Category Archives: Features

Drugstore’s Finest: CeraVe

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Recommended by dermatologists everywhere, the CeraVe line of skincare products are all non-irritating, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. Better yet, they are all available at a drugstore near you.

The CeraVe line was created in conjunction with dermatologists and was intended for use in the treatment of dry skin and other conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea and atopic dermatitis. CeraVe is the first brand to contain essential ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids that healthy skin needs. CeraVe uses a patented “multivescular emulsion” or MVE® system that was only available through prescription not long ago. This system consists of a controlled and steady release of various ingredients over time allowing skin to be hydrated longer and more efficiently with one application. The daily regimen of cleansers and moisturizers helps repair, replenish and protect the skin’s barrier to leave it looking and feeling soft, clean and healthy.

The CeraVe line of skincare products are drugstore’s finest. Here is a review of the first few products I have tried and tested:

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser: Gentle yet powerful, this cleanser removes makeup, dirt and oil like a champ. It leaves the face feeling soft and clean, not stripped or dry. It contains the brand’s signature ceramides and hyaluronic acid – two ingredients that help lock in moisture so your skin will never feel tight or dry.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30: A great daytime moisturizer that feels light on the skin but wards off UVA/UVB rays with it’s standout broad-spectrum sunscreen. It keeps skin hydrated and restores the skin’s barrier with Niacinaminde (vitamin B3) making it less vulnerable to the elements.

CeraVe SA Renewing Lotion: This body lotion does it all – exfoliates, smoothes and softens. Skin can only be truly hydrated when the top layer of dead skin cells are removed. This allows moisturizing ingredients to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. The Renewing Lotion does all of this for you. Formulated with both salicylic acid (used for epidermal exfoliation) and ammonium lactate (a mild exfoliant and humectant) this lotion gently removes dry, scaly skin. While, vitamin D, glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid smooths, firms and hydrates the skin.

CeraVe, in my opinion, is the best affordable line of skincare products. All of the products are gentle, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, non-irritating and readily available at mass retailers and drugstores nationwide.

The Classics: Denim Shirt

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A perfect foundation to any outfit, the denim shirt is a timeless attribute to have in your collection.

Just like a trusty pair of jeans, the shirt is available in many washes and styles: dark wash, light wash, deconstructed, western style, classic style.

The denim shirt provides the perfect juxtaposition to this season’s floral dresses and skirts. It can be worn as a jacket/cover-up over these items or tucked-in for a more classic look. A great way to “casual-ize” an outfit is to pair this shirt with your favorite leather shorts or pants for a great daytime look. Or dress it up by adding a blazer or tuxedo jacket. Lastly, throw on over your bikini – for an easy summer cover-up.

The versatile denim shirt is a classic. An item that will never go out-of-style. Find one that suits your style.

Madewell ~ Wayward Jean Shirt: $88.00

Boy. by Band of Outsiders ~ Cotton-Chambray Shirt: $305.00

J.Crew ~ Denim Western Shirt: $118.00

Mango ~ Long Sleeves Denim Shirt: $54.99

How To: Distressed Jeans

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Create a distressed pair of jeans in minutes with the proper materials. This can be done to any old or new pair of jeans, shorts, cargo pants, trousers or jackets. The key is to be strategic with the rips and distressed areas so the item remains flattering and not overly done.

NEEDED:

◊ Fabric Chalk

◊ Scissors

◊ Tweezers

◊ Exacto Knife

◊ Sanding Block

◊ Small Wood Block

HOW TO:

◊ Wear jeans – with the fabric chalk draw a line above the knee cap of one leg and on the upper thigh of the other.

◊ Starting with the chalk mark on the upper thigh, with scissors cut two small parallel lines about 2 inches apart (see image 1).

◊ Insert wood block into the jeans and under the cut marks. With the sanding block, gently fray the edges of the outer cut marks leaving a bar of material in the center (see image 2).

◊ With tweezers, loosen and gently pluck-out threads (see image 3).

◊ Move wood block to the chalk mark on the knee. Take exacto knife and cut bluntly. This will create a more naturally distressed look.

◊ With the sanding block, fray the edges (see image 4).

◊ Continue to sand the area to enlarge the opening.

◊ With the sanding block, feverishly rub both the thigh area and below the knee. This will make jeans look “lived-in.”

TIP: Holes, worn-spots and rips can be added anywhere you like. For a more subdued look, keep it simple with strategic placement.

