Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System–Does It Really Last 7 Days?

Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System–Does It Really Last 7 Days?

As you may already be aware, one of my beauty resolutions was to try to leave give my nails a chance to reach their natural, full potential. I like to try different nail shapes and I find that having length is personally the best day for me. However, this would mean I would need to make less frequent polish changes a way of life. Fine, whatever.

So, if I’m going keep this resolution I need 2 things: a long wear DIY system, and a color range that will keep me interested and cover all of my bases (work, play, in between).

Fast forward to earlier this week when I’m at CVS on my way home from work and I’ve got my items in hand, and I make to check out line and BOOM…everything goes quiet because I see the cutest, mini nail polish system kit. Upon further inspection? It’s CND’s Vinylux 7 Day Wear system in one of its best selling shades: “Married to Mauve.” My first thought? “OK, CND–this is genius. Second thought? “Grab. One. Now.”

And, here we are: 20 minutes after application with a shiny manicure in a classic color. But will it last 7 days though?? We’ll see. I’m optimistic. But, I’m also ready for heartbreak. I’ve been on the fence about trying this system for what seems like years now…and each time, I get really close to purchasing a full size color and topcoat (which are the only 2 steps you need, as base is included with color) and then I balk at the potential financial loss of upwards of $20 if the manicure doesn’t work out. Will this mini kit, I feel safer to try and if it doesn’t work out, it’ll be much easier for me to simply throw the tiny bottles away–no guilt, no fuss, just trial and error.

The mini duo sets come in other colors but I won’t lie to you–they’re scattered and hard to find. I’ve only seen the mauve color at my local CVS, and I know that Ulta has the duo in the shade “Wildfire” which you can check out here. But beyond that? Finding other colors may be a full-time search. So, either of the two colors I mentioned are perfectly adequate for simply trying this out. The full size colors are available at many more retailers (including Walgreens, Ulta, CVS, and Target) so if we end up loving this system, we’ll have no trouble building our collection up!

Okay here’s the deal: I’ll test this for 7 days and take pictures on Days 3, 5, and 7 (possibly 8 if I need to stretch through Sunday Brunch before removing) and on the last day, I’ll post an update with my thoughts and a final decision on whether I’ll be purchasing more colors or not. Sound good? Cool. I’m excited too ;)

See you in a week! Stay shining–just like the best manicures xo

Layla

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BeautyBlender Dupe??

BeautyBlender Dupe??

Friends, lend me your ears!

I know, I’m dramatic sometimes. But some things just require a bit of uumph, for emphasis.

Before I get into the possibility of having found a perfectly usable, although imperfect, BeautyBlender dupe, let me set you up with a little bit of background…

I’ve always been responsible. That’s what people say about me, they’ve said it for years. It’s a point of pride more than it’s something I consider a flaw. That said, the balance that stares back at me when I go to check my savings account is…sobering. Am I disappointed? Greatly. Do I know I’ve done my best? Absolutely. Doesn’t change the way my breath catches when I stare at that balance though.

Because of this, I told myself I’d be more diligent about finding beauty products that performed well but didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. The first product that I needed to replenish after having said this to myself? My beloved BeautyBlender. Of course it was. I sucked my teeth a bit when I realized what I had promised and what it now meant that it was time to re-up on a sponge. But, I stuck to my word and I went on a drugstore hunt (which let’s be honest, these days is a lot of fun!)

So, about this potential dupe…

It looks the same. Here it is in it’s package:

Rite Aid Daylogic Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge_Beauty Blender Dupe
Daylogic’s Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge in the High Definition Variety

Basically the same color, same shape. Fine. Great.

Here’s what it looks like after one full use:

Daylogic Specialty Blend Sponge
Daylogic’s Specialty Sponge (After 1 Full Use and Before Washing)

Let’s talk about some major differences you might notice if you’re used to using the BeautyBlender on a regular basis.

