Best 2018 Beauty Advent Calendars

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Soap and Glory Advent Calendar

Soap and Glory is a company that I used to be obsessed with but have strayed a bit from. However, this advent calendar makes me want to fall back in love with this fun and flirty brand. First off, their packaging is pink! I just know this set is going to be filled with their amazing body butters, fragrance mists and hand creams.

 

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Kiehls Advent Calendar

This fun set from Kiehls features some of the top selling products like Creme de Corps and the Midnight Recovery Serum. Kiehls has top notch skincare so we are sure to get some amazing deluxe sample sizes of their skincare in this year’s advent calendar. This would also make a great set to give to the man in your life. Sadly, this will only be available at Selfridge’s in London.

 

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L’Occitane Luxury Advent Calendar

L’Occitane actually puts out two advent calendars, the Classic and the Luxury set. I have my eyes on the luxury set as it contains some of my favorite of their top selling luxury products for the face and body including the amazing Divine Facial Cream and Deluxe Minis of their Fragrances.

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Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar

With the crazy amount of Beauty brands sold on Amazon, I’m pretty sure this will contain not only some of your favorite products, but also introduce you to some new favorites. This is one that I will definitely try to get my hands on!

 

 

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Jo Malone Beauty Advent Calendar

Who doesn’t love the uniqueness of Jo Malone products? 24 fun filled days of Candles, Fragrances and Body Products to mix and match to create your own unique scent. It is even rumored that this set will include some limited edition scents created only for the Holidays. If you are a fragrance lover, be sure to snag this one.

 

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Elemis Skincare Advent Calendar

Elemis is a brand I’ve worked with in the past and their products are not only luxurious but definitely effective. These high quality marine based products make your bathroom feel like a spa. This advent calendar even includes a full size of their top selling Pro Collagen Marine Face Cream.

 

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The Body Shop Olivia Advent Calendar

The Body Shop is actually releasing THREE advent calendars this year, but this one looked the cutest me. Full of their amazing cruelty free products for the face and body. And how adorable is this packaging?

Skincare 101 – 10 Skincare Jargon/Terms Demystified

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Today, brands use a lot of buzz words such as “Natural”, “Dermatologist Approved” and “Organic” in hopes of standing out in the crowd. These marketing terms are splashed all over cosmetic products, but what do these terms actually mean?

Clinically Tested

Clinically Tested refers to a product or an ingredient that has been tested in a clinical trial for its safety and effectiveness. These studies are done in a clinical setting and usually tested under strict standards to prove claims such as “reduces the appearance of fine lines”.

However, it is hard to know the conditions of the testing. Was it only tested on a handful of people, say only 10 people? Also, not all results are going to be the same for every person. And the clinical trial/test could have been done on one ingredient but not the whole formulation.

Cosmeceutical

Cosmeceutical combines the words “cosmetics” and “pharmaceuticals” to define products that contain biological ingredients that may have a pharmaceutical effect on the skin. Often these can be natural based ingredients that can have anti-inflammatory or antibacterial properties.

However, there is no regulation of the category of Cosmeceuticals. This is purely a marketing buzzword to gain your trust of a brand and make you think their products are more safe and effective.

Dermatologist Tested/Approved

This term usually means that a Dermatologist has tested and approved the use of the product. Dermatologists are to be trusted right? I mean they deal with skin all day.

The problem with this term is that often Dermatologists are paid to make these claims for a product. Or even worse, they are given the products to hand out to their clients and to report back the findings. So if none of the clients had reactions, the dermatologist could say they support the product. This is just another marketing term that really has not weight behind hit.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils go hand and hand with the “natural” products. More and more companies that are making “natural” products are using essential oils in their products. This can be for certain healing benefits or just as a fragrance.

The problem with essential oils is that they can still cause severe reactions for certain individuals. Not all essential oils are great for the skin, especially a more sensitive skin. It is always best to use essential oils in some sort of carrier oil and to spot test them before using any products that contains essential oils.

Fragrance Free

Typically, fragrance free means that the product has no added fragrances. Again, this is one that is not regulated and companies can use the term “Fragrance Free” as long as they have not included an ingredient for the sole purpose of scenting the product.

