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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Beauty Shopping Guide, Haul and Recommendations

July 13, 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Haul 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is finally here for Early Access! If you have a Nordstrom Card you can shop the sale starting today July 13th through July 20th. It opens up to everyone else on July 21st and ends August 6th. As a beauty lover this is one of my favorite events because this is when Nordstrom launches a ton of their Beauty Exclusives. They offer a little bit of everything from makeup, beauty tools like brushes, hair dryers, face devices, skincare, body care etc. My favorite items are their makeup beauty sets and exclusive colors. They also have a lot of their best sellers in large value sizes so you can stock up on your staples. I stopped by my local Nordstrom to shop the sale (secret tip, if you’re a Level 4 Rewards Member you get a 1 day early access to things like this sale). The Nordstrom here in Tampa has a decent selection however it’s on the smaller side and they didn’t carry all the items for the sale so I’ll be ordering a few things online. Also another tip is to check their Gift With Purchase Page whether you’re shopping online or in store. It’s a good idea to make a list, especially of the GWPs – when you’re in store there’s a lot to browse and you can easily miss out on some great extras especially if you’re stocking up for gifts or spending a good amount with a single brand. Do note some of the GWPs may be online only.

First a quick look at some of the exclusives set up in store. For those of you who don’t have a Nordstrom near you I hope this helps give you a visual idea of what the Beauty Exclusives section looks like. I didn’t get photos of everything in store – these are just some highlights. There are a lot of skincare options and value sets.

MAC Look in a Box Nude Lip Set // Supergoop! Forever Yound Hand Cream Set // Supergoop! SPF50 Anti-Oxidant Sprays // Glamglow Gravity Mud Firming Treatment set // Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment // Glamglow Your, Contour and Glow Set // Slip for beauty sleep Slipsilk

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Mario Badescu The Icons Set // Ouai Hair Care Kit // Sigma Beauty Innovation Duo // Supergoop! Mist Duo // Ahava Special Size Hand Cream // Stila Stay All Day Liner and Lipstick Set // NARS Fox Dancer Mini Multiples Coffret

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

T3 Featherweight 2 Dryer // Beachwaver // T3 Single Pass Lux // simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro // Clarisonic Mia1 and Mia2, accessories // Drybar Tressed to Impress

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Clarins Value Size and Sets // La Mer Revitalizing Collection // La Mer Mini Miracles // Chantecaille Morning Must-Haves // SK-II Trio // Sisley Best Sellers

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

The Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Set in Nude Mood and Bright on Brights have existing colors, you can see swatches of all of them here.

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Chantecaille Touch Up Essentials // Sisley-Paris Color Twist Trio // Tom Ford Golden Rose Eye and Lip Set // Armani Glow Duo // Armani Eye Set // Hourglass Diffused Light Palette // Dior Addicted to Nude Lip Set // YSL Pink Lip Set // YSL Nude Lip Set

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives Anniversary Sale 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

I felt like the shoe and clothing selection in store was pretty lacking in the store near me so I’ll be shopping the sale items online. If I find anything I’ll definitely do a haul post on that. Here’s a quick look at some shoes I saw that were interesting including these Tory Burch Bryce Sandals and a lot of good sales on boots.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Tory Burch Bryce Sandals

For now here’s my Beauty Haul Part 1. I will be reviewing and swatching everything in the upcoming days.

Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Haul Picks | The Beauty Look Book

What I hauled from beauty, Part 1:

Nordstrom Haul | The Beauty Look Book

On my order wishlist includes the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Set, the Butter London Set, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Glamglow Set, Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss Minis, and another Clarisonic Alphafit for my husband because his needs to be replaced.

Wishlist

My top beauty recommendations would also include the Diptyque 5-Piece Set, the simplehuman Sensor Mirror (I love it, I’ve had mine for around 4+ years), any Clarisonic device (I like the Mia Fit the best) and if you’re a fan of nude lips, grab the MAC Look in a Box Set as soon as you see it – it always sells out quickly every year. In previous years some brands also launch their fall beauty collections around this time at Nordstrom. I didn’t see anything out yesterday but it was the pre-early access so they might not have had a chance to put everything out yet.

In case you’re wondering, my Anniversary Sale fashion wishlist on this page here.

