K-Beauty: My Fave Sheet Masks

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Photo: Chrissy Tiegen

These days, I’ll about self care and doing what you can to make yourself feel that you’re at your best. For me, that involves a lot of skin care and at home spa-like treatments. As much as I love makeup, I am trying to make the state of my skin a constant priority because its function is critical. Not to mention that your makeup looks best when it’s applied to healthy skin.

 

Cue my obsession with all things K-Beauty. Korean beauty is becoming more and more popular and for good reason: Korean women (and men!) are seriously diligent about skincare. We should all aspire to be dedicated to a care routine with the same fervor. After all, it produces RESULTS. The before and afters are undeniable. Most K-Beauty routines involve approximately 8 steps and can include as many as 12 or 13. Fear not: you don’t need to have these many steps to reap the benefits of the Korean beauty philosophy and method(s). Incorporating a step here or there will have your skin looking better than it ever has.

One of the easiest steps to incorporate is sheet-masking. These cloth masks (they sometimes come in other materials as well) are soaked with serums and moisturizers in a convenient and efficient design to optimize the benefits of the treatment for your skin. You simply unfold the mask, apply to your face avoiding your eyes and let it sit for anywhere from 15-30 minutes (check and follow directions listed on the package). For those minutes that you’re letting the mask sit and work its magic, I like to do absolutely nothing–it’s wonderful! Forced relaxation can be such a benefit and sheet masking trains you to just let yourself be and take rest. Whatever you need to do will still be there when your masking time is finished. And when your time is up, simply remove the mask and throw away. It’s just that easy!

I do a sheet mask at least every other day. Some weeks, I do one daily–I personally love those weeks. I find myself less stressed and with more clarity throughout the week. Since I’ve tried so many, I feel comfortable enough saying I have preferences that I think once you try as well, you’ll love:

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Photo: San Francisco Racked 

Tony Moly is my accessible and affordable sheet mask fix! I get them at my local Urban Outfitters for about $3 each. Sometimes, they’ll have a 4/$10 sale–great for grabbing a few extra or trying one for a different purpose.

  • Red Wine (Pore Care): this mask lives up to its name. I’m prone to large, visible pores so I tried this mask hoping it would reduce their appearance. That it did. Results don’t last very long, so it could be great for special occasions in the beginning.  I’m going to keep using them to determine if results are longer lasting with continued use.
  • Avocado (Nutrition): my face felt “fed” after using this mask for sure. I tried this before bed once and woke up with visibly brighter, plumper skin where scaly spots had started to appear. (Damn flaking face!)
  • Aloe (Moisturizing): I think this should actually also say soothing as I go straight for this one when I feel my skin is irritated or just generally behaving badly. The Tea Tree formula is actually labeled ‘Soothing’ and I find that odd as tea tree is strong and usually irritates many–mostly because it can be drying. Bottom line: this one is a sheet mask staple.

I haven’t tried them all yet, but I do have the Seaweed (Skin Purifying) and Rice (Clear Skin) on deck and will try at least one of them this weekend and report back.

What about you? Got any fave masks? Love to hear about your holy grail masks, especially your sheet mask picks, so comment below!

Good chat. Until next time…xo

 

Ciao Bella! (Kiko Milano Haul)

Hello glossies!

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, it wasn’t a very good health day. But it’s all good: I’m back and now we can gab about a few new treats I picked up at my local Kiko Milano Cosmetics on Wednesday evening.

For those of you who haven’t heard of, or don’t know much about Kiko Milano, let me help bring you up to speed. Kiko Milano originates from Italy and has just recently made it’s way to our side of the globe. If you visit Kiko Milano’s website (www.kikocosmetics.us) you’ll see that this brand describes itself as a destination for “professional make up and cutting edge skin care treatments. The brand’s products don’t contain any paragons and are formulated to be hypoallergenic. Bonus: the  brand examines products for any allergic reactions, etc. for 30 days, instead of the standard 2 days required by U.S. law. I LOVE that. Also personally, I’d also like to add that this brand is hip, trendy, fun, vibrant and all around energetic.

