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Ole Henriksen

Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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




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

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

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

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

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

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

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

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

Roundup

My Favorite At-Home Pamper Essentials

April 22, 2016

I have a roundup of things I wanted to share that I find best for at-home pampering. I try to take care of my skin on a daily basis but try to give it extra care on the weekends – kinda like doing a DIY at home spa session for a good reset or cleanse. There are a few body products I’ve been meaning to write about for a while – ones I found well worth the splurge. I’ve included several recommendations by category – there’s no one product fits all so I’ve tried to cover a variety of options in case you’re looking for something specific whether it’s to purify skin, firm the skin, etc.

Cleansers


  • Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap is probably one of the most expensive face cleansing products I’ve ever bought. I’ve gone through 4 of these – I probably would have purchased more if it came with a cheaper price tag. It gives the skin a very thorough cleanse without leaving a film. It cleans out all the pores and leaves skin feeling squeaky clean. When I feel like my face is getting clogged this helps clear up the complexion. With daily use 2x a day a single bar lasts about 4 months.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser has been mentioned before in my spring cleanser roundup. I really can’t rave enough about this – I used mine up so I stocked up on a few more during the Sephora sale earlier this month. It cleanses the skin and helps keep it clear but gentle enough for daily use.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (c/o) is a super gentle milk cleanser that won’t leave a film. I really don’t like milk cleansers because I often find them too rich for my skin type and they rarely leave my face feeling fully clean. A few of you mentioned you have really sensitive skin – this is a good one to try. It does give the face a good cleanse without drying it out. I still do a double cleanse with this one in the evenings (I remove all my makeup first with a cleansing oil or cleansing water), but in the morning it’s perfect to use alone.
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is one of my favorite purifying cleansers. I’ve gone through several bottles and it’s one I keep going to. In hot summer months I can use this daily (usually in the late afternoon or evenings, or post work out), for now I like to use it weekly to help give the skin a thorough cleanse. It helps reduce redness and irritation too.

Masks


  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment is hands down one of the most effective clearing face masks. It does have a tingle feeling when you apply it but it’s not too strong and doesn’t irritate the skin. It sucks out impurities and leaves the skin feeling super firm and tight.
  • Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment is one of the newer masks from Glamglow. This one you leave on the face for 20-30 minutes and peel off. I normally don’t like masks that require more than 15 minutes of application because I’m super impatient with skincare, but this one is worth the extra time. It is more on the gentle side for a firming mask and I feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term, but it does leave the skin feeling super firm and lifted.
  • Aesop Parsley Seed Mask is the best purifying mask for my sensitive skin. It dries up the gunk in your skin and leaves it feeling thoroughly clean and tight. Many have mentioned to me that their skin cannot handle the Glamglow because they find it too harsh. If that is the case and you still want a purifying mask to draw out impurities, try the Aesop.
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate is one of the most gentle acne-clearing masks. It works in a similar way to the other clarifying masks mentioned above but is super gentle and non-irritating. It won’t leave the skin feeling tight. It’s gentle enough to use daily – I wouldn’t recommend using it every single day, but on weeks where I have some breakouts, I use this nightly for about 4-5 nights and it really helps clear up the skin.
Body

I usually don’t splurge on body products. I typically keep things simple with L’Occitane or Nuxe, but I’ve discovered some new-to-me things that I am really excited to share with you.


  • Chanel Fresh Body Cream is something I’m beyond obsessed with. It’s one of the most expensive body products I’ve ever bought and it’s a bit hard to find (you can’t find it at all counters). You can basically find this at any store or counter that sells the Exclusifs Fragrances. It’s a super gentle body cream that smells really fresh but won’t interfere with perfumes. I like to use this at night before bed because I have a sensitive nose and scents sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. This one is soothing enough that it doesn’t interfere with my sleep. It’s hydrating and non-greasy. I will keep repurchasing this one for as long as they make it.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique Body Cream is another pricey splurge but I adore the Bal D’Afrique scent I had to try it in the body cream. This one is super emollient and has a body butter feel which is super lush. A little goes a long way and the moisture lingers for an emollient feel. You can definitely feel the moisture after you apply but it’s not greasy. That being said if you need a body product to have a dry-down you may find this too rich.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body is another favorite. I’ve featured this a few times in past years. It has all the moisturizing and soothing qualities of items from the regular Shea line but it’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. Anytime I have irritation or flare ups – I use this and skin is instantly soothed. I love that it’s non greasy, gentle, but effective.
  • NARS Monoii Body Glow II is the ultimate scented tiare body oil that makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. It lifts the mood instantly and absorbs quickly into the skin. There’s no greasy feel or residue after it’s absorbed into the skin. I’m about 99% happy with this one – if it came with a pump dispenser it would be perfect.
Home Fragrance


