I have an updated hair care routine for summer to share today. Since moving to Florida I’ve been struggling for months to find a good shampoo + conditioner combo. The water here is so different from California and even with a filter in the home, many shampoos and conditioners simply don’t rinse or lather the same. I’ve tried a lot of my tried and true favorites alongside probably at least 15 other formulas and it’s been a real challenge to find something that works. Also with the heat, humidity, chlorine and salt my hair behaves differently. It gets dried out easily but the humidity also means sweat and oils surface so it feels like everything is just a hot mess. For a quick recap on my hair – I have long thick frizz-prone hair. It’s never been colored or highlighted (at least not yet). Many of the styling product favorites remain the same. My current favorites right now listed below.
Shampoo, Conditioners and Rinses
Molton Brown Inspiring Basil and Vetiver Shampoo and Conditioner ($30 each for 10 fl oz) is part of a limited-edition collection Molton Brown created for the Seabourn cruise line. This is my current holy grail duo. I’ve tried at least a dozen other brands and formulas over the past months and nothing compares to this duo for a good wash. It cleanses and leaves the hair feeling super soft and naturally shiny. It has a very soothing soft natural scent. I’m a bit upset it’s limited-edition as I’d love to keep repurchasing this for like FOREVER. I’m stocking up so I’ll be able to have this for a while. The entire Molton Brown x Seabourn Collection is amazing. I highly recommend you check it out.
Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture Control ($46 for 8.5 oz) isn’t shown because I’ve run out twice since moving to Florida. It was a favorite in California and is still a favorite here in Florida. I use this about 2 to 4x a week switching it out for regular shampoo/conditioner. It’s perfect to restore dry hair to a more natural balanced state.
Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo ($22 to $44) is something I keep in purse occasionally in the smaller size as a refresher. I wash my hair everyday, sometimes twice a day – it’s something I’ve always done and with the summer humidity I think it’s an absolute must. I tend to use dry shampoo as a refresher to absorb oil if I’ve been out for a while and don’t have time to go home to wash it (ie mid-day). There’s really nothing that will fix extreme humidity or wet hair from being rained on, but I find this is a pretty good fix to refresh hair. Back in San Diego there were occasions I did skip a day of washing here and there. This is my go-to for a dry shampoo. It doesn’t have a white cast and as someone with dark hair I really hate any that make my hair look dusty, ashy or grey.
MarulaOil Rare Oil Style Extending Primer ($30 for 130 ml) this is a primer spray that’s designed to extend the life of your hair styling. It smooths and primes the hair for heat styling. On me it works to detangle wet hair. I like the way it smells and it keeps hair looking smooth and frizz free all day even with humidity.
Christophe Robin Hydrating Leave-In Mist with Aloe Vera ($39 for 150 ml) is a light detangling spray with the most amazing natural soothing scent. It really does work well as a detangler. I have a slight preference for this over the MarulaOil one although they have a similar effect.
Oils and Creams
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Blow Dry Beautifier Thermo BB Serum ($39 for 150 ml) is another favorite right now. I reviewed this back in June alongside the BB Cream. Both are really good lightweight primers for heat styling or air drying. They help keep shape but in a natural looking way. If you’re familiar with Shu Uemura Art of Hair these both have a similar effect to the Satin Design Polishing Milk but have a lighter finish/feel. If you’re more of a spray person I’d recommend the Wonder Worker. You really can’t go wrong with any of them – they’ve all performed extremely well for me as multi-tasking preheat or post styling treatments. Right now I like the BB Serum the best.
Moroccanoil Treatment Light ($15 to $44 depending on size) is one of those versatile multi-taskers that great for anything. I can use this as a a styling or finishing product. I love both the regular and light version but for summer I’ve been loving this light one to add a natural shine. I can add it to clean towel-dried hair and just let it air dry. For heat treatment it helps protect the ends and keeps it looking nice and shiny.
Verb Ghost Oil ($14 for 2 oz) is another great lightweight oil. It smells fresh and light and won’t weigh down the hair. It comes with a pump (huge plus for me) and gives the hair a fluid soft sheen.
Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil (miniature shown from Morning After Kit here and here, full size here) is something I reviewed a few months ago. I still love this for both body and hair. I like this on damp hair or on ends to add a bit of shine with a nice scent.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Hair Mist ($65 for 70 ml) is a beautiful hair perfume. After all these years of hair mists I still haven’t tried many as I’d rather just spray perfume in my hair. This has completely changed my outlook. This one is light and soft and alcohol-free. It’s a soft floral with a bit of citrus and musk and mists the hair in a fine veil of scent. Lasting power is quite good on me – I was able to smell it even in late afternoon.
