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First Aid Beauty

Sephora

Sephora Beauty Haul + Sephora VIB 20% Off Sale Info

November 11, 2016
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

I have my huge Sephora sale haul post for those who wanted to know what I bought during the VIB Rouge sale last week. For those who have VIB Member Status the 20% off Sephora Sale starts today 11/11 and runs through 11/14/2016 with code 20VIB if you’re shopping online at Sephora.com. You can use the code multiple times online and there are no product or brand exclusions. Up first are staples I stocked up on:

The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

Left to right:

  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is something I bought in the 1 oz travel size, I have the full size but it’s nice to have a mini on hand for travel or mini trips, original review here in case you want more details
  • First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish is one of the most gentle face scrubs I’ve used, in recent years I’ve stopped using most scrubs because I have very sensitive skin, this one is a good one!
  • Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Coconut is pretty much the only brand of deodorant I use, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t say how well this holds up for those who do sweat a lot, but it lasts all day, isn’t irritating, smells great and aluminum-free, sometimes on days I’m in a rush it’s all I wear and I get compliments from random strangers saying “you smell really good, what are you wearing?”
  • Sephora Collection The Cleanse Daily Brush Cleaner is one of my favorite quick-clean kind of sprays, it won’t clean brushes 100% but it’s great for powder shadow or blush brushes (anything powder like bronzer, highlighter etc.) – also available n a mini size
  • Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix is one of the best makeup setting sprays I’ve tried although I have to say that I have not tried that many, ones I have tried are just ok, but this one is great, it sets makeup, makes powder look less powdery without messing up your makeup, helps extend wear, has no scent, and is also availble in a mini size
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt has been featured here before and a single tub will last a long time, I use it 1x per week to every other week now and am getting close to finishing another one so I stocked up, review here and here in case you’re curious
  • Sephora Collection Soft Touch Cotton Pads are great basic cotton pads that won’t leave fibers in your eyes, I stocked up on 3 packs because apparently my husband has been using mine although he doesn’t use toner or need/use makeup remover so I’m not sure what he’s using them for, either way they are inexpensive even without the discount and don’t disintegrate
  • YSL L’Homme Deodorant is a restock for my husband and it’s one of his favorite deodorants of all time, he has sensitive under arms but this one works for him – I bought it because the Sephora sales rep told me it was “the best” he tried and that I would not regret buying it, he was right! My husband loves the smell and I love the smell, it lasts all day on him and is non-irritating, he wants me to tell you that he thinks it will make a good stocking stuffer for guys, lol
Next are some sets that I found interesting and ordered online because of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. One is being returned.
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

Shown above:

  • Peter Thomas Roth masks have been raved about by so many I decided to finally try the Mask-A-Holic 5 Piece Kit ($75 for a $230 value), there is also the Mask Vault ($225 for a $352 value) but the 5 piece set seemed like a much better value/deal – if you’ve tried them let me know what you think or if you have favorites!
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil 7 Piece Body Butter Collection is something I bought for stocking stuffers, I tried Gingerbread Vanilla and had a friend over and asked her to take a whiff to make sure it just wasn’t me, these are very strong in scent and very very sweet, if you like sweet or vanilla you’ll love these, me and my friend found them too strong so it’s going back, I don’t think my friends will like these
  • Elizabeth and James Find Your Nirvana Set has four 0.10 oz/ 3 mL Eau de Parfum mini rollerballs in Nirvana Black, Nirvana White, Nirvana Bourbon and Nirvana Rose, it’s a great way to try all four or keep one in a clutch
  • Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Trio has a lot of positive reviews, they are clay masks that are supposed to transform into a foaming cleanser when you add water, I haven’t tried it yet but have high hopes!
  • Skin Inc. Prep + Peel Set is something I bought to try the peel described as “non-abrasive” – will keep you posted as I try these, I may wait until after Thanksgiving to try these just in case I have an allergic reaction to anything
Elizabeth and James launched two candles in Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, both are online only (at least for the moment). They also have a couple sets with the candle like the House of Nirvana Black Gift Set. I haven’t burned it yet but it smells amazing from just opening the box. The Nirvana Black is my favorite and I think having this as a home scent will be incredible. The Find Your Nirvana Set minis shown next to candle for scale.
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul Elizabeth and James - Holiday 2016

Makeup picks where I went for minis and stocking stuffers:
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul Minis - Holiday 2016

Shown above:

Last but not least, I did buy the Laura Mercier Iconics Holiday Box Set. I went back and forth debating whether to buy it as there are a number of other Advent Calendar/Box Beauty Sets that are tempting this year. At the $170 retail price the 12 items in the box average to about $14.17 per item. With the 20% off the set price is $136 which makes each item about $11.33 (not including sales tax). The presentation is gorgeous and even though the box appears to be cardboard it’s very well made. I said I would review this earlier but after looking at it and seeing as I have already tried 8 of the 12 items I am going to save this as a gift for a very special someone although I don’t want to say who because it’s supposed to be a surprise. Everything is individually wrapped but if you want to see real life photographs I can carefully open the box to photograph for this post. Here’s the stock image as a place holder for now.

Hope you enjoyed this haul post! To recap, if you have VIB Member Status you can save 20% off purchases starting today 11/11 and through 11/14/2016 at Sephora. Use code 20VIB at checkout if you’re shopping online at Sephora.com
P.S. I am expecting my Tom Ford Winter Soleil Eye and Cheek Palettes to arrive today so I hope to photograph, test and swatch everything for my VIB readers before the sale ends even if it will be a first impressions kind of post.

Are you hauling anything during the sale this weekend? Or did you already shop last weekend for the VIB Rouge?
Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

November 9, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Sensitive Skincare and Bodycare

As the weather shifts my skin has been in need of an extra hydration boost. The air is dry and I can definitely feel it as my arms and legs tend to get a little itchy when skin is dry. My skint ype is pretty much normal combination but I do have super sensitive skin – I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m allergic to a number of things so I always patch test items before applying them all over. However as a beauty blogger it is my duty to try and test things to be able to see first hand how they work so I don’t mind an occasional reaction here and there. Many of you liked the Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin so today I have a roundup of Beauty Look Book sensitive-skin approved products that will help with dry skin and add that extra boost of moisture for winter months.

Up first are some lip products I’ve been loving right now for dry lips. You can see a more detailed comprehensive Winter Roundup from 2015 if you want more options. The Armani Him/Her Lip Care are also great options for tinted unscented options.

