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:


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)


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.


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!


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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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


Let Your Skin Troubles Evaporate

Let Your Skin Troubles Evaporate


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.


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 :)

Rejuvenating As A Rule

Rejuvenating As A Rule

spa picture


No post about makeup tonight.  Just thoughts.  I don’t relax well. In fact, I hate it. It feels like I’m being an unproductive waste of space. Harsh? Maybe. But I like to be busy–in the pursuit of meaningful accomplishment.  It’s in my DNA. Here’s the catch: all work, grind and no play for balance means you’re liable to you will shut down.

Maybe not abruptly…perhaps it’ll be a slow chug-a-chug kind of winding down but eventually the car that is you will run out of gas and you’ll be down for the count until you can recharge enough to leave the couch for a day. Sounds miserable and scary right?

No need to worry. You can protect yourself against stress, run down and potential burn out by being more intentional about building a life/work/play balance. Sure we have loved ones–and they’re great– but we can’t depend on others to make sure we’re always at our best possible at any given time. It’s up to us girls! (and gents!!)

And you want to know something else? It’s okay to treat, indulge and take care ourselves. We don’t need to neglect responsibilities to do so, we should absolutely be smart about it, but when it is time to pamper and nuture ourselves, we should do so with all the enthusiasm and genuine optimism and happiness we can muster and dump the guilt immediately.

Of course, I can’t tell you to take advice that I haven’t taken myself, right? Duh. So I booked myself a nice little spa day to take place in January, once the hectic year of 2013 has wrapped up and the new busy of 2014 has just begun. I think it’s perfect timing. I’ll have my first facial (so exciting!), get a lovely manicure and soothing pedicure and rest. I’ll exhale and feel every breath and take a moment to listen to my heartbeat and the sounds of my environment.  I’ll stay overnight and cuddle with a nice cup of tea that I’ve never tried before and a suspenseful thriller.

You don’t have to book a spa day per se, but go ahead and buy yourself an at home spa kit complete with a sheet mask, a new nail polish, manicure tools, body scrub, etc. and take your time giving yourself some TLC.

Your mind, body and spirit will thank you. And so will your loved ones. You’ll be a better you, that’s a win-win for everyone!!

I’d love to hear your favorite at home spa treatments. Tell me in the comments below!

xo, Layla



First Impression: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum

First Impression: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum


Happy Thanksgiving beauties!

I hope you’re enjoying this day of rest, great food, and time to catch up with family. May all the things you’re grateful for this year bring you many more happy moments in the next.

Sorry for the late update but I wanted to be sure of my first impression before putting finger to keyboard.

Here we go! Julep is a great service with many great products, including their nail polishes. While this skin serum is another hit for them, it’s not quite a home run for me.

After washing and exfoliating my face, I applied one pump of this serum to my face. One pump is perfectly adequate for the face (at least mine), in fact if left my face feeling a bit like chicken grease. I did my routine right before hitting the sack and the greasiness of my face left me feeling like I could actually be inviting my face to breakout even more.

Of course this is my first time having used this product so I will try it at least 2 more times but based on my first experience I’m not exactly looking forward to it. And that’s how I know that I love a product and how it’s working: if I just naturally reach for it rather than force myself to use it.

While I’m a little disappointed, my mind is still open to this product and I’m curious to see how it works if I say, alter my facial cleansing routine slightly, or use it on other areas as the bottle suggests.

Well there you have it glossies. I’ll report back more of my thoughts after a few more tries with this one.

I think there’s room for it in my skin arsenal, I’m just not quite sure where that is yet.

Stay tuned!

xo, Layla

Let’s Try: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum with Power Cell Complex

Let’s Try: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum with Power Cell Complex



It’s mini facial night again!

My skin has been going absolutely haywire, no doubt from stress and lack of sleep–mostly lack of sleep. But I’m determined to get the best skin that I can, so I’m not giving up. With the season changing (sometimes drastically and unpredictably), it can be hard to get a handle on your skin care routine at first. Have no fear, we all struggle with this, even if we do have a few basics that carry over from winter to winter. I’m itching to try many things this winter to see if I can get my skin to behave (for the most part) through the cold weather but I haven’t been able to locate them locally just yet.

In the meantime, I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Just a week or so ago, I received my Julep Maven Box (I’m a Bohemian Glam in case you’re wondering  ;)) I usually don’t care much about the non-nail polish beauty products, but this time was the complete opposite. While I loved the nail polishes, I was more drawn to the rich, crazy moisturizing Rock Star Hand Crème (I will post a review on that next week) and the star of this post, the Luxe Repair Skin Serum.

I haven’t tried this yet, in fact tonight will be my first time, but I’m hoping this will be the answer to my dry, flaky, itchy skin problem. I did pump out a little product on my hand and it looks like an oil/serum hybrid almost. I like this texture a lot, but I imagine there will be some who dislike it enough to forego trying it even once.

According to Julep’s website, “This rejuvenating serum delivers deep hydration and essential nutrients to help rebuild skin structure from the inside out—for a noticeable difference in the way your skin looks and feels. Designed for all skin types, Luxe Repair can be used as a daily treatment or moisturizer for face, hands, or body.”

They also state the following benefits:

  • Lightweight, concentrated formula enriched with Julep’s proprietary Power Cell Complex™, a trio of skin-boosting superstars:

1) Rosehip seed oil – a nourishing oil (and natural source of vitamins A and C) that helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and post-acne marks. Contains natural fatty acids that bond moisture to skin

2) Malvaceae Lipid Extract™ – a lipid complex that provides immediate and long-lasting hydration and works to rebuild skin structure from the inside out

3) Green coffee bean oil – a natural anti-inflammatory that promotes cell turnover

I’m into it. And I pray to heaven that it doesn’t disappoint.

I’ll definitely be giving you guys my follow-up first impression.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator


Hey glossies!

It’s manicure and facial night here at HQ (my home). Tonight’s version is a little different and feels uber special and luxuriating because I’m using products from my November Birchbox. I’ll review a few other products from the box in a separate post…er, three.

In this month’s box I received a sample of Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation, Color Club’s Nail Lacquer in Baldwin Blues, Ayres Midnight Tango Body Butter, Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches and last but certainly not least…drumroll please!…Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator(!!!!!!)

Needless to say you know what the star of this post will be ;)

Currently, my skin is acting out (but honestly WHEN is it not?!!) and is dry, flaky, itchy and overall just a pain in the arse so this “customer fave” which “mimics the effects of microdermabrasion for a glowing, smooth complexion” was literally calling to me from its prison cell which is my mailbox.

Alright, I’ve just tried it for the first time only moments ago and already I am very pleased. It was easy to use: simply wet your face, and apply the product on your face in circular motions, then rinse. It smells clinical (at least to me) but not in an overwhelming, unpleasant way. The smell is more assuring to me actually, I feel that I am getting dermatology office strength in the comfort of my home.

And the best part? It didn’t leave my dry, super sensitive skin screaming or flaming red. This almost never happens. I’m feeling in awe and like it may be a little too good to be true but I’m holding out hope!

I will be trying this product at least 2 more times to see if my opinion changes but after this first pass, I’m excited for the next usage occasions.

Next up in the routine is Freeman’s Facial Clay Mask with Avocado and Oatmeal. Finally, I’ll seal it all with a soothing and brightening kiss: Murad’s Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum and Origin’s GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream.

Have you tried this or any other Vasanti product? What did you think? Kindly leave a note below, I’d love to hear you thoughts!

Talk soon,