Beauty products I’m loving (& gift with purchase promos!)

I haven’t done a beauty post in a while, but there’s a few good gift-with-purchase promos right now (might be ending soon) that all the women in my family took advantage of and wanted to share! It’s a good chance to get a bonus on favorites that otherwise don’t go on sale. I’m a slight GWP junkie…the mini cosmetic pouches for keeping the interior of handbags clean, the travel-friendly versions of favorite products, and of course getting to try out new products…what’s not to love? FYI, Macy’s offers free shipping & returns on beauty purchases with no minimum, Nordstrom offer that for all types of purchases, and Sephora has free 3-day ship on orders over $50.
favorite makeup jewelry vanity tray setup_extra petite

various beauty favorites discussed below // vintage tray // jewelry box

Macy’s: Lancome 7pc GWP with a $35+ purchase – a nice little set with low purchase minimum! You get the choice of a mini moisturizer & eye cream, a mini blush & lipstick (out of 2 shades), plus makeup bag, travel-sized Définicils mascara and Bi-Facil eye makeup remover. Their eye makeup remover is my forever favorite (be sure to shake it up before each use) – gentle and conditioning on sensitive skin, yet one swipe takes off even waterproof products. The travel-sized bottle usually costs $15 by itself! And if you spend $75+, you get to choose one additional bonus gift out of these three 3pc sets. It looks so confusing on the webpage, but once you add qualifying product into your cart, the GWP choices will show up there automatically. Shop all qualifying items here.

– Estée Lauder 7pc GWP with a minimum $45 purchase: enter either code LIFT, GLAM, or REPAIR at checkout based on which set you’d like. I actually just bought their Pure Color Envy lipstick last month in Insatiable Ivory (which is $32 by itself) as my ‘creamy nude pink’ and am kicking myself because a full-sized tube of that color is included in the “GLAM” option!
– Lancôme 6pc GWP with a minimum $42.50 purchase: two choices, enter either code WARM or COOL at teint idol 24hr foundation makeup_asian skin tone

I also wanted to share a few products I’ve been loving lately, some of which qualify for the above promos! For reference, I have dry, sensitive skin that’s especially redness and rash-prone, so I have to be careful about the products I use on it.

1. Stay all day fuller-coverage foundation: Lancome Teint Idole 24hr long wear foundation ($47) at Macy’sSephora or Nordstrom. The right foundation really depends on your own skin type…I ask for a sample at the store counters whenever possible to try back at home, and see how it wears throughout the day. I needed a fuller-coverage foundation for my unpredictable skin, and this one came highly recommended. I actually didn’t love how it looked on me when applied with a brush, but using a slightly damp Beauty Blender sponge made all the difference. It looks very natural on my skin, covers large pores / skin issues, and lasts throughout the day (I do set it with Laura Mercier powder). Here’s how shade 260 Bisque N looks on half my face with no primer nor powder, vs. my bare skin:
lancome teint idol 24hr foundation beauty blender before and after_asian makeup
If you don’t need fuller coverage, one of my all-time favorites is still Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fluide (I use “Linen”). True to its name, it applies on so fluidly for light to medium coverage, and the finish is silky smooth and natural. Per the reviews it looks like it may be best for those with dry or combination skin, not oily skin.

2. Moisturizing lipcolor to pop against summer skin: Estée Lauder pure color envy lipstick ($32), at Macy’s. I have super dry lips despite frequent treatments, and it’s hard to find bright colors that don’t accentuate flakes. After trying no less than a dozen options (several nice contenders thanks to your recommendations!), this one was my favorite for the punchy orange color as well as a formula that glides on smoothly, doesn’t settle into lines/flakes, and keeps my lips feeling hydrated for a long time. I’m wearing Daring (orange-red) in this post and Insatiable Ivory (nude pink that’s included in the GWP set) in this post.

3. Mascara that actually holds a curl: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof ($27.50 or $13 for travel size) at Macy’s, Sephora or Nordstrom. The waterproof version of this doesn’t get much love in the mascara world, but I swear by it for one very important purpose: holding a high curl on otherwise stick-straight, downward-pointing lashes! It’s only the waterproof version, too – this was a tip from a makeup artist a while ago, and I have yet to find another mascara that will keep lashes up as high. It makes a huge difference in “opening up” small eyes, and I wish I had a photo but my tube is misplaced and I’m impatiently awaiting a replacement in the mail – hence also why my lashes are straight and downward in this post!

