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Glamglow

Haircare Skincare

Best Skincare and Haircare Discoveries 2016

December 30, 2016

Best Skincare and Haircare 2016

Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:

Haircare

Face Cleanser and Toner

  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
  • Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now

Face Mask

  • Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask (reviewed here) one of my favorite purifying masks that’s still gentle
  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first

Moisturizers

Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments

Extras

  • Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector (reviewed here) best primer I tried this year and I’m kinda an anti-primer girl because they usually don’t do anything for my skin to extend makeup wear time
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep atΒ  home
  • Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (review here and here) combines hyaluronic acid and oxygen to help prevent wrinkles and give the skin a more even looking texture, this is probably the best thing I have discovered in skincare
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
  • Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio 2 of 3 shown is part of a limited-edition set exclusive to Neiman Marcus, you can find the three scents available in larger sizes individually as well or in the original unscented-version
  • Lano Lips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Strawberry (reviewed here) is tied with the Dior Pomade for best lip balm discovery of the year
  • Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with

In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.

What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?

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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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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?
Roundup

My Favorite At-Home Pamper Essentials

April 22, 2016

I have a roundup of things I wanted to share that I find best for at-home pampering. I try to take care of my skin on a daily basis but try to give it extra care on the weekends – kinda like doing a DIY at home spa session for a good reset or cleanse. There are a few body products I’ve been meaning to write about for a while – ones I found well worth the splurge. I’ve included several recommendations by category – there’s no one product fits all so I’ve tried to cover a variety of options in case you’re looking for something specific whether it’s to purify skin, firm the skin, etc.

Cleansers


  • Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap is probably one of the most expensive face cleansing products I’ve ever bought. I’ve gone through 4 of these – I probably would have purchased more if it came with a cheaper price tag. It gives the skin a very thorough cleanse without leaving a film. It cleans out all the pores and leaves skin feeling squeaky clean. When I feel like my face is getting clogged this helps clear up the complexion. With daily use 2x a day a single bar lasts about 4 months.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser has been mentioned before in my spring cleanser roundup. I really can’t rave enough about this – I used mine up so I stocked up on a few more during the Sephora sale earlier this month. It cleanses the skin and helps keep it clear but gentle enough for daily use.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (c/o) is a super gentle milk cleanser that won’t leave a film. I really don’t like milk cleansers because I often find them too rich for my skin type and they rarely leave my face feeling fully clean. A few of you mentioned you have really sensitive skin – this is a good one to try. It does give the face a good cleanse without drying it out. I still do a double cleanse with this one in the evenings (I remove all my makeup first with a cleansing oil or cleansing water), but in the morning it’s perfect to use alone.
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is one of my favorite purifying cleansers. I’ve gone through several bottles and it’s one I keep going to. In hot summer months I can use this daily (usually in the late afternoon or evenings, or post work out), for now I like to use it weekly to help give the skin a thorough cleanse. It helps reduce redness and irritation too.

Masks


  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment is hands down one of the most effective clearing face masks. It does have a tingle feeling when you apply it but it’s not too strong and doesn’t irritate the skin. It sucks out impurities and leaves the skin feeling super firm and tight.
  • Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment is one of the newer masks from Glamglow. This one you leave on the face for 20-30 minutes and peel off. I normally don’t like masks that require more than 15 minutes of application because I’m super impatient with skincare, but this one is worth the extra time. It is more on the gentle side for a firming mask and I feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term, but it does leave the skin feeling super firm and lifted.
  • Aesop Parsley Seed Mask is the best purifying mask for my sensitive skin. It dries up the gunk in your skin and leaves it feeling thoroughly clean and tight. Many have mentioned to me that their skin cannot handle the Glamglow because they find it too harsh. If that is the case and you still want a purifying mask to draw out impurities, try the Aesop.
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate is one of the most gentle acne-clearing masks. It works in a similar way to the other clarifying masks mentioned above but is super gentle and non-irritating. It won’t leave the skin feeling tight. It’s gentle enough to use daily – I wouldn’t recommend using it every single day, but on weeks where I have some breakouts, I use this nightly for about 4-5 nights and it really helps clear up the skin.
Body

I usually don’t splurge on body products. I typically keep things simple with L’Occitane or Nuxe, but I’ve discovered some new-to-me things that I am really excited to share with you.


