Archive | skincare RSS feed for this section

“Four Truths and a Dare” at SEPHORA! Plus, a special treat with purchase for 10 people

14 Jan

Forget about Truth OR Dare.

In this case it’s Four Truths AND a Dare and refers to a collection of oils for your skin at Sephora.

Let’s start with the Dare — “Dare to Oil.” If you have oily skin, you may assume that you could never use oil on your skin. That’s one of many misnomers about oil, reports manager, Amber Wilhelm.



A number of cultures around the world have used oil for centuries, shares Amber. When you walk into Sephora, you’ll find a display touting four truths about oils.

Truth #1  — you can cleanse with oil.

Truth #1

Truth #1

It never would have occurred to me that you can wash your face with oil. I had only heard about its moisturizing properties (we’ll get to that later). I took home a sample of the Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel and am hooked. It’s gentle and has a subtle refreshing scent. A tiny bit goes a long way.


Oil Cleanser

“It isn’t going to strip the skin of the natural oils. It’s especially great for someone on an acne medication, someone who has really sensitive skin, or someone battling winter dryness,” describes Amber.  This oil not only cleanses but also serves as a makeup remover and is hydrating.

Truth #2 – “You can fight oil with oil.” Amber admits that because she has oily skin, she was afraid to try oils at first. She explains that our skin recognizes the oil products as being its own oils. If you have oily skin, she says the oils can help make your skin less oily and can help fight clogged pores. If you have dry skin, it can help hydrate. The oils serve as a balancing tool, depending on your needs.

Truth #2

Truth #2

When I mentioned to a few people that I was trying out oil products, the first reaction tended to be “Will it make your skin greasy?” That’s the subject of Truth #3. I confess I had the same concern. Sure enough, my skin seemed to inhale each of the oil products I tried without any greasy shine.

Truth #3

Truth #3

One friend even asked if I started doing something different with my makeup. The only shift I made was adding in oils to my routine.  I think it’s the glow I received from trying out the fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, which contains a number of oils including Seaberry, cranberry seed, camilla seed, grape seed and sweet almond. Seaberry oil, which is from Siberia, has long been used as a natural cure. In fact, the co-founder was treated as a young child with Seaberry oil to help heal a burn.  

Boosts Radiance

Boosts Radiance

Oils also have anti-aging properties. Some products are more geared in this direction and are packed with anti-oxidants to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are looking for an anti-aging oil, be sure to specifically mention that to a Sephora skincare consultant. That’s Truth #4.


Truth #4

Amber reports that she noticed that the oils have helped to soften the appearance of fine lines. She also shares that the Josie Maran line of oil products was inspired after the model met a woman in Morocco who was in her 70s but looked three decades younger. It turns out she was using oil based products.

Josie Maran’s Argan Oil can be used on the face, hands, body (try adding a few drops to your bath) and even scalp. It comes in a light and regular formula.

Available in regular and lighter formulations

Available in regular and lighter formulations

GURU TIP: You can use the oils on their own or you can add a few drops to your current moisturizer or face wash. It’s all about experimenting to see what works best for you.

If you take up Sephora on the Dare to Oil challenge, a skincare consultant will help you figure out which ones will be best for you. You can pop in and experience a Skincare Consultation Service with oils and other skincare products and take home a sample.

Plus, the first 10 people to mention the GURU when making ANY purchase at Sephora will receive a deluxe sample bag of oil products. Must be 18 or older. Good while supplies last.


Pamper HIM or HER at L’Occitane

18 Dec

This is THE time of year to score gift sets at L’Occitane. 

Whether you’re looking for a gift for him, her or to treat yourself, you’ll find special savings at L’Occitane right now. The savings add up fast when you buy a gift set instead of individual products.

Take the popular Ultimate Gift of Youth, starring the immortelle flower ($182 with a $209 value). The set features Divine Cream for your face, Divine Eyes and the Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam. It’s all part of L’Occitane’s anti-aging skin care regimen. The products are designed with your skin’s radiance and rejuvenation in mind.


The Ultimate Git of Youth

The Sparkling Verbena gift set ($68 with a $100 value) includes products with the citrus infused Verbena scent. The set comes with shower gel, hand wash, body lotion, hand cream, soap and a Verbena sachet for your drawer.

Sparkling Verbena

Sparkling Verbena

L’Occitane is famous for its Shea Butter Hand Cream with triple powers to protect, nourish and moisturize the skin.

Shea Butter Hand Cream

Shea Butter Hand Cream

Here’s a great way to sample various scented hand creams. Or, divide up the package and use for stocking stuffers or add on gifts.

