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Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs

April 5, 2017

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

This spring Christian Louboutin has expanded his beauty line to include eye makeup in his Les Yeux Noirs collection. True to Louboutin style these are luxurious pieces with elaborate packaging that are like works of art. I have two pieces to review for you today but the entire collection includes:

I was kindly gifted the Les Yeux Noirs Amplifying Mascara in Khol and the Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner in Khol. I’ve reviewed quite a few Louboutin products before, both purchased items and press samples and have been really impressed with their nail polishes and lip products. Based on this I had extremely high expectations for both the mascara and liner. After testing I have one product I feel is a total hit and one item I have luke-warm feelings towards.

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

First – the packaging on both the liner and mascara is just out of this world gorgeous. They are so unique and the packaging makes quite the statement. Design-wise they are functional and very easy to hold and use. Travel-wise they aren’t really travel-friendly. I tried both items in the black shade Khol and both are true rich black colors. Even though pigments have improved these days there are still some brands where the black shades actually look grey once they dry down.

Up first is the Les Yeux Noirs Amplifying Mascara in Khol. This is a true black mascara that comes with a rubberized applicator in a heavy weight tube. When it comes to mascara I feel like I’m usually disappointed. I have straight lashes that doesn’t hold a curl very well. Also since they are straight I find many are prone to smudging. In testing mascara I know that there are some formulas that take a couple uses to get it going – I’m not sure why but sometimes the first application just doesn’t work. That was the case with the Louboutin mascara. The first use did not do much of anything for my lashes except darken and define slightly. I gave it two more tries before it started to work properly am glad I did because it performs well.

It is described as having a formula that gives dramatic volume, enhances definition, length lift and curl of the lashes. I found that it did all that it claims with the exception of one area. For me it was a bit lacking in volume. As I’ve mentioned with other mascara reviews though – if a mascara can hold the curl, doesn’t clump and doesn’t smudge then to me I’ll give it a thumbs up. I can build up volume with a few coats but it does take some work and patience on the upper lashes. I rarely wear mascara on my lower lashes because mascara tends to just clump and smudge. I gave this a try on my lower lashes and it’s amazing there. Even with mildly humid warm weather here in Florida I had no smudging from morning until late evening. I will say it’s not waterproof but it doesn’t claim to be. The packaging is heavy weight and design makes it easy to hold and apply. Luke warm feelings are mainly due to price and the fact that it doesn’t knock my socks off for volume. The most I’ve spent on mascara before was with the Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara which is $72 and I was not happy about spending that much even though I’ve spent more on palettes and lipstick before.

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs Mascara | The Beauty Look Book

On the nails is Edgypopi reviewed and swatched here

Next is the Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner in Khol which I think is just incredible. I’m not much of a liquid liner person although I’ve tried a number of formulas that are good. I just prefer pencils or dark shadows as liner because it’s easier for me and I find them more forgiving with the precision aspect. Also many tend to bleed or just don’t have enough pigment and end up looking ashy or grey on my eyes. The Louboutin liquid liner has a felt tip that is soft and easy to use. It also has a rich glossy black ink finish – the pigment and finish are what make this an amazing liquid liner. It lasts all day without smudging and there’s no bleeding when I apply it. For me it set pretty quickly which is nice – sometimes if a liner doesn’t set right away it can be prone to smudges when I blink. I give this one a solid thumbs up. Pigment is rich, texture is smooth, application is flawless and easy to build for a perfect cat eye. Finish is glossy but dries and sets 100% without smudging. It lasts all day. It literally covers everything I could want in a liquid liner.

Louboutin Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner | The Beauty Look Book

A closer look at the packaging and detail of the applicators:

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Applicators:

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Closer shot:

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner

Swatches of the mascara and liner with different pressure applied to show how you can control the thickness of the lines:

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner

Swatch comparisons with a flash:

Mascara and Liner comparisons

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner | The Beauty Look BookBottom line both are solid performers. I absolutely love the liner and think it’s 100% worth the splurge. With mascara I think it’s just ok but mascara is hard for me in general to love because I have such high expectations. My lashes are so straight and sparse that few mascaras can really do everything that I want it to. Many times my expectations are just too high. For the price I think the lip products are a better splurge. I’m still obsessed with the lip lacquers (my picks reviewed and swatched here and here) and I think the lipsticks are excellent (red ones also reviewed here).

