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Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

November 9, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Sensitive Skincare and Bodycare

As the weather shifts my skin has been in need of an extra hydration boost. The air is dry and I can definitely feel it as my arms and legs tend to get a little itchy when skin is dry. My skint ype is pretty much normal combination but I do have super sensitive skin – I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m allergic to a number of things so I always patch test items before applying them all over. However as a beauty blogger it is my duty to try and test things to be able to see first hand how they work so I don’t mind an occasional reaction here and there. Many of you liked the Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin so today I have a roundup of Beauty Look Book sensitive-skin approved products that will help with dry skin and add that extra boost of moisture for winter months.

Up first are some lip products I’ve been loving right now for dry lips. You can see a more detailed comprehensive Winter Roundup from 2015 if you want more options. The Armani Him/Her Lip Care are also great options for tinted unscented options.

The Beauty Look Book - Lip Treatment Clarins, Dior, Lanolips

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (c/o, all shades swatched here) and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (c/o, also reviewed here) are among my favorite for hydration and smooth coverage. They are scented though so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance you may want to smell first before buying – I am semi-sensitive to scent in lip products but love both. There are a number of holiday sets out so be sure to check them out (there’s also a few cute GWP options going on at Clarins). The Sweet Kisses Set has 3 lip oils at a value price, Clarins Kisses has minis of both formulas, XOXO, Clarins! has 3 full size Lip Perfectors at a good deal as well.
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade has been a staple for hydration and smoothing lips. It gives instant relief for dry lips and really does work to help improve texture and look of the lips. I have two tubes because I want one at my desk and one to carry in my purse when I’m out and about.

The Lanolips 101 Fruities Duo in Strawberry and Peach are a Net-A-Porter exclusive and I cannot rave about them enough. They’re a thick but very smooth balm that feels incredible on the lips. I’ve never tried any other lip product that gives such a comforting hydrating feel like these do. The Strawberry option is also available at Ulta Beauty.

Up next are some hand cream favorites. I’m obsessed with hand creams of all kinds – I do prefer a smaller compact tube so it’s easy to carry with me and also because they take up less space whether it’s on my nightstand, clutch, purse or drawer. Molton Brown is always a good option for me as I love the lightweight feel and they absorb quickly. Coco and Sandalwood (c/o) and Pink Pepperpod (c/o) are my favorites but I’ve tried them all and they are ALL amazing options. (I buy the Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker set every year.)

For holiday Neiman Marcus and Kiehl’s have an exclusive trio with the Limited-Edition Scented Hand Cream Trio and it’s only $16 (they are 1 oz each). They also have the regular unscented version in a the Limited-Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve Trio they have every year in the full size. The scented ones are just as hydrating with a slightly creamier feel. I love the scents which are Grapefruit, Coriander and Lavender. It’s great and I highly recommend it as these are the best I’ve tried for super dry hands.
The Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream is new for this season and comes in a slightly smaller tube than the regular Vitamin E Hand Treatment (which I find a bit greasy). The Geranium Walnut has more a green geranium scent with only a tiny hint of walnut. It’s hydrating and makes the hands smooth.

The Beauty Look Book - Hand Cream Molton Brown, Kiehl's, Jo Malone



Face Oils and Serums are something I’ve never been into historically – I’ve only really gotten into them in the past couple of years as I’m more of a lotions and cream kind of person. Quite a few of you asked about the La Mer Renewal Oil and I’ve been able to acquire a few minis from gift with purchases. Out of all the oils it has the thickest feel upon application but actually absorbs the best for the least emollient finish which is rare for oils. It’s very hydrating but also scented. The scent doesn’t bother me and it did not irritate my skin. Once I use up my others I will most likely buy it – it hydrates, balances the skin and reduces redness.

The Beauty Look Book - Oils for Sensitive Skin La Mer, Darphin, Kate Somerville, Kiehl's

The Darphin Intral Soothing Serum does just what the name implies. It helps reduce redness from itchy dry skin and works wonders to calm down flare ups. If you’ve tried this and found it didn’t do much for you it’s probably because in most cases serums are meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer on top. Serums alone have a unique texture that doesn’t always work well with your makeup, but when you layer them with your moisturizer they help keep the skin balanced and hydrated. This is on the lighter side so if you have super dry skin it probably won’t have enough moisture, but if you’re normal and sensitive this is a good one.

