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!

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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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 VanillĂ© Hand & Body Crème, Crème BrĂ»lĂ©e 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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The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

I have my huge Sephora sale haul post for those who wanted to know what I bought during the VIB Rouge sale last week. For those who have VIB Member Status the 20% off Sephora Sale starts today 11/11 and runs through 11/14/2016 with code 20VIB if you’re shopping online at Sephora.com. You can use the code multiple times online and there are no product or brand exclusions. Up first are staples I stocked up on:

The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

Left to right:

  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is something I bought in the 1 oz travel size, I have the full size but it’s nice to have a mini on hand for travel or mini trips, original review here in case you want more details
  • First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish is one of the most gentle face scrubs I’ve used, in recent years I’ve stopped using most scrubs because I have very sensitive skin, this one is a good one!
  • Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Coconut is pretty much the only brand of deodorant I use, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t say how well this holds up for those who do sweat a lot, but it lasts all day, isn’t irritating, smells great and aluminum-free, sometimes on days I’m in a rush it’s all I wear and I get compliments from random strangers saying “you smell really good, what are you wearing?”
  • Sephora Collection The Cleanse Daily Brush Cleaner is one of my favorite quick-clean kind of sprays, it won’t clean brushes 100% but it’s great for powder shadow or blush brushes (anything powder like bronzer, highlighter etc.) – also available n a mini size
  • Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix is one of the best makeup setting sprays I’ve tried although I have to say that I have not tried that many, ones I have tried are just ok, but this one is great, it sets makeup, makes powder look less powdery without messing up your makeup, helps extend wear, has no scent, and is also availble in a mini size
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt has been featured here before and a single tub will last a long time, I use it 1x per week to every other week now and am getting close to finishing another one so I stocked up, review here and here in case you’re curious
  • Sephora Collection Soft Touch Cotton Pads are great basic cotton pads that won’t leave fibers in your eyes, I stocked up on 3 packs because apparently my husband has been using mine although he doesn’t use toner or need/use makeup remover so I’m not sure what he’s using them for, either way they are inexpensive even without the discount and don’t disintegrate
  • YSL L’Homme Deodorant is a restock for my husband and it’s one of his favorite deodorants of all time, he has sensitive under arms but this one works for him – I bought it because the Sephora sales rep told me it was “the best” he tried and that I would not regret buying it, he was right! My husband loves the smell and I love the smell, it lasts all day on him and is non-irritating, he wants me to tell you that he thinks it will make a good stocking stuffer for guys, lol
Next are some sets that I found interesting and ordered online because of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. One is being returned.
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul - Holiday 2016

Shown above:

  • Peter Thomas Roth masks have been raved about by so many I decided to finally try the Mask-A-Holic 5 Piece Kit ($75 for a $230 value), there is also the Mask Vault ($225 for a $352 value) but the 5 piece set seemed like a much better value/deal – if you’ve tried them let me know what you think or if you have favorites!
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil 7 Piece Body Butter Collection is something I bought for stocking stuffers, I tried Gingerbread Vanilla and had a friend over and asked her to take a whiff to make sure it just wasn’t me, these are very strong in scent and very very sweet, if you like sweet or vanilla you’ll love these, me and my friend found them too strong so it’s going back, I don’t think my friends will like these
  • Elizabeth and James Find Your Nirvana Set has four 0.10 oz/ 3 mL Eau de Parfum mini rollerballs in Nirvana Black, Nirvana White, Nirvana Bourbon and Nirvana Rose, it’s a great way to try all four or keep one in a clutch
  • Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Trio has a lot of positive reviews, they are clay masks that are supposed to transform into a foaming cleanser when you add water, I haven’t tried it yet but have high hopes!
  • Skin Inc. Prep + Peel Set is something I bought to try the peel described as “non-abrasive” – will keep you posted as I try these, I may wait until after Thanksgiving to try these just in case I have an allergic reaction to anything
Elizabeth and James launched two candles in Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, both are online only (at least for the moment). They also have a couple sets with the candle like the House of Nirvana Black Gift Set. I haven’t burned it yet but it smells amazing from just opening the box. The Nirvana Black is my favorite and I think having this as a home scent will be incredible. The Find Your Nirvana Set minis shown next to candle for scale.
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul Elizabeth and James - Holiday 2016

Makeup picks where I went for minis and stocking stuffers:
The Beauty Look Book Sephora Sale Haul Minis - Holiday 2016

Shown above:

Last but not least, I did buy the Laura Mercier Iconics Holiday Box Set. I went back and forth debating whether to buy it as there are a number of other Advent Calendar/Box Beauty Sets that are tempting this year. At the $170 retail price the 12 items in the box average to about $14.17 per item. With the 20% off the set price is $136 which makes each item about $11.33 (not including sales tax). The presentation is gorgeous and even though the box appears to be cardboard it’s very well made. I said I would review this earlier but after looking at it and seeing as I have already tried 8 of the 12 items I am going to save this as a gift for a very special someone although I don’t want to say who because it’s supposed to be a surprise. Everything is individually wrapped but if you want to see real life photographs I can carefully open the box to photograph for this post. Here’s the stock image as a place holder for now.

