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Dior

Base Makeup Dior Highlighters

Dior Makeup Holiday, Lip + Base Haul

October 13, 2017

Dior Haul, Holiday, Lip and Base | The Beauty Look BookI have a collective haul post today with some Dior bits. Over the past few months I’ve been using a lot of their base products and found some new favorites. Some mini collections have launched new products such as the Rouge Dior Liquid Lip and Metalizer for Eyes that I’ve been testing. So many of you have asked about the Rouge Dior Liquid Lip Stains and I picked out two (thoughts below). Holiday has also launched and I picked up three items from the collection to review today. So there’s a little bit of everything in today’s roundup post. I hauled these items from both Nordstrom and Sephora but you should be able to find most everything at all Dior counters now (I think holiday is still trickling in stores).

For holiday Dior has a mix of items with shimmers and mattes. The eyeshadow palettes look gorgeous in the formulas but colors aren’t really up my alley like they were in previous years so I limited my picks to three things:

  • Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in Precious Rocks 001 is one of the smoothest shimmer highlighters I’ve tried. It’s so unique with an opalescent shimmer quality. To me it has a pinkish beige tinge and depending on how the light catches it, sometimes it will look more warm/gold but if you see it in person I think you’ll see it’s definitely more pink. On my olive medium tone skin this has a light opal pink finish. If you are fair this may look more peachy/deeper on you. When I first swatched it I thought it was going to be a near dupe for the regular Nude Air Luminizer in 002 but it’s not (comparisons below).
  • Diorific Matte Fluid Lip & Cheek Velvet Colour in Charm is something I had high hopes for since last year’s options were just perfect and festive for holiday. I picked up one shade in Charm which is different from last year’s Charm. This year is a nude pink but it dries down to a dusty finish. If you are lighter in complexion than me or darker I think it will look more flattering. On me it just makes me look a little dead. Drydown is nice for a matte, but it’s more of a satiny matte.
  • Diorific Vernis Nail Lacquer in Ruby is a metallic pink ruby red and the shimmer is smooth and free of brush strokes. It has some pink which gives it a more youthful effect compared to a traditional red.

Dior Holiday 2017 PicksDior Haul Swatches

Diorific Matte Fluid Lip & Cheek Velvet Colour Charm

Diorific Vernis Nail Lacquer in Ruby

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Precious Rocks Shimmering Sculpting Powder | The Beauty Look Book

Comparisons below to some older Dior Highlighters, turns out I had Glowing Gardens from a million years ago in my backup stash.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers | The Beauty Look Book

Additional pink highlighter comparison swatches to Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Devotion, By Terry Compact Expert in #3, Diorskin Nude Air Glowing Gardens 001 in Glowing Pink (discontinued), Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer 001, 002 and 004.

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers | The Beauty Look Book

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I’ve been a long-time fan of the Dior Airflash Foundation but anyone who has tried it knows it’s one that takes a bit of time to apply. I tried some other foundations and concealers from the line and love everything I’ve bought. My base picks and testing include:

  • Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation in 21 and 31 – this isn’t a new formula but for some reason it escaped my radar for a long time. I’ve featured it in my summer base edit here. I matched myself and in store 30 was perfect. When I got home I applied it and found it oxidized a full shade darker and looked very pink. I went back and found that 21 and 31 have a more yellow undertone and since I tan easily (and loose my tan just as easily) I decided on both to mix the colors. The formula is medium but buildable to full coverage and looks natural. It holds up well in the humidity here and I love the way it covers everything up evenly.
  • Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion Foundation in 21 and 30 – this was a newer launch last month in the US and is one of the best in-between cushions for coverage. Most cushions I’ve tried are either very sheer or very opaque. This is a good in the middle option. Colors are very limited though – I wish they would expand the line! I was lucky to find two matches. Again I picked out two shades 21 and 30 (since they don’t have a 31).
  • Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer in 30 and 31 – is also a new launch, I can’t remember the last time I tried a Dior concealer so I can’t compare this to others, but this has impressive coverage with smooth creamy texture. It is similar to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer but the Dior isn’t quite as creamy or emollient and it has a slightly more matte finish. I use this both under the eyes and on spots. 30 is more neutral and 31 is more yellow.

Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion Foundation, Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation and Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion Foundation, Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation and Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Additional misc items below, I saved the worst for last. Sorry to be harsh but these weren’t up my alley. I had such high hopes for these too!

  • Rouge Dior Liquid Lip Stain in Vibrant Metal and Delicate Satin – I am a huge fan of the Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine & Care Couture Colour so I thought I’d like these. There are a few finishes: Satin, Matte and Metal. I knew I wouldn’t like the mattes so I tried the other two. The Vibrant Metal shade looks so pretty in the tube and swatched on the hand but on my lips it’s like I straight up applied this hideous copper orange foil onto my face. Delicate Satin is a more wearable color and I actually like it for a warm neutral rose pink brown. I just find the formula too airy and mousse-like, it has that silicone powdery feel which I don’t like on the lips. It also wears off really easily. I suspect that matte ones wear better but since I really don’t like mattes on my lips because they make them look like raisins I passed.
  • Metalizer Eyes & Lips Cream Shadow in Platine Fusion – is a metallic cream shadow that you can use on the lips or eyes. I felt these were best suited for eyes. It has a very fluid texture in a squeeze tube that doesn’t retain its shape well. The color is swatched in the top swatch photo and you can see the color is very standard and basic. I will say that it does have great lasting power – once you put it on it doesn’t budge, but I’m just not the biggest fan of the finish (it is sheer but buildable) and the packaging style just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Dior Metalizer Eyes & Lips Cream Shadow in Platine Fusion, Rouge Dior Liquid Lip Stain in Vibrant Metal and Delicate Satin | The Beauty Look Book

Rouge Dior Liquid Lip Stain in Vibrant Metal and Delicate Satin | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Haul | The Beauty Look Book

One last look wearing the following items:

Dior Holiday Precious Rocks Highlighter and Rouge Dior Liquid in Delicate Satin | The Beauty Look Book

You can find the Dior items online and in store now. I bought holiday items from Nordstrom and some other items from Sephora. So far I’ve only seen Dior Holiday online at Nordstrom, Dior.com and Neiman Marcus but it should be up on other sites soon!

Have you tried the Dior foundations or concealers yet? If not what’s your current favorite? If you picked up anything from holiday let me know!

Eye Makeup

Mascara Hits and Misses

August 4, 2017

Mascara Testing Hits and Misses

I have a new updated mascara roundup. I’ve been trying a few new formulas and have some hits and some misses. The humidity in Florida is pretty high and the sun feels a million times stronger here than it did in San Diego. Finding one that holds up to the humidity has been a process.

  • Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara is a formula I had purchased from a duo over last holiday. I had it sitting in the box waiting for my other tubes to get used up. I was pleasantly surprised because the reviews with this were mixed. It had zero clumping, defined lashes, volumized, coated evenly, held the curl and had no smudging. For me this is a hit.
  • Sisley-Paris So Intense Mascara is one I tried from the Nordstrom Color Twist Set (review here). Huge hit with this one even though the comb is so tiny it looks like it won’t grab lashes. It allows you to get right at the base without touching the skin. This usually isn’t a big deal for me if the mascara is good because a quick clean up with a Q-tip fixes it after application. However this one makes application easier. It volumizes, holds curl and doesn’t smudge.
  • L’Oreal Lash Paradise Waterproof is the first drugstore mascara I’ve actually liked. I’ve tried dozens and end up throwing them all away after 2 uses because they either dry to a grey looking black, smudge or don’t hold the curl. This literally was WOW with the first try. It’s everything I want in a mascara – volume, definition and holds the curl. I absolutely love the waterproof version because there is zero smudging. Blackest Black is the color I tried and it’s a true rich black. It does take more work to remove at the end of the day but is completely worth it. Huge hit.
  • Tom Ford Waterproof Extreme Mascara has to be mentioned again even though it’s not new to me because it’s my favorite waterproof mascara. No smudging, holds the curl, volumizes – huge thumbs up. I’ve repurchased this one the most in the past year.
  • Chanel Le Volume Waterproof is another classic. The regular Le Volume is good, but I prefer the Waterproof version because it holds up better in the humidity. This is one of the few rubberized applicators I like – most other brands just don’t do it for me. A classic one for me.
  • Dior Pump N Volume Mascara was a big miss. The first application was decent for volume, holding the curl and having a true rich black color. Every application after that was a clumping disaster – even when I removed excess from the tube by cleaning it. When there’s buildup, every once in a while I’ll take the wand and run it in between a folded piece of paper. It’s just like you would do with a tissue or paper towel but using paper makes it so those cotton fibers from tissue won’t get caught in the bristles. The volume on this one is really good and there are quite a few rave reviews on this one, if it didn’t clump all the time it would be perfect.
  • Serge Lutens Comb Mascara is another miss for me. I had such high hopes for this one as it came highly recommended and the online reviews on the formula were stellar. It has a similar applicator to the Sisley-Paris one. For some reason this Serge Lutens one made my lashes look spidery. It took a while to dry and smudged with a few blinks. After it dried down it had decent staying power but didn’t hold the curl and didn’t have as rich of a black finish as other ones. It wasn’t the worst but there are much better formulas for me out there.

A few notes on other mascaras I’ve loved but didn’t feature in this roundup. Other long-time favs have included the By Terry Mascara Terrybly, Chantecaille Faux Cils, Stila Huge Lash and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara. Most of these still work for me in the humid hot weather, I’ve just been rotating through different options recently. If you’ve had your eye on the Chantecaille one I highly recommend you check out the Touch-Up Essentials Set while it’s still available for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because it’s a great deal. The only one that doesn’t work so well for me in humid weather is the By Terry option, but they do have a waterproof version which I want to investigate.

Best Makeup Remover Lancome | The Beauty Look Book

For makeup removal longer lasting formulas and waterproof ones are going to be more difficult to remove in the evenings. Most of these I have to use a multi-step process to take them off in the evenings. Regardless of whether I double cleanse with a cleansing oil or cleansing water, I always use a cotton pad and soak it with eyemakeup remover first. My favorite formula used to be the Chanel Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover but these days I’ve found it’s just ok. Some of the longer lasting formulas don’t come off anymore with this one and I don’t know if the formula of the makeup remover has changed or if I’m simply finding formulas with better lasting power. Some thing goes for the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. It used to be a long-time go to but my last bottle didn’t perform as well as I remember it did in past years. My current go-to is the Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (available in this value set from Nordstrom here and here). For cotton I’ve tried a number of brands but my favorites are from Chanel and Sephora.

If I had to pick one mascara to use for the rest of the summer that would be a hard choice. I would be able to narrow it down to three: Sisley-Paris, L’Oreal and Tom Ford.

What are your favorite mascaras for the summertime?

 

Hauls

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives Nude Lip Haul

July 17, 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives Lip Haul | The Beauty Look Book

Today I’m reviewing and swatching my lip haul from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I bought three sets in store from MAC, YSL and Dior for Early Access. After browsing some more online I decided to stick with what I bought for the most part (I ordered a couple more items) as most of the sets consist of existing colors this year. As usual my picks are all in the neutral category. Also since I already have some colors from other sets offered in the sale, check back later today and I’ll have swatches of those up for reference.

