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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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Monthly Favorites

Monthly Beauty and Skincare Hits and Misses

January 31, 2017

January Hits and Misses for Beauty | The Beauty Look Book

I cannot believe the first month of 2017 has come and gone – I feel like the last few weeks have been a blur! I hope each of you have had a great start to the new year. In the beauty world I feel like things have been all about lips and highlighters. It appears the liquid lipstick trend is here to stay for quite some time. I still have my battle of the liquid lipstick post coming soon – with new launches almost weekly it seems like there’s more to test and try out. I’ve put a cut-off for testing though – I have two more detailed reviews to post before the official roundup. Today I have a roundup of the best and worst in beauty testing for January even though many of these have been put to the test for more than a month. Sometimes with products you know by the second or third use that a particular item just won’t work. Other items take a bit more testing to decide. By popular request here is my first Hits and Misses post of the year. We’ll start off with the hits.

January Favorites – Makeup

Monthly Beauty Favorites - MAC, Dior, Chanel, Marc Jacobs | The Beauty Look Book

This month’s favorite items and discoveries include:

  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is something I finally tried and can’t believe it took me so long, it gives the skin a nice soft diffused look, it removes shine without looking heavy or overly matte and the best thing about this one is the color selection which I think is pretty good (shown on the skin here and also worn here)
  • Diorskin Nude Air Glow Powder in 002 Freshlight (shown on the face here) has been my go-to soft bronzer shade for the past few months, it has the perfect amount of warmth and has a sheer but buildable finish that works for my winter skintone color right now
  • Chanel Joues Contraste in Elegance (review here) is my perfect everyday beige blush, it goes with everything and adds life to the face without looking too dark or orange
  • Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara is one that took me years to try because I tried a mini and thought it literally was the worst thing ever. Based on raves of a few friends who swore it was THE best thing in mascara I decided to order one and was blown away. They assured me the full size was better than the minis and they were right. I don’t know that I’ll repurchase this because even I have limits when it comes to expensive items. At a whopping $72 I don’t know that I can say it’s worth it but this mascara is really good. It lengthens, volumizes, holds curl, doesn’t smudge and doesn’t look crunchy. It’s supposed to have lash-growth ingredients but I haven’t used it long enough to see results.
  • Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo (c/o, swatches here) are great in terms of formula, color payoff and color selection
  • Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur (c/o, all shades swatched here) are my favorite lip launch of the year so far, I love a good glossy lip and these have a feel and look like the Rouge Coco Shines but with a lot more pigment
  • Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme in Truth or Bare (c/o, all shades reviewed here) is my favorite rose pink liquid lipstick
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow is something that is almost always in my purse these days (review of all shades here), my most-worn shade is either Lilac or Coral, the new Berry color (c/o) is a really pretty one too
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Douglas (c/o, review here) is my go-to these days for a soft cool-toned pink shimmer

January Favorites – Skincare

Monthly Skincare Favorites | The Beauty Look Book

Skincare favorites include a mix of old and new:

  • I’ve found myself reaching a lot for the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and the Midnight Recovery Concentrate for evenings, both feel just so amazing on the skin giving it just the right amount of hydration, it’s brightened the skin and makes it feel healthier and smoother, if you don’t want to splurge on the full sizes you may want to consider the Day to Night Set which has miniatures of six items at a value price, alternatively if you visit you local Kiehl’s store they usually have samples so ask if they have these available (making a purchase will usually make it easier to get a couple samples)
  • Bioderma Sensibio was mentioned in my 2016 favorites, I use this as a toner and it’s just perfect for my sensitive skin, it leaves the skin feeling refreshed and clean, it has helped calm and comfort the skin, especially since I’m prone to flare ups or sensitivity, I have both the 250 and 100 ml versions (one I took with me on travel), can’t rave about this enough
  • Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is another good gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin, I’ve been reaching for this a lot, it hydrates without feeling greasy and gives relief for dry skin without being heavy, I will definitely repurchase once this is used up
  • Tatcha The Essence (c/o) is something I got a mini of with an order (I had a promo code) and fell in love with it immediately, I discussed essence a few posts back and many of you gave me some really good feedback on what to try! I’m currently testing three, this one from Tatcha and the SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence and Genoptics Spot Essence (c/o). It’s going to take me several weeks to see which one is truly the best, but I noticed results immediately from the Tatcha Essence. It softens the skin without feeling heavy or leaving a film on the skin like some other essence or serums do. It’s watery but not too runny so it’s easy to apply. It does make my moisturizer absorb into the skin better. As one who doesn’t like things that feel heavy on the skin I absolutely love this one.
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser is something I ordered the day it launched online at Sephora. By the time this post is going live I’ve already used up one full tube 85% of the way and the one shown is a backup. I don’t have acne but I do experience breakouts and earlier this month I started breaking out around the chin and cheeks from a combination of getting really sick and experiencing a high level of stress. Using this helped clear up the skin without drying it out. It has sulfur which targets acne and blemishes. Based on the formula I don’t think it’s going to be for everyone, but I’ve tried every single one of Kate Somerville’s cleansers and her line is the one I keep replenishing for cleansers. I can use this daily without it drying out my skin and love it. That being said I still love her Gentle Daily Wash for times when I don’t have skin issues.

