App review: Stylebook

I know that I am not alone in having more than a few pieces of clothing in my closet I wear on repeat, and shamefully so, some really nice pieces I never wear. The reason behind this is that I mostly get dressed in quite a rush in the morning, and when I have some time to think about what I want to wear, I always go back to the old trusted combinations, simply because they I know they work well for any given situation.

If this sounds eerily familiar, fear not! Stylebook is here to solve all those wardrobe woes!

I really love this app, and this review should hopefully convince you to invest a few Rands in a truly great planning tool. Now, I know it is not a free app, but before you look at me like I am crazy, go ahead and see why I recommend paying for this app. After all, it does cost less than your average take-away dinner.

Here is a quick round-up of the app’s bits and bobs:

  • Cost: R59,99 on the South African App Store or $3,99 on the American App Store
  • App developers: Left Brain/ Right Brain LLC
  • Also available: Stylebook Men: Closet Organiser & Assistant
  • Rating: 4 and ½ stars from over 600 reviews

Features:

Stylebook is packed full of really great features and you can use as many (or as few) as you like to make this app truly useful to you.

Closet: The main feature is to keep a visual record of your wardrobe, categorised exactly the way you want. You can take your own photos to get your exact item, of search the web for something similar without needing to fuss too much about editing. The editing tool is fairly simple to use, and you can manually edit out the background or simply tap/ slide to adjust. This builds a clean visual of your clothing items that you can use to plan looks and keep track of your closet so you don’t end up with another black jacket that looks exactly like another one you already own. If you enter information on each piece you add, you can search your closet by brand, colour, fabric and many other characteristics.

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Looks: A feature I often use in the app is the look compiler. This is where you get to play around with the items in your closet to get a visual idea of how things will go together without having to play dress-up. I often use this feature to plan looks ahead of time so I don’t keep wearing the same outfit on repeat. This really helps me to make the most of my clothing and I have created many looks that I would never have thought of when standing in front of my closet.

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Packing: I love this feature and use it every time I travel. I create looks, and then refer back to the looks I created when I get dressed so I know that I am making the most of my packing space. It makes so much sense to create different options with a few key pieces when traveling, and the visual nature of this feature helps me to keep my bag small(er) and more organised than ever before.

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Style stats: This feature is not something I use very often, mostly because it can get really labour intensive, but if you are the kind of girl who likes to keep track of everything in life, you are going to love this feature. When adding items to your closet, you can add their cost and retailer details. In the stats feature, you can track the cost per wear for each item by noting each day’s outfit in the calendar in the app. You can track so many stats including what items you wear most often, items you never wear (which could really help when you want to donate items and make space for new amazing pieces), your colour stats and total closet value. This could get really tiring to track each day (for me personally) but I can see how this feature is a really great way to help you in making better choices when you purchase new clothing.

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Other features include a space for inspiration from websites and other apps, the calendar used to track your outfits, a shop and the style expert feature packed with advice, style guides and Q & A with experts.

Here are a few tips that I have found to be useful when getting into Stylebook:

  • Don’t go too specific when categorising items. I started out with about 15 different main categories with loads of sub-categories in each and it became way too complicated. Stick to a few (I have 5 categories) and delete what you don’t want to use. For me, there is no reason to sort my closet into seasons because I try to wear items right throughout the year (with a few exceptions, of course), but if that works for you, go for it.
  • Don’t worry too much about the editing of your items. I spent so much time getting the edges of each item perfect that I got fed up and overwhelmed. The item doesn’t have to be perfect for you to get what you are trying to remember with a look so don’t spend too much time on perfecting the item that you lose interest in the real reason for using the app, which is probably to make the most out of each item of clothing you own.
  • If you don’t have the time or space to photograph your items, do an image search on Google to find something similar and stick it into your wardrobe. I use this method more often than not because you get nice images that already have the item posed in a way that shows the shape and actual look of the item. If you create looks using this method, just don’t go stealing images off the web and claim them as your own to post on social media. For personal use and reference, you can use images as long as you don’t share them.
  • Hand your “closet” over to a friend who gets your style so they can lend a fresh perspective on combinations from your wardrobe. I used to do this with my cousin when we were teenagers and we would spend hours making up new outfits out of our closets. This way is much quicker but no less valuable.
  • Take some time to log your outfits each week. You don’t have to deadly accurate with this, but I found that it really gives you a grasp on how long each item lasts, and how good an investment each piece is. This helped me to realise which inexpensive items turned out to be more costly because I had to replace them often.

