Sunday, November 28, 2010


ORIGINS GinZing Eye Cream
Retail Price: $29.50
Where To Find: Macy's Origins counter, Origins retail stores,

I love using Clinique's Eye Serum, but these past few months, I have been so busy that I often wake up with tired puffy eyes.  And now that it's winter, the skin around my eyes gets a little dry from time to time.  I researched online on what eye creams help reduce puffiness and are available at a reasonable price.  I decided to try the Origins brand.  What I like about Origins is their commitment to using all-natural ingredients.  Origins GinZing contains caffeine from coffee beans, Panax Ginseng, and Magnolia extracts.

What I love about this product is how instantly I saw the difference!  I just needed a few dabs under each eye, and in a few seconds, I noticed how much brighter my eyes are.  The formula also contains a little shimmer, which I think adds to the brightness results.  The retail price might seem steep, especially for 0.5 oz bottle, but you really only need a very tiny amount.  Like the saying goes, good things come in small packages :)

A good night's sleep is always good the mind and body, so always aim to get enough sleep.  But this product sure helps when you've had a late night or a long flight.

You don't need to look tired and exhausted from the holiday shopping.  So, before you head to the stores or sit in front of your computer to cyber-shop, wake up your eyes with Origins GinZing :)

(Look out for posts on the other items I ended up buying on my Origins trip!)

A Nail Color for the Winter Season

Metro Chic Nail Color  - Sephora by OPI
Retail Price: $9.00
Where to find: Exclusively made for Sephora, so only at Sephora stores or

During Sephora's VIB insider party, I decided to use my exclusive discount to find a nail color of the holiday season.  I normally stick to my array of reds and one of my OPI favorites, Black Cherry Chutney, but I was really drawn to this gray-purple shade called Metro Chic made by OPI for Sephora.  Metro Chic is one many colors only made exclusively for Sephora. When I tested it, it looks gray, but at a different angle or against my dark purple Longchamp bag, it had a hint of purple/violet.  Since purple is one of the season's colors this year, I thought this color was a great way to compliment the different shades of purple.  From what I've read of reviews on Sephora and fashion magazines, this shade is one this year's trends!

So, go ahead join the trend, or add this to your Christmas/Holiday wish list ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Concealer, a Highlighter, a Blender...Oh My! :)

Lorac Double Feature
Retail Price: $24.00
Where to Find: Sephora,

Not all makeup products are going to be perfect to a tee, but for a concealer/highlighter/blender all-in-one, this comes pretty close!  The concealer is a fairly thick, but hydrating, stick, which is great for under the eyes.  Too much of it, though, it will be cakey.  The nice thing about this product is that it comes with a hygienic blender roller ball that helps even out the concealer.  This enables you to apply a little bit of concealer, then spread it out with the ball; and if you need to apply more, then repeat!  This prevents you from "over-concealing" and the concealer becoming too cakey on your face.

Now, the highlighter is the extra treat.  I don't always use it, but when I do it does add a little shimmer right where it would meet your blush.  I suggest applying three 3-5 tiny dabs along the outside of the eye, forming a "C" around the eye (I sometimes put a dab just right underneath the arch of my eyebrow).  Then, use the blender roller ball to blend it.  The motion should be like connecting the dots!

This product comes in five shades.

-Apply a little bit of concealer, then use the rollerball to even it out; if you need more, then repeat this step.
-Just use 3-5 "light" dabs of the highlighter, then blend with the roller ball
-If a shade does not complete/y match your tone, have a foundation powder handy to apply on top.  Actually it's always good to have a foundation powder for touching up in general :)

Photo credit:
Sephora Lorac Double Feature

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Support Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and if you're in need for some new makeup products, why not support breast cancer awareness and research too :).  Remember to do your monthly self-examination, and for more information, the Susan G. Komen website is a great resource.

Here are some products that are supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

SEPHORA COLLECTION Perfect Ten Brush Set $60.  $1 will be donated to the The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Estee Lauder Lip Design Collection 2 dual glosses (4 colors) $25.

Shiseido Luminizing Lip Gloss in Pop Life $22.  For every purchase of this product, Shiseido will donate $5 to Cosmetic Executive Women's Cancer and Careers, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the workforce who are battling cancer.
Sephora Collection BCA Pop Up Brush $8.  A Donation of $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Bobbi Brown Pink Ribbon Shimmer Brick $38.  Free shipping is applied to any order with this product.

