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Darphin

Beauty Favorites Skincare

Summer Body Oils for Soft and Glowing Skin

June 26, 2017

Best Body Oils for Summer 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summary, thoughts and favorites:

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

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

 

Beauty Favorites Loving Right Now

Loving Right Now

June 8, 2017

Loving Right Now | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Thursday! Hope your week has been going well! I have a roundup of some things I’ve been loving right now along with a couple beauty sale/promo alerts for you. A few sales start today with good ones from Blue Mercury and Tatcha:

  • Bluemercury has a summer beautifully event from June 8th to June 12th with tiered savings:
    • Spend $100 and receive 10% off, use code SUMMER10
    • Spend $175 and receive 15% off, use code SUMMER15
    • Spend $250 and receive 20% off, use code SUMMER20
    • With orders $250+ you also get their complimentary Travel Essentials gift with purchase
    • Exclusions apply to all Tom Ford and Chanel products, spa services and gift cards
  • Tatcha is having a a summer savings event with 15% off site wide online at Tatcha.com, use code: SUMMER17 at checkout (valid one promotional code per household from June 8-15)
  • Neiman Marcus Camp Gorgeous has started, with any $100 purchase you get a tote with samples, individual lines have gifts as well
  • Nordstrom has some great beauty GWPs going on, there’s a good Kiehl’s one that I have my eye on
  • Darphin has 20% Friends and Family going on with orders $75+ using code MERCI at checkout, ends June 9th

First – I wrote about the La Mer Glowing Body Oil briefly and so many of you were bummed that it was sold out virtually everywhere. It’s restocked online at Bluemercury and La Mer. This is one I’d say GO BUY NOW. It’s a beautiful body oil that is wonderfully hydrating and gives the skin a luminous glow. The shimmer is very fine so it doesn’t look glittery on the skin. I took a few swatch photos below but because the shimmer is so tiny it’s pretty much impossible to see blended out. I’ve been a body oil kick and will have a roundup of the ones I’ve been testing soon. As a new Darphin lover I had to check out the new Darphin Soleil Plaisir Sultry Shimmering Oil (also found at my local Bluemercury, score!). It smells like a soft white floral. The shimmer in this one is also very fine and blends into the skin.

Darphin Soleil Plaisir and La Mer Glowing Body Oil | The Beauty Look Book

Darphin Soleil Plaisir and La Mer Glowing Body Oil | The Beauty Look Book

Darphin Soleil Plaisir and La Mer Glowing Body Oil | The Beauty Look Book

Continuing my NARS love, I finally gave the Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint a proper test. My initial thoughts were that I didn’t like it because the packaging caused product to ooze as soon I opened it, colors are very limited, and the one I picked looked orangey. Colors are still indeed very limited but Medium blends out to a perfect natural glow. I am completely obsessed (review + swatches soon). That being said I still love the NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Moritz because the color and finish is just perfect.

Of course the new Liquid Blush is on my love list (if you’re shopping the Blue Mercury event it’s also available here). Review + swatches in this post here in case you missed it. Torrid is my favorite although Luster and Orgasm are also good. A few of you asked me if I thought these were meant to compete with the Glossier Cloud Paints which was an interesting question. I don’t think so as the packaging is completely different and the NARS products are more pigmented and to me seem very true to brand. The Glossier Cloud Paints are also on point for their branding with a sheerer finish for that no-makeup makeup look. But yes, they are both unique formulas of blush with a similar color scheme.

