Discovering Ayla, A Beauty Micro Shop in San Francisco

Saturday December 7, 2013 | Beauty Events

Last night I attended a charming and intimate holiday soirée hosted by Ayla, a small beauty shop in San Francisco.

Ayla Beauty Shop

The event featured a one-on-one skincare evaluation, dark chocolate squares for nibbling, light sips of champagne, and a brief makeup lesson on holiday looks by the rather knowledgeable makeup artist of The Organic Pharmacy.

The Organic Pharmacy Makeup

[Makeup lessons by The Organic Pharmacy's top makeup artist]

The Ayla beauty shop offers a small and carefully selected collection of topnotch skincare products that are very niche and hard to find.

In fact, the shop itself was not that easiest thing in the world to find. It’s certainly a hidden gem, tucked in the back of a narrow driveway next to a massage therapy salon in San Francisco’s Japantown.

When I asked Dara, the founder of Ayla, about the story behind her skincare shop, she told me that effectiveness was the most valued attribute in her products.

What’s more, she only features products if they are safe and eco-responsible and mildly formulated to suit reactive and sensitive of skin types.

 Kahini Skincare
[The Argan oil used in Kahina products are of the finest quality. Tempted to try Kahina argan oil next.]

You can imagine how happy I was to find a beauty shop like this!

Ever since I moved back to the U.S., I’ve been doing most of my skincare shopping at Whole Foods. But honestly, who wants to buy their skincare products next to their cheeses and meats?

In all seriousness, my real complaint is that I’ve been buying super expensive natural and organic products from Whole Foods that do not quite deliver the same results that I became used to with the natural and organic skincare products in France.

Ayla features products of the quality level that I’m looking for. And not only that, they provide personalized skincare evaluations and recommendations.

Organic Glam

[Organic Glam Makeup line by The Organic Pharmacy]

As a beauty blogger, I have a habit of picking the brains of people who are deep in the world of beauty. So of course, I had to ask Dara all about her skincare routine and her favorite cleanser, moisturizer, toner and sun protection and all that jazz.

But also, as someone who dreams of someday opening my own small natural and organic beauty shop featuring some of the best skincare products from around the world, it was just really nice to meet another entrepreneur who is living and making her dream come true.

I left the Ayla shop last night with an amazing new moisturizer in my hand, less lunch money in my pocket, and lots of bright new ideas and inspiration for Ziba :)

Lucy, We’ve Got Some Catching Up To Do!

Wednesday December 4, 2013 | Beauty Musings

It’s happened.

In a short space of time, I’ve managed to accumulate quite a bunch of stuff.

I am now at a point where I am taking in way more beauty products than I am writing or talking about.

Let me show you what I mean…

Beauty Collection

Products Pictured:

  • DermOrganic Skincare Sampler (includes Soapless Facial Cleanser, Facial Moisturizer, Hand & Body Moisture Lotion)
  • DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo
  • DermOrganic Intensive Hair Repair Masque
  • DermOrganic Leave-In Treatment
  • DermOrganic Fast Dry Shaping Spray
  • Beautisol Wash Off Body Bronzer
  • Measurable Difference Instant Lash Extensions
  • Save Our Sweaters with Lilly Brush
  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
  • Susan Posnick Eyeliner/Eyeshadow
  • Nailuv Gel Polish Berry Sweetie
  • Nyx Butter Lip Balm
  • Bon Bliss Mango Butter Solid Hand & Body Scrub
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (sample)
  • Becca Skin Satin Finish Foundation (sample)
  • Becca The One Perfecting Brush
  • Nyx Love In Florence 5 color Shadow Palette
  • Prai 24K Gold Caviar Wrinkle Repair Serum
  • Prai 24K Golden Eye Wrinkle Repair Caviar
  • Makeup Geek Liquid Gold Pigment
  • Dermalogica Precleanse (sample)
  • Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer (sample)
  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (sample)
  • Vitabath Asian Orchid & Coconut Body Wash (sample)
  • Vitabath Cucumber & White Tea Body Wash (sample)

Beauty Collection Pt.2

Products Pictured:

  • Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
  • Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
  • Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
  • Goodebox November 2013 Box
  • Goodebox December 2013 Box
  • Acure Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream
  • Dermae Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C
  • La Roche-Posay Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Anthelios AC
  • La Roche-Posay l’Eau Micellaire
  • Uriage l’Eau Micellaire
  • Themis l’Eau Micellaire
  • Jonzac l’Eau Micellaire
  • Bioderma l’Eau Micellaire
  • Gamarde l’Eau Micellaire
  • Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum
  • Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen Lip Care SPF 25
  • Laura Mercier Rouge Nouveau Weightless Lip Color in MOD Matte
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner High Precision Waterproof Eyeliner
  • Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Sunscreen Makeup SPF 25 (sample)

So as you can see…

There are too many amazing products that I’ve been dying to tell you about!!