Which style or lifestyle apps do you enjoy? Leave your recommendations and I will take a look

 

MAYHEM AND MISHAPS (PRODUCTS I DON’T LOVE) Part 2

Firstly, thanks for the feedback on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lipstick.skinnyjeans/) on this series. I have really enjoyed reading your comments and messages and I write down all your suggestions for future reviews.

With this post, I am back to share more experiences with you in the series: Mayhem and Mishaps- all about the products I personally did not have a great experience with. This post is about some of the foundations I have tried in the last few months. I won’t be touching on concealers in this post, only foundation products (including one BB crème)

*** Disclaimer *** 

As always, remember these products did not work for me (for whatever reason) but they might work for you. My skin is very oily, prone to flaking in winter and I struggle with blackheads. If your skin is similar, you may have similar results

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Foundation products I did not love:

Revlon Colorstay Foundation with SPF 15 for Combination/Oily Skin in “004 Natural Beige” (R130 at Clicks)

You may be able to see from the photo that this product separates in the bottle. That already spells disaster for me. True to my expectations when noticing the separation, the product came out of the bottle in an unstable squirt. I had to mix the product on my hand before applying it. The foundation is really quite thick. The instructions say you need to apply to one area and blend quickly for a flawless finish. Unfortunately I just could not manage the lightweight finish they promise. I have used two different foundation brushes, a silicon sponge and a beauty blender. No joy from any of these applicators.

The coverage is quite full, but it doesn’t manage to blend into the skin well. I had a bit of an issue with the drying time because it stays tacky for quite a while after application. Also, I am not a fan of the smell which tries to be unscented but ends up smelling like face paint. This foundation did the same slip and slide on my skin that many products tend to do specifically because my skin is oily. I was really disappointed with this because the product is created for combination to oily skin. After drying, the product rubbed off really easily.

Lastly, the shade was also an issue for me. It came out much warmer than I was expecting for natural beige and I would recommend testing it thoroughly in the store before choosing a shade.

Vichy Idéalia BB Crème with SPF 25 for All skin types in “Medium” (R339.95 at Clicks)

The first ever Vichy product I bought was this one. I am so disappointed by it! I decided to try out a BB Crème for those days I did not need to much coverage and I like the fact that the SPF is so high in this product. Unfortunately, right from the start it was doomed. The shade is not awful on my skin in summer, but it is definitely too dark for my winter complexion. The issue I have with the colour is that it seems to go “muddy” on the edges when blended out. I have no idea what may be causing this but it looks a little bit like a self-tan mishap. The application is fairly easy and apart from the colourisation issue, it blends out well on the skin. The product is about medium consistency, which is a little too thick for my liking (for a BB crème). The smell is not awful but it definitely has a lingering scent. My biggest gripe with this product is the fact that the finish and “stay-ability” sucks. It slides off of my skin in no time and the finish is very oily. I understand this product is for “all skin types” so it may be great for dry skin. Also, it moves quite easily if you apply another liquid type product over it (like a liquid concealer) and it rubs off on clothing even after drying. I didn’t see any of the refining of skin texture or smoothing fine lines that they advertise and all together, the price is just too high for what I got out of this crème.

MAC Pro Longwear Foundation with SPF 10 in “NW25” (R470 from maccosmetics.co.za)

This is probably where I am going to rub a few people the wrong way. I know many makeup artists and enthusiasts swear by Mac, but I just did not enjoy this product. The name Pro Longwear foundation might be a clue to my first point. It is not friendly to beginners, at all. You really have to understand the drying time and blendability of this foundation to get it right. It takes getting used to because you really have to get in there and blend it out. Once blended, the finish is nice and smooth. I got the wrong shade (again) and that just irritates me because the Mac Artist in store (this was a stand-alone store, not in a department store) matched it to my skin. It plainly infuriates me to see they use florescent lighting in store! Florescent light is super misleading when choosing makeup shades.

