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Loving Right Now: Spring Scents

April 10, 2017

Scents of Spring Cire Trudon, Antica Farmacista, Diptyque, Tom Ford and Jo Malone | The Beauty Look Book

Right now I’m obsessed with all kinds of scents that smell like spring. Since moving to Florida I’ve more into scents than I’ve ever been, but there’s something about warm sunny weather that makes me crave something that smells like a tropical vacation. I have a mix of home scents and perfumes I’ve been loving. Some are new launches others have been around for years. I did my spring transition scent post last month and loved hearing about your favorites. Over the years I’ve found a lot of scents I love for spring so this is by no means comprehensive of the best ones out there, but here’s a small selection of what I’ve been loving right now.

For the home I discovered Antica Farmacista last year thanks to the recommendation of Edward Bess. He knew I loved Diptyque and said that Antica Farmacista was a beautiful line with gorgeous diffusers and candles. I fell in love at first sniff and even though I had seen the line for years at Nordstrom I never really paid much attention. I stocked up on a lot of diffusers during the Nordstrom anniversary sale and over the holiday bought a lot of sets as gifts. The line is truly exquisite! Since diffusers do last a lot longer than a candle I’m slowly working my way through trying new scents.

Antica Farmacista Bergamot and Ocean Aria and Lush Palm | The Beauty Look Book

The latest from their line is Lush Palm which is a green floral with Tahitian Gardenia, banana leaf and palm. Notes include Herbaceous Green Accord, Crisp Apple, Pear, Aloe, Grapefruit, Bergamot, White Pepper, Pine, Tahitian Gardenia, Sambac Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Crisp Water Notes, Cedarwood, Mexican Vanilla, Labdanum, and Sweet Amber. It has a lush green floral feel that has an uplifting cooling and relaxing feel. We’ve been using the large diffuser at home and it fills our living room. The candle has pretty good throw. In their catalog they have scent combinations and one of them is the Bergamot and Ocean Aria. I’ve already burned through two of the candles for that one and adore it. They sent the room spray for me to try and as a bergamot lover it’s really lovely. If you’re looking for a nice mother’s day gift they have a Spring Diffuser Trio with minis of Acqua, Lush Palm and Bergamot Ocean Aria – it’s really perfect. Pair it with a nice bouquet of flowers and I think it would look super cute.

Antica Farmacista Bergamot and Ocean Aria and Lush Palm | The Beauty Look Book

For more in the home scent arena, one of my favorite spring time scents (also good for summer) is the Diptyque Tomas Maier Palm Beach (originally reviewed here). It was a limited-edition scent years ago but they keep restocking and you can find it exclusively at Diptyque stores or online at Diptyque. It has jasmine, iris, lemon, lime, salt and grass. It’s got a lovely lush tropical vibe that isn’t overly sweet. I’ve been exploring more in Cire Trudon. One of the cute stores near us is called the Oxford Exchange and they have a mix of things like a cute restaurant, coffee area, tea bar, Aesop Skincare and a shop with Cire Trudon. I spotted a mini duo called the Giambattista Valli and Cire Trudon Duet which has Positano and Rose Poivree ($105). So far I have not spotted the duo anywhere else online except on Cire Trudon’s website and online at Barneys New York. I’m a sucker for minis and even though this was extremely expensive I could not resist the beautiful design and cute box. Positano is a strong bright white floral with gardenia, orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia, tuberose and lily. Rose Poivree is a strong rose with pepper notes. You can also buy the individual full size at places like Net-A-Porter, Barneys New York or Lucky Scent. Cire Trudon candles are quite the splurge but in my experience the throw and intensity surpasses all other brands.

Cire Trudon Giambattista Valli Duet and Diptyque Tomas Maier Palm Beach | The Beauty Look Book

In perfume long-time readers know I like to switch things up. I finally splurged on a full bottle of the Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt after using up a few minis I had from sets and GWPs. It’s funny because when it first launched I did not like it – but I gave it another chance before I moved and fell in love. I love layering it with the Mimosa and Cardamom and Wild Bluebell both thanks to the rec from one of my favorite Jo Malone reps in San Diego).