You can find the Louboutin Les Yeux collection online and at Louboutin Beaute counters now. I have yet to see the full beauty line in person but hope to make a trip in the next month to see it live. Available online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and Christian Louboutin.

Have you checked these out yet? What’s the most you’ve spent on mascara or eyeliner?

Many thanks to Louboutin for gifting me the Les Yeux Noirs.

Fragrance

Spring Transition Fragrances

March 21, 2017

Favorite Spring Perfumes | The Beauty Look Book

Happy National Fragrance Day! Spring has just arrived and this is the time of year I start to shift my perfumes to something light or floral. Long-time readers know I love to explore light, clean and modern scents. What I wear changes depending on season, occasion and mood. I try to take my time with testing to see if a scent is something I feel is really me. Perfume is something that smells different on everyone’s skin – there are scents that smell completely different on my friends than it does me. I tend to rotate frequently although I’ve always wanted to have a signature scent. Here in Florida it already feels like spring with warm sunny skies. It’s warmer here than it was all winter long in Southern California. I’ve got spring on my mind and the scents I’ve been reaching for in the past month along with my husband’s go-to scent include:

  • Creed Virgin Island Water is probably my best fragrance purchase ever. It was on my wishlist for many many months. My friend and I were browsing the Creed counter at Neimans and she handed me a tester and said, “smell this, it’s going to change your life.” It literally did and I could not get it out of my head for months. I was going to wait until late spring to buy it, but the moment we knew we were moving to Florida I splurged on a bottle and have no regrets. I’ve been wearing it a lot here and it’s a scent that lifts my mood like no other. It’s like a vacation in a bottle and it literally gives me life. It smells of sweet coconut and orange with bergamot and a bit of sugar. I wish I had bought the larger size first.
  • Diptyque Eau de Sens Eau de Toilette is one of the few orange blossom scents I can wear. Orange blossom in general always smells amazing on my friends, and I love it as a home scent, but on me it’s usually too citrus or too floral. This was the first one I tried that I loved 100%. It always smells great on me. It has the perfect mix of sweet and bitter sweet to smell like spring in a soft floral citrus kind of way.
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia is the first I’ve played with from his line. I discovered his scents at The Scent Bar in Los Angeles and everything has this next-level kind of sophistication. This one is a fresh mix of two of his scents Aqua Universalis and Aqua Vitae to create a fresh and spicy mix. It has lime, cool mint, blackcurrant, mimosa blossoms and musk. To me it just smells fresh with a hint of floral.
  • Christian Louboutin makes some beautiful perfumes. I reviewed Tornade Blonde in my Fall Fragrance Lineup and it’s one of the most luxurious smelling perfumes I’ve tried. The Women’s Parfume Collection (miniatures) has each scent in a small version bottle of the full size but without the spritzers. The lasting power is quite amazing on these.
    • Tornade Blonde notes include red rose, violet and cassis. It smells like romantic florals and to me this is the best year round kind of scent.
    • Bikini Questa Sera contains jasmin and tuberose and makes for another great spring time floral. If you like Frederic Malle Carnal Flower you will really like this one, the Louboutin one has a slightly sweeter feel to it.
    • Trouble in Heaven notes include iris, patchouli, tonka absolute and amber. It smells more like a fall or winter scent or possibly a great romantic date night scent.
  • Replica Glow Filter (reviewed here) is a scented perfume oil designed to be a primer for other Replica perfumes. I love this one for a very soft skin like scent that brightens the mood. It’s definitely hard for me to describe what glowing smells like, but this is pretty much it.
  • Jo Malone Wild Bluebell is a perfume I had many years ago. I just rediscovered it and love how fresh and light it is. My favorite Jo Malone rep back in California told me her favorite layering combination was this with the Wood Sage and Sea Salt and it’s just incredible. I have that on my list to buy in the next month or so.
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Eau de Parfum (reviewed here) is one of my favorites from Tom Ford. It’s spring to summer in a bottle but I’ll wear it any time of year. It’s one of the best white florals I’ve tried and it’s pure love. Plus Tom Ford scents last really well all day long.
  • Hermes Terre D’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche is what my husband has been wearing. He’s the kind of guy who rotates through 2-3 scents at a given time, I’ve bought him quite a few to try and really anything he wears ends up smelling great. I would say this one could pass as a unisex scent but on him it transforms into an amazing earthy woody manly kind of smell with a fresh aquatic vibe.

