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Skincare

5-Step Korean Skincare with Soko Glam

November 20, 2019

Korean Skincare 5-Step Routine with Soko Glam

I’m excited to share some new skincare I’ve been incorporating into my routine over the past few months! A number of you have expressed interest in seeing more Korean skincare reviews on the blog and I’m thrilled to partner with Soko Glam to put one of their 5-Step skincare routines to the test. I have a full review of all the products I tried. They’ve curated some great sets to help you address your specific skin concerns by skin type.

I took their Skin Quiz and connected with one of their Soko Experts for a skincare consultation to find the best products for my normal but sensitive late 30’s skin.

Korean Skincare from Soko Glam

The 5-Step Normal Skin Set was recommended for my skin type and it was very easy to incorporate into my regular routine. It’s priced at $95 (valued over $139) and includes things you can use both day and night:

  1. Oil Cleanse AM/PM with the Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert
  2. Water-based Cleanse, AM/PM with the Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser
  3. Toner AM/PM with the Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner
  4. Essence AM/PM with the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist
  5. Moisturizer AM/PM with the SkinRX Lab MadeCera Cream

If you have different concerns or skin type, they also have other 5-Step Bundles (and 10-Step) for Brightening, Combination Skin, Dry Skin, Oil Control and more.

My thoughts on the 5-Step Normal Skincare Routine below! You can find the full list of ingredients on each specific product page.

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5-Step Korean Skincare | Step 1: Oil Cleanse

Soko Glam Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

I love solid makeup removers and the Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert is one that contains rice, rice bran and soy bean to gently break down makeup for cleansing. It melts like butter into the skin! I found it super gentle but effective and it left my skin super soft.

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert Solid

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Step 2: Water Cleanse

Soko Glam Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser

The Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser is a gentle gel cleanser that is lightweight, effective and calming. I had a few skin flare ups over the past month and this helped calm down the skin. It has a hydrating finish and leaves the skin feeling clean and soft. The texture has no foaming/bubbling action which is really nice!

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Step 3: Toner

Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

I use toner religiously and have a few staples I rely on. Trying new formulas always makes me nervous with my sensitive skin. The Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner was mild enough to use 2x per day after cleansing and left the skin brighter, more even and softer. It contains their fermented yeast extract to help cellular turnover. I will definitely repurchase this one after it’s used up!

Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

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Step 4: Essence

Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist

I often neglect essence but anytime I add it, I find my skin is significantly more balanced. With the cold dry weather here for the fall/winter adding the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist has been a lifesaver. It dispenses a super fine mist (one of the finest I’ve seen!) to evenly spritz the skin. It’s fragrance free. I also find it makes a nice setting spray for makeup.

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Step 5: Moisturizer

SkinRX Lab MadeCera Cream

The SkinRX MadeCera Cream has such a high number of rave reviews and I was interested in seeing if it lived up to the hype. It 100% does! I was so impressed by this – especially for winter! It’s a great moisturizing cream that is perfect for sensitive or normal-dry skin. It sinks into the skin nicely and hydrates, soothes and reduces redness. On super tender skin days it helped calm the skin. There is also a Sheet Mask Pack available from the same line which I want to try next!

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Korean Skincare from Soko Glam

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Additional skincare tries

Soko Glam Pimple Patches CosRX Missha

I tested a few other things from Soko Glam for acne. I’ve really loved the CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch for a hydrocolloid treatment so I restocked! They come with different sized patches which is convenient since I usually have different size pimples whether it’s a whitehead or blackhead. I find these work best on whiteheads to absorb excess oil and pull the debris to the surface. The Missha Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patches were recommended to me by a few readers so I bought a pack to try. These contain salicylic acid and tea tree oil and work to reduce redness and penetrates the skin to dissolve the debris that is clogging your pores.

5 Step Korean Skincare Routine Normal Skin Set

Overall I’ve really enjoyed the 5-Step Normal Skincare Set. All 5 products are winners and easy to incorporate into my routine. The SkinRX MadeCera Cream is the highlight for me. For cleansing I also love solid makeup removers and the Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert has been really nice to use for an effective cleanser. If you have any skincare lovers you’re looking to gift skincare to, I think either the cream or sherbert cleanser would be great for any skin type.

You can find all the products I reviewed at Soko Glam. They have a wealth of information on their blog and you can easily navigate recommendations by skin concern or skin type! They’ve started Cyber Week early with some savings! From 11/15 through – 12/1 @ 11:59 PM EST save 30% off most things with code: SGBF19. In addition all orders $135+ will receive a Soko Glam branded jade roller Note: Code SGBF19 is valid between 11/15/19 at 12:00PM EST through 12/1/19 at 11:59PM EST. Exclusions apply: not applicable on purchase of sets (including 5- and 10-Step sets), gift cards, Then I Met You products and The Little Book of Skincare. Not valid with other promotions or discount codes. Gift with purchase available while supplies last. Purchases of $135+ after 30% discount applied.

