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Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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




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

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

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

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

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

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

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

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

Base Makeup Estee Edit

The Estée Edit Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony

August 3, 2016

Today’s post wraps up my reviews of what I’ve been testing from the Estée Edit line. The Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony ($36 for 1 fl oz/30 ml) is described as a tinted moisturizer that gives a hint of coverage for naturally glowing skin. It comes in 12 shades right now and I have all 12 swatched to share today. The finish is very sheer and feels like a moisturizer balm with a very very tiny hint of color. It’s described as being good for dry to normal skin. I found it lightly hydrating on my normal to combination skin. Since it is very sheer I would say this is best for those who don’t need any coverage and just want a natural glow to let your skin show through. If you have teen or college age daughters or nieces who are getting into makeup and you want to treat them to a nice base product that is natural and youthful looking I think this is a great option. For me I need noticeable coverage, even if it’s natural. The most natural I can go is with the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint or Becca Aqua Luminous Foundations. The Estée Edit Skin Glowing Balm is too sheer for me, even as just a base. Since it is so sheer the colors are forgiving on the skin. I could get away with wearing three of the shades.

These come in the same packaging with a pump as the Flash Illuminators. For the Skin Glowing Balms if you look closely at the bottles you will see a natural sheen and shimmer in the product. These have a slightly sweet makeup smell, almost like vintage lipstick, but it’s not strong or overpowering. After a few minutes the scent fades.

I tested a few colors and found it acted like a natural looking moisturizer. It didn’t get greasy as the day progressed but since the product is so sheer I couldn’t really tell if it faded or stayed put color-wise. Even though these are like moisturizers I do think you need a regular moisturizer or serum on the skin first, it didn’t blend well on my bare skin. If you’re worried about the moisturizer on top of moisturizer being too heavy, you don’t need to with this one. It’s pretty lightweight even though you can feel the hydration.

A look at all the shades, swatched in numerical order from light to dark:

With a flash:

Without flash:

The three shades I could get away with, swatched heavy and then blended, my best match is 300 Wheat but all three disappear completely on my skin once blended:

Some swatch comparisons to other foundations (you can click for larger viewing):

For me they’re too sheer. My skin is nowhere near perfect. I have a lot of acne scars that are fading but still product to cover up. If you have near perfect skin and like that barely there glow and just need a bit of evening out then you’ll like these. Or if you have dry skin and like to layer products this will work as a base for medium to full coverage products. In any event I at least hope the swatches help you find a shade match if this has been something on your radar!
On a foundation/base note few of you have asked for a shade update on the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick – I picked up Nude as one shade darker than Warm Ivory and I’m in between shades (Sand was way too dark). I’ll have my current foundation and base roundup for warm weather in the next week now that I’ve finished my testing for the season (at least for now).

You can find the Estee Edit Skin Glowing Balms online and in stores at Sephora. A few of my readers have noted that the line is also available in the UK at Selfridges. Have you tried anything from the Estée Edit line yet?

Skin Glowing Balms were provided for review consideration.
Highlighters

The Estée Edit Pore Vanishing Stick and Beam Team Hydrate and Glow Review

July 26, 2016

There are a few complexion products in The Estée Edit line and three I’m reviewing today include the Pore Vanishing Stick ($28), Beam Team Hydrate and Glow ($42) and Beam Team Bronze Hydrate and Glow ($42).

The Pore Vanishing Stick is described as a “dual-action formula” that “has an outer core of oil-absorbing powders and an inner core with a sheer pigment” designed to fit all skintones. On the skin it looks invisible and per the description can be used under or over makeup to either work as a primer or refresh makeup. With this one I have mixed feelings – on bare skin or over moisturizer, I swiped it on areas I notice pores are larger and my skin became instantly blurred and smoothed right in front of my eyes. The center is pretty much clear but it makes the skin look more evened out and matte. Once I add my foundation – whether applied with fingers, brush or sponge, the process of adding a liquid or cream on top seemed to wipe away any smoothing the stick accomplished. Over makeup (foundation or powder) as a touch up just didn’t work for me. If you read the reviews at Sephora – there are a lot of positive experiences though so it may work for many of you.