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc remains one of my favorites for warm weather but the latest launch Sole Di Positano is just absolutely amazing, especially for bergamot lovers. It an extension of the Neroli Portofino line which gets better with each  new launch. This one has Italian bergamot, petitgrain bigrate, lemon and mandarin and shiso leaf. Sole Di Positano is not as citrus or sweet as the Neroli Portofino (one that I find smells great on others but not for me). It’s happiness in a bottle. The All Over Body Sprays have been around for quite some time but I never looked into them. I saw them in person for the first time (I finally discovered a counter near me) and was really surprised by how big the bottles were. They’re aerosol sprays and I decided to try Fleur de Portofino. I have the perfume version which I love for a more floral version of the Neroli Portofino line. I have mixed feelings about the sprays. When I’m indoors the scent lasts a long time on me with good staying power. However if I spray it on me and am outdoors for an extended period of time I find it fades after a few hours. I absolutely love the scent and am going to try layering the spray with the perfume. More thoughts to come soon – but Fleur de Portofino is another spring time favorite.

Last but not least Creed Virgin Island Water is pure love. It’s more of a summer scent but since it feels like summer where I am this is perfect. I don’t know that I’ve fallen in love with a scent as much as I have this one. I’m trying to ease up on use because I bought the smallest one and an worried I’m going to use it up too fast. I know it’s a silly thing to worry about since perfume is meant to be used – the small bottle was just so expensive!

Jo Malone Wood Sage Sea Salt, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, Tom Ford Sole di Positano, Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino, Creed Virgin Island Water | The Beauty Look Book

Scents of Spring Cire Trudon, Antica Farmacista, Diptyque, Tom Ford and Jo Malone | The Beauty Look Book

That rounds up my loving right now spring home and perfume roundup. What are you loving right now? Do you have anything you’ve been obsessed with for the home? This time of year I feel like it’s the best time to makeover one’s home whether it’s updating bedding, home accents or new scents. Since we just moved, we are still in the process of furnishing our home. Going from a small loft to a full size house with a backyard and more bedrooms has been so exciting for us, but our furniture is pretty much swallowed up by the space. The last time we moved it took us about 6 months to fully furnish our loft because we started from scratch. This round I suspect it will also take time to fully furnish the home.

Press samples include Tom Ford Sole di Positano, Antica Farmacista Lush Balm and Bergamot Ocean Aria.

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 Skincare

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

December 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

A few others to mention:

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

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

Favorite Face Masks from La Mer Glamglow Sisley and Kate Somerville

Shown above:

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

Clarisonic Mia Fit Kate Somerville Scrub La Mer Face Mist

Some more favorites for the face:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

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Holiday Gift Guide

Clutch-Sized Party Makeup Minis and Multi-Taskers for the Holiday Season

December 6, 2016

Clutch-Sized-Beauty-Holiday

The holiday season is in full swing and finding small beauty items that fit inside a clutch or an emergency makeup bag can sometimes be challenging. The upside of holiday season for beauty is the fact that there are tons of sets with smaller sized minis that are perfect for testing out product and also compact enough to fit in the smallest of purses. I’ve picked out some favorites for quick touch ups or refreshers along with some long-lasting options that don’t require any touch ups if you’re on the go or out during holiday parties or gatherings.

Up first are picks for the lips. I’m a glossy lip kind of person whether it’s a sheer lipstick with shine or straight up gloss because they’re more forgiving when it comes to fading. You don’t get that dark ring around the edges like you do from remnants of lipstick. But sometimes for the holidays liquid lipsticks are the way to go because they last a long time and you don’t have to worry about touch ups.