I start by clamping my curler at the very base of the lashes, then move upwards to the midpoint of they lashes and clamp again to get a fuller curl. Next, I lower my eyelids about halfway then use this wand to really press lashes upwards while applying the mascara (a q-tip dipped in Bi-Facil can quickly remove anything that gets on your lids). For added volume and length, I’ll layer Too Faced or Bobbi Brown mascara on top (which are each amazing, but when applied by themselves will make my lashes straight again in no time) then finish off with a Lancôme one to prevent smudging/running throughout the day.

fresh soy cleanser sensitive skin_clarisonic pink mia

4. A gentle, non-drying facial cleanser: Fresh soy face cleanser ($15+) at Sephora or Nordstrom. I initially got a sample as part of a Sephora bday gift and liked it enough to buy more. Most other cleansers leave my already dry skin feeling like a prune! This is actually a fragrance-free product for those who are sensitive, but the cucumber extract has a distinct, fresh, scent that I love. I use this on my Clarisonic brush sometimes for a more thorough cleaning, but it feels and smells the best to me when just lathered directly on the face. This was the start of a costly addiction as I’ve gone on to try so many other Fresh products which I love indulging in! p.s. Nordstrom has a Fresh value set and also Clarisonic brushes galore in their Anniversary sale, which ends this weekend!

5. Lastly, I’d love your recommendations on a good facial sunscreen! I wish I paid more attention to sun protection when I was younger, but better late than never, right? I currently still use Supergoop’s makeup-setting spray with SPF50, but it has room for improvement and sprays more in spurts than a fine mist. I’m looking for something safe for sensitive skin, with fairly high SPF, and I’m open to products that are applied either before or after makeup. I’m also hoping to avoid anything with a strong smell or casts a ghastly white sheen on the face (typical of regular sunscreens)!

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Leave a Comment


  1. teresa.z wrote:

    Try Lancome UV Expert SPF50+ with PA+++ hands down favourite over the years, dries quickly no residue or white cast (asian exclusive readily available in HK, Singapore, Japan etc) wears well under makeup
    Or Kanebo Allie UV moisture gel SPF50+ and PA++++, which like the name suggests provides a bit more hydration. Both are made in Japan and I find that usually they are much more superior in terms of texture without sacrificing in sun coverage
    both choices are quite popular 🙂

    Posted 8.7.16 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Could you please do a post for monolid eyes, and eyebrows! Yours look great!

    Posted 8.7.16 Reply
  3. angelina wrote:

    I love gifts with purchases! They definitely incentivise me to buy more – sometimes products I don't even need! Would love to try the Laura Mercier Fluide though.

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin'

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  4. angelina wrote:

    I've never thought to use Reddit for beauty advice before! Thanks for the tip (:

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  5. Al wrote:

    Personally I like to use physical sunscreens whenever possible. I have sensitive skin that can be prone to breakouts especially from sunscreen products and I use this one:

    This is the first sunscreen in a long time that seems to minimally, if at all, bother my skin and it's physical ingredients with high SPF and broad spectrum. The only caveat is that it is a little hard to blend on its own due to the zinc, so I put a small amount on my finger and then a small amount of moisturizer and mix them together on my face. However, it isn't as bad as some zinc ones. -Anne

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  6. Unknown wrote:

    Elta MD has a facial sunscreen that is great. Love your posts.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  7. Is your skin sensitive to alcohol? I swear by Japanese high-SPF sunscreens, e.g. Biore Rich Watery Essence (can be purchased inexpensively on Amazon although it takes a while to arrive from Japan). ZERO white cast (I have about the same skin tone as you and I don't wear any foundation, so I'm very sensitive to white cast), applies smoothly because it's a runny liquid consistency, dries matte. The magic is the alcohol, which I don't find drying on my dry winter skin as long as I apply moisturizer under it. My skin isn't sensitive though so I'd try a patch test first; it's only about $10 for a 50ml bottle so you're not out too much money if it's too harsh.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  8. My skin is fairly similar to yours and I use Sulwhasoo sunscreen (SPF 30) or AmorePacific sunscreen cushion (SPF 30) or my Sisley sunscreen.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  9. Great tips here!! I'm reading all the comments too to find a good sunscreen – I really need to be better about that!!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  10. janet wrote:

    i second this rec. great product, and i love the tint. i buy it from amazon.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  11. Elizabeth wrote:

