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Laura Mercier

Skincare

Favorite Face Scrubs + Exfoliators: His and Hers Edition

November 17, 2017

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Today I have Part 2 of my current skincare routine focused on my favorite face scrubs and exfoliators. This post has an added portion for Andrew’s favorites as several of you mentioned you liked the men’s grooming recommendations I’ve done in the past. I haven’t always been a fan of face scrubs. I’ve found so many too gritty and harsh for my skin but with a lot of trial, error and recommendations from friends and experts I’ve discovered that regular exfoliation has been a major key to maintaining good skin. Both Andrew and I have used each other’s skincare to see what works best. In general ones for men are indeed tougher or more gritty as I think men typically have tougher and thicker skin than women but there are actually some of his skincare items that I like to borrow on a regular basis from Jack Black.

Favorite Face Scrubs for Her

Favorite Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

My favorite exfoliators are gentle ones. I don’t usually exfoliate everyday unless it’s with a rice powder that’s activated by water. I’ve found scrubs gentle enough for daily use but really find that every other day is enough for me. I’ve used several variations of the Clarisonic including the Mia2 and Mia Fit. I must admit that I’m not the most diligent about using it consistently – especially when traveling. Sometimes having a small bottle or tube of face scrub is just so much easier and convenient. My favorites below plus one that I’ve just started trying:

  • Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator is the newest scrub I’ve tried. I bought it during the Sephora sale because of the high ratings. It has a cream base which makes it less harsh than a lot of scrubs and it works well over wet skin. I like that it’s gentle for me and effective. Skin feels cleaner and smoother. I do think it’s better for oily or combination skin. It has a slight citrus scent that I’m not the biggest fan of. I will use it until the end but don’t know if I’ll repurchase.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion is in my top picks for face scrubs. I thought it would be too harsh based on what I felt on my hands. When applied over a wet face it’s a great scrub. It’s also one Andrew has used and liked. It has crush microshells from the ocean sand, Willow Herb to sooth, shea butter and sea algeanates. Over time with regular use I do believe it helped minimize our pores.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle is one of my most repurchased face scrubs. It has papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes reduce pore size, stimulate circulation, and improve oxygen flow. It’s a more gentle version of her regular Exfolikate which sometimes has too much tingle for me. I’ve had both applied on me during Kate Somerville facials which are the best facials I’ve ever had. I recommend any of her products.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Laura Mercier Face Polish is one I have in a mini right now but I have bought and used up the full size multiple times. It’s a great all around basic face scrub that does the job well without being too harsh. It does have a grittier texture but there’s a good cream base to balance it. With this one there is a slight almost apricot scent to it. Once you rinse it off you don’t notice it as much. I would say this one is better for normal to dry skin.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Fresh Sugar Face Polish is a newer favorite that I suspect will be in my top three. I bought mine in a mini size from the cutest Fresh Mask Wardrobe which I think would make a super cute gift. This scrub is an emollient brown sugar scrub with strawberry seeds that smells like sugary lemons. It’s emollient and leaves the skin feeling well nourished without leaving any oily film or residue. Skin feels super soft and has the smoothest feel out of the scrubs I’ve tried. I 100% recommend and will be getting the full size soon.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Sisley-Paris Gentle Facial Buffing Cream is an excellent face scrub that I reviewed here. It’s very pricey but one I think is excellent with one of the best formulas I’ve tried. It is better suited for normal or dry skin types in my opinion. I’ve been trying to use mine as sparingly as possible because it’s so good and I want to make it last as long as I can.
    • Currently working on finding the full ingredient list.
  • Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders come in different formulas for skin type. I’ve tried all of them and find the difference between them is subtle but still noticeable. Over the summer I used the Deep Polish (green one) but also alternate with the Indigo Soothing Rice (for sensitive skin) and Classic. You can find these in travel sizes online at Tatcha.
  • Clarisonic Mia2 shown in purple is the traditional Clarisonic with the handle. It comes with a compact storage case that doesn’t take up a lot of room making it convenient for travel and it also protects the brush. This helps with gentle exfoliation and the sonic facial brush cleanses the skin up to 6 times better than hands alone. I do think it does a better job at keeping skin clear and washing the face than hands. It’s just one more step in the routine that I skip when I’m rushed in the mornings or feel tired at night.

Favorite Exfoliators for Andrew

Men's Face Scrubs and Exfoliators | The Beauty Look Book

Andrew and I are really close in age. He has thicker skin than I do. His main concerns are primarily related to sun damage and sun spots. His skin type is normal to oily and with the Florida heat and humidity his skin has become more oily. Out of all the skincare he’s tried he feels daily exfoliation is the one thing that has improved his skin (or rather to maintain clear smooth skin). There are four he’s tried recently, his favorite is the same no matter what he tries (ones for men or even mine). In general his two favorite skincare lines are Kiehl’s and Jack Black. I’ve bought him numerous skincare gift sets over the years and that’s how he’s discovered what he’s liked.

