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Monthly Favorites

Beauty Favorites

July Favorites

July 31, 2019

July Favorites Shelfie Sabrina | The Beauty Look Book

I have a roundup of July favorites! I’ve included a mix of everything from makeup, skin, hair and a few accessories. We are slowly settling into our new place and we absolutely love everything about it – the house, the neighborhood, location etc.

Skin and Hair

Eye Makeup

Lip Favorites

  • Pat McGrath LUST Gloss* in Peach Perversion and Faux Real are my top picks for her lip gloss for an effortless ultra smooth shine, I really think all her shades are amazing, especially the sparkle ones! (swatches here and here)
  • NARS Oil-Infused Lip Tint in Orgasm is the prettiest lip oil I own right now, it’s one that always gets compliments too! I absolutely think this is a must for everyone, it’s also available in a mini in this super cute Orgasm Mini Set (on my lips here)
  • Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb is the most versatile gloss I have, it goes with everything whether I wear it alone, with the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner or on top of any lip color, you can see all three shades + beauty looks in this post here

Scent

  • Byredo Black Saffron is a sweet berry and black violet mix, I’ve been loving the minis I have and think I’m going to splurge on the full size again!
  • Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel in Biarritz (travel size) is a purse-friendly size of the Chanel Les Eaux perfumes, this one is the lightest and softest citrus, perfect for Florida weather – you can find the three original ones in the minis on Chanel.com and a Le Voyage Set as well
  • Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel in Riviera* is the latest addition to the Les Eaux line, if you love citrus you’ll really love this one! It has a little more punch and kick to it compared to the Biarritz, to me Riviera smells like a spa scent!

Nail Polishes

The most frequently asked question I receive DAILY (yes daily!) is “what polish are you wearing?” – even on old photos from years ago. If you want to know my top 5, there’s a good chance I’m wearing one of these shades. This month’s favorites:

  • Essie Topless and Barefoot has been one of my go-to neutral colors but I could never get Essie to last more than a day on me until I tried the Essie Speed Setter Top Coat. It seems like other brands of top coats aren’t compatible with Essie and cause major shrinkage (at least in my experience). With any nail brand I usually recommend you stick with the same brand for base/color/top.
  • Chanel Le Vernis in Organdi* is also a classic staple with the perfect mix of pink and beige (swatches here and also here)
  • Chanel Le Vernis in Afterglow* is the best barely there sheer cool beige nude (review here)

Accessories

  • Real Techniques Makeup Brushes – I can’t rave enough! They’re soft, well made, plush and perform really well. Ones I have listed in this post here.
  • Tory Burch Perry Mini Bombe Bag in Black has been in such heavy rotation I decided to order a second one in Perfect Sand and I absolutely love it! The sand one is exclusive to Toryburch.com right now. You can see the full review + OOTD look here. The material is also available in a Small Tote and 13-Inch Laptop Tote size (both have also been on my radar).
  • Tory Burch Gemini Link Canvas Bag is another one I’ve had on my radar for a couple months now, I was torn between the Light Umber and Ivory/Blue color. I opted for the neutral tan and also love this. It’s slightly larger/taller than the Perry Mini and has one open compartment versus the separated zipper sections. Since it’s taller and more open inside I feel like it can fit more things easily. The material is really sturdy and looks like it will hold up well. If you can’t do mini bags this also comes in a Tote Version.
  • Chloe Mini Marcie – I still love this one! I love all things mini, this one is going to be a favorite for a long time to come. Review here.

 

 

What were your favorites this month?

Press samples have a * next to them. All other items purchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Roundup

May Hits and Misses

May 31, 2019

May Monthly Favorites, Beauty Hits and Misses

May flew by so quickly! I feel like I blinked and the weeks literally passed by in minutes. I’m rounding up this month’s hits and misses in beauty. I have a little bit of everything from skincare, hair care, complexion products and other makeup items.

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Chanel Favorites

Chanel Favorites Le Vernis, CC Cream, Camelia Water Cream, Les Beiges Tint

I’ve loved a lot of new launches from Chanel this month. They’ve been on a roll with new releases in makeup, skincare and fragrance. My favorites:

  • CC Cream with SPF 50 * is my favorite CC cream with medium coverage, I wear either shade 30 or 40 (application and review here)
  • Le Vernis in Afterglow, Open Air and Purple Ray* from cruise are the prettiest ones I think I’ve seen in a while from Chanel, I’m really loving the purples! (swatches here)
  • Rouge Coco Flash (my picks here, cruise colors swatched here) are among my most-worn for an effortless swipe and go kind of lip color
  • Les Beiges Water Fresh Tint in Medium (review here) is all kinds of wonderful for a natural glow
  • Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* is probably my favorite moisturizer of the month, it has a lightweight texture and adds hydration and leaves the skin feeling softly refreshed and glowing, it works well with their foundations and after using this regularly skin feels more radiant and plump
  • L’Eau Micellar Water* is a new launch from Chanel, it’s a cleansing water that has a soft refreshing feel to it, it’s alcohol-free and gentle, it is scented similar to their Hydra Beauty line but isn’t irritating or overpowering, I use this as a first step for cleansing