    I should add: American sunscreens don't have to provide a UVA rating (SPF only measures UVB) and UVA is more important for anti aging protection. Asian and European sunscreens give a UVA rating, but Asian sunscreens are FAR more elegant than European sunscreens, which are usually heavy and shiny.

    definitely go Asian for this, this is one skincare category that Asia is unequivocally better in (just think, all the Asian ladies prize porcelain white skin – they know what's up)

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  12. Elizabeth wrote:

    Japanese sunscreen is 100% the way to go. compared to American sunscreens, they are SO elegant (no sticky greasiness) at an affordable price (usually $10-15 per bottle even if you count overseas shipping)

    Biore Aqua Rich watery essence is very popular in the Asian Beauty blogosphere, but my personal favorite is Sunkiller Perfect Strong Moisture. check them out! lots of Asian sunscreens are available on Amazon prime, I get anything not on Prime on ebay and though shipping might take 2 weeks, I've never had an issue

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  13. Unknown wrote:

    Two Faced and Laura Mercier are great, Jean! But I hope you will consider not endorsing products that torture animals in the future. You seem too kind to intentionally do such a thing.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  14. Amanda wrote:

    I highly recommend Josie Maran sunblock! It's a physical sunblock but doesn't give me any whiteness typical from that kind of sunblock. I use about a nickel size dollop for my face and neck.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  15. L Breault wrote:

    Thank you for such a great post! I just picked up the Macy's Lancome 7pc GWP woot woot 🙂

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  16. Linda Jung wrote:

    hey jean..have you tried rodan+fields skincare products? they've done wonders for my skin and i don't have that unpredictable skin as you called it..hehe.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  17. Linda Jung wrote:

    hey jean…have you tried rodan+fields skincare? it's done wonders for my skin and i no longer have that unpredictable skin as you called it…hehe. 🙂

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    I love your blog, but I disagree with products that conduct cruel and inhumane tests on dogs and animals. All cruelty free products are safer, vegan, and use all natural ingredients which is far better for your skin. Synthetic ingredients are never good long term. See TooFaced, Tarte, Bare Minerals, Ole Henricksen, Peter Thomas Roth, Buxom,100percentpure to start. Just FYI. Thank you for all your posts.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  19. I love that Fresh face wash. I've been using it for about 2 years. It's wonderful. I too have sensitive rash and cystic acne prone skin. Very sensitive. I can't use anything with any type of seaweed or algae, chemical sunscreen or formaldehyde releasing preservatives without skin and eye flare ups. I found a sunscreen called Zinc-O from RosaceaCare on line. It is tinted to reduce redness on the skin. I am about NC25 and its fine for me. I love it and my skin has no issues with it. Once I started using it my melasma finally cleared and my old acne spot pigment also started fading. I highly recommend especially for people who have sunscreen sensitivities. Love your blog!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  20. A.B wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the products! Definitely, will look into all of them 🙂

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  21. Connie wrote:

    I love Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++. When applied it feels like I have nothing on my skin.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  22. Tara S wrote:

    Hi Jean, I love the blog! I also have super dry skin and winters in the Midwest are brutal on lips so I had two recommendations for you: Laneige lip sleeping mask is a godsend (and smells so yummy!) You put it on at night so you don't have to worry about all the goop and it DEFINITELY heals those cracks and flakes. Also drugstore Lypsyl during the day is the best I've found!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  23. Keri H wrote:

    Ooh that foundation looks amazing. Perfect, natural looking coverage. Thanks for sharing!