Sephora Lauder

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash
Retail Price: $29.00
Where To Find: The Body Shop retail stores or

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner
Retail Price $11.00
Where To Find: The Body Shop retail stores or
Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion
Retail Price: 18.00
Where To Find: The Body Shop retail stores or
Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion (Day)
Retail Price: 13.00
Where To Find: The Body Shop retail stores or

My skin doesn't react well with anything too acidic.  My skin ends up soo dry, yet I would be so convinced that because of the tingling sensation of some of these products after washing and cleansing that it must be working.  So lately, I've been using more pH-balanced products.  I use SebaMed, which is this Euro-based brand that makes their products pH-balanced.  I really like them for that fact and that it's affordable.  Only thing is that you have to buy online (they are trying to sell in US retail stores).  The formula is very light and works well; however, because I have more of a combination-oily skin, especially in the summer, I need something just a tad bit stronger for the summer/fall months.
This is when I came across The Body Shop skin care line.  The staff was so nice and helpful.  Because I was hesitant on buying an entirely new line of products, the staff offered me samples to test out for a couple days. 

Results:  It works!  I've been using these products for a month now, and it significantly reduced the breakouts and excess oils.  Like I said, I break out in the summer, but I also break out during that time of the month and when I work out and don't thoroughly clean my face before or afterward.  The tea tree oil, combined with the lemon tea tree and tamanu oils, has a distinct smell.  It's definitely not fruity or floral.  But it's not bad either.  It took a couple days to get used to it; now it's quite refreshing!  The exfoliator pads are great when you're in a hurry!
There's a sale going on today online!  Buy 2 products, get 1 for 76 cents!  And Free shipping (over $35).

p.s. I'm going to have to start taking before and after pictures, lol.  But for now, if you have skin like mine, try it out!  If you can go to a store, ask for samples! :)

Photo credits:

The Body Shop

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Alex Water Bottle

Ok, I know it's been awhile since I've posted.  I've been busy trying to figure out my life and next moves, lol.  It's tough being a 20-something (but fun too)!  But don't worry, I have several posts that I've been working on the last week or two.  So you might be seeing a surge of posts this week, lol.

This post isn't necessarily a beauty-related product, but I find this really neat (hence, new tag/label, "Neat Stuff").  It's called the Alex Water Bottle.  I saw it in on of my Daily Candy e-mails, and I thought that this is an innovative water bottle .  It's practical for those of us who carry big bags or bags with too much stuff inside (I'm a victim of both!).  I already have a nalgene bottle that I carry with me almost all the time.  But it's huge and bulky, and when it comes time to clean, it is rather difficult especially the mouthpiece.  And overtime, there is an odor that develops.  The odor can be removed with some water bottle tablets though :).  The Alex Bottle, it looks like it's easy to clean, but my favorite feature is the "com-Pack-able" feature. 

Anyway, I thought this was neat item.  Everyone could drink more water and save the environment, why not with this water bottle.  Christmas is around the corner, and it would be a nice present or stocking stuffer ;)

 Read all about here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Winner of the Summer-Fall Giveaway Contest

I tripled check every social site (blog, fb, twitter) to make sure all entries were entered correctly and accounted for.  I did keep a running tally both on Facebook and on the giveaway blog post so that you could also see if I missed one of your entries at any point during the last few weeks.  In accordance to the rules of the contest, below are the official entries from August 23 - September 26, 2010.  Thanks for participating!  A huge welcome to all new followers, especially those who jumped right into the giveaway contest. 

1. Christina Pinder
2. Jenn Shin
3. Jenn Shin
4. Victoria Le
5. Victoria Rom
6. Victoria Rom
7. Victoria Rom
8. Ana Belen
9. Ana Belen
10. Ana Belen
11. Thifa
12. Thifa
13. CelyFrenchie
And the winner is...Entry #3 - Jenn Shin!  Congratulations!  I'll contact you shortly on how to get your prize to you.  I already have another contest lined up for Fall/Winter, so be on the lookout :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller

Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller
Price: $19.99
Where To Find: Most drugstores (CVS, Target)

Since I bought Clinique's All About Eyes Serum De-Puffying Eye Massage, all of a sudden, I started seeing drugstore brands come out with their version (ok, I don't really know which debuted first, but either way, I just started noticing the other versions out there as soon as I bought Clinique's).  Among the three out in stores (that I'm aware of), Clinique's product is still the most expensive.  I decided to try Olay's Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller to see if the drugstore brands hold up in this competition for best de-puffying massage rollers.

1. Contains pretty much the same ingredients as Clinique's
2. It's cheaper (by about $5-6 at most)
3. To dole out just the right amount of serum, the roller has a clicking mechanism at its end.
4. Like Clinique's, it does minimize the look of the tiny lines and puffiness.