The Beauty Look Book - Lip Treatment Clarins, Dior, Lanolips

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (c/o, all shades swatched here) and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (c/o, also reviewed here) are among my favorite for hydration and smooth coverage. They are scented though so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance you may want to smell first before buying – I am semi-sensitive to scent in lip products but love both. There are a number of holiday sets out so be sure to check them out (there’s also a few cute GWP options going on at Clarins). The Sweet Kisses Set has 3 lip oils at a value price, Clarins Kisses has minis of both formulas, XOXO, Clarins! has 3 full size Lip Perfectors at a good deal as well.
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade has been a staple for hydration and smoothing lips. It gives instant relief for dry lips and really does work to help improve texture and look of the lips. I have two tubes because I want one at my desk and one to carry in my purse when I’m out and about.

The Lanolips 101 Fruities Duo in Strawberry and Peach are a Net-A-Porter exclusive and I cannot rave about them enough. They’re a thick but very smooth balm that feels incredible on the lips. I’ve never tried any other lip product that gives such a comforting hydrating feel like these do. The Strawberry option is also available at Ulta Beauty.

Up next are some hand cream favorites. I’m obsessed with hand creams of all kinds – I do prefer a smaller compact tube so it’s easy to carry with me and also because they take up less space whether it’s on my nightstand, clutch, purse or drawer. Molton Brown is always a good option for me as I love the lightweight feel and they absorb quickly. Coco and Sandalwood (c/o) and Pink Pepperpod (c/o) are my favorites but I’ve tried them all and they are ALL amazing options. (I buy the Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker set every year.)

For holiday Neiman Marcus and Kiehl’s have an exclusive trio with the Limited-Edition Scented Hand Cream Trio and it’s only $16 (they are 1 oz each). They also have the regular unscented version in a the Limited-Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve Trio they have every year in the full size. The scented ones are just as hydrating with a slightly creamier feel. I love the scents which are Grapefruit, Coriander and Lavender. It’s great and I highly recommend it as these are the best I’ve tried for super dry hands.
The Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream is new for this season and comes in a slightly smaller tube than the regular Vitamin E Hand Treatment (which I find a bit greasy). The Geranium Walnut has more a green geranium scent with only a tiny hint of walnut. It’s hydrating and makes the hands smooth.

The Beauty Look Book - Hand Cream Molton Brown, Kiehl's, Jo Malone



Face Oils and Serums are something I’ve never been into historically – I’ve only really gotten into them in the past couple of years as I’m more of a lotions and cream kind of person. Quite a few of you asked about the La Mer Renewal Oil and I’ve been able to acquire a few minis from gift with purchases. Out of all the oils it has the thickest feel upon application but actually absorbs the best for the least emollient finish which is rare for oils. It’s very hydrating but also scented. The scent doesn’t bother me and it did not irritate my skin. Once I use up my others I will most likely buy it – it hydrates, balances the skin and reduces redness.

The Beauty Look Book - Oils for Sensitive Skin La Mer, Darphin, Kate Somerville, Kiehl's

The Darphin Intral Soothing Serum does just what the name implies. It helps reduce redness from itchy dry skin and works wonders to calm down flare ups. If you’ve tried this and found it didn’t do much for you it’s probably because in most cases serums are meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer on top. Serums alone have a unique texture that doesn’t always work well with your makeup, but when you layer them with your moisturizer they help keep the skin balanced and hydrated. This is on the lighter side so if you have super dry skin it probably won’t have enough moisture, but if you’re normal and sensitive this is a good one.

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has been a favorite for a long long time. I’m pretty much finished with this bottle but kept it for this story as it’s a good one. L’Occitane skincare in general is underrated and it’s among the most gentle and natural that I’ve tried. It smooths the skin, makes it glow, plumps up the surface. You can use it alone or with moisturizer. I like to use it at night too and I wake up with glowing smooth skin. This is a great one for winter time.

Another favorite is the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment and I tried this thanks to a number of recommendations from my readers who commented on previous posts. This oil is everything. If I were forced to use one oil the rest of my life this would be it. My friend tried it as well and she couldn’t stop repeating “my skin feels sooo amazing.” It really does everything it claims: smooths skin, strengthen, replenish and restore elasticity, maintain suppleness and helps improve skin evenness. It has the most amazing scent which is hard to describe but it’s not irritating.

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is one that is well-loved by many and for good reason. It’s another oil you can use daily but has an energizing/reviving aspect to invigorate the skin. The description for this says it has “antioxidant protection with a powerful blend of naturally-derived oils, including Ginger Root, Sunflower and Tamanu, to help skin feel fresh and look energized morning to night.” I was nervous to try this but have been hooked every since I tried it.

Next up are lotions and creams. Note this looks like a lot and it is, but quite a few of these are empties that I’ve used up. First Aid Beauty is the best affordable mid-end skincare line I’ve tried and one of the best for truly sensitive skin. One of my best friends is in her mid 30’s and loves their line and my younger brother is in his early 20’s and it’s one of the two skincare lines he asks me to stock him up on (Kate Somerville being the other).

Many of the First Aid Beauty items contain colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry itchy skin. I’ve tried their Ultra Repair line and also the Purifying line with Red Clay (best for summer/oily skin) and everything is gentle but effective. The Ultra Repair Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great basic no-fuss lightweight moisturizer for normal sensitive skin. It contains, “meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil soften and hydrate while shea butter and ceramides help protect the skin’s barrier function. The best in the line is the Ultra Repair Cream and if you’ve been reading recent posts, you know they just launched the Ultra Repair Cream in Vanilla Citron (c/o) which is amazing. I bought the Ultra Repair Cream Minis set and feel almost like a broken record talking about it, but it’s GREAT. I still prefer the unscented version because even though there’s no scent it has a soothing undertone in the formula. They always have great value sets so be sure to browse those if you’re new to the line.

If you need something natural but not heavy, the Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is something I just started using on a more regular basis and it’s a great one for something simple but effective. The Chanel is a great in between option if you need something that acts
somewhere in between a lotion and cream. It helps calm down flare ups
and is great for sensitive skin. This year they added a larger 1.7 oz
version (the smaller 1.0 oz version is shown below).

Two other great basic options I’ve used up include the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer. Both are really good for a simple no-fuss kind of cream that hydrates, smooths, calms down irritation and rebalance skin. They are lightweight and absorb nicely into the skin.