Sampler Set

Sampler Set

Plus, you’ll find many more hand cream options in store.

L’Occitane also features gifts just for him.

Gifts for him

Gifts for him

This is the Men’s Luxury Shave Set ($155 with a $189 value). Treat him to a razor and shave brush by a French company that has created shaving products for men since 1808. He’ll also receive shaving cream and after shave balm.

Luxury Shaving Set

Men’s Luxury Shave Set

Or, how about the L’Occitan Collection? Yes, in French fashion the “e” at the end gets dropped for the guys. He’ll enjoy a new fragrance, after shave balm, shaving gel, shower gel and soap ($78 with a $114 value).

Love Lavendar?

L’Occitane Collection

Plus, when you visit the store, you can always take a moment for some pampering. Enjoy a complimentary skin-care consultation and try out any of the product lines. I will admit that my bottle of toner sat rarely used until the manager showed me the difference it can make by applying toner before moisturizer on one hand and just moisturizer on the other. You can also have a complimentary skin hydration test.

Pamper Yourself

Pamper Yourself

If you could take home any gift from L’Occitane, what would you choose?

Here are links to more gift ideas:  gift suggestions from Johnston & MurphyTiffany & Co.teacher giftsoffice giftsgifts for your girlfriends from Vera Bradley, and presents for the kids from Marbles: The Brain Store.

Hand Relief to the Rescue! Plus, a GIVEAWAY!

8 Nov

Every year, sometime before fall is over and winter starts, I look down and am horrified by my cracked, chafed hands. My attack plan for this year is to keep hand cream in reach — everywhere! I’m hoping that an arsenal of creams in my coat pocket, purse, car and house will help ward off dry hands.

I stopped in Aveda (Level 4) to check out the newest moisturizers. It was perfect timing. Aveda just debuted its Give Soft Hands Gift Set. This trio is right in line with my defense strategy.


Give Soft Hands Gift Set

The set comes with three travel sized Hand Relief creams for on-the-go, including rosemary and mint, a holiday vanilla and ginger combo and the original scent of tangerine citrus. The cream exfoliates, moisturizes and can help reduce signs of aging. It’s suggested that you use it throughout the day and again at night.

This limited edition set comes in a gift box, wrapped in okta bark paper, handmade in Nepal. According to Aveda, “2,400 families can buy food and clothing, repair their homes, send their children to school — plan for the future — because more than 4,900 people work to make more than 1,400,000 sheets of paper for our gift sets.”

The sets are also great to stock up on for hostess and holiday gifts.

The original scent of the Hand Relief cream is also available in a full size, and there is a companion foot cream.

tk oz

4.2 oz

GURU TIP: The first 10 people to come in to Aveda and mention the GURU will receive a free travel sized Hand Relief cream, valued at $9. No purchase necessary. One gift per person,while supplies last.

GURU Fall Trends Night SNAPSHOTS!

25 Sep

We had a great Fall Trends Event last night. I enjoyed meeting blog readers and checking out the latest styles at Ann Taylor, accessories at Francesca’s Collections and makeup technology and techniques at Sephora! Thanks to P.F. Chang’s and Crumbs Bake Shop for the refreshments.

At Ann Taylor (level 4) we checked out day to night looks!

The pencil skirt for the work day (right) can be swapped out for the skinny ankle pant with faux leather trim for dinner. The pumps get traded out for wedges. Along with the black and white trend, black and blue are a hot pairing for fall!

Night & Day

Night & Day


Ann Taylor

At Francesca’s Collections, we had a scarf demo and looked at statement jewelry.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

GURU Tip: If you’re not sure how to pair contrasting colors in a statement necklace with your outfit, you can get ideas from mannequins and from how colors are paired in patterns in clothing.

At Sephora, we checked out the Color IQ technology. Sephora and Pantone, the world’s leading authority on color, teamed up to launch technology that can find a foundation color match to your skin tone.

Color IQ

Color IQ

Sephora also gave a purple smoky eye demo. Purple is trending for fall!

Purple Smoky Eye

Purple Smoky Eye

The final look

The final look

Thanks to everyone for coming. Guests left with a swag bag, samples from Sephora and enjoyed sweet treats from Crumbs Bake Shop.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.31.48 PM

Congrats to Rebecca Peterson for winning the $100 Shop Etc. Mall Gift Card and styling session with me. Stay tuned. I’ll feature our shopping spree in an upcoming blog post.

EXCLUSIVE Marc Jacobs Beauty Line at Sephora!

