasonable but the contents were hit or miss. I’ve discussed beauty subscriptions with a few friends – some say they think subscriptions aren’t really worth that $10 to $25 per month because they’ve gotten things they just don’t care about. Others have said it makes more sense for a luxury skincare line because you’d have a better idea of what you’d be sampling from rather than a bunch of random brands or colors of lipstick or highlighter you’d never wear. I agree with both sides. For the Sisley Subscription Program you can find a lot of these in GWPs and I’ve definitely accumulated quite a few sample packets over the years. I had a good relationship with one of the sales associates at my local stores and they would often pull samples of what they could find. The nice thing about the subscription is you don’t have to spend $100 to $300ish for the minimum for just a few samples – it’s a lot more affordable this way.

A few last thoughts: The size of the packets and tubes you get are most of the time a single or two-time use. Some of the larger bottles of cleanser or makeup remover you can definitely get more use out of (I’ve used some 5 times and there’s still a lot left). With skincare I do feel like more product would definitely be helpful in testing these items – so whether or not this would be useful or worth it to you will depend on your preferences. There are some discovery sets with larger sizes available to purchase at retailers like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom to give you a better sampling. Still at the price point of this subscription program this is a nice way to try new things each month.

You can find the Beauty Subscription Program exclusively online at Sisley-Paris. Full size items and sets also available at Beautylish, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter.

Have you tried anything from Sisley-Paris? What are your favorites?

Beauty subscription provided courtesy of Sisley-Paris.

Skincare

Aesop Skincare Favorites and New Discoveries

June 30, 2017

Aesop Skincare Favorites and Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Aesop is one of those lines where you’ll try one thing, fall in love and feel like you want to switch everything in your body care routine to their brand. I’ve been a long time devoted fan of the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, Geranium Leaf Body Scrub and Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque and I’ve converted quite a few of my friends to these three. The line is unisex so it works for both men and women. I have a lot of girl friends who love their masks, and my husband and also brother use the body care line. If you’re new to the brand and don’t know where to start, they have some good travel sets that can work as a great introduction to the line. I’ve partnered with Spring, a relatively new online retailer, to share a closer look at my favorites and to also try some new items. They carry a wide variety of brands where you can shop multiple items from different stores and they’ll handle the shipping and fulfillment for you like a one-stop-shop. Occasionally they’ll have some pretty good promos and sales as well. The beauty selection is quite extensive – they have Aesop, Charlotte Tilbury, Fresh, SK-II, Tarte and much more.

Aesop Skincare Favorites and Sets | The Beauty Look Book

First are my favorites from Aesop. The Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque ($45 for 2.4 oz/60 ml) is my all time favorite purifying mask. It comes in a squeeze tube and is an anti-oxidant clarifying mask for deep cleaning. For my sensitive skin this is the most gentle but effective mask I’ve tried to refresh the skin, draw out impurities and clean pores. You only need a very tiny layer to cover the face and let it dry for up to 15 minutes and then rinse. Skin is left feeling just the slightest bit firmer (not too tight or dry) and completely clean. Sometimes I’ll just use this as a spot mask on areas like my nose or where I feel like a pimple is surfacing. I usually find it dries within 10 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque | The Beauty Look Book

The best body scrub I’ve tried is the Geranium Leaf Body Scrub ($35 for 5.7 fl oz/170 ml) which has a blend of bamboo and pumice to stimulate the skin from scrubbing. It has just the right amount of grittiness to remove dead skin and give the body a good cleanse. The scent of this is really natural with a geranium citrus feel. When I use it I literally feel like it’s scrubbing off any stress or anxiety that I’ve had, and the worst days it helps reset my brain to a relaxed and calm state. For hot summer months it leaves the skin feeling refreshed and you feel like a brand new person. I use this 1x per week.

Aesop Skincare Favorites and Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Aesop seriously has some of the best gift sets that I think would suit any type of person regardless of taste or style. I’ve never kept any of the ones I bought though as I’ve purchased them as gifts and they’ve always been well received. This round I decided to keep two for myself. One is The Constant Gatherer ($72) which has two body care staples, a full size Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser (16.9 fl oz/500ml) and Rind Concentrate Body Balm (4.1 oz/121ml). The body wash is a staple that I try to keep stocked at our home at all times. It’s a low lather shower gel that just smells like an earthy citrus like kind of spa. It leaves the skin feeling clean and soft without any film or residue.

This was my first time trying the Rind Concentrate Body Balm which has the most amazing citrus grapefruit like scent in a thick balm form. Given how thick it was I was pleasantly surprised to find it did dry down nicely and didn’t leave any greasy feel. I like it on the elbows and knees or at night. It leaves the skin feeling soft and well nourished.

Aesop Basic Body Duo | The Beauty Look Book

The set comes in a large black felt-like zippered case. There’s a cardboard divider/separator inside to keep the tube in tact until you gift it which is nice. The full size body washes always come with a pump and this one is stored inside separately. The case is something I feel like anyone would get use out of for travel as well.

Next is the Boston Travel Essentials Set for Women and Men ($75 for 8 travel-sized minis). It comes in a black zippered case that’s a bit smaller in size compared to the Constant Gatherer version but just as still functional and perfect for travel.

