Thursday, November 20, 2014

La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil + Cream

Let my reflection be a testament to how shiny the packaging is

Earlier this week, I had an unfortunate reaction to a new face mist I was testing – the entire area under my mouth broke out in hives. I took some Claritin to mitigate the effects and laid off products for a few days so as not to enrage the beast, and it seems to have worked. The red splotches have disappeared, leaving in its wake scaly, itchy dry skin.

This lizard-y feeling is similar to my month-long sunburn from September (not a good year for skin, eh?), so as soon as my skin acted up again, I wasted no time in going the decadent route to speed up healing. The most intense moisturizers I have on my vanity are the La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil and Cream. In fact, I take it one step further by combining the two: a dollop of cream with a couple of drops of dry oil adds up to a formidable hydrating duo. When I apply the concoction to my face, I literally sigh with relief.

I actually prefer the cream to the dry oil. The latter feels overly heavy to me, like it's sitting on instead of absorbing into skin. The cream, on the other hand, feels lighter than expected for such an intensive treatment. Both the dry oil and cream have a strong scent – I think of Enchanteur powders when I apply them to my face – which is not ideal, but I continue to use them since they obviously work.

At $300 each, I hesitate to exhort anyone to purchase these, even if they do work wonders for my dry skin. I will say, if your skin always had trouble with winter, maybe venture out to a counter for a sample.

La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil and Cream are available at Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, and

Full disclosure: This entry contains a gift from the brand. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

R29 + Rescue Beauty Lounge: Better Than Boyfriend Jeans

I'm a sucker for baby blues, so when Rescue Beauty Lounge unveiled its latest collaboration with Refinery29, I ordered Better Than Boyfriend Jeans without skipping a beat. It is such a pretty icy blue – it reminds me of Dior Glacier (less blue and more silver, shimmery) which I missed out on years ago. BTBJ is a different polish under varying light. It picks up more blue when indoors, and takes on a glacial quality when under sunlight. I needed three layers to get it to full opacity (apply with a light hand to avoid streaks). I think it'll be beautiful peeking out of gloves when the snow hits.

The only other color I purchased from the collection was another in-between shade, the green/blue called Sunny Skies.

It's a pity that my mind was an auto-mode when I ordered the two shades, because now I'm regretting not getting Pretty Gritty, a purple with fine gold shimmer. I own the original IKB, which is why I didn't spring for All About Yves, though I've heard that the latter has a superior formula. You can enjoy swatches of the rest of the collection at Makeup Withdrawal.

The R29 + Rescue Beauty Lounge collection is exclusively available on Each polish retails for $20.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Beauty PSA: Shu Uemura VIP Sale

All my purchases have been on hold for the past month because I'm waiting for sale season to start, and Shu Uemura is one of the first to drop. Their VIP sale gives you 25% off everything! That's a little more than their traditional Black Friday offer (20% like most stores).

While I already have everything I want from Shu Uemura, I am sorely tempted to pick up another Kolinsky Brush 11. Even with 25% off it's still a hefty chunk of my paycheck, but that brush is unparalleled in my kit. I have eschewed most of my other brushes in favor of this, because it does the depositing, applying and blending better than anything I own.

The only reason I'm considering buying another (the one I own is pretty much still perfect) is because I currently switch between two apartments, and it would be nice to have one wherever I go.

Decisions! I have to make some...

While I ponder, don't miss out on this once-in-a-year chance! If nothing, you can always stock up on eyelash curlers. Visit and use code SHUVIP at checkout for the 25% discount.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

OCC Lip Tar in Lydia

Confession: I haven't figured out a shooting setup at my new apartment, which is why the pictures you've been seeing have been more, uh, guerrila. The good thing is I scrambled to get the new iPhone when it came out, so my on-the-go snaps enjoy a (hopefully) crisper quality. Some pictures are better than no pictures, right?

Anyway, I seem to be very very late jumping on the bandwagon that is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Considering my penchant for mixing colors, this is very surprising. The first Lip Tar I had the pleasure to try is the one photographed above – Lydia. A darkroom plum according to OCC, a pinky mauve according to me. The formula is incredibly light, non-sticky, and fragrance free.

OCC Lip Tar comes in deceptively small tubes, as in you might think you got the short end of the stick until you realize that a little product truly goes a very long way. These things are pure pigment – I never apply anything more than a dab of color to my lips, otherwise I'll find very quickly that I've squeezed out too much.

Although each tube comes with a short-handled lip brush, I prefer to spread the color on my lips with a finger (produces a more natural finish) and then use the excess on my cheeks. This way, I get rosy blush and have a fuss-free way to clean my fingers (I had to say it!).

Without careful prep (primer + primer pencil), the darker OCC shades usually feather on me, but I'm happy to report that Lydia doesn't have the same effect. That said, while OCC is known for long-lasting color, Lydia fades within 3-4 hours on me. I suspect it's due to my application method more than anything.

OCC Lip Tar - Matte: Lydia retails for $18 and is available at Sephora and

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The holidays are out to get us

I always approach the end of the year with a mixture of excitement of trepidation. On one hand, it's Thanksgiving! Christmas! I get to go home and spend two whole weeks with my family! On the other, one whole year just whooshed by and another is looming.

