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Monthly Favorites

Men's Grooming Monthly Favorites

July Beauty and Grooming Favorites

August 1, 2015

The month of July has flown by so quickly I can’t believe it’s already over. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my monthly favorites so I decided to try something new – I’ve compiled a list of favorites in skincare, haircare, makeup and grooming in a his and hers edition. My husband has always been a well-groomed man and likes testing new things but is very particular about smells, textures and performance. He will research products to death before he splurges on grooming products so I always try to bring him home samples to try when I shop at Sephora or Nordstrom. When he saw me gathering a pile of products for this post, he said wanted to participate by sharing a few of his favorite grooming products too. I hope you enjoy this roundup of favorites we’ve been testing for the past month!

First up for me include fragrance, body, skin care and hair care favorites.

  • It was love at first smell with L’Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette. This tiny Coffret Miniatures Set is the cutest thing ever with my two favorites the Mûre et Musc and Las Chasse Papillons. It’s too small to have a spritzer so you
    have to dab it on the skin but it’s perfect for a clutch or
    small bag.
  • For body I’ve been loving the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for a dry body oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an amazing smell. You can often find the deluxe minis online from https://us.nuxe.com/ – they have lots of good promos from time to time.
  • For the face I’ve been loving the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist. It’s hard to describe the smell but it is very fresh and slightly sweet/citrusy. It makes the skin feel nice and hydrated and has a lightweight feel.
  • Beautylish has finally started carrying the travel sized Bioderma Sébium and Sensibio H20 Cleansing waters separately. They are the perfect size and price to try them out before buying the full sized versions. I’m obsessed with mini sized beauty products – these are beyond cute.
  • The Drybar Mudslide Hair Mask is the most incredible hair treatment that I’ve tried. I bought mine from Sephora in store (I don’t see it online, but it is available as a mini in this set). It leaves the hair super soft and silky. After I use it I can air dry my hair without it getting frizzy (no hair dryer or flat iron needed). I use it as a weekly treatment.
  • R+Co is a new brand I’ve been experimenting with. I picked up two of the items from Space NK and the Moon Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are among the best I’ve tried ever. It cleans the hair really well and leaves it feeling well hydrated, soft and shiny smooth without being too heavy. It leaves the hair feeling bouncy and weightless all day long. Since it is a hydrating product I wouldn’t recommend it for daily use but I like it 2 to 3x per week (I wash my hair daily but alternate shampoos). It smells amazing with a mix of orange, cardamom, fig, guava and amber. It sounds like a lot but it’s not too sweet or rich in scent.

My husband’s name is Andrew. He’s always been a well-groomed man for which I am really grateful. For his group of favorites, he’s tested a few new brands in shaving and also pulled out some tried and true staples to share in this month’s roundup. In case you shop for any of the men in your life, he says he hope this is helpful for gift ideas or recommendations if they are looking for something new to try.
  • The L’Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant is an alcohol-free and aluminum salts-free deoderant (two of the things he checks for on the ingredient list). This one from L’Occitane lasts all day and smells really good. It doesn’t make his skin peel or feel oily. The entire Cedrat line has a good mix of masculine citrus and wood.
  • For skin his go-to moisturizer is the Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this daily and it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. It dries down to a nice feel so there is no oily or greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. He does wish it came with a higher SPF but so far it’s the best one he’s tried and he’s stuck with it for quite some time.
  • For shaving, two brands have been in rotation. First his regular go-to is the L’Occitane Cade Plisson Razor + Shave Cream Duo. His quick take on each:
    • The L’Occitane Shave Cream is the best he’s tried because it’s thick, it lathers up well, and it keeps the blade from touching his skin. According to my husband, the cream is gentle with a clean scent and doesn’t break out his skin.
    • The L’Occitane Plisson Razor is crafted in France and comes with wood, chrome and brass handle. These come with the Gillette Blades that are easy replace. He likes the look of the wooden handle and the shape is tapered and long so it fits well into his large hands and won’t slip while he shaves.
  • Harry’s Shaving Sets come in several options. He tried the Truman Set which is priced at $15. It includes 1 Truman Razor Handle, a 3.4 oz shave cream, 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges and 1 Travel Blade Cover. The packaging and presentation for the price point is all on point. According to my husband, he believes this is truly is the best shaving set for the price (he says drugstore prices can’t even beat all that is in the box for $15).
    • The Truman Razor is well designed and even though the handles are plastic, it’s very good quality with some weight to it so it doesn’t feel cheap. He likes the modern look and design and the blades are good for the price but not quite as sharp as Gillette.
    • The Shave Cream is ok – the packaging is on point and it does the job but it has a slight menthol scent and isn’t as thick as the L’Occitane (which gives him a better shave). He still thinks it’s definitely worth trying out. He ordered the Foaming Gel to give it a try.
  • For scent, his go-to these days is the Chanel Bleu de Chanel. He likes the travel size because it’s easy to carry in his briefcase and also doesn’t take up a lot of space on his desk at his office. He says it’s got a good masculine scent (that’s all he gave me for the description, lol).
  • For the hair, his favorite styling product is the Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade. He’s claimed several of my tubes as his own. He likes this because it’s lightweight and keeps the hair looking groomed and soft. It helps manage his hair without feeling or looking greasy. I agree with him and like how it adds shine and makes the hair soft – it lasts all day and leaves the hair feeling soft. Because we use it daily, we’ve gone through around 8 tubes already.
  • Last but not least he’s obsessed with the Muji clear flat zip pouches. The website is under construction but the options we bought are shown here. He likes the texture and feel.
That wraps up our July favorites for beauty and grooming. As always I would love to hear what your favorites were for the last month. If you have any recommendations for men grooming products my husband says he is open to suggestions! Also if any of you or if the men in your life know of any good men’s grooming blogs – please shoot me an e-mail or let me know in the comments below 🙂