Apart from the shading issue, I found this foundation did not do anything in terms of oil control and I ended up with serious cake face at the end of the day. It rubbed off on my clothing easily even before the oiliness became an issue. I now have this mostly full bottle of Mac foundation that reminds me how much of a waste it was every time I open my makeup box. It makes me sad. I also got the longwear concealer, but as the devil would have it, I dropped the little glass bottle and concealer went everywhere. I still have a little Tupperware container with the concealer and glass shards in it simply because I could not bear to throw it out (although I won’t use it due to the glass shards in the concealer).

Have you suffered from any foundation mishaps? Let me know about them so I don’t feel so bad about my mayhem! Keep sending your review requests and I will get to them in good time.

Next time I will be posting about a few lip products and some eye makeup so if you enjoy these posts, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and head over to my Facebook page for more of the content I share on the blog

Mayhem and mishaps (products I don’t love)

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In my ongoing quest to find the best beauty buys out there, I have encountered a few misses, mayhem and mishaps!

I am here to share my experiences with you so you can determine if these products might be right for you before you part with your dearly beloved Randelas.

This will be the first post in a series and next time I will share my experiences with other products including foundations, eye makeup and lip products so stick around!

*** Disclaimer ***  

These products did not work for me (for whatever reason) but they might work for you. Try them out for yourself before lighting the torches and grabbing pitchforks to come after me. My skin is mostly oily, prone to blackheads and flakey-ness in winter. I am usually one of the very light shades in any given range and I don’t tan, I burn. I hope that clears things up!

Skin care products I did not love:

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser (R94.95 at Clicks)

The product is supposed to make “pores appear instantly erased for smooth-looking skin”. Not so much in my opinion. The formulas is clear and almost odour free, dries quickly and goes on with a smooth finish. Only, it doesn’t do much to minimise my pores and it really doesn’t work like a primer. Winter and summer, my makeup is sliding off at the end of the day and my pores are still exactly the same as before. It also doesn’t do anything to hide the lines on my forehead (although it never claimed to do so). I think it might work better with dry skin because it does keep my skin soft and hydrated. Other than that, I am not a fan.

Young Solution Wipe out Spot Eliminating Drops (R41.95 at Clicks)

I suffer from break-outs now and again, and I have been looking for something affordable that is available without a prescription to solve my pimple-problems. Unfortunately this is not the answer. The drops really don’t seem to do much to a pimple, and you have to apply it 4-5 times a day. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I also found that it stings like crazy if you apply it to skin that is slightly broken. Won’t be buying this product again.

Himalaya Herbals Almond and Cucumber Peel-offf mask (Dis-Chem- price not listed)

This mask is supposed to peel away blemishes, firm and rejuvenate skin. I do like that my skin feels smooth and plump after using the mask, but it is quite messy to apply (think green sticky goop everywhere) and although I have really fine, light facial hair it seems to grab onto each and every little fuzzy bit on my skin (even the very fine hair around the outside of my face). I cannot imagine the effect this would have if you have a little more facial hair. My eyes were watering like crazy when I removed the mask. It does feel oddly good to peel it all off in one go! I remember this product as being rather expensive (more than R100 for 75 ml) so I won’t buy it again for that price. I have heard some amazing things about the other masks in the range so I will try them out soon!

Dermalogica Mult-active Toner (R640 for 250ml at Sorbet Salons)

I will start by saying that I use Dermalogica face products in my skin care routine daily. I am a huge fan of the Special Cleansing gel, Pre-cleanse oil and the Skin Smoothing cream (those are my 3 staples for cleansing and moisturising) and all these products are very expensive. I do however swear by them because they last very long, and they are really good for my skin. That being said, I am not won over by the toner. I don’t like the spray bottle for this product, it does not provide a nice mist, rather blasts a lot of product right in the centre of my face which then needs to be distributed over my skin. The texture is a bit tacky and takes a while to dry and overall I do not see the benefit of the product.