In terms of styling tools, I still haven’t found a brush that I 100% love for function and looks. Right now I use a CHI Turbo Paddle Brush which I’ve had for years and is pretty worn down. If you have any ones you love let me know in the comments. For blow dryers my go-to’s are in this post and you can also see my hair type there as well.
That wraps up my summer hair care loves! What are your current favorites right now? If you can share your hair type as well that would be super helpful 🙂 If you live in Florida or have traveled here for an extended time I’d love to hear what you’ve used or use while here!
Press samples include the Shu Uemura BB Serum, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Hair Mist, Christophe Robin Volumizing Paste, Christophe Robin Leave-In Mist, Molton Brown Seabourn Collection.
Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:
Shu Uemura Wonder Worker (review here) is another favorite pre-heat treatment to smooth and detangle hair, you can still find it in the Limited-Edition Murakami packaging at Barneys
Face Cleanser and Toner
Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first
Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer (reviewed here) is the best gel moisturizer I’ve used, I usually don’t like gels because they’re often not compatible with foundation, this one works for me with the foundations I use while minimizing pores and smoothing the skin
Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at home
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with
In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.
I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.
What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?
The holiday season is in full swing and finding small beauty items that fit inside a clutch or an emergency makeup bag can sometimes be challenging. The upside of holiday season for beauty is the fact that there are tons of sets with smaller sized minis that are perfect for testing out product and also compact enough to fit in the smallest of purses. I’ve picked out some favorites for quick touch ups or refreshers along with some long-lasting options that don’t require any touch ups if you’re on the go or out during holiday parties or gatherings.
Up first are picks for the lips. I’m a glossy lip kind of person whether it’s a sheer lipstick with shine or straight up gloss because they’re more forgiving when it comes to fading. You don’t get that dark ring around the edges like you do from remnants of lipstick. But sometimes for the holidays liquid lipsticks are the way to go because they last a long time and you don’t have to worry about touch ups.
Laura Mercier Kiss of Shine Lip Glace Collection (c/o) has five miniature glosses, one sparking sheer white and the others are creams, I received a press sample of the kit without names so unfortunately I don’t know what each color is called
Tom Ford Lips and Boys (c/o) are the perfect clutch-sized lipstick, current holiday favorites are Ashton, Bradley and Jake (shown)
Armani Lip Magnets are the best liquid lipstick I’ve tried because they have a satiny matte finish but don’t look like matte lips, these last a long time, longer than most lipsticks so they’ll stay put and you don’t have to worry about lipstick to teeth transfer, I bought some of the neutral shades and will have them reviewed on the blog soon (quick take is even the lighter neutrals are still on the bright and deep side, there aren’t really any nudes in the formula, at least not yet)
Stila Stay All Day, Sparkle all Night Lip Set has five mini liquid lip colors and a shimmering top coat for the lips, these dry to a matte finish and truly last all day, the set has tiny ones that are small enough to fit in the tiniest of clutches
Laura Mercier Lip Glace minis set swatched:
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks swatched:
If you need to refresh the hair Oribe is always a great option with minis and Laura Mercier has a cute compact with all the colors you need that will go with virtually any outfit you wear for day or night.
Next Oribe Gold Lust Set (Nordstrom Exclusive) has both the Dry Texturizing Spray and Dry Shampoo great for hair refreshers. In the set you also get a hair oil but it’s not really purse-friendly so it’s not shown in this post. The Laura Mercier Going Glam Palette has four neutral eyeshadows in Coffee Ground, Vanilla Nuts, Boudoir, Steal Pink, two blushesin Poesie and Bellini which are just perfect and a shimmering peach gloss in Bellini. I like that the shadows have a partition to keep the powder inside so it doesn’t transfer to the blushes.
Finding a classic simple black leather clutch under $100 is harder than it sounds like it would be, this textured leather clutch shown from Halogen fits all the things I need and is simple and sleek. For perfume there are tons of rollerball perfumes at Nordstrom. Also be sure to check out the holiday fragrance sets because lots of brands have sampler sizes and minis. I have some Jo Malone minis I saved from previous sets. This year’s Cologne Collection has Lime Basil and Mandarin, Basil and Neroli, Pomegranate Noir, Mimosa and Cardamom, Wood Sage and Sea Salt. For the cheeks as much as I love powder, for on the go you need a brush to apply so creams for parties and touch ups are the way to go for me. The RMS Mix Master is something that adds a sheer sheen and dewy glow. MAC Studio Quiktrik Sticks are double sided with a shimmery side and a contour color you can use on cheeks and eyes. I like Softly Does It/Tight and Tawny which is the one shown below. I’ve also swatched another color as well. For mascara the Stila Huge Lash is one of my favorites and it comes in a mini size in the Huger than Huge Duo.