This post features some items that were sent for review consideration including the Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquers, Harry’s Truman Set, L’Occitane Cedrat, Clarins Lip Perfectors and Burberry Shell Eyeshadow. All other items purchased by me.

Monthly Favorites

February Favorites

February 28, 2015

I haven’t done a monthly favorites roundup in a while since I find my favorites rotate quite frequently. I like to mix things up and change things around. This month I narrowed down a favorites list to some items I’ve been enjoying thoroughly. As always I’d love to hear from you about your favorites for the past month. (The items below include links to previous reviews where applicable.)
This month feels like it’s been all about new lip releases. I’m still working on reviews for the new Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine but will say right now these new Dior  glosses are phenomenal. I’ve been loving them a lot – they have the perfect mix of color and shine. I have all the swatches and review finished but still need to pull colors for comparison swatches.

Other lip staples this month include Charlotte Tilbury Confession, Marc Jacobs Beauty Infamous and Tom Ford Lips & Boys in Peter. I’ve also been reaching for the Chanel Hydrabeauty Lip Balm. Initially I thought this was just an average lip treatment. The more I use it the more I like this as a lightweight lip balm that doesn’t feel heavy on the lips and adds a nice veil of moisture.

For the skin I’ve been going through a lot of masks. My favorite is the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask. It’s the best clarifying face mask I’ve tried that is good for sensitive skin. It will draw out impurities and is gentle enough to use multiple times a week. I like it because it smells like a spa and it doesn’t irritate the skin. My favorite new cleanser discovery is the Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser. It’s a bit too strong for daily use but I do use it multiple times per week.

For eyeshadow palettes, the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con in The Dreamer has a beautiful mix of warm neutrals. There are golds, corals, champagnes and tan shimmers with a really good matte brown. This one is what I wanted Lolita to be. Let me know if you want a full review of this one.

My current foundation routine includes a mix of Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow + NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. This combo gives the perfect glow with medium to full coverage.

For fragrance, I’ve become smitten with the Byredo Bibliothèque, Cotton Poplin and Fleur Fantôme set from Net-A-Porter. These are so cute although pricey, it’s a nice way to try the candles at a cheaper price than buying the full size. My favorite is still Fleur Fantôme (which I have the full size of). Full review to come soon.

Last but not least, I’ve still been loving the Lumira Paradisium perfume. It’s the perfect mix of florals with a hint of fig.

