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Skincare

Fall Skincare Routine + New Tries

October 7, 2020

Fall Skincare Routine | Sabrina The Beauty Look Book

I have an updated fall skincare routine with a full breakdown of what I’ve been using and used up over the past few months! The weather turned here for a few short days and I almost thought we were going to have colder cooler weather but then it popped back up to the high 80s! The weather still has shifted for fall so I’ve changed up some of my moisturizers and serums. This is what I’ve been loving lately by category.

Cleansers

Best Cleansers and Makeup Removers Kate Somerville, First Aid Beauty, Bobbi Brown

I’ve been a bit obsessive with cleaning my skin multiple times a day. I always cleanse in the morning. Right before a workout and right after a workout. And then in the evening before I go to sleep.

  • Tatcha Rice Wash is a newer gentle exfoliating cream cleanser. There are tiny rice powder particles that I feel are gentle enough that I don’t feel any grit on the skin. It’s creamy when you add water and is good for normal to dry skin. (Also available in this mini duo.)
  • Kate Somerville Cleansers – all Kate Somerville cleansers in general are well loved in our home, I’ve tried all of them and always have a backup stash, for family who visit and have skin issues, I always recommend and gift them one of these when they shop/raid my beauty closet!
    • Eradikate is the best to deal with acne issues, it’s the one that has effectively prevented maskne by cleaning out the pores and any clogged areas, the 3% sulfur + oat extract helps absorb excess oil. I can rarely use anti-acne skincare because it’s often too drying or harsh and ends up stripping my skin. The entire Eradikate line is one of the few I can use that does not irritate my skin.
    • Exfolikate is best for normal to oily skin. This one has exfoliating ingredients including glycolic and lactic acid to help resurface the skin and fruit enzymes that also help with natural exfoliation. It’s not harsh even though it’s an “exfoliating cleanser”.
    • Delikate Cleanser* is the best calming cleanser I’ve tried. I will often use this in the morning and then one of her other cleansers at night.
  • First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser is a great everyday cleanser that is gentle but effective. It has a creamy almost foaming texture when you add water. Andrew loves this, my brother loves this, I love it too. I think it’s reasonably priced!
  • Sisley Triple Oil Balm Makeup Remover and Cleanser* – best makeup remover balm-oil in one, gentle and non-stripping (tied with the Farmacy Green Clean for a more budget friendly option and one that is just as good).
  • Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover – best eye makeup remover, takes of my liner and mascara!
  • Good Molecules Facial Cleansing Mitt – I almost always use a washcloth to wash my face, but I often ruin them with makeup or mascara remnants. I ordered a few of these face mitts to use just for when I have makeup to remove or wash off and they’re small but really nice! I want to look into other brands of reusable washable cleansing cloths like this. I bought a pack of three and really like them.

Toners

Best Toners for Sensitive Skin, La Mer, Sisley and Farmacy

The top three toners I have in rotation:

  • La Mer The Tonic – this is another formula I’ve used for years that is a great no-fuss refreshing kind of toner to balance and purify the skin. (La Mer’s website also has this in a smaller travel size version.)
  • Sisley Floral Toning Lotion – this is one I’ve written about so many times. It’s alcohol free, gentle, hydrating and refreshes the skin beautifully. It’s very expensive but 100% the splurge (I have bought several bottles of this to replenish my skincare cabinet).
  • Farmacy Clean Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner – I’ve been using this on and off for a few weeks now and really like it! I find most toners with any kind of acid either are too strong or too sticky. This is one of the few I’ve tried that doesn’t turn my skin beet red or sting. I feel it’s gentle enough for my skin to not have any tingle but still effective enough to clean out my pores. (I tried the Paula’s Choice BHA toner and my face felt like it was on fire! It turned horribly red and irritated for a solid week before it finally calmed down.)

Skincare Makeup removers and Cleansers

Serum Moisturizers

Fall Skincare Routine Moisturizer and Serums

I’ve tried to improve my serum and moisturizer routine as the weather turns. I’ve included a few new items I’ve added to my routine and also wanted to mention a few Andrew uses.