One last look:
Hope you enjoyed this post! You can shop the items from Nordstrom below, also don’t forget to check out their Gift With Purchase page. There’s a 25 piece GWP going on right now in beauty:
What are your holiday party beauty essentials? Do you have small items you keep for your clutch?
Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.
I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.
There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.
Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.
Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.
To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.
One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!
This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.
Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bésame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.
Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambient® Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.
I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2.
I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.
That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.
The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.
For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
I have a what’s in my bag and purse review today! Many of you have asked for a review on the Céline Mini Belt Bags that I have and I’ve finally feel ready to provide my thoughts about it today. To date there are two sizes of the Céline Belt Bag and I have the smaller version called the “mini” size. It comes in a variety of material finishes, I bought two of the grained leather earlier this year in February in the Light Taupe and Black. It’s one of my larger purses but it has good proportions so it doesn’t overwhelm my petite 5’3″ frame. Full dimensions and current color options can be found on the Céline website by season. Price will vary depending on material, size and season – mine were $2,400 each before tax. They were indeed very expensive purchases and I had thought long and hard about buying them for over a year before splurging. I could not decide on a color so I did what I usually do with clothing and shoes – I bought multiples. I did think the style would be classic enough even though it’s on the trendy side. It seemed like a versatile kind of purse for my lifestyle and taste so I decided it was worth the splurge.
The Clarity Clutch Mini is shown in this post and it now comes as a standalone item (without the gold card case). Click on the Truffle tag at the bottom of this post to see other features and reviews of their products. They really help with organization and also make cute gifts!
Both of the Belt Bag I have has a grained leather which is very sturdy. It comes with gold hardware, a removeable strap, outer zip pocket and interior pocket. I usually take very good care of my purses as the ones I buy tend to be on the expensive side so I want them to stay in good condition and last as long as possible. I had placed my light taupe bag (seen here) on one of our sofas and our cat had a spurt of energy and went running and jumping over every surface he could reach in the house. He decided the bag on the couch would be something good to pounce on/attack. It survived and there is a slight noticeable scratch on the bottom front corner that you can only see if I point it out. I have since stopped putting them in areas where the cat can jump to.
The bag comes with protective studs/feet on the base so it helps keep the bottom corners looking better than if there were no studs. There’s still some contact from the way the leather bends at the base but the studs really help. The base measures about 12 inches wide by 7 inches deep so it can fit a lot of things and therefore can be easy to overload. The straps or handle are sturdy so it will carry a lot. Since I want to make sure this lasts as long as possible I try to limit what I carry so there’s not too much strain on the bag.
Mine looks slightly navy in some light, although it’s a black bag. One of my biggest concerns with bags is wear and sagging. I prefer bags that are flexible but don’t want them to lose their shape. Some bags like the Goyard St. Louis and Longchamp totes just aren’t designed to hold a structured shape so that’s understandable. But with bags like this I was worried it would lose it’s shape with wear. So far I have to say it’s held up remarkably well. It’s softened slightly after months of use but still retains it’s structure and the base is still solid without any sagging.
The one thing that took time to get used to was the clasp. The way the bag is designed there’s a round knob on the flap which latches onto a buckle as you can see below. To unlatch and latch it requires you hold the base of the bag with a hand, set it down on a solid surface or use your hip or knee to prop it open. At first it was extremely annoying as it’s not an effortless kind of bag to open/latch. I do think keeping it latched/closed keeps all your contents safe and prevents items from falling out so it’s necessary. Eventually you get used to it and for me it’s not a dealbreaker.
A look at the interior. It looks like the lining is velvet and leather. Mine is more on the navy side of black. Hardware is gold but the lighting here is a bit off due to the sunlight shining through tinted glass windows so it looks a bit greenish here.
Onto what’s inside my bag. I mentioned the Coach Glovetanned Leather Clutch in a roundup a few weeks ago after spotting it in store. I decided to order it in the Black Copper/Black color and it is exactly what I had hoped for! For years I’ve had the Goyard clutches that come with the St. Louis totes but they only have one interior pocket and because of the stitching there isn’t much room for a lot inside. The Coach Clutch is part of their 1941 Collection and comes in a soft plush Glovetanned Leather. It measures about 7″ long by 4.25″ tall. There are plenty of pockets inside: a front pocket, a larger pocket behind to fit your cell phone, a smaller pocket behind in between the front and zippered section, a zippered pocket, a back pocket, two card holder slots inside and also one opening pocket in the back. There’s a removable wristlet strap (I removed mine as I usually don’t like those). I love the sleek simple design and the size is perfect. It’s a great wallet/clutch that you can use to grab essentials if you don’t want to carry your entire purse somewhere.
