Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Couple of Looks, Target Haul and New Pure Anada Shades

Took me a couple of minutes to think about the title for this entry; it contains a hodge-podge of topics! Anyways, here are a couple of looks I've been meaning to post. The first one features Eye Lustre shadows from Aromaleigh, while in the second, I used MAC Blonde's Gold pigment and one of my Meow Feliners (mineral liners), Sex Kitty. It was also one of the rare times I used bold, red lip color.









I wore Joppa soft coverage mineral foundation in Light-medium #3 mixed with Joppa full coverage foundation in Light #3 (50-50 mix), Joppa Simple Radiance finishing silk in Medium, Aromaleigh eye lustre in Cosette foiled on lid, Aromaleigh eye lustre in Persephone foiled on outer V and crease, MAC shadow in Ricepaper to highlight, Almay liquid eyeliner, MAC Graphblack technakohl to line. On the cheeks I used Aromaleigh Pure Rouge blush in Pashmina topped with Dayna's Glow #2. On the lips I used MAC Whirl lipliner, MAC Lightly Ripe lipstick, MAC Major Minor lipglass.









I used MAC Blonde's Gold pigment foiled on the lid, MAC Bronze eyeshadow on outer V, MAC Dark Edge shadow on crease, MAC Femme Fi shadow to highlight. I used Meow Feliner in Sex Kitty wetlined on upper lashline, Graphblack technakohl on waterline and to tightline, Dayna's Minerals Coral Breeze blush with Dayna's Glow #1 on top of blush. On lips I used MAC Whirl lipliner with MAC Red Romp lipglass.



I just received some free samples of Pure Anada's new yellow/golden shades from Candace (Pure Anada's owner). She is so generous to send me full sizes to try. Thanks so much Candace! Most of the asian mineral makeup enthusiasts that I have encountered find it hard to nail their shade in Pure Anada, prompting Candace to custom-make shades that suit our skintone. She told me in her letter enclosed with the products that she lives in a small community that doesn't have a large representation of ethnic groups, so she is excited about this opportunity to whip up shades to cater to the asian skintone. I will let you guys know if one of these is my perfect match. I can't wait to roadtest this!

NOTE to Pure Anada users (I know you're all out there!): If Golden Harvest would be classified as "Light Gold", Candace says these new shades are "Medium Gold" and "Deep Gold".



I went to Target today and picked up another bent eyeliner and crease brushes from Sonia Kashuk, and I got the very last blending sponge (also by SK) on the shelf! I've heard about the amazing Beauty Blender sponge, but Sonia Kashuk has a dupe for half the price of the Beauty Blender, and I've heard raves about this latter sponge as well. I can't wait to try this out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MAC Blonde's Gold Pigment, Aromaleigh's Eye Lustres, and Rihanna's Hair

I just bought my MAC Overrich pigment in Blonde's Gold yesterday, and I am waiting for my trusty pigment seller to send me the other six (not including Mauvement because I have it) in 1/2 teaspoon samples. Okay, just about every MAC afficionado has read/heard about the hullaballoo concerning the Overrich pigment sizes/weight. The rumor is that these new Overrich pigments are different from the rest in the sense that they are richer and heavier than the others, so the jars are not as full when you receive them, since these are sold by weight and not by volume. I got confused though by the claims (which were confirmed by MAC when they changed the weight on the website) that the pigments were 4.3g instead of 7.5g. Is one of these figures based on weight and the other on volume? Anyways, here is a pic of the brand-new pigment I got. I read from forums that certain ladies were pretty satisfied with their purchase because the jars they got were 3/4 full. I'd tell them though to give their jars a couple of good whacks on their countertop and they would see, after the pigments have settled, that these are just a little over half-full:



A little off-putting, but well, Blonde's Gold Pigment is SO gorgeous that I just had to get a full-size. This is more than enough to last me for years, anyway (although since I would use this as a lid color, I think I would go through this quicker than my other pigments). It reminds me of Warming Trend eyeshadow from the Naughty Nauticals collection. I love Warming Trend as an all-over lid color, and Blonde's Gold is another beauty that I couldn't resist. I'm wearing it right now and it's just so pretty, it has taupe-gold undertones that give an understated shimmer to the skin.


