This year my husband tested quite a few products, razors, face cleansers and moisturizers in search for the best in men’s grooming. Several of you have sent me e-mails asking for a list of his favorites to share with your husbands and boyfriends. I’ve incorporated men’s grooming bits here and there over the past year and I’m always thrilled anytime I receive feedback from you! Most of these he did the research on his own to pick and purchase what to test out. There are a couple items I bought for him as gifts over past years that he ended up loving and repurchasing. In the past he always used an electric shaver but recently decided to try razors for a better closer shave. Finding the right one along with the right blades was a tedious process for him, as you can imagine one of the biggest challenges with shaving is finding the right items to avoid razor burn. He had quite a few misses for moisturizers and cleansers. Some either were too heavy or greasy feeling, others dried out the skin, some didn’t lather to his satisfaction. For the final cut, here is my husband Andrew’s top 20 for what he considers his grooming and skincare essentials for the year.
Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette – in his top three for everyday light and fresh men’s fragrances, his brother stopped by smelled this one and promptly asked for me to buy one for him as well
A quick note on the sequence of products and steps used for shaving for those who don’t know when to use the items. His shave process to get a clean shave and avoid razor burn is:
Clean the face with the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel + Clarisonic Alphafit to exfoliate and smooth skin
Sometimes double cleanse with the Jack Black Deep Dive Facial Cleanser to tighten the skin and draw out impurities
Apply the Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil to hydrate the skin and help create a good barrier for shaving, allow this to absorb and dry
Apply the Art of Shaving Cream
Use the Baxter Shave Tonic as an aftershave to tighten pores, tone skin and seal in moisture
If your husband, boyfriend, brother or any of the men in your life have grooming favorites you know of, please share in the comments! Always love hearing what you recommend, in particular if you have any eye cream recommendations for men let me know.
That wraps it up for 2016! I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful New Year!
Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:
Shu Uemura Wonder Worker (review here) is another favorite pre-heat treatment to smooth and detangle hair, you can still find it in the Limited-Edition Murakami packaging at Barneys
Face Cleanser and Toner
Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first
Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer (reviewed here) is the best gel moisturizer I’ve used, I usually don’t like gels because they’re often not compatible with foundation, this one works for me with the foundations I use while minimizing pores and smoothing the skin
Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at home
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with
In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.
I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.
What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?
I have a couple more gift guides to share as Christmas is just around the corner and it’s crunch time to order items to have them arrive in time for the holidays. Finding gifts for the guys in my life is generally easy for me to do as there are tons of grooming, tech and shoe options to choose from. In general I would not recommend buying fragrance or clothes for someone unless you’re really close to them and have a good sense of their personal taste, exact size and style – but there are a couple of items I’ve found I think could be universally appealing regardless of age of fashion type.