  • Lumira Travel Candles (c/o) are super compact and cute, I love having a few scattered around the house to burn. To date I don’t think I’ve brought a candle with me while I travel but there are times when I have traveled that I wish I had one with me. I’m trying my best to save the mini ones for my next trip. My favorite from their line is the Tahitian Coconut.
  • Lumira Mini Destinations Box Set (c/o) launched over the holiday a boxed trio of the most popular scents from the line in Tuscan Fig, Cuban Tobacco, Persian Rose. I just finally started burning Tuscan Fig today – it’s amazing and smells of sweet figs (Diptyque’s Figuier by comparison is greener). Top notes are fig leaves and fig tree, middle notes are blackcurrant and cedarwood, base is iris and musk.
  • Diptyque Gingembre Room Spray (c/o) was reviewed a month ago (I can’t believe an entire month has gone by). I won’t repeat the review but it’s a really nice bright and cheery kind of home scent.
  • Diptyque Colored Candle in Baies (c/o) is a classic. The larger size gives this one a stronger throw compared to the smaller ones. Don’t forget if you have any Diptyque on your wishlist you can save online at Space NK US by using my special promo code through May 1st.

Lips
I have very sensitive lips when it comes to lip treatments. There are quite a few very popular options that make my lips go numb (Kiehl’s, CO Bigelow, Chapstick etc.) so that may give you an idea of just how sensitive they are. The ones below are Beauty Look Book approved. Of course it’s not a list of all the ones I’ve tested or like, but ones I like most for right now.


  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm is a great lip treatments that is also affordable. It’s emollient and I love the simple classic squeeze tube packaging.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed is my current favorite for the most moisturizing lip treatment to help with dry or cracked lips (swatched in this post here and here).
  • AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is one I just used up (review from winter in this post here), it’s the best scent and taste-free lip treatment I’ve tried. Most others have some kind of scent or flavor. If you’re really sensitive to any scent, I’d recommend you try this one.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur in Coral Stellar is one of the prettiest tinted lip treatments I’ve tried. Review + swatches here. It’s worth the splurge.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is a good lip treatment but I do think it’s overpriced for what you get. That being said I’ve never regretted buying this one and if you’re willing to splurge it’s a good gentle one that always soothes my lips. (More on this compared to others in this post here.)
If you’re looking for something to help reset the skin, calm the complexion or give your body an extra boost of moisture, I hope you found this roundup helpful! I have super sensitive skin and there are some body lotions and creams that cause an immediate allergic reaction (I always do a patch test first). If a good purifying mask is what you have been looking for but want something suitable for sensitive skin I hope the recs above help you find something gentle enough for your skin type!

What are your favorite at-home pampering products? I really love hearing about your favorites. So many of you have recommended some great things for me to try. I’m pretty set on masks but I do have my eye on a few sheet masks. I’m intrigued by mainly the two from La Mer – if you’ve tried them should I go for the Brightening Facial Masks or Hydrating Sheet Masks? Or should I wait for the Eve Lom Brightening Sheet Mask to launch in the US?

I hope you had a great week! Enjoy the weekend πŸ™‚

Uncategorized

Hand Creams and Treatment Rotation, Favorites and Recommendations for Him and Her

November 25, 2015

I’m a bit of a hand cream addict. There’s not a week that I don’t have at least 2 hand creams in my purse not to mention all the drawers in my home that I have little hand cream tubes stashed. The weather has turned in the past few weeks, the air is extremely dry and my skin has really felt it. Extra help with moisture has been essential for me on all fronts. Last year I put together a list of my favorite hand creams that I had in rotation. Today I have a roundup of some new ones that I’ve been putting to the test including three designed more for men (thanks to my husband for testing some too).

When it comes to hand creams, there are three things I look for: good packaging, quick absorption, noticeable hydration. While I don’t mind feeling the moisture, I like treatments don’t have a greasy feel or silicone-like slip in the finish. On scented hand creams, I’m all for a good one with fragrance because it lifts the mood but sometimes I want something fragrance-free so it doesn’t interfere with my perfume. For my husband, he doesn’t like any of the ones I have that have girly scents. He has used and likes the one from Kiehl’s, but it’s pretty emollient and he’s been asking me to find him something that has a quick dry time.

