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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 + (10% 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.

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In Rotation: Skin Toners

March 25, 2015

I think a good toner can make a world of difference in keeping the skin clear and refreshed. This time of year my skin typically goes crazy as the seasons change, however this year right now my skin has actually been getting better, clearer and feels smoother. I attribute this to a few things I’ve switched up in my skincare routine for day and night. I’ll have a roundup of cleansers and moisturizers I’ve been using, but for now today’s focus is on toner.

Today there are so many different types of facial toners on the market, each one has a different purpose. For me I have crazy sensitive skin that will react within seconds to many toners. Others will feel great upon application but then make my skin super oily within minutes. Five I have in rotation all have different purposes. You definitely don’t need more than one toner at a time although I typically have 2-3 toners on hand to rotate depending on how my skin feels.

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Toning Lotion ($25 for 6.7 fl oz) is my most-repurchased toner. I’ve gone through a few bottles of this one. For me it’s the best everyday kind of toner if your skin is normal. It’s gentle but effective in helping clean the skin after your regular cleanser and there is a very soft exfoliating factor built in. I like that it’s good for my sensitive skin and doesn’t dry the face out or leave a film residue. If your skin is normal/combo or dry there are other toner options from Estee Lauder that you might want to check out. (There’s a gift with purchase online at Nordstrom right now in case you wanted to stock up on some items.)

Ingredients:

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The SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion ($70 for  5 fl oz) is my second most-repurchased toner. This one is on the pricey side but is another good everyday kind of toner. It contains a mix of AHA and Pitera™which is unique to the SK-II skincare products. These help clarify the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells to help prep your skin for moisturizers or serums. This one is very gentle on the face and really works to clear up the skin. I had tiny little bumps on the cheekbones and this helps keep them away. It’s refreshing and it leaves the skin feeling soft. There is a slight moisture feel left on the skin after you apply it but it doesn’t feel like residue. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t sting the skin even on days when the face is a bit tender.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Peg-150, Cellulose Gum, Disodium Edta, Citric Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben *Pitera.

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Chanel recently reformulated their Le Blanc line. I was at the counter buying the new Hydra Beauty Micro Serum and my go-to sales rep said she highly recommended the new Le Blanc Brightening Moisturizing Lotion ($67.50 for fl oz) for my sensitive skin. I have never been able to use any of the Chanel toners in the past without getting tiny little red bumps within minutes, another rep commented she too could not use any of the toners from Chanel but this one was worth trying. I gave it a shot and have been really impressed. I’ve been needing extra help in the brightening area, especially with some acne scars. This one is extremely gentle. It has a texture that is thicker than most traditional toners but still absorbs nicely into the skin with a cotton pad. It helps soothe the face and really does work to help with my acne scars. After using this for a few weeks my skin feels rebalanced and clearer. There is some hydration with this which is perfect for right now as my skin needs moisture and clarifying at the same time.

Ingredients:

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Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner ($26 for 5 fl oz) came highly recommended to me by a rep who doesn’t work for the line. We were discussing face masks and treatments to help with my acne scars. By now my chin and jawline breakouts have almost completely disappeared (it’s 97% there to clear skin) and what I have to fix next is the scars and dark marks. He said hands down the Kate Somerville toner is his favorite and that it’s designed for post-acne scars. I typically don’t like tones for acne-prone or oily skin because I find them too stripping and it ends up sending my skin into overdrive oiliness. This one is alcohol-free and has witch hazel to fight acne-causing bacteria, phytic acid to lighten skin for scars, and aloe to soothe and calm.

After testing this for several weeks I think the upsides are that it really works to calm down the skin, especially if you have redness from irritation. It helped soothe areas that were tender from dry patches and acne. I do think it’s a bit drying on the forehead for me, but it worked really well on other areas of the face. I’ve seen a difference on my cheeks and chin area with this. For toners that brighten the skin and help reduce irriration, I would say it’s a toss up between the Chanel Le Blanc and Kate Somerville Clarifying Toner. The Chanel is better suited for normal to dry skin while the Kate Somerville seems to be clearly for normal to oily skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Carbomer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Methyl Gluceth-10, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Phytic Acid, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA-Copper, Panthenol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorphenesin.
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Last but not least is the By Terry Cellularose Hydra-Toner ($65 for 6.8 fl oz). I had used a few samples of this in the past and it comes highly recommended by a few friends. I don’t consider myself a huge fan of rose scented products but I am a big fan of the Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums (review here), Baume de Rose (for lips) and the Cellularose Nutri-Baume (for a face moisturizer on dry skin days). For me to fall in love with those items even with the rose scent says a lot about the products themselves. For me the rose scent in the By Terry line is a soft rose that is wearable and soothing (at least to me). The Cellularose Hydra-Toner is their Clarifying Comfort Toner and it’s the best one to soothe skin over the entire face (not just spots). It’s designed for all skin types and I would say formula-wise this is really truly good for all skin types. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing and also works to shrink pores and remove any signs of dryness. I do think the rose scent is stronger in this compared to other By Terry products. I cannot use this in the evening because the fragrance interferes with my sleep. This one leaves the skin looking the most dewy/glowy without feeling greasy or any residue.

