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Lip Treatment

Beauty Favorites 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.

By Terry

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections for Holiday 2016

October 29, 2016
By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections for Holiday 2016

I ordered two of the holiday sets from By Terry from Space NK to take advantage of the current Explore Promotion going on. The promo runs through 10/30 where you can save $25 off orders $125 or more with code EXPLORE30 at checkout online at Space NK (US site only). There are quite a few holiday items to choose from and given the fact that there are lots of other tempting sets and holiday launches this year, I decided to narrow down my picks to two sets:
As a long-time By Terry fan I have mixed feelings about these two. I think almost everyone has bought items they like but don’t necessarily love. I had high hopes for this year’s Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection as I really loved last year’s version and I love the Baume de Rose formula. There would have been nothing to stop me from ordering this year’s version as it contains four shimmery versions which you can’t find in the full-size, at least not right now. There’s also a single Impearlious Baume de Rose Tree Decoration version but I could not tell if it’s the same color as the pink one in the set. Some sites list it as “Fresco Rose” which is what is in the set, others list it as “Crystalline Rose” so I decided to pass. If you have bought the ornament – let me know where and what yours says on the bottom label.

The Holiday 2016 Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection contains four shimmers and one signature clear Baume de Rose. What prevents me from giving this a 100% rave review is that the colors are just so incredibly sheer. I do know that balms in general are supposed to be sheer, but since I have pigmented lips these pretty much all look the same on me. If one is going just for the skincare hydration element, I think you can skip and find something that works just as well for a fraction of the price. Right now I’m completely obsessed with Lanolips which I just discovered. Net-A-Porter has an exclusive Peach and Strawberry duo which is amazing (review soon). It offers better hydration for my lips although the concept and formulas are completely different so I don’t know that I can really compare the two.

Onto the set. The Impearlious set contains 100 Frozen Queen which is a shimmering silvery pearl, 200 Fresco Rose a sheer pink with silver sparkle, 400 Freezy Berry which is a sheer lilac shimmer, 300 Frost Fire which is a coppery peach shimmer (my favorite). There’s also the regular Baume de Rose which is clear on the lips. The shimmer is noticeable on the lips but texture is smooth without any chunky feel like you might expect from the sparkle particles.

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

Swatched on bare lips, they pretty much look the same, or at least very similar:

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

The Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection is priced at a value price compared to buying each one individually. Separately, the Ombre Blackstars are $44 each. The set give you 5 for $155 making them $31 each. If you don’t own any I highly recommend you get the set because the formula is really good. They are on the sparkly side but still very wearable. Even though I already own 3 of the 5 colors the set was worth it to me as I need to replace them anyways. The only thing I was a bit disappointed about was that the stock images online show these to be cased in a silver packaging but they come in the regular gold. It’s not a deal breaker but in this day and age I think there should be some level of accuracy in online stock images.

The colors you get in the set are Black Pearl which is a shimmering gunmetal, Blonde Opal which is a shimmering soft gold, Bronze Moon (one of my favorites) a bronze taupe, Frozen Quarts a gorgeous shimmering soft pink, Ombre Mercure a sparkling antique silver with a greenish tinge.

What I like about these is they are super creamy, apply smoothly, are easy to blend and layer. Lasting power is pretty good on my lids and you can wear a single shade as a wash or layer them together or with powders for an easy effortless kind of look. To me they have the prettiest shimmer finishes I’ve seen in any cream shadow. A tube also lasts forever and unlike other cream shadow sticks they won’t dry out even if you have them for over a year. I know many believe you should throw out cosmetics after a certain period of time for sanitary purposes or because items have a certain shelf life. I have thrown out quite a few items before they’re 100% used up like mascara, foundations or lipsticks – especially if the scent turns or products separate. I’ve had some of my Ombre Blackstars for over 2 years and the formula has stayed in perfect condition.

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of the two more Ombre Blackstars I own for reference:

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

One last look:

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections

Overall beautiful sets and nice to own, but spendy and I can’t call them must-haves. I do think the Space NK promotion savings helped on savings for the sets. I love the Ombre Blackstar formula and it’s time I replace the ones I have so the set was worth the splurge. Had I been able to see and swatch everything in person first I would have passed on the Baume de Rose set. I’m all about natural lip products but for me these are too natural for me to love them and at $65 I would have rather bought a single item I really loved from any line, a skincare set (there are so many good ones out this year!) or stocked up on Oribe items from Space NK. Given the fact that I’ve had so many hits from ordering things sight unseen it’s bound to happen every now and then to have misses. I want to reiterate that I find the quality of both sets to be really good, and I know some will really love the lip balm set, there’s nothing wrong with sheer, for me it’s just too sheer.