  • Away has brought back their Minis for the holiday! You can buy the Mini Suitcase Individually, as a Gift Set (there are multiple options) or as a Gift Card Set. I’d recommend ordering soon as they are selling out really fast. I was lucky to get my hands on a few over the past year and absolutely love them for travel.
    • You can see my review on their Bigger Carry On here. Regular Carry On here.
  • Kiehl’s Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser is something I bought for him because he likes multi-tasking products and I thought this could be a good 2-in-1 scrub. Turns out he says it’s more like a cleansing cream with tiny beads but not really a scrub. It’s supposed to double as a mask that you can leave on to help exfoliate skin. He says it’s not bad, he just doesn’t love it and feels like it’s a knock-off of the Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser which is another one of his staple go-to’s.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub is his favorite face scrub. He’s tried to convert me to loving this as much as he does. I do like it a lot and have used it many times. It has fine particles, methol and vitamin c to invigorate the skin and help prepare it for shaving. He finds this helps clear up congested pores the best and helps prevent breakouts.
  • Kiehl’s Epidermal Micro-Dermabrasion (also shown above in my review) is one Andrew thought he liked the most, but after going back to his Jack Black decided that was his favorite. This one is good according to him but he likes something with more grit to exfoliate more.
    • Ingredients listed here.
  • Clarisonic Alpha Fit is something Andrew was diligent about using every day in the shower until we moved and started living the nomadic life in August. After moving month to month exploring and traveling he stopped using it and opted for face scrubs instead. In case you missed it our six months in Florida post here.

A few other favorites of his shown but that aren’t scrubs include the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Cleanser, Molton Brown Russian Leather Eau de Toilette, Creed Aventus for Men.

That wraps up our favorite face exfoliators of the moment! What are your favorites?

Press samples featured include the Sisley Gentle Face Scrub, Away Mini Suitcase, Molton Brown Russian Leather.

Highlighters

New Highlighter Launches for Fall

September 24, 2017

New Highlighter Launches for Fall | the beauty look book

The highlighter trend is still going very strong and brands show no signs of slowing down with new releases. I love a good glow and trying new highlighters is one of my favorite things to do. I tend to be ok with varying degrees of glowy shimmers but these days it seems like the more glitz the better. I can’t pull off lots of frost, glitter or super light colored shimmers with my olive tan complexion so for me this roundup has some misses alongside some hits for me. There are a number of new launches out that aren’t included in this post. I’ll add a few notes at the end with some extra thoughts.

One of the palettes that caught my eye immediately was the Laura Mercier Exotique Face Illuminator Collection Palette. It’s exclusive to Sephora and has two new shades of their Face Illuminators in Infatuation and Temptation. I already own the other two Indiscretion and Devotion in the full size (reviewed here) and while I would have really preferred to have a palette with all new shades I do like that it has these as it will be a good one for travel. Indiscretion happens to be one of my favorites that I own. Going forward if I had to travel with 1 highlighter palette I think this would be in my top 3 picks. Formulas is true to full size – smooth, easy to build, doesn’t emphasize pores, beautiful color and shimmer. They last long on my skin even in humid weather. You can wear on the eyes or cheeks, alone or over blush/bronzer. It’s a solid winner for me.

Laura Mercier L'Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection Palette Laura Mercier L'Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection Swatches Palette | The Beauty Look Book

Next are the highlighters from Hourglass and Fenty Beauty. I’ve been a long time fan of Hourglass Ambient Lighting highlighters. This holiday they have two new palettes. One is the Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette and the other is the Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3. I have the trio reviewed today and the other palette will be reviewed separately as it has more than just highlighters.

The Ambient Lighting Powders in general have a softer but noticeable glow. This season they’ve increased the intensity with the Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette which has the most intense shimmer I’ve seen from them. Pigment is smooth, nicely pigmented and very metallic. Colors are on the pale side and on my olive tan skin they look very similar on the face with the exception of the middle color which is clearly more gold/yellow. I can wear this with a very light and soft hand. I use a skunk brush to apply on the cheeks and it’s still very intense and metallic. Compared to previous powders launched from Hourglass this is very unique in color and finish. It has a less powdery finish compared to the Ambient Strobe Powders which some of you reported you found glittery or chalky (although they worked well for me). The Metallic Strobe Powder by comparison have no glitter particles and there isn’t any matte/chalky/powdery base but instead has a more metallic shimmer like a wet-look shimmer.

I’m kinda mixed on this one. I do think it’s a good palette. Quality, finish, pigment, texture and price are all a thumbs up. Color-wise it’s a miss as I find it’s a little too pale for me as I have quite a bit of tan and the paleness of color makes it look extra shimmery on my skin.

