Tag Archives: clarins

get gifting: at the spa

Welcome to Gift Guide Season at SMC! For the next week (or so), we’ll have dozens of ideas for every last impossible-to-buy-for person on your holiday list. By the time we’re done, you’ll have made that list, checked it twice, and settled in for a long winter’s nap. Enjoy!

For most of the girls who’ll lust after this list, their holiday fantasy is a Sephora shopping spree. To make sure you deliver the perfect find, I’ve done months of exhaustive testing and culled the best of the best from the legion of holiday gift sets you’ll see this season. The result? My favorite beauty gift guide yet. Those Stila lip glazes are just the thing for your gloss-addicted friend, the Origins set is perfect for the boho glam girl on your list, and really, does Bobbi Brown ever get it wrong?

As for me, I’d be happy to curl up in those unbelievably soft Eberjey pajamas, snuggle into those limited-edition leopard UGG slippers and call it a night.

Read on

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beauty buzz: summer for the sun-phobic

With Memorial Day on the horizon, it’s time to talk sun. Being a girl with a pasty white complexion, not-inexpensive highlights, and a tendency to break out into a rash in the sun (no, really), I dread summer. The moment the sun first peeks out for the season, I bust out the highest SPF I can find, and huddle under any café umbrella in sight. Besides the fact that it causes wrinkles, freckles and melanoma (not necessarily in that order), a lot of time spent in the sun bodes for dry, unhappy hair and skin – not exactly that youthful, dewy look we’re all going for.

But this year, I’m feeling a bit less scared of those sun rays – because I have some excellent ammunition.

Clarins is always be my go-to for sun protection (and, well, most everything else too). For my skin, at least, they offer the best sunscreens around. Not too oily, not chalky in the least, and my skin doesn’t even put up a fuss when I make my seasonal switch from Multi-Active Day SPF 15 to UV Plus SPF 40 Day Screen. This year, they’ve released it in a tinted formula – excellent news if you happen to match one of the three shades. As for me, I’m still layering my Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer on top, but that SPF 40 leaves me much less tense about an alfresco lunch. Best of all? When I whipped out the Clarins for the first time this year (and skipped the Clinique), the husband asked if I was wearing makeup. When I said no, he said – I kid you not – “Wow, you look really nice – all glow-y.” Um, I’ll take a case, please.

For the rest of your bod, I recently got hold of Target’s new up & up continuous-spray sunscreen. Between the Sport SPF 30 and the Kids’ SPF 50, I think you know which I chose. The kids’ version applies seamlessly, isn’t greasy (as so many spray-ons are), and did a fantastic job of protecting me on that charity walk I did last weekend. There is a faint chemical quality to the smell, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a spray sunscreen without it. Oh, and it’s $5. Win!

Then, of course, there’s the matter of your mane. It’s no surprise that summer does awful things to hair – all that sun exposure, a few more trips to the salon for a few more highlights, and those “beachy waves” that turn into impossible-to-remove tangles. I’m kind of in love with Sachajuan, a line I was introduced to by the geniuses over at Woodley & Bunny (go ahead, just try to visit their awesome new online apothecary without being sucked in). They personally test each and every item on the shelves, so I knew I was in good hands. Sachajuan’s products are incredibly gentle and nourishing, with the goal of making you do as little heat-styling as possible (volume powders, repair balms) with as little product as possible, so your hair gets loaded down with moisture and not much else. Love the philosophy, and absolutely love the products.

And I can’t wrap up without dishing on my latest favorite lip balm (SPF 15, naturally). Bobbi Brown Lip Balm comes in this sleek silver tin, and is packed with goodies like wheat germ and olive oil. It feels absolutely amazing on (and can also work wonders with your cuticles in a pinch), and somehow lends just the palest of tints without having any color at all. Plus, it’ll save your lips from that super attractive sunburned-slash-scaly-and-peeling look. As always, I don’t know how Bobbi does it, but I’m sure glad she does.

What are your go-to summer products? Come on, fellow sun-phobes…dish!


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get gifting: at the spa

Good morning, friends! And welcome to our annual Holiday Gift Guide Spectacular! This year, I have a whopping nine guides for you, and they’re absolutely gorgeous (thanks entirely to my genius hubs, who made all of these pretty graphics for us!). I think they’re our best yet! When it’s all said and done, I think I’ll have covered absolutely, positively everyone on your list. I truly hope this will make each and every one of your holiday shopping lists a breeze, and your season a bit brighter.

Let’s kick things off with a few of my favorite gifts for the beauty addict. If she can’t hit a mall without beelining for Sephora, changes her nail polish color as often as she changes her clothes, and always has the inside scoop on the best new spa in town, look no further.

