Category Archives: The Vanity Pick
Every woman has a seasonal signature lip. They may know it or perhaps be unaware, but everyone has one . The bolds, the nudes, the minimalists or the ones who go bare. For me the idea of lipsticks and combination of lip products is ever appealing and I find myself flittering amongst too many things to actually call one product or a combination of products my favourite or my signature per say.
This was true until a couple of weeks ago, unusually I had a lot of time to get dressed to go out for the evening with my husband. I say unusually because like all women who are being accompanied by a person of the opposite gender, I too am guilty of always running late.
Having time on my hand, meant shuffling through the stash of lip products (my favourite part of putting on make-up) and I managed to layer three products that looked beautiful together and lasted a phenomenal 6 hours !! No touch ups.
Gosh Cosmetics Lipliner in 01 Nougat Crisp
MAC Kinda Sexy
Lancome Color Fever Lipgloss in 206
The Finished Lip:
This is probably the perfect pink for me, not too bold nor too insignificant and perfect for those spontaneous selfies !
What is your signature lip product/combination this summer ?
I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps this is why sometimes I find myself wishing for the “Oily T Zone” issues that people have. Don’t get grossed out just yet but it is nicer to have that glow on your face matted down by some powder,rather than try to inject moisture into your ever dehydrated skin.
Hence, the title “the rough patch”. For the severity of the dryness of my skin means always having to try to control my expressions( to avoid pre-mature wrinkles), tightness of skin and lots of discomfort caused by the omnipresent air-conditioning in this part of the world (the Middle East).
But battled with this problem for years now, I have found products that have helped in calming down my skin and also giving it extended periods of hydration and smoothness. The following are products that I have gone back and forth between, some older,some fairly new. But all that have worked wonders.
Favorite Face Products:
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
If dehydrated and parched skin ever needed a burst of water that could be sealed into the skin, this product would be the solution. Will a gel like consistency this face product instantly gives the skin a burst of hydration without creating a greasy top layer.The hydration lasts for hours at a stretch which is unheard of for any product that has ever met my parched skin.
Favorite Lip Product:
Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm
This one is a recommendation I saw on Amelia Liana’s blog (http://amelialiana.com) and really all the raving is spot on as are her descriptions of the product. This isn’t a slick/glossy kind of lip balm it is in fact a pot of the most concentrated matte formula that just feels like a mask when you initially put it on your lips. The after effects though…WOW! Never have I ever had a lipstick application so smooth in my life. Definitely worth trying out, even if you have fairly smooth lips.
Nivea Nourishing Body Lotion (Dry to Very Dry Skin)
Having persistent dry skin means that I have enough lotions and cremes in my bathroom for my entire neighbourhood to use. However, being cynical of Nivea(snob-alert) being able to help me, this one was only purchased in February this year when I paid my mom a visit in Dubai and she made me slather this on religiously for a week. The difference was mind boggling and I was sold !
Favorite Eye Cream :
Clinique all about eyes
This eye cream comes in a huge tub that will probably last you forever. However, it is a total saviour for eyes that are feeling dry, itchy and are not smooth enough to apply any make-up without making it look like a bumpy mess. Also a little goes a long way and the formulation is perfect for those sensitive eyes that need something quite hydrating.
Favorite Hand Cream :
Neutrogena Concentrated Hand Cream
Neutrogena’s concentrated hand cream formula can aptly be described as a sort of vaseline that instantly softens without leaving a greasy or slick feeling to the skin. Great for those who wash their hands very often and also for people who are constantly within air-conditioned areas.
Favorite Serum :
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
And last but not the least this product has quite a large cult following globally which I assumed must add up to something more than a large marketing budget. And rightly so ! A very nice gel like consistency means that this serum absorbs very quickly into the skin and the Hyaluronic Acid gives the skin and immediate plumpness. Eventually this will help re-texturize the skin and remove dry patches improving the quality of your skin, which means less make-up required to be piled on!
When you think of lip products the terms tube and wand are usually associated with lip glosses or in recent times lip stains ( glosses with a higher dose of pigmentation once the “glossy” bit has worn off). However,the beauty world has also been taken by a storm with a new hybrid,which are the liquid lipsticks.