  • Sisley Pure Bright Activating Serum* – this is Andrew’s favorite brightening serum. He has permanently “borrowed” this from my beauty cabinet and uses it religiously (LOL!). For his skin he’s struggled with darker sun spots on his cheek bones since we moved to Florida. This is the only product that he finds that works to brighten dark spots over time. He like that it feels lightweight, it’s simple to use and it works.
  • Sisley Hydra-Global Hydration Booster Serum* and Gel Cream Moisturizer* – the Sisley Hydra-Global line is a great one for normal to dry skin. Andrew uses these on whenever he feels dry and likes that they’re both hydrating without that greasy overly heavy feel.
  • La Prairie Skin Caviar Liquid Lift* – this is the newest serum I’ve tried and it BLEW MY MIND. It’s a lifting and firming serum with two chambers. One has a milky emulsion serum and the other has encapsulated caviar beads. To activate the serum there is a pump to mix the products together for a beautiful smoothing serum. Skin is left firm and smoother and softer. I’ve just ordered a few more La Prairie items I’ve had on my wishlist from the line and cannot wait to try them.
  • Kate Somerville Delikate Recovery Serum* and Recovery Cream* – this has been my most frequently used duo all through summer and now in the fall. It’s a great everyday calming duo that smooths the skin. I initially used it on only dry-skin days but have found it’s really versatile for me. Sometimes I will skip the serum and only use the cream.
  • Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream* – this is my second most-used moisturizer. I feel like everything Kate Somerville just works without any extra effort of fuss.
  • Kate Somerville Dilo Age-Defying Oil* – I started incorporating a few oils into my routine and have used this one again every other night. It’s my favorite!
  • Chantecaille Rose de Mail Face Oil* – This is a new to me oil which is designed to soften fine lines and brighten the skin. It has a floral rose scent but compared to other rose oils I’ve tried it has a more botanical vibe rather than straight up rose. It feels a little thicker in texture while other oils I’ve tried are more fluid but it absorbs into the skin beautifully. I just started using this so I can’t really report on the effects yet, but it’s like a veil of protective moisture.
  • Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid – this has been my go-to eye treatment for a few months. I loved it for its lightweight feel and the applicator has a beautiful cooling sensation which helps with puffiness in the mornings. It’s nearly used up and I will be trying a different eye cream soon!
  • For my night time treatment, I’ll use the Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel 2-3x per week to help with gentle resurfacing and smoothing.

Masks/Treatments

Best Sheet Masks and Hydrating Masks

My masks have been the same for months now. I’m really interested in trying new formulas but for now have stuck with what works. For hydration I alternate between the Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask (lush and thick) and the By Terry Baume de Rose Le Mask* (love how this bubbles/foams, will 100% repurchase). For a sheet mask my latest love is the La Mer Treatment Lotion Hydrating Sheet Mask. It leaves the skin feeling soft and refreshed.

For acne issues or pore clearing my Glamglow Supermud has been my go-to – I only use this when I feel like my skin needs a pore clean out.

For eye masks my go-to is still the 111Skin Sub Zero De-Puffing Eye Mask or the 111Skin Rose Gold Illuminting Eye Mask. I prefer the depuffing version. Also thanks to the recommendation of many of you I ordered a box of the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist 24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Masks and am OBSESSED! I love how these masks hydrate and brighten. I read you can use them on smile lines but haven’t tried it there yet – I may put a few on my forehead area to try.

For acne I’ve finally gotten any spot acne under my chin under control. I think the influx in stress and hormonal issues caused skin issues for me earlier this year. For the occasional pimple I still rely on Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment (Andrew uses this religiously and has me buy him multiple tubes at a time) and the Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment.

Tools

Mount Lai Gua Sha and LeMieux

I’ve been neglecting almost all of my beauty tools except for a couple things. I really still like the Le Mieux Skin Perfector* which I’ve had for many many years! It’s a great gentle pore cleaner that has tiny pulses from ultrasonic waves. There are different variations and models out there from other brands but this is one that has worked for me for years so I’ve stuck with it. I have also been really liking the Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool in the Jade or Rose Quartz options. They both really has helped improve my circulation and radiance of the skin.

That wraps up my current fall skincare routine! As always I’d love to hear about what you’ve been loving lately! Let me know in the comments! I love getting ideas from you to see what you’re using and loving.