1. I'm not a fan of the three mini metal rollerballs.  It actually reduces the cooling effect that a single metal roller (like Clinique's) does.
2. I find that the serum doesn't absorb and/or dry up as fast as Clinique's

Which do I prefer?  I still like Clinique's massage roller.  The cooling effect of the metal ball and the serum works well on my skin; the feeling of the cool metal ball immediately refreshes my eyes.  But it's not like Olay's version is miles behind Clinique's.  For $6 cheaper, it still does its job.

Remember that these products provide immediate relief and only lessen the look of fine lines and puffiness.  A good night's sleep and water are two simple ways to fix under-eye problems.

Look out for a post on another massage roller and how it compares with the competition, Garner Nutrioniste skin Renew Daily Eye Roller!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!  You'll have a chance to try out Clinique's All About Eyes Serum Massage if you win!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fashion's Night Out Georgetown DC

Georgetown's Fashion Night Out (along with all the other cities celebrating) is TONIGHT!  If you're a Washingtonian, you should come out on this beautiful night in the nation's capital.

Shop for a cause - If there's one thing you should purchase, it is the official FNO Georgetown tote bag. 100% of the proceeds of this tote bag purchase will go to Labels of Love, a non-profit organization that hosts fashion events to support children and women's organizations in metropolitan DC.  Each year, Labels of Love selects two charities (one children's and one women's) to raise funds for and to encourage the community to help out.  The tote bag is only $10.  Also this reuseable tote bag comes in handy when you don't want to pay the 0.05/plastic bag!

Over 80 retail stores, restaurants, and salons are participating.  Cirque du Soleil's OVO cast will also be roaming the streets, teaching and performing routines from OVO.  Georgetown Cupcake is giving away one free cupcake per person (just say Fashion's Night Out/FNO).

Even if you don't make a single purchase, it will be a beautiful night out to walk the streets of historical Georgetown :)

Stores I plan to stop by:

M29 Lifestyle
Just Paper and Tea

P.S.  Tomorow is September 11th.  Please take a moment of silence to remember the day the world stopped  turning...


Image:  FNO 2010 tote bag

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coach Poppy Project, Giveaway, NYC Fashion's Night Out

Coach's Poppy Project ends tomorrow, September 2 at 11:59pm.  If you're reading this on my site, just click on those pretty poppies on the right and tweet!  Remember you win, I win too!

My first Giveaway ends on Sunday, September 26, 2010.  Get your entries in!  See Giveaway post for rules.

NYC's Fashion's Night Out is on September 10, 2010.  I really wish I could go!  If you can't go too, you can still support the New York City Aids Fund in the The New York Community Trust by purchasing Fashion's Night Out official t-shirt.  Visit Neiman Marcus website to purchase a short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt!

You can also follow @shopittome on Twitter and retweet their free t-shirt contest tweet (#FNO #NYFW and you might just win a free NYC FNO t-shirt!


Neiman Marcus;jsessionid=IH4GP0KFRYHCMCQAAKSRACA?itemId=prod114650037&eItemId=prod114650037&cmCat=search&searchType=MAIN&parentId=&icid=&rte=%252Fsearch.jhtml%253FN%253D0%2526Ntt%253Dfashion%252Bnight%252Bout%2526_requestid%253D16134
NYC Fashion's Night Out

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sephora's Kiss For A Cause

The Beauty Bus Foundation is an organization that offers in-home beauty and grooming treatments free of charge to those who are terminally or chronically ill or handicapped as well as their primary caregivers!  They're currently serving the Los Angeles area.

I think this is a wonderful organization that encompasses what beauty really is.  It's all about feeling beautiful on the inside and out and giving a boost of self-confidence.  And to do this for those who are suffering from diseases or impairments is a beautiful gift.  Often times medical treatments can change one's physical appearance, and as a result, they mentally and emotionally feel like an outsider or alienated or just not the same person anymore.  I think the gift of getting pampered can lift one's spirit as they deal with their illness on a day-to-day basis.

Right now, Sephora has teamed up with Beauty Bus Foundation by holding a"Kiss for a Cause" event (until September 15, 2010).  For every red lip product purchased on Sephora's Kiss for a Cause page, Sephora will donate $1!

You know you've always want a red lipstick, why not support a good cause too! :)

You can also donate online at their website The Beauty Bus Foundation

Sephora Kiss for a Cause;jsessionid=A2T3XW1O1QNTOCV0KRTQQAQ?categoryId=C23109
The Beauty Bus Foundation

Monday, August 23, 2010


Alright, it's been a little over three months since I started my blog, and I've decided to do a giveaway contest!  MakeUp Actually is all about spreading beauty and wellness, so what better way to do that than to give away the stuff I blog about!