The leather is soft and smooth – at this time I don’t know how well it will hold up – but in my experience I’ve bought a lot of the smooth leather Coach wallets for my husband in the past and they’ve worn really beautifully.
The Clutch in Glovetanned Leather that I bought in the smooth leather has sold out in most of the colors, but is still available in Black, Denim Teal and Grey. It’s also available in a new Colorblock version for preorder. The Bordeaux color looks really pretty and on that product page you can see the side interior view.
For the beauty items in my bag, I had three of the baby sample size Oribe sprays in the 1 oz size. I don’t carry a lot of hair products with me but I had toted 3 with me to give to a friend. To date they are usually only found in sets like the monthly Birchbox subscription boxes or as gift with purchases but you can now buy them online at Birchbox in their Oribe Styling Kit (contains 5 minis!!). I photographed 3 next to the Travel Size (size you can buy individually) for reference. I’ll have a more detailed review on the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo but first impressions are WOW. It’s really good and leaves no white residue or dusty matte looking finish like most others do.
Next I have a mini First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream inside my bag that I use for quick fixes on dry patches. It works really well for dry sensitive skin and it’s been a long time favorite. I should review their line in more detail because it’s a great one. I’ve neglected featuring it because makeup has pretty much taken over my life. It’s a favorite among friends and family. Right now they have a super cute Ultra Repair Cream Minis Kit for holiday which has two 2 oz minis. They are small enough to carry one in a makeup bag. They also recently launched it in a Vanilla Citron (c/o) scent which is amazing!!
For hands and lips I’m always carrying way too many of these in my bag. I throw one in here and there every few days and before I know it I am carrying a ton of things with me. From left to right is the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive System. It’s a travel-size nail care oil which is easy to apply without getting messy like their regular Creme Abricot. Since it’s a gel-like oil it won’t drip like regular oils and it has a brush tip applicator to control how much you dab. I’ve found it’s great for just the cuticles, especially in this dry weather. It’s expensive for the size but 100% worth the splurge.
For hands Jo Malone launched a Geranium Walnut Hand Cream for holiday and it’s incredibly emollient and hydrating. There is some slip and moisture so if you need a dry down, you may have to wait a few minutes with this one. The scent is to die for like a mini spa. The size is perfect for the purse.
That’s a wrap for my for my Céline Belt Bag review plus a peek at what’s inside my bag. On a few sale notes, the Space NK Explore Promotion ends today 10/30 (use code EXPLORE30 for $25 off orders $125 or more). The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% Off sale starts next week on 11/4 through 11/7 with code 20ROUGE 🙂
Hope you found this review helpful and enjoyed taking a peek into my frequently changing hand bag.
Press samples featured indicated with c/o next to the product names.
When it comes to hair care creams, serums or oils I have to say that I’m just simply overwhelmed with all the options on the market. However there are so many different hair types and there is so much you can do with styling it does make sense why there are so many options. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to styling my hair. I either blow dry and straighten or just let it air dry. For me I like to keep my hair on the medium to long side because it’s easiest for me to manage and also tie up in a pony tail or bun. I have medium to thick hair that is prone to frizz. It’s never been color treated although I have always been curious about the process and have been wanting to try it for a long time. My friends who have usually tell me not to though. They say once you start it’s a process you can’t really just say you’ll take a break from and that it requires a lot of maintenance.
Back to the styling. My hair is usually heat treated with a blow dryer and often a flat iron. My two favorites are the T3 PROi (c/o) and HAI Convertible Ceramic Flat Iron. I don’t mind air drying my hair on days where I’m not in a rush but I really don’t like having wet hair for an extended period of time and in the past air drying usually meant it would dry to an unflattering frizz. I would say that my main concerns for styling are controlling the frizz and flyaways without having something that will weigh down the hair or look greasy as the day progresses. Since I heat treat it frequently, finding something to protect or smooth it is also important.
Quick repost from previous articles on what my hair looks like, it varies in length depending how long it’s been in between cuts.
I’ve had a few go-to’s I would call staples but this year I’ve acquired a number of new to me products, some press samples for review and some based on recommendations from people who said “this product is simply the best.” This post has been months in the making. I’ve split the styling products by category and if you’re looking for something new or have been interested in any of these I hope this post helps you. Sometimes I’ll be in a Sephora store standing in front of the hair care section like a deer in headlights. This is going to be a long one and if you’re wondering what I plan on doing with all of these, I’m passing a good portion along to friends.
