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Beauty Favorites Loving Right Now

10 Things I’m Loving Right Now

August 13, 2019

Ten Beauty Purchases I've Been Loving

I’m back with a round up of 10 things I’m loving right now – all things I purchased on my own with a few items that are repurchases! Things have been a bit slow on the blog the past few weeks with some unexpected personal things going on in our life. I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet but don’t worry, we are 100% ok! I will have the Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation post up tomorrow, I wanted to make sure I put everything to an extensive test before I posted a full review for you.

Beauty purchases I’ve been loving:

1. MAC Lipglass in Love Nectar is one of the prettiest soft sheer peach shimmers. This isn’t the same as the original LustreGlass formula – both the formula and color are different but it’s still in the same color family. This is a repurchase for me (swatches here).

2. Real Techniques Mini Multitask Brush 407 is one I found at Walgreens in store but you can find it online at a number of places like Amazon or the Real Techniques website. It’s super cute, plush and really does a great job at multi-tasking for powder, bronzer or blush. I love how compact it is but still functional.

3. Essie Come Out to Clay is part of their fall collection Rocky Rose Collection, I checked it out in stores near me and picked out two of the colors, Come Out to Clay is the perfect light creamy peach!

4. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Mini comes in all the colors now, I’m usually the shade Ginger but they’ve added more colors and when I’m super tan Praline is the next shade up (before there were huge gaps between Ginger and the deeper tans). I think the mini size is a nice way to try it if you’re new to the formula and want to test it out.

MAC Love Nectar, Real Techniques Mini, Essie Come Out to Clay, NARS Mini Concealer

5. Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner is a repurchase as well, I really love this to refresh and hydrate the skin. I have combination skin this season. It tends to dry out if I’m indoors with the A/C and then becomes oily when I’m outside because the humidity this time of year is INTENSE! This soothes and hydrates. I usually buy the mini sizes even though full sizes are the better buy (value wise).

6. Pat McGrath Mini Lip Fetish Balm Trio has the clear, Blow Up and Flesh3 minis of her Lip Fetish Balm swatched here. I’m the biggest sucker for minis and just bought these to throw in my purse. Since I’m loving mini bags right now I’ve needed to downsize my card case, lip products, etc. I haven’t used the minis yet but I really love the full sizes. She also has mini trios in the MatteTrance and Mini Lust Gloss Trio (several color options available).

7. Omorovica Peachy Micellar Cleanser Pads were on my radar a few weeks ago and I splurged to buy them. The tub is huge but in a good way. Pads are sturdy so they don’t disintegrate when you wipe them on your face and they don’t leave any fibers or greasy residue. I like this as a first step or second step cleanser. They’re gentle, hydrating and effective for face makeup. The scent is something I was really concerned about ordering this sight unseen but it’s a really pleasant subtle peach and after a couple minutes I do not smell any residual scent and the fragrance did not irritate my skin.

8. Oribe Royal Blowout Spray is another repurchase. I really like this as a heat protectant and smoother before I blow dry my hair. I also mix in some of the Moroccanoil Treatment or some kind of serum, but the spray makes a huge difference to protect ends and add shine. It’s lightweight and doesn’t weigh down the hair. You can try this in a mini size which is pretty spendy but I always buy the full size option.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner, Pat McGrath Mini Balm Trio, Omorovicza Peachy Micellar Cleanser, Oribe Royal Blowout Spray

Last but not least are some Chanel neutral favorites. I’m obsessed with their neutrals! The Organdi Le Vernis is probably in my top five neutral polishes of all time. Recent lip repurchases:

9. Rouge Coco Gloss in Noce Moscata is the prettiest glossy pink beige with subtle shimmer. Anytime I wear this it gives that plush natural your lips but better soft pink glow and I’m always asked “what’s on your lips?” Another popular neutral is Caramel 716 which is a cream and more opaque. Lip swatches here.

10. Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur is a hit or miss for many because you can’t sharpen the tip. It’s a twist up crayon and as you use it the tip becomes flatter/chubbier. I still love these for the glossy finish. It’s been a while since I’ve used up some of the colors and I repurchased two Beige Rose (swatched here) and Bois Rose (swatched here).

Best Chanel Neutrals Rouge Coco Gloss and Jumbo Crayon

 

 

That wraps up some of my favorite recent beauty buys! What have you been loving lately? For those who keep asking about the white cosmetic case I’ve been featuring in some photos, it’s the Cuyana Vanity Case in Ecru.