Honestly, my first thought on hearing/seeing these on several beauty counters and youtube/blogs was,’that looks messy’.But curiosity always caught the cat (especially the ones mad about their lippies). And off I went to pick a couple of different ones to put to the test.
1) The Apocalips Lip Lacquer (Released as Show-Offs in the USA) by Rimmel : This is one of the thinnest,”barely there” on your lips kind of lip colour formula that I have come across. With barely any weight it glides right on and the applicator is quite convenient as it is not flat but has a scoop like quality that helps to pick up just the right amount of colour from the tube for one full application. The formula goes on quite wet (not sticky!) but after around 45 minutes the sheen dries down and is very subtle the colour stays on for around 3 to 4 hours and does not require a touch up. Even after 4 hours the wear is not uneven and will fade beautifully.
Note : The Apocalips formula is not highly pigmented and can be built up to create a more opaque look or can be worn quite sheer to suit your personal preference.
2) Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick: This liquid lipstick is a more recent launch when compared to the Rimmel Apocalips. The formulation is also considerably different, with a creamier and much more opaque consistency,it is a lot more matte than the Rimmel formula and the dry down of the slight sheen is much faster. So if you love the look of a vibrant matte lipstick but hate the chalky dry feel of it on your lips, this liquid lipstick is a win-win situation for you ! The applicator of this is quite ordinary, however the formulation of the product more than makes up for it. One application and you have a full opaque mouth of colour, with the slight sheen drying down quite quickly, this lipstick will stay put for hours at a stretch and is completely smudge proof once is dries down (even requires quite a bit of work to remove it !). Great for those of us who could not be bothered with touching up our lippy throughout the day! Also like the Rimmel Apocalips these have a very barely there feel,yet with great pigmentation!
Both Lipsticks are available at Boots Pharmacies.
Jumpsuits are not the easiest clothing item to pull off. Especially if you aren’t someone with your dream body (which I think are most of us out there). Then again they have gained an insane popularity in the last few years and have found their way to multiple stores , outlets, fashion magazines and all other forms of media,making you stop and wonder for a bit… if they might just might work on your body type.
Anyways,the brighter side of the coin is that the jumpsuit bandwagon has something for everyone. Sleeves,sleeveless,short,long,wide,narrow there is practically a different silhouette to suit any body type or shape. You just have to give them a chance!
- Extremely easy to throw on, the jumpsuit is a no brainer and requires very minimal thought process involved in assembling your “Outfit of the Day”
- If the fit is right (and trust me you will know it), it is very easy to move around in and stays put in place without a worry about creasing or a malfunction
- Jumpsuits can be taken from day to night with just the quick change of accessories, (think heels, darker lip and a smaller bag)
- It is easier to layer up on a jumpsuit as compared to a regular outfit where you must consider bottoms and top both.
- This is one of the easiest ways to incorporate the monochromatic trend into your wardrobe.
- Yes,the most obvious one and you have had this on your mind since you started reading this article, the Loo factor !! I will admit going to the bathroom is a hassle,a pretty tedious one that too but nothing impossible.
- The FIT, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for a jumpsuit to fit right, the top, the bottom, the cut, the sleeve everything has to be perfect for it to feel right. If the fit is off, the outfit is lost.
Shopper’s Tip: Don’t fret while trying to find your perfect jumpsuit. It may take a while and you make have to move up or down from your true size but you will find something that suits you in today’s product saturated clothing stores.And when this happens you will fall in love with them !
Here are some of my favourite jumpsuits :
Brand : Forever 21
Brand : Cieanna
Brand : Forever 21
Other stores that have been carrying a great selection of jumpsuits recently are Zara,Mango,New Look and ASOS.
What are your favourite places to shop for jumpsuits ?
Ever since I recollect hearing the term “Vitamin E” , all I can associate it with, are its benefits for hair, skin , nails etc. How it’s oil gives you the most flawless skin and the shiniest, thickest locks and also how this is found as an ingredient within so many beauty products.
