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.



First Impression: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35

Warm weather is finally here! *shimmy, shimmy*

The Northeast is notorious for less than enviable fall/winter weather, but this year my tolerance must’ve completely forgotten to show up because I was OVER. IT. before winter even really set in, got comfortable and decided to stay a while. Now don’t get me wrong, cold weather is good for a few things when it comes to beauty. For us oily or combination girls: it means we’re matte all day without too much maintenance. Spring and summer means we’ve got to have our blotting game on fleek. Which brings me to the reason we’re all here: my latest rant/review.

If you’re new here then I must tell you: I’m a HUGE fan of Birchbox. Love my monthly box, the Birchbox shop and I’m dying to visit their retail location in Soho. Obviously, this means that I have Birchbox points. Lots of them. (I’m almost ACE status, whoo!) I’ve been hoarding my points for a few months, just waiting for the right product to come along and make me want to cash it all in. Last week, I saw it: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35. 

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Dark, $39 Photo courtesy: Smashbox

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Dark, $39, 1 fl. oz
Photo courtesy: Smashbox

First things first: when you read the box you’ll notice that the product description says this BB cream is a “5-in-1 miracle worker proven to PRIME, PERFECT, PROTECT, HYDRATE and CONTROL OIL.” STOP HERE: this is the point where I audibly squealed with delight. Okay, we can keep going now.

So…how do I feel about this product? I’m….still on the fence :/

I’ve only used it this one day (today), so I will give it more time for sure. I applied this BB Cream (with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, that I LOVE!) at around 7 a.m. and removed it via makeup remover wipe at about 7 p.m. I did have to use blotting powder and films throughout the day, but not for my whole T-zone; just my nose. Otherwise, it did a decent enough job of controlling my oil.

Here’s what I like: it has sun protection (the full coverage, truly safe variety aka broad spectrum), instead of a 9-12 month expiration date, this product could last 24 months (it’d probably be gone by then honestly), and the coverage is sheer/light which is just enough to even your tone and look polished while still allowing your skin to shine through and breathe.

What I’m kind of *meh* about: the sun protection is actually a combination of 4 sunscreens and one of them is oxybenzone which has been known to be a skin irritant for some so tread very carefully if you have sensitive skin or have experienced issues with your skin and sun protection in the past. Lastly, the darkest shade (which is what I purchased) is good enough for my skin tone which is comparable to a MAC NC/NW45 or 47 without needing to do too much blending.

I can’t recommend trying this or not just yet. But if you simply can’t wait to get your hands on this and see what’s what, then I’d say, snap up a travel size (0.25 oz). Unfortunately, the travel size only comes in 2 shades: light and light/medium. (Really, Smashbox? Come. On.)  But if these are the shades you need, you can find this size on Amazon and directly from the Smashbox website.

Shifting Gears

It’s been waaaayyyy too long since we last caught up. All I can say is: my bad. No excuses, just ugh, MY BAD.

Even when I’m not posting, I’m thinking of posting, or wondering what you’d have to say about a new lip color I snapped up in my random Monday-caffeine-isn’t-helping shopping binges at Walgreens before popping into the office. And trust me: there have been a lot of them. No judgement, right?

Anyhoo–it hasn’t all been lip colors and manic Mondays. These past few months have been chock full of introspective moments, thinking of the future and making (loose) plans to do things a bit differently. I haven’t figured it all out, but one of my goals is to lead a more balanced life. A life in which I buy a new nail polish, turn in homework on time, kill it at work, but still have time, energy and the desire to pick up new hobbies and most of all: relax a little. Let my hair (read: wig) down and have some fun without regret or anxiety. The recurring theme lately has been to give myself a break. So…I’m trying to figure that all out, without overthinking everything.

Lip color is helping. I’m not even going to begin to downplay how much. I’m looking at you, Covergirl Queen Collection Lipstick in Classy Coral , but alas lip color can only solve our problems to a point. Then we have to take over (feeling and looking fab of course!)

