Browsing Tag

Amore Pacific

Skincare Suncare

AmorePacific Skincare Testing with the Time Response Collection, Resort Sun Protection Mist and Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masques

June 15, 2016

I’ve been intrigued by Korean skincare for quite some time now and have played with items here and there incorporating bits into my skincare routine. Many of you frequently recommended items from AmorePacific and thanks to your recommendations I’ve found some favorites including the Color Control Cushion Compact (204 is my match), the Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (best unscented lip treatment I’ve used), the Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (Oil Free) and the Treatment Cleansing Foam. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to team up with AmorePacific and try out some items from their Time Response Collection, Resort Collection and Moisture Bound Collection. I’ve put select skincare items to the test for the past three weeks and have reviews to share today.

First I want to mention the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compacts as they are great foundations for warm summer weather.
I’ve reviewed them before and in case you missed previous posts a quick recap is that these
are weightless sheer to medium coverage foundations in a sponge filled
compact. I use 204 which has a golden yellow undertone. It’s the most natural foundation I’ve tried makes the skin look like your own skin but better. They come in a silver mirrored compact filled with a white insert, but there is another sealed package with a refill so I find the price quite reasonable. Below are two separate compacts shown, open vs closed:

Coverage is at most medium if you build it and you can do so without it looking cakey or feeling heavy. It also has SPF 50 and does not irritate my sensitive skin. Since it’s really lightweight I think it’s ideal for summer weather. I have normal combo skin and it works for me. One of my friends has super dry skin and she loves it too. Swatches of four of the options – I don’t have 104 shown, but there’s a face chart on their website to help you match online:

Next up is the Time Response Collection which is AmorePacific’s most popular skincare line. It’s a line that has Green Tea Flower Extract – the benefits of these ingredients are to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen production, stimulate hyaluronic
production to balance the skin and regulate melanin to help with hyper pigmentation. A few of my close friends have urged me to try the Time Response line – stating that the Skin Renewal Cream and Eye Renewal Cream as the best wrinkle-fighters on the planet. The pieces from the collection are very expensive and I decided the best way to get a sense of the line was to try one of the trial sets. The current Time Response Collection set from AmorePacific is the Time Response Skin Renewal Set which has deluxe mini sizes of 6 items. The team ended up sending me a slightly different variation – two items from other lines are mixed into the set I have, so I’ll be reviewing items I received.

Below is the Time Response Introductory Set:

Items I tried out with thoughts on each product, full size options are linked in case you want to see the full ingredient list which is on each product page:
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Serum 5ml – this is a highly concentrated serum formula that you apply morning and night before the cream, serums in general help boost the results of moisturizers and when I use them, I notice my skin looks better but I usually prefer to use as few skincare products under my makeup so it’s often neglected
  • All Day Balancing Care Serum 10 ml – this is a more lightweight serum compared to the Time Response version, this one is almost like a toner in the sense that it rebalances the skin, I prefer this version to the Time Response, when using this under moisturizer I notice fine lines disappear and skin looks more alive
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid 30 ml – this is a lightweight moisturizer which is a less intense version of the cream, it leaves the skin feeling very moisturized but has a lightweight finish
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Toner 30 ml – this is a balancing toner that restores skin’s pH levels and also works to make sure remaining residue after cleansing is removed, it’s a moisturizing toner and left the skin feeling well hydrated and plump
  • Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System 30 ml – is a face spray that comes highly recommended by many of my readers and it’s really great at refreshing and cooling the skin during the day
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Cream 15 ml – this is a luxurious face cream designed to reduce wrinkles and sagging, after using this for three weeks I found that it feels very rich and I was worried it would be too heavy but it is not, a little goes a very long way so the small container will probably last me at least a couple of months, I have wrinkles on my forehead and this has started to noticeably reduced fine lines
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Eye Cream 3 ml – another highly recommended product which I’ve found also goes a very long way with a tiny bit, it works really well to reduce puffiness on me which is my main concern for the eyes right now
I also tried the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque which comes in a box of 2 for $32 or box of 6 for $90. I love trying sheet masks and was really excited to try these and the price seemed really affordable especially if I were to fall in love and want to use these weekly or every other week. These are two-piece masks for the upper and lower face. It comes with a vial filled with serum that you apply directly to the face first before applying the sheet masks on top. They are the thickest most cushiony sheets I’ve ever tried, there is a peel off section to reveal a gel-like side you apply to the face on top of the serum. It has a soothing cooling feel and leaves the skin feeling plump, revived and glowing. I used one as an at-home face treat so I don’t know how the results perform under makeup. The next day after I used the mask my skin felt noticeably smoother and more hydrated.

Last but not least is the new Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 from the new Resort Collection. These days I’m really concerned about anti-aging and protecting my skin from sun exposure. Living in Southern California we have lots of sunshine and I love being outdoors so I’m forever searching for sunscreens. So far there’s no one sunscreen for all occasions. Some work better under makeup, others are good for outdoors, and then there are ones I need for sport activity that are sweat-proof. For me there are quite a few good ones that fit the bill on all aspects of what I look for – lasts long, doesn’t irritate skin, doesn’t clog pores, doesn’t sting the eyes but so many have that white cast on the skin. There are very few that have passed my test – the AmorePacific Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has joined the club.

It’s a lightweight mist sunscreen that’s completely clear. I sprayed it directly on my face when I first received it then read the instructions and realized that you are supposed to spray on your hands and not on the face. It has a fluid texture that’s clear making it disappear on the skin. It has plum extract which helps protect against heat-aging which is new to me and something I wasn’t aware of. According to AmorePacific heat exposure accelerates oxidization and inflammation which are the two major causes of premature aging. It also includes ingredients to reduce irritation, keep skin moisturized and cool. Applying on the skin I tried it over the Time Response moisturizers (I tried it over the cream and serum on separate occasions) and it is lightweight enough that it doesn’t feel heavy by adding that one more layer. Alone it will look very dewy on the skin but does not feel greasy – let it set on the skin before making any judgements. It works well under makeup. It appears to be designed for the face but I would also use this on the body.

