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Cle de Peau Beaute

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Bergdorf Goodman Rewarding Beauty Event 9/15 to 9/18

September 15, 2016
There’s a promotion happening now at Bergdorf Goodman called the Rewarding Beauty Event. It’s available in store and online where you receive savings off purchases in three tiers. If you’re shopping online use code BEAUTY at checkout (now through 9/18), savings are as follows:
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
I’ve teamed up with Bergdorfs to share a roundup of items I consider splurge-worthy in skincare, face basics and makeup. Many of these are tried and true staples but a few are newly launched items.

Up first are a few base favorites. I’m still in the process of testing foundation and frequently rotate product. For setting powders I prefer pressed because it’s less messy and just easier for me to use in general. Two holy grail setting powders for me are the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (I use #2) and Armani Luminous Silk Compact (I use #4). Both work well to set foundation, they’re great for touchups, they add just the right amount of coverage to smooth the skin without getting cakey or darkening.

For concealer, I’ve tried a number and have quite a few favorites, but if I were pressed to pick just one for the rest of my life it would be Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. There is a reason why this one has reached cult status. It nearly killed me to spend this much the first round, but it lasts forever, a little goes a long way, and coverage is perfect. At my lightest I used to use Beige. About a year ago they added a few more shades so I found Almond to be a good match. Right now that I’m tan Ochre is best for me. I’ll repost swatches of all the shades that I did a year ago.

For the face two of the most unique luminous cheek products include the Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush (reviewed here) and Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders (reviewed here). I’ve reviewed both in detail and will include swatches below for reference. The Marc Jacobs Air Blush melds beautifully with the skin and gives a natural glow of color. The Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders are just the prettiest powders I’ve ever seen. They’ll add shimmer without being frosted.

Marc Jacobs Air Blush:


Edward Bess Threads of Silk:

For lips plums and mauves are always what I’m in the mood for during the summer to fall transition. Left to right are:

For eyes, two staples are the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes, favorites include Pink Haze and Platinum. I already own the original Pink Haze from a while ago that was in a larger pot. When I saw this one pop up online I did not realize I already owned it until my order arrived. It’s a pretty pink color you can use as a wash without getting a pink eye look. If you need something more neutral Platinum is my favorite base shade. If you remember when Tom Ford launched new quads during the spring, Honeymoon sold out and was gone for months. It’s now back and has the perfect mix of warm shimmery colors for fall.

Next up are skincare splurges and staples. I really don’t like spending a lot on skincare but sometimes one just has to. The best affordable line for me is Kate Somerville. I could do an entire dedicated post on the items I use and love from her line, but for now three things I swear by include:

  • Gentle Daily Wash which is the best daily cleanser for me that won’t strip the skin
  • Dry Skin Saver (formerly known as her Eczema Cream) is something you can use on face and body and really does work to calm flare ups, soothe skin, moisturize and for me it reduces redness from irritation, when my skin gets irritated on the legs or arms sometimes it feels tight from the dryness and I don’t want to put anything on it because products often sting when my skin flares up, this one never stings for me
  • Nourish Daily Moisturizer never lets me down and her moisturizers in the tubs come with the most innovative push pump dispenser so you don’t have to worry about dipping hands or fingers into the container
In terms of luxury skincare I’ve had luck with La Mer and SK-II even though I am always reluctant to splurge due to the high price tag. I can say these are worth the splurge and I know many of my friends and probably some of you will agree.

  • La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream has been a favorite for me, it’s a softer and lighter weight version of the regular cream (which is too heavy for me), I did not want to splurge on this so for a long time I lived off minis I got as GWPs, this is worth the splurge! For summer I’ve had to use this sparingly because even though it’s lighter than the cream in hot humid weather it can get a bit heavy feeling.
  • La Mer Soft The Moisturizing Soft Lotion is one of La Mer’s latest launches, it’s been out for a few months and it took me a while to decide whether or not to buy it because it does come with a hefty price tag, for me it’s almost identical in performance to the Moisturizing Soft Cream, but it’s a bit more fluid and comes with a pump. I’m all about the packaging and pump as I really don’t like dipping fingers into cream pots. After using this one skin feels noticeably softer by the next few days even though I only use this for day time. If I had to pick the Soft Cream or Soft Lotion, I would say I have a slight preference for the Soft Lotion.
  • La Mer The Tonic is the toner I’ve repurchased the most in my adult life, it never fails me, doesn’t strip the skin but at the same time makes sure skin is clean and rebalanced .
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks are my weakness when it comes to sheet masks, I love that they are soft and feel cool upon application, skin is always left brighter and refreshed, if I could afford to use these every day I would.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is something some may find silly to splurge on, but they are worth every penny, they’re thick but soft and don’t leave tiny fibers in my eyes when I use them to remove mascara or eyeliner, I’ve lost count of how many boxes I’ve bought and hope they never discontinue them.

I’ll be posting swatches and reviews of Tom Ford AW16 and Edward Bess Lipsticks over the next two days so you can take advantage of the savings if you’re buying sight unseen.

In the meantime I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you end up ordering anything let me know in the comments 🙂 I always love hearing about your hauls and picks. Some of you have asked for a “best of …” series. This roundup was a little teaser with a few categories. If more of you are interested let me know in the comments and what categories you’d like to see.