Aesop Boston Travel Skincare Set | The Beauty Look Book

I absolutely love this set and think it’s a pretty good deal for the price. Some items were new to me so I’ll add thoughts on what I liked and didn’t:

  • Classic Shampoo 50ml / 1.7 oz and Classic Conditioner 50ml / 1.7 oz – these are the only two items I’ve tried from Aesop that I wasn’t 100% in love with. They are both basic shampoos and conditioners. I’ve bought both before in the full sizes and used them up completely, but prefer something with a little more moisture. For me they are good just not great for my hair type. If you have normal to oily hair I do think these are worth trying out.
  • Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser 50ml / 1.7 oz – always love for this one!
  • Rind Concentrate Body Balm 50ml / 1.7 oz – notes on this above 🙂
  • Fabulous Face Cleanser 15 ml / 0.5 oz – I was particularly impressed with how clean my face felt after using this. It really took away all the excess grease and sweat from a hot day. I would definitely consider buying this in the full size.
  • B & Tea Balancing Toner 15 ml / 0.5 oz – Trying new toners always make me nervous because my skin is sensitive and balancing ones usually end up making my skin more oily. This one was perfect – it balanced the skin after cleansing to add a bit more moisture and freshen the skin. This is another one I will be buying in the full size.
  • Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream 15 ml / 0.5 oz – this cream comes in a tube in the set. It’s described as being for normal to dry skin and I was worried it would be too rich for me. With the Florida humidity but hard water my skin has become mixed. It gets oily with humidity and sweat, but the water dries it out, especially at night. I need something different for day vs night. This cream has the perfect amount of moisture without feeling thick – it’s just what I needed. Most creams that have more moisture are simply just too thick or emollient for my taste. This one has a nice dry down. I’m going to use the tube up entirely before splurging on the full size but first impressions are positive.
  • Mouthwash 50 ml / 1.7 oz – this is one of the most gentle mouthwashes I’ve tried. So many minty ones are really sharp and super minty. This one has a smooth taste and feel while still refreshing the mouth. It’s so different from anything I’ve tried – I’m a bit undecided on it although I do love that it’s gentle and doesn’t sting.

Aesop Skincare with Spring | The Beauty Look Book

I really love the Boston Set and think it’s a great way to try a lot from the brand and also perfect for travel. If I could recommend just two things though, I would hands down still recommend the Geranium Body Scrub and Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque. I’ve lost count of how many tubes I’ve used up and repurchased and I love that my husband likes these too so we both get use out of them.

If you have any Aesop favorites let me know in the comments. Would love to hear if you’ve tried any of the other hair care products like the masks or any of the hand washes and if you think they’re worth the splurge. You can shop the post below – all items are from Spring.

 

Many thanks to Spring for partnering to sponsor this post.

 

Beauty Favorites Skincare

Summer Body Oils for Soft and Glowing Skin

June 26, 2017

Best Body Oils for Summer 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Lately I’ve been obsessed with body oils for the lightweight dry down but moisturizing feel. My long-time favorites were from Nuxe, Caudalie and Moroccanoil. They’re lightly scented but not so heavy that they will interfere with my perfumes. Unfortunately Nuxe is no longer carried in the US and with the warm weather and beautiful beaches here I’ve been on the hunt for other options including wearable shimmers. There are a number of amazing body oils out there but the main requirement I have is that it comes with a pump or spritzer (of course I have made exceptions). To this day I don’t understand why companies make oils with open tops where liquid just pours out everywhere. It’s hard to control how much you apply, not to mention gets so messy. Product oozes down the sides of the jars and it really just seems so wasteful and inconvenient. Scent-wise I prefer ones that aren’t too floral, sweet or strong as they tend to interfere with the perfume of the day.

Up first are my favorites which are the clear options. As you’ll see below I’ve already made two exceptions for my packaging and scent requirements.

Body Oils NARS, Moroccanoil, Ouai, Darphin | The Beauty Look BookFrom left to right:

  • NARS Monoi Body Glow II ($59 for 2.5 fl oz/75 ml) is the best summer time oil because it smells like a vacation in a bottle. If this had a spritzer pump it would be perfect. It has Monoi de Tahiti oil with a tiare flower inside. It smells tropical and the scent lingers for quite a long time. The packaging is the only downside but it smells so good I’ve made an exception. It’s one I’ve used up quite a few times.
  • Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil ($48 for 3.4 fl oz/100 ml) is another favorite and it comes with a spritzer! This has the classic Moroccanoil scent with argan, olive and avocado oils. It’s a dry oil and has a nice dry down after a few minutes. This one has a very raw earthy vibe to it. I like that this one doesn’t have a greasy feel.
  • Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil ($32 for 3 fl oz/98.8 ml) is the most fluid lightweight option I’ve tried. The full size is 3 fl oz, but it also comes in a mini 0.85 fl oz version in a set called The Morning After Kit. It has a very soft rose scent but it fades nicely after a few minutes. This one has a nice dry down and won’t interfere with perfume. It leaves the skin feeling very soft without any heavy feel.
  • Darphin The Revitalizing Oil ($ for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is one of the heavier body oils I’ve tried. It’s better suited for normal to dry skin or if you want a dewy finish on the skin. It has a very relaxing almost citrus scent to it, it’s not overpowering but definitely noticeable. I like this at night time if my skin feels dry, during the day in the humidity of Florida, this one can feel a bit heavy if I apply it all over. Also because it’s ultra nourishing it doesn’t really have a dry down which isn’t a bad thing – but if you need a lightweight one this may be too rich.

Next up are the shimmers. When it comes to tinted or shimmer options, I really prefer something that won’t stain white clothes so in this case I’ve tried to avoid any bronzer oils. For shimmer I also look for something that has a smooth non-gritty finish. These days I don’t mind extra sparkle but for the most part, I prefer a shimmer that is more subtle and barely there.

