Friday, December 19, 2014

A French Beauty Gift Guide - Gifts under $75

With $75, you can get gorgeous gifts! In this guide, you'll find high-end makeup, skincare and fragrances. I selected each product carefully and there's only great gifts that are sure to please in here. If you can't quite spend that much but still want to surprise someone with a French beauty gift, check out my other posts for gifts under $50 and under $25. You can click on the name of the product to find a merchant who sells it. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that we will get a small commission (typically under 10%) if you purchase something through a link. You might need to select express shipping if you want your gifts in time for Christmas! 

1- Guerlain KissKiss Set $58: you get mini KissKiss lipstick, mascara and nail polish, in shades of red. Classy and classic. 

2- Guerlain Acqua Allegoria $65: a fresh Eau de toilette in the classic Guerlain bee bottle. I'm completely obsessed by Mandarine Basilic, a delectable aromatic citrusy scent. There are also floral, fruity and fresh scents. I still want to bang my head on the wall for not buying the full collection of minis in an airport duty-free last time I traveled internationally. 

3- Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger candle $65: complex scented candles by a Grasse-based parfumeur. There's an interesting range of scents, with head, heat and base notes, like a real perfume. This is NOT your Bath & Body Works-like candle... 

4- Hermès Miniature Set $60: Hermès is most famous for handbags, but the luxury brand also makes beautiful perfumes. This discovery set contains Jour d'Hermès, Eau des Merveilles, Voyages d'Hermès, Un Jardin sur le Nil. 

5- Talika Eyelash Kit $58: this might sound like a weird product, but it's very popular. Lipocils is supposed to give thicker and longer lashes in just a few weeks. In this set, it comes with lash extending fibers. 

6- T. Leclerc Paris In Winter Pressed Powder $55: T. Leclerc is most famous for their loose powder, in particular the shade Banane, a light yellow that illuminates complexion. This year they launched this adorable pressed powder that looks so Parisienne... 

7- Cinq Mondes Kaolin & Herbs Mask $62: this is my absolute favorite clay mask. Not cheap, but it's just that good. It smells really good and feels luxurious. It's also non-drying so it could work for anyone. 

8- Yon-Ka Hydration Introductory Kit $52: Yon-Ka is one the very many luxury beauty brands thriving in France. Yon-Ka specializes in phyto-aromatic treatments that contain essential oils. They have a whole range of kits for different skin types with all the essentials. 

9- Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupté Trio $64: 3 full-size Gloss Volupté for the price of 2. These glosses are very luminous and comfortable to wear. This trio contains Or Saharienne, Rose Orfèvre, and Gold. 

I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A French Beauty Gift Guide - Gifts under $50

After stocking stuffers the other day, here's a selection of gifts under $50 by French beauty brands. There's a lot of skincare, makeup, haircare, body products and even fragrances. 

All products were selected by me, you'll recognize some cult favorites but you'll probably also discover products or brands that you had never heard of, but that are worth knowing. All these products would make thoughtful presents for the most demanding beauty enthusiast, but they would also please anyone new to the beauty world. 

You can click on the name of the product to find a merchant who sells it. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that we will get a small commission (typically under 10%) if you purchase something through a link. You might need to select express shipping if you want your gifts in time for Christmas! 

1- Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel $18: this one should actually have been in the previous post for gifts under $25 but I forgot it :) Vichy is one of those French upscale pharmacy skincare brands based on thermal water from the city of Vichy. Normaderm is their acne and oily skin range, and the daily cleansing gel is very popular among young people with problem skin. 

2- Darphin Cleansing Milky Emulsion with Verbena $40: on the other end of the cleanser spectrum, this emulsion is very gentle and suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive. 

3- Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré $28: a cult, multi-tasking cream that was made famous by makeup artists. 

4- Decléor Brightening Cleansing Oil $39: a cleansing oil that helps with hyper-pigmentation by a great high-end skincare brand that specialize in aromatherapy inspired products. 

5- Yves Saint Laurent Gommage Biologique Sans Grains $39.60: did you know that YSL had a skincare range? This gentle non-abrasive exfoliator has been around for many years, it's a gel to oil to lotion texture that's very pleasant to use. 