To recap, enter code BEAUTY at checkout if you’re shopping online at Bergdorf Goodman. Promotion runs through September 18th.
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
Many thanks to Bergdorf Goodman for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the Edward Bess Lipsticks and Powders, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer, Tom Ford Platinum Eyeshadow and Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer + Air Blushes.
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Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Liquid Rouge Review

August 16, 2016

Clé de Peau Beauté launched a new lip product for fall called Radiant Liquid Rouge ($48 each for 5.5 ml/0.18 oz). These are luxurious lip lacquers with medium-full rich coverage and a glossy sheen. The texture is smooth and once they set on the lips they thicken a bit into a more gel-like finish. I picked up four shades at the counter, neutrals/natural shades of course in 11, 12, 13 and 14. For those curious about the other shades in the lineup, Bubbly Michelle has the entire collection for fall swatched (8 lip colors total).

The Radiant Liquid Rouge comes with a sponge-tip applicator in a very sturdy tube. I’m not entirely sure what the base packaging is made of but it feels like it could be glass. The colors I picked are suitable for everyday wear if you like natural colors. They do have a soft perfumed scent but it’s not too strong. Lasting power wise they stay put relatively well for a liquid lip lacquer and fade evenly. They have a hydrating feel to them although I am not sure they have any skincare properties in them.
  • 11 is a peachy beige cream. It does take a bit of blending and swiping on my pigmented lips to smooth out. I apply one layer, let it set, and then apply a second thin layer to smooth out the color. A lip brush can also help.
  • 12 is a medium rose brown cream, on my complexion it pulls a bit warmer, but on my arm it’s more of a neutral kind of shade
  • 13 is a cool shimmering rose. This pulls bright and slightly cool but has enough rose to balance out the cool undertone.
  • 14 is a pinky peach cream. This is the only one I had issues with streaks but I suspect those with lighter lip tones or those who can easily wear these kinds of colors will have no issue. For me this is one of those super high-maintenance shades that contrasts with my natural lip tone and therefore looks streaky. I personally prefer the Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Tiny Pink which is similar but less streaky on my lips.
A look at the shades in sunlight to better show the colors:

Two sets of comparison swatches in an attempt to find dupes:

Set two of swatch comparisons:

Out of all the shades I bought, I am most smitten with 11 the nude peach beige and 13 the shimmering pink rose. 12 is nice to have and I suspect better suited for fall due to the brown undertones. 14 is high maintenance for me – it takes a lot of work to get streak-free, but once it’s properly blended on my lips the color is really pretty. I don’t own a lot of Cle de Peau items – I tend to avoid the line because of the high price points, but I’ve been happy with everything I have tried from the line. The Cotton Pads are among the best I’ve tried (why I think so in this post here) and it’s one I will never stop buying (it’s well worth the splurge, although they have gone up in price since I reviewed them).

While at the counter I was seriously tempted by the new Luminizing Face Enhancer in Almond. It had a really pretty glowy sheen to it. I have a few other shades that I’ve bought and really like. I stick to my original assessment that I think the price point is just too much (even if you just buy the refills) but it’s one of those products I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with if you splurge. Given the vast number of highlighters I own I decided to pass.

As for the Radiant Liquid Rouge, I think one or two are well worth the splurge. The formula and pigment is top notch and I can’t really fault 14 because of my pigmented lips. As fall collections and launches start to trickle in, I’m sure there will be a number of new lip products coming out. Fall always seems to be the season for new lip formulas. You may want to wait a few weeks as September is just around the corner when most of the fall collections will be out.

I’ll be reviewing my picks from the Louboutin Loubilaque line soon, quick takeaway to compare the Louboutin vs Cle de Peau Beaute is that I prefer the Louboutin finish and coverage, but both are really good.

You can find the Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Liquid Rouge now. Available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Clé de Peau Beauté.

Have you tried these yet? What colors did you test or buy?
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Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

May 10, 2016

Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of my favorite tried-and-true skincare products for spring – ones that I find particularly good for my super sensitive skin. When it comes to skincare I like to rotate through different products depending on the season and how my skin feels during a particular moment in time but many of you have asked for a list of my most re-purchased beauty items so I’m sharing a roundup of some of those items with you today. I just turned 35 and anti-aging is a big focus for me. For right now my main concerns with skincare are finding products that have anti-aging ingredients, help maintain a healthy glow and most importantly help keep texture smooth.

First up is my favorite toner of all time which is the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. It’s which is one of the skincare items I find essential to my daily routine. Having a good toner keeps the skin clear and break-out free by removing dirt, dead skin cells or any remnants of soap/cleanser residue on the skin that may remain after washing the face. The SK-II toner helps rebalance or soothe my skin. It works wonders to help smooth texture, makes it feel clean, isn’t sticky, makes pores smaller, softens the complexion, doesn’t irritate and doesn’t leave a film but still hydrates. I’ve purchased numerous bottles and no matter what other toners I try, I keep coming back to this one.

Using cleansing oils to double cleanse is also really important to help me have clear skin. I alternate between cleansing waters and cleansing oils to remove face makeup as a first step, then follow with a regular liquid or clay cleanser. I’ve found a lot of loves for cleansing oil, but the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil is the best for sensitive skin. It took me a long time to decide to splurge on this one because it’s on the pricey side. There are definitely a lot of more affordable options that will work just as well (even for sensitive skin) but the one from SK-II has one of the most pleasant unique smells that is soothing. It almost has a cushiony feel when you apply it to the face. It’s soothing, emulsifies well with warm water, removes all traces of face makeup without leaving any residue. I feel like I’m hypersensitive to any kind of residue from makeup removers and this one leaves the skin feeling softly hydrated and clean but not tight and there’s no film leftover.