Summer-Fall 2010 Giveaway Items

Clinique All About Eyes Serum 
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Royal Blue
Neutrogena Extra Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads
Sephora Signature Clear Stripe Bag in Black


*Recruit your friends to 'Like' the MakeUp Actually Facebook page.  I can see who are new to the page, but in order for you to get credit, send a message with your friend's name. Whether 1 friend or 10 friends like the page, your message will count as one entry :)

*Tag yourself on the Giveaway photo. (If you're new, please Like the page first, then tag :))

*Share the Facebook page on your Wall (bottom right corner, there's a Share button).  Then, comment on the Giveaway post to notify me that you've shared the page.  I'll visit your page to verify.

*Become a follower on AND comment on the Giveaway post on the website (you can just say "New follower!").

*If you have a blog, post this giveaway on your own blog page!  Just send me a link to your blog to confirm your entry.

*On Twitter, follow and tweet @makeupactually "Giveaway entry"

*** You are allowed to submit more than one entry, but the max is 3  ***

All entries must be submitted by Sunday, September 26, 11:59pm EST.  Each entry will be assigned a number (in the order that entries are received), and using a random number generator, an entry will be selected.

The winner will be announced on the Facebook page, Twitter, and the Blog site and contacted via Facebook message and/or e-mail (if provided) for shipping address.

Good luck!

Disclaimer:  The contest is not connected to Sephora, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Clinique, or Facebook.  The contest was solely created by the host of MakeUp Actually.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Price: $29.00
Where To Find: Sephora ( or

I received this product as a birthday gift (Thanks, Judy!).  I've used it pretty regularly during the work week, and I did try it once when I went out to the bars.  Overall, it's a really great product.  I usually have 14-hour work-school days, and in the hot and humid summers of metropolitan DC, this was probably the best place to test the product's Temperature Control Technology.

While my body still succumbed to the humidity (many days of coming home sweaty and gross in work clothes), this product did keep my makeup in place.  For me, the eyeshadow (on the outer edges), eyeliner and foundation on the forehead tend to be the first to melt away (and if I'm out partying, I hardly have any makeup on by the time I reach home), but this spray helped in keeping the makeup in those places intact!  There were a few  really hot days, however, when I wiped the sweat off my forehead, and I saw the foundation on the tissue/towel.  So maybe in 100+ degree weather with a heat index of 70, this product isn't perfect, but I can attest that my makeup is better than without having used it.

Another nice feature is that the spray is practically weightless when sprayed on.  Within seconds after  spritzing, I don't feel anything at all.  It feels like it evaporated or dries up the second it touches the skin.  At least you don't feel like you've added another layer to your makeup!

How to apply:
1. Shake it up before you use.
2. Spray an "X" (approx. 2 spritzes) about 6-8 inches away from the face for best overall coverage.

On Urban Decay's website, they have other makeup setting sprays.  So check them out too!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sweet Deal Tuesday!

If you read the post about eyeliners, you'll realize that you can change your look with just a different color eyeliner.  Since there's soo many to choose from, I found this value set from Korres that has a lot of the colors I talked about!

Korres Vitamin E 10-Color Pencil Kit is on sale on Sephora's website.  For $32.50 ($160 Value), you get 10 different colors to experiment with.  Check it out!

Korre Vitamin E 10-Color Pencil Kit

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Laura Mercier Primer and Foundation

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
Color: N/A
Cost: $30.00
Where To Find: Nordstrom, Sephora

Laura Mercier SPF 20 Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free
Color: Fawn.  Also comes in Porcelain, Nude, Bisque, Sand, Tan, Almond, Caramel, Walnut, Mocha
Cost: $42.00
Where To Find: Nordstrom, Sephora

During the summer, I switch my foundation (Make Up Forever Matte Foundation) to a SPF tinted moisturizer.  Why?  Well, we're more prone to sweat and more exposed to the sun.  So a thick photo finish foundation probably isn't the best solution.  Because it's so hot and humid (especially in DC), heavier foundations tend to melt with your sweat; and if you've read my bronzer post, you'll see that heavy foundation isn't a good pairing with bronzers.  In the summer, it's best to use "lighter" products or to find 2-in-1 products.

Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer is very light.  I have combination skin, and this primer works well on my skin.  The products has a watery, gel-like formula, so it applies on pretty easily.  With all primers, always wait a minute or two for the primer to set in before applying foundation.  Depending on your skin type, you might want to try out oil-free or hydrating primers.