Do you have any Korean Skincare favorites? Have you tried anything from Soko Glam? What do you recommend?

 

Sponsored by Soko Glam.

Sephora Skincare

Beauty Favorites for Skin, Hair + Body from Sephora

November 7, 2019

Best Skincare for Winter Favorites

The Sephora Holiday Bonus Event opens up for all beauty insider tiers today! I rounded up my top makeup favorites last week. Today I’m rounding up the skin, hair and body care favorites you can find at Sephora. The weather is still warm here but has definitely shifted to cooler temperatures. My skincare routine has changed up a little with more hydrating creams and lotions. If you’re shopping online use code HOLIDAYSAVE (some exclusions apply). Details for all tiers are as follows:

  • Rouge Members can save 20% off 11/1 to 11/11
  • VIBs can save 15% off 11/7 to 11/11
  • Beauty Insiders can save 10% off 11/7 to 11/11

Press samples featured have a * next to them below. All others purchased and often repurchased by me.

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Cleansers + Makeup Removers

My favorite brands are Kate Somerville, Farmacy and Tatcha. I also really like SK-II but haven’t restocked on them in quite some time as I’ve found more affordable alternatives.

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Toner + Face Mists

I always use a toner after every cleanse to balance the skin and make sure every trace of residue is removed. I love a good face mist – there are so many good ones!

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Face Moisturizers + Oils

This is the area I’ve switched up the most. My face is noticeably more dry and combination. I’ve used up quite a few of these so I don’t have them all right now – but favorites I’ve had in rotation.

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Night Time Treatments

  • Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil – the best night time oil to help replenish moisture and repair skin overnight, I just discovered Andrew uses this too (he “borrowed” mine and put it in his bathroom cabinet, lol) – also available in this Midnight Must-Haves Set which I hauled yesterday
  • Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel – one of the few night time peels I can use without it irritating my skin, a gentle but effective resurfacing treatment
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes – probably the best lactic acid night resurfacing treatment I’ve tried, I use it sparingly though, around 1x per week, sometimes 2x! For those who don’t want to splurge on the full size, I highly recommend you try in smaller trial sizes available in the holiday sets like the Power Trio (just ordered), Power Couple or the Flash Fix Kit

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Treatments: Mask, Acne, Resurfacing

Treating spot acne is something we’ve had to do more frequently over the summer. I stopped using any kind of acid over the summer but occasionally do a light peel.

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Hair Styling Favorites

I’m obsessed with Living Proof and IGK for hair styling products. Shampoo loves have been Olaplex, Briogeo and Christophe Robin in the past but these days I’m really obsessed with Sisley and Oribe (which aren’t available at Sephora):

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Bodycare Favorites

This is the category I use up the most frequently as Andrew and I share a lot of our body care products.

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Lip Treatments

I’m a lip balm junkie but am so picky with texture and scent. My favorites right now:

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Andrew’s Favorites

Andrew’s most-used brands are a tie between Jack Black and Kiehl’s. His top five:

That wraps up my lengthy favorites list for skin care, hair care and body care! I realize it’s a lot – but I put a lot to the test and rotate frequently. I hope this gives you some ideas by category if you’re in search of something specific. Always happy to answer questions if you have any. The skincare sets are so good this year – it was hard for me to narrow down my picks but I stocked up on some Kiehl’s, Farmacy Beauty and First Aid Beauty.

Let me know what you ended up hauling!

 

 

I’ve put together a giveaway with some favorites. To enter use the widget below and complete at least THREE of the steps in the widget below. It’s open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to enter. Giveaway will run through Monday 11/11 11:59PM EST. I’ll email the winner within 24 hours and they must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be selected in their place. Not sponsored or affiliated.

One winner will be selected via the widget to win: Kosas Wet Lip Oil in Fruitjuice, Urban Decay On the Run Palette, ABH Glow Kit in Sweets, Pat McGrath Mini MatteTrance Trio, Pat McGrath MatteTrance in Guinevere, Tatcha mini Water Cream, Tatcha mini Dewy Cream, Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Glow Powder + Brush, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick Cocoa, Laura Mercier Primer, Urban Decay Setting Spray, Hourglass Minis x4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Skincare

Skincare Routine + Favorites Right Now

September 23, 2019

Skincare Routine Favorites | The Beauty Look Book

I have an updated skincare routine roundup today with everything I use and love right now! I rotate and switch things up as seasons change or as I use products up. Out of all the skincare categories I run through bottles of face wash, makeup removers and face masks up the fastest so there are a lot more formulas I’ve used this year but I’ve rounded up the ones I consider favorites right now. Most of these I’ve bought on my own, any press samples featured have a * next to them.

For a little background on my skin type and routine, I have normal combination skin I consider to be sensitive. There are of course varying degrees of sensitivity – overall I’d consider my skin to be normal. I live in hot climate in Florida but do experience dryness during the dry months, especially being exposed to a lot of air conditioning. Humidity and weather fluctuates on a daily basis here and some months are clearly more wet than others. I am in my late 30s and have minimal wrinkles right now – primarily on my forehead. My main concerns are improving texture and keeping skin clear. I don’t have a lot of acne scars anymore – they’ve faded over time with regular exfoliation and light peels.