First, the price. Whoa my goodness, the price! BeautyBlender’s can run $20 a pop, this drugstore dupe cashed in at $4.99. My debit card hit the Milly Rock at checkout. Ha! The bonus here is that if you’re a Gold Member w/ Rite Aid’s loyalty program, then you can take an additional 20% off of that $4.99 retail price, which makes it $3.99! SCORE.

Weirdest of all things: it’s heavier than the BeautyBlender. Yes, I know–that’s odd. But it is. Especially at what feels like is its core. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s something noticeable so I’m mentioning it. You get used to it after a few minutes so we keep moving…

The application was BEAUTIFUL! I was very impressed with how smoothly my foundation went on and blended out. But, there were a few spots where application was patchy because of small rashes or spots where my skin was extra dry (even though I heavily moisturized last night, UGH). So I built the coverage up a bit to handle that which would probably be what I’d do with a BeautyBlender as well.

The other difference that confused me at first, was that the directions don’t include wetting the sponge before use. It does say to wash after each use though. Personally, I don’t like dry sponges. I chose to wet this sponge. It was fine. We’ll see how it holds up in the long run (a month hopefully with daily washes, but we’ll see).

Bottom line: is it worth a try? For the price, yes. Do I miss the BeautyBlender? Kind of. If you can afford it and it truly is a bright spot in your beauty routine, then treat yourself. But if you’re like me and looking for ways to cut back without causing any real sadness or feelings of deprivation that alter your outlook on your daily living, then run to Rite Aid. And make sure you use your loyalty card if you have one!

Disclaimer: This post was NOT sponsored by Rite Aid. All opinions and remarks are my own, based on my honest thoughts and opinions. 

What do you guys think? Will you be trying this BB dupe?

What other under-the-radar drugstore dupes have you found? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time. xo-Layla

 

Mermaid Nails: Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool (First Impression)

Mermaid Nails: Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool (First Impression)

Some people prefer a good #ManiMonday. Personally, I’m partial to a good manicure any day of the week. When all else fails and you need a pick me up? Nail polish. Feeling anxious? Paint your nails. Wanna hang with the girls? Get a manicure and/or pedicure together. Nail polish saves lives. Period.

As you can probably guess, I have a decent sized collection of polishes–lots of different colours, finishes and brands. But, I keep adding to it, because no two polishes are alike in my opinion (same with lipstick to be honest).

Yesterday, while on a prescription medication pickup, me and a friend browsed the cosmetics aisle (if you’re my friend and we go to the drugstore together, just expect that I will be giving the cosmetics section some love). I already own Essie’s Dive Bar, a beautiful, deep and unique metallic swirl of mermaid colours. Perfect for a fall day, especially when paired with a good, chunky knit sweater and your most comfortable pair of jeans or leggings and cozy socks. I like that colour a lot. It’s never disappointed in the “cool manicure” category and I get many compliments whenever I wear it.

However. The world is big and other companies have their takes on the mermaid swirl look. Sally Hansen’s new Color Therapy offering, in the shade Reflection Pool, is one of them. Where Dive Bar is deep, dark and twisty, Reflection Pool is just that–a beautiful oceanic blue/green/tinge of purple mix. It’s shade name really nails it. I mean, honestly, you could stare at the colour in the bottle and honestly get lost. It’s mesmerizing.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff:

Size: Reflection Pool retails for $8.99 at grocery and drugstore chains. If you are Gold status at Rite Aid, you can grab it for $7.19! For the price, you get 0.5 fl. oz./14.7mL. Product size really is personal to each individual, some may consider this to be too large a bottle to avoid wasted product, others may think it’s great bang for the buck, to each its own–those are the facts.

Color: It’s GORGEOUS. There are swirls of blue, green and do I detect a little bit of purple?? I think so. See for yourself below!

sally hansen_reflection pool
Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool

Application: Even with a clear base coat (Essie’s All-In-One Base, Top and Strengthener Formula) the application on this is sheer but buildable. You’ll need at least 2 coats to get a more opaque look if that’s what you’re going for. Also, for many, this might be more wearable than other options because of its sheer formula. If you’re intrigued by mermaid nails or the mermaid/unicorn trend in general, this is a nice little gateway.

