Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Spring Beauty Favorites

Some of you may know I'm a bit of a cosmetic junkie who worked in the beauty industry for seven years. Because of that, and for the blog, I am always trying new beauty products. Some are meh and others are great finds. I'd like to try to share with you the gems and hope to publish a regular post of my latest obsessions.

 I am an almost 50 something, who was kind of a disaster skin-wise. I've had bouts with acne, rosacea, dryness, wrinkles, enlarged pores, dark spots and everything else. Right now, (knock wood), my skin is the best it's been in years. I feel like I've finally found a few products that really work, and  an IPL treatment at SkinSpirit helped too. (I wrote about that here.) I have my regular arsenal of Retin A and such, but I do try and switch things up. I'm forever reading up on what is new and I strive to look for products with less harmful, more natural ingredients.

So here's my current crushes I thought I'd share..

First, I'm in love with a fragrance that is so pretty, it's truly like spring in a bottle. This Tracey Reese Eau de Parfum, was a Christmas present from the husband.

Why I love it...

It's soft and light floral that lasts without being too strong.

The main notes are lavender, magnolia, green tea, sandalwood and musk!

Prettiest packaging- love the bottle.

My boys tell me I smell good! I love that.

Mine was bought at Anthropologie and it seems like they may be carrying it exclusively right now.

My other favorite new thing is the Color Control Cushion Compact from AmorePacific.
I first tried their products in Hawaii. It's a Korean based company and AmorePacific is their high-end line. They also make Laneige products sold at Target. If you are reading up on skincare you'll know that Korea is on the cutting edge right now of everything skincare related and have the latest and greatest!

My friend Kim and I both bought foundation, $60, which is liquid below a screen that becomes a soft finish when patted on the face with their patented puff. Each comes with a second refill for the compact as well, which means this will last quite a long time. Kim found the twin of this compact at Target for about $35, made by their lower line Laneige. You can take home a sample there, but are limited by only three colors!

The higher end Amore compact has the addition of their special green tea, bamboo and red ginseng, with an 8 hour release to continuously nourish the skin and revitalize it as you wear it. It's skincare in a compact. Currently there are only four shades. I used the Tan 104 and I'm more yellow undertones with some redness and fair. It goes on invisible to me which I like.

This product won the Elle magazine genius award and also Allure's Best of Beauty. After wearing both versions for several days, I prefer the Amore version as the Laneige changed color and darkened on me during the day. It also looked a bit heavier to me.

Why I love it.. 

SPF 50 with 4.5% titanium dioxide and 9.8% zinc oxide, which are good sunscreens.

Made my pores look virtually invisible and did not need touching up later in day.

Convenience of patting it quickly on and adjustable coverage, you can layer on for more cover.

It's without parabens, sulfates and phthalates.

Makes my skin look the best it has in a long time.

Amore version available at here at Nordstrom.

While I was buying my compact, the ever alluring MAC counter was next door and I tried a few lipsticks on. I'm always on the lookout for a pink that isn't too bright or barbie like. I think I have found the best yet. It's called Hug Me from MAC and it's soft, pretty and flattering.
 Why I love it..

Neither too dry nor glossy- the perfect soft finish.

Stays on well and leaves a nice color even after eating.

The perfect neutral pink, but still gives a good pop of color. It's not a nude.

I sometimes use the Etcetera liner with it, but looks modern alone just a fresh slick of color.

MAC's Hug me available here, at Nordstrom and their own boutiques.

Thanks to friends I often get tips about new things and even samples! My chic friend Leasa recently gave me a little goodie bag from Guerlain and now I am hooked on some of their products as well. I never would have known!

Guerlain, a French company around since 1828, and has been a beauty innovator. They were creators of the world's first bronzer which still has a cult following, and their Meteorites highlighting pearls, which do as well. They are branching out using the Meteorites fabulous effects in other products.

Meteorites Light Diffusing Perfecting Primer looks like their famous meteorites but in a bottle that you pump out into a light liquid primer. I adore this stuff. You need very little to create a soft base for your foundation.

Why I love it..

Takes away that dry flat look I sometimes get with foundation alone. Brightens the face with it's prism of colors.

Can be used as a highlighter-works wonderful around the dark corners of eyes and tops of cheeks.

Is a perfect canvas for your foundation and calms redness and sallowness enough to be worn alone for a pretty natural look.

Lovely for evening -use it on your bare shoulders or mix it with a bronzer for a glowy tan on the face.