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Cleanser and Makeup Removers

Favorite Cleansers and Makeup Removers

I have a different cleansing routine for morning vs night because I add an extra step for makeup removal at the end of the day. For regular traditional face wash my favorite right now is the Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser. I’ve used up so many bottles and love how gentle but effective it is. I recently started trying out some products from Revive and was so impressed so I bought the full size Gel Cleanser Purifying Wash and Foaming Enriched Hydrating Wash. I think both are excellent and 100% worth the splurge, right now I prefer the gel version.

For cleansing waters I’ve tried a number of excellent brands, Bioderma is a classic staple I always keep on hand but I decided to try a few newer ones this year and really love them. The Chanel L’Eau Micellar Anti-Pollution Micellar Cleanser* is a great gentle one that’s alcohol free and refreshing. The Omorovicza Peachy Micellar Cleansing Pads are amazing as well.

For a stronger makeup remover I use the Almay Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads to remove eyeliner and mascara first. For the face my top cleansing oils/balms are Farmacy Beauty Green Clean (best solid remover), Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil* (super soft and luxurious) and the Bobbi Brown Soothing Face Cleanser Oil.

Exfoliation is super important but I’ve kept it light this summer. Flare ups from allergic reactions to sunscreen, face sweat and heat have made my face more sensitive than normal. The gentlest face scrub I’ve been able to use no matter what condition my skin is in is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish.

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Toners

Best Toners for Sensitive Skin

For toners my top 2 are the Sisley Floral Toning Lotion and Bioderma Sensibio. Since I’m nearly out of my Sisley toner I decided to order something new and bought the Revive Balancing Toner which I’ve really been enjoying. The Bioderma one is the most gentle, Sisley makes the best everyday one for me and Revive’s offers more hydration. I use toner religiously after cleansing the skin to make sure all the soap and any remnants are removed and skin is rebalanced.

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Sunscreen Favorites

Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin Supergoop, Dermalogica, By Terry, Chanel

This year has been a challenging one for sunscreens for me. I put quite a few highly rated ones to the test but my skin reacted very badly to ones from Dr. Barbara Sturm, Elta MD, Neutrogena and Kopari. My skin had red bumps all over within a few hours which caused a great deal of irritation and flare ups that lasted a week before it returned to it’s normal state. In Florida weather I won’t use anything super thick or super hydrating because most formulas are simply too thick for this heat. I have four that I have in rotation right now that I can use under makeup, don’t have a thick texture, practically no white cast and are easy to remove at the end of the day.

  • Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 (lightweight and non-irritating), active ingredients are Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 2%
  • Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 is a sunscreen and moisturizer in one, active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%
  • By Terry UV Base with SPF 50 is one of my favorite face sunscreens, this one is currently empty, but I plan on repurchasing again, active ingredients are Avobenzone 3%, Octinoxate 6.8%, Octisalate 4.5%
  • Chanel UV Essentiel with SPF 50* is the newest Chanel sunscreen that replaced all the other formulas, it is lightweight but not as fluid/thin as previous version, it is highly fragranced but non irritating, it does leave a very slight white cast but blends out well on the skin, active ingredients are Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.8%,  Zinc Oxide 17.1%

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Hydrate

Favorite Moisturizers

For the most luxurious lightweight cream and hydrating beauty oil, the best ones I’ve tried are the Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream* and Black Rose Oil*. Both of these are currently empty and I have not repurchased because I have so many other things to go through. I do think the Black Rose Oil is one of the best oils I’ve ever tried, a less expensive alternative I really like is the Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil*.

For a regular daytime moisturizer I’ve alternated between a super lightweight serum and a regular cream depending on how hot or humid it’s been. My favorite lightweight serums/gels are the Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer, Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum* and Tatcha Water Gel (last two not shown).

For more emollient creams that are still lightweight I’ve had a lot in rotation this year, but right now I love the Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* and Farmacy Honey Drop Moisturizer the most. Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Cream is also at the top of my list but both Andrew and I use it up so frequently I don’t have it in stock in our cabinets now. L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru* is heavier and better suited for super dry skin days or night for me.

For eye creams and treatments I have yet to find THE one but I’ve been enjoying the Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum which has a nice lightweight texture and reduces puffiness. It has a smooth texture so it doesn’t make my under eye feel greasy or heavy. Tatcha’s latest The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream* is one of the most emollient eye creams I’ve tried, it literally melts into the skin. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and find it ultra rich so like it at night, a little goes a very long way.

For night time it’s been recommended I use retinol or Vitamin C but my skin simply can’t handle most skincare with these ingredients. The only retinol-based products I’ve tried that I love have been the Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Cream and RetAsphere MicroPeel. They really help with fine lines and help smooth the skin. I do want to try Botox in the near future, especially for my forehead lines. I’m still building up the courage as I’m deathly afraid of needles.

