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Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Summer Sunscreen Testing Part 1: For the Body

June 2, 2017

Best Summer Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

As promised I have a sunscreen roundup series of everything I’ve tested over the past several months – 95 days to be exact. The sunshine here in Florida is stronger than anything I’ve experienced in California. Our first week here both Andrew and I got burned from being outside just a mere 5 minutes simply walking around our backyard. I immediately unpacked sunscreen bottles and sprays that I had brought with me from our move and we used everything up in a matter of a couple days because we sprayed it everywhere. After using everything up we began our search for the best formulas that weren’t greasy, didn’t have that sunscreen spray, felt long lasting and were the most effective at preventing burn and tanning. Unfortunately so far the only way to avoid getting darker is to stay out of the sun or be covered up entirely. Over the past three months we’ve put quite a few sunscreens to the test.

This sunscreen edit is going to be split up into two parts: body and face. In gathering all the tubes we’ve tested, I found that there were around 25 different formulas we tried and we gave each one a thorough test run (with the exception of the tinted face ones which I tested but my husband did not). Both of us wished there was a formula that could be truly suitable for both face and body and while there are many formulas designed for multi-use, we’ve found for the most part we have to use separate formulas. Many bottles we used up entirely, mostly for the body. We each have our favorites which I’ll mention at the bottom.

Favorite Body Sunscreens | The Beauty Look Book

When it comes to sunscreen I have to admit it’s all a bit confusing. So many articles, doctors, specialists each have their own opinion on what the minimum SPF you should use. Some say sunscreens with high SPF numbers aren’t more effective over SPF 50. Others say the minimum amount you should wear is SPF 30 and if that’s the case then what’s the point of something with SPF 10 or 15? Also a look at some of the bottles I have and others online also show some have a PA rating which I wasn’t aware of. I did some research and discovered that the SPF (sun protection factor) measures how a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, but that there is another rating to measure protection from UVA rays. This apparently isn’t measured in all countries and I looked up every sunscreen I tested and most of them don’t have a rating (a PA followed by + or ++ or +++). So while most sunscreens will say they are “broad spectrum” to cover both UVA and UVB protection, it’s difficult to measure how much UVA protection there is which appears to be due to the fact that there’s no adopted standard in the US. According to, “To make sure you’re getting effective UVA as well as UVB coverage, look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients: stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.”

Then there are different types of sunscreen such as physical vs chemical. This site and this article help break it down, but still as one with super sensitive skin, I always proceed with caution. Many of my friends prefer mineral sunscreens (which are physical and chemical free) but I know some people have sensitivity to zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide which are their only active ingredients.

All that being said I’m still learning about sunscreens. We tested different formulas to see what lasted the longest and also how each formula felt on the skin. Traditionally I’ve found that I liked spray formulas because they are easy for me to apply on my own especially on my back. I’ve read mixed reviews about sprays and the biggest concern is that you don’t always know that you’re getting the proper coverage since product is prone to evaporation when you mist it before it hits the skin. With sprays we’ve both made a point to try and mist each other and give each area several layers to try and get as full coverage as possible.

Up first are a mix of what we consider to be the longest-lasting formulas and then thoughts on some sprays. For body sunscreens it’s a must for me that there’s no white cast. I know many of them look white once you apply but the color disappears after a few minutes. In general the ones with a white cast tend to feel thicker and heavier on the skin. I wanted to see if I could find something that would be effective without being thick.

Sunscreen Testing for Body | The Beauty Look Book

Shown from above from left to right. Note that a number of these are water resistant with a time limit. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been in the water for 80 minutes so I can’t report on the time claims. But I will note which ones did the best in water.

  • Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (c/o), water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%
    • This is the latest from Supergoop! and I love this one. It’s a lightweight hydrating mousse that is long-lasting with a very light clean scent. It has a whipped texture when you dispense it and it’s easy to apply and blend into the skin. It contains Blue Sea Kale to provide antioxidant protection from heat rays, and shea butter, olive and avocado oils to keep skin hydrated. My husband felt this was too hydrating for his skin and for him since he sweats more in the heat this one felt a bit heavy on him but he does agree it lasts a long time. On me it was perfect.
  • Moroccanoil Sun Lotion SPF 30 and SPF 50 (c/o)
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate (12%), Oxybenzone (6%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone(3%), Octocrylene (2.5%)
    • Both are hydrating lotions with the signature Moroccanoil scent but to me I detect a hint of licorice (which nobody else I know can smell in it so it must just be my nose). This is the most hydrating formula I’ve tried – these formulas have Argan Oil, Coconut Oil and Glycerine. Both the SPF 30 and 50 last a long time on the skin. For me I find them too heavy for every day normal use, I prefer them for the beach or outdoors. My husband on the other hand finds them hydrating but doesn’t mind the emollient feel. These have a super moisturizing feel and they do make the skin noticeably softer and helps with any dry patches or texture. The SPF 50 version noticeably helped prevent me from tanning a lot more than the SPF 30.
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 85+, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • This one is a spray that works on wet or dry skin, on dry skin I felt it was just ok. It adheres well but the drydown isn’t my favorite and it wasn’t quite as effective on me at preventing darkening. Re-application on wet skin however is another story and I wholeheartedly like this one on wet skin. For some reason I found it adhered easily on wet skin and worked when we went swimming in our pool and at the beach. Your mileage may vary on this one.
  • Supergoop! Anti-Oxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 3.0%
    • This is one I’ve used up a number of times, it does have a slight alcohol scent but it’s a non-aerosol and the bottle says it has 35% less alcohol than other sprays although it does not specify which brands they are referring to. I find the misting dispenser to be really effective at applying product. I feel like it gives a more continuous mist which dispenses more product. I like this one because it’s non irritating, easy to apply and I can get my back without getting my hands greasy and spray those harder to reach places on my own. The only downside is that excess from sprays can get on the floor so if you spray inside the floor can get a bit slippery.
  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.24%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 2.4%, Octocrylene 4.48%, Oxybenzone 2.88%
    • This is both one of our top picks, we have tried a few other face sunscreens from Kiehl’s in the past and really liked them, for this formula they have both SPF 30 and 50. It’s a semi thick cream but is easy to blend, feels weightless, doesn’t have that greasy feel and has a good dry down. This lasted well in the pool and is completely fragrance/scent free. We found it really good at protecting the skin and since it has a lightweight texture it’s easy to reapply without feeling like you have layers of product on the skin throughout the day.
  • Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 30, (c/o) water resistant 40 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • I think I would 100% love this if it had a higher SPF. This is a light weight oil spray that has skincare properties to hydrate and nourish the skin and hair. It contains organic Indonesian Nyamplung Oil to protect skin and hair from the drying effects of sun, salt water and chlorine, senna extract defends from UV damage, Plane Tree extract fights free radicals. I really like the feel and hydration this offers. I rub this on my body and any excess on my hands I apply on the hair. It has a lightweight aloe almost honey-like scent that’s completely natural. The sun and heat can dry out the skin so I love that this is an oil that nourishes the skin. I need to invest in some of their After Sun Care like this After Sun Gel Ultra-Soothing product. If you have any good burn relief products you like that aren’t sticky let me know!
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.5%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • This is another great sunscreen spray with SPF 50+ and it has no white cast. So many of you have raved and recommended Shiseido for sunscreens and I really think they have great formulas. However most of them have that white cast which I just detest. Many of you have said they fade after a few minutes and I think if you’re fair or light skin it does seem like it will disappear after setting. However on those of us with medium-tan to deep skin there’s still a contrast even with the dry down. Anyways this spray is completely clear. You can use it on both face and body but I prefer it on the body. It’s lightweight and has no greasy feel although it does have a slight hydrating effect with a glow. I found this to be very effective and long lasting in the water.

Up next are what we consider to be among the best non-greasy body sunscreens. At this point in our lives we’ve both agreed that we can live with a slightly greasy feel as long as there’s no hideous sunscreen scent. We are more conscientious about taking care of our skin. We have however found some great ones with no greasy residue.