NARS Hydrating Glow Tint, Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, Liquid Blush | The Beauty Look Book

Updated to add a few swatches:

NARS Hydrating Glow Tint Swatches Fair, Light, Medium | The Beauty Look Book

For the face I ordered all of the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Serum sight unseen. There are four shades and 004 is available at Nordstrom. All shades 001, 002, 003, 004 are available at Dior.com but I haven’t seen them anywhere else. I love these dabbed on top of the cheeks as a liquid bronzer. The finish is natural but glowy. They dry down to a nice satiny finish and give a soft sunkissed look. I have to experiment more with them before I review. So far I’ve only used these on top of powder/foundation but I want to give them a try mixing it with foundation. I have swatches if you can’t see them in person. For the lips the Dior Addict Lip Glow is almost always in my handbag. During the summer they’re perfect for a natural swipe and glow kind of product. Since they change color on the lips they add a natural flush without any effort. Review on all the colors in this post.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Serum | The Beauty Look Book

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Serum | The Beauty Look Book

For the hair, Shu Ueumura Art of Hair launched two new Blow Dry Beautifiers, one is called the Thermo BB Serum for fine to medium hair, the other is a Thermo BB Cream for thick hair. I’ve been a fan of the Wonder Worker which I use as a pre-heat treatment before I blow dry so I was curious about the new launches. Both are multi-taskers. The Thermo BB Serum allows for you to prime hair for heat styling. It moisturizes without being heavy and leaves hair soft and shiny. It does help protect from heat and for me helps smooth it out for brushing. The BB Thermo Cream is thicker in texture and designed for thicker hair. I really like both – I have thicker hair but with humidity I’m all about lighter weight products. I’ve been such a long time fan of the Wonder Worker because I like spritzing product in the hair, but I also like the Thermo BB Serum. Both have that signature Shu Uemura scent which is really hard to describe but it’s unique and refreshing without being heavy or too perfumey. I recommend both – I’d just pick one based on your hair type.

Shu Uemura Blow Dry Beautifiers and Wonder Worker | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least I’ve been loving Tatcha’s The Essence, all of their Rice Enzyme Powders, The Water Cream and The Silk Cream. If you’re unsure about where to start try one of their Ritual Starter Gift Sets. You can pick one according to your skin type and I love these for travel. The two things I feel have made the biggest difference in my skin are the Rice Enzyme Powders (I currently use either the Classic or Deep Versions). I use these after my regular cleanser like an exfoliator because I just prefer regular cream or liquid cleansers to get the skin clean. I follow with one of the Rice Enzyme Powders every evening and it helps with gentle exfoliation without being too harsh. The Essence is something I felt would not really do much as it’s so lightweight almost like water. It has helped prep the skin to absorb serums and moisturizers better and also keeps it well hydrated without being too heavy throughout the day. Their 15% off sale runs today through the 15th with code SUMMER17 at checkout. I think one of the best things about this line is that they carry travel sizes you can buy.

Tatcha Loves | The Beauty Look Book

What are you loving right now? Let me know in the comments! P.S. I’m a bit behind on responding to comments but will do a catch-up round very soon!

Press samples featured from Tatcha, Shu Uemura Art of Hair Blow Dry Beautifiers and the NARS Liquid Blush.

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Sunscreen Testing Part 2: Face Formulas

June 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Face Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin | The Beauty look Book

Shown above:

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty Favorites Skincare

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.

Uncategorized

Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box for Spring (Limited-Edition)

May 14, 2016
Birchbox launched a new limited-edition box for spring called Beauty in Bloom ($64 for a $188 retail value). Many of you are familiar with the monthly subscription boxes they offer for both women and men, but they also have special Limited-Edition Boxes available that are really good deals. The Beauty in Bloom Box is one of those boxes you can purchase whether or not you’re a subscriber that has a pretty mix of makeup, skincare and accessories – all of which I will use. Sometimes pre-made kits can be a miss even if the set is a good deal – if there’s a good portion in the set you don’t think you’ll use or are interested in trying, even a good deal can be a waste. This one is a really good one and has a mix of full-sized items with trial-sized minis.