You can find the By Terry Holiday 2016 collection now at Net-A-Porter, Barneys New York, Beautylish and Space NK. There are still a couple days left of the Space NK Explore Promotion. If you’re ordering anything online they have Kevyn Aucoin, By Terry, Oribe, Diptyque and much more. Save $25 off orders $125 or more with code EXPLORE30 at checkout online at Space NK through 10/30 (US site only).

Have you checked out the By Terry Holiday collection yet? What did you think?
Armani Base Makeup Skincare

Armani Beauty Prima Skincare, Crema Nuda and Him/Her Lip Care

October 6, 2016
Armani Beauty - The Beauty Look Book

I’ve been testing out some items from Armani Beauty in skincare and just purchased a newly packaged foundation from the line. After a few misses over the spring I’ve been very nervous to test anything even though I’ve used many items from their line for over a decade. I used their Crema Nera cream in the original version for quite some time and absolutely loved it (I believe it’s since been reformulated or repackaged). I have three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line that I’ve been testing for a few months now, the new travel-size Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream and additional thoughts on the Him/Her Lip Care.

Up first are three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line. This line was designed to keep the glow in your morning makeup look fresh and stay put all day long and the three items that first launched really do work. They smooth the skin, give it a very natural glow without the greasy feel and work well with my makeup (all brands including NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hourglass).

Armani Prima Skincare Review

I’m one who finds that my face makeup does indeed disappear or absorb into the skin and requires a little touch up mid-day. Foundation and powder usually stay put pretty well but I hate layers of product on my face so while I’ve tried and liked a lot of primers, I don’t think I’ve ever found one I absolutely love. Something is always wrong with primers I test, either it just doesn’t do anything for the foundation I wear, isn’t compatible with my skincare, causes an allergic reaction or it works but has that silicone feel that I really don’t like.

The Armani team sent three items over the summer and after a few bad skin reactions to their Maestro Glow Foundation and UV Primer I was terrified of trying these. I waited several weeks before being brave enough to test them and reminded myself that I had used a number of serums and creams from the line before and had great success with them. (I stopped repurchasing because of the high price points.) I’m glad I did. Thoughts on each.

Armani Prima Skincare Review

Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is a moisturizer that is designed to give skin a natural glow, plump and smooth the skin. It does all the things it claims and has a very unique texture. It’s hydrating but has a very lightweight texture, almost airy and dries to a semi-matte finish. There is a very slight scent to it but it’s pleasant and disappears within a few minutes. For me it has enough hydration to use in place of moisturizer. I have normal combination skin and find it is odd that it gives skin a glow yet has a matte looking effect. Kinda like how Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are luminous mattes. For me this is what I had hoped the Natasha Denona Face Glow Primer Hydrating Underbase to be (which turned out to be a bit too rich for my skintype).

If you’re more on the oily side or normal for that matter and find foundation disappears within hours the Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector is the best makeup primer I have ever tried. It smooths out the skin and really does make foundation look fresh longer. I have not tested it in hot humid weather but I wish I had this a year ago during our summer trip to Europe to try. Last year there were days in Paris and Rome where I just gave up on wearing any makeup because the heat and humidity caused everything to slide off within minutes. In warm California weather the Day-Long Skin Perfector really does smooth the skin and prime it well for your base makeup. It has a lightweight texture that glides onto the skin. I use it over my moisturizers (La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream, La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer etc.) and it’s compatible with all of them. I have small but noticeable-to-me sized pores and this works well to smooth them out. It’s supposed to help absorb excess oil and it does help to keep the shine at bay for me.

The Lip and Eye Contour was featured earlier this week and works to smooth out lips and give them a slightly plumped effect. I have not tried it on the eyes yet. It does indeed smooth out the lip and help prime them for lip color. It does come at a very steep price tag. It’s a nice one that I like but given the price I do not know if it’s something I will repurchase once used up. It does smooth out lip lines and I suspect it will do the same for eyes. With the eye area and skincare I’ve tried a number of items (still testing quite a few). I feel like eye creams are hard to test because they take so much time to see results. If you’ve tried this on the eye area let me know what you thought.