Essence Instant Matt Make-up setting Spray (R59.95 at Dis-Chem)

If you have been anywhere near my blog or Instagram, you would know I am a huge fan of Essence Cosmetics. Unfortunately, this setting spray is not something I would buy again! You can supposedly use it before make-up (as a primer) or after to set your make-up. Either way, it didn’t make an impression on me. My make-up did the same old slippy-slide at the end of the day and because the spray nozzle does not make a fine mist, I ended up having wet make-up. Not a great look. I have been trying to use it in other ways, so I will keep you updated if I find a better use for it.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know how they turned out for you! Also, let me know if you want me to try out any products that you have been eyeing for a while, I love reading your recommendations!

In the next post, I will be looking at products by Revlon, Mac, Vichy, Benefit and Nyx as well as some off the wall products I found at my local “China-town” shopping centre.

 

Latest beauty buys: Dis-Chem Beauty Fair

I recently took a break from reviewing products on the blog following surgery and a long-ish recovery period, but now that I am back on my feet again, I decided to grab a few products to review, including the very popular Essence My Must Haves range. The products in this range have been popping up on my social media feeds for the last few weeks and I won’t lie, I was itching to get my hands on them!

It was beauty sale time at Dis-Chem, so I got quite a few products at a great price. Let’s get into this!

Here’s my shopping list:

Ulta Beauty Salon Formula Nail Lacquer in “Lav-ish” and “Wanderlust” (On Sale R9.99 each)

This is the first time that I have seen Ulta beauty products on sale in South Africa (am I hideously uninformed or is this a new thing?) Let me say that neither of these shades are long lasting, even with a base and top coat. Despite that, I absolutely adore the shade “Wanderlust”. It is a dark shimmery purple-grey colour that is just fantastic. One coat is enough for an opaque cover and it is surprisingly easy to clean (for a dark colour, that is). The shade “Lav-ish” is a very light glittery lavender colour that looked pretty in the bottle but I am not a fan of it on my nails. One coat is not enough for full coverage even though I used a white base coat. It might be a good colour for other skin shades but with my pale skin it just did not pop. The finish for both shades is pretty glitzy and very high shine.

Essence Balmy Kiss Moisurizing Lip Care in 03 “Can’t Live Without” (R27.95)

I recently posted about this balm on my Instagram feed and after using it for a few days I still like the product, however I would caution against using this balm on dry lips. I know this sounds counterintuitive for a lip balm, but I often find that coloured lip products or those with loads of fragrance burn my lips and dry them out even more instead of moisturising them. I love the subtle colour of this balm and it feels more like a balm than other coloured balms (like the Labello Care and Colour range)

Palladio Herbal Glam Intense Gel Eyeliner in “Black” (R99.95)

You may have noticed that I already have a “go-to” eyeliner (Smudge Felt tip liner from Clicks) that I really hold in high regard so the Palladio Gel Liner has quite the shoes to fill. Keeping in mind that this is a gel liner, not a felt tip liner like the Smudge liner, it just does not measure up. I will keep practicing to use this product so I know it is not my own inexperience that keeps me from giving it a higher rating. My main grievance is that the gel liner is not nearly as pigmented as the felt tip liner and it does not sit so close to the skin as other liners. This may again have more to do with the application than the product itself, so I will reserve my final judgement on this product. A benefit of the product is that there is a lot of it in the container, I can see this lasting for multiple years. I think it might also be good for fantasy looks and stage makeup because there is so much of it and it glides on easily so it can cover a large area.

Essence My Must Haves 8 Palette (R44.95)

This palette is designed really well and the single products slot in perfectly and sit nicely in the palette. I like that the palette allows you to easily swap around the singles so you can take a few with you when you travel and easily switch them out as needed. The only downside to this is the fact that this palette is quite big. I know there are some palettes on the market that are larger, but often I find that these palettes house more product. The palette has a lot of open space which makes it a bit clunky to lug around if you are looking at the palette size to product size ratio.