One of the items that I was most interested in trying was the Beam Team Hydrate and Glow. When it initially launched there was only one shade but for summer they launched a Beam Team Bronze Hydrate and Glow version. These are hydrating glow lotions – much like liquid or cream highlighters but with moisturizing elements. If you’ve liked the concept of glowy creams like MAC Strobe Cream or Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow but wanted something for deeper to tan skins, these are it! For years I’ve loved the concept of luminous creams you can apply as a base or mix in with foundation – however options in the warm gold or bronze category were pretty much non-existent. Most are either that classic opal color or if they came in other shades they are too shimmery to put on all over the face.
Each color has a portion that’s a cream in a squeeze tube with a
shimmering gold or bronze shade and inside the cap, there is a solid
highlighter that is more dewy and shimmery.

I tried both a few different ways. Like most luminous liquids or creams they are very versatile. These look shimmery when swatched but when you blend they disappear into a very soft luminous glow. I swatched them heavily below to show the color but they blend out to a much sheerer finish.
Test Method 1: Apply all over the face over moisturizer and under foundation – the liquid creates an all over very luminous dewy effect. With foundation on top you get that glow from within kind of look that was almost too dewy for my taste but if you set with powder it turns out to be perfect. These are hydrating so if you have oily skin they may be a bit too much for you, especially in hot summer weather. I found it lasted until mid-day before I got very very dewy looking all over and had to touch up on the T zone. The regular Beam Team all over works best for me while the Bronze Beam Team is too dark for all over.
Test Method 2: Mix in liquid with foundation. This is pretty self explanatory – and I think this method will work for most skin types. It adds a nice glow without shifting the foundation color or making you look like a disco ball.
Test Method 3: Over foundation on cheeks to highlight. The liquid pretty much disappears into a hint of glow, but the solid in the cap as a highlighter on cheek bones is more visible as a natural dewy highlight.

Swatched heavy without flash:

With flash:

For fair skin beauty lovers I suspect these will be more like a bronzer for your skintone versus a glow product. For those medium to deep you will rejoice that there is finally an all over luminous liquid and cream better suited for your skintone versus the pale opal shades that are currently out there and these are non-orangey! As a medium light person I find the regular shade work best for me. I do love a good liquid bronze – but for deeper color I prefer the Flash Illuminators (they have a light option which is perfect for super fair skin tones too, review soon).

Bottom line I have mixed feelings about the Pore Vanishing Stick. I’ve tried it several ways and unless I go bare faced, it didn’t work for me. Right now my skin isn’t clear enough to go bare faced so I always need some kind of base on top.
The Beam Teams are both great but since they are hydrating, if you are super oily they may be too hydrating for your skin type. They aren’t weightless but at the same time aren’t super heavy. They leave the face feeling well hydrated and soothed but you can feel it almost like a moisturizer.

You can find the Pore Vanishing Stick ($28), Beam Team Hydrate and Glow ($42) and Beam Team Bronze Hydrate and Glow ($42) all exclusively online and in stores at Sephora.

Estee Edit items provided for review consideration.
Uncategorized

AmorePacific Skincare Testing with the Time Response Collection, Resort Sun Protection Mist and Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masques

June 15, 2016

I’ve been intrigued by Korean skincare for quite some time now and have played with items here and there incorporating bits into my skincare routine. Many of you frequently recommended items from AmorePacific and thanks to your recommendations I’ve found some favorites including the Color Control Cushion Compact (204 is my match), the Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (best unscented lip treatment I’ve used), the Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (Oil Free) and the Treatment Cleansing Foam. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to team up with AmorePacific and try out some items from their Time Response Collection, Resort Collection and Moisture Bound Collection. I’ve put select skincare items to the test for the past three weeks and have reviews to share today.

First I want to mention the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compacts as they are great foundations for warm summer weather.
I’ve reviewed them before and in case you missed previous posts a quick recap is that these
are weightless sheer to medium coverage foundations in a sponge filled
compact. I use 204 which has a golden yellow undertone. It’s the most natural foundation I’ve tried makes the skin look like your own skin but better. They come in a silver mirrored compact filled with a white insert, but there is another sealed package with a refill so I find the price quite reasonable. Below are two separate compacts shown, open vs closed:

Coverage is at most medium if you build it and you can do so without it looking cakey or feeling heavy. It also has SPF 50 and does not irritate my sensitive skin. Since it’s really lightweight I think it’s ideal for summer weather. I have normal combo skin and it works for me. One of my friends has super dry skin and she loves it too. Swatches of four of the options – I don’t have 104 shown, but there’s a face chart on their website to help you match online:

Next up is the Time Response Collection which is AmorePacific’s most popular skincare line. It’s a line that has Green Tea Flower Extract – the benefits of these ingredients are to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen production, stimulate hyaluronic
production to balance the skin and regulate melanin to help with hyper pigmentation. A few of my close friends have urged me to try the Time Response line – stating that the Skin Renewal Cream and Eye Renewal Cream as the best wrinkle-fighters on the planet. The pieces from the collection are very expensive and I decided the best way to get a sense of the line was to try one of the trial sets. The current Time Response Collection set from AmorePacific is the Time Response Skin Renewal Set which has deluxe mini sizes of 6 items. The team ended up sending me a slightly different variation – two items from other lines are mixed into the set I have, so I’ll be reviewing items I received.

Below is the Time Response Introductory Set:

Items I tried out with thoughts on each product, full size options are linked in case you want to see the full ingredient list which is on each product page:
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Serum 5ml – this is a highly concentrated serum formula that you apply morning and night before the cream, serums in general help boost the results of moisturizers and when I use them, I notice my skin looks better but I usually prefer to use as few skincare products under my makeup so it’s often neglected
  • All Day Balancing Care Serum 10 ml – this is a more lightweight serum compared to the Time Response version, this one is almost like a toner in the sense that it rebalances the skin, I prefer this version to the Time Response, when using this under moisturizer I notice fine lines disappear and skin looks more alive
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid 30 ml – this is a lightweight moisturizer which is a less intense version of the cream, it leaves the skin feeling very moisturized but has a lightweight finish
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Toner 30 ml – this is a balancing toner that restores skin’s pH levels and also works to make sure remaining residue after cleansing is removed, it’s a moisturizing toner and left the skin feeling well hydrated and plump
  • Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System 30 ml – is a face spray that comes highly recommended by many of my readers and it’s really great at refreshing and cooling the skin during the day
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Cream 15 ml – this is a luxurious face cream designed to reduce wrinkles and sagging, after using this for three weeks I found that it feels very rich and I was worried it would be too heavy but it is not, a little goes a very long way so the small container will probably last me at least a couple of months, I have wrinkles on my forehead and this has started to noticeably reduced fine lines
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Eye Cream 3 ml – another highly recommended product which I’ve found also goes a very long way with a tiny bit, it works really well to reduce puffiness on me which is my main concern for the eyes right now
I also tried the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque which comes in a box of 2 for $32 or box of 6 for $90. I love trying sheet masks and was really excited to try these and the price seemed really affordable especially if I were to fall in love and want to use these weekly or every other week. These are two-piece masks for the upper and lower face. It comes with a vial filled with serum that you apply directly to the face first before applying the sheet masks on top. They are the thickest most cushiony sheets I’ve ever tried, there is a peel off section to reveal a gel-like side you apply to the face on top of the serum. It has a soothing cooling feel and leaves the skin feeling plump, revived and glowing. I used one as an at-home face treat so I don’t know how the results perform under makeup. The next day after I used the mask my skin felt noticeably smoother and more hydrated.

Last but not least is the new Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 from the new Resort Collection. These days I’m really concerned about anti-aging and protecting my skin from sun exposure. Living in Southern California we have lots of sunshine and I love being outdoors so I’m forever searching for sunscreens. So far there’s no one sunscreen for all occasions. Some work better under makeup, others are good for outdoors, and then there are ones I need for sport activity that are sweat-proof. For me there are quite a few good ones that fit the bill on all aspects of what I look for – lasts long, doesn’t irritate skin, doesn’t clog pores, doesn’t sting the eyes but so many have that white cast on the skin. There are very few that have passed my test – the AmorePacific Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has joined the club.

It’s a lightweight mist sunscreen that’s completely clear. I sprayed it directly on my face when I first received it then read the instructions and realized that you are supposed to spray on your hands and not on the face. It has a fluid texture that’s clear making it disappear on the skin. It has plum extract which helps protect against heat-aging which is new to me and something I wasn’t aware of. According to AmorePacific heat exposure accelerates oxidization and inflammation which are the two major causes of premature aging. It also includes ingredients to reduce irritation, keep skin moisturized and cool. Applying on the skin I tried it over the Time Response moisturizers (I tried it over the cream and serum on separate occasions) and it is lightweight enough that it doesn’t feel heavy by adding that one more layer. Alone it will look very dewy on the skin but does not feel greasy – let it set on the skin before making any judgements. It works well under makeup. It appears to be designed for the face but I would also use this on the body.

I researched a lot of reviews online before deciding what to try from the line, since the items are pricey I wanted to pick wisely. The reviews on the Time Response Collection are overwhelmingly positive and I was thrilled to be able to test some pieces. I do believe seeing results from skincare takes a lot of time and diligent use – after three weeks I have noticed improvement with fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have creeped up on me. Since the collection is on the expensive side and if you’re unsure of what formulas will work best for your skintype, I hands down recommend trying one of the trial sets first which will allow you to sample items at a more affordable price compared to splurging on the full size items.

My favorites from what I tested include the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, Moisture Bound Face Mist, Sun Protection Mist, All Day Balancing Serum and Time Response Renewal Eye Cream. Once the trial box set is used but I plan on buying the eye cream. Another box of the sheet masks are in my online cart as I type this post ready for checkout.

Serum-wise going forward it’s a toss up whether I would decide to splurge on a box of sheet masks which have the serum vials or just purchase a bottle of the serum which sounds more expensive but would probably last a lot longer.

For the face creams, my favorite is still the Moisture Bound Hydra Gel because it’s more lightweight and better suited for my normal/combo skin (especially in the summer) and the price points of the Gel and Cream in the Moisture Bound line is a lot easier to swallow for luxury skincare. However the Time Response Renewal Cream is everything everyone has raved about – nothing I’ve tried has reduced my forehead fine lines and wrinkles as well as this has. My forehead area is probably the part of my face that is most exposed to sun and heat and is more normal-dry versus the rest of my face which is more normal-combo. The main difference between the two lines is the Moisture Bound is more geared towards anti-aging prevention and age delay while Time Response is more reactive to reduce effects of aging. It’s noticeable that the effects of the Time Response line are more potent. Now that I just turned 35 I feel like my awareness of wrinkles and fine lines has heightened. I don’t know if I will purchase a full size of the cream when my deluxe size is used up but given that the deluxe size has quite a bit of product I will have some time to think about it before splurging.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience testing items from AmorePacific! So many of you have given me such great advice about skincare, especially from the AmorePacific line. If you have anything to add about your experiences, loves or hates please do so in the comments.

Many thanks to AmorePacific for sponsoring this post. Products featured gifted for review. As always all opinons my own. More information in my disclosures.

Charlotte Tilbury Skincare

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Skin Trilogy

December 29, 2015

I’ve been a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream for everyday and I’m thrilled that she has expanded her skincare line with two new additions for spring. Her Magic Cream is a great everyday moisturizer that works well with my super sensitive finicky skin type. It hydrates, plumps and smooths the skin and I really like how it works well under a wide range of foundations. The pot is huge and I’ve had it for a little over a year and still haven’t finished it (although I had used up 2 of the mini travel size ones). I was lucky to receive an early preview of the Magic Night Cream and Magic Eye Rescue and have been putting them to the test for 12 days now and have some first thoughts and impressions to share with you today.

There are now three skincare products in her Magic Line which she calls her Magic Skin Trilogy. You can buy all three in her Magic Skin Trilogy Set for $285 or the items individually:
  • Magic Cream $100 (50 ml/1.7 fl oz) is a white cream moisturizer for day. It has ingredients to stimulate collagen and protect skin from environmental toxins. I also contains Vitamin E to heal skin and reduce inflammation. I found that it smooths the overall complexion and creates a glowing base to prepare skin for makeup. I do find it soothing and it absorbs nicely. The texture is creamy enough to feel moisturizer but as a cream it’s not heavy. It does have a sunscreen smell which takes some getting used to.
  • Magic Night Cream $145 (50 ml/1.7 fl oz) is a super concentrated rich night cream. It contains Red Algea Marigel to smooth and protect skin, Winter Daphne Stem Cell Extract that comes from the Winter Daphne Plants to moisturize the skin and give it a youthful firm look, Olus Oil for the texture and Caster Seed Oil to add moisture.
  • Magic Eye Rescue $60 (15 ml/.05 fl oz) is a moisturizer designed to brighten dark circles, reduce puffiness and improve the texture of the skin. It contains what Charlotte Tilbury calls Time Released Retinol molecules that help boost the rejuvenation process of skin cells to give the skin a more radiant look.

A closer look at all three and some thoughts on my experience with each skincare item:

The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream is one of my favorite day creams. I acquired a couple deluxe sized travel sample at a couple events (gift with purchases). I ended up using up two of them although in hindsight I should have stuck with using the full size and kept the minis for actual travel trips. A little goes a long way. This has been one of my top four most-used face creams I tested this year which also include the Eve Lom Brightening Cream, Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. It smooths and hydrates the skin. I like that it’s heavy enough for dry skin days but light enough that I don’t feel it once it sets on the skin. It works well with every foundation I’ve tested. It really does give the skin a more youthful appearance.

If you’re unsure about spending $100 on the full size, she has it available in a few trial sets this holiday. You can find it in a mini in her Gift of Goddess Travel Trio Kit ($59 for three minis of Magic Cream, Wonderglow and Clay Mask) or her Gift of Red Carpet Travel Kit ($85 for give deluxe-sized skincare minis of Magic Cream, Wonderglow, Glay Mask, Multi Miracle Glow, Supermodel Body and Take it All Off). I ordered this cream over a year ago when it launched and can say that it will last you a long time.

Ingredients: WATER (AQUA/EAU), HOMOSALATE , GLYCERYL STEARATE SE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, OCTOCRYLENE, CETYL ALCOHOL, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, PHENOXYETHANOL, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER, STEARETH-21, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL EXTRACT, CARBOMER, DIMETHICONOL, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, CHLORPHENESIN, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, XANTHAN GUM, HYDROLYZED VIOLA TRICOLOR EXTRACT, ALLANTOIN, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, DISODIUM EDTA, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CAMELLIA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, ROSA CANINA FRUIT OIL, ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER WATER, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, MICHELIA ALBA LEAF OIL, SODIUM LACTATE, COCO-GLUCOSIDE, PEG-8, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, SODIUM HYALURONATE, TOCOPHEROL, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-7, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, PLUMERIA RUBRA FLOWER EXTRACT, ASCORBIC ACID, CITRIC ACID, NICOTIANA SYLVESTRIS LEAF CELL CULTURE, LINALOOL, CITRONELLOL, GERANIOL.

When I heard there would be a Magic Night Cream launching I had very high hopes. Sometimes with skincare I think I set my expectations too high and am let down when my skin shows no signs of improvement. I am relieved to say that after testing this for over a week, this is something I will use up to the end. The Magic Night Cream is a super rich night treatment. It has an almost gel-cream hybrid texture. It is scented which I find hard to describe but it’s extremely unique and almost spa-like. If she made this in a body lotion I would totally wear it.

The first night I used the cream I used too much and my face felt like I was literally wearing a thick sticky face mask to sleep. A little goes a very very long way – I found that two dabs on the tips of two fingers is really all I need to cover the entire face. I take two fingers dab it lightly into the cream and then apply it to the palm of my other hand. I rub my hands together and then apply. If your skin feels sticky or goopy you’ve applied too much.

After figuring out the right amount to use, I find that it gives the skin a veil of moisture. It is slightly heavy but it does absorb well into the skin. In the mornings when I wake up, the skin is noticeably soft, very smooth, feels plump and looks well rested. I’m the worst when it comes to applying night treatments on a regular basis because I don’t like the feeling of product on my face when I sleep. The dry and cold weather has made my skin itchy and in need of extra moisture. This does just the trick. I highly recommend you watch Goss Makeup Artist’s Video on this one. It shows how glowing his skin is.

Ingredients:GLYCERIN, AQUA/WATER/EAU, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, SUCROSE STEARATE, ETHYLHEXYL STEARATE, OLUS OIL (VEGETABLE OIL/HUILE VÉGÉTALE), DIPENTAERYTHRITYL HEXACAPRYLATE/HEXACAPRATE, HYDROXYSTEARIC/LINOLENIC/OLEIC POLYGLYCERIDES, C20-40 ALCOHOLS, ISODECYL NEOPENTANOATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, PHENOXYETHANOL, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, CERA ALBA (BEESWAX/CIRE D’ABEILLE), ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CHLORPHENESIN, CELLULOSE GUM, HYDROXYPROPYL CYCLODEXTRIN, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), TITANIUM DIOXIDE, XANTHAN GUM, CHONDRUS CRISPUS EXTRACT, SQUALANE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, RETINOL, PEG-8, CARAMEL, TOCOPHEROL, DAPHNE ODORA CALLUS EXTRACT, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, NICOTIANA SYLVESTRIS LEAF CELL CULTURE, PLUMERIA RUBRA FLOWER EXTRACT, UBIQUINONE, LECITHIN, ASCORBIC ACID, CITRIC ACID, ASCORBYL TETRAISOPALMITATE, BENZOIC ACID, HEXYL CINNAMAL, BENZYL BENZOATE, LINALOOL, HYDROXYCITRONELLAL, CINNAMYL ALCOHOL, EUGENOL, RED 33 (CI 17200), YELLOW 6 (CI 15985), YELLOW 5 (CI 19140).