Laura Mercier's SPF 20 Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer is great for the summer!  Since it's a moisturizer and my skin care line also has a moisturizer, I apply a very small amount of my skin care moisturizer, so that my face isn't over moisturized when I apply the tinted moisturizer.  Laura Mercier's line of tinted moisturizers all contain SPF 20; and they come in three different versions - regular, oil-free, and illuminating.  With one product, I got my moisturizer, my foundation, and my sun protection.  For $42, it's a good deal!

I love the flat tubes because it's easy to store in a makeup bag or purse.

For application of the tinted moisturizer, you can either use a sponge or your finger.

For those of you who still prefer more coverage even in the summer, you can use Laura Mercier's Foundation Powder on top of the tinted moisturizer.  I usually only add this if it's a special occasion (Gotta be ready for photos! lol)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Revlon Liquid Eyeliner Pen

Product: Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen 
Color: Blackest Black 001
Cost: $8.00-$9.00
Where to find: local drugstore, Target, Walmart

I have always been an eyeliner pencil girl.  Really, the liquid eyeliner scared me.  With pencils, if I make a mistake, usually I can use the tip of my finger, a Q-tip or a tissue to wipe it off.  Sometimes I just blend for a smoky eye look.  With liquid eyeliner, it seems so room for mistake.  For one, you had to have a really steady hand to apply.  Two, if you made a mistake and you already have your eyeshadow applied, the only way to wipe off the mistake is to use a damp tissue or makeup remover.  You risk messing up your artwork.  Anyway, I used to stay away from those products.  

I bought Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen in blackest black, after a friend suggested it works really well.  I gave it a shot.  Again, I wasn't a fan.  It took twice as long to apply because I had to be careful not to make a mistake.  And frankly, I didn't have that kind of time with my work/school schedule.  Recently, I took a chance on it again.  Actually, I misplaced my staple black eyeliner pencil, and I was running late that morning for work.

I applied it and took a step looked fabulous!!  In fact, this liquid pen gave me a bold, bright (and precisely outlined) eyes.  Also, it lives up to Revlon's colorstay feature.  One application lasted from about 6:45am to about 3:00pm.  Like the eye pencil, the good thing about the pen versus a liquid eyeliner in a pot is that it's easy to carry around in your purse if you need to reapply.  It took a couple tries before I got the hang of applying it in a timely manner. a virtue.

I've read that eyeliner pens tend to dry up, so you can't get many uses out of it compared to a pencil.  Plan on using a liquid eyeliner on a regular basis, or else it will dry up!

Monday, June 28, 2010


It's summertime means beach, pool, vacation, outdoors.  Even if you can't get to the beach or the pool, you can still get that sunkissed look with bronzers!  Bronzers are used to give a sheer sunkissed look, without all the hours out in the sun (as if laying out in the sun is hard work :))

There are some key tips about wearing bronzers.

1.  Pick a shade that's no more than two shades your skin color.  Most cosmetic brands usually have three or four shades of bronzers, so pick the one that's just a little darker than your skin.
2.  Wear minimal foundation.  Any foundation that's geared for coverage or photo finish aren't good, because, if it melts away, your bronzer goes with it, creating streaks on your face.  Sheer powders and tinted SPF moisturizers work best!
3.  Apply only in the places where the sun naturally shines on your face.  Forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.
4.  Apply LIGHTLY!  This is a good place to use the tap motion.  Once you've got bronzer on the brush, do a "tap-tap" with the brush to remove excess powder.  Whether the bronzer is the matte or shimmer kind, it's always better to start with a light application.  Then, stand by a place with natural light to check if you've got that bronzed shine.  OR,  if it's evening, go to a different room and see how different lighting affects the shine of your bronzer.
5.  To be able to apply lightly, you need the right kind of brush.  The larger blush brushes work well.
6.  Buy a separate brush just for your bronzer.  You shouldn't be using the same brush for your blush.
7.  Wear blush!  You won't be applying as much as you did, without a bronzer, but a little blush adds the finishing touch to a sunkissed look!

Here's what I use...
1. Stila Sun Bronzing Powder - it adds just the perfect subtle shimmer!  Now this one comes in two shades, but this is a sheer shimmer kind, so one or the other should work for your skin tone.  I've used mine (Shade #2) even in the winter for a little glow.  My skin is lighter in the winter, but it still works well.

What I've heard is awesome and can't wait to purchase...
Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Mosaic - I recently stopped by their counter to try their tinted moisturizer (amazing, by the way), and I ended up with a quick makeover.  She used this shimmer block on my cheeks and forehead.  I really like the fact that there's two shades on the palette that can be used as bronzer and two shades for blush.  The best part is that you can mix and match!

I used to use Benefit's Hoola for a more matted look.  It comes with a its own brush.  But I don't really like the brush because it doesn't apply the bronzer very well.  Buying a bronzer/blush brush is recommended.