Holiday Lip Essentials Laura Mercier Tom Ford Lips and Boys Armani Lip Magnet Stila

  • Laura Mercier Kiss of Shine Lip Glace Collection (c/o) has five miniature glosses, one sparking sheer white and the others are creams, I received a press sample of the kit without names so unfortunately I don’t know what each color is called
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys (c/o) are the perfect clutch-sized lipstick, current holiday favorites are Ashton, Bradley and Jake (shown)
  • Armani Lip Magnets are the best liquid lipstick I’ve tried because they have a satiny matte finish but don’t look like matte lips, these last a long time, longer than most lipsticks so they’ll stay put and you don’t have to worry about lipstick to teeth transfer, I bought some of the neutral shades and will have them reviewed on the blog soon (quick take is even the lighter neutrals are still on the bright and deep side, there aren’t really any nudes in the formula, at least not yet)
  • Stila Stay All Day, Sparkle all Night Lip Set has five mini liquid lip colors and a shimmering top coat for the lips, these dry to a matte finish and truly last all day, the set has tiny ones that are small enough to fit in the tiniest of clutches

Laura Mercier Lip Glace minis set swatched:

Laura Mercier Kiss of Shine

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks swatched:

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set

If you need to refresh the hair Oribe is always a great option with minis and Laura Mercier has a cute compact with all the colors you need that will go with virtually any outfit you wear for day or night.

Oribe Mini Dry Texturizing Spray Dry Shampoo and Laura Mercier Going Glam Palette

Next Oribe Gold Lust Set (Nordstrom Exclusive) has both the Dry Texturizing Spray and Dry Shampoo great for hair refreshers. In the set you also get a hair oil but it’s not really purse-friendly so it’s not shown in this post. The Laura Mercier Going Glam Palette has four neutral eyeshadows in Coffee Ground, Vanilla Nuts, Boudoir, Steal Pink, two blushesin Poesie and Bellini which are just perfect and a shimmering peach gloss in Bellini. I like that the shadows have a partition to keep the powder inside so it doesn’t transfer to the blushes.

Laura Mercier Going Glam Palette Swatches

Finding a classic simple black leather clutch under $100 is harder than it sounds like it would be, this textured leather clutch shown from Halogen fits all the things I need and is simple and sleek. For perfume there are tons of rollerball perfumes at Nordstrom. Also be sure to check out the holiday fragrance sets because lots of brands have sampler sizes and minis. I have some Jo Malone minis I saved from previous sets. This year’s Cologne Collection has Lime Basil and Mandarin, Basil and Neroli, Pomegranate Noir, Mimosa and Cardamom, Wood Sage and Sea Salt. For the cheeks as much as I love powder, for on the go you need a brush to apply so creams for parties and touch ups are the way to go for me. The RMS Mix Master is something that adds a sheer sheen and dewy glow. MAC Studio Quiktrik Sticks are double sided with a shimmery side and a contour color you can use on cheeks and eyes. I like Softly Does It/Tight and Tawny which is the one shown below. I’ve also swatched another color as well. For mascara the Stila Huge Lash is one of my favorites and it comes in a mini size in the Huger than Huge Duo.

clutch-beauty-mac-rms-stila-jo-malone

MAC Quiktrik Stick and RMS Mix Master

One last look:

Clutch Essentials Holiday Oribe Mini Dry Texturizing Spray Dry Shampoo and Laura Mercier Going Glam Palette

Hope you enjoyed this post! You can shop the items from Nordstrom below, also don’t forget to check out their Gift With Purchase page. There’s a 25 piece GWP going on right now in beauty:

What are your holiday party beauty essentials? Do you have small items you keep for your clutch?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

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Diptyque Fragrance Holiday Gift Guide Home / Interiors

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Luxury Candles For the Home

December 1, 2016

Luxury Candles for Holiday

I have a gift guide roundup including some of my favorite candles for the home this holiday. I love those warm and cozy feel good scents this time of year. Pine and spice scents are always fun to give the ultimate Christmas kind of vibe, but if you’re not into those kinds of scents there are still lots of other options that are great for holiday. If  you don’t want your house to smell like a pine tree or pumpkin, but still want something for your home or for a gift, I’ve rounded up alternatives for you.

