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

 

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

 

Poll: How Often Do You Go Sans Product?

Hey guys,

No long post today. Just me…in your business. <ha ha>

Somedays, when I know I won’t be leaving the house at all, I take a nice soothing shower or even better a long bath and then I get out of the tub and don’t put any products on until the sun goes down. No deodorant, moisturizer of any kind, NOTHING. I like to just let my skin take a full on, long depth breath. I have no idea if it’s beneficial or not, but I know that I feel that I am doing something nice for skin and by extension, my body.  When the sun goes down, I take another shower and then moisturize before slumber. I can’t do it for a full 24 hours, at some point I just don’t feel clean and it gets to me. *shrugs* I’m a little quirky like that. What can I say?

Well, actually I can say this: the gravity of what the skin does for us all is just beginning to hit me in its totality. And I try everyday to take better care of my skin. I’m drinking more water and other (mostly) healthy fluids, I’ve been exfoliating head to toe more regularly, etc.

Our skin protects us everyday millisecond of the day. It’s imperative that we return the favor. And if like me, you live with a chronic illness and some of its tell-tale signs are via your skin, you must be extra kind. Take my word for it. When I am super baby gentle and nice to my skin, it rewards me by giving me warning signs of impending health crisis if I pay attention closely.

Wait, I promised this wouldn’t be a long post. So…now it’s your turn. Do you ever go sans product for any amount of time? Take my poll and comment below.

Chat soon.

xo,Layla

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 :)

No Sleep, All Dark Circles: Olay Fresh Effects

Olay Fresh Effects Bright On Schedule Eye Awakening Cream

Olay Fresh Effects Bright On Schedule Eye Awakening Cream

Hey glossies!

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. I’ve had a CRAY-CRAY few months. I know…it’s only April. Don’t judge my life, it’s real out here, SMH.

Between work, going to school and a bumpy beginning of the year health wise, I’m tired to say the least.  So of course, I have am experiencing those tell-tale signs: dark circles, puffiness and the faintest of fine lines

One of my favorite features is my eyes, so I’m already obsessed with taking care of them and keeping them as bright as possible but lately I’ve been stepping it up a bit and decided to try to combat the puffiness that is creeping in big time. I stay up late most nights to complete reading for assignments and do research, so by time 7am the next morning comes my eyes have had it.

I picked up Olay’s new Fresh Effects Bright On Schedule Eye Awakening Cream about 2 months ago and have been using it almost every morning since. I store in the refrigerator for that extra boost of soothing coolness. The applicator is the real gem of this product. If you’ve ever seen the Clinique All About Eyes Serum roller you’ll kind of know what I’m saying here, only where Clinique’s much beloved serum has one medium-sized roller for application, when Olay does an eye roller (see also Olay Anti Aging Eye Roller) they do it up with not 1 or 2 rollers, but 3–count ’em!–3 rollers so you truly do feel like you’re giving your eyes a much-needed and deserved massage. This also helps to break up any fluid under your eyes so that you can de-puff more easily.

While I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my dark circles, I have noticed a significant difference in how puffy my eyes get and how long they stay that way, if I apply the eye cream around 8am, I’m usually completely acceptable looking by 9:30–hey, I’ll take it. Gladly.

Bottom line: if you’ve recently started experiencing puffiness, pick up one of these creams and START NOW. To be honest, I’m not sure this particular Olay eye roller will be good for more advanced eye struggles, so for those cases I’d suggest Olay Anti-Aging Eye Roller instead. Either way, Olay is Olay, can’t ever go wrong for keeping everything up where it belongs.

Gotta run glossies. It was nice to chat with you again though. Talk soon.

xo, Layla

 

 

No More Scrubs: What You Need To Know About Microbeads

woman-washing-her-face

I love exfoliating: just the idea of scrubbing and rinsing away old, dead skin to reveal newer, younger more glowing skin is my happy place. I know that scrubbing too hard is certainly bad for your skin (it creates lots of mini tears) but I never gave a second thought to those helpful little beads in many common exfoliating products on shelves everywhere.

Welp, leave it to CNN (and other news sources) to burst my very pink, rosy cloud of ignorance. On January 8, 2013 (I know, why is this JUST becoming a huge story??!!) CNN posted a story online about Unilever, the manufacturers of Dove, Vaseline, Pond’s and other popular personal care products announced that it’d be phasing out the use of microbeads as marine science researchers have found them to be harmful to environment (just think about and google what happens when your exfoliator rinses down the drain.)

Wait! Don’t panic: you can still exfoliate your way to glowing, healthy skin. Here are some alternatives–sans microbeads:

  • Origins Never A Dull Moment Face Polisher, $27, Origins locations and origins.com
  • Palmer’s Gentle Exfoliating Scrub, $9, Drugstores nationwide
  • Alba Natural AcneDote Face and Body Scrub, $7, Drugstores nationwide
  • Mario Badescu Almond and Honey Scrub, $15, Ulta and mariobadescu.com

Will you be switching out some products in your routine now? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Scrubbing!

xo, Layla

NARS Haul! Plus a Proactiv+ Update and a Pretty Monday Lip

Mr. Postman: Be My Valentine? That’s exactly what I said (in my head, of course) when I checked my (overstuffed!) mailbox tonight.

I could have kissed him for all my treats. They’re wonderful and I can’t wait to play :)

So, here’s what I got:

  • NARS Laguna Illuminator (1.1 oz.)

Nars Laguna Illuminator

  • NARS Skin Essential Vitamin Serum (2.5 fl. oz.)

Nars Skin Essential Vitamin Serum

  • NARS Super Orgasm Blush (0.12 oz.)

Nars Super Orgasm Blush

I’m probably going to rock the Laguna Illuminator tomorrow, I feel like being the girl with the good glow tomorrow, especially in light of all of the yucky weather. I’m not going to start rotating the skin serum into my routine just yet, I’m conducting a patch test. Even though the brand says the serum is “for all skin types” I’m still always as careful as possible. I’ll see how the patch of skin reacts to the small drop of serum I applied, fingers crossed because I’ve heard a lot of really good (but to be fair, really bad) things about this product and I’m eager to form my own opinion.

Not sure when I’ll be trying the blush just yet, but I like that I am trying it in this adorable mini size, I’m sure I’ll love it and it’ll be the start of my NARS blush addiction, like many other girls: I now dub this little gem my “gateway blush.”

I’ll be sure to take pics and post them! Stay tuned.

Now…about that Proactiv+ Update: you may recall my January 24, 2014 post about how my skin was fighting dirty and kicking me arse. So, just like I said I would, I ordered the Proactiv+ Kit and it came last weekend. After 48 hours of testing, you guessed it: major allergic reaction. The kind only a double serving of a soothing aloe mask could control. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t pretty or even a little bit pleasant. Needless to say: I’m returning it. Tomorrow actually. It’s all packed up and ready to go and it looks like, just as with anything else, I’m going to have to put in the hard work (and drink the water. ugh.) that I was trying to circumvent by ordering the kit. But that’s okay. I’m hoping that if I baby my skin, and really just pamper it, it will quit its tantrums and banish the awful breakouts, blackheads and flakes to the time out corner. Like seriously, just go suck your thumb and take a nap already!

One more thing, because I loved how I looked and more importantly felt about myself: here’s a picture of my cute and punchy lip from earlier today. It’s Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in (030) Smitten. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Disclaimer: I was really lazy with my beat face today, like I didn’t hardly beat it at all. But I had to do the lip: it carried me through the day.

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten

 

Hope you enjoyed this post. Apologies if it was too long, there was so much to chat with you guys about!

I’m off to Twitterland.

xo, Layla