Up first is my favorite hand cream formula ever, L’Occitane. I’ve been hooked on L’Occitane since a family friend gifted me a tube of the regular Shea Butter version to help me with my peeling cuticles and dry hands. The regular Shea Butter is extra gentle and perfect for those with sensitive skin and noses. It’s also thick and ultra hydrating. This one is L’Occitane’s best-seller and comes in a few different size options. There are some value sets which give you a price break, so before you buy, definitely check out the sets like this Hugs & Kisses Duo or this Hand Cream Trio (there are larger value sets too).

I’m super picky when it comes to scented body products so it’s somewhat of a miracle that I’ve loved every single L’Occitane scented hand cream. The options vary in thickness and texture depending on formula, but all are pretty much the same in terms of hydration. There are two whipped formulas in the Shea Butter Whipped* and Melting Honey Whipped* (review here) both have 25% shea butter and have a lighter texture but are very moisturizing.

Amande (Almond) is one of the few that doesn’t have shea butter. It’s made with almond oil and has an emollient and thinner texture. It’s a favorite of mine but the scent is pretty strong. The Collection de Grasse scents (reviewed here) are also stronger in fragrance, many of which are very floral.

By far, my favorite is the Pierre HermΓ© x L’Occitane collaboration. I’ve stocked up on the Pierre HermΓ© Hand Cream Trios because you save $7 by purchasing the set, and it also comes packaged in a cute limited-edition tin which makes it perfect for gifting. Pamplemousse Rhubarbe is a warm well rounded grapefruit. You can smell the citrus but the rhubarb makes it softer, warmer and not as sharp as a true grapefruit. Jamine-Immortelle Neroli is a very soft gentle jasmin and citrus mix. I normally don’t like wearing jasmin scents, but this one is very soothing and I adore it. Miel Mandarine is soft orange scented hand cream. It’s got a creamy roundness to the scent because of the honey in it. All three are hydrating but have a quick drydown and leave the hands feeling silky smooth. There’s no greasy feel and it absorbs super quick (quick as in less than 30 seconds).

L’Occitane wins for most fun packaging designs, best formula for sensitive but dry skin, and widest variety of scents and ingredients to suit your preferences and needs.

Next up are the Molton Brown Hand Creams*. I’ve been a fan of the line for a long time (long before most everything was reformulated or scents renamed). Their current line up of their hand creams are just as good as L’Occitane but the Molton Brown has different scents and packaging. There are currently seven scented options, some are called Replenishing Hand Creams and others simply Hand Creams. I tested all the scents and formulas and they perform the same. They have a fast absorbing texture that is not too thin but not too thick. Hands feel moisturized and smooth. With scented body products there’s often a hit or miss, but in this case there’s not a bad one in the entire lineup. Scents are noticeable and last a decent amount of time. My top three favorites are Gingerlily, Pink Pepperpod (also available in this cute holiday cracker) and Ylang-Ylang.

The latest launch is the Alba White Truffle line which consists of a Hand Treatment and Hand Exfoliator. You can buy them individually or in a boxed duo gift set (prices are the same whether you buy separate or together). These are scented with nutmeg, olibanum and vanilla and they smell absolutely delicious without being overpowering or too sweet. The formula of the hand cream is a lot richer than the other ones in the Molton Brown line. It’s very very moisturizing and you can definitely feel the strength of it. It does absorb fast and doesn’t leave a greasy feel although you can feel the moisture. It’s a pampering kind of treatment that I really like. The best part of this line is the Hand Exfoliator. I’ve had scrubs with pedicures before but never on the hands. This is new to me but I’m hooked. The scrub gets rid of all the dead skin and build up and leaves the hands feeling refreshed, moisturized, ultra smooth and just so much better. I would love to use it everyday but that would be overdoing it. I’ve used this 1x per week and my hands feel like dead weight has been lifted off that I didn’t know was there. If you’re looking for a hand duo for someone who already has almost everything this is a good option as it just launched in mid-October and is relatively new.