Up first is my favorite, the MAC Look in a Box Saint No Angel Mini Lip Kit ($26.50 for a $40 value). Every year the neutral lip sets sell out first so I’m hoping they stocked more this year in anticipation of that. This year has minis which is why the set is less expensive. I love these colors so much I wish they had made them full size instead – I wouldn’t have minded if it were double the price for bigger ones. There are two lipsticks and two lipglasses:

  • Love Me Lots Matte Lipstick is a medium nude pink
  • Dandy Apple Satin Lipstick is nude peach-pink
  • Saint No Angel Lipglass is a sheer shimmering light pearly pink
  • Totally Buff Lipglass is a neutral pink with a slight hint of mauve

MAC Look in a Box Saint No Angel | The Beauty Look Book

MAC Look in a Box Swatches | Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

MAC Look in a Box Saint No Angel Nordstrom Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

The Dior Addicted to Nude Lip Set ($70) has existing shades and after I got home I realized I already owned one of the colors. There is another option Addicted to Pink (with Baby Dior and Lazy) but my local store did not have it. The price of the individual lipsticks is $35 each so with this one you’re getting the mini Lip Maximizer and bag for free. For the nude lip set option I believe you can get both separately. Inside the Addicted to Nude Lip Set:

  • Dior Addict Lipstick in Bobo is the perfect coral shimmer, the formula is just so pretty and smooth
  • Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Underground is the perfect neutral-cool everyday mauve pink (also wearing it in this beauty look here)
  • Dior Lip Maximizer mini is a plumping lip product

Dior Nordstrom Set Addicted to Nude | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Addicted to Nude Nordstrom Set | The Beauty Look Book

Dior Nordstrom Set Addicted to Nude Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the YSL Lip Set in Nude ($74 for a $106 value). I don’t own any of the colors in this set, one is a Nordstrom Exclusive for the sale:

  • Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-in-Stick in Decadent Nude 61 is a shimmery nude pink mauve, the shimmer doesn’t really show up on the lips (Nordstrom Exclusive Shade)
  • Rouge Pur Couture in Le Nu 70 is a peachy nude
  • Volupte Tint in Oil in  Make Me Nude 9 is a sheer nude with a hint of shimmer that makes the lips look full and voluptous

YSL Nude Lip Set Swatches Nordstrom Anniversary Sale | The Beauty Look Book

YSL Nude Lip Set Swatches Nordstrom Anniversary Sale | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of the Nude Lip Set compared to individual existing shades, it appears the Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick 44 and 47 (reviewed here) are sold out almost everywhere online now except for Neiman Marcus and YSL Beauty (in store stock may vary).

YSL Nude Lip Set Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Swatch Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Upate: As promised swatches of the Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Chantecaille Lip offerings from the sale. I didn’t buy the sets as I already own the colors, for reference in case your store doesn’t have these or if you can’t get to a store I hope this helps!

Chanel has two gloss sets in the Chanel Rouge Nude Mood Coco Gloss Moisturizing Trio with 774, 714 and119 and the Bright on Brights Trio has shades 728, 738 and 172. I’ve put the stock photo next to photos I took of the real live product for reference and swatched them below.

Nordstrom Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Trios | The Beauty Look Book

Nordstrom Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Trios | The Beauty Look Book

Chantecaille Touch-Up Essentials has a full size Brilliant Lip Gloss in Charm which is pretty much clear on my lips along with the Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara and a mini eye makeup remover.

Chantecaille Morning Touch Up Set Nordstrom | The Beauty Look Book

Chantecaille Morning Touch Up Set Nordstrom | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury has two lip sets. Day to Night Lip Set in Hot Lips Nude has KISSING Lipstick in KKW and Matte Revolution Lipstick in Super Cindy along with Pillow Talk Lip Liner. Day to Night Perfect Pink Lip Set has KISSING Lipstick in Kiss Chase and Matte Revolution in Between the Sheets (previously limited-edition and relaunched for the sale) along with Pink Venus Lip Liner.

For additional reference, the nude lips swatched in this post here. Pink lipstick shades are in this post here.