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Acne and Mask

Favorite Acne Treatments and Face Masks

Acne has been an issue for both Andrew and I this year. I’ve managed to get mine under control but the extra heat, sweat and moving (we did it all ourselves) caused some issues for my face. My absolute favorite acne treatment from MAC Blemish Control with 1% salicylic acid was discontinued years ago so I’ve been trying dozens trying to find a replacement. With acne treatments the best ones will depend on what kind of acne you have.

Salicylic acid is the best to unclog pores. It helps dissolve dead skin and remove excess oil. For us the most effective one has been the Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment with 2% Salicylic Acid. It won’t leave any red marks on the skin and it’s a clear gel. It also has other ingredients to soothe, absorb excess oil and reduce shine. A lighter weight version that I can use on wider areas of my face is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment. It has 2% acid but also has other ingredients to offset the dryness that is often caused my pimple treatments.

I recently tried the REN Clearcalm Non-Drying Acne Treatment Gel* with 0.5% Salicylic Acid which also is effective but for me the Kiehl’s works better. If you need a lower concentration of the acid the REN is a good option to try. I found it’s name well suited as it definitely is non-drying.

Benzoyl peroxide is another anti-acne ingredient that helps kill bacteria. We’ve loved the Neutrogen Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel with 10% benzoyl peroxide. It’s actually a white gel but will disappear when you blend in and it works to reduce pimple size and redness like nothing else. If I catch a pimple forming quickly and apply this immediately the pimple disappears within hours. The only downside is it will bleach and discolor clothes. If it comes in contact with towels, shirts or anything else it will bleach them! Make sure to thoroughly wash hands/fingers with soap and water. Simply wiping fingers with a towel isn’t sufficient.

Hydrocolloid patches are clear stick on dots that we’ve found are best for white heads. They absorb excess oil and help draw out the center of the pimple by drying out the skin without any harsh pulling or squeezing. We’ve used the Mighty Patches the most and have gone through so many packs I’ve lost count. CosRX also makes good ones and they come in different size dots which can be handy. While they are clear dots they’re not really invisible. Each brand has an “invisible” version but in our experience you can still see them on the face so we use these at night or if we’re at home all day. You can find them at a number of places, we order ours on Amazon. To us they both perform the same.

I used to use face masks and sheet masks religiously. We’ve had a busy year and summer this year and this is one area I’ve neglected. I can’t believe it’s already September! I’ve had more skin clogging issues and acne so my go-to skin clearing masks are the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment and Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Baby Facial Treatment to help resurface skin with a light peel. I use both as needed. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is a good resurfacing lactic acid treatment I used at night for a long time but I’ve used it up and haven’t repurchased. It’s not really a mask, but more of a treatment. I used this maybe 1 to 2x per week so I’ve put this in the treatment section.

For hydrating masks I used to use sheet masks but I’ve used most of mine up and haven’t gotten around to reordering my go-to Tatcha or 111Skin favorites. These days I really enjoy the Sisley Black Rose Face Mask*, Eye Contour Mask for Eyes* and the Fresh Rose Face Mask to hydrate/calm the skin.

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I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I realize it’s a lot but I have a complex skincare routine especially since I put a lot to the test. These are the items I’ve loved the most this year and consider to be products I have in my routine. Both Andrew and I have put in a lot of work to find things that work for us. We both love trying new things even though skincare testing takes a lot of time.

This is more of a roundup rather than detailed review on every item. If you have any questions let me know in the comments! I’ve put a lot more to the test this year than what’s in this post.

What are some of your favorites in your routine right now?

 

L'Occitane Skincare

Glowing Skin with L’Occitane

September 9, 2019

L'Occitane Divine Cream Grand Cru Edition

I’ve been such a long-time fan of L’Occitane skincare and I’m excited to partner with them to share a look at their Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru Edition. They’ve created this special launch to celebrate 10 Years of this classic cream. Bigger and better than the original Divine Cream, this limited-edition product packs in even more anti-aging power thanks to the use of highly concentrated Immortelle essential oils.

The L’Occitane Immortelle line has been one of my favorites for years. I love the cleanser and oil and think the line is especially good for the fall and winter season or if you have dry skin.The Immortelle Divine Cream is one of the most beautiful luxury creams I’ve tried for restoring hydration, firmness and improving elasticity of the skin. It has been a go-to for many fall seasons for me and a single jar lasts a long time. What makes the Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru Edition so special is that it contains essential oils from 800 Immortelle flowers that were harvested in a limited batch during the summer solstice. This provides the highest concentration of anti-aging ingredients and I find that a little goes a very long way!

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream

For me this is a great anti-aging cream to help smooth fine lines, replump the skin, restore hydration and glow. The texture is super smooth, blends into the skin flawlessly, absorbs quickly and dries down to a soft finish where I can still feel the moisture but not in a super heavy way. I can use this day or night, it’s perfect anytime my skin feels super dry and it is easy to incorporate and switch it in or out of your skincare routine anytime.

