October 2017 archive

Sephora VIB Sale, November 2017: My Skincare Picks

This post contains affiliate links.

The biannual Sephora VIB Sale (20% for VIB Rouge November 3rd-6th, 20% off for VIB Rouge and VIB November 10th-15th, and 15% off for Beauty Insider November 10th-15th) is second only to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in terms of how important it is to me. I don’t go in much for holidays, but massive sales always have a special place on my calendar. This year, I am going to share my skincare and makeup picks–I don’t buy hair products at Sephora–some of which I will buy at the sale myself, and some of which I already own and would recommend. I’m going to start with skincare.

Skincare is a major passion of mine, but one I have avoided talking about on this blog since I’m not sure if it really fits the rubric of this blog. Let me know if you want more posts on this topic, but for now, I’m just going to write a post about it every once in a while. While many color analysts will argue that wearing the right colors will render your skin imperfections more or less invisible, I still believe in taking care of your skin, versus trusting your color choices to do all the heavy lifting. And things like foundation and concealer and even eye makeup just won’t sit correctly if the canvas beneath it is damaged. Figuring out what works for my skin has made a huge difference in terms of what I can do with makeup and how I feel. Before I fixed things like my undereye area, I felt that sometimes I looked better before I put the makeup on. Anyway, basically I just love skincare and I feel like writing about it, even if it is not necessarily a direct component of style systems.

So here are the things that I would get from Sephora in the skincare department.


Tata Harper Glow for It Kit, $60 ($48 with 20% discount, $51 with 15% discount)

The main reason I’m recommending this is because I got a sample of the Resurfacing Mask, and it is amazing. The description says:

This award-winning glow mask is formulated with two natural sources of BHA that gently exfoliate and clear the way for fruit enzymes and botanical extracts to cleanse skin and refine pores for a noticeably vibrant, instantly radiant complexion. Antioxidant-rich beet extract promotes hydration to improve skin tone and boost glow, while willowbark and meadowsweet—natural sources of salicylic acid—slough off dead skins cells like a traditional peel without irritation (which is perfect for normal and sensitive skin). Bergamot essential oil provides a sweet citrus scent.

All I know is that it made my skin feel really, really smooth without it being dried or irritated, and I now look forward to masking with it once a week. On its own, it costs $58, so this means that you get two small sizes of other products for $1 each. I haven’t tried the other products, which are the Regenerating Cleanser and the Reparative Moisturizer, but if they are the same quality as the mask, they’re worth trying. I just don’t want to like them too much, because I’m not prepared to spend $105 on moisturizer.


Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, ($158 for 1.7 oz, $126.40 with 20% discount, $134.30 with 15% discount; $105 for 1 oz, $84 with 20% discount, $89.25 with 15% discount)

Clearly, the VIB sale is the logical time to pick up an extremely expensive product like this. I tried it in this kit. In case you don’t watch skincare gurus on YouTube ever, here’s the description:

Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment is formulated with high potency, purified grade lactic acid that immediately exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, revealing smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. Fine lines appear visually plumped while the skin looks more radiant. With continued use, the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthier-looking complexion. Perfect for all skin types and all ages, this treatment is enhanced with licorice for brightening, Good Genes clarifies, smooths, and retexturizes for instant radiance.

What I like about this product over going with something like one of The Ordinary.’s Lactic Acids is that it has all of these extra ingredients that make it less irritating to your skin. I tend to be on the more sensitive side, and I definitely purged during the first week or so of using this. Some people prefer the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which also comes in a reasonably priced set, so it’s worth trying both to see which your skin prefers.


Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($19 for 2.4 oz, $15.20 with 20% discount, $16.15 with %15; $32 for 7.5 oz, $25.60 with 20% discount, $27.20 with 15% discount; $48 for 18 oz, $38.40 with 20% discount, $40.80 with 15% discount)

This sunscreen doesn’t break me out and is moisturizing enough to double as a moisturizer, since it has hyaluronic acid.

This broad-spectrum SPF 50, high-performance, water-resistant sunscreen provides protection for face and body in a skin nourishing lotion that is truly meant to be worn every day. Powered by potent antioxidant-rich Cellular Response Technology™, it protects from UVA, UVB, and IRA rays, while a unique oat beta-glucan—proven to deliver better long-term moisturization than hyaluronic acid—helps combat the skin dehydrating effects of sun exposure. Natural extracts of lemon, orange, basil, and bois de rose provide a subtle scent with no unpleasant sunscreen smell.

Basically, if you’re not using a good sunscreen, all of your other skincare is useless. I’ve gotten the Sephora sample kits and tried a whole bunch, but they either broke me out or left a white cast. This one feels like a moisturizer, but is SPF50 and does its job. It does make me a little shiny though, so I do have to use powder on my chin and forehead.


NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF30 ($45, $36 with 20% discount, $38.25 with 15% off)

What I do 90% of the time is mix this tinted moisturizer with the sunscreen above. I don’t think that sunscreen in makeup or a moisturizer is ever really enough–you would generally have to put on a LOT to get the advertised SPF. I’ve written about it before, but here’s the product description:

Infused with lush, naturally-derived ingredients, this lightweight tinted moisturizer immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. It has been proven to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation for a clearer and brighter complexion in as little as four weeks. Oil-free and luxurious, it obscures the appearance of lines, wrinkles, pores, and other imperfections while broad spectrum SPF 30 protects skin.

