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

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

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

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

Drugstore Goodies, Part I

Hey there!

I hate that I’m posting so sporadically but I’m always thinking of you and dying to chat about EVERYTHING, my schedule and health have both been pretty unpredictable lately. But, we’re together now and that’s all that matters…

Exactly one week ago today I turned 26. It was a big deal for me, I had mixed feelings. But I also had the best time celebrating and only just began to wind down yesterday. Like many adults, I went to the office on my birthday (where my coworkers definitely showered me with birthday love) On Saturday, I went for a manicure, frozen yogurt and the most delicious sushi from a local haunt (shout out to Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, CT!!) and had a BLAST. On Sunday, I went to breakfast with my dad (what’s better than Birthday pancakes?) and got to catch up with a friend who I haven’t seen in years over local pizza (we’re kinda famous for it) and wine coolers. Overall: I had one very low key but memorable birthday.

By now you’re like “get to the goods woman.” Don’t worry, it’s coming. I stopped into the Big 3: Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens between Friday and Saturday and picked up a few items from each. Keep reading for what I picked up and mini reviews for any items I’ve already tried:

Maybelline The Nudes Palette, $12.99: This is the product that started the entire hunt. I had seen it flipping through my monthly round up of magazines and set out to find one. IT WAS HARD. So hard, I had to visit 3 stores before finally landing on it (one of the last ones) at a CVS the next town over. This beautiful palette carries 16 neutral, smoky shades: some matte and some with a soft shimmer. This is a great basic palette for everyday and for the working girl (or guy) who’s just starting out in the professional world. Another great thing that got me excited about this palette is the accompanying video that helps guide you on the types of looks you can create with it. Unfortunately, the web address provided on the packaging links to an error page for me and I can’t find any videos on Maybelline’s YouTube page as of this posting. BUM-MER. Anyways, it’s still a beautiful palette, so I encourage you to give it a try (purchase it from Walgreens if you can, as their policy is the most return friendly) and see what sort of magic you can create.

Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eye Pencil in Midnight Blue, $4.99: When I was younger, I would rock a navy and gold eye look like it was nothing and be IN LOVE with my look. I embraced my large, almond shaped eyes much more then and wanted them to be on full display. Flash forward 10 years, and I’m definitely in that frame of mind again. Cue this remarkably blend able navy liner with a smudger built in on one end. Navy blue liner is not nearly as drastic as it sounds, it’s actually quite wearable and is a mild and stunning way to do something different and create a gorgeous eye look.

Essie Nail Lacquer in Limo-Scene and Blanc, $8 (each): I popped into CVS on my way to my manicure hoping to get the Maybelline palette but if nothing else to pick up my manicure colors (if you can’t already tell, I opted for a French Manicure). I’m a little anal about bringing my own colors because some nail salons (note: certainly not ALL) use nail polish thinner to make their polishes last longer and be able to do more manicures without having to constantly purchase new product. Good for them, not so great for you if you’re looking for a manicure with decent staying power. These colors are beautiful, and for my fellow permanently tanned ladies, yes you can rock these colors and look perfectly polished and ready for any situation. I’m almost positive I’ll be rocking the french manicure look for many more moons.

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Milan Moment and India Intrigue, $9.99 (each): These colors are vibrant, yet sheer and are very moisturizing. Milan Moment is a hypnotic mixture of red, coral, true orange in the tube that glides on evenly, is sheer and builds in opaque coverage at your control. India Intrigue is a bright almost see through true fuchsia tone in the tube. I haven’t worn it yet but I’m sure it won’t disappoint.  They’re my new favorite lip products and I’ll definitely be picking up more colors from this collection to wear year round. Word to the wise: I always layer some Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm under any lip product. This, coupled with eating/drinking and talking meant that my lip gloss only lasted about 3-5 hours depending on my activity level. It didn’t bother me, I was happy to reapply the creme-gel like treat but it may bother some of you so be forewarned!

Revlon Grow Luscious Bold Lacquer Mascara in Black, $7.99: I was intrigued by this product’s color formula. Revlon claims that most comparable (I’m assuming mass drugstore is the comparison base) use a mixture of dull grays with just a hint of true black to come up with their colors. While I do like the pigment payoff, I’m a little less sold on the actual wear of this mascara. It seems drying and flakes to the touch. When removing it with my trusty Almay Eye Makeup Remover pads (and ever so gently) I lost 3 (!!) precious lashes. I will keep trying this for a little while longer and hope that it gets better with use or that I got a tube of a bad batch and keep you all posted.