Skincare

Favorite Face Scrubs + Exfoliators: His and Hers Edition

November 17, 2017

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Today I have Part 2 of my current skincare routine focused on my favorite face scrubs and exfoliators. This post has an added portion for Andrew’s favorites as several of you mentioned you liked the men’s grooming recommendations I’ve done in the past. I haven’t always been a fan of face scrubs. I’ve found so many too gritty and harsh for my skin but with a lot of trial, error and recommendations from friends and experts I’ve discovered that regular exfoliation has been a major key to maintaining good skin. Both Andrew and I have used each other’s skincare to see what works best. In general ones for men are indeed tougher or more gritty as I think men typically have tougher and thicker skin than women but there are actually some of his skincare items that I like to borrow on a regular basis from Jack Black.

Favorite Face Scrubs for Her

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

My favorite exfoliators are gentle ones. I don’t usually exfoliate everyday unless it’s with a rice powder that’s activated by water. I’ve found scrubs gentle enough for daily use but really find that every other day is enough for me. I’ve used several variations of the Clarisonic including the Mia2 and Mia Fit. I must admit that I’m not the most diligent about using it consistently – especially when traveling. Sometimes having a small bottle or tube of face scrub is just so much easier and convenient. My favorites below plus one that I’ve just started trying:

  • Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator is the newest scrub I’ve tried. I bought it during the Sephora sale because of the high ratings. It has a cream base which makes it less harsh than a lot of scrubs and it works well over wet skin. I like that it’s gentle for me and effective. Skin feels cleaner and smoother. I do think it’s better for oily or combination skin. It has a slight citrus scent that I’m not the biggest fan of. I will use it until the end but don’t know if I’ll repurchase.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion is in my top picks for face scrubs. I thought it would be too harsh based on what I felt on my hands. When applied over a wet face it’s a great scrub. It’s also one Andrew has used and liked. It has crush microshells from the ocean sand, Willow Herb to sooth, shea butter and sea algeanates. Over time with regular use I do believe it helped minimize our pores.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle is one of my most repurchased face scrubs. It has papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes reduce pore size, stimulate circulation, and improve oxygen flow. It’s a more gentle version of her regular Exfolikate which sometimes has too much tingle for me. I’ve had both applied on me during Kate Somerville facials which are the best facials I’ve ever had. I recommend any of her products.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Laura Mercier Face Polish is one I have in a mini right now but I have bought and used up the full size multiple times. It’s a great all around basic face scrub that does the job well without being too harsh. It does have a grittier texture but there’s a good cream base to balance it. With this one there is a slight almost apricot scent to it. Once you rinse it off you don’t notice it as much. I would say this one is better for normal to dry skin.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Fresh Sugar Face Polish is a newer favorite that I suspect will be in my top three. I bought mine in a mini size from the cutest Fresh Mask Wardrobe which I think would make a super cute gift. This scrub is an emollient brown sugar scrub with strawberry seeds that smells like sugary lemons. It’s emollient and leaves the skin feeling well nourished without leaving any oily film or residue. Skin feels super soft and has the smoothest feel out of the scrubs I’ve tried. I 100% recommend and will be getting the full size soon.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Sisley-Paris Gentle Facial Buffing Cream is an excellent face scrub that I reviewed here. It’s very pricey but one I think is excellent with one of the best formulas I’ve tried. It is better suited for normal or dry skin types in my opinion. I’ve been trying to use mine as sparingly as possible because it’s so good and I want to make it last as long as I can.
    • Currently working on finding the full ingredient list.
  • Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders come in different formulas for skin type. I’ve tried all of them and find the difference between them is subtle but still noticeable. Over the summer I used the Deep Polish (green one) but also alternate with the Indigo Soothing Rice (for sensitive skin) and Classic. You can find these in travel sizes online at Tatcha.
  • Clarisonic Mia2 shown in purple is the traditional Clarisonic with the handle. It comes with a compact storage case that doesn’t take up a lot of room making it convenient for travel and it also protects the brush. This helps with gentle exfoliation and the sonic facial brush cleanses the skin up to 6 times better than hands alone. I do think it does a better job at keeping skin clear and washing the face than hands. It’s just one more step in the routine that I skip when I’m rushed in the mornings or feel tired at night.