Essence My Must Haves Eye shadow (R34.95 each)

I bought 4 eye shadow colours from this range including: 05 “Cotton Candy”, 07 “Mauvie-time!”, 18 “Black as a berry” and 19 “Steel the show”. “Cotton Candy” is a very light, shimmery shadow that I have started using as a highlighter all over my face and eyes. “Steel the show” is a gun-metal grey colour that works beautifully as a blending shade when doing a smoky eye. My two favourite shades are “Black as a berry” (a very deep purple with a cool undertone) and “Mauvie-time” (a medium purple shade with a grey undertone). The shades I tried were really blend-able, soft and long-lasting. They were not too soft or chalky, but “Cotton Candy” is much more sparkly than it seems when you look at it in the packaging. It would advise that you take a moment to test the shades on your skin before you purchase so you get exactly what you expect when building the palette. After all, you want this to be customised exactly to your liking.

Essence My Must Haves Satin blush in 02 “Strawberry Smoothie” (R34.95)

I have to say, this is the one product in this range that I am not a fan of. It is a very cheerful pink shade, but it is way too shimmery to use as a blush (personal preference) and it is not pigmented enough to use as an eye shadow. You can probably build this colour if you want to, but it just doesn’t do anything amazing on my skin. Also, I find that my blush brushes are way too big for this size pan so I won’t easily purchase the blushes in this range again. It might be nice to travel with, but I don’t have a brush that works with the size of the pan and covers enough surface area on my cheeks, so I am not sold.

Essence 2 in 1 eyeshadow & liner in 06 “She’s got the Mauve” (R54.95)

This product, I love! The colour is beautiful and highly pigmented, glides on easily and stays on all day. It also blends easily and works with powder eye shadows so you can create so many looks with this product. The only tip I have would be to set the product with a powder otherwise you will have vaguely tacky feeling eyelids all day.

Cala Studio Master Blending Brush and Angled Eye Shadow Brush (R39.95 each)

I like these brushes so much, I am contemplating buying a few more just to keep as spares! They are synthetic but soft and flexible. They don’t warp easily when you chuck them into your makeup bag and they hold powders like a dream. I also like the fact that they have a slightly chunkier handle than many brushes I own which makes them feel more stable in my hand.

Have you tried any of these products yet? Let me know what you think of them and which products you would like to see on my next review!

Dressing like you mean business!

Whether you are an old hand at corporate wear, or selecting you first interview outfit, I have some great tips to climb the corporate dress ladder! Read on for some advice to help you liven up your corporate closet or guide you in your first steps to becoming a style savant in the office.

Elevator pitch

Here are some great general tips to sharpen your look without fail!

  • When in doubt, dress formally. They say there is no such thing as overdressed and over-educated, and I totally agree. I am not referring to wearing a ball gown to a family dinner (which would be fabulously daring, BTW!) but rather about the events that you are not too sure about. When done right, formal is never too much whereas you will easily stand out if you are not dressed formal enough.
  • Business does not mean boring. You can go a long way with a basic ensemble and change things up with accessories like scarves, jewellery and shoes. By using accessories to liven up an outfit, you avoid the risk of overdoing it and looking unprofessional.
  • By investing in classic, high- quality pieces you are giving your wardrobe longevity that will benefit you in the years to come. Beautiful fabrics in classic colours and quality cuts will never go out of style.

Now, on to the more specific guidelines!