I researched a lot of reviews online before deciding what to try from the line, since the items are pricey I wanted to pick wisely. The reviews on the Time Response Collection are overwhelmingly positive and I was thrilled to be able to test some pieces. I do believe seeing results from skincare takes a lot of time and diligent use – after three weeks I have noticed improvement with fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have creeped up on me. Since the collection is on the expensive side and if you’re unsure of what formulas will work best for your skintype, I hands down recommend trying one of the trial sets first which will allow you to sample items at a more affordable price compared to splurging on the full size items.

My favorites from what I tested include the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, Moisture Bound Face Mist, Sun Protection Mist, All Day Balancing Serum and Time Response Renewal Eye Cream. Once the trial box set is used but I plan on buying the eye cream. Another box of the sheet masks are in my online cart as I type this post ready for checkout.

Serum-wise going forward it’s a toss up whether I would decide to splurge on a box of sheet masks which have the serum vials or just purchase a bottle of the serum which sounds more expensive but would probably last a lot longer.

For the face creams, my favorite is still the Moisture Bound Hydra Gel because it’s more lightweight and better suited for my normal/combo skin (especially in the summer) and the price points of the Gel and Cream in the Moisture Bound line is a lot easier to swallow for luxury skincare. However the Time Response Renewal Cream is everything everyone has raved about – nothing I’ve tried has reduced my forehead fine lines and wrinkles as well as this has. My forehead area is probably the part of my face that is most exposed to sun and heat and is more normal-dry versus the rest of my face which is more normal-combo. The main difference between the two lines is the Moisture Bound is more geared towards anti-aging prevention and age delay while Time Response is more reactive to reduce effects of aging. It’s noticeable that the effects of the Time Response line are more potent. Now that I just turned 35 I feel like my awareness of wrinkles and fine lines has heightened. I don’t know if I will purchase a full size of the cream when my deluxe size is used up but given that the deluxe size has quite a bit of product I will have some time to think about it before splurging.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience testing items from AmorePacific! So many of you have given me such great advice about skincare, especially from the AmorePacific line. If you have anything to add about your experiences, loves or hates please do so in the comments.

Many thanks to AmorePacific for sponsoring this post. Products featured gifted for review. As always all opinons my own. More information in my disclosures.

Uncategorized

Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

May 10, 2016

Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of my favorite tried-and-true skincare products for spring – ones that I find particularly good for my super sensitive skin. When it comes to skincare I like to rotate through different products depending on the season and how my skin feels during a particular moment in time but many of you have asked for a list of my most re-purchased beauty items so I’m sharing a roundup of some of those items with you today. I just turned 35 and anti-aging is a big focus for me. For right now my main concerns with skincare are finding products that have anti-aging ingredients, help maintain a healthy glow and most importantly help keep texture smooth.

First up is my favorite toner of all time which is the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. It’s which is one of the skincare items I find essential to my daily routine. Having a good toner keeps the skin clear and break-out free by removing dirt, dead skin cells or any remnants of soap/cleanser residue on the skin that may remain after washing the face. The SK-II toner helps rebalance or soothe my skin. It works wonders to help smooth texture, makes it feel clean, isn’t sticky, makes pores smaller, softens the complexion, doesn’t irritate and doesn’t leave a film but still hydrates. I’ve purchased numerous bottles and no matter what other toners I try, I keep coming back to this one.

Using cleansing oils to double cleanse is also really important to help me have clear skin. I alternate between cleansing waters and cleansing oils to remove face makeup as a first step, then follow with a regular liquid or clay cleanser. I’ve found a lot of loves for cleansing oil, but the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil is the best for sensitive skin. It took me a long time to decide to splurge on this one because it’s on the pricey side. There are definitely a lot of more affordable options that will work just as well (even for sensitive skin) but the one from SK-II has one of the most pleasant unique smells that is soothing. It almost has a cushiony feel when you apply it to the face. It’s soothing, emulsifies well with warm water, removes all traces of face makeup without leaving any residue. I feel like I’m hypersensitive to any kind of residue from makeup removers and this one leaves the skin feeling softly hydrated and clean but not tight and there’s no film leftover.

Finding a good facial cotton is important to me because tiny little fibers often stick to my lashes and irritate my eyes. The Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is hands down worth the splurge and my most repurchased face cotton since discovering. Many have said in previous posts they feel that the Shiseido Facial Cotton is identical for a fraction of the price. I’ve tried both and used Shiseido for a long time (I still do). I personally didn’t believe there would be a difference either – I’m glad I gave it a chance because it’s thicker and more sturdy while still being super soft. The size is perfect to remove all face makeup and eye makeup with 1 pad while with other brands I find I often have to use 2-3 to remove eye makeup and then all the face makeup.

Another game changer for me has been the Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment Swaps. These are the one-time-use on-the-go version of the original Kate Somervillle Eradikate Acne Treatment (which comes in a bottle). These contain the highest level of sulfur allowed to treat acne and it really helps keep skin clear of new breakouts – if I feel one surfacing I use this at night because of the pink tint and it helps dry out the area without making it sting or peel. The full size bottle is a better buy but the individually packaged swabs are super easy to use, convenient and you can take them anywhere with you. These work on my husband’s skin too. He uses them on a regular basis for spot treatments. Really anything in the Eradikate line is good. I’ve tried several items during a few Kate Somerville facials – the Eradikate Mask Foam is amazing!

