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Molton Brown

What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag

April 9, 2017

What's In My Bag | The Beauty Look Book

It’s been a little over a month since we moved to Florida and I cannot believe how fast time flies! I’ve been sharing snippets of our weekly explorations of Tampa on Instagram Stories and I’m touched by those who’ve sent kind words of support and even restaurant recommendations. This move has been such a huge change for me as I’ve lived in California most of my life. Living in the south is such a new and different experience but change can be good and my husband and I are loving it so far. Yesterday I shared a quick what’s in my bag video on Instagram – I received so much positive feedback I thought I’d do a post on it in case you missed it. One thing that has surprised us about Tampa is that the city seems a lot bigger and more spread out than we expected. On days (primarily weekends) where we are out and about it feels like we are out for extended periods of time and because of this I’ve found it necessary to pack an extra set of clothes in the trunk since temperatures can change a lot. I’ve also had to pack some extra things in my bag since making a quick trip home isn’t always an efficient option time-wise.

I do switch up my bag contents frequently and I don’t always carry this much with me but let’s call this my weekend out and about edition of what’s inside my bag. A look at what was inside my Neverful MM bag yesterday:

Inside My Bag Truffle Pouches | The Beauty Look Book

So up first are some tech things. By popular request I’ll be doing an updated camera post on what I use to shoot my blog photos. I did one a few years ago but have since acquired a couple more cameras. My long-time favorite was the Sony NEX-6 but it was discontinued. It has held up for a long time and I love it but unfortunately dropped it and broke the lens. It is an easy replacement but since newer models have come out, I decided to try the Sony Alpha 5100 because it has a flip screen and a slightly smaller body. Review on this soon, but first impressions are that I like the design and features of the NEX-6 a lot better because of the viewfinder, dial and option for external flash. (The current version is the Alpha 6000.) Another camera I’ve used for a long time is the Canon G16, another model that has been discontinued. The more popular version which is the closest equivalent is the G7x Mark II which has the flip screen option for vlogging or selfies.

So inside my bag yesterday I carried two cameras to test outdoors. For my Sony I have an older leather camera case, similar options here and here. For my Canon I never bought a proper case. It usually stays in good condition if I put it inside my purse alone, but since I’ve been carrying more sunscreen and mini perfumes (to reduce swelling for bug bites if I get them), I try to protect it a bit more. I’ve found the Glossier bubble pouches are a cheap quick fix for now. Also inside my bag is a Gucci Card Case, iPhone case is from Gray Malin, sunglasses are by Marc Jacobs (currently 25% off at Nordstrom).

Inside My Bag, Sony Alpha 5100, Canon G16, Gucci Card Case | The Beauty Look Book

For body, skincare and makeup, I find that pouches by Truffle are essential to keeping everything organized. I tend to prefer open totes and have found that things can get cluttered and messy without dividers. I should invest in a separate purse insert/divider but for years I’ve loved the clear pouches for almost anything and everything.

Truffle Clarity Clutch Small and Mini | The Beauty Look Book

I have an older style of the Truffle Small Clarity Clutch (older ones had the red trim, current version has a white trim) to carry hand creams, skincare and sunscreen. In this weekend’s bag I had the Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod, Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (mini from this set), Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen (for my husband) and the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray with SPF50. I’ve still been putting a number of sunscreens to the test. I’ve found Shiseido comes highly recommended by a lot of my readers but I’ve never found a sunscreen I could convince myself to buy because the creams have a white cast. The spray version is clear and today it did a pretty good job at protecting me and by the end of the day I had no reaction or bumps like I get with most brands of sunscreen.

I also like to use the Truffle Mini Pouches because they’re more compact. Other items include the Commodity Travel Spray in Bergamot (thanks to some readers who recommended I try this brand!), Tatcha Blotting Papers, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation (I’m still shade #4), Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade, YSL Tint-in-Balm (swatched here), Tom Ford Lip Balm (review here) and Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (travel size).

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my bag! So many of you were so sweet on my Instastories I wanted to share it in a blog post. If there’s anything else you want to see on Instagram let me know. I’m new to taking video clips but I’m having lots of fun with it. Some quick notes on what’s coming up soon on the blog: an updated skincare routine (since my skin has become a lot drier since moving to Florida), sunscreen roundup (might be another week though), some more Tom Ford goodness (new fragrance, a look at the Paradiso Eye Duo and thoughts on one of the body sprays), thoughts on the new MAC Next to Nothing foundation and some loves in body care/home. Basically a little bit of everything!

