During the holidays the bold red lips and gold sparkles are always in for beauty, but as a neutral makeup lover, I opt for colors that make the skin glow naturally for a fresh-faced look. It’s this time of year that I start to lighten in skin tone so I like to add and layer colors to give the face a little life. Also being someone who likes to wear red clothing during the holidays – I find that neutral makeup goes best with a red dress or sweater (although brighter pinks also complement red outfits). I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite beauty items along with a few new discoveries.
For glowing skin I like to layer bronzer and highlighters. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duos are incredible for adding life to the face. I have both the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the newer Medium to Dark version and like both. Either would make beautiful luxe gifts too for any beauty lover – especially the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set that comes with the sculpting brush.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes are in my top picks for a natural glowy look. The Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light is the perfect mix of bronzer and highlighter swirled into one compact. It gives the complexion a radiant bronzed glow. I also really love the Ambient Lighting Blushes, Luminous Flush (shown below) and Incandescent Electra are my favorites. If you don’t own any yet, I highly recommend the holiday Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. It’s oh so gorgeous!!! I own 5 of the 6 shades individually and although it would make an excellent travel companion, I decided to pass this season.
Hands down the best highlighting duo launched this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight. It has a pearly opal color and a medium light tan champagne. Together they give the skin a candlelit glow that’s just so so so pretty.
Armani Fluid Sheers are always a favorite to add a glow on top of the cheek bones (I apply after foundation and powder and dab it onto the cheeks). They’re also great to mix in with foundation to add luminosity in a natural way. #2 is the classic champagne ivory shimmer and #17 is a newer one that’s the prettiest neutral pink. I have a few more shades swatched below.
For eyes, I like to keep things simple and light. I’m all about a champagne base and I’ve finally mastered the liquid liner application (success!). The best neutral quad is Tom Ford Nude Dip (brand new fresh one shown below). It is on the shimmery side but I don’t think it’s over the top. Armani Eye Tints offer a nice wash of color, there are lots of neutrals – many of which look similar but have slight variations in undertone.
I’ve been experimenting more with different kinds of liquid eyeliners this year. I’ve found so many good ones. Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen still remains at the top of my list. Burberry’s Effortless Liquid Liner has a felt-tip stiffer tip which is also super easy to use. Both colors are super rich black shades and stay true-to color (some liners I’ve tried dry to a lighter color and look grey on my skin).
To add a bit of definition or color, just add a smudge of something deeper along the upper lash line. I am really loving the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Rouge Noir that is new for holiday. Charlotte Tilbury Color Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencils are super long-lasting. They are creamy enough that you can apply and smudge/blend with ease, but once it sets, it stays put with impressive lasting power.
Reds and berries and plums are always in for holiday. I love a good plum, but as one with full lips, I always feel so self conscious with reds or brights. I feel like they draw extra attention to my lips. I prefer fresh colors that make the face glow. I’ve been obsessed with the Tom Ford Lips and Boys launch this year. There are 25 new shades, I will have swatches of 12 of my picks soon (I promise!). Most of the new colors have shimmer in them, but it’s a luminous shimmer for most. From what I recall there were only a few glitzy colors in the bold range. Demsey is the perfect peachy color (it’s a darker and less frosty version compared to last year’s William). Ansel is a gorgeous bright warm pink shimmer (this fits the gap I’ve seen in the Tom Ford line for something that’s in between pale and super bright). Malik is the most intriguing cool lavender mauve with gold shimmer (not the most holiday-like color, more for spring, but layer a gloss on top and it transforms into a gorgeous mauve). If I found this 10-piece Lips and Boys Set under my Christmas Tree I think I would die of happiness.
I’ve been playing with some of the Burberry Kisses Glosses. They were reformulated along with the Kisses Lipsticks (which I think are the best scent-free lipsticks on the market). Pale Nude is my kind of color – shimmering gold nude. Coral Rose is a sheer but pretty shimmering pink. Antique Rose is a mauve with a hint of silver sparkle. They are scent-free and taste-free. Texture is glossy and smooth. Lasting power is average for a gloss, but I don’t mind reapplying after a few hours.
