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.
As the weather has started to shift to cooler and dryer temperatures I’ve felt the need for some extra skincare boosts when it comes to body care. I have extremely sensitive skin so I usually stick to a few select brands for body lotions, scrubs and shower gels. There are some lines that cause an allergic reaction for me (scent or fragrance isn’t always the issue) so I always try to do a patch test first. Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some tried-and-true body care staples I use to keep my skin smooth, itch-free, and hydrated.
I usually prefer light weight lotions or dry oils because I don’t like things that feel thick or heavy. Three I swear by include the L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver, and L’Occitane Foot Cream. You can click on the icons in the images below to shop the products directly from Nordstrom.
My most repurchased lotion is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body because it’s truly gentle but still effective. I love the Shea Butter line from L’Occitane for the soft soothing scent it has that’s truly comforting. It absorbs into the skin well, leaves skin feeling soft, and I can wear this at night while I sleep without sticking to my sheets or blankets.
Kate Somerville previously had their Eczema Cream which has been renamed Dry Skin Saver. This has a slightly thicker texture compared to the L’Occitane Lotion but is unscented and helps give instant relief for dry skin. It’s suitable for face, body and lips. I gave one of these to my brother who is in his early 20’s, has dry skin that is probably more sensitive than mine and he really likes this one.
I tend to neglect my feet as I find that my 2x a month pedicures are usually enough to keep them looking decent. There are a number of foot creams I’ve tried but they usually feel greasy or smell horrible. I tried the L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream from a small travel size I received from a gift with purchase years ago and was immediately hooked because it’s not thick, it absorbs quickly, instantly soothes any dry spots and has a slight lavender oil scent which is really relaxing.
Next are a few bath products and scrubs. I almost could say that I’m one who lives for bubble baths. There are few things that I enjoy as much as a long bath. It really does help melt away stress and helps me relax.
Fresh Bath and Shower Gels are one of the few shower gels where the scent actually lasts bath the shower or bath. There are a wide range of options and my current favorite is the Fresh Life which is a bright sweet citrus kind of scent. It lathers up really well with a wash cloth or loofa and leaves the skin clean.
In one of my previous shower gel posts a few of you told me to try the Le Labo Santal 33 Shower Gel. I’m all for trying new luxury products but the $50 price tag prevented me from buying for a long time. I eventually did and was instantly hooked. This is a truly luxurious splurge – but I’m one who loves sandalwood scents that aren’t too woody or earthy and this one is just perfect. I’m on my third bottle and the price is indeed very steep so I will be using this sparingly.
For scrubs, my favorite body scrub formulas have all been discontinued (from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Kiehl’s). They’ve either brought new formulas out or discontinued the items completely which has made me very sad. The one favorite that I’ve found hasn’t changed is the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub which leaves the skin revitalized and super smooth. It has an emollient base which makes it easy to move over areas of the body in the shower but doesn’t leave the skin with a greasy film.
Bath and shower oils are items I try every now and then. I know many of my readers love them because they leave the skin feeling super hydrated and soft. I’m still more of a shower gel kind of person but the ones from Jo Malone are very good. They come in a number of scent options and they have both bath oils and shower oil options. I bought the Blackberry and Bay Bath Oil and it’s amazing. It also comes in the smaller travel size and also the shower gel format.
One more shower gel that deserves a mention is the Diptyque Revitalizing Shower Gel for Body and Hair. This is probably my favorite one of all time but I go through it so quickly I’ve tried to find cheaper alternatives because it gets spendy. I have yet to find one I like as much as I like this one though.
Last but not least two items I think we usually associate with summer beauty routines but I still find suitable for year round use.
The Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan Lotion is the only one I’ve liked enough to use on a regular basis. The formula is gentle so it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction on my skin (many other formulas do). The scent is pleasant and doesn’t have that strong chemical odor you find in self tanners. It also doesn’t turn my skin orangey or yellow which is a huge plus. I see a tan start to develop by the second day of use. There’s no streaking or transfer to clothing. It’s expensive but worth the splurge.