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has been a favorite for a long long time. I’m pretty much finished with this bottle but kept it for this story as it’s a good one. L’Occitane skincare in general is underrated and it’s among the most gentle and natural that I’ve tried. It smooths the skin, makes it glow, plumps up the surface. You can use it alone or with moisturizer. I like to use it at night too and I wake up with glowing smooth skin. This is a great one for winter time.

Another favorite is the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment and I tried this thanks to a number of recommendations from my readers who commented on previous posts. This oil is everything. If I were forced to use one oil the rest of my life this would be it. My friend tried it as well and she couldn’t stop repeating “my skin feels sooo amazing.” It really does everything it claims: smooths skin, strengthen, replenish and restore elasticity, maintain suppleness and helps improve skin evenness. It has the most amazing scent which is hard to describe but it’s not irritating.

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is one that is well-loved by many and for good reason. It’s another oil you can use daily but has an energizing/reviving aspect to invigorate the skin. The description for this says it has “antioxidant protection with a powerful blend of naturally-derived oils, including Ginger Root, Sunflower and Tamanu, to help skin feel fresh and look energized morning to night.” I was nervous to try this but have been hooked every since I tried it.

Next up are lotions and creams. Note this looks like a lot and it is, but quite a few of these are empties that I’ve used up. First Aid Beauty is the best affordable mid-end skincare line I’ve tried and one of the best for truly sensitive skin. One of my best friends is in her mid 30’s and loves their line and my younger brother is in his early 20’s and it’s one of the two skincare lines he asks me to stock him up on (Kate Somerville being the other).

Many of the First Aid Beauty items contain colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry itchy skin. I’ve tried their Ultra Repair line and also the Purifying line with Red Clay (best for summer/oily skin) and everything is gentle but effective. The Ultra Repair Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great basic no-fuss lightweight moisturizer for normal sensitive skin. It contains, “meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil soften and hydrate while shea butter and ceramides help protect the skin’s barrier function. The best in the line is the Ultra Repair Cream and if you’ve been reading recent posts, you know they just launched the Ultra Repair Cream in Vanilla Citron (c/o) which is amazing. I bought the Ultra Repair Cream Minis set and feel almost like a broken record talking about it, but it’s GREAT. I still prefer the unscented version because even though there’s no scent it has a soothing undertone in the formula. They always have great value sets so be sure to browse those if you’re new to the line.

If you need something natural but not heavy, the Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is something I just started using on a more regular basis and it’s a great one for something simple but effective. The Chanel is a great in between option if you need something that acts
somewhere in between a lotion and cream. It helps calm down flare ups
and is great for sensitive skin. This year they added a larger 1.7 oz
version (the smaller 1.0 oz version is shown below).

Two other great basic options I’ve used up include the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer. Both are really good for a simple no-fuss kind of cream that hydrates, smooths, calms down irritation and rebalance skin. They are lightweight and absorb nicely into the skin.

If you have very dry sensitive skin, I’d recommend the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream or Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (I have the older original version but have tried both and the new one is just as good). If you read customer reviews on both their sites you’ll find an overwhelming number of others who love both. The Tatcha is on the expensive side so if you’re unsure of splurging $100+ be sure to check out their Travel Size Shop. They have all their items in minis and also in sets that are great to try out.

A few more notes on the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion. I featured it in this post here to compare it to the Soft Cream and I prefer the lotion because of the pump packaging and texture. It’s quite the splurge and I do think it’s amazing. I have no regrets buying it but the others in this roundup are also great at more affordable price points.




The Beauty Look Book - Skincare First Aid Beauty, Kate Somerville, La Mer, Tatcha for Sensitive Skin




Last but not least, for the body three things I’m loving right now are the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil Spray, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver and also the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a body treatment. They offer instant relief from itchy dryness and I’m obsessed with the way the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil smells. The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is one I’ve bought multiple tubes of now for friends. I get texts a lot from my girl friends that say “help my skin is freaking out, what do I need?” I either tell them First Aid Beauty or this one. I love that First Aid Beauty made their Ultra Repair Cream in different sizes and packaging options for travel, full size and value size.