Hourglass Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette

Hourglass Metallic Strobe Light Swatches and Fenty Beauty Starstruck + Sinamon swatches

Next are the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks. I bought both sight unseen but have since had a chance to play with the entire line at Sephora. My first test with Starstruck (pale champagne pink) wasn’t good. I found it had a gritty texture and looked really dry. I tested it a few more times and it grew on me. However there is still something with the paleness that makes it too contrasted with my tan skintone and it ends up emphasizing texture. Sinamon works better for me as it is a pretty bronzey color. Both have a buildable shimmer quality and they adhere well to the skin and in this hot humid Florida weather they held up remarkably well. That being said if you have any dry patches or if you find shimmer can emphasize texture – definitely be aware these can emphasize both. I don’t think these would work for me in normal weather climate on the cheeks as they have a rather dry texture that almost tugs at the skin. They are easy to blend with fingers and I think the issue with most cream products in general is they are lacking in lasting power. For me the two shimmer sticks I tested held up really well so I’m ok with the slightly dry texture. I actually wanted to get Rum but my store was sold out. Given the number of highlighters I have and also keeping in mind holiday will probably have more offerings I’ll hold off on purchasing more.

I was able to wear both without any irritation or clogging of skin. This is something I’m always concerned about when it comes to cream or liquid cheek products. I give these a thumbs up for formula even if the colors I picked aren’t really all that unique. Starstruck just didn’t work color-wise on the cheeks for me but the formula is still really good and I find it’s lovely on the eyes.
Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Stick Starstruck and Sinamon | The Beauty Look Book

Edward Bess makes my holy grail cream highlighters with the All Over Seduction compacts. This fall he has new launches with a Harmonious Hues Light Stick Trio which are twist up highlighters in a chubby pencil form. The colors include Candlelight (champagne), Ambience (peachy gold), Aura (soft bronze) and I absolutely love these. The shimmer is subtle but still noticeably glowy, the texture is creamy and easy to swipe on the face or eyes and easy to blend. They have a semi-emollient finish which makes the color adhere well to the skin. It’s as natural as it gets without being invisible. The colors are right up my alley.

He also has a new powder highlighter called the Marbleized Rose Gold Highlighting Powder. It’s a very pale yellow gold with smooth luminous shimmer. I love this video he did with an application on lighter skinned complexions. I think it looks amazing on them! Yellow golds really aren’t my thing as I already have yellow-based skin but I like this one on the eyes for me. The texture is very smooth and beautifully pigmented without the frost.

Edward Bess Harmonious Hues Light Stick Trio and Marbleized Rose Gold Trio

Edward Bess Harmonious Hues Light Stick Trio and Marbleized Rose Gold Trio

Cover FX launched a new set of mini Custom Enhancer Drops in a set of 4. These are larger than the ones you may have seen in a few GWPs or Beauty Insider gifts but smaller than the full size. I’ve shown them below. If you’re one who wants to try a bunch of colors or want to travel with more than 1 these are perfect. When I ordered them I didn’t realize they were existing shades (I should have read the description). I saw “minis” and it went in my cart and I didn’t think twice. Since I already own these I’m sending these to my niece. They come with a similar dropper style packaging as the full size. The shimmer is buildable to full intensity. Don’t be scared at how shimmery they look. They are actually very wearable and easy to blend out. Review on the full sizes here and here.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops Set Minis vs Full Size | The Beauty Look Book

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops Set swatches

Last but not least Charlotte Tilbury launched a Beauty Light Wand with her Hollywood Collection. I just reviewed it a few days ago here but wanted to include it in the fall roundup. It’s a really pretty one and surprisingly convenient for on the go touch ups or for travel.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand and Beauty Light Wand

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand and Beauty Light Wand

I managed to get a few decent face swatch shots. We are in between places living a rather nomadic life and are about to make our fourth move this year very soon. My setup for everything has been rather on-the-go for the past few months and I couldn’t get the focus right on the camera the last few rounds of reviews. Four highlighter face swatches shown below:

Highlighter Swatches Beauty Looks

New Highlighter Launches for Fall | the beauty look book

Additional ones that were on my radar that I haven’t tested (yet):

  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Smoky Quartz is on my wishlist, I wish it were available at Sephora or Ulta because it’s where I can get points or perks, this one looks so so pretty, I obviously do not need, but if you have it let me know what you think
  • Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters are something I swatched in store and the colors/pigment is quite impressive, with each duo at least 1 side has some micro sparkles which I thought would be too over the top for what I’d normally wear, I may give one a try – the pigment is soooo good!
  • Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Trio looks amazing, I really loved her highlighting powders this year and think it’s possible the trio would be dupes for the individual shades I own, but the finish of these powders is really divine
  • By Terry Compact Expert Dual Powders are new powder + highlighters in a compact, I will have a review on all the shades soon, I bought 5 of the 8 shades, fell in love, ordered the remaining 3 which should arrive soon, the texture and finish is so naturally beautiful (some look light in color like they could be highlighters but I’ll have to do some more testing to report)
  • Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighters have such a lovely glow, I’ve swatched on several occasion in stores and have been extremely tempted but I really love my Laura Mercier and Dior highlighters and felt it would be like owning duplicates
  • Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder Modern Mercury has been on my radar for quite some time but it kept selling out with previous launches, that being said it should be easy to find now, if I can test it in person first I’ll give it a try, I still own the Modern Mercury color before it was part of the VB collection (I had a backup) and I suspect it’s identical so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing it