What have your favorites been this month?
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October Beauty Favorites

October 31, 2014

October’s beauty favorites include:

SK-II Skin Refining Treatment (1) has been a miracle worker in improving my skin. It’s a night time skincare treatment that helps to refine the skin and remove dead skin cells overnight. I have been using it regularly since September and it is gentle but very effective at clearing up the complexion and giving it a more radiant look.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Luxe Color-Lasting Lip Lacquers in Sweet Stiletto and Seduction (2) are both great pigmented neutrals. I have Sweet Stiletto swatched and reviewed here. Since then I’ve bought a few more of the glosses (and really like them). Let me know in the comments if you are interested in seeing a review.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (3) has been a staple this past month. During my move, I had most of my beauty items packed away in bubble wrap and boxes, I kept a small handful of things in a makeup case for regular use. This was one of them, I used this almost exclusively the past few weeks. It’s versatile and goes with just about any kind of look. Swatches and review can be found here.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Moonlight (4) is a new shade I discovered in the Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set for this holiday. I just reviewed it a few days ago but purchased it the first week of October (sometimes testing takes a long time for me). I will definitely be purchasing the full size of this color soon. It’s the perfect platinum warm taupe shimmer.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger (5) are my two newest concealer discoveries. I’m super picky when it comes to concealer (I’ve used Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry almost exclusively for years, swatches of all Cle de Peau Beaute shades here). I’ll have a full review up next week, but the NARS lives up to the hype. It’s quite incredible.

Wayne Goss Brush #16 is a large super soft domed brush (6). I bought it from Beautylish which describes it as being “designed for controlled application and pristine blending.” This brush is one of the largest shadow brushes I own. I’ve been using it to apply Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder under the eyes. It’s a soft but dense brush that picks up the powder nicely and gives smooth application.

Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder Shade 2 is another new favorite (7). The powder comes in three shades, I was matched to #2 which is a very good match for my Chanel 30 / Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin tone. I’m normally not a fan of pressed powders because I find that they look chalky or end up darkening my face (I prefer powder foundations instead). This one by Charlotte Tilbury changed my outlook completely. I saw it applied on my friend who is very fair in Shade 1. The artist brushed it over her skin as a touchup without adding any foundation or concealer and the effect was quite incredible.

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (8) is the best matte eyeshadow palette I have tried. You can see swatches in this post here. I’ve been reaching for this one quite frequently as my no-fuss go-to everyday kind of palette.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil Spray (9) has made my favorites list for a nice pick-me-up. It has a really nice soothing scent and hydrates the skin nicely without being too heavy. More thoughts on three dry oils here.

By Terry released six tinted shades of her cult classic Baume de Rose called the Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur. I splurged on four of the shades but I’m smitten with the plum shade in Fig Fiction (10).

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (11) is a regular favorite. The past month I’ve been using it more frequently as my hands and fingers have been dryer than normal. It smells like lush coconut. Works like a charm to fix dry cuticles.

Tom Ford Spanish Pink (12) is my favorite nude pink lipstick of the moment. There’s nothing like it that I’ve tested. It has just the right amount of warmth in it to make it look slightly peachy but not too much. Swatches here.

What were your beauty favorites in October?
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Monthly Beauty Favorites

August 31, 2014

I discovered quite a few new favorites in August it was difficult to narrow down my list to under 20 items. My Sony NEX-6L/B
just broke right after photographed my monthly favorites along with some new items from Tom Ford Fall and Edward Bess. It will take 2-3 weeks for me to get it back after it goes to the repair center. As a blogger and photographer, I really should have more than one camera for times just like this. I called up my brother to ask for a camera recommendation. I wanted something that was super easy to use, easy to hold, affordable and compact. He said hands down buy something from the Canon G Series – after doing a few hours of research and watching several videos, I ordered a Canon PowerShot G16 as my second camera. I took my first photos with it for the Tom Ford Black Cherry post and am so impressed with the image quality and functions. Many of you have asked me for more info on my cameras, as soon as the Sony gets back from repair, I’ll do a post on both to compare. If you have any camera favorites I’d love to hear what you love. I hope to upgrade to an SLR by the end of the year.

