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Skincare

5-Step Korean Skincare with Soko Glam

November 20, 2019

Korean Skincare 5-Step Routine with Soko Glam

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

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

Korean Skincare from Soko Glam

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

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

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

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

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5-Step Korean Skincare | Step 1: Oil Cleanse

Soko Glam Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

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

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert Solid

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Step 2: Water Cleanse

Soko Glam Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser

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

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Step 3: Toner

Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

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

Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

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Step 4: Essence

Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist

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

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Step 5: Moisturizer

SkinRX Lab MadeCera Cream

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

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Korean Skincare from Soko Glam

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Additional skincare tries

Soko Glam Pimple Patches CosRX Missha

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

5 Step Korean Skincare Routine Normal Skin Set

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

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

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

 

Sponsored by Soko Glam.

Skincare

Skincare Routine + Favorites Right Now

September 23, 2019

Skincare Routine Favorites | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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Cleanser and Makeup Removers

Favorite Cleansers and Makeup Removers

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

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

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

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

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Toners

Best Toners for Sensitive Skin

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

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Sunscreen Favorites

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

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

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

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Hydrate

Favorite Moisturizers

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

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

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

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

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

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Acne and Mask

Favorite Acne Treatments and Face Masks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beauty Favorites Skincare

June Skincare Favorites

June 29, 2019

Summer Skincare Favorites June | The Beauty Look Book

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

Cleanse and Tone

Hydrate

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

Extras/Treatments

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

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

 

 

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

 

Budget Beauty Skincare

Summer Self-Care Shaving Routine

June 25, 2019

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

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

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

 

Walmart Joy Razor Pink | The Beauty Look Book

Walmart Joy Razor Pink | The Beauty Look Book

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

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

The Shave Foam Summer Lily and The Pink Razor

Walmart Joy Razor Shaving Mousse and Pink Razor

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

Walmart Joy Shave Gel and Teal Razor, Budget Shaving

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

Joy Gillette Five Blade Razor Refills, 4-pack

Walmart Joy Razor Review | The Beauty Look Book

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

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

 

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

Skincare

Brightening Radiant Skincare with the Best of Volition

June 21, 2019

Best of Volition Beauty Skincare | THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK

I’m so excited to share some new skincare that I’ve been using from Volition Beauty. Their products are clean and cruelty-free! I also think it’s so interesting that they create products based on ideas submitted by consumers. Skincare is made based on what real people need and want. You can read more about their Clean Beauty Philosophy on their website (I found it really interesting!). These days I’m all about getting that radiant glow so I was thrilled to give their three best sellers a test because they’re designed for brightening, exfoliating and hydrating. I’ve partnered with them to give you a closer look at The Best of Volition Kit ($64). It’s is an online exclusive with their cult favorites (currently 30% off). It includes:

  • Turmeric Brightening Polish 4 fl oz / 120 ml
  • Strawberry-C Serum 1 fl oz / 30 ml
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Pads 3 pads (individual packets)

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Turmeric Brightening Polish

Volition Beauty Turmeric Brightening Polish Skincare Review | The Beauty Look Book

I love a good scrub to exfoliate and keep the complexion smooth and clear. I feel like out of all the skincare steps this is one of the most important to keep my skin smooth and healthy. The Turmeric Brightening Polish is a gritty scrub that can be used on both the face and body. I gently massage it into wet skin and leave it on for a couple minutes to let it sink in. This one has Turmeric Extract to brighten, Olive and Sesame Oil to hydrate and soften, Sandalwood Extract to reduce inflammation and micronized Walnut Shell to exfoliate. I tried on both the face and body and really love it for the face. It did noticeably reduce some inflammation I had and did an excellent job at making my skin feel smooth afterwards.

Volition Beauty Turmeric Brightening Polish Skincare Review | The Beauty Look Book

Full ingredient list here.