2 Aug

An EXCLUSIVE Marc Jacobs Beauty line will debut at Sephora (Level 2) one week from today on 8/9!

EXCLUSIVE Marc Jacobs Beauty line!

EXCLUSIVE Marc Jacobs Beauty line!

Just like his fashion line, the Marc Jacob’s beauty line will “inspire pushing the boundaries and creating your own style!” The new line features “exquisite textures, provocative shades and daring designs of Marc Jacobs Beauty for the first but definitely not the last time,” according to Sephora.
The line, which is exclusive to Sephora, will include hundreds of products — including nail polish, foundation, lipstick, brushes and more!
Nail Polish

Nail Polish

The Genius Gel Foundation ($48) will be available in 16 shades. It’s weightless, long-wearing and thanks to ingredients including vitamins and hyaluronic acid, has anti-aging results! 

Genius Gel Foundation

The Lust forLacquer Lip Vinyl ($28) comes with a precision applicator for a flawless lip and comes in 12 shades. If you’re like me, and always on the quest for a powerhouse concealer, you may want to check out The Remedy Concealer Pen ($39). It’s an “all in one eraser, brightener and corrector” and comes in 7 shades and 2 universal ones. It’s gender neutral! You can give your lashes an immediate, glossy lift with the Lash Lifter Mascara ($26) in Blaquer.

That’s just a preview of some of the MANY products that will be available, starting on 8/9! Doors open at 10 am, as usual, that day. Lines are expected. If you want to be among the first to check out the new collection, you’re encouraged to arrive early.  

According to Sephora, Marc Jacobs personally worked on every package, color, formula and product.

Can’t wait to hear what you think about the new line! I’ll definitely be there to check it out!

Feel like ROYALTY at LUSH! Plus a Giveaway!

24 Jul

In honor of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s new bundle, we’re spotlighting two gift sets from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics that can pamper new moms everywhere and  make the rest of us feel extra relaxed too! The British based company suggests its My Fair Lady and Relax More sets.

My Fair Lady is presented in a hatbox, made to look like an English country garden.

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady features a whipped Creamed Almond and Coconut Smoothie for the skin, creamy Figs and Leaves soap, an almond Buffy Body Butter to alleviate dry skin, Charity Pot hand and body lotion, Tiny Hands solid moisturizer, an Ultrabalm for those areas that need extra softening and Olive Branch shower gel!

Pampering Pleasures

Pampering Pleasures

The Relax More set comes with four calming bath treats that “froth, bubble and melt you away to dreamland” along with Dream Cream body lotion for sweet dreams and an organic Therapy Massage bar. The bar contains organic cocoa and Shea butters and can help with those pesky stretch marks.

Relax More!

Relax More!

Wish you could spend more time at the beach this summer? Here’s one more set that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the ocean! The Beach Set includes ingredients from the sea. There is an Ocean Salt facial cleanser, a Sea Spray that adds volume and softness for hair and brightens the face, the Dream Cream body lotion, a solid shampoo bar and Sea Vegetable Soap.

The Beach Box

The Beach Box

LUSH is generously giving away two of  its Therapy Massage bars. Two lucky readers of this blog will each win one ($10.95 retail value each).

Two blog readers will win a massage bar!

Two blog readers will win a massage bar!

To enter for a chance to win one, leave me a comment about what product at LUSH you would love to try! You have until 7/28 to enter. The winners will be selected in a random drawing and announced on Monday 7/29. You must be at least 16-yers-old to enter. The winners will be required to pick up the Therapy Massage Bar in store. Good luck!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

9 Jul

A big announcement to make!

 I’m excited to report that we just hit the 100-thousand hit milestone on this blog. Thank you for your loyalty!

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 12.31.42 PM

Cheers to 100K!

As always, this blog is here for you. If you’re facing a shopping dilemma, just ask.

That’s why I’m here.

If you’re not already following the blog, consider signing up to Get My Ultimate Retail Updates (GURU)  delivered to your inbox. I cover the latest trends in fashion, beauty and for the home; keep you in the know on mall events and special promotions; and feature special giveaways.

If you have any feedback for me on the blog, I would love to hear it!

Cheers to 100K!

Sweet 15 Birthday Event Sephora & Hot Products!