Finding a good facial cotton is important to me because tiny little fibers often stick to my lashes and irritate my eyes. The Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is hands down worth the splurge and my most repurchased face cotton since discovering. Many have said in previous posts they feel that the Shiseido Facial Cotton is identical for a fraction of the price. I’ve tried both and used Shiseido for a long time (I still do). I personally didn’t believe there would be a difference either – I’m glad I gave it a chance because it’s thicker and more sturdy while still being super soft. The size is perfect to remove all face makeup and eye makeup with 1 pad while with other brands I find I often have to use 2-3 to remove eye makeup and then all the face makeup.

Another game changer for me has been the Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment Swaps. These are the one-time-use on-the-go version of the original Kate Somervillle Eradikate Acne Treatment (which comes in a bottle). These contain the highest level of sulfur allowed to treat acne and it really helps keep skin clear of new breakouts – if I feel one surfacing I use this at night because of the pink tint and it helps dry out the area without making it sting or peel. The full size bottle is a better buy but the individually packaged swabs are super easy to use, convenient and you can take them anywhere with you. These work on my husband’s skin too. He uses them on a regular basis for spot treatments. Really anything in the Eradikate line is good. I’ve tried several items during a few Kate Somerville facials – the Eradikate Mask Foam is amazing!

It took me a long time to get into beauty oils because I felt like a regular cream just felt better on the skin. However two I swear by are the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil. Both recommended to me by Beauty Look Book readers and friends. With so many raves I knew I had to try them and I’m glad I did. There have been a few oils that were too rich for my skin and caused tiny bumps (a few from Lancome and some other brands) so I’m always very nervous to put these on my skin. My personal go-to is still the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil which I’ve used up entirely and repurchased but several of my friends who tried it said it wasn’t hydrating enough. I have normal combination skin (not oily though). Friends with normal to dry skin said they needed something more and I had them test out the Kiehl’s and Kate Somerville as well. Both are really good at restoring the skin’s moisture but are quick to absorb. They leave the skin feeling well hydrated without the greasy feel and both are suitable for super sensitive skin. For me and a couple of my friends – no break outs, no irritation and no clogging with these.

The Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate has antioxidants to protect the skin from daily pollutants. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing. I find it suitable for my combination skin but if you’re on the oily side you may find it too rich. The Kate Somerville Dilo Oil helps restore the skin’s moisture but has a firming feel to it. It smooths the skin’s appearance and helps reduce fine lines and has the most amazing scent ever.

For the lips many of you know I’m a lip balm addict but am also highly allergic to some formulas (like the one from Kiehl’s unfortunately). The AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is my favorite unscented and unflavored no fuss option. If you want one that’s easy to use and adds a good amount of hydration without feeling too goopy or too runny, this is the perfect in between.

Last but not least – the two best anti-aging skincare products I’ve tried that help with my skin’s surface texture are the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (for day) and DermalQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol (for night). Both have been featured before on the blog. The original DermalQuench is something I use every other day to daily. It’s designed to help combat wrinkles and sagging and although I don’t have sagging yet, I do have some forehead wrinkles and firmness under the eyes has started to decrease. With regular use the daytime DermalQuench has noticeably improved my skin’s texture and radiance – skin is smoother and it does feel firmer without feeling tight.

The DermalQuench with Retinol is gentle enough for my sensitive skin to use nightly and it’s worked wonders with skin discoloration from acne scars – although I will say my scars aren’t too bad but linger for a while. This works over time to even out the skin tone, brightness and texture. It helps with fine lines – I’ve tried to convince my husband to use it because he’s developed more fine lines around the eyes (sides and underneath). He tried it for a week and I think it helped his skin too, but he hasn’t been disciplined in using it although I think it would really help his skin as well.

On the nails, Tom Ford Sugar Dune

I hope you found this roundup helpful! I feel like I have quite a few favorites – enough to repurchase items on a regular basis, but these are my absolute favorites for sensitive skin. Let me know in the comments if you’re looking for any other recommendations or want another roundup post. I don’t think I’ve ever done a full skincare routine post since my routine changes frequently but if you’re interested I can definitely put one together.

Do you have any tried-and-true skincare that you love? Ones you’ve repurchased multiple times? If yes please share in the comments!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

Roundup

My Favorite At-Home Pamper Essentials

April 22, 2016

I have a roundup of things I wanted to share that I find best for at-home pampering. I try to take care of my skin on a daily basis but try to give it extra care on the weekends – kinda like doing a DIY at home spa session for a good reset or cleanse. There are a few body products I’ve been meaning to write about for a while – ones I found well worth the splurge. I’ve included several recommendations by category – there’s no one product fits all so I’ve tried to cover a variety of options in case you’re looking for something specific whether it’s to purify skin, firm the skin, etc.

