Men take note: rising temperatures and more humidity in summer can make your deep, rich, or bold winter fragrance smell more intense. If you love your current fragrance too much to change, consider skipping your regular eau de toilette or cologne for an aftershave, deoderant, shower gel, or body lotion in the same scent. Most brands produce these ancillary items to match their fragrances. Another option is to dillute your fragrance by spraying a bit into an unscented body lotion and applying to your body. You can also spray your fragrance into the air and step through the mist. If you do the latter, please take heed to spray only a little.

If you’re open to something  new, try switching to a cool, crisp fragrance during warmer months. You can often find similar versions of your winter fragrance that wear better when the murcury rises. Not sure where to start? Check out my suggestions below or hit up your local Nordstrom (I find their fragrance sales associates to be wonderful) or Sephora (look for or ask for a certified fragrance expert or peruse their Scentsa computer on your own).

Some of my faves for summer (or any time of the year because they are light) include:

1. Fresh Citron de Vigne, $18.50-$75; fresh.com and sephora.com: Founder Lev Glazman created this new and exciting fragrance inspired by sparkling notes of pinot noir. Its fresh and sensual notes of neroli, bitter orange, pinot noir accord, lemongrass, sandalwood, and amber make it optimal for everyday wear. I’m a huge fan of Fresh fragrances overall, and think that Lev, who is also a certified nose, has a very unique, fun, and sophisticated point of view in all of his creations.

2. Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme, $55-$75; bergdorfgoodman.com, sephora.com: Inspired by the sea and mediterranean, this summer-esque fragrance is both fresh and soft while still masculine. It features only five notes, four of which are unique (mandarin, petit grain, santolina, posidonia, mineral amber).

3. Kenzo L’eauParKenzo Pour Homme, $54-$72; sephora.com: Subtle, fresh, and light, this remarkable fragrance from Kenzo embodies leisurely summer days. Notes include yuzu (one of my favorite notes), lotus leaf, aquatic mint, mandarin, and waterlily.

4. Burberry Touch for Men, $57 for 1 oz, burberry.com; While this fragrance has some spicy notes of white pepper and nutmeg, it’s rounded out by cooler notes of violet leaves, and mandarin tree leaves. This is a great option for guys who like a heavier fragrance during the winter months.

5. Burberry Classic for Men Summer Edition, $60 for 3.3 fl oz, sephora.com; One of my favorites for men, this fragrance is pleasantly surprising. The top notes of pineapple, citrus, and frozen mint are a fresh and unique blend. I love that this fragrance is rounded out by woody notes and tonka bean.

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 When I’m laying at home sick in bed the last thing that crosses my mind is keeping up with my beauty routine. As of late, I’ve been feeling quite under the weather. The only thing I want to do is sleep, drink juice, sleep some more, and watch old movies. There are certain beauty items, however, that will sometimes sneak their day into my sick days and make me feel a little better or occupy my time, if only temporarily.

1. Sephora Collection Colorful Mini Nail buffers, $8 for pack of 3; Sephora.com: I am really bad at keeping my nails up. They get filed and trimmed a few times per month and maybe even a coat of clear polish or the occasional swipe of colored polish. Other than that, I keep my nails fairly low maintenance. I like to keep these mini buffers on hand for quick fixes (snagged nails, uneven nail bed). I also love whipping one out when I’m sick in bed and watching TV to pass the time.

2. Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm, $6.95; lush.com: I love this moisturizing balm for sick days because it’s not sticky, greasy,  absorbs quickly, and won’t end up on my pillow when I’m napping. Thanks to a blend of shea butter and oilve oil, the hydrating formula feels great on the lips without leaving residue. It also features honey, a natural humectant, to hold moisture in.

3. Caudalie Grape Water Mini, $8 for 1.6 oz; Sephora.com: If you follow this blog, you’ll know that one of my go-to “It” brands is Caudalie. I use and adore a lot of their products. I always have a mini Grape Water on hand for spritzing anytime I feel dry or need an instant boost. I love chilling one in the fridge to mist myself with when I’m running a fever. It feels lovely, cool, and I love that I’m giving my skin an antioxidant boost at the same time. *Also great for hot summer days.* 

4. Carol’s Daughter Body Aches Bath Salts, $18 for 16 oz; sephora.com: I love these bath salts for when I’m sick or after an intense workout (especially Jackie Warner’s workout DVD’s). Peppermint, sea salt, and epsom salt help to ease muscle aches, while lavender calms the senses. I’m not a fan of the little floating lavender bits in my tub so I used an old nylon or cheesecloth to filter the salts under running water. 