That rounds up my current favorites for National Fragrance Day! As we transition to spring I’d love to hear about what you’ve been wearing and whether or not you’re changing scents or keeping the same ones in your daily rotation!

Press samples include scents fromΒ  Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Christian Louboutin. All others purchased by me.

Roundup

My Favorite Everyday Neutral Nail Polishes

February 14, 2017

Best Neutral Nude Pink Polishes for Everyday | The Beauty Look Book

Today’s post is another one by popular request. It seems like neutral nail polishes are what a lot of you need recommendations for and I totally understand the pain of finding a good one. There are so many neutral options but many are that either too sheer, too light, too pink or really beige and if you’re like me you’ll go to the store, look at all the OPI or Essie options and think hmmm a lot of these look really similar. I’ve found that something with a bit of pink and nude mixed together works best for my olive skintone. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect light nude peach that isn’t too yellow, too orange or beige. I love the look of OPI Samoan Sand on others but on me it’s a bit too dark and a bit too peachy. I did a similar post back in 2014 of my Favorite Nude Pink Polishes. Today I have an updated version although a few of them will be on repeat because I just haven’t found anything better.

If you see me wearing a nude polish, there is a really good chance that it’s either Tom Ford Sugar Dune, Essie Topless and Barefoot or Burberry Nude Pink. All three are very similar – the difference is slight in undertone but pigment and wear time is also different. Many times you just don’t know what a color will look like until you try it on your hands. Something that looks incredibly boring in the bottle like Tom Ford Sugar Dune ends up being one of the prettiest soft nude pinks ever. If you think all these look the same you’re right but I’ll add descriptions on what makes them each unique so you can find the right one for you.

Lineup in natural light:

Best Neutral Nude Pink Polishes for Everyday | The Beauty Look Book

Descriptions as I see them and notes on how many coats it takes for full coverage:

  • Essie Spin the Bottle is a nude pink with slight warmth to it, it’s one of the few ones that has a bit of beige and peach that I can wear, this one takes two coats for full coverage and the best way to make it last is with Seche Vite top coat, although many of you have recommended the Essie No Chips Ahead
  • Essie Topless and Barefoot is one of my most-worn polishes, it’s a nude pink and has more pink than Spin the Bottle, this one unfortunately almost always gets tip wear on me within 7 hours to 1 day no matter what top coat I use, but I still love the color so with this one I’m going to try it with the Essie top coat once I have a chance to go pick one up, this one always need 3 to 4 coats for me
  • Louboutin Tutulle (all 10 of the nudes swatched and reviewed here) is one of the best nude beige pink polishes I’ve tried, all the Louboutin nudes are just flawless, it has smooth shiny coverage and only takes 2 coats and usually lasts a minimum of 7 days without chipping or tip wear
  • Tom Ford Sugar Dune (reviewed here) is a light powdery looking cool pink, on the hands it gives the most polished elegant look I’ve seen, I get full coverage with two coats but there are times I need three
  • Chanel Organdi (reviewed here) is another great neutral, this is one of the darker colors but it’s still light enough in color that it gives the hands the look of being lighter and brighter, this has medium coverage in texture but you can get full coverage with two thin coats
  • OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs is one of the sheerest neutrals I own and takes a minimum of 3 coats, the result is a clean looking light pink neutral though so sometimes when I have patience I’m ok with the extra work it takes
  • OPI Be There in a Prosecco (application shown here) is one of the lightest polishes I have that isn’t a pure white but pretty close, it has a bit of cream in it without being yellow, this gives the effect of white polish but it’s not as harsh on the skin, this one has full coverage with two coats, the first coat will be streaky but it will even out with the second
  • Dior Incognito is a classic neutral pink with warmth, for me this looks better when I have a tan, but I love that it’s semi sheer but still incredibly smooth with a flawless high shine finish, I need two coats with this one
  • Burberry Nude Pink (also reviewed here) is another classic, it’s lasted over two years and is still just as good as when I bought it, many of mine last for years, it’s a great opaque neutral nude pink, full coverage achieved with two coats
  • Nails Inc. Bond Street Passage is a new one to me, it’s not really one I’d consider in the neutral category because it looks more like a mauve pink in the bottle, on the hands it pulls more like a neutral with a pink kick, this is a one coat wonder but I still prefer it with two coats to get a more cushiony look, I haven’t tried much from this line, so far only 3 polishes, but every time I do I’m really just blown away by the pigment in their polishes!