Since moving to Tampa from San Diego, both my husband and I have experienced dryness in skin and hair. We’re not really sure what the cause is as we expected to be more oily with the heat and humidity. We’ve both been drinking plenty of water, we’ve made an effort to have as little sun exposure as possible, but this is kinda impossible in Florida, we’ve been eating healthy – if you have any insight on what could be the cause let me know in the comments. I suspect it could be the difference in water, but we’re both baffled!

Press samples featured include the Tom Ford Lip Balm, Truffle Clarity Clutch (small, older style) and Molton Brown hand cream.

Nail Polish Skincare

How to Maintain Hands for Healthy Looking Nails + My Personal DIY Manicure Tips

February 7, 2017

Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

The most frequently asked questions I receive from readers relate to hand and nail care. For my nail polish posts I feature a mix of DIY and salon manicures. Finding a good salon and a reliable manicurist can take some time, then maintaining the nails with professional care can take up to 1 hour for a regular manicure so that requires additional time. Because I did so many polish reviews and swatches over the past years I could not afford to get regular manicures with the frequency of reviewing polish – both with the cost and time. I had to learn how to do it on my own so I observed the techniques of my favorite manicurists and practiced on my own. I will say that regular salon manicures and pedicures are 100% worth the splurge. Often times during high-stress periods in my life I found it impossible to shut off my mind and de-stress, even after work hours. Manicures kind of helped me stay sane because when someone is working on your hands you’re pretty much stuck doing nothing except for fun brainless tasks like reading magazines or listening to music or watching YouTube videos on your phone. It helped my brain go into hibernate mode so to speak. Also there’s something refreshing about having freshly groomed fingers or toes that makes you feel instantly alive and more put together.

For hand and nail care I typically stick to a few tried and true items and it has been the case for several years. I did my Nail and Hand Care Essentials back in 2014 (wow time flies!) but many of you have asked for an updated post with a tutorial. I finally have one to share with you today and if you compare the posts you’ll see that not much has changed. A few notes for newbies. If your nails are not in the best state I would highly recommend getting them cleaned, cuticles trimmed and polished professionally. Doing something like a manicure once a month or every other week for a little while can help improve the look and health of your nails. I think they can work miracles! If you have any cracks, chipped nails, or problem areas, a manicurist can help smooth everything out nicely. Once they’re in a better state you can do touch ups or manicures at home in between professional manis.

Up first are the tools then a DIY manicure tutorial of how I maintain and paint my fingers. Note that even after all this time of practice I can’t give myself a pedicure without it looking like I gooped a bunch of finger paint on my toes.

Tools of the Trade

Nail Files, Trimmers, Tools | The Beauty Look Book

I wish there was one brand or store where I could find all the best tools, unfortunately there is not. If you’re going to use my list as a shopping list for yourself, you will have to do a bit of shopping around. Most of the items I’ve bought can be found at Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom (my 3 favorite beauty stores). Many of the items can also be found online at Amazon. If you’re shopping in store – check the online store locators to check inventory first. Often times I’ve gone to Ulta and found they were sold out of all the items on my list. They do restock frequently but to save time it’s best to research online and make a list first if you’re going to go out to multiple stores. As usual I’ve linked all the products to where I’ve bought the items in the past.

