Update–Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System

Update–Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System

Even as I start to write this post, I am reminded of the experience I’m about to relay, and I’m…thoroughly annoyed. To say the least. I had high hopes for this one…

tyra banks rooting for you GIF

What I have now? A lingering sense of disappointment and a fresh, shiny manicure that I know I can count on because I feel mildly traumatized by my Vinyl experience.

Before we go any further, if you haven’t already, please read my first post about this nail polish system here.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t make it to 7 days girls and gents. Oh no, instead we made to day 5.

evelyn awkward face GIF

It’s okay though. It’s cool. It’s fine. Really. Because I really learned something about myself: I value a good manicure for a variety of reasons. Mostly, because it’s a good way to feel polished, put together and ready to conquer for a very small investment. You can change it to suit your moods, tell a visual story and communicate who are. Manicures are important to me. Also, I talk with my hands regularly enough that it matters. It just does. I like what I like.

OK, enough life lessons. Let’s get to the review.

Day 1: My manicure is fresh, shiny and basic. I like basic. I’m turning 30 this year, basic appeals to me. I finish applying the system quickly as it was pretty straight forward and the instructions were easy. I feel like money and am checking my hands every other minute.

dude fresh manicure GIF

Day 2: Nothing new or fancy. Still shiny. No chips.

Day 3: This day was like finding out the guy you’ve gone on 2 dates with has a girlfriend. You’re blindsided. Day 3 wasn’t pretty and neither was my mood. I’m over it already. Keep in mind, I sealed the tips of my nails with color and topcoat. The shine dulls a bit starting today but easily comes back with hand moisturizer or cuticle oil. If I wasn’t writing about my experience, I’d have removed the polish at the start of Day 3. Take a look for yourself (and excuse my cuticles):

Day 3 Vinylux
CND Vinylux, Day 3 (Left Hand)
Day 3 Vinylux _ Right Hand
CND Vinylux, Day 3 (Right Hand)

Day 4: Not much different from yesterday. No change in chipping or wear on the tips. New nail growth is just beginning to peak through but doesn’t look terrible. Thankfully, the new MAC lipsticks I ordered arrive in the mail and I have a happy distraction because I’m still over this. I can’t wait to get rid of this manicure because as Marie Kondo teaches us, it doesn’t bring me joy. Around 8pm, I cave and do the only thing I think can help without full on cheating…file my nails down a tiny bit so it doesn’t look like I’m completely a hot mess. It helps, but doesn’t solve all my polish problems. I give up and go to bed eventually.

Day 5: The chips are making me antsy and I feel self conscious, hiding my hands and nails from anyone who I think might catch a glance and judge my entire life, because honestly, I would. Does this system last 7 days? Maybe for a more relaxed, go with the flow type of person. But with me? NOPE. No sir, no thanks. The “manicure” (can we really call it that if it doesn’t perform? I feel petty) comes off. I’m instantly relieved.

Day 6: New manicure, who dis?

evelyn im back bitches

Final thoughts: I’m glad I tested the mini kit version of this nail system because after being curious about it’s performance for so long and being excited about its color offerings, had I purchased full size bottles and it “performed” the way it did for me–which in my opinion, was to not perform at all–I would’ve been beyond disappointed and annoyed. I obviously take my nails seriously and feel that as far as development and production goes, especially in the drugstore space, it’s relatively easy to get a good formula and keep the price point affordable. With that said, I’m overall just confused about this system and all the rave reviews it gets.

Of course, everyone is different and if you decide to try this system I would do start with a mini kit and go from there.

Would I purchase again? No.

malaysia girl bye

…but it’s good to try new things!!

Until next time!

xo-Layla

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Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

If my horoscope for 2018 is anywhere near on-point, then your girl is in for some great changes in the love department. Am I ready? Mostly.

Now, I get a lot of comments about how soft my skin is (thanks to regular exfoliation and heavy, repetitive moisturizing from the inside-out). I also get a lot of compliments and comments about how I love to rock a bold lip. Guilty as charged. But, I’ve got a confession–lean in…*whispers* I don’t exfoliate my lips near as religiously as I should. That’s right, sometimes your girl is out and about dancing on the line of having full blown flaky lip status. It’s shameful. Do not judge me. Save your side-eye. Unfurl that brow.

