Beauty Favorites Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

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

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

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

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

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

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

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  • Candice Petersen November 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Wow these are so many products! The Ultra Repair products are definitely on my list of products to try out
    Beauty Candy Loves

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:10 am

      It's been a go-to for dry sensitive skin for me 🙂

  • Joanne Sherrell November 9, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    My skin has all of a sudden become really dry and chapped, which makes a huge difference to my regular oily complexion, so I also find in winter I need to invest in a skincare overhaul. Thankfully, I don't suffer with flaky lips, but Lanolips banana balm is amazing and I've heard so much about the Kieh's Daily Reviving Concentrate!

    Joanne Sherrell x

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:11 am

      Me too! Not really chapped yet but noticeably more dry. There are a couple of mini sets that have the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate which is a great way to try at a value price 🙂

  • Lu Suito November 10, 2016 at 4:06 am

    I always want every single product you write about!

    lu | Coco&Louis

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:12 am

      Wow!! I'll take that as a compliment! Thank you 🙂

  • Ana Samuel November 10, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Excellent post! Not easy to do a round up when you try and own so many products.
    Thank you Sabrina!

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:12 am

      Thanks Ana! I tried to organize it in a way that's easy to follow, hopefully it's not overwhelming!

  • Rosie Waldherr November 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I got the Kiehl's face set to test and am in love with the repair cream and the face oil! Finally sticking to a face regiment =D

    xoRosie // Rosie's Life

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:12 am


  • Emily November 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    As always, a lovely post, Sabrina! I'm curious about the Lanolips duo – do they have a slanted applicator by any chance or is it a squeeze type thing? I was not a fan of the Glossier Balm Dotcoms because of the thick, viscous texture which made it impossible to apply directly from the tube to my lips.

    The Tatcha body cream was a rare miss for me! Usually I love Tatcha but it left a very ashy cast on my skin. I'm quite pale so possibly that was a factor but the indigo colour in general just didn't work for me. It would get under my nails and made them look super dirty underneath.

    Looking forward to your getting to know me post! You always come across as so poised and organised and I'd love to hear how you juggle it all!

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:14 am

      Hi Emily – the Lanolips do have a slightly angled applicator for the squeeze tubes! They are thick but more emollient than the Glossier and also a lot more hydrating on me.

      Sorry to hear about the Tatcha! I can see how the indigo tint would show up on fair skin.

  • Anonymous November 11, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I have sensitive skin and eczema. I've educated myself on ingredients to avoid and which ones to look for. I have gotten rashes from products claiming to be for sensitive skin and non- irritating. With respect I have to say I'd be one big red rash if I used the products in this post. What works for one person may not work for another. I've had reactions from products that cost over a hundred dollars before, so expensive products are no guarantee for me. Most of the products products I use are from CeraVe, Paula's Choice, and Clinique, but I have also had reactions from some products in all these brands. Unfortunately it is trial and error for me and I patch test a new product on one side of my neck or jawline for three days first before slathering it all over. Skinfix makes a great lip balm.

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

      Hi Anonymous – you sound like me, even when I try to read about ingredients, I find it so overwhelming and the information out there is conflicted sometimes. I too have to go by trial and error. Glad you've found some that work for you though!

  • Lauren Pence November 11, 2016 at 3:21 am

    I have been hearing such lovely things about the Chanel Moisturizer! you have such a great collection here!

    • Sabrina November 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

      Thanks Lauren, the Chanel is a nice one! I was pleasantly surprised because I'm not really a fan of their skincare except for a couple items.

  • Wildfire Charm November 11, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I'm really looking forward to trying a facial oil from Kiehl's for this season. I don't know if I should get the daily reviving one or the midnight recovery. Also, those lanolips balms sound perfect! x

    • Sabrina November 13, 2016 at 1:56 am

      I haven't tried the midnight recovery – but there's a mini set with both the daily reviving and midnight recovery oil for holiday. Also if you have a Kiehl's store near you (or counter) ask to see if they have a sample packet of either. I think also has samples with every order.

  • Annie November 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Hi Sabrina, thank you for your helpful post!

    I'm especially eager to try some of the face oils, but my skin is very finicky. Out of curiosity, have you tried any face oils that cause your skin to break out? If you are sensitive to the same formulas I am, then maybe the products that work for you will work for me too! Haha, or maybe not. Such is skincare!

    By the way, I've gotten great results from Boscia's Tsubaki face oil! It's kept my skin moisturized this season, even though I've yet to get my normal autumn-time lotion!


    • Sabrina November 13, 2016 at 1:57 am

      I haven't had any break outs with oils but I've been really careful in what I try so I haven't really explored a lot.

      Thanks for the tip on the Boscia face oil! I tried their cleansing oil and it didn't work for me so it steered me away from the line even though I suspect they have a lot of great products.

  • Rachel November 11, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Nice recommendations! I've been wanting to test out the Dior addict lip glow for a little while now. Especially since the weather is cooler and my lips could use a bit more hydration this time of the year.

    Rachel Gregory

    • Sabrina November 13, 2016 at 1:57 am

      Glad you liked the post Rachel!

  • Cadie November 12, 2016 at 3:33 am

    My favorite face moisturizer is the benefit total moisture facial cream. It's not too heavy has a light scent and doesn't make my skin feel greasy. Plus a little goes a long way!

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