  1. The beauty gift that keeps on giving – Birch Box will deliver a box of product samples to her door every month, so she can test out the latest and greatest from her favorite brands. Birch Box beauty gift box subscription, from $30
  2. Bobbi Brown nails the holidays every year, but this petite little palette is one of my favorites. Eyes, cheeks and lips covered in a kit barely bigger than a box of matches. To Go palette, Bobbi Brown, $25
  3. I’ll admit, I’m mostly after this for the Peter Som-designed makeup bag. But it’s also packed with goodies from Clark’s Botanicals, which is a great bonus. Peter Som for Clark’s Botanicals travel kit, $59
  4. I’m officially obsessed with NUDE’s Replenishing Night Oil, which moisturizes beautifully without clogging pores. Her skin will thank you for months to come. Radiance Collection, NUDE Skincare, $78
  5. Tarte has a cult following, and any beauty addict will know their cheek stain is legendary. This kit gets you the classic shade, plus a few fab extras, all at a very gift-friendly price. Shining Stars gift set, Tarte, $25
  6. I love REN for holiday sets – they’re always so beautifully designed, and the products are every bit as good as the packaging. I’m a sucker for a great citrus scent, and their Neroli Grapefruit is one of the best. Neroli Grapefruit body duo, REN, $45
  7. This gorgeous gold compact is as luxe a gift as I’ve ever seen, and the subtly shimmery powder inside will have her glowing all season. Passion face palette, Clarins, $55
  8. This time of year, everyone’s skin is a scaly mess, but this Borghese scrub will make her limbs silky smooth, with a delicious citrus scent I can’t resist. Vitamin C body scrub, Borghese, $49
  9. Creme de Corps is a cult classic, with good reason. This limited edition package by Jeff Koons is pretty enough for her nightstand, and proceeds go to help rescue missing and exploited children. Limited Edition Koons Creme de Corps, Kiehl’s, from $29
  10. elizabethW has recently redesigned their entire line, and the new packaging is unbelievably pretty. This Cranberry Ginger scent is perfect for the holidays, but totally appropriate for year-round use. Cranberry Ginger perfume diffuser, elizabethW, $65
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birthday bash: winners!

Hey all! It’s the big day: time to announce all the winners of our Birthday Bash!! This was a hard one to do objectively, as so many of you dear readers are friends, or have become friends, and I wanted to thank you for that. But then, so many newbies have shown up for the Bash, and I wanted to thank them too. The only thing to do was to reach deep, deep down for my ethics, trust the Random Number Generator, and keep things on the level. And so, I did. Drumroll, please…

Winner, Day 1 – Inhabit NY cashmere sweater: Lisa S.

Winner, Day 2 – Christine Mighion aquamarine earrings: Shirlene B.

Winner, Day 3 – Mabel & Zora dress by Tiffany Bean: Lauren

Winner, Day 4 – Hayden-Harnett clutch wallet: MJ Moore

Winner, Day 5 – Clarins summer skincare collection: Elle

    Congratulations!!! I’ll be emailing each of the winners with details, so be on the lookout! And for the rest of you, well, you can shoot jealous dagger-eyes at these lucky ladies for a moment or two (they’re screaming too loudly to notice anyway), but after that, I hereby give you justification to go forth and buy yourself a little something from one of those amazing sponsors.

    Thank you again so much, everyone, from the bottom of my designer-loving little heart. The fact that you choose to spend a few minutes of your day here makes me so embarrassingly happy, I can’t even tell you. When I meet one of you, or you email me to say hello or ask a style question, it quite literally makes my day. I’m so looking forward to the next five years!

    And a special thanks to the staggeringly generous sponsors from our Birthday Bash: Inhabit NY, Christine Mighion, Mabel & Zora, Hayden-Harnett and Clarins. These are, quite possibly, my five favorite brands of all time, and I’m beyond honored that they wanted to be part of the party. Show them some love, won’t you, friends?

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    birthday bash, day five: clarins

    {Entries now closed, but thanks for looking!}

    I can hardly believe we’re already at the last day of our Birthday Bash! What an absolutely amazing week it’s been – I’ve had so much fun celebrating the blog’s fifth birthday with you all. In case you’re late to the party (way to make an entrance), here’s a quick look at all of the presents we’ve announced so far – and which you can still win!

    Amazing, right? We’ll be giving each of those away on Tuesday, 6/14, and you can enter at the end of this post. But we’re not quite done. I still have to tell you about the last present of the week…a serious win for the beauty buffs among you.