5. Fresh Rose Face Mask, $55; fresh.com: Another of my go-to brands is Fresh. I love the luxe formula’s and simple yet elegant packaging. I love the decadent rose mask because it helps to hydrate and sooth the delicate skin around my nose when I’m sick. Sometimes I will even leave a little on when I’m napping to protect the area. It’s calming effect is thanks to rose, cucumber, and aloe. If I need to make a brief appearance anywhere, say a visit to the doc or pharmacy, it’s a great quick fix for the mild facial puffiness I get when I’ve been laying down for a while. 

6. Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick, $22; sephora.com: Argan oil and vitamin E hydrate and nourish the skin in a quick and easy to apply stick formula. I love this handy tool for it’s multi-tasking abilities: as a quick body hydrator (elbows, cuticles, hands, feet, knees), a quick lip “balm,” around the nose,  to slick back any stray or flyaway hair and to hydrate the ends of my hair. It’s a great on the go beauty item and also fab for sick days when you don’t want to put in much effort. 

Some favorite movies to watch when I’m sick include: The Thin Man (any in the series, especially the orginal), North by Northwest, any Doris Day & Rock Hudson movies, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 I keep a small basket of items I use regularly in my nightstand. I also sometimes stash things in my basket that I know I should totally use but don’t as a reminder to actually use them.

1. The neighbor that lives behind me is notorious for having parties that last into the wee A.M. hours. And they don’t invite me! To be fair, we aren’t acquainted. Since I’m not in attendance at these parties and I need my beauty sleep, I always stock plenty of ear plugs in my nightstand. I also always travel with ear plugs. I usually get mine from Target and buy whatever’s the cheapest. You can even find them in fun colors. My current selection is a bag of grey ones that were around $5 for 20.

2. I love girly, fruity fragrances. When it comes to home scents, I prefer more masculine scents. My three favorite notes are amber, sandalwood, and vanilla. I’m currently down to my last few sprays of Diptyque John Galliano room spray. It’s described as having a burning wood note but smells more cuddly than like camping. $60 for 150ml at beautyhabit.com. My next spray is a generic spritzer from Target simply called Amber Vanilla.

3. I love lip balm! My daytime favorite is Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 15 in natural mint. My bedtime fave is Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. It has a calming, subtle lemon scent and smooth texture that sinks into my lips and doesn’t settle into my pillow slip. $22.50 at fresh.com.

4. I love the light fragrance that candles give off while unlit. Among my favorite scents (yet again) are sandalwood, vanilla, amber, and other woody fragrances. My selection du jour includes K. Hall Designs Sandalwood vegetable wax candle. I’ve also used their driftwood candle and it was just as fab. $25 at khalldesigns.com.

5. & 6. I constantly moisturize my hands. The only hand lotion I will use (unless I’m really desperate) is Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream. The ultra nourishing formula has a suble, uplifting scent and doesn’t leave your hands feeling greasy. $19 at Sephora or Caudalie.com. I spend so much time hydrating my hands that I often forget about my feet, so I keep Bliss Foot Patrol cream in my nightstand. It’s loaded with exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids that help slough off dead skin while I sleep. $18 at Blissworld.com.

7. If I can swing it, I will sleep as late as I possibly can. On days where I can sleep in until the sun has risen, I need a sleep mask to block the flood of sunlight my bedroom gets in the morning. I prefer satin versions because they are soft and don’t leave creases on my face in the morning. This version is $8 at nicolejane.com. 

8. I sleep with my hair up because it drives me insane having my long hair down. I sleep kind of crazy and waking up because my hair is in my face is annoying. I always keep a stash of Goody elastics close at hand. I prefer the ouchless version because they are gentle on my hair.

Skin Care Expiration

August 31, 2009

suggestion

 

Have you ever been using your favorite skin care or body product and think, “So when does this expire, anyway?”

Some products do have expiration dates, though those are few and far between. Many brands have an expiration suggestion printed on the back of the bottle, jar, ot tube. It looks like a jar with the lid open and has a number printed inside. This number indicates the number of months after opening the product that it should be good for. Conditions such as contamination (IE dipping unwashed hands into a jar) or forgetting to put the lid back on the product can shorten that amount of time.