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Hair Care Hits and Misses

Hair Care Hits and Misses

I’m on my third round of highlights and for some reason this time my hair has been so high maintenance. I feel the strong sun, salty ocean water, hard water plus beach time has been giving my hair so much grief. I’ve tried a number of shampoos and conditioners for color treated hair, most have been mediocre at best for color maintenance. I finally found something I love:

  • Hits include:
  • Misses
    • Kerastase Reflection Sulfate Free Shampoo and Reflection Conditioner were recommended to me by a friend, she swore by it! I kept using both until they were finished, but these were among the worst for me. I suspect it just does not work with Florida water. They would not lather well or rinse easily and they did nothing to maintain or protect color.
    • Oribe also came highly recommended. I really love their styling products so I am so sad to report that their Bright Blonde Shampoo and Shampoo for Beautiful Color did not work for me. I also used their corresponding conditioners when testing. The blonde one left my hair on the stringy side and the beautiful color option did not rinse well. I feel like their Gold Lust formula is far superior and I still love the Cleansing Cream. The color shampoos + conditioners (and mask) were an expensive miss for my hair.

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Most-Worn Nail Polishes
(also the ones asked about the most!)

I rotate nail polishes quite frequently but these are my most-worn polishes. Anytime I have my hand showing on Instagram, stories, blog posts I get tons of questions about what I’m wearing. I try to list and label them as much as possible, these are the ones that get the most questions:

Nail Polish Favorites OPI, Chanel, Essie

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Complexion / Glow / Bronzers

May Favorite Complexion Products, Bronzers and Highlighters

I feel like right now everything is still focused on getting that healthy glow. This month was filled with so many hits! I will have a full bronzer/glow post coming up soon, for now the best ones I tried this month:

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Eyes and Lips

May Hits and Misses Eyes and Lips

This month’s favorites for lips and eyes include:

The biggest miss for me was:

  • Dior Addict Stellar Shine in D-Galaxy – hauled this during the Sephora sale and it swatched so pretty on my hand, on my lips it’s a very slippery oily feeling glittery mess, perhaps the other colors are better, this one did not work for me!

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Skincare Hits and Misses

May Skincare Hits and Misses, Tatcha, Kopari, Glamglow, Farmacy

I’ve had so many issues with sunscreens this year on the face and body. I am testing one more formula and then I’m done and will most likely stick with my go-to’s. I can’t deal with the recovery time for allergic reactions. Right now my arms and legs are covered with bumps from my last test. It’s been a painful week for me. I just discovered that some sunscreens will cause a reaction when exposed to sunlight. I’ve also had ones that I’ve had an allergy to just from testing indoors. Full sunscreen post as soon as I’m done testing this one last formula (for those curious I’m testing out a couple from EltaMD).

The biggest misses:

  • Kopari Sundaze Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 – some people say that mineral is better than chemical for those with sensitive skin. I’ve tried both types and for me there’s really no guarantee because there are other ingredients to take into account. I’m not entirely sure what caused a reaction in this one, but it left a white cast on my face and within a couple hours tiny red bumps started to appear. Even after washing off it left my skin bumpy everywhere and it took a solid week for my face to go back to normal.
  • Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel Lotion with SPF 50 worked amazingly on my face when I tested it so I thought I found a winner. The day I tested it I was indoors the entire day and had no issues. Our next beach trip I applied it on my arms and legs (rest of my face/body I had something else on to test/compare). By the time we got back home my arms and legs started to develop swelling spots. They turned into red bumps everywhere. It does contain oxybenzone which I suspect could be the culprit for my allergy when exposed to direct sun, but I’ve tried Neutrogena formulas before and never had issues. As I’m writing this post my arms and legs are still recovering.

The hits:

  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen is one of my favorites that won’t irritate my face. It also lasts long on my skin and doesn’t leave a white cast. Since it does adhere well to the face I recommend you be extra thorough with cleansing to fully remove it.
  • Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream* has been really nice as my skin has felt dry for months with the air conditioning I’m in constantly. It has a nice rich texture that is surprisingly not too heavy for my skin type.
  • Glamglow Supertone Exfoliating Acid Toner is the best clarifying toner I’ve tried to keep my skin clear, minimize pores and help control oil on the T-zone.
  • Farmacy Beauty Better Daze Ahead* is the first CBD cream I’ve been able to tolerate the scent of. It still has an earthy kind of scent but it’s not overpowering like other CBD infused creams. It has a lightweight feel and was one of the few creams I could use post-sunscreen allergic reaction without having my face feel like it was on fire. It really did work to help moisturize and calm down my skin.
  • Rodin Luxury Face Cream* is a new launch that is an oil-infused cream for dry skin. I’ve found it pleasantly soothing and hydrating. It does have scent to it but it’s not irritating and smells like licorice and flowers mixed together. It has a lot of different oils mixed in so if you’re sensitive to oils you may want to try or patch test first. I’ve had no irritation issues and will keep on using this!