If you’re looking for a new moisturizer to try for the upcoming fall season I highly recommend you check out the Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru Edition.

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream

L'Occitane New Immortelle Divine Cream

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream New Grand Cru Edition

Ingredients: AQUA/WATER – C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE – CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE – GLYCERIN – OENOTHERA BIENNIS (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL – DIMETHICONE – ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE – CETEARYL ALCOHOL – TAPIOCA STARCH – GLYCERYL STEARATE – HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER – CAMELINA SATIVA SEED OIL – CETYL ALCOHOL – HELICHRYSUM ITALICUM EXTRACT – HELICHRYSUM ITALICUM FLOWER OIL – MYRTUS COMMUNIS OIL – BORAGO OFFICINALIS SEED OIL – ECHIUM PLANTAGINEUM SEED OIL – MENYANTHES TRIFOLIATA LEAF EXTRACT – BELLIS PERENNIS (DAISY) FLOWER EXTRACT – ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT – HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL – MEL/HONEY – SODIUM HYALURONATE – ADENOSINE – PEG-100 STEARATE – CETYL PALMITATE – PHENOXYETHANOL – SUCROSE PALMITATE – CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE – TOCOPHERYL ACETATE – SODIUM CITRATE – CHLORPHENESIN – SODIUM HYDROXIDE – ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN – GLYCERYL LINOLEATE – PALMITIC ACID – STEARIC ACID – DISODIUM EDTA – SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE – POLYSORBATE 60 – CITRIC ACID – MAGNESIUM ASPARTATE – ZINC GLUCONATE – POTASSIUM SORBATE – COPPER GLUCONATE – SODIUM BENZOATE – TOCOPHEROL – PARFUM/FRAGRANCE – LIMONENE – CITRAL – LINALOOL – BENZYL SALICYLATE – GERANIOL

 

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream

You can find the Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru Edition available at L’Occitane now. Also available in a Immortelle Divine Collection Set. Have you tried anything from the Immortelle line before? Or any other of the L’Occitane skincare collections? What did you think?

Shop the post:

 

Many thanks to L’Occitane for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions are my own.

Nail Polish Skincare

Hand + Nail Care Routine Tips and Favorites

August 27, 2019

Best Nail Care Products | The Beauty Look Book

I get so many questions about my hand and nail care routine I thought it was time for an updated post. Readers ask me on a weekly basis whether or not my nail polish is done at the salon or at home on my own. I do most of my nail polish and hand care on my own and I have for a couple years now. Most as in practically all – the last time I was at a salon was at least a couple years ago! When I lived in San Diego I had my go-to salons that I went to almost weekly. It was the best way for me to relax, unwind and unplug! However since moving to Florida I’ve never really found anything that comes close and with the frequency that I change my polish it is just easier, more affordable and saves time for me to care for them them on my own.

I did a complete roundup and tutorial a couple years ago. Most of my go-to staples are still the same although there have been a few changes as formulas become discontinued and brands change. I used to never be able to wear Essie polish without getting horrendous tip wear within 1 hour, but I finally found a way to make it work. This goes for most brands of polish, some take different steps and combinations of base/top to make it last.

I have a full list of what I use, some good runner ups and tips on how I maintain my hands and nails. I will say that it will all get better with practice. I used to not be able to paint my right hand well because my left hand was clumsy and shaky. It’s still not perfect but it does get better with time!

Cuticle Care

Cuticle Care Essentials Deborah Lippmann Tweezerman Revlon

Cuticles can be a pain to keep healthy, especially if they’re dry or peeling. I think keeping hands well moisturized is key. If you’re cuticles aren’t in the best shape and you don’t know how to trim them I would suggest going to the salon to have them trimmed professionally. Observe their methods and steps until you’re comfortable doing it yourself at home. Key products I use:

  • The Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover is my holy grail cuticle softener/remover of all time. I’ve tried a number of highly raved about brands but this is the best. This loosens and softens dead skin around the cuticle making it easier to push back to trim. For me this is essential.
  • Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner is also my holy grail (flat sided tip) for pushing back cuticles. Some prefer a rounded version but for me the flat tip gives more control. Often times the rounded end ones are too big for my fingers too. There’s a nail cleaner tip on the other end which is rounded (versus sharp) so it’s super gentle.
  • Revlon Cuticle Clippers have been a go-to for years, they have sharp tips to precisely cut away dead cuticles once they’re pushed back. They will cut well all the way so there’s no pulling the skin from partial trimming. These were actually my second choice because I needed a pair but couldn’t find my favorite Tweezerman Cuticle Nippers. The drugstore I went to only had ones from Revlon so I decided to give the a try. Both brands are really good.
  • Not shown but to cut and trip the tips I use a Revlon Deluxe Nail Clipper. I also like Tweezerman tools as well.

You can see a full step by step tutorial in this post here but I’ve reposted some of the steps below. Depending on how dry your hands are or how long it’s been since your last manicure you may want to soak, clean and moisturize your hands first.