Swatches on the nail wheel, all of these have two coats with the exception of OPI Mimosas for Mr. and Mrs. which has 4 and Essie Topless and Barefoot which has 3:

Neutral Nail Polish Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches in natural lighting for each of these polishes, OPI Be There in a Prosecco (Ulta Beauty), two coats:

OPI Be There in a Prosecco | The Beauty Look Book

OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs (Ulta Beauty), three coats:

OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs | The Beauty Look Book

Two coats, mug from Etsy:

OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs | The Beauty Look Book

Essie Topless and Barefoot (Ulta Beauty), three coats:

Essie Topless and Barefoot | The Beauty Look Book

Essie Spin the Bottle (Ulta Beauty), three coats:

Essie Spin the Bottle | The Beauty Look Book

Burberry Nude Pink (Nordstrom), two coats:

Burberry Nude Pink Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Sugar Dune (Nordstrom), two coats:

Tom Ford Sugar Dune

Chanel Organdi (Chanel.com), two coats:

Chanel Organdi Le Vernis | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Tutulle (Nordstrom and Sephora), two coats:

Louboutin Tutulle Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Nails Inc Bond Street Passage (Sephora), two coats:

Nails Inc. Bond Street Passage | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Incognito (Sephora), two coats:

Dior Incognito Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Another look of the polishes lined up in sunlight with flash:

Best Everyday Neutrals for Nails | The Beauty Look Book

You definitely do not need all of these, but I hope this helps compare colors in a side by side and swatch manner. I’ve accumulated many polishes over the past few years and these are my favorite neutrals that you can still find today. A few other favorites have been limited-editions from Dior and you can’t find them anymore so I didn’t want to include those in the roundup. As many of you have asked for recommendations that are in the more affordable price range I included Essie and OPI to the mix. I usually consider myself a lover of brighter or bold shades for the fingers like Chanel Camelia or Louboutin Miss Mars, but I really like the clean and almost brightening look of neutral nails.

My top three favorites of the moment: Tom Ford Sugar Dune, Louboutin Tutulle and Chanel Organdi.

Do you have any neutral favorites? I know the word “neutral” can mean something different to everyone, but I’d love to hear what yours are! They don’t have to be nude pinks like the ones I featured, let me know what has worked for you and if you can share your skintone that would be super helpful as well πŸ™‚

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Nail Polish Skincare

How to Maintain Hands for Healthy Looking Nails + My Personal DIY Manicure Tips

February 7, 2017

Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

The most frequently asked questions I receive from readers relate to hand and nail care. For my nail polish posts I feature a mix of DIY and salon manicures. Finding a good salon and a reliable manicurist can take some time, then maintaining the nails with professional care can take up to 1 hour for a regular manicure so that requires additional time. Because I did so many polish reviews and swatches over the past years I could not afford to get regular manicures with the frequency of reviewing polish – both with the cost and time. I had to learn how to do it on my own so I observed the techniques of my favorite manicurists and practiced on my own. I will say that regular salon manicures and pedicures are 100% worth the splurge. Often times during high-stress periods in my life I found it impossible to shut off my mind and de-stress, even after work hours. Manicures kind of helped me stay sane because when someone is working on your hands you’re pretty much stuck doing nothing except for fun brainless tasks like reading magazines or listening to music or watching YouTube videos on your phone. It helped my brain go into hibernate mode so to speak. Also there’s something refreshing about having freshly groomed fingers or toes that makes you feel instantly alive and more put together.

For hand and nail care I typically stick to a few tried and true items and it has been the case for several years. I did my Nail and Hand Care Essentials back in 2014 (wow time flies!) but many of you have asked for an updated post with a tutorial. I finally have one to share with you today and if you compare the posts you’ll see that not much has changed. A few notes for newbies. If your nails are not in the best state I would highly recommend getting them cleaned, cuticles trimmed and polished professionally. Doing something like a manicure once a month or every other week for a little while can help improve the look and health of your nails. I think they can work miracles! If you have any cracks, chipped nails, or problem areas, a manicurist can help smooth everything out nicely. Once they’re in a better state you can do touch ups or manicures at home in between professional manis.