Colour within the lines

  • Stay away from too many colours at one time
  • Stick to a colour palette, this will make it very easy to mix and match items without worrying about clashes. I opt for white, black, grey, blues and burgundy coloured items
  • Add a flash of colour to your wardrobe with cardigans and jewellery

 Proportions = promotions

  • Be deliberate with your proportions. I have way too many items that fall in the mid-range (especially bottoms). These include jeans that are too relaxed fit to be skinny and others that are too tight to be a boyfriend cut. These items make your outfit look “lukewarm”
  • For the office environment, anything too baggy or too tight-fitting can really leave a bad impression. Leave your super comfy, two sizes too large jersey for Saturday Netflix sessions on the couch. Also, don’t even look at the second-skin skinny jeans that force you to go commando in an effort to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty line). You want people to notice your intellectual assets, not your “other assets”
  • Same rule applies for anything that is too short or too long. Mini-skirts are usually not appropriate (depending on how they are worn) but what about your dramatic long sleeve shirt with the cascading French lace cuffs? It might also be a bit over the top, especially if it gets in the way of actually doing your job (theatrical lace and keyboards? I don’t think they are comfortable colleagues)
  • Limit the amount of accessories you wear. Coco Chanel was quoted as saying: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. You don’t want to look like a Christmas tree. Leave that for the weekend or girls night.
  • Keep your shoes polished and stylish. Don’t opt for casual shoes- this is one small detail that can really bring your outfit together
  • Remember that high heels are not always appropriate and when you do choose to wear heels, stay away from sequined, leopard-print stilettos with huge bows and cartoon characters to top it off. If your shoes speak louder than your resume, you are not doing yourself any favours

Trends

  • No matter what the fashion magazines say “sports luxe” or athletic wear is almost always out for business attire. Some exceptions may apply and you should use your judgement in this matter, but I know I would never feel comfortable wearing a baseball cap to the office unless it is a sports day or some other specific reason. And for the love of all things fashionable, remember you are not a Kardashian, you most likely cannot pull off wearing sweatpants and heels to the office. Just don’t do it!
  • Some trends are great for the corporate environment, including the masculine trend, minimalism and beautiful winter textures that are coming into the stores in South Africa at the moment
  • If you love a specific trend, don’t be afraid to incorporate it, but do so with caution. A neon-coloured ring or silver studded bracelet would be great ways to liven up an outfit. Neon leggings and a biker inspired sleeveless t-shirt on the other hand, not so much!
  • Generally speaking I would advise not to over-invest in trends. They come and go faster than the latest corporate buzz-word and your money is much better spent on key, timeless pieces that will add to your wardrobe for years to come

Whether you love dressing formally every day, or you are a jeans and sneakers kind of girl, spending some time on your professional wardrobe will keep you looking ready for the corporate world, and will save you money in the long run (by avoiding overspending on trends and replacing lower quality items frequently).

Go on, conquer the boardroom and show the world some love while dressing to impress!

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Benefit cosmetics haul!

After thoroughly using the Benefit cosmetics I purchased, I can write this review with a light heart and honestly say that I was (overall) a little unimpressed.

Here’s my shopping list:

  • They’re real Mascara in Black
  • the POREfessional face primer
  • Posietint lip and cheek stain

All is fair in love and make up so I thought I would incorporate these items into my routine so I could test them over a long period to see if they would fit into my lifestyle and process of beautification.

the POREfessional primer works as well as one would expect and I was actually quite pleased with it except for the way it blends. I had some issues with the product crumbling into small bits on my skin if I tried to apply to my skin underneath foundation. Which is strange for a primer, right? But applying it over my foundation seemed to solve this dilemma.

The posietint lip and cheek stain is a beautiful colour that can be built up to a more dramatic shade which makes it very versatile. The issues I have with this product is that it doesn’t last very long on my lips and also has a severe drying effect when I use it regularly (again, on my lips). Overall, still a nice to have item.

Now my true disappointment came in with the “They’re real” mascara. It worked fine for the first week and then it became incredibly thick and clumpy. I tried to continue using it, but it didn’t get any better with time. So I tried to comb out the clumps, which lead to a lot of cleanup afterwards and even after it dried, I dealt with major fallout for the entire day. It was also very difficult to remove completely.

I hope that you benefit from this review of Benefit cosmetics. I haven’t given up hope on the entire brand yet, but next time, I will test the products in store and do a bit of research before making a rush purchase just because it is all the hype.

May you never have the type of day that puts your make up to waste! An remember to show the world some love