If you have very dry sensitive skin, I’d recommend the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream or Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (I have the older original version but have tried both and the new one is just as good). If you read customer reviews on both their sites you’ll find an overwhelming number of others who love both. The Tatcha is on the expensive side so if you’re unsure of splurging $100+ be sure to check out their Travel Size Shop. They have all their items in minis and also in sets that are great to try out.

A few more notes on the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion. I featured it in this post here to compare it to the Soft Cream and I prefer the lotion because of the pump packaging and texture. It’s quite the splurge and I do think it’s amazing. I have no regrets buying it but the others in this roundup are also great at more affordable price points.




The Beauty Look Book - Skincare First Aid Beauty, Kate Somerville, La Mer, Tatcha for Sensitive Skin




Last but not least, for the body three things I’m loving right now are the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil Spray, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver and also the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a body treatment. They offer instant relief from itchy dryness and I’m obsessed with the way the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil smells. The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is one I’ve bought multiple tubes of now for friends. I get texts a lot from my girl friends that say “help my skin is freaking out, what do I need?” I either tell them First Aid Beauty or this one. I love that First Aid Beauty made their Ultra Repair Cream in different sizes and packaging options for travel, full size and value size.

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

Two other body products that deserve a mention but I just used up and didn’t keep the empties include the Tatcha Indigo Body Butter and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body. Both are extremely good for super sensitive skin. The Tatcha is the most hydrating one I’ve tried and is on the thick side since it’s a cream but feels amazing. I like to use it at night. I love the formula but it’s a bit too rich for my skintype for day time – I would absolutely die if they made this in a lotion form. The L’Occitane has been featured a number of times before as well. It’s the best lightweight gentle lotion that gives relief without feeling sticky or heavy. It absorbs well and anytime my skin feels itchy or irritated this is my go-to to help with relief. I need to go buy another one soon.

I hope this roundup give you some ideas on what to try if you’re suffering from dry itchy skin or flare ups. Recommendations as always depend on your specific skin type, age, formula preference and scent preferences. I turned 35 this year and my skin has finally seemed to rebalance itself and I attribute this in part to finding good skincare.

As I transitioned from my late 20’s to my early 30’s my life went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered. I have always been able to manage a lot of things in life but in my early 30’s the stress of life, career, balancing a full-time corporate job, a part-time job, this blog along with other things in my personal life took it’s toll on my skin and it suffered. I experienced breakouts on the chin even though I never had any acne issues growing up. I had pretty bad texture issues on all areas of my face. Red spots from scars were pretty bad as well. Finding balance in life, learning to say no to some things, taking time to take care of myself and worry less have helped my skin as I’ve worked to improve things from the inside out. Many of you have asked about work/life balance and I’ll have more on that when I publish my get to know me post.

Back to the skincare – I’m always asked if I could only pick one in each category what would it be. I like options, I always have. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because I have many and preferences change. Right now I will say that:

My favorite face oil is a three-way tie between Kate Somerville Dilo, Kiehl’s Reparative Treatment and L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

My favorite face moisturizer is a three-way tie between La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville anything, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Most gentle items for sensitive skin are the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, La Solution 10 de Chanel and Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

Favorite hand cream Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood or the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio

As always if you have sensitive skin, dry skin issues or eczema – please chime in on what your favorites are!

Press samples indicated with c/o. All other items purchased by me.

What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag / Céline Mini Belt Bag Review

October 30, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Celine Belt Bag

I have a what’s in my bag and purse review today! Many of you have asked for a review on the Céline Mini Belt Bags that I have and I’ve finally feel ready to provide my thoughts about it today. To date there are two sizes of the Céline Belt Bag and I have the smaller version called the “mini” size. It comes in a variety of material finishes, I bought two of the grained leather earlier this year in February in the Light Taupe and Black. It’s one of my larger purses but it has good proportions so it doesn’t overwhelm my petite 5’3″ frame. Full dimensions and current color options can be found on the Céline website by season. Price will vary depending on material, size and season – mine were $2,400 each before tax. They were indeed very expensive purchases and I had thought long and hard about buying them for over a year before splurging. I could not decide on a color so I did what I usually do with clothing and shoes – I bought multiples. I did think the style would be classic enough even though it’s on the trendy side. It seemed like a versatile kind of purse for my lifestyle and taste so I decided it was worth the splurge.
First before I go into the review I want to point out that Truffle is having a 20% off sale on full-priced items. Use code INSIDER20 at checkout for 20% off (ends October 31). The Clarity Clutch Mini is shown in this post and it now comes as a standalone item (without the gold card case). Click on the Truffle tag at the bottom of this post to see other features and reviews of their products. They really help with organization and also make cute gifts!

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Truffle Clarity Mini

Both of the Belt Bag I have has a grained leather which is very sturdy. It comes with gold hardware, a removeable strap, outer zip pocket and interior pocket. I usually take very good care of my purses as the ones I buy tend to be on the expensive side so I want them to stay in good condition and last as long as possible. I had placed my light taupe bag (seen here) on one of our sofas and our cat had a spurt of energy and went running and jumping over every surface he could reach in the house. He decided the bag on the couch would be something good to pounce on/attack. It survived and there is a slight noticeable scratch on the bottom front corner that you can only see if I point it out. I have since stopped putting them in areas where the cat can jump to.

The bag comes with protective studs/feet on the base so it helps keep the bottom corners looking better than if there were no studs. There’s still some contact from the way the leather bends at the base but the studs really help. The base measures about 12 inches wide by 7 inches deep so it can fit a lot of things and therefore can be easy to overload. The straps or handle are sturdy so it will carry a lot. Since I want to make sure this lasts as long as possible I try to limit what I carry so there’s not too much strain on the bag.

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

Mine looks slightly navy in some light, although it’s a black bag. One of my biggest concerns with bags is wear and sagging. I prefer bags that are flexible but don’t want them to lose their shape. Some bags like the Goyard St. Louis and Longchamp totes just aren’t designed to hold a structured shape so that’s understandable. But with bags like this I was worried it would lose it’s shape with wear. So far I have to say it’s held up remarkably well. It’s softened slightly after months of use but still retains it’s structure and the base is still solid without any sagging. 
The one thing that took time to get used to was the clasp. The way the bag is designed there’s a round knob on the flap which latches onto a buckle as you can see below. To unlatch and latch it requires you hold the base of the bag with a hand, set it down on a solid surface or use your hip or knee to prop it open. At first it was extremely annoying as it’s not an effortless kind of bag to open/latch. I do think keeping it latched/closed keeps all your contents safe and prevents items from falling out so it’s necessary. Eventually you get used to it and for me it’s not a dealbreaker.