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

Two other body products that deserve a mention but I just used up and didn’t keep the empties include the Tatcha Indigo Body Butter and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body. Both are extremely good for super sensitive skin. The Tatcha is the most hydrating one I’ve tried and is on the thick side since it’s a cream but feels amazing. I like to use it at night. I love the formula but it’s a bit too rich for my skintype for day time – I would absolutely die if they made this in a lotion form. The L’Occitane has been featured a number of times before as well. It’s the best lightweight gentle lotion that gives relief without feeling sticky or heavy. It absorbs well and anytime my skin feels itchy or irritated this is my go-to to help with relief. I need to go buy another one soon.

I hope this roundup give you some ideas on what to try if you’re suffering from dry itchy skin or flare ups. Recommendations as always depend on your specific skin type, age, formula preference and scent preferences. I turned 35 this year and my skin has finally seemed to rebalance itself and I attribute this in part to finding good skincare.

As I transitioned from my late 20’s to my early 30’s my life went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered. I have always been able to manage a lot of things in life but in my early 30’s the stress of life, career, balancing a full-time corporate job, a part-time job, this blog along with other things in my personal life took it’s toll on my skin and it suffered. I experienced breakouts on the chin even though I never had any acne issues growing up. I had pretty bad texture issues on all areas of my face. Red spots from scars were pretty bad as well. Finding balance in life, learning to say no to some things, taking time to take care of myself and worry less have helped my skin as I’ve worked to improve things from the inside out. Many of you have asked about work/life balance and I’ll have more on that when I publish my get to know me post.

Back to the skincare – I’m always asked if I could only pick one in each category what would it be. I like options, I always have. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because I have many and preferences change. Right now I will say that:

My favorite face oil is a three-way tie between Kate Somerville Dilo, Kiehl’s Reparative Treatment and L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

My favorite face moisturizer is a three-way tie between La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville anything, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Most gentle items for sensitive skin are the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, La Solution 10 de Chanel and Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

Favorite hand cream Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood or the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio

As always if you have sensitive skin, dry skin issues or eczema – please chime in on what your favorites are!

Press samples indicated with c/o. All other items purchased by me.

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.
Fragrance

L’Occitane x Pierre Hermé Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli and Pamplemousse Rhubarbe for Holiday 2015

December 5, 2015

This holiday L’Occitane and Pierre Hermé teamed up to launch an exquisite collection of the most delicious smelling products for lips, hands and body. Both brands have a special place in my heart. I’ve been a long-time L’Occitane fan and this past summer I was able to try Pierre Hermé macarons for the first time when I visited Paris (they are truly out of this world). A partnership between the two brands is heaven sent and I have fallen head over heels in love with both fragrances launched for holiday in Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli and Pamplemousse Rhubarbe. Today I have a review on both fragrances along with a few of the gift set options. Do note some of the online sets are online exclusives, also different countries have slight variations in the options and packaging.

Out of the two it’s hard to pick a favorite. I initially thought I would
favor the Pamplemousse Rhubarbe because I love grapefruit scents. The
Pamplemousse Rhubarbe is a sweet grapefruit but there’s some cedar mixed
in to balance it and round it out so it’s not quite as sharp as a
regular citrus. The rhubarb adds more warmth to it. Everything is so beautifully packaged and colorful.

According to L’Occitane: “When Pierre Hermé places Grapefruit at the heart of a creation, he means to celebrate all its facets. And that includes the slightly bitter, white inner skin – its character underlined by the green and crisp aromas of Rhubarb. This beautifully balanced note is soon ruffled at its heart by sensual, piquant spices. In this original composition, woody notes of Cedar conjure up the sensation of mischievous Grapefruit cutting through the tartness of Rhubarb stalks.”

The items in the Pamplemousse Rhubarbe collection include:

The perfume is really pretty. It’s sweet but not too sweet.  Lasting power is pretty good on me. With three spritzes I find it lasts from early morning until around 3:00 pm before it’s completely faded. Layering the lotion helps extend the scent. The lotions are lightweight and absorb quickly into the skin and hydrate the skin nicely. The shower gel lathers up well in the bath or shower although I find the shower gels aren’t quite as strong in scent as the lotion/perfume. All the body and hand items are identical in scent. The Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Lip Balm is clear and lightweight. It hydrates the lips nicely. Online it’s only available in a couple of sets. I haven’t checked to see if it’s available alone in stores (if you’ve spotted it please share in the comments). The hand creams of course are incredible and not to be missed.

The Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli is actually my favorite of the two options which surprised me because Jasmin is one of those scents I like for the home but don’t usually like to wear. The mix of jasmin, immortelle flower, citrus of neroli make for me the most interesting combination. The scent is very soothing and feminine. According to L’occitane this one is described as “luminous, angelic, sensual…” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s so beautiful I am doing something I have only done once before, I am backing up the perfume.

Per L’Occitane, “Floral and absolutely feminine, the jasmine scented fragrance of pastry chef Pierre Hermé balances the white notes of gardens at dawn with the gold of a flower that still flourishes throughout the Corsican maquis. Sparkling head notes bring an unexpected sensation. In one deep breath, Lemon and Petit grain tantalize the palate as they come into contact with Pink Pepper and offer up a breeze of fresh air. The exhilarating heart of this bouquet blends the floral note of Jasmine and the softness of Orange Blossom with the wild, honeyed and aromatic scents of an armful of Immortelle from Corsica. This is a floral fragrance that captures the scent of the Island of Beauty, swept up in woody and musky notes.” 

Options in the Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli are the same as for the other fragrance with one slight variation for the lips:
The lip product for this collection is a tinted lip gloss. It is scented just like the other items in the line and goes on a sheer glossy pink (almost clear). It tastes surprisingly good – surprising to me because the scent doesn’t seem like something that would taste good, but it does. At the same time it should be expected that Pierre Hermé and L’Occitane would take extra care to make sure the lip products taste just as good as they look and smell.

Swatches of the lip balm and lip gloss that we received in the US:

A quick look at a few of the other sets that launched this holiday. There was a Pierre Hermé hand cream trio available online but appears to be sold out right now. I didn’t see it in stores a month ago but you may want to check to see if it popped up. It has the Mandarin Miel (warm citrus honey) as well which is still available for purchase separately online and in stores. The set offered a slight price break compared to purchasing the hand creams separately. Since everything is limited-edition I don’t think this one will be coming back online.

Also available are these cute Hugs and Kisses Duos that have a lip product with a hand cream packaged together. The sets are $20 each ($24 value) and come in a variety of options. I didn’t see these in store either – but if you’ve spotted them please share in the comments. I ordered the Pierre Hermé ones online.
Above: the Hugs and Kisses Hand and Lip Duos ($20 each) in Pamplemousse Rhubarbe, Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli, Shea Butter*, Delightful Rose*, also available in Zesty Lime.

There are lots of different gift sets at L’Occitane. My favorites are the Pierre Hermé ones. One more item I wanted to highlight because it’s so cute are the Holiday Baubles. These are only $14 each and make the perfect stocking stuffer. The Shea Butter Holiday Bauble comes with minis of the Shea Butter Hand Cream, Extra Gentle Milk Soap, Ultra Rich Body Lotion, Ultra Rich Shower Cream all packed into a cute ornament. There’s also a Shea Verbena Holiday Bauble option (also $14), or both in a Duo Pack Set for $28.

Bottom line: so much to love. The only downside is that a lot of the holiday items are limited-edition and some sets have already sold out online, my hope is that they restock, but I don’t suspect the popular items like the sets. If you have anything on your wishlist I suggest you visit your store sooner than later.

Out of all the items in the Pierre Hermé collection, I think the stand outs are the Eau de Toilettes and Hand Creams. The Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli Lip Gloss is special because it’s a surprisingly pretty pink shimmer even though it goes on pretty clear on my lips, it smells amazing and makes the lips feel smooth and glossy without any tacky feel.

This is perhaps my favorite holiday launch this year (or at least in my top three). You can find the collection online at L’Occitane and most items in stores as well. Some sets are online exclusives.

Did you check out anything from L’Occitane this holiday? My husband has some of the men’s skincare sets on his wishlist for Christmas and I just ordered a few today.

Some items featured include press samples indicated with a *. Press samples include the Body Lotions, Shower Gels, Eau de Toilettes, Shea and Rose Hugs and Kisses. All other items and sets featured purchased by me.
Uncategorized

L’Occitane Shea Melting Honey Collection Launches

November 3, 2015

Earlier this fall L’Occitane launched their Shea Honey Body Collection which combines the rich smoothness of Shea butter and the soft gentle scent of Provençal honey. The collection is exclusive to L’Occitane stores and online. I was a huge fan of some of the older honey items that they discontinued and was sad when it was pulled, but the items in the new collection are just as divine. There are six pieces in this collection covering bath, body, lip and hand care. I have four pieces to share a review of today.

