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!

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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

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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

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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

 

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

New in Stores: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor

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

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