You can’t fix a problem that you don’t acknowledge right? So, there. That’s that. Now we move on to the solution: First Aid Beauty. Before we get to the specifics, can we briefly talk about how this brand gets a lot of play, but not nearly as much as feel they deserve. They’ve got everything–and it’s safe for sensitive skin. Jack pot. You. cannot. go. wrong. (Hello, Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream) <3

So, about that fix — it’s a one-two punch of a package. It’s fast, easy, but still manages to feel luxurious. The first jab is the Ultra Repair Honey & Oat Lip Exfoliator — I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a lip exfoliator, big deal.” You’re right. It is a big deal. It’s an exfoliator that’s easy to use (apply, gently rub, rinse) and it’s quick. But the kicker here is that once you’re done with gently rubbing and rinsing, your lips already feel moisturized. Do you hear me? You scrubbed your lips and they’re not dry. That’s a pretty big deal to me. I cannot overstate how rare I find this to be, or how much this elevates this particular lip exfoliator above all of the others that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, included DIY ones with honey as a base.)

Okay, so now you’re thinking, you’re done, right? Your lips are exfoliated and they’re not dry. But *insert tire screeching noise here* wait a second, you’re not done. I said it was a one-two punch, remember? The second and final jab is the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy which is the petroleum free, soothing and moisturizing balm/ointment formula that you apply to add and lock in moisture to your newly flake-free smackers. It also smells delicious–it has the slightest hint of mint that isn’t overbearing, but it may make you crave mint chocolate chip ice cream, be warned.

I’ve tried these products separately, and together and I honestly have zero complaints. They’re perfect on their own or together. Best of all, I’m not worried about having a negative reaction because my skin is ultra-sensitive. I don’t wish they did anything differently with these products. I just wish that I had found them earlier than I did, but even with that, I’m just happy to have found them and I think you will be too.

Yes, NYE has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time that you’ll want to have smooth, pillowy soft lips so get your hands on this 1-2 punch of a package and do yourself (and your boo) a favor all year round (cold weather, hot and humid, nights out or in; you name it).

Okay, gotta run. But we’ll talk soon.

Until then…flake free-kisses and smooth-skinned hugs–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

Thanks, But No: A Few Things I’ve Tried and Tossed

Thanks, But No: A Few Things I’ve Tried and Tossed

Have you ever tried something because you’ve heard so much about it, and it sounded like it’d be the most perfect addition to your beauty stash? Me too. And I love when something works and becomes a HG product. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to love a product, or how well it seems to work with/on someone else, it’s just not for you.

Unfortunately, this year I’ve come across a few products like that. Some I will give a little more time…others, I just need to quickly toss. Read on for the products that I just can’t adopt into my product family:

NYX Cosmetics Lip Lingerie: Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE liquid lipsticks. I love lip products period. The more matte, the better. And I’ve tried my fair share of NYX products and never had anything but praise and a spot in my stash for them so I bought 4 different shades of Lip Lingerie one day on while on a Target run. I didn’t think twice. The shades (French Maid, Exotic, Beauty Mark, and Ruffle Trim) are all beautiful nudes. They’re great for a subtle and polished look. The real tragedy though? The wear. They apply nicely (although a little more wet than I typically prefer), and the pigment payoff is exquisite. That just doesn’t last very long. After a few hours, they feel tacky in some places, dry in others and become uneven. God forbid you wear these on a busy day when you’re not apply to touch up or reapply regularly! (And to be honest, it’s my personal opinion that touch ups and reapplications should be sparse when necessary, but I love long wear products that leave me with one less thing to worry about throughout a hectic day). Bottom line: Try one first, see what you think. If you love, stock them all. If you don’t, you’re not stuck with multiples to throw away (like me, SMH).