6- Phytomer Rosée Visage Toning Cleansing Lotion $34.41: a product similar to a micellar water, it cleanses, removes make-up and tones skin. Phytomer is a marine-based cosmetics specialist. 

7- Caudalie 2014 Favorites Set $32: contains Lip Conditioner, Hand & Nail Cream, Vinosource Sorbet, Cleansing Water and Beauty Elixir. Great way to discover the popular brand that incorporate vine and grape extracts to their products. 

1- Lancôme Universal Nude Lip Set $37.80: contains a lip liner, Color Design lipstick and Gloss in Love for the perfect nude lip. 

2- Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector Trio $38.70: I love the lip perfector, it's the perfect balm with a hint of color to brighten your face. This set contains Rose Shimmer, Petal Shimmer and Rosewood Shimmer. 

3- Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara Set $30.60: Lancôme mascaras get much love in France and Hypnôse is their hyper popular volumizing version. With an Artliner felt tip liner and a deluxe Bi-Facil makeup remover (another cult product!), this set is an incredibly good value. For those who prefer more natural looking lashes, they also have a set featuring the Definicils mascara. 

4- Dior Rosy Glow Petal Awakening Blush $39.60: a fun blush that reacts with skin to create a unique shade for each person. It looks very pale in the pan, but on me it becomes a warm mid-tone pink, very flattering on everyone. 

5- Yves Saint Laurent Eye Essentials Set $41: contains 2 cult products, the world famous Touche Eclat, a concealer-illuminator pen, and a deluxe Effet Faux Cils mascara in the Baby Doll version. 

1- Lanvin Jeanne perfume S39: a beautiful, playful fruity floral. It reminds me of Guerlain's Little Black Dress, but it's more fresh and less sweet. 

2- Sothys Paris Cherry Blossom & Lotus Body Elixir $46: a scented dry body oil by an exclusive skincare brand. 

3- René Furterer After-Sun Hair Treatment $40: a rich repair mask for hair damaged by sun, salt or chlorine. 

4- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Body Milk $39.99: this lipid-replenishing lotion is a savior for very dry skins. 

5- Phyto 9 Nourishing Day Cream $28: a luxurious leave-in cream to nourish dry hair. 

6- Le Couvent des Minimes Honey & Shea Body Balm $32: a decadent cocooning balm that I love in the winter. I just wish I could eat it too... 

7- Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Holiday Edition $45: the renowned natural dry oil in a special holiday bottle. I've reviewed this product here

8- L'Occitane Addictive Almond Discovery Set $36: contains Almond Shower Oil, Almond Supple Skin Oil, Almond Milk Concentrate, Almond Delicious Soap, Almond Delicious Hand Cream. Almond is L'Occitane's most popular line.

 I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A French Beauty Gift Guide - Gifts under $25

Christmas is just around the corner and the pressure to find the perfect gift is becoming intense! Today I'm starting a Holiday French beauty gift guide series to help you find great gifts for everyone in your list. 

There will be gifts for every budget, from stocking stuffers to exceptional presents. The guide includes products from a variety of French brand, some cult products and some insider favorites, all hand picked by me. Some are available at brick and mortar stores, many only online - consider getting them shipped express to get them before the big night! 

You can click on the name of the product to find a merchant who sells it. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that we will get a small commission (typically under 10%) if you purchase something through a link. 

1- Avène Eau Thermale $18: this thermal spring water spray is a perfect basic for anyone, it's particularly good for people with sensitive skin. 

2- Clarins Cleansing Duo $22.50: foaming cleanser and toner in a little pouch, choose from 2 sets, normal/combination skin or dry/sensitive skin. Clarins is the brand that got me into beauty many years ago! 

3- Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm $19: this ultra-nourishing honey lip balm has a cult following! 

4- Lierac Micellar Cleansing Water $24: I've reviewed this product here. This is one of the very best micellar waters I've ever used. 

5- Caudalie Beauty Elixir Ornament $18: the famous facial mist in a cute mini version. 

6- Bioderma Crealine H2O $28: the mother of all micellar waters, a must-try. 

7- Le Couvent des Minimes Petite Delights set $17.50: one of my favorite bath and body products brand, they belong to L'Occitane group and offer similar products in a much more affordable version. This set contains the Gardener's Hand Healer cream and the Smile Lip Balm in orange blossom scent. 