Up first are some items I am always happy to test out and try which includes blow dry treatments, primers and smoothers. I really believe adding a treatment before heat helps tremendously in detangling the hair and giving a good smooth finish.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (c/o, available at Space NK) is a pre-heat styler to condition, smooth and protect hair from heat breakage. I’ve used this one for years in the minis that you find with GWPs. It’s one of the best heat primers and smoothers I’ve used. It spritzes product evenly through the hair and doesn’t weigh it down. It is on the sweet smelling side like a mix of fruit and vanilla which is very strong when you spray it. The good thing is it does fade after your blow dry is finished. Leaves hair feeling silky, smooth and healthy looking.
Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate (c/o, available at Morocccanoil and Nordstrom) is a new concentrate that can be used pre and post heat styling. For me it had a similar consistency and texture to the regular Moroccanoil but this new one comes with a pump dispenser which is genius. It comes in a glass bottle and works to smooth hair and add shine. As a huge fan of Moroccanoil I give this one a thumbs up.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wonder Worker Air Dry/Blow Dry Perfector (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) has had so many rave reviews and I had to try it out. It was a bit hard for me to find in stores near me so I ordered it online. It works to prevent frizz and smooth hair. It is scented almost like a Byredo Gypsy Water kind of vibe but a lot lighter and sheerer. Their website claims that it instantly hydrates, detangles, smoothes, conditions, boosts radiance, tames frizz, and add silkiness. It does all of them. For my hair I still need to add a finishing product on ends for shine. Other than that it’s awesome.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Satin Design Polishing Milk (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) is another one that many love. I was torn between Satin Design and Wonder Worker so I ordered both to see what the difference. The Satin Design can also be used as a blow dry pre-treatment. Main difference is texture and consistency. This one is more like a fluid cream versus spray. It’s easy to work through the hair. Leaves hair feeling soft. Doesn’t leave hair greasy and holds up well in hot weather but it is thicker in consistency compared to the spray of Wonder Worker.
R+Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm (available at Birchbox) is amazing. I bought this in store at Space NK but it’s not listed on their website anymore. I love the way this smells and R+Co packaging is always so creative. It has a smooth fluid texture with a bit of thickness like a smooth cream.
What do you do when all the blow-dry products you’ve tried are amazing and have limited bathroom and storage space? Since I blow dry my hair very frequently and go through product fast, I can justify keeping all of these. I would say my recommendation for you would be based on your preference for consistency and packaging – do you like a spray, cream, pump or tube? If I were forced to pick one I would say kill me now. Just kidding – I have to give it a three way tie between the Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer.
Next are beachy wave sprays or what some call surf sprays. I never thought beachy wave sprays were any good because some I’ve tried in the past left my hair crunchy feeling. I do know the point of a beachy spray is to give it that tousled slightly messy undone beach look, but having hair that feels soft is still essential for me.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best surf spray I’ve tried. I love the entire Surf Line and this spray gives that sea salt beachy kind of look with texture and volume. With heat treatment it does give that windswept look like it claims. I love the way the line smells which is rare for me when it comes to beach/salt sprays. It smells lightweight fresh and what I’d think of as soft and beachy.
Oribe Apres Beach Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) has been my go-to beach spray for years. I spray it on my hair and let it air dry and hair dries to a soft natural wave without any frizz. The only downside is the price – Oribe is very pricey and with aerosols I feel like you get less bang for your buck. This one gets used up quickly by me, but I know the point of product is to be used.
Ouai Wave Spray (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a decent spray similar to the others in the sense it’s a mist that adds texture and a natural wave. It does hold the hair in place to give it that undone look. It also has the same floral scent as the Finishing Creme, which I’ll say again isn’t bad, just something I’m not a huge fan of. Performance wise it works. Scent wise, I prefer the Oribe or Bumble products. This one has a slightly heavier feel on my hair.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion (c/o, available at Space NK) is now tied with the Oribe Apres Beach spray for me. I love that you shake it up to mix contents of oil and salt. It gives a softer feel to the hair compared to the Surf Spray which I really really love. The oil adds a very natural sheen. A little can go a long way. I hands down recommend this. Works well to air dry the hair to a natural finish and look.
Top two favorites are the Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion and Oribe Apres Beach Spray.
Up next are hair oils and serums. Most of these can be multi-use products to use as a pre-heat treatment and also finishing product. I usually don’t like oils because I find they are easy to overdo and once you apply too much, it’s not like a blush that you can tone down. For me if there’s too much oil I simply just have to rewash my hair or put it up in a pony tail and hope that it helps cover a bad hair look.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is described as a lightweight oil to add shine. Reviews are mixed and I’m in the batch that finds this too heavy and greasy looking. I will say that a little goes a very long way so the quick fix is to simply use less. If you have very dry hair or have days your hair just looks like it’s had too much heat styling this is a great fix. For me it’s best as a once in a while treatment because it is very rich. For everyday it’s too much for me and easy to overdo. If you can manage how much you dispense and apply it’s very good to restore the hair’s shine and gives it a heathly look.