In the above photo, one of my products is optimal to use until six months of opening, while another is good for 24 months. The amount of time will vary from product to product depending on factors such as ingredients (essential oils, plant or fruit extracts, parabins aka preservatives, and etc.).

if you are using a skin care product as directed, it should not last longer then the expiration suggestion. Some products (body items, for example) may last longer then the suggested amount of time. In these cases, it’s best to monitor the texture, color, and scent for any changes which can indicate it has spoiled.

Don’t remember when you first opened a product? I always try to mark the bottom or somewhere inconspicuous with the month and year, just so I don’t forget. This is also a good idea if your product doesn’t suggest any time frame of expiration so you will know how long it’s been around.

7sea

Even though I rarely purchase Crabtree & Evelyn products, I do have a soft spot for everything C & E. My very first job when I was 18 was at the tiniest Crabtree store in the middle of a busy mall. It was holiday and the scent of their seasonal Noel potpourri and candles flooded the store. I still adore the gardener’s and la source lines and will buy my faves when they are on sale (rarely).

This huge jar (32 oz!) is filled with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Aromatherapy Purifying Seven Seas bath salts, $35. Designed to cleanse the skin of impurities, it is also conditioning thanks to hydrating essential oils. The scent is fresh and citrus with a bit of mint.

I feel like this salt might be doing something but I’m a skeptic when it comes to things that promise to “detoxify.” It is relaxing and I like that the salt actually dissolves completely, unlike other bath salts I’ve tried that just end up at the bottom of the tub. The directions for use include soaking for 20 minutes, which I just can’t do. I don’t have the patience to lay in the tub for that long and my water usually turns cool. This was a decent bath product but I probably wouldn’t purchase this again because there are better out there.

tbscranberryhugs

I love The Body Shop, especially the seasonal cranberry items. The cranberry scent is calming, light and not too sweet or tart. Yum! Last year they had cranberry heatable feet hugs and cranberry heatable body hugs, both are cozy, soft material that contain little pouches you heat in the microwave. They retain heat and you can bask in the warmth they give off. I wanted both of the hugs over the holidays but was too lazy to order them. Well, laziness pays off because I was randomly browsing TBS site and found them on sale for $13 each! They were previously $26 each.

My favorite of the two is the feet hugs. They feel divine after a long day of standing and walking. I also have feet that turn cold easily so I foresee these being my favorite thing next winter. I like the body hug and I wish it was a bit longer. I’ve only used it once and it didn’t seem to retain heat very long, although I know with such products it takes a few uses for them to hold heat longer. It will probably be my BFF when I’m crampy or sore.

All in all, at the sale price, I’d say these are both worth it. They are still available on TBS website, and are currently listed under the “specials” tab in “last chance” so they may be gone soon.

I also got a free coconut shower cream. I chose coconut because I adore their coconut body butter (my fave scent, next to mango). When you spend $25 or more (before tax and shipping) you can choose a free shower gel online or at participating stores. This offer is valid until April 19th.

lvanillavanillavender

 

When the LAVANILLA brand debuted about two years ago with three fragrances, I was instantly in love with the vanilla grapefruit scent. It was soft and the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I was also excited about the brand because the fragrances were sans alcohol, which can be drying to skin. Other items in the brand are formulated with natural ingredients and boast being free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes, petro-chemicals, phthalates, GMO, and triclosan.

I’m currently burning their new lavender vanilla candle and I’m totally loving it. The scent is perfect in this form, not too heavy, not to soft. The “throw” is fairly decent (the distance you can smell the candle from). I also love that it burns clean without emitting any soot or toxins into the air. If you need a simple, relaxing indulgence, this candle might be for you. It burns for up to 60 hours, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the relaxing scent.

Love candles but want another way to enjoy the fragrance? Try their fragrances, body butters, shower gels, and lip products. LAVANILLA is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, Bliss, Fred Segal, and at the Home Shopping Network.

Pre-Spring Beauty

February 12, 2009

springbelle

As all of the major cosmetics lines debut the new trends for Spring 2009, I won’t forget about my old tried and true standbys. They are things that I simply could not live without and work for most everyone.