1- Sabé Masson Le Soft solid perfume $25: a whole range of solid perfumes in lipstick-like packaging, made from noble ingredients like shea butter or mango butter. 

2- René Furterer Okara Active Light Set $15: shampoo and conditioner to enhance blond hair colors by a reliable hair specialist. 

3- Lancôme Lip Lover $20.70: a balmy, highly pigmented gloss. Really comfortable to wear, it comes in almost 20 shades. Orange Manège (336) and Framboise Etoile (355) are two of my favorites. 

4- Phyto Phytonectar shampoo $22: an ultra-nourishing brilliance shampoo from another cult hair care brand. 

5- Dior Diorshow Eye Set $25: features Diorshow, the most popular Dior mascara and a mini eye makeup remover. 

6- Klorane Brilliant Shine Conditioner $16: a magnolia infused conditioner for natural brilliance. Klorane is a much loved upscale pharmacy brand of hair products that I used a lot in my younger years.

7- L'Occitane Treasures of Provence Set $19: a great little set to discover the best of L'Occitane. Contains 3 hand creams, a soap and a shower oil in deluxe sizes. This post contains affiliate links.

I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dior's 2-in-1 lipstick for the holidays

This year again, Dior has launched a very classic collection for the holidays, called Golden Shock (see my review of one of the two LE palettes). Diorific Golden Shock Colour Lip Duo is probably the most original item in the collection, and a type of product I had never seen by a high-end brand: a two-faced lipstick that has 2 shades in one stick (dang, how do you call that part, the lipstick itself? It's called the "raisin" in French but I doubt the literal translation works in English, does it?). The only similar product I know is a drugstore staple, NYC City Duet, and I was pretty excited about a luxe version of the concept. 

The packaging is luxurious indeed, it's your typical Diorific heavy, golden tube. I find that it doesn't show fingerprints too bad for a metallic tube. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Osmoclean Osmopure micellar cleansing water by Institut Esthederm

Institut Esthederm is my absolute favorite French brand of skincare products. Before I moved to the US in 2012, most of my skincare routine was composed of Esthederm products, and I was regularly going to a day spa for facials with the brand's line. I would describe Institut Esthederm as a high quality professional brand (a lot of their products can only be purchased at salons after a skin analysis by a beautician - those are the ones that come in deep blue packaging if you already know the brand) with a unique philosophy: skin is a complex eco-system that should be protected and nourished with the elements it needs to thrive, rather than forcefully corrected through aggressive treatments. The idea is that skin should "know" what to do to be healthy, so it will reach that state if you provide it with the tools it needs to achieve it but refrain from interfering too much with its natural processes. It's my Esthederm beautician in France who convinced me to completely stop using mechanical exfoliation, i.e. abrasive scrubs, and that decision changed my life (at least my skin's life!). 

Healthy skin starts with a gentle but efficient cleansing routine, and Esthederm has a range of cleansing products called Osmoclean. Being an avid user of micellar water (read more about micellar water here and here), I recently finished my bottle of Osmopure Face and Eyes Cleansing Water

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dior Golden Reflections palette: a tale of flying sparkles

With Christmas just around the corner, holiday collections have invaded department stores. In fact, they might be sold out long before Christmas - the annoying result of new collections launching a whole season in advance. This year again, to my disappointment, most brands have released very classic, boring holiday collections centered around one theme: GOLD EVERYWHERE. I have nothing against gold, but when everybody has been doing gold for Christmas for several years in a row, it gets old. Creativity, trend setting anyone?? 

Anyway, Dior is surfing the gold wave with their collection called Golden Shock (I'd like to name a collection Gold Indigestion...), however beyond the packaging and nail lacquers, a lot of the new products have quite interesting shades to offer. I found both new eyeshadow palettes to be stunning in pictures, and decided to go the less traveled path and purchase Golden Reflections, a cool harmony of grey and bronze

There's not much gold about it really and Metal Reflections would have been a more suitable name. It's a really interesting combination of platinum, white gold, silver and golden bronze, really unique in my (rather large) collection. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a tester before I made the decision to purchase it online, so I was a little worried that such a cool toned palette might not work so well on my neutral to warm complexion. I was also concerned about the quality of the shadows, because Dior's creations sometimes lack pigmentation. So, how did it go?

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