However, they can use what is known as “masking fragrances” in order to hide the unpleasant odors from other ingredients. Make sure to read the label and see if “parfum” or “fragrance” are listed and how high up on the ingredient listing it is.

Hypoallergenic

Hypoallergenic is a broad statement which basically means that the product or ingredients used will not cause an allergic reaction.

However, there is no current legal standard or regulation to uphold these claims. Also, we all react to products differently so it is impossible to guarantee that a product will not cause an allergic reaction. What is fine for me to use, could cause a severe reaction for you. In fact, Hypoallergenic products could still contain fragrance which can be irritating for most.

Natural (All Natural)

Using more Natural products has become not only a beauty trend but something that more and more consumers are moving towards. Natural products typically mean that the products contain ingredients that are sourced from nature. These include plant extracts, essential oils and more.

The problem with a company using the term “Natural” is that there is no governing body over these product claims. In fact, in the US, products only need to have 5% of their ingredients be natural in order for cosmetic companies to use this claim on their products. A “natural” product can still include preservatives and artificial colors.

As I’ve mentioned in previous videos, natural doesn’t always mean better. Poison Ivy is natural but I’m not going to rub that all over my face. In fact, essential oils are considered “natural” but most people have severe reactions to certain essential oils and essential oils are something you want to avoid during pregnancy. Just because an ingredient comes from a plant, does not mean its safe.

Noncomedogenic

This term is often seen on products for oily and acne prone skin.  It simply means that the product will not clog the pores. While it may not clog pores, it could still cause sensitivity and breakouts.

Again, there is not regulation in the use of this term, so companies are free to use it on products without any proof or guarantee that it will actually hold up to the claims being made. In fact, even though it is stated “noncomedogenic” on the packaging, it still may cause some clogging in your pores.

Organic

Organic is a marketing buzz word that appears everywhere from food items to our beauty products. Organic means the product or ingredients sourced were not sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. It can also mean that there are no chemical ingredients in the product.

However, while there are governing bodies and ruling standards that help to define what Organic is, they often disagree and have varying standards. For instance, one certification states that only 70% of the product must be organic. A product can be labeled “Organic” if only a few of the ingredients used are organic, but there can later be more chemicals or non-organic ingredients added.

I always tell my clients that Organic doesn’t mean “healthy” or “better for you”. Cookies can be labeled organic but they are not the healthiest thing you would want to eat. This is true with your cosmetic products too. Read the labels and see what are the top ingredients listed and which ones are indeed organic.

Paraben Free

Parabens are a form of preservatives that have been in use for years. Recently, parabens have been linked to all kinds of reactions and more. In fact a study showed that the parabens in deodorants could be linked to breast cancer.

However, that study was actually discredited and there has been no further proof that the presence of parabens is linked to breast cancer. While there are now strict guidelines regulating the amount and type of parabens used, its best to use common sense. Products claiming to be “Paraben Free” are using fear based marketing to sell to thier products.

There is no proof that parabens are causing cancers, but in my opinion it is better to be safe than sorry. Read the labels.

Final Thoughts

Of course, we want to use what is best for our skin so we get the best results for clear and healthy skin. However, these marketing buzzwords don’t guarantee that the products with these claims will be the best thing for your skin.

Don’t buy into marketing hype and think a product is safe and effective just because it’s listed as “Organic” or “Natural”.  It’s important to know what ingredients work or don’t work for your skin, and read the labels.

If you have any questions on these terms or skincare in general, sound off in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.

Review of Drunk Elephant Skincare. Worth the Hype?

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If you have been browsing Instagram lately, especially any of the Beauty related hashtags, you have probably seen some of the Drunk Elephant products. Those white bottles of skincare with the highlighter colored tops?

I’m not usually one to buy in to “hype” but I had to check out these products for myself after being bombarded with them on social media. I found myself wondering if they would live up to the hype?

I took a look at my regular skincare routine and determined what was missing and looked at the Drunk Elephant products to see which products would fill those gaps. I needed a good Vitamin C serum, an exfoliating serum to replace my Lactic Acid one from The Ordinary and an amazing SPF to use for the day. So based on what I read online, I decided I wanted to try the C Firma Day Serum, the T.L.C. Framboos Night Serum and the Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30.