    You all know that Clarins has long been my go-to brand for skincare. I test a lot of products, but Clarins is the brand I rely on every single day. They just have a way of making my skin look happy and healthy – all while keeping wrinkles, spots, and other bad things at bay. When I decided we needed a beauty brand included here, they were the obvious first choice – and they responded by offering you so many goodies, I could hardly contain my glee! And so…

    Today’s present is an entire summer’s worth of skin care and beauty from Clarins!

    This pile of products includes Clarins’ UV Plus HP Day Screen SPF 40, my new favorite and one that’s been sweeping all the editors’ beauty awards; Sunscreen for Face Wrinkle Control Cream and Sunscreen Care Milk-Lotion Spray, both from their SPF 50+ collection; Instant Smooth Golden Glow self-tanner; and two of their new Blush Prodige Illuminating Color palettes in Spiced Mocha and Miami Pink, so you can perfectly customize your bronzer shade to match your tan all summer.

    Retail for all of these amazing products is $188…but one of you is going to be set all summer long, because they’re sending the whole collection to you for free!


    You can enter up to three times today, and each of those three entries qualifies you to win any of the five prizes announced all this week, not just today’s prize. How to do it? Simple:

    Entry 1. Comment on the post. Easy peasy.

    Entry 2. Facebook: “Like” Shopping’s My Cardio (if you haven’t already), and repost the contest on Facebook, using those brand new, handy-dandy little buttons at the bottom of the post. Use your imagination, but something like this would work well:

    I just entered to win a pile of summer skin savers from @Clarins in @Shopping’s My Cardio Birthday Bash! http://www.shoppingsmycardio.com

    …then come back and leave a second comment telling me you did so.

    Entry 3. Twitter: “Follow” @ShoppingsCardio, and tweet about the contest using those same fancy buttons. Just as a suggestion:

    I just entered to win an amazing collection of summer beauty goodies from @ClarinsNews in @shoppingscardio’s Birthday Bash! http://www.shoppingsmycardio.com

    …then come back and leave a third comment letting me know you got that done.

    For the rest of the rules and details, head over here.

    Entries are open until Monday night, 6/13, but they say the early bird gets the worm. Good luck, friends!

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    beauty buzz: my skin’s winter blues

    looks like my wardrobe isn’t the only one ready to bid this blustery season adieu. readers, i’ve spent the last two weeks in a serious skin crisis. bear with me:

    it all started a couple of weeks ago, when i ran out of my beloved skyn iceland cleansing cloths. it seems like such an innocent mistake now. but i foolishly didn’t order them when i knew i was running low, and by the time i was out, so was sephora’s website. since i was out of options until sephora restocked, i decided to return to an old favorite foaming cleanser, thinking it would work out just fine. readers, i could not have been more wrong. my skin reacted like i’d punched its favorite puppy in the face. i’ve woken up every morning since to a new blemish (or three), and it was steadily getting to the point that i was afraid people were going to start pointing and laughing when i left the house.

    as you might imagine, a good (great, really) concealer suddenly became of the utmost importance. as always, i have to try every option ever created in the history of the world before i’ll commit. but when i found laura mercier’s undercover pot, the clouds parted. it’s made up of 3 separate “steps” of concealer…you can use one, two or all three for different types and degrees of concealing needs. on the left is their secret camouflage, which is oil-free and lighter in color, so it works beautifully to cover redness or dark circles. on the right is secret concealer, which has a softer consistency and works more like a traditional concealer (but so much better!). and underneath, there’s a translucent setting powder that you can dust on over the top to cement your concealer into place and help it blend into your skin. i’m telling you…the whole thing is genius, and works so much better than any others i’ve tried, it’s not even worth mentioning the misses. just take laura’s advice and dab, don’t rub…it’s slow, but works every time!

    so, now i had the aesthetics under control, but we still had the underlying problem to address. and it was a serious problem indeed. i haven’t had this many blemishes since…well, ever! i skated through high school relatively unscathed in this department, but was starting to feel like nature had finally caught up to me. and i couldn’t figure out why a simple cleanser, especially one i’d formerly adored, could be causing me all this grief. after trying every drying acne remedy i could think of, i decided to go against everything i know, and add moisture to the problem. it’s a terrifying prospect when the issue you’re having is traditionally due to excess oil, but i threw caution to the wind, slathered on a thick layer of clarins hydra-quench cream mask, and crossed my fingers.

    twenty-four hours later, my skin’s mood is so improved, i’m wondering if it went out without me last night and got lucky. all that angry redness is subsiding, and for the first time in three weeks, i didn’t wake up to a trio of new blemishes. that, my friends, is serious progress.

    it hadn’t even occurred to me that my skin could be producing pimples because it was too dry…the whole concept seems so counter-intuitive. but my working theory is that the combination of switching from a soap-free, water-free cleansing cloth to a full-fledged scrub-and-rinse system, coupled with this ugly winter weather, sent my skin into a dehydration spiral it just couldn’t bear.

    a huge thank you to laura mercier and clarins for literally saving my hide. that hydra-quench mask has earned a spot in my weekly skin regimen (a little tip: apply in the shower for maximum absorption). and the laura mercier concealer? well, that’s just never leaving my side. in fact, i’m thinking of buying a second pot to carry in my purse.

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    this just in: clarins on gilt groupe today!

    for those of you who share my total obsession with clarins skin care, this should make your morning!  gilt groupe is featuring clarins this morning, which means that – as of 9 am (pacific) today – you can nab all sorts of clarins skin goodies for roughly 50% off.  time to stock up!


    the only catch is that you have to beat me to it.

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    beauty buzz: sizzling summer essentials

    when the temperature climbs, my normally fastidious skin care and makeup routines go right out the window, along with every ounce of patience in my being.  i’m forced to pare down to basics, because i just can’t stand being cooped up in a steamy bathroom for any longer than absolutely necessary. so, i thought i’d take a moment and share my current shortcut routine for summer.

    Picture 3

    okay…well, that photo doesn’t really look like a shortcut, does it?  but trust me.  compared to the time i’m willing to spend when the weather’s cold, i’m downright neglectful of my face this time of year…when, arguably, it needs my help most!  fortunately, my shortcuts seem to keep my skin as happy as can be expected in this heat.

    for face care, this year i’m hopelessly devoted to skyn iceland’s glacial cleansing cloths and that olay pro-x system i told you about last week.  and i’m still head over heels with skyn iceland’s SPF moisturizer for day – that tingly cooling sensation seriously lasts for hours. it’s the only thing that gets me through some of my mornings without a/c! i honestly wish all of my products came with the same chilly goodness.  (note to self: must start storing eye cream in freezer.)  on real scorchers, i top it off with clarins uv plus SPF 40…a fair-faced girl can’t be too careful, and this stuff sinks in beautifully, leaving no trace of oil.

    as for makeup, my recent discovery of armani beauty‘s newest products simply couldn’t have come at a better time. i start with my old reliable, benefit’s lemon-aid (or my new, higher-maintenance love, laura mercier’s undercover pot, but we’ll talk more about that later).  from then on, it’s all armani for me this summer.  their face fabric ($48) is the lightest foundation i’ve ever tried.  the texture is incredible – it virtually disappears the moment you put it on, is perfectly mattifying, and truly doesn’t budge all day.  their soft lash mascara ($28) is utterly foolproof, curls lashes without forcing me to break out the lash curler, and doesn’t make your lashes feel like deadly weapons.  add a touch of their unbelievably cute “eyes to kill” eyeshadow palettes ($59) (i especially love the bronze coral set for summer, on just about any skin tone), and you’re basically done.  it works as a liner and highlighter (if i have that kind of energy), with perfectly pre-selected shades i don’t even have to think about.  i top it all of with my new favorite cheap beauty thrill: carmex’s new moisture plus.  $3 at your neighborhood walgreens, and seriously, it’s now all i’ll use. burt’s bees doesn’t live here any more!

    when it comes to hair, i’m looking for something seriously simple – i want as little to do with my hairdryer in july as humanly possible.  i’ve told you before about wonders of living proof’s “no frizz”, and especially in summer, it’s a life-saver when i just can’t bear the thought of styling. plus, their new refinishing spray gives me at least an extra day’s life from my blow-dried styles, and works so much better on my perpetually dry hair than dry shampoos that are supposed to give the same benefits.

    last but not least, i know this might not seem like a beauty essential, but it truly is.  while i’m horrible about getting my 8 glasses during the rest of the year, i’m like a camel in fill mode when the weather gets hot – i can’t leave a table without downing 4 glasses of water.  thankfully, i discovered this sweet little PUR built-in water filter when we moved (great new house, ancient fridge).  it was only about $45, a bargain i wasn’t expecting, and it was insanely easy to install. it’s been running nonstop in my house ever since, and saving me from my water snobbery (before this, i was about to resort to buying fiji water by the case!).  all that h20 has definitely been saving my skin this summer…my face doesn’t need nearly as much moisturizer when i’m hydrated, which means less to sweat off later in the day.  definitley a win/win.

    so, now i’m wondering…other than a staffer feeding you frozen grapes poolside, what are your summer beauty must-haves?

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