Mr. Porter Grooming Kit for Winter 2016 ($95) has a gift set of 12 grooming products with a great selection of minis and travel-sized products, I like these types of sets because guys like my husband or brother won’t usually seek out products to try unless it’s gifted in a set to them, this is a nice way to help them explore skincare
Clarisonic Alphafit ($219) I bought this for my husband over a year ago and he says this is something he thinks every guy should own, and says he even the low maintenance ones will use it because it’s easy to use, convenient to have and store in the shower and is compact for travel, he says it’s also made a huge difference in skin texture and keeping it break-out free
Leica C Digital Camera ($629) comes with high ratings for a digital camera, I’m actually looking for a small one to travel with for myself too but also have this on the list for my brother in law
Art of Shaving Peppermind and Razor Set ($115) has the new Peppermint Shaving Cream, Facial Scrub and Facial Wash along with the Morris Park Razor, for the women who want the men in their life to up their shaving game, there are lots of sets, starter sets and razors to choose from
Harry’s Travel Dopp Kit ($25) is something I actually got for my husband from the Birchbox Man on the Move Gift Set ($55) which is a steal considering all the items packed inside, if you want something at the $25 price point you can buy the bag separately (and my husband has actually used it for travel), but if your budget can allow a bit more the gift set is a really great value
Cole Haan Grand Pro Sneakers ($130) come in a wide range of colors and finishes (also leather), these are among my husband’s favorite for comfort and quality
Dior Sauvage Gift Set ($118) is one of the fragrance sets for men I think is universally appealing regardless of style and age, the set has my husband’s favorite deodorant and while we were away his brother stayed at our place for the week and of course sampled all of his grooming drawers, the minute we got home he said, “I really like this scent – can you buy some for me for Christmas” – my husband and his brother are opposites in style so if both of them like this scent I think it’s a good sign that most guys will
Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speakers ($129) are something I bought previous versions of as gifts, my husband had his in his office but just brought it back home to use in the bathroom while he showers, I think the colors are fun
Chanel Bleu de Chanel Shave Cream ($45) is something new to the Bleu de Chanel Grooming line, if you know guys who like this scent there are some new additions like this shave cream
Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Eau de Toilette ($77) comes with 3 0.7 oz Eau de Toilettes in a twist and spray canister you can refill, this was my husband’s go-to for years until recently when he decided to switch things up a bit, he still has the travel size ones and uses them
Island Slipper Leather Sandal ($94.95) might be something you can’t wear right now if you live anywhere that it’s cold or snowy, but planning for warmer weather is always something you can do ahead of time, especially if you’re planning a tropical vacation, I ordered these over the spring because they had overwhelmingly positive reviews, my husband said they’re the best sandals he has ever owned, he wore them most of our Florida trip and they are comfortable for walking and the beach (I went ahead and ordered this style so he can have a second pair)
If you’re looking for last minute gifts for the guys in your life I hope you found this roundup helpful! Many of these are tried and tested so know there are options above that have had actual success. If you have any good ones you’d like to share let me know in the comments!
The holidays are approaching and if you’ve started to look for gifts I have a roundup of some super cute beauty gifts under $50. There are tons of great gift sets and minis at Nordstrom and I’ve teamed up with them to share some of my favorites. I like their site because it’s easy to shop their gift section and filter by pretty much any category like him, her, kids, home and also by price point.
Up first are some cute lip sets which I actually want to keep for myself. I love the minis because they’re a great way to try tons of colors, you can use them up quickly or you can split them up for stocking stuffers or little gift bags. Three that caught my eye include: the Clinique Tiny Temptations which as 20 minis of their Chubby Stick in the most adorable pink tin, Fresh Sugar Lip Charmers which has 4 mini lip balms, and the Fresh Sugar Bliss Cracker. There are tons of options from both brands under the $50 price point so I’ll link them below.
Kiehl’s always has the best skincare sets for both men and women. It’s one line my husband loves and he got into the line when I bought him a starter set a few years ago. Since then I’ve bought quite a few for him, my brother and my brother-in-law. This year they have great eye-catching packaging. I picked up the Jeremyville Healthy Skin For Him (it’s only $26) and also the Must-Haves Mini Masque Set. (I’m keeping the mask trio for me!) Sometimes finding universally appealing gifts are challenging. If you’re the type who wants to get multiples of the same sets for all your loved ones to make things easy, I really don’t think you can go wrong with Kiehl’s.
A closer look at the masks – have you tried these? I cannot wait to test them out!
Rounding up some more gift sets, all still under $50 although there are more options online at higher price points if you want to splurge 🙂
For the hair lover, two favorites are the Drybar and Moroccanoil. They have great minis and this year the Drybar has the Four-Pack with the Money Maker Hairspray, Sparkling Soda Shine Mist, Detox Dry Shampoo and Tripe Sec Spray. You can buy the minis separately (most of them start at $13 each) but the set gives you a price break with some savings. Moroccanoil has a cute mini Moroccanoil Ornament for $15. There are also some nice value gift sets this holiday. It’s my husband’s favorite line and one of mine as well. He likes it so much he uses the hydrating shampoo and conditioner to wash our dogs so they smell good (yes I’m horrified he does this!).