Shimmering Body Oils | The Beauty Look BookShown above from left to right:

  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil ($98 for 3.4 fl oz/100 ml) this is one I bought when it first launched a year ago and I hated it. Mine was gritty and the shimmer was something I could feel. I gave it another try at my local store this year and it seems the formula has been changed to a completely smooth texture-free finish. I adore the Soleil Blanc perfume so I don’t mind the scented body oil version. This is the most sparkly one I can wear on a daily basis and not feel like it’s too much. The sparkles are noticeable though so if you work in a very conservative environment you may want to stick to the perfume or try the regular body oil version. This one has a super hydrating feel and finish. It has a light moisturizing feel without being greasy but on me it doesn’t dry down 100%.
  • La Mer Glowing Body Oil ($100 for 3.4 fl oz) is one that is nearly impossible to find. It sold out almost instantly and by the time I decided to splurge it was gone. I found it online when it popped back in stock at Nordstrom. It’s since restocked a few places but sold out again. This is one of the most beautiful body oils with a pretty subtle gold shimmer suspended. It has a very lightweight La Mer scent to it which I adore because the hand cream and body cream are too strong for me. The shimmer finish is very very subtle though – if you need the sparkle, opt for the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc instead even though the scent will be different. The La Mer Oil leaves the skin looking very soft and glowy.
  • African Botanics Marula Shimmering Gold Oil ($105 for 100 ml) is the best smelling oil I’ve tried that isn’t a perfumed/fragranced one. It’s infused with Marula Oil, Baobab Oil, Moringa Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Kalahari Melon Seed, Neroli Oil, Gardenia and Magnolia. This one is my husband’s favorite. I walked by him after testing this one and he smelled it instantly and said it smelled amazing. It has a rich finish so doesn’t dry down like a dry oil. The gold shimmer is very subtle and almost disappears on the skin to leave a very fine shimmer.
  • French Girl Organics is an organic beauty line and the Lumiere Bronzing Oil and Lumiere Moonlight Oil caught my eye. Both have a super fluid texture. These come with dropper applicators and contain sunglower oil, argan oil, coconut oil and meadowfoam oil. The shimmer settles to the bottom so you shake up the bottles to mix it. They both have a very natural scent to them – one of the most natural I’ve ever tried. The pigments and shimmer are  so subtle I cannot see anything on the skin, but legs and arms have a luminous glow which I think are mainly from the oil rather than the shimmer. Moonlight is scented with jasmin and neroli but smells identical to the bronzing one. They’re very hydrating and soothing. These are a bit hard to find right now. I ordered them direct from their website as they were sold out everywhere else I looked. You can find the bronze one at Beautyhabit still.
  • Darphin Soleil Plaisir Sultry Bronzing Oil ($55 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is another beautiful shimmering body oil. I believe this one is new for summer. I picked this up at Bluemercury and fell in love at first swatch. It’s one of the softest white floral oils I’ve tried which is just so pretty. It’s not too strong or powdery like some white florals can get. It has a very hydrating feel like the Revitalizing option but isn’t sticky or greasy. It leaves a smooth veil of moisture on the skin and keeps it hydrated for hours after application. The shimmer is very subtle with a golden copper color so if you’re medium to tan or deep it doesn’t look like traditional gold shimmers.
    • For Bluemercury, with any $150 purchase and code TRAVEL you get a bag filled with minis

Swatches – note that these blend into the skin to disappear almost completely. The shimmers are very fine – on my medium tan skin, only the Tom Ford really stood out for the sparkles.

Shimmer Body Oils | The Beauty Look Book Shimmer Body Oils | The Beauty Look Book

A few notes on formulas I tested in store but did not buy:

  • Bobbi Brown Beach is another amazing scented option. It smells just like a beachy scent would I found this option too strong for me as I really do like my perfumes. This one you could just wear on its own and smell great. It also does not have a spritzer which was a deal breaker for me.
  • Caudalie Divine Oil is still one I really like, I have a mini but just don’t reach for it as often as I used to.
  • Clarins has a number of great body oils all in the pour container. These had a more herbal scent to me. I tested all three at the counter and fell in love with the Contour Body Treatment Oil. If this had a different dispenser I would have bought it. However since I had already bought quite a few other formulas decided to pass.
  • Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Body Oil was on my radar as I love the line – they have great body products. I was glad I tried this before jumping to splurge. If you love jasmine then you will love this. Since I prefer non-florals for oils I found this one too floral and passed.
  • L’Occitane Shea Fabulous Oil had all the things I wanted in an oil. It has great packaging and it smells great. I’ve tried this on numerous occasions though and it’s one that is just too heavy for my skin type. I suspect it would be amazing for me during the winter months or for those with dry skin. For me it was too rich and heavy feeling. If they come out with a lighter version I would definitely try it again.

In summary, thoughts and favorites:

  • My best body oil for summer for lightweight finish is the Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil
  • Favorite shimmer options are the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc or Darphin Soleil Plaisir
  • Best smelling body oils are the NARS Monoi Body Glow, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc and African Botanics
  • Most hydrating and moisturizing oil is the Darphin Revitalizing Oil
  • Most natural smelling and naturally glowy oils are the ones from French Girl Organics
  • If I could only wear one for the rest of the summer, it would be Tom Ford Soleil Blanc

Many of these oils are multi-purpose so you can use a lot of these on the face and hair. I tend to keep things separate, so for the face I really prefer oils designed just for the face and same for the hair. Out of all the ones I tested I found each one left my skin feeling soft and well hydrated, some were just heavier than others in the dry down or finish. If you have any favorites or thoughts please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what your favorite body oils for summer are!

 

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Sunscreen Testing Part 2: Face Formulas

June 5, 2017

Summer Sunscreens for the Face Sensitive Skin | The Beauty Look Book

Shown above: Beach tray by Gray Malin, sunglasses from Jcrew, pouch by Goyard

I have Part 2 of my sunscreen testing to share today. Historically I’ve neglected using a separate sunscreen for the face thinking often times either my moisturizer or foundation with SPF was sufficient. I also react to a lot of skincare with red bumps. Not knowing exactly what ingredients caused an allergic reaction also prevented me from using face sunscreen diligently. This changed once I discovered some really good formulas from Kiehl’s, Eve Lom and Tatcha which were lightweight, unscented and suitable for my sensitive skin.

The Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen has been my most used sunscreen for the face because I found it really smoothed everything out, didn’t break me out, doubled as a pore smoother, worked well under foundation and helped protect my skin. Chanel UV Essential in the SPF 50 was a go-to for years because of the lightweight fluid texture. It did not do the best with running or sports if any sweating occurred and stung the eyes pretty bad. I’ve tested other formulas and brands by popular request and specific recommendations from readers. I wanted to find alternatives with higher SPF that would also suit my husband’s taste but in the end we each have our favorites which is ok because we have completely different skin types. As I age I’m being more proactive about protecting my skin. Still when it comes to sunscreen it’s overwhelming for me to discern what’s good vs. bad. The effective ingredients vs. necessary combination of ingredients for a stable product. Everyone has a different opinion and with all the information to sort through I’ve gone through a mix of reading other reviews, getting individual recommendations and also just testing items myself.

If you have any expert opinions please chime in the comments. Any information or details would help! Note that these are simply what I tested on my own to see what was suitable for my skintype. I wanted to see what worked well with foundation and also which ones held up the best under different weather conditions. I’ve split the 11 I tested into two categories. One is chemical and the second is physical. This is based on the ingredients although there was 1 formula I was unsure of which you’ll see below.

Part 1: Sunscreens with either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide or both, most of these are considered physical or mineral sunscreens which you can find more information about here. I’ll list the active ingredients as they are labeled on each bottle. Note that formulas are subject to change so this is what is on each product as of the date of this post. With body sunscreens most formulas come in multiple sizes which is why I didn’t list the prices/weight in the body sunscreen post. However it seems more of the face formulas come in a single size. I’ll list the current prices and sizes below for reference.

Mineral Physical Face Sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Both | The beauty look book

Shown above include sunscreens that don’t have a white cast, aren’t thick, are suitable for my sensitive skin and hold up relatively well to humid weather conditions. There is some humidity where pretty much nothing will hold up. We got rained on in Orlando twice with some warm summer showers and I don’t think anything stayed on. However with two full days in Disneyworld we used the Supergoop! Mineral (my mother in law used this one), Glossier Invisible Shield (I used this one), La Roche-Posay (husband used on the face) and the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF50 on the body (me and the hubby used this) and I’m happy to report we didn’t get burned a single bit.

  • Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream with Omega-3 and Omega-6 – Light/Medium
    • Broad Spectrum SPF35, PA+++
    • $32 for 1.6 fl oz/47 ml (also available in two other shades)
    • Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 2%, Zinc Oxide 20% (full ingredients listed on Supergoop!)
    • I know BB creams and CC creams are huge in the beauty world. I’ve never found one I liked until this one. Most are just too thick in formula, too sheer or just simply the wrong shade with SO MUCH pink or orange. I don’t understand why they can’t make yellow based ones! This one went on a bit on the pink side but I was relieved that it adjusted within a few minutes. It offers sheer to medium super natural coverage. It did have enough to even out the skin tone. It has ingredients to protect skin with light-diffusing mica to soften look of lines and wrinkles. I like that it has a hydrating feel with a slightly dewy glow but doesn’t get oily. I do think the color selection is limited, but if you have normal to dry skin and can find a good match this is a great option.
  • Supergoop! Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen with Olive Polyphenols
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 40, PA+++
    • $28 for 2.4 fl oz/71 ml (also available in a smaller size)
    • Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10.1% (full ingredients listed on Supergoop!)
    • This was a new to me product and I gave a bottle to my mother-in-law to try. She visited recently and we were chatting about sunscreen and she said she just hates the sticky feel of product on her face. I had an extra bottle for her to try and she used it every day the week she was here (I forgot to ask her what she thought!). I personally like this one a lot and I don’t consider myself a fan of mineral sunscreens. This one has olive oil polyphenols which are supposed to calm redness and reduce inflammation. It is one of the longer lasting face products. It dries to a semi-matte finish and you can feel that it adheres well to the skin. Since it stays put you need to take extra care at the end of the day to cleanse the skin thoroughly. Your regular cleanser simply won’t take it off. Both my husband and I found with long-wearing face sunscreens if you don’t cleanse the skin properly after working out or in the evenings then your face becomes more break-out prone.
  • Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion – 20 and 30
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $82 for 15 g/0.5 oz (also comes with a refill)
    • Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7%, Titanium Dioxide 4.15%, Zinc Oxide 9.8%
    • So this one falls into the sunscreen skincare category because several Dior reps corrected me while I chatted with them that this is NOT foundation, but a skincare with a tint. I went to several counters when this launched and the shades I would use 20 or 30 were sold out nearly everywhere. Each rep made it a point to tell me that “this is skincare in the form of a cushion” and not intended as foundation. I bought two shades when I finally found them and right now I use 30. My friend RaeView confirmed and assured me that even though it’s technically skincare it’s still a suitable base and she is 100% correct. I’ve been using this for several months now and since I like more coverage I use this as a skincare/sunscreen base then layer my foundation on top. It doesn’t look thick, doesn’t oxidize, doesn’t get goopy. It’s pure love. Finding a color match can be tricky as I do think it’s limited. For a while I was mixing both 20 and 30. It has the Capture Totale skincare ingredients inside (I used to use the line) to give the skin a youthful looking glow. Product description says “matte” but it’s really not matte, but just natural. I took this with me on my Dallas and NY trips over the spring and love it.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 35
    • $65 for 60 ml/2 fl oz
    • Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 15%, Octisalate 5%
    • This is the best sunscreen I’ve tried with a matte finish without looking powdery. It has a silky feel that glides on the skin. I use this on top of my regular serum or moisturizer like I do with all sunscreens. It works well with foundation and tinted moisturizer formulas. Lasts all day without sliding off. It does take some work to wash off in the evenings. My husband tried this and found it so long lasting there was about a week he used it and told me “it broke me out” and I told him he had to double cleanse his face with this one. He did for another week and his skin cleared up. It’s so long lasting if you don’t rinse it off completely I do suspect some dirt or sweat could still be trapped underneath.
  • Darphin Intral Enviornmental Lightweight Shield
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $45 for 30 ml/1 fl oz
    • Active Ingredients Titanium Dioxide 6.3%, Zinc Oxide 4.0%
    • This is a new sunscreen that is part of the Darphin Intral line designed for sensitive skin. As a huge fan of Darphin I was so excited to try this. Over the past few months (since early spring) this became my new favorite, especially because it has SPF50 and a peachy nude tint. It does disappear on the skin but I love that it’s not white. It’s fluid with some consistency so it’s not super liquidy. Darphin calls this a triple action gentle makeup base because it gives the skin a luminous look, protects skin from pollution and prevents damage. I apply over moisturizer and under foundation and it sets nicely onto the skin without any greasy feel or separation. You do need to shake the bottle before use.