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Strawberry-C Serum

Best of Volition Strawberry-C Serum | The Beauty Look Book

The Strawberry-C Serum is a brightening serum with 20% strawberry Vitamin C. It has ingredients to reduce dark spots over time and minimize pores. I could not detect any heavy scent to it but it smells like a hint of fresh cucumber. Most Vitamin C treatments are too strong for my skin to handle but this one was a pleasant surprise and gentle enough for my skin to tolerate use on a daily basis. It has a gel-like texture and after a few minutes it absorbs into the skin for a smooth finish dry down. I don’t have a lot of dark spots except for a couple of fresh red/brown acne scars from recent breakouts that are healing. I was really surprised to see that they have reduced in color significantly and already started to fade faster than normal with this serum.

Best of Volition Strawberry-C Serum | The Beauty Look Book

This also contains Kakadu Plum to add a glow and reduce redness, Hyaluronic Acid to plump, Cucumber Fruit Water to soothe skin. They recommend using this morning and might and under your regular moisturizer. I tried this alone and applied my regular foundation on top during the day and it worked really well. It helped regulate my oil with the humid weather right now too! I will definitely keep you posted on how this works over the longer term.

Full ingredient list here.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Pads

Volition Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Peel Pads | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least are the Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Peel Pads which are amazing! The Best of Volition Kit comes with 3 or you can also buy 3 separately in their Try-Me Pack. (Also available in a 30 pack). I’ve been reading about incorporating apple cider vinegar into one’s skin care routine as a toner to reduce breakouts and inflammation but wasn’t keen on the idea of applying it straight from the bottle or the potent smell. The Volition ACV Resurfacing Pads are the perfect alternative and they also contain AHAs, Lemon and Orange Extract to remove dead skin, Witch Hazel to remove dirt and excess oil that may still be on the skin even after washing, and Glycolic Acid. The first time I used it I only applied on half my face to see how much of a difference there would be – there was a noticeable difference by morning! These do have an apple cider vinegar scent to the pads but it’s not as overpowering as I anticipated and it dissipates after a few minutes. I do have sensitive skin but these had a very moderate and gentle tingle. Quick note that I haven’t used any other acids, peels, retinols or vitamin C products on my face in a few weeks now so if you have those in your routine your skin may be extra sensitized and you’ll find the tingle a little more intense.

These pads are described as being gentle enough to use daily but I would probably use it 1 to 2 times per week max. Skin is noticeably more toned and it evened out some texture issues I had. I really like the anti-inflammatory properties ACV has to prevent breakouts. I’ve already ordered the full size box (has 30 pads). The packets are super convenient for travel and also keep the pads well soaked/protected but I would also love to see this in a bottle form.

Full ingredient list here.

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Best of Volition Beauty Skincare | The Beauty Look Book

First impressions with this brand are that I’m impressed! The Best of Volition Kit is available only online at their website but you can also find their individual products at Sephora. Volition offers free shipping and returns in the US and they’ll also send samples with every purchase for you to try out. I’m really interested in trying out their sunscreen and have their Grab-n-Go Trio in my cart right now (looks super cute).

Have you tried anything from Volition yet? What are some of your favs?

Many thanks to Volition Beauty for partnering to sponsor this post.

Skincare

Testing the New Billie Starter Kit

March 21, 2019

Billie Razor Starter Kit Review | The Beauty Look Book

For as long as I can remember my shaving routine has always been pretty minimalist and basic. I’ve always thought the options for men have been much more impressive than those for women. They have so many subscription services, new brands, creams and shaving kits to choose from where I feel like the options for me are so limited. When I had the opportunity to try Billie, a shaving subscription service just for women, I jumped at the chance to try it out!

They set me up with the Starter Kit which comes with a Billie Handle (comes in several super cute colors to pick from), two 5-blade razor cartridges, and a magnetic holder you can attach to your shower wall for storage. The kit runs at $9 and they’ll deliver replacement cartridges depending on how frequently you shave as often as you need them. I shave once per week so the system is setup to deliver 4 replacement cartridges every 3 months. Shipping is free for the starter kit and replacements too.

