Looking Ahead: Fall Beauty

imagesI know what you’re thinking…it’s only July. True. But, August will come soon and fly by, just like all these previous months have and we’ll be looking out at fall weather and falling leaves before we know it.

And as we also know, with new seasons come new beauty releases and a chance to bring out tried and true seasonal favorites, like oxblood manicures.

For me, it’s also a time that I revisit some products that have been on the market for a little while and are suitable for fall/winter weather, but that I haven’t made up my mind about whether I “need” them or not. (PSA: in my head, all beauty purchases are needs, right up there with–and I’m almost embarrassed to admit–before food.)

Here’s another thing to think about: these fall beauty splurges you may want to treat yourself to. Now’s the time to be the smart beauty you are and start stashing your coins away. Even if you’re living a financially comfortable life, it truly doesn’t hurt to make any large(ish) purchases that much easier by spreading out the cost over time, especially since you’d be doing so without paying the interest you would if you used a credit card.

Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled beauty programming…I like to make a small list of about 5 things that I really want to purchase for the fall season that I can use throughout fall and into winter, or even Spring depending on the product type and shade (if applicable). I prioritize them by desire, research the regular retail price and figure out how much money I’ll stash away each pay period in order to snag at least my most desired item. This way, if something comes up and I can’t get them all, I’ll at least have the item I had my heart set on.

Here’s my list for this year (of course, it’s subject to minor tweaks):

  1. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, $19
  2. Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, $54
  3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Sad Girl, $20
  4. Clinique Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm in Black Honey, $19.50
  5. Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils in Burgundy 5, $32

A few things: first, these aren’t new launches for this year, rather the result of my procrastination  perpetual “be responsible” self talk; second: while in singular these aren’t particularly expensive, I can never just grab one lippie, mascara or eyeliner at a time–can you? And that’s where we can get ourselves started on the slippery slope. So again, I’m firmly in the camp of “stash away!”

And lastly, notice a theme here?? Oxblood/deep wine/burgundy LOVE–hardcore. In fall and winter, Oxblood tones are my boo and we’re in the most committed of relationships, and quite happily might I add ;)

What’s your 5? Let me know in the comments below!

Talk soon. xo-Layla

#TheGreat28: Birthday Beauty

images

Photo: SheKnows

I CANNOT believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted. An entire year. Time didn’t feel like it was moving that quickly and yet, it felt it was going by way too fast. Weird how that works.

Last time we had a chat, I was still 26 going on 27. Birthdays make me feel a little reflective, but only slightly. 27 was pretty mild in terms of introspection. This year, I’m a few days into my 28th year of life and it hit. HARD. It’s not jarring, but it definitely feels different in the sort of way that’s frustrating and annoying. The cure: what else? Beauty :)

I had a great birthday. Everything I imagined and then some. I rocked one of my favorite red matte lip colours (Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl ), an easy-going and figure forgiving royal blue dress, and a great small bag. Birthday beauty is one of my favourite occasions and a red lip colour always perks me up.

It also gets me thinking about what my beauty looks for the upcoming year might be like, which always leads me to seek out inspiration (hey Pinterest!). Keeping your eyes open to images and other visuals around you is so great for being introduced to new ideas, trends and looks that you might like to try. If you’re not finding yourself stuck in a style or beauty rut, or are just looking to add more to your repertoire, I’d encourage you to be deliberate about finding inspiration and actually following through on any of the new ideas you’re drawn to. It can do wonders for your mood, self-esteem and general outlook. With things the way they are lately, we all could use a boost in any of those areas.

So…28 is here. I’m embracing it and looking forward to what’s in store, so much so that I made myself a little list and can’t wait to celebrate when I check something off. Here goes:

  • Take better care of my skin…including incorporating more preventative products
  • Drink plenty more water (for skin and overall improved health)
  • Go glam more often…why wait for a “special occasion”?
  • Experiment with more eye looks…I love a bold lip, but it’s time I give my eyes some more love, they deserve it ;)
  • Take more selfies!!…because why the hell not?
  • Go with the flow…experiment and have fun, staying confident the whole way–at the end of the day, it can all be undone with the swipe of a micellar water soaked cotton ball

What about you beauties? Any birthday beauty faves or “resolutions”? I wanna hear all about them! Write me in the comments.