I’m hosting another giveaway and giving away five $100 eGift Cards to Nordstrom. This one starts at 9:00 AM EST today and will run through the 19th and it will be open internationally. You must enter through any of of the entry options in the widget below and be 18 years or older. Winners will be selected at random through the widget and announced in this post. Selected winners will be contacted by me via e-mail and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected. Full terms and conditions in the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for Early Access? What’s on your list?

 

Nordstrom Skincare

Body Care Staples for Soft and Smooth Skin

October 18, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Body Care Routine for Soft Skin

As the weather has started to shift to cooler and dryer temperatures I’ve felt the need for some extra skincare boosts when it comes to body care. I have extremely sensitive skin so I usually stick to a few select brands for body lotions, scrubs and shower gels. There are some lines that cause an allergic reaction for me (scent or fragrance isn’t always the issue) so I always try to do a patch test first. Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some tried-and-true body care staples I use to keep my skin smooth, itch-free, and hydrated.

I usually prefer light weight lotions or dry oils because I don’t like things that feel thick or heavy. Three I swear by include the L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver, and L’Occitane Foot Cream. You can click on the icons in the images below to shop the products directly from Nordstrom.

My most repurchased lotion is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body because it’s truly gentle but still effective. I love the Shea Butter line from L’Occitane for the soft soothing scent it has that’s truly comforting. It absorbs into the skin well, leaves skin feeling soft, and I can wear this at night while I sleep without sticking to my sheets or blankets.

Kate Somerville previously had their Eczema Cream which has been renamed Dry Skin Saver. This has a slightly thicker texture compared to the L’Occitane Lotion but is unscented and helps give instant relief for dry skin. It’s suitable for face, body and lips. I gave one of these to my brother who is in his early 20’s, has dry skin that is probably more sensitive than mine and he really likes this one.

I tend to neglect my feet as I find that my 2x a month pedicures are usually enough to keep them looking decent. There are a number of foot creams I’ve tried but they usually feel greasy or smell horrible. I tried the L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream from a small travel size I received from a gift with purchase years ago and was immediately hooked because it’s not thick, it absorbs quickly, instantly soothes any dry spots and has a slight lavender oil scent which is really relaxing.

Next are a few bath products and scrubs. I almost could say that I’m one who lives for bubble baths. There are few things that I enjoy as much as a long bath. It really does help melt away stress and helps me relax.

Fresh Bath and Shower Gels are one of the few shower gels where the scent actually lasts bath the shower or bath. There are a wide range of options and my current favorite is the Fresh Life which is a bright sweet citrus kind of scent. It lathers up really well with a wash cloth or loofa and leaves the skin clean.

In one of my previous shower gel posts a few of you told me to try the Le Labo Santal 33 Shower Gel. I’m all for trying new luxury products but the $50 price tag prevented me from buying for a long time. I eventually did and was instantly hooked. This is a truly luxurious splurge – but I’m one who loves sandalwood scents that aren’t too woody or earthy and this one is just perfect. I’m on my third bottle and the price is indeed very steep so I will be using this sparingly.

For scrubs, my favorite body scrub formulas have all been discontinued (from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Kiehl’s). They’ve either brought new formulas out or discontinued the items completely which has made me very sad. The one favorite that I’ve found hasn’t changed is the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub which leaves the skin revitalized and super smooth. It has an emollient base which makes it easy to move over areas of the body in the shower but doesn’t leave the skin with a greasy film.

Bath and shower oils are items I try every now and then. I know many of my readers love them because they leave the skin feeling super hydrated and soft. I’m still more of a shower gel kind of person but the ones from Jo Malone are very good. They come in a number of scent options and they have both bath oils and shower oil options. I bought the Blackberry and Bay Bath Oil and it’s amazing. It also comes in the smaller travel size and also the shower gel format.

One more shower gel that deserves a mention is the Diptyque Revitalizing Shower Gel for Body and Hair. This is probably my favorite one of all time but I go through it so quickly I’ve tried to find cheaper alternatives because it gets spendy. I have yet to find one I like as much as I like this one though.

Last but not least two items I think we usually associate with summer beauty routines but I still find suitable for year round use.

The Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan Lotion is the only one I’ve liked enough to use on a regular basis. The formula is gentle so it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction on my skin (many other formulas do). The scent is pleasant and doesn’t have that strong chemical odor you find in self tanners. It also doesn’t turn my skin orangey or yellow which is a huge plus. I see a tan start to develop by the second day of use. There’s no streaking or transfer to clothing. It’s expensive but worth the splurge.

I alternate between body oils and find I gravitate towards different ones depending on season. The Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil is one I found too heavy during the summer but I love it for right now. It has that signature Moroccanoil scent which I find natural, earthy and soothing all at the same time. I love that this comes with a spray dispenser – I think all body oils should come with one. It absorbs quickly into the skin. The scent has a warm and cozy feel which was probably why I didn’t really use it a lot over the summer time but now that it’s cooler, it’s perfect.

For those who like body care products I hope you found this post helpful in case you’re looking for items to soothe dry skin that are also suitable for sensitive skin (and noses). As always I’d love to hear your favorites! Many of you have asked for a roundup on face moisturizers and serums I use since I have sensitive skin. I’m in the process of testing a few brands but will have a post up in the next few weeks.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions my own.
Nordstrom

My Summer Beauty Essentials

June 1, 2016

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

Sunnies by Marc Jacobs here, hat from Nordstrom here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My perfect copper shade is the Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Eyeshadow in Sunstone which comes with a rollerball applicator. Just glide them across the eyes and then blend with a finger or brush.
The hunt for the perfect bronze eyeliner ends with NARS Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia for me. No matter what other colors or brands I try, this one is my tried and true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlighters NARS Nordstrom

NARS Hot Sand Collection (Nordstrom Exclusive)

January 4, 2016
NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

For the new year NARS x Nordstrom have launched an exclusive collection called Hot Sand which is all about glow. There are six pieces in the collection all with a champagne color focus which give the most natural incandescent luminous finish. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a review on the collection along with lots of comparison swatches to other champagne shimmers.

The six items in the Hot Sand Collection are all exclusive to Nordstrom, items include:

  • Hot Sand Lip Gloss ($26 for 0.18 oz/6 ml) is a pale sandy gold, it has a bit of shimmer in it which comes off as a shimmering frost, finish is sheer to medium but smooth and makes the lips look light and glossy
  • Hot Sand Illuminator ($30 for 1.1 oz/30 ml, repromoted) is a sheer pearlized champagne peachy glow, this is one of my favorite liquid illuminators to add the most natural sheen, it’s perfect for my medium-olive skin because the peach gives it color while most champagne highlighters look light and pearly on my skin, it gives the skin that glow from within candlelit look without looking frosted
  • Hot Sand Multiple ($39 for .5 oz/14g) is a new color, it’s almost identical to the Illuminator, it gives a more visible glow to the skin, I find it slightly lighter in color because of the pearl particles and more pigmented, two swipes on each cheek are just slightly lighter than my natural skintone and once blended the skin simply glows
  • Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand + Laguna ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is called a blush / bronzer duo, it has a powder blush which on me acts more like a soft highlighter, it’s a champagne pearl similar to the Illuminator and Multiple, the powder has a more shimmery glowy finish while the others are more natural looking, Laguna is a cult-classic bronzer, in this compact I found the color to be just slightly different from the regular full-size, the compact one is slightly cooler-toned and sheerer
  • Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is a blush duo with Hot Sand Blush a peachy champagne shimmer combined with Orgasm a peachy pink shimmer
  • Hanamachi Kabuki Brush
    ($42)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

Wearing above: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland mixed with St. Tropez, Powder Foundation in Punjab, Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm, Bronzer in Laguna, Lip Gloss in Hot Sand, Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia, Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve

First up is the new Kabuki Brush. This is a small domed brush that is very dense but soft. Size-wise it fits nicely in the hand – it’s small enough to be compact, but not so small I feel like I can’t grip it easily. The bristles are evenly distributed and it’s very soft and smooth around the edges. There are no hairs poking out and it blends powders seamlessly around the cheeks. I own a number of other kabuki brushes and this one is extremely good. I can see myself using it for setting powders as well. I’ve shown it below next to the #21 Contour Brush for scale.
NARS Kabuki Brush and Contour Brush