I think this would also look beautiful as a highlighter on cheekbones. Gorgeousness!



Aromaleigh had their Eye Lustres on sale last week. This is the only eyeshadow collection that I haven't tried, apart from their mattes, so I got samples of the entire Eye Lustre collection. I've also seen some remarkable EOTDs using these (check out the Aromaleigh gallery on their site), so I can't wait to try these out. By the way, they also ship internationally now so check it out!

On Sampling Small Cosmetic Companies

I received a message from a lady expressing her wariness and concern about ordering samples from online cosmetic companies, as she is not used to and is quite wary about cosmetics in small baggies. I tried to assure her that I am not getting some crappy makeup products to put on my face. In fact, it is the exact opposite: I have very acne-prone, sensitive skin, and I just cannot slap on every cake and liquid foundation I find on the market because the fillers, parabens, preservatives and what-not more often than not wreak havoc on my skin. The products I get from small online companies are pure, unadulterated natural makeup (except of course some shadows that contain synthetic materials) that are purer than some out there in the mainstream market. I've tried some drugstore (and even department store) products that have more crap in their ingredients compared to the small company-owned products that have only 2 to 5 ingredients, and all of them natural.

I also do my homework when it comes to ordering from small mineral makeup companies. I always go to makeup boards and see which ones have really good reviews, then I do some sampling. This technique made me discover buried treasure when it comes to makeup. Also, I only buy from companies I trust. Aromaleigh is a 5-star Yahoo merchant, Dayna of Dayna's Minerals uses her own minerals and also her daughter uses them, and you really know minerals are of good quality when the owners themselves use them, because you won't put anything on your face that you don't trust in. DreamWorld has earned HUGE raves online and the products speak for themselves. These are just some of the products I enjoy using everyday that never broke my sensitive skin out, that are of good quality and really affordable. I hope many would get over the initial feeling of wariness and plunge into the wonderful world of small mineral makeup companies. It's one of the best beauty-related decisions I've made. ;)

Lastly, I really want to have my hair cut like Rihanna's in her Take a Bow video. I love the song, I love Rihanna, and I love her hair (and makeup)! Obviously, I am a big fan of short hair styles, but I don't know if this would suit me because I have baby-fine hair. Is it a yay or nay?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MAC Cult of Cherry Review and Look















Before I forget, for swatches and other looks featuring Cult of Cherry, click HERE and HERE.

I already made a semi-review of the Cult of Cherry products in THIS entry, but now that I've already seen the entire collection in stores and read a lot of reviews online, I can safely conclude that it is one of the most coveted MAC collections of the year. The rich, bold colors truly welcome the advent of fall, and although I don't think I can sport dark lips all that much, I can definitely try. My favorites from the collection are the Creme Cerise and Lightly Ripe lipsticks, Kirsch mattene (all these dark mattenes remind me of those late 90s dark matte lipstick craze using Revlon Colorstay in Raisin!), Cherry Blossom and Jampacked lipglasses, Plum de Bois blush, and Spiced Chocolate and Tempting quads. The jury's still out on the Shadowy Lady Quad. I'm still so on-the-fence about that, mainly because I have a lot of shadows that can easily dupe it, and I already have Deep Truth.

Lightly Ripe topped with Cherry Blossom is one of the prettiest color combinations I've seen. It's not too corpse-light nor too goth-dark, and the light sheer pink color flatters most complexions. Jampacked is a beautiful, beautiful sheer grape that can be worn by itself and it will still look gorgeous. It's not as dark on the tube as it is on the lips, so it comes off as a luscious, shiny berry-like stain when worn.

A lot of people are loving So Scarlet, and because I have not tried it yet, I still cannot form an informed opinion about it, but I am excited to use it one of these days. Plum de Bois is the perfect deep pink bronze blush, and it is very buildable - can look as sheerly pink-bronze to medium-dark bronze depending on your application. The gold pearl in it makes it all the more pretty.

The Spiced Chocolate quad is just wonderful. The colors however are too dark for my lid color, so the colors in this quad for ME are all crease, outer V or blender colors. However, they are gorgeous. My favorite is Brash, a frosty reddish copper that when applied on my lids reminds me of Firespot eyeshadow, although they are not dupes of each other at all. I already have Nanogold from the N collection, but I don't mind another one because it is such a coveted, versatile color. The Tempting quad is another favorite, mainly because of the beautiful marriage of Sharp, a frosty bright yellow gold that looks more chartreuse to me, and the rich cocoa colors like Tempting and Dark Edge. I have been trawling the net and I've seen beautiful looks using the Tempting quad. It seems like it is such a fool-proof set.

