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

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Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

How long is your daily body care routine? Does it change on the weekend when you (presumably) have more time? My body care routine is about 30 minutes on weekdays. On weekends? All bets are off. I get to luxuriate and it’s fantastic. Self-care is important and it can look like anything to anyone. For me, weekends are for the additional at-home spa moment. Whether it’s a calming shower or bath, followed by a rich moisturizer before I go back to bed, or it’s a DIY manicure and/or pedicure, it’s all important and it all feels absolutely wonderful. Whatever your energy level allows, do it.

One of my most loved things to do is to exfoliate head to toe while I’m in the shower, when I step out I feel like a new, pampered person. Keep reading for the products that I use, and love:

Face: 

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $3.99 for 1 Fl. Oz, Target 

This is one of my newest facial scrubs, I think I received the trial size (1 fl. oz) as part of a Target Beauty Box. No matter how it came to me, I’m just glad it did. This is a nice scrub for the face, but it requires a light hand, as it can be too abrasive if you scrub your face with too much pressure. Just a light, circling motion will do you just fine. And yes, your face instantly looks a little brighter after rinsing off.

Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, $21-40, Origins 

Not one of my most beloved scrubs and I think it could be more gentle, especially since the word is included in its title and packaging, but it’s effective. This is your pick if you are more mindful of ingredients, environmental impact, and the like.

Derma-E Anti-Wrinke Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub, $13.99, Ulta  

I don’t use this scrub often, but I do like it when I use it and I have a feeling that with its specific targeting towards wrinkles, I’ll be using it more and more (hello, year 29). Give this a go, if you’re starting to see wrinkles in places on your face that you’re not okay with (for me, I’m okay with laugh lines, forehead wrinkles though? No, thanks)

Hands:

Just A Minute 60-Second Manicure Scrub, $12, Bath and Body Works 

This citrus fragranced, sugar scrub isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice treat to have around. Your hands take a beating daily from all of the touching, shaking, washing, typing, etc. Keep the skin on your hands looking young, and bright by using this about once a week, and following it with a rich, creamy lotion or oil.

Body:

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish, $13.99, Target  

I had been hearing about this sugar exfoliator for months before I decided to finally give it a try. That was almost a year ago, and I have literally used every ounce of this gentle, moisturizing product since first trying it. It took a little getting used to, as my skin is typically dry and itchy and so I was unsure of how often I should use this, but once I got the hang of it and starting using it once weekly, my skin began to rebel less and become less dry and itchy, and it holds moisture much longer. If you have dry, sensitive, itchy or otherwise timid skin, sugar exfoliators are going to be your go-to, leave the salt scrubs alone. Your skin will thank you.  Also, I have to mention this scrub’s scent, which is the brand’s Original Pink fragrance and includes bergamot, mandarin, rose, peach, strawberry, jasmine, and a few other yummy notes. You’ll be hooked immediately.

Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, $7-$24.00, The Body Shop 

If you’re like me and sometimes want something more less fragrant (this smells faintly like the Shea nut it is derived from), and more down to earth, then this is the sugar scrub for you. Also, for the sensitive or irritate skin types, this scrub gets the job down with no fuss. It’s also moisturizing, although less than the Soap & Glory polish, so you’ll have to be ready to hop out of the shower, apply another moisturizer and lock it in before your skin has a chance to fully dry. If you’re looking for a way to try out sugar exfoliators, this is a good introduction as you can purchase a small size (1.7 fl.oz) for only $7. Can’t beat that!

Feet: 

Earth Therapeutics Refreshing Foot Scrub, $4.96, Walmart 

I use this in the shower, even though the directions explicitly tell you to use this on dry feet. The shower is easier for me. This is great for use in between professional pedicures to keep your feet from becoming too dry, cracked and crusty–not cute in warm weather, sandal season. This scrub is quick and easy. Note: if you use this on dry feet, as directed, then you may experience some tingling as it contains peppermint and tea tree oil. That’s normal, but of course, if you feel uncomfortable in any way, rinse your feet, and find something more soothing for your dogs.

Those are my exfoliator picks, I hope you enjoyed reading about them and that you’ll give one, two or a few, a chance. How often do you give your body a fresh skin start? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Talk soon, xo-Layla
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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

 

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

 

Poll: How Often Do You Go Sans Product?

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

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

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