Up next are the Him/Her Lip Care tinted shades in 2, 3 and 5. These were also featured in this week’s lip basics roundup so I won’t recap the full review. A few of you asked for lip swatches even though I felt they all looked pretty much the same and sheer on my lips. I have pigmented lips but they do seem to be darker on some days compared to others. I managed to get lip swatches on a day where my lips were on the lighter side. I swatched them heavily so you could see the color but I normally would not wear them this thick on the lips. They have a nice moisturizing balmy feel. They aren’t lightweight and you can feel them once on the lip area. If you need something weightless these will be too heavy for you. I also swatched all the colors at the counter for reference.

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Shades I bought, 2 is peachy, 3 is a lilac, 5 is a plum:

On the skin is MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation shade NC37:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

All the options, swatched at the counter:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream which now comes in a travel sized version with a pump. When the original version came out in the large tub with a $200 price tag my jaw literally dropped and I told myself “I can’t check it out, I just can’t do it.” The most I’ve spent on a foundation before was for Cle de Peau and I did love it but never repurchased. When I saw a travel size of the Crema Nuda for $120 pop up online I was also debating the new Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation which is $125. It turned out to be too pink for me (I tried O30 too pink and O40 was too dark) and at the price tag I needed an exact or pretty exact match so I passed.

Armani Beauty Crema Nuda Review - The Beauty Look Book

Before trying the Crema Nuda I did reach out to a few beauty friends asking if they tried it. One confirmed it was good but the original price was too much. I went to investigate and a quick hand swatch had me worried because I thought I’d be in between shades. #3 looked very pink and peach when blended on my hand and #4 was clearly too dark. A kind associate gave me samples to try and said to give it whirl on my skin because they blended out differently on the face because of the unique texture.

Armani Crema Nuda packaging

I had a serious OMG moment when I tried #3. It did indeed look a bit peachy-pink at first swipe but a beauty blender smoothed it out and after a minute it adjusted to a perfect match. I’ve never tried anything that made my skin look so blurred and smooth as the Crema Nuda. I do wish that it came in the same shades as the Luminous Silk because the colors in that line are perfect for my skin undertone but formula is too rich. At any rate, the Crema Nuda works for my normal combination skin even though I thought it would be too moisturizing and heavy. It looks very natural with medium coverage. I do still need to layer on a bit of concealer on spots and under eyes but it’s pretty near perfect.

I thought I had mini samples of all the shades but turns out I’m missing the darkest one #6. But for reference here are the colors I did get samples of at the counter. There is a new one #4.5 which once it sets looks darker than #4 even though they look pretty close with a fresh swatch.

Armani Crema Nuda foundation swatches

Here is how Armani Crema Nuda #3 looks on my face with a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2 to set (no concealer or other foundations added to the mix). On the lips is Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick.

Armani Crema Nuda #3

A few comparison swatches for reference. As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts I went to investigate what my MAC shade was because so many of you have asked. In the past years I’ve been anywhere from NC30, NC35, NC40, C3 and C4 depending on how tan I was. I stopped using the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation because I found I was severely allergic – this was in my college days that I stopped which was over 10 years ago. I was also allergic to their Face and Body and a number of other formulas. Since then many years have gone by and I don’t know if the foundations have been reformulated but I did give the Studio Fluid Fix Foundation a try.

The girls at the store said I was an NC35 but I felt NC37 was a better match (in this formula it’s a bit lighter and less olive). I bought both so I could test and swatch them for you. As my skin gets lighter though I suspect I might be able to pull off NC30 – but I’ll have to investigate further. I still promise to have my base foundation and concealer roundup as soon as possible.

For now here are some swatch comparisons for reference, Set #1:

Set #2:

At the $120 price tag it’s still very expensive but easier for me to justify compared to $200. Plus I really like that it comes in a pump and wears well on my skin. Color options in the Crema Nuda line are limited but since it’s not a full covearage foundation I do think the shades are more forgiving. If you try it I do suggest letting the color sit on the skin as it won’t oxidize but it will adjust.