Basically, tinted moisturizers are rarely light enough for me, and this one is. It was the only tinted moisturizer at Ulta that didn’t make it look like I was wearing self tanner.

What skincare are you planning on picking up at the sale?

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Resistance: The Key to Unlocking Your Image ID?

This post contains affiliate links.

Every once in a while, I’ll get a comment on this blog from someone who is borderline irate because, for instance, at 5’10”, they are too tall for Theatrical Romantic. They will insist that these are the clothes that look best on them, and David Kibbe is wrong when he says that someone who is 5’5″ has too much yang for Theatrical Romantic.

A lot of this stems from fundamental misunderstandings of how the system itself works, of course, but another part of it lies in resistance to your Image ID. There is an entire chapter on this topic in Metamorphosis, and part of it has been transcribed here. (Missing are the parts relevant to gamines, unfortunately!) I believe that rather than the “Kibbe Quiz,” this chapter may be the best place to start if you are trying to find your Image ID.

The reason for this is that, barring body image issues that lead us to see ourselves not as we actually are, we know what we look like and what we are. We know what issues we have dealt with our entire lives in terms of self-image. I’ve always known that I wasn’t a curvy girl, that I was on the shorter side, that my facial features were unusual. The idea that I even considered Theatrical Romantic based on a self-assessment is thus patently ridiculous. The only thing that fit is being short. Likewise, I am generally a narrow person and there are no real wider parts on my body, so I shouldn’t have spent so long thinking that I may be a Soft Natural instead of a Flamboyant Gamine because I simply don’t have the bone structure to support the clothes.

Sometimes, this process isn’t pleasant. It can be very hard to hear that you are “too” something or “not enough” of something else. It brings up these exact feelings of inadequacy that are created by feeling like you are “too” something or “not enough” of something else. This is why we often see women who see themselves are more yin than they are or vice versa–as David says in the chapter, the grass is always greener. Never mind that the person who would be your opposite in terms of yin/yang balance is looking at you and feeling just as envious–these feelings are something we all go through.

The right Image ID will shift your thinking. You will recognize that everything you thought of as your faults are actually your strengths, and what makes you a unique beauty. You will look at the celebrities in the book and recognize yourself in them, and feel proud to have entered such a pantheon of beautiful women. Your type should never make you feel inadequate. You shouldn’t watch a movie with one of the celebrities and feel like you would need to change something about yourself. You should feel buoyed by the fact that there is a woman like you on screen, one who dealt with all of the same insecurities as you and turned them into her strengths.

So if you are confused about where you would fit, think about what you are insecure about. Turn them into “I love statements” (i.e..–“I hate my broad shoulders”>”I love my broad shoulders that provide a beautiful frame for clothes”) and see where that leads you.

Stylesyntax.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Mid-Fall Haul

This post uses affiliate links.

I haven’t had as much time to think about style systems as I would like, but I have done a fair amount of shopping, both out of necessity and out of the fact that I get so many tempting emails every day advertising some kind of deal. I am currently in the middle of a weight loss journey, and I have lost around 20 pounds so far–which means that my old clothes don’t really fit anymore, obviously, so I have had to get some new things.

First, let’s look at what I’ve gotten from Boden. Boden is a brand that really speaks to the aesthetic that has appealed to me for the last six months or so–50s/60s gamine. I have managed to find several things there with the specific collar I love–rolled boatneck.

This is a dress I have been eyeing for a long time, and I love this purple. I finally broke down and ordered it when I got a notification that Boden was having a 20% off sale. I haven’t received it yet, but I have another similar dress from Boden, and I find this sort of structured shape to be very flattering on me. This is a dress that I got for Level Two occasions (you can read about the Three Levels of Dress in my workbook), and it is definitely an area of my wardrobe where I have long been lacking.

I bought this at the same time as the dress above. As you can see, it has the collar I keep on talking about. I almost got the ivory instead of the yellow because it is just so Breakfast at Tiffany’s casual:


…But I already have a top in this color that is similar, which I’ll get to shortly. Yellow is what I would choose for my Zyla tranquil, and I love a yellow sweater/sweatshirt in winter.

I also had exactly zero pants in my wardrobe that weren’t jeans or leggings.

So I got these, and I’m on the fence about how they look on me. I was going to wear them with the top I mentioned above, the one kind of like Audrey’s, and I just didn’t like the combination. I do love the color, though–a beautiful T3 peacock.

The top is from Banana Republic. It’s something I see as my answer to the button-down shirt because, as much as I love a crisp white shirt on Audrey, as David Kibbe, genius that he is, astutely pointed out, that’s not really “me.” And he’s right–every time I’ve bought a long-sleeved button down, it has just sat in my closet, unworn. This shirt I feel like I should have sized down a little, maybe, but I’ll see how it looks with other pants.

Then I just happened to be in JCrew one day and saw this on the new arrivals rack.

Leopard is like catnip to me (sorry). So of course I had to buy this, and I’ve worn it a lot. I really hate the way JCrew styled it here, though–I think the collared shirt underneath detracts from the boatneck.

Lastly, I really like Target’s A New Day line, and I basically jumped into the car as soon as I saw that this jacket existed.

I think that every Autumn Gamine needs this jacket. It’s so cute! I don’t know if you can really see it in the picture, but it actually has gold threads running through it.

Now that my credit card has been locked in a safe, I’m working on putting together head to toes and figuring out how to make sure that I don’t lose the important elements of my personal style by going too far in this vintage-inspired direction. I need to retain my wild side, too.

What have you picked up this fall (or spring, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)?