Up first are the tools then a DIY manicure tutorial of how I maintain and paint my fingers. Note that even after all this time of practice I can’t give myself a pedicure without it looking like I gooped a bunch of finger paint on my toes.

Tools of the Trade

Nail Files, Trimmers, Tools | The Beauty Look Book

I wish there was one brand or store where I could find all the best tools, unfortunately there is not. If you’re going to use my list as a shopping list for yourself, you will have to do a bit of shopping around. Most of the items I’ve bought can be found at Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom (my 3 favorite beauty stores). Many of the items can also be found online at Amazon. If you’re shopping in store – check the online store locators to check inventory first. Often times I’ve gone to Ulta and found they were sold out of all the items on my list. They do restock frequently but to save time it’s best to research online and make a list first if you’re going to go out to multiple stores. As usual I’ve linked all the products to where I’ve bought the items in the past.

  • Revlon Nail Clippers – these are an older style, I can’t remember how long ago I bought these, the current versions have an embossed pattern on the surface, to clip nails I recommend clipping about 1/2 to 1/4 of what you think you need to trim. It’s better to do it in stages and then clip more. My biggest challenge was over-clipping.
  • Nail files – I usually accumulate cheap ones here and there, I’m not brand loyal to any particular type.
  • Ulta Beauty Crystal Nail File is no longer available online but you can find one from the Sephora Collection that is only $10. These are great for those with sensitive nails, there’s no grit texture like with traditional files so it’s more gentle on the nails.
  • Deborah Lippman Cuticle Remover is what I call my secret weapon for nails. It softens the cuticle area so you can push back any excess skin to trim them. This is an essential in my routine. I don’t know if she changed the packaging – I’ve seen a few in stores with a brush applicator instead of the dropper.
  • Tweezerman Cuticle Nipper is what I use to trim cuticles, it fits well in the hands and does the job well, mine has lasted since 2014, I do need to replace it soon though.
  • Face It Pro Salon Nail Pusher is something I bought at a local Korean Supermarket (Zion Marketplace in San Diego), I have super tiny fingers so this one is a bit large for my hands but still works, I like the shape of the tools and quality.
  • Tweezerman Pushy Nail and Cuticle Cleaner has been my go-to tool to push back the cuticle area and keep fingers looking groomed. Also available at Amazon for a cheaper price.
  • Not shown above, but there was a limited-edition Zwilling Manicure Set my husband uses and loves, this has been discontinued but he likes the quality of their tools if you’re looking for items for your man.

Base and Top Coats

Base and Top Coat Favorites for a DIY Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

My absolute favorite base and top coats have now been discontinued (Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat, Formula X Base Coat, Chanel Brilliance Top Coat and all the items from Rescue Beauty Lounge). I have still found some others that I really like.

  • Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat with Kensington Caviar is a great top coat that doesn’t have any shrinkage with polishes like Chanel, Dior or Tom Ford. Mine lasted about 2.5 years before it got thick and I had to throw it out. It lasted me so long because I rotate top coat brands. This one does dry within 45 seconds – just make sure your polish coats have properly dried first before applying. This gives the nails a super glossy cushiony look.
  • Nails Inc. base coats I’ve tired include the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat and the Base Coat with Kensington Caviar. I prefer the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat because it’s nourishing and doesn’t tint the nails. It has kale to strengthen the nails and keratin to help harden and stimulate growth. This is what I attribute to having healthy looking nails. With base coats I think it’s important to not apply too much – if it’s too thick it doesn’t dry properly and then polish on top just sits there. The Base Coat with Kensington Caviar has been a long-time go-to as well, but it can get a bit thick with age and it also can tint the nails pink.
  • Formula X Base Coat has been my favorite for a long time. Unfortunately it looks like the line has been pulled from Sephora. If you visit your store you may see a bunch of items on clearance. So stock up if you see any favorites there.
  • CND has been a long-time favorite. One of my salons used both the Stickey Base Coat and Super Shiny top Coat. They’re reliable staples and I highly recommend both.
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat has never really been a favorite because it has major shrinkage with brands like Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford, YSL and pretty much all the brands I use. It does work well with OPI, Essie and Louboutin though and since it dries quickly I like the way it works and looks. Your mileage may vary depending on what polish you use. If you find that Chanel or Dior gets really quick tip wear on you, check what top coat you’re using. Some formulas are not compatible with 5 free formulas and cause shrinkage which pulls back the polish from the ends like tips or cuticles.
  • Chanel Le Gel Coat is a newer top coat that Chanel launched. It wears really well and gives the nails a cushiony shine. I love this with Chanel polishes and it also works well with Dior.
  • Louboutin Loubi Primer and Loubi Gloss is one of the best nail care duos I’ve used. The price point is high and this comes as a duo. The primer keeps nails from yellowing and helps to hydrate them well. The top coat gives one of the best high-gloss shines I’ve ever seen and keeps polish lasting long for up to 7 days for me. It’s not the fastest drying duo but well worth the extra time it takes.