Non Greasy Sunscreens for Body

Shown above from left to right:

  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: (See above listing)
    • Shown same as the above photo because this is in the top pick for my husband in favorites for effectiveness at protection, preventing burn and minimizing tanning while still being lightweight, quick absorbing and suitable for both face and body. For me it’s in my top three for body. It truly is non-greasy, unscented and has a nice dry down. We really love Kiehl’s – this tube is completely used up, my husband loves it for both the face and body. We need to restock soon.
  • Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, PA+++
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%
    • This is in my top 3 for lightweight sunscreens. It’s oil-free for face and body, it is enriched with their Cellular Response Technology to preserve and protect the skin’s glow – and my husband even commented that my legs looked like they had a really nice glow with this on. Because it has a no-grease residue this is another good one for me to reapply every 2 hours and as the day progresses I don’t feel like I’m layering on tons of product.
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 55
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • With this one I have mixed feelings primarily because it seems to have a lack of consistency. I bought a tube from CVS in store and then bought a multi-pack at Costco and while the product names are identical, the ingredient listing and order was not. I purchased them within a couple weeks of each other, both in Florida. I don’t know if one has a cheaper formula than the other or if they simply just changed it depending on distribution timing. This one has a creamy texture that’s semi thick but glides on the skin nicely. It does indeed have super sheer feeling finish but it’s not liquid so it doesn’t feel like it just dissolves on the skin. We both really like the formula, matte finish, long lasting effect. It did work to protect our skin – but as I’m already one who finds ingredients confusing, the difference in listings between the tubes makes me suspicious about quality.
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, Broad Spectrum 60
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
    • This brand has been recommended to me by friends and readers for years. It’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while but every time I see it in person I can’t help but be completely overwhelmed by the options! This one is actually for the face but my husband likes this on the body because of the lightweight feel and matte drydown. He feels this is one of the most effective ones for his skin and likes that if he sweats it doesn’t sting his eyes. We picked ours up from Blue Mercury but I’ve looked at the La Roche-Posay site and have been trying to figure out what to try next. If you have any specific recommendations please let me know what formulas worked for you.

That rounds up our body sunscreen testing! We only had 1 miss which wasn’t included here because we used a face sunscreen stick on our body and both broke out in a horrible reaction. It’s not included here because I suspect it was user error rather than product error. We were lucky to have a lot of hits and I was super lucky nothing caused an allergic reaction as I’ve almost always broke out in red bumps with drugstore sunscreens. In summary here are our thoughts on the best, longest lasting and what we recommend:

  • Longest lasting ones on the skin for best water-resistant formulas for both of us include the Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse and the Moroccanoil SPF 50, these are also the heaviest with the most emollient feel
  • Longest lasting formulas for skin but lightweight if you’re not in water include the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen with SPF 50
  • Best lightweight winners for my husband are the La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Anthelios 60 and Kiehl’s
  • Best lightweight winners for me are the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, I also like the Kiehl’s as well but prefer the other two if I had to only pick 2

Because of the improved lasting power of so many of these we’ve found that we need to triple wash ourselves in the evenings with shower gel. Some of these really stick to your skin! If you have any sunscreen favorites for the body let me know in the comments. Any brand recs appreciated but if you can leave the formula name as well those are super helpful as so many lines have multiple formulas it’s so confusing when I’m at the store to pick one!

Face sunscreen roundup to follow soon! For those curious about the accessories shown:

Press samples include Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray and the Supergoop! Sunscreen Mousse.


Favorite Face Cotton Pads

May 22, 2015

For many years I was a loyal user of Shiseido Face Cotton. Even though it’s more expensive than the cotton pads you find at drug stores, I found it significantly softer in texture, relatively thick and dense and didn’t disintegrate with makeup remover. I like to use it on the face to remove makeup or for skin toners. For nail polishes I mainly use drug store rounds from Rite Aid although quality isn’t consistent among all the options, many leave tiny bits of fibers on the face, so I save them for polish removal. Out of curiosity and raves from friends, I started exploring more options over the past few years. Today I have a roundup of the five cotton pads I like to rotate between. I’ve stocked up on several since I go through these quickly.