  • Chanel Fresh Body Cream is something I’m beyond obsessed with. It’s one of the most expensive body products I’ve ever bought and it’s a bit hard to find (you can’t find it at all counters). You can basically find this at any store or counter that sells the Exclusifs Fragrances. It’s a super gentle body cream that smells really fresh but won’t interfere with perfumes. I like to use this at night before bed because I have a sensitive nose and scents sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. This one is soothing enough that it doesn’t interfere with my sleep. It’s hydrating and non-greasy. I will keep repurchasing this one for as long as they make it.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique Body Cream is another pricey splurge but I adore the Bal D’Afrique scent I had to try it in the body cream. This one is super emollient and has a body butter feel which is super lush. A little goes a long way and the moisture lingers for an emollient feel. You can definitely feel the moisture after you apply but it’s not greasy. That being said if you need a body product to have a dry-down you may find this too rich.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body is another favorite. I’ve featured this a few times in past years. It has all the moisturizing and soothing qualities of items from the regular Shea line but it’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. Anytime I have irritation or flare ups – I use this and skin is instantly soothed. I love that it’s non greasy, gentle, but effective.
  • NARS Monoii Body Glow II is the ultimate scented tiare body oil that makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. It lifts the mood instantly and absorbs quickly into the skin. There’s no greasy feel or residue after it’s absorbed into the skin. I’m about 99% happy with this one – if it came with a pump dispenser it would be perfect.
Home Fragrance


  • Lumira Travel Candles (c/o) are super compact and cute, I love having a few scattered around the house to burn. To date I don’t think I’ve brought a candle with me while I travel but there are times when I have traveled that I wish I had one with me. I’m trying my best to save the mini ones for my next trip. My favorite from their line is the Tahitian Coconut.
  • Lumira Mini Destinations Box Set (c/o) launched over the holiday a boxed trio of the most popular scents from the line in Tuscan Fig, Cuban Tobacco, Persian Rose. I just finally started burning Tuscan Fig today – it’s amazing and smells of sweet figs (Diptyque’s Figuier by comparison is greener). Top notes are fig leaves and fig tree, middle notes are blackcurrant and cedarwood, base is iris and musk.
  • Diptyque Gingembre Room Spray (c/o) was reviewed a month ago (I can’t believe an entire month has gone by). I won’t repeat the review but it’s a really nice bright and cheery kind of home scent.
  • Diptyque Colored Candle in Baies (c/o) is a classic. The larger size gives this one a stronger throw compared to the smaller ones. Don’t forget if you have any Diptyque on your wishlist you can save online at Space NK US by using my special promo code through May 1st.

Lips
I have very sensitive lips when it comes to lip treatments. There are quite a few very popular options that make my lips go numb (Kiehl’s, CO Bigelow, Chapstick etc.) so that may give you an idea of just how sensitive they are. The ones below are Beauty Look Book approved. Of course it’s not a list of all the ones I’ve tested or like, but ones I like most for right now.


  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm is a great lip treatments that is also affordable. It’s emollient and I love the simple classic squeeze tube packaging.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed is my current favorite for the most moisturizing lip treatment to help with dry or cracked lips (swatched in this post here and here).
  • AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is one I just used up (review from winter in this post here), it’s the best scent and taste-free lip treatment I’ve tried. Most others have some kind of scent or flavor. If you’re really sensitive to any scent, I’d recommend you try this one.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur in Coral Stellar is one of the prettiest tinted lip treatments I’ve tried. Review + swatches here. It’s worth the splurge.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is a good lip treatment but I do think it’s overpriced for what you get. That being said I’ve never regretted buying this one and if you’re willing to splurge it’s a good gentle one that always soothes my lips. (More on this compared to others in this post here.)
If you’re looking for something to help reset the skin, calm the complexion or give your body an extra boost of moisture, I hope you found this roundup helpful! I have super sensitive skin and there are some body lotions and creams that cause an immediate allergic reaction (I always do a patch test first). If a good purifying mask is what you have been looking for but want something suitable for sensitive skin I hope the recs above help you find something gentle enough for your skin type!