I alternate between body oils and find I gravitate towards different ones depending on season. The Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil is one I found too heavy during the summer but I love it for right now. It has that signature Moroccanoil scent which I find natural, earthy and soothing all at the same time. I love that this comes with a spray dispenser – I think all body oils should come with one. It absorbs quickly into the skin. The scent has a warm and cozy feel which was probably why I didn’t really use it a lot over the summer time but now that it’s cooler, it’s perfect.
For those who like body care products I hope you found this post helpful in case you’re looking for items to soothe dry skin that are also suitable for sensitive skin (and noses). As always I’d love to hear your favorites! Many of you have asked for a roundup on face moisturizers and serums I use since I have sensitive skin. I’m in the process of testing a few brands but will have a post up in the next few weeks.
Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions my own.
There’s a promotion happening now at Bergdorf Goodman called the Rewarding Beauty Event. It’s available in store and online where you receive savings off purchases in three tiers. If you’re shopping online use code BEAUTY at checkout (now through 9/18), savings are as follows:
Receive $25 off purchases $250+
Receive $75 off purchases $500+
Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
I’ve teamed up with Bergdorfs to share a roundup of items I consider splurge-worthy in skincare, face basics and makeup. Many of these are tried and true staples but a few are newly launched items.
Up first are a few base favorites. I’m still in the process of testing foundation and frequently rotate product. For setting powders I prefer pressed because it’s less messy and just easier for me to use in general. Two holy grail setting powders for me are the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (I use #2) and Armani Luminous Silk Compact (I use #4). Both work well to set foundation, they’re great for touchups, they add just the right amount of coverage to smooth the skin without getting cakey or darkening.
For concealer, I’ve tried a number and have quite a few favorites, but if I were pressed to pick just one for the rest of my life it would be Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. There is a reason why this one has reached cult status. It nearly killed me to spend this much the first round, but it lasts forever, a little goes a long way, and coverage is perfect. At my lightest I used to use Beige. About a year ago they added a few more shades so I found Almond to be a good match. Right now that I’m tan Ochre is best for me. I’ll repost swatches of all the shades that I did a year ago.
For the face two of the most unique luminous cheek products include the Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush (reviewed here) and Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders (reviewed here). I’ve reviewed both in detail and will include swatches below for reference. The Marc Jacobs Air Blush melds beautifully with the skin and gives a natural glow of color. The Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders are just the prettiest powders I’ve ever seen. They’ll add shimmer without being frosted.
Marc Jacobs Air Blush:
Edward Bess Threads of Silk:
For lips plums and mauves are always what I’m in the mood for during the summer to fall transition. Left to right are:
For eyes, two staples are the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes, favorites include Pink Haze and Platinum. I already own the original Pink Haze from a while ago that was in a larger pot. When I saw this one pop up online I did not realize I already owned it until my order arrived. It’s a pretty pink color you can use as a wash without getting a pink eye look. If you need something more neutral Platinum is my favorite base shade. If you remember when Tom Ford launched new quads during the spring, Honeymoon sold out and was gone for months. It’s now back and has the perfect mix of warm shimmery colors for fall.
Next up are skincare splurges and staples. I really don’t like spending a lot on skincare but sometimes one just has to. The best affordable line for me is Kate Somerville. I could do an entire dedicated post on the items I use and love from her line, but for now three things I swear by include:
Dry Skin Saver (formerly known as her Eczema Cream) is something you can use on face and body and really does work to calm flare ups, soothe skin, moisturize and for me it reduces redness from irritation, when my skin gets irritated on the legs or arms sometimes it feels tight from the dryness and I don’t want to put anything on it because products often sting when my skin flares up, this one never stings for me
Nourish Daily Moisturizer never lets me down and her moisturizers in the tubs come with the most innovative push pump dispenser so you don’t have to worry about dipping hands or fingers into the container
In terms of luxury skincare I’ve had luck with La Mer and SK-II even though I am always reluctant to splurge due to the high price tag. I can say these are worth the splurge and I know many of my friends and probably some of you will agree.
La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream has been a favorite for me, it’s a softer and lighter weight version of the regular cream (which is too heavy for me), I did not want to splurge on this so for a long time I lived off minis I got as GWPs, this is worth the splurge! For summer I’ve had to use this sparingly because even though it’s lighter than the cream in hot humid weather it can get a bit heavy feeling.