Tried & Tested: Dior Hydra Life BB Crème

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The BB Cream craze has officially arrived stateside. Prestige brands are now formulating their own versions of these “magical creams.”

To read more on the meaning and creation of the BB Cream, read my previous post, here.

I admit, I jumped on the BB Cream bandwagon a couple years ago. I starting with traditional Asian brands and have worked my way up to my current favorite, Dior.

The difference between traditional BB Creams and the BB Creams now available at your local counters, is color and consistency. The majority of the traditional brands offer a selection of only one or two shades, developed primarily for Asian skin tones. These shades are often very light and have greyish-undertones. Traditional BB Creams are thick in consistency and provide medium to full coverage as well as excellent sun protection, anti-aging benefits and skin-regenerating properties. The majority of the “new” BB Creams are no different than a tinted moisturizer with higher SPF. The coverage of these products can be very sheer, but most offer a better selection of shades.

Dior Hydra Life BB Crème has a thicker, full-coverage texture that is more in line with traditional BB Creams. Formulated with the Hydra Life skincare line, this cream is packed with moisturizing and age-defying benefits. The smooth velevety-texture has complexion-enhancing properties that produce a dewy, radiant glow. With SPF 30 PA+++ protection, this is a great product to reach for in the warmer months. The one caveat is, similar to traditional BB Creams, Dior Hydra Life BB Crème is available in one only shade. It is important to test this product before purchasing.

The BB Cream craze is confirmable, who wouldn’t want a single-step cream that will balance skin, correct the complexion and protect a youthful appearance?

5 under $50: Wedges

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A warm-weather staple, wedges are comfortable, stylish and wonderfully chunky. Available in multiple textures, colors and prints at these prices you can have them all. Live on the ‘wedge’ with 5 under $50.00:

Charlotte Russe ~ Cross-Front Strappy Cork Wedge: $35.50

Charlotte Russe ~ 2-Band Wooden Wedge Sandal: $36.50

Piperlime ~ Qupid – Katrina:  $49.00

ALDO ~ Ellingwood: $35.00

Piperlime ~ Michael Antonio – Goldy: $49.00

Holy Grail: L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

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Say good-bye to itchy skin and razor burn with L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil. This ultra-nourishing body wash gently cleanses while doubling as a moisturizing shaving foam.

When mixed with water,  L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil transforms from a soothing oil into lavish foam. The unique texture leaves a satin-like softness all over the body keeping moisture locked into the skin. Rich in almond oil, grape vine, rosemary and nourishing lipids, L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil is suitable for both men and women.

This shower oil is unique and like nothing I have ever tried. It is by far better than any shaving cream/gel available. A pea-sized amount is enough to use on the entire leg. It permits the closest shave possible and keeps skin soft and hydrated. It cleanses the skin without stripping it dry and the sweet almond scent will blanket the entire bathroom. L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil has graduated to my Holy Grail list of products.

Tailor Time: Boyfriend Blazer

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Time for Spring Cleaning. Instead of giving away staple pieces in your closet, alter them. With a small tweak, these items can be born again.

Almost everyone has a black blazer in their closet. Give this blazer new life by simply adding material to the collar. Check out your local fabric store and look at different textures and fabrics; leather, pleather, suede, jersey, corduroy, sateen, velvet. Experiment with patterns and colors, maybe opt for houndstooth or brown distressed leather. The possibilities are endless.

When altering a piece of clothing, I suggest first asking your local tailor for two quotes – with and without materials. When happy with the price and materials used – you just created a brand new blazer.

Drugstore Find: Spoiled Nail Color

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While picking up a few necessities at CVS, I stumbled upon a promotional stand for Spoiled Nail Color. Manufactured by Wet-n-Wild Cosmetics, these polishes are exclusive to CVS and retail for $1.99…

I was immediately attracted to a color called Flamingo Pink. The formula is opaque and very true to color. One coat was all that was needed, but due to the price point I thought two coats might have more staying-power. Applied on toes and fingers, one week later, my toes are unblemished and my fingers are just now beginning to chip.

The only setback is the brush. A thick brush, (similar to Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure) but with a weird tapered end. The edge of the brush can be a little awkward, but ignored, due to the $1.99 price tag.

Available in 72 colors, Spoiled Nail Color is truly a great buy. From trendy neon shades to glittery sparkles, one is bound to find a shade worthy of the $1.99 investment.