P.S. I missed you guys. Happy we could catch up. xo.

Layla 

Impromptu Clinique and Kiko Milano Haul!!!!

The saying goes: the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem…but if I don’t see it as a problem does that mean that I get no help? Just wondering…

Anyways, I purchased a few beauty products on the way home: *big surprise*

I have a Clinique counter and Kiko Milano store within walking distance so, honestly, what do you want from me? I mean, really.

At the Clinique counter, I went in for a refill of Step 1 in their 3 step skin care system: cleanser. Needless to say, I couldn’t decide which formula I get: whether I should try something new in hopes of giving my skin a much needed boost, or stick to what I know (basically/usually) works. In the end, I walked out with a sample of a formula I haven’t used since I was a teen, Clinique’s Extra Mild Facial Soap. I’m going to try it out of the life of the sample (I’m guessing 2-3 days at once a day) and see if my skin has been craving to go back to old habits after all. But of course I can’t just walk away. Nope, I chat with the lovely Clinique specialist and see what she’s been using and loving, which is how I ended up with Clinique’s Airbrush Concealer in (12) Deeper Caramel.

Clinique Airbrush Concealer, $20

Clinique Airbrush Concealer, $20

Clinique Airbrush Concealer Deeper Caramel Swatch

The Airbrush Concealer promises to “illuminate and perfect”.I haven’t tried the product yet, but I’ll report back. I’m hoping it will brighten up my eye area and serve as a soft highlight too. We’ll see…

Of course on my way home, I had to pass Kiko Milano and I can’t pass that store without walking in and I can walk in without buying something (or a handful of somethings actually). I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect contouring product. I use NARS Bronzer in Laguna now for a very soft bit of definition, but lately I’ve been wanting to try a more sculpted but not harsh contoured look. I was leaning towards a powder, until I hit Kiko and the MUA there suggested a darker cream concealer, specifically their Skin Evolution Concealer in Shade 009 (for reference I’m typically an 007). Since I already own one of their concealers so I was up to try it, and since it’s only $9 if it didn’t work out, no love lost. This concealer is a deep chocolate, with the tiniest hint of red. I can’t wait to try this!!

Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer (Corrector Shade)

Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer, $9     (Corrector Shade for Packaging Reference)

Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer in Shade 009 (Cocoa)

Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer in Shade 009 (Cocoa)

Feeling like I had achieved my purpose in life (dramatic much?), I decided to look around a bit more and see what new treats awaited. I always get compliments on my eyes: their size (big), shape (almond) and color (dark brown). It’s helped me to look at this particular feature in a different, more complimentary light and so I’m noticing my desire to play them up more. Nowadays, I don’t go without eyeliner, unless I’m making a quick coffee run on a Saturday or something like it. I usually stay with dark and metallic creamy browns and various formulas of black liners. But every once in a while…BAM! I slap on a colored liner and make my way through the day with eyes just aflutter. *feeling my.self.* All this said: I picked up Kiko’s Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner in the shade Metallic Night Blue (15). Please believe I’m rocking this with a chambray shirt and no competing eyeshadow. It’s a beautiful cobalt metallic with a hint of navy to make it more wearable everyday (in my opinion). Even better? One end of the eyeliner houses a smudge for a gorgeous, modern smokey eye. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Kiko Milano Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner in Metallic Night Blue, $8

Kiko Milano Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner in Metallic Night Blue, $8

Kiko Milano Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner in Metallic Night Blue

And last but certainly not least because I LOVE a lip product: Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick in Red Coral (905). This “rich, nourishing” lipstick is only $7! It’s a great shade for summer and is pretty sheer on my deeper skin tone but complimentary. Note that this lipstick has shimmer in it. The particles are small enough that it’s not overwhelming but if you prefer a more subdued finish, then I’d try one of Kiko’s other formulas to see if they have the shade you want without the sparkle.

Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick, $7

Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick, $7

Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick in Red Coral Swatch

Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick in Red Coral Swatch

Hope you enjoyed reading about my impulse buys! I’ll be back next time for more product love <3

Until then…ttyl.

xo,

Layla

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.

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

New Season, New Products!

I’m back! And more beauty obsessed than ever: I promise, it’s possible, and it’s happening. The addiction is real and I’m feeling like I should be attending meetings or something.

It’s been so long, let’s catch up! Between work and school I’ve still managed to collect quite a few new beauty treats. I’ve been scooping up a lot of lipsticks (I know: color. Who am I? What’s happening to me?!) and a few skin goodies as well (mostly cleansers and a few sheet masks.

There’s so much I don’t want to bog you guys down with the longest post in history so I’ll break it up over the next couple of days, ending with my Kiko Milano haul from tonight–it’s a small haul this time but I’m not nearly done with my local Kiko Milano location so that’ll probably be changing as time goes on ;)

Let’s get into the lipstick love; here are are the lipsticks I’ve purchased over the last month or so. I know, I know; only a month, but don’t judge me. When you scroll through the pictures you’l understand why I had to give these beauties a home! You can find all of these lip colors at your local drugstore. Note: IMAN Cosmetics is exclusively carried in Walgreens stores; also Milani Cosmetics is hard to find but I always find them at Walgreens as well.

And remember, if you buy something at Walgreens and don’t love it, they have a great return policy. Let’s be mindful not to abuse it though; do your research before buying!

Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in (960) Tangy Tulip, $7.49

maybelline_960tangytulip001

 

I love this bright pop of color  for spring and summer! Moisturizing and applies pretty evenly.

Milani Color Statement Lipstick in (20) Uptown Mauve, $5.99; available at your local Walgreens 

milani color statement lipstick-uptown mauve

 

This is a strong mauve, but it’s very wearable and uber pretty. If done right (clean, neutral eyes, very little natural colored blush) you can rock this in the office.

IMAN Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in (028) Scandalous; $10.00; available at your local Walgreens 

iman luxury moisturizing lipstck -scandalous

This is a great red; especially for medium to deeper skin tones. I really like this color and I’m loving a red lip, it’s a bit bright so apply and wear with caution, but once you hit the door, wear with CONFIDENCE.

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in (655) Daringly Nude; $5

maybelline color sensational creamy matte lip color-daringly nude

 

I saw this in a monthly mag and this color looked much darker in print. I picked it up and thought I was set with my perfect nude. Unfortunately, this color is much too light for me to wear alone and not look a bit ashy; BUT it’s great for layering underneath and mixing to create your own color to fit whatever mood you’re in. Just be sure to include a semi matte moisturize like original Burt’s Bees underneath so it doesn’t dry out your lips. Even though it’s a creamy matte, it’s still a matte.

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in (660) Touch of Spice; $5

maybelline color sensational creamy matte-touch of spice

Since “Daringly Nude” didn’t quite work out the way I hoped, I tried again (you know, if at first you don’t succeed and what not). I’m glad I did because I found this beautiful, understated brownish pink nude. This is another great pick for the office ladies. Can’t go wrong with this one at all. It’s pink enough to warm up your face, but brown enough to communicate that you mean business. Make them READ YOUR LIPS. ;)

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor, The Vivids Collection(in 880) Electric Orange; $5

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Collection- Electric Orange

I purchased this neon stunner before Tangy Tulip–so let’s call this one the gateway drug. Ha! It’s not as dark or creamy as Tangy Tulip, but it’s perfect for a quick wash of warm weather color. Even if there is still snow on the ground here in New England and it’s raining tonight. It’s especially fun for a girls night out.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Creme Formula in (740) Certainly Red; $6

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick -Certainly Red

No, you’re not imagining things. Like I said, I’m having a red lip moment. It’ll probably last the rest of my life. Apologies in advance. This color is a classic, gets-you-noticed-for-all-the-right-reasons red. Not too dark, but also not too bright, this color is as versatile as you. Great for the office, nights out, dates, or even the occasional at home spa day–what? you don’t put a bit of lipstick on while you’re in the house pampering. That’s just me? Oh. Well…I’m cool being different :)

There’s my rundown of lipsticks that I’m loving as we move closer and closer to warmer weather and bright, sunny days. What about you? Got any faves? Share them in the comments below.