For holiday fragrance I’ve been loving the Chanel Allure Parfum Bottle which is a concentrated version of the perfume. It comes in a bottle with a dabber. I bought mine which is the larger size in Paris over the summer (which is still compact in size). I was thrilled to see it available in the US in the smaller size. Another layering combination I’ve been loving lately is Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede spritzed over Blackberry and Bay. These minis are in the Cologne Collection Set (5 colognes) which are perfect for putting in your clutch.
I hope you found this roundup helpful if you’re looking for ways to add a natural glow to your beauty routine this holiday. I am always trying to be braver in wearing bold reds and plums on the lips, but I like makeup that makes me feel comfortable and a better version of myself. There are a number of ways to add a bit of color but still look natural and there are tons of options to pick from at Nordstrom (it’s my favorite place to shop because they have the majority of my favorite brands). If you’re shopping for gifts online, take note of their holiday shipping deadlines here.
What’s your beauty routine for the holiday season? Do you like to add bold shades for a glamorous bright look? Or do you like to keep things neutral too? If you have any favorites or go-to’s you’ve been loving please share! I always get such great recommendations and ideas from you 🙂
This Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rosegold also looks like the perfect glowy gloss, I’ve had my eye on it but haven’t tried it yet – if you have what did you think? Is it a must-have?
Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own.
It’s crunch time for holiday shopping if you’re ordering items online. Many retailers are offering shipping upgrades for last-minute gifts, but it’s better to be safe than in a panic so be sure to organize your lists and check the cut-off dates today. Molton Brown is still having their 20% off orders $85+ online with code HOLIDAY at checkout (valid until Thursday 12/17). Today is their last day to order for standard shipping (by midnight EST). Express Shipping cutoff is December 18th and Priority Shipping cutoff is December 21st. (Full shipping deadlines listed here.) I have some of their holiday selection to feature today in case you’re looking for some gift ideas.
There are a number of limited-edition holiday scents this season. My favorite is the Vintage 2015 with White Elderflower. The packaging comes with gold colored labels and a gorgeous dove grey bow which is so glamorous with the perfect holiday vibe. The scent is a floral sparkling grapefruit. It’s a soft well rounded grapefruit that smells delicious. I like that it’s soft and not overly sharp or sweet. It has a very cheerful feel to it. I love that the shower gel has shimmer mixed in which makes it so beautiful to look at.
The holiday crackers are always fun. There is one option still available. The Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker ($25) has a mini body lotion, mini shower gel and a full-sized hand cream in the Pink Pepperpod scent which is really hard for me to describe, but it’s a clean peppery scent that’s surprisingly nice even though I’m not usually a fan of wearing spicy pepper scents. Notes are fiery pink pepper, ginger and rich patchouli.
Long time Beauty Look Book readers know I’m loyal to Diptyque, Jo Malone and Henri Bendel when it comes to candles. I’m relatively new to the ones from Molton Brown but I was immediately impressed the first time I took a close look. They come packaged in a hefty glass jar (the thickest I’ve ever seen). They have a split in the outside between frosted and regular glass which makes for a beautiful decorative piece. The scents have serious throw – the tiny ones filled the entire room with scent even before I started burning them. Two shown below are the Garden Bloom Mini Candle Collection ($58) has 4 candles in Gingerlily, Orange and Bergamot, Ylang-Ylang and Lily of the Valley Violet Leaf scents. For holiday there is the Festive Frankincense and Allspice Single Wick Candle ($49, sold out most everywhere, full size is still available at Barney’s New York also available in the Festive Holiday Candle Mini Trio Set). This one smells just like Christmas with allspice, frankincense and vetiver. It’s strong on all three notes and has a spicy-incense feel that’s all kinds of warm and cozy.
Ylang-Ylang is my favorite for right now. It’s the perfect calming scent. I’m still obsessed with the body scrub and shower gel.