Chanel Le Coton ($20 for 100 pads) are the largest cotton pads I’ve bought. I purchased a box of the Chanel at a makeover event to qualify for the gift with purchase they were offering and fell head over heels in love. The Chanel is larger and thicker in size compared to the Shiseido. I find it sturdier but still very gentle on the skin. The square is large enough that I can use one half for my dual-phase eye makeup removers and the other half for cleansing water for the rest of my face. Just when I found my holy grail of luxury cottons, Chanel discontinued it for a while which broke my heart. Thank goodness they brought it back. The thickness allows for just the right amount of toner or makeup remover to be absorbed and apply to the skin. This is by far my favorite. These come in a white box which helps keep the shape in tact and protects the cotton from getting smashed.


A few friends told me to try the face cotton from Clé de Peau Beauté ($20 for 120 pads) stating it was the best thing they’ve ever used. A couple readers had e-mailed me too saying they thought I should try it so I did. It’s really quite amazing. It’s the thickest of all the cotton pads I’ve tried but still has a relatively tight weave making it sturdy. In terms of size it’s larger than Shiseido but smaller than Chanel. I like that these come in a box so they keep the shape.


Shiseido Facial Cotton ($9.50 for 165 pads) is a classic staple. It’s soft but firm and won’t fall apart easily. One pad is sufficient for the entire face. It is thinner than Chanel or Cle de Peau Beaute though. These come in a soft plastic casing without any support so make sure you store them away from things that can smash the package or else they will become smushed.


Rite Aid and CVS have cotton pads that I buy frequently. Below are the Premium Cotton Rounds from Rite Aid. I prefer the ones with a vertical line weave at the top versus the honeycomb because I find those softer in texture and they also don’t leave any fibers on the face but I can’t always find those specific ones. These run around $3-$4 depending on the store and what sales they have going on.


Sephora Collection Soft Touch Cotton Pads ($4 for 70 rounds) are softer than most drug store brands. Since they are smaller and thinner I usually need 2-3 rounds to remove my makeup entirely. For the price if you can get away with one pad these are really good although they are significantly thinner and not as plush as the Chanel, Shiseido or Cle de Peau. I had hoped these would be the same as the other luxury cotton rectangles at a cheaper price. They just aren’t the same.


In summary, my top two picks are Chanel and Cle de Peau Beaute – it’s impossible for me to pick between the two. Shiseido is the next best option but still not as thick or plush and the smaller size means I have to use 2 pads on occasion. A quick reference on pricing and availability of each. You can find the cotton at a number of retailers, I’ll list places I’ve bought mine before:

Do you have a favorite facial cotton? What have you tried, liked or didn’t like?


Sephora Haul for the VIB Rouge 20% Off Sale

November 11, 2014

Several have e-mailed me asking what I bought from Sephora for the VIB Rouge/VIB 20% off sale which ends tonight at 11:59 PM PST online. I went in store last week with a list of items I wanted to restock. I should have ordered items online because I tend to get easily distracted in store, but it is always fun to play with the items and see them in person.

What I picked up:

  1. Shiseido Eyelash Curler – I used this many years ago, the design appears different from I remember it to be, but I’m not 100% sure if it has changed. I’ve heard good things about this one (the Chanel artists I buy from say they buy the Shiseido ones). I’ve decided to give it another try.
  2. Formula X Delete Nail Polish Remover – I’ve gone through another bottle and needed to replenish. (Review here.)
  3. Phytojoba Shampoo – this is my all time favorite shampoo, I haven’t repurchased in a while, but the sale seemed like a perfect time to buy a replacement.
  4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment – this is a replenishment purchase. One jar has lasted me since the August summer surge event and I really like this mask for clearing up the skin. I find it super effective at drawing out dirt. It is gentle enough for my sensitive skin. I bought it back in August because a friend recommended it as the best one out of all the Glamglow masks, I haven’t tried them all yet, but I really like it.
  5. Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment – this is something I tried 2-3 years ago. I received a sample but the tingle sensation really freaked me out so I removed it immediately and ended up giving my jar to a friend. I received a small sample packet that I tried again recently and found the tingly (slightly burning) sensation disappeared after 30 seconds and didn’t cause a bad reaction like I had expected. The skin was left with a tighter feel and felt refreshed. I will have to do more testing to compare the two masks, but this one works well for me too.
  6. Bite Beauty Mix N’Mingle Lip Mini Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Papaya – this was an impulse buy I picked up while waiting in the checkout line. It was too cute to pass up. I contemplated the larger Mix N’Mingle Set too but decided to wait.
  7. Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop in Volver and Au Revoir – both are cream shadow sticks that come in a twist up tube. Volver is a sparkling peach and Au Revoir is a shimmering taupe. Both are very sparkly but looked really really pretty. I’ve played with these numerous times at Sephora but never caved. I’ll have a review after testing these over the next few days.
  8. Urban Decay Naked Basics – After I did a feature on my Urban Decay favorites, many of my readers insisted that I check out the Urban Decay Naked Basics. I decided to give this a try because of so many raves. I’ll have a report as soon as I have it tested. It does look promising.
  9. NARS Tasmania Lip Gloss – This was an “oops” buy. I already own this color but did not remember that I did. (Swatched here.) Not a problem though, I have a friend I know who will take this off my hands happily.
  10. Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Vertigo – This is a gift for my mom. She likes brighter colors, this is a mix of plum and fuchsia and pink which is right up her alley.
  11. Urban Decay Urban Obsessions 500 Point Perk – this palette has four shadows in Skimp, Bust, Guilt and Oil Slick with a mini Zero Pencil. I believe it was available online as well to redeem points for but I just checked and didn’t see it.

What I also thought about but didn’t pick up: Beautyblenders, NARS Virtual Domination palette and  a couple more of the Dior Rouge Baumes (first round of picks and swatches here). I have them sitting in my virtual shopping cart online, I’m going to probably pass and think about them some more.
If you’re shopping online, the sale ends tonight at 11:59 PM PST, use code GIFTROUGE at checkout if you’re VIB Rouge or code GIFTVIB if you’re a VIB.

Did you buy anything during the Sephora sale? I’d love to hear about your picks!

On My Radar / New in Beauty

August 19, 2014

A few new items on my radar this week:

  1. Truffle Privacy Clutches have just launched in 4 colors Dove Grey, Blush, White and Seaglass
  2. Edward Bess has designed a new Ultra Slick Lipstick in Betty named for personal shopper Betty Halbreich, an emblem of style at Bergdorf Goodman since 1976
  3. Urban Decay Naked Basics2 just launched today on (it will be available at other retailers later this fall)
  4. Make Up For Ever launched their new Artist Shadows (over 200 shades), I quickly swatched a few in-store a couple days ago but didn’t have time to look in detail, the texture seems super soft and pigmented
  5. Guerlain Les Sables Four Pan Palette is one of three Guerlain eye palettes to launch early fall
  6. Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick is a new formula that comes in over 20 shades, there are a number of stunning soft rose pinks, I have my eye on Fall in Rose, Baby Rose, and Golden Girl
  7. MAC Prep + Prime Finishing Mist is supposed to be the regular Fix+ in upgraded packaging, I’ve been a huge fan of the regular Fix+, I hope the formula didn’t change too much (or at all really), if you’ve seen this, do you think it’s the same?
  8. Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is Shiseido’s latest for anti-aging and skin smoothing, it claims to give your skin the ultimate glow in just one week, I’ll have to investigate and see if I can find a small sample
  9. Bobbi Brown has a new limited-edition Smoky Nudes Eye Shadow Palette, I’ve found these to be hit or miss in the past with formulas, the colors look stunning from stock photos
  10. Bobbi Brown Sandstone Shimmerbrick is a repromote with the Smoky Nudes collection, it is one of my favorites of all the Shimmerbricks, if you missed out before I highly recommend you check this one out
  11. Bobbi Brown has four new Creamy Matte Lip Colors in Nude, Warm Nude, Soft Nude and Pink Nude, all of these colors look like they are right up my alley, although I’m not a fan of matte lips, I might make an exception if the colors are naturally flattering
What’s on your fall beauty radar?


My Current Skincare Routine

October 26, 2012

Many have asked me to share my skincare routine. I had plans to write about it earlier in the summer, however just when I was ready to publish the post, my skin decided to act up (about 3 months ago) and certain problem areas would not clear up. I thought it could be attributed to stress or weather changes. I tried a number of different things: I drank more water, changed my eating habits, washed my brushes and pillow cases more frequently etc. After several months of no improvements, I decided it was time for a skincare change. My prior routine consisted of: Clé de Peau Beauté’s Gentle Cleansing Foam or Clinique’s Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, La Mer’s The Tonic, Clé de Peau Beauté Eye Cream, Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Day Cream, and Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water (plus the occasional mask treatment). I suppose my skin became so used to holy-grails that the items became less effective (if that makes sense).

Thanks to the help of my trusted sales associates from various brands, I was given some recommendations and mini sample packets to try. In just a short time, my skin has cleared up and is almost back to it’s normal blemish-free state. I also changed my foundation routine. My holy grail loves started to seem a bit heavy (but still amazing).
My current skincare routine is split up into two categories, The Basics and The Extras. I’m not a skincare expert and unfortunately can’t elaborate on the benefits of each product, nor do I have the ingredients listing on the items. This is a list of what works for me. I’m hoping others who have tried the same can chime in the comments below. Also check out Makeupalley Product Reviews – this is an excellent resource.

The Basics:

  • Morning CleanserClé de Peau Beauté Gentle Cleansing Foam ($63) is one of my holy grail cleansers, it’s a gentle foaming cleanser, a little goes a long way leaving the skin feeling clean but not dry. I’ve repurchased this numerous times.
  • Night CleanserDior Purifying Foaming Cleanser ($33) was recommended to me by my local Dior artist. The Cle de Peau became less effective for me, so she recommended that I try this one from Dior. I found it to be amazing in terms of really purifying and cleansing the skin. Given the weather changes, I found it to be a bit too stripping for both morning and night, I like to use this one in the afternoon/night because it removes the makeup better.
  • Toner Giorgio Armani ‘Regenessence 3.R’ Pre-Regenerative & Retexturizing Lotion ($48) is a gentle toner that works to refresh the skin and noticeably improved my skin texture. I have not purchased this item yet, I received a generously sized sample in one of the Neimans Armani Gift With Purchase sets (they have generously sized skincare samples). So far it’s lasted me 3 weeks and counting. I intend on purchasing once it’s used up.
  • Moisturizer/Serum Giorgio Armani ‘Luminessence’ Bright Regenerator Concentrate ($150) is a brightening concentrated serum. I actually really liked some of the creams by Armani but my Armani artist felt that they would be too heavy for my skin and age (31). He personally said he loved the Luminessence Concentrate and used it under makeup alone (no other moisturizer or creams, other than eye cream). He made a small sample for me which I’ve been testing. So far I love it. I’m waiting for a gift with purchase event before I buy since it’s pricey.
  • Eye Cream Clé de Peau Beauté Intensive Eye Contour Cream ($250) was gifted to me by Cle de Peau and Neiman Marcus a year ago. I had my doubts about it’s effectiveness, but it’s everything it says it is. I’ve tried a number of eye creams (Clinique, NARS, Shiseido, Chanel, Lancome, Dior) but am still at the stage in my life where eye cream isn’t a necessity yet. I don’t have under-eye wrinkles or creasing (yet). All women told me to start using eye cream in my early 20’s so I did occasionally. I never saw any changes, nor did I feel anything different. The Cle de Peau is the first that I’ve actually seen and felt results. It fully hydrates the eye area and gives a smoothing finish with the moisture. It doesn’t dry out and it isn’t too greasy. It’s the perfect prep for a bit of concealer under the eye because it primes the skin for a more natural look (sometimes concealer can look a bit cakey under the eyes, the CdP helps prevent that). My husband uses this too.
  • Essential CottonShiseido Facial Cotton ($9.50 for 165 squares) is by far the best facial cotton out there. I’ve tried many other brands and nothing compares for me. The Shiseido is perfectly sized, very soft and gentle and sold at a decent price. They are more expensive than drugstore cotton but well worth every penny.