That’s it for Part I, there are  five more items which I’ll save for tomorrow in the interest of keeping it (semi) short and sweet.

On Thursday, I’ll be writing about my DooBop consultation as I’ve just joined their monthly box subscription service.

Looking forward to it glossies, talk soon.

xo, Layla

 

 

Product Review: Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food

Wintertime is definitely getting the best of my skin. This has been the worst winter for my skin so far, and I feel for it. I mean seriously: I’ve been moisturizing double and triple time and there are still stubborn dry patches.

I’ve heard about Weleda’s Skin Food for a while, and I hear it’s a great favorite of none other than Julia Roberts, so while shopping at my local co-op I decided to just pick it up and give it a try. What the heck right? I picked up the smallest bottle my store had available: 1 fl. oz. and it retailed for about $11.99.

My first impression of this was entirely about its smell: it has a semi strong scent of herbs and hemp. If you’re used to slathering your moisturizer on, the smell may be a huge turn off as it gets stronger if you squeeze a lot of product out (duh, I know, but I felt I had to say it anyway)

Weleda says that Skin Food is “for dry and rough skin such as on hands, feet, and elbows.” This is a very thick moisturizer so I would stick to its intended use to a T, otherwise you’re almost guaranteeing your personal disappointment.

I especially use it on my elbows and it works wonders. It clears my dry patches right away and locks the moisture (via essential fatty acids and Vitamin E) in all day and night. I don’t have to reapply until my next shower, and even then it’s never as dry as it was before my first use.

Overall, I like this product. The only downside is the smell but I can get over it: it goes away pretty quickly.

I’d give this product a thumbs up.

If you’re experiencing really dry hands, feet and/or elbows: I would definitely give this a whirl.

xo, Layla

First Impression: Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Treatment Mask

garnier dark spot treatment mask

 

I’m eating a cookie now. It’s just another tiny way to make at-home spa days that much more of a treat. Which brings me to the point: I tried a new spa like treatment today, Garnier’s Skin Renew Dark Spot Treatment Mask. It was every bit as calming as the model looks on the package.

Garnier says this mask “deeply hydrates, boosts radiance and smoothes and revitalizes.” It’s key ingredient is Vitamin C: which is known to dramatically lighten dark spots. I’m dealing with a bout of all over hyperpigmentation on my face that I’m desperately trying to get rid of so I jumped at the chance to try this out.

In case you’re new to the sheet mask craze, this is a great one for beginners. The cloth stretches to fit your face easily and is super saturated with product, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. When I first applied this to my face, it started to sting a little all over, however I expected a little discomfort. Vitamin C is very potent in whatever form it is applied to on the skin and I have SUPER sensitive skin. I’m that desperate to achieve healthy, great looking skin. All I did to alleviate the discomfort was begin to fan my face with a magazine.  You leave this mask on for 10 minutes and there’s no need to rinse when the 10 minutes are up. All you do is remove the mask and massage any remaining product into your skin.

Super easy. Garner promises “instant radiance and 24 hour hydration” after just one use. In 2 weeks, they claim that your “skin is brighter and more even when mask Is used 3x per week.” All I can say is, we shall say because I’m definitely willing to try this out!

My skin feels really soft after using this and a little less dull then it did before I applied this mask. Not a vast difference, but noticeable enough to make me smile.

Of course, for optimal results they suggest pairing it with other products in their Dark Spot Corrector line, but I’m not sure my skin will be too happy with me if I do, so slow and steady will have to win the race on this one.

Although Garnier assures that this will be “gentle on skin” I’d advise anyone with the slightest of sensitive skin’s to take special care and consideration before using this.

If you do try it, be sure to pick yourself up a special treat, after all the hard work you’re putting into your skin, you deserve it! (Although the iron on sugar’s effects on the skin aren’t lost on me, I believe in everything in moderation, so why not?)

I purchased this at a Walgreens on sale for about $1.99 (they have even better sales now where you can buy 2 at a time). 

You’ve heard about one of my biggest skin concerns, what’s yours?

Until tomorrow my loves….Layla