Jo Malone, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown all have great beauty gifts to choose from as well. Jo Malone always created the most elegant splurge gifts. Most are on the spendy side but there are a few options under $50, one is the Christmas Cracker Set which has a mini Mimosa and Cardamom Body Cream, Basil and Neroli Cologne, Blackberry and Bay Body Wash. For the vanilla or sweet scent lover, Laura Mercier has the Hand and Body Creme Collection for $32. This year’s set has Almond Coconut Milk Hand & Body Crème, Ambre Vanillé Hand & Body Crème, Crème Brûlée Hand & Body Crème and Tarte au Citron Hand & Body Crème. For the mascara lover Bobbi Brown Party All Night Duo has the No Smudge and Eye Opening Mascara. I love the Eye Opening one and wanted to buy it anyways to stock up so I picked up the duo to try the other one.
Last but not least MAC and Nordstrom have an exclusive Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit. It has a mini mineralize skinfinish, full size mineralize lipstick and lipgloss in a bright zipped makeup bag. My friends love MAC and a handful ask for something MAC-related every year for Christmas. There are tons of great options in makeup, sets, minis and brushes. This one is one of my favorites but if you’re a nude pink lip lover be sure to check out the Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Kit too.
That wraps up my Nordstrom Beauty Holiday Gift Picks for sets and minis under $50. If you’re shopping online don’t forget to check their Gift With Purchase page as it gets updated frequently. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. Please note that I’m working to get the comment section up and working – my site is going through some updates this week and there are areas I’m working to get fixed. If you have issues – shoot me an e-mail [email protected] and let me know what errors if any you’re seeing.
Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!
As the weather shifts my skin has been in need of an extra hydration boost. The air is dry and I can definitely feel it as my arms and legs tend to get a little itchy when skin is dry. My skint ype is pretty much normal combination but I do have super sensitive skin – I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m allergic to a number of things so I always patch test items before applying them all over. However as a beauty blogger it is my duty to try and test things to be able to see first hand how they work so I don’t mind an occasional reaction here and there. Many of you liked the Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin so today I have a roundup of Beauty Look Book sensitive-skin approved products that will help with dry skin and add that extra boost of moisture for winter months.
Up first are some lip products I’ve been loving right now for dry lips. You can see a more detailed comprehensive Winter Roundup from 2015 if you want more options. The Armani Him/Her Lip Care are also great options for tinted unscented options.
Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (c/o, all shades swatched here) and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (c/o, also reviewed here) are among my favorite for hydration and smooth coverage. They are scented though so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance you may want to smell first before buying – I am semi-sensitive to scent in lip products but love both. There are a number of holiday sets out so be sure to check them out (there’s also a few cute GWP options going on at Clarins). The Sweet Kisses Set has 3 lip oils at a value price, Clarins Kisses has minis of both formulas, XOXO, Clarins! has 3 full size Lip Perfectors at a good deal as well.
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade has been a staple for hydration and smoothing lips. It gives instant relief for dry lips and really does work to help improve texture and look of the lips. I have two tubes because I want one at my desk and one to carry in my purse when I’m out and about.
The Lanolips 101 Fruities Duo in Strawberry and Peach are a Net-A-Porter exclusive and I cannot rave about them enough. They’re a thick but very smooth balm that feels incredible on the lips. I’ve never tried any other lip product that gives such a comforting hydrating feel like these do. The Strawberry option is also available at Ulta Beauty.
Up next are some hand cream favorites. I’m obsessed with hand creams of all kinds – I do prefer a smaller compact tube so it’s easy to carry with me and also because they take up less space whether it’s on my nightstand, clutch, purse or drawer. Molton Brown is always a good option for me as I love the lightweight feel and they absorb quickly. Coco and Sandalwood (c/o) and Pink Pepperpod (c/o) are my favorites but I’ve tried them all and they are ALL amazing options. (I buy the Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker set every year.)