  • Revlon Nail Clippers – these are an older style, I can’t remember how long ago I bought these, the current versions have an embossed pattern on the surface, to clip nails I recommend clipping about 1/2 to 1/4 of what you think you need to trim. It’s better to do it in stages and then clip more. My biggest challenge was over-clipping.
  • Nail files – I usually accumulate cheap ones here and there, I’m not brand loyal to any particular type.
  • Ulta Beauty Crystal Nail File is no longer available online but you can find one from the Sephora Collection that is only $10. These are great for those with sensitive nails, there’s no grit texture like with traditional files so it’s more gentle on the nails.
  • Deborah Lippman Cuticle Remover is what I call my secret weapon for nails. It softens the cuticle area so you can push back any excess skin to trim them. This is an essential in my routine. I don’t know if she changed the packaging – I’ve seen a few in stores with a brush applicator instead of the dropper.
  • Tweezerman Cuticle Nipper is what I use to trim cuticles, it fits well in the hands and does the job well, mine has lasted since 2014, I do need to replace it soon though.
  • Face It Pro Salon Nail Pusher is something I bought at a local Korean Supermarket (Zion Marketplace in San Diego), I have super tiny fingers so this one is a bit large for my hands but still works, I like the shape of the tools and quality.
  • Tweezerman Pushy Nail and Cuticle Cleaner has been my go-to tool to push back the cuticle area and keep fingers looking groomed. Also available at Amazon for a cheaper price.
  • Not shown above, but there was a limited-edition Zwilling Manicure Set my husband uses and loves, this has been discontinued but he likes the quality of their tools if you’re looking for items for your man.

Base and Top Coats

Base and Top Coat Favorites for a DIY Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

My absolute favorite base and top coats have now been discontinued (Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat, Formula X Base Coat, Chanel Brilliance Top Coat and all the items from Rescue Beauty Lounge). I have still found some others that I really like.

  • Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat with Kensington Caviar is a great top coat that doesn’t have any shrinkage with polishes like Chanel, Dior or Tom Ford. Mine lasted about 2.5 years before it got thick and I had to throw it out. It lasted me so long because I rotate top coat brands. This one does dry within 45 seconds – just make sure your polish coats have properly dried first before applying. This gives the nails a super glossy cushiony look.
  • Nails Inc. base coats I’ve tired include the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat and the Base Coat with Kensington Caviar. I prefer the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat because it’s nourishing and doesn’t tint the nails. It has kale to strengthen the nails and keratin to help harden and stimulate growth. This is what I attribute to having healthy looking nails. With base coats I think it’s important to not apply too much – if it’s too thick it doesn’t dry properly and then polish on top just sits there. The Base Coat with Kensington Caviar has been a long-time go-to as well, but it can get a bit thick with age and it also can tint the nails pink.
  • Formula X Base Coat has been my favorite for a long time. Unfortunately it looks like the line has been pulled from Sephora. If you visit your store you may see a bunch of items on clearance. So stock up if you see any favorites there.
  • CND has been a long-time favorite. One of my salons used both the Stickey Base Coat and Super Shiny top Coat. They’re reliable staples and I highly recommend both.
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat has never really been a favorite because it has major shrinkage with brands like Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford, YSL and pretty much all the brands I use. It does work well with OPI, Essie and Louboutin though and since it dries quickly I like the way it works and looks. Your mileage may vary depending on what polish you use. If you find that Chanel or Dior gets really quick tip wear on you, check what top coat you’re using. Some formulas are not compatible with 5 free formulas and cause shrinkage which pulls back the polish from the ends like tips or cuticles.
  • Chanel Le Gel Coat is a newer top coat that Chanel launched. It wears really well and gives the nails a cushiony shine. I love this with Chanel polishes and it also works well with Dior.
  • Louboutin Loubi Primer and Loubi Gloss is one of the best nail care duos I’ve used. The price point is high and this comes as a duo. The primer keeps nails from yellowing and helps to hydrate them well. The top coat gives one of the best high-gloss shines I’ve ever seen and keeps polish lasting long for up to 7 days for me. It’s not the fastest drying duo but well worth the extra time it takes.

Extras

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials | The Beauty Look Book

The extras that make a huge difference in hand care rounded up below:

  • L’Occitane makes some of my favorite hand creams, they’re great for dry skin and I love the fun packaging. For those with sensitive noses the Shea Butter is the best and most gentle. It has a very natural smelling scent that is soothing.
  • Molton Brown makes my favorite scented hand creams, they have a lightweight texture so they’re not greasy and I love their scents. Pink Pepperpod and Coco Sandalwood are my favorites but really all the options are great.
  • Kiehl’s introduced scented hand creams in a Limited-Edition Trio this year, you can buy them separately in a larger size, but the minis are exclusive to Neiman Marcus (while supplies last). The Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is the unscented version and I also really like it. I don’t have one at the moment because my husband uses it as well and we go through them frequently.
  • Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment and Scrub are amazing for a hand cream and scrub. I’ve written about this duo before and absolutely love it. I’ve never done a hand scrub before trying this. Over the holidays a year ago many of you mentioned you do regular hand scrubs and that it works wonders on your hands.
  • Deborah Lippman Cuticle Oil has been my go-to for years. I’ve gone through several bottles and love it.
  • Dior Huile Abricot was interesting to me because it seemed to be less messy and easier to apply compared to most oils. It’s a great touch up for the cuticles and is super hydrating without getting messy. I really like it.
  • Two polish removers I swear by are Deborah Lippmann The Stripper and Zoya Remove +. If you find your nails peel it may be because you’re using harsh polish removers. Both of these are super gentle and good for sensitive nails. Amy from Cafe Makeup recommended the Zoya remover to me years ago and as her nails always look pristine I took her advice and am forever grateful for this discovery.
  • Chanel Le Coton is one of my favorite facial cottons, it’s bit spendy to use for polish remover but it soaks up a lot so you can use one square for one hand for lighter polishes. Facial Cotton review and comparison here.
  • Sephora Collection Cotton Rounds are great because they’re cheap and don’t leave fibers behind which can be super annoying when you need to get the nail surface completely clean. Love these and have have lost count of how many times I’ve ordered these.

The DIY Manicure

Step 1

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 2 is optional, let the fingers soak with warm water and bit of hand soap to soften the cuticles. I absolutely love the Molton Brown Hand Washes – they smell amazing, don’t dry out the skin and I love the packaging.

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 3

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look BookDIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 4

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 5

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 6

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 7

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 8

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 9

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 10 – Color is OPI Be There in a Prosecco

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 11

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

Step 12

DIY At Home Manicure | The Beauty Look Book

A few personal notes on nail care. I’m not a manicurist or nail professional but based on my experience I think the only way to avoid breakage is to keep nails on the shorter side. I do believe there are a lot of nail strengtheners and sometimes nail hardness depends on diet and health, but no matter what I do I can’t avoid breakage when they get long. For me playing frisbee always breaks my nails. On tip wear your mileage will vary depending on hand activity and nail length. The longer the nails the easier it is for the tips to come in contact with things like a keyboard or anything else you touch and therefore they get more wear than shorter nails. If you have broken chips, hang nails, cuts or any issue I highly recommend that you try to get them fixed by a professional manicurist – the few visits to get them to a healthy state is well worth the splurge. Also depending on hand or foot activities a salon can work wonders. I did ballet from the time I was 7 years old until 18 and my feet were badly calloused for years. I didn’t think there was anything I could do to get them fixed to a normal state. I did not get my first mani or pedi until I was 21 and was amazed at how much it improved my feet. It took about a year of regular pedicures every other week or so to get them into a presentable state.

Also a note on gel nails, I’ve never had my nails with gels so I can’t give any advice or input on those.

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials for a DIY Manicure

An extra step that I just started doing is masking my hands. I used on a few occasions the Glamglow Thirsty Mud Mask and SK-II Facial Treatment Mask on hands and afterwards it was like years had been lifted. I don’t know that I have the patience to do this on a regular basis but on super dry skin days with the dry weather this helped a lot.

I hope you found this roundup helpful! With nail care there are so many options to try – the fancy packaging and pretty bottles are always so tempting at the store. I get overwhelmed at Ulta and whip out my phone to look for online reviews, realize it’s going to take too much time to research and end up sticking with what I’ve tried and loved.

If you have any favorites, tips or tricks please share in the comments! My advice is practice makes perfect! It does take time and there were many times in the beginning I just gave up and ended up going to my salon because it would be faster and more efficient for them to take 40 minutes to an hour to do them rather than try to finish myself. I gave up many many times. Eventually I got better and can do both hands easily at home on my own. I still get professional manicures when time allows. I would say over the past year for reference that the vast majority of the nail polish reviews I did were done on my own. Ballpark figure is over 80% of the nail swatches were done on my own.

Press samples include the Molton Brown Alba White Truffle duo and Louboutin Loubi Nail Kit.