The full sized products from Drunk Elephant are pretty pricey, so I decided to try The Littles set which includes 8 deluxe sample sized products and retails for $99 at Sephora. The set has a great variety of the skincare to try and you can read more about them below as well as my thoughts on each one.

In order to be fair in trying these products and to be able to give my honest opionion, I used the products in The Littles set exclusively until I had used them up which took about 6-8 weeks depending on the products.

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Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

What is it? – This is a jelly cleanser that is supposed to be gentle enough for all skin types to remove dirt, makeup, excess oil and pollution.

My Review – While this did a great job at cleansing the skin, I actually found this to be really drying for my already dry skin so I stopped using it. I did find the jelly texture to be unique and kinda cool but in the end this just didn’t work out for me. I switched over to the Bliss Jelly Ball Glow Cleanser and I can not rave enough about that one.

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Shaba Complex Eye Serum

What Is It? – An eye serum with a whole complex of ingredients to give a more smoother and youthful look to the eye area.

My Review – I didn’t think this did a whole lot to brighten or even smooth around the the eye area. In fact, I eventually started putting my regular eye cream on top of this to get more hydration. In the end, I stopped using this because I wasn’t noticing any great effects and stuck with my more emollient eye cream from L’occitane that does everything for the eyes.

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C Firma Day Serum and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

What Is It? – I listed these together since Drunk Elephant recommends mixing them together for application. C Firma is a powerful Vitamin C serum to brighten and firm the appearance of skin. The Hydration Serum is supposed to add instant hydration to the skin to smooth it’s appearance.

My Review – I really wanted to love this Vitamin C serum and in fact it was what brought me to try Drunk Elephant in the first place. However, after using the whole bottle I just didn’t see the results I was expecting. Some discoloration and freckling that I was hoping to have diminished was still very much visible. I actually used this up and then switched over to a Vitamin C serum from Derma E, which instantly in one week gave me the results I had hoped for from the Drunk Elephant C Firma and at a fraction of the cost.

The Hydrating Serum was also a huge let down as I don’t feel it actually did much in the way of hydrating. I still think the best hydrating serum I’ve ever used is the one from Vichy, the Vichy Mineral 89. Sadly, Vichy tests on animals and as I’m trying to go more Cruelty Free, I gave up using the Vichy brand.

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Lala Retro Whipped Cream

What Is It? – This airy textured moisturizer is full of oils to add long lasting hydration to the skin.

My Review – While I really loved the whipped texture of this, it didn’t do much for hydrating my normal to dry skin. Eventually, I went back to my holy grail moisturizers, The Embroylisse Lait Cream Concentrate for day and the Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Cream from night. My skin works better with richer and more emollient creams and sadly the Lala was just not moisturizing enough.

Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

What Is It? – A physical sunscreen that delivers UVA/UVB protection and is loaded with tons of anti-oxidants.

My Review – Actually, of all of the 8 products in The Littles set, this was the one that I really fell in love with. It gives great protection, is lightweight enough to not interfere with other products and doesn’t feel too heavy during the day.

I had no irritation with this and loved that it wasn’t heavy or smelling of that normal sunscreen scent you get with other brands. This is one that I will be purchasing in the full sized soon.

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T. L. C. Framboos Night Serum

What Is It? – This is a cocktail of exfoliating ingredients including glycolic, lactic, citric and salicylic acids to improve the appearance of the skin’s tone and texture.

My Review – This was another Drunk Elephant product that I was super excited to try. The cocktail of chemical exfoliants sounds amazing and right up my alley. Sadly, this broke me out right away and I had to stop using it. I even backed off on how much I was using it during the week, but I still had very severe breakouts under my eyes and on my cheeks. The breakouts were large, red, dry and very painful.

I switched back to my Lactic Acid from The Ordinary and have had no issues since.

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

What Is It? – Rich in Omegas 6 and 9 this facial oil helps to nourish and restore skin’s youthful glow.

My Review – Honestly, I didn’t see much from this oil and have found that my pure Argan Oil from Acure does a much better job at hydrating and nourishing my skin.

___________________________________________________________________________________

I really wanted to fall in love with the Drunk Elephant skincare based on the reviews and recommendations I’ve seen in the Beauty Community, but sadly these just didn’t work out for me.

