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Fragrance

Spring Transition Fragrances

March 21, 2017

Favorite Spring Perfumes | The Beauty Look Book

Happy National Fragrance Day! Spring has just arrived and this is the time of year I start to shift my perfumes to something light or floral. Long-time readers know I love to explore light, clean and modern scents. What I wear changes depending on season, occasion and mood. I try to take my time with testing to see if a scent is something I feel is really me. Perfume is something that smells different on everyone’s skin – there are scents that smell completely different on my friends than it does me. I tend to rotate frequently although I’ve always wanted to have a signature scent. Here in Florida it already feels like spring with warm sunny skies. It’s warmer here than it was all winter long in Southern California. I’ve got spring on my mind and the scents I’ve been reaching for in the past month along with my husband’s go-to scent include:

  • Creed Virgin Island Water is probably my best fragrance purchase ever. It was on my wishlist for many many months. My friend and I were browsing the Creed counter at Neimans and she handed me a tester and said, “smell this, it’s going to change your life.” It literally did and I could not get it out of my head for months. I was going to wait until late spring to buy it, but the moment we knew we were moving to Florida I splurged on a bottle and have no regrets. I’ve been wearing it a lot here and it’s a scent that lifts my mood like no other. It’s like a vacation in a bottle and it literally gives me life. It smells of sweet coconut and orange with bergamot and a bit of sugar. I wish I had bought the larger size first.
  • Diptyque Eau de Sens Eau de Toilette is one of the few orange blossom scents I can wear. Orange blossom in general always smells amazing on my friends, and I love it as a home scent, but on me it’s usually too citrus or too floral. This was the first one I tried that I loved 100%. It always smells great on me. It has the perfect mix of sweet and bitter sweet to smell like spring in a soft floral citrus kind of way.
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia is the first I’ve played with from his line. I discovered his scents at The Scent Bar in Los Angeles and everything has this next-level kind of sophistication. This one is a fresh mix of two of his scents Aqua Universalis and Aqua Vitae to create a fresh and spicy mix. It has lime, cool mint, blackcurrant, mimosa blossoms and musk. To me it just smells fresh with a hint of floral.
  • Christian Louboutin makes some beautiful perfumes. I reviewed Tornade Blonde in my Fall Fragrance Lineup and it’s one of the most luxurious smelling perfumes I’ve tried. The Women’s Parfume Collection (miniatures) has each scent in a small version bottle of the full size but without the spritzers. The lasting power is quite amazing on these.
    • Tornade Blonde notes include red rose, violet and cassis. It smells like romantic florals and to me this is the best year round kind of scent.
    • Bikini Questa Sera contains jasmin and tuberose and makes for another great spring time floral. If you like Frederic Malle Carnal Flower you will really like this one, the Louboutin one has a slightly sweeter feel to it.
    • Trouble in Heaven notes include iris, patchouli, tonka absolute and amber. It smells more like a fall or winter scent or possibly a great romantic date night scent.
  • Replica Glow Filter (reviewed here) is a scented perfume oil designed to be a primer for other Replica perfumes. I love this one for a very soft skin like scent that brightens the mood. It’s definitely hard for me to describe what glowing smells like, but this is pretty much it.
  • Jo Malone Wild Bluebell is a perfume I had many years ago. I just rediscovered it and love how fresh and light it is. My favorite Jo Malone rep back in California told me her favorite layering combination was this with the Wood Sage and Sea Salt and it’s just incredible. I have that on my list to buy in the next month or so.
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Eau de Parfum (reviewed here) is one of my favorites from Tom Ford. It’s spring to summer in a bottle but I’ll wear it any time of year. It’s one of the best white florals I’ve tried and it’s pure love. Plus Tom Ford scents last really well all day long.
  • Hermes Terre D’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche is what my husband has been wearing. He’s the kind of guy who rotates through 2-3 scents at a given time, I’ve bought him quite a few to try and really anything he wears ends up smelling great. I would say this one could pass as a unisex scent but on him it transforms into an amazing earthy woody manly kind of smell with a fresh aquatic vibe.