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Diptyque Fragrance Holiday Gift Guide Home / Interiors

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Luxury Candles For the Home

December 1, 2016

Luxury Candles for Holiday

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

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

Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection

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

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

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

Byredo Candles Holiday 2016 and Minis

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

Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label

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

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

Lumira Holiday Trio Minis

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

Le Labo Violet Grey Santal and Molton Brown Coco Sandalwood Candles

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

Diptyque Holiday 2016

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

Best Holiday Candles for Home

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

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

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

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Fragrance Men's Grooming

Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her

September 30, 2016
Best fall perfumes and colognes

There are so many new scents that have launched this season. I usually find one or two new scents each season that I love but this season almost every new fragrance I’ve tested I’ve fallen in love with. I have a roundup of ones I have in rotation right now along with a men’s rotation for my husband. He usually sticks to the same colognes so many of the ones you’ll see here have been featured numerous times. I like to switch things up frequently so some of mine are newer ones.

Up first are my favorites along with thoughts on some others I’ve tested:

The three most exciting fragrance launches this season for me have been from Louis Vuitton, Louboutin and Edward Bess. I will have dedicated reviews coming soon on the launches but wanted to give you a roundup of highlights right now. Shown above:
  • Chanel N°5 L’Eau (c/o, reviewed here) is a light clean floral that dries down to a slightly powdery musk. Many of you have bought or tried this one too and mentioned that you either love or hate it. I really like it for the clean lively feel. It was a Chanel.com exclusive for a few weeks but you can find it now at all Chanel counters (for those wondering).
    • Notes include lemon, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, cedar and cotton musk.
  • L’Artisan Mûre et Musc has been a long time favorite. I discovered it thanks to one of my best friends who always smells amazing. L’artisan recently redesigned all their packaging so out of curiosity I ordered one of the new ones and was relieved to find the scent is still the same. Sometimes I worry formulas change when packaging does. In this case it’s the classic berry musk.
    • Notes include lemon, orange, basil, lavender, blackberry, jasmine, musk, patchouli and oakmoss. It’s one of my husband’s favorites on me.
  • Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Eau de Toilette is one of my favorite Molton Brown scents, I discovered it in the hand cream and shower gel and loved it so much I bought the perfume. It’s difficult to describe but it has a pink pepper, patchouli and cedarwood mix with a girly zest. They have a Discovery Set online that has 8 small spritzers of their scents you can order.
    • Pink Pepperpod notes include pink pepper, tangerine, elemi oil, nutmeg, ginger oil, patchouli and cedarwood oil.
    • This weekend their Friends and Family 20% off sale is happening through October 3 with code USFF20 at checkout. I won’t have a home fragrance roundup in time before the sale ends, but their Coco and Sandalwood Candle is to die for for fall.
  • Replica Filter in Glow is a new perfume primer designed to layer with your perfume. It’s an oil based spray and scented so it adheres well to the skin. I like using it alone or layering it with Replica Lipstick On afterwards. It’s a soft warm citrus that feels bright but not sharp.