Next up are some other brands that have one formula or scent of hand cream. Many are either skincare or fragrance lines.
  • Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 is one of the most gentle hand creams I’ve tried that’s unscented. If you’re super sensitive to any fragrance or simply don’t like it, this is a good option. The formula is on the thick side so a little goes a long way. It absorbs quickly.
  • Nuxe RΓͺve de Miel is the most lightweight in texture that I’ve tried. I’m a fan of all things Nuxe, I bought mine in a duo set from Paris, but you can buy the individual tubes online (currently there’s a sale online at Nuxe). It has a soothing but very soft and gentle honey scent.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White Hand Creams restocked at Sephora.com, both are limited-edition and come in sleek slim tubes perfect to slip into a clutch or small bag. I bought a couple tubes of both since I love the fragrance. The formula is nicely moisturizing and scent is pretty strong.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Hydrating Hand Cream* is a new formula from Ole Henriksen. It’s a lightweight super absorbent hand cream that strengthens and protects the skin. It also has Willowbark which is a natural exfoliant (salicylic acid) to sheds dead skin cells and stimulate new cell formation. I like that it absorbs fast and the moisture lasts a long time. Even though it has a natural exfoliant I was relieved to find it didn’t make the skin peel or pill. It has a super lightweight clean scent. It makes the hands look smoother instantly. (Also available at Sephora.)
  • Leif Kakadu Plum and Macadamia Nut Hand Balm* is a super hydrating emollient hand treatment. It smells really good like macadamia and it’s so good I almost want to eat it. This one is larger than most of the tubes I have but still works to fit inside my purse. I would say it’s as moisturizing as the Kiehl’s but has a thinner texture. I really like the Leif as a cuticle treatment too.
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream* is hands down my favorite treatment hand cream. The Indigo line is really good for sensitive, dry or itchy skin. It has a lightweight refreshing sakura-like scent to it. I would recommend it to anyone for any skin type. If you don’t want to buy the full size without trying it, Tatcha has it in a smaller Travel Size. It’s also available in a mini in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set. If you want the full size there’s a Aiiro Soothing Duo set that has the hand and body cream.

For men, I’ve been on the hunt for a good basic hand cream designed more for men versus something that is unisex. When it comes to skincare, packaging is key for my husband. It has to look good and have easy to use packaging. He won’t use anything pink or girly-looking. The Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve comes in a small size in the Men’s Starter Set and my husband likes it and uses it daily. It is very hydrating and when it comes to waiting for something to absorb into the skin, my husband (Andrew) wants it to be fast (he doesn’t like waiting). With the Kiehl’s, he will apply it to his hands or feet. Any excess is rubbed off onto his arms or on a towel. I also like it because it’s very good for super dry skin is unscented and even though it’s emollient I find it dries within a few minutes. It’s available in a number of holiday sets and bundles where you can save like this trio.

Andrew’s been a fan of Baxter and Jack Black, so I ordered both for him to try. He’s a fan of the Jack Black Cool Body Moisturizer because it has a nice clean scent and feels refreshing. He says it applies well and absorbs into the skin quickly without feeling greasy. The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer comes with a lot of high ratings on online reviews. It’s also been recommended by many of my female readers. I had high hopes that my husband would like this one because he’s a fan of the line. After trying this – he felt it too emollient, too thick and he kept wanting to wipe off the excess from his hands. I thought he was in one of his impatient moods and tried it myself. He was right. I also found it very thick in texture and a bit sticky. The benefits of the Jack Black are that it’s very very hydrating. It soothes dry spots instantly. There is a slight menthol scent to it but it fades. I let it sit for as long as I could to see if it would dry down. It never did but I found I could tolerate the texture as an overnight treatment. It makes the hands look visibly smoother and in the morning they look and feel a lot better.

Baxter of California is a men’s grooming line my husband discovered at the Birchbox Roadtrip event earlier this year. He’s been a fan of everything he’s tried so far and has some of the value sets on his holiday wishlist. A couple reviewed in this monthly favorites post here. I ordered the Hydro Salve Hand Cream which is a white cream in a squeeze tube. This one is his favorite because it adds noticeable hydration but dries quickly. It leaves the hands feeling moisturized, fixes dry cracks and soothes the skin without any greasy residue. I tried it as well. On one of the days I had some issues with cuticle dryness (some were starting to crack). Within minutes my hands felt instant relief and by the afternoon, my cuticles were almost healed. The description of this one is “Packed with aloe, shea butter and avocado oil, this unscented moisturizing cream hydrates and helps repair very dry skin. Infused with vitamins E, C and B5, the extra thick cream delivers nutrients to rough and chapped areas.” It’s exactly as described.

Above: Collar Stays from Nordstrom, Travel Case by Tumi (current style here)

There are several I did test in store that had very high ratings online in customer reviews but that I didn’t like enough to purchase. I’ll mention three briefly. Ahava Mineral Hand Cream came highly recommended to me by several readers. I bought this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and had very high hopes. I couldn’t tolerate the smell and the while formula dried quickly it had an almost silicone-slip to my hands that I couldn’t wait to wash off. Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream also came highly recommended to me. I liked the formula but found the scent overpoweringly sweet. La Mer The Hand Treatment is a cult classic. I actually splurged on a tube many years ago and used it up. I considered repurchasing recently but found the formula overpowering in fragrance. I also found it felt very emollient, almost greasy. I do think it will be good for super dry hands or an overnight treatment.