5 under $50: Electric Belts

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Add some color to an outfit with a brightly-hued belt. From pastel to neon, a solid-colored belt will add dimension to an outfit as well as a pop of color. A simple belt accentuates not only the ensemble but the figure. Cinched at the waist, these belts provide figure-friendly curves. Pick your favorite color pattern, then pick up one (or a couple) of these electric belts, all under $50.00.

J.Crew ~ Patent Leather Skinny Belt: $36.50

Asos ~ FLURO Skinny Belt: $10.74

Mango ~ TOUCH Two Buckle Belt: $34.99

Banana Republic ~ Skinny Lizard Belt: $34.50

Old Navy ~ Skinny Faux-Patent Belt: $15.00

Holy Grail: Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Perversion

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Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils are some of my favorite. They are creamy, intensely pigmented and have amazing staying power.

Perversion eye pencil was released as a limited-edition shade, but is now part of Urban Decay’s permanent collection. It is the richest and darkest black eye pencil, I have ever seen. With just one stroke, the matte black shade glides on smoothly and effortlessly.

The waterproof eyeliners are great for lining the waterline. My eyes are very sensitive to this technique and I rarely partake. However, the 24/7 eyeliners do not irritate my eyes as much as others. I think this is due to the fact that I only need one or two strokes of the pencil. The incredibly pigmented formula does all the work for me.

If you are looking for one black eyeliner that does it all, Perversion is it.

How To: Bedhead Hair

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here is a quick How-To create sexy, tousled, bedhead hair.

NEEDED:

‣ Texturizing Spray

‣ 1’in – 1.5’in Curling Rod or Iron

‣ Velcro Rollers or Duckbill Pins

‣ Hair Spray

‣ Shine Serum/Spray

HOW-TO:

⇢ Start with day-old hair. (Curl will hold better)

⇢ Apply Texturizing Spray from root to end. (By using this rather than a hair spray, will ensure that sexy tousled look.)

⇢ Using the curling rod, start about 3 inches down from the root and wrap 1 inch sections around the wand. Stop curling about one inch from the bottom of the hair, this will create a more natural wave.

⇢ Alternate the direction of the curl, front to back. (TIP: The bigger the section, the looser the wave. Haphazardly take smaller sections and bigger sections all over the head.)

⇢ Set each curl by wrapping the hair around a velcro roller – or –  wrap the curl around two fingers and pin to head.

⇢ Let curls set for 10 minutes or until cool.

⇢ Carefully release roller or pin and apply hair spray.

⇢ Flip hair upside-down and run fingers through the hair, gently breaking up each curl. (If curls are tighter than preferred, the more you mess with them – the more they will drop.)

⇢ Add shine serum/spray.

Weekend Ensemble: Las Vegas

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This Superbowl Weekend will be spent in Las Vegas. A weekend filled with concerts and parties, these leather pants will be my trusty companion. Easy to top-off with t-shirts, blouses and blazers – packing will be a synch. To add a bit more drama, I am excited to wear MAC’s Neon Orange Lipstick. This statement lipstick will pair perfectly with the neon lights of Vegas.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ashling

Pictured: Helmut Lang Leather Skinny Pants, Ann Demeulemeester Long Asymmetric Tank Top, Christian Louboutin (Decoltissmo), MADE Tassel Bracelet, MAC Neon Orange Lipstick.

What to Wear: Valentine’s Day

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Look irresistible this Valentine’s Day no matter how you plan on celebrating. From a fancy dinner to night out with the ladies, choose a style that makes you feel good. Sexy, sweet, flirty or romantic, here are a few options to celebrate the day of love.

Mango ~ Red Dress: $44.90

BCBGMAXAZRIA ~ BCBGGENERATION Strapless Pleated Dress: $128.00

Piperlime ~ Daniel Rainn Floral Maxi Dress: $89.00

Zara ~ Dress with Flared Skirt: $59.90

Mango ~ Striped Dress: $39.99

Tried & Tested: The Battle of the Cleansing Conditioners

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A cleansing conditioner is a new approach to the way you clean your hair. These products cleanse and hydrate the hair in just one-step. Different from past “two-in-one” products, these cleansing conditioners do not contain any harsh detergents, chemicals, surfactants and/or sulfates that strip hair of it’s natural oils.

The three products up for review are: WEN Pomagranate Cleansing Conditioner, Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo and L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner. Each product claim the same purpose – a healthy alternative to cleansing hair – but perform differently using varied ingredients.

WEN Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner

Company Description: WEN uses a combination of natural extracts and botanicals to hydrate and cleanse the hair without the use of detergents and chemicals. The perfect mixture and blend of it’s ingredients leave hair healthy, moisturized and cleansed. WEN Cleansing Conditioners replace shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner giving you five products in one bottle.