So, what’s my point? I say all of this to say: I’m going to get more serious about blogging and I want this to be a space that more accurately reflects me: a big mix of EVERYTHING. I love so many things and am intrigued by so much, it’s hard to write only about the cosmetic things that make me swoon. So in the coming months, expect to see a new design (details will come as I have them!), more topics (beauty will always hold the top spot in my heart) like fashion items I’m loving or have added to my closet, personal finance tips, tips for crushing it in school, and so on. More of…me :)

I hope you’ll stick around for all the new and exciting changes…it’s going to be quite a ride, as I’ll be doing most things myself, so please be patient! Y’all ready to do this? Let’s shift from neutral…see you in DRIVE.

Classy Coral Kisses  ;) xo


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Secret’s Out! Anonymous Sephora Employee Reveals Hits, Misses Of Our Favorite Store

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful:

Sephora Source: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty

Here at HelloBeautiful, we make regular trips to one of our favorite stores ever, the makeup candy shop that is Sephora (ok, I’m literally salivating at the thought of my next visit!) But with so many products to choose from, we too can confirm that there are plenty of “holy grail” beauty products, as well as a few “not if-you-were-the-last-mascara-on-earth” items we wouldn’t purchase again.

Through a fun, yet investigative report from Jezebel, one anonymous Sephora employee kept it real and revealed what products she truly thought were worthy of our makeup bags and others that, contrary to beauty blogger belief, were just plain overrated. This in-the-know tipster even shouted out some drugstore items!

Makeup lovers, let’s take notes!

MUST READ: Cosmo Apologizes For ‘Killing’ Black Women & Twitter’s Like, ‘Bye Felicia!’

Below is the breakdown by product type (thanks Racked) and, according to tools…

View original 653 more words

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Work It: 7 Beauty Essentials You Need To Keep At Your Desk

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful:


A well-stocked desk could keep your professional look on point, and we’ve come up with a few must-have items for your workplace beauty arsenal.

We’ve all been there: you’re hard at work when your productivity flow is stopped in its tracks by beauty emergency. You’d really love to focus on that project at your desk, but there just something about your look that’s throwing you off, and it can be hard to get your focus back until it is fixed. Outside of the usual, like a brush and a mirror, here are five items that should have you covered.

Hair Oil
There’s almost nothing worse for naturalistas than to reach up during the middle of the day to brush some hair out of your face than to find that your tresses feel dry and brittle! In this situation, having a mini bottle of hair oil could be a lifesaver for your…

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Ciao Bella! (Kiko Milano Haul)

Hello glossies!

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, it wasn’t a very good health day. But it’s all good: I’m back and now we can gab about a few new treats I picked up at my local Kiko Milano Cosmetics on Wednesday evening.

For those of you who haven’t heard of, or don’t know much about Kiko Milano, let me help bring you up to speed. Kiko Milano originates from Italy and has just recently made it’s way to our side of the globe. If you visit Kiko Milano’s website ( you’ll see that this brand describes itself as a destination for “professional make up and cutting edge skin care treatments. The brand’s products don’t contain any paragons and are formulated to be hypoallergenic. Bonus: the  brand examines products for any allergic reactions, etc. for 30 days, instead of the standard 2 days required by U.S. law. I LOVE that. Also personally, I’d also like to add that this brand is hip, trendy, fun, vibrant and all around energetic.

My neighborhood store is a bit small (I’m not sure if all locations are on the small side or not) but there are plenty of products to play with and choose from. The store’s design and layout are very well organized and colorful, yet sleek. My only grievance-and it’s a small one-is that sometimes I go in and the music is a bit loud; it can be hard to talk to the knowledgeable and friendly salespeople. See below for a pic of what a Kiko Milano location may look like.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Okay, enough background-let’s get into the goods. Here’s what I picked up at Kiko Milano with a few quick thoughts to accompany each product picture. Side note: I went in because I’m still on the hunt for my perfect red lip…I know, I should be attending meetings. WOMP. Anyhoo…

First up is the Illuminating Mask. 

