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Haircare

Summer Haircare Loves

August 16, 2017

Summer Haircare Loves Styling and Shampoo | The Beauty Look Book

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.
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste with Pure Rassoul Clay and Rose Extracts ($53 for 250 ml) is seriously an amazing volumizing past. You apply it to dry hair and scalp, add water and it foams up into a volumizing paste that feels airy and thick at the same time. It leaves the hair bouncy and full without any added weight.
  • 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.

Styling Sprays

  • 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.

Hair Perfume

  • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

 

Beauty Favorites Loving Right Now

Loving Right Now

May 4, 2017

Loving Right Now, On My Beauty Vanity | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s almost the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a roundup of some things I’ve been loving right now. So many of you have been asking for lightweight foundation recommendations. I’ve traditionally been a medium to full coverage kind of person and those who have met me in person are usually surprised that I’m wearing full coverage foundation set with a powder foundation. I suppose this is a good thing because that means it doesn’t look heavy or caked on! With the Florida sunshine and heat I’ve found that I have been loving lighter sheerer foundations. I’ve really liked the MAC Next to Nothing Foundation and Powder combination. I do still need concealer since the formula is so sheer but I love the weightless feel. I just bought some cushions from Sulwhasoo and Saturday Skin and also the NARS Hydrating Glow Tint (it was available online at Nordstrom a few days ago but looks like it’s been pulled from the site). I’ll have a warm weather base roundup in the upcoming weeks.

MAC Next to Nothing Foundation Powder | The Beauty Look Book

For highlighters I really can’t get enough of the gorgeous NARS Banc de Sable Highlighting Trio. I love the packaging, the sturdy compact and the finely milled smooth shimmers in this formula. The size of the pans is decent too so it’s easy to dip a cheek brush into them or swirl together. Swatches of this beauty here and here.

NARS Banc de Sable highlighting palette | The Beauty Look Book

I haven’t always been a fan of RMS Beauty but the more I try the more I love. My first product I bought was the Living Luminizer years ago and even though it has cult-status it just wasn’t for my skintone or skintype. The second item I bought was the Solar Eye Polish which is a golden shimmer. It’s a dewy kind of shimmer which I absolutely love. I used it up entirely many years ago and never repurchased until I saw the line pop up at Nordstrom and I’m thrilled to see it available at Sephora now too ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought Mix Master a while ago and it’s what I wanted the Living Luminzer to be on my skin. It has a peachy tint which blends in with my skintone to give it the softest dewy sheen. Because I liked it so much I ordered the Magic Luminizer sight unseen which is paler and gives my skin more of a highlight. I think the Magic Luminizer will be better suited to lighter/fair skins but I still really like the glowy effect it gives. If you want glow without the shimmer these are definitely worth looking into.

Tom Ford recently launched a smaller newly packaged version of Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust and I received an overwhelming amount of e-mails asking if it was the same as the second one launched in the square bottle. Having multiples is redundant but I decided to order it for my readers who don’t have access to the brand or want to know. I assumed they would be the same but since so many of you asked I had to find out for myself. Below left is the new Fire Lust 0.5 oz ($50) and right is the original Fire Lust 1 oz ($72).

Swatches below next to the Shimmer Shots in Spin Spin Sugar and Lust for Life. Also the small vs large Fire Lust swatched. I deem them to be almost identical. In the swatches the new small Fire Lust is slightly more peach while the original Fire Lust has more visible gold. However once blended on the face the difference is impossible to see. Formula-wise they have the same feel, same pigment, same texture and finish. Based on the price per oz the larger one is the better buy but you may like the packaging design of the smaller one better. At any rate I hope this saves you money if you already have a Fire Lust from previous years.

For lips neutrals and nudes are always winners in my book. A few favorites include YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick in Beige Blouse (previously reviewed/lip swatched here). I’ve also been loving the Surratt Lip Lustres in Au Naturelle and Ensoille (both swatched here).

Surratt Lip Lustre and YSL Beige Blouse

Surratt Lip Lustre and YSL Beige Blouse

Last but not least some skincare, fragrance and haircare loves:

Skincare and Fragrance Loves

Some thoughts on the items shown above from left to right:

  • Chanel Huile de Jasmin is a beautiful face oil. It has Camellia Oil, Limnathes Alba Oil and Jojoba Oil. It’s wonderfully lightweight and has a beautiful soft floral scent. I’ve been loving this at night but find it also wears well during the day under foundation. My personal preference is to not wear oils under foundation because sometimes they can break down makeup. My super sensitive skin loves this for one of the more lighter weight oils that offers nice hydration without any heavy feel. I received this as a press sample and it’s pricey but I would have no regrets splurging on this and will definitely repurchase once mine is used up.
  • Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt is something I finally splurged on and I’ve been obsessed. It’s perfect alone and for layering. It’s a great year-round scent and I love it as a great alternative to spring florals. I know that not everyone loves florals and it can be tricky to find a scent that isn’t floral, spicy, or beachy. This is a unique option that’s different.
  • Verb Ghost Oil has been a favorite for months. I’ve already gone through one bottle. I love the size, the pump and it’s the best smelling fresh hair oil I’ve smelled. I love that it’s lightweight and won’t make the hair look greasy. Review of this one along with other hair oils in this post here.
  • Last but not least I’ve discovered some new favorites from Tatcha. The Essence is something I’ve already featured and I love it. I’ve also loved the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence but never repurchased due to the price. The Tatcha is similar in concept but it feels just a tiny bit more lightweight and doesn’t leave a film on the skin like some other essence products do. I know the point of some essence is to feel it, but I’m all about weightless and the Tatcha is one I’ve been using daily for several weeks now and it really helps other skincare absorb better into the skin. There were two new creams that they launched including The Silk Cream and Water Cream. I didn’t know which one to try for my skin type so I bought the Starter Ritual Set for Normal to Oily Skin and love it. I brought these along with me on recent trips and the size is just perfect. For Tatcha moisturizers I’ve only found one that I love for my normal combo skin which is the Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer. I love their serums and sheet masks but in general the line seems more geared towards those with dry skin. The Water Cream has a more lightweight feel that almost has a water like feel on the skin. Tatcha describes this as being a unique water-burst cream that breaks upon application and it does just that. It’s so lightweight it feels like it might not do anything but I put it to the test and absolutely love this one. It’s the lightest cream I’ve ever tried and it offers just the right amount of hydration for my normal skin. If you’re unsure of which moisturizer to try they have four different Ritual Starter Sets for Normal to Dry Skin, Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin and the one I bought for Normal to Oily Skin. I’m buying more for upcoming trips as they’re great for travel.

Loving Right Now | The Beauty Look Book

Shown in top and bottom image, mirror from Anthropologie, black marble trivet from Willams-Sonoma, table from Crate and Barrel. Rose-gold eyelash curler from Charlotte Tilbury. Card case by Gucci. Recycled candle by Byredo (color is limited-edition).

That wraps up my Loving Right Now roundup for this week! What are you loving right now? P.S. I’m doing a fun giveaway on Instagram with Antica Farmacista – details on how to enter here.

Press samples featured include MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Fire Lust (larger size), Chanel Huile de Jasmin Oil.

Haircare

Hair Oils and Dryers for Smooth Shiny Hair

December 5, 2016

Hair Dryers and Oils for the Perfect Blowout

Many of you have asked how I maintain my hair for that smooth and healthy shine so today I’m sharing some thoughts on hair oils and dryers I’ve put to the test. I’m always trying new things in hair care as I have thick and unruly hair that requires heat styling and product to smooth out the frizz. Over the years I have tried dozens of creams, sprays and oils over the years and my favorite items are the multi-tasking ones. In my experience creams are best for adding a bit more texture and shine, sprays are great to evenly disperse product through the hair and comb through, oils are a good in-between kind of option. Finding the right hair dryer can be tricky and take time. It took me a long time before I was willing to spend over $100 on one but doing so was life changing and worth every single penny. Even though a high price tag can be off putting, I would say don’t let the price tag scare you. There are a number of hair dryers that do make it possible to get a perfect salon quality blowout at home. Today I’ve teamed up with Sephora to share thoughts on three new-to-me hair oils and how they compare to some others I’ve tried. I was also able to put two hair dryers to the test and have a pros and cons list on each.

Hair Oils Madame CJ Walker Living Proof Ouai Oil

Up first is a look at some of the oils. Smell is extremely important to me as I have a sensitive nose and usually prefer something that isn’t too strong so it won’t interfere with my perfume of the day. In terms of texture I like oils that have more of a lightweight finish so it won’t weigh down my hair as the day progresses. Moroccanoil Treatment has been a long-time staple because it’s versatile and works every time without fail to help detangle and tame flyaways. I love the argan oil scent and it’s one that I can use without having to worry about it weighing my hair down. Thoughts comparing six different oils below.