    • Notes citrus neroli.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique is one of the few sweet scents I find I can wear. It’s one of the most unique fragrances I’ve tried and to me I smell a slight hint of apricot in it but it’s not really like that at all. For me it’s a bright sweet with a hint of musk, amber and cedarwood mixed in. It’s floral but sweet. I find it impossible to describe. I know many of you also love this one. If you can chime in the comments how you’d describe it I would so greatly appreciate your help!
    • Notes Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, Jasmine petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Byredo Unnamed (not shown) is a new one that I tried at Barneys over the week. It was truly love at first spritz but I decided to wait on this. I cannot find the notes on this one anywhere but if Gypsy Water and Black Saffron had a baby together this would be it. It’s fresh and modern like Gypsy Water and but not as sweet as Black Saffron. I’m seriously tempted.
  • Edward Bess Spanish Veil (c/o) is one of three new scents launched by Edward. I’ll have a full review on all three very soon. Right now they are exclusive online to his website. I do believe you can call the Bergdorf Goodman counter to order but they should launch online very soon. Spanish Veil is one of my favorites. It has a Byredo Gypsy Water feel but is less sweet and more woodsy. For some reason I detect a hint of licorice.
    • Notes include Pure Sandalwood, Tonka and Guaiac Wood
  • Louis Vuitton Apogee is one of seven new perfumes launched. I bought the mini set and owe you a full review. For now my top two include Apogee which is lily of the valley. I normally do not gravitate towards lily of the valley scents but this one is just one of the prettiest florals I’ve ever smelled. It has a powdery feel so if you don’t like powdery scents this may not be for you.  It’s fresh and feminine.
    • Notes include lily of the valley, jasmine, magnolia, rose, guaiac wood, and sandalwood essence.
  • Louis Vuitton Matiere Noire is my second favorite and is more of an evening night scent. If you like fragrances like L’Artisan Mure et Musc, Byredo Black Saffron or any blackcurrant kinds you will like this one. It’s a woodsy blackcurrant kind of scent that is more of an evening one rather than day to day. There is a floral mix in it which makes it smell rich but feminine.
    • Notes include blackcurrant, marcissus, jasmine, patchouli, Laos agarwood.
  • Louboutin Tornade Blonde (c/o) is one of the most luxurious perfumes I own. If you have a current Saks or Neimans catalog you can find a small sampler card inside one of the pages to try. All three are really amazing but I fell in love with Tornade Blonde which is exactly what I think of when I think of a perfume kind of scent. It’s a very strong floral with red rose, violet and cassis along with hints of jasmine. The bottle is just incredible in the design.
    • Notes Rhubarb, Violet Leaves, Ambrette Signature, Cassis, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin Sambac Absolut, Orange Flower Petals Firnat, Gardenia from Brazil, Ambregris, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, Patchouli.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon (not shown) is one of two new Nirvana additions. As you can see from my list I like soft florals but also fresh scents. Many of you prefer sweeter more gourmand fragrances and unfortunately for me my husband does not like vanilla at all. As I do not want to repulse him I do not wear it. Nirvana Bourbon is a seductive smoky vanilla. If you like vanilla scents this one is perfect for fall. You can also now find all four in this Nirvana Mini Rollerball Set for holiday which is just so cute!
    • Notes Vanilla Bourbon. Oakwood. Tuberose.
  • Viktor and Rolf BonBon (not shown) is one I had high hopes for. As a Flowerbomb fan I thought BonBon could be a great alternative. For me it has a similar vibe but is very very sweet. If you like sweet scents I suspect you might like this. For me it was too sweet, almost like a cookie or dessert.
    • Notes Tangerine, Blackcurrant, Orange, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Peach, Guaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Caramel.
For a cologne roundup I asked him to pull his favorites for right now. Many of these you’ll recognize from past roundups. For him cologne and scent picks are more a year round kind of thing. He’ll pick one depending on occasion whether he’s looking for an everyday kind of scent or something more dressy for going out:

Bleu de Chanel, Tom Ford, Dior Sauvage

  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel is in my husband’s top three favorites. Out of all the colognes he has tried this is probably the one he’s asked me to repurchase for him the most. He prefers using the Refillable Travel Spray version so he can carry it with him in his briefcase or store easily in his desk at his office. It is hard for him to describe scents but he says this is a good everyday cologne that smells clean and modern but a woodsy feel. It’s strong enough without being too strong.
    • Notes are citrus and wood.
  • Tom Ford Costa Azzurra is more of a summery kind of cologne. It’s a unisex kind of scent that I adore and would actually wear myself except my husband says it’s too masculine for me. After spritzing it a few times I actually did have to agree it’s clearly more masculine with a woodsy oak with a slight green juniper mix.
    • Notes Juniper, Herbs, Green Notes, Oak, Warm Woods.
  • Tom Ford Vert des Bois (c/o) is a new one this season part of the Vert line. This too is another unisex one but still pulls more masculine. I’ve worn this myself this week as my husband has been traveling and it makes me think of him. If you liked Oud Wood you will really like this one. For a more feminine option the Vert Boheme is just lovely. It’s on my wishlist but given my long list for now I’m relying on my mini decant sample.
    • Notes Poplar Bud. Ouzo. Woods.
  • Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb is hands down the best hot-guy date night scent I’ve smelled and also is my husband’s favorite. He’s already gone through a few bottles. Since we were such big fans of this I picked up the Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Fresh thinking it would be a more modern version. We both agree the original is still the best as by comparison the Fresh one almost has a feminine feel which is nice but the original is better.
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
  • Dior Sauvage (c/o) is the third in the top three colognes for my husband. He believes most men like to stick to one or two colognes versus women who like to try lots of things. For the longest time no matter what I bought him to try he stuck with the Bleu de Chanel which works, but he did get a bit bored using the same one everyday. He says if you like the Bleu de Chanel but want something different to switch things up, the Dior Sauvage is the one to go with. This marks the one year anniversary of Dior Sauvage and they launched a larger 6.8 fl oz version. My husband owns and has already gone through a few of the smaller size. He likes the way the bottle is designed with a round sturdy glass jar and magnetic cap.
    • Notes Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan.
  • Dior Sauvage Deoderant (c/o) is one I think smells amazing for a men’s deodorant and matches the cologne. My husband has sensitive skin under his arms and many will make his skin peel. This one does not and lasts all day for him so it’s a winner. There’s a Deodorant Spray as well which I’ve been trying to get him to try but he’s a creature of habit and uses the stick.
  • YSL L’Homme Deodorant is another winning scent for him and he says this is the best scented deoderant he’s ever tried. When I bought it he had very low expectations for this because he’s tried a lot and found they either didn’t last or didn’t smell good. The rep at Sephora swore by this one as his favorite and said “your husband won’t be disappointed, I promise.” So I gave it a go and I’m glad I did.
That rounds up our current scent rotation favorites for fall. I have a few others I’ve kept in rotation but I tried to narrow it down to my absolute favorites for right now. If I had to pick three, they would probably be Replica Filter in Glow, L’Artisan Mure et Musc and Byredo Bal D’Afrique. Out of the ones on my wishlist I’m gravitating most towards the Byredo Unnamed perfume but there are some others I still want to smell before deciding on another one.

As always I’d love to hear what you are wearing for fall. I’m also curious to hear how you buy your perfumes. I always find it overwhelming trying to decide. Do you ever buy perfume sight unseen? I try to at least test in store if I can, although sometimes I will order online after thinking about it for a while if I can’t get to a store or if there are no stores that carry a specific brand. (For me no nearby stores carry Le Labo, Byredo, Frederic Malle, L’Artisan.) Let me know in the comments how you go about trying new perfumes or deciding on a new purchase!
Are there any new ones launching that you’re excited about or have anything on your wishlist?

I will have dedicated reviews on the Louis Vuitton, Replica Filters and Edward Bess perfumes soon. If you want any other detailed posts let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fit them in.

Press samples featured have been indicated with “c/o” next to them.

Diptyque Fragrance Home / Interiors

Scented Luxuries for the Home

July 28, 2016

I love little home accents to add a bit of luxury whether it’s something as simple as a nice hand wash or a beautiful candle. Little details can add a bit of life to the home or give it a more personal touch. As many of you know, I’m beyond obsessed with Diptyque (my favorites in this round up here). There’s nothing quite like a good scented candle to set the mood and since Diptyque has a wide range of options, there is something for everyone. They are quite the splurge but worth every penny.

I’ve rounded up a few more home fragrance options that I love including items that aren’t candles. All of these can double as great hostess gifts – or really gifts for any occasion. I always have extra Diptyque candles stocked up for those moments I need a last minute gift, or when my husband needs a gift. Of course as one of my friends and I discussed, there are some people who won’t appreciate the special nature of a Diptyque candle in which case we both agree great alternatives are hand creams.

Up first is a line that I just discovered called Antica Farmacista. I’ve seen it at Nordstrom and other retailers and after trying a few items I can’t believe it took me this long to try it out. They’ve been kind enough to offer Beauty Look Book readers a mini body butter with any order, simply use code ANTICABLB at checkout.

I’ve tested out three products so far and a few of you have e-mailed me a few additional recommendations after seeing it featured on my social last week. Their Platinum Round Candles come in a 9 oz size with 60 hours of burn time. They’re cased in a glass jar with a platinum leaf pattern. I’ve been burning Cucumber and Lotus Flower and scent fills the whole room even without burning. The throw is very good once burned and this is such a calming scent. It has a mix of Crenshaw melon, green apple, olive, coriander, heliotrope, rose and jasmine with cucumber. For something that has a lot of notes it smells very streamlined and clean. It is a green scent but a cucumber green versus a leafy green. I highly recommend it, especially with the hot summer heat – it gives the home a cooled effect.