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That wraps up this month’s hits and misses! Would love to hear what you loved or didn’t like in the beauty world recently. Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Press samples have a * next to them. Other items purchased by me.

 

Beauty Favorites

Best of March Beauty Favorites

March 31, 2019

March Beauty Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve had a monthly favorites roundup but today I have one for those who have been asking for this series to return and want to know what I’ve been loving lately!

  1. Cover FX Water Cloud Primer* is one of the new primers from Cover Fx. They repackaged and reformulated a few and launched a couple new formulas. This one is my favorite to cool and refresh the skin and also defend from blue light. It makes their foundation apply smoothly and last all day.
  2. Cover FX SPF 30 Booster Drops* and Brightening Booster Drops* both work to enhance a foundation with different properties. The SPF 30 one is sold out everywhere but I love being to add sun protection to foundation. It’s clear and applied smoothly once mixed with their Power Play Foundation* (review here). The Brightening Drops are supposed to help brighten skin and reduce dark spots. I haven’t noticed a brightening effect just yet but it makes foundation look smoother and feel easier to apply.
  3. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc + White Suede Eau de Parfum* layered makes for the most amazing combination. Since wearing this for the past month I’ve been getting stopped frequently asking what perfume I’ve been wearing. Soleil Blanc is one of my favorites anyways and when layered with White Suede it adds more depth and power.
  4. Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base is one of the best cream bronzers I’ve loved for years, still love it!
  5. Laura Mercier Flawless Lumiere Radiance-Perfecting Foundation* (review here) is the most-worn foundation this month.
  6. IGK Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo (mini shown) is my favorite dry shampoo, I often keep the mini with me on-the-go.
  7. Dior Lip Glow in Coral and Rose Gold have been my most-worn tinted balms this past month.
  8. Natasha Denona Mini Nude Eye Palette* (review here) makes for the prettiest neutral warm eye look.
  9. Glamglow Supertoner Exfoliating Solution is the only liquid acid product I’ve actually really liked and felt like I could use. I use it as a toner and it’s helped clear up clogged pores and kept breakouts away.
  10. Lancome Eau Micellare Cleansing Water is one of my most repurchased cleansing waters.
  11. Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist is my favorite face mist for a lightweight hydrating feel. I have this in a mini that I also like to keep in my purse sometimes.
  12. Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks in Rosegold, Copper and Sand Glow* are the best all over lid kind of shimmers for an effortless eye.
  13. NARS Super Radiant Booster (review here) has been my favorite soft liquid illuminator this month.
  14. Chanel Le Vernis in Organdi* (swatched here) and Jaspe*(swatched here) were my personal favorites, Bleached Mauve was a reader favorite (swatched here).
  15. Kosas Tinted Face Oil* in Shade 6 (review soon) is a nice lightweight tinted face oil that adds a very natural amount of coverage and glow.
  16. Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash is a great thing to have in my bag when I’m on the go, it also smells amazing!
  17. Hourglass Scattered Light Eyeshadows in Smoke, Foil and Reflects (review here) are prettiest lid sparkles to add dimension and shimmer.
  18. Chanel Rouge Coco Flash in Flash (review here) is the best brightening coral pink lip I’ve tried this year.

That wraps up my March beauty favorites! What were some of yours this past month?

 

 

Press samples have a * next to them. Other item purchased by me.

 

Monthly Favorites Roundup

August Beauty and Skincare Favorites

September 1, 2016
1   /   2   /   3   /   4   /   5   /   6   /   7    /
8   /   9   /   10   /  11  /  12  /  13  /  14   /  15

Quite a few of you have asked that I bring back my monthly favorites roundups so I have one for you today. Many of you like the rotation and roundup kind of posts, I still have the nail/hand care, foundation, hair styling and skincare ones in the work. For those who can’t wait I’ll say that my top three favorite foundations still remain the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (still Groenland + St. Moritz mixed), Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (I use 125/Y315, all shades also available online in this value set now) and the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (my best match is 123/Y365).