La Mer Soft The Moisturizing Soft Lotion is one of La Mer’s latest launches, it’s been out for a few months and it took me a while to decide whether or not to buy it because it does come with a hefty price tag, for me it’s almost identical in performance to the Moisturizing Soft Cream, but it’s a bit more fluid and comes with a pump. I’m all about the packaging and pump as I really don’t like dipping fingers into cream pots. After using this one skin feels noticeably softer by the next few days even though I only use this for day time. If I had to pick the Soft Cream or Soft Lotion, I would say I have a slight preference for the Soft Lotion.
La Mer The Tonic is the toner I’ve repurchased the most in my adult life, it never fails me, doesn’t strip the skin but at the same time makes sure skin is clean and rebalanced .
SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks are my weakness when it comes to sheet masks, I love that they are soft and feel cool upon application, skin is always left brighter and refreshed, if I could afford to use these every day I would.
Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is something some may find silly to splurge on, but they are worth every penny, they’re thick but soft and don’t leave tiny fibers in my eyes when I use them to remove mascara or eyeliner, I’ve lost count of how many boxes I’ve bought and hope they never discontinue them.
I’ll be posting swatches and reviews of Tom Ford AW16 and Edward Bess Lipsticks over the next two days so you can take advantage of the savings if you’re buying sight unseen.
In the meantime I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you end up ordering anything let me know in the comments 🙂 I always love hearing about your hauls and picks. Some of you have asked for a “best of …” series. This roundup was a little teaser with a few categories. If more of you are interested let me know in the comments and what categories you’d like to see.
To recap, enter code BEAUTY at checkout if you’re shopping online at Bergdorf Goodman. Promotion runs through September 18th.
Receive $25 off purchases $250+
Receive $75 off purchases $500+
Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
Many thanks to Bergdorf Goodman for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the Edward Bess Lipsticks and Powders, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer, Tom Ford Platinum Eyeshadow and Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer + Air Blushes.
Happy Friday everyone! It’s been one of those weeks I thought would never end and I am relieved that it’s almost the weekend. Thank you to everyone who shared what you wanted to see on The Beauty Look Book blog in my last giveaway post. It’s always great to hear feedback on what you’ve liked and also what you would like to read more about. There were a lot of requests for features on a wide range of topics and I am beyond flattered so many of you want to know what I think about well basically anything! Most popular requests were for higher end skincare (I did not realize you guys liked the skincare posts!), budget-friendly cosmetics, full skincare routine, current hair care routine, more hauls, favorites roundups, inside my purse posts, shoe features, tutorials, makeup storage, more travel (so happy many of you loved this), time management, exclusive promo events and videos!
Since reading your requests, I’ve started to pull items for a full summer skincare routine and hair care routine post. I do tend to test a lot of products on myself to review for you so my routine changes frequently – but I will pull my favorites and include items I’ve used up. A few notes:
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale hauls posted on the blog, makeup picks here and fashion and skincare items hauled here
Exclusive promo savings for readers via Space NK US here – my apologies for those who were not able to use the code on Oribe, after several e-mails to the team, they’ve fixed the code and it works on all Oribe items (full size and travel sizes)
Antica Farmacista is doing a special online promo code, enter code ANTICABLB at checkout for a mini body butter with any online order!
Summer bronzer edit posted here (many of you have been asking for this for weeks!)
On videos I am hoping to do some in the future!
Loving right now/favorites in this post here today!
Right now for skincare, hair care and the home, I’m loving the following:
Chanel Fresh Body Cream is a summer go-to for body lotions. It smells lightweight and fresh and even though a tub is pricey. I use it sparingly but it has lasted a long time. It hydrates without feeling sticky and won’t interfere with perfume. My wallet is crying at the thought of having to buy again but I think it is 100% worth the splurge.