Ouai Hair Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is a lightweight oil to tame frizz and seal ends. If the scent of most Ouai products didn’t have that floral scent I think I would be more inclined to use them more frequently. It’s a great lightweight oil so if you’re one who has been wanting an oil that is truly lightweight but adds shine, this performs well. I like the packaging and the dispenser works well. The bottle is sized perfectly to fit easily into my hand and for that I give the line a huge thumbs up on all their styling products.
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil (c/o, available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is in my top two for hair oils because of the lightweight texture and almost-camellia like scent. I can use this as a finishing product after styling and sometimes put it on at night as an overnight treatment. Lots of love for this one and no complaints. The one I have is part of a limited-edition collaboration hence the packaging, but you can buy it in the regular clear packaging.
Moroccanoil Moroccanoil (available at Nordstrom) is the other oil in my top two. It’s a classic and I am beyond obsessed with the way it smells. I’ve gifted lots to friends and family and they all love this regardless of hair type.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime (available at Kerastase) has high ratings and raves which is why I ordered it. For me it’s excellent but also has a slight floral powdery scent that actually fades after a few minutes so it’s not a huge problem. For me it was not life changing but it’s a solid oil you can use before styling, on wet or dry hair, after styling. It’s multi-purpose and comes in a sturdy glass jar with a pump. People who’ve bought it seem to really love it. I have no complaints about it, it’s just on my favorites list.
Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil (available at Space NK) is another long-time love. I feel like this is a good oil to add natural shine and make the hair look healthy. It comes in close third behind Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura. I’ve never been let down by anything Oribe and think it’s very good.
Finishing creams and serums can perform similar to the oils listed above in the sense they add shine, give texture or smooth the hair.
Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Serum (c/o, available at Sephora) is one I received from SpaceNK but it’s no longer listed on their website. Out of all the products I tested this is one of the few where my reaction was “I don’t like it.” The words “gloss” and “serum” made me think this would be a clear product. It’s a beige cream. It’s also very sweet smelling like a vanilla cake which I’m not a fan of. Texture was thick and felt sticky. It did work well to add shine and once on the hair it did not leave my hair feeling sticky. Scent is important to me and this one I just did not like. If you’re a vanilla fan though you will probably like it.
Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream (available at Birchbox and Space NK) was previously in my Top 2 shine creams tied with Drybar’s Chaser. I still love this one for soft shine and moisture. If you have super dry hair or ends that need some love this is a great one. I love the way it smells. It adds shine and makes hair look soft and healthy with a sheen. Doesn’t get greasy or feel heavy.
Oribe Creme for Style (c/o, available at Space NK) is new to me but not a new product. This has replaced the Supershine Cream as my favorite cream. I like this one because it adds more texture and has a softer looking finish. If you like shine stick with the Supershine. If you feel like you want a softer yet textured look, the Creme for Style is it.
Drybar The Chaser (available at Sephora) has been such a long-time favorite I’ve lost count of how many tubes I’ve gone through. I’ve used this pre-heat styling and post styling. My husband has taken several of my tubes and claimed them as his own putting them in his drawers on his side of the bathroom. It adds just the right amount of shine while taming flyaways. LOVE.
Ouai Finishing Creme (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a lightweight finishing cream to give what they call a “lived-in” look. It does exactly what it claims. I prefer something that looks a bit more polished so this one isn’t really for me. It also has a floral scent that is super feminine. I’m not a huge fan of the scent but it isn’t unpleasant.
Bottom line is I stand my point of view that everyone needs a little Oribe in their life, although the Drybar Chaser has never let me down.
These aren’t really styling products but more treatment masks.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is something I tried late last year. I’ve gone through two tubs already. Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Christophe Robin in person to learn more about his line and hair care philosophy. It was a joy to meet him and chat with him about hair care. I’ll say up front the Cleansing Salt is probably best suited for those with thick hair like me. I use it once a week as a purifying treatment to rebalance and cleanse the scalp and hair. I use in place of shampoo on the days I use it. For color-treated hair it helps to soothe scalp irritation caused from chemicals. Leaves the hair and scalp feeling squeaky clean. He did suggest after a look at my hair that I follow with a rinse out conditioner since I have normal hair. I do follow occasionally with a conditioner on the ends.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is another cleansing mask. It’s softer in finish and a bit less stripping than salt scrub. It has lemon and is suitable for color-treated hair. The trick to using this is for me to apply on dry hair/scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes and slowly add water to emulsify into a foam. Rinse and hair is left clean and soft and moisturized. I’m almost done with a tub and need to replace very soon.
