Happy October everyone! I hope you had a great September. It’s officially fall but we’re still having really warm sunny days in the high 70s and it feels like fall weather will never arrive. September brought about a number of new beauty discoveries, in particular new lipsticks. I think I fell in love with every single new lipstick formula I tried from Charlotte Tilbury (hands down one of the best mattes ever), Louboutin (oh so luxurious), Buxom Cosmetics (so many good colors with an amazing formula) and Tom Ford (how can you not love TF lipsticks?).
I decided to do a different favorites roundup this month and focus on skincare loves. Smooth clear skin has been a focus lately and I’ve been trying new things over the past few months. It takes time to see visible results – so here are some things I’ve been putting to the test and absolutely love. My skin has improved a lot – even my husband has commented on it. As always if you have any skincare recommendations I’m all ears! I just picked up this AmorePacific Moisture Bound Set because so many of you raved about the Enzyme Peel in the comments.
Here’s what I’ve been loving this month (the bag above is one of the pouches from the MAC Clearly MAC Trio):
My go-to moisturizer all throughout the summer has been the Eve Lom Brightening Cream ($110 for 1.7 fl oz). It’s described as a hydra-cream designed to “correct pigmentation and boost luminosity to reveal beautifully radiant and even-toned skin.” It has a brightening ingredient called Dermapep™ that corrects hyperpigmentation – after using this I’ve noticed my skin is visibly more bright, complexion is smooth and dark spots become less noticeable. I would say it’s better as a daily lightweight moisturizer rather than a spot corrector – but it has kept my skin smooth, lightly hydrated and works well with all the foundations I use. Even with daily use for months I still have a good portion of the jar left – so I’m thrilled it’s lasted a long time.
Last month I had the opportunity to receive a complimentary facial at the Kate Somerville Clinic on Melrose (more on this soon). It was hands down the best facial I’ve ever had and I highly recommend the clinic. Since then I’ve been slowly incorporating some Kate Somerville items in my routine. On your first visit they provide a detailed questionnaire for you to fill out on your skin type, preferences and goals. Mine included dark spot correction, texture improvement, anti-aging prevention, help with wrinkles on my forehead, brightening. The facial and products are used in various treatment processes in concentrated formulas based on your needs. Three things I’ve been loving:
The Daily Detox Cleanser ($34 for 4 fl oz) is a really good deep-cleaning cleanser for everyday. I use it with my Clarisonic. It helps fight acne and removes impurities from the skin. It’s helped to rebalance my skin and even with the heat we’ve been having my skin is less oily. It contains phytic acid which helps fade post-acne scars and reduce inflammation. I can’t rave about this enough.
Dermal Quench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment ($95 for 2.5 oz) was recommended as a replacement for my regular toner. It’s a product that helps combat all my skin issues: aging, wrinkles, uneven skintone. It also helps with dryness – and I’ve seen a big improvement in my skin. Forehead lines have started to soften and using this helps prep the skin for serums or moisturizers.
RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream ($85 for 1 fl oz) is something I’ve been experimenting with as well. It’s been recommended by many that I incorporate some kind of retinol treatments into my routine. I have super sensitive skin and things I’ve tried in the past have been too strong for me. This one is ultra gentle and as a night time treatment, I’ve noticed it’s helped smooth the skin while increasing firmness. My skin looks more glowing and soft. I’ve tried this every other night for several weeks and I’ve had no irritation.
The Aesop Parsley Seed Mask ($39 for 60 ml) still remains a tried and true favorite. It’s my go-to cleansing and clarifying mask that really draws out all the yuck from your skin. It’s recommended use for 2x per week, but I’ve found it gentle enough for me to use 4x per week on trouble spots. I love how effective it is while still being suitable for sensitive skin.
I’ve tested a number of cleansing oils and have several favorites. These days I’ve been loving the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil ($70 for 8.4 oz). It has a lightweight pleasantly refreshing scent to it. It has a good medium thickness to it – it’s fluid but not too fluid. I love how it blends into the skin easily and seamlessly. It emulsifies well with warm water and removes all trace of makeup (I still remove my waterproof mascara/eyeliner with a cotton pad first though). Leaves the skin feeling completely clean, soft and hydrated with no greasy residue.
Tatcha is always a favorite in my regular skincare routine. The Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 ($68 for 2 fl oz) is my holy grail face sunscreen. It has a smooth texture that disappears completely into the skin (no white cast). It helps control oil on me and doubles as an amazing primer for foundation. The Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 2 fl oz) is a staple for sensitive or dry skin. I’ve bought many tubes and given them as gifts to friends. The entire Indigo line is phenomenal. If you’re new to the line, there is a mini set that I also recommend.