Charlotte Tilbury Nordstrom Day to Night Lipstick Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury Nordstrom Day to Night Lipstick Sets | The Beauty Look Book

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives Lip Haul | The Beauty Look Book

FYI, in all the swatch photos I’m wearing a mix of MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC25 and NC37 set with the Mineralize Skin Finish in Medium Plus. To sum up the lip options – there are lots of repeats for existing shades. I picked two I could find that have exclusive or new colors. I’m really happy with all my purchases even though it turns out I already own one of the Dior lipsticks. If you’re a beauty junkie like me you might already own a lot of the colors as well and find this year’s offerings repetitive. I found some interesting sets and think a lot of these could make for great gifts later on in the year. I stocked up on some of the MAC ones.

Early Access runs through the 20th and opens up to the public on the 21st. If you’re shopping online don’t forget to check their Gift With Purchase page – it gets updated frequently!

Did you shop the sale yet? Any lip sets catch your eye?

 

Base Makeup Beauty Favorites

Summer Foundation and Base Edit

July 7, 2017

Best Summer Foundations for Warm Weather | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I have a roundup of foundations and bases I’ve been testing since I’ve moved to Florida where the weather is warm, sunny and humidity levels are very noticeable. By comparison, San Diego is very dry although to me it always felt moderate and what I considered normal. We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far the humidity isn’t quite as bad as I had expected. I’m saying this because in December we drove to Key West which is extremely wet and humid feeling – so humid the air feels like you’re walking around in a sauna. Also a few years ago we took almost a month to travel throughout Europe through Italy and the Mediterranean in late June. It was so scorching hot and humid during out travels I completely gave up wearing makeup on most of the days after trying and failing. That being said, yes Florida is humid and hot and finding a makeup base that stays put, doesn’t budge and that won’t slide off has been a challenge.

To date I haven’t found any makeup base or combination of products can truly 100% last or stand up to serious humidity especially if I sweat. I’m the type of person who doesn’t break a sweat easily but since moving to Florida I start sweating if I’m outside for 5 minutes and there’s no wind or breeze. I’m rounding up what I’ve tested by formula and coverage and note what I’ve found wears the best. Even though it’s humid here the reality is that both Andrew and I are rarely outside for long consecutive hours unless we’re at the beach or a park doing touristy things. Also even on those occasions we can take a break from the heat while in the car with the AC or take a stop at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Up first are the more natural looking foundations with sheer to medium coverage. The most requested reviews I get are for BB Creams and CC creams and I am sad to say that those are products I really do not like. Most feel thick on my skin or look pink in undertone. As one with really yellow/olive skin I can’t do bases that have pink so unfortunately I will probably not review any. Also a quick note on shades – many of you have commented over the years that you’re the same shade as me. Since moving to Tampa I’ve tanned quite a bit – it’s something I can’t avoid. I also lose my tan quickly so my color changes on a weekly basis. Because of this annoying fact I have to mix colors a lot – more than I ever have.

Shown below from left to right:

  • MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is the sheerest base I’ll do. It really has a super natural tint but adheres well to the skin. I fluctuate between Medium and Medium Plus. The shades run on the pink side but since the formula is so sheer it’s really forgiving. Review and swatches of all shades here.
  • Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer with SPF15 is more like a natural foundation. It’s sheer like a tinted moisturizer but gives better coverage than most that I’ve tried. It does contain Octinoxate 7.5% and Titanium Dioxide 3% so if those cause problems for your skin you may want to skip. I had no issues with this formula for my skin. If I were still in San Diego I would probably use this more regularly – since it has a mild moisturizing quality it can get a little bit dewy. I bought mine at Nordstrom but Bobbi Brown Online has more shades available.
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint is one that really surprised me. It’s hydrating but not too rich or heavy. It makes the skin glow naturally  Review and swatches of all shades here. It was limited-edition so may be hard to track down.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 is one you’ll see me wearing a lot in beauty looks or lip swatches. This one has Octinoxate 7.5% and Octisalate 3% – it’s one that doesn’t irritate my skin and has a natural looking finish that isn’t too matte, just naturally velvety. I wear St. Moritz now but on my lighter wear Groenland or mix the two.
  • Diorskin Forever Foundation SPF 35 is one of the best foundation bases I’ve ever tried. The only downside is finding a match can be a bit tricky. I tested 30 and 31 first – in store I had one on each side and they both matched perfectly. When I got home and tested again I found they sometimes darkened about a 1/2 shade. 31 is more yellow while 30 is more pink so I kept 31. I went back to find the next shade down which is 21 (even though there are a lot of shades in between). 21 is the most yellow. If you’re normally my skintone go with either 21 or 25. I use both 21 and 31 mixed together to get my perfect match. For me it’s 100% worth it because this looks naturally flawless on the skin and gives me exactly the coverage I want. It also stays put the best for me. It has 3% Octinoxate and 1.75% Titanium Dioxide.

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

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Next up medium to full coverage foundations which is what I usually prefer. Most people, friends and family included don’t realize that I’m almost always wearing a full coverage foundation until they see me with bare skin and see all my freckles. I was active in outdoor sports while in high school and even though that was YEARS ago I still got a lot of freckles and sun spots from being outside a lot. I have tried a number of whitening/brightening treatments over the years which has helped with acne scars and dark spots but I still have a lot of freckles.

Shown left to right:

  • Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer is hands down my most-worn foundation base. It offers medium to full buildable coverage and I love everything about it. For me Tom Ford Beauty has the best foundation shades to match my skin tone. It blends easily and covers my skin exactly how I like it without getting cakey. It lasts an impressive amount of time without sliding, creasing or budging. Review + swatches here.
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is the newest one I’ve tried. I got an early sneak peek at some of the shades and given my challenge finding a match in the Candleglow version I was skeptical about this one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a formula is for a base – if there’s no decent match, it’s going to be a no-go. I was lucky to find my match to either Buff or Dusk. Right now Dusk is the better match because it’s more olive. On a few occasions I have found I need to mix in a bit of Macadamia to lighten it just a slight amount. I am extremely impressed with this formula. You do need to blend quickly as it dries and sets in a short amount of time. Once it sets it gives a flawless finish that looks matte but not flat. This is one of the few true matte finishes I’ve tried that I like the look of. I’ve found it pretty budge-proof – this is one I wore this on the 4th of July. I applied a fresh face of makeup in the early evening before we headed downtown to scope out some firework locations. I had this on from 4:00 pm until around midnight. That evening the air wasn’t too and we were thrilled that it actually stopped raining by the time we found parking and walked a mile to downtown. After looking around the Channelside area we decided downtown was not for us so we walked back to our car and drove to Hyde Park Village for dinner. After we then walked another mile to Bayshore Boulevard to watch the fireworks. All this rambling is to explain how this formula held up. The humidity was probably the highest I’ve felt here to date – this one held up remarkably well although I did get very glowy looking, it did not slide off or budge.
  • Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is another long-lasting full coverage foundation that works well in this heat. Before I had to mix 4 and 6. Right now I’m probably 6.5 which is more golden, but I can make 6 work. If you can find a shade match this an exceptionally good one for lasting power.
  • Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick is one of my top picks for foundation sticks in this humidity. While in San Diego in my winter skintone I wore Warm Ivory. I’ve since moved up to Nude but only use this on areas I need extra coverage. It does warm up/darken a little. Right now I could probably use the next shade up but since I don’t use this all over my face I haven’t bought it yet.