Antica Farmacista is a line I just discovered and I really don’t know how this has passed my radar for so long, I received a few samples and the line is exquisite! My favorite item is the Cucumber and Lotus Flower Candle which is the perfect cooling relaxing scent for the home, I am going to need this one in all formats, detailed review next week – if you have any favorites from the line let me know! If you order online they’re offering a free mini body butter with any order, use code ANTICABLB
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora Volumizing Mousse is something new to me, I will say up front I typically hate mousse products because they’re usually sticky and make my hair hard to comb/brush, this one is really good though. I have naturally thick hair and find most volumizing products don’t really add that much volume to my already thick hair (I have tried dozens of sprays, creams, lotions, shampoos etc.) This one combined with heat styling of the T3 PROi Dryer (best dryer ever, thanks RaeView for recommending to me!!) gives serious volume all the way through from roots to ends.
La Mer The Tonic is a toner I alternate with the SK-II Clear Treatment Lotion, I like both but reach for the La Mer more these days to help remove impurities after cleansing and rebalance the skin. The formula has been a go-to for years and often times I try others in attempts to find a more affordable option, but this one never fails me.
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash is a favorite for every day multiple times a day. It’s one of the few I can use frequently without it stripping my skin. I’ve tried and repurchased all her cleansers and this is the only one that won’t irritate my skin on tender skin days. My brother has acne-prone skin that is even more sensitive than mine. I bought him this one to try and it’s one of the few he says is gentle enough for his skin (he’s in his early 20s). Also available in a larger 16 oz size with a pump and her Clinic Solutions Kit (I bought this for travel).
For makeup and fragrance:
Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette is nothing but pure love, it’s a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for this year’s Anniversary Sale and I think it is perfect. If you already own the palette from last holiday or the individual colors you can skip this one. Also there’s a new marble palette that’s coming out for holiday that you might want to wait for as previewed on @gossmakeupartist’s Instagram (it looks dreamy but I think the colors are different!). My review + swatches in this post here.
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Sugarcane is a perfect baby pink that covers the lip entirely, I also like Honeycomb which is a perfect nude, swatches + review of the neutrals in this formula can be found in this post here
MAC Sunblessed Cremesheen (in the Nordstrom Sunblessed Kit) is a great pinky nude on me even though it looks more peachy in the tube. Swatched on my lips here.
Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips are almost too hot to handle. I adore her Matte Revolution formula and was thrilled to see more neutrals and brights launched in her Hot Lips Collection. All the shades purchased by me and swatched in this post.
NARS Long Hot Summer Eyeshadow Palette (review soon) is an exclusive to NARS online and boutiques. This has great neutrals deep enough for medium to tan skintones. I’ll review and swatch this soon.
Summer is just around the corner but it’s on my mind right now. For the beauty world, seasonal collections launch ahead of season so many of you have probably already started to update your makeup wardrobe for warm weather. For me – I love wearing summery bronze shades year round, it’s a color I like to incorporate in bits to add warmth and life. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my summer beauty favorites covering a bit of everything from lips, eyes, cheeks, skin and fragrance. They have an entire page dedicated to Sexy Summer Must-Haves if you’re looking for something new. Up first are fragrance and body must-haves.
Sunnies by Marc Jacobs here, hat from Nordstrom here
First up are items for the skin and body. In the summer I love a bright nail polish whether it’s bright coral, red, orange or pink. My current obsession of the moment is Chanel Espadrilles which is a bright orangey-red cream. Two coats give full coverage and the new formula is a huge improvement in terms of lasting power over the original (even though I was a fan of the original). For fragrance, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral for summer but if you want something lighter the new Neroli Portofino Acqua (c/o) is really quite amazing. I’ve been wearing this for a few months now but haven’t felt like I was ready to talk about it just yet – it’s one of the lightest Tom Ford scents to date but still has very good lasting power. If you found the original Neroli Portofino too strong, the new Acqua version is the best one yet.
For self tanners – I’ve tried quite a few and they either smell really bad or cause an allergic reaction on my skin. A long-time favorite for a very natural gradual glow is the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster which you mix in with moisturizer, but the effect is very natural. I read a ton of reviews online to find another one before deciding to cave and try the Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan. It’s quite pricey but worth every penny. I’ve only tried on the body so far, but it gives a nice golden tan and smells amazing for a self tanner. You can use until you get the color you want, I found it worked for me after 4 days of use. Color lasts several days while fading gradually afterwards. It’s streak free, didn’t stain white jean shorts and non-orangey.