I’ve featured the MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel ($22 for 05 fl oz) before and it’s still a staple. It’s one of the few acne spot treatments I can use during the day without it making the skin look weird and goopy (others leave a weird clear film that is noticeable). It’s also one of the few that really works to help acne spots disappear without making the skin super red by the next day. I think I’m on my third tube – I also recommended my husband try it and it’s strong enough for his skin.
Last but not least for lips, I’ve been loving the Glossier Coconut Balmdotcom ($12) and Dior Crème de Rose ($28). Both are super hydrating and make the lips feel smooth without that greasy feel. My lips are super sensitive and I’ve gotten reaction to several lip balms (they go numb and then tingle and swell up). These are perfect for my sensitive lips and keep the dry flakes away.
I hope everyone has a great Friday and will have some time to enjoy the weekend! As always I’d love to hear about your current beauty favorites. It’s a great way for me to learn about new things 🙂
Press samples featured in this post include items from Kate Somerville, Eve Lom, Tatcha and Glossier. All other items purchased by me.
This post has been several months in the works and with the winter weather I thought it the perfect time to share my favorite hand creams to battle dry skin. I’ve had my favorites in hand creams that I’ve tried, loved and been very loyal to which include L’Occitane, Tatcha and Caudalie. A few close friends have sworn by their personal favorites from different lines and insisted that I give them a test drive. Based on their recommendations I compiled a list of what to check out at stores near me and put several others to the test. Today I have a roundup of what I’ve tested, liked and my thoughts. Shown above from left to right:
This one is purse friendly, absorbs quickly, lightweight texture, soft sweet grape scent. I’m really particular with scented hand treatments this one has a nice smell. If you’re in need of quick and instant hydration I highly recommend this one. Moisturized feel lingers for a few minutes but the skin absorbs it fast and the hands are left feeling nicely hydrated and silky for hours.
I never tried this until last month even though so many have raved about it. It is an intense treatment and I’ve found offers the most hydration out of all the ones I tested. There is a soft eucalyptus almost minty scent to it straight out of the tube, but the scent disappears almost instantly and leaves a very slight hint of fragrance. If you’re sensitive to fragrance this is a good pick. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. I bought the smaller size which is purse-friendly.
I got this as a gift with purchase over a year ago and it has lasted a long time (still going strong). I remember when I researched this after receiving it thinking the price tag was extremely high for a hand treatment. I put it to the test and have been thoroughly impressed with the way it smooths the look of the hands instantly and improves texture over time. It is on the thick side but doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the hands because it also absorbs nicely. I wish it came in a smaller size option.
Is a new hand cream from the Formula X line at Sephora. It smells absolutely delicious without being overpowering. It has a mix of shea butter with almond scent. It is very emollient and you can feel instant relief after applying. It is on the rich side so you can feel the moisture linger for about 15 to 20 minutes before it absorbs entirely. That being said it doesn’t feel heavy even though the formula is rich. I do wish the scent lasted a bit longer, it fades after 15 minutes or so, but the formula is good. It comes in a medium sized tube (also wish it came in a smaller option).
This has been on my radar for months and I finally put it to the test in December. It’s the most lightweight hand cream I’ve tried with an airy texture and it absorbs into the skin instantly. There is no detectable scent so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance this is an excellent choice. It offers instant relief for dryness and lasts a long time. Although it is moisturizing, I found it on the lighter side compared to other treatments.
Is a rich hand treatment that’s oil-free and made with a very soft almond-like scent. It claims to be quick absorbing which I agree with, but it has a super emollient texture which makes it feel a bit greasy even after 10 minutes. I found it a bit too heavy for my hands for day but do like it for night. That being said I did try this multiple times in stores before purchasing to give it more extensive testing. When my hands were super dry, testing this at the store gave my hands instant relief. The initial scent is really nice but after the dry down the scent disappears completely.
This has been a long-time favorite. It comes in a travel size option which is nice to test it at a cheaper price point. If you have super dry or itchy hands, this is my ultimate pick for relief, hydration and also has the best lightweight scent. It has a blue tint but it disappears and absorbs into the skin (and doesn’t stain). I usually prefer hand creams that are priced $20 and under, but this one is so so good, I’m willing to overlook the price.
This was released last year with the limited-edition Rosa Mundi collection. The Eau Rose Hand Cream is still available and is the sweetest rose I’ve tried. I think rose fragrances can be hard to do right, Diptyque’s Eau Rose has bergamot, blackcurrant, musk, cedar and honey mixed in making it more complex and less floral. The packaging is to die for.
This was the first hand cream I used when I was in high school and in my college days. I love the small travel size tubes these come in and also love every single one of the different scents and formulas. The Shea Butter formula is the classic one with the thickest and richest texture. I can’t count the times I’ve purchased this or tubes I’ve used up. L’Occitane is on my list every year to purchase as stocking stuffers. I’ll purchase tubes throughout the year as mini gifts, combine a mini hand cream and small box of chocolates and it makes a nice affordable treat for any occasion.
