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Wednesday
Jan102018

Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

Need more vitamin C in your face serum? Kiehl's just updated their wildly popular Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. Fans and newbies alike will really like the new formula. The beauty brand increased the amount of vitamin C to 12.5% (10% L-ascorbic acid and 2.5% ascorbyl glucoside) as well as adding fragmented hyaluronic acid to make it more effective.

It absorbs beautifully into the skin, making it easy to layer under moisturizer. It does have a bit of warming sensation upon initial application but I soon got used to it. With daily use, you can expect to see more dramatic results (reduced lines) in 2-4 weeks. My face looked so radiant after the first week and I can already see fine lines gradually smoothing out after two weeks. 

Available in 50ml, 75ml, and 100ml bottles ($62-$104) at www.kiehls.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Jan042018

Hiram Green Slowdive

Natural perfumer Hiram Green knows how to make us happy during the bleakest days of winter. His latest fragrance, Slowdive, is filled with a beautiful, languorous warmth. It reminds us that the brighter days of spring really aren't that far away. 

Velvety and lush, it opens with orange flower and neroli. Tobacco blossom and beeswax soon follow, with hints of tuberose and dried fruit. This gently seductive perfume features a honeyed resin base, making it extra delicious. For several minutes I felt like I was transported to a field of wildflowers. 

Available in a 1ml sample, 10ml, and 50ml (€5-144) at hiramgreen.com.

 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Dec212017

Esqido Mink Lashes

It's been a long time since I played with false eyelashes, but I got a chance to try some from Esqido, a luxury mink eyelash company. From the plush cushion box to the actual lashes, the company does a great job at creating a premium handmade product.  

I tried the Little Black Lash ($28), one of their best-selling styles. It adds a lot of glamour without going over the top. This style has the least amount of volume so it's suitable for daytime looks and for false lash beginners. The lash band itself is flexible and thin, which makes it comfortable to wear throughout the day (no chafing). The lashes are also very lightweight so your lash line isn't weighed down. 

I also tried the latex-free Companion Eyelash Glue ($10), which is better than the average lash glue on the market. The thin applicator brush makes it easy to apply product on the lash band, delivering a perfect amount without making it thick and goopy. The glue also has the perfect tackiness so you don't have to worry about it drying too quickly—you have a bit of time to correct any mistake. And, for those concerned with formaldehyde, it is also formaldehyde-free. 

Available at esqido.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Dec202017

Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies

While in London I stumbled upon the delicious Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies. Made with organic ingredients, these lovely treats are also free of gluten, wheat and dairy. 

I was sorta doubtful it could be that good but I was pleasantly surprised. The chocolate chips weren't too sweet and it has a superb crunch to it, making it a satisfying biscuit. You can tell all the ingredients were of of high quality.

In case you're trying to avoid corn, this recipe does contain corn flour. Otherwise, this is a fantastic alternative to regular cookies, especially for the holiday season. The packaging is also quite elegant so they make great stocking stuffers. 

Against the Grain is only available in the UK so I'm going to stock up on these the next time I'm there. I'm also curious about their other flavors. Otherwise I'm really hoping they'll export them to the U.S. sometime in the near future!

For retail and product info: www.againstthegrainfoods.com 

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Wednesday
Dec132017

In Fiore Nourrit Complexe & Fleur Vibrante 

I've recently stocked up on two of my favorite In Fiore products to protect my skin from the cold weather. The Nourrit Complexe Face Oil Concentre ($85) and the Fleur Vibrante Face Balm Concentre ($95) are two of my winter skincare weapons to keep dry skin at bay.

Nourrit Complexe is great as a first moisturizing layer after cleansing. It features jasmine, myrrh, frankincense, rosemary leaf, and rose oil to replenish and strengthen the skin. I use 3-5 drops and my skin just drinks it up during this time of the year. 

Whenever I use the gorgeously aromatic Fleur Vibrante my friends ask me what I'm using—it smells that good. After adding my serum I layer the Fleur Vibrante face balm for extra protection from the elements. I use it all over my face, even on my lips. This balm is one of my go-to skin savers and has accelerated healing from various irritations and rashes. 

Available at www.infiore.net

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Eminence Marine Flower Peptide Collection

Perfect for autumn, Eminence just launched their Marine Flower Peptide skincare collection. I have to say this launch is one of the best I've seen from the brand, and they already have so many great products. Both items feature several kinds of algae extracts, botanical peptides (from rice protein), and their proprietary Smart Collagen+ Complex.