Hair Oils Ouai, Living Proof, Moroccanoil, Madame CJ Walker, Verb Ghost

Notes on each from left to right. Each brand describes the oils as multi-tasking oils and suitable for all hair types. I do find most of these versatile. Thoughts on each one below:

  • Ouai Hair Oil ($23 for 1.7 oz) is a lightweight oil designed to control frizz, nourish hair and protect hair from color fading. It is indeed a luxurious rich oil but comes with a floral scent that I’m not a huge fan of. It’s not a deal breaker for me but if it had a different scent I would reach for it more frequently. The best part of the oil is the packaging. It comes in a pretty package and the pump is well designed to dispense just the right amount of product.
  • Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil ($38 for 3.4 oz) is described as a fast-absorbing oil and is designed for coarse hair. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see what my hair looks like with one drop. It’s described as a nourishing oil and for my hair it did add a nice healthy shine. It has that signature fresh scent all living proof hair products have but is light and doesn’t overwhelm you. Texture was easy to work through the hair – Living Proof has something they call OFPMA technology incorporated into this to block frizz and lower surface tension to help formula spread evenly. It does exactly what it claims without making the hair feel heavy. I did need to add one more pump after drying on the ends to help seal and smooth split ends.
  • Moroccanoil Treatment ($34 for 1.7 oz) is a classic I would say everyone should try, if you have thicker, dry or coarse hair. The only downside is that these do not come with a pump which would make application easier. After using this pre-heat treatment the hair is easier to manage as it acts as a detangler and hair is soft and shiny. It does work to strengthen the hair as well.
  • Moroccanoil Treatment Light ($34 for 1.7 oz) is similar to the regular one, if you have fine hair or oily hair, this will probably be the better option for you. For my thick hair this works just as well but has a noticeably lighter texture and finish. When I use this hair is light and fluffy but frizz-free. Both the oils cut down drying time with a dryer.
  • Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Scent and Shine Coconut Oil ($26 for 1.7 oz) is a strongly scented oil that smells of sweet coconut and vanilla. I am normally not a fan of sweet scents for the hair but if you look at the reviews on Sephora there are a lot of other women who love it. This one has a thinner texture and absorbs quickly into the hair. For those with curly hair it’s supposed to maintain your curls but since I style my hair straight I can’t report on that aspect. As a finishing product it makes the hair ends look super healthy. If you like vanilla scents I think you will love this. For me it’s too strong to wear throughout the hair but I can apply it on the ends as a finishing product.
  • Verb Ghost Oil ($14 for 2 oz or $18 for this duo set) is one I bought a few weeks ago because I was researching hair products online and this looked really interesting to me. It’s a clear restorative oil with a moringa oil blend which is great for dry or damaged hair. It smells amazing – it’s hard to describe but I would describe it as fresh and lightweight. It is one of the best lightweight oils I’ve tried that really almost disappears into the hair as it absorbs quickly and blends nicely into the strands. It does what it claims: removes frizz, smooths hair and adds shine.

Next are three dryers from T3, ghd and Drybar. When it comes to dryers aside from overall performance I’m also concerned about noise level and weight. Since I have thick hair I sometimes dry my hair in sections or layers from the bottom to the top which takes extra time. Finding a dryer that isn’t too heavy is important so it doesn’t weigh down my arm. The noise level is something I take for granted until I use one in a hotel on a trip and realize how loud the motors are.

T3 PROi ghd air professional drybar baby buttercup

T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer ($350) is the most expensive hair dryer I own and I’ve had for over a year now. It was in my top 2 dryers for giving my hair a salon quality blow out. It has a Tourmaline and Ceramic electric ionizer designed to emit negative ions and infrared heat to help seal ends and eliminate frizz. There are two nozzles with a wide and narrow tip that allow you to concentrate air in different ways. It truly does work to give you an amazingly smooth blowout. There are three heat setting options, a cool shot button and two speed settings which is great for those who want more control. The aesthetics and design are amazing. This is the prettiest dryer I own. I’ve tried a number of other T3 dryers and found them just ok but the PROi works a lot better than the rest. Even though it’s on the large side it isn’t too heavy. The noise level is low which makes it pleasant to use.

Two downsides include the size and dry time. This is a full size dryer which means it will take up a lot of counter or drawer space. It also means it’s not travel-friendly. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but as someone who prefers tools that are more compact this is larger than I would like. Still it performs well and I’ve found space to store it. The other downside is dry time but I will say there is a trick to using this one. Most of the complaints I’ve seen online is that for the price this should cut down dry time but many have reported it does not. It has a powerful motor which does emit a lot of concentrated air but if you blow dry your hair from the time it is completely wet it will take extra time. The trick to cutting down dry time is to make sure your hair is towel dried and to rough the hair first. This may seem like an extra step but it will only take a few minutes and getting it roughly dried to about 80% as they recommend makes a huge difference for the remainder of the drying process. After rough drying divide the hair into sections and dry them with either of the nozzles. I’ve used this a number of ways and will say that I usually don’t mind how long it takes to dry my hair as long as the results are good. This one gives smooth frizz-free full looking hair every time.

T3 PROi Dryer

ghd Air Professional Performance Hair Dryer ($199) is new to me and quite impressive. It’s smaller and more lightweight than the T3 but is the motor has a smoother quieter sound and yet emits a stronger feeling air stream by comparison. This one truly cuts hair drying time up to 2x faster like it claims. It has ionic technology to keep hair free from frizz and give a smooth finish. There are two heat settings plus a cool option, a cool shot button and two speed settings. The nozzle tips are skinnier which help force air into a more concentrated flow. Dry time is at most 10 minutes but I was able to cut it to down to 7 minutes from towel dried to completely dry. I can’t think of any cons with this one although the nozzles can be a bit hard to remove. Once they are on they are locked in pretty tight – but the upside is that they don’t move around easily if you run your hair through a stiffer brush.

ghd Air Professional Performance Hairdryer

ghd Air Professional Performance Hairdryer

Drybar Baby Buttercup Blow Dryer ($135) is one of the cutest hair tools I’ve seen. My husband actually bought me the full size Buttercup Dryer quite a few years ago and I liked it a lot but it took forever to get my hair dry with it. I’ve mentioned that long dry time isn’t a deal breaker but sometimes having something that gets the job done 2-3 minutes faster makes a huge difference. I was eager to see how the Baby Buttercup compared and think it’s better than the full size. It does have a louder motor compared to the T3 PROi or ghd air professional but it’s not too loud that it bothers me. Since this one is smaller and more compact they’ve combined the heat and speed settings into the same button. It’s a powerful one even though it’s small and dry time is pretty quick with this. I love that it folds into a compact size and comes with it’s own drawstring bag that says “I’m Full of Hot Air” which is perfect for travel. Performance-wise it’s a lot better than the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer which I bought a couple years ago but I know a lot of others really like that one. The Drybar Baby Buttercup has better drying power, cuts the drying time, doesn’t dry out the hair and gives a nice smooth blowout. The only downside is since it’s small the options for heat and speed are limited but that’s expected with the compact design. It gets the job done and is one I’ll be taking with me on my trip this upcoming week.

Drybar Baby Buttercup Dryer Drybar Baby Buttercup Dryer

Blow out how-to before and after with the Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil and ghd Air Professional Performance Dryer. Total time from towel-dried hair to a completely smooth blowout was around 8 minutes. For oils I usually apply 1 to 2 pumps from ends and work my way up. Note there are a number of ways to blow dry your hair. I often use clips to divide and section my hair but sometimes parting it without clips works too.

  1. Wet hair and work oil from ends all the way throughout hair
  2. Rough dry everything from the ends
  3. Move the dryer to the roots and rough dry some more for a more textured layered look
  4. Run a brush and dry in sections, I use a vent brush as most round brushes cause my hair to become static or frizzy
  5. Use the cool shot to blow through everything to set
  6. Finished blow out look, ends still need a bit of product to smooth but I wanted to show you how my hair looks right after drying with the blow dryer with a little bit of brushing

Blowout Living Proof No Frizz Oil and ghd Air Professional Performance

One last look, the Drybar Hold Me Hair Clips are my favorite for keeping hair up when I’m drying:

Hair Dryers and Hair Oils from Sephora

In terms of the three dryers I featured it’s hard to pick a favorite as they each have their own benefits. The T3 PROi performs well and gives amazing results but dry time can be longer than what you may want. The ghd Air Professional is one of the most powerful yet compact dryers I’ve tried and truly cuts down dry time while giving smooth looking hair. The Drybar Baby Buttercup is great for those who don’t need a lot of options for heat/speed and want something compact or travel a lot. If I could only have 1, I would say the ghd is what I’d gravitate towards for dry time although I really like the larger size of the T3 nozzles.

For oils I think finding the right one depends on your hair density, hair length and whether or not you color your hair. My personal favorites are still the Moroccanoil regular and light, but I’ve been really impressed with the ones from Living Proof and Verb.

I hope you found this review helpful! For haircare junkies there’s nothing quite that feeling of finding a great new styling tool. Having great looking hair can do wonders in confidence boosting and there are lots of products that can help. My hair when air dried is a disaster and most people think I have naturally good hair – it’s not the case. With the help of product and good heat styling tools my hair looks smooth and shiny. There are tons of options to choose from at Sephora and for the holiday there are lots of great value sets which will allow you to test things out at a more affordable price. If you have a favorite hair oil or dryer let me know in the comments. To this day I’m still trying to find the perfect brush for blow drying. If you have a favorite please let me know in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

This post was sponsored by Sephora. As always all opinions my own.

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