You can hear a little bit more about my thoughts on these products and why I don’t think they worked for me in the following video? I’d love to hear if you have tried the Drunk Elephant products and what your thoughts were, so sound off in the comments!

Five Things I’m Loving Right Now #1

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I wanted to start a new series where I share the things I’m loving right now! This series will be different than my regular “Favorites” videos and posts though. Favorites are things that I use on a regular basis and have incorporated into my normal daily life.

“Five Things I’m Loving Right Now” will include things that I’ve recently stumbled on and am currently obsessed with at this moment in time. Who knows, maybe one day they will become Favorites? These are just a few things that I’m loving and want to share with you.

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Me & My BIG Ideas The Happy Planner Scrapbook Stickers

I used to do “Plan With Me” videos and posts but they never seem to get much love. Although I love watching them myself, I decide to stop sharing my weekly spread in my Rose Gold Passion Planner. Every week, I take the time on Sunday to sit down and plot out my week in my Passion Planner. I love to add Washi Tape and brightly colored stickers to spruce up my week and add a little flavor.

I recently found these Me & My BIG Ideas Planner Stickers from Target. The first one is the Happy Planner Scrapbook stickers which contains 766 stickers over 20 pages. The second one is also a Happy Planner Scrapbook sticker set but contains 1349 stickers over 20 pages.

These both have fun stickers to jazz up my planner as well as ones that help with productivity such as color coding, appointment reminders and more. I found these in the back to school section and they were actually on sale. I love the fun bright colored stickers and I found these really fit into my lifestyle to help me set up a better week in my passion planner.

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Bliss Jelly Glow Ball Facial Cleanser

I talked about this in a recent blog post where I reviewed all of the Bliss products. While I’m not a fan of the packaging that the cleanser comes in, the cleanser itself is amazing. I love how the ball shape fits the contours of my face really well. I love that it is a very good cleanser and it cleanses without stripping away the natural oils from my face. My skin is not left dried out like other cleansers will sometime leave it. This has a very light and pleasing scent. I have definitely noticed my skin has been brighter, more radiant and more clear since using this cleanser. Huge huge huge fan!! If you are on the hunt for a new daily cleanser, I highly recommend the Bliss Jelly Glow Ball.

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Paris Bath and Beauty Book by Chrissy Callahan

I literally can not stop raving about The Paris Bath and Beauty Book. I’ve mentioned it on this blog and on my social media, as well as telling anyone who will listen about it. I think we all wonder at some point, how do the French always look so chic? Callahan does a great job of sharing some of the most common Beauty secrets from French women. Also included are several amazing DIY Beauty recipes for skin, makeup and hair. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.

Valspar’s Oh So Pink Paint Color

We recently purchased a new home and will be moving in shortly. So expect lot’s of house organizing and decor posts coming up. The first thing I did, of course, was to pick out paint colors. I am not the type of person who can live in a beige and white world.

My favorite color is pink, so I wanted to incorporate some Pink into our home decor. It’s not a color we have ever used in our homes, so I wanted to try it this time around. I decided to  paint our dining room (shown above on the left) and my in-home Pilates studio with Valspar’s Oh So Pink. Now, my husband almost vetoed any pink paint in the house, but I managed to win (eventually and with much persuading).

The previous owners had the walls white above the chair rail and a dark grey color on the walls under the chair rail. I found the room looked small, dingy and too dark. At first, I actually thought this color was going to be too light. However, when I started painting with it it looked like too much pink and I was a bit scared. But after it dried down it looks amazing.

The pink is not too in your face and really brightens up the room. Even my husband, Matt, has decided he really likes it. I just need to do one more coat of the white on the bottom and touch up some spots but I’ already loving it. And it looks great in the studio space too. I want to use it everywhere in the house now, but my husband is reigning that one in.

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Paris In Four Months

While spending some time looking for Paris blogs and Instagram accounts, I came across Carin Olsson of Paris in Four Months. I have been following her blog and Instagram account ever since. Carin is originally from Stockholm and decided to move to Paris for a bit. Her blog and Instagram account were going to be her outlet for chronicling her stay in France. She now lives there regularly and shares some of her amazing photography.

