Friday, 30 January 2015

The Fairisle Rip-Off Artist

It wasn't until after I put this look together and was headed outside to shoot some pictures that I realised how very J. Crew it is. It's almost as if I forced my way into the company's headquarters, raided the samples cupboard, thumped Jenna Lyons over the head, and stole her glasses.  But then I suppose there's a reason why the retailer is so popular. Under Lyons' tutelage, the brand has become quite adept at knowing exactly how so many of us want to dress; it's that preppy classic mixed with something a bit irreverent look...that look that illustrates our ongoing attempt to achieve that ever-elusive "effortless" vibe you always hear so much about.

I should point out here that the only piece that I am actually wearing that is from said retailer is the chambray shirt. The rest is all stuff I had lurking in my closet. I suppose that kind of accessibility is exactly what's great about this type of look. You can achieve a look like this for a whole lot less than it's being sold to us for by mainstream retailers. I make no apologies for being a rip-off artist. Jazz musicians quote other musicians when they take a solo, painters learn the techniques of the masters, and fashion designers get schooled in the work of those who came before. That's just how it works. I suppose you could take it one step further and argue that there is no true originality in fashion, or art in general for that matter - only derivation and evolution.

Am I getting carried away? Sorry. You probably clicked on this link to look at some clothes, and now you've been sucked into a discussion about the herd-animal nature of human creativity, and really all you wanted was to enjoy your latte and have a wee internet browse, and now you're left wringing your hands and wondering WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!?

My bad. 

thrifted fairisle cardigan, similar / J. Crew chambray shirt / Durango harness boots (old), similar, similar / mother of pearl ring (old), similar / frames / Max Studio skirt (old), similar

Monday, 26 January 2015

The K-Beauty Trials: Mask Edition

Back in October, you may remember I decided to give the 10-step Korean skincare routine a try.  If you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about here, take a minute to click on the link and have a read. It's interesting stuff if you're into beauty and skin. And you're here, so you must be.

Anyway, it was my intention to re-evaluate the effects of my experiment after a few months and assess how it has improved my skin. As it turns out, I have been enjoying the process of trying these Korean beauty (called K-beauty on the net) products and techniques so much that I am still playing with them. So while I have definitely seen a noticeable improvement in my skin, whether it be because of the 10 steps (okay, more like six or seven in my case) or just the newfound due diligence to maintenance, I'm not quite ready to end the experiment just yet. I'm still having too much fun playing with this stuff.

There are quite a lot of places you can go to try K-beauty products on the net. I'm a fan of Memebox, where you can order up specially-edited theme boxes of products to try. Soko Glam is also a good resource, and I find the reviews especially helpful. If you know of a specific product that you want to try, you'd also probably be surprised by how many K-beauty products you can find on good ol' standbys Ebay and Amazon.

That brings me to today's topic - masks. Historically, I have not really put a lot of stock in masks; their claylike finishes always seem so drying and the drama of wearing one always seems to far exceed the results. To me, they have always seemed a bit of a parlour trick. But these Korean masks are lovely. Sure, some of them are still claylike (I suppose they have to stick on somehow), but many, if not most of them are not only quite effective at (temporarily) plumping things up, they're actually quite relaxing to wear. Sure, there's still a bit of an element of the parlour trick to them (especially the sheet masks...the ones that look like something out of a Friday the 13th movie), but it's a fun parlour trick, and one that encourages you to just sit and be quiet for a few minutes, which can't be a bad thing.

Here are four masks (ok, technically three and one scrub that you can leave on for a while) that have caught my fancy do far.

Malie Green Tea Ultra Hydrating Essence Mask

Granted, this one might be a little hard to find. I got mine in a sampler box of masks, and was expecting just another run of the mill cool, gloopy sheet mask experience. While it did meet my expectations for coolness and gloopiness (they all do), it surprised me in that it felt so. darn. good. This mask had a relaxing, soothing quality that I was not expecting, and it left my skin hydrated and rosy. Yes please.

If you want to track this one down, you can find lots of K-beauty sellers on Ebay.

Purederm Kiwi Yogurt Pack

This mask has the consistency, and the smell, of the carton of yogurt you may have eaten at breakfast. While it is not as thick in consistency as other masks, it's cooling, refreshing, and you can leave it on and not have to worry about it sliding off. I leave this one on while I do household tasks and whatnot, sometimes forgetting about it for almost an hour. No harm done. Your skin soaks it in, and it's left feeling as soft as a baby's butt. Plus, it smells so good.

This is another one that I got in the mask sampler box, so again, it is kind of hard to pin down. Again, look to Ebay for international sellers. There are plenty to choose from, and the prices are fair.
Banila Co. Claypatra Salt Mineral Clay Pack

This is a hybrid mask that blends a clay mask with a very fine salt scrub. When I saw this one, I figured it would be too drying for my skin, but I was wrong. The salt granules are super fine, and the mask leaves your face feeling soft and hydrated.

Get it here, or on Ebay.

Skin Food Black Sugar Wash Off Mask

The black sugar granules in this leave-on scrub are quite large, so those with sensitive skin might find the exfoliating quality a bit much, but I found that I could get around this by adding a bit more water to the scrub (which you have to do anyway to get it to spread easily on the face). The best part of this scrub? The smell; like a caipirhina without the threat of a hangover. This one migrates a bit, so it's best done when you can be still for the time you wish to leave it on, or you'll find the granules working their way into the corners of your mouth. It won't kill you, but it definitely smells better than it tastes.

Get it here or here.