I think the matted look is a little trickier to do, but it's just as effective in producing the natural bronzed look.  It's good to use a matted bronzer if everything else (i.e. eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner) are more on the shimmer/sparkling side.  I don't want you gals looking like a disco ball with all that glimmer-shimmer!

Stila Sun Bronzing Powder
Laura Mercier Mosaic
Benefit Hoola

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eyeliners - Part 1

Eyeliner, by itself or with eyeshadow, is a great way to accent your eyes.  Most people stick to brown and black, and rightly so, because these two colors work well with any eye color and it's a basic color that can be used for a laid-back look or for a more glamorous look.  Just like eyeshadow, there are tons of color to play with.

This color is great for almost all eye colors.  Blue-eyed people, since purple is next to blue on the spectrum, I'd use discretion about using purple because the wrong shade will draw more attention to the mismatch with your blue eyes.  Definitely lean towards dark purple if you want to try it out.  
I love Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Rockstar.  It's dark purple, with a little sparkle.  I like to pair this with blue mascara (see my post "True Blue Baby I Love You") and/or a blue-purple eyeshadow like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow in Asphyxia (lavender with blue sheen).  There are so many shades of purple, so be sure to pick a shade that accents your eyes and goes well with your skin tone.

Navy Blue
I think this color looks good on everyone, even those with blue eyes!  It has a tendency to appear black in some lighting, so the blue is quite subtle.  Because it's not as dark as black, it's easy to tone up or down.  Again, if you want to bring out more of the blue in the eyeshadow, pair it with blue mascara.  Check out Laura Mercier Kohl Pencil in Black Navy and Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes in Iridescent Navy.

Charcoal and Brown
In addition to my staple black eyeliner, I really like these two colors, too.  It's great for everyday work makeup.  I like to pair my brown eyeliner with light beige eyeshadow.

With so many options with eyeliner color and effects (sparkle, glitter, iridescent, etc), I suggest testing the color on your skin first, and if you're unsure about which shade of a certain color, test a whole bunch of them in one area (on your hand) and compare.   Once you've found one that pairs well with your skin tone, try it on your upper eyelid.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweet Deal Tuesday!

Sephora Signature Brush Set for only $39 ($140 Value)! Sephora brushes generally can get pricey, so this is a sweet bargain!  I've had my Sephora brushes for years now.  They're definitely quality purchases.  Just don't forget the brush cleaner!  It's the secret to making brushes last longer and keeping them clean (over time makeup does build up in the roots of the brushes).

Powder brush (natural hair)
Foundation brush (synthetic hair)
Double-sided eyeshadow-and-smudge brush (natural hair)
Double-side brow-and-eyeliner brush (natural/ synthetic hair) 
Double-sided concealer-and-lip brush (synthetic/ natural hair) 


Monday, June 7, 2010

Must-Have Monday: SEPHORA Color Play 5-in-1

Sephora is ingenious!  Here's how this Color Play 5-in-1 palette works...

There are five subpalettes.  Each contains 10 eyeshadows, two 2 lipcolor/gloss, and one blush.  The colors for each palette are combined to create a certain look.  The palette comes with an empty portable compact, so depending on the look you're going for, you just pop out one of the five subpalettes and insert it in the empty portable compact to take with you wherever you go.  Genius, right?  And the price..$29.50!

This is a great palette to have, especially if you plan on being out of the house all day and just need to touch-up your makeup.

     Since we're on the subject of touch-ups, makeup remover is a must-have.  Since touch-ups usually involve reappying eyeshadows and lipcolors, you only need a small amount of makeup remover.  You should only be using it to remove smears, any outliers, and simply to clean the area where you will reapply your makeup. Below are a few suggestions.  All of them are small enough in size to fit in your bag; contain just the right amount of product needed for a quick touch-up; and inexpensive :)

Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover Pads Extra Gentle (CVS $7.99) - light and not oily; good for contact lens users!
Sephora Face 30 Waterproof Eye Makeup Removing Pads (Sephora $8) - another good remover pad
Bare Escentuals On the Spot (Sephora $5) - This is really good for quick correction on small areas around the eyes.  Each Q-tip/cotton swab has a premeasured amount of formula.  Each pack contains 24 swabs.

Sephora Collection Color Play 5-in-1
On the Spot Bare Escentuals
Face 30 Waterproof Eye Makeup Removing Pads Sephora Collection

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stay Glossy, DMV

DMV = District-Maryland-Virginia (for the out-of-towners :))
One of the things that attract me to makeup counters/stores is the array of colors displayed on the counters and shelves, especially the lipcolors and lipglosses.  These makeup brands sure know how to market their stuff.  Who doesn't love seeing all the lipcolors, lipglosses, and even the eyeshadows, all lined up "at attention" ready to be bought?  And somehow you think that every color will look good on you.  Ha.