Cleansers


  • Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap is probably one of the most expensive face cleansing products I’ve ever bought. I’ve gone through 4 of these – I probably would have purchased more if it came with a cheaper price tag. It gives the skin a very thorough cleanse without leaving a film. It cleans out all the pores and leaves skin feeling squeaky clean. When I feel like my face is getting clogged this helps clear up the complexion. With daily use 2x a day a single bar lasts about 4 months.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser has been mentioned before in my spring cleanser roundup. I really can’t rave enough about this – I used mine up so I stocked up on a few more during the Sephora sale earlier this month. It cleanses the skin and helps keep it clear but gentle enough for daily use.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (c/o) is a super gentle milk cleanser that won’t leave a film. I really don’t like milk cleansers because I often find them too rich for my skin type and they rarely leave my face feeling fully clean. A few of you mentioned you have really sensitive skin – this is a good one to try. It does give the face a good cleanse without drying it out. I still do a double cleanse with this one in the evenings (I remove all my makeup first with a cleansing oil or cleansing water), but in the morning it’s perfect to use alone.
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is one of my favorite purifying cleansers. I’ve gone through several bottles and it’s one I keep going to. In hot summer months I can use this daily (usually in the late afternoon or evenings, or post work out), for now I like to use it weekly to help give the skin a thorough cleanse. It helps reduce redness and irritation too.

Masks


  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment is hands down one of the most effective clearing face masks. It does have a tingle feeling when you apply it but it’s not too strong and doesn’t irritate the skin. It sucks out impurities and leaves the skin feeling super firm and tight.
  • Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment is one of the newer masks from Glamglow. This one you leave on the face for 20-30 minutes and peel off. I normally don’t like masks that require more than 15 minutes of application because I’m super impatient with skincare, but this one is worth the extra time. It is more on the gentle side for a firming mask and I feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term, but it does leave the skin feeling super firm and lifted.
  • Aesop Parsley Seed Mask is the best purifying mask for my sensitive skin. It dries up the gunk in your skin and leaves it feeling thoroughly clean and tight. Many have mentioned to me that their skin cannot handle the Glamglow because they find it too harsh. If that is the case and you still want a purifying mask to draw out impurities, try the Aesop.
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate is one of the most gentle acne-clearing masks. It works in a similar way to the other clarifying masks mentioned above but is super gentle and non-irritating. It won’t leave the skin feeling tight. It’s gentle enough to use daily – I wouldn’t recommend using it every single day, but on weeks where I have some breakouts, I use this nightly for about 4-5 nights and it really helps clear up the skin.
Body

I usually don’t splurge on body products. I typically keep things simple with L’Occitane or Nuxe, but I’ve discovered some new-to-me things that I am really excited to share with you.


  • Chanel Fresh Body Cream is something I’m beyond obsessed with. It’s one of the most expensive body products I’ve ever bought and it’s a bit hard to find (you can’t find it at all counters). You can basically find this at any store or counter that sells the Exclusifs Fragrances. It’s a super gentle body cream that smells really fresh but won’t interfere with perfumes. I like to use this at night before bed because I have a sensitive nose and scents sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. This one is soothing enough that it doesn’t interfere with my sleep. It’s hydrating and non-greasy. I will keep repurchasing this one for as long as they make it.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique Body Cream is another pricey splurge but I adore the Bal D’Afrique scent I had to try it in the body cream. This one is super emollient and has a body butter feel which is super lush. A little goes a long way and the moisture lingers for an emollient feel. You can definitely feel the moisture after you apply but it’s not greasy. That being said if you need a body product to have a dry-down you may find this too rich.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body is another favorite. I’ve featured this a few times in past years. It has all the moisturizing and soothing qualities of items from the regular Shea line but it’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. Anytime I have irritation or flare ups – I use this and skin is instantly soothed. I love that it’s non greasy, gentle, but effective.
  • NARS Monoii Body Glow II is the ultimate scented tiare body oil that makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. It lifts the mood instantly and absorbs quickly into the skin. There’s no greasy feel or residue after it’s absorbed into the skin. I’m about 99% happy with this one – if it came with a pump dispenser it would be perfect.
Home Fragrance


  • Lumira Travel Candles (c/o) are super compact and cute, I love having a few scattered around the house to burn. To date I don’t think I’ve brought a candle with me while I travel but there are times when I have traveled that I wish I had one with me. I’m trying my best to save the mini ones for my next trip. My favorite from their line is the Tahitian Coconut.
  • Lumira Mini Destinations Box Set (c/o) launched over the holiday a boxed trio of the most popular scents from the line in Tuscan Fig, Cuban Tobacco, Persian Rose. I just finally started burning Tuscan Fig today – it’s amazing and smells of sweet figs (Diptyque’s Figuier by comparison is greener). Top notes are fig leaves and fig tree, middle notes are blackcurrant and cedarwood, base is iris and musk.
  • Diptyque Gingembre Room Spray (c/o) was reviewed a month ago (I can’t believe an entire month has gone by). I won’t repeat the review but it’s a really nice bright and cheery kind of home scent.
  • Diptyque Colored Candle in Baies (c/o) is a classic. The larger size gives this one a stronger throw compared to the smaller ones. Don’t forget if you have any Diptyque on your wishlist you can save online at Space NK US by using my special promo code through May 1st.

Lips
I have very sensitive lips when it comes to lip treatments. There are quite a few very popular options that make my lips go numb (Kiehl’s, CO Bigelow, Chapstick etc.) so that may give you an idea of just how sensitive they are. The ones below are Beauty Look Book approved. Of course it’s not a list of all the ones I’ve tested or like, but ones I like most for right now.