I just adore her accounts and her aesthetic. Definitely go check her out! I could spend forever just perusing her blog and photos, imagining I’ve been whisked off to Paris.

Now it is your turn! Tell me in the comments, what are you loving right now? Also, don’t forget to shop my favorites in the sidebar.

 

 

 

 

Bliss Skincare Product Review

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I’ve re-discovered Bliss products while shopping in Target recently and have fallen in love with a few of their newer products. I wanted to share my recent discoveries with y’all!

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Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds Body Wash

What They Say: 

  • This citrus-scented foamy body wash works into a silky lather, leaving skin smooth and clean.
  • Luxe lather cleans and conditions for exceptionally soft skin
  • Supremely scented with our iconic Lemon & Sage fragrance for an energizing pick-me-up

My Review: I really bought this for Matt who seems to really like it. I was a bit underwhelmed but it does in a pinch. I do really love the invigorating scent of this though. I just wished it suds up a bit more as I feel like I need to use a lot of it to get the amount of suds I’ve gotten from other shower gel brands.

I’m still on the hunt for some great cruelty free shower gels, with a range of scents/fragrances, that lather up well. I’ve used Bath & Body Work shower gels in the past, and just haven’t found anything that lives up to those. Especially, because Bath & Body Works always has amazing deals on the shower gels and accompanying lotions.

Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds

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Bliss Jelly Glow Ball – Jelly Ball Face Cleanser

What They Say: 

  • bouncy, fun cleansing ball with a one-of-a-kind soft jelly texture and refreshing geranium scent that leaves skin fresh, glowing and vibrant.
  • Concentrated formula with nutrient-rich lychee extract works into a lather to remove all traces of dirt, oil and makeup
  • Easily cleanse all the contours of your face
  • Massages skin to boost surface cell turnover
  • Travel-friendly: no-mess, no-leaking

My Review: I try to purchase solid products when and where I can in order to reduce my plastic consumption so I was really curious about this when I saw it. Plus, it’s a pink ball! How cute? But actually this comes with so much more packaging than I thought. I really hope they rethink how this is packaged and reduce some of the packaging because I really love this cleanser. The ball shape really follows the contour of your face, such as around the nose area. It does a great job at cleansing the skin without drying it out. In fact my skin feels smoother and softer after using this cleanser. It also has a very light and pleasing scent.

Bliss Jelly Glow Ball 

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Bliss Oh My Gommage! Gentle Polishing Face Cleanser

What They Say: 

  • This milky cleansing stick resurfaces and refines as soft plant-based fibers capture and roll away dead cells.
  • Non-abrasive, natural, gentle exfoliant leaves skin healthy, glowing and ultra-smooth
  • Gentle oil formula means you can’t over-scrub (no need to worry about redness or micro-scarring!)
  • Travel-friendly: no-mess, no-leaking

My Review: This exfoliator is amazing. I love how it does a great job of exfoliating the skin without the use of harsh scrubbing granules. If you have followed me for while you will know I’m not a fan of manual exfoliators. I much prefer to use chemical exfoliants on my skin personally.

Maybe it is the plant based fibers, but it really pills up the dead skin cells, leaving the skin super soft and glowing. This will definitely become a staple exfoliating product in my regimen.

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Bliss Eye Do All Things Hydrating & Brightening Eye Gel Cream

What They Say: 

  • A multi-action cooling eye gel – with a steel rollerball massaging applicator – hydrates and awakens, while depuffing, brightening and tightening.
  • Caffeine, peptides and plant stem cells help smooth and firm to reduce the look of puffy, tired eyes
  • Visibly diminishes dark circles as its light blue sheen minimizes shadows; massaging rollerball increases circulation
  • Safe for sensitive eyes, hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested

My Review: I have mentioned this eye cream in a previous Favorite video. If you have ever used a cold spoon on the eye area to help depuff then you will love this product. The easy to squeeze tube dispenses the product around a steel roller ball that you can apply to the eye area in gentle, rolling motions. It does a great job at brightening the eye area and really hydrating and reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

Bliss Eye Do All Things

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Bliss What a Melon – Reviving & Hydrating Overnight Face Mask