Protecting your skin with sunscreen that lasts is important. I have very sensitive skin and most sunscreens cause tiny little bumps to form on my skin by the end of the day. Two that I swear by are the Supergoop! Sunscreen Oil with SPF 50 and Coola Sunscreen Sprays which range from SPF 30 to 50 and come in unscented or scented options. I like the Coola because I can apply to my back easily in harder to reach areas. It’s weightless so you don’t feel like it’s greasy or heavy on the skin. I ask my husband to try out sunscreens I use as well – he’s really particular about products having a non-greasy feel and he approves of the Coola line.
For the lips, even though many associate summer color with brights or bronze shades, I love pinks, nudes and corals for a softer look. The best nude I’ve tried in a long time is Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o). It looks boring in the tube but on the lips it’s so so good! The Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Colors (c/o) are perfect color-wise and come in six options ranging from a soft gold nude, deep copper, berry, coral and a few neutrals. The one I’ve been reaching for the most is Pipa (I bought back ups of both shades).
Chanel launched new Glossimers in the summer collection. I’ll have a full review on all the shades soon, but they are a new formula called Aqua Glossimer which comes with a slightly different applicator and a sheerer almost jelly like finish.
In an attempt to find more affordable color options to the Tom Ford I picked up a few other formulas. The Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color has a similar finish and feel to the Moisturecore Lip Colors but feels so much smoother and glide on the lips. I picked up Boho Bronze which is similar to Cala di Volpe and is $27 vs the $55 price tag of the Tom Ford. MAC Huggable Lip Colors have been a favorite (Touche is a really good nude) for an effortless kind of lip color that adheres well to the lips and makes them glow with a natural hint of color. They launched a few more shades recently and I picked up Seoul-Ful, Bare Hug and Bonsai Bloom.
Last but not least I was really excited to see a new Kevyn Aucoin Lip Gloss in Sunlight. It’s one of the prettiest bronzey shades I’ve tried. However when I got home I found it really close to Chanel Unity Glossimer.
For eyes I love shimmer. Even neutral shimmers add a little something that’s fun but wearable for every day. I’ve been on the hunt for a good copper nude shimmer. Many coppers are too warm or red for my eyes/skintone. Bronze has been a go-to but I have been on the hunt for something a little different.
In terms of golden copper shades, Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize in Bette is one of my favorites. I know a few of you have mentioned you found it too emollient for your skin type in which case I’d recommend you try Tom Ford ones or the Burberry Eye Color Creams which has a harder stiffer texture and more suitable for oily lids.
My perfect copper shade is the Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Eyeshadow in Sunstone which comes with a rollerball applicator. Just glide them across the eyes and then blend with a finger or brush.
The hunt for the perfect bronze eyeliner ends with NARS Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia for me. No matter what other colors or brands I try, this one is my tried and true.
For complexion I love glowing skin. I wear bronzer year round so when summer rolls around I’m happy that bronzer is “in.” I’ve already reviewed a number of these shown below on the blog – some of which are back-up worthy in my mind which is why I have pristine new ones featured below. I’ve added other swatch shades as well for reference.
If you ask me what one bronzer I would recommend – it would be a very tough choice for me to pick just one. If you like a luminous glow, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzing Powders are really good because they mix highlighter and bronzer in one. They can pull warm and if you are fair you may find them too dark or too warm in which case I’d recommend Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra which is a cooler-toned matte. My personal favorite is Gold Dust (shown below) because it’s the perfect mix of tan and gold in one. Both are goof-proof – the texture is really smooth and easy to layer without overdoing it.
NARS Laguna Bronzer is always a classic staple you can’t go wrong with. They launched a Liquid Laguna Bronzer this year which is easier to control for a soft sheer warm glow. Also new is a Laguna-Tiare Bronzer in a scented option which smells heavenly!!
If you’re set on bronzer and just want something to add to your cheeks for a glow, Tom Ford Fire Lust is hands down the best liquid illuminator I’ve tried. It’s subtle but one of the prettiest I’ve tried. It’s steep in price but worth it. You get a lot of product so it will last a long time.