  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm is a great lip treatments that is also affordable. It’s emollient and I love the simple classic squeeze tube packaging.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed is my current favorite for the most moisturizing lip treatment to help with dry or cracked lips (swatched in this post here and here).
  • AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is one I just used up (review from winter in this post here), it’s the best scent and taste-free lip treatment I’ve tried. Most others have some kind of scent or flavor. If you’re really sensitive to any scent, I’d recommend you try this one.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur in Coral Stellar is one of the prettiest tinted lip treatments I’ve tried. Review + swatches here. It’s worth the splurge.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is a good lip treatment but I do think it’s overpriced for what you get. That being said I’ve never regretted buying this one and if you’re willing to splurge it’s a good gentle one that always soothes my lips. (More on this compared to others in this post here.)
If you’re looking for something to help reset the skin, calm the complexion or give your body an extra boost of moisture, I hope you found this roundup helpful! I have super sensitive skin and there are some body lotions and creams that cause an immediate allergic reaction (I always do a patch test first). If a good purifying mask is what you have been looking for but want something suitable for sensitive skin I hope the recs above help you find something gentle enough for your skin type!

What are your favorite at-home pampering products? I really love hearing about your favorites. So many of you have recommended some great things for me to try. I’m pretty set on masks but I do have my eye on a few sheet masks. I’m intrigued by mainly the two from La Mer – if you’ve tried them should I go for the Brightening Facial Masks or Hydrating Sheet Masks? Or should I wait for the Eve Lom Brightening Sheet Mask to launch in the US?

I hope you had a great week! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

Base Makeup Roundup

Concealer Rotation – Fall Edition

October 28, 2015

Today I have a roundup of concealers I’ve been putting to the test. It’s been a year since I last did a concealer rotation. Since my summer trip to Europe back in June I’ve gotten a few shades darker than normal so my go-to favorites Clé de Peau Beauté in Almond and NARS Ginger no longer matched my skin. Several months ago one of my friends asked me about my favorite concealers which include Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS and Edward Bess. Those three brands also happen to be her favorites but she wanted to try something new and so began my hunt for something new that would perform as well if not better than my tried and true. This post has been several months in the making. It took me weeks of testing and swatching with several trips to the counter to find matches. Finding a shade can be tricky depending on what you want to conceal. Also some oxidize in color so a swatch of color that is an exact match might turn out to be too dark after it sets.

I put five new-to-me concealers to the test from Charlotte Tilbury, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever and Chanel. In addition I’ve added a feature on the Surratt Surreal Skin Concealer (I bought this last spring but never reviewed it) and I’ve included the Clé de Peau Beauté and YSL Touche Éclat for swatches in the roundup. Most brands have more than one type of concealer formula. I looked for ones with a creamy texture that blended easily on the skin without emphasizing lines. I prefer medium to full coverage with a smooth looking finish. Ideally I would like something with 100% full coverage but finding an exact match is tricky and I often find full coverage concealers too thick.

Below from left to right:
  • Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Concealer ($50 for 0.06 oz) in #5 is the most expensive concealer I’ve tried in the per oz sense. It comes in a twist up stick form and has sheer to medium coverage. I found 5 to be a good match but the coverage is minimal and texture is on the dry side. If you have oily skin or find that you only need a tiny bit of brightening/coverage this one is good, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. I will use it to the end though.
  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70 for 5 g/.17 oz) in Almond is one of my all time favorite concealers. It’s extremely pricey but well worth the splurge. It covers under the eye really well, doesn’t cake, lasts all day and blends really well. The trick is to warm it up with the fingers to apply. If you apply it cold and straight from the tube, it can look thick. A little goes a long way and my tube has lasted forever without going bad (one lasted 2 years).
  • Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick ($35 for 3.5 ml/0.12 fl oz) in #3 is a new concealer to me. It’s one that’s been on my radar for a long time but I’m usually not a fan of click-type brushes because they seem so unsanitary to me. This is my new favorite. It conceals and brightens dark circles like magic. It blends into a creamy smooth finish. It stays put although you do need to set with powder. It works wonders on spots as well. This has a skincare element to hydrate and plump the skin. I’m in love.
  • YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Concealer ($42 for 0.1 oz) in 5.5 is a classic I’ve been using on and off. I found it worked under the eyes to brighten and conceal but in a very natural minimal way. Coverage is sheer to medium. If you don’t have a lot you need to cover under the eyes and need just a tad of brightening this is good. For me as I get older I find I need and prefer more coverage (I’m 34 right now). For spot coverage this doesn’t do much.
  • Bare Minerals bareSkin Concealer ($20 for 6 ml/0.20 fl oz) in Medium-Golden and Tan were both pleasant surprises. I say they surprised me because the color range look liked it skipped my match. Medium-Golden is my current match for under eyes. It covers smoothly and has a thinner texture making it feel truly weightless. Under the eyes it makes the skin look smooth. There’s no caking or emphasizing of lines. It is on the creamy side so if you have super oily skin it might be too dewy for you. It has a slight glow without looking too glowy that makes the face look younger with brightness. It held up well in the high 80 degree heat for me (I set it with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder).
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28 for 5 ml/0.16 fl oz) in Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm is something that is raved about by so many. I was matched in store to Med-Dark Warm. It’s one that is a perfect match on my skin but darkens after 5 minutes. In store I tried both the Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm, one on each side. The artist who matched me said she thought the darker one was better. I’m actually in between shades for under eyes. I prefer the lighter option for the eye area and the darker one for spot cover. Texture is thin but creamy. It lasts all day without caking, creasing, fading or drying out. I would say the color selection is pretty limited and the colors do oxidize. If you can test this in store – see how it wears throughout the day before picking a color.
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32 for 15 ml/0.5 fl oz) in 7 and 8 are two shades I picked up from Sephora. I also tested these, one on each side. The artist said she thought 8 was better. The product does darken slightly, but not as much as the Urban Decay. I bought 8 originally and asked my husband what he thought. He thought it looked like an exact match but I felt it made my face look sallow and tired (for under eyes). I ordered 7 which I found to be better for under the eyes and which will be a good match for other areas as I lose my tan. 8 works perfectly for spot coverage. If you want something that covers spots really well and looks seamless by blending into the skin this one is really quite amazing.
  • Chanel Correcteur Perfection Concealer ($42 for 7.5 g/0.26 oz) in 30 Beige is something I gave a try recently. Chanel concealers seem to have gone through several reformulations over the years. I’ve never really been a huge fan but it’s mainly because I’m always matched to colors that are way too pale for what I should be wearing. I know everyone has their own take on how to match concealer, but I really don’t like having my under eye area 2-3 shades lighter than the rest of my face. In this case I’m again, in between shades. I bought 30 although I really should have passed on this one. The consistency and coverage is really good. Right now 30 is just the slightest bit too dark for under eyes but 20 is definitely too light.