Up next are the chemical face sunscreens I tested out. The only one I wasn’t entirely sure on was the Eve Lom. In looking for sunscreens to test out the two things I looked for when testing a few in store was: no smell and no white cast. Even though I wear foundation with coverage on top which can usually cancel out any white cast, for me it’s always been a no-go. If there’s any hint of a white cast I just won’t try it.

Face Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin | The Beauty look Book

Shown above:

  • Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Stick Sunscreen
    • SPF 30
    • $25 for .2 oz
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Octinoxate 7.49%, Octisalate 3%
    • This one is shown because my husband loves it. It’s one of the few he feels really stays put under his eyes on his cheekbone area for when he goes running. He thinks it’s great for touch ups as well. He’ll apply his Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector or Facial Fuel UV Guard on his face on top of his moisturizer, then he’ll add the Fresh Sugar Sport on areas he wants more coverage where the sun hits. It’s multi-use so you can use it on the face, lips and eye area. He uses this on his face and eye area. For me I felt it was too thick for my personal taste. It did work really well for touch ups and to last long. It has that delicious Fresh Sugar smell, I just didn’t like the texture as I’m all about weightless.
  • La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Anthelios 60
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $30 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avonezone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
    • This brand has been one of the most recommended lines to me so I gave this formula a try after seeing it at Blue Mercury. Performance-wise this is in the top favorites for both my husband and I for the light fluid texture and matte dry down. It worked well to prevent tanning and burns on our face and for me it worked well with my makeup. It does contain oxybenzone which is a controversial chemical ingredient – there are conflicting views on how safe (or unsafe) it is. Also according to a few reviews on Makeupalley some have indicated the US formula is different from the European formula. I’ve only tried the one in the US so can’t report on the differences. If you’re not one who wants chemical sunscreens they do have a mineral version.
  • Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen + (20% off referral code by clicking on this link)
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 35
    • $30 for 1 fl oz/30 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 6%, Octisalate 5%
    • Being a beauty junkie I had to try this one. I ordered a couple from Glossier and it has the most unique sunscreen formula I’ve ever tried. It’s a clear water gel which has no white cast and no residue. It has a semi-matte but natural finish. The formula has tiny microcapsules that are freshly delivered to your skin when you apply it. The reviews online seem mixed but mainly due to two things: price point for product size and the fact that it’s not mineral. I do wish it had higher SPF but I liked the way it performed – it did well to prevent tanning and burn while I was in Orlando. I reapplied pretty diligently every two hours especially since we went through a few rain showers.
  • Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant and UV Defense
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $42 for 1 fl oz/30 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%, Oxybenzone 3%
    • This is another favorite formula of mine. I think it’s particularly good especially if you have normal to dry skin. The water in Florida has dried out our skin a bit and our first months here was during the dry season. The humid weather has normalized my skin a bit more so I don’t know how this will hold up with the humidity in the upcoming weeks. It’s on the more emollient side with a thicker texture but isn’t goopy. It is scented but doesn’t appear to be added fragrance (although I can’t really tell for sure). It has the signature DayWear scent almost like pear. It does contain Oxybenzone so might not be for everyone. I found it suitable for my sensitive skin and like the way it wears.
  • Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $8 for 1 fl oz/30 ml (also available in travel and full size)
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 3.0%
    • I bought this mini to try it out because I wasn’t sure how I’d like the full size. For those who always wonder how makeup wearers are supposed to reapply sunscreen to a full face of makeup you’re not alone. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t reapply on the face because you literally have to take everything off and redo it all which just isn’t practical. This is one of Supergoop!’s answers to reapplying without having to redo your makeup. It’s called a setting mist which it does, but I really prefer this as a mid-day reapplication on the face if I’m going outside. It’s described as a “Matte finish three-in-one mist, sets make-up, controls oil, and delivers UV photoaging protection.” The full size says to 7 to 10 times in a circle on your face with your eyes closed. It dispenses a super fine even mist so after you are done spritzing keep the eyes closed for about 3 seconds or there will still be mist particles that can get in your eyes. The ones they have now have a new better mist dispenser as they took feedback from customers to improve it. I never tried the older version so I can’t compare the two though.
  • Eve Lom Daily Protection + SPF 50
    • $90 for 50 ml
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • Active Ingredients: This is one that is Eve Lom describes as containing “six scientific sunscreens and is free from zinc and titanium dioxide.” It’s not mineral but I am not sure this falls into the chemical category. Ingredients listed on Space NK and Sephora.
    • This is my second tube of this sunscreen even though it’s really expensive. It’s one of the best unscented options I’ve tried and I like that it has a high SPF. It does plump the skin and smooth it for a soft texture. It does appear to improve elasticity in the skin for a more youthful look. Still $95 is very pricey and since I use skincare underneath sunscreen I don’t know that I will repurchase given some other finds that I’ve found that I really like.