All this being said, if you feel overwhelmed by all the highlighter options, you are definitely not alone. I’m on highlighter overload (and also feel that way about new foundation base launches too). I still feel my top highlighter picks include the Dior Nude Air Luminizer Powders (all four reviewed here), Laura Mercier Indiscretion (review here), Hourglass Luminous Light (review here) and Edward Bess All Over Seduction (reviewed here).

Out of the new launches the Laura Mercier palette is my favorite, followed by the By Terry Compacts (not reviewed yet, but will be soon!).

Have you jumped on the highlighter bandwagon for fall launches? What have you picked up lately (new or previously launched colors)? Let me know what you’ve been loving!

Press samples include items from Hourglass, Edward Bess and Charlotte Tilbury.

Base Makeup Beauty Favorites

Summer Foundation and Base Edit

July 7, 2017

Best Summer Foundations for Warm Weather | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I have a roundup of foundations and bases I’ve been testing since I’ve moved to Florida where the weather is warm, sunny and humidity levels are very noticeable. By comparison, San Diego is very dry although to me it always felt moderate and what I considered normal. We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far the humidity isn’t quite as bad as I had expected. I’m saying this because in December we drove to Key West which is extremely wet and humid feeling – so humid the air feels like you’re walking around in a sauna. Also a few years ago we took almost a month to travel throughout Europe through Italy and the Mediterranean in late June. It was so scorching hot and humid during out travels I completely gave up wearing makeup on most of the days after trying and failing. That being said, yes Florida is humid and hot and finding a makeup base that stays put, doesn’t budge and that won’t slide off has been a challenge.

To date I haven’t found any makeup base or combination of products can truly 100% last or stand up to serious humidity especially if I sweat. I’m the type of person who doesn’t break a sweat easily but since moving to Florida I start sweating if I’m outside for 5 minutes and there’s no wind or breeze. I’m rounding up what I’ve tested by formula and coverage and note what I’ve found wears the best. Even though it’s humid here the reality is that both Andrew and I are rarely outside for long consecutive hours unless we’re at the beach or a park doing touristy things. Also even on those occasions we can take a break from the heat while in the car with the AC or take a stop at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Up first are the more natural looking foundations with sheer to medium coverage. The most requested reviews I get are for BB Creams and CC creams and I am sad to say that those are products I really do not like. Most feel thick on my skin or look pink in undertone. As one with really yellow/olive skin I can’t do bases that have pink so unfortunately I will probably not review any. Also a quick note on shades – many of you have commented over the years that you’re the same shade as me. Since moving to Tampa I’ve tanned quite a bit – it’s something I can’t avoid. I also lose my tan quickly so my color changes on a weekly basis. Because of this annoying fact I have to mix colors a lot – more than I ever have.

Shown below from left to right:

  • MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is the sheerest base I’ll do. It really has a super natural tint but adheres well to the skin. I fluctuate between Medium and Medium Plus. The shades run on the pink side but since the formula is so sheer it’s really forgiving. Review and swatches of all shades here.
  • Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer with SPF15 is more like a natural foundation. It’s sheer like a tinted moisturizer but gives better coverage than most that I’ve tried. It does contain Octinoxate 7.5% and Titanium Dioxide 3% so if those cause problems for your skin you may want to skip. I had no issues with this formula for my skin. If I were still in San Diego I would probably use this more regularly – since it has a mild moisturizing quality it can get a little bit dewy. I bought mine at Nordstrom but Bobbi Brown Online has more shades available.
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint is one that really surprised me. It’s hydrating but not too rich or heavy. It makes the skin glow naturally  Review and swatches of all shades here. It was limited-edition so may be hard to track down.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 is one you’ll see me wearing a lot in beauty looks or lip swatches. This one has Octinoxate 7.5% and Octisalate 3% – it’s one that doesn’t irritate my skin and has a natural looking finish that isn’t too matte, just naturally velvety. I wear St. Moritz now but on my lighter wear Groenland or mix the two.
  • Diorskin Forever Foundation SPF 35 is one of the best foundation bases I’ve ever tried. The only downside is finding a match can be a bit tricky. I tested 30 and 31 first – in store I had one on each side and they both matched perfectly. When I got home and tested again I found they sometimes darkened about a 1/2 shade. 31 is more yellow while 30 is more pink so I kept 31. I went back to find the next shade down which is 21 (even though there are a lot of shades in between). 21 is the most yellow. If you’re normally my skintone go with either 21 or 25. I use both 21 and 31 mixed together to get my perfect match. For me it’s 100% worth it because this looks naturally flawless on the skin and gives me exactly the coverage I want. It also stays put the best for me. It has 3% Octinoxate and 1.75% Titanium Dioxide.