Bottom line lots to love. If you’re looking for any last minute gifts that come beautifully packaged and boxed (so no extra work on your part is required), there’s lots to choose from at Molton Brown. You can find their products at a number of different retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Right now Molton Brown is offering 20% off orders $85+ plus free standard shipping (plus their items come beautifully wrapped when you order from them). Enter in code HOLIDAY at checkout (offer ends 12/17).
If you have any Molton Brown favorites please share!
Items featured were sent as press samples for review consideration. As always all opinions my own.
MAC launched a couple online exclusive limited-edition lip colors and it’s a miracle both are still available online (at least at the time of this post). On Black Friday, MAC launched an exclusive color of Patentpolish Lip Pencil called Berry Black Friday ($20). On December 3rd, MAC released the highly anticipated MAC x Mariah Carey Collaboration Frost Lipstick called All I Want ($17). I thought I’d share swatches while both were still available to purchase online in the US. I do really like both and am glad I was able to buy them.
Close ups and swatches of both colors, a few details + comparisons:
Berry Black Friday is a glossy plum color. It’s a neutral plum purple
and quite different from most plums I own because there’s hardly any red
undertone. There’s still a little in it which prevents it from being a
straight purple color which is nice. It’s got a vampy feel to it, but
the glossy sheer texture makes it a little softer and feminine (versus a
bold harsh vamp). Texture is just like the other Patentpolish Lip
Pencils – it’s a twist up stick that’s hard but glossy. It glides on the
lips easily and offers layerable coverage. I wouldn’t say it goes up to
full coverage but you can swipe it back and forth to get medium-high
All I Want Lipstick is a frost formula. It takes me back to the 90’s
when this kind of color was popular. I remember all the cool girls in
high school had Wuss or Pink Glaze lipstick. It’s a high frost pearl
champagne. On the lips alone it’s pure metallic frost and on my
pigmented lips it looks almost like pink tinged foil. Add any gloss on
top though and it softens the color and transforms it into a gorgeous
champagne shimmer. Of course if you apply it sheer with a soft touch it’s not quite as metallic alone.
I really like both. Berry Black Friday makes for a true dramatic plum while All I Want is the perfect champagne frost with a tiny bit of gloss added. I’m eagerly anticipating the Ellie Goulding launch – I have quite a few items on my wishlist.
Out of all the beauty sets this year, the skincare sets this year give you the biggest bang for your buck. I think shopping for skincare for others can be tricky because we all have different skin types, needs and texture but three lines that come to mind that I think you can’t go wrong with include First Aid Beauty, Tatcha and Kate Somerville. All three have a good selection of excellent products suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Sets also have a sampling of products for you to try so it’s a nice way to try a lot of products at a value price.
I’ve been recovering from a bad allergic reaction to Neosporin for 3 weeks It was bad enough that I felt like I couldn’t go out in public, but not bad enough that a prescription was needed. All I could do was wait for it to go away. I stopped using most of my skincare with the exception of items from the three lines listed above. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask in the FAB to the Rescue Kit* was a lifesaver in calming down skin once I could put product on my face. The Tatcha Indigo line* was instrumental in helping my skin stay moisturized and heal. Kate Somerville’s Dermal Quench Retinol* helped my skin at night in the regeneration process. If you can find sets with any of these I recommend trying them.
Onto the sets – I’ve tried items from all these lines and think there is something for everyone to love. If you treat yourself this holiday, skincare is a great area to splurge on. If you’ve been eyeing a Clarisonic – there are lots of skincare sets and values with other brands of cleansers to choose from. I really like mine and wish I had bought one of the sets during the holidays. This Mia3 + K-Beauty Set ($199) comes with two sheet masks, cleansing oil, enzyme peel and moisturizer. The Smart Profile Face and Body Set ($265) comes with two brush heads and two skincare products.