Next up are the Hot Sand + Orgasm Blush Duo and Hot Sand + Laguna Bronzer Blush Duo. Both contain Hot Sand which is listed as a powder blush. The texture of both duos is very good. It’s smooth, finely milled, easy to apply and blend. There is a luminous quality to Hot Sand which is very pretty and glowy. I like that they have a slight peachy tone to them which makes for a more natural glow rather than a pearl shimmer which contrasts with my olive skin. I can’t pick one over the other, but I do think the Hot Sand + Laguna Duo is my new favorite contouring duo. It’s super easy to use for the contouring-challenged (like me). It’s great for a no-makeup makeup look to add depth and dimension without looking over the top.
NARS Hot Sand Nordstrom Blush Bronzer Duos

There are three individual items in the collection with the name Hot Sand. Below is the Illuminator, Multiple Stick and Lip Gloss. I’m a huge fan of pale pearly glosses but since I have pigmented lips, many often end up looking like concealer on me. Hot Sand thankfully has enough color to show up with some shine. It’s pale but not too pale and the application/color goes on smoothly without streaks. It makes for a good layering gloss too.
NARS Hot Sand Illuminator Multiple Lip Gloss

Close up of the Hot Sand Multiple:
NARS Hot Sand Multiple Nordstrom

Close up of the Hot Sand Lip Gloss:  

NARS Nordstrom Hot Sand Lip Gloss

Hot Sand Lip Gloss on bare lips:

_________________________

Some comparison swatch sets in case you’re wondering how these compare to other champagne shimmered items from NARS:

Illuminator in Hot Sand
Illuminator in Orgasm
Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush in Hot Sand (part of the duos)
Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve
Eyeshadow Duo in Alhambra
_________________________

Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand/Laguna
Bronzer in Laguna (individual one is more luminous and warmer)
Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation
 _________________________

Lip Glosses in Supervixen, Chelsea Girls, Striptease, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge and Orgasm
_________________________

NARS Hot Sand Collection

Overall lots to love in this collection – especially those looking for a natural luminous glow. I am addicted to glowy highlighters so I found it necessary to buy all the Hot Sand face items even though the colors are similar among the different formulas. I’ve owned the Illuminator for a long time and I find the peachy undertone unique in a beauty world filled with pale white champagne highlighters which I love, but often want something that doesn’t look white on my skin. The peach in the Multiple, Powder Blush and Illuminator meld more with my olive skintone which makes for a more natural looking glow.

For those who are glow-conscious – I do think these are suitable for those who are ultra conservative in the glow department. Many with oily skin often are wary of anything that glows since oil + shimmer tends to = shiny by afternoon. If you have oily skin the Illuminator is the most natural of the face items. The Multiple Stick has a nice semi-matte finish compared to other multiples and I found it stayed put. The most glowy of the face items is the Powder Blush which I really like – it’s not too shimmery but shimmery enough that you can see it.

If I had to pick just one of the face products, I would say I can’t because I really like all of them, but I think the Multiple adds the most natural luminous quality in a highlighter I’ve seen that makes the face glow – your mileage may vary depending on your skintone.

Bottom line thumbs up. I’m really liking the way Hot Sand Lip Gloss looks – it’s what I wanted Striptease to look like on the lips which is too pale for me to wear alone while Hot Sand just works. Alone or layered.

Have you checked out the NARS Hot Sand Collection yet? Or do you already own the Illuminator? For this time of year what’s your go-to for a glow?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions my own.

Hauls Nordstrom Sephora

A Mini Sephora + Nordstrom Beauty Haul

October 11, 2015

I did a haul last week at Sephora and Nordstrom, both stores are dangerous for the wallet but oh so fun. I had four items on my shopping list and as usual, ended up with more than I intended. These days I prefer to shop online more than in store because it’s easier, more convenient and saves time, but every now and then it’s fun to go see things in person.

From Nordstrom at MAC I picked up the Viva Glam Miley Cyrus II Lipglass. The first one from last year really surprised me – I fell in love with it even though it’s packed with lots of sparkle. Last year’s (which is still available) was a sparkling hot sheer pink (swatched here). This year’s version is a bright sheer coral that’s also sparkly but super pretty. I don’t usually like high-sparkle glosses but I highly recommend checking out both. I also picked up a Cremesheen Pearl Lipstick in Koi Coral for a friend. It’s so pretty I think I need to pick up one for myself.