For holiday Neiman Marcus and Kiehl’s have an exclusive trio with the Limited-Edition Scented Hand Cream Trio and it’s only $16 (they are 1 oz each). They also have the regular unscented version in a the Limited-Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve Trio they have every year in the full size. The scented ones are just as hydrating with a slightly creamier feel. I love the scents which are Grapefruit, Coriander and Lavender. It’s great and I highly recommend it as these are the best I’ve tried for super dry hands.
Face Oils and Serums are something I’ve never been into historically – I’ve only really gotten into them in the past couple of years as I’m more of a lotions and cream kind of person. Quite a few of you asked about the La Mer Renewal Oil and I’ve been able to acquire a few minis from gift with purchases. Out of all the oils it has the thickest feel upon application but actually absorbs the best for the least emollient finish which is rare for oils. It’s very hydrating but also scented. The scent doesn’t bother me and it did not irritate my skin. Once I use up my others I will most likely buy it – it hydrates, balances the skin and reduces redness.
The Darphin Intral Soothing Serum does just what the name implies. It helps reduce redness from itchy dry skin and works wonders to calm down flare ups. If you’ve tried this and found it didn’t do much for you it’s probably because in most cases serums are meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer on top. Serums alone have a unique texture that doesn’t always work well with your makeup, but when you layer them with your moisturizer they help keep the skin balanced and hydrated. This is on the lighter side so if you have super dry skin it probably won’t have enough moisture, but if you’re normal and sensitive this is a good one.
The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has been a favorite for a long long time. I’m pretty much finished with this bottle but kept it for this story as it’s a good one. L’Occitane skincare in general is underrated and it’s among the most gentle and natural that I’ve tried. It smooths the skin, makes it glow, plumps up the surface. You can use it alone or with moisturizer. I like to use it at night too and I wake up with glowing smooth skin. This is a great one for winter time.
Another favorite is the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment and I tried this thanks to a number of recommendations from my readers who commented on previous posts. This oil is everything. If I were forced to use one oil the rest of my life this would be it. My friend tried it as well and she couldn’t stop repeating “my skin feels sooo amazing.” It really does everything it claims: smooths skin, strengthen, replenish and restore elasticity, maintain suppleness and helps improve skin evenness. It has the most amazing scent which is hard to describe but it’s not irritating.
Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is one that is well-loved by many and for good reason. It’s another oil you can use daily but has an energizing/reviving aspect to invigorate the skin. The description for this says it has “antioxidant protection with a powerful blend of naturally-derived oils, including Ginger Root, Sunflower and Tamanu, to help skin feel fresh and look energized morning to night.” I was nervous to try this but have been hooked every since I tried it.
Next up are lotions and creams. Note this looks like a lot and it is, but quite a few of these are empties that I’ve used up. First Aid Beauty is the best affordable mid-end skincare line I’ve tried and one of the best for truly sensitive skin. One of my best friends is in her mid 30’s and loves their line and my younger brother is in his early 20’s and it’s one of the two skincare lines he asks me to stock him up on (Kate Somerville being the other).
Many of the First Aid Beauty items contain colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry itchy skin. I’ve tried their Ultra Repair line and also the Purifying line with Red Clay (best for summer/oily skin) and everything is gentle but effective. The Ultra Repair Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great basic no-fuss lightweight moisturizer for normal sensitive skin. It contains, “meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil soften and hydrate while shea butter and ceramides help protect the skin’s barrier function. The best in the line is the Ultra Repair Cream and if you’ve been reading recent posts, you know they just launched the Ultra Repair Cream in Vanilla Citron (c/o) which is amazing. I bought the Ultra Repair Cream Minis set and feel almost like a broken record talking about it, but it’s GREAT. I still prefer the unscented version because even though there’s no scent it has a soothing undertone in the formula. They always have great value sets so be sure to browse those if you’re new to the line.