That wraps up my roundup of hand cream testing for fall to winter. If you’re in the market for a new hand treatment especially in this dry weather, my top picks include:

Most variety and best formula:
L’Occitane and Molton Brown
Best unscented options:
L’Occitane Shea Butter, Eve Lom and Baxter of California
Most intense for super dry skin:
Kiehl’s, Jack Black, Molton Brown Alba White Truffle and Leif
Most lightweight texture: 
Nuxe RΓͺve de Miel

Best for sensitive skin/instant relief:
Tatcha

Personal favorites for scented hand creams:
L’Occitane x Pierre HermΓ© (all three)
Molton Brown Gingerlily
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black
Leif 
Husband’s favorite for men:
Baxter of California

There are a number of really good gift sets this holiday. I can’t get over how good they are this year. You can find the brands above at a number of different retailers but some products and sets are exclusive to the brands own retail website. All the products are linked above in the reviews to where you can buy them so you don’t have to click around to find things. Many times it’s easier to shop at larger retailers but if you’re looking for good deals or savings, I’d recommend researching ones that sound interesting to you, make a list and bookmark websites. A lot of the individual brands will have savings and gift with purchase offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – so while it might be a bit of extra work to shop, I do believe it will be worth the effort. I’ll have a roundup of promotions, codes and deals on Friday and Monday so stay tuned. 

I think skincare or scented products are often
tricky to gift to people, especially if you don’t know them extremely
well. I think hand creams fall into the more neutral category. I’ve
gifted L’Occitane for years and it’s always well received. There’s been
confirmation in this conclusion since those I’ve gifted the hand creams
have always repurchased what I’ve bought them, they often buy as gifts
for their friends as well.

As usual, I’ve love for you to share what your favorites are. Please let
me know in the comments!  

Press samples included in the feature indicated by a *. All others purchased by me.

Uncategorized

Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders

December 17, 2014

I first discovered Ole Henriksen products at the beginning of the year with a few sampler sets and have since fallen in love with several of the products from the line. I’ve found Ole Henriksen serums and moisturizers to be gentle for my sensitive skin but strong enough to make a visible difference in overall texture and brightness of my complexion. I’ve been a huge fan of the Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation moisturizer so when Ole Henriksen invited me to experience their 3 Little Wonders Set with a 7 day trial pack I happily said yes. The 3 Little Wonders is a trio of easy to use skincare products for morning and night. It includes the Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Sheer Transformation Moisturizer and Invigorating Night Treatment. Today I’m sharing the results of my 7 day experience.

One of the things I like best about the 3 Little Wonders is that it is really simple to use. You basically have two items to layer in the morning, and two at night:
  • AM: After cleansing, apply Truth Serum, leave to absorb and then apply Sheer

    Transformation Renewing Crème on top. The serum provides a protective layer on the skin and helps to draw in the moisture from the cream. The two layered together leave the face feeling well moisturized which is perfect for this winter weather.

  • PM: After cleansing apply Invigorating Night Treatment, leave to absorb and then apply

    Sheer Transformation Renewing Crème on top for added moisture. The Night Treatment is a skin re-texturizing product that helps improve skin texture overnight.

There are seven packet sets, each which have four individual packets of product. There is quite a bit to sample, often times I felt I could stretch one packet into 2 uses.

The Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster is a brightening serum that smooths out lines and helps seal in moisture when used in conjunction with a cream moisturizer. Many people think they can just use a serum alone for morning. You definitely can do the one-step serum routine if you’re not a makeup wearer, but many serums have a thin gel-like texture which doesn’t work well against foundation or powders so I find it essential to add a lotion or cream on top. The Truth Serum has a slight citrus scent with a gel texture. The scent fades after a few minutes. I recommend working this into the skin quickly in sweeping motions so it applies evenly and absorbs into the skin. (Ingredients listed here.)

The Sheer Transformation cream is an oil-free moisturizer. It has a very smooth texture that absorbs nicely into the skin. It’s been really good for my dry skin with the dry weather even though it has a super lightweight texture. It has a cream finish that absorbs quickly into the skin. I like that it’s a simple no-fuss kind of moisturizer. There’s no detectable scent, it’s not heavy, and it truly feels weightless after you apply it. It’s designed to even out texture and tone skin while protecting it from environmental toxins. I find it lasts nicely all day without making my skin feel greasy by afternoon (Ingredients listed here.)