Sephora has the cutest new shopping bags, although I still see the older glossy bags around. After seeing the October Beauty Insider 250 Perk for Bite Beauty on Instagram, I went to the store to track it down since it hasn’t popped up online yet. This month’s color is Kir Royale which is a deep wine berry plum color. It’s available individually as the Luminous Creme Lipstick. It’s a brighter color than it looks in the tube – but I’m trying to be braver in wearing bolder lip colors for fall.

Here are quick swatches of the Bite Beauty Kir Royale and MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus II:

Burberry Beauty finally launched at Sephora and one near me received items in store! I’ve had the Fresh Glow Luminous Highlighting Pen and Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes on my radar since August. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy both. I opted for the Medium No. 01 Contour shade (the lighter option). I haven’t played with them yet except to swatch them in store on the hand but I’ll have a review soon. In the meantime you can see the Medium Contour Pen in action in this lovely video from RaeView on her YouTube Channel in her Tutorial | London Fashion Week GRWM, Burberry SS16 Makeup. Both the Highlighting and Contour Pen are also applied by Wendy Rowe in the Burberry Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Make-up Tutorial | Sephora video too. They look super easy to use and apply for contouring-challenged people like me.

Sheet masks have been on my radar over the past few months. I’m still smitten with Tatcha and Kiehl’s but decided to try some others. Dr. Jart+ Brightening Infusion Hydrogel Mask has mixed reviews but there were single sheets available in store so I decided to pick one up to try it. If you’ve tried any of Dr. Jart+ masks let me know what you think!

Last but not least, I’ve been on the hunt for a new concealer. I did a favorites roundup last year on my tried and true and while there’s nothing wrong with the ones I use, I’ve been wanting something new. I’ve been testing and swatching several over the past few months in store. It’s taken me a while to decide on some. I’ll have a more detailed roundup on the best ones for spots versus under eyes. Two additions are the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (I picked up Medium Neutral) and the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer (I ordered 8 online and also picked up 7 last week).
If you have Beauty Insider Points to redeem I think the October Beauty Insider 250 Point Perk for Bite Beauty is worth trying to track down. I suspect it will launch online like the others did (I passed on the pink and coral ones). You can get the lipstick individually, but the gloss is super pretty. I highly recommend it – it’s such a pretty color for fall.
Have you hauled anything recently? Would love to hear about any new beauty picks!
 
Eye Makeup Nordstrom YSL Beauty

Yves Saint Laurent Eye Makeup: Pop Water Collection Full Metal Shadows and Couture Eye Primer

April 3, 2015

Yves Saint Laurent has quite a few new items in the eye makeup arena this season. YSL has a diverse range of formula options to suit your personal taste and preference ranging from new eye primers, powder shadow palettes and new cream/liquid metallic shine eyeshadows. The three items recently launched include:
  • The Pop Water Collection (currently exclusive to Nordstrom) features 10 new shades of Full Metal Shadows ($30 each for 0.15 fl oz / 4.5 ml)
  • Two new Couture Variation Ten-Color Expert Eye Palettes ($95 each) in Nu (warm neutrals) and Tuxedo (dark dramatics)
  • Two Couture Eye Primers ($30 each for 0.18 fl oz / 5 g) in Fair 1 and Medium 2, formulas that claim to provide 16 hours of vibrant color and crease-free eyeshadow wear

Today I have a review of the Pop Water Full Metal Shadows and the Couture Eye Primer. The Pop Water Collection is currently exclusive to Nordstrom. A few weeks ago I reviewed and swatched my picks of the Glossy Stains and Nail Lacquers here. I’ve been wearing the Glossy Stain in Pink Rain and Wet Nude quite frequently as they give the lips a lush glossy look with a really pretty tint of color. The Full Metal Shadows are metallic liquid shadows that come with a beveled sponge-tip applicator. Some of them need a few pumps to mix the color up for the first use and get product on the sponge. I’ve been playing with all the colors and tested three of them on three separate full days. I am happy to report on the eyes they are truly long-wearing. They lasted from 5 am until late evening when I took my makeup off at 5 pm on one day, at 8:45 pm on a second day, and at 11:30 pm on another day.
Application-wise these swipe easily on the lids directly from the tube and are blendable with a finger. One swipe gives a soft wash of color that is buildable. The pigment on these is really good. Some are more glitzy than others but overall I found each of the colors I picked out wearable and suitable for everyday. The shimmer is smooth and even though some have a complex sparkle, the texture melts into the skin and blends in really nicely.