The cutest luxury set this year is the Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection ($110 for 5 candles, 1.2 oz each). This is definitely quite the splurge but comes packaged in a beautiful box that looks like a small tent box. The throw on these is phenomenal even though they are small. It contains Sweet Almond and Macaroon, Green Tomato Leaf, Frosted Cherry and Clove, Pomegranate Noir, Peony and Blush Suede.

Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection

Byredo carries some of the most expensive candles on the luxury beauty market. I’ve splurged on a few here and there and love them, but the price is something that holds me back from trying them all (otherwise I would). If you’re shopping for someone who already has almost everything Byredo have some unique options that I think are great.

This year they’ve introduced three candles in a gorgeous color glass version at $85 each. Fleur Fantôme and Cotton Poplin are my favorites for their soft relaxing feel and I ordered those immediately to add some color and life to our home. Bibliothèque is also available in a green tinted version (this one smells like a sweeter version of Bal D’Afrique perfume). Another thing they’ve brought back this year are minis! (I reviewed three a year ago here.) The minis run at $35 each and right now they have them in Fleur Fantôme, Bohemia, Cotton Poplin, Tree House and Bibliothèque. For those new to the brand, you can find Byredo at Neiman Marcus, Barneys’s New York and Net-A-Porter.

The white frosted ones from last year are also still available, Figue Glacée ($95) is my favorite as I love fig scents and this one has red currant, whipped vanilla cream, violet, bamboo and sandalwood mixed in. The other two Prune Glacée and Cassis Glacée are both very sweet.

Byredo Candles Holiday 2016 and Minis

The most elegant holiday scent is Antica Farmacista Black Label Champagne Collection. I love this line so much I’ll have a dedicated post on my picks. I ordered the Full Size Candle and it’s such a beautiful sparkling sweet citrus. It has Satsuma citrus, floral notes of muguet to soften the citrus, passionfruit, sugared blackcurrant and apricot. The candle comes with a box of matches in the lid. Below is also shown the Travel Candle, Room Spray and one of the minis in the Diffuser Trio.

Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label

Lumira continues to be a favorite candle line. I’m beyond obsessed with their Tahitian Coconut candle. For holiday they still have the Holiday Trio Set which has their best sellers:

  • Tuscan Fig has notes of fig leaves, fig tree, blackcurrant, cedarwood, iris and musk
  • Cuban Tobacco is one my husband loves and has in his office, it has tangerine, cardamom, clove bud, mahogany, patchouli, musk, vanilla, tobacco and floral notes
  • Persian Rose is the best rose candle I’ve burned because it’s not powdery or dated, it has Top notes of sparkling mandarin, bergamot zest, sweet orange, Middle notes of budding Persian rose, geranium essence, Base notes of soft musk, patchouli, dark amber

Lumira Holiday Trio Minis

Le Labo x Violet Grey have done a collaboration to launch a special exclusive of the Santal 26 Candle which comes in a beautiful black glass jar instead of the clear ones. The scent is still the same as the clear one, both are named Santal which has notes including amber, vanilla, cedar, musk and sandalwood. It has an earthy almost raw feel. Another great sandalwood home scent is the Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood line. I own this scent in every option including the hand cream, shower gel, room spray and body lotion. The candle gives all kinds of cozy warm vibes. You can find the candle in a Single Wick ($49) version or Three Wick ($74) version.

Le Labo Violet Grey Santal and Molton Brown Coco Sandalwood Candles

Diptyque is always fun during the holiday. I think their pine scent is the best one that comes out each year. This year’s special edition candles come in a Holiday Candle Trio ($100) with minis that has Sparkling Incense, Delicious Spices and Festive Fir Tree. My favorite is the blue one Sparking Incense which has cloves, vanilla and incense. Quite a few of you asked for other recommendations as some mentioned you were disappointed in this year’s holiday options. Noisetier ($32 to $62) is hazelnut which is a warm and sweet scent but it’s not overly sweet. It has a mix of fruity and woody in it as well making it a delicious option. Vanille ($32 to $62) is another option, it’s a different kind of smoky vanilla. I didn’t really love it at first, it’s one that took me a while to get used to, but it’s a cozy option. To date the best vanilla scent is Henri Bendel’s Vanilla Bean – it’s not too sweet which is my biggest issue with most vanilla based candles.