Cuticle Care Steps Trimming Tutorial

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Nail Polish Remover and Filing Tools

Best Nail Polish Remover Zoya

Finding a good gentle remover is essential, especially if you have sensitive nails or fingers. You don’t want to dry out the hands or use something too harsh. Unfortunately the best ones aren’t always easily accessible for me so I’m always ordering online.

  • Zoya 3-in-1 Formula Remove Nail Polish Remover is one of my top two holy grails. It comes in a few different sizes and this one has a pump dispenser which is super handy. It’s gentle and effective and works on all polish brands that I use. It removes polish, preps and conditions the nails.
  • Deborah Lippmann The Stripper (not shown) is the other in my top two. She often has bundles available which makes it more affordable. This is also an excellent non-drying version (if I had to pick one this would be my top pick). She also has these in packet forms called Stripper To Go. They’re packaged in a very small packet but the pads are well soaked and the are really convenient for travel or if you need to change polish on-the-go, there’s no need to worry about a bottle leaking or exploding. One individual packet has enough to remove polish for all my fingers.
    • With these 2 removers I find I don’t need to use a nail cleaner to clean the residue/oils off.
  • For filing, buffing and cleaning excess paint I’ve always used what I could find at the grocery or drug store. Olive and June launched a line of polish and nail care products that are super convenient and well made. They sent some of their products to try and I am completely obsessed with The Tool Box. I use it to store most of my nail care tools and basics in one place. I think you can find alternatives for less at Ulta or Target, but for me I really like the Buffer Cube and Clean Up Brush. You can buy the Clean Up Brush individually and for me it’s perfect to clean the edges where polish may have transferred or look a little messy.

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My Favorite Base and Top Coats

Best Base and Top Coats Essie, Smoth Cult, Chanel and OPI

My favorite base and top coats often rotate as I use things up or formulas become discontinued. What I have in rotation right now is listed below (for regular nail polish, I don’t use gel):

  • OPI Natural Nail Base Coat is a good gentle but effective base coat that works with all of my polish formulas. It works well to prevent nails from yellowing from polish.
  • Smith and Cult Basis of Everything is another favorite for Base Coats and Above it All is an amazing top coat to make tips ultra shiny and manicures last.
  • Chanel Le Gel Coat is not really a gel coat, but it is a long-wear top coat that will give the nails an ultra glossy gel-like shine and effect. This works best with Chanel polishes and I’ve gone through many bottles.
  • Essie Speed Setter is the best fast-setting top coat that won’t cause major shrinkage.
  • Others I’ve tried and liked are Nails Inc (but my favorites have been discontinued), CND Sticky Base, CND Super Shiny Top Coats. The Christian Louboutin Loubi Kit is probably the best one I’ve tried and it’s been on my list to repurchase.
    • With the Chanel, Essie or Smith and Cult Top Coats I usually get at least a week of wear without chipping or tip wear. At the day 2 or 3 mark I recommend reapplying a layer of top coat to help protect the color and extend wear.

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Hand Creams and Moisturizers

Best Hand and Cuticle Treatments

I’m the biggest hand cream junkie! I’ve tried so many and have a lot in rotation at any given moment. I did a massive purge right before our move in June and gifted a lot of my products away. These are the ones I have in rotation right now. I apply hand cream daily, I use a scrub once a week, cuticle oils are used as needed.

  • Chanel La Creme Main is the best lightweight hand cream with a velvety soft dry down. I like this because it doesn’t leave any sticky residue. If you have ultra dry hands this is not the one for you though in which case I’d recommend you try La Creme Main Texture Riche or Le Lift (new). Both are better for dry skin and I love the packaging! I keep at least one of these in my purse. The new Le Lift does the best job at smoothing the skin. I’ve only used it for about a week now but I’m completely in love.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is the best unscented option for ultra dry hands. I like this in the winter or when my hands are super dry. The fact that it’s unscented is a huge plus, especially if you work in an environment that needs to be fragrance or perfume free. Or if you’re just sensitive to added fragrance. (Comes in different sizes.)
  • La Mer Rejuvenating Hand Serum is one of the most expensive hand splurges I’ve tried. It’s also one of the most luxurious treatments I’ve owned. It is heavily fragranced with the signature La Mer scent but is really soothing and does indeed work to smooth and soften the hands. I’m still not over the sticker shock but I think it is quite amazing.
  • For cuticle oils I’ve tried so many. There are a lot of great options out there whether you want a thick cream, shea butter, oil, etc. I prefer oils because they absorb easily and aren’t goopy. My two favorites are the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive System and L’Occitane Shea Nail and Cuticle Oil. They come with a brush tip applicator so it’s less messy than the dropper or bottle/brush style packaging. For the dropper style the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil was the best one I tried.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter One-Minute Hand Scrub is amazing. This is my second tube and it makes such a huge difference in the texture and smoothness of your hands. I often neglect exfoliation on the hands but getting rid of the dead skin cells with a gentle scrub makes a world of difference. This is hydrating without having any residue and it’s very very gentle.
  • Other loves include Molton Brown, the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Creams, Aesop, L’Occitane Hand Creams (for winter). For one with SPF the Supergoop! Hand Cream is amazing (I’m all out, I often run out of this one). Moroccanoil is also great.