My neighborhood store is a bit small (I’m not sure if all locations are on the small side or not) but there are plenty of products to play with and choose from. The store’s design and layout are very well organized and colorful, yet sleek. My only grievance-and it’s a small one-is that sometimes I go in and the music is a bit loud; it can be hard to talk to the knowledgeable and friendly salespeople. See below for a pic of what a Kiko Milano location may look like.

Photo Credit: timeout.com

Photo Credit: timeout.com

Okay, enough background-let’s get into the goods. Here’s what I picked up at Kiko Milano with a few quick thoughts to accompany each product picture. Side note: I went in because I’m still on the hunt for my perfect red lip…I know, I should be attending meetings. WOMP. Anyhoo…

First up is the Illuminating Mask. 

Kiko Milano Illuminating Mask (Brightening & Energizing), purchased for $4

Kiko Milano Illuminating Mask (Brightening & Energizing), purchased for $4 Photo Credit: pinterest.com

This mask comes packaged in a single use sheet form and promises to “give radiance and energy to the face.” It also claims to help “fight dull complexions and give skin a healthy, smooth look.” I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m obsessed with sheet masks so I can’t wait to get into this. I hope I’m not disappointed.

I also picked up the Intensive Hand Balm which I think is especially great for transitioning weather, especially of the sort we’ve been having around these New England parts these days. I really like this balm, it’s light and feels so incredibly silky but absorbs and moisturizes almost instantly and even stays on through a hand washing or two before you feel that you really need to reapply. The only thing I’d say about this balm as a warning is that it is scented. The scent isn’t unpleasant necessarily but it’s not easily identifiable. It’s strong upon initial application but wears down quickly and nicely.

Kiko Milano Intensive Hand Balm, purchased for  $9  Photo credit: pinterest.com

Kiko Milano Intensive Hand Balm, purchased for $9
Photo credit: pinterest.com

I want to stop here to mention that Kiko has great sales. They’re almost always placed in the middle of the store on a table. There are a few products in each category (lips, eye, skin) that you can browse and pick up a treat at a sweet price. Obviously, I had to take advantage of Kiko’s latest sale: The Shine Lust Lip Tint in #11Vintage Rose which usually retails for $12 but was on sale for….$1.96!!!! YES. You read that correctly. Shade #11 is a really nice sheer, gloss that gives you a natural, pretty flush of lip color.

I know what you’re thinking: “you went in for a red lip and so far all you got was skin stuff and a gloss?!” Well, here it is folks, the moment you’ve been waiting for (but maybe not really): THE RED LIP.

I purchased The Precision Lip Pencil in #307, Fire Red for $6. The pencil itself is a classic red with blue undertones (in my opinion of course). It’s not a chubby pencil so filling in your lips takes a little patience but it’s worth it.

Kiko Milano Precision Lip Color in 307, Fire Red, $4  Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

Kiko Milano Precision Lip Color in 307, Fire Red, $4
Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

I could wear the pencil alone, or pair it with the Velvet Mat Lipstick in 608, Apple Red. This is one of the deeper reds in the Velvet Mat lipstick collection. Kiko Milano engineered a brilliant design for the packaging of this lipstick. You simply push down from the top of the tube and the bottom half containing the lipstick slowly pops down and out. GENIUS. Don’t have to worry about your lipstick mistakenly popping open in your purse, work or gym bag.

kiko milano lipstick packaging

Kiko Milano’s GENIUS packaging

Kiko Milano Velvet Mat Lipstick, purchased for $9  Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

Kiko Milano Velvet Mat Lipstick, purchased for $9
Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

That’s it for my Kiko Milano haul. Apologies for the long post but I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Have you ever been to Kiko Milano? If so, what are your favorite products? I’d love to hear, leave me a note in the comments below.