Onto my favorites for this month which was difficult for me to narrow down. I’m still enjoying these Molton Brown mini hand washes and these lip treatments. In addition these liquid lips are really very good. I have managed to narrow down a list of my top favorites for this past month though even though a lot of loves have gone unmentioned:
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows have been in heavy rotation because of their silky smooth texture, rich pigment, blendable finish and easy to wear shades. You can pick and choose your own colors to create quads, the one shown above has Sateen, Chiffon, Warm Taupe and Chocolate. To date I’ve accumulated quite a few you can see swatched here and here.
  2. Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara is something I discovered in a set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this because it thickens, volumizes and holds the curl. It also looks super dark on the lashes. I will repurchase this.
  3. Dior Vernis in Minimal (c/o) is my current perfect pale polished nude. Review + swatch here.
  4. Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder (c/o) is relatively new to me but it is hands down the most naturally luminous highlighter I’ve tried this year (out of the new ones launched this year). I think it’s a must, swatches here.
  5. Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped is one of the prettiest palettes I think I’ve seen in a while. If you don’t mind a good shimmer this is a great one for eyes and cheeks. I like mixing and swirling colors before applying to the eyes. Review + swatches here.
  6. MAC Eyelash Curler is something I picked up recently and was pleasantly surprised. My go-to Chanel lash curlers have seen better days after years of use and I don’t think they’re carried in the US anymore. The one from MAC comes in close second for my eye shape.
  7. Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o) best nude for me right now (actually since April of this year). You can see it swatched on my lips in this post here.
  8. Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss in French Lace is a pretty soft pink. All of his lip glosses reviewed in this post here.
  9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kidman’s Kiss (shown) and Super Cindy are both pretty close neutral peachy colors, I think the entire Hot Lips Lipsticks have been a knock out success, especially for those who like matte lips (she has the best matte lipstick formula in my opinion). The entire launch reviewed and swatched here.
  10. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude are my most reached for liners. Pillow Talk is a deeper pinky color while Iconic Nude is a brown nude. Both swatched here.
  11. Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo wins for best shampoo to clean the hair well with a squeaky clean feel but won’t dry out the hair. It has a mild but fresh beachy kind of scent. Leaves the hair feeling soft and fluffy (but not frizzy). Even my husband likes it. September beauty events are just around the corner. I recommend putting this on your shopping list. I will repurchase this.
  12. Bumble and Bumble Surf Conditioner also is a winner. I rarely am in love with both shampoo and conditioners of the same formula/brand and typically have to mix and match. This combo is pure love. More in this review here.
  13. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel (c/o) is something I received earlier in the spring. It took me a long time to get into testing this because frankly I don’t like face gels. They’re often sticky or tacky and just don’t absorb well into my skin. This one does indeed have a gel like consistency but if you massage it into the skin it melds in nicely and doesn’t leave a film like other brands. I’ve been alternating this with Kate Somerville Nourish, both of which are lightweight for warmer weather. Neither will get greasy but have enough for my normal-combination skin. They wear very well under foundation too. The Pore Perfecting Water Gel is also available in a mini travel size. I love the packaging, the pump and the way it feels on the skin. Huge thumbs up. It also helps to smooth out pores.
  14. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask remains my tried and true clarifying mask that is gentle, even when my skin has flare ups. It sucks up excess dirt and oil. I have finally lost count of how many tubes I’ve bought and used up.
  15. Kate Somerville RetAsphere™ Micro Peel (c/o) is a leave-on treatment for night that helps with skin uneveness and really works to improve texture. It’s very gentle but I use it once a week. It’s a micro-peel that infuses skin with retinol with 10% glycolic acid and lactose to help resurface skin. Out of all the skincare lines I’ve tried, I feel that Kate Somerville has truly been one of the game changers for my skin as I transitioned from my 20’s to 30’s. During that transition I went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered a lot with texture issues and repeated break outs. While I’ve worked to manage the stress, finding the right skincare has played a major role in improving texture. I’ve tried so many lines and out of all the ones I have tried, Kate Somerville all around has worked the best for me. I don’t use a night treatment every night because I sometimes just want to let the skin breathe. The RetAsphere™ 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is one of the best most gentle yet effective night treatments I alternate with the Micro-Peel. The Micro-Peel makes the favorites list though because just using this once a week has improved my skin texture tremendously.
What are you loving right now? Do you have any favorites from the past month? As always I love reading about what you’ve tried, love and recommend. Even if something you tried hasn’t worked for you, I still love reading about those experiences as well. Are there any colors or collections you’ve been smitten with as we transition to fall beauty?
Press samples featured indicated with a “c/o”. As always all opinions my own.
Uncategorized

October Beauty and Grooming Favorites

October 31, 2015

I fell in love with a lot this past month. I have a roundup of my favorites in beauty and skincare today along with my husband’s October grooming lineup. Cases shown above are from Muji (left) and Truffle (right).

Skincare and Haircare

Up first is hair care and skin care. The items in last month’s roundup are still in heavy rotation right now but instead of re-posting everything, I’ve highlighted some new favorites for this month.