Here’s another giveaway as a thank you and my way of giving back. One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card to Sephora. It’s open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify. If you’re a non-US selected winner you can opt to receive $50 via Paypal. Please refer to terms and conditions listed via the widget for all the details. Selected will be selected and announced via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be contacted via e-mail by me directly. Entries will be collected through 12/16/2015 11:45 PM PST.
Happy Friday everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s already December 11th – I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping but I’m trying to wrap up everything to make the shipping deadlines. Luckily there’s still plenty of time at this point and many places are offering complimentary shipping upgrades or rush shipping options. I’ll be wrapping up my gift guides by early next week for those in need of last minute ideas. Stay tuned for another one this afternoon (plus a giveaway later today).
This gift guide roundup is for the person who is hard to shop for. I like to think these are the good gift ideas that are unique, practical and fun. If you saw my camera guide from last year, you know how much I like the Fujifilm Instax Cameras. I have the Instax Mini 25 but the Instax Mini 8 is the most popular version. Another alternative is the Instax Share Printer – you can print stored photos from your phone or tablet. It’s super fun and allows you to print multiples while the cameras are a one-shot deal.
For the coffee or espresso lover, I can’t rave enough about the Nespresso Machines. I bought the Pixie the year it launched (around 2011ish) and was so impressed with how easy it was to use. It makes a consistently good cup of espresso everytime. The holiday it was released, I bought quite a few as gifts and to this day it’s still being used and loved (it lasts a long time!). The Inissia Espresso Maker is a more compact and less expensive version – it’s super cute and almost identical in function to the Pixie.
You really can’t go wrong with anything from Williams-Sonoma. I worked there while I was in grad school and it was such a fun place – so fun I stayed there for 5 years working part time while also working a full-time corporate job. So many great tools and the holiday season brings the best foods, treats, cookies and drink mixes. I love their Hot Chocolate – the classic one is always the best but each year they bring out new flavors.
Today’s gift guide features some ideas on what to get for the men in your life. Holiday brings so many good value sets for grooming. There are lots to choose from suitable for all the men in your life such as your husband, boyfriend, father, brother, uncle or friends. When it comes to grooming, I think men like to keep things simple and they prefer to stick to one brand if possible. There are lots of good options this year! My husband has put a few Baxter of California sets on his wishlist along with a manicure set (so he can stop borrowing my nail tools).
Tumi Monaco Leather Card Case ($95) is the perfect pocket sized card holder, it’s in between a regular wallet and traditional card case so it’s a good happy-medium but still compact enough to fit in a coat pocket without being bulky
Stripe Scarf ($148, currently on sale for $111) has a good masculine look and neutral enough to go with a variety of different colors of outfits
Bosca Money Clip ($40) has a really strong magnet so it will hold a stack of cash
Clarisonic Alpha Fit ($189) is my husband’s favorite skincare tool, he really likes it, it helps clean his skin well and has made his pores smaller, it’s also helped soften his facial hair and preps it for shaving
Tumi Alpha Bravo Riley Travel Kit ($125) I bought my husband another version of this kit (a few years ago) and he really likes it, he takes it on all travel trips, it has a hanger that tucks in the back so you can hang it from a mirror or any rod – it’s sturdy and has a good modern look
Harry’s Winston Set ($30) is a great affordable starter set, according to my husband, Harry’s makes the best shaving sets for those who are starting out with razors, he’s a fan of the aftershave lotion, this Father-Son Set ($30) is too cute
Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker ($129) I bought this for my husband last year and he keeps it in his office, he likes that it’s portable and compact so it doesn’t take up much space on his desk or shelf
Jack Black 15th Anniversary Turbo Wash ($50) the Turbo Wash is my husband’s favorite shower product, he’s had me buy many bottles of it in the large size that comes with a pump, this year they have a 15th anniversary edition which has neat packaging
My husband is a huge fan of Jack Black skincare sets. It’s the one line he uses the most products from. I’ve also bought him several things from Kiehl’s which suits his skin, although my brother has sensitive and dry skin and found a few items too strong for him (he likes items from Anthony’s, this Essential Traveler Kit is a good one).