Chat soon.

xo, Layla

So Fresh and So Clean: LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes

I should rename the blog to include something like “the lazy girl” or “tips for the tired girl”…something to that effect, because your girl is BONE TIRED. But it’s all good. I’m pleased with my grades for the fall term and it was worth the hard work.

A lot of people have been asking me what my plans are with my month of freedom. I’ve only got one concrete plan: sleep. In any of my free time, you can find me asleep or well on my way. But, I will try to post more for you guys (and myself because I love blogging) and I’ll be trying to figure out how I can post more regularly in the New Year. (That’s a convo for another post though dolls) Right now, mama just wiped her face straight clean and is dying to share deets.

You know how you get a sample and you’re kind of ho-hum about trying it right that moment but then months later you rediscover it or remember you had it in a pinch and you’re all, HALLELUJAH?! That was me tonight. I had received this in one of my Birchbox months and stowed it away quietly. Tonight, I was all kinds of in a pinch (forgot to re-stock my usual wipes) and too lazy to do a normal facial cleansing. Then..voila! I remember I had these babies and I was so happy to have remembered, I would’ve done cartwheels–that is if I knew how.

LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes

LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes Photo Courtesy, LA Fresh Group

There are a ton of makeup wipes, we know this. But what makes these different? Well for starters, they smell fantastic. I used the moisturizing formula which contains vitamin E)  It smelled like fresh spring day, outside spa treatments and rainwater fantastic. As much as I loved the fragrance, I was anxious that they’d be irritable to my very sensitive skin. Which brings me to another difference: no irritation–no scratching, burning, redness or stinging in my eyes.

Another great thing? They’re durable. They will stretch and fold and wipe and it will take a lot to tear them. Usually I have to sit for a little bit and really make sure to work the cloth over my face a few (dozen) times to feel that I’m actually getting clean enough to lay my face on a pillow. These removed my eyelid primer, brow pencil, navy longer eyeliner and Maybelline Full ‘n’ Soft Mascara (the non-waterproof formula) in no time. It did take a few swipes back and forth, but certainly nothing close to annoying.

To be fair and objective, I am very disappointed with one thing about this wipe (and it may be only this formula) but the second ingredient is Mineral Oil. Depending on your skin type, mineral oil can be very irritating and pore clogging. Additionally, there is dueling scientific positions about its overall level of harm when used in direct contact.

LA Fresh has a variety of wipes available, including Nail Polish Remover, SPF 30 Sunscreen, Antibacterial, Lens and Screen Cleaner and Hygiene Wipes (in varieties for men and women) to name a few. If you go to their website you can check out their entire line of wipe offerings. And for a limited time, you can score yourself a sample kit for only $4.95 and the shipping is free! No pressure to purchase something else when all you really want to do is try a few wipes first. I love that!

To learn more about LA Fresh, you can visit their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

Have you ever tried these wipes or any other LA Fresh products? Leave me a note and let me know in the comments below.

Love ya for reading. xo

Layla

Let Your Skin Troubles Evaporate

FacialSteam

I’m so happy to be writing again after almost a month. I’m always inspired but lately haven’t been able to find the time or scrounge up the energy with my added school schedule.  Speaking of…the end of Spring term is exactly one week and one day away and I am feeling all of the hard work and long nights that it took to make it through.

Last week, I decided to pay more attention to de-stressing and detoxing my body and my skin so when I had finally found my Summer term textbook on Amazon, I decided to also see if there was something I could get to add to my arsenal of skin tools. Just like magic, I took a few clicks and voila! I had happened onto the Conair Facial Sauna System. And for all of $21.80, I was in business!!

Just an hour ago I embarked on my first facial sauna. It was certainly easy enough to do. Before I used the system, I cleansed my face with Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap Mild for Dry/Combination skin. This is an old standby, tried and true product for me. Definitely in my Holy Grail ranks. Next, I moved on to the steam system.