The Invigorating Night Treatment is new to me. It’s a gel formula that you apply all over the face before you go to bed. I was a bit nervous about trying this one because it’s a resurfacing treatment and my skin is super sensitive. The first two nights I used this, I felt a tingling sensation and a tightening effect. The tingling did disappear after 10 minutes. It has a slightly sticky texture so blending quickly is key. A little bit goes a long way so you only need a tiny bit. I tried this alone and also with the Sheer Transformation layered on top like it was suggested. I found that it really helped as a resurfacing treatment. This year I’ve had repeated issues with acne on the chin and have some scars. After seven days of using this, the texture of my chin area has improved tremendously. It’s like getting a very gentle peel each night. My skin hasn’t cleared up to perfection, but it has improved significantly since I started using this. This has been a game changer for my complexion. (Ingredients listed here.)

A snapshot of my bare face in the morning with the serum + moisturizer below. If you look closely, you can see some scars on the temple, forehead and chin area right below the corners of my mouth. A good foundation and concealer works magic to conceal the dark spots, but I’ve been working on my skin for quite some time. The three items in the Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders has really done wonders for my skin. Overall texture has improved with the use of the three items consistently.

I’m really pleased with the results. The morning and night routine is very easy to use. If you’re like me and like skincare that is simple and quick, the 3 Little Wonders can be incorporated into your daily skincare routine very easily. I like that the products are gentle but effective. I do like special treatments in moderation so I think for me the night treatment can be used every other night instead of nightly or as a treatment for problem areas rather than the whole face. It is gentle on my super sensitive skin.

Here is what the 3 Little Wonders Set looks like, there is also trial-sized Mini 3 Little Wonders set available as well:

Right now, Ole Henriksen is hosting a sweeps for US residents. You can enter by posting a selfie to Instagram and tag it with @ole_henriksen and #3LWSweeps for a chance to win a year’s supply of 3 Little Wonders full size product. Sweeps entries will be collected through December 30th and announced shortly after (more details here). Or you can upload your selfie directly through Ole Henriksen 3LW Sweeps here to enter.

Have you tried Ole Henriksen products or the 3 Little Wonders? What are your favorite items?

Many thanks to Ole Henriksen for sponsoring this post. For more information you can refer to my Disclosures.

Beauty Travel

Travel / Trial Sized Beauty – Skincare for Face and Body

July 1, 2014

Since my last trip in April I’ve been on the hunt for more mini-sized beauty items for travel and testing. One area I always neglect in packing is skincare for face and body. I almost never check in luggage so I’m limited to one carry-on and therefore subject to the one quart-size bag rule for liquids. Squeezing in all the items into one bag is a challenge for me but I’ve learned that skipping out on good skincare usually results in ruined skin that takes weeks to recover (at least for me). This time I took extra care to plan in advance and did quite a bit of research in the weeks leading up to the trip looking for good travel-sized minis. This is what I brought with me, all of which fit perfectly into one quart sized bag. I love minis for skincare anyways as a way to test out new items without having to splurge on the full size.

  • SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser ($70 for full size) was part of a mini gift with purchase from Saks, I frequently check the Special Offers page before stocking up on the full size, this is one of my favorite face cleansers, when I don’t have minis of my regular face cleansers, I squeeze some into a little disposable container
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water (50 ml/1.69 fl oz) the mini size is part of The Favorites Set ($32) which I’ve been a huge fan of, this is a gentle makeup remover that makes the skin feel clean and moisturized (FYI there is a Caudalie GWP online for a Deluxe Size Divine Oil with $50+ purchases using code DIVINE through July 2nd)
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil / Tranquil ($10 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) is one of the mini to-go sizes for MAC skincare, I bought this to test out since I’ve been a huge fan of the regular Cleanse Off Oil, I find the Tranquil version to be more gentle with a moisturizing feel, I prefer the Regular version to remove makeup before cleansing (with long-wear makeup, I’ve found I need a few extra steps to remove every trace of primer, concealer, foundation, powder and blush)
  • Chanel Gentle Biphase Eye Makeup Remover ($34 for the full size) is a mini I stock up on with gift with purchases during Chanel events, it’s the best I’ve tried (I favor it over Lancome) that removes waterproof mascara and long-wear eyeliners without stinging the eyes
  • Giorgio Armani Regenessence 3.R Pre-Regenerative and Retexturizing Lotion ($53 for the full size) is my current toner of choice, it makes the skin feel really and soft and helps to smooth out the surface before serums or moisturizers, I got the mini size with a Neiman Marcus gift with purchase event and saved the bottle, I refill it with the full size when I go on trips or weekend getaways