Featured above from left to right:

  • Original and Mineral No Knott Detangling Spray is something I’ve been loving for months now. I bought this in a travel set online which has mini sizes. It’s a miracle worker for my hair – I spritz it on after I wash my hair and I can brush my hair without any tugging or pulling. I’ve ordered the full size from Net-A-Porter. It has a lightweight clean scent, the product is certified organic and made in the USA. It adds a tiny bit of shine.
  • Kate Somerville Age Arrest Serum is something I’ve been using the past two months and it’s possibly my new favorite serum. It’s part of the anti-aging line and it’s a skin renewal product. It contains tetrapeptides which help support collagen and elastin production. It also has marine extracts to reduce lines, wrinkles and sooth skin. One to two pumps of this gives the skin a smooth base and it really does make lines disappear in front of my eyes. It gives the skin a smooth look and feel unlike any serum I’ve tried before. I haven’t tried the cream or other items in the line but I’m super curious now.
  • Pixi Glow Tonic has been raved about on so many blogs I read (it seems to have a cult following) I had to stop by my Target to check it out. I picked up the mini size and have been using it daily (morning and night after washing). I can’t say that it gives my skin a glow, but as an exfoliating toner I am impressed. It brightens and makes the skin feel clean and hydrated. There’s no stinging. It’s very gentle. For those who are anti-alcohol in skincare this one is alcohol-free. It’s seemed to keep my skin clear and texture seems better.
  • Molton Brown Replenishing Hand Cream in Gingerlily is a go-to right now. I’m really a huge fan of all the Molton Brown hand creams, but there’s something refreshing and bright about Gingerlily that lifts the mood. You can also find it in this set here and also here. This weekend they have a sale at Moltonbrown.com. Receive 10% off orders $65+ with code FALL10, receive 20% off orders $95+ with code FALL20 at checkout.
  • L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Mist is one of my top two picks for face mists right now. The bottle dispenses a superfine mist and it’s ultra refreshing and lightweight. Skin feels well hydrated but not overly moisturized. I love the fresh smell it has.
  • Erborian Bamboo Waterlock has been a favorite for moisture masks. It’s a gel-like green mask. I featured it a few weeks ago in my Korean Beauty roundup. You can read the full review here.

Makeup

For makeup, I’ve been really loving neutral lips. Lip glosses and lip sticks seem to be what I’ve been gravitating towards a lot lately. There are a lot of really good rich-in-pigment formulas these days.

From left to right:

  • Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 is hands down my favorite foundation brush right now. It gives smooth streak-free coverage for liquid foundations. I like the Mini #53.5 version as well for cream contours, but the full size is better for foundation. Find the full review here.
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Mascara is something I’ve used up and repurchased. It’s something I’ve been reaching for because it’s super dark and rich in color. The brush is well designed so it defines and separates lashes but is also volumizing. On me it doesn’t smudge or flake.
  • Club Clio Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black is at the top of my list for glossy liquid liners. I got this in the Birchbox From Korea With Love set and I’ve been hooked. It dries to a glossy finish. It’s cry proof (lasted through a tear-jerker movie for me). You can find it at Birchbox (waitlisted), Peach and Lily (in a set), Club Clio and Amazon.
  • MAC Vamplify Lip Glosses launched months ago. I was super late to the game with this and by the time they popped on my radar almost all the colors sold out. The good news is Spanking Haute and Tuned in restocked online. I ordered them immediately. I hope MAC makes them permanent, these are really good creamy full coverage glosses.
  • MAC Subculture is my perfect nude pink your lips but better lip liner. Swatches and roundup of neutral lipliners in this post here.
  • Chanel Glossimers in Beige Star 206 and Rose Tendre 204 are still in heavy rotation. They were part of the Les Beiges collection this year. Swatches + review here. For holiday both colors are also in this Turn Up The Shine Glossimer Trio Set.
  • For lipsticks, October’s top three favorites are the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Very Victoria (reviewed here), Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose (swatches here) and Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Avante Garde (swatches here). All three are neutrals that wear beautifully for everyday.
  • The Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer in #3 has been really good for concealing under the eyes and brightening the complexion. Swatches of all the Charlotte Tilbury concealer shades in this Concealer Roundup here.
  • Last but not least is the Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight. It’s still my holy grail cream luminizer. It’s perfect for cheeks and eyes. I’ve hit pan on mine again and just opened up a new one.