Favorite Exfoliators for Andrew

Men's Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Andrew and I are really close in age. He has thicker skin than I do. His main concerns are primarily related to sun damage and sun spots. His skin type is normal to oily and with the Florida heat and humidity his skin has become more oily. Out of all the skincare he’s tried he feels daily exfoliation is the one thing that has improved his skin (or rather to maintain clear smooth skin). There are four he’s tried recently, his favorite is the same no matter what he tries (ones for men or even mine). In general his two favorite skincare lines are Kiehl’s and Jack Black. I’ve bought him numerous skincare gift sets over the years and that’s how he’s discovered what he’s liked.

  • Away has brought back their Minis for the holiday! You can buy the Mini Suitcase Individually, as a Gift Set (there are multiple options) or as a Gift Card Set. I’d recommend ordering soon as they are selling out really fast. I was lucky to get my hands on a few over the past year and absolutely love them for travel.
    • You can see my review on their Bigger Carry On here. Regular Carry On here.
  • Kiehl’s Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser is something I bought for him because he likes multi-tasking products and I thought this could be a good 2-in-1 scrub. Turns out he says it’s more like a cleansing cream with tiny beads but not really a scrub. It’s supposed to double as a mask that you can leave on to help exfoliate skin. He says it’s not bad, he just doesn’t love it and feels like it’s a knock-off of the Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser which is another one of his staple go-to’s.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub is his favorite face scrub. He’s tried to convert me to loving this as much as he does. I do like it a lot and have used it many times. It has fine particles, methol and vitamin c to invigorate the skin and help prepare it for shaving. He finds this helps clear up congested pores the best and helps prevent breakouts.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion (also shown above in my review) is one Andrew thought he liked the most, but after going back to his Jack Black decided that was his favorite. This one is good according to him but he likes something with more grit to exfoliate more.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Clarisonic Alpha Fit is something Andrew was diligent about using every day in the shower until we moved and started living the nomadic life in August. After moving month to month exploring and traveling he stopped using it and opted for face scrubs instead. In case you missed it our six months in Florida post here.

A few other favorites of his shown but that aren’t scrubs include the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Cleanser, Molton Brown Russian Leather Eau de Toilette, Creed Aventus for Men.

That wraps up our favorite face exfoliators of the moment! What are your favorites?

Press samples featured include the Sisley Gentle Face Scrub, Away Mini Suitcase, Molton Brown Russian Leather.

Gift Guide

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

May 7, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Guide | The Beauty Look Book

Mother’s Day is approaching and if you’re looking for a gift I have a roundup of some fun ideas! I think any mom would be happy with something simple like flowers or a nice brunch date, but just in case here are some ideas.

  • Makeup gifting can be a tricky thing unless you specifically know what makeup and colors one likes. Edward Bess’s line is one exception as I truly feel he’s made a lot of universally flattering options. You can’t go wrong with his Deep Shine Lip Gloss (reviewed here) or All Over Seduction Afterglow Highlighter (swatched here).
  • Accessories like small leather accessories or cute makeup bag are always fun. I don’t know anyone who would object to receiving a new Tory Burch cosmetic case or Gucci Marmont Card Case.
  • Scent is another tricky one because it’s so personal. I think Chanel has a number of classic options like the Chance Eau Vive. If you’re a Les Exclusifs fan the Les Exclusifs de Chanel Discovery Set with 15 miniatures is back in stock! I am so tempted to order this as the minis are just to die for adorable. My personal favorite right now is Creed Spring Flower – until the 10th there is a special Creed x High Camp Gardenias gift set (reviewed here).
  • Some safer scent options include bath and body products or scented hand creams. You really can’t go wrong with the Fresh Sugar Lychee Bath Cubes or the Fresh Sake Bath. I’ve loved both and there’s a GWP going on at Nordstrom (I think it ends today May 7th for their triple points).
  • Molton Brown makes some of my favorite shower gels and hand washes. Their latest is The Perfect Picnic Bathing and Hand Gift Trio. They always have good GWP promos on their site. I planned on gifting this to my mother-in-law and I really want to keep it for myself.
  • Byredo came out with a Hand Cream Duo for Mother’s Day – I picked this up for myself in New York at the Soho boutique a couple weeks ago and think the aqua green tint is just SO pretty. You can also buy it at Neiman Marcus. I believe it is limited-edition.
  • Skincare is another tricky one as it’s also very personal but you can’t go wrong with sheet masks. Also while in NYC I picked up the Peach and Lily Sheet Mask Trio from Barneys New York at their Mask Bar which has 3 to try. It’s super cute and really affordable. Just pair it with a box of Godiva Chocolates or flowers and it will make a nice gift. (You can also find it at Macy’s or Peach and Lily)
  • If you have a mother or mother-in-law that literally has everything, you can always stock her up on beauty staples, like if you know what her favorite perfume is or mascara is, there’s no need to be super creative. Tried and true staples are always a safe bet. Chanel Le Volume is a classic you can’t go wrong with. I’m putting this in a gift set for my mother-in-law.