Below are a few lip glosses ranging from the expensive to inexpensive.  So read on and take your pick(s)!

I really like the sheer color shades and the glitter/iridescence effect is not too loud.  It's just right.  This gloss can be worn alone or paired with a lipcolor.  A great summer shade is Sunbaked Coral.  This lipgloss does not have that sticky feel to it.  And when I wear it alone, I don't feel like I have anything on, because the formula is really light.  One awesome feature is the applicator.  It has a wider "brush" (for lack of a better word), so it covers more area with each application for a more even coverage.  Genius!

Don't be scared of this bright pink/purple shade.  Because it's a sheer lipgloss, this particular shade adds just enough "pop!" to your lips.  I like to use this alone or on top of a darker shade of lipstick.  Also like Lancome's, this gloss does not feel sticky.

I really like the cool minty feel and scent when you apply this lip gloss.  Like some mentioned above, this lip gloss gives just enough shine when used alone.

For a drugstore product, this is the one!  I've tried Revlon's Colorstay Lipcolor line; and as much as the color actually stays for a good couple of hours, my lips were left dry at the end of the day.  I love this Maybelline's product because it hydrates my lips and it does stay long!  Last time I checked, it lasted 3 hours until I had to repply just the balm; but the color lasted during the work hours!  You apply the lipcolor and let it set for a minute (until dry), then you apply the lip balm.  You can reapply the balm when needed.
     Ok, this is categorized as lip color and not lip gloss.  I like to think of it as a 2-in-1.  Once you apply the balm, it looks like you just applied lip gloss!

Not my absolute favorites (but they might work for you...)
Sephora Super Shimmer Lip Gloss and MAC Lustreglass Lip Gloss
Although both brands offer so many fun colors, the formula is just too sticky.  Even when I wipe my lips with a napkin, sometimes the napkin sticks to my lips!  Sephora and MAC do have other lines of lip glosses, which I haven't tried yet.


1.  If you use lip gloss over a lipcolor, I suggest buying one light-colored lip gloss and one dark-colored.  When paired with a lipcolor, a lip gloss either lightens/brightens the lipcolor or darkens/intensifies the lipcolor.  This is also an excuse to test different brands (see above) to figure out which one works best for you!

2.  If you have fuller lips, it's best to minimize the amount you apply.  Too much and your lips might appear swollen than sultry.

3.  If you're not into color, a clear lip gloss is good enough!

4.  If you're using the lip gloss solo, apply a little SPF lip balm before the applying the lip gloss.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Potpourri Wednesday

I thought it was appropriate to take a break right in the middle of the week (Happy Hump Day!) to talk about my other favorite thing to buy: handbags and their accessories!

I have a pretty big collection of handbags, wristlets, and wallets.  Today, I will talk about two wristlets that I really like.  From my experience, a wristlet has to function like a mini-handbag.  It has to be able to carry your wallet essentials (ID, credit/debit cards, cash, some coins), lip balm/lip gloss, keys, and the never-leave-home-without-it cell phone.

Wristlets come in all shapes, sizes and styles.  Where you are going or what you'll be doing determines which one you'll use.  For example, I own a Coach wristlet that fits only my cell phone and a few cards and cash, and lip balm.  I usually use this when I attend Sunday service.  Even among the different sizes, shapes and styles, you still want to have that one wristlet that carries all the essentials.  I'll admit it, this is the justification I tell myself when I'm shopping and see something I like.  How many times have you said "This [insert item] is the one.  The [item you already own] doesn't have this..."

I found that there are two wristlets by Coach that fit the essentials.  If you agree with me, one of them might just be your next purchase.

First up is the Coach Zip-Around Wallet.  It is a typical zip-around wallet with credit card slots, bill compartment and a zippered coin pocket inside.  Two features make this an ideal wristlet.  First, because all the pockets and slots are along the sides of the wallet, there's enough space in the middle to place your cell phone, small lip gloss/balm, and two keys.  Second, this wallet has a 14" strap with a dog-leash fastener.  Voila, the wallet is now a wristlet!  I really like it because of it organized interior (and two exterior pockets) and its boxy shape.  With all the stuff inside, this wristlet doesn't lose its shape.