Find it here, at Nordstrom, and other high end department stores.  I also want to try their Meteorites Baby Glow foundation which looks perfect for summer travel as it's sheer and has SPF 25 and comes in a little tube.

The other little surprise in that bag was the Guerlain Cils d'Enfer Maxi Lash Mascara. Unlike any mascara I have, it's light and pretty on the eye. I have straight blonde lashes and this makes them pop without weighing them down like so many of the new heavy formulas. I'm fair, but I always go with black. It might be fun to try the marine or violet colors available for evening out! This mascara is $30, but I figure it's worth it if you use it for 3 months which I usually do, sometimes longer.

Why I love it..

Curls and lengthens while making the lash line stand out.

Pretty and striking lashes yet natural.

No clumping or flaking.

Has a special formula to set the curl of your lash.

Easy to remove!!

As above available here at Nordstrom, and also at higher end retailers.

Something I really love having in my bag all year is a face spray.

Jane Iredale Pommisst Hydration Spray is addicting. It's a ultra fine face mist that I have carried in my bag now for almost 2 months. If you read about my recent makeover at Halo, they used Jane products on me and it's where I purchased it. It's wonderful to mist your skin if you live in a drier climate as I do and I especially appreciate having this in the car as I tend to flush and get red.

Why I love it..

Calms my skin and cools, especially on dry days.

Helps prevent flushing and redness. I use it after exercising and tennis and it really helps.

Smells lightly of a pomegranate and feels like a treat.

Mist is so fine it's perfect to set makeup and lasts 3xs as long as an Evian small spray.

Jane Iredale is now fortunately sold at some nicer salons like Halo, which I adore, and can also be bought at Nordstrom and nicer beauty supply shops.

Because it's been a dry year here everyone I knows is looking for a good moisturizer, especially for night. I love waking up to dewy and soft skin.  During Whole Foods Beauty week I bought the cute bag they had created for the event and inside was this great little tube of cream from New Zealand skincare company Trilogy.

I pat this Vital Moisturizing Cream on at night alone or sometimes over my Retin A or a serum. I always wake with wonderful results.

Why I love it...

It's key ingredient is certified organic rose hip oil, which is Trilogy's signature ingredient in many products, and which fights environmental aggressors.

The whole line uses natural plant oils and botanical extracts.

Trilogy is huge supporters of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation and other
environmental charities.

This company is completely organic and eco driven. Read more about them here.

You can find it at Whole Foods, so it's easy to throw in your cart when your doing a milk run!

It can also be found at Amazon.

Lastly,  one more product I've really grown to love is NUXE Micellar Cleansing Water. I originally bought this in Paris at a pharmacy and just found it again. It feels like water and is excellent to remove face, lip and eye makeup with just a cotton pad.

Why I love it..

No oily residue like other removers, just fresh soft skin.

Does not sting eyes and safe to use over lips too.

Wonderful alone when I'm too tired to wash, or perfect to remove makeup and sunscreen before using with a face wash.

I saw improvement in my skin after using this. When using daily sunscreen on the face, you need another step to help remove it before washing so your pores can breathe. Sunscreen can be very hard to wash away.

I found many of the lovely NUXE products at our local  Walgreen's in store beauty boutique. If you don't have one, it's also at Amazon where it's a little cheaper as well.

 I'm excited to tell you about some super sun products for hair and face coming in June!

 Please share your own beauty and skin products you adore as well in the comments. I'd like to get a little monthly beauty forum going on the blog. Let's hear what is new and wonderful that I may have missed!

Have a lovely week!!



  1. I loved your last lipstick recommendation and will try HUG ME!MAC works for me I have had problems with other lipsticks......another side effect WE have to look forward to at age 55!I go to a european facial gal and LOVE HER products.I haven't slid off that path now for two years...............as for foundation I use one that comes from the European pharmacy's!Means I have to go RE-STOCK every other year!!!!!!!!GOOD reason don't YA THINK???Oh, honey I'm OUT of my sunscreen foundation.......a quick trip to ITALY of FRANCE should cure me!!XO

    1. Contessa, I love MAC too, my favorite forever for lipsticks. So I am curious which products does your facial gal use? I just had one with Epicurean products and loved it. Gee I need to try to get a trip to Paris next time I need skincare...if only!! xxoo

  2. I always love your beauty reviews, Kim! With your background in the beauty industry you are definitely 'in the know'. Your new MAC shade looks delicious-I'm sure it's so pretty on your skin. I have never seen the Nuxe water remover (I can't stand an oily film on my eyes when I remove mascara) so I'll have to check that out. I noticed they do carry some Nuxe products at our local Target. Yay! I love that your boys say you smell good...so sweet!
    Thanks for sharing the latest dear Kim!