The Shea Honey items smell like a soft sweet soothing honey. It’s a warm and well-rounded kind of scent that is amazing. There is a very slight hint of floral to the scent, it’s not overpowering like some honey scents can be. If you have an ultra sensitive nose and don’t want any fragrance in your body products, I highly recommend the Shea Butter line. The Extra Gentle Lotion for Body and Hands has been a staple for years. I’ve repurchased so many times I’ve lost count. It’s lightweight but super hydrating and good for sensitive skin.

There are two bath items in this collection. The Shea Melting Honey Soft Shower Gel ($20 for 8.4 fl oz) is a gentle body cleanser that lathers up nicely in the bath or shower. It has a thick consistency but foams up well to leave the skin feeling super smooth and well hydrated. I’ve had some dry patches on my legs this past week and this has really helped hydrate my skin. A little goes a long way.

There is also a Melting Honey Solidarity Soap ($3 for 1.7 oz, sold out online, but I did spot this available in stores still). I’m not a bar soap kind of girl, but L’Occitane is the one of the few lines I actually like and use for bar soaps. They have the best lather and are moisturizing but don’t leave any film on the skin.

My favorite item in the collection is the Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream ($36 for 3.4 fl oz). This is a super lush and soft cream that melts into the skin. It’s like a body cream or body butter but with a much softer texture. It feels super emollient without any greasy feel. I’m completely obsessed with the formula. I hope L’Occitane expands this formula into other lines like the Almond and Shea Butter (they currently have it in the Rose Heart, Vanilla Bouquet and Zesty Lime). The Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream has 10% shea butter.

Last but not is the Shea Melting Honey Whipped Hand Cream ($12 for .59 fl oz). I’m a sucker for hand creams that come in cute packaging and L’Occitane launches are always among my favorite. (Have you seen the packaging for the new Pierre Herme x L’Occitane launch? The hand cream trio to die for!!) The whipped hand creams come in an airy whipped formula that feels lightweight but is still super hydrating and creamy. The texture has just the right consistency where you feel moisturized but not greasy. It absorbs nicely into the hand and smells really good. The Melting Honey Whipped Hand Cream is made with 25% shea butter. The honey is very softening on the skin.

I’m thrilled with each item in the new collection. Everything is super hydrating which is perfect for this time of year but lightweight enough so it doesn’t have any heavy feel. The best part about L’Occitane is that they have a wide range of body products to suit everyone’s tastes. I buy the gift sets every holiday as Christmas gifts because they are beautifully packaged and never fail to make friends and family happy (even for the super picky ones that are so hard to shop for). I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s holiday collection and sets in person. The Advent Calendar is the cutest set I’ve ever seen.

Have you checked out anything from the Shea Melting Honey Collection yet? If not, what are your L’occitane favorites? All the Shea Melting Honey items are exclusive to L’Occitane Boutiques and online. Also all pieces are limited-edition.

The Shea Melting Honey items were sent courtesy of L’Occitane for review consideration. All opinions my own.
Giveaway

Molton Brown Ylang Ylang Collection + Giveaway

September 17, 2015

I’ve been a huge fan of Molton Brown for many years going back to the days of their Coco de Mer (now reformulated into their Coco and Sandalwood). Their shower gels have been a long-time luxurious splurge for me – a few years back they changed some of the items in their line. They renamed and revamped a number of their scents. A regular go-to is the Gingerlily Body Wash for a super brightening uplifting scent. The Molton Brown recently sent me samples of the Ylang Ylang Collection to try featuring the one of the new Body Polishers, Body Lotion and Body Wash.

The items featured from the Ylang Ylang Collection:

Body Polisher $50 for 9.7 oz
Body Wash $30 for 10 fl oz
Body Lotion $42 for 10 fl oz

This is the first time I’ve tried their body scrubs. There are four options inspired by world destinations. Ylang Ylang is inspired by Madgascar with Magadascan black vanilla grains inside. It’s like a super relaxing spa in a tub the texture is emollient in a thick gel base with micro-fine grains suspended inside. It’s a hard scent for me to describe – it has notes of ylang-ylang and cedarwood with a tiny bit of vanilla.

