Happy Friday! New beauty launches have started to trickle in and there are a few things on my radar this week. Most brands have yet to launch their spring color collections but I’m eager to see what everyone has in store for the season. Chanel launched theirs first with the Coco Codes and I’m loving everything so far.
Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur ($37 each) just launched online at Chanel with eleven color options, these are jumbo crayons for the lips and are retractable, I will have a review and swatches on these in the upcoming weeks
Giorgio Armani Powder Fabric Foundation ($64) is Armani’s latest in base launches, I’m really intrigued by this and have high hopes for it to work for my skin type, I’m not sure when it launches in stores but will be keeping my eye out to see if I can find a good color match
KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask ($24.99 for a 5 pack) from Violet Grey is something my bestie texted me asking, “have you tried this yet???” – I have not but the concept is intriguing so I had to order to test it out, I will definitely keep you posted! I don’t know how I feel about a sheet mask for the lips but I’m super curious!
Tatcha just launched a new product called The Essence ($95) which is a resurfacing softener, when it comes to essence or softening lotions I have to say that I’m 100% confused about what they’re supposed to do, when to use them and what the difference is between the options, I’ve tried the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence which did help improve texture and softness of my skin (I got lazy and stopped using it after I used up my minis), alternatively one of my friends swears by the La Mer Treatment Lotion which is also another softener – if you have any insight on essences or lotions I would love some insight!
beautyblender just launched their beautyblender bubble ($20) and micro.mini bubble ($18) as a Sephora exclusive to celebrate their 15th Anniversary, they sent a lovely package over the holiday and I can’t wait to use them!
Diptyque launches a special-edition Rosamundi Candle ($35 to $68) for Spring 2017, review to follow soon on this beautiful launch
Charlotte Tilbury launched four Quick N Easy Sets ($75 each) designed with an edited selection of beauty products to create a look in 5 minutes, I’ll have these reviewed next week and will be hosting a giveaway so stay tuned for the post and details!
Have a wonderful Friday! What’s on your beauty radar right now?
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:
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
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.
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.
Makeup picks where I went for minis and stocking stuffers:
Too Faced Passport to Bronze Deluxe Bronzer and Flatbuki Brush Set is also to die for cute, the minis this year are soooo good! This one is only $25 and was requested by another friend for a stocking stuffer, I’ve never tried Too Faced Bronzers before but they always get rave reviews – if you’ve tried them let me know what you thought
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Duos are back for the holiday with a metallic foiled top coat finish on one side and a cream on the other, post will be updated with swatches later today of these two
Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating Pearls for Holiday 2016 were too pretty to pass up, these are sheer but have a bit more sparkle in the shimmer than some other ones I have, they smell like powdered violets
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?
Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a roundup of new beauty releases on my radar. I was planning to share this tomorrow but there’s a super special amazing deal that can’t wait. Fall collections are trickling in and the new releases look amazing. My first post will be on NARS fall (which is incredible) and I’m currently swatching my picks from Chanel. Several have asked for the post on my travel carry-on contents – I promise to have it up as soon as I can! I’m editing the photos today and tomorrow. Here’s what’s on my radar from the top left then clockwise:
Sephora Pro has launched a collection of 5 brushes in the hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection. Each brush comes encased in a beautiful rich red box. The brush tips are a pale white and grey color. Handles are lacquered in a shiny red with silver embossed labels. The presentation is just phenomenal. I’m testing the brushes this week and hope to have a review with first impressions soon.
Tom Ford Beauty has some amazing things coming out this fall. I’m most excited about the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo (currently available for pre-order, I’ve ordered it). I’m also intrigued by the Skin Primers that come in a Pink and Peach version.
One of my BFFs shared her love about Korean Skincare Peach and Lily over the weekend. She ordered some of the Cremorlab Sheet Masks and said “you need to try them.” She has super sensitive skin and also knows her ingredients as she works in product development and closely with chemists. If she says something is good I trust her 100% – I’m ordering a few over the weekend. If you have any recommendations I’m all ears!