Suggested Use: Rinse hair thoroughly. Apply product in 4 sections, crown, nape, ends on left side and ends on right side. For short hair 24 pumps is suggested, for longer thicker hair 48 pumps. Add a splash of water and massage into scalp. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the product and leave in for 3-5 minutes. Rinse. Product can then be used again as a detangler or leave-in treatment.

Review: WEN Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner is truly a unique product. My first attempt trying the product was mediocre, due to the fact that I ignored the company’s directions and thought “I could not possibly need that amount of product.” After a bit of experimenting and following directions, WEN left my hair clean, extremely hydrated, bouncy and shiny. (Do I sound like the infomercial?… sorry.) When trying this product for the first time, the satisfaction level is a bit frustrating. With no lather or bubbles (it barely foams), it is hard to get used to, until you see the results.

Shu Uemura Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo

Company Description: Delicate formula that transforms quickly into a rich thick foam that effectively draws out the impurities and build-up on the scalp without stripping the natural oils. Leaves hair naturally radiant, soft, and in a balanced state – volumized and moisturized. Paraben and silicone free.

Suggested Use: Formuated for daily use. massage through wet hair and rinse.

Review: Shu Uemura Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo should be in a category of it’s own. Just like the company’s best selling oil-based facial cleanser, their philosophy is “oil removes oil.” Which is exactly what this product does. Formulated from deep-sea volcanic extracts, this revolutionary oil-to-foam cleanser gently washes away built-up impurities and leaves hair lightweight, lustrous and magically free from unwanted grease.  After application, I do use a separate conditioner but it is not necessary.

L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner

Company Description: This one-step wonder product is an ultra-gentle, yet powerful combination of 1/4 cleanser + 3/4 moisture. Its Low-Poo, or Low-Lather, cleansing reduces friction on the hair fiber to help minimize breakage. This innovative, ultra-concentrated triple action conditioning formula, with Omega-3 and 6, leaves hair super soft and nourished without weigh-down.

Suggested Use: Apply to wet hair and massage into a low later. Leave in 1-2 minutes. Rinse. No separate conditioner needed.

Review: L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner is the drugstore equivalent to WEN Haircare. The newest product of the three, this product produces much of the same results with varied ingredients. L’Oreal Cleansing Conditioner has a surfactant in it, a type of detergent. Although very mild, this product is really no different than any other “sulfate-free” shampoo – other than having added moisturizing properties. It does cleanse the hair and leave it soft and manageable and would be a great product to have in your gym bag for a quick shower.

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Conclusion: I have a hard time using one product for a long period of time, therefore, cannot review their long-term effect. But, this is what I have concluded: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo might be the best shampoo I have ever used. Feels gentle and nourishing at the same time. WEN is truly a unique product and wins for best all-in-one product. L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner is a good drugstore option, but is not that much different than the line’s sulfate-free products.

Holy Grail: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

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Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Oribe Texturizing Spray is an invisible dry hair spray that creates incredible volume and texture. Patented polymers absorb oil at the roots, creating volumptuous-styled hair for days.

Many reviews have categorized this spray as a dry shampoo. I would not recommend this product for purely this reason, it is so much more. One mist of this texturizing spray creates a dry-matte grip and massive body in the hair.  Yes… It will absorb oil but this product creates a dry and almost crispy hair texture, so a small amount is all that is needed.

Perfect for creating up-dos and trendy styles, braids, twists and/or messy buns. This spray is perfect for obtaining ‘beachy’ texture and instant second-day hair. This body-building spray dries to an invisible finish leaving no white residue and smells wonderfully citrusy with a hint of musk.

Oribe Texturizing Spray transcends flat hair to full hair. Try-on some texture today.

Holy Grail: Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara

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Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara is currently the best mascara I have ever used. Coming from a lunatic that has tested every imaginable mascara, this says a lot. As seen in Glow-T’s Best of 2011 post – I wanted to wait until I thoroughly tested this product to give an honest review. 

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara is all of your favorite lengthening/separating/volumizing mascaras rolled into one. The formula is smooth, weightless and incredibly pigmented. One coat is all that is needed for full/thick lashes, however, the build-able formula is capable of overly dramatic lashes without clumping (statement based on two thick coats). The wand’s handle is weighted, giving support for easy application. The brush is nothing special and on the larger size, but delivers intensely thick, black lashes.