Hope you enjoyed this haul post! To recap, if you have VIB Member Status you can save 20% off purchases starting today 11/11 and through 11/14/2016 at Sephora. Use code 20VIB at checkout if you’re shopping online at Sephora.com
P.S. I am expecting my Tom Ford Winter Soleil Eye and Cheek Palettes to arrive today so I hope to photograph, test and swatch everything for my VIB readers before the sale ends even if it will be a first impressions kind of post.

Are you hauling anything during the sale this weekend? Or did you already shop last weekend for the VIB Rouge?

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter

Laura Mercier added two new items to her Candleglow Collection with a Sheer Perfecting Powder ($38 for 9 g / 0.3 oz) and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter ($32 for 2.2 ml/ 0.07 fl oz). I received some press samples but also ordered one of the powders sight unseen online as I was unsure of what color I would be. The color options are on the small side with six powders and seven concealer shades but I will say up front the range is pretty wide – if you have medium to deep skin tone I think there’s a good chance there will be a match for you.

I reviewed her Candleglow Foundation earlier this year back in February and still find it to be a very good for giving medium natural-looking coverage with a dewy but not too dewy finish. I still am in between shades and have to mix colors (I mix Dusk and Golden, although there is a possibility there is a better match – I just haven’t had a chance to reinvestigate). The Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powders have a soft finish which makes the colors more forgiving if you don’t have a 100% exact match.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

I can use either #1 or #2 to set my foundation and I am beyond obsessed
with both. The color difference is noticeable on my face if I apply one
on each side to set. Dusted and applied to the whole face both give the
face a gorgeous flawless finish that is matte and radiant at the same
time. There are shimmer particles to the powders which are apparent with
a heavy swatch. On the face it gives a subtle glow much like the
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light or Diffused Light. I
think the colors for the Laura Mercier Candleglow powders work better
for my skintone compared to the Hourglass ones in terms of setting
powders.

Lasting power is very good and it stays put well. After a few hours I don’t look like a greaseball. It has a forgiving finish like the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour powders. #3 is too dark to set for all over the face but I can use it as a soft wearable contour to warm up the complexion.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Swatched with a heavy hand to show the color which makes the shimmer glow more apparent. On the face when dusted with any powder brush the shimmer is softer for a very natural glow:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Some comparisons for packaging and also color:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

To date the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is my holy grail setting pressed powder because it really does give the skin a flawless finish, doesn’t darken and doesn’t make the face look flat. Now that I’ve tried the Laura Mercier it is now tied as my second favorite pressed setting powder. Swatches next to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light and Diffused Light. I added the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Bronze #2 to compare below.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the Candleglow Concealer and Highlighters. These come in a click-type of pen applicator with a puffy sponge tip. My best match is #2 which is an exact match for my under eye area. For this one, the coverage is medium in coverage under eyes and the applicator is very soft to the touch. It has a hydrating glowy feel but isn’t heavy. I have mixed feelings about this one – for my undereye area it just doesn’t offer enough coverage. Texture wise it’s good. There are few concealers I can wear under my eye area because most look super patchy or emphasize fine lines and end up making my skin look dry and aged. The Candleglow works well to covers dark circles and brightens and the fact that it has a dewy finish makes it so it feels nice and blends well and does not look dry. I just need more visible coverage so this one is not for me right now.

To use as a highlighter on the face works better for me, however given the packaging design I think layering it on the face, especially if you layer over foundation will get the applicator dirty fast. I suspect it might be easy to clean off with a bit of cleansing water and cotton pad.
If you’re one who finds you only need a little bit of extra coverage this is a nice one to check out. If you need more noticeable coverage, I’d say opt for the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers or NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers instead.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Swatch comparisons below to MAC Prolongwear Concealer in NC35, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Macadamia, Ginger, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher #3 (which is too dark for me now) and Natasha Denona Eye Light #2.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter vs NARS MAC Natasha Denona - The Beauty Look Book

Overall I’m 100% in love with the new Candleglow Sheer Setting Powders. I love the finish, the subtle barely there glow, the lasting power and color selection. They have the perfect glowy finish that won’t give you that frosted look and I really like that they are sheer and natural but not invisible. The Concealers are ok – I think finding the right concealer depends on so many factors such as skin type, coverage preference and skin tone. For me they aren’t my favorite. I don’t think they are bad, I just prefer more coverage when it comes to concealers. (Ingredients are listed on each page on Sephora.)

You can find both the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter at Laura Mercier counters now. Online at Laura Mercier, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Setting Powders and Candleglow Concealers provided for review consideration. Powder #3 purchased by me.