18 Jun
You’re invited to a birthday party! Only, no need to bring presents.
But, you may receive one!
Sephora invites you to its Sweet 15 Birthday Event this Saturday (6/22) from noon to 6 pm.
Screen shot 2013-06-15 at 3.47.51 PM
At the event, enjoy FREE gifts with every $50 purchase, deluxe samples, gift bags, raffles and more. The party will feature NATIONAL artists from Stila and Tarte.
Why celebrate for just one day? Sephora is also spotlighting some of its favorite summer products including the Nars Blush/Bronzer Duo and the Everlasting Bronzer by Kat Von D, pictured top left.
Give your tresses that beachy style with Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and the Surf Creme Rise Conditioner. It’s all about “body, texture and enhanced natural wave.”
Screen shot 2013-06-15 at 6.23.29 PM
Plus, get swimsuit ready with smoothing and toning products, pictured above the Beauty Palette.
The Too Faced Loves Sephora 15 Years of Beauty Palette is a limited edition offer for just $52. It has a $245 value and comes with 10 eye shadows, an eye shadow primer, blush, bronzer and a brush.
Again, the birthday bash is Saturday, June 22nd from noon to 6 pm. What is your favorite product and why from Sephora? Let me know in the comment section.

Pamper Mom with a Gift Set!

8 May

Searching for a Mother’s Day gift that she wouldn’t buy for herself? How about a gift set with fragrances, body and skin care products or a set of candles? 

Plus, often times, when buying a set, you can get more for your money. I hit LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, L’Occitane and Yankee Candle to check out some ideas.

At LUSH (Level 2), you’ll find several Mother’s Day themed gift sets, packed with bath and body goodies that offer that much needed MTO — Mommy Time Out!

This is the Happiness Gift. It’s filled with products that have citrus fruits and oils used in aromatherapy to boost the spirits. She’ll enjoy a mini peach massage bar, the Happy Hippy shower gel, a Karma Kream for just that — good Karma, Whoosh shower jelly, a Lemony Flutter cuticle cream and Bohemian soap.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 9.17.41 AM

Happiness Gift

There’s also a Mother’s Day in Paradise Gift set.  This relaxation kit comes with eight products, including the Madame Butterfly reusable bubble bar — for multiple rose scented bubble baths. The Dream Cream “transforms suffering bodies into states of peace with our calming blend of oat milk, lavender and chamomile to care for irritations, reduce redness, and banish blotches.”  There is also a rose scented full body conditioner and more…    I featured this gift set on WBAL-TV this past weekend. 

A Mother's Day in Paradise

A Mother’s Day in Paradise

Or, give her something Lovely! That’s the name of this floral themed gift set of four soothing products, including two kinds of bubble bath products, a salt scrub and the body conditioner.



Next stop for gift sets is L’Occitane, also on Level 2.  The latest fragrance collection features four scents: the romantic Jasmin & Bergamot, the exotic Magnolia & Mûre, the sweet and spicy Vanille & Narcisse, and the fresh, gender neutral Thé Vert & Bigarade (green tea & bitter orange). Each set features an eau de toilette, body milk and shower gel.  You can achieve a longer lasting fragrance by layering a gel, body milk and finishing with an eau de toilette. Stop into the store anytime to try out any of the four scents.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.57.54 AM

New Fragrance Line

How about the gift of Ultimate Youth? This is the Divine Ultimate Gift of Youth Set. The set comes with three anti-aging products from the Divine line: the Immortelle Divine Cream, the Precious Cleansing Foam and Divine Eyes, an eye cream. If purchased individually, you would pay the same price for just the face and eye cream as of the entire set.


Have you ever smelled Verbena? It has a refreshing lemon scent.  The Verbena themed set comes with a shower gel, body milk, eau de toilette, perfumed sachet and shea soap.

Sparkling Verbana

Sparkling Verbana

Yankee Candle (Level 4) is another destination for memorable gift sets. Mom will get to experience multiple fragrances such as a beach themed trio of  a Sun & Sand beach scented candle, the fruity and floral Golden Sand and the melon and vanilla scented Pink Sand.


You can also put together your own set. All large candles are buy 1, get 1 half off for a limited time.


Lage Jar Candles are Buy 1, Get 1 50% off!

Some of the candles feature a built-in picture frame. It would be touching to give mom or grandma a set including a picture frame candle for each child or grandchild.

A candle & frame in one!

A candle & frame in one!

Here are links to my other Mother’s Day features featuring Michael Kors and Tiffany & Co., Plus, here’s a gift segment featured on WBAL-TV 11 Morning News. 

GREEN WEEK: LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics! Plus, a Sweepstakes!

21 Apr

Our Green Week continues!  I stopped in to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics (Level 2) to get some ideas for spring and to check out the eco-friendly options.