The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream is another winner. For me it’s on par with the Chanel Sublimage Eye Cream and Tatcha Under Eye Cream in terms of moisturizing effects. I would say the Charlotte Tilbury is somewhere in the middle of those two with the Chanel being more hydrating for day and excellent for night and the Tatcha being more lightweight and better for day. I’m super picky with eye treatments – so many sting my eyes if it creeps the slightest bit into the corners. The Charlotte Tilbury Eye Cream is very good and doesn’t interfere with eye makeup or concealer. There are a lot of eye creams I can use alone on no-makeup days but cannot use under makeup because it either makes eye color slide off or foundation look cakey if I apply it on top (examples include ones from Fresh, Philosophy, Clinique to name a few). The Charlotte Tilbury one true to the quality and style of her Magic Cream works well for day under makeup to give a glowing lit from within look under the eyes.

I will need to test it more to see if it really does brighten the skin over the long term. But just with a week + of use I can see the texture has improved and it does lift and firm under the eye area and adds the perfect amount of moisture + glow. I give it a thumbs up. On this one there is a soft skincare scent but it’s not fragranced.

Ingredients: AQUA/WATER/EAU, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, POLYSORBATE 60, OLUS OIL (VEGETABLE OIL/ HUILE VÉGÉTALE), PEG-7 GLYCERYL COCOATE, GLYCERIN, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), PEG-8, ETHYLHEXYL STEARATE, DICAPRYLYL ETHER, SORBITAN STEARATE, HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, OLIVE OIL PEG-7 ESTERS, PHENOXYETHANOL, SACCHARIDE ISOMERATE, C12-16 ALCOHOLS, CERA ALBA (BEESWAX/ CIRE D’ABEILLE ), GLYCERYL STEARATE, HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, SQUALANE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CHLORPHENESIN, , HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, HYDROLYZED RICE PROTEIN, PALMITIC ACID, XANTHAN GUM, CHONDRUS CRISPUS EXTRACT, DISODIUM EDTA, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) PROTEIN, HYDROXYPROPYL CYCLODEXTRIN, SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE, CITRIC ACID, TOCOPHEROL, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, SODIUM PCA, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, RETINOL, DAPHNE ODORA CALLUS EXTRACT, SODIUM DEXTRAN SULFATE, NICOTIANA SYLVESTRIS LEAF CELL CULTURE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, PLUMERIA RUBRA FLOWER EXTRACT, BORAGO OFFICINALIS SEED OIL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, ASCORBIC ACID, LECITHIN, POTASSIUM SORBATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, ASCORBYL TETRAISOPALMITATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), IRON OXIDES (CI77491, CI 77492).

Overall both the Magic Night Cream and Magic Eye Rescue have exceeded my expectations. I do think both of them are items I will use to the very end. Out of the two I have to say I am most impressed with the Eye Cream – especially with the way it wears under makeup and has enough moisture without feeling greasy. The Night Cream does such an amazing job at moisturizing the skin over night and improving texture – but I suspect the texture or scent won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I think it’s perfect for this time of year – especially when I feel like my skin is lacking in luster and glow because the weather seems to suck the life of my face. Both have performed really well with my super sensitive skin and I highly recommend both.

Let me know if you’re interested in another update on these next month. I’m testing a few other items in skincare and testing takes time, so I try to split up my testing into segments so I can see the effects of items separately. If you haven’t tried her Magic Cream I highly recommend you do. 

You can find the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream and Magic Eye Rescue exclusively online at Charlotte Tilbury and Nordstrom right now. They will launch at other retailers next month.

Have you tried any of the skincare from Charlotte Tilbury yet? What did you think?

Press samples reviewed include the Magic Night Cream and Magic Eye Rescue.