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Application Tips

Nail Polish Application Tips from Sabrina The Beauty Look Book

For application I will say practice makes perfect. I think the biggest mistake people make with application is getting the brush too close to the cuticles. Wet lacquer will move a little when it’s wet, so to prevent bleeding leave a tiny little gap between the brush and cuticle. For me I start a little farther from the cuticle than I think I should and it prevents the polish from moving/bleeding into the nail beds. Sometimes it is impossible to not get excess polish on the skin so I clean it up with a brush or my thumb nail in which case sometimes it’s best to paint the thumbs the last. Different formulas have different textures, some are ultra fluid, while others are thicker so your mileage may vary with application.

I recommend applying thin coats. Sometimes I’ll have to apply 3 depending on how sheer the formula is. As long as your coats are thin and even it should still dry relatively fast. I let mine air dry and try to do them before I think I’ll be typing for a long time or hands free while watching TV.

Applying on a flat surface is the best way to apply polish. The Olive and June Tool Box comes with a handy coated thick sheet to protect your surface. I also just use paper towels at home. Anytime I think I can just do my polish on my desk, on the couch or on the floor I end up spilling product. I dropped a bottle on a concrete floor once and it was SUCH a mess to clean up as the entire bottle shattered.

How to Paint your Nails

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Closer look at the Olive and June Tool Box (you can customize your picks online):

My own nail care selects, I use the box to store my tools:

Best Nail Care Products | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this updated roundup gives you some tips and ideas on how to do a DIY manicure at home! With things like cotton pads, nail files or buffer, I pretty much use what I can find at my local CVS or drugstore. I wish there was a complete one brand kit that I could find that has everything in a convenient box or pouch but I’ve found no single brand has everything I need. My top essentials for my routine include the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover, Tweezerman Pushy Stick and the Revlon or Tweezerman Cuticle Trimmers.

So many of you ask what my favorite polish brand is and I don’t have one. I love trying all kinds of brands! High and low. The three I wear the most these days are Chanel, OPI and Essie. I still really like Louboutin polishes but the packaging isn’t convenient so I find myself reaching for other brands more.

On storage, I used to have a lot of nail polish wall racks I found on Amazon where I stored my polishes. I got rid of them when we moved from San Diego to Tampa – we had to edit what we kept/tossed. These days I just keep them in drawers.

For the toes I also do them on my own, although I prefer salon treatments to get rid of callouses etc. I haven’t been to the salon in a while though – I broke a toe a year and a half ago and was so hesitant to let anyone touch my feet even after it healed. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any hand/nail care holy grails! I’d love to hear about your favorites.

 

 

Olive and June Kit provided for review. All other products purchased and repurchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Skincare

June Skincare Favorites

June 29, 2019

Summer Skincare Favorites June | The Beauty Look Book

June has been a transition month for us literally as we’ve moved! We managed to do everything fairly quickly but with moving there’s always a chance things might take longer than planned, especially with the unpacking and getting everything setup. For my just-in-case things take longer scenario I made sure to pack our essentials in a few dedicated boxes that I set aside. In the humid months maintaining a good skincare routine is a must and I did not want to lose track of my essential cleansers, moisturizers and treatments. I packed my must-haves in a few travel cases and these are the items I relied on all month long. I could also call this my skincare on-the-go routine! I have the Truffle Clarity Jumbo Jetset Case featured above which just restocked and launched in new colors. You can see my previous review in this post here too.

Cleanse and Tone

Hydrate

  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* has made my favorites list two months in a row, I love that it comes with a pump (versus jar) and it has been a great lightweight moisturizer that doesn’t feel too heavy, even on hot humid days, it works with all of my foundations too.
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Juice Moisturizer is the best lightweight moisturizer I rely on for hot days, I have both the mini and full size.
  • Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Serum* has been a pleasant surprise for a Vitamin-C treatment to help brighten and hydrate, and it doesn’t irritate my skin (full review here).
  • Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Luscious Lip Balm has the best balm packaging I’ve seen in a while, it has both a squeeze tube and sponge applicator so there’s no mess on your fingers from applying! It’s hydrating and soft on my lips (goes on clear).
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Mini* something I got in one of the GWP bags a few months ago, always a favorite for night time, it’s the most lush rich lip balm I’ve tried.
  • Chanel La Creme Main is the best smelling hand cream I own that has a really nice velvety dry down.