Mood: Fun, exploratory, optimistic, positive (safe) risk taking, slightly moody but also mood enhancing; I think water signs would love this colour. <3

Overall, my first impression is that I think it’s worth the price. I wish the formula was more opaque but for me, it’s not even remotely a deal breaker. Just a mild annoyance that requires me to exercise patience (which never hurts!). I’m applying to my nails as I’m writing this, but I also think this will find its way to my toes before we see our first leaf fall. If you’re into the trend, definitely give this a try!

So, what do you think? Do you love the mermaid nail trend? Will you try it?

Chat with me in the comments below.

Talk soon. -xo, Layla

First Impression: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35

First Impression: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35

Warm weather is finally here! *shimmy, shimmy*

The Northeast is notorious for less than enviable fall/winter weather, but this year my tolerance must’ve completely forgotten to show up because I was OVER. IT. before winter even really set in, got comfortable and decided to stay a while. Now don’t get me wrong, cold weather is good for a few things when it comes to beauty. For us oily or combination girls: it means we’re matte all day without too much maintenance. Spring and summer means we’ve got to have our blotting game on fleek. Which brings me to the reason we’re all here: my latest rant/review.

If you’re new here then I must tell you: I’m a HUGE fan of Birchbox. Love my monthly box, the Birchbox shop and I’m dying to visit their retail location in Soho. Obviously, this means that I have Birchbox points. Lots of them. (I’m almost ACE status, whoo!) I’ve been hoarding my points for a few months, just waiting for the right product to come along and make me want to cash it all in. Last week, I saw it: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35. 

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Dark, $39 Photo courtesy: Smashbox
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Dark, $39, 1 fl. oz
Photo courtesy: Smashbox

First things first: when you read the box you’ll notice that the product description says this BB cream is a “5-in-1 miracle worker proven to PRIME, PERFECT, PROTECT, HYDRATE and CONTROL OIL.” STOP HERE: this is the point where I audibly squealed with delight. Okay, we can keep going now.

So…how do I feel about this product? I’m….still on the fence :/

I’ve only used it this one day (today), so I will give it more time for sure. I applied this BB Cream (with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, that I LOVE!) at around 7 a.m. and removed it via makeup remover wipe at about 7 p.m. I did have to use blotting powder and films throughout the day, but not for my whole T-zone; just my nose. Otherwise, it did a decent enough job of controlling my oil.

Here’s what I like: it has sun protection (the full coverage, truly safe variety aka broad spectrum), instead of a 9-12 month expiration date, this product could last 24 months (it’d probably be gone by then honestly), and the coverage is sheer/light which is just enough to even your tone and look polished while still allowing your skin to shine through and breathe.

What I’m kind of *meh* about: the sun protection is actually a combination of 4 sunscreens and one of them is oxybenzone which has been known to be a skin irritant for some so tread very carefully if you have sensitive skin or have experienced issues with your skin and sun protection in the past. Lastly, the darkest shade (which is what I purchased) is good enough for my skin tone which is comparable to a MAC NC/NW45 or 47 without needing to do too much blending.

I can’t recommend trying this or not just yet. But if you simply can’t wait to get your hands on this and see what’s what, then I’d say, snap up a travel size (0.25 oz). Unfortunately, the travel size only comes in 2 shades: light and light/medium. (Really, Smashbox? Come. On.)  But if these are the shades you need, you can find this size on Amazon and directly from the Smashbox website.

Doo You Bop?: My Thoughts On DooBop’s Monthly Club

Doo You Bop?: My Thoughts On DooBop’s Monthly Club

Hey glossies!

Happy weekend. Hope you’re all kicking your feet up and binge watching at least a few episodes on Netflix.

I myself have just taken a trip down to the mailbox to retrieve a package of goodies from none other than my new beauty obsession, DooBop. Oprah is a big fan, so naturally I had to check out this special entry into the beauty retail category. I’m so very happy that I did.  DooBop itself is a unique online retail destination. Sure, you’ll find familiar brands but you’ll also find lesser known but phenomenal brands as well, including the hair and skincare line Georgia which was created by DooBop’s co-founder, Jodie Patterson.