Extras

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

The extras that make a huge difference in hand care rounded up below:

  • L’Occitane makes some of my favorite hand creams, they’re great for dry skin and I love the fun packaging. For those with sensitive noses the Shea Butter is the best and most gentle. It has a very natural smelling scent that is soothing.
  • Molton Brown makes my favorite scented hand creams, they have a lightweight texture so they’re not greasy and I love their scents. Pink Pepperpod and Coco Sandalwood are my favorites but really all the options are great.
  • Kiehl’s introduced scented hand creams in a Limited-Edition Trio this year, you can buy them separately in a larger size, but the minis are exclusive to Neiman Marcus (while supplies last). The Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is the unscented version and I also really like it. I don’t have one at the moment because my husband uses it as well and we go through them frequently.
  • Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment and Scrub are amazing for a hand cream and scrub. I’ve written about this duo before and absolutely love it. I’ve never done a hand scrub before trying this. Over the holidays a year ago many of you mentioned you do regular hand scrubs and that it works wonders on your hands.
  • Deborah Lippman Cuticle Oil has been my go-to for years. I’ve gone through several bottles and love it.
  • Dior Huile Abricot was interesting to me because it seemed to be less messy and easier to apply compared to most oils. It’s a great touch up for the cuticles and is super hydrating without getting messy. I really like it.
  • Two polish removers I swear by are Deborah Lippmann The Stripper and Zoya Remove +. If you find your nails peel it may be because you’re using harsh polish removers. Both of these are super gentle and good for sensitive nails. Amy from Cafe Makeup recommended the Zoya remover to me years ago and as her nails always look pristine I took her advice and am forever grateful for this discovery.
  • Chanel Le Coton is one of my favorite facial cottons, it’s bit spendy to use for polish remover but it soaks up a lot so you can use one square for one hand for lighter polishes. Facial Cotton review and comparison here.
  • Sephora Collection Cotton Rounds are great because they’re cheap and don’t leave fibers behind which can be super annoying when you need to get the nail surface completely clean. Love these and have have lost count of how many times I’ve ordered these.

The DIY Manicure

Step 1

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 2 is optional, let the fingers soak with warm water and bit of hand soap to soften the cuticles. I absolutely love the Molton Brown Hand Washes – they smell amazing, don’t dry out the skin and I love the packaging.

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 3

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look BookDIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 4

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 5

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 6

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 7

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 8

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 9

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 10 – Color is OPI Be There in a Prosecco

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 11

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 12

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

A few personal notes on nail care. I’m not a manicurist or nail professional but based on my experience I think the only way to avoid breakage is to keep nails on the shorter side. I do believe there are a lot of nail strengtheners and sometimes nail hardness depends on diet and health, but no matter what I do I can’t avoid breakage when they get long. For me playing frisbee always breaks my nails. On tip wear your mileage will vary depending on hand activity and nail length. The longer the nails the easier it is for the tips to come in contact with things like a keyboard or anything else you touch and therefore they get more wear than shorter nails. If you have broken chips, hang nails, cuts or any issue I highly recommend that you try to get them fixed by a professional manicurist – the few visits to get them to a healthy state is well worth the splurge. Also depending on hand or foot activities a salon can work wonders. I did ballet from the time I was 7 years old until 18 and my feet were badly calloused for years. I didn’t think there was anything I could do to get them fixed to a normal state. I did not get my first mani or pedi until I was 21 and was amazed at how much it improved my feet. It took about a year of regular pedicures every other week or so to get them into a presentable state.

Also a note on gel nails, I’ve never had my nails with gels so I can’t give any advice or input on those.

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials for a DIY Manicure

An extra step that I just started doing is masking my hands. I used on a few occasions the Glamglow Thirsty Mud Mask and SK-II Facial Treatment Mask on hands and afterwards it was like years had been lifted. I don’t know that I have the patience to do this on a regular basis but on super dry skin days with the dry weather this helped a lot.

I hope you found this roundup helpful! With nail care there are so many options to try – the fancy packaging and pretty bottles are always so tempting at the store. I get overwhelmed at Ulta and whip out my phone to look for online reviews, realize it’s going to take too much time to research and end up sticking with what I’ve tried and loved.

If you have any favorites, tips or tricks please share in the comments! My advice is practice makes perfect! It does take time and there were many times in the beginning I just gave up and ended up going to my salon because it would be faster and more efficient for them to take 40 minutes to an hour to do them rather than try to finish myself. I gave up many many times. Eventually I got better and can do both hands easily at home on my own. I still get professional manicures when time allows. I would say over the past year for reference that the vast majority of the nail polish reviews I did were done on my own. Ballpark figure is over 80% of the nail swatches were done on my own.

Press samples include the Molton Brown Alba White Truffle duo and Louboutin Loubi Nail Kit.

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Christian Louboutin Nail Polish

Christian Louboutin Loubichrome Mini Nail Colours

January 27, 2017

Louboutin Loubichrome Nail Polishes | The Beauty Look Book

Earlier this month Christian Louboutin launched mini nail polishes called Loubichrome Nail Colours ($30 each, 6 ml/0.2 fl oz). There are three colors in this launch with new limited-edition packaging where the tops have rainbow chrome-like tints. The colors are all shimmery with light-reflecting particles described as having a chrome finish. When it comes to metallics or chromes for the nails I’m super hesitant to try many brands mainly because of the streaking you can see with noticeable brush strokes. With the Loubichromes there is no streaking whatsoever – the shimmer is smooth and colors areΒ  easy to apply. Pigment is excellent with two coats. Right now the Loubichromes are the most exciting thing in nail polish for me with colors that are fun, unique and cheerful.

This is the first time Louboutin has launched the minis individually. (Minis versus full-size shown in this post here.) These run at a lower $30 price point which is easier to justify compared to the $50 price tag of the original/regular sizes. Still at $30 each these are very expensive – but quality-wise these are excellent. Packaging is a work of art. With Louboutin nail polishes I find they wear extremely well and last around 5-7 days without any signs of tip wear or chipping. I use several different top coats, a few favorites include the CND Super Shiney, Louboutin Loubi Nail Gloss (c/o), or the Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat.

Louboutin Loubichrome Nail Polishes | The Beauty Look Book

The colors in the Loubichrome launch include:

  • Loubichrome I is described as an energetic yellow infused with lime green
  • Loubichrome II is described as a fiery rosy red
  • Loubichrome III is described as a glistening violet

Loubichrome I is the most edgy color, I rarely ever wear yellows or greens on the nails. This one is very much outside my comfort zone but I think it could be a fun shade for the summertime. Performance is perfect in terms of application and pigment. Swatched with two coats.

Louboutin Loubichrome I Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Loubichrome I Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Loubichrome II is my favorite. It’s a metallic warm red rose color. I don’t own many shimmery soft reds, I have quite a few metallic pinks and fuchsia colors. This one has a pretty warmth to it and it’s a color I think I could wear year round. Swatched with two coats.

Louboutin Loubichrome II Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Loubichrome II Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Loubichrome III is a really pretty iridescent violet. It flashes purple, pink, violet and has the most amazing metallic sheen to it. It’s definitely not a conservative color but it’s still very wearable. Swatched with two coats.

Louboutin Loubichrome III Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book
Louboutin Loubichrome III Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Loubichrome Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line: well made, beautiful but spendy. My favorite is the red one Loubichrome II, but all three shades are fun with a summery vibe. Loubichrome I is the most trendy color and I’ve tried yellow polishes in the past but don’t think I’m the type that can pull it off. I can definitely see myself getting regular use out of the purple one in the summer. I’m wearing it right now on the fingers and think it’s really pretty. It’s a nice change from the nudes and light pinks I’ve been wearing lately. I’ve been asked numerous times if these are worth the high price tag. My answer and thoughts discussed in this post here. Personal thoughts and feelings are still the same.

The Louboutin Loubichromes retail for $30 each, all limited-edition. You can find them at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-A-Porter and Christian Louboutin. Have you tried these? What did you think? If not, what are you loving for the nails right now?

Loubichromes sent courtesy of Christian Louboutin for review.