Billie Razor Starter Kit | The Beauty Look Book

Billie Razor, Shave Cream and Dry-Bye Lotion Review via The Beauty look book

You can also add on a few extras like their Shave Cream or Body Lotion. I’ve put three Billie products to the test and here are my thoughts:

  • The Billie Razor gives a nice smooth close shave without any razor burn or bumps. There are five blades encased in aloe shave soap around the edges which when wet helps add a buffer to the skin for the shave. I’ve tried this on my legs and under arms and really like how it shaves.
  • The Billie Shave Cream is a thick creamy shave cream rather than a foaming shave cream. This has a nice smooth feel on the legs and leaves them feeling hydrated. (Full ingredient list is on their website.)
  • The Dry-Bye Body Lotion is my favorite thing out of all the items I tried. I’m so picky with body lotions formulas because I have sensitive skin and scents can often interfere with my perfume of the day. This one has a nice light citrus smell but the scent fades after a few minutes. It dries down to a nice velvety finish which is going to be perfect for me when the humidity rises here in South Florida.

Billie Razor Review for Sensitive Skin

Best Razor for close shave without irritation

Billie Razor Starter Kit Subscription Review

 

Billie Razor Starter Kit Review | The Beauty Look Book

Overall I’ve been really happy with my Billie Shaving Kit testing! The razor is something I will definitely keep using and if you’re looking for a matte finish or velvety finish lotion with a nice dry down the body lotion is definitely worth checking out! The price point is very good for the quality and design and I’m so excited to finally up my shaving game with this set.

 

 

What’s your shaving routine like? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

You can find the Billie Starter Kit at MyBillie.com.

Sponsored by Billie. As always all opinions my own.

Skincare

Spring Lip Balm Testing Hits + Misses

February 27, 2019

Best and Worst Lip Balms for Spring

By popular request I’ve put together a round up of all the lip balms you’ve been asking about. I’ve included thoughts on tinted options, clear ones and a few lip plumper formulas. I know it’s not officially spring yet, but I’m calling this a spring lip balm roundup because seasonal beauty collections launch ahead of the actual season. I put around a dozen formulas to the test. Most of the tinted color options are newer for the season but I also mixed in some clear options that are new to me for those who just want a treatment without color. Formulas covered today:

The Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in the new tinted shades are ones I’ve been getting the most questions about. I have used both the clear and red ones in past years, used them up and didn’t repurchase. The formula is one of the most beautiful luxurious lip oils I’ve tried. It feels like a spa treatment on the lips but doesn’t have a bad taste. I ordered the neutrals sight unseen. I think they’re amazing for the beautiful neutral soft pink tints but on my lips all three look pretty much the same. Bare is a soft beige pink, Cameo is a rose, Adorn is a soft pink. Coverage is on the sheer side and like any oil color won’t be long lasting even if you can still feel the product. I think they’re insanely expensive. I was prepared to be thoroughly disappointed just because of the price but after playing with these I think they’re a really nice splurge. I don’t think you need all the neutrals that I bought, to me they’re really similar, if I had to pick one it would be Bare. (Scroll down for swatches, after the Givenchy bit.)

Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Oils

The Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto is a hydrating lip balm that comes in tinted colors now. The original ones are supposed to be color shifting according to your lip/body chemistry but it didn’t do anything for my lips. I tried it once, wasn’t impressed but kept it for future testing. I swatched some new colors on my hand in store and they looked so pretty I had high hopes. I bought two of the new tinted colors 101 Glazed Beige and 201 Timeless Pink which looked promising but I hate them. It’s rare that I’ll full on hate a product, although there have been plenty of products I’ve given a negative review on the blog. I try to be fair in the sense that my personal preferences don’t always make a product bad (ie sheer isn’t always bad, frosty isn’t bad as some like extra shimmer, super matte also isn’t bad as some want that extra matte look). Sometimes I’ll give something a bad review because I think the color is boring or unflattering, or sometimes I think a product is simply not worth the price tag. I actually hate this formula. It has horrible patchy application, not hydrating and sinks into my fine lines.  Even blending doesn’t work to smooth out the color. The only nice thing is the pink packaging and slim style of the tube. All that being said the online reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this formula.

Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto 101 and 201

Swatches of the Hourglass and Givenchy shades:

Hourglass Tinted Lip Oils Bare, Cameo and Adorn, Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto 101 and 201

Hourglass Tinted Lip Oils Bare, Cameo and Adorn, Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto 101 and 201

Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints are probably the next best option to the classic Dior Addict Lip Glows. Over the years I’ve received a lot of messages from readers who like the concept of the Dior Addict Lip Glows but their body chemistry causes the colors to turn almost fluorescent on their lips which they think is unflattering. I think the Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints provide a more subtle tint, but this of course is going to be different on everyone. You can read my review of last year’s options here. These are nice hydrating balmy tints that feel moisturizing without being thick. This year I tried Bare Pink (subtle pink on my lips), Bare Nude (sheer subtle beige flush) and Bare Blackberry (perfect soft berry color, think Clinique Black Honey toned down a few notches).

YSL launched a new addition to their Volupte line with the Volupte Plump in Color. I’ve been sitting on these for months and finally put them to the test. I bought the neutrals which barely show up. I normally don’t mind sheer balms but the two I picked 01 Mad Nude (soft pink) and 07 Furious Gold (shimmery pale gold) aren’t flattering on me. These have a super sharp tingle with the plumping factor. It stung my lips so much so that I could not feel my upper lip after 2 minutes which made me panic. When this happens I usually get an allergic reaction and my face looks like I’ve been stung by a bee. I removed it immediately with makeup remover, washed my face and lip again and then used a cleansing water to make sure it was 100% off. I really loved their Volupte Tint in Balm and prefer the color and formula 100%.

Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint in Bare Pink, Bare Nude and Bare Blackberry YSL Volupte Plump in Color

Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint in Bare Pink, Bare Nude and Bare Blackberry YSL Volupte Plump in Color Mad Nude and Furious Gold swatches

Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint in Bare Pink, Bare Nude and Bare Blackberry YSL Volupte Plump in Color Mad Nude and Furious Gold swatches lips

NARS launched another version of the Afterglow Lip Balm in a clear option with SPF 10 called Clean Cut. This is a nice non-irritating lip balm. Since Clean Cut is clear I feel like the Afterglow Lip Balm Orgasm version is more special. It’s a really nice smooth balm. Lips are noticably softer and smoother. I really love the way it feels. I’m not sure I feel it’s worth the price for clear. Formula gets a solid A+ though.

NARS Afterglow Lip Balm Clean Cut Review

Dior makes some of the best lip plumpers and color transforming balms. No matter how many other brands come out with their own version I think Dior still does it best.

Dior Lip Maximizer Rosewood, Purple Holographic, Pink Holographic, Lip Glow to the Max in Coral and Rosewood

The Lip Maximizers aren’t really lip balms but they had new shades that were launched with new balms so I’ve put them in this roundup. In the past I’ve felt the color lineup of the Lip Maximizers were pretty basic. Not a bad thing necessarily but even the tinted ones didn’t do much except add a lush plumpness to the lips. The new ones are sheer but show up better on my lips. I’m LIVING for the Pink Holographic and Purple Holographic ones. They have noticeable shimmer chunks but it’s 100% smooth and not overly frosted. I also bought Rosewood which is new to me (I’m not entirely sure if it’s new) and it’s a sheer effortless beige pink which I love.

