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

 

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 :)

Product Reviews: L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealers

loreal true match concealer cool 6-7-8-

Happy Saturday my glossies! How are you enjoying the first weekend of 2014? Personally, I’m still inside, not yet ready to face the aftermath of Winter Storm Hercules. Instead I’ve been hiding out and giving myself at home spa treatments, a quick foot exfoliation, and later I’ll be scrubbing my face clean of winter grime and assessing my progress on Operation: Great Skin. Which brings me to the topic of this post…concealers. The almighty cover ups, the holy grails of blemish cover up, etc. The right concealer can be a dream come true and inspire confidence in the most right of times.

First up: L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable Concealer in the shade Cool 6-7-8. Let’s not beat around the bush here. I LOVE this product. I’ve been eyeing it for a long time–at least a year and have asked friends for their opinions and they’ve always said it was great, especially for a drug store offering but every time I would see them in the aisles the colors and consistency never seem quite right. So a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge and purchased this product along with some other L’Oreal products. I’m really glad I decided to try this product. I was completely wrong about the shade match and consistency. In fact, I feel like L’Oreal is underselling this concealer. To me this shade also has a color correcting quality to it as it contains a hint of peach. I’ve also heard others with fairer and deeper skin say they felt the same way. The consistency is spot on. You can really see the R&D payoff in the way this concealer applies and dries down. The texture from the bottle that includes a doe foot applicator, which is perfect for under eyes) is creamy and thick, but not so thick that it’s hard to spread and blend. It dries down to a sheer powder like consistency. The dry down reminds me of MAC’s Select Cover Up. I’m not sure about others, but this concealer also has a brightening effect on my under eye area. Absolutely love this. Classes start again on Monday and I can already tell that this will be a staple, holy grail product for me as I’m sure it’ll come through for me when I need to cover up long nights of assignments and studying, etc.

Next, let’s talk about another concealer in L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable line–their concealer crayon (see below):

loreal true match concealer crayon medium deep n6-7-8

 

I’ve purchased this product quite a while ago–almost this time last year actually. Bottom line: I like the idea and the consistency (it’s powdery and light) but the shade offerings are not up to par for me. I purchased the neutral offering of the darkest range they had, which was Medium/Deep N6-7-8. This product was too light for me and ending up looking ashy and chalky–not good for under eye (or any other) area. I want to look as naturally flawless as possible and this gives away my complexion secrets right away. I hate to toss this, but I can’t even see any other use for this. I tried to use it as a highlighter–that was a certain NO-GO. If you have fairer skin, however, I would try this product. It’s seems like it’d be a great, easy to tote cover up. Perfect for on-the-go, just throw it in your makeup bag or purse and you’re good to go always.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the days when I only need to use concealer for the one off breakout and not for every day coverage to be presentable, but in the interim, I’m glad I found a product that works.

What about you lovely people? What cover up do you use?

Talk to me!

Until next time…

xo, Layla