Medium to Full Coverage Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Medium to Full Coverage Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are cushions. I’ve always been interested in cushions but testers usually look pretty gross and also finding the right shade can be a challenge. Korean brands tend to run pink (at least the ones I’ve tried) but I’ve had luck with a few in the past. The best thing about the cushions is that they usually come with a refill pack so you’re getting 1 plus a backup. Right now there are 3 cushions I really like:

  • Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion is one I featured in my sunscreen story. It has SPF 50 and isn’t really a foundation but actually a skincare product. I can use this alone or as a base for other foundations. I think the swatches can be a bit misleading because you have to put this on your skin to see how it matches. 30 looks way too dark for me but because it’s sheer it blends in seamlessly with my skin.
  • Saturday Skin All Algow Sunscreen Perfecting Cushion Compact with SPF 50 is probably the best cushion I’ve tried. I ordered two shades online sight unseen. 05 Honey is my match as this darkens just a tiny bit on my skin. Color selection is pretty limited – so far I’ve only been able to find 4 total, 3 are available at Nordstrom and all 4 are available at Urban Outfitters. It offers medium to full coverage but pulls more towards the full size. It gives the skin a very natural looking glow without being too dewy. It also stays put and doesn’t budge. Active Ingredients are Octocrylene 2%, Octyle Methoxycinnamate 7%, Octyle Saliclate 4.8%, Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 2%.
  • Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion has full coverage with limited shades. I bought the Brightening Version while in New York in 25 and 33 and after testing them at home was so disappointed to find they are simply too pink for my skin. I ordered the Perfecting Cushion in 25 to try instead which has fuller coverage and a better match. This darkens about one full shade on my skin. The formula is a bit on the heavy side for my preference but still holds up well in warm weather. I don’t hate this but don’t love it – I suspect it’s due to the fact that I don’t have a 100% shade match but I can make Shade 25 Deep Beige work for me.

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion | The Beauty Look Book

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are a few miscellaneous items I love for powders, concealers and a couple tools. I own a lot of loose powders but in general prefer pressed ones because they’re not as messy and easier for touch ups.

Best Pressed Powders, Concealers and Tools | The Beauty Look Book

For pressed powders:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder has one of the longest product names I think I’ve ever seen but it’s seriously THE best pressed powder I’ve tried. I saw this applied in action on my BFF at a Charlotte Tilbury event. Her foundation/base had completely worn off already and she told the artist she didn’t really want to try the foundation. The artist applied #1 on her skin and it was literally transformed into a smooth flawless canvas in front of my eyes. My shade is #2 and although I think she could add more options this one has been my go-to for at least a couple years now.
  • Armani Luminous Silk Compact Dual-Use Powder is another great setting powder. This one has more color options compared to the Charlotte Tilbury. It offers medium natural coverage and comes with a dual-sided sponge so you can either apply it for sheer or more full coverage. I use a powder brush to set my liquid foundation with this one for the most part. The sponge is something I use for touch ups. Even though I’ve darkened quite a bit I’ve still found Shade #4 to work perfectly for me.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is one of the few mineral powders I actually like. I tried so many when mineral powders were in – so many just looked too heavy on the skin, even after buffing it in. This one offers medium coverage and I use a brush to set my foundation. It gives an airbrushed finish but it’s not completely weightless in feel. It is a very natural looking product though and holds up well with the heat/humidity.

For concealers, I really don’t find myself using concealer a lot anymore. I simply don’t need it with good coverage foundations but my 3 most-used ones:

Concealer Swatches Cle de Peau Beaute, MUFE, NARS | The Beauty Look Book

Tools, an updated brush tool series coming up soon on the blog, but for now my two must-haves:

  • beautyblender is the best foundation application tool I’ve used. I’ve tried a number of the different colors and while technically they should all perform the same, I don’t find they do. The best ones for me are the original beautyblender (bright pink), bubble and nude. Review from a few years ago in this post here.
  • MAC Brush 140 S Synthetic Full Fan Brush is probably the best powder brush I own. It launched with the MAC Next to Nothing collection and has the perfect density and softness to pick up powder and apply it in a sweeping motion all over the face.