Swatched side by side:

I spent hours researching concealer shades and swatches before going to the counter. Even if a makeup artist offers to match me, I still like to test multiple shades to see how they compare. Half the time I’m mis-matched and researching swatches ahead of time helps me know what to look for. I was able to swatch most of the shades side by side for reference. The only line I skipped was Make Up For Ever because the 3 stores I went to each were missing testers of multiple shades.

Surratt Beauty concealers come in a small twist up tube, there are currently eight shades, each color has a number as the name:

Cle de Peau Beaute comes in a twist-up tube, there are currently 6 shades:

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher comes in a brush wand style, you twist the base to click up product (similar to Stila Lip Glazes), there are 10 shades available:

YSL Touche Eclat (unit was missing 1.5) comes with a brush tip that dispenses product when you push the base, there are 10 shades available at Sephora. Some other retailers also have shade #6. The colors swatched side by side seem odd because they don’t appear to go from lightest to darkest. Even after doing a lot of research, making sense of the options, colors and undertones can still be confusing. I took a photo of the display and double checked each pen to make sure they were in the correct slot before swatching in numerical order:

Bare Mienrals bareSkin Concealer comes in a wand with a sponge tip applicator, there are six colors currently available:

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer comes with a sponge tip applicator in a tube, there are eight shades available, I like that they have neutral and warm options in some of the shades:

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer comes in a squeeze tube, the formula is really concentrated so a little goes a long way, unfortunately none of the stores I visited had testers of all the colors so I wasn’t able to swatch all the shades. There are 12 shades available, but they some skip numbers, it goes from 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 to 20.
Chanel Correcteur Perfection comes in a long tube with a sponge tip applicator. This one wins for the prettiest packaging, there are six shades available:

In terms of applying concealer, these days I like to use the fingers to pat and blend. If you prefer tools, three tools I really like are the Sephora Hakuhodo Concealer Brush, Chanel #10 and beautyblender micro.mini (previous reviews linked for reference).

In testing a number of different brands of concealer I have indeed found a few new favorites. To sum up my thoughts:
  • My top two favorites for under eye are the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher and Bare Minerals bareSkin concealers, they brighten the face, cover dark circles really well and both last all day on me
  • Best spot cover product is the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin wins for best multi-purpose concealer, but shades darken/oxidize and color selection is pretty limited
  • Surratt Beauty was the most disappointing for me, mainly because it didn’t have the coverage I was looking for and texture is on the dry side
  • Chanel would win if the color selection was more diverse (I’m in between shades, and based on my swatches I suspect many of you will fall in between shades or outside of the range completely)
If I had to recommend you check out only one, the Charlotte Tilbury wins for new ones that I’ve tested, but my heart still belongs to Cle de Peau Beaute. The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is still a formula that I really like for under the eye and spot treatment, but after looking at all the colors I found the next shades up from Ginger to be either too pink or too dark. (Café Makeup has an amazing post with swatches of all the NARS concealer shades swatched here.)

In case you’re new to any of these brands, I’ve listed some of the retailers where you can find the following brands:

What’s your go-to concealer right now? As always I would love to hear about your favorites or what you’ve been testing right now. Do you use the same for under eye and spots? Or do you have different colors/brands you use?

The Bare Minerals concealers were provided as press samples for review consideration.
All others purchased by me.

Uncategorized

Favorite Face Cotton Pads

May 22, 2015

For many years I was a loyal user of Shiseido Face Cotton. Even though it’s more expensive than the cotton pads you find at drug stores, I found it significantly softer in texture, relatively thick and dense and didn’t disintegrate with makeup remover. I like to use it on the face to remove makeup or for skin toners. For nail polishes I mainly use drug store rounds from Rite Aid although quality isn’t consistent among all the options, many leave tiny bits of fibers on the face, so I save them for polish removal. Out of curiosity and raves from friends, I started exploring more options over the past few years. Today I have a roundup of the five cotton pads I like to rotate between. I’ve stocked up on several since I go through these quickly.