  • Caudalie Divine Oil ($9 for 15 ml/.05 fl oz) is a must-have for me, I use it almost daily for the legs and arms, I love how this one smells refreshing and especially how it absorbs into the skin quickly, it’s often available in value sets like this Sephora Summer Crushes set and I’ve seen it in seasonal duos, I bought my first Divine Oil because my friend said, “at $9 you won’t be crushed if you don’t like it, but you will, you need to try it, it’s amazing” – she was right, I’m rarely without this one (it’s often in my purse)
  • Caudalie Divine Legs (25 ml/0.84 fl oz) in the mini size is usually part of yet more value deal sets, there’s one for $32 that comes with a 50 ml Divine Oil + 25 ml Divine Legs, I have super sensitive skin that often reacts to tanning and bronzing products, although this one from Caudalie doesn’t tan, it does give a nice bronzed leg effect that I found very natural, since there were mixed reviews on Sephora, I thought getting the set with the mini was good to try, I tested the Divine Legs this past weekend rubbing quickly into the legs after moisturizing with a light layer of the Divine Oil, it dried quickly but I was able to work it in quickly before it set, I wore a black dress and skirt over the past few days so I didn’t notice any transfer to clothing, I’ll have to test this one out a few more times but I liked it and didn’t experience any irritation
  • Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream (30 ml/1 fl oz) is another lovely item from The Favorites Set, I have a number of tried and true favorite hand creams, I picked this one because of the refreshing lightweight scent and compact size
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter (30 ml) is a new addition to Tatcha’s Travel Sized beauty, if you’re on their mailing list you might recognize this as one of the past gift with purchases they offered (they have special promo codes), this one will this one will be available for purchase mid to late July, you can read my full review here, some might wonder if I brought a body oil with me, did I really need to bring a body lotion as well? I could have gotten away with bringing just one, but I like the Tatcha for it’s soothing qualities, sometimes my skin acts up and gets itchy from being dry, the Tatcha Indigo line works wonders for hydration and soothing

  • Chanel Sublimage La Creme Texture Fine ($390 for the full size 1.7 oz) is one of the most amazing face moisturizers I’ve tried and also one of my biggest splurges, it hydrates the skin and keeps it looking smooth and clear, there are often minis available with gift with purchases, sometimes counters have samples to give out (they are more friendly with samples if you make a decent sized purchase) 
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($15 for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml) is one of my favorite serums, I love the small travel/trial size which is available at a good price, it’s often part of deal sets as well such as The Works, the best part is the mini packaging comes with a super convenient pump dispenser making it easy to use
  • Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ($33 for 10 ml) is the cutest mini-sized beauty oil, it’s the perfect size to test out in case you’re hesitant about oils in general (I am), when I travel, my skin tends to dry out a bit, I used this at night before bed to smooth the skin and give it an extra boost of hydration over night, on regular days, I use the oil for day 1-2x per week alternating with my regular serum/moisturizer routine, it gives the skin a super hydrated refreshed feel without feeling heavy (more thoughts on this one here)
  • Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($29 for 3 ml) came with a Barneys gift bag event offer, I love testing out mini eye creams and this one is super tiny which was good to fit into the corners of my quart sized bag, I found this one to be a bit heavy for my needs, it’s a rich creamy eye treatment I found good for overnight hydration (applied in small doses) but for everyday it will probably be too heavy for my skin type, this is the beauty of minis, you can test items to see how they work for you before committing to the full size

  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($14 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) has had so many raves on Sephora so I made a quick stop to one of the stores during my trip and picked one up. It’s described as a weightless spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours. I attended a wedding over the weekend in semi-humid weather and thought this would be the perfect time to test something like this. Most of the wedding was indoors and it didn’t last 16 hours so I couldn’t really test this to see if it lived up to its claims. I did like the lightweight feeling, it spritzes a super fine layer of mist over the face evenly (huge plus for me) and it kept my makeup looking fresh and melt-free for around 7 hours.
  • Clinique Color Correcting Superprimer ($27 for 1 fl oz, review here) was my primer of choice for the weekend for its smoothing properties, you can see the difference in the texture of the skin once applied, it works well under liquid foundations as well
  • Origins Clear Improvement Mask Pods ($8 for 4 one-time use pods) is another item I picked up during my trip, I loved the concept of the one-time use pods and am usually skeptical about pore-cleansing masks since most usually are either too strong and sting the skin or so gentle it feels like nothing (my favorite from MAC was discontinued). I used one pod during my trip and was really impressed with how well this cleansed and tightened the skin, after one use pores were visibly smaller, there is a slight tingly feeling but it did not irritate or sting the skin, based on the reviews I’ve read and my experience with one pod, this one shows a lot of promise
All the liquid/gel items in my zip-loc quart size bag – yes, they all fit including a mini perfume and bottle of Chanel foundation πŸ™‚