January Misses

January Beauty Misses | The Beauty Look Book

Four items that did not work for me include:

  • Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet (review here) did not work for me because the color selection just wasn’t flattering for my olive skin tone, even the neutrals did not work. Shades were either too light or too dark, colors lacked life and washed out my complexion. Formula-wise they were ok, but none of the colors worked for me leading me to call these a miss.
  • Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation is something I bought months ago back in early fall. I had high hopes as it looked amazing on a few of my fellow blogger friends. I mixed two shades in Y315 and Y405 to get a good match although the product is so sheer an exact color match isn’t really necessary. This was a miss for me because it caused my skin to become irritated which I suspect is from the fragrance. Tiny bumps surfaced all over my cheeks and since I test a lot of skincare and foundations, this took months of testing to make sure this was the culprit and not something else. Formula also felt sticky because of the gel-like texture. Coverage was not enough for me. This was a huge let-down since I consider the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick and Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation to be in my top picks for foundation.
  • Glamglow PLUMPRAGEOUS Nudes got me based on their social media marketing. As a nude lip lover I just couldn’t resist and ordered 4 online sight unseen. The colors looked SO perfect! These come with a plastic spatula applicator which I found did not apply product evenly or easily. Second these are THE most painful lip plumping products I’ve ever tested – they burned my lips and if a tiny bit touched my tongue, a spicy tingle sensation went shooting to the back of my mouth. I tested two on separate occasions and the most I could tolerate was 45 minutes on the lips before I had to wipe it off and give the lips a thorough cleanse. I returned 3 of the 4. The one shown is going to a friend who is curious about this and doesn’t mind a tingle.
  • Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara was an impulse buy. The packaging has written on it a few statements like 1,944% more volume, 97% saw intense volume and length, 94% said this mascara stays put all day. There is an asterisk that says based on consumer study results. I did not research how many people tested this or were part of it, but at $23 it seemed worth a try. I know some mascaras take a few pumps or uses to get going so I gave this one 6 tries on 6 separate occasions. It does add volume and length and the color is a rich deep black. However the clumps were seriously horrible with this one. Layering was an absolute no for me. It made my lashes look super spidery and when I tried to separate or comb them out the mascara just looked even more clumpy and made the lashes stick together. It’s also extremely difficult to remove.

That’s wraps it up for January’s beauty hits and misses! I’d love to hear about yours as well – so please feel free to share them in the comments. If you have any feedback about the items I tried let me know.

P.S. A number of you have sent me e-mails saying you weren’t getting the email newsletters anymore. I’ve re-added the subscribe feature on the sidebar at the top of the page (if you’re on a desktop computer). Let me know if you have any issues – if you enter your email address you’ll be sent a verification link and should be good to go!

Press samples indicated with c/o.

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Dior Skincare

Dior Addict Lip Glow, Lip Glow Pomade, Lip Sugar Scrub and Lip Maximizer Review + Swatches

January 24, 2017

Dior Addict Lip Glow, Lip Glow Pomade, Lip Sugar Scrub, Lip Maximizer Review | The Beauty Look Book

For spring Dior launched two new lip additions to their Backstage Pros line with the Addict Lip Glow in Berry ($33 for 3.5 g) and a Lip Sugar Scrub ($33 for 3.5 g). I’ve been a long-time fan of the Addict Lip Glows for their pretty color adjusting quality and for their soft moisturizing feel. Sometimes the Lip Glow is all I wear because they give the lips a natural healthy looking tint. They also work well as a lipstick base to moisturize and smooth the lip. I have the new spring launches to review today but also decided to share a roundup of all the Dior lip products I own including the other three shades of Addict Lip Glow in Pink, Coral and Lilac, Addict Lip Glow Pomade and a Addict Lip Maximizer in Beige Sunrise. I did a roundup of three of the lip glows last year but I thought it might be helpful to revisit all of them + new ones in a single post.

New for Spring: Addict Lip Glow Berry and Lip Sugar Scrub

Up first are the two new lip products for spring. The Addict Lip Glow in Berry gives the lips a medium cool toned berry tint. It looks dark in the tube but if you’re familiar with these you know what you see in the tube isn’t what you get on the lips. They will look different on everyone depending on your lip chemistry. On me they definitely change color after about 20 seconds to a brighter or deeper shade. Next is a new product called the Lip Sugar Scrub. This is an exfoliating balm that has tiny grains of sugar in the tube. The concept is really different than anything I’ve tried before. I’m usually not a fan of lip scrubs because I find them messy. With this one, once you apply the particles melt away into the lips so there’s no grainy finish left over. It is a color-changing product and on me turns into a rosy pink flush. Lips are left incredibly smooth. It has a sweet minty scent. It’s very gentle and not harsh on the lips. I don’t know that I would call it a must-have but I do like it and think it’s a really interesting product.