As a Lip Glow Addict Lover I was really interested in trying the new Lip Glow to the Max shimmer/tint swirls. I have such mixed feelings about these. If I have a choice between matte and shimmer, I almost will always want the shimmer. The shimmer in these is a little much for me. It’s not frosty but it has a very metallic look which I don’t think is flattering on me. It’s almost a little too glowy. Lips look super lush and full with the shimmer + tint and I like that they are very pigmented. I prefer the Holo Rose Gold and Holo Pink options or even the classic non-shimmer ones instead.

You can see my previous reviews of the Dior Addict Lip Glow here.

Dior Lip Maximizer Rosewood, Purple Holographic, Pink Holographic, Lip Glow to the Max in Coral and Rosewood swatches

Dior Lip Maximizer Rosewood, Purple Holographic, Pink Holographic, Lip Glow to the Max in Coral and Rosewood lip swatches

 

Clear Balm Options from Drunk Elephant, Lipstick Queen, Sol Janeiro, Laneige and Fresh

Clear Lip Balms from Drunk Elephant, Lipstick Queen, Sol Janeiro, Laneige and Fresh

Last but not least I have a roundup of some of the clear Lip Balms options I’ve tried over the past few months. Thoughts on how each one performed:

  • I bought the Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm in a holiday set and was pleasantly pleased. It’s a nice basic hydrating lip balm I think makes for a great unisex option. It’s lightweight and hydrating but does the job at fixing dry patches. It’s a clean formula with avocado, mongongo, cranberry, and marula oils. It’s non-scented and doesn’t have a taste. Finish is semi-matte.
  • Lipstick Queen came out with a new Lip Restore Balm which is a really nice thick clear option. It has a twist up applicator with a plastic end. I’ve kinda fallen out of love with Lipstick Queen lipsticks over the years as I feel other brands have better colors/formulas, but this was a really nice one. I used it during the day and also over night and think it’s a solid option to try.
  • The Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Kiss has the cutest fun bright packaging I decided to give it a try and am throughly impressed. It’s on the thick side but very moisturizing with a natural glow. It’s heavily scented but not too overpowering for me. I can’t use their body products because I find the scent too strong for me to handle but the lip balm is better. If you’re sensitive to scents this may be too strong for you. It has cupuacu, açaí, and coconut oils.
  • Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask came out in a Vanilla option. I asked for thoughts on stories because I feel it’s so heavily hyped. Thoughts and opinions were either extreme love or hate. I can’t use the original berry version, the scent is so strong it nearly knocked me on the floor in the store. I think the Vanilla one is much better in scent. It’s a smooth hydrating lip balm, but I don’t think it’s the best and for me it doesn’t live up to the hype. Bite’s Agave Lip Mask is much much better and more hydrating.
  • Fresh Sugar Mint Rush is their latest for the lip balm line. It has a nice fresh minty sweet finish that isn’t too strong or sharp. It has a pleasant soothing cooling feel. I left it on overnight and lips were nice and soft in the morning. I feel the Bite is more hydrating and effective for super dry lips.

Summary:

  • Best: Best tinted ones are Bobbi Brown and Hourglass and favorite clear options are Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro
  • Worst: Givenchy, YSL Volupte Plumping (because it’s painful) and I think Laneige is just ok

I still think the By Terry Baume de Rose, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and regular Dior Addict Lip Glows are among the best formulas I’ve tried. I love trying new formulas though, especially tinted ones! There are a few formulas and colors that I probably would not have bought to try but so many of you were asking for reviews I did. I hope you found this roundup helpful!

Quick update, a lot of you have been messaging me about more budget-friendly options. This post focused on newer formulas that just launched. I have a lot of others I’ve tried in the past that I consider excellent staples too. My top budget-friendly affordable balms include Vaseline Lip Therapy Mini Cocoa Butter (love the minis), Lanolips Strawberry, Lanolips Multi-Balm Coconutter, Aquaphor.

 

Press samples include NARS Afterglow, Lipstick Queen Restore, Bobbi Brown Extra Pink, Fresh Sugar Mint Rush. All others purchased by me.

 

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