Men’s Grooming

My husband rounded up several of his grooming favorites from the past month. Some he tried first in sample mini sizes from various gift with purchases or samples I got for him. There are a few he liked so much that he bought the full size of. Others are repeat staples. From left to right below:
  • Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil is a lightweight pre-shave oil. According to my husband this is the best one he’s tried so far. Pre-shave oils are designed to prepare the face for shaving by moisturize the skin and creating a barrier in between the skin and razor. It’s been instrumental in preventing razor burn. He likes that it comes beautifully packaged in a large container. Most other pre-shave oils come in small plastic bottles. The one from Jack Black lasts longer because of the size. It also comes in glass which makes it sturdy. It has no scent which is a huge plus compared to other brands that often smell earthy or like vegetable oil.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a hand cream he got in the Men’s Starter Kit. He’s completely obsessed with this and keeps stealing mine even though he has two of his own. He’s really picky with hand creams. Scent and texture are key because he doesn’t like heavily scented hand lotions. The Kiehl’s has a soft scent but it disappears after a few minutes. Texture is also important, he likes this one because it absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t have any greasy residue but hydrates the hands really well. You can find it in a number of gift sets this holiday. If you’re looking for a good one for your dad, brother, boyfriend or husband, the Costello Tagliapietra for Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Full Body Refueling Set is a really good one. It also has the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap which is another staple/favorite.
  • Baxter of California is a line my husband recently started testing. He ordered the Herbal Mint Toner and Shave Tonic to start. In terms of toner he says he’s not a toner kind of guy but since I told him it’s something I found essential in my skincare routine he looked for one to purchase and test out. He’s liked the Baxter Herbal Mint Toner enough to keep using it (he’s about 1/2 way through the bottle). It makes his skin feel clean but moisturized. He likes that it has Witch Hazel which helps calm the skin. The Shave Tonic is something he says is kick a** awesome. For him packaging is key and the glass sturdy bottle and color of the green liquid is amazing for him. He uses this as the first step in shaving to prep the skin. It’s also really good post-shave to moisturize the skin.
  • For hair Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade is still a regular staple for grooming his hair (it’s also my favorite). It’s great for shine and styling but for him, once he puts it on, he can’t touch his hair for the rest of the day or else there is glossy residue that will transfer to hands, hats or the headrest of the car. He tested out a mini size of Baxter’s Grooming Lotion and says that it’s better for everyday. It does the same thing and makes hair more manageable but without the added shine. Comparing the two, he prefers the Baxter feel and look. His hair is still soft and not greasy. However he likes the way the Drybar Chaser looks better.
  • For cologne, I got him a mini sample of Dior Sauvage (Sephora Beauty Insider 250 point perk). He likes it as a good everyday cologne that is suitable for year round wear. He says the intensity is just right that it’s strong enough to smell manly but not so overpowering that it’s overwhelming. In terms of lasting power he says it lasts just as long as Tom Ford and Chanel. It will stay on through lunch time before he notices it disappears. The scent is mild enough that he can touch up mid-day without feeling like he doused himself with cologne. He likes it enough that he’s willing to buy the full size.
  • Harry’s After Shave Lotion is one of his favorite after shave lotions because of the packaging and texture. He likes that it moisturizes the face and helps the skin heal after shaving. It smells clean and isn’t heavy. The dispenser pump packaging is a huge plus for him.
  • Last but not least is the Nuxe Men 24 Hour Protection Deodorant. I bought this for him since he liked the Men’s Shower Gel from the line. He’s usually not a fan of rollerball deodorants but he gave this a try and it’s the best men’s deodorant he has tried. It has no alcohol or aluminum salts. It dries quickly, after he showers and puts it on, it’s dried by the time he puts on his shirt. It leaves no white marks or residue. It prevents sweaty patches on the shirt. It is the best thing he’s tried that prevents under arm odor. He has super sensitive skin that peels or gets irritated with a lot of deodorants, with this one his skin is perfectly fine without any reactions. You can find it at a number of different places. I’ve ordered from Nuxe. He’s ordered some from Amazon.com.
That wraps up our October beauty and grooming favorites! I hope enjoyed reading about what we tested and loved this past month. As usual I’d love to hear about your top beauty and grooming favorites. If you have any new discoveries please share in the comments!

Press samples in this post sent for review consideration include items from Kate Somerville, Molton Brown, Buxom Cosmetics and Erborian. 

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Monthly Beauty Favorites: Skincare

October 2, 2015

Happy October everyone! I hope you had a great September. It’s officially fall but we’re still having really warm sunny days in the high 70s and it feels like fall weather will never arrive. September brought about a number of new beauty discoveries, in particular new lipsticks. I think I fell in love with every single new lipstick formula I tried from Charlotte Tilbury (hands down one of the best mattes ever), Louboutin (oh so luxurious), Buxom Cosmetics (so many good colors with an amazing formula) and Tom Ford (how can you not love TF lipsticks?).

I decided to do a different favorites roundup this month and focus on skincare loves. Smooth clear skin has been a focus lately and I’ve been trying new things over the past few months. It takes time to see visible results – so here are some things I’ve been putting to the test and absolutely love. My skin has improved a lot – even my husband has commented on it. As always if you have any skincare recommendations I’m all ears! I just picked up this AmorePacific Moisture Bound Set because so many of you raved about the Enzyme Peel in the comments.