The Extras:

  • Cleansing WaterKoh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($39) reviewed here is my go-to for removing makeup from the face in the afternoon (before cleansing), it’s also perfect for cleaning up eyeshadow-fallout around the eyes.
  • Mask Koh Gen Do Brightening Moisture Mask ($75) is pricey but lasts a long time. I did a brief feature here before. To recap, this is a great purifying yet moisturizing mask. The Macro Vintage Face Masks are equally amazing, but the Brightening one helps purify while the Macro Vintage moisturizes and hydrates more.
  • Eye Makeup Remover Chanel Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover ($32) is one of the few eyemakeup removers that really removes all traces of mascara without burning my eyes, Neutrogena’s is also awesome but has a slightly more emollient feel.

I hope this helps give you ideas on what works for me. Everyone’s skin is different so I can’t say these will work for everyone. My skin is normal but sensitive. I try to keep skincare items I use minimal. Most of the testing has to be done over long period to see if it really works. I also usually test only one new thing at a time while keeping the rest of the routine the same to test the effectiveness of that one product (even though sometimes it’s a combination of products that may make something work better). Also due to the pricey nature of skincare, I try to spread out my purchases. Most of the items are long-lasting with a little product going a long way.

Spring 2011 Previews from Maquia February 2011 Issue

December 26, 2010
I scanned these from Maquia’s February 2011 issue. A few sneak peeks of what’s to come. Note, I cannot translate this so I won’t be able to answer questions about the products, your guess is as good as mine is. However, there are number indicators on some of the products which help me try to figure out the coordinating product number to name. Also note Maquia is a Japanese publication so I don’t know if the US will get all the items featured, I know in years past we haven’t, but I’m not sure about this year.

For more previews, check out Rouge Deluxe for her preview scans/photos from Biteki’s February 2011 publication. She’s great at finding out new information and has a number of sneak peek and links to previews of stuff coming out this spring.

At the moment I have no information about what else is coming out or when items will be released except for Chanel, MAC and Bobbi Brown: I do know the Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful palettes have been released, I saw them at Nordstrom this morning but passed since they combine creams and powders in the same level for the palette – a BIG NO-NO for me.

Please do not republish these on message boards, blogs, websites or anywhere else as it took me some time to scan each in and format them to fit this blog. Thank you.


What’s Your Favorite Lip Balm/Lip Treatment?

November 13, 2009

Do you have a favorite lip balm? I’ve always had an obsession with tinted and flavored lip balms which started in high school (over 10 years ago) with Vanilla Lip Smackers, The Body Shop Kiwi Fruit Flavored Lip Balm, and SoftLips Lip Balms.

Trying out different lip balms has always been a relatively inexpensive and fun hobby for me with the different scents and flavors, but for years I could never find one that properly moisturized my lips. I have full lips that tend to dry easily with certain brands of lipsticks – but in recent years, thanks to some new product releases, I have finally found some that work for me.

Tried and true:

  1. MAC Tendertones $14.50 – these were limited edition, I hope they bring these back eventually
  2. C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm $5.50 – soothing almond scent, from Bath & Body Works (there’s a promotion for buy 2 get 1 free right now)
  3. NARS Sabrina Lip Treatment $24 – a light milky pink with shimmer with a watermelon scent
  4. MAC Tinted Lip Conditioners $14.50 – the ones I have are in the older packaging and were part of limited edition collections like the Luella and Disney
  5. Aquaphor $6 for a 2-pack at CVS – thanks to a very sweet swapper who included this as an extra for me to try and got me hooked!

Trying out right now:

  1. Shiseido Water In Lip Sakura $8 – found this at my local Japanese supermarket
  2. Bobbi Brown Glitter Lip Balm in Pink Crystal – part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Set which is $40 for the lip balm and a creamy lip color
  3. L’Occitane Vanilla Fondant Lip Balm – from the Vanilla Hugs & Kisses Holiday set which is $18 for the lip balm and mini Vanilla Shea Hand Cream
  4. Paul & Joe Disney Milky Lip Treatment $18 – couldn’t resist the cute packaging
  5. C.O. Bigelow Lemon Pomegranate Lip Cream $7.50 – from Bath & Body works
  6. Korres Lip Butter $9 each or $19.50 for 3 at Sephora – I’ve heard a lot of raves about these, so I stopped by Sephora to check these out

What are your favorites?