Ingredients:

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Good toners have helped keep the skin clear and it’s an extra step to help make sure the face is truly clean with subtle exfoliation. All except the By Terry are almost fragrance free, each has a soft clean scent that is very subtle even for my super sensitive nose. If you’re in search of a new toner as we transition seasons, I hope this roundup is helpful. I think using a good toner can really help rebalance and readjust your skin as it reacts to weather changes. Sometimes my skin just gets used to something after using a product for an extended period of time and it becomes less effective so I like to switch things up every so often. For reference, I use all of these with a cotton pad (my favorites are Cle de Peau Beaute and Chanel). In summary:
  • My everyday go-to toners are Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean and SK-II, these are good for normal sensitive skin that needs daily balancing and clearing
  • For seasonal transition, brightening and hydration, the Chanel Le Blanc is amazing, I’ve been incorporating this one into my weekly routine and I’ve been really pleased with it, it seems to be suitable for dry skin days but also works to clarify and rebalance, the skin is brightened and looks softer
  • For acne scars and soothing, the Kate Somerville is really worth looking into, although if you have normal skin, you may not see as much of a difference with this one
  • For all skintypes, the By Terry Cellularose Hydra-Toner seems the best for oily, dry, and sensitive, it will leave your skin feeling truly refreshed and glowing

Do you have a favorite toner? I would love to hear about your favorites and skin type. Do you use the same one year round or do you switch things up as the seasons change, or even on a weekly basis?

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Hand Creams, Lotions and Treatments in Winter Rotation

January 14, 2015

This post has been several months in the works and with the winter weather I thought it the perfect time to share my favorite hand creams to battle dry skin. I’ve had my favorites in hand creams that I’ve tried, loved and been very loyal to which include L’Occitane, Tatcha and Caudalie. A few close friends have sworn by their personal favorites from different lines and insisted that I give them a test drive. Based on their recommendations I compiled a list of what to check out at stores near me and put several others to the test. Today I have a roundup of what I’ve tested, liked and my thoughts. Shown above from left to right:

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream ($15 for 2.5 fl oz)

This one is purse friendly, absorbs quickly, lightweight texture, soft sweet grape scent. I’m really particular with scented hand treatments this one has a nice smell. If you’re in need of quick and instant hydration I highly recommend this one. Moisturized feel lingers for a few minutes but the skin absorbs it fast and the hands are left feeling nicely hydrated and silky for hours.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15 for 2.5 fl oz, $22 for 5 fl oz)

I never tried this until last month even though so many have raved about it. It is an intense treatment and I’ve found offers the most hydration out of all the ones I tested. There is a soft eucalyptus almost minty scent to it straight out of the tube, but the scent disappears almost instantly and leaves a very slight hint of fragrance. If you’re sensitive to fragrance this is a good pick. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. I bought the smaller size which is purse-friendly.

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme ($60 for 3.4 fl oz)

I got this as a gift with purchase over a year ago and it has lasted a long time (still going strong). I remember when I researched this after receiving it thinking the price tag was extremely high for a hand treatment. I put it to the test and have been thoroughly impressed with the way it smooths the look of the hands instantly and improves texture over time. It is on the thick side but doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the hands because it also absorbs nicely. I wish it came in a smaller size option.

Formula X Hydrate Hand Crème with Kpangnan Butter ($16 for 3.4 fl oz)

Is a new hand cream from the Formula X line at Sephora. It smells absolutely delicious without being overpowering. It has a mix of shea butter with almond scent. It is very emollient and you can feel instant relief after applying. It is on the rich side so you can feel the moisture linger for about 15 to 20 minutes before it absorbs entirely. That being said it doesn’t feel heavy even though the formula is rich. I do wish the scent lasted a bit longer, it fades after 15 minutes or so, but the formula is good. It comes in a medium sized tube (also wish it came in a smaller option).

Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 ($35 for 1.6 fl oz)

This has been on my radar for months and I finally put it to the test in December. It’s the most lightweight hand cream I’ve tried with an airy texture and it absorbs into the skin instantly. There is no detectable scent so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance this is an excellent choice. It offers instant relief for dryness and lasts a long time. Although it is moisturizing, I found it on the lighter side compared to other treatments.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment ($20 for 1.7 oz)

Is a rich hand treatment that’s oil-free and made with a very soft almond-like scent. It claims to be quick absorbing which I agree with, but it has a super emollient texture which makes it feel a bit greasy even after 10 minutes. I found it a bit too heavy for my hands for day but do like it for night. That being said I did try this multiple times in stores before purchasing to give it more extensive testing. When my hands were super dry, testing this at the store gave my hands instant relief. The initial scent is really nice but after the dry down the scent disappears completely. 

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 60 ml / 2 fl oz)

This has been a long-time favorite. It comes in a travel size option which is nice to test it at a cheaper price point. If you have super dry or itchy hands, this is my ultimate pick for relief, hydration and also has the best lightweight scent. It has a blue tint but it disappears and absorbs into the skin (and doesn’t stain). I usually prefer hand creams that are priced $20 and under, but this one is so so good, I’m willing to overlook the price.

Diptyque Eau Rose Hand Cream ($28 for 1.7 oz)

This was released last year with the limited-edition Rosa Mundi collection. The Eau Rose Hand Cream is still available and is the sweetest rose I’ve tried. I think rose fragrances can be hard to do right, Diptyque’s Eau Rose has bergamot, blackcurrant, musk, cedar and honey mixed in making it more complex and less floral. The packaging is to die for.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 to $28, 1 oz to 5.2 oz)

This was the first hand cream I used when I was in high school and in my college days. I love the small travel size tubes these come in and also love every single one of the different scents and formulas. The Shea Butter formula is the classic one with the thickest and richest texture. I can’t count the times I’ve purchased this or tubes I’ve used up. L’Occitane is on my list every year to purchase as stocking stuffers. I’ll purchase tubes throughout the year as mini gifts, combine a mini hand cream and small box of chocolates and it makes a nice affordable treat for any occasion.

L’Occitane Scented Hand Treatments, assorted

L’Occitane’s scented hand creams are among the few that my sensitive nose can tolerate. They are subtle enough for me to wear without feeling self-conscious but strong enough that you can still smell them. I adore the sets L’Occitane offers, the holiday Arlésienne Velvet Hand Cream (.35 oz mini from the holiday L’Occibox shown, but available for purchase in the 1 oz size) is rose, sweet violet and saffron mix which is a pretty feminine scent (my husband approves of it on me). If you missed out on the holiday L’Occibox Elle x L’Occitane illustrated hand creams, the good news is that there is a cute 4-piece tin called the Irresistible Hand Collection which has the full sized 1 oz tubes. 

As you can tell, I’m a bit of a hand cream fanatic. Taking good care of my hands is a must, especially since I tend to wash them frequently and they are prone to dryness. In terms of picking my favorites, my criteria includes: has to absorb quickly, medium or lightweight fragrance, must be purse-friendly, cute packaging, and prefer something $20 and under. My recommendations to you will depend on what your skin is like, fragrance tolerance and also what your personal needs are. My quick take:

My personal top three picks for best formula for hydration:
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane Shea Butter
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Best fragrance (for sensitive noses):
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane any, my favs are Arlésienne, Amande and Cherry Blossom
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
Fragrance free (or almost no fragrance):
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Eve Lom Hand Cream

Most rich and moisturizing:
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Malin + Goetz
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv

What are your favorite hand creams? I’ve been looking for a good liquid hand soaps, if you have any favorites that are gentle on the hands I’m all ears for your recommendations.
The Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream and L’Occitane baby hand creams were part of press samples provided for review consideration. All others purchased by me.
GWP

Nordstrom + Estée Lauder Fall Gift With Purchase

October 15, 2014
http://rstyle.me/n/bb3qmubf6

Nordstrom has an awesome Estée Lauder Gift With Purchase going on right now. With any $45 Estée Lauder purchase, you get a sleek cosmetics bag filled with deluxe travel-size items and your choice of a lifting or repairing moisturizer duo. Be sure to use code LIFT or REPAIR at checkout to redeem the gift. The makeup bag is a two-toned zip pouch with a textured surface. It contains:
  • Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask (1 oz.)
  • Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (0.3 oz.)
  • Full-Size Pure Color Lipstick in Rubellite
  • Pure Color Gloss in Orchard Passion (0.2 oz.) 
  • Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara in Black
For the skincare duo minis, you have two options:
  • Lift option (use code LIFT)
    • Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Creme (0.5 oz.)
    • Resilience Lift Night Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Creme (0.5 oz.)
  • Repair option (use code REPAIR)
    • Advanced Time Zone Reversing Line/Wrinkle Creme (0.5 oz.)
    • Advanced Time Zone Night Reversing Line/Wrinkle Creme (0.5 oz.)