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Chanel Le Coton ($20 for 100 pads) are the largest cotton pads I’ve bought. I purchased a box of the Chanel at a makeover event to qualify for the gift with purchase they were offering and fell head over heels in love. The Chanel is larger and thicker in size compared to the Shiseido. I find it sturdier but still very gentle on the skin. The square is large enough that I can use one half for my dual-phase eye makeup removers and the other half for cleansing water for the rest of my face. Just when I found my holy grail of luxury cottons, Chanel discontinued it for a while which broke my heart. Thank goodness they brought it back. The thickness allows for just the right amount of toner or makeup remover to be absorbed and apply to the skin. This is by far my favorite. These come in a white box which helps keep the shape in tact and protects the cotton from getting smashed.

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A few friends told me to try the face cotton from Clé de Peau Beauté ($20 for 120 pads) stating it was the best thing they’ve ever used. A couple readers had e-mailed me too saying they thought I should try it so I did. It’s really quite amazing. It’s the thickest of all the cotton pads I’ve tried but still has a relatively tight weave making it sturdy. In terms of size it’s larger than Shiseido but smaller than Chanel. I like that these come in a box so they keep the shape.

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Shiseido Facial Cotton ($9.50 for 165 pads) is a classic staple. It’s soft but firm and won’t fall apart easily. One pad is sufficient for the entire face. It is thinner than Chanel or Cle de Peau Beaute though. These come in a soft plastic casing without any support so make sure you store them away from things that can smash the package or else they will become smushed.

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Rite Aid and CVS have cotton pads that I buy frequently. Below are the Premium Cotton Rounds from Rite Aid. I prefer the ones with a vertical line weave at the top versus the honeycomb because I find those softer in texture and they also don’t leave any fibers on the face but I can’t always find those specific ones. These run around $3-$4 depending on the store and what sales they have going on.

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Sephora Collection Soft Touch Cotton Pads ($4 for 70 rounds) are softer than most drug store brands. Since they are smaller and thinner I usually need 2-3 rounds to remove my makeup entirely. For the price if you can get away with one pad these are really good although they are significantly thinner and not as plush as the Chanel, Shiseido or Cle de Peau. I had hoped these would be the same as the other luxury cotton rectangles at a cheaper price. They just aren’t the same.

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In summary, my top two picks are Chanel and Cle de Peau Beaute – it’s impossible for me to pick between the two. Shiseido is the next best option but still not as thick or plush and the smaller size means I have to use 2 pads on occasion. A quick reference on pricing and availability of each. You can find the cotton at a number of retailers, I’ll list places I’ve bought mine before:

Do you have a favorite facial cotton? What have you tried, liked or didn’t like?

Travel

Travel Beauty Picks for Spring

May 4, 2015

A couple weeks ago I attended the third rewardStyle conference in Dallas, Texas. It was such an amazing week and I was thrilled to meet so many incredible women, many of whom have been such a huge inspiration to me over the years. It was also great to discover and meet some new people. I loved hearing about how other bloggers got started blogging, their professional backgrounds, chatting about work/life/blog balance, and more. The week was packed with events, meetings and educational sessions but I managed to snap a few photos of my week there. Today I’m sharing the beauty items I brought with me. I waited to the last minute to pack my items and didn’t plan in advance (which is how I ended up bringing 3 mascaras with me and way too many brushes). I’ll go through what I packed, how I packed it and what I ended up using.

Quick snapshots from the rewardStyle conference. For more on the event, you can search the hashtag #rStheCon via social channels to see more of the festivities. One of the biggest highlights of my week was being able to hang out with Rachel from Beauty Professor (yay #bbloggers!):

Here’s how I packed the vast majority of my beauty items. I brought a lot of items with me, most were to use for day or night. Some items I brought with intent of finishing up some posts and product reviews. Due to the busy scheduling of meetings and events I didn’t get to complete the reviews I planned. Even though I brought a lot of items with me several pouches and brush holders helped keep everything compact and organized.

  1. Barneys New York Love Yourself 2015 gift with purchase bag is the perfect size to carry lots of compacts, lipsticks, tools, mascaras etc. I like that it’s large but sturdy. For travel I usually travel with my Bobbi Brown Train Case (shown here and here) but the Barneys Makeup Pouch fit into my suitcase better for this trip.
  2. Make Up For Ever Dany’s Pouch is a two-piece makeup pouch you can use to store brushes, pencils or mascara wands. It keeps the brush tips from getting smashed and when you travel it doubles as a brush holder.
  3. MustaeV Bloom Pouch (c/o) is something I received at The Makeup Show LA. The pouch comes in two sizes, small is shown above. Large version is shown here. These are flat zip pouches that come with a magnetic closure and a top that folds down so you can transform it into a brush holder. It’s an innovative makeup bag that stays relatively flat when you zip it making it slimmer and easier to slip into small spaces.
  4. Truffle Large Clarity Pouch (c/o) measures 10 inches by 12 inches. The see thru plastic makes it easy to see what’s inside so you don’t have to dig around bags to find things. The flat shape is flexible but I personally like to keep flat things inside so the material doesn’t become stretched. That being said, the Truffle bags are extremely sturdy so they tend to keep their shape.
  5. Quart-sized ziploc to keep all my liquids. I usually travel with one carry on and one personal item since I just find it easier to travel that way. My trips are usually on the shorter side so I can get away with one suitcase. 