In terms of blush, two that I deem absolute must-haves are Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand and NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content (c/o). Pink Sand was limited-edition last year but brought back again this season. It’s a really special pink gold cream that is oh so pretty. NARS Dual Intensity Blushes aren’t new but there are two new shades for summer in Sexual Content (shown below) and Liberation. The best thing about these is they have a unique cream to powder texture which is good for warm weather – it holds up on my skin without getting greasy or oily looking.
Last but not least – for foundation, I think finding the right one depends on skin type, coverage preference, color options and humidity levels. I’ve been loving the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (c/o) for months now – it offers natural medium coverage and blends perfectly into the skin. I wore this over the holiday weekend – we went to the desert in Borrego Springs and it was almost 90 degrees (it was dry vs humid). The foundation stayed put all day long without needing a single touch up. This is my foundation of choice right now and I will be taking it with me while I travel later this month.
Above: hat from Nordstrom here (I bought it in both colors because it’s a perfect fit)
I hope you enjoyed this summer beauty roundup! I tried to include swatches of multiple colors as a reference guide in case you’re looking for a specific color or formula. Sometimes you’ll find the perfect color in a lipstick or eyeshadow but want it in a different formula (ie powder vs cream). Or you may find a bronzer formula you like but want it in a matte version vs shimmer. I love mixing things up. Many of you have asked for a dedicated summer bronzer post so stay tuned for that one in the upcoming weeks. I’m still testing out a few to see if they will make the cut for what I would recommend.
As always please share your favorites for summer below. Especially if you have sensitive skin, would love to hear about what you’ve tried and love for sunscreen and self tanning! I’ve seen a few sunscreen sprays pop up that are new for the season but would love to hear about your favorites too.
Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. Some items in the post were press samples marked with a c/o next to the product names. More information in my Disclosures.
Today I’m chatting with you about the face masks I have in rotation right now. Winter weather usually means my skin starts to feels dry or lacking in luster and the best way to help improve my skin’s texture, clarity and the way it feels in general is by using weekly mask treatments. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of 12 masks which include a mix of tried and true treatments along with a few new discoveries. I’m obsessed with masks in general – I often use them 2x per week, sometimes I mix it up depending on how my skin feels at a specific time.
First, a bit of background. When it comes to masks, or with any skincare in general, I would say recommendations depend on your skin type and what kind of treatment you’re looking for. I’ve split up my recommendations into four main categories: 1) lift and firm, 2) moisturize, 3) clarify/purify and 4) boost radiance. I’ve put 12 to the test to see how they hold up for my sensitive skin and super sensitive nose. In terms of types, I love a good sheet mask, but for today I’ve rounded up the kind you apply, leave on for 5-15 minutes and rinse off. The traditional apply-then-rinse-off kind is what I prefer, they are easy and fun to apply and I like the whole process of rinsing with water for that squeaky clean feeling.
Up first are two lifting and firming face masks. I’ll start with the best face mask I have ever tried which is the the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask ($245 for 1.7 oz/50 ml). I was lucky to find a mini sample of this one during a gift with purchase event and it was pure love the first time I tried it. This is the most I’ve ever splurged on a mask, but it’s one of those skincare products I tested and immediately thought, “oh my god this is amazing.” It comes in a large tub with a brush applicator. I’m relatively new to using brushes to apply masks but after testing a few, I think I kinda like it. With this mask, skin feels ultra soft after using it. It’s formulated to tighten, firm and refine the face and neck although I’ve only tested this on the face so far. Skin does indeed look and feel noticeably firmer after using this. Fine lines are minimized. After using this you can feel the moisture without any greasy feel and the skin glows. I would call this one life changing and at the high price I think it should be. It’s a luxurious splurge but worth every penny. I don’t think I’ve ever been so in love with a skincare product in my life.
Another good firming mask is the Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($70 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is formulated to lift, smooth, brighten and tighten pores. It sounds like an all-in-one kind of mask and I think it works wonders to lift and plump the skin. This one needs a very thin layer, if you apply too much it won’t dry properly and will be difficult to wash off. This one is heavily fragranced so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t mind the scent (I find it pleasant and unique). After using it skin feels smooth and lifted. The skin glows and looks noticeably brighter after using it. I noticed redness was reduced drastically. It does shrink pores around the nose area too. If you want a sampler of her skincare (trial or travel size) you can still find the mask in her Red Carpet Skin Set ($85) or the Gift of Goddess Skin Trio ($59) and the sizes seem large enough to get several uses out of the tubes.