That rounds up my current favorites for National Fragrance Day! As we transition to spring I’d love to hear about what you’ve been wearing and whether or not you’re changing scents or keeping the same ones in your daily rotation!

Press samples include scents from  Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Christian Louboutin. All others purchased by me.

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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Fragrance Men's Grooming

Spring Fragrance Rotation for Him and Her

February 12, 2016

When it comes to fragrance, I feel like it takes me forever to pick something new and also forever to use one up. I have a few go-to’s but love trying new things and if you’re like me you will take a long time to build up a fragrance collection. If you’re looking for a new fragrance for spring, here’s what I have in rotation right now. I also have some of my husband’s favorites if you’re looking for gift ideas for any of the special men in your life.


My go-to spring scents are Byredo Black Saffron and Chanel Beige. Even though we have mild somewhat warm weather year round here in Southern California, I still think some fragrances are seasonal. It’s finally that time of year when I feel like I can wear the sweeter florals. Most of these last pretty long on my skin, at least until early afternoon. I do have an extremely sensitive nose though, so what smells strong to me might be non-existent to others. Out of the ones below I would say Byredo, Tom Ford and Creed have the longest lasting power on my skin.
  • Byredo Black Saffron is a mix of berry and musk, I’ve had this one for like forever, it’s one of the few berry scents I can wear because it’s not too sweet yet not too musky
    • Top notes: pomelo, saffron, juniper berry
    • Middle notes: black violet,
      accord cuir, cristal rose
    • Base notes: blonde woods, raspberry, vetiver
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique is something I am beyond obsessed with, I have this in the single mini from the holiday Discovery Set, it’s a sweeter scent to me it smells kinda peachy and floral all at the same time, I also have it in the oil rollerball version, if you’re debating between the oil or spray, get the traditional spray version, it has better lasting power
    • Top notes: bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu
    • Middle
      notes: violet, jasmine petals, cyclamen
    • Base notes: black amber, musk,
      vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is one of the latest fragrance launches from Tom Ford, it’s a clean white floral that has a summery beachy feel, there’s a hint of amber in it to prevent it from feeling too powdery or too floral (review here)
  • Chloe Eau de Parfum is one of the most popular fragrances on Sephora’s website, it’s been on my radar for a long time, it’s very soft and girly, for something this strong a floral I’m surprised that I liked it, I decided on the 10th time of trying it in store after spritzing samples on myself to just go ahead and go for it
    • Notes: Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey
  • Chanel Beige Exclusifs is one of my all time favorites, it’s one of the only Chanel fragrances I’ve liked enough to splurge on, it’s a clean white and warm floral mix that smells very natural and fresh
    • Notes: Hawthorn, freesia, frangipani, honey
  • L’Artisan Mure et Musc is one of the fragrances I’ve used for the longest period of time, I discovered this line from one of my long-time friends from college, it’s a blackberry musk described as having notes of lemon, basil, blackberry and musk, I feel like this one is my no-fail everyday, every season kind of fragrance
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Lipstick On is my newest discovery, it’s a soft feminine blush floral kind of scent that smells like makeup, it’s a floral and has powdery notes, so it surprised me how much I like it because powdery scents typically make me gag, there is a very slight hint of vanilla in it which makes it feel warm and well rounded
    • Notes: Bergamot Oil, Heliotrope Accord, Neroli Oil, Orange Flower Absolute,
      Iris Concrete, Galbanum Oil, Tonka Bean Absolute, Vanilla Bourbon
      Extract, Patchouli Oil
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Beach Walk in the rollerball is the prettiest relaxing soothing beachy scents I’ve ever tried, if you’ve smelled the Henri Bendel Beach Candle, this is similar in fragrance form that’s wearable, it smells like a fresh mix of musk and coconut with peppery notes, it’s a beachy scent without the floral notes many others have
    • Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Coconut Milk, Heliotrope, Musk, Cedarwood, Benzoin