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

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Next up medium to full coverage foundations which is what I usually prefer. Most people, friends and family included don’t realize that I’m almost always wearing a full coverage foundation until they see me with bare skin and see all my freckles. I was active in outdoor sports while in high school and even though that was YEARS ago I still got a lot of freckles and sun spots from being outside a lot. I have tried a number of whitening/brightening treatments over the years which has helped with acne scars and dark spots but I still have a lot of freckles.

Shown left to right:

  • Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer is hands down my most-worn foundation base. It offers medium to full buildable coverage and I love everything about it. For me Tom Ford Beauty has the best foundation shades to match my skin tone. It blends easily and covers my skin exactly how I like it without getting cakey. It lasts an impressive amount of time without sliding, creasing or budging. Review + swatches here.
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is the newest one I’ve tried. I got an early sneak peek at some of the shades and given my challenge finding a match in the Candleglow version I was skeptical about this one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a formula is for a base – if there’s no decent match, it’s going to be a no-go. I was lucky to find my match to either Buff or Dusk. Right now Dusk is the better match because it’s more olive. On a few occasions I have found I need to mix in a bit of Macadamia to lighten it just a slight amount. I am extremely impressed with this formula. You do need to blend quickly as it dries and sets in a short amount of time. Once it sets it gives a flawless finish that looks matte but not flat. This is one of the few true matte finishes I’ve tried that I like the look of. I’ve found it pretty budge-proof – this is one I wore this on the 4th of July. I applied a fresh face of makeup in the early evening before we headed downtown to scope out some firework locations. I had this on from 4:00 pm until around midnight. That evening the air wasn’t too and we were thrilled that it actually stopped raining by the time we found parking and walked a mile to downtown. After looking around the Channelside area we decided downtown was not for us so we walked back to our car and drove to Hyde Park Village for dinner. After we then walked another mile to Bayshore Boulevard to watch the fireworks. All this rambling is to explain how this formula held up. The humidity was probably the highest I’ve felt here to date – this one held up remarkably well although I did get very glowy looking, it did not slide off or budge.
  • Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is another long-lasting full coverage foundation that works well in this heat. Before I had to mix 4 and 6. Right now I’m probably 6.5 which is more golden, but I can make 6 work. If you can find a shade match this an exceptionally good one for lasting power.
  • Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick is one of my top picks for foundation sticks in this humidity. While in San Diego in my winter skintone I wore Warm Ivory. I’ve since moved up to Nude but only use this on areas I need extra coverage. It does warm up/darken a little. Right now I could probably use the next shade up but since I don’t use this all over my face I haven’t bought it yet.

Medium to Full Coverage Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Medium to Full Coverage Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are cushions. I’ve always been interested in cushions but testers usually look pretty gross and also finding the right shade can be a challenge. Korean brands tend to run pink (at least the ones I’ve tried) but I’ve had luck with a few in the past. The best thing about the cushions is that they usually come with a refill pack so you’re getting 1 plus a backup. Right now there are 3 cushions I really like:

  • Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion is one I featured in my sunscreen story. It has SPF 50 and isn’t really a foundation but actually a skincare product. I can use this alone or as a base for other foundations. I think the swatches can be a bit misleading because you have to put this on your skin to see how it matches. 30 looks way too dark for me but because it’s sheer it blends in seamlessly with my skin.
  • Saturday Skin All Algow Sunscreen Perfecting Cushion Compact with SPF 50 is probably the best cushion I’ve tried. I ordered two shades online sight unseen. 05 Honey is my match as this darkens just a tiny bit on my skin. Color selection is pretty limited – so far I’ve only been able to find 4 total, 3 are available at Nordstrom and all 4 are available at Urban Outfitters. It offers medium to full coverage but pulls more towards the full size. It gives the skin a very natural looking glow without being too dewy. It also stays put and doesn’t budge. Active Ingredients are Octocrylene 2%, Octyle Methoxycinnamate 7%, Octyle Saliclate 4.8%, Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 2%.
  • Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion has full coverage with limited shades. I bought the Brightening Version while in New York in 25 and 33 and after testing them at home was so disappointed to find they are simply too pink for my skin. I ordered the Perfecting Cushion in 25 to try instead which has fuller coverage and a better match. This darkens about one full shade on my skin. The formula is a bit on the heavy side for my preference but still holds up well in warm weather. I don’t hate this but don’t love it – I suspect it’s due to the fact that I don’t have a 100% shade match but I can make Shade 25 Deep Beige work for me.