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara: I got more excited about this mascara launching than I do for a lot of new beauty launches. One of my HG mascaras is Benefit They’re Real Mascara (which is the stuff of your lashes-but-better dreams). I’ll buy it as long as it’s good, but the price tag ($24!) is a little steep for a mascara so I’m always looking out for a drugstore dupe that I can use in its place for most days (saving Benefit for special occasions, etc.) I thought this Maybelline offering was the one. I thought it was here to save me and my debit card. Disappointment, thy name is a mascara formula that makes your eyes tear a few minutes after applying. That’s right, it’s great–it gives you beautiful long, voluminous dramatic everyday lashes, but my eyes hated something in the formula and wouldn’t let me carry on with my day for as long as I had it on. It’s hard to look at a computer screen, your smartphone, take notes, walk or really anything else that might require your eyesight when you’re so busy wiping your eyes. Unfortunately, this product goes to beauty heaven because of that. R.I.P. (pour out some eye makeup remover for this real one)

Clinique Pep-Start Quick Cleansing Wipes: I’m a fan of the Korean double cleansing method (oil, then water based cleanser) for removing makeup, or simply purifying your makeup free skin after a day out and about in the environment. But every now and then, I need wipes to help me along because I just don’t have the energy to do the double cleanse “properly” every single day. With my sensitive skin I’ve tried a more than decent amount of Clinique’s products and it’s one of my go-to brands. I picked up a pack of these during a couch session of online shopping. They’re inexpensive enough, coming in at $14 for 50 towelettes, but even the price couldn’t get me to use more than 2 wipes before I discarded the pack. The reason? I don’t find these nearly moist enough to a) remove surface oil and dirt (as promised) and b) not leave my skin feeling dry, stripped and irritated. After I used these wipes, I still felt that I needed a sink, soap and water–which completely defeats the purpose of wipes in the first place. I gave these away to someone who tried them while lounging at home with me one day. She loved them. They found a new home. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

Hopefully my latest and future beauty finds will work out better. Crossing my just polished nails and toes. Here’s hoping!

What about you? Any products you’ve tried and had to toss? Let me know in the comments below.

Talk soon -xo Layla

Layla Loves: Micellar Water

Layla Loves: Micellar Water

I just arrived home from work. Shoes come off first. Then my wig (yes, I wear a wig, more on that some other time). Then, off comes my makeup. I look forward to all of these things every day, but especially on days when I am tired and want to just come home and lay down, maybe watch some TV and zone out.

As much as I love to wear makeup and rock a bold lip, I also am growing to love being in my bare-faced skin and I care about it’s health as much as I care about it’s natural appearance. So, I want to make sure that I tell you all about one of my favorite beauty products EVER: micellar water.

In case you haven’t heard more than excited buzz around micellar water, let’s start with the basics. The first (and the only thing, in my opinion) that you need to know is that it’s a beauty secret and staple of French women. Say no more, right?

I heard that micellar water was great for sensitive skin (due to its lack of harsh chemicals, soap, fragrance and alcohol), requires no rinsing, is a great makeup remover, AND is a gentle alternative to most facial wipes on the market (some are soft and treat your skin like the baby it should be viewed as).

At first, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. I tried a small bottle of Simple Micellar Water and was converted to a full fledged believer within a week. My skin felt clean, looked better, felt softer and appeared smoother. On top of that, I hadn’t experienced any new breakouts. I stopped washing my face twice a day with harsh tap water ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t stopped washing my face with good old face cleanser and bathroom sink water completely, but cutting down has helped my skin a lot–it’s undeniable.

So, which micellar waters do I use regularly and think you should try? Glad you asked!

Here we go…

The First Love: Simple Micellar Water, 13.5 fl.oz., $8,99, Target

Simple Micellar Water

The Brightening Secret: 

Botanics All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution, 8.4 oz., $5.99, Target

botanics all bright micellar

The Oily/Combination Skin Power Punch: 

Bioderma Sebium H2O Solution Micellaire, 500ml, $14.90, Birchbox

Bioderma Sebium H20 Micelle Solution

And since you’re going all in on micellar waters, make sure you are using the right counterparts: facial rounds or ovals. I prefer ovals because of their size (compared to rounds). They’re larger and can cover more of your face in less swipes, saving product and ovals. These are the ovals that I prefer.

So, will you be trying a micellar water? Do you already use them? Let me know your thoughts, and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Talk soon. -xo, Layla

K-Beauty: My Fave Sheet Masks

K-Beauty: My Fave Sheet Masks

images-1
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:

images.jpeg
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

 

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

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