Here’s what’s in the box, I’ve linked the full-size individual items from Birchbox in the image for reference if you’re only interested in some of the items but I’ll list them below as well:


The box comes beautifully packaged in a large pink box which makes it all ready to go for gifting if you’re looking for a spring birthday gift (or for any occasion):
  • NEST Fragrance Votive Candle (mini) in Grapefruit – I tried NEST for the first time over the holiday and was so impressed with the throw and strength of the candles, I find they are reasonably priced, this is my first time smelling grapefruit and it’s sweet but not overly sweet – the little votive fills our entire place with the scent in a matter of minutes
  • NEST Fragrances Indigo Eau de Parfum – this is my first time trying NEST fragrances, the little one comes with a rollerball tip which is really convenient, Indigo is a very sweet blackberry floral, along the lines of Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay but more floral, it’s very strong but doesn’t cause migraines for me, I’m undecided on this one because it’s extremely sweet, but I like having a decent sized mini to try out
  • Lollia Relax Shea Butter Hand Cream – Travel Size – my box has the lavender one which I have not yet had a chance to try but the packaging is really cute and I like lavender scents for hand creams, since the box is limited-edition I wanted to write about it and let you know before it sold out
  • Davines OI/Oil – I used this many years ago and did a blog post on this in the early days of the Beauty Look Book blog, my local salon carried the line but over the years they downsized what they carried in store so I never repurchased, it’s a versatile oil you can use pre-heat styling or after, I love the way it smells which is hard to describe but it adds shine and makes the hair super soft without feeling heavy or greasy, there are over 4,700 reviews on this one online at Birchbox, I really believe this one is worth the splurge of a full bottle, I need to make a note to myself to order
  • Laura Gellar Baked Blush in Maui (full size) – different boxes get different colors, mine had Maui inside which is a soft matte pink, in general I don’t like baked matte blushes because they almost always darken on my skin and make it look flat/lifeless, Maui is a soft buildable pink with a smooth texture that’s flawless, I’m still testing this out but it didn’t darken on my skin
  • Stila HUGE Extreme lash mascara – I love mascara minis but am the biggest skeptic when it comes to trying mascara, I have straight lashes and often times mascaras do not hold the curl or smudge like crazy on me, I had little to no expectation for this one and was surprised to find how amazing this one is, it held the curl, made lashes look huge without being clumpy and did not smudge, the only downside is I found it very challenging to remove at the end of the day, but given the effect and results I’m willing to overlook that
  • Mally Beauty Eye-Amplifying Shadow Liner (full size) in Stone – there are different color options for the boxes, I’m not sure if you’re able to pick out the color, Stone is a cool silver taupe that blends with impressive pigment, you do have to blend quickly because once it sets it does not budge at all, I like the formula but the color seems on the light side to be a liner, it works well as a shadow for me
  • Darphin Intral Toner (travel-size) is something I’ve always wanted to try but didn’t want to buy the full size without being able to test it, I haven’t used this one yet but it’s on my list to try out in the upcoming week
  • Smith and Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Hi-Speed Sonnet is a medium rosey pink with high shine and shimmer, as many of you know most of the Smith and Cult glosses are very sheer in color, this one had a lot more pigment and color payoff compared to the others I’ve tried
  • Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist (travel-size) is a classic staple as far as face mists go, it’s a gentle and soft refresher you can apply before moisturizer
  • Umbra Prisma Tray is the cutest tray I’ve seen in a long time and well made for the price (it’s $15 separately), I love how the brass accent adds an edgy but classic touch to it while the neutral canvas base makes it look feminine and soft

Swatches of some of the color items:

Quick snapshot of the lips and cheeks:


One last look:
For $64 I think the Beauty in Bloom Box is a steal. I think it’s a well balanced kit that has a little bit of everything and all the items in it are products I can see myself using. I think accessories are sometimes hard to pick out for others or for kits – everyone has different styles or tastes. There have been some kits with hair accessories I would never ever wear. The tray in this one is one I think is possibly universal regardless of style or age – it makes a great accent piece. The minis are generously sized which gives you more than just a 1-3x use so you can give them a better test drive before deciding to buy any full sized version.

I give this one a thumbs up. You can find the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box for $64 online at Birchbox. Do note it’s a limited-edition box. 

Beauty in Bloom was provided courtesy of Birchbox for review consideration.