Diptyque Holiday 2016

One last roundup: Sheepskin Rug, Chenille Throw, Pillows found at Pottery Barn

Best Holiday Candles for Home

Hope you enjoyed this roundup of some of my favorites! If I had to pick just three to burn the rest of the month, my top picks would be Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label, Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood and Diptyque Noisetier.

Do you have any favorite holiday scents for the home? Let me know in the comments!

Press samples included from Lumira, Molton Brown and Antica Farmacista.

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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Beauty Gifts and Stocking Stuffers Under $50

November 17, 2016

Best Beauty Gifts Under $50

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

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

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

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

Kiehl's Holiday Skincare Grooming Set and Mask Trio Minis

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

Kiehl's Must Have Mini Mask Trio

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

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

Drybar Four Pack Spray and Moroccanoil Mini Ornament

 

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

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

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

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit Nordstrom

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

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!

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Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

November 9, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Sensitive Skincare and Bodycare

As the weather shifts my skin has been in need of an extra hydration boost. The air is dry and I can definitely feel it as my arms and legs tend to get a little itchy when skin is dry. My skint ype is pretty much normal combination but I do have super sensitive skin – I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m allergic to a number of things so I always patch test items before applying them all over. However as a beauty blogger it is my duty to try and test things to be able to see first hand how they work so I don’t mind an occasional reaction here and there. Many of you liked the Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin so today I have a roundup of Beauty Look Book sensitive-skin approved products that will help with dry skin and add that extra boost of moisture for winter months.

Up first are some lip products I’ve been loving right now for dry lips. You can see a more detailed comprehensive Winter Roundup from 2015 if you want more options. The Armani Him/Her Lip Care are also great options for tinted unscented options.

The Beauty Look Book - Lip Treatment Clarins, Dior, Lanolips

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (c/o, all shades swatched here) and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (c/o, also reviewed here) are among my favorite for hydration and smooth coverage. They are scented though so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance you may want to smell first before buying – I am semi-sensitive to scent in lip products but love both. There are a number of holiday sets out so be sure to check them out (there’s also a few cute GWP options going on at Clarins). The Sweet Kisses Set has 3 lip oils at a value price, Clarins Kisses has minis of both formulas, XOXO, Clarins! has 3 full size Lip Perfectors at a good deal as well.
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade has been a staple for hydration and smoothing lips. It gives instant relief for dry lips and really does work to help improve texture and look of the lips. I have two tubes because I want one at my desk and one to carry in my purse when I’m out and about.

The Lanolips 101 Fruities Duo in Strawberry and Peach are a Net-A-Porter exclusive and I cannot rave about them enough. They’re a thick but very smooth balm that feels incredible on the lips. I’ve never tried any other lip product that gives such a comforting hydrating feel like these do. The Strawberry option is also available at Ulta Beauty.

Up next are some hand cream favorites. I’m obsessed with hand creams of all kinds – I do prefer a smaller compact tube so it’s easy to carry with me and also because they take up less space whether it’s on my nightstand, clutch, purse or drawer. Molton Brown is always a good option for me as I love the lightweight feel and they absorb quickly. Coco and Sandalwood (c/o) and Pink Pepperpod (c/o) are my favorites but I’ve tried them all and they are ALL amazing options. (I buy the Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker set every year.)