Bottom line, lots to love from the line. I’m slowly rediscovering bits – I used to be a die hard fan until they started reformulating everything and I’m still upset they discontinued some of the most amazing blush colors and the original formula. I know some will say the new one is better but I stocked up on some of the originals because in my mind those were the best on the market for a long long time.

For the skincare items, I like the Day-Long Skin Perfector the best. Even though it’s the best primer I’ve used I still don’t use it everyday simply because it’s an extra step I just am too lazy for on most days. When I do use it though it does not let me down. I highly recommend it.

Have you tried any of the Armani Prima skincare line? Or the Crema Nuda? I just saw they added more to the Prima skincare line but have yet to investigate. If you have any skincare favorites from the line let me know – it’s been years since I used their serums and creams. I suspect what I used to use no longer exists as new products have most likely taken their place.

Prima items provided courtesy of Armani for review. Other items purchased by me from Nordstrom.
Uncategorized

Lancôme Juicy Shaker Bi-Phase Lip Oil Review

August 14, 2016

Lancôme Juicy Shakers ($21 each) are tinted lip oils that come in a bi-phase formula with oil and color that you shake to mix up before applying. These launched earlier the spring and quite a few of you have raved about them. Lancôme is one of those lines where I haven’t explored color a lot – I have a few skincare staples including the Micellar Cleansing Water (best packaging ever) and the Bi-Facil Makeup Remover (long-time fav). Simmer Juicy Tube was my go-to lip gloss in my college days (seems like a lifetime ago!). I’ve started to explore more in the Lancôme line and when a surprise package of the Juicy Shakers showed up at my door I could not contain my excitement. The first thought that popped into my head was “I hope these are good” because I’m easily impressed by novel packaging. Sometimes the packaging is better than the product itself but I’m thrilled to report that these are indeed every bit as good as the hype formula-wise.

Pigment of colors ranges from sheer to medium in coverage. Compared to a few other brands of lip oils I’ve tried, the Lancôme Juicy Shakers far exceed the YSL Volupté Tint-in-Oils I tried in pigment and packaging design. Texture-wise they have a lighter weight texture and finish compared to the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils. All the Lancôme Juicy Shakers are scented and flavored – but each and every one is pleasant and not overly sweet. Scents are different for each shade to mimic the color names. If you are very sensitive to fragrance you might want to give these a sniff at the counter first before buying. As one who is extremely sensitive to sweet fragrances when it comes to lip products I can say that these are soft enough for my super sensitive nose.

The Lancôme Juicy Shakers are packaged in a small shaker with a sponge tip applicator. It literally looks like a miniature doll-sized cocktail shaker which is beyond cute! The sponge comes in a triangle-shaped applicator which is squishy and absorbs color + oil. According to Lancome these are the first cushion-applicator products for lips. 
So far these appear to be well sealed at the top when you twist them close – I haven’t seen or had any leaking issues like I did with the YSL oils. There are two tiny balls inside the color which helps to mix the oil + pigment when you shake them. The three on the left are what the product looks like when you shake it. The blue one is what the product looks like when the oil and color have separated.

There are 17 shades in the permanent lineup that I have swatches. There are also 3 limited-edition shades which I have not seen or tried, but I’ll list them below. Some of the lighter colors are sheerer and have less color-payoff. There are a couple light ones that did show up well on my lips, but for the most part, the brighter or deeper shades are the ones that look the best. They have a very hydrating soothing feel and definitely feel like oils. On me I found the finish emollient almost to the point that they could slide off the lips but they stayed put on me. These contain a mix of Musk Rose Oil to regenerate and soothe, Cranberry Oil to protect, Peach Oil to soften and nourish, and Almond Oil to leave the lips supple.