Here’s a close up of the scrub below, it’s the best scrub I’ve tried. It exfoliates really well and is super hydrating. It makes your legs glow and look well nourished and smooth. I hope they expand the line to other scents in their lineup – it’s truly incredible.

The shower gel and body lotion are really nice layering products. The scent is very strong – not as strong as perfume but lingers on the skin for quite a while which is nice. I love the shower gels because they lather up really nicely and double as a good bubble bath. The skin is left feeling ultra clean but not dried out. The lotions have a thin texture which makes it feel weightless on the skin. It absorbs quickly. The body products in the Ylang Ylang line are very floral – but I don’t find it overly so. The items have a calming relaxing effect – it really does make me feel like I’ve been to a spa after I use the scrub and shower gel.

The Molton Brown team sent an extra set for me to giveaway to one lucky winner. There are several ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. See Terms and Conditions for details. The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada who are 18 years or older. You must enter via the widget to qualify for the drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you have any Molton Brown favorites? I love that the look of their hand creams – the packaging looks ultra sleek and pretty with the different colors. If you have any recommendations I’m all ears. It’s been a while since I’ve visited a boutique but I think a trip is in order very soon.

You can find Molton Brown at a number of retailers. Online at Molton Brown, Nordstrom, Birchbox and Neiman Marcus.

Many thanks to Molton Brown for sending a set for review and a set for a giveaway.

Uncategorized

philosophy x QVC Month of Miracles

July 27, 2015

philosophy and QVC have teamed up to offer special value sets with their Month of Miracles event this July. The Amazing Grace line has been a regular go-to for me. I’m a huge fan of the soft clean feminine scent Amazing Grace has in wide range of body products from the perfume, shower gels and body creams. It’s refreshing, calming and there’s something about the scent that makes the skin feel clean. This month there are a number of really good sets and bundles available now. The biggest set is the Philosophy Miraculous 12 Piece Shower Gel Collection with scents that sound amazing like Vanilla Coconut, Beach Party and Snow Angel.
The QVC x philosophy team sent two value items for me to try. One is a trio called discover the miracle of amazing grace which has an 8-fl oz amazing grace shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath, an 8-fl oz amazing grace firming body emulsion, and an 8-fl oz amazing grace olive oil scrub. The QVC price is $52 for the set, during the event the price is $42.96.
  • The 3-in-1 shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath is a staple in my beauty routine. It’s one of my favorite bath products to relax and unwind.
  • The Firming Body Emulsion is new to me – it smells a bit more like linen compared to the perfume version of Amazing Grace but layers really nicely with the perfume. It has pretty good strength for a body lotion and the scent lingers for a long time and fades nicely. It has a super clean feel.
  • The Olive Oil Scrub is also new to me and it’s incredibly gentle on the skin. It’s a body scrub but has a more liquid base which makes it easy to rub all over. It has tiny little beads inside but it’s very gentle so you don’t have to worry about it irritating the skin (some scrubs are harsh). It leaves the skin feeling super soft and moisturized but doesn’t leave behind any greasy oily residue.
I love how each philosophy bottle has a little saying or quote on the front. It’s something unique that has made an impression on me going back to the 90’s when I first discovered the line. I’ve always found the packaging concept to be very beautiful.

The second value is the philosophy purity made simple 32 oz body cleanser. It retails for $42 (event price is $34.96). The Purity Made Simple Face Cleanser is something that has been recommended to me by so many readers – I tried it in a cleanser set early in the spring and wasn’t a huge fan, but the body cleanser is a completely different story for me. If you’re looking for a super gentle moisturizing cleanser that lathers well, I highly recommend this one. It comes in a large bottle with a pump. It’s good for those sensitive to fragrance – it does have a scent to it but it’s not fragranced with any perfume.

True to philosophy style, there’s a beautiful quote on the front. It lathers up really nicely in the bath. I find it really does work well as a shaving gel. The Purity Made Simple Body cleanser leaves the skin feeling soft and clean, it doesn’t dry out the skin. The body does feel nicely moisturized after a shower but it doesn’t feel like there is a film on it. If you’re sensitive to any kind of fragrance in shower products – I highly recommend this one.

