Looking Ahead: Fall Beauty

Looking Ahead: Fall Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk soon. xo-Layla

Impromptu Clinique and Kiko Milano Haul!!!!

Impromptu Clinique and Kiko Milano Haul!!!!

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

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

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

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

Clinique Airbrush Concealer, $20
Clinique Airbrush Concealer, $20

Clinique Airbrush Concealer Deeper Caramel Swatch

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

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

Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer (Corrector Shade)
Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer, $9     (Corrector Shade for Packaging Reference)
Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer in Shade 009 (Cocoa)
Kiko Milano Skin Evolution Concealer in Shade 009 (Cocoa)

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

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

Kiko Milano Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner in Metallic Night Blue

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

Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick, $7
Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick, $7
Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick in Red Coral Swatch
Kiko Milano Smart Lipstick in Red Coral Swatch

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

Until then…ttyl.

xo,

Layla

A Match Made in Heaven: Sephora + Pantone Color IQ

A Match Made in Heaven: Sephora + Pantone Color IQ

Hi guys! xx

It’s been much too long since we last had a chat, grab a snack. Let’s gab.

So, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know that there are two things I struggle with all the time: my skin and my foundation color match. I’ve been really working on trying to get these two things right and let me tell you, it’s been rough. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when on a little break from a work trip, I pop into Sephora at Columbus Circle. I went in knowing that I wanted to be color matched but couldn’t remember the fabulous tool I had heard that Sephora and Pantone teamed up to bring us. Picture it: I’m standing in the middle of the floor, stammering to the poor saleswoman when something I garbled must’ve clicked for her and she says “Color IQ?” *cue all of the cherubs and harp music*

Okay, Layla you hear angelic music in a beauty store, what’s new? I know, I know. I’m getting to it. In case you haven’t heard of the Sephora + Pantone Color IQ tool, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a handheld gadget that when placed gently over a few areas of your face can identify your (Pantone) Color IQ number and match you up with a few foundations based on the type of formula you ask for at the top of the service. GENIUS.

If you’re thinking you won’t find your match no matter what, I politely disagree with you. There are over 1,500 formulas in Color IQ’s database–your match is basically destined.

A couple of things:

  • If you’re germophobic (read: like me) you’ll be fine. My saleswoman very openly disinfected the tool with a sanitizing wipe. I’m not 100% sure but I think there is also a detachable plug in: think the casings they use for ear thermometers at your doctor’s office.
  • If you suffer from hyper pigmentation of any sort between your face and neck (read: also like me) then I suggest you also ask that the tool be run over the other area that you want matched. I did this and I feel my results were more accurate because of it.

In case you’re wondering, I asked for a medium coverage foundation. Between my face and my (darker) neck, here are my results (all of which can be purchased at Sephora):

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation in Deep 74, $34
Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation in Deep 74, $34
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Pecan, $48
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Pecan, $48
Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in Golden, $27
Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in Golden, $27
Clinique Stay Matte Oil Free Makeup in Amber, $23
Clinique Stay Matte Oil Free Makeup in Amber, $23
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in (Shade) 10, $62
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in (Shade) 10, $62
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Rich Chestnut 5C1, $37
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Rich Chestnut 5C1, $37
Diorskin Nude Skin Glowing Makeup SPF 15 in Amber 063, $49
Diorskin Nude Skin Glowing Makeup SPF 15 in Amber 063, $49
Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo in 500 Suede W, $60
Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo in 500 Suede W, $60
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 in Warm Almond 6.5, $48
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 in Warm Almond 6.5, $48

See anything you want to try? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next chat–keep the snacks handy.

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 :)

I Have Seen The Future…2014 Drugstore Beauty Launches!

I Have Seen The Future…2014 Drugstore Beauty Launches!

Glossies, it’s here. The time we all cherish most of all in the beauty world…new year, new product launches!! Whoo!!!

I AM HERE FOR THIS, TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY.

So, I’m at Walgreens this morning to pick up some Orange Vanilla seltzer (don’t judge me, just try some and get your life) when BAM! All the new product displays just hit me. Obviously I had to take a walk through and I’m really glad that I didn’t even try to muster enough self restraint to keep walking and decided to take a peak.

There are lots of new things already hitting the shelves and it’s all the way GOOD.

Here’s a quick list of the things I peeped out. (Products marked with an * are things that I’m most excited to, and will, try.)

  • Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free*: they are introducing a whole line but I’m most excited to try their gentle cleansing facial wipes. Yes to Cucumbers is great for sensitive skin so I know this will be even better.
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation: This product looked great on the shelf, but unfortunately the darkest shade they had on display was not a shade match–not even close :(
  • Burt’s Bee Brightening Face Care*: This line will include a daily cleanser, eye treatment, dark spot corrector and even-tone moisturizing cream. I’m not going to try everything in the line, at least not as of yet, but I’d like to try the corrector for sure. Outside of Clinique’s it’s hard to find something that treats dark spots that is agreeable with my skin. It’d be great if this product works and doesn’t irritate my skin because as much as I love Clinique, it can be too pricey for this girl on a budget.
  • Garnier Clean+: On the display I saw a Nourishing Cleansing Oil (which may find it’s way into my arsenal), a Smoothing Cream Cleanser, Purifying Foam Cleanser, and Balancing Daily Exfoliator. They also had a Shine Control Cleansing Gel and Blackhead Eliminating Scrub. The cleansing oil and cream cleanser are for drier skins, while the Purifying products are for combination skin types. And of course, the cleansing gel and blackhead scrub are for oily skin types. Don’t worry about trying to remember which products correspond to which skin types, Garnier’s displays have made them super easy. Kudos to them!
  • Garnier 5 Sec Blur*: I imagine this is Garnier’s ($16.99) answer to L’Oreal’s Miracle Blur ($22-$26). I find Garnier to be reputable so I’d definitely be willing to save the extra bucks and try this instead of L’Oreal’s blemish eraser/skin enhancer. I’ve heard great things about Miracle Blur so I’m certainly not knocking it but I think Garnier is providing a great option to other ladies who feel Miracle Blur is just a tiny bit out of their budget.
  • L’Oreal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Lotion SPF30: This product intrigues me very much. I’ve never seen something that is directly advertised for your face, neck and chest. I’m not sure if I’ll be trying this, but I’m definitely keeping it on my radar.
  • L’Oreal Youth Code Pore Vanisher: I’m not sure what to make of this product but I imagine it’s for young women/women who are at a more entry level stage of skin care as it seems Youth Code is geared towards the 20-30 year old crowd. Right now I think of it as shelf clutter, but I’ll reserve my final opinion until I know more.
  • Revlon Matte Balm*: Yes. A thousand times yes. Revlon’s magical lip crayon is now also offered in a matte formula. Also: there’s a pretty deep purple color that is definitely coming home with me. I’ve been dying to try a purple lip and I think this is the perfect way to do it.
  • Revlon Lacquer Balm*: see previous item. Ditto everything. Add: any Beyoncé booty shaker you’d like because that’s the vibe you’ll be catching when you swipe one of these on. Get ’em girls! ;)

 

Aaahh! I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.

Which products are you interested in trying? I’m going to review all the items that I pick up from this list. If you’d like me to review something in a particular order, let me know in the comments below or drop me a note. Please note that I try skincare for at least 5 days before writing a full review, but I will always post first impressions.

Disclaimer: Walgreens or any of the companies/brands mentioned above are not compensating me for my post(s) (currently or in the future unless otherwise stated)

I won’t be posting again until January 2, 2014 so…

Glossies, I love you for reading. Here’s to a slamming 2014 filled with all the beauty products you can stand and bad ass power moves (in life, love, work, money, etc.) that chicks like us can make happen in 365 days. Here’s to you because you ROCK! Happy 2014.

xo, Layla

Giving Good Base: Selecting My Everyday Go-To Foundation

Giving Good Base: Selecting My Everyday Go-To Foundation

foundation-makeup

It happens every other year at least…I can expect to have to think about it the same time I start to think about my taxes. Foundation.  Either I have to change my shade (lighter in the winter, darker in the summer) or I have to change formulas (heavier in the winter, lighter in the summer)

So here we are again, almost smack into winter and I’m on the hunt. And by hunt, I mean HUNT.  I’ve tried three (3) different ones in the past month alone: Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup in Hazelnut and Nutmeg and CoverGirl Queen Collection Stay Flawless All Day 3-in-1 Liquid Makeup in Sheer Espresso. These foundations weren’t bad but they just weren’t…well,right. Mostly because the shades were off. I’ll do a full review of these in the coming weeks.

Since this will be my go-to foundation I’ve decided I just have to put in the time and do the search as thoroughly as possible. There were a lot of products I was able to rule out just from watching a few YouTube reviews and reading some Sephora.com comments, so thankfully I won’t be searching as long as I originally thought.

I’ve narrowed my search down to two (2) brands: MAC and Clinique.  I LOVE both of these brands for various and sometimes overlapping reasons.  MAC has an amazing range of shades and formulas, while Clinique has great formulas and is a brand that gets the added benefit of the trust factor, as their products are all allergy-free (even if one product tester has one reaction, they start all over again!)

In my late teen years, I used Clinique’s Superbalanced Makeup and Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder. I have no complaints. They’re both great products and sheer (but buildable) coverage that leave you looking incredibly flawless.

In my early twenties, I started to switch it up a bit because I had been hearing so many great things about MAC, especially their shade and color ranges.  What I love about MAC is their ability to create a color that you had no clue you ever need, but suddenly it’s on your most coveted list and you won’t stop until you’ve got it, wrapped in that signature sleek black packaging.  In my head, MAC is like sitting at the cafeteria table with all the cool kids who are incredibly talented in the arts and give you the sense of worldliness that you could only imagine in your wildest “when I grow up” dreams.

Alas, I am that girl, who plays it (mostly, almost always) safe so I will return to Clinique and its faithful shade matches and formulas. My skin will return to looking healthy for the most part while I get my act together in the other areas of skin care (SPF, masks, eye treaments, etc.)

Of course, I am woman, therefore I am subject to all manner of mind changing so we shall see what I end up finally landing on.

Any suggestions?