What They Say: 

  • This potent overnight mask creates a nutrient-rich veil to bring tired, stressed-out skin back to life.
  • Removes dead cells and toxins for a refreshed, dewy complexion; boosts skin’s defenses against stress and the environment
  • Balances to calm and de-stress; rehydrates as it tops off moisture levels and electrolytes to plump and soften
  • Wake up to vibrant, supple skin

My Review: Now in all fairness, it recommends that this mask be used 2-3 times a week. I used it once a week for about two weeks and didn’t really notice any difference in my skin the next morning. So the jury is still out on this one. Honestly, I was going to give up on it and just toss it. However, since I’ve loved all of the other products, I’m going to give this one a second chance and will report back. I do love the fresh watermelon smell though!

Bliss What A Melon 

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Bliss Mighty Marshmallow – Lightweight Face Mask

What They Say: 

  • This airy whipped mask – with a brightening boost of marshmallow root extract – delivers a surge of hydration to instantly reveal a new luminosity.
  • Revives dull, lackluster skin and delivers a fresh, “lit from within” glow
  • Visibly smooths uneven skin tone and discoloration
  • Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested

My Review: This is by far one of the best face masks I’ve used in a really long time. It has a very light, whipped texture that spreads easily on the face. I found this did a great job at really deep cleaning the skin without drying, as well as helped to minimize pores and even brightened my complexion. I love that this didn’t dry down like most clay based masks, as I found those are often too drying for my skin. This left skin feeling even smoother and softer than before I applied it. One of my new favorite masks!

Bliss Mighty Marshmallow

I can’t wait to try out a bit more of the Bliss products from Target. If you have tried any of their skincare, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Let me know what you liked or even disliked.

Check out my video below to hear more thoughts on these products.

French Find Friday – Feret Parfumeur

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I’ve recently joined Maggie from Fresh Visage on Instagram for French Find Fridays (#frenchfindfridays), where we share some of our recent finds in French Beauty Products. Due to some family issues this past week, I’m a little late on this post, but I did mange to put up my post up on Instagram (@christopher.cupcakes) so make sure to follow me there to see my post every Friday going forward.

I recently discovered Feret Parfumeur and just had to share the products I recently purchased from them.

Feret Perfumeur was founded in 1865 and is still a family run company to this day. The company makes classic French Beauty products using high quality botanical ingredients.

Hyalomiel Hand Jelly

What They Say: Despite the seasons, retain the freshness of your complexion, the delicate scent of rose for your hands, for your skin the gentleness of honey.
Nature has its own laws and day after day your hands face its challenges as time passes. It is easier to prevent ageing than to repair it. An effective daily treatment is essential. Using Hyalomiel generously throughout the year gives your hands the freshness and the elasticity of youth.

Hyalomiel beautifully moisturizes, soothes and refreshes. No synthetic process can replace the natural benefits of our organic honey that constitutes your Hyalomiel. For men and women. Hyalomiel is a gel, non greasy, that does not stain and without parabens. Recent dermatological tests clearly demonstrate its effectiveness. Tested under dermatological control.

My Review: At first, I was a little unsure of the idea of using a jelly like product on my hands, as I’m so used to using a heavy cream. However, I rather like this. It leaves the hands feeling soft, refreshed and protected. The scent is light and pleasant. I really love how the product absorbs quickly into the skin.

Le Baume

What They Say: 100% natural balm with organic honey and dandelion, rose powder 50ml. For men and women.
Use of this unique balm will prevent chapping, cracked and dry, tight skin.
At a time when we are looking for natural beauty solutions without artificial ingredients, its completely natural ingredients hydrate and calm damaged skin.

My Review: This little product has already become a holy grail for me. I’ve mostly been using it as a lip balm and it is pure heaven. A little bit goes along way and leaves skin super soft and hydrated. The mixture of shea butters, sunflower oil, honey and more is just so gorgeous on the skin. The scent of rose is light and very pleasing as well. I’ve also loved using this on the hands and cuticles.

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I’ve also recently finished The Paris Bath and Beauty Book by Chrissy Callahan and it is as if she wrote this book exclusively for me. It is full of secrets from French Woman on finding that “je ne sais quoi” that they seem to have when it comes to Beauty and Fashion. It is also chock full of amazing, naturally-based, DIY Beauty recipes which I can’t wait to try out.

