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

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

 

#TheGreat28: Birthday Beauty

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Photo: SheKnows

I CANNOT believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted. An entire year. Time didn’t feel like it was moving that quickly and yet, it felt it was going by way too fast. Weird how that works.

Last time we had a chat, I was still 26 going on 27. Birthdays make me feel a little reflective, but only slightly. 27 was pretty mild in terms of introspection. This year, I’m a few days into my 28th year of life and it hit. HARD. It’s not jarring, but it definitely feels different in the sort of way that’s frustrating and annoying. The cure: what else? Beauty :)

I had a great birthday. Everything I imagined and then some. I rocked one of my favorite red matte lip colours (Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl ), an easy-going and figure forgiving royal blue dress, and a great small bag. Birthday beauty is one of my favourite occasions and a red lip colour always perks me up.

It also gets me thinking about what my beauty looks for the upcoming year might be like, which always leads me to seek out inspiration (hey Pinterest!). Keeping your eyes open to images and other visuals around you is so great for being introduced to new ideas, trends and looks that you might like to try. If you’re not finding yourself stuck in a style or beauty rut, or are just looking to add more to your repertoire, I’d encourage you to be deliberate about finding inspiration and actually following through on any of the new ideas you’re drawn to. It can do wonders for your mood, self-esteem and general outlook. With things the way they are lately, we all could use a boost in any of those areas.

So…28 is here. I’m embracing it and looking forward to what’s in store, so much so that I made myself a little list and can’t wait to celebrate when I check something off. Here goes:

  • Take better care of my skin…including incorporating more preventative products
  • Drink plenty more water (for skin and overall improved health)
  • Go glam more often…why wait for a “special occasion”?
  • Experiment with more eye looks…I love a bold lip, but it’s time I give my eyes some more love, they deserve it ;)
  • Take more selfies!!…because why the hell not?
  • Go with the flow…experiment and have fun, staying confident the whole way–at the end of the day, it can all be undone with the swipe of a micellar water soaked cotton ball

What about you beauties? Any birthday beauty faves or “resolutions”? I wanna hear all about them! Write me in the comments.

P.S. I missed you guys. Happy we could catch up. xo.

Layla 

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

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

Layla

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

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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…

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