For holiday Neiman Marcus and Kiehl’s have an exclusive trio with the Limited-Edition Scented Hand Cream Trio and it’s only $16 (they are 1 oz each). They also have the regular unscented version in a the Limited-Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve Trio they have every year in the full size. The scented ones are just as hydrating with a slightly creamier feel. I love the scents which are Grapefruit, Coriander and Lavender. It’s great and I highly recommend it as these are the best I’ve tried for super dry hands.
The Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream is new for this season and comes in a slightly smaller tube than the regular Vitamin E Hand Treatment (which I find a bit greasy). The Geranium Walnut has more a green geranium scent with only a tiny hint of walnut. It’s hydrating and makes the hands smooth.

The Beauty Look Book - Hand Cream Molton Brown, Kiehl's, Jo Malone



Face Oils and Serums are something I’ve never been into historically – I’ve only really gotten into them in the past couple of years as I’m more of a lotions and cream kind of person. Quite a few of you asked about the La Mer Renewal Oil and I’ve been able to acquire a few minis from gift with purchases. Out of all the oils it has the thickest feel upon application but actually absorbs the best for the least emollient finish which is rare for oils. It’s very hydrating but also scented. The scent doesn’t bother me and it did not irritate my skin. Once I use up my others I will most likely buy it – it hydrates, balances the skin and reduces redness.

The Beauty Look Book - Oils for Sensitive Skin La Mer, Darphin, Kate Somerville, Kiehl's

The Darphin Intral Soothing Serum does just what the name implies. It helps reduce redness from itchy dry skin and works wonders to calm down flare ups. If you’ve tried this and found it didn’t do much for you it’s probably because in most cases serums are meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer on top. Serums alone have a unique texture that doesn’t always work well with your makeup, but when you layer them with your moisturizer they help keep the skin balanced and hydrated. This is on the lighter side so if you have super dry skin it probably won’t have enough moisture, but if you’re normal and sensitive this is a good one.

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has been a favorite for a long long time. I’m pretty much finished with this bottle but kept it for this story as it’s a good one. L’Occitane skincare in general is underrated and it’s among the most gentle and natural that I’ve tried. It smooths the skin, makes it glow, plumps up the surface. You can use it alone or with moisturizer. I like to use it at night too and I wake up with glowing smooth skin. This is a great one for winter time.

Another favorite is the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment and I tried this thanks to a number of recommendations from my readers who commented on previous posts. This oil is everything. If I were forced to use one oil the rest of my life this would be it. My friend tried it as well and she couldn’t stop repeating “my skin feels sooo amazing.” It really does everything it claims: smooths skin, strengthen, replenish and restore elasticity, maintain suppleness and helps improve skin evenness. It has the most amazing scent which is hard to describe but it’s not irritating.

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is one that is well-loved by many and for good reason. It’s another oil you can use daily but has an energizing/reviving aspect to invigorate the skin. The description for this says it has “antioxidant protection with a powerful blend of naturally-derived oils, including Ginger Root, Sunflower and Tamanu, to help skin feel fresh and look energized morning to night.” I was nervous to try this but have been hooked every since I tried it.

Next up are lotions and creams. Note this looks like a lot and it is, but quite a few of these are empties that I’ve used up. First Aid Beauty is the best affordable mid-end skincare line I’ve tried and one of the best for truly sensitive skin. One of my best friends is in her mid 30’s and loves their line and my younger brother is in his early 20’s and it’s one of the two skincare lines he asks me to stock him up on (Kate Somerville being the other).

Many of the First Aid Beauty items contain colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry itchy skin. I’ve tried their Ultra Repair line and also the Purifying line with Red Clay (best for summer/oily skin) and everything is gentle but effective. The Ultra Repair Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great basic no-fuss lightweight moisturizer for normal sensitive skin. It contains, “meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil soften and hydrate while shea butter and ceramides help protect the skin’s barrier function. The best in the line is the Ultra Repair Cream and if you’ve been reading recent posts, you know they just launched the Ultra Repair Cream in Vanilla Citron (c/o) which is amazing. I bought the Ultra Repair Cream Minis set and feel almost like a broken record talking about it, but it’s GREAT. I still prefer the unscented version because even though there’s no scent it has a soothing undertone in the formula. They always have great value sets so be sure to browse those if you’re new to the line.