Kiko Milano Illuminating Mask (Brightening & Energizing), purchased for $4

Kiko Milano Illuminating Mask (Brightening & Energizing), purchased for $4 Photo Credit:

This mask comes packaged in a single use sheet form and promises to “give radiance and energy to the face.” It also claims to help “fight dull complexions and give skin a healthy, smooth look.” I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m obsessed with sheet masks so I can’t wait to get into this. I hope I’m not disappointed.

I also picked up the Intensive Hand Balm which I think is especially great for transitioning weather, especially of the sort we’ve been having around these New England parts these days. I really like this balm, it’s light and feels so incredibly silky but absorbs and moisturizes almost instantly and even stays on through a hand washing or two before you feel that you really need to reapply. The only thing I’d say about this balm as a warning is that it is scented. The scent isn’t unpleasant necessarily but it’s not easily identifiable. It’s strong upon initial application but wears down quickly and nicely.

Kiko Milano Intensive Hand Balm, purchased for  $9  Photo credit:

Kiko Milano Intensive Hand Balm, purchased for $9
Photo credit:

I want to stop here to mention that Kiko has great sales. They’re almost always placed in the middle of the store on a table. There are a few products in each category (lips, eye, skin) that you can browse and pick up a treat at a sweet price. Obviously, I had to take advantage of Kiko’s latest sale: The Shine Lust Lip Tint in #11Vintage Rose which usually retails for $12 but was on sale for….$1.96!!!! YES. You read that correctly. Shade #11 is a really nice sheer, gloss that gives you a natural, pretty flush of lip color.

I know what you’re thinking: “you went in for a red lip and so far all you got was skin stuff and a gloss?!” Well, here it is folks, the moment you’ve been waiting for (but maybe not really): THE RED LIP.

I purchased The Precision Lip Pencil in #307, Fire Red for $6. The pencil itself is a classic red with blue undertones (in my opinion of course). It’s not a chubby pencil so filling in your lips takes a little patience but it’s worth it.

Kiko Milano Precision Lip Color in 307, Fire Red, $4  Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

Kiko Milano Precision Lip Color in 307, Fire Red, $4
Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

I could wear the pencil alone, or pair it with the Velvet Mat Lipstick in 608, Apple Red. This is one of the deeper reds in the Velvet Mat lipstick collection. Kiko Milano engineered a brilliant design for the packaging of this lipstick. You simply push down from the top of the tube and the bottom half containing the lipstick slowly pops down and out. GENIUS. Don’t have to worry about your lipstick mistakenly popping open in your purse, work or gym bag.

kiko milano lipstick packaging

Kiko Milano’s GENIUS packaging

Kiko Milano Velvet Mat Lipstick, purchased for $9  Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

Kiko Milano Velvet Mat Lipstick, purchased for $9
Photo credit: Kiko Milano UK

That’s it for my Kiko Milano haul. Apologies for the long post but I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Have you ever been to Kiko Milano? If so, what are your favorite products? I’d love to hear, leave me a note in the comments below.

Chat soon.

xo, Layla

New Season, New Products!

I’m back! And more beauty obsessed than ever: I promise, it’s possible, and it’s happening. The addiction is real and I’m feeling like I should be attending meetings or something.

It’s been so long, let’s catch up! Between work and school I’ve still managed to collect quite a few new beauty treats. I’ve been scooping up a lot of lipsticks (I know: color. Who am I? What’s happening to me?!) and a few skin goodies as well (mostly cleansers and a few sheet masks.