Here are all the colors swatched with different lighting so you can see how they look when light or a flash hits the shadow. Note these are swatched straight from the tube without any blending. Don’t be worried by the shimmer, the colors blend out beautifully and sheer out a little but they do not loose their pigment.

1 Grey Splash is a cool medium silvery metallic
2 Eau D’Argent is a cool metallic white
3 Taupe Drop is a mauvey silver taupe
4 Onde Sable is a sparkling champagne
5 Steamy Coral is a coral pink with shimmering pink flecks
6 Pink Cascade is a soft light pink metallic
7 Aquatic Copper is a metallic bronzey copper with gold flecks
8 Dewy Gold is a yellow gold metallic
9 Misty Green is a metallic green with some gold shimmer
10 Wet Blue is a bright shimmering blue

In direct sun vs with a flash:

The colors I picked out are on the neutral side:

Here is the beveled sponge tip applicator:

Swatched straight from the tube:

As someone who likes a good shimmer that isn’t overly frosted or glittery, I’m surprised I found these very wearable for me. The name “Full Metal” implies that these are highly metallic, which I do think they are, but the shimmer is refined and blends out really nicely to meld with the skin. The colors are layerable so you can control how much color you want on the eyes. I give these a huge thumbs up.

Next up is the new Couture Eye Primer. There are two shades in Fair and Medium, although Medium is still quite light. Medium is a creamy soft light beige with a hint of pearl to it. To the touch the product feels very emollient and like a cream/mousse hybrid and soft in the pot but it dries to a finish that won’t budge. The finish is slightly dewy but not overly glowy and really does stay put. These are designed to be a shadow base to extend wear or alone for a nude eye look. Given the lightness and pearl quality of Medium, I suspect it will be best for those with fair to light-medium skin. The pearl quality isn’t overly frosty but due to the pigmented nature of the product, I think it might emphasize lines if it contrasts with the skin – much like wearing a color of foundation too light for your skin will do.

I prefer the primer under powder shadow. It creates a good semi-creamy base to help shadows adhere and blend well onto the lids. I wasn’t able to test the 16 hour wear claim, but I did find it helped keep my shadow in place from early morning until late afternoon on the days I tested it (around 10 hours of wear). I wouldn’t recommend this for those with dry lids (the pearl quality can emphasize dry patches) but if you have normal-to-oily this is a good one to help keep the shadow stay put.

Another shot with softer light:

Here are swatches next to the YSL Touche Eclat in 5.5 which is the color I use. You can see that the Couture Eye Base in Medium is still quite light. I think the product will be perfect as warmer weather approaches. I do hope YSL will expand the color range as this is a good primer, but very light in color. One reason why I don’t like a lot of eye primers from other brands is the colors are too limited and fair making my skin look ashy or overly matte. The YSL Couture Eye Primer has a lovely pearl quality which gives this depth. If darker shades were released I would wear them as a nude shadow alone.

Bottom line love the Full Metal Shadows for their buildable coverage and long lasting power. My favorite is Onde Sable 4 even though it seems like your standard champagne shimmer, it has enough oomph to it to make it a bit more sparkly without being over the top. Taupe Drop 3 comes in close second because it’s a shadow you can wear alone for an eye look. Blend the color over the lids and then layer it more along the lash line for more color and depth. The Couture Eye Primer is a good one in terms of making shadow last, I do hope they expand the color range.

Have you checked out the Pop Water Full Metal Shadows, Couture Eye Primer or the new 10-pan Shadow Palettes? What did you think? You can find them all now online and in stores at Nordstrom (note there is a GWP going on while supplies last, details online).

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. All items purchased by me. For more information refer to my Disclosures.