For Chanel fall I’m obsessed with the new Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. Two are very very dark but they are perfect for fall. The new Les 5 Ombres de Chanel is to die for. My personal favorites are the four new Stylo Yeux Eyeliners.
Fresh has a new Limited-Edition Rose Face Mask launched to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. They’ve teamed up with London-based artist Jo Ratcliffe to create a beautiful special-edition floral design for the packaging. It’s gorgeous.
Armani has a new Luminous Silk Powder Foundation. I’m a 6.5 in the Luminous Silk and was matched to shade 4 at the counter. I’m not entirely sure it’s the right match but I’m giving it a go anyways. The other colors in the 5, 5.5 and 6.5 range looked very pink to me. I’ll report once I’ve given it a proper test.
Tatcha just launched a new Pore Perfecting Suncreen with SPF 35 (also available in a travel size). I’m really anxious to try this as I’ve been testing sunscreens all summer long. I have high hopes for this one.
Last but not least, many thanks to a couple of my readers who let me know Diptyque is on Hautelook for a limited time. There are a few select pieces available – but the deals are really good and it’s worth a look. I bought two of the Lilac pillars although now I need a photophore to store it. This is my first time ordering from Hautelook.
Shopping in Paris was quite an experience. I was thoroughly impressed by the excellent customer service. We observed tourists shopping from a number of different countries – I was impressed by the fact that many associates were fluent in multiple languages including English, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and more. Beauty shopping in Paris is unlike anything else – almost all the stores we stopped by had associates that were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and very patient.
Before I left the US for Europe, I made a list of stores I wanted to visit and mapped them out. The city of Paris is divided into twenty districts called arrondissements. Mapping out all the monuments, shops, restaurants and hotels of interest helped us plan our days in Paris. In the time we were in Paris – we spent most of our time sight-seeing and enjoying the parks and cafes. I didn’t get to see all the shopping places on my list – I could have spent an entire week just window shopping or browsing and still not have made a dent in seeing what the city has to offer.
The beauty places I shopped, browsed and stopped by, sorted by arrondissment:
Location: all over the city
I was thrilled to visit several French Pharmacies around Paris. Quite a few of my friends here in the US who have been to France and studied French in college said the pharmacies are like CVS and Rite Aid in the US – they are on almost every corner and stock items locals aren’t really excited about. I didn’t know what to expect but was really impressed by the selection. Stores were stocked with Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Phyto, Caudalie, Nuxe and more. Some had an entire wall of Nuxe or Phyto. I only made a few small purchases since most of what I was interested in were liquids – I wouldn’t have been able to fit them in my quart-sized carry on. I went inside about a dozen – most stock similar items. Some have more variety compared to others. I was really impressed with the reps in each store. The vast majority seemed to wear white lab coats, they were very knowledgeable in all the lines and options. They were really helpful too. I was able to snap few quick photos inside a couple with my iPhone. I was really impressed by the selection of sunscreens available – had I planned our itinerary better, I would have shifted our Paris week to the end of the trip and filled a suitcase with liquids (skincare, body care, jams, jellies, tea and all the things you can’t carry on). Bioderma minis were plentiful and cheap – usually around 2-3 € or sometimes in packs.
There is a small Printemps store underneath the Louvre in the Carrousel Shops. The upside of shopping here is there are a lot of stores in one place and most are opened on Sunday. The beauty section in Printemps Louvre was the only store in Paris I wasn’t thrilled with. The store was extremely packed and busy the first time I visited (although it was on a weekend). Associates weren’t as friendly as other stores I had visited. There was a beautiful Louboutin display of all the nail colors along with shoes, clutches and wallets. I stopped by a second time on our trip back to the US to buy one of the new Scarabée colors – however all the associates were visibly upset with all the shoppers touching and moving the Louboutin nail polishes. They stood guard and kept moving them back into place – understandable if they wanted to keep the display pristine, however if there was a look but don’t touch rule, they should have sectioned it off or put up a sigh. I made sure not to touch any since I didn’t want to make them upset. I wanted to purchase a few but they were so rude I left without buying anything. (I ordered the three new ones from Nordstrom and they were waiting for me at my house when I returned to the US, I hope to swatch soon – they are gorgeous!)