It took me a long time to get into beauty oils because I felt like a regular cream just felt better on the skin. However two I swear by are the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil. Both recommended to me by Beauty Look Book readers and friends. With so many raves I knew I had to try them and I’m glad I did. There have been a few oils that were too rich for my skin and caused tiny bumps (a few from Lancome and some other brands) so I’m always very nervous to put these on my skin. My personal go-to is still the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil which I’ve used up entirely and repurchased but several of my friends who tried it said it wasn’t hydrating enough. I have normal combination skin (not oily though). Friends with normal to dry skin said they needed something more and I had them test out the Kiehl’s and Kate Somerville as well. Both are really good at restoring the skin’s moisture but are quick to absorb. They leave the skin feeling well hydrated without the greasy feel and both are suitable for super sensitive skin. For me and a couple of my friends – no break outs, no irritation and no clogging with these.

The Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate has antioxidants to protect the skin from daily pollutants. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing. I find it suitable for my combination skin but if you’re on the oily side you may find it too rich. The Kate Somerville Dilo Oil helps restore the skin’s moisture but has a firming feel to it. It smooths the skin’s appearance and helps reduce fine lines and has the most amazing scent ever.

For the lips many of you know I’m a lip balm addict but am also highly allergic to some formulas (like the one from Kiehl’s unfortunately). The AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is my favorite unscented and unflavored no fuss option. If you want one that’s easy to use and adds a good amount of hydration without feeling too goopy or too runny, this is the perfect in between.

Last but not least – the two best anti-aging skincare products I’ve tried that help with my skin’s surface texture are the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (for day) and DermalQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol (for night). Both have been featured before on the blog. The original DermalQuench is something I use every other day to daily. It’s designed to help combat wrinkles and sagging and although I don’t have sagging yet, I do have some forehead wrinkles and firmness under the eyes has started to decrease. With regular use the daytime DermalQuench has noticeably improved my skin’s texture and radiance – skin is smoother and it does feel firmer without feeling tight.

The DermalQuench with Retinol is gentle enough for my sensitive skin to use nightly and it’s worked wonders with skin discoloration from acne scars – although I will say my scars aren’t too bad but linger for a while. This works over time to even out the skin tone, brightness and texture. It helps with fine lines – I’ve tried to convince my husband to use it because he’s developed more fine lines around the eyes (sides and underneath). He tried it for a week and I think it helped his skin too, but he hasn’t been disciplined in using it although I think it would really help his skin as well.

On the nails, Tom Ford Sugar Dune

I hope you found this roundup helpful! I feel like I have quite a few favorites – enough to repurchase items on a regular basis, but these are my absolute favorites for sensitive skin. Let me know in the comments if you’re looking for any other recommendations or want another roundup post. I don’t think I’ve ever done a full skincare routine post since my routine changes frequently but if you’re interested I can definitely put one together.

Do you have any tried-and-true skincare that you love? Ones you’ve repurchased multiple times? If yes please share in the comments!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

Roundup

My Favorite At-Home Pamper Essentials

April 22, 2016

I have a roundup of things I wanted to share that I find best for at-home pampering. I try to take care of my skin on a daily basis but try to give it extra care on the weekends – kinda like doing a DIY at home spa session for a good reset or cleanse. There are a few body products I’ve been meaning to write about for a while – ones I found well worth the splurge. I’ve included several recommendations by category – there’s no one product fits all so I’ve tried to cover a variety of options in case you’re looking for something specific whether it’s to purify skin, firm the skin, etc.

Cleansers


  • Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap is probably one of the most expensive face cleansing products I’ve ever bought. I’ve gone through 4 of these – I probably would have purchased more if it came with a cheaper price tag. It gives the skin a very thorough cleanse without leaving a film. It cleans out all the pores and leaves skin feeling squeaky clean. When I feel like my face is getting clogged this helps clear up the complexion. With daily use 2x a day a single bar lasts about 4 months.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser has been mentioned before in my spring cleanser roundup. I really can’t rave enough about this – I used mine up so I stocked up on a few more during the Sephora sale earlier this month. It cleanses the skin and helps keep it clear but gentle enough for daily use.
  • Ole Henriksen Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (c/o) is a super gentle milk cleanser that won’t leave a film. I really don’t like milk cleansers because I often find them too rich for my skin type and they rarely leave my face feeling fully clean. A few of you mentioned you have really sensitive skin – this is a good one to try. It does give the face a good cleanse without drying it out. I still do a double cleanse with this one in the evenings (I remove all my makeup first with a cleansing oil or cleansing water), but in the morning it’s perfect to use alone.
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is one of my favorite purifying cleansers. I’ve gone through several bottles and it’s one I keep going to. In hot summer months I can use this daily (usually in the late afternoon or evenings, or post work out), for now I like to use it weekly to help give the skin a thorough cleanse. It helps reduce redness and irritation too.

Masks


  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment is hands down one of the most effective clearing face masks. It does have a tingle feeling when you apply it but it’s not too strong and doesn’t irritate the skin. It sucks out impurities and leaves the skin feeling super firm and tight.
  • Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment is one of the newer masks from Glamglow. This one you leave on the face for 20-30 minutes and peel off. I normally don’t like masks that require more than 15 minutes of application because I’m super impatient with skincare, but this one is worth the extra time. It is more on the gentle side for a firming mask and I feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term, but it does leave the skin feeling super firm and lifted.
  • Aesop Parsley Seed Mask is the best purifying mask for my sensitive skin. It dries up the gunk in your skin and leaves it feeling thoroughly clean and tight. Many have mentioned to me that their skin cannot handle the Glamglow because they find it too harsh. If that is the case and you still want a purifying mask to draw out impurities, try the Aesop.
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate is one of the most gentle acne-clearing masks. It works in a similar way to the other clarifying masks mentioned above but is super gentle and non-irritating. It won’t leave the skin feeling tight. It’s gentle enough to use daily – I wouldn’t recommend using it every single day, but on weeks where I have some breakouts, I use this nightly for about 4-5 nights and it really helps clear up the skin.
Body

I usually don’t splurge on body products. I typically keep things simple with L’Occitane or Nuxe, but I’ve discovered some new-to-me things that I am really excited to share with you.