1. Opi’s Strawberry Margarita nail polish is my perfect pink. I usually sport clear polish and this is my go to when I need a little color. It’s also a great pedicure shade year round.

2. Korres lip butter in Pomegranate gives a lovely hint of coral to the lips while hydrating. I’ve tried it on several skin tones and it looks fab on just about everyone. I also love it under a sheer peach lip gloss.

3. In the mood for a sweet, fresh, soft candle? Look no further then Fresh’s Sugar Lychee scented candle. This scent also features the fragrance of lotus and grapefruit. Yum!

4. Nars Multiple in Orgasm gives you a fresh peachy-pink glow in one swipe. You can use it on your cheeks, eyes, and lips for a quick monochromatic look in seconds. It has just enough shimmer to make you look dewy, not glittery. Take caution: a little goes a long way and don’t forget to blend.

5. Stila’s eyeshadow duo in Lilly is a great way to transition your fall/winter shadows into spring. Both shadows are sheer and look great mixed with browns. I especially love the peach color paired with simple black liner and a lightly defined crease.

6. One of my favorite blushes to brighten dull winter complexions is LORAC’s Cheek Stamp in Hibiscus. The innovative packaging features a pan of the sheer pink blush on one end and a “stamp” sponge on the other end. It’s designed to press the stamp directly on the cheek and blend with a brush or fingers. My favorite application trick is to take a fan brush and lightly dust over the apples of your cheeks. The product lasts a long time, too. I’ve had mine for nearly two years and with almost daily use am just hitting the bottom of the pan.

I <3 baths

January 13, 2009

spaspaspa

I love taking a nice, long, hot bath. Right now, Bath and Body works is having their sale and I had a gift card to use. I got sooooo much stuff for under $30! I love a good sale even more then a hot bath. I purchased tons of sleep-inducing aromatherapy items and have been slowly trying them out, one by one.

bbwsale

My purchase included a Black Chamomile set (above) that is just fabulous. It’s a bit heavier then other chamomile scents I’ve tried in the past and it’s quite nice. The set includes a body lotion, bath and shower gel, pillow mist, and aromatherapy roll-on that’s designed to lull you into dream land. I’m not super enthused with the roll on. Either mine is “off” (it smells weird) or the scent doesn’t agree with me. I also dislike the little cutesy things BBW adds to its gift packs (in this set, it was a little lamb). Over all, at $10, this set was a huge steal and I totally recommend it. I pretty much slept like a baby the first night I used it.

I also indulged in the Warm Milk and Honey Luxe Bath. AMAZING! The scent is light and calming and my skin felt super soft afterwards. If I had known this would be my new favorite thing, I would have gotten more Milk and Honey items instead of the others.

Since one of my favorite bath and shower gels happened to be on sale for $5, I bought a bottle and the matching body lotion. I received the coordinating pillow mist as a holiday gift since I ran out just before Christmas (I previously had the old packing that was long and featured faux botanicals inside). They are best when used together, although you can absolutely use them separately.

All of that said, I generally am NOT a Bath and Body Works fan, save for the Warm Vanilla Sugar and Sensual Amber scents. The sleep line of aromatherapy stuff IS indeed something to check out if you happen to be near a store.

Sniffles and sneezes

December 3, 2008

 salt

Oh colds, why must you come on right when life gets too busy to rest? I have been sick for the past week, luckily with only a mild cold and nothing more serious. I haven’t had any down time until today to relax. The very first thing I did upon waking up was take a nice, long, hot bath with my dear Carol’s Daughter Body Aches Bath Salts. It’s a fantastic treatment for achy muscles, stuffy noses, and frazzled nerves. It features soothing lavender, peppermint and tea tree oils. The tub is a huge 16 oz for only $18.

Some of my other favorite uses for this product is sprinkling some in the shower if I don’t feel like taking a bath. The effects are similar to Lush’s Up a Wooden Hill Emotibomb, which I tested out a few weeks ago. I also like to keep a small amount in a little jar for smelling throughout the day if I have a stuffy nose.

Just a little note for those who use them in the tub: there are little bits of lavender in the salts. If you don’t want them floating in the tub simply grab hosiery from your lingerie drawer, cut them off above the foot, sprinkle salts inside, twist close and hold under running water. Voila! DIY strainer and no floating lavender pieces in your tub. Cheesecloth works well if you have it handy.