That wraps up my face sunscreen testing for this summer. I do suspect there will be more formulas I will try as summer progresses but I have a lot to keep me busy. Normally sunscreen takes me a while to use up but both my husband and I have been using it daily and reapplying when we go outside so we’re using everything up pretty quickly. Quick take on our favorites:

  • My top favorite formulas: Tatcha, Darphin and the Dior Dreamskin Cushion
  • Andrew’s favorite formulas: He still likes all things Kiehl’s, but also likes the La Roche-Posay and Fresh Sugar Sport Stick
  • Longest lasting formula for me: Tatcha and Supergoop! Mineral
  • Misses: No formula misses for me, I do wish some of the lower SPF ones came in higher, but I can live with 35

I consider myself very fortunate that none of these caused an allergic reaction or bumps. If you have favorites or input please share in the comments below. I’m still learning and if you have info you want to share I’m all ears!

Press samples include the Darphin Intral and Supergoop! CC Cream. Gray Malin tray gifted. All others purchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Summer Sunscreen Testing Part 1: For the Body

June 2, 2017

Best Summer Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

As promised I have a sunscreen roundup series of everything I’ve tested over the past several months – 95 days to be exact. The sunshine here in Florida is stronger than anything I’ve experienced in California. Our first week here both Andrew and I got burned from being outside just a mere 5 minutes simply walking around our backyard. I immediately unpacked sunscreen bottles and sprays that I had brought with me from our move and we used everything up in a matter of a couple days because we sprayed it everywhere. After using everything up we began our search for the best formulas that weren’t greasy, didn’t have that sunscreen spray, felt long lasting and were the most effective at preventing burn and tanning. Unfortunately so far the only way to avoid getting darker is to stay out of the sun or be covered up entirely. Over the past three months we’ve put quite a few sunscreens to the test.

This sunscreen edit is going to be split up into two parts: body and face. In gathering all the tubes we’ve tested, I found that there were around 25 different formulas we tried and we gave each one a thorough test run (with the exception of the tinted face ones which I tested but my husband did not). Both of us wished there was a formula that could be truly suitable for both face and body and while there are many formulas designed for multi-use, we’ve found for the most part we have to use separate formulas. Many bottles we used up entirely, mostly for the body. We each have our favorites which I’ll mention at the bottom.

Favorite Body Sunscreens | The Beauty Look Book

When it comes to sunscreen I have to admit it’s all a bit confusing. So many articles, doctors, specialists each have their own opinion on what the minimum SPF you should use. Some say sunscreens with high SPF numbers aren’t more effective over SPF 50. Others say the minimum amount you should wear is SPF 30 and if that’s the case then what’s the point of something with SPF 10 or 15? Also a look at some of the bottles I have and others online also show some have a PA rating which I wasn’t aware of. I did some research and discovered that the SPF (sun protection factor) measures how a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, but that there is another rating to measure protection from UVA rays. This apparently isn’t measured in all countries and I looked up every sunscreen I tested and most of them don’t have a rating (a PA followed by + or ++ or +++). So while most sunscreens will say they are “broad spectrum” to cover both UVA and UVB protection, it’s difficult to measure how much UVA protection there is which appears to be due to the fact that there’s no adopted standard in the US. According to Skincancer.org, “To make sure you’re getting effective UVA as well as UVB coverage, look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients: stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.”

Then there are different types of sunscreen such as physical vs chemical. This site and this article help break it down, but still as one with super sensitive skin, I always proceed with caution. Many of my friends prefer mineral sunscreens (which are physical and chemical free) but I know some people have sensitivity to zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide which are their only active ingredients.

All that being said I’m still learning about sunscreens. We tested different formulas to see what lasted the longest and also how each formula felt on the skin. Traditionally I’ve found that I liked spray formulas because they are easy for me to apply on my own especially on my back. I’ve read mixed reviews about sprays and the biggest concern is that you don’t always know that you’re getting the proper coverage since product is prone to evaporation when you mist it before it hits the skin. With sprays we’ve both made a point to try and mist each other and give each area several layers to try and get as full coverage as possible.

Up first are a mix of what we consider to be the longest-lasting formulas and then thoughts on some sprays. For body sunscreens it’s a must for me that there’s no white cast. I know many of them look white once you apply but the color disappears after a few minutes. In general the ones with a white cast tend to feel thicker and heavier on the skin. I wanted to see if I could find something that would be effective without being thick.

Sunscreen Testing for Body | The Beauty Look Book

Shown from above from left to right. Note that a number of these are water resistant with a time limit. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been in the water for 80 minutes so I can’t report on the time claims. But I will note which ones did the best in water.

  • Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (c/o), water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%
    • This is the latest from Supergoop! and I love this one. It’s a lightweight hydrating mousse that is long-lasting with a very light clean scent. It has a whipped texture when you dispense it and it’s easy to apply and blend into the skin. It contains Blue Sea Kale to provide antioxidant protection from heat rays, and shea butter, olive and avocado oils to keep skin hydrated. My husband felt this was too hydrating for his skin and for him since he sweats more in the heat this one felt a bit heavy on him but he does agree it lasts a long time. On me it was perfect.
  • Moroccanoil Sun Lotion SPF 30 and SPF 50 (c/o)
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate (12%), Oxybenzone (6%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone(3%), Octocrylene (2.5%)
    • Both are hydrating lotions with the signature Moroccanoil scent but to me I detect a hint of licorice (which nobody else I know can smell in it so it must just be my nose). This is the most hydrating formula I’ve tried – these formulas have Argan Oil, Coconut Oil and Glycerine. Both the SPF 30 and 50 last a long time on the skin. For me I find them too heavy for every day normal use, I prefer them for the beach or outdoors. My husband on the other hand finds them hydrating but doesn’t mind the emollient feel. These have a super moisturizing feel and they do make the skin noticeably softer and helps with any dry patches or texture. The SPF 50 version noticeably helped prevent me from tanning a lot more than the SPF 30.
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 85+, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • This one is a spray that works on wet or dry skin, on dry skin I felt it was just ok. It adheres well but the drydown isn’t my favorite and it wasn’t quite as effective on me at preventing darkening. Re-application on wet skin however is another story and I wholeheartedly like this one on wet skin. For some reason I found it adhered easily on wet skin and worked when we went swimming in our pool and at the beach. Your mileage may vary on this one.
  • Supergoop! Anti-Oxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 3.0%
    • This is one I’ve used up a number of times, it does have a slight alcohol scent but it’s a non-aerosol and the bottle says it has 35% less alcohol than other sprays although it does not specify which brands they are referring to. I find the misting dispenser to be really effective at applying product. I feel like it gives a more continuous mist which dispenses more product. I like this one because it’s non irritating, easy to apply and I can get my back without getting my hands greasy and spray those harder to reach places on my own. The only downside is that excess from sprays can get on the floor so if you spray inside the floor can get a bit slippery.
  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.24%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 2.4%, Octocrylene 4.48%, Oxybenzone 2.88%
    • This is both one of our top picks, we have tried a few other face sunscreens from Kiehl’s in the past and really liked them, for this formula they have both SPF 30 and 50. It’s a semi thick cream but is easy to blend, feels weightless, doesn’t have that greasy feel and has a good dry down. This lasted well in the pool and is completely fragrance/scent free. We found it really good at protecting the skin and since it has a lightweight texture it’s easy to reapply without feeling like you have layers of product on the skin throughout the day.
  • Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 30, (c/o) water resistant 40 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • I think I would 100% love this if it had a higher SPF. This is a light weight oil spray that has skincare properties to hydrate and nourish the skin and hair. It contains organic Indonesian Nyamplung Oil to protect skin and hair from the drying effects of sun, salt water and chlorine, senna extract defends from UV damage, Plane Tree extract fights free radicals. I really like the feel and hydration this offers. I rub this on my body and any excess on my hands I apply on the hair. It has a lightweight aloe almost honey-like scent that’s completely natural. The sun and heat can dry out the skin so I love that this is an oil that nourishes the skin. I need to invest in some of their After Sun Care like this After Sun Gel Ultra-Soothing product. If you have any good burn relief products you like that aren’t sticky let me know!
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.5%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • This is another great sunscreen spray with SPF 50+ and it has no white cast. So many of you have raved and recommended Shiseido for sunscreens and I really think they have great formulas. However most of them have that white cast which I just detest. Many of you have said they fade after a few minutes and I think if you’re fair or light skin it does seem like it will disappear after setting. However on those of us with medium-tan to deep skin there’s still a contrast even with the dry down. Anyways this spray is completely clear. You can use it on both face and body but I prefer it on the body. It’s lightweight and has no greasy feel although it does have a slight hydrating effect with a glow. I found this to be very effective and long lasting in the water.

Up next are what we consider to be among the best non-greasy body sunscreens. At this point in our lives we’ve both agreed that we can live with a slightly greasy feel as long as there’s no hideous sunscreen scent. We are more conscientious about taking care of our skin. We have however found some great ones with no greasy residue.

Non Greasy Sunscreens for Body

Shown above from left to right:

  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: (See above listing)
    • Shown same as the above photo because this is in the top pick for my husband in favorites for effectiveness at protection, preventing burn and minimizing tanning while still being lightweight, quick absorbing and suitable for both face and body. For me it’s in my top three for body. It truly is non-greasy, unscented and has a nice dry down. We really love Kiehl’s – this tube is completely used up, my husband loves it for both the face and body. We need to restock soon.
  • Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, PA+++
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%
    • This is in my top 3 for lightweight sunscreens. It’s oil-free for face and body, it is enriched with their Cellular Response Technology to preserve and protect the skin’s glow – and my husband even commented that my legs looked like they had a really nice glow with this on. Because it has a no-grease residue this is another good one for me to reapply every 2 hours and as the day progresses I don’t feel like I’m layering on tons of product.
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 55
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • With this one I have mixed feelings primarily because it seems to have a lack of consistency. I bought a tube from CVS in store and then bought a multi-pack at Costco and while the product names are identical, the ingredient listing and order was not. I purchased them within a couple weeks of each other, both in Florida. I don’t know if one has a cheaper formula than the other or if they simply just changed it depending on distribution timing. This one has a creamy texture that’s semi thick but glides on the skin nicely. It does indeed have super sheer feeling finish but it’s not liquid so it doesn’t feel like it just dissolves on the skin. We both really like the formula, matte finish, long lasting effect. It did work to protect our skin – but as I’m already one who finds ingredients confusing, the difference in listings between the tubes makes me suspicious about quality.
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, Broad Spectrum 60
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
    • This brand has been recommended to me by friends and readers for years. It’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while but every time I see it in person I can’t help but be completely overwhelmed by the options! This one is actually for the face but my husband likes this on the body because of the lightweight feel and matte drydown. He feels this is one of the most effective ones for his skin and likes that if he sweats it doesn’t sting his eyes. We picked ours up from Blue Mercury but I’ve looked at the La Roche-Posay site and have been trying to figure out what to try next. If you have any specific recommendations please let me know what formulas worked for you.

That rounds up our body sunscreen testing! We only had 1 miss which wasn’t included here because we used a face sunscreen stick on our body and both broke out in a horrible reaction. It’s not included here because I suspect it was user error rather than product error. We were lucky to have a lot of hits and I was super lucky nothing caused an allergic reaction as I’ve almost always broke out in red bumps with drugstore sunscreens. In summary here are our thoughts on the best, longest lasting and what we recommend:

  • Longest lasting ones on the skin for best water-resistant formulas for both of us include the Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse and the Moroccanoil SPF 50, these are also the heaviest with the most emollient feel
  • Longest lasting formulas for skin but lightweight if you’re not in water include the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen with SPF 50
  • Best lightweight winners for my husband are the La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Anthelios 60 and Kiehl’s
  • Best lightweight winners for me are the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, I also like the Kiehl’s as well but prefer the other two if I had to only pick 2

Because of the improved lasting power of so many of these we’ve found that we need to triple wash ourselves in the evenings with shower gel. Some of these really stick to your skin! If you have any sunscreen favorites for the body let me know in the comments. Any brand recs appreciated but if you can leave the formula name as well those are super helpful as so many lines have multiple formulas it’s so confusing when I’m at the store to pick one!