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion | The Beauty Look Book

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

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Next are a few miscellaneous items I love for powders, concealers and a couple tools. I own a lot of loose powders but in general prefer pressed ones because they’re not as messy and easier for touch ups.

Best Pressed Powders, Concealers and Tools | The Beauty Look Book

For pressed powders:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder has one of the longest product names I think I’ve ever seen but it’s seriously THE best pressed powder I’ve tried. I saw this applied in action on my BFF at a Charlotte Tilbury event. Her foundation/base had completely worn off already and she told the artist she didn’t really want to try the foundation. The artist applied #1 on her skin and it was literally transformed into a smooth flawless canvas in front of my eyes. My shade is #2 and although I think she could add more options this one has been my go-to for at least a couple years now.
  • Armani Luminous Silk Compact Dual-Use Powder is another great setting powder. This one has more color options compared to the Charlotte Tilbury. It offers medium natural coverage and comes with a dual-sided sponge so you can either apply it for sheer or more full coverage. I use a powder brush to set my liquid foundation with this one for the most part. The sponge is something I use for touch ups. Even though I’ve darkened quite a bit I’ve still found Shade #4 to work perfectly for me.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is one of the few mineral powders I actually like. I tried so many when mineral powders were in – so many just looked too heavy on the skin, even after buffing it in. This one offers medium coverage and I use a brush to set my foundation. It gives an airbrushed finish but it’s not completely weightless in feel. It is a very natural looking product though and holds up well with the heat/humidity.

For concealers, I really don’t find myself using concealer a lot anymore. I simply don’t need it with good coverage foundations but my 3 most-used ones:

Concealer Swatches Cle de Peau Beaute, MUFE, NARS | The Beauty Look Book

Tools, an updated brush tool series coming up soon on the blog, but for now my two must-haves:

  • beautyblender is the best foundation application tool I’ve used. I’ve tried a number of the different colors and while technically they should all perform the same, I don’t find they do. The best ones for me are the original beautyblender (bright pink), bubble and nude. Review from a few years ago in this post here.
  • MAC Brush 140 S Synthetic Full Fan Brush is probably the best powder brush I own. It launched with the MAC Next to Nothing collection and has the perfect density and softness to pick up powder and apply it in a sweeping motion all over the face.

I wasn’t able to face swatch and photograph all the foundations, but here’s a look at two and also what my bare face looks like. With the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Dusk I’m just wearing the foundation (no powder to set). It was taken with a low flash and I didn’t get any white cast or flashback. Lipstick is MAC Faux.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer photographs the best in my experience. This was also taken with a flash and I’m facing a sliding glass door so some natural light is on my face. Lipstick worn here is Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk (you can also see it on me when I was a shade lighter here).

Foundation Face Swatches Tom Ford and Laura Mercier | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this roundup was helpful for you! A few notes on other formulas I tested, previous favorites and why I don’t use them as much now:

  • The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer worked better for me when I was in San Diego. Right now it’s really too dewy for my skin type. It’s still a great product for sheer coverage.
  • The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is still an amazing line for the liquid and stick foundation. I used my shades up the first month I arrived here (this was back in March). Since I’ve gotten darker I haven’t had a chance to investigate other shades to find what my current match is.
  • The Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is too luminous for me right now. Earlier in the spring or even when I was here in December it worked perfectly. Right now it’s a no-go just because I have normal/combo skin.
  • I will be testing the new Diorskin Forever and Chanel Les Beiges cushions. Will keep you posted. I have tried the Lancome Cushion but it’s really heavy in coverage – too heavy for me.
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid is one of the most full coverage foundations I’ve tried, I do like the formula but it’s a bit too opaque for me on its own. I can wear it and find it has impressive lasting power in this heat but I need to mix it with a Strobe Cream or something along those lines to sheer it out for my coverage preference.

Some final thoughts and favorites:

  • Best foundation for me is anything from Tom Ford, but right now my favorite formula is definitely the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. I used to use Bisque. Now I alternate between Natural (more neutral) and Sable (more olive/yellow).
  • Longest lasting matte base is the new Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion. If you have normal to dry skin definitely make sure your skin is well moisturized or add a hydrating primer. Reason for this is it’s medium to full coverage and matte formulas can emphasize lines. For me this one went on flawlessly without a primer but my skin is a bit more combination with the heat/humidity.
  • My most-used concealer is from NARS.
  • Best sheer/natural looking foundation is the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
  • Best new discoveries this year for me are the Diorskin Forever Foundation and Saturday Skin All Aglow Cushion.
  • I really can’t pick 1 favorite powder (sorry!) – it’s tie between the Charlotte Tilbury and Armani. If you want a flawless truly airbrushed look go with the Charlotte Tilbury. However shades are  limited as there are only 3 so the next best option is Armani. The Armani has sheerer coverage with a brush.
  • For other touch ups and this heat I swear by the Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers. While my in-laws were visiting we went to Orlando. All of us were sweating with the heat, humidity and thunder showers. I kinda forced them to use these – even my husband didn’t want to use it, he looked at the little square and said “there’s no way that’s going to help.” I gave them 2 each and assured them it really would help and after they tried it I was really happy to find that they did feel a lot better after using them.