The liquids, skincare, hair care and more:

I was able to fit all of these items in the quart sized bag. Most of these are minis I’ve been saving up for months from Sephora Beauty Insider offerings, online promo codes and gift with purchase events. A few brands I like offer travel items you can actually purchase. I wish more brands offered travel sizes you could buy or test out. Do you stock on up on minis to save for travel or do you use them as soon as you get them?
  1. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser mini gwp
  2. Caudalie Instant Detox Mask mini gwp
  3. MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel
  4. Bioderma travel size (review here)
  5. Lancome Bi-Facil travel size gwp
  6. Chanel Le Coton
  7. Q-Tips 
  8. Drybar The Chaser sample gwp
  9. Byredo Black Saffron mini sample gwp
  10. Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream travel size (c/o) 
  11. Cle de Peau Beaute Essential Correcting Refiner gwp
  12. Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist travel size (c/o) 
  13. Make up For Ever Instant Brush Cleaner travel size
  14. Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer gwp
  15. Bumble and Bumble Straight Blowdry Creme gwp
  16. Chanel Le Lift Creme gwp
  17. Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum gwp 
  18. Chanel Le Nuit sample gwp
  19. Chanel Sublimage Eye Cream gwp
For makeup, I packed summery colors with lots of shimmer. For cheeks, I layered the Tom Ford Cream blush with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting bronzer and blushes. To highlight I relied on Edward Bess’s Afterglow. For the eyes I primarily used the Tom Ford Cream and Powder Duos and the MAC Palette. Those two were sufficient to get me through the trip. I didn’t end up using the Burberry Shadows or any of the Cream Shadow Sticks I brought with me. 

  1. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger (review here)
  2. YSL Touche Eclat in 5.5 (swatched here)
  3. Chanel CC Cream in Beige 30 (review here)
  4. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Punjab (in mini empty sample jar I had on hand, review along with swatches here)
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Ibiza (review here)
  6. Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand (review here, c/o)
  7. Burberry Wet & Dry Glow Eyeshadows in Nude and Shell (review here, Shell c/o)
  8. MAC Warm Neutrals x15 Palette
  9. NARS Brow Perfector in Caucase
  10. Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Dune (swatched here)
  11. Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow in Caroube (review soon)
  12. By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Brown Perfection and Frozen Quartz
  13. Burberry Bold Lash Mascara (c/o) 
  14. Marc Jacobs O!Mega Lash Mascara (c/o) 
  15. Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch Mascara
  16. Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eyeshadow Duos (review here, c/o)
  17. Marc Jacobs Poutliner in Honeybun (reviewed here)
  18. Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow (swatched here)
  19. YSL Glossy Stain in Wet Nude (review here)
  20. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Reveuse (review soon)
  21. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze (review here)
  22. NARS x Christopher Kane Lip Gloss (review soon)

For brushes and tools, I brought some of my favorites along with the Make Up For Ever Instant Brush Cleaner. It gives a good quick clean but doesn’t give them a thorough washing like shampoo or traditional brush cleaners. Left to right includes:

Wayne Goss Holiday Brush (reviewed here)
old mascara wand I recycled for brows
Additional beauty items I brought with me:

  1. Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers (regular and evening versions)
  2. Misc hair ties
  3. Drybar Lemondrop Detangler Brush
  4. Lavanila Fresh Lemon Deoderant
  5. Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer
  6. GHD Flat Iron
  7. Drybar Hold Me Hair Clips
I definitely overpacked beauty items, but it’s something I almost always do. With the exception of foundation, I think I brought enough items to last a full month even though I was only traveling for a week. I used all of the liquids for skincare and haircare that I brought with me so I think those items were well packed (I relied on the hotel for other things like shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste). For makeup, I could have left 60% of the items at home. I did intend to swatch/review a lot of the items but should have known better that time and energy would be limited while traveling. For brushes I used fingers to apply foundation during the week so I could have skipped the cream foundation brush. All of the other brushes were used during the trip and I could have left the instant brush cleaner at home but I found it handy to clean off the eye brushes for a quick clean.
There were a lot of skincare items I wanted to bring with me but didn’t have small containers to pour out product into for travel. I know many of you have mentioned you buy small travel jars at Target or the Container Store for your travels, if you have any specific favs or other recommendations to store liquids or creams while you travel I would love to hear about them!
Do you travel a lot? If yes, how do you carry/store your beauty products? How do you edit what you bring with you? Are there any things you can’t be without when you travel? I can’t live without my hairdryer or flat iron so it usually goes with me on every trip even though they take up a lot of room in my suitcase.

P.S. For those planning a trip whether it’s overnight or for an extended period, the Tumi Just In Case duffle is a lifesaver in terms of packing. I usually end up bringing more items home with me than I took with me and the Tumi Just In Case Duffle is something that folds into a small pouch you can store in your suitcase. You can see the diagrams on the Tumi website to see how it works, but it’s a foldable sturdy nylon tote that has a their add-a-bag sleeve on the back so you can put it on the handles of your suitcase. 

Some items in this post were samples from gift with purchase events and some were press samples all of which are disclosed next to each listed item with a gwp or c/o note. The remainder items from my purchased by me.