    Enclothed Cognition

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  24. Carla Krae wrote:

    Neutrogena has a lot of sunscreen options and it's easy to return at any drugstore.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  25. Unknown wrote:

    Hi Jean. It took me a while to search for a sunscreen product that I actually like. I would recommend "biore uv aqua rich watery gel spf 50". US FDA is very strict about the sunscreen products, so American ones are not good as Japanese ones or European ones. If you want to find some good sunscreen product, you may try some Japanese products or European ones. I know biore line has some other products that are more famous, with more recommendation over the Internet, but I like the aqua rich watery gel one. I have dry, sensitive skin as well. It is not hard to get this product either. I got it through Amazon prime.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  26. D wrote:

    I definitely recommend Tatcha's Pore Perfecting Sunscreen, it is not cheap but the texture is amazing, and it doesn't have a typical sunscreen smell.

    – D

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  27. Effie Wong wrote:

    I love Clarins sunscreen, it has SPF 40 and right now Nordstrom has a twin pack for $62. It's light weight and I apply before the makeup. I highly recommend it.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  28. Finding a good sunscreen is really hard. I am always trying new things. But I would be very cautious of spraying sunscreen on your face. You are no doubt breathing in chemicals and most doctors caution about risks to your health. Also anything that is a high SPF and doesn't leave a white cast is going to be a chemical sunscreen instead of physical. Which can be okay but is not recommended for sensitive skin. Also, zinc is very good for your skin as an anti-irritant (used in baby rash products). So I choose to deal with a little white cast myself. The best I have found so far is Paula's Choice Redness Relief SPF 30 for normal to oily skin. I have to give it 10-15 minutes to soak in before makeup (the white cast goes away by then). Then I apply a mattifying primer which helps take away any tackiness left on the skin. You could consider using an spf foundation followed by an spf powder, which should provide enough protection for everyday use (use real sunscreen at the beach). Anyway, love your blog!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  29. Jen wrote:

    Hi Jean!

    Thank you for your recommendations! I also have very sensitive skin and it's always hard for me to find the right products.

    The facial sunscreen I use is a Japanese one called Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence Spf 50+. It's very lightweight and has a light fruity / citrusy scent when applied, but I can't notice it after application. It's water-based and quite moisturizing as well and I always use it before my moisturizer. Hope this helps!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  30. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    I love all the Fresh beauty products. Such great products! 🙂
    Merci for sharing. 🙂

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    Try Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. I have constantly dehydrated skin so use it in addition to my regular moisturizer and have been super happy so far!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  32. Ann wrote:
    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  33. Coola sunscreen is pretty light weight.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  34. Loving the look of this lipstick. I need to get myself some new make-up pieces.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  35. tanya wrote:

    My trusted dermatologist best friend recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen with SPF 50 – suncreen + antioxidants – she says it's one of the only suncreens that has antioxidants to help with fine lines, dark spots and skin texture at the same time. It's not waterproof so not good for beach/pool more for every day use.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  36. Unknown wrote:

    Agree! I'm a light skinned African American with loads of freckles. I use Retin-A at night as an anti-aging product so in the morning I need a physical sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for more protection. Some people complain about the nature of this product to pill however I found if you thoroughly gently rub and press in the product there is no pilling. It's all natural and a tube goes a long way. Highly recommend.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  37. Julie Wang wrote:

    I would definitely recommend Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. I also have dry and sensitive skin, and this product has never irritated me and feels like a real moisturizer rather than sun screen. It's not the highest SPF you can get, but I would just reapply if necessary.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    I recently came upon a holy grail sunscreen. It's lightweight, has no light cast and no fragrance -it's the PCA lightweight sunscreen w/ SPF 45. I use it under my makeup. I love it. Good luck with your sunscreen search.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  39. Jocelyn wrote:

    I highly recommend Elta MD's tinted moisturizer SPF 41. I've been using it for 2-3 years and also have dry/sensitive skin from an ongoing struggle with eczema. It's very light and the tint is minimal. Non-greasy. Almost doesn't feel like I'm wearing any sunscreen at all!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  40. Hi Jean,
    I have similar skin as yours. Have you ever tried the SKII oil cleanser or the Dior oil cleanser (actually cheaper than most oil cleansers)? They remove even my Nars eyeliner all in one cleansing step. I wrote about them in my blog. You would be actually saving time and money! You're awesome.
    Karen Yu