The Reed Diffusers are beautiful. I’ve been using Aqua which is another fresh and clean scent. As with most diffusers the effect is softer than burning a candle or using a room spray but the scent is definitely noticeable. It’s more prominent in smaller rooms like a bathroom, but I’ve placed this in our living room and it gives the entire room a soft clean scent. It’s a huge plus for us since we have 3 furry critters at home (thank God for roombas). We bathe them frequently but and added help with scents is a life saver.
Last but not least are the Body Butters which are ultra luxurious. I normally prefer unscented body products or dry oils (the L’Occitane Extra Gentle Shea Butter is my go-to) but the Bergamot and Ocean Aria is one of the most incredible to die for clean scents I’ve ever tried. It leaves the body feeling silky smooth – no greasy residue left behind. I found it moisturized the body well and didn’t irritate my super sensitive skin (I blow up in bumps if I use Kiehl’s lotions, although I can use their shower gels just fine). Unlike other body butters, the scent lasted all day but was soft enough that it didn’t give me a migraine. I was sent a couple minis, Orange Blossom, Lilac and Jasmine is a sweet orange blossom kind of scent. Prosecco is a citrus floral with black currant, apricot and passionfruit – it smells like a spa.

Next up includes the cutest travel sized set I think I’ve ever seen. I had to replenish on some shower gels from Molton Brown last month and browsed the site for a few things to add on to my order. I came across the Best Sellers Travel Hand Wash Set and immediately ordered. I literally squealed when they arrived in the mail because I’m a sucker for minis and these each come with a pump. They’re bigger than the tiny baby shower gels which makes them a good trial size but more than a 3x use kind of product. They clean the hands nicely without drying them out and there’s no film leftover after rinsing. My favorite is Pomegranate and Ginger.

These are 100 ml each compared to the full sized Hand Washes that are 300 ml each. Shown hand held also to show scale. I can’t get over how cute these are! They are a little spendy if you break down the set price of $45, it comes out to a little over $11 per mini bottle. There are a few good promos offers online right now though. You can get a free 3.3 fl oz body wash when you spend $70 with code 70WASH at checkout (you get a choice from 15 options) and if you spend $150 you get a 4-piece Travel Set + Luxury Luggage Tag with code GETAWAY150.

Acrylic Tray by West Elm, on the nails Marc Jacobs Resurrection

Other favorite home luxuries include the Lumira Darsana Candle (review here). For those new to Lumira, they are an Australia-based candle company and their scents are incredible. My husband has the Cuban Tobacco in his office. My personal favorite is Tahitian Coconut. Darsana is part of their limited-edition Collezione Bianca launch and I love the clean white packaging.

Diptyque Baies and Figuier are my top two favorites from the line. They have a special limited-edition box in the mini size as part of their summer voyages collection. I splurged on the Large Scented Candle in Figuier once – it cost me an arm and a leg, but my husband wanted one for our home so I didn’t resist. It lasted us for months because I burned a little at a time. We’ve since recycled it and I use it for large flowers or to chill champagne. If you shop at Club Monaco stores they often burn the large Baies candles there and it always smells great in the stores.

Last but not least are Le Labo x The Laundress Detergent. These are extremely pricey so I use them sparingly but they are worth every penny. I can’t decide which one I prefer, Santal has that amazing musky sandalwood and cedar mix which I love. Rose on the other hand smells incredible for sheets and it’s not too girly. On the last special gifting occasion we had my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for a Le Labo Detergent lol! He got me something else instead, he said, “I am not getting you laundry detergent for your birthday – even if it’s fancy.”

That wraps up my roundup of scented luxuries for the home. As always I’d love to hear about your favorites! I think the Antica Farmacista Reed Diffusers are nice alternatives to candles – especially since you don’t have to worry about flames or smoke.

What ways do you add little touches to your home to give it an extra special touch? It doesn’t have be something fragranced! I love adding little decorative objects but it usually takes me ages to find ones that I like. Flowers or candles are the easiest for me because they are so simple. I’d love to hear ideas from you!

Press samples include items from Lumira and Antica Farmacista. All others purchased by me.