Overall this trip I felt like I packed all the essentials (and then some) for skin care face and body. I did skip bringing shampoo, conditioner and shower gels and relied on what was at the hotel (I was really happy that they had Neutrogena). I ended up using everything I brought with me along with the two items I purchased on the trip at Sephora. I don’t travel often so it’s taken a few tries for me to get the right mix of products while I’m away from home. I think this time I’ve finally found my perfect mix of items for skincare. (If you want to know what makeup I brought with me let me know in the comments below, otherwise you can see what I carried with me on previous trips by clicking on the Travel tag.)

Do you have any favorite travel sized beauty items? What items did you end up loving from mini-testing that made you buy the full size? Any new discoveries lately? Also if you ended up hating something from testing out a mini, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Some items in this post were provided for review consideration and some minis were acquired from various gift with purchase events. Most items were purchased by me. For more information please refer to my Disclosures.

Uncategorized

Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel + Giveaway

June 13, 2014

Currently in my rotation for eye care is the new reformulated Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel ($42 for 1 fl oz/30 ml) for night. It’s a clear aqua blue gel designed for night time treatment. This is Ole Henriksen’s new version that just launched this month. The beauty team at Ole Henriksen kindly sent me a sample to try and I’ve been extremely pleased with the results.

For some background on my current eye situation: I’m in my early thirties and I don’t have eye wrinkles yet, nor do I have discoloration or creases around the edges. My under eye area has slight texture issues and is extremely prone to puffiness. I have increased sensitivity eyes around the outer corners and the eyes get irritated every once in a while subject to weather changes. My main concerns for eyes are de-puffing treatments and prevention.

I’ve been testing a few eye creams and gels (more on the others soon) and so far have been really pleased with this new formulation of the Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel. It’s a night eye treatment designed to improve firmness and give the eyes a lifted look. This version has 30% more peptides and 600% more botanicals. It has cucumber for a de-puffing and cooling effect. The texture is a slightly thick gel. It has a slightly sticky and tacky feel once applied so once you have it on, I don’t recommend touching or rubbing the eye area.

It took me a while to get used to the sticky texture since it’s not something I’m typically used to, but I found that I actually prefer this for night. It adheres well to the skin which means it stays put. Many eye treatments have a super emollient texture which is good for the hydration and feel, but for me I find it often feels like it’s sliding off as soon as my head hits the pillow. The tacky texture of the gel helps this stick to the skin well. I’ve been testing the new gel versus the old version for over a month now. I definitely like the feel of the new one better, it has a nicer feel on the skin noticed improvement in my eye area with significantly reduced puffiness.

The application is pretty straight forward. Apply under the eye in an upwards motion extending towards the temples. A little goes a long way but I like to apply generously.

In the mornings right after I wake up (before I cleanse the skin) the area under and around the eyes absorb the product completely and eyes look more hydrated. I’ve applied this as instructed on the actual product, under the eye and upward extending slightly past the temples. Doing this has hydrated the skin making the skin less tight in the mornings. I haven’t noticed any lifting but there isn’t really anything under my eye area that needs lifting. I really like this for the help it gives me with de-puffing.

Application and ingredients:



The new reformulated Ultimate Lift Eye Gel comes in several different sizes and options right now at Ole Henriksen. They have the Full-Sized 1 oz jar ($42), Roll-On .5 oz ($28) and an Ultimate Eye Lift Kit with both ($35).

The Ole Henriksen team was kind enough to send me one extra of the full-size for me to giveaway to one lucky US reader. The giveaway is eligible for US residents only, ages 18+. Entries will be collected through June 22, 2014. There are up to four ways you can enter to win. One winner will be selected at random via the Rafflecopter widget the week following June 22nd and contacted by me via e-mail. Please refer to terms and conditions within the widget to see how to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This product was provided courtesy of Ole Henriksen for review along with an extra for a giveaway to US readers of The Beauty Look Book. For more information refer to my disclosures.