They’ve also just introduced an “online beauty club”: think your favorite monthly subscription service with steroidal levels of customization and customer service. The customization and customer service is what sets it apart. A few days after signing up, I received an appointment to chat with Jodie, who then created a beauty profile for me by asking very thorough questions about my skin and it’s type, tone, and condition to what sorts of things I’d like to try in the makeup department. Jodie is quite personable and her knowledge of the industry comes through clearly and confidently. I was nervous but she’s delightful and quickly put me at ease. You’ll feel like you’re having a chat with your coolest girlfriend. Jodie works with other experts in Hair, Makeup and Skincare and together they pick products that they think will be effective for you.

Fast forward to about a week after the call, and I received a delivery of samples in a cute, silver metallic package. The key thing to understand here is that as the months roll on, your deliveries will only get better and more customized for you based on your feedback. So while I had never heard of most of the brands I received samples of, it’s important to have an open mind in order to really embrace the discovery that is sure to occur with this club. Here’s what I received in my first delivery and what it typically retails for:

  • Taut Gold Standard Collage Infusion Mask (1 mask): $50 (for a box of 5)
  • Earth’s Nectar Hair Care Honey Curls Curling Agent: $23.50
  • Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 Face in Tan: $48
  • Baume D’Amour Pour Le Corps Loving Care Body Balm: Price Unavailable
  • Ahava Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate Moisture and Radiance Boosting Serum: $60
  • Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner: $32 and $34, respectively
  • Kahina Night Cream: $105
  • Skin Regimen Hydra-Juvenate-Pro Face Kit: Price Unavailable

I haven’t tried it all, but the mask, body balm and SPF are nice. The mask was actually indulgent for me so I enjoyed that and was sad when the time had run out.

This is my second month of subscription and a few days ago I was emailed a list of products with instructions to choose one that I’d like to receive. That’s where we come back to today’s delivery: a complimentary full size bottle of Dermablend’s Long Wear Makeup Remover and 2 samples (standard for every order). I have to stop using face wipes so much at night so this will be a good incentive to do so. My samples were another Miracle Skin Transformer SPF Face in Tan, and Supergoop’s Everyday Sunscreen SPF 30.

*We now interrupt your regularly scheduling programming…* People, I will never stop saying this: you can always use another bottle of sunscreen! Nevermind about expiration dates: the key is to be wearing sunscreen so religiously that expiration dates are irrelevant because the product is gone before it even gets a chance to think about expiring. *Now back to your program*

My final word? For the price of about 3 trips lattes a week at the ‘Bucks or an impromptu run to the cosmetic aisle of the drugstore–$15–you can have customized beauty delivered to your door and feel like a VIP because it’s all actually tailored to you. Right? Right.

If you’re interested, sign up here: Doo You Bop?

Let me know how your experience goes in the comments below.

 

Mario Badescu Skincare Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Mario Badescu Skincare Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

I have a confession: I haven’t been entirely all work and no play as of late. In fact, I’ve had a bit of fun over the last few weekends and Friday was no different. I had 2 exams to take, the first in my summer classes, so of course I was on edge. I typically test well, but it’s certainly not for lack of studying and drilling. Anyhoo, fast forward to Friday. I left my office early and met up with a girlfriend for a relaxing manicure and sushi. But first: Urban Outfitters.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately?) for me, there is a location really close to my home which means there is no excuse for the occasional stop in, even if it’s just to see what’s new and quirky. No matter what, I always check out their little beauty section. I’m not sure if every location carries the same thing, but my UO often has palettes from Stila and NYX, and have recently begun to carry other favorites like beauty books (Bobbi Brown’s latest title was there about a month ago!) to my favorite dry shampoo, Batiste.

This time around, I was very surprised and quite delighted (there might have been an audible excited squeal) to find the instantly recognizable white label with green type: it was Mario Badescu Skincare. The facial spray to be exact. Didn’t even think about it for longer than 2 seconds, I grabbed a bottle and proceeded to smile wide for the rest of our store visit.