I replenished on some favorites including the Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Foam Cleanser (for normal/combination skin) and the Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Toning Lotion which I find good for my sensitive skin (both are regular staples). I also picked up two new items from Aerin Beauty including the new Weekday Lip Gloss (a neutral mauve pink) and the Cool Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Essential Brown (a shimmering cool brown).

In case you need some ideas of what to try, some of my tried and true favorites below (each item is clickable). I find the Estee Lauder prices reasonable for a high-end line, two items will most likely be sufficient to qualify for the $45 min purchase.

The Estee Lauder Intensive Smoothing Hand Cream is one of my favorite hand treatments to smooth lines and hydrate dry hands. I also like the Aerin Bronzers for a natural bronze glow. If you need to replenish on skincare items, now is a good time to shop. I actually like the makeup bag this time, it’s something I will actually use 🙂

What are your Estee Lauder favorites? I’ve discovered so many things because my mother is a huge Estee Lauder fan and passed along numerous recommendations to me over the years. The Fall Nordstrom Gift With Purchase is available online and in stores with ant $45 Estee Lauder purchase, while supplies last. If you order online, be sure to enter code LIFT or REPAIR to redeem the gift.

Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post, all items purchased by me. For more information refer to my Disclosures page.

Uncategorized

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick | Insatiable Ivory and Intense Nude

August 12, 2014

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks ($30 each) launched several months ago and I just got around to checking them out at my local counters. Swatches and looks kept surfacing showing beautifully pigmented rich colors. There is a diverse range of color options with this new lipstick formula. I’ve avoided Estee Lauder lipsticks for a long time due to the super strong fig scent which I could not tolerate. I’m happy to report the new Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks have no detectable scent and that they come in a sleek modern-looking navy and gold tube.

These are described as a high-intensity sculpting lipstick that comes in statement classic colors. I found the ones I tested to be very creamy and highly pigmented in color. They applied smoothly and the color did stay put quite long, however on my bare lips, the formula seemed to appear a bit thick and dry in texture emphasizing my lip lines (although right now I do have lips that are a bit more dry than they normally are). I added a bit of By Terry Baume de Rose underneath and this fixed all texture issues. Of course I picked out two natural shades. Insatiable Ivory is a peachy nude beige and Intense Nude is a medium rose brown with pinkish tones.

Swatches and close ups:

Insatiable Ivory pulls more peachy on my skin. It’s a good nude shade that doesn’t wash out the complexion. You get full coverage with two swipes:

Intense Nude isn’t really nude (at least not to me). Some call shades like MAC Twig or Spirit nudes, but to me they’re really rose colors with different variations of brown. I find Estee Lauder Intense Nude to be a more pinky rose brown rather than a true nude.

Some comparison swatches:

NARS Dolce Vita Lipgloss (swatches)

I like these lipsticks but feel they are on the steep side for Estee Lauder. For some reason I feel these should be more in the mid $20ish range, but that’s just me. The quality is there but the colors, although classic statement colors, seem a bit basic for me. They do have a sculpting/defining quality which I attribute to the thicker (but smooth) texture. On me, I prefer something not quite as sculpting since I already have full lips, but I could see a difference with these as they made the lips more defined.

Bottom line, they are good basics and there are a lot of wearable colors. I like that the colors seemed to just work, no lipliner or gloss needed to tweak the colors, although it was a bit dry on its own for me. Since I haven’t tried much from Estee Lauder lately, I thought I’d try something new from the line. It’s like, but not love. I’ll still be reaching for my Burberry, Tom Ford, Edward Bess, YSL lipsticks.

I purchased my Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks ($30 each) from Nordstrom. There are currently 25 colors to choose from.
Did you try any of these lipsticks? What did you think?
Uncategorized

Sneak Peek, Reviews Soon: NARS, Clé de Peau Beauté, Elizabeth and James, One Truffle, YSL, Chanel and more …

August 12, 2014

A quick sneak peek at reviews to be posted soon, some things I’ve been testing now for a couple weeks, others I’m working my way through swatches as fast as I can:

Stay tuned!
Uncategorized

On My Radar / New in Beauty

July 29, 2014

Some new items on my radar this week, top left clockwise:

As fall collections and new skin/haircare items start trickling in, I’d love to hear what’s on your beauty radar!
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