Shown above:

  • Apri-Cute is a true apricot orange
  • Show Me the Honey is a sheer light honey peach color
  • Freedom of Peach is a pretty medium peach
  • Cherry Symphony is a ruby red
  • Great-Fruit is an orangey red pink
  • Walk the Lime is a orange red
  • Piece of Cake is a nude rose pink
  • Vanilla Pop is a warm terracotta nude
  • Berry in Love is a cool-toned violet with a hint of shimmer
  • Lemon Explosion is a sheer sparkling clear pink
  • Meli Melon pretty pink
  • Boom Meringue is a light pink
  • Bohemian Raspberry is a raspberry red
  • Wonder Melon is a melon red
  • Berry Tale is a watermelon pink
  • Mangoes Wild is a reddish orange pink
  • Mint to Be is a shimmering clear blue-shimmer

Swatched on bare lips:

Overall lasting power is like that of a lip gloss. They are oils so they won’t last as long like a regular lipstick or liquid lipstick. I found the deeper shades seemed to have colors that lasted longer than the lighter colors. There was color transfer with drinks and snacks. Although I don’t intentionally eat my lip products, you can’t avoid tasting them and I think the Lancôme Juicy Shakers taste like a soft subtly sweet candy. As one who doesn’t like cherries, papaya or blueberries I am beyond thrilled that those flavors weren’t in the lineup.

If you’re a fan of lip oils I think you will adore these. If you’ve been looking for a lip oil that has color these are definitely worth checking out. They are on the sheer to medium side for pigment but they will show up on the lips. All with the exception of Show Me the Honey and Lemon Explosion showed up on my pigmented lips. Some of the pinks looked very similar on my lips – there are nuances in undertone, some warmer, some cooler and some deeper so there are lots to choose from to suit your specific complexion.

Overall huge thumbs up. I love the soft cushion tip and think the packaging is genius. They added a lot of moisture and hydration to my lips. When I first tested these my lips were a bit dried out from a few lipsticks I had been wearing. Using the Juicy Shakers restored moisture to my lips and did indeed help to regenerate the lip surface to it’s normal state.
You can find the Lancôme Juicy Shakers for $21 each. I think they are definitely worth checking out. This month is going to be another lip-heavy review month so if sheers or oils aren’t your thing stay tuned for upcoming reviews on lip pencils, liquid lipsticks, lip lacquers and more traditional/classic lipstick formulas.
My top 5 favorites include Boom Meringue, Mint to Be, Freedom of Peach, Berry in Love and Mangoes Wild.

The Lancôme Juicy Shakers are available online and in stores at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Sephora and Lancôme.

P.S. If these have been on your radar, Lancome USA is having their Friends and Family sale from 8/23 to 8/27, 20% off orders with code FRIENDS at checkout!

 Many thanks to Lancôme for sending me all the shades to play with!

Uncategorized

The Estée Edit Cocobalms Review

July 25, 2016

Estée Lauder launched a new line earlier this year called The Estée Edit. It’s a line of makeup and some skincare items that are exclusive to Sephora online and in stores designed for a younger edgier kind of look compared to the more traditional classic Estée Lauder line. I’ve been testing out a few items from the line and up first is a review of the Cocobalm ($22 each for 0.34 oz) which comes in five colors and are packaged in some seriously cute round squeeze pods.

These are hydrating balms with coconut oil and actually smell like coconut too. They’re described as a lightweight liquid online but in my testing experience it’s on the medium-thick side and definitely balm-like versus liquid – which isn’t a bad thing, just a bit different than what the online description says. By comparison to other squeeze tube balms, these Estée Edit Cocobalms have a bit more pigment compared to the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors but not quite as much as the MAC Tendertalk Balms. In terms of texture for a liquid balm, the most liquid kind of lip treatments I’ve tried include the Clarins Instant Light Lip Oils and Fresh Tinted Sugar Shine Lip Treatments.

The packaging of the Cocobalms is one of the most unique I’ve seen. I did worry about functionality when I first popped open the top but they are easy to apply on the lips with a beveled dispenser. Since they are on the slightly thick side I prefer to apply with a brush so I don’t get my fingers messy. They cover the lip nicely with a cushion of moisture. It’s not lightweight or weightless by any means but at the same time they’re not overly thick or tacky. You do have to blend with a finger or brush to smooth out the color.
There are five colors total, pigment is similar across all shades which is sheer to medium. They do give a noticeable tint to my super pigmented lips but the effect is natural like most balms are:
  • Coco White is a sheer smooth milky white (it does look white on the lips, it’s not clear)
  • Coco Peach is a soft light peach color
  • Coco Blush is the perfect medium pink shade
  • Coco Berry is a pretty soft mauve purple plum (my fav!)
  • Coco Currant is a deep brown but transforms into a true plum on my lips

For a sheer wash of color and hydration I like these a lot more than I expected. When I first saw them I thought there might be a chance I would like the packaging more than the product but was pleasantly surprised. My top two picks are the Coco Blush and Coco Berry shades. They offer long lasting hydration (I tested on bare lips) and stayed put for hours. As with almost every lip product there will be color or product transfer if you touch anything to your lips but they stayed put relatively well even in humid heat without melting or feeling like they were sliding off my face. 