If you’re stumped on what to get the guys in your life for the upcoming holiday, I hope this guide gives you some ideas that has a mix of grooming, leather goods and tech. If you have any ideas that you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments! I know many of us could use help and any inspiration for guy gifts! Whenever I’m stumped I know restocking on my husband’s favorite colognes never fails – although I do think buying cologne for someone who isn’t your signficant other can be a bit awkward. I hope this guide helps give you other ideas!
Beauty Advent Calendars have been around for years in Europe, the ones launched in the UK have been on my radar for many holidays and much to my dismay the good ones have never been available in the US. This year, Diptyque launched an Advent Calendar which sold out at lightening speed. By the time I called my local store they had sold through all the ones they received, but they put my name on a waitlist. I was thrilled to find they were able to find one for me and will be doing a reveal of the contents each week.
The Diptyque Advent Calendar this year is priced at a jaw-dropping $390, but the set is quite impressive. It contains a mix of 25 mini-sized Diptyque items including candles, fragrance and body products. A huge part of me cannot believe that I splurged so much on a single beauty set, but another part is giddy with excitement. The Advent Calendar comes in a beautiful large box and black bow. It’s taken a lot of self control for me to not open all the little doors at once time. They did list all the contents online, it contains:
15 (1.2 oz) mini candles in Ambre, Feu de Bois, Santal, Genevrier, Opoponax, Vanille, Cypres, Noiseter, 34, Oud, Geranium Rosa, Pomander, Figuier, Rose, Benjoin
1 (2.4 oz) small candle in Baies
6 (0.34 fl oz) perfumes in Oud, Florabellio, Do Son, Tam Dao, Philosykos, 34
1 (15 ml) mini Precious Oil
1 (15 ml) mini Rich Body Butter
Here’s a look at the box with two items for scale:
A look inside the box, each day has a little perforated door to open:
Contents of Days 1 through 7:
Breaking down the price of the set versus individual items is a bit of a challenge since the minis aren’t usually sold separately. At $390 this Advent Calendar is the ultimate splurge. This is for the person who is a Diptyque lover, or for someone who wants to try a little bit of everything in mini-sizes. For a few reference points:
The 5 Piece Set is $75 and 10 Piece Set is $130. Both contain the baby candles that are also in the Advent Calendar, so the price per candle is either $13 or $15
The Eau de Parfume Set is $115 for 5 mini fragrances, although the size of each is 0.25 oz while the ones in the Advent Calendar are 0.34 oz
The 2.4 oz Baies is priced individually at $32
If you find this confusing, don’t worry, I did too, but bottom line is there doesn’t appear to be any price break by purchasing the calendar. Since it’s sold out and probably very difficult to find at this point, I would recommend the 10 Piece Candle Set as the next best alternative for someone who wants to experience as much Diptyque as possible for the best price.
Even though this Advent Calendar cost an arm and a leg (and then some) I do think it’s extra special. It has minis of candles and scents that you can’t usually buy separately at such a small trial size. I’m anxious to try them all over the next few months. I think it’s fun that they included so many different fragrances to try as well.
For fun, I’m going to be doing a few giveaways in the next few weeks. I’ll have a new giveaway with each weekly reveal. Ideally I wanted to giveaway a gift card to Diptyque so the winner could pick their own items, but their website doesn’t appear to sell them, so the next best thing is one to Nordstrom. For this one, I’m giving away 1 $100 e-gift card to Nordstrom. It’s open internationally, but you must be 18 years or older to enter. If you’re a selected winner via the Rafflecopter widget and are located outside of the US, you can opt to receive $100 via Paypal. Entries will be collected through the widget – you can comment below in the blogger comments, but note valid entries are through the widget only.
Terms and conditions are listed in the widget below – selected winner will be chosen randomly via the Rafflecopter widget and announced below. I will e-mail the winner directly. Entries will be collected through 12/12/2015 11:59 PM PST.