Ouai Treatment Masque (available at Space NK) is one I reviewed before in my shampoo/conditioner post. I didn’t really like the packaging design of these but after using them more frequently I have found I can look past it because this is one of the best restoring masks for the hair I’ve tried.
Last but not least, for texture and volume:
Edward Bess Black Sea Hair Hero (c/o, available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and QVC) is the best all around do-it-all hair product for me. I use it pre-heat stying or after to add shine and texture to ends. It’s the best smelling hair product I’ve ever tried which is hard to describe but fresh. My brother helped me shoot this a couple years ago (time flies!) and to this day it’s still a go-to. The bottle is huge and a little goes a long way.
Ouai Dry Shampoo (c/o available at Birchbox and Space NK) I rarely use dry shampoo. I’ve tried a number of brands and at the end of the day I think the concept is a bit gross. I wash my hair daily and I know some do not have the time to wash and dry it daily or find it is too stripping for the hair, but for me washing daily is a must. Still there are occasions where I’m just dead tired or didn’t wake up early enough to wash and dry my hair. The Ouai Dry Shampoo is the best one I’ve tried. It doesn’t leave a white film or cast on the hair and absorbs oil.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best volumizing product I’ve tried. I’ve mentioned before even though I have thick hair, finding a product that will actually add volume has been almost impossible for me. Most just don’t add any volume. This one adds noticeable volume. It’s a blow dry mousse and works. Leaves the hair thick and volumized all the way through.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) is hands down one of the best texturizers I’ve tried. I love the way it smells and adds volume. I use it as a dry shampoo occasionally to give a lift to roots.
Shu Uemura Ample Angora Volumizing Light Foam (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is another winner for the volumizing category. Perhaps it’s really only the foam kinds of products that work on thicker hair to really add volume. It’s a bit more lightweight compared to the Bumble and Bumble product so there’s a bit less volume with the Shu Uemura one. It smells great, volumizes, combs through hair easily and isn’t sticky.
Christophe Robin Instant Volumizing Hair Mist with Rose Water (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is one of the best smelling hair sprays I’ve tried. I’ve mentioned I do not like the florals from Ouai, this Christophe Robin has rosewater so it smells like roses but it’s the good kind of rose. On my thick hair it doesn’t add a ton of volume but it smooths everything out and leaves the hair looking and smelling amazing.
In sum, I tested about 30 hair styling products. With the exception of the tried and true favorites like the Drybar Chaser, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and Edward Bess Hair Hero, the remaining new to me items have been tested for several months. Summer humidity is relatively mild in Southern California so I can’t comment on how these hold up in extremely hot or humid weather. While traveling last summer through Europe and also earlier this year in New York, I barely used any styling product – it was so hot my hair air dried very quickly and it felt too hot to wear any serums or creams. After extensive testing, my top picks would include the following:
Best finishing product: Oribe Creme for Style and Edward Bess Hair Hero
Best oil: Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura Essence Absolue
Best heat pre-treatments for blow drying: Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer
Best volumizer: Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora
Best beachy spray or air-dry sprays: Oribe Apres Beach Spray and Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion
Best lightweight shine products: Oribe Supershine and Moroccanoil
Note if you have fine, color treated or even thicker or curly hair, some of the ones that worked for me may not work for you. As always I’d love to hear about your favorites regardless of hair type! Please share in the comments 🙂 I’m pretty stocked up on hair care for the moment but it’s something I tend to use up relatively fast.
Don’t forget that Space NK is having their Autumn Beauty Edit (huge GWP with any $250+ purchase), Barneys New York Love Yourself is going on (GWP bag with any $200+ purchase) and also next week Bergdorf Goodman will have their Rewarding Beauty event so if you have things on your list you may want to group your purchases to take advantage of the events this month. Also not on sale or part of any events, but Net-A-Porter has a Christophe Robin Essentials Travel Size Set which is nice if you want to try out items before splurging on the full size.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’m not an expert with styling in any sense and I know some of you are probably better versed when it comes to hair care. For those who are like me I hope this post helps from the perspective of a beauty junkie who really doesn’t know much about hair care products.
Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of those busy weeks where I felt like I was not able to be as productive as I had hoped. I’m relieved that the weekend is almost here. I have quite a few reviews in the works. Testing is a non-stop continuous process and I have a lot of posts partially completed – stay tuned for posts on new launches from Lancôme, Dior, Chanel, Birchbox, Cle de Peau Beaute along with the roundup/routine type posts many of you have requested. Continuing another one of my routine posts you asked for, today I’m rounding up my warm weather fragrance edit. Summer is nearing it’s end (I keep seeing end of summer promos everywhere!) but scents are the kind of beauty product I feel can be transitional in some cases. It takes me forever to use up a perfume and I tend to accumulate them in batches – there are a few of these I’ve had for a long time.