If you need something natural but not heavy, the Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is something I just started using on a more regular basis and it’s a great one for something simple but effective. The Chanel is a great in between option if you need something that acts
somewhere in between a lotion and cream. It helps calm down flare ups
and is great for sensitive skin. This year they added a larger 1.7 oz
version (the smaller 1.0 oz version is shown below).
If you have very dry sensitive skin, I’d recommend the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream or Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (I have the older original version but have tried both and the new one is just as good). If you read customer reviews on both their sites you’ll find an overwhelming number of others who love both. The Tatcha is on the expensive side so if you’re unsure of splurging $100+ be sure to check out their Travel Size Shop. They have all their items in minis and also in sets that are great to try out.
A few more notes on the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion. I featured it in this post here to compare it to the Soft Cream and I prefer the lotion because of the pump packaging and texture. It’s quite the splurge and I do think it’s amazing. I have no regrets buying it but the others in this roundup are also great at more affordable price points.
Last but not least, for the body three things I’m loving right now are the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil Spray, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver and also the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a body treatment. They offer instant relief from itchy dryness and I’m obsessed with the way the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil smells. The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is one I’ve bought multiple tubes of now for friends. I get texts a lot from my girl friends that say “help my skin is freaking out, what do I need?” I either tell them First Aid Beauty or this one. I love that First Aid Beauty made their Ultra Repair Cream in different sizes and packaging options for travel, full size and value size.
Two other body products that deserve a mention but I just used up and didn’t keep the empties include the Tatcha Indigo Body Butter and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body. Both are extremely good for super sensitive skin. The Tatcha is the most hydrating one I’ve tried and is on the thick side since it’s a cream but feels amazing. I like to use it at night. I love the formula but it’s a bit too rich for my skintype for day time – I would absolutely die if they made this in a lotion form. The L’Occitane has been featured a number of times before as well. It’s the best lightweight gentle lotion that gives relief without feeling sticky or heavy. It absorbs well and anytime my skin feels itchy or irritated this is my go-to to help with relief. I need to go buy another one soon.
I hope this roundup give you some ideas on what to try if you’re suffering from dry itchy skin or flare ups. Recommendations as always depend on your specific skin type, age, formula preference and scent preferences. I turned 35 this year and my skin has finally seemed to rebalance itself and I attribute this in part to finding good skincare.
As I transitioned from my late 20’s to my early 30’s my life went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered. I have always been able to manage a lot of things in life but in my early 30’s the stress of life, career, balancing a full-time corporate job, a part-time job, this blog along with other things in my personal life took it’s toll on my skin and it suffered. I experienced breakouts on the chin even though I never had any acne issues growing up. I had pretty bad texture issues on all areas of my face. Red spots from scars were pretty bad as well. Finding balance in life, learning to say no to some things, taking time to take care of myself and worry less have helped my skin as I’ve worked to improve things from the inside out. Many of you have asked about work/life balance and I’ll have more on that when I publish my get to know me post.
Back to the skincare – I’m always asked if I could only pick one in each category what would it be. I like options, I always have. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because I have many and preferences change. Right now I will say that:
My favorite face oil is a three-way tie between Kate Somerville Dilo, Kiehl’s Reparative Treatment and L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil
My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver
My favorite face moisturizer is a three-way tie between La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville anything, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Most gentle items for sensitive skin are the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, La Solution 10 de Chanel and Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream
Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips
Favorite hand cream Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood or the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio
As always if you have sensitive skin, dry skin issues or eczema – please chime in on what your favorites are!
Press samples indicated with c/o. All other items purchased by me.
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.
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.