Gentle, yet effective cleansing

Gentle, yet effective cleansing

The Conair system itself was very easy to use once I had read the clear instructions. I didn’t use any of the attachments that come with the system as I just wanted to keep it extremely simple for my first time.  I read a couple of articles and how-to posts on using the system as part of a broader at home facial process. Some tips I used, others I discarded based on the sensitivity of my skin. For instance, most articles suggest steaming for a minimum of five minutes. My skin reacts and behaves badly with out prodding so I decided to try the lowest timer setting, which was three minutes. The process of steaming itself was so relaxing, I almost fell asleep. I was very surprised at how short of a time it took to bring me into a peaceful lull. So here is my biggest and most important tip: MAKE A CONCENTRATED EFFORT TO STAY AWAKE during your steam (for safety purposes of course).  Conair has designed the system with a few safety nets already (automatic on/off, timer which loudly signals the end of your session) but help the system out a bit and just do your best to stay awake, okay? K.

Steam in, Gunk out

Steam in, Gunk out

After the steaming, I rinsed my face with cold water as instructed and moved on to the next step in my facial: Clinique’s 7 Day Scrub Cream. I love this cream. It does a great job of exfoliating but is gentle as it is a creamier formula than most scrubs and grains. In fact, when it’s dispensing from its bottle, you think it’s a cream cleanser until you begin to rub it into your face and even then it’s hard to detect the actual exfoliating agent(s).

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse Off Formula

After I rinsed my face of the exfoliating cream, I moved on to highlight of my facial: the brightening mask. The one other time I used a mask of this nature, it was the Garnier Dark Spot Treatment Sheet Mask. I liked it, it was effective and left my skin visibly brighter after only one use. However, since then, I haven’t been able to find it available for single use purchase. When it first launched that was the only option, now it seems to only be sold in a multi pack for around $17.99 at my local Walgreens. I haven’t seen it at Rite Aid. So, in the interest of finding a more affordable alternative, I decided to try the Walgreen’s version: Studio 35 Beauty Brightening Mask. I’m not blown away. It was…decent. I found it to be ill-fitting even though the packaging claims it can be torn for adjustment. I found that since it was so saturated with product (which is a great thing!) it was hard to get a good enough grip to tear it for sizing. And once it dried out enough to tear it, it was time to take it off. I also noticed that upon its removal, my skin was the same dull tone it was prior to use. It’s safe to say, I probably will not be using this again.

*shrugs*

*shrugs*

I finished my facial with the following products (in the order of use):

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 for Combination Oily Skin

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 for Combination Oily Skin

Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel

Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin

Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage Roll On

Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage Roll On

My skin feels squeaky clean and very soft. With continuous use, I’m sure I’ll be to my goal of even, healthy, glowing skin in no time :)

No More Scrubs: What You Need To Know About Microbeads

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I love exfoliating: just the idea of scrubbing and rinsing away old, dead skin to reveal newer, younger more glowing skin is my happy place. I know that scrubbing too hard is certainly bad for your skin (it creates lots of mini tears) but I never gave a second thought to those helpful little beads in many common exfoliating products on shelves everywhere.

Welp, leave it to CNN (and other news sources) to burst my very pink, rosy cloud of ignorance. On January 8, 2013 (I know, why is this JUST becoming a huge story??!!) CNN posted a story online about Unilever, the manufacturers of Dove, Vaseline, Pond’s and other popular personal care products announced that it’d be phasing out the use of microbeads as marine science researchers have found them to be harmful to environment (just think about and google what happens when your exfoliator rinses down the drain.)

Wait! Don’t panic: you can still exfoliate your way to glowing, healthy skin. Here are some alternatives–sans microbeads:

  • Origins Never A Dull Moment Face Polisher, $27, Origins locations and origins.com
  • Palmer’s Gentle Exfoliating Scrub, $9, Drugstores nationwide
  • Alba Natural AcneDote Face and Body Scrub, $7, Drugstores nationwide
  • Mario Badescu Almond and Honey Scrub, $15, Ulta and mariobadescu.com

Will you be switching out some products in your routine now? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Scrubbing!

xo, Layla

Let’s Try: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum with Power Cell Complex

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It’s mini facial night again!