I hope you found this gift guide roundup helpful! Do you have any fun traditions with mothers, grandmothers or mother-in-laws?

Press samples include items from Creed, Edward Bess, Molton Brown, and Chanel.

What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag

April 9, 2017

What's In My Bag | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

Inside My Bag Truffle Pouches | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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

Truffle Clarity Clutch Small and Mini | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty Favorites Men's Grooming

Men’s Grooming and Skincare Essentials For 2016

December 31, 2016

Top 20 Men's Skincare and Grooming Essentials

This year my husband tested quite a few products, razors, face cleansers and moisturizers in search for the best in men’s grooming. Several of you have sent me e-mails asking for a list of his favorites to share with your husbands and boyfriends. I’ve incorporated men’s grooming bits here and there over the past year and I’m always thrilled anytime I receive feedback from you! Most of these he did the research on his own to pick and purchase what to test out. There are a couple items I bought for him as gifts over past years that he ended up loving and repurchasing. In the past he always used an electric shaver but recently decided to try razors for a better closer shave. Finding the right one along with the right blades was a tedious process for him, as you can imagine one of the biggest challenges with shaving is finding the right items to avoid razor burn. He had quite a few misses for moisturizers and cleansers. Some either were too heavy or greasy feeling, others dried out the skin, some didn’t lather to his satisfaction. For the final cut, here is my husband Andrew’s top 20 for what he considers his grooming and skincare essentials for the year.

  1. Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette – in his top three for everyday light and fresh men’s fragrances, his brother stopped by smelled this one and promptly asked for me to buy one for him as well
  2. Dior Sauvage Deodorant tied with the YSL L’Homme for best smell and lasting power
  3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette – a long time staple, by now I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve repurchased for him (he also likes the travel sized versions)
  4. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35 – loves this because it dries to a matte finish
  5. Gilette Silver Blue Razor Blades – these have a medium sharpness so there is no razor burn, others he tested were too sharp
  6. Muhle Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor, R89, Chrome Plated Metal – Andrew tested 10 different razors this year, this was the best for weight, balance and angle of blade for control and ease of shaving
  7. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Facial Wash – energizing and deep cleaning, he tried approximately a dozen face cleansers over the year designed for men, this is his favorite
  8. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP 10 Nourishing Oil –  an essential product to help moisturize the skin and create a proper barrier between the razor and the face
  9. Art of Shaving Unscented Shave Cream – really rich lather
  10. Baxter of California Shave Tonic – soothing aftershave without alcohol or burn
  11. Clarisonic Alphafit – he’s dedicated to using this daily and has improved texture of his skin, reduced the number of breakouts drastically and helps exfoliate
  12. Mangroomer Ultimate Pro Back Shaver – the back shaver can reach anywhere
  13. Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 – most days he doesn’t need any added moisturizer, but when he does use it, this is his favorite because it’s not oily or greasy feeling
  14. Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 – has the best and most effective coverage
  15. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush – best sonic toothbrush that gets all the hard to reach places, he says it is worth every penny
  16. Wahl Professional Half Pint Travel Trimmer – for around the ears and back of the neck
  17. Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette – best date night scent for him
  18. Hermes Terre D’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche – has an earthy raw quality
  19. Baxter Grooming Lotion – favorite hair grooming product to add a tiny bit of shine and it’s also weightless and doesn’t get greasy or heavy as the day progresses
  20. Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser – exfoliates and tightens skin, also doubles as a mask and sometimes I borrow this for myself too

A quick note on the sequence of products and steps used for shaving for those who don’t know when to use the items. His shave process to get a clean shave and avoid razor burn is:

  1. Clean the face with the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel + Clarisonic Alphafit to exfoliate and smooth skin
  2. Sometimes double cleanse with the Jack Black Deep Dive Facial Cleanser to tighten the skin and draw out impurities
  3. Apply the Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil to hydrate the skin and help create a good barrier for shaving, allow this to absorb and dry
  4. Apply the Art of Shaving Cream
  5. Shave
  6. Use the Baxter Shave Tonic as an aftershave to tighten pores, tone skin and seal in moisture

If your husband, boyfriend, brother or any of the men in your life have grooming favorites you know of, please share in the comments! Always love hearing what you recommend, in particular if you have any eye cream recommendations for men let me know.