I love testing new things in hair care and playing with different kinds of shampoos, oils and tools. Since the summer, my go-to daily shampoo and conditioner has been the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, but I’ve been experimenting with some new items and discovered some new favorites. For a bit My hair is thick and has a slight natural wave to it and extremely prone to frizz without any product or heat treatment. My hair color is natural – it’s never been colored or highlighted (at least not yet). I like to switch shampoos up and alternate frequently – I wash my hair daily, so sometimes I feel like it needs more moisture, other times it needs a clarifying rinse. The two lines of shampoos/conditioners I used up recently are the Moroccanoil and R+Co Moon Shine. If you have any favorites/recommendations please let me know what you think I should try next!
First up is the T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer ($350, c/o). In terms of hair dryers, I’ve been a long time fan of Solano tools. In my experience they have been the best for my hair – they dry quickly, leave the hair shiny, smooth, glossy and frizz-free. I decided to give several other brands a try and nothing has given me the same results until I tried the T3 PROi. My beauty friend Rae raved about it and her hair always looks amazing everytime I see her – so I was thrilled to be able to try this. The PROi Hair Dryer comes with a mega hefty price tag but it does not disappoint. It far exceeded my expectations and allowed me to create a salon-quality results unlike anything I’ve tried before. My heart still belongs to Solano but this new one from T3 just might replace it’s spot as my new favorite. (For reference, the last one I bought was the Super Solano 3600 Ion.) The T3 PROicomes with 2 detachable nozzles, three different heat settings, a cool-shot option and two different intensities/speeds. It’s fairly lightweight for a full power full size dryer and easy to maneuver. The description says it’s supposed to cut the dry time – if you blow dry with completely wet hair, it will not (but you’ll still get amazing results). If you towel dry and then spend a couple minutes doing a rough dry first, the overall time to completely dry the hair is shortened compared to other dryers.
There are several different brushes that T3 launched. I decided to order the Freeflow Vent Brush ($17) first to try – it’s a good medium size brush and allows air to flow through the hair allowing for faster dry time. I like the design – it’s simple but aesthetically pleasing and seems very sturdy and well made. I’ve ordered a few more to try – I’ll do a more detailed review once I receive them. Good hair brushes are something I feel like I’m always searching for. I have good basic tools, but most of them look meh.
Next are three shampoos/cleansers. I’m a traditional liquid shampoo and conditioner kind of girl, but there are some really interesting products on the market that I would have never thought to use that surprised me. Maybe I’m late to the party, but I would have never thought to use scrubs or oils to clean the hair.
Above from left to right:
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt ($52 for 250 ml, c/o) is something that is relatively new to the US. Christophe Robin is a colorist from France and launched his own salon and line of products. Net-A-Porter sent his new Cleansing Purifying Scrub for me to try a few months ago and so when I had the opportunity to meet him in person while he was in LA, I jumped at the chance. I will have a dedicated feature on more of his products soon, but in the meantime you can read about his story here. It was so great to learn about his story and the background behind the creation of his line. The Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt is an amazing clarifying product. It is a grained-paste product that you rub into your scalp. It rebalances the hair and rinses out completely without any residue left behind. It removes impurities and leaves the hair feeling squeaky clean. If you have normal to dry hair, you may need to follow with a moisture mask. For me this is a game changer. You can find his line at Net-A-Porter, Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo Gentle Radiance Cleanser x Maison Kitsune ($57 for 400 ml, c/o) has been on my radar for a while but the concept of using an oil to wash my hair just didn’t seem appealing to me. Still the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo has cult-status and rightfully so. There are several formulas of the Cleansing Oil, the one I tried is the Limited-Edition Maison Kitsune in the Gentle Radiance Formula. It foams up into a really nice lather and cleans the hair really well. For me this is best used as once a week a clarifying treatment (alternating with the Christophe Robin) – at most 2x per week or on days after I work out. I do think it’s absolutely necessary to follow with some kind of rinse out conditioner if you use this one as it can be stripping if you skip. Some shampoos I don’t feel the need to use conditioner after, but this one you do.