Here’s what I’ve been loving this month (the bag above is one of the pouches from the MAC Clearly MAC Trio):

My go-to moisturizer all throughout the summer has been the Eve Lom Brightening Cream ($110 for 1.7 fl oz). It’s described as a hydra-cream designed to “correct pigmentation and boost luminosity to reveal beautifully radiant and even-toned skin.” It has a brightening ingredient called Dermapep™ that corrects hyperpigmentation – after using this I’ve noticed my skin is visibly more bright, complexion is smooth and dark spots become less noticeable. I would say it’s better as a daily lightweight moisturizer rather than a spot corrector – but it has kept my skin smooth, lightly hydrated and works well with all the foundations I use. Even with daily use for months I still have a good portion of the jar left – so I’m thrilled it’s lasted a long time.

Last month I had the opportunity to receive a complimentary facial at the Kate Somerville Clinic on Melrose (more on this soon). It was hands down the best facial I’ve ever had and I highly recommend the clinic. Since then I’ve been slowly incorporating some Kate Somerville items in my routine. On your first visit they provide a detailed questionnaire for you to fill out on your skin type, preferences and goals. Mine included dark spot correction, texture improvement, anti-aging prevention, help with wrinkles on my forehead, brightening. The facial and products are used in various treatment processes in concentrated formulas based on your needs. Three things I’ve been loving:
  • The Daily Detox Cleanser ($34 for 4 fl oz) is a really good deep-cleaning cleanser for everyday. I use it with my Clarisonic. It helps fight acne and removes impurities from the skin. It’s helped to rebalance my skin and even with the heat we’ve been having my skin is less oily. It contains phytic acid which helps fade post-acne scars and reduce inflammation. I can’t rave about this enough.
  • Dermal Quench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment ($95 for 2.5 oz) was recommended as a replacement for my regular toner. It’s a product that helps combat all my skin issues: aging, wrinkles, uneven skintone. It also helps with dryness – and I’ve seen a big improvement in my skin. Forehead lines have started to soften and using this helps prep the skin for serums or moisturizers.
  • RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream ($85 for 1 fl oz) is something I’ve been experimenting with as well. It’s been recommended by many that I incorporate some kind of retinol treatments into my routine. I have super sensitive skin and things I’ve tried in the past have been too strong for me. This one is ultra gentle and as a night time treatment, I’ve noticed it’s helped smooth the skin while increasing firmness. My skin looks more glowing and soft. I’ve tried this every other night for several weeks and I’ve had no irritation.
The Aesop Parsley Seed Mask ($39 for 60 ml) still remains a tried and true favorite. It’s my go-to cleansing and clarifying mask that really draws out all the yuck from your skin. It’s recommended use for 2x per week, but I’ve found it gentle enough for me to use 4x per week on trouble spots. I love how effective it is while still being suitable for sensitive skin.

I’ve tested a number of cleansing oils and have several favorites. These days I’ve been loving the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil ($70 for 8.4 oz). It has a lightweight pleasantly refreshing scent to it. It has a good medium thickness to it – it’s fluid but not too fluid. I love how it blends into the skin easily and seamlessly. It emulsifies well with warm water and removes all trace of makeup (I still remove my waterproof mascara/eyeliner with a cotton pad first though). Leaves the skin feeling completely clean, soft and hydrated with no greasy residue.
Tatcha is always a favorite in my regular skincare routine. The Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 ($68 for 2 fl oz) is my holy grail face sunscreen. It has a smooth texture that disappears completely into the skin (no white cast). It helps control oil on me and doubles as an amazing primer for foundation. The Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 2 fl oz) is a staple for sensitive or dry skin. I’ve bought many tubes and given them as gifts to friends. The entire Indigo line is phenomenal. If you’re new to the line, there is a mini set that I also recommend.

I’ve featured the MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel ($22 for 05 fl oz) before and it’s still a staple. It’s one of the few acne spot treatments I can use during the day without it making the skin look weird and goopy (others leave a weird clear film that is noticeable). It’s also one of the few that really works to help acne spots disappear without making the skin super red by the next day. I think I’m on my third tube – I also recommended my husband try it and it’s strong enough for his skin.

Last but not least for lips, I’ve been loving the Glossier Coconut Balmdotcom ($12) and Dior Crème de Rose ($28). Both are super hydrating and make the lips feel smooth without that greasy feel. My lips are super sensitive and I’ve gotten reaction to several lip balms (they go numb and then tingle and swell up). These are perfect for my sensitive lips and keep the dry flakes away.
I hope everyone has a great Friday and will have some time to enjoy the weekend! As always I’d love to hear about your current beauty favorites. It’s a great way for me to learn about new things 🙂
Press samples featured in this post include items from Kate Somerville, Eve Lom, Tatcha and Glossier. All other items purchased by me.
Monthly Favorites