Beauty Nordstrom

The Beauty Look Book’s Guide to Building a Makeup Wardrobe

December 16, 2014

This year I’ve received quite a few e-mails from new readers who just started getting into higher-end cosmetic brands. Being a beauty junkie and beauty blogger, I put dozens of products to the test each mont. This allows me to offer comparisons in order to help others determine differences or similarities across brands, formulas and product families.

For the makeup newbie it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through all the options. Finding good makeup that works for you often has to be done through trial and error. I think we’ve all been at that place where we bought something that ended up not working so well for our skin tone or skin type. Finding a store with a wide range of brands to choose from with a good return/exchange policy is one of the main reasons I really love to shop at Nordstrom. Today I’ve teamed up with them to create a personal beauty guide on how to start building a makeup wardrobe.

Most of my makeup preferences are for natural colors that will enhance features. New readers frequently e-mail me requesting a customized shopping list of my top beauty picks for them to take to the counter. Picking favorites is almost impossible for me since I really do love a lot of brands, but I’ve compiled an edited list that I think will be good for the makeup newbie. I’ve split my guide into three categories: Lips, Eyes and Cheeks.

For lips, if you’re just starting to get into makeup, my recommendations would depend on what kind of look you want. Even if you want a natural color, texture and finish plays a major part in picking out the right lip product. Do you prefer sheer, glossy, velvety, full-coverage? Are you a lipstick or lipgloss kind of person? Do you like shimmer or prefer creams?
Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses offer rich pigment with high shine and flawless coverage. My favorite soft pink is Sensible 15. If you want a no-fuss medium to full coverage lip gloss that stays put, these will give a really pretty shine while adding a good amount of color. There are naturals and brights in this formula to suit a wide range of skin tones. Another really good full coverage lip gloss is the Dior Addict Fluid Stick. These are a hybrid lipstick + lipgloss and it packs in a ton of color with high shine. Whisper Beige 219 is a good natural beige nude that won’t wash out the complexion.

If you prefer to ease into color and want just a tint of color and shine, Chanel Glossimers are among my favorite out of all the lip glosses in the market. Shades range from sparkling light pinks, bright corals, soft rose, beiges to plums. The holiday Chanel Give It Shine Glossimer Lip Trio has the perfect collection of shades to start your lip wardrobe. It has Amour (soft peach), Sweet Beige (nude beige shimmer) and Wild Rose (the perfect rose pink shine). These have a smooth texture with a naturally glossy sheen.

If you want a more budget-friendly lip gloss, MAC Lipglasses are hard to pass up. These are a bit sticky and tacky, but there are a lot of colors and finishes to choose from. Lovechild Lipglass is one of the most universally flattering colors I’ve seen. It’s a soft plum with pink tones and gold shimmer. On me it pulls very natural, on fair skin it’s the perfect plum, on darker or deeper skin tones it also looks good. Laura Mercier Lip GlacΓ©s also offer a wide range of colors with a natural finish. Pink Pop is a bright but sheer pink which brings the complexion to life with a sheer wash of bright color.

If you are more of a lipstick kind of person but want something natural, Chanel Rouge Coco Shines are my favorite no fuss swipe-and-go kind of lipstick. Boy 54 is the best classic rose pink shade that adds the prettiest hint of color and shine. The sheer formula won’t be as long lasting as a regular lipstick but the color is flawless and formula is hydrating. These are really good if you’re timid with bold colors and want something to ease into for lips. The sheer glossy formula is slightly transparent and lets you natural lip shine through.

If you want a full coverage lipstick but still want something that looks natural, the NARS Audacious Lipstick formula is hands down the best that has been released this year. The formula is full coverage with an amazing coverage that melds with the lip. If you have dry lips or peeling flakes you will need to moisturize or prep with a lip balm first, but if your lip is smooth, these are the best I have tried. It has a semi-matte and semi-velvety finish but there is a slight sheen to these which prevents it from looking flat. Raquel is my perfect nude pink. Brigitte is a nude pink beige that has more color but is still very natural.

For the eyes, there are a lot of different eyeshadows and liners that I adore. If I were pressed to pick my current top three favorites for eyeshadow, they would be Urban Decay Naked3, Chanel Tisse Rivoli and Dolce & Gabbana Smoky.