My skin has been going absolutely haywire, no doubt from stress and lack of sleep–mostly lack of sleep. But I’m determined to get the best skin that I can, so I’m not giving up. With the season changing (sometimes drastically and unpredictably), it can be hard to get a handle on your skin care routine at first. Have no fear, we all struggle with this, even if we do have a few basics that carry over from winter to winter. I’m itching to try many things this winter to see if I can get my skin to behave (for the most part) through the cold weather but I haven’t been able to locate them locally just yet.

In the meantime, I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Just a week or so ago, I received my Julep Maven Box (I’m a Bohemian Glam in case you’re wondering  ;)) I usually don’t care much about the non-nail polish beauty products, but this time was the complete opposite. While I loved the nail polishes, I was more drawn to the rich, crazy moisturizing Rock Star Hand Crème (I will post a review on that next week) and the star of this post, the Luxe Repair Skin Serum.

I haven’t tried this yet, in fact tonight will be my first time, but I’m hoping this will be the answer to my dry, flaky, itchy skin problem. I did pump out a little product on my hand and it looks like an oil/serum hybrid almost. I like this texture a lot, but I imagine there will be some who dislike it enough to forego trying it even once.

According to Julep’s website, “This rejuvenating serum delivers deep hydration and essential nutrients to help rebuild skin structure from the inside out—for a noticeable difference in the way your skin looks and feels. Designed for all skin types, Luxe Repair can be used as a daily treatment or moisturizer for face, hands, or body.”

They also state the following benefits:

  • Lightweight, concentrated formula enriched with Julep’s proprietary Power Cell Complex™, a trio of skin-boosting superstars:

1) Rosehip seed oil – a nourishing oil (and natural source of vitamins A and C) that helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and post-acne marks. Contains natural fatty acids that bond moisture to skin

2) Malvaceae Lipid Extract™ – a lipid complex that provides immediate and long-lasting hydration and works to rebuild skin structure from the inside out

3) Green coffee bean oil – a natural anti-inflammatory that promotes cell turnover

I’m into it. And I pray to heaven that it doesn’t disappoint.

I’ll definitely be giving you guys my follow-up first impression.

E.L.F. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths

Hey glossies!

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything, my apologies.  Please bear with me while I basically get my entire life back in order (you know how these things can be)

While I haven’t been writing much, I’ve still been experimenting with products, etc.  The latest thing I’ve been trying are the E.L.F. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths.  So now you’re saying, “Layla, you wrote only 2 months ago about your eternal love of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes!! What’s the meaning of this?!!”

Basically, a girl is on a budget and is looking for any and all means of saving money and still getting it done ;)

Unfortunately, I don’t believe I will cutting back in the makeup remover wipes department–at least not until warmer weather prevails.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I am still trying to figure out what skin care regimen (steps and products) will work best for me.  My skin has been acting out like you wouldn’t believe. GRR. So these cloths might actually be okay in colder months, but just not for me right now at least.

While I generally like these E.L.F. cloths, I’ve noticed that they take off EVERYTHING.  My already super sensitive combination skin feels totally stripped.  I think it the warmer months, I would fare better with this type of after cleansing feeling, however, in these colder months when skin is already dry, tight, chapped, etc. I need every added drop of moisture. I love the packaging (secure closure, sleek black/white color scheme) and the smell is ridiculously soothing.  It also removed mascara that was previously extremely hard to remove with other pads and cloths.  The size of the cloths themselves are larger than I’ve seen in more expensive comparable products and you can stretch it out a little without it ripping–that’s awesome!

The price point is also great: I purchased a pack of 20 wipes at Walgreens for only $3!! 

Overall, I like this product but I feel that I just can’t use it in fall/winter :(

Have any of you ever tried E.L.F. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next post (very soon, I promise!)

x’s and o’s,

Layla