You can find all the QVC x philosophy Month of Miracles sets available at special prices this month (this is the last week for them). I’ve been browsing the other value sets and am trying to decide between the Best of Fresh Cream 5 piece set or the Vanilla Coconut Duo (although it’s not on sale). If you’ve tried either scent – which one do you like best? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I think there are a lot of good deals going on right now. It’s a good time to stock up on gifts – there are a three skincare and bodycare brands that I think are no-brainers for gift giving, philosophy is one of them. I’ve gifted the Amazing Grace sets for a number of occasions. I think the miraculous 12 pc shower gel collection set would be amazing to split up as gifts. (The price for the shower gels individually would total $126, value price is $87.94.)

Do you have any philosophy favorites? I’ve stuck with Amazing Grace for so long because it just works so well for me – I’ve neglected to explore other items from the line. I’m open to suggestions 🙂

Many thanks to philosophy and QVC for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions my own. For more information refer to my disclosures.

Fragrance

Lumira Paradisium Collection

November 24, 2014

Lumira Paradisium Collection c/o, Scarf by Nordstrom, Bracelet by Tiffany T, Clutch by Truffle c/o, Chanel Card Case

Australian-based home fragrance candle designer Lumira has just released new fragrance and body items in their Paradisium Collection. There is an Eau de Parfum ($90 AUD, 50ml/1.7fl.oz), Candle ($40 AUD, 180g/6.3oz) and Hand & Body Cream ($30 AUD, 100ml/3.3oz), each are exquisite and unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. Lumira kindly sent me samples to try and I’m head over heels in love with the Eau de Parfum. Description from Lumira:

“The Paradisium signature eau de parfum opens with the freshness of Bergamot, Grapefruit and Lemon,
developing into a luscious heart of Fig Nectar and Guava before settling with Vetiver, Sea Moss and Cedarwood. Lumira’s Paradisium Collection pays homage to Earth’s natural abundance, seducing with notes of luscious green fig intertwined with fresh bergamot to produce a light, sophisticated fragrance for man or woman, evocative of a verdant Mediterranean nirvana.”

The Eau de Parfum is a wonderful refreshing and bright scent. The mix of all the notes is really incredible. There is a hint of fig which I adore in candles and shower gels but have never been able to wear in a perfume until now. I’ve found scents like fig to be good for the home, but not wearable. Lumira Paradisum is perfect. The mix of cedar wood and vetiver helps tone down the sweetness and gives it depth and edge. There are bursts of citrus with the Grapefruit and Lemon which make this a fresh lightweight scent. It’s not too youthful nor is it too mature, it’s right in between and although I do believe picking a fragrance is an extremely personal depending on tastes, mood, age, gender, Lumira Paradisium seems to be a fragrance that I feel can suit many. 

I would have never thought the mix of Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Fig Nectar, Guava, Vetiver, Sea Moss and Cedarwood would be a good mix. It seems extremely complex and complicated with so many different notes combined. Paradisium is a complex scent but it’s blended perfectly in a way that it’s not overpowering at all. The strength of the Eau de Parfum is really really good, lasting all day and into the evening.

I found the scent of the Body Cream and Candle to be identical to the Eau de Parfum. The Hand and Body Cream is luxuriously moisturizing but not greasy. It has Shea Butter and Macadamia Seed Oil. It makes the hands feel very smooth. I haven’t used it on the body yet, mainly because it’s so incredible on the hands and I want to make it last.

The Paradisium Candle comes cased in a matte ebony black jar with a gold interior. It’s quite luxe. I found it took about 10 minutes of burn time for the initial burn before I could smell the scent fill the room. There’s something classic about the black jar and subtle glossy embossed lettering that makes this very elegant looking. It makes a good decorative accent to the home without being distracting.
Paradisium is more of a spring fragrance for me, but I still think it’s perfect for right now. In Southern California we are wondering if winter will ever arrive. Our summer came very late, it seems winter is stalling here as well – not that I’m complaining. All three items in the new collection are winners. I hope they are not limited-edition because I know I will be burning through the candle very soon and need to replenish. 
You can find Lumira products on atelierlumira.com (they do ship internationally). Additional stockiest listed here. Have you tried Lumira before? If so, what are your favorites?
Many thanks to Lumira for sending me samples for review.