Every time I pop in, I’m  inspired by the innovative products, am a magnet to all the happy hues and tend to linger to take in the scents.  If you’ve never been, it’s an experience. “A self-appointed cosmetic-deli, LUSH makes effective products out of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, the finest essential oils and ingredients that are ethically and sustainably procured from around the world,”  describes the company.

I’ve seen the colorful soap bar display in passing before, but never knew that the bars are eco-friendly! According to LUSH, “Solid bar soaps take their liquid counterparts to the cleaners!  Bar soaps are sterile because they contain no water, which is required for bacterial growth. Because of this, solid soaps can be made without chemical preservatives while liquid soaps are predominantly water, a breeding ground for bacteria, and so require chemical preservatives.”

Soap sans packaging!

Soap by the Slice

Plus, you can opt to take home your soap sans packaging. Nearly 40% of the products at LUSH are package free! Or you can have it wrapped, deli-counter style, in paper and later recycle it. Another option is to bring a reusable container in from home to transport your soap or other products.

Here are just a few of the soap choices you’ll find in store. Pictured below from top left to right: Ice Blue features refreshing peppermint oil, bergamot and lemon citrus oils. Like spearmint and need a wake-up-call? Try Dirty. Lust is all about “bringing soapy back.” It has jasmine absolute, which “is said to relax, ease tension and act as an aphrodisiac,” according to LUSH.

Rock Star is vanilla scented. And, I think my kids would be a little happier about washing up with Honey I Washed the Kids! It has a caramel fragrance!

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 5.28.25 PM

To maximize the lifespan of your soap, LUSH suggests using a well-drained soap dish between uses.

While we’re talking about bars, did you know that shampoo and conditioner also come in bar form? It was news to me!  Each shampoo bar will give you about 60-80 washes! You can buy the weight you want of the “Big” conditioner.  You can take your bar home package free or opt to have  it wrapped in paper. LUSH just released its second bar form of conditioner called “Big” to go along with the “Big” shampoo.  The sea salt  in the conditioner helps with volume and shine.  The coconut oil will help control those pesky fly aways!

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 7.30.18 PM

Feeling on the pale side after winter? Give yourself a little sun-kissed tint with the Silk Stockings Body Tint. This one is for a lighter skin tone. It also comes in a version for darker complexions. Plus, it also comes package free. You’ll find it and several other temptations in bar form at the store,  including massage bars and a facial serum bar.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 7.35.24 PM

To get ready to show some leg and toes as the temps climb, here are two solutions. The round green items, pictured below, are ginger and fennel sugar scrubs and used to exfoliate. They also contain lavender, which is known for its calming properties. The green, foot-shaped, Stepping Stones can be used to help scrub off the dry, rough skin on your feet. Enjoy the scents of lemon and lime as you use the stone.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 7.53.36 PM

Get your skin ready to bare!

LUSH also offers a beauty line called Emotional Brilliance. “Ambition,” pictured below is a poppy-hued liquid lipstick.  The lipsticks feature a jojoba oil, rose wax and candelilla wax base, which helps to soften the lips and helps hold the pigment. Each of the lip and eye colors feature a personality trait as the name. You can play an Emotional Brilliance game in store to see what colors and corresponding traits match your mood at the moment. I featured the game on the blog  when the line debuted last summer.

The Emotional Brilliance line is 100% vegan. The packaging is 100% post consumer recycled. You can recycle everything except for the wand.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 7.57.15 PM

If you’re buying a gift for someone else, consider a Knot-Wrap. They can pull double duty as gift wrap and later can be worn as a scarf. They’re made from recycled plastic bottles. It takes two, 250ml plastic bottles to make one Knot-Wrap. The end product material is called Greenspun. LUSH reports that thanks to Greenspun, 3 million bottles were saved from the landfill last year and turned into fabric.

Made from recycled bottles!

Made from recycled bottles!

Did you know that LUSH offers rewards for doing your part to recycle? If you return five of the black pots, used to house various creams and skincare products, LUSH will give you a free face mask.  Here’s a fun fact, when the black pots are recycled, a portion of them are used to make the tops for the liquid lipsticks!

Have you entered out GREEN WEEK 2013 Sweepstakes? Enter for a chance to win a $50 Shop Etc. Mall Gift Card by leaving a comment on any blog post that runs from 4/15 through TOMORROW (4/22) on Earth Day.  A winner will be selected in a random drawing.

Open to U.S. residents, 16 or older.  Entry dates:4/15 through 4/22.  For the Official Rules, click on this link.  Limit one entry per person.


%d bloggers like this: