Highlighter Tom Ford

Review: Tom Ford Reflects Gilt Highlighting Duo

April 3, 2017

Tom Ford Reflects Gilt Highlighting Duo ($78) is one of the premier highlighting palettes of the Summer. Although tiny in size (the compact is the same as last year’s Bicoastal Blush duo), the formula of the two colors is absolutely superb.

It is a soft, well-made, pigmented, smooth and perfectly formulated to adhere directly on the skin.

The top shade is a warm yellow gold. As such, it looks best over bronzer or for an evening look. The bottom color is an amazing rose gold that looks beautiful as a shimmery blush (or applied lightly as a highlighter).

These shades have a life and complexity that is absolutely spot-on gorgeous. Yes, good things do come in small packages. This one is an amazing highlighter, a standout in a crowded field.

The Tom Ford Reflects Gilt highlighter palette is now available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.

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Highlighter NARS

My Thoughts: NARS Banc de Sable Highlighting Palette

March 30, 2017

Once I saw images of the NARS Banc de Sable palette ($49) I knew that I had to try it. The palette includes three highlighting shades designed to compliment a range of skin tones and to bring  you from Spring through Summer.

The lightest color (Rivage) is a pearl tone that is ideal for the upper cheek on any skin tone. The second (Sale) is a peach-infused shade that is beautiful over the cheek using a nude, peach or coral blush. I sometimes wear the deepest shade (Embruns) as a nude shimmery blush with a bronzer.

The texture of these melds beautifully to the skin, without any glitter bits. It’s just as smooth as butter. In a season crowded with some of the most creative, fantastical and generous highlighters that we’ve seen in a while, I’d put NARS Banc de Sable as a must-have. These are classic, flattering shades. And that texture. I’m seeing too many micro-glitter choices in other lines. But NARS is giving us the goods without compromise, something that’s going to flatter and looks expensive and “just right.”

Although the palette applies beautifully, I find myself reaching for a stiffer brush with this one. Although this palette gives no dust-up or fall-out, the material is pressed pretty firmly into those pans. I’m finding the Charlotte Tillbury Highlighting brush a good density for this palette. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fooled into thinking that this brush is the best brush of all time, but it has enough stiffness to do a good job with this palette. Your MAC 129 does a nice job as well. Both have a nice, compact head for precise placement and some ooomph in the bristles.

So, yes yes YES on NARS Banc de Sable. Available at Sephora.

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Uncategorized

Review: AveSeena Ageless Perfection Cream

March 26, 2017

AveSeena Ageless Perfection Cream ($157/ 1.7 oz) is an effective anti-aging moisturizer that I’ve added to my routine over the past few weeks. This formula, which uses plant stem cells, vitamins, botanicals and flowers, has been a delight to use.  Although the formula is rich, it sinks in quickly and hasn’t given me any hint of breakout (which is unusual for me, especially for a product that has these rich moisture-adding properties).

This moisturizer plays well under foundation.

The packaging is a lightweight, travel-friendly jar that has an air-tight pump mechanism to keep the product clean and fresh. Below is how the product comes out when you press on the top:

It has a natural flower-scent (mostly a light rose) that has no synthetic fragrance added. Here are some of the primary ingredients:

This is a luxury moisturizer that works–it gives my skin a moisturized, plumper and brighter appearance. It’s gorgeous.

 

AveSeena Ageless Perfection Cream is available here.

Here is the full ingredient list:

Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Water, Glycolic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Silk Protein Amino Acids, Stearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Globularia Cordifolia Callus Stem Cell Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Squalane, Methylsulfonylmethane, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ubiquinone, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract, Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum) Flower Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Arnica Montana (Arnica) Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) Flower Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Rosa Damascana (Rose) Absolute, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Geranium Maculatum (Wild Geranium) Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide.
pH is between 5.5-6.5. Vegan.

Natural and/or organic ingredients.

This sample was provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Skin care

Review: AveSeena Essential Radiance Serum

March 26, 2017

AveSeena Essential Radiance Serum ($74/ 1.0 ounce) is a lightweight gel serum that is designed to add moisture, soften skin and add anti-oxidants to neutralize free radicals. I’ve worn this serum twice a day under the AveSeena Ageless Perfection Cream for the past few weeks with some lovely results. It seems to help soften and even the texture of my skin, and provide a smooth surface.

I typically wear this under foundation, and it seems formulated to work well in that role. As with the other AveSeena products, this serum is allergy tested and dermatologist approved; PETA and Leaping Bunny certified, cruelty-free; EWG Verified TM; vegan and H-free – free of any unwanted chemical additives such as parabens, phthalates, SLS, or artificial dyes.

The full ingredient list is here: Rosa Damascana (Rose) Flower Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Glycerin, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Methylsulfonylmethane, Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom) Extract, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Salix Lucida (Willow Bark) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng (Ginseng) Root Extract, Pimpinella Anisum (Anise) Fruit/Seed Extract, Armoracia Rusticana (Horseradish) Extract, Schizandra Chinensis Fruit Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Globularia Cordifolia Callus Culture Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Geranium Maculatum (Wild Geranium) Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. pH is between 5.5-6.5. Vegan. Natural and/or organic ingredients.

I loved the results from the serum, and I particularly loved the healthy and pure ingredients. It’s wonderful when scientifically-formulated products truly deliver!

 

This was provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review

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Skin care

Review: Aveseena Honeyactive Beauty Mask

March 23, 2017

AveSeena is a new skincare line that combines 100% naturally-derived ingredients with the scientifically formulated ingredients. Developed by Dr. Ebru Karpuzoglu, MSc, PhD, this line seeks to deliver anti-aging and other beneficial results without estrogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals, as well as eliminating reliance on synthetic chemicals and preservatives (including parabens).

One truly extraordinary product that I wanted you to know about is the AveSeena Honeactive Beauty Mask ($67/3.34 oz).  Holy results-this chipped some serious years off my winter-dried, dull-skinned face in just over ten  minutes. This added moisture, took off dead skin layers, and created zero irrigation. My skin just looked so youthful and pretty. You can even say I glowed. 

Inside this quiet little jar is a very thick paste that smells a little heavenly (and yes, tastes pretty fabulous too if you get a touch on your lip area). I had to use the spatula to get this out of the jar. Warmed with my fingers, it spread on quite well. 

It’s hard to convey how much better my skin looked compared to how it started. It plumped, gently took off an unneeded layer, brightened and softened. When it came off, I had a touch of pink that I had not seen for a few weeks. If you’d like to de-winterize your skin, this is highly recommended. According to the packaging, you can use this 1-3 times per week.

Here’s the actual ingredient list (click to enlarge):

I’m loving this introduction to the line. A truly hero product. AveSeena’s Honeyactive Mask is all love. Available here.

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Skin care

Review: Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening Powder

March 8, 2017

Vitabrid’s C12 Face Brightening Powder ($60/ 0.11 oz. powder) is a nice way to add a topical Vitamin C into your skincare routine. As you likely already know, Vitamin C helps to prevent melanin formulation from UV rays, adds anti-oxidants which helps preserve the skin, and has anti-aging effects. Vitamin C serums are a wonderful way to get these benefits. However, some suffer from some downsides. First, these serums can be unstable on exposure to light and prone to spilling. Also, some aren’t as well-absorbed by skin as they could be.

Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening 12H Vitamin C is formulated to solve these concerns. Although I’m not a scientist, according to Vitabrid, this powder product is more stable, more easily absorbed more deeply into the skin, and therefore is more beneficial. By using mineral carriers, Vitabrid’s formula is said to deliver 12 hours worth of Vitamin C once applied to the skin. This is from the brand’s website.

The formula also includes Niacinamide 5%, Adenosine 4%, and Allatoin 0.25% to assist in brightening and healing the skin.

To increase stability, the product is a powder. You simply put a touch into your moisturizer, serum or simply water and apply twice a day. The powder is very fine and dissolves very quickly and easily.

If you aren’t sure how much to use, there is a small scooper enclosed to let you know the appropriate amount for a single application. It’s quite easy to use. I’ve been using this in my Chanel Le Lift, and it’s quite easy to mix together on the back of my hand.

Overall, I enjoyed using Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening Powder has been a quick and easy additive to my twice-daily skincare. I’ve used it for about a week, and I haven’t noticed any drying or irritating effects that sometimes occur with Vitamin C additives. This is a lovely formulation and an efficient, travel-friendly way to get your Vitamin C skincare dose.

This is available at Amazon.

Affiliate links/ sample sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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Becca Concealer

Review: BECCA Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach

March 5, 2017

Becca’s Backlight Targeted Color Corrector in Peach ($30) has been knocking around in my makeup bag for a few months at this point. As you might know from back in the day when I did this post, I have blue discoloration in my under eye area that requires some color correction that I apply before my concealer. Last sprint when I was running low, I thought that I’d give Becca’s Backlight in Peach a shot.

My favorites to correct this area are Giorgio Armani in #2 Orange ($40) and the Tom Ford Illuminating Pen in Amber Eclat ($52). That’s still true, even after working my way halfway through the Becca Peach.  I find the texture of Giorgio Armani’s and Tom Ford to be more elegant for the eye area for someone of my age range.

I will say that Becca Peach does correct blue like nobody’s business. It can be sheered out on any blue-based area of discoloration on the face or in the underage and wow–under a concealer–it really does cancel. After a side-by-side test, I can say that Becca Peach works even better than Becca’s Under Eye Brightening Corrector, it’s pink-tone shimmery brightening product, for cancelling out blue-based under eye shadows. So if you are completely over worrying about blue-undertones making you look weary, Becca Peach does deliver. In other words, if the Tom Ford and Armani are just not deep enough to cut out the blue, then the Becca is the right choice. The texture of the product just is not formulated quite as well for the delicate-skin under eye area as the others, so if you don’t need that strength of correction then you don’t need to go there.

If you are the type of person who gauges these things (I’m not), the amount you get for the price, of course, with Becca Peach is generous with 0.16 ounces (compared with Armani’s has .14  and Tom Ford has .11 oz.). As you can see from this swatch, Becca Peach is a robust orange.

You don’t need a bullet proof concealer to cover it, but you definitely need something medium. I’ve had no problems using Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer or Clarins Instant Concealer. However, some denser formulas like Tarte Shape Tape seem to be too much–together, these two get a little too thick and cakey to look natural in my opinion. And it would be a rare person, I think, who would need both this very powerful Becca corrector AND Shape Tape. It’s probably overkill on most.

Overall, Becca Undereye Brightening Corrector offers serious correction. The texture is a little on the thicker side, so unless you really need this level of correction, I’d stay with the other options.

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Foundation Skin care

Review: It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation

March 3, 2017

It Cosmetics just introduced a line of foundations called Confidence in a Compact ($38 each). In my opinion, this is a niche foundation that is going to be absolutely perfect for certain skin types. If your skin is perfect and looks fabulous foundation-free, perhaps this is not the foundation for you. Rather, this one was developed with the help of plastic surgeons to incorporate anti-aging ingredients while providing full coverage. The ingredients include hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, squalane (yay!), antioxidants and a super ceramide cream.

Confidence in a Compact Foundation (available in seven shades) is described as a “solid serum” formula. It feels like a solid but is easily picked up and has a bit of liquid slip as you pick it up with your fingers (it doesn’t feel like silicon, but more like a tinted moisturizer). the product comes in a compact with an sealed lid to keep the product fresh. As the name suggests, it has the texture of a serum which can be picked up from the compact with either a brush, sponge or finger. The product has two lids–one, the silver overlaid which looks pretty on your vanity or in your travel bag. Second, there’s an inner plastic lid which holds a sponge and keeps the product fresh. Here’s the inner lid:

You can see the head of the Heavenly Skin™ Skin Smoothing Complexion Brush #704 ($48) on the left above. This well-designed, well-made brush is a beautiful foundation brush that picks up and applies this solid-serum beautifully.  It has a silver handle, and a soft dense head. This head has more “give” compared to most foundation brushes, which seems to work well with this softer foundation formula. Another shot of the Heavenly Skin brush is on the left below (it’s has a nice, solid feel with bristles that don’t seem to budge out of their ferrule).

It’s been my experience that foundation with significant skincare ingredients creeps up into the $100-200 range pretty quickly. At $38, Confidence in a Compact delivers anti-aging benefits at a far lower price point. Essentially, the idea is to give you full coverage with the ingredients to help keep skin young. It’s based on IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream ($48/ 2 ounces), a very rich, nourishing moisturizer that can be applied twice per day. This moisturizer is serious–it has the rich feel of Chanel Sublimage ($400) at almost 1/10 the price point. No, they aren’t dupes. However, IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream has a similar rich feel and delivers super-moisture that feels both healing and refreshing.

In my option, the Confidence in a Compact foundation easily delivers on its claim of full coverage. You will want to start with a touch less than you think you need, as this pigment-rich formula definitely covers it all. This moisturizing foundation with skincare ingredient will soothe and plump the skin. In fact, I was having a bit of irritation from some new skincare. With a combination of the Confidence in a Cream moisturizer topped with Confidence in a Compact Foundation took care of those dry spots right away. Those dry patches were gone in sixty seconds. The overall texture had glow.

The coverage lasted all day, with nothing peeking through. When I used both products together, I got my typical forehead glow from my combination skin (this was less pronounced when I used the foundation alone). To be honest, using both on my combination skin was a little too much moisture. I suspect that those with dry skin that needs coverage will adore that combination.

These colors run a little on the lighter side, and of course with this full coverage a good match really does matter. As a Chanel Cameo/Ivoire, MAC NC 15/20, I matched pretty well with Light. I used Medium for a little contouring. As you can see from these swatches, the line could use more shades on the deep end.

Overall, It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact is ideal for those seeking anti-aging benefits at a mid-price point, particularly those with drier skin and a need for medium-to-full coverage. This is sold at Ulta Beauty and IT Cosmetics website.