There’s so much I don’t want to bog you guys down with the longest post in history so I’ll break it up over the next couple of days, ending with my Kiko Milano haul from tonight–it’s a small haul this time but I’m not nearly done with my local Kiko Milano location so that’ll probably be changing as time goes on ;)

Let’s get into the lipstick love; here are are the lipsticks I’ve purchased over the last month or so. I know, I know; only a month, but don’t judge me. When you scroll through the pictures you’l understand why I had to give these beauties a home! You can find all of these lip colors at your local drugstore. Note: IMAN Cosmetics is exclusively carried in Walgreens stores; also Milani Cosmetics is hard to find but I always find them at Walgreens as well.

And remember, if you buy something at Walgreens and don’t love it, they have a great return policy. Let’s be mindful not to abuse it though; do your research before buying!

Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in (960) Tangy Tulip, $7.49



I love this bright pop of color  for spring and summer! Moisturizing and applies pretty evenly.

Milani Color Statement Lipstick in (20) Uptown Mauve, $5.99; available at your local Walgreens 

milani color statement lipstick-uptown mauve


This is a strong mauve, but it’s very wearable and uber pretty. If done right (clean, neutral eyes, very little natural colored blush) you can rock this in the office.

IMAN Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in (028) Scandalous; $10.00; available at your local Walgreens 

iman luxury moisturizing lipstck -scandalous

This is a great red; especially for medium to deeper skin tones. I really like this color and I’m loving a red lip, it’s a bit bright so apply and wear with caution, but once you hit the door, wear with CONFIDENCE.

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in (655) Daringly Nude; $5

maybelline color sensational creamy matte lip color-daringly nude


I saw this in a monthly mag and this color looked much darker in print. I picked it up and thought I was set with my perfect nude. Unfortunately, this color is much too light for me to wear alone and not look a bit ashy; BUT it’s great for layering underneath and mixing to create your own color to fit whatever mood you’re in. Just be sure to include a semi matte moisturize like original Burt’s Bees underneath so it doesn’t dry out your lips. Even though it’s a creamy matte, it’s still a matte.

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in (660) Touch of Spice; $5

maybelline color sensational creamy matte-touch of spice

Since “Daringly Nude” didn’t quite work out the way I hoped, I tried again (you know, if at first you don’t succeed and what not). I’m glad I did because I found this beautiful, understated brownish pink nude. This is another great pick for the office ladies. Can’t go wrong with this one at all. It’s pink enough to warm up your face, but brown enough to communicate that you mean business. Make them READ YOUR LIPS. ;)

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor, The Vivids Collection(in 880) Electric Orange; $5

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Collection- Electric Orange

I purchased this neon stunner before Tangy Tulip–so let’s call this one the gateway drug. Ha! It’s not as dark or creamy as Tangy Tulip, but it’s perfect for a quick wash of warm weather color. Even if there is still snow on the ground here in New England and it’s raining tonight. It’s especially fun for a girls night out.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Creme Formula in (740) Certainly Red; $6

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick -Certainly Red

No, you’re not imagining things. Like I said, I’m having a red lip moment. It’ll probably last the rest of my life. Apologies in advance. This color is a classic, gets-you-noticed-for-all-the-right-reasons red. Not too dark, but also not too bright, this color is as versatile as you. Great for the office, nights out, dates, or even the occasional at home spa day–what? you don’t put a bit of lipstick on while you’re in the house pampering. That’s just me? Oh. Well…I’m cool being different :)

There’s my rundown of lipsticks that I’m loving as we move closer and closer to warmer weather and bright, sunny days. What about you? Got any faves? Share them in the comments below.

Well lovelies, it’s been fun, but this beauty chick has got STACKS of homework to tend to. Let’s make a date for tomorrow around this time, and we’ll chat about my impromptu trip to Kiko Milano and the cool Origins serum samples that I picked up on the way. Yes, I know: I’m obsessed. But like the talented and soulful Nikka Costa says: “everybody got their something.”

Missed you guys. Glad we got a chance to catch up.

Talk soon. xo.