Anyways, here is a look using the Spiced Chocolate quad and the lip products from the Cult of Cherry.













Face:
Camellia Rose skin-smoothing primer V.2
Adorned With Grace Minerals oil-control powder
DreamWorld mineral foundation in Theia and Amenti (Luna formula) (50-50 mix)
DermaBlend QuickFix undereye concealer
Bare Escentuals Well Rested over Dermablend
DreamWorld Creme Topping in Angel (clay and silica formula)
Aromaleigh Pure Rouge mineral blush in Quintessential
Dayna's Glow in Violet Vesper over blush

Eyes
MAC Beige-ing shadestick as primer
DreamWorld mineral shadow in Ra's Chariot foiled on lid
MAC Brash shadow on outer lid and crease
MAC Sweet Chestnut and Dark Edge shadows blended on crease/outer V
MAC Ricepaper to blend above crease and to highlight
Aromaleigh Rocks! Sonics shadow in Grass wetlined on upper lashline
Almay liquid eyeliner to line
Maybelline and L'oreal mascara base and mascaras

Lips:
MAC creamola lipliner
MAC Lightly Ripe lipstick
MAC Cherry Blossom lipglass

Here's where I went with that face:


With my little boy at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA


touching the stingrays and baby sharks


looking at seals and sea lions


jellyfish


And here's my loot from the CCO (cosmetic company outlet) at the Cabazon Premier Outlets where we shopped on our way home: Clinique eye makeup removers, my holy grail eye primer: two Beige-ing shadesticks, and my two back-ups of my favorite MAC 3D glass - Algorithm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Focus: Anastasia Five-Item Brow Kit



I've always said to people that even without makeup, anybody can totally revamp and improve the way they look with just the simple step of changing the appearance of their brows. Even without a smidgen of makeup on the face, a girl (or guy) can look groomed, polished, and presentable with beautifully arched brows. The trick however is to properly do it. I've been a little insecure about my brows, mainly because of the uneven hair growth and its shape. I do get to have my brows waxed regularly, but filling them in with the right products has always been a challenge.

With that in mind, I tried the Anastasia Five-Item Brow kit, and it really made a huge difference in my brows, mainly due to the fact that it helped me achieve a much better brow shape. The kit is like training wheels for brows. It teaches you how to properly mark the areas of your face where the brows should start and end, and it also enables you to properly fill in, groom, and highlight your brows and the area around it with the correct tools. The end-result: beautiful brows that frame your face perfectly.

All the products in this kit are great, but my favorites are, well, actually everything except the brow stencils, because those are the only ones I don't use everyday. And yes, I use the rest of the items everyday, and if I don't have time, I use the tweezers every few days or so when I see some regrowth. Here are the items in the kit and my take on them:

1. BROW POWDER DUO



A two-shade compact applied to create beautiful and natural brow effects. This sheer to medium opacity powder includes the antioxidant Vitamins C and E. The emollient formula is transfer resistant and comes with two shades per compact to ensure not only the perfect brow shape but also the perfect brow color. This product is available in five two-tone shades.

My take: I love the powder duo because it is different from the usual eyebrow powder I'd used. It's a little bit tacky in consistency, and hence doesn't fade as easy as those in mere powder form. It has an emollient-rich formula that sticks to the hairs and skin without looking gunky. I like that it effectively shapes my brows quickly, without muss or fuss, with the help of the angled brow brush also included in the kit.

Application Tips:
-Use short, light strokes to fill in sparse brows.
-Apply the powder on the brow using the Duo Angled Brush #10, the Angled Cut Large #17A, the Mini Duo Angled Spooley Brush #7, the Angled Cut Small #15, or the Small Brow Shader #23.
-Apply the darker color fist where the brows are sparse, and then brush the lighter shade over the entire brow.
-Use the Spooley brush to pull the color through.