Hence, my curiosity of whether,the Vitamin E phenomenon is true or false. Which is, does this ingredient actually have anything to its own merit or is it just one of the thousand ingredients dumped in to beautifying concoctions to increase their market appeal ?
On a trip to the pharmacy I picked up “Vitamin-E Oil Capsules” from a brand called Nature’s Bounty. A good Chunky sized capsule with Vitamin-E oil filled in each one,and to the test I put them.
Now after several weeks of using them, as oral supplements and for external application, the following uses are my personal favorites and have worked wonders for me.
Firstly, let me just put it out there that the oral consumption of these did nothing for me. I did not notice any significant difference with the texture or complexion of my skin. Neither did I see any improvement with the quality of my hair.
What worked wonders is the external application of this oil. So every night I nip open a capsule and apply the oil all over and under my eyelids, on my forehead, my neck and decolletage ( these are my driest patches of skin), and rub the remainder on the ends of my hair and elbows.
Doing this faithfully for a couple of weeks had left my skin and the ends of my hair so soft , healthy and nourished that it is unbelievable.
Vitamin E oil used right before bed, is by far better than any serum or night cream that I have ever tried and it soaks right in making the plumping effect instant, and not feeling greasy or oily at all.
Beauty Tip: If Vitamin-E oil in its original form is too heavy for your skin, you can always add few drops to your favorite lotion/serum and store the rest for later.
When going through my stuff I realise that I am a bit of a hoarder, there aren’t a lot of products that I have used up and I still purchase that one odd thing here and there to add to my stash. Most beauty/pampering products are not like toothpaste or shampoo,which you will religiously re-purchase for well…hygienic reasons.
However, if I do manage to finish something… anything for that matter ! It amazes me and I give myself a pat on the back ! So here are my thoughts on 3 products that I recently used up (loved them) and can now honestly have an “Opinion” about.
1) Eucerin Aquaporin Active Moisturising Cream (Rich) : For starters let me tell you, that my skin situation isn’t a pleasant one, with very dry and dehydrated skin I can never have a lotion/cream that can keep the surface of my face moist for more than a couple of hours. Sure, I have been recommended those thick oily formulas which will work just fine on the dryness, but will most definitely result in a bout of unwanted pimples.
Eucerin’s Aquaporin range is the answer for all of those people who have dry dehydrated skin, or even those with normal skin but bouts of dehydration (try the “Light” version). With a lotion like consistency this is a fast absorbing, non oily treat and will leave the skin feeling plump and nourished for hours.
Beauty Tip: This also lives up to it’s claim of being an excellent base for your make-up.
2) CLinique Lipliner 29 Sky Violet : This lip liner does not seem like anything special at first glance, however, for those of us warmer toned gals, who want a beautiful mauve-y pink this is perfect. Strangely enough this is one of the easiest things to line your lips with and can be worn with pinks, nudes, purples and browns making it very versatile.
Also one of my favourite ways to wear this lip-liner was on its own, it gave the most beautiful pouty effect with a hint of the violet hue . ( Although do note that I have quite pigmented lips).
Beauty Tip : This is not a very creamy formula, but is not as tough as MAC liners either. Which makes the application easy and the staying power very good ! Win-Win Situation !
3) Bath and Body Works 3 wick Candle (Espresso Bar): Are you one of those people who’s nerves are calmed instantly by that smell of freshly brewed coffee ?? Then this candle is for you !! I have never burned a candle this fast in my life ! And mind you it wasn’t a small one either.
Now the scent of this candle makes it either a hit or a miss, there is no real middle ground and the scent remains as strong as when you first burn it…all the way up until the bottom. With the rich aroma of coffee wafting through your rooms/home, this candle is any coffee lover’s dream and I will repurchase it forever. Unfortunately, though it was a seasonal candle, and even though I have quite a few other scents left with me to burn,I keep going back to different Bath and Body Works stores and inquiring if these are back in “Season” yet. Sighhh …
With a beauty industry as saturated as today’s, it isn’t surprising that there is a product for everything. In fact go have a quick peak at your beauty/make-up stash, you are likely to find at least a couple of products that you dint even know could serve a useful purpose in your make-up/beauty regime a few years ago.