Let me know in the comments what products you have discovered recently and fallen in love.

au revoir!

 

 

July 2018 Favorites – A Francophile’s Favorites – Part Deux

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Bonjour,

Seeing that Bastille Day, a French National Holiday, took place in July, I thought it only fitting to share more of my favorite French products for this month. These are the products from France that I have been loving for the month of July.

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Le Petite Marseillais Shower Creams/Body Washes

What They Say: Le Petit Marseillais™, the #1 body wash brand in France, is a beloved bath and body line born in the South of France. Our body wash, lotions and soap are all inspired by the scents and sun-kissed ingredients of Provence.

Le Petit Marseillais™ Lavender Honey Body Wash gently cleans your skin. It’s smooth and easy to rinse foam reveals a sweet and romantic fragrance. Leaves skin feeling moisturized and nourished.

The extra gentle pH neutral formula makes this body wash suitable for everyday use.

Paraben free. Phthalate free.

My Review: First off, I love the size of these shower gels, especially because they are only $4.50 a bottle. The scents are lovely but not overpowering. I have the Orange Blossom, Vanilla Milk and Lavender. The Lavender scent is by far my most favorite.

They leave the skin feeling soft and hydrated without stripping and drying skin like most soaps do. I can’t wait to try these as a bubble bath since they lather up nicely in the shower. I’m sure they will make a lovely bubbly bath.

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Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

What They Say: Mustela’s best selling daily-moisturizing Hydra Bébé Body Lotion provides immediate and long-lasting moisture for your baby’s skin.

Formulated with an elixir of plant-based ingredients including Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil, Vitamins E and F, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, and our signature Avocado Perseose, Hydra Bébé Body Lotion protects and strengthens the skin

My Review: I know, you’re probably thinking “A baby lotion?! Huh?” but hear me out. I used to work in a luxury beauty store where we stocked this French baby line. Many mothers would come in to stock up on this stuff and swore by this product for themselves as well. It’s 97% natural ingredients. If it is gentle enough for baby’s skin, why not ours?

This leaves the skin super hydrated, nourished and protected. It does have a slight baby powder smell but that dies away quickly as the product is absorbed and you are left with super soft skin.

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

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L’Occitane Hand Creams

What They Say: One of our best-selling Shea Butter Hand Creams is sold every three seconds around the world! Enriched with 20% organic Shea Butter, this super-creamy balm penetrates quickly to protect, nourish and moisturize hands. Honey, almond extracts and coconut oil are blended with Shea Butter to create this extremely effective formula. Considered a “beauty must-have” by many, this “life-changing” hand cream is essential for home, work and on-the-go.

My Review: The original L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is the number one selling hand cream in the world, so you know you can’t go wrong. I also really love the other scented ones. They are not as hydrating as the Original, but they still do an amazing job at leaving my hands super soft.  I love that the scents are very light and not overpowering at all, so they don’t fight with whatever fragrances I’m wearing.

I love these so much that I have multiples and keep them everywhere; my bag, my car, in the living room and in my nightstand.

L’Occitane Hand Creams

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Phyto Haircare Phytopaisant and Phytobaume

What They Say: Fascinated by nature, Patrick Ales decided to study the power of plants,
their history of use in traditional medicine, and the role they might play
to reveal hair’s natural beauty. It was finding ways to rescue his clients’ dry,
bleached-out locks in the sixties that inspired his first products. In 1967, he created PHYTOTHÉRATHRIE*, a ground-breaking concept of treating hair through plants,
and to this day inseparable to the brand identity.

My Review: Moving to Florida, my skin, hair and scalp freaked out and did a total 180 on how they reacted to the climate and products. I found my scalp had become very sensitive, irritated and dried out. I remembered that years ago, a salon I had worked at carried the Phyto Haircare products and I had loved them.

The shampoo, Phytopaisant, does a great job at cleansing my hair without drying out my scalp. In fact, my scalp has been less sensitive since switching over to this shampoo. The conditioner, Phytobaume, is very hydrating but light weight. It helps my hair to be soft and manageable without weighting it down. My hair has been shinier, smoother and my scalp less irritated since going back to using these. A true lifesaver.