2. MINI DUO ANGLED / SPOOLEY #7

A personal use version of the Angled Cut/ Spooley Duo Brush, The Anastasia Mini Duo Angled/ Spooley Brush is an essential tool for grooming brows and everyday application of brow products.



Features:
-Use the Spooley brush to pull the excess color out of brows and lashes.

My take: Love, love, love this mini tool! I do exactly what Anastasia has advised her customers to do with this brush. I use the angled brush to apply the color on the brow, then use the spooley to even out the color all over my brows, and to brush off excess color. Perfect little tool, makes doing brows so much easier. If I am really in a hurry, this is all I need to do my brows right.

Application Tips:
-Using the Angled Cut Brush, apply the brow product in the direction of the hair growth.
-Use short, quick brush strokes.
-Using the spooley end, brush upward and outward to pull the excess color through the brow.

3. BROW GEL



A clear gel fortified with botanical hair conditioners and essential oils to keep unruly brows in place all day without flaking.

Features:
-clear gel formula
-Flake-proof
-Film-forming polymer helps define and hold the brow.
-Contains Botanical and Essential Oils for hair conditioning.
-Hyaluronic Acid helps to maintain moisture.
-Chamomile extract for soothing.

My take: Well, obviously, I use this after I shape and fill in my brows to maintain the color and shape. I like the staying power of the gel and it really does help to keep my brows in perfect shape all day. It is also a no-brainer to use, and it just takes seconds to apply it.

Application Tips:
-Apply after Perfect Brow, Perfect Brow Powder, or Brow Pomade.
-Withdraw wand from case and wipe excess product from around the base of the brush.
-Stroke gently and outward to achieve the most flattering shape.

4. TWEEZERS



Features:
-Designed with precision
-exclusive to Anastasia and created for use by professionals
-Provides efficient and thorough hair removal
-Custom-slanted tip

My take: I probably don't need to explain what this tool is for, but I use it regularly, and it does work good. I love the feminine pink color, and it's stainless steel so I don't need to worry about it rusting.

Application Tips:
-Tweeze hair outside of stenciled area.
-Pull hair in the direction of the hair growth.

5. STENCILS



Included are Petite Arch, Slim High, Medium and High Arch Stencils to achieve a true Anastasia shape at home.

Features:
This unique set comes with four classic eyebrow stencils to suit any face shape.

My take: If you have sparse or thin brows, or if you overplucked your brows and would need a guide while your hairs grow back, this is the product for you. It will guide you as to where your perfect arch is located, how thin or long the head and tail of the brows should be. It is time-consuming to me, though, and would not use it every day except during those days when I feel my brows are unruly or out-of-shape enough to seek outside help.

Application Tips:
-Use the stencil with an Angled Cut Brush, Brow Pomade, Perfect Brow Pencil, and/or Perfect Brow Powder.
-Choose the stencil that aligns with both the front and tail of the brow, and has as much of your natural brow inside the brow cutout as possible.
-A is the point through the center of the nostril (not the nose) directly up to where it intersects the end point of the stencil cutout.
-B is the point through the edge of the nose diagonally to the opposite end of the stencil cutout.
-Fill in the arch with the Angled Brush.

6.EYE LIGHTS MATTE



Available in 4 shades: Camille, Shell, Buff and Apricot.

A very versatile cream-to-powder pencil that creates a soft matte highlight under the eyebrows. A smooth and matte base for the eyes and the face that moisturizes and protects the skin.

My take: This is not included in the kit but I am including this in my review because this is a great product and would truly complete the beautifully arched brows look. I am loving this because it instantly gives the whole face a lift. Because it is matte, it gives the most subtle highlight underneath the arch or on the browbone, and the effect is just gorgeous. It gives the whole eye area a fresh, awake effect. It also highlights the just filled in and groomed brows, greatly improving the appearance of the entire face. Can also be used on the lips.

Application Tips:
-Apply directly along the brow bone underneath the brow hair.
-Blend up and outward using the index or pinkie finger.
-Ideally applied along the lip line and blended well before applying lip pencil and color.

I have done this tutorial in another entry, but I am reproducing it here instead of just linking it so everybody can see the whole concept, the entire picture in one entry.