Having scoured malls and seen one beauty product after another, sometimes the mind craves an alternative, something that you don’t have to dish out a casual 100 AED or 10BD ( $26.5), every time you run out of it.
Shopper’s Note: The beauty/ make-up products are significantly more expensive in the GCC, especially when compared to the USA.
There are 2 products to which I have sort of found my own alternatives to and they have worked for me, for quite some time now so I thought I would share.
1) Make-Up Brush Cleaners:
Yes, these are wonderful detergents that promise to remove all the residue from your make-up brushes and provide a clean bacteria free application the next time you reach out for them. The problem is …. if you have an active schedule/routine and enjoy slapping your products on (like me), you will go through these like water ! Which can make you cringe a bit every time you reach the end of a bottle.
Alternative: Anti-bacterial hand soap and oil.
The oil (Argan,Olive,Almond..whatever your pick is) will help break down all make-up residue especially liquid/cream products off the bristles of the brushes, this works especially well for synthetic brushes and also brushes that are quite dense.
Obviously since oil is heavy, make sure you only use a very tiny amount just enough to work the product off, otherwise you shall be left with a shapeless mess of bristles on a stick.
After working the oil into the bristles, take one pump of anti-baterial soap and work the brush (now coated with oil) into the soap and rinse-off.
Leave them side-ways on a wash-cloth to dry !
Voila !! Fresh,soft,clean bacteria free brushes, also this is not a time-consuming process ! I did 10 brushes within 3-5 minutes.
Cleaning Tip : For some extra anti-bacterial action, pop a few drops of tea-tree oil into the base oil.
Working It !
2) Volumizing/Texturizing sprays:
For those with fine/limp hair , you know this was one product that brought glory to your crown, and had you wanting to take more pictures at events because.. well your locks don’t get mistaken for a greasy mess no more ! And I must admit I love my volumizing/texturizing spray and that boost that it gives my roots, but after doing this everyday for a week … I couldn’t deal with the aftermath.
Aftermath: 1) you have weird gunky (hairspray-ish) residue in your hair, and its a vicious cycle of wash, spray….go through the day and wash again !
2) You are washing your hair everyday ! which means sulphate overload and hair fall.
Alternative: Table Salt. Yes .. the stuff that you sprinkle on your food ! Now please read further before you think this is far-fetched. Salt is a great natural cleaning agent, and when reading an article about its cleansing properties, and realising the effects of sea salt hairsprays I decided to see if it worked to give volume to the hair, without leaving that grit behind. After a couple of trial and errors, this step by step procedure now works wonders to give volume to my hair sans any residue and has also helped increase the clean hair time I get between 2 washes !
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of Table Salt onto the palm of your hand and add about 2 drops of water creating a semi-solid paste. ( Don’t add two much water, we are not aiming for a liquid-y texture)
- Part your hair and rub mixture into your roots ( Please do NOT be aggressive just gently massage it in) (Caution: If you have a sensitive scalp or any open wounds this is NOT for you)
- Wait 5 minutes.
- Get into the shower , apply conditioner first wait a bit and then shampoo.
This will give you soft managable hair with no residue, and a visible lift to your roots. I do this once every 2 washes.
With a few drops of water. (This is the consistency that you are aiming for !)
Note: My attempts to take pictures of my hair, a before and after shot , were just impossible (hence the step-by step procedure), but basically if you have ever used a volumizing hairspray ,the effects aren’t as dramatic (in terms of lift and volume), however the volume is subtle, yet with a clean scalp and tangle free hair !
Now having covered the basics of online shopping and the two categories of people it might interest. I must share a few elaborate/evening appropriate purchases I made from the website.
These are perhaps those moments, that dangle between the “basics” and “fashionista” categories. Where the basics are great but just getting a bit mehh… and you want to up your outfits just a tad bit. And we aren’t talking Vogue editorial ballsy ! Just a bit more intriguing.
One of my friend’s also smartly pointed out that I should make the items on my posts linkable, so if you like something you can click your way to the ASOS website and make your purchase !