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag
A look at the interior. It looks like the lining is velvet and leather. Mine is more on the navy side of black. Hardware is gold but the lighting here is a bit off due to the sunlight shining through tinted glass windows so it looks a bit greenish here.

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

What’s inside my bag: Tory Burch Makeup Bag, Truffle Mini Clarity Clutch in Black, Coach Clutch in Glovetanned Leather used as a wallet, Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream, baby Oribe Dry Shampoo

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

Onto what’s inside my bag. I mentioned the Coach Glovetanned Leather Clutch in a roundup a few weeks ago after spotting it in store. I decided to order it in the Black Copper/Black color and it is exactly what I had hoped for! For years I’ve had the Goyard clutches that come with the St. Louis totes but they only have one interior pocket and because of the stitching there isn’t much room for a lot inside. The Coach Clutch is part of their 1941 Collection and comes in a soft plush Glovetanned Leather. It measures about 7″ long by 4.25″ tall. There are plenty of pockets inside: a front pocket, a larger pocket behind to fit your cell phone, a smaller pocket behind in between the front and zippered section, a zippered pocket, a back pocket, two card holder slots inside and also one opening pocket in the back. There’s a removable wristlet strap (I removed mine as I usually don’t like those). I love the sleek simple design and the size is perfect. It’s a great wallet/clutch that you can use to grab essentials if you don’t want to carry your entire purse somewhere.

The leather is soft and smooth – at this time I don’t know how well it will hold up – but in my experience I’ve bought a lot of the smooth leather Coach wallets for my husband in the past and they’ve worn really beautifully.
The Clutch in Glovetanned Leather that I bought in the smooth leather has sold out in most of the colors, but is still available in Black, Denim Teal and Grey. It’s also available in a new Colorblock version for preorder. The Bordeaux color looks really pretty and on that product page you can see the side interior view.

The Beauty Look Book - Goyard Clutch vs Coach Clutch

For the beauty items in my bag, I had three of the baby sample size Oribe sprays in the 1 oz size. I don’t carry a lot of hair products with me but I had toted 3 with me to give to a friend. To date they are usually only found in sets like the monthly Birchbox subscription boxes or as gift with purchases but you can now buy them online at Birchbox in their Oribe Styling Kit (contains 5 minis!!). I photographed 3 next to the Travel Size (size you can buy individually) for reference. I’ll have a more detailed review on the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo but first impressions are WOW. It’s really good and leaves no white residue or dusty matte looking finish like most others do.

Next I have a mini First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream inside my bag that I use for quick fixes on dry patches. It works really well for dry sensitive skin and it’s been a long time favorite. I should review their line in more detail because it’s a great one. I’ve neglected featuring it because makeup has pretty much taken over my life. It’s a favorite among friends and family. Right now they have a super cute Ultra Repair Cream Minis Kit for holiday which has two 2 oz minis. They are small enough to carry one in a makeup bag. They also recently launched it in a Vanilla Citron (c/o) scent which is amazing!!
For hands and lips I’m always carrying way too many of these in my bag. I throw one in here and there every few days and before I know it I am carrying a ton of things with me. From left to right is the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive System. It’s a travel-size nail care oil which is easy to apply without getting messy like their regular Creme Abricot. Since it’s a gel-like oil it won’t drip like regular oils and it has a brush tip applicator to control how much you dab. I’ve found it’s great for just the cuticles, especially in this dry weather. It’s expensive for the size but 100% worth the splurge.
For hands Jo Malone launched a Geranium Walnut Hand Cream for holiday and it’s incredibly emollient and hydrating. There is some slip and moisture so if you need a dry down, you may have to wait a few minutes with this one. The scent is to die for like a mini spa. The size is perfect for the purse.
For lips, my three go-to’s right now are the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade, Armani Him Her Lip Care (swatched here) and the Lanolips Strawberry Balm. All three are great for adding hydration and moisture for my sensitive lips. If I had to pick one it would be very difficult – I’m beyond impressed with the Lanolips and just ordered the Strawberry Peach Duo from Net-A-Porter.

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Oribe, First Aid Beauty, Laura Mercier

For the face, I’ve been putting the Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder (c/o) and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter (c/o) to the test. I’ll have a full detailed review soon but I will say right now the powder is amazing. (Shade #2 shown for powder.) Also two other staples I carry frequently with me are the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duo and short handled MAC brushes (168SH Large Angled Brush shown).

Last but not least, a collection of lip products I’ve accumulated in my bag:
MAC Liptensity in Gumball and Toast and Butter (swatched here) – c/o
MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl (swatched here)
Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo in Script (review) – c/o
YSL Rouge Volutpe Shine #47 Beige Blouse (swatch here)
Rouge Dior in Bal (review here) – c/o

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag

That’s a wrap for my for my Céline Belt Bag review plus a peek at what’s inside my bag. On a few sale notes, the Space NK Explore Promotion ends today 10/30 (use code EXPLORE30 for $25 off orders $125 or more). The Truffle sale ends 10/31, use code INSIDER20 at checkout for 20% off full-priced items. The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% Off sale starts next week on 11/4 through 11/7 with code 20ROUGE 🙂

Hope you found this review helpful and enjoyed taking a peek into my frequently changing hand bag.

Press samples featured indicated with c/o next to the product names.
Uncategorized

Spring Face Cleanser Rotation

March 11, 2016

For skincare I think my favorite things to try out are facial cleansers. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as the feeling of having squeaky clean skin. I have sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of products and when it happens it usually happens instantly with a flash of tiny little red bumps that surface everywhere. I need cleansers that are gentle but still effective at getting rid of excess oil and dirt. I have normal combination skin so I look for cleansers that are strong enough to feel like my skin is thoroughly cleansed, doesn’t leave any film but at the same time won’t strip the skin and leave it feeling tight. I have a roundup of face cleansers I think are really good for right now, especially as we transition to spring. A few are tried and true and some others are new to me that I’ve been testing since January. I took these photographs a little over a month ago but wanted to wait and use up a few tubes entirely to see how I felt about them and also which ones I thought I would be repurchasing.

Finding a cleanser depends on so many different things. Skin type is the main deciding factor so if you have normal but sensitive skin like me I think you will find this review most helpful. I probably switch up my cleansing routine more than the average person. I tend to use a different cleanser for morning versus night. Also on full makeup days I like to double cleanse by using a cleansing water or cleansing oil first to remove my makeup. Then I follow with a regular liquid or cream cleanser afterwards to make sure my skin is cleansed all the way. On workout days I find myself giving my face an extra wash – right after I work out and also right before I go to bed because I have this thing about sleeping with clean skin.

I’ll split my recommendations by type and by intensity. I’m a huge wimp when it comes to any kind of tingle for skincare so all of these in this roundup are tingle-free and super gentle.

Up first are the cleansing oils I’ve had in rotation from Tom Ford, Tatcha, SK-II and L’Occitane. For these it’s really hard to pick a favorite because all four are extremely good. I’ve reviewed oils before (a few years ago) and I’m really picky with what I repurchase. As long as an oil doesn’t break out my skin or cause a reaction I’ll use it up entirely because I don’t want it to go to waste. Many leave an emollient film on the skin that I personally don’t like. Others strip the skin. Some others just don’t emulsify well on my skin when you add warm water. A few thoughts on these four:

Shown above from left to right:

  • Tom Ford Purifying Cleansing Oil ($80 for 6.7 fl oz) is the newest cleansing oil that I’ve tried, it just launched this year. Tom Ford Beauty describes this one as having a velvety formula, filled with nutrient-rich natural oils such as Jasmine Flower oil, Evening Primrose oil, Buriti oil, Tamanu oil and botanical extracts such as Panax Ginseng Root Extract and Thistle Fruit Extract, to cleanse and detoxify skin.” It indeed does have a velvety texture and cleanses the skin entirely. It removes all traces of makeup including eyeshadow, although I did not test on mascara because I don’t like oils near my eye area. It is on the purifying side but isn’t stripping. It did leave my skin feeling firm and smooth, but not tight.
  • Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 150 ml / 5.1 fl. oz.) has been reviewed here on The Beauty Look Book before. I would say this is my no-fail go to for cleansing oils. It’s gentle and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. It’s non-irritating and melts away all the makeup from your skin when you add warm water to emulsify and massage into the face. I love that they make a well packaged mini versions perfect for travel.
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil ($70 for 8.4 fl oz) is another favorite. This one has the most velvety cushiony texture out of all the ones I’ve tried. It’s just as gentle as the Tatcha but I find the SK-II leaves the skin feeling a bit more moisturized. On days I feel dry this one is best for my skin because it’s not quite as purifying as others but still removes all traces of makeup.
  • L’Occitane Immortelle Cleansing Oil ($32 for 6.7 fl oz) full review here, but quick take is this is one of the most gentle but effective cleansing oils I’ve tried and used up. I really love this one because it’s nourishing and leaves the skin feeling super soft and smooth without any residue.
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Next are more traditional formulas, but as I’ve been testing some new ones I’ve found some really interesting ones that are quite innovative in texture and how they apply on the skin.

Shown above from left to right:

  • Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash ($34 for 4 oz) this is one I’ve used up entirely and I love it. Over the summer I fell in love with the Detox Daily Cleanser because it was good for those super hot humid days. As we transitioned to cooler weather I started using the Gentle Daily Wash and it’s a lot more gentle on the skin. It’s a really good daily mild cleanser that I love for super sensitive skin days. It’s effective enough to use every day multiple times a day without stripping the skin. For me this one is pure love and I will be repurchasing this one. It helps calm down the skin on irritated days.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser ($38 for 4 oz) is the newest cleanser from the Kate Somerville line. I also used this one up entirely (I just finished it 2 days ago). This one is such a unique cleanser. It has no gritty texture like scrubs do but does contains a mix of glycolic acid and lactic acid along with pineapple, pumpkin and papaya enzymes to exfoliate the skin in a natural way without being harsh or drying. It’s gentle enough to use daily but I like to use this 2-3x per week and alternate with the Daily Wash. It’s super gentle – there has been no irritation or harsh feeling  on the skin. It’s amazing at improving the skin texture without the harsh feeling of a scrub.
  • Algenist Gentle Rejuvinating Cleanser ($25 for 4 oz) is another really good gentle cleanser option. I’m about 80% finished with this one and think it’s yet another incredible discovery. It’s similar in performance to the Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash but the Algenist is a unique cream texture that has a slightly mousse-whipped feel. This is one of the few cleansers I can use 2x a day 7 days a week without feeling like I need to switch up cleansers. It’s gentle as the name implies but does a great job at cleaning the skin.
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay ($24 for 4.7 oz) has been featured on the blog a few times and definitely has reached a favorites spot for me in terms of being one of the best purifying cleansers. It cleans out the pores and the red clay helps draw out excess oil. It helps clear up the skin when I have breakouts. The texture is almost gel-like but still liquid. I think this is a great balancing product for those with normal, combination or oily skin. Right now I can’t use it daily because it’s a tiny bit drying for the weather/season right now – but that’s for my normal combo skin.
  • bareMinerals Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser ($22 for 4.2 oz) is another really good clarifying cleanser. This one is interesting because you apply it directly on dry skin and massage it until the cleanser turns white. It’s a light red color that has a clay-cream like texture. Once you massage it into the skin you rinse with warm water and it cleans the skin entirely. This one is slightly stronger than the one from First Aid Beauty but is still gentle and non-irritating. It leaves the skin feeling firm but not tight. I like this on days I feel oily or after workouts. My husband really likes this one, although his go-to is still the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel.
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Out of all the ones I’ve been testing, I would say that my top two favorites for cleansing oils right now are the L’Occitane and Tatcha with SK-II being close third. I find L’Occitane to be the most soothing and gentle for my skin while Tatcha is a classic staple. The SK-II one is good but the price prevents me from wanting to purchase over and over again although I really really like it. The one from Tom Ford is one of the most purifying ones I’ve tried – I suspect it might be a bit too strong if you have dry skin. It’s definitely a luxurious one but I think you can find other more affordable options that perform just as well.

For the regular cleansers, I’ve been so impressed with Kate Somerville. I can’t rave enough about the line because the skincare just works so well for my sensitive skin. For everyday my favorites are the Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash and Algenist Gentle Rejuvinating Cleansers.

Do you have a favorite cleanser of the moment? I always love hearing about skincare favorites so please share in the comments!
Press samples included from all brands featured above except SK-II. As always all opinions my own.

Roundup Skincare

Best in Skincare and Grooming 2015

December 31, 2015
I discovered a lot of new favorites in 2015 for skincare. I’ve compiled a list of items I consider game changers that have made a significant difference for my skin over the past year improving texture, clarity, and smoothness. I struggled over 2014 with lots of stress with some life changes and didn’t take the best care of myself health-wise. It impacted my skin and took months to recover. In 2015 my husband also went outside of his comfort zone to try more in skincare and grooming. We’ve rounded up our favorites for the past year. First up, best skincare picks for me:

Shown above featured from left to right:
  • Le Mieux 4-in-1 Ultrasonic Anti-Aging Skin Perfecter* (review here) best cleaning device tool discovered this year, helps to clean pores and with gentle extractions that won’t break the skin
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) best daily cleanser to help clarify skin, clean pores and help prevent breakouts
  • Tatcha Indigo Triple Recovery Cream* the entire Tatcha Indigo Line actually should be on the list as I’ve found every item I’ve tried to be a game changer for my sensitive skin. It’s great for those who have eczema, for me it helped moisturize and soothe irritated and inflamed skin on flare up days, you can try the entire line in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (review here) one of my top day creams
  • Eve Lom Brightening Cream* (review here and here) also in the top day creams which really helped with brightening the complexion and lightening dark spots and acne scars
  • Kate Somerville Dermal Quench and Dermal Quench with Retinol * (review here and here) experiencing the Kate Somerville line in person this year at the clinic in Los Angeles changed my life, I had always been interested in the line but didn’t know where to start, having an in person assessment and facial helped me pick out what would be best for my skin, the Dermal Quench items have been game changers to improve skin texture for day and night, helps give the skin a lift and also reduce redness
  • Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum* (review here) I wrote about this back in February after giving it a thorough 50+ day test (or night that is), it comes with a hefty price tag but I found it to be the biggest game changer for my skin, at the beginning of the year I had horrible skin texture, lots of dark spots from acne scars, breakouts on the chin area – nothing I tried seemed to restore my skin and at that point I was too scared to use anything with retinol. This completely restored my skin in a gentle non-irritating way. It’s a night treatment that helped with resurfacing and rebalancing. I continued using it weekly throughout the year as needed and I’m almost finished with the bottle. Whenever I feel my skin starting to act up this has hands down been the best treatment to help improve texture.
  • Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen* (reviewed here and here) best sunscreen I’ve ever tried that doubles as a matte primer, helps smooth skin, doesn’t look white on the face, keeps oil controlled
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream* back in November, my skin suffered a serious allergic reaction to Neosporin. I put it on a couple scabs that I had picked from acne to help with the healing process, instead my face literally blew up into a serious rash with tons of deep red bumps and swelling. It took around five weeks for my face to recover (it wasn’t bad enough for any prescription treatment, I was told the only thing to do was wait for it all to heal). The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream was one of the few creams I could use for my irritated inflamed skin. My friends swear by it. I really love it.
  • L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil* best facial oil that I like to use at night or weekends on no makeup days, helps restore the skin’s glow and moisturize without being too greasy, bottle lasts forever as a little goes a long way
  • Chanel Sublimage Eye Cream after all the eye creams I’ve tested this is still my favorite

For my husband, best in men’s grooming:

Men’s grooming favorites shown from left to right:

What were your skincare favorites? Any new discoveries that you found to be game changers?

Press samples featured with a * indicator next to the product names.
 
Uncategorized

Lip Balm Testing and Recommendations for Winter Weather

December 14, 2015
Winter Lip Treatments Balms

Above: Tray from J.Crew (similar here and here), Clare V Wallet Clutch, Celine Knot Bracelet, Gorjana Crossover Cuff

I’ve been testing a number of new-to-me lip treatments, balms and oils since late fall. I did a roundup of rosy red tinted lip treatments for holiday last month, but it’s been a year since I rounded up what I’ve been testing and loving in the non-tinted version. Today after weeks and weeks of testing, I have thoughts on 16 different lip balms in multiple formulas to share today. I’ve split the lip balms into three categories: the pots, the tubes, and the squeeze tubes.

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Potted Lip Treatments

Fresh Dior Chanel Tatcha Nuxe Lip Balms

Some of my favorite lip balms formulas are in pot format even though I prefer the tube or stick version so I don’t have to stick my finger in. I’ve raved about the By Terry Baume de Rose so many times I thought I’d round up some others I’ve been testing.
  • Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy ($30) – I had high hopes for this one as I really like the stick sugar lip balms but find they can get soft and be prone to breakage. One in pot format seemed more ideal for a soft formula, but this one is actually harder in texture. I had to take a lip brush to break the surface and get enough product for my lips. With just fingers I could barely get anything on and the result was a barely-there veil of moisture. If you dip into the surface and dig out enough of the product to layer on the lips, it makes the lips feel moisturized, smooth, slightly minty and cool but without the tingle. Unfortunately it doesn’t give the lips a long-lasting moisturized feel. I would say the effects are immediate and temporary for fall to winter weather. It would be better suited for warm weather.
  • Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Rêve de Miel ($19) – This is one I bought in the limited-edition packaging, but the formula is the same as the regular pots with the white caps. This is an ultra creamy highly concentrated rich balm that smells like honey and grapefruit. I find it on the thick side of creamy so it really coats the lips with a cushion of moisture. It stays put and doesn’t slide around. It comes in a hefty glass jar. The scent is very natural and barely has any taste. I like this one for an ultra rich and creamy treatment.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care ($50) This is one I used up and repurchased. I go back and forth with this one, mainly because it comes with a very high price tag. It’s smooth and lightweight in feel but does moisturize the lips. If you read my post from last year I said I would probably use it to the end but not repurchase (well I ended up repurchasing). It’s a good basic lip balm that works for me, but I think others like the Nuxe or the Clarins Lip Oils have a deeper more moisturizing treatment and more affordable.
  • Dior Crème de Rose ($28) – This has been on my radar for years and I finally bought it and tried it this year. It’s super smooth and creamy without the greasy feel. It has the most lush rose scent, similar to By Terry but slightly less floral/sharp which makes it easier for those with sensitive noses. It’s very hydrating and the effects truly make a difference in the moisture of the lips.
  • Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36, also in the Travel Kit and several other holiday sets) This is an extra special lip balm. It’s such a unique formula. The base is a clear jelly-like balm that smells refreshingly sweet. It’s dewy and adds the perfect amount of moisture to the lips and feels lightweight. It’s topped with a thin layer of 24-karat gold leaf that gives it an ultra luxe look. It’s a winner and I really can’t imagine life without it.