Location: 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 5th Arrondissment
Being the die-hard Diptyque fan that I am, visiting the store on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain was at the top of my list. The store is exquisite in a quaint and inviting kind of way. I wish I could have transported the store and put it inside my home – the decorations and displays were beautiful. The store associate was very friendly – we chatted about the boutiques that had opened up in California (San Francisco, Beverly Hills, South Coast Plaza and Larchmont). The store offerings were almost identical to those in the US with the exception of the room sprays. When I go back to Paris I hope to buy more of the room sprays. I left buying one, Feuille de Lavande which is incredible (similar but stronger than the candle version). For me this was heaven.
Location: 78 Rue de Seine, 6th Arrondissment
I wasn’t able to make it into the Cire Trudon store. We stopped by it on the way to dinner but they had already closed and I never made it back. I hope to visit on my next trip to Paris. The displays in the store looked beautiful – the photos I took were too dark but I did get one snapshot of the outside.
The Sephora store on the Champs-Élysées was unreal. It was the ultimate beauty shopping store. I’ve never seen such a large store and it was amazing. The entrance had a large red carpet with kiosks along the side with beautiful Dior displays. The entire wall was covered with Dior. Also inside included brands you don’t see in Sephora stores in the US: MAC, Serge Lutens, a beauty bar for makeup application, a nail bar where women were getting nail touch ups, By Terry, Chanel and so much more. I could have spent an entire day inside – but I limited myself to the Dior and travel section so I wouldn’t do too much damage.
I only briefly walked through this beautiful boutique. It was filled with so many different perfumes I think it would take me weeks to learn about all the options. I only use a couple items from Guerlain so I didn’t purchase anything from the store. If I could describe it in one word though it would be “magical.” There is at least one more Guerlain store in Paris, but this one was recommended as the best to me.
Chanel is easy to find in Paris. The Rue Cambon Boutique has a beauty section in the store but it was very busy. Around the corner there is a little beauty store on Rue Saint Honoré which is dedicated to beauty, skincare and fragrance. The store itself is extremely small. There were 5 other customers inside, myself and 3-4 associates roaming around helping people and we barely had room to navigate. It’s very cute inside and minimalist. The associate who helped me was very nice – I asked to test a few powders and she showed me some of the new Sublimage skincare that had just launched. They have the Exclusifs line – the bottles lined up on the wall looked so beautiful.
This was my favorite store out of all the shops I visited. So many brands within one store, beauty floors on multiple levels. They have a special Diptyque candle called Primavera to celebrate the 150th anniversary. I think pictures are worth a thousand words – so I’ll let the pictures do the talking here even though they don’t do the store justice. Here are some snapshots I took with my iPhone. It’s a beauty addict’s makeup heaven.
Galeries Lafayette is one of the most famous department stores in Paris. The inside of the store is beautiful from every angle. The ceiling is exquisite. They carry a diverse range of luxury beauty and fashion items – Hermes, Goyard, Chanel, Dior, Guerlain and so much more. Since this store carries a lot of brands under one house, it is extremely packed and very busy. I made a few fashion purchases here but wasn’t able to go to any of the counters. There were simply too many people although I did venture in on a Saturday – probably not the best time to shop.
A few thoughts on beauty shopping in Paris:
Take note, most stores and shops are closed on Sunday,
although some in major tourist areas are open on Sundays (i.e. those on
the Champs-Elysees). Visiting individual brand boutiques can be really fun to see each line in their independent settings – how each brand displays the products and the presentation of collections is a sight to behold and really quite stunning. This however can be a bit time consuming so if your shopping time is limited, you can find most items at the larger department stores. My personal favorite was Printemps Haussmann (many readers commented this was the best department store to shop in Paris and I agree!) – the associates at Diptyque, Chanel and L’Artisan were so helpful and threw in so many samples my jaw dropped.