Shopper’s Tip: Please Note prices fluctuate as sales are quite frequent on the website and also some items may be out of stock !
1) The Quilted Midi –
A beautiful brown-hued skirt with good weight, not flimsy at all and appropriate for evening/formal events.
2) The Metallic Blouse:
Appropriate for dinner parties or just any party for that matter, this beautiful top has a coppery sheen which is eye-catching , but not obscenely loud. Also it is versatile enough to be worn tucked in or out !
3) The Jersey Midi:
This skirt is perfect for the hot summer’s where even the lightest fabrics can get clingy and uncomfortable. The skirt allows room to breathe and is the perfect dash of colour for my wardrobe. Can be paired with several different things and hence translate easily from day to night and also work through the seasons.
4) The Printed Dress:
When dolled up with the right accessories, this dress is very evening appropriate, the fabric is light and breathable and the fit is perfect, especially for those who are “bottom heavy” as it does not cling to the body and widens up ever so slightly. A great way to get into the spring summer colours !
5) The Dramatic Sleeves:
Sometimes you get bored with the run of the mill black/white tops and crave something a bit extra. This blouse is my craving fulfilled with a dramatic take on the sleeves it will leave even the simplest outfit looking that little extra chic. A great way to make believe that you put in a lot of effort into your outfit !
You may be 17 or 70 … or perhaps in between both,but your love for lip products is almost certain if you are a woman who likes to take care of herself. I for one was not quick to venture into make-up,thanks to my mum there were rules and some of them included “Nothing but Johnson’s baby cream for the face” for quite some time.
Today of course….things are VERY different.I love my lip products with a passion and have quite ahem the “collection”. Also the cosmetic industry, perhaps is not what it was a decade ago,with new product releases/launches by the second ! each trying to up the other’s claim, the choices are innumerable and sometimes can be very overwhelming.
Now Mikyajy is not a brand that is new to my knowledge. In fact it is one of those stores that sadly you just pass by, because oh well I want to get something a bit more MAC or Bobbi Brown (snob alert) or run to the drugstore/pharmacy to look at the new L’Oréal or Maybelline displays.
Mikyajy was brought to my attention about a year ago by my niece, who was wearing a beautiful lip colour. Matte, yet not dry and flaky and it stayed put through the night,withstanding food,drink,chatter and all ! So without a doubt I had to pop the question….What do you have on your lips???
Being women….there began our excited conversation about this Mikyajy lip-liner and how it was a favourite amongst many women from this region,prices were affordable….yet the product was great etc etc.
On the particular day that I sauntered into a Mikyajy store,I was looking to find the perfect “nude” lipstick. Note : Having yellow undertones means this a task and a half.
Also they had a “Buy 2 get 1 free” on their Sabaya moisture lip colour range,which is one of their most comfortable lipstick formula to wear.
1) Sabaya Line and Define Pencil (No3)
2) Sabaya Line and Define Pencil (No1)
Verdict – Smooth and creamy, these liners glide right on and are comfortable enough to wear all over the lip ( as pictured above) without the uncomfortable “crayon on my mouth” feeling. The staying power is great too although they will fade a bit if in contact with a lot of liquids. Over all good product for the price and there are quite a few shades to choose from.
Beauty Tip : If you are planning to wear these all over your lips, make sure your lips are exfoliated as the lip liner will cling on to any dry bits making the wear a bit rough and uneven.
1) Sabaya Moisture Lip Colour (No4) – The Brown(y) Nude
2) Sabaya Moisture Lip Colour (No11) – The Pink (y) Nude
3) Sabaya Moisture Lip Colour (No14) – The Pretty Pink
Verdict : With a rich formula these lipsticks go on beautifully and stay true to their name of being a “moisture” lip colour. However, if you are looking for a good long wear for hours at a stretch without a touch-up, these formulations are not the one for you. But the colour pay-off is good and they fade nicely and don’t leave that awkward residue on the lips. Also since these are lighter formulas the colour will vary according to the pigmentation of your natural lip colour.