Dior Lip Sugar Scrub and Lip Glow Berry | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Lip Sugar Scrub and Lip Glow Berry

Close up below of the tips:

All four of the Addict Lip Glows shown below, Pink 001, Coral 004, Lilac 005, Berry 006, all four appear different on my lips, these will look different on everyone though depending on your lip chemistry. I love these because they are easy to wear and you don’t need a mirror to apply. They feel amazing on the lips – smooth, hydrating and lush.

Dior Addict Lip Glow Pink, Coral, Lilac and Berry | The Beauty Look Book

A closer look at some other Dior Backstage Pros products. The Lip Glow Pomade is one of my favorite balms. It’s supposed to also be a color-reviving product, but goes clear on my lips without changing the color. I’ve tried two tubes and both did nothing for the color, but I love the smooth non-tacky feeling on the lips and almost always carry one with me. The Addict Lip Maximizer is a collagen active lip plumper. It has a very slight tingle as it plumps the lips. In terms of tingle comparisons this is one of the most gentle out of all the brands I’ve tested. Beige Sunrise is what I have right now and it pretty much goes on clear on the lips. You can use this underneath lipstick as well. Lip Glow in Lilac shown below for comparison purposes.

Dior Lip Glow Pomade, Lip Maximizer, Addict Lip Glow Lilac | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches:

Dior Addict Lip Glow Swatches

Lip Swatches, all done on bare lips:

Dior Addict Lip Glow Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Addict Lip Glow Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line is I’m still a huge fan. Since my post last year I’ve already used up a full Addict Lip Glow in Pink and Coral. My favorite one is the Addict Lip Glow in Coral although I’m also a huge fan of the Lip Glow Pomade. The two new spring launches in Berry and the Lip Sugar Scrub are fun and nice additions to the line. I think Berry comes off as a nice healthy plum tint that gives the lips a healthy glow.

You can find the two new spring additions now online at Dior.com and Sephora. The other products are available at all Dior stores and counters.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Addict Lip Glow in Berry and Lip Sugar Scrub provided for review. All other items from my own collection.

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What's In My Bag

What’s In My Celine Belt Bag Mini

January 4, 2017

What's In My Celine Belt Bag Truffle Pouch Jcrew Sunglasses Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have the first what’s in my bag post of the year. Lately the purse I’ve been carrying the most frequently is the Celine Belt Bag in the mini size (review of what fits inside plus thoughts on style in this post here). I own two of the same style, just in different colors. I alternate between the Light Taupe (shown) and Black. For the spring 2017 season they added another size called the Micro which is smaller, has a longer removable strap and can be worn as a crossbody. I took a quick peek while in LA at one a couple months ago and promptly walked away so I would not be tempted – but I will say it’s really cute!

I picked up some new sunglasses from J.Crew called the Irving Sunglasses in the Smoke Olive color. I love the ones that come in lighter colors because they’re fun and different. These frames are small enough for my face size and shape so I could not resist! The store near me only carried it in two colors otherwise I would have probably bought the light clear pink ones.

I’m currently carrying multiples of the Clarity Clutch in the mini size from Truffle. I ordered the Nude and White last fall during one of their sales and like that they are small enough to throw in most of my purses. They’re just the right size and proportion to fit what a few things and keep contents edited.

As usual I have one too many lip products carried with me. I have my two favorite balms of the moment the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade and Lanolips in Strawberry. I’ve used them repeatedly for weeks now. The weather has been on the cold side so we’ve cranked up the heater in our place which makes everything dry. Plus I’ve still been trying to get over a cold so my lips have been extra dry. These have kept my lips from peeling and cracking – I’ve been sure to apply on clean fingers instead of directly on the lips to keep them clean and free of germs.

Other staples for lips include NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight which I like to layer with MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare, Whirl or Dervish (neutral nude lip liners swatched and compared in this post here). The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme (c/o) in Truth or Bare and Slow Burn have been worn frequently the past week. The Chanel Gloss Volume is pretty basic but it’s one of my favorite clear lip glosses for the pretty shine it gives and cushiony feel.

For fragrance I’ve been reaching for Byredo options a lot, I’ve been loving Oud Immortel although I probably need to switch things up to something a bit lighter and more cheery to lift the mood. I’ve still been dreaming about splurging on the Unnamed Perfume. It’s one of those scents I spritzed at the counter back in August and it still haunts me even months later. However I have promised myself to save up for the Creed Virgin Island Water before I buy any other perfume. Right now I don’t think it’s quite appropriate for the current weather or season, but in a couple of months I think it will be perfect and by then it will be mine! It’s the ultimate dreamy tropical vacation kind of scent I want to wear all spring to summer.

Last but not least I can’t help carrying the Tom Ford Soleil Eye and Cheek Palette. It’s not really all that practical to carry around but I love the sturdy compact and large mirror makes reapplying lipstick so much easier compared to the tiny mirrors you get in most compacts. If you haven’t checked them out I recommend you do (review on both colors here). They are both 100% worth the splurge.

Hope your first week of the new year is going well! I’ll have some reviews on MAC Shadescents and the Louis Vuitton perfumes coming up next! They’ve been on the to-do list for weeks now – I know many of you have been waiting so thanks for your patience!

What’s in your bag right now?

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