Sure, I picked up a couple of other items: a new bottle of dry shampoo and Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray (it helps to keep my wig looking more natural than typical.) But, this MB spray: this was the highlight of my purchase. I was all too excited to try this.

 

Mario Badescu Skincare Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater
Mario Badescu Skincare Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Fast forward to 8:30 Friday night: I’m doing my nightly skin routine and proceeded to spray this on my face generously after cleansing and a healthy swipe of toner. I may have sprayed too much–my face was drenched, but it smelled so wonderful that I couldn’t stop and  had to tell myself to PUT.IT.DOWN. You smell the rosewater first and foremost, but you also detect a hint of herb. Perhaps it’s just me but I don’t detect the aloe in its scent. However, it’s enough for me and my sensitive skin woes to know that it’s included in case of any potential skin revolting since I typically don’t use products with any fragrances (natural or otherwise.)

Here are a couple of other great things about this spray. The label informs that you can use it to set makeup, soothing skin in dehydrating conditions (Hello, Winter. You won’t get me this time!) or for a quick refreshing skin boost.

So, next time you’re in Urban for a flattering pair of jeans, or a Biggie/Tupac shirt, or nail polish (amazing selection), take a peak at the beauty shelf and see if MB’s white label is beckoning. Your skin will thank you.

xo, Layla

 

Drugstore Goodies, Part II

Drugstore Goodies, Part II

I’m back! Boy, can’t believe it’s been almost 24 hours since we last chatted. Time flies when you’re…living life (hey, it can’t always be fun, right?)

Okay, so you know the deal. I love to pick up things in drugstores. I hit up 3 this weekend…yada, yada, yada.

Here are the last 5 items I got from my drugstore roundup:

Studio 35 Beauty Pumice Stone, price varies dependent on Walgreens location: My feet loves warm and cozy things, namely socks. Feels great, especially in the colder months but come summer my poor feet are in need of a lot of attention. While I haven’t tried this yet, one look at the uniquely shaped, coarse tool and it was a no brainer. Tossed it right into my cart. Can’t wait to soak my feet in my brand new makeshift pedicure tub (hint: I got it at Home Depot) and scrub away to super soft skin.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Extensions Lashblast Mascara in Very Black, $8.99: I liked the original version well enough so decided to pick this up. For some reason, I feel like the brush is slightly smaller. This alone makes it a little harder for me to get to my lashes which are in between skimpy and normal. This won’t be my everyday mascara, but I’ll most likely end up using it when I’m in a bind: like I’m in a rush to get out the door but I’ve run out of my usual mascara. If you were thinking of getting this, I would think twice. For the price of a few lattes, it’d be a shame to purchase this and not be happy.

Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm with Coconut & Pear, $2 (on sale at Rite Aid): Love the tropical, fruity scent. Not a fan of the texture for this one if you’re into layering it under other lip products but is a great lip moisturizer on its it. Speaking of layering: if you do like to have a little moisture as foundation before swiping on another lip product, my holy grail is Burt’s Bees Honey formula.

Nivea A Kiss of Cherry Fruity Lip Care, $1 (on sale at Rite Aid): Very moisturizing; beautiful, natural looking sheer wash of color. Need I say more?

TRIM Nail Care Sticks, $6: These are quite the handy little nail tools (no pun intended). There are 4 in each pack, each with dual ended purposes. One end looks like your standard orange stick. You’d use this side to push back cuticles. The other end is wrapped in colored texture. This end is for cleaning underneath your nails. Effective, simple, inexpensive. Buy these.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is my personal beauty consultation with Jodie from DooBop!!! I was going to post about it right after the call but I think I will wait until I receive my first box and give you one post filled with DooBop chat. How’s that sound? Great? Good. Great minds and all…

Well, time for me to hit the hay, um is it written somewhere that once you turn 26 your bed time suddenly becomes 9pm? BUM-MER.

Talk soon.

xo, Layla