Up first are the scents I think are most unique. I don’t mind wearing popular mainstream perfumes but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little more unique.
Shown above, left to right:
Byredo Bal D’Afrique has been on my wishlist for ages. I have it in the small travel sized vial from a holiday discovery set I bought last year. I finally caved and bought the full size. It’s a sweet warm floral that I feel smells like it has apricot but it does not. Notes include bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, jasmin petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver and Moroccan cedarwood. It also comes in other formats such as the Body Wash (just splurged), Body Cream (review here), Bath Oil and is also in the current Floral Discovery Set.
Lumira Paradisium (c/o) is one of my favorites and it’s very unique. I feel I can wear this one year round. Full detailed review here. For a quick take, it has bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, heart of fig nectar, guava, vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood. It’s one of the few scents that has fig that I can wear.
Diptyque Eau de Sens (c/o) is an orange blossom which I think most will think is best as a spring scent. I agree except that this is one of the very few orange blossom scents I’ve been able to wear so I’ve been spritzing it over the summer. Also reviewed in this post here.
Oribe Côte d’Azur (c/o) is an Oribe lover’s dream come true. The signature scent that you find in most Oribe products is bottled in a perfume version and it’s amazing. If you find the hair products to be strongly scented you probably can get away with just wearing the styling creams or sprays instead of buying the perfume. I personally find the hair sprays fade in scent after a few hours, the perfume definitely lasts all day long on me.
Next are two sweet options from Urban Outfitters. These are part of the Gourmand Line and are priced at $18 each. They are both on the sweet vanilla coco side – I know many of you like vanilla-based scents. I have a hard time wearing them because so many are too strong.
Sel Ocean is described as having honeysuckle, muguet, pink sea salt which I think is an accurate description. It’s very sweet so if you don’t like sweet scents, definitely try to test before buying.
Lait de Coco is a milky white fragrance you shake to mix the contents. Notes include bergamot, vanilla praline and creamy coconut. It’s the closest scent I’ve found to the long discontinued Jo Malone Sweet Milk.
In my experience and opinion, the best date night fragrances are from Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb. It has a distinct scent that is easily recognizable but smells amazing on everyone.
There are occasional limited-edition variations launched, the Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose is a lighter version of the original with a sparkling feel if that makes sense. Top notes are grapefruit, mandarin, pink pepper, green tea. Middle notes have jasmin, orchid and rose. Base notes have patchouli and amber.
Spicebomb is the cologne version for men and it’s my husband’s favorite. It’s what I think all hot guys smell like lol. It’s more of a date night fragrance but my husband find it suitable to wear everyday. He’s already used up a travel size and full size bottle. I bought the Spicebomb Fresh for him because I often like the lighter/fresh versions. We both agreed it’s too light and not masculine enough. It’s a good one for those who like light scents but Spicebomb is better.
Last but not least, the scents that are true summer and warm weather scents that make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation somewhere on the beach.
NARS Monoi Body Glow II is the ultimate tropical vacation scent. It’s not a perfume but rather a scented body oil which I can’t get enough of. It has the most delicious monoi oil scent and has a tiare flower inside that has been soaked in refined coconut oil to capture the essence of the unique process used to make the oil. Scent lasts all day on me and gives the skin a nice glow.
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is the lightest Tom Ford fragrance launched and therefore priced at a lower price point compared to his perfumes. It’s a lighter version of the Neroli Portofino which I like on others but don’t really like on myself. The Neroli Aqua Portofino is a citrus beachy scent with hints of amber. Also featured in this post here.
Urban Outfitters Gourmand Thé Matcha is one of the few I’ve used up entirely and am on my second bottle. It’s a simple fresh fragrance that has a sweet clean green tea scent with citrus and white flowers.
My most-worn scents of the summer are the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua, Soleil Blanc and Lumira Paradisium. For evenings out or special occasions it’s been either of the Viktor and Rolf fragrances. I also really like Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau (reviewed here) which wasn’t featured in the roundup because I feel it’s moer of a fall scent, but still nice for going out.
Do you have a favorite go-to for summer? Or do you stick with scents that you wear year round? As always I’d love to hear your favorites – for any season! There are so many scent options out there it’s overwhelming to find a good scent so I rely heavily on recommendations!
Items provided courtesy for review consideration marked with a “c/o”.