Apply Almay liquid eyeliner. Using the Anastasia angled brow brush and brow powder, mark the point through the center of the nostril directly up where it intersects the end point of the brow stencil cut-out (Point A) where the brow should start, and the point through the edge of the nose diagonally to the opposite end of the stencil cutout (Point B), or where the brow tail should end.


Choose the stencil that aligns with both the front and tail of the brow (points A and B) and has as much of your natural brow hair inside the brow cut-out as possible. I chose the Petite Arch stencil. Using the angled brow brush and brow powder contained in the kit, fill in the stencil shape and the arch. By the way, I already tweezed stray hairs earlier using the Anastasia tweezer found also in the kit.


Use the spoolie in the kit to groom hair and to blend the brow powder into the hairs. Apply brow gel in the kit; brush upward to condition and hold the shape of the brow all day.


Apply the highlighter underneath the arch, and blend in using a q-tip.


Using the 219 pencil brush, apply Baby Petals on inner to mid lower lashline, and Top Hat on mid to outer lower lashline. Line waterline using Graphblack Technakohl liner. Apply mascara.











Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pow Wow in Cali: Bloggers' Night Out

I am back home! I have work tomorrow (ugh), but I can't turn in without posting these pics. I am very honored to have been part of an amazing night-out with uber-gorgeous ladies from Blogger land, and I couldn't believe that I was at the right place at the right time. I finally met Vanessa (who doesn't know this amazing lady?), and she is just as warm, sweet and bubbly in real life. We also thought of the same things while we were chatting about stuff - truly great minds think alike. =P Nessa, soooo happy to have finally met you! Since I'm in Cali anyway every couple of months or so, I am thinking it won't be the last time I'd see you. :)

Anyways, we dined at the Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen on Santa Monica Blvd. in Century City. Now I am used to driving long distances, but weaving through the clogged arteries of the Los Angeles freeways really took a toll on my nerves. The different freeways I had to use to reach my destination were dizzying, to say the least, and driving alone from Chino Hills to Century City at night for the first time, especially for someone like me who doesn't know the California freeways since I'm from out-of-state, was a tad daunting. But the food, conversations and especially the company were so worth it. My trusty GPS also made my travel so much easier and helped me arrive at the venue on time and in one piece.

The lovely ladies in attendance were Yummiebitez aka Anne, Incandescent aka Helen, MzxJoey aka Joey with friend Drea, NessasaryMakeup aka Nessa, BeautyIsAndrogynous aka Mimi, Fuzkittie aka Rajia with her boyfriend, Jackie aka J.Rose and her friend Ceejay, and last but definitely not the least, the sizzling hot hostess for the night, Pink aka Pam with her boyfriend Cliff. I just cannot believe how amazing these ladies are. I actually first met Anne in the reception area of the restaurant, and she looked so fresh and pretty. Then I met Jackie, another gorgeous lady who was very friendly and who actually lived near where I was staying in Cali. Pink truly lived up to her role as hostess; her charisma was palpable from the start and she really made everyone feel at ease. She gave us all a wonderful remembrance of the pow wow - we each got a NARS Turkish Delight gloss and Liquid Candlelight Face and Body Glow from Laura Geller. Not to be outdone, Nessa gave each of us a boxful of goodies, which was very sweet of her. We had a Yankee Swap as well and I got the Monistat Anti-Chafing gel from Nessa. It was such a hilarious night!

I can't capture the dinner in words, so here are some pics. Again, ladies, it was such a pleasure to meet all of you, especially since we are bound by a common love for makeup. I had to leave early, but it was nice knowing that some of you went on to enjoy the rest of the early morning.


Anne, Pam, moi, Nessa


Anne, Pam, moi, Nessa and Jackie


Anne, Joey, Nessa, me


one of the delicious dishes we feasted on (OMG, the food kept arriving non-stop! We were so stuffed!)


Rajia's boyfriend doing the honor of placing our names in a bowl for the Yankee swap


Our uber-hot hostess with the names while her man looks on


Joey talking about her holy grail item that she gave to Rajia


The "grand prize" for the night - the "neck massager"


Shades Of U and Nessasary Makeup


Anne, Pam, me, Nessa and Jackie


Nessa's goodie bag for everyone


inside Nessa's goodie bag


Pink (Pam)'s giveaway for everyone


Everyone wearing (and showing off) the NARS Turkish Delight gloss
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