 

 

Press samples indicated with a *. All others purchased by me.

 

Skincare

Summer Skincare Routine + Testing

June 29, 2020

Summer Skincare Routine | The Beauty Look Book

I have an updated skincare routine and testing roundup today! Summer is here so I’ve changed some things in my daily and weekly routine. This year has been a challenging one for all of us. For me added stress, hormonal changes and wearing face masks has definitely taken its toll on my skin. In May my face had a total freak out – I was breaking out in places I’ve never had issues with, I had texture issues + redness and increased sensitivity. Part of the reason why I haven’t been posting as many makeup reviews lately is that I’ve been trying to let my skin breathe and recover – thank goodness by now it has!

For some background on my skin type. I have normal combination skin. I do feel I run on the sensitive side although I can handle some acid treatments in moderation. My main skin concerns are keeping a smooth skin texture, depuffing the eye area in mornings and anti-aging. This year I turned 39 and fine lines have kept creeping into my forehead. I have not had Botox although I’ve talked about wanting to try it for a couple years now. I’m deathly afraid of needles and a few of you have emailed me and assured me it’s quite tolerable. I’ve never had bad acne issues until this year with some hormonal issues which caused bad painful breakouts around the chin although this could have also been due to wearing a face mask. I’ve since gotten it under control.

Many of these things you’ve seen on the blog before – I have a lot of tried-and-true products. There are some new items I’ve incorporated and tested. I’ve split everything by category and given my thoughts for the new items I’ve tried. For example, I think some are better for dry skin vs. oily skin so I’ve put notes below on each product I’ve tested.

Summer Skincare Favorites Sisley, Kate Somerville, Fresh, Sunday Riley

Makeup Removers + Cleansers

Out of all the skincare categories I go through cleansers and makeup removers the most. I love testing different formulas but I typically use only 2-3 at any given time.

Best Makeup Removers and Face Cleansers

For makeup removal I almost always remove eye makeup separately from the rest of my face. I find long-wear mascara and liners are easiest to remove when soaked with a pad or bi-phase remover first. My top 2 are Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover and Almay Longwear Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads. Both have an oil in the formula but do not sting my sensitive eyes.

These days I’m all about solid balm cleansers to remove makeup and my go-to is the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm. It’s one of the few that will rinse off completely and does not leave a greasy film on the skin. Another good option is the Sisley Radiance Foaming Cream*. It’s an effective one-step cleanser that removes makeup but won’t strip the skin. They just added two more items to this line and I just tried their new Triple-Oil Balm Makeup Remover* and it is quite amazing! It has Babassu, Shea and Macadamia oils, melts into the skin and rinses off nicely.

For a traditional rinse-off cleansers:

My latest try is the new Kate Somerville DeliKate* line which I think is phenomenal. I’ve been using the DeliKate Soothing Cleanser in the morning or before bed and it really works to calm stressed out skin. It’s a cream formula and super gentle. The Kate Somerville team has offered my readers a special offer, if you order from their website, use code SABRINA20 at checkout to save 20% off sitewide now through 9/30.

Regular exfoliation is essential but I try to do this in moderation with scrubs. The best daily gentle scrub I’ve tried is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish because it melts into the skin and isn’t harsh or too gritty (also available in a mini if you want to try it out first).

Toner

Favorite Alcohol-Free Toners

My go-to toner is the Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion. It’s alcohol free and leaves the skin fresh and soft. I have also used and really enjoyed the Revive Balancing Toner for another soothing option. Other formulas I’ve tried include the Eve Lom Rescue Toner* which I think is a nice gentle option and La Mer Tonic. My favorite out of all of these is the Sisley formula.

Moisturizers

Favorite Moisturizers and Eye Treatments

My favorite daily moisturizer has probably been the Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream but I’ve used it up and decided to try something new. The Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum* and Recovery Cream* are really nice for normal to dry skin and work to reduce redness and soothe the skin. I’ve been using this on dry skin days or at night and it really does work to soften and help redness. For daytime my latest obsession has been the Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream*. It’s a great smoothing moisturizer that blends in nicely and has really helped even out tone after regular use.

I’m not the most diligent when it comes to using eye creams and after trying so many I still haven’t found THE one. I don’t have eye wrinkles yet and my main concerns are with puffiness. Three I have tried recently include the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream (nice lightweight hydrating option), Chanel Le Lift (does noticeably help with lifting) and the Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid. Quick note that I don’t look for super rich or thick eye creams this time of year. I only need a light amount of moisture and these 3 all were light enough to work for me. Out of these three the one I like the best is the Sisley option. It was quite the splurge but I like the cooling applicator which helps depuff and makes application a fun process. The formula works nicely to smooth and hydrate the skin.

Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid

Hydrating Masks

Best Hydrating Face Masks Sisley, By Terry and Fresh

For hydrating masks I really like formulas with rose for their soothing, calming and gentle plumping properties. The Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask is the best splurge to hydrate and plump. For a more budget friendly option the Fresh Rose Face Mask is a beautiful calming one that leaves the skin feeling super fresh. The newest one I’ve tried is the By Terry Baume de Rose Glowing Rose Mask* which is a brightening and clarifying option. It bubbles on the skin and when rinsed off leaves the skin supple and smooth.

The 111Skin Eye Masks are the ultimate indulgence for me. I love the Sub Zero De-Puffing Eye Masks in the mornings to help cool and depuff. The Rose Gold ones are nice for brightening and soothing.

Retexurizers + Acne Treatment

Best Acid Treatments and Acne Spot Treatments

Since I live in sunny Florida I cannot avoid sun exposure so I try to keep acid treatments and retexturizing treatments to a minimum. They are essential to help get rid of dead skin and keep pores clean. Your mileage will vary depending on skin type and tolerance to acid treatments.

The best exfoliating treatments that are like leave on masks are the Drunk Elephant TLC Baby Facial and Kate Somerville ExfoliKate. I use as needed 1x a week or every other week.

For acne or clogged pores treatment depends one what kind of acne you have. Most of the time I find the Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment with salicylic acid works best for blackheads and whiteheads. It helps reduce inflammation and exfoliates the dead skin to unclog the pores. Another good mask to help clear out pores is the Glamglow Supermud Charcoal Mask. Sometimes I will only use it on the T-zone or chin area where I have clogging.

My favorite night time treatments have been the Sunday Riley Good Genes, an effective lactic acid treatment, best for removing top layer of dead skin or the Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel, the only Retinol Glycolic treatment my skin has been able to tolerate, best to stimulate collagen and cell turnover. I don’t use these at the same time as I either use lactic acid or retinol. I’m currently using the one from Kate Somerville and only use it 1-2x per week.

An interesting peel product I’ve tried is the Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel. It has fruit enzymes and exfoliates the skin in a peel gel. You leave it on the skin for a few minutes so it dissolves dead skin. It’s very mild and gentle so it’s not harsh. It does contain alcohol denat though so if that is irritating to your skin you may want to pass.

Sunscreen

Supergoop! Unseen Suncreen and Glow Screen

My go-to sunscreens are from Supergoop!. The Unseen Sunscreen with SPF 40 is my go-to choice for everyday. I also really liked their City Sunscreen Serum with SPF 30 but keep forgetting to re-order it.

Skincare Favorites

I know I covered a lot! To help simplify the roundup, here is my current routine and favorites:

Morning Routine

Cleanser: Drunk Elephant Beste or Kate Somerville DeliKate
Toner: Sisley Floral Toner
Moisturizer: Kate Somerville Peptide K8 or Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream
Eye Treatment: Sisley Black Rose Fluid
SPF: Supergoop!

Afternoon (pre-workout)

Remove makeup with a balm cleanser: Farmacy Green Clean
Double cleanse with a gel cleanser: Drunk Elephant Beste

Night Time

Eye Makeup Remover: Bobbi Brown most days, if I’m wearing waterproof mascara I’ll use the Almay Pads
Cleansing Balm (if I’m wearing makeup): Farmacy Green Clean
Face Cleanser: depends on how skin feels, most of the time it’s Drunk Elephant or Kate Somerville
Night Toner: Revive Soothing Toner
Night Treatment: Kate Somerville Retasphere Micro Peel (1x per week) on dry skin nights I’ll use a light moisturizer, most of the time I let my skin breathe
Acne Spot Treatments: Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment

As Needed

1x per week or every other week acid, pore cleaning masks
2x per week hydrating masks as skin needs it
2-3x per week eye masks

I hope you found this helpful! Would love to hear what you use right now or if you transition your products as the weather gets warmer! If you’re looking into any of the Kate Somerville products don’t forget to use my code SABRINA20 for 20% off sitewide now through 9/30.

 

Press samples indicated with a *. All others purchased by me.

Roundup Skincare

Winter Skin Care Loves

January 9, 2020

Winter Skin Care Savers

makeup bag set from Cuyana

It’s our third winter in Florida and I cannot believe how the time has flown! It feels like it was just a short while ago that we were driving across the country to start a new chapter of our lives. Most of the year we find Florida to be sunny and warm but we’ve had a cold winter (it’s been colder than I remember it being in past years) and everything is significantly more dry. My skin has definitely felt it and so I’ve changed up my routine. Here are some things I’ve been loving recently for lips, hands and body to combat the dry weather.

Hydrating Lip Favorites

Favorite Hydrating Lip Essentials NARS, Hourglass, EM Cosmetics, Fresh

I’m still recovering from shock that Bite Beauty discontinued my holy grail lip mask and I know many of you are too. They’ve done some sneak peeks of their brand revamp on social and they’re launching their new Agave+ Intensive Vegan Lip Mask on January 10th at Sephora. I will be ordering it to try out. In the meantime, what I have in rotation now:

  • NARS Afterglow Lip Balms* are my most reached for balms these days. I always keep one in my purse! The original Orgasm shade swatched here. New spring shades swatched here. I’m constantly asked for an alternative to the Dior Addict Lip Glow because they often shift to an unflattering color. The ones from NARS have a more subtle color change and are nicely hydrating. I can wear it to the gym, use it for touch ups or on low-key makeup days.
  • By Terry Baume de Rose (mini size shown which was limited-edition) is the thickest most lush hydrating pot lip balm I’ve tried. It’s also one of the most expensive lip splurges I’ve made and repurchased several times over because I do think it’s 100% worth it. I will need to repurchase the full size very soon as I’ve nearly finished all the minis I’ve kept on hand.
  • EM Cosmetics Lip Cushion in Magic Hour* is more of a color product rather than skincare, but it’s the most hydrating lipstick I’ve ever tried! It feels lush and hydrating and smooth on the lips and is very comforting. I feel like it is a truly universally flattering color (as described) and it comes in the prettiest peachy pink nude with a lush shine. I hope they will launch this in more colors! Full review + swatches soon.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in any of the tinted shades are the best lip oils I’ve tried. There are a number of “oil-infused” launches this spring and I will be doing an updated lip roundup soon. Many of them just don’t hold up to my expectations for hydration. A lot of them will add a nice shine to the lips like a gloss but don’t have the same hydrating properties like a true oil. As expensive as the Hourglass ones are I think they’re among the best. You can see the tinted versions swatched in my last year’s balm hits and misses here.
  • Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment is a balm I always find myself gifting away. I accumulate a lot from GWPs, press samples and various sets so I’m always splitting them up and sending them off to friends, family and readers. I finally decided to keep one and try it for myself and WOW! This is significantly more hydrating than the regular Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments (ones with tint) and I absolutely love it. It’s hydrating, smooth, smells delicious and prevents peeling. Also available in mini size in various sets like this 6-piece Travel Size Set, Travel Duo, On-The-Go Set to name a few.

Body + Hand Care

Winter Skincare Hand and Body Creams

For the body I’ve been loving a few unscented body creams or super light oils. As much as I love a good fragranced body lotion or cream, sometimes I just want something that won’t interfere with my perfume or one I can sleep in easily. Sometimes heavily perfumed face products or body creams prevent me from falling asleep.

Two body creams I’ve been loving are the Necessaire Body Lotion in the Fragrance Free version. I ordered it over the holiday as I’ve seen it everywhere on Instagram and I was influenced to buy it. I really like that it’s hydrating, smooth and has a soft velvety dry down. It absorbs into the skin nicely and doesn’t feel too heavy. I think it’s reasonably priced. (On the nails is the new Chanel Le Vernis in Daydream, review soon.)

I’ve also loved the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Nude Cream which I reviewed last November when it launched (it made my favorites list). It’s now also available at Sephora. I still use it almost every day and love how it’s hydrating, soothing and smooths out the skin. I’m not the biggest fan of the packaging because I find it a little bulky but it’s not a deal breaker and I actually do like the pump. It has a soft velvety dry down so it’s not greasy feeling. I feel like this is like the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream in body cream form (many of my friends have told me they’ve used the face cream as body cream).

I also wanted to mention that the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is another great unscented body cream that works for my skin. Both Andrew and I really like it.

For body oils the Chanel Gentle Oil for Body and Hair* has been at the top of my list for body oils. It’s lightweight, absorbs beautifully, makes the skin ultra soft and has the most beautiful lightweight fresh scent. If you’re familiar with the Fresh Body Cream version, the oil smells the same.

For hand creams I’ve been reaching for the Chanel La Creme Main Texture Riche and Le Lift the most. Some other of my favorites I’ve had in rotation in my Hand and Nail Care Essentials post.

Skin Care Loves

Winter Skincare Favorites Chanel, Augustinus Bader, Joanna Vargas and Fresh

For skincare my favorite moisturizer is still the Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* for it’s lightweight texture and beautiful finish. On days I need extra moisture I’ve found myself loving the SkinRX Lab MadeCera Cream* that I got from Soko Glam for an ultra calming and affordable hydrating cream. (Full review here.)

I’ve also really been loving the Augustinus Bader Cream and Rich Cream which I bought in the mini 15 ml sizes directly from their website. The minis run at $85 each but they have a Discovery Duo on their website for $150 for 2 x 15 ml. They also have the 2 x 30 ml for $305 available on their website, Nordstrom, Saks, etc. I’ve been testing the Augustinus Bader Cream, Rich Cream and Victoria Beckham Cell Rejuvinating Moisturizing Primer for several weeks now. The Rich Cream is the best for winter or very dry skin. The Cream is my favorite for year round for my skin type. Both of these made my skin look significantly smoother and healthier. I think the Victoria Beckham version is nice for summer but it is the lightest out of the three and didn’t add a significant amount of moisture for my skin.

I will most likely be purchasing the regular Cream in the larger size once I’ve used up the mini.

For a more affordable option that works I’ve also been loving the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream. The rose scent is subtle and isn’t overpowering once it absorbs into the skin. I like that it really is super hydrating without feeling heavy or greasy. It calms my skin on the days it has flare ups from allergic reactions. It soothes when it’s super dry and itchy. I think it’s a nice one to try!

For night time I usually let my skin breathe naturally without product except lip balm or eye cream, but I have started using the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Oil again and love it. It helps balance out the skin overnight and is a great moisturizer that absorbs into the skin. You can also find it in a mini size in their Nourishing Essentials Set that comes with their Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

For eyes I’ve been rotating between the Tatcha Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream* and the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. Both are super hydrating and have helped smooth out those tiny little lines that creep up when my skin is dry. I alternate between the two for day or night. They are on the rich/heavy side so when the hot humid weather returns to Florida these will most likely only be used at night for me.

For face-mists I’ve been loving the Chanel Sublimage La Brume for extra moisture but with a super fine mist. I feel like a broken record raving about it but I truly love it. I never want to be without it.

For sheet masks my I feel like my favorites will forever be the 111Skin ones. I have tried a few other ones recently (roundup soon) and really love the Joanna Vargas Forever Glow Anti-Aging Face Mask for a hydrating calming one and the Twilight Face Mask for deeper moisture and softening. The Forever Glow feels fresh and hydrating while the Twilight is heavier and makes the skin feel like baby’s skin. She has a Glow to Go Mask Set that has one of every sheet mask formula if you want to try them out before buying a full set.

That wraps up my winter skincare favorites! Would love to hear what yours are right now. I know Florida has a mild winter compared to other places, but it’s still dry and I hope this roundup gives you some ideas on what to try in case you’re looking for extra moisture for your skin.

I have the new Bite Beauty launches on my radar and also really want to try the Drunk Elephant F-Balm Mask. Also in case you missed it last year the Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask is finally back!

 

 

Press samples featured have a * next to them.

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.

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