Oribe Cleansing Crème for Moisture and Control ($44 for 8.5 oz/250 ml) is the most amazing cleansing creme I’ve tried. My local salon always uses some kind of cleansing creme to wash my hair before a cut but I’m particularly sensitive to scented hair products so I never end up purchasing what they use even though the results are amazing. I love all things Oribe although the line is fairly spendy so I feel like I have to keep this brand at arm’s length or it can get very expensive at the rate that I go through hair products. This one moisturizes perfectly and leaves the scalp feeling well nourished but clean. Hair is perfect afterwards – tangle free, smooth and left light and bouncy with a bit of natural shine. I don’t need to search for any other cleansing cremes as I have found THE ONE with the Oribe.
Last but not least are some hair treatments and finishing products. I’m always trying minis of hair oils, sprays, creams and what not. It takes me forever to use up anything because I have so much in rotation. Scent is a big deal to me. If a hair product smells too floral, too vanilla, too perfumey or strong, I simply won’t use it – no matter how good it is.
Above from left to right:
Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil ($49 for 100 ml, also in this travel set) is one of my favorite hair finishing oils. The full size is very expensive but you only need a little bit to coat the ends of the hair so it lasts a long time. It adds the perfect amount of shine to the hair, especially when the ends start to look or feel dry. It is fairly strongly scented but I love the way everything from Oribe smells.
Drybar The Chaser Shine Cream ($29 for 100 ml) this has made an appearance on my blog many times. I like it because it adds shine and also helps as a pre-heat treatment. It maintains and controls frizz and leaves the hair feeling ultra soft. My husband likes to use this one too.
Shu Uemura x Maison Kitsune Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($69 for 150 ml, c/o) smells amazing and has notes of camellia, grapefruit, white essence, musk and heliotrope. This is a multi-purpose oil. The directions say you can apply it on the hair pre-shampoo or afterwards as a leave-in product. I prefer to use it after shampoo either on slightly damp hair before I blow dry or just simply as a leave in product as my hair air dries. It’s nourishing but very lightweight and won’t weigh down the hair or make it look greasy. Hair absorbs it quickly so there’s no residue left afterwards if you touch your hair. One pump is more than enough to cover my hair (it’s a little past the shoulder length). I will definitely be repurchasing this once it is used up.
Kiehl’s Heat-Protective Silk Straightening Cream ($17 for 150 ml) this is something I bought in store a while ago. I needed something as an add on to qualify for an in store promo so I decided to try this. I had used the Creme with Silk Groom when I was in college and liked it but it can be very heavy and easy to overdo. The girl at the store recommended I try this since I heat treat my hair regularly. I really like it to help straighten the hair and keep it smooth looking. I found it makes a noticeable difference in the way the hair looks in terms of helping give a more straightened look.
Edward Bess Black Sea Hair Hero ($44 for c/o) is my favorite texturizing hair product. It helps add volume, smooths hair, adds texture. Full review in this post here. The bottle is huge and even with regular use it’s lasted me for like forever.
Original and Mineral Know Knott Detangling Spray ($26 for 250 ml) is the best detangling product I’ve tried. Some days my hair just feels extra tangled and there are knots in my hair even after shampoo + conditioner. A few sprays of this one makes any comb or brush glide through the hair easily without any tugging or pulling. I tried this at my salon in a mini first and loved it so much I bought the full size.
That wraps it up for new hair discoveries along with favorites I consider staples. Have you tried anything from any of these lines before? If yes please let me know what you recommend. If not, I’m open to other suggestions on what you’ve tried and love 🙂 Do you have any hair products you consider game changers? I’m in the market for a new liquid shampoo and conditioner – what should I try next?
Some items featured indicated with a “c/o” beside the product name were sent free of charge for review consideration. Other items purchased by me.