Phyto Haircare

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Givenchy Dalia Divin Eau de Toilette

What They Say: Like a Haute Couture gown, this fragrance envelops you in freshness and sensual softness that reveals the divine within you. Like a custom-made Givenchy creation, Dahlia Divin Eau de Toilette is an exquisitely refined, multi-faceted fragrance. The scent envelopes the skin with a fresh and soft sensuality, and like a golden haute couture gown, leaves you feeling divine.

Top notes of blood orange and peach, the heart is composed of rose and jasmine and the base notes are sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

My Review: I went in to try some other Givenchy perfumes but kept being drawn back to this one. It has all of my favorite notes: rose, jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla and musk. I don’t get the crispness of the fruit with this one though.

I find this to be a very sensual scent that is perfect for date night or a special event, or really just any time you want. It is warm and comforting. My only complaint is the wearability, because I feel like after a few hours I can no longer smell it. I might try this in the Eau de Parfum to see if the stronger version will stay on the skin a bit longer.

Givenchy Dalia Divin

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Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick

What They Say: Enhance your lip look with Givenchy’s Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick. This unique formula is infused with black rose oil, a rare and precious active ingredient that delivers extreme moisture and comfort to the lips for hours. It is combined with a silicone resin that forms a shiny, thin, and supple film on the lips’ surface for a second-skin feel. Lips are left with a “vinyl” radiance and a filling effect: lips instantly appear fuller, smoother, and denser. Each high-shine color blurs away all the lips’ tiniest imperfections and reflects the light, and its slick case features a metallic, satin ribbon design that’s inspired by the House’s fashion designs.

My Review: I love using this just by itself, so I can’t speak to it’s color changing effects when applied over other lip products. I love how hydrating it is for the lips. It keeps my lips smooth and plumped for a long period of time. It is black but goes on more clear and I haven’t noticed any color change to my natural lip color. Plus the packaging is just so chic. I carry this everywhere now and it has become my favorite moisturizing lip product.

Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick

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The Little French Bistro by Nina George

What They Say: Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.”

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

My Review: It has been my dream for decades to just sell everything and run away to live a simple life in France. Maybe somewhere by the seaside working in a cafe or owning my  own business. Or maybe owning a vineyard, growing grapes to sell to the local wineries.

I would wake up and after having my coffee and croissant, travel through my small village where my neighbors are more than neighbors, they are family. A simple French life with good people, good food and good times.

This book is like someone took my dream and put it on paper. I read this book in one day because I was so in love with this wacky cast of characters. The way the book is written, it is like poetry, you can actually place yourself into each chapter and feel as if you are there. I love this one so much that I can’t wait to pick up more books by Nina George.

 

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Netflix’s Documentary – Chef’s Table: France

What They Say: Sample the bold new flavors of France with chefs who are pushing the boundaries of fine dining and reinventing a rich culinary tradition.

My Review: This series ties into the book I mentioned above actually. I love seeing how these French chefs are evolving food as we know it. They find new ways to use food to create masterpieces that are pure edible art.

My favorite episode was on Alexandre Coullion and his restaurant Le Marine in the small seaside village, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, France. The way he talked of food and used locally sourced vegetables and seafood was very reminiscent of the cafe in The Little French Bistro I mentioned above. I’m definitely adding a meal at Le Marine to my bucket list.

 

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Suzy Salidor

Suzy Salidor was someone I discovered while looking for some French music on iTunes. But her rich history drew me in even more than her voice. Early in 1930, she became a popular singer and opened a chic nightclub, in Paris, called La Vie Parisienne. It was unheard of for a woman to own a nightclub but La Vie Parisienne was the most popular during the time.

She also lived a very daring life because she was openly lesbian. Salidor is also known as the most painted woman in history. During her life she was painted and collected portraits of herself by some of the world’s most famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Tamara de Lempicka, Marie Laurencin, Francis Picabia and Kees van Dongen.

Her voice is beautiful and I really love listening to her sing some of France’s most popular jazz songs.

Let me know what you fell in love with for the month of July in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the video below to learn more about my thoughts on these items.

Au revoir,