August Favorites

August 31, 2015

I have a monthly favorites roundup today featuring both beauty and grooming products for him and her. My husband had so much fun pulling his favorite things last month he wanted to participate again. We’ve both been experimenting with new products – for me it’s a regular thing since I’m a beauty blogger and constantly trying new things. For him, he’s found out trying new products takes quite a bit of time to figure out how they really perform. There are some things he wanted to toss after one use, but in the interest of giving things a thorough test drive he’s opened up to giving items more than 1-2 uses before writing things off. Our August beauty and grooming favorites this month:
  1. Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is the must-have highlighter duo this season. It gives the skin the most stunning glow. There seems to be mixed information about whether or not it’s limited-edition. I received an e-mail from the team at Tom Ford confirming that it’s limited-edition. Others report it is permanent. To be safe I bought 2 backups. It’s that good.
  2. R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo Spray (Travel Size) is something I picked up a month ago. I’m the type of person who washes her hair daily so I don’t use dry shampoos a lot. There are days though where it’s so hot my hair needs a quick refresh. Many are white in color and leave my black-brown hair looking dusty and grey (even if I brush it out). This one is colorless and smells amazing. A few spritzes absorbs oil and gives the hair texture. I give it a huge thumbs up.
  3. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay has been a long time favorite. I’ve used this on and off for a year now (I like to switch up my cleansers). I think I’ve gone through 4 tubes. It’s amazing in this hot humid weather at cleaning the skin, unclogs pores and is gentle but really effective.
  4. YSL Pop Water Glossy Stains have been in regular rotation (previously swatched/reviewed here). The colors are summer-perfect. It’s so easy to swipe on the lips and the stain makes the color last long. My two favorites for the last month have been Pink Rain and Wet Nude.
  5. Surratt Beauty Lip Lustre in Soigne is one of the prettiest shimmering rose pinks. It looks very metallic in the tube and when swatched on the hands but on the lips it’s not as frosty. It’s the perfect soft rosy pink shimmer. See it on my lips here.
  6. I acquired a few minis of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and it’s heavenly. I have been rationing three tiny bottles for months now (since around May) and I’ve fallen head over heels. I don’t want to splurge on the full size but there are some deal/value sets. I need to buy soon. It will be one of my biggest skincare splurges but it’s amazing on my skin. It hydrates, feels smooth, doesn’t get greasy and makes my face glow.
  7. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium to Dark is my go-to bronzer this month. You can see the full review + swatches here. I’m completely obsessed.
  8. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow is something I’ve been mixing in with foundation to add a subtle glow. I like that it has a yellowish golden undertone which I find rare in liquid illuminators which are often pinkish/opal.
  9. La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel is something I’ve been using since the spring. It’s a good lightweight product for day and in this hot summer weather it’s just what I need. For a real deep treatment my go-to is still Chanel Sublimage but it’s a bit heavy for day in this super hot weather.
  10. This hakuho-do x Sephora Kusuriyubi Angled Concealer Brush is amazing. I did a full review earlier in the month which you can see here, but this is my favorite concealer brush of all time now.
  11. For the longest time my husband has been a loyal Jack Black user, but he opened up to trying some items I brought home from Kiehl’s. He really likes the Facial Fuel Energizing Facewash for Men. It lathers up well and really cleans the skin making it feel refreshed without leaving any film or stripping the face. The entire Facial Fuel line has a good masculine look to the packaging which he finds appealing. I tried this one and have to say it’s pretty darn good. For him, it helps prepare his skin for shaving by making it feel smooth.
  12. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair is what he uses under his eyes to try and treat wrinkles and dry skin. This year he’s been keen on researching products and changing his lifestyle to prevent aging (or at least try to delay it). He’s on his second jar of this. He likes it because it hydrates and really helps with his wrinkles.
  13. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men has been in regular rotation for skincare. He likes this because it softens the skin without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly and makes the skin feel invigorated. He actually got this one in Men’s Starter Kit because he likes bottles with smaller packaging.
  14. Clarisonic Alpha Fit Cleansing System for Men is a new device designed specifically for men. My husband had tried my Aria with his own brush heads. He liked the concept but didn’t like the design (he said it looked too girly and felt bulky). I bought this one for him – the video sold it for me. It has a good masculine look and fits in the hands easily. He uses his in the shower daily and finds it gives his skin a deep clean and has made a noticeable difference in texture and preventing blackheads/clogged pores. He has super thick facial hair and this Clarisonic has softened the ends of his hair so when he shaves it feels softer. It’s on the pricey side but he’s really happy with it. It fits on the shelf in our shower without taking up a lot of space.
  15. Nuxe Men Multi-Use Shower Gel is his favorite right now. He likes the way it smells and how it lathers (for him the lather is important). It leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturized. I’m a fan of the way it smells on him too. Review here.
  16. Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet Deodorant is something he bought because he was researching Penhaligon’s shaving products. He decided to give this one a try based on online reviews he read. He likes it because it has a good fresh manly scent and doesn’t make his skin peel.
That wraps it up for our beauty and grooming favorites for the month!
What were your favorites for August?
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