  • Chanel Fresh Body Cream is something I’m beyond obsessed with. It’s one of the most expensive body products I’ve ever bought and it’s a bit hard to find (you can’t find it at all counters). You can basically find this at any store or counter that sells the Exclusifs Fragrances. It’s a super gentle body cream that smells really fresh but won’t interfere with perfumes. I like to use this at night before bed because I have a sensitive nose and scents sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. This one is soothing enough that it doesn’t interfere with my sleep. It’s hydrating and non-greasy. I will keep repurchasing this one for as long as they make it.
  • Byredo Bal D’Afrique Body Cream is another pricey splurge but I adore the Bal D’Afrique scent I had to try it in the body cream. This one is super emollient and has a body butter feel which is super lush. A little goes a long way and the moisture lingers for an emollient feel. You can definitely feel the moisture after you apply but it’s not greasy. That being said if you need a body product to have a dry-down you may find this too rich.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body is another favorite. I’ve featured this a few times in past years. It has all the moisturizing and soothing qualities of items from the regular Shea line but it’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. Anytime I have irritation or flare ups – I use this and skin is instantly soothed. I love that it’s non greasy, gentle, but effective.
  • NARS Monoii Body Glow II is the ultimate scented tiare body oil that makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. It lifts the mood instantly and absorbs quickly into the skin. There’s no greasy feel or residue after it’s absorbed into the skin. I’m about 99% happy with this one – if it came with a pump dispenser it would be perfect.
Home Fragrance


  • Lumira Travel Candles (c/o) are super compact and cute, I love having a few scattered around the house to burn. To date I don’t think I’ve brought a candle with me while I travel but there are times when I have traveled that I wish I had one with me. I’m trying my best to save the mini ones for my next trip. My favorite from their line is the Tahitian Coconut.
  • Lumira Mini Destinations Box Set (c/o) launched over the holiday a boxed trio of the most popular scents from the line in Tuscan Fig, Cuban Tobacco, Persian Rose. I just finally started burning Tuscan Fig today – it’s amazing and smells of sweet figs (Diptyque’s Figuier by comparison is greener). Top notes are fig leaves and fig tree, middle notes are blackcurrant and cedarwood, base is iris and musk.
  • Diptyque Gingembre Room Spray (c/o) was reviewed a month ago (I can’t believe an entire month has gone by). I won’t repeat the review but it’s a really nice bright and cheery kind of home scent.
  • Diptyque Colored Candle in Baies (c/o) is a classic. The larger size gives this one a stronger throw compared to the smaller ones. Don’t forget if you have any Diptyque on your wishlist you can save online at Space NK US by using my special promo code through May 1st.

Lips
I have very sensitive lips when it comes to lip treatments. There are quite a few very popular options that make my lips go numb (Kiehl’s, CO Bigelow, Chapstick etc.) so that may give you an idea of just how sensitive they are. The ones below are Beauty Look Book approved. Of course it’s not a list of all the ones I’ve tested or like, but ones I like most for right now.


  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm is a great lip treatments that is also affordable. It’s emollient and I love the simple classic squeeze tube packaging.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed is my current favorite for the most moisturizing lip treatment to help with dry or cracked lips (swatched in this post here and here).
  • AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is one I just used up (review from winter in this post here), it’s the best scent and taste-free lip treatment I’ve tried. Most others have some kind of scent or flavor. If you’re really sensitive to any scent, I’d recommend you try this one.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur in Coral Stellar is one of the prettiest tinted lip treatments I’ve tried. Review + swatches here. It’s worth the splurge.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is a good lip treatment but I do think it’s overpriced for what you get. That being said I’ve never regretted buying this one and if you’re willing to splurge it’s a good gentle one that always soothes my lips. (More on this compared to others in this post here.)
If you’re looking for something to help reset the skin, calm the complexion or give your body an extra boost of moisture, I hope you found this roundup helpful! I have super sensitive skin and there are some body lotions and creams that cause an immediate allergic reaction (I always do a patch test first). If a good purifying mask is what you have been looking for but want something suitable for sensitive skin I hope the recs above help you find something gentle enough for your skin type!

What are your favorite at-home pampering products? I really love hearing about your favorites. So many of you have recommended some great things for me to try. I’m pretty set on masks but I do have my eye on a few sheet masks. I’m intrigued by mainly the two from La Mer – if you’ve tried them should I go for the Brightening Facial Masks or Hydrating Sheet Masks? Or should I wait for the Eve Lom Brightening Sheet Mask to launch in the US?