Onto my favorites for the month of August:

  1. Truffle Privacy Clutch in Blush has become a favorite for a classic, sleek and compact clutch. It’s super sturdy and extremely well made. Use code LABORDAY for free US shipping through Monday. (Review and more photos here.)
  2. Clare Vivier Wallet Clutch is another new favorite, it’s the compact version (measures 8″ x 5″) of their regular Flat Clutch (measures 11.5″ x 7″) making it perfect as a change purse that will also hold a lipstick, business cards, and keys. 
  3. West Elm Acrylic Trays are a new discovery for me. I’ve been a huge fan of their Lacquer Trays (we have them all over the house). I’m thrilled West Elm made one that is high quality at an affordable price. Huge thumbs up (they come in the square and rectangle options).
  4. YSL Volupté Sheer Candy has been a go-to this summer, I almost always have one in my bag or purse with me. (Review on new shades here.)
  5. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is a favorite darker scent. It will be perfect as we transition to fall and suitable to wear through winter. (Full review here.)
  6. YSL Gris Deco has been the most commented-on polish I’ve worn all month. It was amazing how many people asked me “what nail polish are you wearing?” It has this unique mix of blue in it to make you wonder if it’s blue, grey or white. I love it for a super polished look that’s not too pale. (Swatches and review here.)
  7. Diptyque Figuier is one of my favorite Diptyque scents. I never tire of it no matter what the season is. I’m particularly fond of it in fall/winter. It’s a warming soothing scent that completely lifts one’s mood. It’s super relaxing and lush. (Cleaning and recycle tutorial here, find the 411 on size options here.)
  8. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Nude Dip sold out online within a few hours, I still haven’t seen it pop up on Nordstrom or Bloomingdales yet, there is a possibility some other retailers might re-stock. You will have to do a bit of calling around to locate one but it’s definitely worth the extra effort. I’d recommend calling Neiman Marcus Fashion Island or Beverly Hills to see if they have any left. (Review soon.)
  9. Guerlain Cils D’Enfer Waterproof Mascara is something I’ve been obsessed with for a few months now. I discovered this one thanks to The RaeViewer’s channel (if she loves it, I usually end up loving it too). It really stays put, doesn’t smudge, has a deep lush black finish and doesn’t make the lashes look crunchy. (My review here.)
  10. Garance Doré x Rifle Paper is one of the cutest collections I’ve seen for stationary. I love the chic designs, they have cards that are really fun. They make great gifts, I know my friends have loved the notepads and birthday cards. 
  11. L’Occitane Hand Cream Pouch has been selling out very quickly (it’s a steal!), I managed to buy three sets when they restocked a couple weeks ago, it looks like it just sold out again, but I recommend you keep checking, I expect they will restock again.
  12. Clé de Peau Beauté Almond Concealer is an exact match for me. I’m thrilled they expanded their color options. I hope they do the same for foundations as well, I just tested a couple and fell head over heels with two of the formulas (my wallet is crying now). (Swatches here.)
  13. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow has been a staple duo this month. The line will launch in a few days in the US. (I’m so excited!) I am still photographing the two sets I ordered from the UK. Reviews will be posted as soon as possible.
  14. Edward Bess Illuminating Eyeshadow Base is one of my holy grail eye bases. (My thoughts here and here.)
  15. Kat Von D Ink Liner has seriously made my life easier when it comes to liquid liner. (Review here.) You can’t beat the ease of use, color, pigment, and quality at an affordable price.
  16. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Raquel is my new favorite nude pink. It’s literally everything I have ever wanted for that perfect nude pink lip color. I can’t always pull off nudes on the lips because they often look so pale. This one is absolutely perfect. It’s a good nude pink that doesn’t wash out the complexion. (Swatches here.)

What have been your favorites this past month?
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Monthly Favorites | Skincare, Haircare, Body and Fragrance