If you need lots pigment and color you probably will find these too sheer in which case I’d recommend you opt for the Chanel Rouge Coco Stylos if you haven’t tried them yet. Those are the best in terms of pigment and hydration that I’ve tried to date. If you don’t like any feeling of product on your lips but want hydration and a soft hint of color opt for the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors instead. The Estee Edit Cocobalms aren’t heavy but aren’t weightless if that makes sense.
Bottom line is I am a fan. Here’s a peek at other items I’ll be reviewing from the line which includes The Barest Bronzer in Medium/Deep, Flash Illuminator Fluid Powder in Heat, Beam Team Hydrate and Glow, Beam Team Hydrate and Glow Bronze, Pore Vanishing Stick, Flash Illuminators (all shades) and the Skin Glowing Balm.
There will be another post this afternoon so stay tuned to see what’s next!
More details to follow on each item I’ve tested from the Estée Edit. So far the Cocobalms are my favorite item out of the line especially since I’m a lip balm junkie and adore the packaging. The coconut scent is to die for and I do think they’re worth a try. You can find the Estée Edit Cocobalms for $22 each, exclusively at Sephora.

Have you tested anything from the Estée Edit yet? What did you think?
Estée Edit items provided courtesy of the team for review consideration.

Clarins Lips Skincare

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors + New Shade Extentions

July 13, 2016

 

I first tried the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($25 each for 12 ml/0.35 fl oz, made im France) over a year ago in Rose Shimmer 01 and have been so thrilled to find quite a few Clarins fans among my readers. For summer I always feel like multi-tasking products are in and the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors combine makeup and skincare in one product. These come in the squeeze tubes with a sponge tip applicator. There are tiny holes in the tip so you simply squeeze the tube to dispense product. This summer there are new shades that have been added to the permanent lineup and three new shades which are limited-edition. The Clarins team sent over all the shades for me to play with and I’ve swatched all the colors to share today.

 

The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors have a glossy finish with semi-sheer pigment similar to the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfectors (the stick version) but the squeeze tubes have a slight sheen and shimmer to them. They have a pleasant sweet scent and taste to them, like a sweet vanilla but not overly sweet. The Lip Perfectors contain mango, shea and licorice to protect and moisturize the lips. Color-wise most of the original shades look pretty much the same on my lips once blended out. They have a sheer finish but there is a noticeable tint. I have pigmented lips so some of the shades will most likely show up better on your lips compared to mine. The colors have names and numbers, but on the tubes there is only a number label.

 

 

A quick look at the packaging and applicators:

 

 

The new shades include 7 and 8. New limited-edition shades include 10, 11 and 12 which have a special design on the packaging. These all have some degree of shimmer in them but on the lips it’s not visible – the shimmer gives them what Clarins calls a 3D effect. Shown below are the colors in numerical order, left to right:
  • 1 Rose Shimmer is a light medium neutral pink
  • 2 Apricot Shimmer is a light apricot color
  • 3 Nude Shimmer is a light peachy shimmer
  • 4 Petal Shimmer is a pale light baby pink
  • 5 Candy Shimmer is soft medium pink
  • 6 Rosewood Shimmer is a neutral medium brown pink
  • 7 Toffee Pink Shimmer is a neutral mauve
  • 8 Plum Shimmer is a red plum
  • 10 Pink Shimmer (limited-edition) is a bright sheer pink
  • 11 Orange Shimmer (limited-edition) is a bright sheer orange shimmer
  • 12 Red Shimmer (limited-edition) is a bright sheer red

 

 

 

 

All swatched on bare lips, no lipliner or lipcolor underneath. This is the case with all lip swatches unless another color is specified. The only reason I mention it is because I frequently receive e-mails asking what lipliner I’m wearing or why I would wear a dark lipliner with a light lip color. I have pigmented lips and in many cases light colors that have a transparent finish will allow my natural lip pigment to show through, especially around the edges.