I hope you had a great week! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

What's In My Bag

What’s Inside My Makeup Bag

January 5, 2016
Inside my makeup bag truffle clarity pouch

It’s only the first week of the year and even though I’ve tried to clean out some of my purses and reorganize, I’ve already accumulated way too much in my makeup bag. I just emptied it this morning and counted 12 lip items … wait no, 13 eek! Everytime I go out with my husband, he’s always asking what it is that I’m lugging around and if I really need to carry all this stuff. Of course I don’t, but I still do. Here’s a peek at what’s inside my makeup bag which is the Truffle Clarity Clutch Small in Nude. Some will be reviewed on the blog very soon.
______________

Lips

Featured from left to right:
______________

All the other stuff

From left to right:
______________

I’ll say now that the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac is way better than the Pink one (which turns fuchsia on my lips sometimes). I ordered all the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks from the chocolate launch because how can one resist anything chocolate? There are hits and misses with the colors – I’ll be editing swatches to upload later this week (my husband said one of the colors looked absolutely hideous on me). I pulled out my Tisse Rivoli eyeshadow quad recently – it is one of my favorite neutrals in quad form but I misplaced it and couldn’t find it for months (I had put the compact in my blush drawer which is why I couldn’t find it with all the other eyeshadow compacts). My goal for the new year is to find some more makeup organization solutions. I’ve been using Muji Acrylic organizers and drawers, but I need something bigger with taller drawers – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. There are a number of options out there I’ve been researching – I’ve been making notes on dimensions and picing, it’s kinda overwhelming to sort out! 

What’s in your makeup bag this week? If you keep your makeup contents to a minimum, how do you edit/organize what you carry? 

Press samples featured above indicated by a *. 

Uncategorized

Lip Balm Testing and Recommendations for Winter Weather

December 14, 2015
Winter Lip Treatments Balms

Above: Tray from J.Crew (similar here and here), Clare V Wallet Clutch, Celine Knot Bracelet, Gorjana Crossover Cuff

I’ve been testing a number of new-to-me lip treatments, balms and oils since late fall. I did a roundup of rosy red tinted lip treatments for holiday last month, but it’s been a year since I rounded up what I’ve been testing and loving in the non-tinted version. Today after weeks and weeks of testing, I have thoughts on 16 different lip balms in multiple formulas to share today. I’ve split the lip balms into three categories: the pots, the tubes, and the squeeze tubes.

______________________________

Potted Lip Treatments

Fresh Dior Chanel Tatcha Nuxe Lip Balms

Some of my favorite lip balms formulas are in pot format even though I prefer the tube or stick version so I don’t have to stick my finger in. I’ve raved about the By Terry Baume de Rose so many times I thought I’d round up some others I’ve been testing.
  • Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy ($30) – I had high hopes for this one as I really like the stick sugar lip balms but find they can get soft and be prone to breakage. One in pot format seemed more ideal for a soft formula, but this one is actually harder in texture. I had to take a lip brush to break the surface and get enough product for my lips. With just fingers I could barely get anything on and the result was a barely-there veil of moisture. If you dip into the surface and dig out enough of the product to layer on the lips, it makes the lips feel moisturized, smooth, slightly minty and cool but without the tingle. Unfortunately it doesn’t give the lips a long-lasting moisturized feel. I would say the effects are immediate and temporary for fall to winter weather. It would be better suited for warm weather.
  • Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm RĂŞve de Miel ($19) – This is one I bought in the limited-edition packaging, but the formula is the same as the regular pots with the white caps. This is an ultra creamy highly concentrated rich balm that smells like honey and grapefruit. I find it on the thick side of creamy so it really coats the lips with a cushion of moisture. It stays put and doesn’t slide around. It comes in a hefty glass jar. The scent is very natural and barely has any taste. I like this one for an ultra rich and creamy treatment.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care ($50) This is one I used up and repurchased. I go back and forth with this one, mainly because it comes with a very high price tag. It’s smooth and lightweight in feel but does moisturize the lips. If you read my post from last year I said I would probably use it to the end but not repurchase (well I ended up repurchasing). It’s a good basic lip balm that works for me, but I think others like the Nuxe or the Clarins Lip Oils have a deeper more moisturizing treatment and more affordable.
  • Dior Crème de Rose ($28) – This has been on my radar for years and I finally bought it and tried it this year. It’s super smooth and creamy without the greasy feel. It has the most lush rose scent, similar to By Terry but slightly less floral/sharp which makes it easier for those with sensitive noses. It’s very hydrating and the effects truly make a difference in the moisture of the lips.
  • Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36, also in the Travel Kit and several other holiday sets) This is an extra special lip balm. It’s such a unique formula. The base is a clear jelly-like balm that smells refreshingly sweet. It’s dewy and adds the perfect amount of moisture to the lips and feels lightweight. It’s topped with a thin layer of 24-karat gold leaf that gives it an ultra luxe look. It’s a winner and I really can’t imagine life without it.

______________________________

Lip Balms in Squeeze Tubes

Amore Pacific Laura Mercier Lip Balm L'Occitane First Aid Beauty Bite Beauty Malin+Goetz

Squeeze tubes are the best format for lip balms in my opinion. They’re compact, easy to use and don’t require fingers. Many come with angled applicators which makes it easier to apply these days. A few new ones along with tried-and-true favs:

  • Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35) This is something I tried because so many of my readers raved about AmorePacific. This is a tiny tube of balm but the formula is excellent. It offers instant relief to super dry lips. There were a few days my lips were painfully dry and this helped restore them to their natural state. I would say that it’s almost entirely scent and taste-free. I can’t detect any scent but it’s possible there’s a slight natural scent to it. Out of all the tubes, this is in my top 3.
  • Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Lip Balm ($24 or in the Rose Infusion Set* for $110) This is a new launch from Laura Mercier. It was first exclusive to the Rose Infusion Set, but you can purchase it separately now at Laura Mercier. It’s a nourishing lip balm that smells like soft roses. It has Rosehip Seed, Kukui, and Macadamia Seed Oils helps soothe and comfort lips – I really like the way this feels on the lips. There is a slight floral taste to it – it’s not bad or too strong, but definitely noticeable. I really like the way it hydrates the lips.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm * ($25, from the Hugs and Kisses Set) is one of the most gentle lip treatments for super sensitive skin that’s still hydrating. Since it’s lightweight the lasting power isn’t as long as some other treatments, but it still does the job at adding moisture and soothing the lips. Many lip treatments make my lips go numb (like Kiehl’s and almost all the drugstore brands), whenever I’m in doubt I go with L’Occitane.
  • L’Occitane x Pierre HermĂ© Pamplemousse Rhubarb Lip Balm ($25 from the Voyage Trio Set) is part of the Pierre HermĂ© Collaboration. It has the most delicious grapefruit scent to it and adds a tiny bit of moisture. As a quick fix it’s good, but the formula is pretty light in terms of moisture and texture. If you don’t mind reapplying the scent is heavenly, but if you’re looking for a deep treatment, you may want to pass.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy* ($12, or in the FAB to the Rescue Sampler Set $32 and Freshen Up Duo $15) This is a life-saver for dry lips. It’s got a minty scent which I’m not the biggest fan of, but it’s a pleasant mint. It’s super smooth and emollient and has just the right texture of creaminess to it. It gives the lips instant relief and really helps with dry lips.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26, swatched here, Smashed swatched here) is a tinted treatment, but it’s pretty much clear. This is one of the best lip treatments I’ve tried. It’s super plush and hydrating. I use it on no-makeup days and it fixes dry lips like magic.
  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is a long-time favorite. There are two formulas of lip balm, both are equally good. I think the Mojito one is fun because it’s scented in a fun mojito flavor. It has a clear almost gel-like consistency. I like the way this feels on the lips the best out of all the lip balms. It’s moisturizing and you can feel it, but it’s not heavy or greasy.

______________________________

Twist Up Sticks and Oils

lip oil clarins hourglass nuxe lip balm caudalie lip balm

Last but not least, a few others in oil and stick format:

  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey* ($24) Lip Oils were really popular this time last year. I tried a few different brands and found I didn’t really like the concept of oils because many just felt too runny and thin. The Clarins is phenomenal though. It does offer instant comfort and a natural shine. Honey is pretty much clear on the lips but it has a thickness to it which prevents it from feeling like it will slip off your lips. Cafe Makeup did a review on the pink version. I think her thoughts and review are excellent.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Treatment Oil in Icon* ($42, review here) is also tinted. I’ve tried both the original clear and tinted version. Both have a really good nourishing formula I find unique and extremely hydrating. The red one is fun for holiday and pretty sheer/natural so if you’re a neutral lip lover like me, it’s definitely wearable. It’s one of the deeper treatments I’ve tried for lips – it has a press pump to dispense product. I think it’s definitely worth the splurge.
  • Nuxe Lip Moisturizing Stick RĂŞve de Miel ($9) is something I’ve loved and used up. The stick for right now is probably too light in the sense that it doesn’t give me enough moisture. If you’re a Reve de Miel fan, go for the pot instead.
  • Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12, also in this Winter Favorites Set or Winter Duo) this is my favorite twist up tube balm. It has a really nice fruity fresh scent and taste to it. It glides on the lips easily. It hydrates my lips nicely. I used up the tube from last year’s post and repurchased it in one of the duos.

______________________________

If you’re looking for a new lip treatment I hope this roundup helps give you some ideas of what to try. My bottom line:

Top Formula Picks for Fall/Winter Weather

Most hydrating formulas:

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
Bite Agave Lip Mask (any of the colors)
Dior Creme de Rose
Nuxe RĂŞve de Miel (pot)
Clarins Lip Oil

Best for everyday, lightweight but still moisturizing:

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm
Tatcha Camellia Lip Balm

Best in luxury:

Hourglass Lip Oils

Ones I’d pass on if I could do it over:

L’Occitane Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarb – nice but not hydrating enough
Fresh Sugar Nourshing Lip Care – just not what I expected

As always, I’d love to hear about your favorites! If you have any tried and true – please share in the comments. 

Some press samples included in this post indicated with a * from L’Occitane, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty, Hourglass, Clarins.
Uncategorized

Loving Right Now

November 18, 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is going well so far. A few things I’m loving right now, especially since the weather seems to have shifted overnight here in Southern California. It’s still relatively warm compared to most parts of the US, but we’ve had some rain, lots of wind and dry weather. My skin has definitely felt the impact and my lips and skin have felt dry so I’ve needed to switch things up.

For lips I’ve been loving the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment that I picked up from Sephora. It comes in a sleek little squeeze tube and has an angled applicator so you can apply it without using fingers. It’s hydrating and feels lush on the lips. I’ll give an update later as I’m testing a few new lip treatments. Also great for dry skin is the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil-Free Essentials Set (not shown). I bought this a couple months ago and loved the items but found them too hydrating when we had super warm and humid weather in the high 80s (I thought fall weather would never arrive here). For right now, the cleanser and toner are just what I need to mix into my routine on days I feel extra dry.

These days I feel like I can’t live without the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist*, the travel size is perfect to keep in my purse and I love that the mini packaging is just as good as the full size. Be sure to check out their gift sets this year. Their packages are beautifully wrapped so you really don’t need to do any extra work if you gift something.

For under eye concealer, I’m still loving the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer as the best under-eye and spot cover up (I use Shade 3). Pigment and coverage is impressive but it blends out to a completely natural looking finish. Swatches of all the shades in this post here. Because many of you have been asking about the newer Mini Miracle Eye Wand Dynamic Duo Lift and Light Reflector, I picked up one in Shade 3. I’ll report once I’ve given it a thorough test drive.

Another staple in my daily makeup rotation is the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base. Many of you have repeatedly asked what my favorite eye base is, and it’s the one from Edward Bess. It evens out the lids and primes it for eyeshadow. It extends eyeshadow wear and doesn’t crease. Many skin-tone colored primers dry out my lids or make them look wrinkly, the Edward Bess smooths out the skin and makes it glow naturally (even though there is no shimmer).