Second is the Coach Signature Large Wristlet.  This wristlet has two compartments - an outside front zippered pocket and the main zippered compartment.  Unlike the Zip-Around Wallet, there are no slots or pockets inside.  This can actually be a good thing, because you are not restricted to that organization; however, you should add your own organization to maximize the room.  I recommend a slim card case (found in any men's accessory section) to organize the cards and bills.  For your coins, I recommend those small zip lock bags because they're cheap and don't add bulk to your wristlet.  If you want a slim wallet that holds cards, bills, and coins, I like the Hobo International Euro Slide
     This wristlet is great if you want to carry a little more than the essentials I mentioned.  Also, opposite the strap, there is a metal ring where you can attach one end of the strap to convert it into small handbag!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The New Workout Plan

And by plan, I mean a regiment to taking care of your face before and after workouts, dance practices, dodgeball games, hot yoga, etc.  We lose a lot of toxins, oils, and electrolytes during any physical activity, thus it's important to bring your body back to its normal states.  And that includes your face!

Use Neutrogena Deep Clean Sport Facial Cleanser.  Its leak-proof compact container allows you to throw it in your bag and not worry about spills or about taking up space.  It has a light, refreshing formula and does a good job at removing make-up before a workout and removing excess oils and such after a workout.  This cute, boxy leak-proof container holds about 60 washes!  This product is part of Neutrogena's new Sport cleansing line, so check out their wipes and body wash too!

After the face wash, I recommend a facial spray versus your moisturizer.  Even though you finished working out, the skin is still trying to return to equilibrium, which means the pores are still working to get rid of stuff.  Maybe you've noticed that even after you stop moving around and your heart rate is back to normal, you're still sweating.  After the face wash, you want to keep your skin hydrated and moist, but yet keep the pores open.  A facial spray does just that.  Clinique's Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief is my favorite right now.  The spray hydrates your skin with aloe (no oils!).  Also, this facial spray is good under your makeup should you need to powder up and look like you didn't just come from the gym or played flag football.

1.  Always remove makeup before you workout.  Really, you're at the gym!  If you're worried about how you look, you seriously aren't there to "workout".  Your skin will thank you later.
2.  This quick pre/post workout routine shouldn't replace your daily facial washing/moisturizing routine.  This is just a quick way to clean and hydrate your skin, so you look and feel refreshed!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

True Blue Baby I Love You...

I've recently fallen in love with blue mascara.  I already wear black eyeliner as one of my staples for every day makeup, and, if time allows, I'll add some colored eye shadow.  However, I don't always have the time in the morning to play around with eye shadows.  So I needed a quick alternative to add a little color to my eyes.  Thus, began the search for the perfect blue mascara. 

I pretty much approached my search blindly, buying Buxom Lash Mascara Special Effect Blue Noir ($18 Sephora) (1) simply because it was the first blue mascara I saw in Sephora and it had this bright blue color which would be perfect for my dark eyelashes.  I really like the hour-glass shaped brush; it is able to reach almost all the eyelash hairs after two applications of the first coat.  Also, it's not made with too many chemicals, which I think adds to the lightness of the formula.  One major issue with this product was the smudging.  It holds up for a couple hours, but by the end of the day, I found that I had blue raccoon eyes (not the look I'm going for).  And the oddest thing was that the smudging on the bottom of my eyes was difficult to remove!  The blue color was only visible in certain lights.  Since I have dark eyelashes, I might as well have been wearing black mascara.

My next two purchases of blue mascara were more successful.  The first was Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara in Navy ($24.50) (2).  The color is pretty visible particularly at the tips of the eyelashes.  There was no smudging or clumping; and it lasts all day.  It is pricier than Buxom's, but considering the brand and being a top-rated mascara, it's a good buy.

Third's always the charm, right?  Maybelline's Great Lash Washable Mascara In Royal Blue ($4.49 Target, $5.29 CVS) (3) is the best one out there.  Clump-free; smudge-free; all-day wear; amazing color that is visible from the roots to the tips; and super cheap!!!  Maybelline's Great Lash line has actually won several Beauty awards from Allure, Teen Vogue, Essence, and Woman's Day; so for a drugstore product, it certainly has earned its place in the world of makeup and in my makeup bag :)

1.  Do not pump the mascara wand in and out of the tube.
2.  For a second coat, do not wait until the first coat is dry or else you'll get clumps.
3.  Whether the mascara is waterproof or not, after each full coat, wait 5-10 seconds before your first blink.
4.  Make sure the area around the eyes is oil-free to prevent smudging.
5.  When applying, use a zig-zag motion (left to right) starting at the roots in order to get maximum separation of lashes and to prevent clumps.
6.  Black mascara is a universal standard.  Definitely keep one in your makeup bag! (I'll have a post on my favorite black mascaras soon!)