    1. Heather Thanks you are sweet. You will love that MAC color too on you.
      I had forgotten Target carries some NUXE things as well! Thanks for that reminder. xx

  3. What great reviews! I'm a fan of the Mac lipsticks and pencils. Great punt of pigment and wonderful colors. I'm a huge Jane Iredale fan!! I haven't seen it at my Nordstrom so I'm going to ask for them to carry it.
    I love your reviews. I always get such great new ideas!
    Happy Spring!!
    xoxo Jennifer

    1. Jennifer Happy spring! I think it's hard to find Jane Iredale and some of the smaller lines at Nordstrom sometimes as they carry so many special boutique lines now. I always have to ask. It's great the selection now of lines and products.. Almost too much to choose from. That's why I'm writing these posts! xxoo

  4. I adore that cushion foundation and I use it everyday! Isn't it crazy how good they are? Your brand is one of the best and in the top three - it's hera / iope are other great brands. I just wish they had more color shades. But there is a cleanser that is just fantastic and it is called banila. Also you should try snail cream bc everyone I know in Korea swears by it and is now just a part of their routine. I must say I am noticing that my skin is getting better too. PS do you use hair spf living in Cali?

    1. Naomi, I should add that you did such a great write up about some of the more interesting Korean products..http://naomipicks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/korean-beauty-products-and-skin-care.html
      So fascinating! I've got to find that cleanser.. Banila? And what is snail cream?? Yikes I'm afraid to know! Yes I do use hair spf when at the beach or by pool!! Or I use olive oil to protect it if I do not have it.. Sun wrecks fresh color or highlights pretty fast!

  5. These reviews are so detailed and helpful. I like to try new products which have been recommended in this way. Mac lipsticks are a favourite of mine and I have been a fan of the Nuxe brand since I discovered their amazing Huile Prodigieuse several years ago in France and I love their lip balm too, I shall have to try this Guerlain mascara which really appeals to me.

    1. Miss B, I love Huile Prodigieuse too. The smell is the best and I put it on my hair ends, face and cuticles!!

  6. I would NEVER know you're a cosmetic junkie - you always look so fresh and natural - which just means you apply it just right. Interested to hear about this scent - I've alwasy stuck to Clarins as so unobtrusive but always on the look-out for a change!!!

    1. Well, I'm more of a tester of skincare now, but if you saw me in my cosmetic days you wouldn't recognize me! That was 20 years ago and no way could I wear that much now. I think less really works better as we age.. At least for me it shows less wrinkles, pores, etc. I do love Clarin's Eau Dynamisante- so fresh and reminds me of the 90s!

  7. I 'm a fan of the Nuxe product : you have to try Nuxe Multi-purpose dry oil face, body, hair ( number one in France ). Here, we can find it at the pharmacy so it's not expensive. I sometimes use Clarins and Dr Hauschka cream. For makeup I haven't yet found good products. In France, pharmacy and perfumery give a lot of samples; if you are interested, let me know ! Have a good day.

    1. Anne-Laure, I have not tried the dry oil, but will... Is it the same as the Huile Prodigieuse? I also love Dr Hauschka and Clarins! Thanks for stopping by! Have a good weekend!

    2. Yes, you are right : it is the same. Bon week-end

  8. Kim I love it when you do these posts, you have terrific tips! That's it I'm going to try the MAC lipstick, I've never even visited the counter but I'm looking for that perfect pink. Also the Guerlain mascara shall be mine, I've been trying different ones lately without success but not that one.
    I've been using loads of Clarins products which really saved my skin this past winter. Love the Nuxe line too though. xo

    1. Dani, I think you will like the color too. I hope you love the Guerlain mascara as much as I do. Clarions and Nuxe are just a treasure trove of lovely skin products.. The French really know their skincare. xx

  9. Kim,
    Love these posts! Just purchased the Mac Hug Me lipstick after reading this and Madeleine tried it and now we need one for her! It's that one lipstick i feel I've been searching for....forever! I knew the way you described it, it was going to be the one!

    1. Annie, Yay so glad you and Madeline both like it! It's crazy, but I've already used half mine and I can't believe how much I still love the color. xo

  10. I did buy HUG ME!
    Here with the Jennifer & Heather line up!!!

  11. I love posts on products! I haven't tried any of these products, so thanks for all the new ideas!