For color, I’m obsessed with Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Versatile (swatched here), Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Eyeshadow* in Bronze (swatched here), and Chanel Rouge No. 19 Le Vernis (released last year, but still available at Chanel.com, swatch here).

I’ve been testing a number of different hand creams. I did a roundup of my staples back in January. I’ll have another update soon. The Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment* and Hand Exfoliator* are really quite amazing. I’ve never done a hand scrub but the exfoliating treatment is incredibly helpful in scrubbing off dead skin and also offers hydration leaving hand silky smooth and feeling really good. (Not to mention is smells delicious.) The Alba White Truffle Hand Cream is ultra hydrating. 

Also not to be missed is the L’Occitane x Pierre HermĂ© Collaboration. Both brands have a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they partnered for a holiday launch. The packaging on the Hand Cream Trio is to die for. As soon as I saw it online I immediately went to my local store to pick it up. Unfortunately it appears to be an online exclusive in the US. If you’re one to shop in store, there is a lot to choose from – but don’t forget to check online for exclusive sets. The gift sets this year are so beautiful (more on these soon). There are some cute Lip/Hand Duos and other items that are only available online. (I ordered multiples of the trio and duos.)

Last three things I’ve been loving are the Gourmand Eau De Parfums from Urban Outfitters. I have ThĂ© Matcha which is a super clean fresh scent. I have several others on my wishlist. Truffle pouches are always on my love-list. The Rose Gold Privacy Clutch is always fun around the holiday season. New for holiday is the Ivory Pearl Cranberry Pouch in Small* and Large. Right now Truffle has a 20% off sale on this color through 11/25 with code CRANBERRY at checkout.

Stay tuned for a hand cream and lip treatment roundup along with more holiday reviews and gift guides. What are you loving this week? Do you have any go-to’s for dry skin during the colder fall/winter months?
P.S. The Garance Doré Book is so incredibly fun and chic!

Press samples included indicated by a * next to the items featured. All others purchased by me.

Uncategorized

Korean Beauty + Sephora

October 19, 2015

Korean Skincare is something that I’ve been interested in for a long time but found very complex and somewhat challenging for me to understand with the numerous steps and options. My friends have been raving about skincare items such as essences, pore packs, watery creams, overnight masks and sheer coverage balms and creams for a long time. Right now, Korean Skincare is trending now at Sephora and thanks to articles and shopping guides, they’ve now made the 10-step Korean Beauty routine easier to understand. As a beauty blogger I find it easy to navigate through cosmetic options, but for skincare, understanding the uses and benefits of creams, solid oils and masks are foreign to me. Sephora has an easy-to-follow Korean Beauty Guide with recommendations that I’ve found incredibly helpful. It’s helped me figure out when and how to incorporate new items into my skincare routine. I’ve teamed up with them to share my thoughts on 10 Korean skincare items I’ve been testing.

I’ve split the items I’ve tested into category type. As always I would love to hear about your recommendations and loves. I purchased the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil Free Essentials Set based on your recs and have been really loving it so far (review to follow once I’ve used it up).

Double Cleansing is a something standard in Korean beauty rituals. I usually double cleanse with a wide variety of cleansing oils, makeup removers or cleansing waters as the first step before using a traditional gel, liquid or cream cleanser because it is really the best way to remove all traces of makeup from my skin. I tried the Erborian Solid Cleansing Oil ($39) which is a solid balm cleanser that transforms into a oil when it comes in contact with your face. It comes with a small spatula to remove product. You massage it all over the face and then rinse with water and it turns into a milky lotion. It has a fresh almost green tea spa scent but isn’t too strong. It does a pretty good job at removing makeup but I still think a follow up with regular cleanser is necessary. This leaves the skin feeling moisturized and clean. There’s no film residue.

Another cleanser I tested was the Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Soap Facial Cleanser ($20). This is a whipped egg white mousse cleaner with egg yolk extract. It’s a super gentle cleaner and the way it foams up makes it super fun to clean the face. The egg yolk combines milk proteins and amino acids to cleanse skin. It’s supposed to dissolve oil while leaving the skin smooth and moisturized. I found it to be a really good gentle cleaner suitable for my sensitive skin. I like using it in the morning – it leaves the skin clean without stripping the skin and it also makes the face glow without looking greasy. I’ve found the way it cleanses my skin is really nice – skin feels more balanced throughout the day.

Next up is the May Coop Raw Sauce ($14-$43) which is an essence. This is similar in concept to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. You use this on the skin applied with fingers or a cotton pad after cleansing and toning. I always feel this is an unnecessary step in the skincare routine but I am really impressed every time I am disciplined enough to use an essence. It adds moisture and glow to the skin and is supposed to prep the face better for skincare serum and moisturizer absorption. This is made of maple tree sap and cruelty-free. After testing this for a few weeks I have to say I am impressed. This far exceeded my expectations in terms of how it has transformed my skin. I don’t use it everyday but it’s made the skin feel more hydrated. Dry patches have disappeared. Skin does indeed absorb moisturizer better. A little goes a long way. I think it will be a staple for winter.

Another line I just started testing is belif. The True Cream Aqua Bomb ($22 – $38)is a lightweight gel cream moisturizer that is oil-free. It has a bounce to it. In general I really do not like gel moisturizers (I have made a few exceptions) because I feel they end up feeling sticky and too dewy. The belif True Cream Aqua Bomb has made it into the exception category. It’s supposed to be designed for all skin types. For my normal, sensitive combo skin, this is a really nice lightweight moisturizer. I like that it really feels weightless. Skin feels smooth and there is no stinging sensation (I get that with a lot of gels).