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  41. Sara wrote:

    Hi Jean! Really random but was wondering, what website did you and Nick use for your wedding website? My fiance and I are having trouble finding a website that fits our aesthetics. Sorry to post on a random post, I couldn't find your email. Thanks much in advance!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  42. Melissa wrote:

    Hey Jean! First of all, let me just say how much I LOVE your blog. Especially love that you always come back to staple pieces in your wardrobe and show us different ways to style the same thing. Love your ideas (can I say love more? haha!). Anyway, I discovered this sunscreen while I was in Asia (Im sure you know they are serious about sun protection there! My dermatologist recommended these) but I highly recommend trying the brand Heliocare if you haven't tried it yet. Make sure you get the gel version which is non-sticky, non-greasy, easily absorbed and most importantly, no white/grey cast. They have an SPF 50 (Heliocare 360 Gel) that I use daily. They also have an SPF 90 (Heliocare Ultra Gel) which I use on days when I know I will be out in the sun more than usual. They also have a capsule form which is great but I have only used it for full days at the beach or pool — I like it a lot for that purpose since you dont have to worry about your sunscreen washing off when you take a dip in the water. Hope this helps!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  43. Sara wrote:

    A gray long wearing foundation that feels light is Estée Lauder double wear. My dermatologist recommended and I really like colorsciene. It's a powder with SPF 50;_mmc=ppc-GG&mkwid;=sXPVZqP99&pcrid;=99062929697&pdv;=m&site;=us_search&country;_switch=us⟨=en&gclid;=CjwKEAjwlZa9BRCw7cS66eTxlCkSJAC-ddmw6iKrWugIXryToMrF9ia6NtXGtzDT7AapUOMkq-U3mhoCimjw_wcB

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  44. Unknown wrote:

    Neogen Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++. It is my holy grail. Doesn't leave a white cast even with its high SPF and layers incredibly well under makeup. Sephora just started carrying it.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  45. SYLVIA wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    A beautiful and informative post as always. I am an avid daily user of sunscreen and would definitely recommend an Asian one, such as the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++. However, I have normal to slightly oily skin so the alcohol content may be too drying for your skin type. I would recommend a chemical sunscreen over a physical one, as the latter will give you a white cast.

    I love using Reddit, and the people over at /r/asianbeauty have amazing, thorough reviews and recommendations that I think you'll appreciate. Asian sunscreens also don't typically break the bank, which is a bonus since it's recommended to use a nickel-sized amount (!!!) to achieve maximum effectiveness.

    Best of luck in your sunscreen hunt; it's best to apply everyday. 😉

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  46. I have skin that's really sensitive to the sun, and I need to be religious about putting on sunscreen. The only one I've found that worked for me is Algenist Sublime Defense. It's really lightweight, doesn't sting the eyes and is SPF 50. A bottle lasts me about three months.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  47. Christina S wrote:

    Hi Jean! I have been looking for the perfect sunscreen as well. I use to use sheisido for the longest time and I made a switch to Lancôme and I really love it!!!! It's not oily and doesn't smell at all!!! It works great on my skin (I have sensitive, combination skin).

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  48. Polly wrote:

    Wow, I can't believe you only have to spend $35 for the Lancôme 7 o'clock GWP! I'm definitely going to look into it!


    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  49. Rach101601 wrote:

    Hi, Jean! Thanks for all of the tips! I absolutely love your blog. I have taken you up on so many of your recommendations for petite frames. Nice to not have to visit the tailor so often thanks to you. The aesthetician in my dermatologist's office recommended a sunscreen that I've been loving and using daily! Also good for slightly dry skin (and those of us on Retin-A to reverse that sun damage and prevent wrinkles down the road!). It's MD SOLAR SCIENCES CREME. Also has a few goodies in it that calm redness, as well as Vit C. It's neither goopy nor filmy, and a thin layer can be used. The tint is actually nice – it's so thin that you don't even notice. Works nice as a daily primer even by itself. She swore by it after going through many with her clients, and it's great!

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply
  50. Try Drunk Elephant's sunscreen! The rest of the line is perfect for sensitive skin! Highly recommended.

    Posted 8.6.16 Reply

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