Seriousness aside, the holidays are a great time for beauty lovers! As you probably know, the Sephora VIB/VIB Rouge sale is well underway and there are excellent holiday-only sets to be purchased. Now, I have been on a beauty cleanse for over six months now (my last actual beauty purchase was the Dior Addict Fluid Stick in April), and while my mind knows I clearly do not need more stuff, my heart says gimme gimme gimme.

For example, this Benefit Box O' Blushes. I already own Coralista and Dandelion separately, and I've never wanted any of the other shades even after swatching them countless times. What is it about putting them together in a cute bigger box (that's probably even less travel friendly) that makes them so much more appealing? I've been thinking about this for weeks.

And then, yesterday while walking through Macy's to pass time, I paused by the Jo Malone counter. My eyes were involuntarily drawn to the boxes of holiday gift sets stacked up at the corner and I slunk over for a closer look (instead of joining my friend, who dutifully sniffed at scents). Again, rationally I know that these candles are not my cup of tea (too incense-y), but because they're wrapped up in a pretty box with a pretty bow, I want them.

Don't get me started on advent calendars. Just a couple months ago, I gave away over 50% of my nail polish collection in an effort to downsize for my move. I was feeling pretty great about myself. My friends had new polishes to play with (and liked me a lot more) and I had more space in my room. And yet I did not hesitate to say I wanted one of these Ciaté Mini Mani Manor Advent Calendars. Is it the box again? Is it the perception of great value? What is it about giving me 24 random shades that makes this all the more enticing?

Lastly, Tatcha just unveiled nine holiday sets for easy gifting. They range from über luxe (the Kaiseki Complete Travel-Sized Assortment) to very simple and functional (the Kokoro Indigo Travel Duo). The two sets I'm most tempted by are pictured here (top: Nagomi Luminosity Set, bottom: Miyabi Golden Glow Beauty Set). Both feature some of my absolute must-have products from the brand, and the Miyabi set comes with the extra Obon tray and mirror, which I unabashedly covet.

At time of writing, a few of the Tatcha sets are already down to single digit stock, so if you want them, better scoot on over now! They're all exclusively available at

That said, if you've always wanted to try out Tatcha but have been hesitant because of price, it delights me to inform you that their annual Friends & Family sale will commence November 28 through December 8. It's a once in a year opportunity and everything will be 20% off with code FF2014. These sets will probably be long gone by then, but you will still be able to purchase individual products!

What holiday sets have you been eyeing/have already purchased? I can't be the only one!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

L'Occitane Aromachologie Relaxing Massage Body Oil

I didn't realize it was October until my landlord gently reminded me to pass her the rent check a couple of days ago, and then amidst my frantic searching for the checkbook (I moved in to my new apartment a month ago – things are still stacked haphazardly, as you may expect), it struck. How is it that there's only two months left to the end of the year?

What a year (or ten months) it has been too. I feel like I developed grit this year, as in (almost literally) learning how to grit my teeth and expand my patience quotient, both in my personal and professional life. For now, I hope that by working hard and staying true to myself, one day I'll be able to put myself in better circumstances and surround myself with better people.

In the meantime, I've found a gem that makes the everyday much more bearable.

If you've ever been to a massage parlor, you'll know that they each have their own particular brand of massage oil. It's usually non-absorbent and dries down to a slight tackiness. As much as I enjoyed having the sore muscles and kinks rubbed out, I always left the table desperate for a shower.

But not so with L'Occitane's Aromachologie Relaxing Massage Body Oil! I first used this to massage a muscle strain, and realized immediately that it's of a superior quality. Throughout the massage it remained fluid – I didn't feel like I had to keep adding oil to the skin – and was a pleasure to use. The rosemary and lavender essential oils also added a layer of relaxation to the entire experience. Finally – and this was the best part – when I was done, I didn't feel like I had to rid my hands of the oil. It just absorbed right into the skin!

The Aromachologie collection is newly launched for fall and harkens back to L'Occitane's very first products. Personally, it's my favorite L'Occitane launch to date. The Relaxing Massage Body Oil retails for $34 and is available at

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Unexpected Beauty Deals

Image via Gilt

I used to think of sites like Hautelook and Gilt as a nuisance (too zealous with the email newsletters), but since stumbling across the now-ended Tatcha sale on Gilt City, I now peruse the site in hopes that similar treasure can be found. Lo and behold, I found two beauty deals to be had! First is a $30 off $80 credit to, whose shimmer bricks remain one of my favorite illuminating products.

Image via Gilt

Who can resist this bombshell of an image (from the Clarins Fall 2014 Ladylike collection)? Those eyes! The perfectly sculpted cheeks! The cozy knit! Clarins is offering a $30 savings for purchases over $75 at I say get whatever you need to get to recreate the look above, because swoon.

I also liked reading this piece about beauty ideals written by Liu Wen, published on It was really great that Estee Lauder named Liu Wen as their global spokesmodel. They effectively expanded what it means to be "normally beautiful" to the public consciousness.

Have you seen or read anything interesting lately? Do share!
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