That wraps it up for 2016! I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful New Year!

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Beauty Skincare

At-Home Spa Essentials to De-stress During the Holidays

December 16, 2016

At Home Spa Essentials to Relax and Destress During the Busy Holiday Season

As much as I love the holiday season I find this time of year can sometimes be extra stressful with everything going on and finding ways to relax or de-stress can be challenging. Last week my husband and I took a much-needed vacation to try and escape reality for a few days. We were lucky to have one rare week where both of our schedules were clear to travel but for the times I can’t hop on a plane for a getaway, the next best thing is a mini at-home spa session. Doing little things here and there can make a huge difference. I think taking time for yourself to quiet the mind and soul are important. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite at-home spa essentials to de-stress during the holiday season.

I’m a total bath person. If I could live in the tub I would totally do it. There’s nothing quite like a bubble bath to melt away any anxiety or stress so I do it frequently. I usually use shower gels and pour a capful under running water for a bubble bath, my favorites are the Diptyque Revitalizing Shower Gel and Fresh Life Bath and Shower Gel.

Fresh Sake Bath Sugar Cubes Le Labo Santal Shower Gel and Jo Malone Bath Oil

A few others to mention:

  • Fresh Sake Bath ($82 for 400 ml/13.5 fl oz) I used this many years ago but it has been such a long time since I last purchased I forgot what it was like. Many of you recommended I try this again, it’s a purifying bath soak that has ingredients to easy tension, detox, moisturize and smooth the skin. It’s pricey but a little goes a long way and I really love it. I think it was 100% worth the splurge.
  • Fresh Sugar Lychee Bath Cubes ($39 for 6.35 oz) are another way to create a nice bath soak. There are tons of products like this that dissolve in the tub but I have this thing where the ones with blue or pink colors make me feel uncomfortable. I’m all about the bath water looking clear or milky white so these are perfect. I use two cubes and it’s plenty to fill our tub.
  • Le Labo Santal Shower Gel ($50 for 8 fl oz) is one of the more spendy shower gels, if you like sandalwood and earthy scents this one is very unique but doesn’t have too much spice like some santal scents have.
  • Fresh Oval Soap ($15) come in assorted scents. I’m not much of a soap person because they usually dry out my skin or leave this film that makes the skin feel tight, but the ones from Fresh are among the few that I find hydrating and leave the skin clean.
  • Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin Bath Oil ($25 for 1 fl oz) is the ultimate spa scent for me, the oils are super concentrated and strong so you only need the tiniest bit, if you’re unsure of splurging some scents come in smaller travel sizes which are a nice way to test before buying the larger ones.

Up next are face masks. Based on previous posts and reviews I’ve done on face masks many of you are mask addicts just like me. I love trying new brands and formulas but when I find something I tend to just stick with it. My favorite line of masks is Glamglow hands down. I’ve tried every one that they have. I use face masks on a weekly basis. There’s something about using face masks that make you feel like a brand new person.

Favorite Face Masks from La Mer Glamglow Sisley and Kate Somerville

Shown above:

  • La Mer The Hydrating Facial Mask ($250 for six sets) comes in an upper and lower sheet for each application, this is one of the most luxurious hydrating masks I’ve tried but due to the price point I have only bought one box and use them on days I feel like I need extra care and pampering. These leave the skin feeling well hydrated and soft. In terms of hydration these offer the best moisture and hydration out of all the masks I’ve tried.
  • Glamglow is my favorite line. The Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz) is a go-to for me for hydration and smells absolutely delicious (I almost want to eat it). For those who don’t want to spend that much without knowing how it will perform they have minis in the 0.5 oz tubes for $22 each. For those who want a strong detox clarifying mask the Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment has volcanic rock to help with exfoliation, but if you have super sensitive skin, do not use this one. I have sensitive skin and can tolerate the tingle, but I would recommend you proceed with caution and do a patch test first. The Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment is one of the newer ones they launched. It’s a deep cleaning mask that absorbs oil and is more gentle than the Youthmud.
  • If you have sensitive skin but want a gentle clarifying and acne-prevention mask, the Kate Somerville Eradikate Mask ($54 for 2 oz) is hands down the way to go. It’s a foam activated mask so once you apply, it starts to foam after application. It has sulfur which reduces acne and prevents pimples. Once it foams it dissolved dirt and reduces oil. It doesn’t dry out the skin which I find rare for masks that clear up the skin. I don’t have severe acne or have frequent breakouts but using this keeps the skin clear and has worked wonders on my friends who are acne-prone. I think I must have bought at least a dozen bottles this year for my brother, friends and family (and myself).
  • For a glow the Sisley Radiant Glow Express Mask ($128 for 2.3 oz) is one of the biggest splurges I made earlier this year. It cleanses the skin nicely and leaves it feeling soft, smooth and radiant. Skin feels like brand new after using it. I don’t know that I will repurchase because it’s just so darn expensive. I am pleased with the results though so if you want to know if it’s worth the price, I would say 100% yes.
  • Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask ($62 for 3.3 oz) is one that took me a long time to try. For Fresh I usually pick body items or the lip balms but haven’t explored the skincare line much. For those who have sensitive skin and find that purifying masks sting or dry out the skin too much, this is one that clarifies but has no stinging sensation – even on my super sensitive skin days. It’s very soothing on the skin with the chamomile and lavender water. A little goes a long way and if you only have certain areas like the nose or T-zone that need help you can use this as a spot treatment mask instead of applying all over the face.

Clarisonic Mia Fit Kate Somerville Scrub La Mer Face Mist

Some more favorites for the face:

  • Clarisonic Mia Fit is better than the other Clarisonic tools for me because the compact size and shape makes it easier to use. My husband has the grey Alpha Fit and I love that we have a his and hers version. I was super disciplined in using this when I first got it but tend to get lazy and use this once a week. My husband on the other hand uses his every day and it helps smooth and prep his face for shaving. For daily exfoliation I think it’s great.
  • Kate Somerville is a line that has pretty much changed my life. I had my first real facial at their clinic earlier this year and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced and put other facials I had to shame. They diagnosed my skin and helped me pick items that would help reduce redness, smooth texture and prevent wrinkles. The Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($24 to 85 depending on size) is one of their best-selling scrubs. It has lactic acid and fruit enzymes to smooth skin and make it brighter. It’s almost like a scrub and mask in one because you leave it on the skin for 30 seconds while it works it’s magic then you rinse. It’s gentle enough for my sensitive skin. If your skin cannot handle any tingle you may want to opt for the Exfolikate Gentle Option. I’ve tried both and like them both.
  • I love a good face mist and I’ve tried lots. The La Mer Face Mist ($75 for 3.4 oz) is one of my favorites. Again it can be hard to justify the high price points for skin care but I’ve never been let down.

Last but not least having a good smelling candle can work wonders to de-stress at home whether it’s in the bathroom, in the living room or bedroom. My favorites are of course from Diptyque and I love the beautiful glass jars because you can recycle them after use to store pens, brushes, flowers, q-tips or paperclips. My top 3 from Diptyque change often but for right now I like Baies, Noisetier and Figuier. The Mini Candle Holiday 10 Piece Set is the best way to sample a lot of fragrances at a reasonable price. Other favorites right this moment are the Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label and also the Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin.

The Best Luxury Candles from Diptyque, Jo Malone, Antica Farmacista

For those who find it challenging to step back and de-stress I hope find this post helpful for ideas or inspiration to take care of yourself. There are times you have to try and force yourself to take a moment or two out of your day to calm the mind and relax. Little things here and there can help you keep your sanity during busy times. I hope you will find the time to treat yourself in the next few weeks! I know it’s a lot easier said than done, I’ve definitely had a few stress meltdowns over the past couple of months and even though I’m usually pretty good at managing stress I need a little extra help now and then.

For those who are doing last minute beauty gift shopping don’t forget to check out the Gift With Purchase page. There are some promotions that need a promo code at checkout so don’t forget to check the details. Also be mindful of shipping cutoff times.