L’Occitane Scented Hand Treatments, assorted
L’Occitane’s scented hand creams are among the few that my sensitive nose can tolerate. They are subtle enough for me to wear without feeling self-conscious but strong enough that you can still smell them. I adore the sets L’Occitane offers, the holiday Arlésienne Velvet Hand Cream (.35 oz mini from the holiday L’Occibox shown, but available for purchase in the 1 oz size) is rose, sweet violet and saffron mix which is a pretty feminine scent (my husband approves of it on me). If you missed out on the holiday L’Occibox Elle x L’Occitane illustrated hand creams, the good news is that there is a cute 4-piece tin called the Irresistible Hand Collection which has the full sized 1 oz tubes.
As you can tell, I’m a bit of a hand cream fanatic. Taking good care of my hands is a must, especially since I tend to wash them frequently and they are prone to dryness. In terms of picking my favorites, my criteria includes: has to absorb quickly, medium or lightweight fragrance, must be purse-friendly, cute packaging, and prefer something $20 and under. My recommendations to you will depend on what your skin is like, fragrance tolerance and also what your personal needs are. My quick take:
My personal top three picks for best formula for hydration:
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane Shea Butter
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Best fragrance (for sensitive noses):
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane any, my favs are Arlésienne, Amande and Cherry Blossom
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
Fragrance free (or almost no fragrance):
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Eve Lom Hand Cream
Most rich and moisturizing:
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Malin + Goetz
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv
What are your favorite hand creams? I’ve been looking for a good liquid hand soaps, if you have any favorites that are gentle on the hands I’m all ears for your recommendations.
The Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream and L’Occitane baby hand creams were part of press samples provided for review consideration. All others purchased by me.
I can’t believe that this is the last week of 2014. I will have a year-end roundup/review shortly with some thoughts and reflections soon. For now I wanted to share a few things I’m loving right now. As always I would love to hear what you’ve been loving too!
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes are a current favorite. It has the perfect mix of glow and pigment in one compact. I’ve been reaching for Luminous Flush lately which brightens the complexion and adds a nice healthy glow with the soft shimmer. Review + swatches here and here.
I’m a sucker for cute notebooks and Vianel has small Moleskin Pocket Notebooks that you can have personalized (for now the personalization is free of charge). I like that they give you a choice of engraving on the front or back of the notebook.
Tom Ford Lips & Boys in Peter is a pretty neutral nude shimmer I’ve been really pleased with. Based on reader comments, many of you seemed to like this one most in my recent post here. I like it so much that I bought a backup.
Marc Jacobs O’Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara is seriously good. When it comes to mascara it takes a lot to impress me, most mascaras turn grey on my lashes once they dry or smudge or flake. The Marc Jacobs O’Mega volumizes and separates my lashes without any clumping or flaking. It holds the curl without looking crunchy. Once it dries the color remains a true black. I will definitely be repurchasing it.
So many have raved about the Aesop Parley Seed Cleansing Masque. I have a few loves from Aesop for body products but many of the facial skincare products have a really strong earthy and herbal fragrance which I cannot tolerate. I decided to give this a try and am thoroughly impressed. This mask is amazing. It is gentle on the skin but really works to remove impurities from the pores. What I like about the Aesop mask is that it seems to be perfect for sensitive skin. It has a soothing feel once applied. There’s no tingly or burning feeling. If you have super sensitive skin and want a good clarifying/cleansing mask I highly recommend looking into this one. It has a natural earthy scent but it’s not too strong and actually quite soothing.
With the dry weather I’ve been exploring more in hand creams. I’ll have a roundup of all the ones I’ve been testing later this week. One new discovery of mine is the Eve Lom Hand Cream. For those who cannot tolerate highly fragranced hand lotions this is a good one. It has no added fragrance but still has a nice super lightweight naturally clean scent. It has lightweight airy texture that moisturizes well and absorbs quickly into the skin. A more detailed review to come soon.
For the home, I’ve been obsessed with Diptyque Figuier. In my opinion this is the best fig candle that I’ve tried (it beats Henri Bendel and Jo Malone, although those are very good too). It’s a good holiday candle that gives a warm and cozy feel to the home.
Last but not least, I’ve been loving the Faux Fur Throw from Williams-Sonoma Home (used in the background of the photo above). It’s super soft and thick and warm.
Here is my first gift guide for the holiday season. This time of year always brings about tempting value sets and travel-sized beauty gifts. I think these travel-friendly sets are a great way to try new skincare without committing to the full-sized options. For color, if you’re one of the types that takes forever to use up an eyeliner or lipstick, minis are the way to go and get more options for the same price. Here are some gifts this year that I think look like great samplers.
Have you bought any good sets this year yet? I’d love to hear what you’ve been eyeing and any loves so far. I’m always up for recommendations on what is the latest and greatest on the market for the holiday sets and gifts.