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Lip Balms in Squeeze Tubes

Amore Pacific Laura Mercier Lip Balm L'Occitane First Aid Beauty Bite Beauty Malin+Goetz

Squeeze tubes are the best format for lip balms in my opinion. They’re compact, easy to use and don’t require fingers. Many come with angled applicators which makes it easier to apply these days. A few new ones along with tried-and-true favs:

  • Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35) This is something I tried because so many of my readers raved about AmorePacific. This is a tiny tube of balm but the formula is excellent. It offers instant relief to super dry lips. There were a few days my lips were painfully dry and this helped restore them to their natural state. I would say that it’s almost entirely scent and taste-free. I can’t detect any scent but it’s possible there’s a slight natural scent to it. Out of all the tubes, this is in my top 3.
  • Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Lip Balm ($24 or in the Rose Infusion Set* for $110) This is a new launch from Laura Mercier. It was first exclusive to the Rose Infusion Set, but you can purchase it separately now at Laura Mercier. It’s a nourishing lip balm that smells like soft roses. It has Rosehip Seed, Kukui, and Macadamia Seed Oils helps soothe and comfort lips – I really like the way this feels on the lips. There is a slight floral taste to it – it’s not bad or too strong, but definitely noticeable. I really like the way it hydrates the lips.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm * ($25, from the Hugs and Kisses Set) is one of the most gentle lip treatments for super sensitive skin that’s still hydrating. Since it’s lightweight the lasting power isn’t as long as some other treatments, but it still does the job at adding moisture and soothing the lips. Many lip treatments make my lips go numb (like Kiehl’s and almost all the drugstore brands), whenever I’m in doubt I go with L’Occitane.
  • L’Occitane x Pierre Hermé Pamplemousse Rhubarb Lip Balm ($25 from the Voyage Trio Set) is part of the Pierre Hermé Collaboration. It has the most delicious grapefruit scent to it and adds a tiny bit of moisture. As a quick fix it’s good, but the formula is pretty light in terms of moisture and texture. If you don’t mind reapplying the scent is heavenly, but if you’re looking for a deep treatment, you may want to pass.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy* ($12, or in the FAB to the Rescue Sampler Set $32 and Freshen Up Duo $15) This is a life-saver for dry lips. It’s got a minty scent which I’m not the biggest fan of, but it’s a pleasant mint. It’s super smooth and emollient and has just the right texture of creaminess to it. It gives the lips instant relief and really helps with dry lips.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26, swatched here, Smashed swatched here) is a tinted treatment, but it’s pretty much clear. This is one of the best lip treatments I’ve tried. It’s super plush and hydrating. I use it on no-makeup days and it fixes dry lips like magic.
  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is a long-time favorite. There are two formulas of lip balm, both are equally good. I think the Mojito one is fun because it’s scented in a fun mojito flavor. It has a clear almost gel-like consistency. I like the way this feels on the lips the best out of all the lip balms. It’s moisturizing and you can feel it, but it’s not heavy or greasy.

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Twist Up Sticks and Oils

lip oil clarins hourglass nuxe lip balm caudalie lip balm

Last but not least, a few others in oil and stick format:

  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey* ($24) Lip Oils were really popular this time last year. I tried a few different brands and found I didn’t really like the concept of oils because many just felt too runny and thin. The Clarins is phenomenal though. It does offer instant comfort and a natural shine. Honey is pretty much clear on the lips but it has a thickness to it which prevents it from feeling like it will slip off your lips. Cafe Makeup did a review on the pink version. I think her thoughts and review are excellent.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Treatment Oil in Icon* ($42, review here) is also tinted. I’ve tried both the original clear and tinted version. Both have a really good nourishing formula I find unique and extremely hydrating. The red one is fun for holiday and pretty sheer/natural so if you’re a neutral lip lover like me, it’s definitely wearable. It’s one of the deeper treatments I’ve tried for lips – it has a press pump to dispense product. I think it’s definitely worth the splurge.
  • Nuxe Lip Moisturizing Stick Rêve de Miel ($9) is something I’ve loved and used up. The stick for right now is probably too light in the sense that it doesn’t give me enough moisture. If you’re a Reve de Miel fan, go for the pot instead.
  • Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12, also in this Winter Favorites Set or Winter Duo) this is my favorite twist up tube balm. It has a really nice fruity fresh scent and taste to it. It glides on the lips easily. It hydrates my lips nicely. I used up the tube from last year’s post and repurchased it in one of the duos.

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If you’re looking for a new lip treatment I hope this roundup helps give you some ideas of what to try. My bottom line:

Top Formula Picks for Fall/Winter Weather

Most hydrating formulas:

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
Bite Agave Lip Mask (any of the colors)
Dior Creme de Rose
Nuxe Rêve de Miel (pot)
Clarins Lip Oil

Best for everyday, lightweight but still moisturizing:

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm
Tatcha Camellia Lip Balm

Best in luxury:

Hourglass Lip Oils

Ones I’d pass on if I could do it over:

L’Occitane Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarb – nice but not hydrating enough
Fresh Sugar Nourshing Lip Care – just not what I expected

As always, I’d love to hear about your favorites! If you have any tried and true – please share in the comments. 

Some press samples included in this post indicated with a * from L’Occitane, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty, Hourglass, Clarins.
Uncategorized

Sunscreen Rotation

September 16, 2015

I’ve been testing a number of sunscreens all summer long to see which ones hold up to heat, humidity and also are suitable for my ultra sensitive skin. I know a sunscreen roundup would have been more appropriate earlier in the summer – but it’s recommended you wear sunscreen all year round, not just in warm sunny weather. Here in Southern California we have sunny weather 90% of the year. I used to think sunscreen wasn’t necessary for everyday – especially for those who work indoors for the vast majority of the day. However, in a good portion of work places there are windows where your skin can still be exposed to sunlight. These days I’ve put extra effort on applying sunscreen regularly. I am not the most disciplined at re-applying but am trying to be better. I’ve split my testing into three categories: Face, Body and Men’s.