Extras/Treatments

  • Glamglow Supermud Activated Charcoal Treatment Mask is one I can never be without, I use this once a week during the humid season, even if it’s sometimes just as a spot mask, the full size is better, but I had minis on hand thrown into my travel bag.
  • GrandeLASH MD Lash Enhancing Serum* is the first lash serum I’ve tried that actually works for me, I started seeing results by the end of the first week of use (even Andrew noticed!), it also didn’t darken or irritate my lids like other formulas did.
  • MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ is a must-have for me as a multi-tasker, either to hydrate bare skin or set foundation/powder and make it look a little less powdery, I did give the new scented options a smell at the counter and bought Peony as it has the lightest scent of the four options.
  • Hero Mighty Patch Original is the best hydro colloid pimple patch I’ve tried, we got these from Amazon early in the year because my bestie recommended them. Since then we’ve tried other brands and I’ve been meaning to review them but Andrew uses them up so fast I rarely have them in stock at our home, I had to order a bunch and hide them from him lol. Full acne treatment post to follow on what we’ve tried, but we really like these.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Spot Treatment is something I’ve had to use more frequently this past month, even though I’ve been able to maintain clear skin with a good routine, moving this summer in the extreme heat took a toll on my skin. This has helped my skin tremendously for those unwanted spots.
  • Volition Beauty Turmeric Brightening Polish* has been a really good exfoliating treatment for me this past month.

That wraps up June’s most-used favorite skincare items. I had other things in rotation but these were my favorites! Did you have any favorites this past month? Do you switch things up as the weather heats up or stick with staples year round? For those who always want to know what I have on my nails in this photo I have the Olive and June EC Nail Polish* on (with three coats) topped it with the Essie Speed Setter Top Coat and it lasted a full seven days without tip wear or chipping.

 

 

Press samples featured indicated with a *. All other items purchased by me.

 

Budget Beauty Skincare

Summer Self-Care Shaving Routine

June 25, 2019

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

Summer is officially here which means having a good clean shave is essential for swimsuit season. When things in life get busy or hectic for me having a good wind-down relaxation routine at the end of the day makes all the difference. My self-care time is usually in the bath tub in the evenings (I’ve always been a bath person). I’ll do a little spa time whether it’s a face scrub, face mask, bubble bath soak. Once every other week I’ll add in shaving, sometimes more frequently in summer. I have been experimenting more with different razor brands and shaving gels/foams this year. I truly love that there are more options for women! My latest discovery is the Joy razor line available exclusively at Walmart. They reached out and asked me to try their products and I’ve been pleasantly surprised, especially by the shave gel and shave mousse!

Walmart Joy Razors, Cartridges, Shave Gel and Mousse | The Beauty Look Book

There are currently six items available in the lineup. They have two color razor handle options, Pink or Teal, each one comes with two razor cartridges that are the Gillette five-blades. Blades also come in 4-pack or 8-pack refill options. For the shave products they have the Shave Gel and the Shave Mousse.

The razors themselves are super sharp and give a really close shave. I like the size and weight of the handles. They have a nice non-slip material on the handle which makes holding it easier. There is a strip on the tip to help prevent irritation, but as with any razor using a good shaving cream, gel or mousse is essential to lubricate the skin properly to prevent razor burn.

 

Walmart Joy Razor Pink | The Beauty Look Book

Walmart Joy Razor Pink | The Beauty Look Book

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve always been more of a mousse kind of girl for shaving but hate the way most of them smell with the dry down. I love that foaming action but they usually have a chemical scent! For many years I’ve just used a shower gel to shave (or borrowed some of Andrew’s shaving cream products) because I really cannot stand the way most shaving mousses smell. The ones by Joy are so much better! The Shave Foam is called Summer Lily and it has a beautiful summer fresh floral scent. It has a really amazing foam and helps give you a super close shave. The Shave Gel is called Cucumber Aloe (teal) has a nice cucumber aloe scent, a cushiony feel, and hydrating smooth finish. I love the lather of these products, if I had to pick one to try first I’d recommend the gel as it feels a little more hydrating to me, but both are really nice.

The Shave Foam Summer Lily and The Pink Razor

Walmart Joy Razor Shaving Mousse and Pink Razor

The Shave Gel Cucumber Aloe and the Teal Razor (dispenser for the gel is different from the mousse, but both are well designed)

Walmart Joy Shave Gel and Teal Razor, Budget Shaving

I ordered a 4-pack of the refill cartridges, so I’m stocked up for a while now!

Joy Gillette Five Blade Razor Refills, 4-pack

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

Overall love this line, especially for the price (these won’t break the bank). The Shave Gel is something I definitely see myself repurchasing in a near future. I like the way it foams and lathers up, plus is smells like a relaxing sweet cucumber. It’s been a nice added step to my bath routine for summer to get a really close shave without irritation. I think the razor handles are really cute and definitely a step up in aesthetic from the basic plastic handle ones that come in bundles. The grip handle comes in handy too.

You can find the Joy Razor line exclusively at Walmart. Have you tried these yet? Or any of the new razor brands that have launched recently? What did you think?

 

Many thanks to Walmart for partnering to sponsor this post! And special thanks to each of you who shop the brands that help support this blog.

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