The only criticism I have is the price. A $30 dollar mascara is hard to swallow with so many cheaper products on the market. In consideration, I purchased this mascara in the beginning of November and it is still going strong; no traces of dryness or emptiness.

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara is currently on my holy grail list. At this point, you would think I would never need to acknowledge another mascara again… You would think…

How To: Quick Holiday Hair

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Get Holiday Hair in a jiffy with a couple of easy steps.

Need:

✒Dry Shampoo

✒Curling Iron

✒Bobby Pins

✒Hair Spray

How To:

✒ Roughly blow dry hair.

✒ Spray dry shampoo to the crown area – this will provide texture and volume.

✒ With a curling iron – wrap random/haphazard 1-inch sections around barrel for about 3-5 seconds (no need to clamp -looking for more of a bend/wave than curl).

✒ Spray each section with hair spray.

✒ Run fingers through the waves to break them up.

✒ Decide if you want a middle part or side part. Section off hair from forehead to 1/2 way to crown and spray with dry shampoo. This will make hair easier to work with.

✒Take one section and twist (or braid) hair and pin to the back of head. Pull on section to loosen. Repeat (if necessary) on the other side.

✒Spray with hair spray and tease sections for a messier look.

5 under $50: Party Dress

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New Years is right around the corner. A fun party dress does not have to break the bank. Play with colors and textures, accessories and shoes – to complete your perfect outfit. Pair these dresses with a rugged leather jacket or sparkly sequin blazer to add a little something extra. Try a pair of ankle boots or wildly bright pumps – just don’t skimp on shoes, dancing all night in cheap shoes is never fun.  From form-fitting cut-outs to leopard print, here are a few ideas all under $50.00.

Lulu’s ~ Sail the Universe Little Black Dress: $43.00

ASOS ~ Exclusive Peter Pan Collar Open Back Dress: $43.63

Forever 21 ~ Love 21 Leopard Woven Dress w/Belt: $29.80

ASOS ~ Dress with Fringing Drop Hem: $32.72

Mango ~ Straight Cut Dress – Caspio: $49.90

How To: Glitter

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Sparkle this holiday season with a little glitter.

Application of glitter can go terribly wrong… fast. It is messy and can look too theatrical if not careful. To make glitter appear chic and sophisticated, use only a small amount in a concentrated area.

Start with product. The Illusion D’Ombre Eyeshadows by Chanel are by far my favorite. They have intense pigmentation and provide a classic shimmering effect with one easy-to-use swipe. They can be used with fingers or a very dense brush for perfect application. If actual glitter is desired, loose pigments/glitter are best. Make Up Forever Glitters are soft, concentrated and finely-milled for super sparkle.

How To Apply Glitter:

➺ On clean eyelids, apply eyeshadow primer from lash line to brow bone. (Favorite: Urban Decay Primer Potion)

➺ The glitter will need something to adhere to, apply a cream eyeshadow to the lid. This can be nude or a color that compliments the glitter. (Favorite: MAC Paint Pot)

➺ Using a small synthetic brush, dip into the glitter. Tap off excess.

➺ Press the glitter onto the lid in a dabbing motion. Do not sweep.

➺ Mist a setting spray gently on the eyes and wait to dry. (Favorite: Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray)

✴ If this technique is still too messy, on the back of hand or artist’s palette, mix cream eyeshadow and glitter together and apply to the lid. With glitter application, fallout is expected. Make sure to do eye makeup first and face makeup second. Dab the fallout with scotch tape to clean any loose particles.

Holy Grail: Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

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Kiehls Creme de Corps

Kiehl’s was founded as an old-world apothecary in New York’s East Village over 150 years ago. Their products are made with the finest ingredients in unique formulations to assure high quality skincare products. Currently a subsidiary of French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, Kiehl’s can be found in department and flagship stores worldwide.

Creme de Corps body lotion is the brand’s best-selling product. Kiehl’s produces over 1,000,000 ounces of Creme de Corps each year. Used incessantly on models backstage to create glowing skin, this body lotion leaves skin soft, smooth and beautifully moisturized. The ultra-rich formula glides on seamlessly and absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft – not greasy. The unscented body lotion is formulated with rich butters, oils and beta carotene to provide all-day hydration.

By far, the best body lotion I have ever used. No matter how many products I try and test, Kiehl’s Creme de Corps is what I reach for the most.

Tip: Purchase Kiehl’s products at flagship stores, if possible. These stores are known for their generous sample supply. Don’t be afraid to ask.

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