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Face Sunscreens – Many of my moisturizers or foundations already have SPF in them so I used to not pay much attention to applying sunscreen as an additional step. These days I prefer moisturizers and foundations that don’t have SPF – it’s not something I actively look for, it’s just a coincidence that most of the foundations I really like do not have any SPF. The highest SPF foundation I own is the Chanel CC Cream (all shades swatched here) which comes with an SPF 50. For days where I don’t wear this I do layer on sunscreen over moisturizer.

Four I’ve tested over the summer:

  • Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen ($42 for 50 ml/1.7 fl oz) is a new formula that replaced the original UV Plus HP. I prefer the original version because it had a thinner formula and even though the liquid was white, it didn’t leave a noticeable white cast on the skin. The new one has a higher SPF of 50 versus 40. It’s also slightly thicker and more creamy – it does the job at covering the face and protecting it – I found it too heavy for my skin. It does have a lightweight feel but the formula covered so much of my skin it felt like it couldn’t breathe underneath. If you have dry skin this one will probably be ok for your skin type.
  • Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen ($68 for 60 ml/2 fl oz) was launched in August. I had been waiting for this one for months ever since a reader e-mailed me with news that she saw a preview of this. This one comes with SPF 35 and is the one facial sunscreen to rule them all (at least all the ones I’ve tried). It’s a pore perfecting formula which really does smooth and blur out imperfections without making the face look matte or white. Many blurring products have a white or pink cast which makes my olive skin look ashy, powdery or flat. The Tatcha sunscreen is white but it blends out to an invisible finish. It makes the perfect primer for foundation too. It is on the pricey side, they have a Travel Size option for $13 to try. It helps control oil, it doesn’t break out my face, it covers the skin completely but allows the skin to breathe. It doesn’t clog pores and it doesn’t feel greasy. (PS, there is a promo with code CLEAN20 to receive a complimentary travel-size Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($12 value) on any order over $20, offer expires 9/30/2015.)
  • Chanel UV Essentiel Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($55 for 1 fl oz/30 ml) has been a go-to for years. It used to come in a more rectangular bottle with a different formula. I loved the original and love the new one. It’s an ultra lightweight formula that is a white liquid but disappears on the skin. What I love about this one is that it doesn’t break me out and also layers beautifully over moisturizer and under foundation (I’ve tried it with Chanel, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, By Terry, NARS, Laura Mercier to name a few). Many sunscreens have a heavy greasy feel and don’t work well with foundations, this is the one I’ve repurchased a number of times. My husband likes to use it for day. For working out or running though it’s not sweat proof. It runs into both of our eyes and stings. This one works for my sensitive skin but one of my friends found it created tiny little bumps on her cheeks.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($30 for 2 oz) is one of the few moisturizer + sunscreen products that I like. It has a creamy texture and white color but doesn’t leave a white cast on the skin. This one is free of skin-irritating chemicals and has a soothing feel. It dries to a semi-matte finish and works really well alone or under makeup. For my ultra sensitive skin this is one of the most gentle sunscreens I’ve tried. I gave one tube to a friend (same one who broke out from Chanel) and she is completely obsessed with the First Aid Beauty sunscreen. It’s lightweight and has a silky finish.
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Body Sunscreens are something I test with dread. I get irritation and red blotches from so many it’s really quite ridiculous. My husband can use any body sunscreen without any issues. His main concern is about texture. If it feels greasy or oily and doesn’t dry down then he doesn’t like it. Four we’ve tested over the summer below that passed my sensitivity test.

  • Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50 ($34 for 5 oz) is something I’ve been obsessed with all summer long. I bought in the mini size and brought with me to Europe in June. It’s an oil that absorbs quickly into the skin and makes the body glow but doesn’t feel greasy. If you’re not a fan of thick cream sunscreens this is a great alternative. It does a good job at preventing burns and when I use this I don’t get much of a tan. This is for face and body but I wasn’t brave enough to try it on my face.
  • Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology is something I received from Birchbox ($32 for 7.5 oz). I didn’t think I would like it because it has a white cream lotion texture. This one is even better than the oil and even though I have sensitive skin and both work for me, I think this has a more gentle feel. I tried this on the face and it stayed put, didn’t sting my eyes with sweat and didn’t get oily. This is hands down one of the best body sunscreens I’ve tried. It’s easy to apply and absorbs quickly into the skin. It has a lightweight non-sunscreen scent that fades after a few minutes. One of my biggest gripes about body sunscreen is the sunscreen smell. This one doesn’t smell like the usual.
  • Coola Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 in Tropical Coconut ($30 for the small 3 oz size) smells so amazing. I couldn’t find this one instores (my local stores had the unscented versions). It does have alcohol in it and you can smell it when you spray it on the skin, but the scent disappears and you’re left with the coconut scent. It’s lightweight and gives an even spritz of mist in a continuous spray. I like this one because it’s easy to apply all over – you can sunscreen your back easily and reapply quickly. It’s non-drying and non-irritating. I love that it’s not messy like creams or oils can be.
  • Korres Sunscreen Face and Body with SPF 50 is made with Greek Yogurt. You can’t find this one in the US unfortunately – we bought this in Athens and loved it. It’s a liquid spray but applies like a lotion. It’s creamy and soothing and completely covered the skin. There were a couple times we saw a dramatic difference on our skin on spots we missed. Areas covered with this sunscreen didn’t get dark or tan.
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Last but not least, three men’s sunscreens my husband has liked enough to repurchase. He’s been a long-time Jack Black user. The one facial moisturizer he uses regularly is the Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this almost daily – if he’s going to be indoors at his office most of the day he will use this alone. He likes the lightweight texture and it keeps his skin soft and prevents it from getting oily. On days he think he will be on the road or outdoors, he will layer on the Jack Black Sun Guard Very Water Resistant SPF 45 on top. This one is light enough that it doesn’t feel heavy. With sweat or water it doesn’t sting his eyes. He likes this for the body as well – it prevents burns when he’s been at the beach. Another one he likes is the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard Sunscreen with SPF 50. This is his preference for high SPF – it’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a white cast on the skin. It’s similar to the Chanel UV Essentiel in terms of texture, but this one works better for his skin. It doesn’t bead up when he sweats.

I hope you found this roundup helpful. My top picks: Tatcha and First Aid Beauty for the face, Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen (white tube) and Korres for the body. What are your favorite sunscreens? I’m always open to recommendations – I often learn about awesome skincare items from my readers.

Press samples include items from Clarins, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty and Supergoop! Everyday SPF50. All others purchased by me.