In a lot of places across the globe it is officially spring time and people are out in the open enjoying warm sunshine , cool breezes and beautiful blooming flowers. Meanwhile,in the Middle East , summer has cheekily crept upon us …… yesterday we could lounge and frolic outdoors and today …. Kaboom !! its too humid and hot to even stand in non-airconditioned place for a few minutes !
Anyways, being someone who was born and brought up here (Dubai) I can withstand fairly warm temperatures and wont break a sweat even at 35 Degrees Celsius ! But I guess that’s just me and a lot of people get hot easily and find it difficult to deal with the immense heat especially those steamy afternoons !
Here are 5 very easy /inexpensive ways to combat the soaring temperatures ….. or atleast make them slightly more bearable. Also these tips would work with anyone and can easily be integrated into any routine.
1) After Sun Recovery Creams/ Lotions: Now I know …. I can feel those dubious eye-brows raising and all of that. BUT ! think about it objectively for a second, the temperatures that we in the GCC/Middle East have to bear in the hot summer months are no less than those you face on a beach holiday or those on a hot pool day. After sun creams/ lotions can help cool down the skin and that cooling sensation can help calm that hot flustered feeling you get after driving around in the morning/afternoon or even after a short (forced) walk.
My choice of product for this one are both from Boots Pharmacy. Simple yet effective !
Face: Facial Recovery Aftersun by No 7
Body : Soltan Aftersun Hydrating Lotion (with aloe vera)
2) Fun Ways to Increase Water In-Take: Water …. the most useful yet the most boring thing to drink. But really the only true thirst-quencher ! Find a way to make water more “attractive” to yourself (and your family). So all these fancy flavoured waters now available in stores can easily be duplicated at home … minus the harmful “hidden” sugars. Think of your favourite flavour and replicate ! For Instance : Lemon Mint ….. Get a Jug full of chilled water and throw in some freshly chopped mint and a few slices of lemon… maybe a few slices of cucumber and Voila !
Taste Tip: If you are one with a sweet tooth try a sweeter fruit … how ever leave the fruits sliced or whole. Do NOT squeeze them into your water. Also Honey is a great natural sweetener and has many health benefits.
Image courtesy google.
3) Use a Face-mist: Now you might not have one lying around but these are very easily available at supermarkets/hypermarkets and even gas stations !. Ranging from larger bottles to small ones, this is a small treat in the hot months, especially when it comes to cooling your face. Spritz , on the go ! and let your face be cooled for a bit !
Beauty Tip : Face-mists are a great alternative to expensive Make-Up Setting sprays and Toners .
My favourites are Evian Brumisateur Facial Spray and for when my skin is feeling more sensitive , Avene Eau Thermale ( Thermal Water). Both work wonders ! and can be purchased from any pharmacy or supermarket.
4) Change-up your work out Routine : So the heat has accelerated the amount you sweat everyday and your body is getting dehydrated by the second ! A hot sweaty work-out will only add to this leaving you feeling dizzy and sometimes a sufficient water in-take just is NOT enough. So …. switch out your workout ! try swimming or water aerobics in an indoor/ temperature controlled pool. Even just getting in without anything fancy and stationary jogging or cycling will give great results.
5) Switch out your Shampoo: Now your scalp is one of the most sensitive area that gets exposed to the sun’s fury ( after your face of course) and in the GCC … unless you wear a Hijab, we don’t really make an effort to protect our scalp with Umbrellas/Hats. I know, Ive have this argument on several occasions with my dear mum…… I did NOT carry that darned umbrella to university ! No Sirree !
So to those stubborn ones like myself , switch to one of those refreshing/cooling formulas. Once or twice a week not only will this help leave that calming sensation behind on the scalp. But these kind of formulas are usually clarifying and will make your scalp feel new and rid of all the extra grit that accumulates from excessive sweating.
One of my personal favourites is the Palmolive “Clean and Fresh”. Enough to get the grit and oils out and yet leave your hair soft to the touch ! This budget friendly shampoo is a no-brainer. Easily available at any supermarket or pharmacy.
Until you travel to a cooler country ! Here’s hoping these tips help you beat the heat this summer !