Do you have any favorite at-home spa essentials to de-stress and relax?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Beauty Gifts and Stocking Stuffers Under $50

November 17, 2016

Best Beauty Gifts Under $50

The holidays are approaching and if you’ve started to look for gifts I have a roundup of some super cute beauty gifts under $50. There are tons of great gift sets and minis at Nordstrom and I’ve teamed up with them to share some of my favorites. I like their site because it’s easy to shop their gift section and filter by pretty much any category like him, her, kids, home and also by price point.

Up first are some cute lip sets which I actually want to keep for myself. I love the minis because they’re a great way to try tons of colors, you can use them up quickly or you can split them up for stocking stuffers or little gift bags. Three that caught my eye include: the Clinique Tiny Temptations which as 20 minis of their Chubby Stick in the most adorable pink tin, Fresh Sugar Lip Charmers which has 4 mini lip balms, and the Fresh Sugar Bliss Cracker. There are tons of options from both brands under the $50 price point so I’ll link them below.

Clinique Tiny Temptations Set and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets Holiday 2016Clinique Tiny Temptations and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets

Kiehl’s always has the best skincare sets for both men and women. It’s one line my husband loves and he got into the line when I bought him a starter set a few years ago. Since then I’ve bought quite a few for him, my brother and my brother-in-law. This year they have great eye-catching packaging. I picked up the Jeremyville Healthy Skin For Him (it’s only $26) and also the Must-Haves Mini Masque Set. (I’m keeping the mask trio for me!) Sometimes finding universally appealing gifts are challenging. If you’re the type who wants to get multiples of the same sets for all your loved ones to make things easy, I really don’t think you can go wrong with Kiehl’s.

Kiehl's Holiday Skincare Grooming Set and Mask Trio Minis

A closer look at the masks – have you tried these? I cannot wait to test them out!

Kiehl's Must Have Mini Mask Trio

Rounding up some more gift sets, all still under $50 although there are more options online at higher price points if you want to splurge 🙂

For the hair lover, two favorites are the Drybar and Moroccanoil. They have great minis and this year the Drybar has the Four-Pack with the Money Maker Hairspray, Sparkling Soda Shine Mist, Detox Dry Shampoo and Tripe Sec Spray. You can buy the minis separately (most of them start at $13 each) but the set gives you a price break with some savings. Moroccanoil has a cute mini Moroccanoil Ornament for $15. There are also some nice value gift sets this holiday. It’s my husband’s favorite line and one of mine as well. He likes it so much he uses the hydrating shampoo and conditioner to wash our dogs so they smell good (yes I’m horrified he does this!).

Drybar Four Pack Spray and Moroccanoil Mini Ornament

 

Jo Malone, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown all have great beauty gifts to choose from as well. Jo Malone always created the most elegant splurge gifts. Most are on the spendy side but there are a few options under $50, one is the Christmas Cracker Set which has a mini Mimosa and Cardamom Body Cream, Basil and Neroli Cologne, Blackberry and Bay Body Wash. For the vanilla or sweet scent lover, Laura Mercier has the Hand and Body Creme Collection for $32. This year’s set has Almond Coconut Milk Hand & Body Crème, Ambre Vanillé Hand & Body Crème, Crème Brûlée Hand & Body Crème and Tarte au Citron Hand & Body Crème. For the mascara lover Bobbi Brown Party All Night Duo has the No Smudge and Eye Opening Mascara. I love the Eye Opening one and wanted to buy it anyways to stock up so I picked up the duo to try the other one.

Jo Malone Holiday Cracker Laura Mercier Body Hand Cream Minis Bobbi Brown Party Mascara Duo

Last but not least MAC and Nordstrom have an exclusive Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit. It has a mini mineralize skinfinish, full size mineralize lipstick and lipgloss in a bright zipped makeup bag. My friends love MAC and a handful ask for something MAC-related every year for Christmas. There are tons of great options in makeup, sets, minis and brushes. This one is one of my favorites but if you’re a nude pink lip lover be sure to check out the Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Kit too.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit Nordstrom

That wraps up my Nordstrom Beauty Holiday Gift Picks for sets and minis under $50. If you’re shopping online don’t forget to check their Gift With Purchase page as it gets updated frequently. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. Please note that I’m working to get the comment section up and working – my site is going through some updates this week and there are areas I’m working to get fixed. If you have issues – shoot me an e-mail sabrina@thebeautylookbook.com and let me know what errors if any you’re seeing.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!

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