The lightweight Marine Flower Peptide Serum ($110; 1oz ) is ideal for sensitive skin. I didn't get any adverse reaction and the soothing gel formula is refreshing as a skin reviver during the afternoon, especially if you're constantly sitting near a heater. It soaks into the skin immediately so you can layer other skincare products without waiting. I've been using this for a few weeks and my forehead lines seem to have faded a bit. You can use this serum 1-3 times per day.

The Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream ($96; 1 oz) gives a rich layer of moisture without being heavy. It also contains botanical hyaluronic acid (from beetroot) to boost up the moisture factor. Like the serum, it soaks right in but you might want to wait a minute before applying makeup. I would totally use this as a year-round eye cream.

For spa and retail info: eminenceorganics.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Nov162017

Fueguia 1833 Muskara Holiday Collection

Fueguia 1833 has a sumptuous Muskara holiday collection for those seeking luxury gift ideas. 14 special Muskara fragrances were created to celebrate the festive season and each is based on the brand's signature Muskara Phero J perfume. Each composition features only one botanical note, keeping things pure and elegantly simple.

I got to try three fragrances. Muskara Polianthes (tuberose) is sexy, very woody and a bit spicy—basically nothing like an ordinary tuberose. I would even label this as a unisex scent.

Muskara Pelargonium (rose geranium) is true to its botanical profile. It's definitely a floral but it's not overly sweet. In fact, the plant-derived musk helps balance it out. I almost detect a lemongrass note at the dry down. Out of the three, Muskara Apis (honey bee) is my absolute favorite. Its honeyed earthiness makes me want to lick my wrist.

Each exquisite perfume is made with biodegradable plant ingredients and are free of synthetic dyes and preservatives. They're also packaged in a gorgeous wooden gift box that's hand made from fallen tree trunks.

The 2017 Muskara holiday collection ranges from $377 to $922 for 100ml bottles. Available at the Fueguia 1833 NYC boutique (21 Crosby Street) and fueguia.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Nov082017

Clarins Everlasting Cushion & Everlasting Compact Foundation

Clarins recently launched their new Everlasting Cushion Foundation SPF 50 ($44, refill $31), which is exciting for us Clarins makeup fans. I absolutely love how this formula makes your skin look so hydrated. It's easy to build coverage and the result is a glowing, satiny finish. It's definitely a reliable option for winter as we constantly battle dry indoor heating. It contains organic quinoa, white tea and lampsana extracts to combat pollution and maintain hydration. Shade 107 Beige worked perfectly on my light-medium skin tone. 

Everlasting Cushion Foundation in 107 BeigeThe revamped Everlasting Compact Foundation SPF 9 ($44) now has 17% less packaging, giving you a tiny bit more room in your makeup bag. For those who seek a matte finish, this one is supposed to have up to 15 hours of wear time. The light-medium coverage results in a very natural, ultra-lightweight finish that feels comfortable on the skin. Available in 13 shades, it's easy to find the right match. I find that 103 Ivory and 105 Nude worked well for me. 

Available at all Clarins counters and www.clarinsusa.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Oct262017

Worker B Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Raw Honey Scrub

I've been traveling a lot lately so I haven't had time to decompress and give myself some TLC. Now that I'm back home, I took the opportunity to try the Worker B Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Raw Honey Scrub.

Made with three kinds of sugar and two kinds of oats, it smelled faintly of oatmeal cookies. Organic grapeseed and almond oils add a healthy dose of moisture while propolis, beeswax, and raw honey add an extra layer of nourishment to the skin.

A small handfull is plenty so the 9 oz jar will last a while. Although it says you can use it on the face, it would be too rough for my sensitive skin. I'd stick to body use for now. Don't like oatmeal? There are four other options to choose from on their website. 

Available for $29 at www.worker-b.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Friday
Oct202017

Chocolataria Equador 

Last fall I ran across Chocolataria Equador during a visit to Portugal. The gorgeously packaged chocolate bars caught my eye as I was rushing towards the Porto train station. Even though I was on a tight schedule I stopped and dashed inside. Any excuse to get souvenirs, right? 

The kind salesperson briefly delayed his lunch break for me, so this was clearly meant to happen. I snapped up several oversized bars without tasting anything, so imagine my surprise when I came home. Each handmade bar contains an exquisite truffle ganache filling. They also weren't nearly as sweet as other gourmet brands.

My favorites were the Milk Chocolate with Lemon and the Dark Chocolate with Port Wine. The Port, one of their bestsellers, will blow your mind. My biggest regret is that I didn't buy more flavors. I hope they will sell online soon for international customers. When I was in Tokyo earlier this year, I spied a few flavors at the depachika inside Mitsukoshi Ginza. 

Credit: LocalPorto.com

There are three retail locations in Porto and Lisbon. For more info: www.chocolatariaequador.com

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