The Urban Decay Naked3 Palette is my most reached-for palette. It has 12 shades of neutral rosy-toned neutrals that can create a wide range of looks. There are shimmers, sparkles and mattes all of which have really incredible pigment. The texture of Urban Decay eyeshadows is buttery smooth and this particular palette doesn’t have any glitter shades which is a huge plus for me (and any neutral makeup lover). This is the one palette that goes with me on almost every trip. It’s a palette I find can go with everything. Pink shadow can be hard for me to wear (it often gives me a pink-eye look) but Naked3 is neutral enough to be very wearable. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing rose-colored shadow the next best option is Naked2 which is more neutral and taupe-based.

If having 12 shadows to play with in one palette is too overwhelming and you need something more edited, Chanel Tisse Rivoli is my favorite neutral quad. The texture adheres well to the eyes and layers well. The colors are smooth and pigmented. For something with more dramatic color, Dolce & Gabbana Smoky (swatched here) is my holy grail smoky eyeshadow quad.
For a cream shadow that is a good over wash shadow the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rosegold is a good pick. It’s a soft shimmery champagne with rose and gold tones. It is creamy and blends easily on the eyes. You do need to let it sit for a minute or so to dry and then afterwards they last pretty well. It also works as an eye base for powder shadows and helps bring out the pigment.
For liners and mascara, a simple classic black is a good place to start. Not all black eyeliners are good though. Some pull grey in undertone or can smudge easily. Finding good eye makeup that you don’t have to worry about throughout the day is essential. My favorite mascara is the Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch because it grabs every little lash and volumizes, holds the curl, doesn’t smudge, doesn’t clump and defines the lashes really well. For me this one lasts all day without budging.
For liners, the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner is hands down the best liquid liner I’ve tried. It’s extremely pricey but it is worth every penny and will last you a very long time. There are two ends with different sizes of tips which allows for precise application and complete control. If you’re new to liquid liners, this hands down is the best one I’ve tested. It makes applying liquid liner super easy. If you prefer a pencil liner, Burberry’s Effortless Kohl Eyeliners were just released this year. Jet Black is one of the deepest and richest black liners I’ve tried and it stays put all day from morning to night. It comes in a twist up pencil format with a built in sharpener at the end which I find very convenient (especially if you carry it on the go or when you travel).

Out of all the beauty products I own, I would say blush, bronzer and highlighters dominate my makeup collection by far. Picking out a few favorites was a difficult task. For the face I’ve narrowed down my recommendations to a few items that will multi-task.

If I could only wear one blush palette for the rest of my life I would pick out the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. It has three shades in a mirrored compact that cover all the shades you could need to go with any look. Luminous Flush is a coral pink, Incandescent Electra is a soft peach, Mood Exposure is a plum rose. The colors are very pigmented with easy to control buildable color. There is a bit of highlighter mixed into each blush which gives these a luminous glow. Those who don’t like shimmer need not fear with this one. The shimmer is finely milled and very natural on the face. It’s impossible to overdo but the pigment is rich enough to add visible color.

For a bronzer and highlighter, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow offers both in one  convenient mirrored compact. The bronzey shade can be used as a contouring powder, although I like it as a bronzer on me. The highlighter is a pale warm gold champagne which has a high frost but looks very natural on the skin. The two combined can be used on the cheeks, temples and eyes.

Liquid illuminators are also something I consider in a makeup wardrobe. They can be used as highlighters on top of powder/foundation to add a glow or they can be used under blush to help color adhere better. I like to use these on the eyes occasionally to highlight. If you need a bit of shimmer in your foundation these can be mixed in. My favorite liquid highlighter is the Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed. It’s a pale golden champagne that dries to a semi-matte finish which means it stays put all day long. If you want more color options or want something more dewy, Armani Fluid Sheers are classic staples that will give you that glow from within look.

I hope you found this introductory guide useful! Whether you are new to higher-end makeup or want to know what my current favorites are, I hope this provides an edited list of recommendations for you to start exploring. If you could recommend your top 5 beauty picks to a makeup newbie, what would they be? I would really love to hear what your favorites are!

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.
For more information please refer to my Disclosures