Finding a good base in truly humid weather is going to be a challenge and results will definitely vary depending where you are located. Even within the Tampa Bay area humidity levels vary depending on how close I am to the coast. We live in one of the canal areas and while we aren’t directly on the bay we can see if from our house. Temperatures just a few miles inland in certain areas fluctuate and since the weather changes by the hour here so there are some times and places where it’s so hot literally nothing will truly stay put.

For those who are looking for a new base to try I hope this gave you some good ideas. If you have any you swear by let me know in the comments!

Press samples featured include the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion, MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, MAC Brush 140S Brush. All others purchased by me.

Highlighters

Highlighter Edit for Spring

April 13, 2017

Highlighter Roundup | The Beauty Look Book

The glowy highlighter trend is still going strong and as a fan of all things luminous I could not be happier! By popular request I’ve put quite a few new formulas, palettes and colors to the test. There’s lots to love and the great thing about the launches these days is that there is literally something for everyone. After extensive testing I will say up front that my absolute top favorites still remain the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers, Edward Bess All Over Seduction, Laura Mercier Face Illuminators, Tom Ford Shimmer Shots and Hourglass Luminous Light (reviews linked for each one).

For highlighters there are so many factors to consider when picking one. Skintone plays a key role in determining whether a highlighter will actually look like a highlight or more of a bronzer on you. I know for many fair skin beauty lovers many colors that look like a highlighter on me turn peachy or bronzey on lighter skin tones. On the flip side some super pale highlighters will look more true to pan on fair skins while on medium to deep skins like me, some will just look like a white frost.

Skin type and shimmer preference are also other things to consider. If you have a lot of texture or larger pores sometimes the more glowy powder shimmers will emphasize fine lines or settle into pores. If you’re oily you will probably prefer powders if you’re normal to dry creams may be better for you.

I have a lot to roundup today, but first since many of you have asked, I can finally share the details about the upcoming Sephora Beauty Insider event today. If you’re a Beauty Insider member check your mail or e-mail for the codes! We have the official dates:

  • 4/18 to 4/24 Rouge will receive 15% off
  • 4/19 to 4/24 VIB will receive 15% off
  • 4/20 to 4/23 RBI will receive 10% off

Up first is the palette I was most excited about but did not end up loving. I’m a huge fan of the Anastasia Glow Kits even though they tend to be more on the intense side of shimmer. The limited-edition ABH x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit comes in the prettiest pink packaging with gorgeous glowy colors. There’s a mix of pink, mauve, peach, white, gold and tan – unfortunately on my medium skintone they pull a lot lighter than what you see in the pan and most of them look very similar. I knew before ordering that it would be on the extra glowy side but the shades are all too intense to wear on the face. I love them with a super light hand on the eyes but I prefer Sun Dipped by far for more variety and more wearable colors. It’s currently sold out online but check your stores to see if they still have them.

ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit | The Beauty Look Book ABH Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Chanel Plisee Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder. This is from the Energies Puretes Collection reviewed here. Some asked for a face swatch of the highlighter alone since the blushes were ultra pigmented. This is a champagne highlighter with sparkles that give the skin a wet-look effect. The shimmers aren’t as intense as the Camelia highlighter but they are still on the strong sparkly side.

Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel | The Beauty Look Book Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel swatches | The Beauty Look Book

I have it alone on the cheeks and on the eyes. Foundation worn is Becca Aqualuminous in Beige (review here), lipstick is YSL Volupte Tint-In-Balm #1 (review here), brows have the Diorshow Brow Styler Universal Brown, top by Madewell (also available here).

Chanel Plissee Lumiere de Chanel Highlighter | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are some liquid drops. Cover FX launched three new shades of the Custom Enhancer Drops and I bought two in Blossom and Rose Gold. Both of these have a softer finish compared to the first round they launched (reviewed here). I really loved the first round of shades even though they are shimmery. You can easily blend for a pretty glow. Blossom is the prettiest shade of soft pink and rose gold is a soft rosy peach gold. Both are close to my skin tone so they look very natural on me but the color still shows up. The drops are fluid and easy to blend and layer.