I wasn’t able to face swatch and photograph all the foundations, but here’s a look at two and also what my bare face looks like. With the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Dusk I’m just wearing the foundation (no powder to set). It was taken with a low flash and I didn’t get any white cast or flashback. Lipstick is MAC Faux.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer photographs the best in my experience. This was also taken with a flash and I’m facing a sliding glass door so some natural light is on my face. Lipstick worn here is Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk (you can also see it on me when I was a shade lighter here).

Foundation Face Swatches Tom Ford and Laura Mercier | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this roundup was helpful for you! A few notes on other formulas I tested, previous favorites and why I don’t use them as much now:

  • The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer worked better for me when I was in San Diego. Right now it’s really too dewy for my skin type. It’s still a great product for sheer coverage.
  • The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is still an amazing line for the liquid and stick foundation. I used my shades up the first month I arrived here (this was back in March). Since I’ve gotten darker I haven’t had a chance to investigate other shades to find what my current match is.
  • The Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is too luminous for me right now. Earlier in the spring or even when I was here in December it worked perfectly. Right now it’s a no-go just because I have normal/combo skin.
  • I will be testing the new Diorskin Forever and Chanel Les Beiges cushions. Will keep you posted. I have tried the Lancome Cushion but it’s really heavy in coverage – too heavy for me.
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid is one of the most full coverage foundations I’ve tried, I do like the formula but it’s a bit too opaque for me on its own. I can wear it and find it has impressive lasting power in this heat but I need to mix it with a Strobe Cream or something along those lines to sheer it out for my coverage preference.

Some final thoughts and favorites:

  • Best foundation for me is anything from Tom Ford, but right now my favorite formula is definitely the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. I used to use Bisque. Now I alternate between Natural (more neutral) and Sable (more olive/yellow).
  • Longest lasting matte base is the new Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion. If you have normal to dry skin definitely make sure your skin is well moisturized or add a hydrating primer. Reason for this is it’s medium to full coverage and matte formulas can emphasize lines. For me this one went on flawlessly without a primer but my skin is a bit more combination with the heat/humidity.
  • My most-used concealer is from NARS.
  • Best sheer/natural looking foundation is the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
  • Best new discoveries this year for me are the Diorskin Forever Foundation and Saturday Skin All Aglow Cushion.
  • I really can’t pick 1 favorite powder (sorry!) – it’s tie between the Charlotte Tilbury and Armani. If you want a flawless truly airbrushed look go with the Charlotte Tilbury. However shades are  limited as there are only 3 so the next best option is Armani. The Armani has sheerer coverage with a brush.
  • For other touch ups and this heat I swear by the Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers. While my in-laws were visiting we went to Orlando. All of us were sweating with the heat, humidity and thunder showers. I kinda forced them to use these – even my husband didn’t want to use it, he looked at the little square and said “there’s no way that’s going to help.” I gave them 2 each and assured them it really would help and after they tried it I was really happy to find that they did feel a lot better after using them.

Finding a good base in truly humid weather is going to be a challenge and results will definitely vary depending where you are located. Even within the Tampa Bay area humidity levels vary depending on how close I am to the coast. We live in one of the canal areas and while we aren’t directly on the bay we can see if from our house. Temperatures just a few miles inland in certain areas fluctuate and since the weather changes by the hour here so there are some times and places where it’s so hot literally nothing will truly stay put.

For those who are looking for a new base to try I hope this gave you some good ideas. If you have any you swear by let me know in the comments!

Press samples featured include the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion, MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, MAC Brush 140S Brush. All others purchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Loving Right Now

Loving Right Now

June 8, 2017

Loving Right Now | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated to add a few swatches:

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

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

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Serum | The Beauty Look Book

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Serum | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

Tatcha Loves | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Sunscreen Testing Part 2: Face Formulas

June 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Face Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin | The Beauty look Book

Shown above:

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

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

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

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

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

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.