If you need something natural but not heavy, the Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is something I just started using on a more regular basis and it’s a great one for something simple but effective. The Chanel is a great in between option if you need something that acts
somewhere in between a lotion and cream. It helps calm down flare ups
and is great for sensitive skin. This year they added a larger 1.7 oz
version (the smaller 1.0 oz version is shown below).

Two other great basic options I’ve used up include the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer. Both are really good for a simple no-fuss kind of cream that hydrates, smooths, calms down irritation and rebalance skin. They are lightweight and absorb nicely into the skin.

If you have very dry sensitive skin, I’d recommend the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream or Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (I have the older original version but have tried both and the new one is just as good). If you read customer reviews on both their sites you’ll find an overwhelming number of others who love both. The Tatcha is on the expensive side so if you’re unsure of splurging $100+ be sure to check out their Travel Size Shop. They have all their items in minis and also in sets that are great to try out.

A few more notes on the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion. I featured it in this post here to compare it to the Soft Cream and I prefer the lotion because of the pump packaging and texture. It’s quite the splurge and I do think it’s amazing. I have no regrets buying it but the others in this roundup are also great at more affordable price points.




The Beauty Look Book - Skincare First Aid Beauty, Kate Somerville, La Mer, Tatcha for Sensitive Skin




Last but not least, for the body three things I’m loving right now are the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil Spray, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver and also the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a body treatment. They offer instant relief from itchy dryness and I’m obsessed with the way the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil smells. The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is one I’ve bought multiple tubes of now for friends. I get texts a lot from my girl friends that say “help my skin is freaking out, what do I need?” I either tell them First Aid Beauty or this one. I love that First Aid Beauty made their Ultra Repair Cream in different sizes and packaging options for travel, full size and value size.

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

Two other body products that deserve a mention but I just used up and didn’t keep the empties include the Tatcha Indigo Body Butter and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body. Both are extremely good for super sensitive skin. The Tatcha is the most hydrating one I’ve tried and is on the thick side since it’s a cream but feels amazing. I like to use it at night. I love the formula but it’s a bit too rich for my skintype for day time – I would absolutely die if they made this in a lotion form. The L’Occitane has been featured a number of times before as well. It’s the best lightweight gentle lotion that gives relief without feeling sticky or heavy. It absorbs well and anytime my skin feels itchy or irritated this is my go-to to help with relief. I need to go buy another one soon.

I hope this roundup give you some ideas on what to try if you’re suffering from dry itchy skin or flare ups. Recommendations as always depend on your specific skin type, age, formula preference and scent preferences. I turned 35 this year and my skin has finally seemed to rebalance itself and I attribute this in part to finding good skincare.

As I transitioned from my late 20’s to my early 30’s my life went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered. I have always been able to manage a lot of things in life but in my early 30’s the stress of life, career, balancing a full-time corporate job, a part-time job, this blog along with other things in my personal life took it’s toll on my skin and it suffered. I experienced breakouts on the chin even though I never had any acne issues growing up. I had pretty bad texture issues on all areas of my face. Red spots from scars were pretty bad as well. Finding balance in life, learning to say no to some things, taking time to take care of myself and worry less have helped my skin as I’ve worked to improve things from the inside out. Many of you have asked about work/life balance and I’ll have more on that when I publish my get to know me post.

Back to the skincare – I’m always asked if I could only pick one in each category what would it be. I like options, I always have. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because I have many and preferences change. Right now I will say that:

My favorite face oil is a three-way tie between Kate Somerville Dilo, Kiehl’s Reparative Treatment and L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

My favorite face moisturizer is a three-way tie between La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville anything, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Most gentle items for sensitive skin are the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, La Solution 10 de Chanel and Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

Favorite hand cream Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood or the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio

As always if you have sensitive skin, dry skin issues or eczema – please chime in on what your favorites are!

Press samples indicated with c/o. All other items purchased by me.