 

 

Many of you have e-mailed me in addition to leaving comments about these and out of the tinted balms out there, this formula appears to be well loved. That surprised me considering how sheer these are, but I will say that the formula is comforting and hydrating on the lips. As with any lip balm they won’t last all day long. They do stay put and don’t slide around as long as you don’t snack or drink. Since they feel nice I don’t mind reapplying. The packaging is pretty and the sponge tip makes it easy to apply.

 

Shades 1 through 4 almost look identical on me. Shade 5 shows up better than Shade 1. My favorites in the line are the new shade extensions 6, 7 and 8. For the limited-edition colors 10 is the one that has my heart. If you like the concept but don’t like the packaging/style the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfectors come in a twist up stick format although they don’t have all the same colors. If you prefer a more hydrating formula but in an oil format, you might want to check out the Clarins Instant Light Lip Oils instead.

 

You can find the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors now at all Clarins counters. Online at Clarins, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.

 

Have you tried the new colors yet? If not do you have a favorite shade in the original lineup?

 

Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors provided courtesy of Clarins for review consideration.
Uncategorized

MAC Tendertalk Lip Balm Review

July 8, 2016

MAC Tendertalk Lip Balms ($20 each for 3g/.1 oz) launched earlier this summer in five shades. These are what MAC calls smart lip conditioners because they adjust in color based on your body chemistry. The concept is similar to that of the Dior Addict Lip Glow Revivers and Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector #3 where the formula is balmy and soft and also where colors will look very different on your lips compared to what you see in the tube is different.

The MAC Tendertalk Lip Balms come packaged in a sleek streamlined case much like the Huggable Lip Colors (some featured here and here). Tendertalks have an iridescent packaging that has a holographic 90’s feel. It flashes all kinds of fluorescent colors depending on how the light hits the packaging.

There are five shades which is the most I’ve seen for this kind of color-shifting lip product. To date most of the color options I’ve seen are the light pink that often shifts to fuchsia on me or a coral. MAC added a few more options that are perfect for that semi-sheer bright summer lip look. The sheerness gives the balms a more effortless casual feel compared to an opaque full coverage look.

Do note these will most likely look different on you depending on your lip chemistry but I thought these were worth reviewing and swatching anyways.

Colors from left to right:

  • Candy Wrapped is a sheer almost transparent pink that turns into a bright pink on my lips.
  • Pretty Me Up is a sheer peachy color that also turns pinkish on my lips.
  • Play With Me is a sheer red that deepens and brightens in color on me.
  • Teddy Pink is a bright cool pink in the tube it turns more mauvey and cool-toned on me.
  • Side Dish is a cool pink that turns into a deeper mauve bright pink.

Another look and swatches on my lips. They took about 30 seconds to adjust in color on me. Once on, they did leave a slight stain on the lips, but it was easy to remove with makeup remover (I used the Clinique Take the Day Off).

Everyone knows I’m a neutral lip lover at heart, but for this launch my two favorites are the deeper brights in Play With Me and Side Dish. For summer I love the sheerer-brights. Many of the brighter lip color that has a bit of transparency gets a thumbs up from me – they’re perfect for the summer season but wearable even for someone like me who almost always wears nudes or neutrals.

Texture is smooth and balmy without having a greasy feel. They are easy to apply without any tugging but not so soft that they feel like they will melt or break. Once on the lips there is a noticeable balmy feel like a cushion but it’s not heavy. They have the signature soft vanilla scent that most MAC lipsticks have. I found they stayed put very well once on the lips – no sliding around and lasting power was good until I drank or ate something. They left a slight stain on my lips, but it was easy to remove with makeup remover. Moisture-wise they do have a moisturizing feel and they did not dry out my lips or make them peel like other MAC lip products do.

I like these for summer. There are however quite a few tinted new lip balms out this summer – I’ll be reviewing the Estee Edit Cocobalms, the added shades of Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors and the limited-edition summer colors of Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors in the upcoming week. Depending on your preference for formula and packaging you may want to explore other options, however the ones from MAC are unique in the sense that they are the color-adjusting kind and have a brighter summery look in terms of color.

You can find the MAC Tendertalk Lip Balms at counters now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Selfridges. Have you tried these yet? They launched last month so they’ve been out for a few weeks by now.

MAC Tendertalk Lip Balms provided courtesy of MAC for review consideration.