Face sunscreen roundup to follow soon! For those curious about the accessories shown:

Press samples include Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray and the Supergoop! Sunscreen Mousse.

Skincare

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask and Perfection Serum

May 30, 2017

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask and Radiance Perfection Serum Review

I’m exploring more in skincare as I adjust to humid weather with our recent move. With humidity, heat, sweat, sunscreen and running I’ve found my pores are more prone to clogging especially around the places my sunglasses touch the face and especially around my chin area. I have yet to try any facial spas or clinics in the area yet so I’ve been relying on trying new products at home. It’s been quite a process to find skincare that truly makes a noticeable difference. Skincare takes time to work it’s magic and since I have sensitive skin I find it even more challenging to find products that work. REN Skincare recently reached out and asked me to try their Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($55 for 50 ml/1.7 fl oz) and Radiance Perfection Serum ($55 for 30 ml/1.02 oz). The descriptions sounded right up my alley so I gave them both a test run. I’ve been testing these for the past month, incorporating both into my weekly skincare routine and have been thrilled with the results.

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renew Mask is the best at-home renewal mask I’ve ever tried. It’s a 10-minute exfoliating mask that removes dead skin cells for renewed, brighter, healthy and radiant skin. It acts like a gentle peeling mask that has a very subtle tingle sensation – but it’s not something you peel off. You apply a thick layer and it’s like a gel on the face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then wipe off the excess with a damp cloth (cloth provided) and then rinse. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being stinging) I would rate this a 3 for tingle in the sense that I could feel some action going on but there was no burn or sting which is huge for me. As one with sensitive skin I almost always feel the tingle and this one had a very mild sensation on the face. The description says this is not designed for those prone to sensitivity. I found it gentle enough for my skin but your mileage may vary.

This mask has what REN calls a cocktail of four AHAs – the combination encourages exfoliation and cell renewal:

  • Glycolic Acid from pineapple extract
  • Lactic Acid from passion fruit extract
  • Citric Acid from lemon extract
  • Tartaric Acid from grape extract

Also included are:

  • Omega 3 and Omega 7 from Arctic blackcurrant seed oil to repair and regenerate the skin, prevent scarring and reduce inflammation
  • Papain from Mexican papaya which is another exfoliant

Recommended use is weekly. I’ve used this 2x to 3x per week since getting this and I noticed results from the first time I used it. Congested areas around the nose and chin felt noticeably less oily and tiny clogged areas around my chin cleared up by the next day. Skin feels noticeably smoother and tighter but not too tight. By the time of this post I’ve used this 8 times and it’s been a skin saver. We spent a couple days in Orlando where it was humid with rain showers and thunder storms. I had on layers of sunscreen and my makeup melted off. By the end of each day we were all sticky and I could feel my skin getting clogged. This mask helped remove dead skin and congestion.

One pump is all I need to cover my entire face. Shown below is about a 1/2 a pump – it has a slight citrus scent but not heavily fragranced. It has a thick gel-like consistency that adheres well to the face. They include a soft cloth which you dampen and use to wipe the mask off. The texture helps remove the mask and dead skin without being too harsh. Rinse with warm water and skin is left feeling completely renewed. Also unlike with other exfoliating masks this one does not leave any redness on my skin.

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

After using the mask, REN recommends you apply a serum afterwards in conjunction with your moisturizer. The Radiance Perfection Serum is what they recommend to use with the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. This one has a blend of ingredients including Glabridin from licorice and Tyrosinase Inhibitors from Wild Canadian Rumex with Vitamin C to reduce age spots and help correct skin tone. It also contains Hyaluronic acid to plump the skin. With regular use this is supposed to help reduce the appearance of sun damage and skin spots – since I’ve been exposed to the most sun I’ve ever been experiencing in my life I’m more aware of preventing spots than ever.

Ren Radiance Perfection Serum Review

I’ve been using this right after I apply and rinse the mask off at night. It isn’t super thick or sticky but I can feel product on my face. You do need to let it absorb and set for about 30 seconds and then it dries. I need to be better about using serums during the day but with the heat and humidity I’m all about lightweight creams and having as few layers of product on my face as possible since I’ve been more diligent in adding sunscreen to my morning routine. For this one I’ve reserved use for night and it has helped with radiance and brightness. My husband went on a 2-week work trip and when he came back home he noticed a huge difference in my skin. I think the serum has played a key role in brightening and improving texture. For reducing sun spots I suspect it will take more time for them to noticeably fade and I have high hopes this will be one to help them disappear with regular use.

Ren Radiance Perfection Serum Review

Overall two winners for my skincare testing. I’ve used a few mini samples from REN in the past but never explored the line in depth. A number of you have recommended their masks, in particular the Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial. I love playing with masks as they’re fun for me to use and also easy to incorporate into my routine without requiring a massive skincare overhaul. I haven’t had any flare ups recently but I wish I knew about the Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask like six months ago. I think it could have been a skin saver when I had some flare ups. If you have any recommendations from the line please let me know in the comments!

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask and Radiance Perfection Serum Review

I’m going to continue using the serum at night and see how it works to reduce sun spots. The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is hands down pure love for me. Going forward it’s going to be in my weekly routine. My skin has cleared up so I don’t think I will need to use it 3x per week, especially if I alternate with other purifying masks depending on what my skin needs. But it will definitely be on my weekly to-do list as it’s just what I need to remove dead skin and help combat congestion. REN gives a tip that you can add a bit of your own serum or oil to the mask to create your own custom exfoliating mask as well. I haven’t tried that with this but if you have let me know if you do that with any of your face masks.

Do you have any REN Skincare favorites? What’s your go-to renewal/exfoliating mask?

Thanks to REN Clean Skincare for partnering to sponsor this post.