  • Creed Royal Princess Oud is the most exquisite and most expensive perfume I have ever owned, the Creed team kindly sent me a sample to try – I love Oud fragrances but my husband always says they are too masculine for me (even though I disagree and think they are unisex), this one has a distinct feminine touch to it, this is a lovely mix of violet, iris and sandalwood, lasting power is extremely good, one of the longest lasting fragrances I’ve ever tried
    • Top notes: bitter Sicilian bergamot, rose, sweet violet
    • Middle notes: jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, iris from Tuscany
    • Base: benzoin from Thailand, Mysore sandalwood, styrax
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is a classic favorite, this one is my special occasion or date night kind of scent to wear, it’s too strong to wear everyday for me, but I know many other women have told me this is their all time favorite, the notes of patchouli are dominant in this one, noticeable floral notes are rose and freesia
    • Notes: Sambac Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Cattleya Orchid, Ballerina Freesia, Patchouli
My husband is the kind of guy who wants to use 2 colognes at most. I think he smells amazing no matter what he has on so I don’t mind if he wears the same scent on a regular basis, but I’ve been trying to get him to explore more which is where the little mini samples come in. Every time I order something online and they have the option to pick samples I try to find men’s skincare or fragrance minis. If he has a mini sitting on his counter, he will try it. He’s discovered a few new loves this way. Right now here is what he has in rotation:
  • Hermes fragrances can be found at a wide range of retailers, but at the Hermes Boutiques and online they have a Pocket Fragrance Set where you can customize your own travel set of 4 fragrances. You can mix and match any ones they have available, pricing varies depend on what you select, but it’s around the $125ish range, I picked four for him:
    • Voyage d’Hermes Eau de Toilette smells of citrus, musk and leather
    • Voyage d’Hermes Eau de Parfum smells of amber and citrus with a hint of floral, this is more masculine compared to the Eau de Toilette version
    • Terre d’Hermes Eau de Toilette smells like a mix of wood, bitter citrus, spice and vetiver
    • Terre d’Hermes Eau de Parfum is a more masculine, woody, stronger version of the Eau de Toilette
  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette is his favorite fragrance of all time, he’s gone through at least a dozen of the travel size versions and multiples of the full size bottles, every so often they will have gift sets with aftershave or showergel travel size minis that he likes to try, this one is a clean masculine woody scent
  • Dior Sauvage is a lightweight clean masculine scent, it has notes of citrus mixed in with pepper, in terms of everyday scents, he says this is one of them, but he prefers the Chanel Bleu de Chanel, he wanted me to mention that if the man in your life likes something simple but polished and new from his everyday cologne, the Dior is a good one to try
    • Notes: Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb comes in a limited-edition gift set trio for Valentine’s Day, this is one of the most peppery fragrances I’ve smelled for men, I thought it might be too strong or peppery for my husband, but for some reason everything transform into an amazing kind of smell on his skin, this one according to him is more for a date night or special occasion kind of fragrance, not for everyday, you can really smell the saffron, vetiver and pink pepper notes
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink
      Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White
      Leather Accord
  • One last men’s fragrance of special note, he also really likes Tom Ford Azure Lime which he is currently out of, I will be getting this for him for Valentine’s Day, it’s a clean fresh masculine scent, for something so clean and simple smelling the notes are really complex
    • Notes: bergamot, lemon, Valencia orange, Thai basil, mint, rosemary,
      lime tonic accord, juniper berry, fennel, iris, jasmine, neroli, orange
      blossom, pittosporum, bucchu leaves, violet leaves, black currant buds,
      cypress, oak, patchouli, sandalwood, moss, skin accord, tonka bean
I always get the best recommendations from my readers of what to try. I’m pretty set on a lot right now, but it’s always nice to explore and add things to the fragrance wishlist. If you have anything you love right now please share. Also if there are any new discoveries for you or the men in your life – let me know in the comments!

Press samples include the Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, Spicebomb, Maison Margiela Lipstick On and Creed Royal Princess Oud.

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