Affiliate links/ Products sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Ingredients: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: TITANIUM DIOXIDE 9.0% ZINC OXIDE 6.3% INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: DIMETHICONE, AQUA/WATER/EAU, SNAIL SECRETION FILTRATE, PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CANDELILLA CERA/EUPHORBIA CERIFERA (CANDELILLA) WAX/CIRE DE CANDELILLA, OZOKERITE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL DICAPRYLATE/DICAPRATE, CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, ARBUTIN, CERESIN, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, SORBITAN OLIVATE, POLYGLYCERYL-4 ISOSTEARATE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, HEXYL LAURATE, STEARIC ACID, SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE, GLYCERIN, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, SQUALANE, ADENOSINE, SODIUM HYALURONATE, SODIUM LAUROYL LACTYLATE, CURCUMA LONGA (TURMERIC) ROOT EXTRACT, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRAISOSTEARATE, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL EXTRACT, POLYSORBATE 20, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CERAMIDE NP, MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA (TEA TREE) LEAF OIL, GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, CHOLESTEROL, PHYTOSPHINGOSINE, CERAMIDE AP, MACADAMIA TERNIFOLIA SEED OIL, CARBOMER, XANTHAN GUM, BETA-SITOSTEROL, GLYCERYL LINOLEATE, CHOLETH-24, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, CETETH-24, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, GLYCERYL LINOLENATE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, NIACINAMIDE, GLYCERYL ARACHIDONATE, PANTHENOL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, SODIUM LACTATE, LECITHIN, HYDROLYZED HYALURONIC ACID, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, UBIQUINONE, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL, PUNICA GRANATUM SEED OIL, COLLOIDAL OATMEAL, ANTHEMIS NOBILIS FLOWER WATER, PERFLUOROHEXANE, SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, PALMITOYL HEXAPEPTIDE-12, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, OPUNTIA FICUS-INDICA EXTRACT, CORNUS OFFICINALIS FRUIT EXTRACT, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER WATER, HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN, MAGNOLIA KOBUS BARK EXTRACT, LACTOBACILLUS/HONEYSUCKLE FLOWER/LICORICE ROOT/MORUS ALBA ROOT/PUERARIA LOBATA ROOT/SCHIZANDRA CHINENSIS FRUIT/SCUTELLARIA BAICALENSIS ROOT/SOPHORA JAPONICA FLOWER EXTRACT FERMENT FILTRATE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) SPROUT EXTRACT, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) LEAF EXTRACT, PENTAFLUOROPROPANE, BIOTIN, ANTHEMIS NOBILIS FLOWER EXTRACT, STEARETH-20, CHRYSANTHEMUM INDICUM FLOWER EXTRACT, PALMITOYL TRIPEPTIDE-1, HYDROLYZED SILK, CERAMIDE EOP, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-7, MORUS ALBA FRUIT EXTRACT, PUERARIA LOBATA ROOT EXTRACT, CINNAMOMUM CASSIA BARK EXTRACT, ARTEMISIA PRINCEPS LEAF EXTRACT, SODIUM BENZOATE, DIOSPYROS KAKI LEAF EXTRACT, POTASSIUM SORBATE, N-HYDROXYSUCCINIMIDE, PALMITOYL PENTAPEPTIDE-4, COPPER TRIPEPTIDE-1, ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8, CAPRYLHYDROXAMIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID, NIACIN, TOCOPHEROL, PANTOTHENIC ACID, THIAMINE HCL, CHRYSIN, CARNITINE HCL, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, CYCLOMETHICONE, CITRIC ACID, DISODIUM EDTA, PERFLUORODECALIN, CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL OIL, EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS LEAF OIL, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) PEEL OIL, CITRUS AURANTIFOLIA (LIME) OIL, PINUS SYLVESTRIS LEAF OIL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CITRUS LIMON (LEMON) PEEL OIL, PHENOXYETHANOL, CITRUS AURANTIUM BERGAMIA (BERGAMOT) FRUIT OIL, PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM/ MINERAL OIL/HUILE MINERALE, ALCOHOL, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE, [+/-: IRON OXIDES (CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499)].”

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Blush Eyeshadow NARS

Simplifying Travel Option: NARS Pro Palettes

January 27, 2017

Last year, NARS introduced their Pro Palette line of products and palettes , a way to pack an incredible way to re-experience the brand. Although I’ve always loved the brand, having the option to fill these slim, travel-ready palettes opens up the usability of their line exponentially.

The palettes themselves are very slim. They come in two sizes, small and large, and together you can take enough options to last you for months and months. Their magnetized backing allows you to re-arrange the items, so that you can select your favorites and take only one if you choose. I typically slip two of them into the same padded slot in bag as my Apple MacBook Pro, side by side. Easy, easy, easy.

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Perfume Uncategorized

First Look: Louis Vuitton Perfumes

January 6, 2017

This past Fall, Louis Vuitton expanded its luxury range to include Les Perfums, a series of fragrances. I was fortunate enough that a loved one gave me the Miniature Set ($290) for the holidays. As I’m living a bi-coastal life at present, this was particularly thoughtful because it gives me a variety of fragrances that I can keep in one home, while I have my larger perfume collection in another. The presentation box is quite understated.

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