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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.

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.

Dior Skincare

Dior Hydra Life Skincare

May 26, 2017

Dior Hydra Life Skincare Review | The Beauty Look Book

Today I have a review on the new Dior Hydra Life Skincare line and am thrilled to have been able to test every item in the collection over the past several months. The Hydra Life collection is a complete skincare routine created with gentle ingredients to make the skin look and feel healthy and luminous. I’ve used Dior skincare for years, their face cleansers and cleansing waters had been long-time staples and I was sad to see them discontinued. As one with super sensitive skin I am happy to report the Hydra Life line works well with my skin type. I’ve been switching things up as I’ve moved from the west coast to the east coast. Differences in climate, water conditions and air have made it necessary for me to experiment with new products and the Hydra Life lineup does not disappoint.

There are nine pieces in the collection and with these items Dior has four skincare programs they recommend based on your personal preferences. I have combination skin and and prefer the Mix It Up and Multi Mask as I don’t have super dry or super oily skin. You can read more about the programs here and see which items they recommend.

I put every item to the test and will cover each one by category: cleansers, masks and moisturizers and at the end I’ll share which ones were my favorites. The first thing I noticed with this line was the packaging. Everything is well designed and the products come with generous sizes. The pumps on the cleansers are just perfect – they dispense product well and the tops are sturdy which I really appreciate.

Dior Hydra Life Skincare Review | The Beauty Look Book

Cleansers

Up first are the four cleansers. These include a foaming cleanser, cleansing water, cleansing oil and exfoliating powder. I’m a bit of a cleanser fanatic, it’s the one skincare item I’ll try lots of because finding the right ones are so personal. For traditional face washing I prefer a cream or liquid cleanser, but these days with long wearing makeup I find double cleansing absolutely essential. Sometimes I will use three steps to cleanse my skin if you count exfoliation. The Hydra Life collection contains everything needed to completely cleanse and prime the skin for skincare and makeup. They do have a lightweight fresh scent but it’s not irritating or overpowering.

Shown above from left to right and ingredients also shown:

Micellar Water – No Rinse Cleanser ($42 for 6.7 fl oz) is a new cleansing water formula that has Echinacea flower extract to soothe skin and work as an antioxidant to cleanse the skin, remove impurities and leave it glowing. I am extremely picky with cleansing water even though it’s one of my favorite items to try. This leaves no film on the skin and does indeed remove all face makeup. It won’t remove long-wear eye makeup or mascara but then in my experience most cleansing waters don’t and I use a separate bi-phase remover for the eyes.

Oil to Milk – Makeup Removing Cleanser ($42 for 6.7 fl oz) is a cleansing oil with sweet almond oil to nourish the skin. It glides over the skin well and emulsifies easily with arm water to cleanse the skin. It has a nourishing moisturizing feel to it and does an excellent job at removing makeup. Normally with cleansing oils I tend to avoid using it on the eye area. It’s nearly impossible to not get some in my eyes when I rinse with water and it either stings or fogs up my vision for a few minutes until I completely rinse it with water. This one rinses off easily and does remove eye makeup. I still prefer to use a cotton pad soaked with eye makeup remover to remove eye makeup first, but this is an excellent cleansing oil. I do think it will be best suited for those with normal to dry skin.

Dior Hydra Life Cleansers | The Beauty Look Book

Lotion to Foam – Fresh Cleanser ($42 for 6.3 fl oz) is a liquid lotion type of cleanser that has a pump which dispenses product into a light airy foam. Although it’s light in texture it has a moisturizing and cooling feel leaving skin refreshed. It contains a white tea leaf extract to remove makeup and purify the skin. It’s designed to be a cleanser and toner in one. It cleans the skin thoroughly while leaving it feeling soothed without that tight/dry feeling. There is a softening feel to it but without any film residue left behind.

Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser | The Beauty Look Book

Time to Glow – Ultra Fine Exfoliating Powder ($45 for 1.4 oz) is a soft powder you activate with water. It has sugar extract and lotus seeds to smooth skin texture and polish the face. I often find most scrubs too harsh but still need to use something to exfoliate and these kinds of face powder cleansers are perfect because they’re gentle but effective. Out of all the items I would say based on the size this is the one item that feels more on the expensive side but I find it’s made the biggest difference in improving skin texture for me.

Dior Hydra Life Time to Glow Exfoliating Powder | The Beauty Look Book

Hydration

Up next are the two products for moisture that they have in the lineup. There is a Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence ($73 for 40 ml) and a Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme ($69 for 50 ml). These are said to be suitable for all skintypes. For me I’ve needed skincare with more moisture as the water has dried out my skin a bit. However after testing a number of creams for dry skin I found them too thick and heavy as I really prefer weightless feeling products for serums, lotions or creams but the Hydra Life Essence + Creme combo is just perfect. Together they give the skin a refreshed feel for a perfectly balanced base.

Dior Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme | The Beauty Look Book

The Sorbet Water Essence is a lightweight serum that glides on the skin without leaving any sticky residue or tacky feeling. It has a water-like feel in the sense that it’s weightless and refreshing. After regular use my skin feels more balanced and naturally hydrated. The Sorbet Creme is another refreshing product. It has a unique creme gel texture and gives the skin a more plumped and radiant look. For me it absorbs well into the skin but the essence helps it absorb better. I never tried the original version so I can’t compare but the current one is a win.

Dior Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme | The Beauty Look Book

Masks

Last but not least are the three masks, each designed for different skin types. These are quick 3 minute masks. The Pores Away Pink Clay Mask ($69 for 1.7 oz)is one of the most gentle clay masks I’ve ever tried. It has a whipped texture that minimizes pores and gently draws out impurities. It has a refreshing cooling feel and only takes 3 minutes. Once removed the skin feels instantly bright and clean. Since this one is very gentle I don’t think it will extract deep imperfections but it is effective for those with sensitive skin. It rinses off easily and I like that when it dries it doesn’t shrink or pull the skin like some other masks do. I like this one best on my nose or T zone area because it’s a bit on the pricey side, I want to try and limit where I put it.

The Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask ($69 for 1.7 oz) is the only one that I would say is not for my skin type. It is a balm designed for dry skin and I found it very hydrating. It’s a plumping mask with pine oil that you apply then wipe off and it does what the name implies. It smooths, plumps, hydrates and makes the skin look like it’s glowing naturally. Skin is left feeling super soft and smooth. For me it was just too hydrating. It has a soft light floral scent.

Last but not least is the Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask ($69 for 1.7 oz) which leaves the skin fresh feeling with the most natural looking glow. It citrus fruit to smooth the skin and apricot seed powder to exfoliate. In terms of exfoliation effects the product is very gentle but it does feel more geared towards those with normal to oily skin.

Dior Hydra Life Masks | The beauty look book Dior Hydra Life Mask | The Beauty Look Book Dior Hydra Life Mask | The Beauty Look Book Dior Hydra Life Mask | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Hydra Life Skincare ReviewOverall a beautiful skincare line with a nice variety of products. My favorites from the collection are definitely the cleansers with the top three being the Cleansing Water, Cleansing Oil and Exfoliating Powder. Each one cleans well without stripping the skin and I like that they leave the skin feeling clean, soft and nourished but without any film. The products in the Hydra Life line do have a soft light fresh floral scent so if you’re super sensitive to any scent you may want to try these out in person first. I have super sensitive skin but didn’t experience any irritation or break outs from the products. The Water Essence + Sorbet Creme is perfect for my skin right now although it does have a more hydrating finish and feels better suited for normal to dry skin types. With the humidity levels increasing as summer approaches I suspect this may be a bit too heavy for warm humid weather for my skin type. Overall a beautifully designed line with gorgeous packaging, generous product amounts and gentle but effective formulas. Regular use for two months has given me smoother looking skin that feels more plump and hydrated.

You can find the Dior Hydra Life Skincare Collection now at Dior.com and all Dior counters. Have you tried anything from this line yet? Or do you use anything from any of the other Dior Skincare collections? What did you think? I’ve been really interested in the Dreamskin 1 Minute Mask as I adore the cushion. If you’ve tried it let me know if you think it’s worth the splurge.

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

What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag

April 9, 2017

What's In My Bag | The Beauty Look Book

It’s been a little over a month since we moved to Florida and I cannot believe how fast time flies! I’ve been sharing snippets of our weekly explorations of Tampa on Instagram Stories and I’m touched by those who’ve sent kind words of support and even restaurant recommendations. This move has been such a huge change for me as I’ve lived in California most of my life. Living in the south is such a new and different experience but change can be good and my husband and I are loving it so far. Yesterday I shared a quick what’s in my bag video on Instagram – I received so much positive feedback I thought I’d do a post on it in case you missed it. One thing that has surprised us about Tampa is that the city seems a lot bigger and more spread out than we expected. On days (primarily weekends) where we are out and about it feels like we are out for extended periods of time and because of this I’ve found it necessary to pack an extra set of clothes in the trunk since temperatures can change a lot. I’ve also had to pack some extra things in my bag since making a quick trip home isn’t always an efficient option time-wise.

I do switch up my bag contents frequently and I don’t always carry this much with me but let’s call this my weekend out and about edition of what’s inside my bag. A look at what was inside my Neverful MM bag yesterday:

Inside My Bag Truffle Pouches | The Beauty Look Book

So up first are some tech things. By popular request I’ll be doing an updated camera post on what I use to shoot my blog photos. I did one a few years ago but have since acquired a couple more cameras. My long-time favorite was the Sony NEX-6 but it was discontinued. It has held up for a long time and I love it but unfortunately dropped it and broke the lens. It is an easy replacement but since newer models have come out, I decided to try the Sony Alpha 5100 because it has a flip screen and a slightly smaller body. Review on this soon, but first impressions are that I like the design and features of the NEX-6 a lot better because of the viewfinder, dial and option for external flash. (The current version is the Alpha 6000.) Another camera I’ve used for a long time is the Canon G16, another model that has been discontinued. The more popular version which is the closest equivalent is the G7x Mark II which has the flip screen option for vlogging or selfies.

So inside my bag yesterday I carried two cameras to test outdoors. For my Sony I have an older leather camera case, similar options here and here. For my Canon I never bought a proper case. It usually stays in good condition if I put it inside my purse alone, but since I’ve been carrying more sunscreen and mini perfumes (to reduce swelling for bug bites if I get them), I try to protect it a bit more. I’ve found the Glossier bubble pouches are a cheap quick fix for now. Also inside my bag is a Gucci Card Case, iPhone case is from Gray Malin, sunglasses are by Marc Jacobs (currently 25% off at Nordstrom).

Inside My Bag, Sony Alpha 5100, Canon G16, Gucci Card Case | The Beauty Look Book

For body, skincare and makeup, I find that pouches by Truffle are essential to keeping everything organized. I tend to prefer open totes and have found that things can get cluttered and messy without dividers. I should invest in a separate purse insert/divider but for years I’ve loved the clear pouches for almost anything and everything.

Truffle Clarity Clutch Small and Mini | The Beauty Look Book

I have an older style of the Truffle Small Clarity Clutch (older ones had the red trim, current version has a white trim) to carry hand creams, skincare and sunscreen. In this weekend’s bag I had the Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod, Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (mini from this set), Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen (for my husband) and the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray with SPF50. I’ve still been putting a number of sunscreens to the test. I’ve found Shiseido comes highly recommended by a lot of my readers but I’ve never found a sunscreen I could convince myself to buy because the creams have a white cast. The spray version is clear and today it did a pretty good job at protecting me and by the end of the day I had no reaction or bumps like I get with most brands of sunscreen.

I also like to use the Truffle Mini Pouches because they’re more compact. Other items include the Commodity Travel Spray in Bergamot (thanks to some readers who recommended I try this brand!), Tatcha Blotting Papers, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation (I’m still shade #4), Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade, YSL Tint-in-Balm (swatched here), Tom Ford Lip Balm (review here) and Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (travel size).

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my bag! So many of you were so sweet on my Instastories I wanted to share it in a blog post. If there’s anything else you want to see on Instagram let me know. I’m new to taking video clips but I’m having lots of fun with it. Some quick notes on what’s coming up soon on the blog: an updated skincare routine (since my skin has become a lot drier since moving to Florida), sunscreen roundup (might be another week though), some more Tom Ford goodness (new fragrance, a look at the Paradiso Eye Duo and thoughts on one of the body sprays), thoughts on the new MAC Next to Nothing foundation and some loves in body care/home. Basically a little bit of everything!

Since moving to Tampa from San Diego, both my husband and I have experienced dryness in skin and hair. We’re not really sure what the cause is as we expected to be more oily with the heat and humidity. We’ve both been drinking plenty of water, we’ve made an effort to have as little sun exposure as possible, but this is kinda impossible in Florida, we’ve been eating healthy – if you have any insight on what could be the cause let me know in the comments. I suspect it could be the difference in water, but we’re both baffled!

Press samples featured include the Tom Ford Lip Balm, Truffle Clarity Clutch (small, older style) and Molton Brown hand cream.

Roundup

My Favorite Everyday Neutral Nail Polishes

February 14, 2017

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

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

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

Lineup in natural light:

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

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

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

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

Neutral Nail Polish Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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

OPI Be There in a Prosecco | The Beauty Look Book

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

OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs | The Beauty Look Book

Two coats, mug from Etsy:

OPI Mimosas for Mr and Mrs | The Beauty Look Book

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

Essie Topless and Barefoot | The Beauty Look Book

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

Essie Spin the Bottle | The Beauty Look Book

Burberry Nude Pink (Nordstrom), two coats:

Burberry Nude Pink Polish | The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Sugar Dune (Nordstrom), two coats:

Tom Ford Sugar Dune

Chanel Organdi (Chanel.com), two coats:

Chanel Organdi Le Vernis | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Tutulle (Nordstrom and Sephora), two coats:

Louboutin Tutulle Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

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

Nails Inc. Bond Street Passage | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Incognito (Sephora), two coats:

Dior Incognito Nail Polish | The Beauty Look Book

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

Best Everyday Neutrals for Nails | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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Nail Polish Skincare

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

February 7, 2017

Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

Tools of the Trade

Nail Files, Trimmers, Tools | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

Base and Top Coats

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

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

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

Extras

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

The DIY Manicure

Step 1

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

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

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 3

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

Step 4

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 5

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 6

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 7

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 8

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 9

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 10 – Color is OPI Be There in a Prosecco

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 11

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 12

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials for a DIY Manicure

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

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

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

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

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Dior Highlighters

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder – New Shades

February 6, 2017

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder | The Beauty Look Book

The Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder in 001 ($56 each for 6 g/0.21 oz) was my favorite highlighter discovery last year for the beautiful lightweight sheen it gives the skin. This spring Dior has added three more shades to the formula in 002, 003 and 004 and I could not be more thrilled. The Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder is described as “light as a breeze” and it is indeed lightweight and melds into the skin perfectly for a really pretty natural luminous glow. The shade will look different on you depending on skin tone, the original 001 has a gorgeous medium champagne beige with a slight golden peachy undertone. It looks different in the pan depending on how the light reflects on the compact. The shimmer is complex with a mix of different colors but it’s not frosty on the skin. I love how the color adds just the right amount of glow to the skin.

001 is still the best color for me in my opinion, but 004 is also really stunning. For me these highlighters are life! Close ups and descriptions of each shade. Everything about these is beautiful – they come with an embossed surface. Since they are highly reflective if you google reviews and swatches they may look different in photos depending on what light is used to photograph these. However the color really only varies in the pan, on the face it’s more consistent – of course it will look different on different skin tones though.