August 5, 2014

Several have requested a monthly favorites round up – welcome to The Beauty Look Book’s first monthly favorites feature! I wanted to feature some midsummer beauty favorites for the skin, body and hair. Many of these items are things I’ve been using all summer long.
  • Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Water is a gentle lightweight cleansing water that refreshes the skin. It won’t remove waterproof eye makeup or mascara all the way, but I like this for the face. I have this in the full size as well but like to keep the small travel sizes.
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse has been a favorite this summer for dry body oils. (Three I tested here.) I alternate between this and the Caudalie Divine Oil, but lately I’ve been reaching more for the Nuxe, the fresh floral beach-like scent is perfect for summer. It layers nicely with most perfumes as it’s very gentle and not overpowering. I love that the skin absorbs it quickly.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is an alternative to dry shampoo. I’ve tried several and don’t like the powdery crunchy look they give to the hair. The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is the only one I’ve tried that doesn’t leave any residue. It’s more of a texturizing spray that I like to use on days where my hair looks a bit flat. I love all things Oribe that I’ve tried it’s a brand I keep exploring and looking into. The signature Oribe scent is incredible.
  • St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is a new discovery this year and it is hands down my favorite self tan product. I purchased the mini size to compare it to the Gradual an Everyday Body Lotion from Sephora. I tested each one simultaneously with the mousse on one leg and the lotion on the other. The mousse gives a better tan without being orange. The lotion has a more gradual darkening effect. The tint to the mousse also helps you see where you applied product and helps as a guide for even application. It didn’t stain or transfer to white sheets and after letting it set for 10 minutes I found it didn’t transfer to a white denim skirt. I applied it for two consecutive days and my tan will last about 5 days. I have super sensitive skin and I’ve gotten allergic reactions to spray tans and other self tan products (like Clarins).
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser was sent for review and it is an amazing cleanser. It has red clay which is suppose to draw out toxins, remove oil and unclog pores. It’s designed for combination or oily skin. My skin is slightly combination, dry on the cheeks area and slightly oily in the T zone. I found this to be amazing at unclogging pores. It comes with a slightly gel-like texture that is a reddish pink with a pearly shimmer. It works well with the hands, a washcloth and my Clarisonic Aria. It’s gentle enough for my sensitive skin but very effective. I’m on my second tube.
  • Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi is one of Tom Ford’s latest, it’s one of two new scents that are an extension of the Neroli Portofino line. I can’t wear a lot of orange citrus scents but Tom Ford is the only one I can pull off. It’s the perfect summertime scent with citrus, florals and musk.
  • Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream is something I bought from the Flower Power Kit (has the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream in 1 oz, Rose Face Mask in 1 oz, Sugar Tulip and Rose Floral Toner 0.5 oz). I love this lightweight face cream for hydration. It’s too heavy for me right now for daily use but I like to use it 2x per week during the day and alternate this as a night cream. It has a refreshing cucumber scent and feels amazing on the skin. It makes the skin look refreshed and improves the overall skin tone by smoothing over time and is great for calming the skin.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil has been my favorite go-to for removing makeup at the end of the day. I did a roundup of several oils I tested and the MAC is one I keep reaching for because it has the best emulsifying quality and gets everything off without leaving a residue or drying out the skin.
  • Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask is something I tried with the mini pods first. I liked it so much I bought the full size. It’s a mask that really works and clears pores. It has a slight tingly effect the first few minutes but it goes away. The charcoal and white clay both work to draw out pore-cloggers. I’ve used it up to 3x per week when my skin was messed up. I don’t recommend using it if you have broken skin or areas with irritation, but it is a gentle enough mask that won’t sting your skin. 
  • Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer is my summer favorite for a relative inexpensive lip balm with a nice lightweight gel formula. It’s super effective without being too rich or heavy for summer.
  • L’Occitane Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body has been a staple for me for years. It’s the only body lotion I’ve repurchased. It has a super lightweight feel that absorbs into the skin. It’s part of the Shea Butter line and is moisturizing and soothing.
  • Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer was a Sephora freebie. It’s a pre-styler product that I apply to the hair before blow drying and it helps smooth the hair, decreases frizz and protects it from heat styling. It smells absolutely amazing like coconut and vanilla. It adds softness and shine without weighing down the hair.
  • L’Occitane Frisson de Verveine Hand Cream Gel is a great alternative to regular hand creams for the summer. It’s a unique hand moisturizer that absorbs into the skin really quickly. It has an interesting dry down that’s smooth and soothing with a slight velvety feel. It comes in the new Frisson Verbena scent which is a lightweight summery lime. One tube was sent for review and I’ve already purchased a second one.
  • Tatcha Aburatorigami Beauty Papers are the perfect blotting papers for me. They are compact and easy to carry in the purse. I love how they are super absorbent without having any powdery residue. I use about one sheet with every use and it’s so much better than touching up with powder mid-day or late afternoon. Sometimes with the summer heat and humidity I’ve found adding powder to oily skin can get cakey (at least on me).
  • Chanel UV Essential Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is the only face sunscreen I like to use. It’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. I like to layer serum with moisturizer under my foundation but I don’t like anything that feels heavy. This sunscreen is light enough to wear with both a serum and moisturizer and foundation. It’s suitable for my sensitive skin. It also comes with an SPF 20 and SPF 30 versions as well.

What have been your summer favorites this past month?

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