Next are masks for an added moisture boost. My favorite gentle moisturizing mask is the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is a game changer for me, most moisturizing masks are too heavy or leave the skin feeling too glowy so for moisture I prefer sheet masks. For a more traditional mask, this one adds enough moisture to soothe dry skin and makes it glow without the heavy feel. It has the most wonderful refreshing clean scent making it feel extra nice. It also works really well to help calm irritated skin and reduce redness. I really like Caudalie for the gentle but effective skincare.
Bobbi Brown just launched new face masks. I bought the Mini Mask Trio ($20 for 3 minis each .24 fl oz/7 ml) which comes with super tiny tubes. For these I was able to get 2 uses out of each one which is enough to get a sense of how it will feel on the skin, but not quite enough to get a true sense of how it will perform. The moisturizing option is the Skin Nourish Mask ($47 for the full size). It has an ultra smooth almost gel-like texture. It has coral grass and green algae to help boost collagen production and smooth the skin. I felt it did smooth and sooth the skin. Given the fact that I already have some other favorites for moisture masks, I’m not sure I will purchase the full size.
My second most favorite moisture mask is the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz/50 g). This one smells delicious (I almost want to eat it). It adds the most moisture to my skin out of all the masks I’ve tried. It helps reduce any flaky areas or patches. It can tingle a little but it’s not too strong. If you’re super sensitive to tingle or scent, you might want to skip this one and opt for the Bobbi Brown instead which is more gentle but still adds moisture.
Next up are some clarifying and purifying options. This type is my favorite kind of mask to use but many purifying/detox masks can be really strong and end up drying out my skin. Some dry my skin so much it leaves my face red afterwards and flaky by the next day. My newest discovery is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask ($54 for 60 ml/2 fl oz). This was used on me during a facial, my aesthetician mentioned that a lot of her clients had been raving about it. I saw really good results from my facial so I bought this the very next week. It’s part of the anti-acne line and normally these kinds of products are too strong for my skin, but this one is pretty gentle. It’s foam activated so you apply it to your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. It starts to foam as it works and removes impurities. It tingles slightly as it foams up but does not sting (and I’m a huge wimp when it comes to skincare that tingles). It contains colloidal sulfur which helps reduce redness (it really works wonders in this area) and reduce acne. I highly recommend it.
Caudalie of course is on the list for favorites. The Purifying Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) targets spots to reduce blemishes. It clarifies the skin by drawing out impurities but it’s super gentle. Out of all the purifying masks, I would say this is the most gentle purifying mask I’ve ever tried. If you need something stronger the Instant Detox Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) is really good at drawing out the gunk that builds up in your pores. It’s a super deep cleansing mask – I prefer this on the T-zone or on spots (with Caudalie they recommend you mix masks at one time to target different needs on different areas of the face). It’s on the strong side so I would recommend on the nose or on trouble spots, I would not recommend using it all over the face.
My most-used clarifying mask is the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz/34 g). I’ve lost count of how many I’ve used up and repurchased. Anytime my skin starts to break out from buildup or hormonal acne, I use this and it clears up within the week. It cleans out the skin like nothing else I’ve tried. Regular use has also helped tremendously with acne scars. It’s good for oily skin and helps rebalance the face. It’s a more gentle version of the Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Mask. If you still find the Supermud too strong, try the Caudalie or Kate Somerville ones instead.
Bobbi Brown has a mask called the Instant Detox Mask ($47 for the full size). This is a like a gentler version of the Caudalie Detox Mask. I liked that it acted like a clarifying mud mask without being too strong. It cleared up my skin and helped to rebalance oily and dry areas without being too strong or too drying. I will be purchasing the full size of this one once I use up my Glamglow and Kate Somerville Masks. Pores were significantly reduced.