  • 001 is a classic champagne beige gold
  • 002 is a pale light opal pink
  • 003 is a yellow gold shimmer
  • 004 is a tan shimmer

Each of the highlighters comes with a protective soft pouch and mini kabuki style brush for application. The brushes are well made and usable but they tend to be smaller than what I prefer to use for highlighting powder so I keep them for setting powder touch ups instead.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches with different lighting to capture the shimmer:

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Swatches 001, 002, 003, 004 | The Beauty Look Book

Undertone shown more here:

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Swatches 001, 002, 003, 004 | The Beauty Look Book

Close up of 001:

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder 001 | The Beauty Look Book

Close up of 002:

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder 002 | The Beauty Look Book

Close up of 003, long-time readers know I’m usually anti yellow gold highlighter for my already yellow olive skin. The combination of yellow golds often just makes my skin look really sallow, this one from Dior is a lot more wearable for me compared to the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Addiction (scroll down for comparisons):

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder 003 | The Beauty Look Book

Close up of 004, in my opinion the world needs more tan or darker highlighters, this one isn’t really all that dark, but it’s the darkest option and I think it’s just stunning:

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder 004 | The Beauty Look Book

All four swatched on the cheeks. I’m still learning how to do full face shots – the lighting, flash etc is tricky to get accurate. On the face I’m wearing the following items. Note that I only have the highlighters on the cheeks applied with a heavy hand so you can see the color differences. On normal days I would also add bronzer or blush and I would usually blend or sheer out the highlighter.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder Face Swatches 001, 002, 003 and 004 | The Beauty Look Book

Left to right: 001, 002, 003 and 004

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

001 is my favorite because it looks the most natural. 003 is the most glowy/metallic on my skin – although I did apply with a rather heavy hand. If you apply and blend it with normal application it won’t look as frosty.

Comparison swatches:

Laura Mercier Face Illuminators in Indiscretion (peach), Devotion (pink), Addiction (yellow), Seduction (bronze) have a slightly more chunky sparkle by comparison even though I would not really call the shimmer chunky, they are a bit more sparkly in finish. Review of these powders here.

Natasha Denona All Over Face Glow Face and Body Shimmer in 02 is one of the prettiest tan shimmers I’ve ever seen but has a really strong frost shimmer, Diorskin Nude Air 004 is similar but slightly cooler in tone. Review of the Natasha Denona here.

I have more comparisons of the original in the Dior Skyline Fall 2016 post here.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder vs Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line love. I own a lot of highlighters and have collected quite a few limited-edition shades over the years so I do own shades similar to 002 and 003 with a pink or gold undertone so I wouldn’t call them a must. That being said I do think the shimmer and finish is really pretty and the powders are versatile enough to use on cheeks and eyes or anywhere you want to highlight. I like that they don’t emphasize pores or look dry on my skin – many highlighters sometimes either emphasize pores or make my skin look kinda dry when they emphasize texture. The powder melds beautifully with the skin and I love how they wear. 001 is still my favorite and 004 is my new favorite because I find the color unique. At $56 each they are on the pricey side but I love how they look and wear. The compact is fairly sturdy as well. If I had one thing I would say I wasn’t a huge fan of is the fact that the mirrored compact gets dirty easily with fingerprints, however one gets over it quickly and they are easy to clean so no worries on that aspect.

If you have fair skin I suspect 001 will look more peachy or bronzey on your skin and therefore will find 002 to be more of a true highlighter on your skin. If you’re medium to tan I think all four would look good on your skin tone. Medium to darker skin beauty lovers I think will love 004.

I personally think 001 and 004 are both a must.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

You can find the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powders at Dior.com and Sephora. I hope they are here to stay. P.S. there’s a super cute Valentine’s GWP online at Dior.com where you can get a Limited-Edition Coffret with any $175 purchase with code VDAY2017 at check out (while supplies last).

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers provided courtesy of Dior for review.

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