What are your favorite at-home pampering products? I really love hearing about your favorites. So many of you have recommended some great things for me to try. I’m pretty set on masks but I do have my eye on a few sheet masks. I’m intrigued by mainly the two from La Mer – if you’ve tried them should I go for the Brightening Facial Masks or Hydrating Sheet Masks? Or should I wait for the Eve Lom Brightening Sheet Mask to launch in the US?

I hope you had a great week! Enjoy the weekend πŸ™‚

Roundup Skincare

Winter Skin Savers: Face Masks for Every Need

January 12, 2016

Today I’m chatting with you about the face masks I have in rotation right now. Winter weather usually means my skin starts to feels dry or lacking in luster and the best way to help improve my skin’s texture, clarity and the way it feels in general is by using weekly mask treatments. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of 12 masks which include a mix of tried and true treatments along with a few new discoveries. I’m obsessed with masks in general – I often use them 2x per week, sometimes I mix it up depending on how my skin feels at a specific time.

First, a bit of background. When it comes to masks, or with any skincare in general, I would say recommendations depend on your skin type and what kind of treatment you’re looking for. I’ve split up my recommendations into four main categories: 1) lift and firm, 2) moisturize, 3) clarify/purify and 4) boost radiance. I’ve put 12 to the test to see how they hold up for my sensitive skin and super sensitive nose. In terms of types, I love a good sheet mask, but for today I’ve rounded up the kind you apply, leave on for 5-15 minutes and rinse off. The traditional apply-then-rinse-off kind is what I prefer, they are easy and fun to apply and I like the whole process of rinsing with water for that squeaky clean feeling.

Up first are two lifting and firming face masks. I’ll start with the best face mask I have ever tried which is the the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask ($245 for 1.7 oz/50 ml). I was lucky to find a mini sample of this one during a gift with purchase event and it was pure love the first time I tried it. This is the most I’ve ever splurged on a mask, but it’s one of those skincare products I tested and immediately thought, “oh my god this is amazing.” It comes in a large tub with a brush applicator. I’m relatively new to using brushes to apply masks but after testing a few, I think I kinda like it. With this mask, skin feels ultra soft after using it. It’s formulated to tighten, firm and refine the face and neck although I’ve only tested this on the face so far. Skin does indeed look and feel noticeably firmer after using this. Fine lines are minimized. After using this you can feel the moisture without any greasy feel and the skin glows. I would call this one life changing and at the high price I think it should be. It’s a luxurious splurge but worth every penny. I don’t think I’ve ever been so in love with a skincare product in my life.

Another good firming mask is the Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($70 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is formulated to lift, smooth, brighten and tighten pores. It sounds like an all-in-one kind of mask and I think it works wonders to lift and plump the skin. This one needs a very thin layer, if you apply too much it won’t dry properly and will be difficult to wash off. This one is heavily fragranced so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t mind the scent (I find it pleasant and unique). After using it skin feels smooth and lifted. The skin glows and looks noticeably brighter after using it. I noticed redness was reduced drastically. It does shrink pores around the nose area too. If you want a sampler of her skincare (trial or travel size) you can still find the mask in her Red Carpet Skin Set ($85) or the Gift of Goddess Skin Trio ($59) and the sizes seem large enough to get several uses out of the tubes.

Next are masks for an added moisture boost. My favorite gentle moisturizing mask is the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is a game changer for me, most moisturizing masks are too heavy or leave the skin feeling too glowy so for moisture I prefer sheet masks. For a more traditional mask, this one adds enough moisture to soothe dry skin and makes it glow without the heavy feel. It has the most wonderful refreshing clean scent making it feel extra nice. It also works really well to help calm irritated skin and reduce redness. I really like Caudalie for the gentle but effective skincare.