The last category is radiance boosting or complexion savers. Bobbi Brown has one called Radiance Boost ($47). This one felt like it had exfoliating properties with tiny grains inside. For radiance, I tend to prefer sheet masks, but decided to give this one a try from the mini trio set. It has superfine walnut grain to exfoliate dead skin cells and orange oil extract to rebalance the oils in your skin. I didn’t notice as much of a glow as I did with the La Mer or Charlotte Tilbury masks, but I did notice a subtle glow and my skin did feel smoother with the exfoliating properties. This one has a gentle citrus scent. For now I will be sticking to my sheet masks for radiance.
Last but not least is the Caudalie Glycolic Peel ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is the most gentle peel mask I’ve tried. I do an occasional peel treatment with other brands but my skin is so sensitive that I can’t tolerate the tingling sensation (some make my eyes water). The Caudalie has no tingle and is non-irritating. For this one you will see results over time. It’s a super gentle treatment that helps with exfoliation that improves the skin texture and radiance over the course of a few weeks. It’s the most gentle kind of peeling mask I’ve tried.
If you’re in search for a new mask, I hope you found this roundup helpful. There are so many different kinds of masks and brands. Nordstrom has over 200 options to choose from and you can filter options by benefit, price point and brand to find the one that suits your specific needs. I have tested quite a few, but for me testing has happened over the span of several months before I usually decide if something really works. My rotation changes as the season shifts to warmer weather. My top picks for right now are:
Do you have any favorite winter skincare masks? What’s in your rotation right now? I always get the best recommendations from my readers, if you have any tried and true or new discoveries please share!
Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering with me to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.
A few holiday treat ideas whether you’re looking for a splurge or something more affordable.
There are so many good sets this year, I’ll have holiday gift guide roundups of the best gifts I’ve found by price point and recipient coming soon. I love a good lip and hand duo – who doesn’t need an extra boost of moisture during the holiday season? La Mer’s The Replenishing Collection Duo ($75) is quite the splurge with a 1.7 oz of The Hand Treatment and 0.32 oz. of The Lip Balm. A more affordable option is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Hugs and Kisses Duo ($20 each) which is perfect for sensitive noses and skin. The Hugs and Kisses Duos come in a variety of other scented options (this one for example is to die for!!).
For the lips, matte full coverage lip colors are often in. They have bold color, rich pigment and matte formulas tend to last longer. Hands down the one of the best matte lipstick formula is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks ($32 each) because it’s a luminous long-wearing and hydrating matte. Very Victoria (swatched here) is an amazing nude. 1975 Red is a limited-edition color that’s a vibrant bright warm red (swatched here). Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick ($22) is a more affordable option. The Matte formula is pretty darn good and priced right (plus if you’re a Sephora VIB you can get 20% off until November 16th with code VIB20). Swatches of all the Buxom Bold Gel Lipsticks here. I found Buxom Sinful Cinnamon to be an almost exact dupe for Charlotte Tilbury Very Victoria. Also Buxom Wildfire is identical in color to Charlotte Tilbury 1975 Red. I will say though that the Charlotte Tilbury formula really can’t be beat (or matched).
For the nails, I love a good sparkly gold, bright red or deep vamp, but for those who like a good neutral nude pink that will give your hands a polished look without making them look dead, Tom Ford Sugar Dune ($35, swatched here) is my holy grail nude pink cream. Dior Lady (review here) also reached holy grail status but was limited-edition and I’m so sad you can’t find it anymore. The closest dupe I’ve found is Essie Topless and Barefoot (swatched here). It’s a really good neutral that isn’t sheer and gives the hands a polished feel.
Last but not least for those who love flat zip pouches, the Tory Burch York Duo Leather Pouches ($195 for set of 2) is quite the splurge. Both are made of textured Saffiano leather and are very thick and sturdy. I own the Black and Light Oak duo, I really like both, but it was a big ouch to the wallet. A less expensive alternative but something still high quality is the Truffle Privacy Clutch ($54). It’s made of textured leather and is quite sturdy. With these two, you can’t compare them exactly since one is a duo and one is a single, but the function is similar. I use the Truffle Privacy Clutches more often – the shape, size and simple sleek design is versatile as a makeup bag, pouch for your purse or a clutch. For those who like smaller pouches Truffle launched the Privacy Wristlet ($48 in three colors).