Marc Jacobs Beauty launched a Coconut Gel Highlighter called Dew You? and it’s a lovely light gold. The texture is a gel and you have to work quickly with this one because it dries fast. The nice thing about the texture is that it’s great for oily skin and I found it lasted longer on me than most liquid highlighters. Once it sets it pretty much does not budge. It also smells like coconuts 🙂

Third are some Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops. A while back I received a mini duo that you can buy as a set, but you can also find them separately in the full size. I am obsessed with the way they smell – it’s not really scented but it has this makeup scent that I really like. These are probably among the most subtle and sheerest out of the drops I’ve tried. Once on the face the shimmer almost disappears into a very subtle sheen. I would say these are probably best for mixing in with your foundation for a subtle glow. Because they are so sheer I found they did not do much for me other than add a sheen. That being said these have a serum skincare element in them so I do suspect they are meant to apply all over the face under foundation for a very soft glow.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look BookCover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew You, Algenist Concentrated Luminizing Drops | The Beauty Look Book

Next up is the Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette. As a huge fan of the Face Illuminators I had high hopes for this one but after testing this I found this was completely not for me. First I’m not into the holographic makeup trend – it just doesn’t work well for my skin coloring. That being said the packaging is more prismatic than the creams, but the lighter creams are on the glittery side. Aurora and Reflect have a softer smooth texture but they’re so sheer they disappeared on my skin completely. I do like a good neutral glow sometimes but I feel like there are so many other products on the market that already do this – this just didn’t really wow me.

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve already featured the MAC Quikstick Sticks before with the Work It Out review but had shot the photos before I reviewed them. I do believe they are limited-edition so if you have your eye on any I’d recommend checking them out soon. These have a highlighter on one side and a blush/contour on the other.

MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book MAC Quiktrik Sticks | The Beauty Look Book

Perhaps my favorite launch of all the new highlighters I’ve tried are from NARS. I featured the Sheer Pop Multiples when I reviewed the Pop Goes the Easel Collection a few weeks ago. Navagio Beach is a pretty soft sheer gold (exclusive to Nordstrom), but my heart was completely won over by the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (exclusive to Sephora, now available online at NARS). A close up and swatches of both below. The Banc de Sable has a finely milled shimmer that glides on the skin smoothly and without any harsh frost. I wish more highlighter formulas and finishes were like this – it looks smooth and pretty on the skin and doesn’t emphasize lines or pores. Complete win for me on this one.

NARS Banc de Sable Palette Sephora Exclusive | The Beauty Look BookNARS Banc de Sable Palette v Sheer Pop Multiple Navagio Beach | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least because I’m a lover of all things Tom Ford, I had to include the new cheek duos again in this roundup. I really love both Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust. I’m in the process of packing for a few trips at the end of the month and will be packing both of them to bring with me. Full review here.

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt and Paradise Lust | The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Summer Soleil Reflects Gilt, Paradise Lust and Bicoastal | The Beauty Look Book

So even though I mentioned at the top I prefer some other ones over these I do think there are a lot of new launches that are different and unique enough to justify splurging on. Picking one will depend on your preference for shimmer intensity.

  • My top picks of the new releases: Tom Ford Reflects Gilt, NARS Banc de Sable, Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold.
  • For me misses were the ABH Nicole Guerriero and Laura Mercier Lightstruck Palette.

There are so many more that have launched recently I could not possibly test them all. If you’ve tried the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter let me know your thoughts.

Do you have a favorite go-to highlighter? Or have you splurged on anything recently from new launches that you have fallen in love with? Let me know what your favs are!

Press samples featured include MAC Quiktrick Sticks, Laura Mercier Lightstruck, Tom Ford Cheek Duos, Algenist Mini Reveal Drops Duo and Chanel Plissee Lumiere Highlighter.

Beauty Beauty Favorites Roundup

Best Beauty Discoveries 2016

December 29, 2016

Best makeup discoveries in 2016 Tom Ford Chanel Anastasia NARS MAC

I can hardly believe another year has flown by! Thank you to each and every one of you who followed me along on my beauty journey this past year. Today I have a round up of my 2016 favorites in makeup (skincare to follow in a separate post). As a long-time nail polish junkie I was surprised to find this past year was pretty light on the nail polish features and reviews – I remember in past years going through tons of nail wheels and bottles of polish remover. Perhaps by now I simply have collected all the possible colors? 2016’s focus seemed to be all about lips and highlighters for me. As always I’d love to hear what your favorite makeup discoveries were for the year! I picked out items that were new in 2016 (they’re listed in alphabetical order by brand):

Lips

Face and Cheeks

Eyes

Nails

  • Chanel Le Vernis in Organdi (review here) was my most-worn color this year
  • Louboutin had the best colors and formulas for me this year, I loved Miss Mars and the Hawaii Kawai Trio minis were so fun to shoot, there were three Red Nail Extensions that I was able to play with back in May to swatch for you, months later I ended up buying Jazzy Doll and Edgypopi

What were your makeup favorites this past year? They can be new launches, rediscoveries or new-to-you products! I love reading about your favorites so please feel free to share in the comments below. Several of you have asked that I bring back the monthly roundups on a regular basis, some have asked for a hits and misses roundup as well. I’ll be starting a monthly review series in the new year!

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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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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