Bobbi Brown just launched new face masks. I bought the Mini Mask Trio ($20 for 3 minis each .24 fl oz/7 ml) which comes with super tiny tubes. For these I was able to get 2 uses out of each one which is enough to get a sense of how it will feel on the skin, but not quite enough to get a true sense of how it will perform. The moisturizing option is the Skin Nourish Mask ($47 for the full size). It has an ultra smooth almost gel-like texture. It has coral grass and green algae to help boost collagen production and smooth the skin. I felt it did smooth and sooth the skin. Given the fact that I already have some other favorites for moisture masks, I’m not sure I will purchase the full size.

My second most favorite moisture mask is the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz/50 g). This one smells delicious (I almost want to eat it). It adds the most moisture to my skin out of all the masks I’ve tried. It helps reduce any flaky areas or patches. It can tingle a little but it’s not too strong. If you’re super sensitive to tingle or scent, you might want to skip this one and opt for the Bobbi Brown instead which is more gentle but still adds moisture.

Next up are some clarifying and purifying options. This type is my favorite kind of mask to use but many purifying/detox masks can be really strong and end up drying out my skin. Some dry my skin so much it leaves my face red afterwards and flaky by the next day. My newest discovery is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask ($54 for 60 ml/2 fl oz). This was used on me during a facial, my aesthetician mentioned that a lot of her clients had been raving about it. I saw really good results from my facial so I bought this the very next week. It’s part of the anti-acne line and normally these kinds of products are too strong for my skin, but this one is pretty gentle. It’s foam activated so you apply it to your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. It starts to foam as it works and removes impurities. It tingles slightly as it foams up but does not sting (and I’m a huge wimp when it comes to skincare that tingles). It contains colloidal sulfur which helps reduce redness (it really works wonders in this area) and reduce acne. I highly recommend it.

Caudalie of course is on the list for favorites. The Purifying Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) targets spots to reduce blemishes. It clarifies the skin by drawing out impurities but it’s super gentle. Out of all the purifying masks, I would say this is the most gentle purifying mask I’ve ever tried. If you need something stronger the Instant Detox Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) is really good at drawing out the gunk that builds up in your pores. It’s a super deep cleansing mask – I prefer this on the T-zone or on spots (with Caudalie they recommend you mix masks at one time to target different needs on different areas of the face). It’s on the strong side so I would recommend on the nose or on trouble spots, I would not recommend using it all over the face.

My most-used clarifying mask is the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz/34 g). I’ve lost count of how many I’ve used up and repurchased. Anytime my skin starts to break out from buildup or hormonal acne, I use this and it clears up within the week. It cleans out the skin like nothing else I’ve tried. Regular use has also helped tremendously with acne scars. It’s good for oily skin and helps rebalance the face. It’s a more gentle version of the Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Mask. If you still find the Supermud too strong, try the Caudalie or Kate Somerville ones instead.

Bobbi Brown has a mask called the Instant Detox Mask ($47 for the full size). This is a like a gentler version of the Caudalie Detox Mask. I liked that it acted like a clarifying mud mask without being too strong. It cleared up my skin and helped to rebalance oily and dry areas without being too strong or too drying. I will be purchasing the full size of this one once I use up my Glamglow and Kate Somerville Masks. Pores were significantly reduced.

The last category is radiance boosting or complexion savers. Bobbi Brown has one called Radiance Boost ($47). This one felt like it had exfoliating properties with tiny grains inside. For radiance, I tend to prefer sheet masks, but decided to give this one a try from the mini trio set. It has superfine walnut grain to exfoliate dead skin cells and orange oil extract to rebalance the oils in your skin. I didn’t notice as much of a glow as I did with the La Mer or Charlotte Tilbury masks, but I did notice a subtle glow and my skin did feel smoother with the exfoliating properties. This one has a gentle citrus scent. For now I will be sticking to my sheet masks for radiance.