Many international travelers already know this, but if you reside outside of the European Union, are 16 years +, have a passport and spend €175+ in the same store on the same day in Paris, you can be eligible for a 12% tax refund. There are several ways to claim it – by mailed check, ACH back to your credit card, or cash back upfront at certain department stores. Some have automatic kiosks to process your receipts that are easy to use but often have lines. I used a kiosk at one of the stores and accidentally pushed the button for cash refund – in total we waited about 35 minutes in the line. Each store may have a slightly different policy for what you can or can’t combine if it’s a department store – any associate can help explain how it works. To process your refund, you need to have it validated by customs within 3 months of purchase date at the airport, train station or border. Galeries Lafayette has a comprehensive overview of the tax refund process here.
When in doubt, ask for assistance – I was impressed by the French men and women who worked at the beauty shops and counters. Many of my readers and other bloggers have mentioned they learn something new every time they venture into Paris for shopping. This was my first time to Paris and I was really impressed by the level of customer service, professionalism and friendliness. The French take shopping to a new level. A few personal observations:
The stores in Paris are well stocked with inventory where in the US often times stores like J.Crew or even Nordstrom (these days) don’t carry as much inventory compared to online. In the US I am fed the phrase “we can order it for you online” more and more in physical stores these days. It’s a nice service to have – but time is precious and the more I find things sold out in stores (and not even limited-edition items) the more I feel like just shopping online to save time. Shopping in person is better to see things in person whether it’s clothes, makeup, items for the house or really anything. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I find in-store inventory decreases more and more even though the number of physical stores sometimes increases.
Department stores and retailers like Sephora France carry a wide range of brands making one-stop-shopping truly possible. Printemps for example has multiple beauty floors – I found this a bit confusing as we moved from one floor to the next seeing multiple Dior or Chanel booths. But it did make it nice to navigate and see different setups. In the US, if I want to see all the beauty brands I have on a list, I often have to visit 3-4 distinct stores to purchase to Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Diptyque, Caudalie, Fresh and Hourglass (as an example).
Parisian beauty counters and shops seem very generous with samples and not just any flimsy sample packets, actual good ones! The Chanel Beauty boutique on Rue Saint Honore gifted a deluxe mini of the exclusifs bottle of Gardenia along with skincare and foundation packets (although I did spend a substantial amount there). Printemps Chanel threw in minis and a deluxe-sized mini of Bleu de Chanel for my husband. For Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain threw in so many skincare packets and some fragrance minis although I have to say the Diptyque store at South Coast Plaza in the US is also very generous to loyal customers.
Have you shopped for beauty in Paris before? What was your experience? Did you have any favorite stores or amazing beauty finds? I hope to go back in the near future. There is so much to explore!
It’s a brand new month and this time of year summer beauty collections start to trickle in. So far I’ve been building a wish list that is primarily Chanel, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. Can’t wait to see what everyone has in store for the upcoming season. Right now there are a few new things that are on my beauty radar:
Edward Bess recently launched his Matte Artist Eyeshadow Palette (1) I’ll have a review on this in the upcoming weeks. This Friday Edward will be on the QVC Show at 5pm EST where he will be featuring some new product launches. One is his new Fully Defined Brow Duos (2). They will come in a choice of Neutral or Rich (on right) and both feature the same brightener shade to lift the arches.
Nuxe fans will be happy to know they’ve expanded the Rêve de Miel line with a Gentle Shampoo (5). I’ve been testing this and have fallen head over heels. It’s an amazingly soft sweet honey scented shampoo that is gentle and leaves the hair soft. I’ll have a detailed review on this soon too.
Surratt Beauty (6) just launched online at Sephora.com. I’m thrilled there is a new place to buy Surratt items. For reference, three of his lip items previously swatched and reviewed here.