Masks are a big deal with Korean Skincare. I tested three. First is the Dr. Jart+  Water-Max Sleeping Mask ($48). I prefer night creams to night masks because I usually don’t like the feel of product on my face when I sleep. The Dr. Jart+ however is a super lightweight mask. It is a gel formula but doesn’t feel sticky or leave any residue. It feels more like a lightweight lotion. I tested this on 1/2 of my face for a week to see if I could notice a difference between use and non-use. I can. You apply it at night and leave it on then rinse in the morning. The side I used it on looks more refreshed, smoother, plumper and more glowing.
The Erborian Waterlock Mask ($43) is another hydrating mask treatment. This also is a gel formula that feels like a thick jelly. There are a few ways you can use this. I used it as a 10-minute mask then rinsed off. This is one of the most gentle feeling face masks I’ve used that gives instant hydration. The moisturized feeling lasts after it washes off but there is no residue. It has bamboo sap and fibers designed to lock in hydration. There is a slight cooling feel that is very relaxing and soothing. It’s a refreshing moisture mask that I have fallen head over heels in love with.
The third mask I tried was the belif First Aid Transforming Peel Off Mask ($34). This is the first peel off mask I’ve tried that peels off with water. I really like peel off masks but often time they are messy and don’t peel off completely so I end up having to scrub residue off. This one you leave on for 15 minutes. When you rinse with warm water the dry mask turns into a peel off gel that easily peels off. It has lemon balm and white willow bark, which is a natural salicylic acid, which helps to clarify and soothe skin. After using this my pores disappear, skin feels ultra firm and smooth. I’m obsessed.

Pore Packs are new to me but I think if you try one new thing out of this roundup, pore packs should be one of them. Tony Moly Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm ($18) comes in an egg-shaped container. The bottom portion of the egg is filled with product. It’s a self-heating balm designed to target blackheads by opening pores with the heat and then remove dirt and oil. I think it’s a really good gentle treatment that makes a huge difference in cleaning out pores around the nose and mouth. It’s not a dramatic kind of facial treatment. I like to use this sometimes in conjunction with a clarifying mask or regular cleanser after this. The Egg Pore Balm helps open up pores. When I follow with a mask it draws out impurities even more. The heating element is noticeable but super gentle.

The Caolion Pore Pack ($30) is a stronger treatment. If you have sensitive skin you might want to try it on spots first. I used it all over the face and while it was perfectly fine and left my skin looking so much better, it does feel extra tingly. Some might find the tingle too strong. The top half is a dark mask that is the hot portion called Premium Blackhead Steam Pore Pack. This is a stronger version of the Tony Moly and cleans out pores and exfoliates dead skin. It made my nose pores disappear almost 100%. Pores along the cheeks and sides of the nose were noticeably smaller.

Step two is the cool portion which is the Premium Pore Original Pack. It has a menthol element that tightens pores even further and soothes the skin. I have extremely sensitive eyes and the first time I used it, I applied the menthol too close to my eyes which made them tear. It didn’t sting but the menthol is pretty strong. You can really feel it working on your skin and I was worried my face would be red and blotchy after I washed it off, but it left the face looking super smooth with all redness gone. If you have extra sensitive skin I would recommend using this more as a spot treatment on troubled areas.

Last but not least are two items called lightweight finishers. I’ve reviewed the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact ($60) before and still love it. It has SPF 50 and protects against UVA and UVB. This is a very natural glowy product that melds into the skin unlike any other foundation I’ve tried. A huge bonus is that each pack comes with a refill so the price point to me is really reasonable. It’s a your-skin-but-better kind of product. I do think you need to set with a powder.
I also tried the Dr. Jart+ BB Beauty Balm ($39) which comes in two colors, 01 Medium Light and 02 Medium Deep. This is a one-step beauty balm that gives natural coverage and evens out the skin. It’s more pigmented than a lot of other beauty balms I’ve tried. I am a match to 02 Medium Deep which is on the greyish side but adjusts to my skintone right now. I think the downside to this product is the two colors make it hard to find a color match. If you can find a match, it’s a nice smoothing product. It makes my face and skin look more youthful without being overly dewy.

I hope you found this roundup helpful! There’s a lot I’ve tested and covered so I hope the categories helped break down the options by product type. My top three favorite items I tested in this round include the Dr. Jart+ Water-Max Sleeping Mask, Tony Moly Egg Pore Blackhead Steamer Balm and Erborian Bamboo Waterlock Mask although I did discover a lot of new things to love.

The Sephora Korean Beauty Guide and Posts on their blog The Glossy have helped me understand all the options better. Once I started to look at each product individually and incorporate them one at a time into my skincare routine it’s all started to make more sense. The process of using Korean skincare still contains a number of steps, some of which are more complex than my basic routine right now, but I can see a difference in clarity, texture and overall glow.

Sephora has been kind enough to give me extras of some items to giveaway. You can enter via the widget below. Due to liquid restrictions, this is open to US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. Items in the giveaway to 1 lucky winner will include the following:

Eborian Solid Cleansing Oil, Eborian Bamboo Waterlock Mask, Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask, Dr. Jart+ BB Beauty Balm, Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, May Coop Raw Sauce, Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Soap Cleanser, Tony Moly Egg Pore, Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo, Shiseido Facial Cotton (selected winner will be able to select the colors for the foundation and bb beauty balm)

Enter via the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find a wide selection of Korean beauty products online and in stores at Sephora. I’m really thrilled with the selection and hope they continue to expand the brand offerings. Right now for a limited time you can get 1 of 4 K-Beauty Minis at checkout with code KBEAUTY with orders of $25 or more. In case you’re hesitant to splurge on the full size, there are a number of value sets available with trial sizes you might want to look into.

If you have any Korean Beauty favorites, please let me know!

Many thanks to Sephora for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.