Last but not least is the Caudalie Glycolic Peel ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is the most gentle peel mask I’ve tried. I do an occasional peel treatment with other brands but my skin is so sensitive that I can’t tolerate the tingling sensation (some make my eyes water). The Caudalie has no tingle and is non-irritating. For this one you will see results over time. It’s a super gentle treatment that helps with exfoliation that improves the skin texture and radiance over the course of a few weeks. It’s the most gentle kind of peeling mask I’ve tried.
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If you’re in search for a new mask, I hope you found this roundup helpful. There are so many different kinds of masks and brands. Nordstrom has over 200 options to choose from and you can filter options by benefit, price point and brand to find the one that suits your specific needs. I have tested quite a few, but for me testing has happened over the span of several months before I usually decide if something really works. My rotation changes as the season shifts to warmer weather. My top picks for right now are:
  1. La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask – for the most impressive results in terms of skin texture, appearance and feel (gives you baby soft skin)
  2. Caudalie Moisture Mask – best moisturizing mask
  3. Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask – best anti-acne redness reducing mask
  4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment – best clarifying and brightening mask for me

Do you have any favorite winter skincare masks? What’s in your rotation right now? I always get the best recommendations from my readers, if you have any tried and true or new discoveries please share!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering with me to sponsor this post. 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.
 
On My Radar

On My Radar / New in Beauty

December 23, 2015

Is it too early for spring beauty yet? For those looking forward, there is a lot on the horizon for spring that focuses on fresh and glowing beauty. I’ve already spotted sneak peeks of new foundation releases from Chanel, Laura Mercier, YSL, Armani, NARS to name a few – all to be launching soon. For now, here’s a roundup of new beauty launches on my radar that you can purchase right now if you need instant gratification. I placed a large order a couple days ago for some Dior spring items and also picked up a few pieces from Chanel spring. I’ll be testing them in the next week and have swatches as soon as I can.
  1. Chanel Collection L.A. Sunrise for spring 2016 has started to trickle in stores and is now live on Chanel.com, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. It has a brighter feel than what I normally go for, but I love that everything is lively and colorful. What I picked up (reviews + swatches soon):
  2. Charlotte Tilbury Magic just launched the Magic Skin Trilogy with two new additions to her Magic Line. I’m a huge fan of her Magic Cream ($100) and couldn’t be more thrilled to see it available now in the Magic Night Cream ($145) and Magic Eye Rescue Cream ($60). I’ve been testing both of the new items for 3 days now, will have a report back after a few more days but I can say now that the Magic Night Cream is phenomenal – I wake up with glowing skin. (Also available in a Magic Skin Trilogy Set for $285.)
  3. YSL Spring Look just launched with a collection of pastels. I have my eye on the Glossy Stains ($36) in Tangerine Boho and Rose Folk along with the La Laque Couture Nail Polish ($27) in Love Pink.
  4. Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint ($33) launched a few weeks ago. I went to two counters to see if they had it in stock and both had sold out so I ordered it online. I’m excited to see how it compares to the ones from Clarins and Dior.
  5. Dior has a couple spring launches, one is a Lip Glow collection which features the Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Lip Balm ($33) in Lilac. As a fan of the pink and coral, I’m really excited to see how this one wears.
  6. Dior Glowing Gardens for Spring has light and airy colors with powders ebossed with gorgeous floral designs. The Diorskin Nude Air Illuminating Powders ($58) in Glowing Pink and Glowing Nude look so pretty. There are two Eyeshadow Palettes in Blue Garden and Rose Garden ($63 each) but as one who rarely wears aqua or green eyeshadow, I will need to test before splurging.
  7. Tarte just launched their Chiseling Charmers Deluxe Contour Set ($24, online only). This looks promising.
  8. Glamglow’s latest is a peel-off mask called Gravitymud Firming Treatment ($69). I need this like yesterday.
  9. Henri Bendel Champagne Candle ($30), need I say more? My local store was sold out but had one burning in-store. It smells amazingly fresh.
My wishlist is already a mile long. I will need to do some sorting, thinking and prioritizing before splurging. What’s on your radar for the upcoming spring beauty season?