Well lovelies, it’s been fun, but this beauty chick has got STACKS of homework to tend to. Let’s make a date for tomorrow around this time, and we’ll chat about my impromptu trip to Kiko Milano and the cool Origins serum samples that I picked up on the way. Yes, I know: I’m obsessed. But like the talented and soulful Nikka Costa says: “everybody got their something.”

Missed you guys. Glad we got a chance to catch up.

Talk soon. xo.

Layla

New in Stores: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor

Cara Delevingne. Lily Collins. Joan Smalls. Anne Hathaway. Camila Alves. Hell, even Beyonce. Random? Nope. All these beautiful ladies have a particular facial characteristic that breeds envy for days. They give GOOD brow–no matter their difference in shape, color, or thickness. It’s just good. All. the. time.

“Fake it ’till you make it” works in a lot of situations so I figured why not for brows too right? Right. So begins the insane obsession with achieving my perfect brow. These days, my brows leave a lot to be desired. Due to the auto immune illness I have, I have already lost the hair on my head (save for a few spots) and my lashes are on their own weird little cycle (long and luscious for a few months, dismal and disappearing for others). But I could usually always count on my brows. Sadly, they need me to step in with whatever help I can provide.

I’ve tried a lot of things: pencils, powders, gels, waxes, DIY recipes and a fair amount of serums. I’ve learned a few things: pencils work best for me. Gels and waxes had better be sturdy or long wearing, otherwise they’d be gone from my face in hours due to my combination skin. Also, Jamaican Black Castor Oil helps a bit but smells awful. Still, I was determined to recreate the full, dark brown look that I naturally enjoyed when I was younger (we’re talking teens here.)

So imagine my delight when I see a display of new products and L’Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor in Dark Brunette (365) proudly sitting under the brightest of lights. According to the packaging, this product is a precision tip crayon, soft brush tip and fixing wax all in one. Here’s what it looks like out of the package:

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor in Dark Brunette (365), $6.99 (drugstores)

L’Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor in Dark Brunette (365), $6.99 (drugstores)

I really liked the idea of this: a pencil and filling crayon on one end and a finishing wax to hold your newly impeccable brow look in place all day. I had high hopes. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Now don’t get me wrong: this is a great product: if you have a decent amount of brow already. If you are like me and your brows are sparse or basically non-existent, you are likely to experience problems with this.

If you’re already blessed with good brow and are just looking for something to give you a more polished and/or amped up look, this is definitely your new (and quite affordable) beauty BFF. You basically can’t go wrong. The filling crayon is a great consistency: not too soft or hard and gives you control over how much color you want to deposit and where. And yes, the pigment is very buildable but you won’t have to spend hours in front of your mirror to achieve a strong look either. The brush is probably the super star though: it’s not too soft but it will not irritate or tug at your skin when you’re brushing. In fact, the brush is so good, I’m keeping the pencil just for the brush and actually using something else to create my brow look.

The finishing wax is…a finishing wax. Nothing extraordinary, but it will do the job. The only thing I’d say about this part of the pencil is that while you won’t see much of it, there will be a bit of color transfer from the filling crayon. Don’t freak out. Wipe it off or don’t–your call. And last but not least, for $6.99 (prices may vary depending on region and retailer) you get a good amount of product in this pencil that’s also small enough to pop in your cosmetic bag.

If you’re heading out the store, here’s what it looks like in the package. Remember to pay attention to the shade! Happy shopping.

L'oread Brow Stylist Sculptor in Dark Brunette (365)

L’oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor in Dark Brunette (365)

 

Have you tried this pencil? Got any brow tips? Comment below, I love to hear from you :)

 

Chat soon! xo-Layla