Instead, I’ve allowed this task to turn into a daunting pile in my bedroom and bathroom.

And now it’s spilled into other crooks, crannies and surfaces of my life.

But I’ve decided to finally do something about this.

I’m gonna bust through this writer’s block and get my blogging mojo back!

The same excitement and passion that I used to always get whenever I would even just THINK about BEAUTY? I can actually feel myself getting it back again.

So expect some fresh new beauty writings and reviews in the days to come.

Maybe even another impromptu beauty video. Who knows? :D

Baby steps first!

tumblr

Hm, okay well…

Though I am inclined to agree with Confucius… I am also of the opinion that you gotta “strike while the iron’s hot” and “catch the giant waves before they break!”

So here we go!

***

Disclaimer

* First Photo: All the products were gifted to me during the SF iFabbo Social Media Conference (which I STILL have to write about btw). BIG thanks to the SF iFabbo 2013 organizers & sponsors. Most were full-size!

** Second Photo: All the products were personally purchased by me, with the exception of the 3 Dermalogica products which were generously sent to me by the folks of Dermalogica.

 

 

A New And Even Softer Clarisonic Brush: The Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush

Wednesday November 20, 2013 | Product Reviews Skin Care

One of the biggest points of contention with the Clarisonic is that it can be too rough for the face’s delicate skin.

But during my latest haunt inside a Sephora store, I found that the folks of Clarisonic have come out with a new Luxe Brush Head Collection.

These brushes characteristically have tapered, ultra-long filaments.

The result is that the brushes feel super duper soft. And yet, they still retain the ability to cleanse “6x better than hands alone.”

Clarisonic with Cashmere Luxe Brush

For the blissfully unaware, the Clarisonic Cleansing system uses sonic technology of more than 300 movements per second to deeply cleanse for smoother and more radiant skin.

Another advantage of using the Clarisonic is that it preps the skin to better absorb skincare products.

I, for one, use the Clarisonic Mia 2 (read my first impressions of it).

I began using it in January 2013. Which was the beginning of this year! Time sure is flying…

To this day, I still think my Clarisonic Mia 2 was worth every single penny.

As someone who advocates only the gentlest care and handling of the skin, I’d been using what was, at the time, the softest brush Clarisonic had to offer: the Delicate Brush Head.

Five months of use and the bristles on the Delicate brush finally began to stiffen and feel too rough on my skin. So I replaced it with the Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush Head.

Soft Clarisonic Brushes

[Delicate Brush Head on the Left, Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush on the Right.]

If you’re still on the fence about the Clarisonic, then this new soft-as-a-baby-angel’s-butt-err-wing-tips brush should finally put an end to your fears that the Clarisonic is “too rough” for your skin.

The Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush Head has a dual layer design, to gently massage the skin and generate “fluid forces” to cleanse and increase the skin’s hydration levels. It’s really best for mature and extremely dry skin types. Or for people who are crazy about using only the “gentlest” skincare products.

Using this brush feels wonderfully soft on the skin. But amazingly, it’s still incredibly effective at picking up makeup and dirt. I can literally see all the makeup and grime on the brush after using it.

At $30 per brush, this brush is $5 more expensive than the regular brushes (turning my nose up to this price bump).

But I would bet that this one is actually soft enough to use every day. And that’s something I will not say for the other regular Clarisonic facial brushes out there.

Clarisonic Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush

[Close-up view of the Cashmere's dual layer design.]

Even then, using your Clarisonic everyday, twice a day is just never necessary.

I like to use my Clarisonic as my deep cleanser and exfoliator.

Meaning that even with the softest of brushes, it should still only be used 2x per week. No more than 3x per week.

Also, do not fail to follow up your Clarisonic cleansing sessions with a special treatment! Like a Vitamin C Serum or a Retinol.

Recently, I’ve been following up my Clarisonic with this baby…

Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum

[SOS Thirst Quenching Serum by Caudalie. It's TOTAL LOVE!]

I will have to tell you about this new love of mine another time.

For now, I must be going as tonight happens to be my special date night with my Clarisonic ;)

Q’ for the Clarisonic users out there:
What type of brush heads do you use?