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.

Chanel http://www.chanel.com/en_US/fragrance-beauty/Makeup-Lipgloss-GLOSS-FLUO-DE-CHANEL-88791
Lancome http://www.echemist.co.uk/p-lancome-color-fever-gloss
Maybelline http://www.maybelline.com/Product/Lip/LipColor/superstay-lipcolor.htm
Origins http://www.origins.com/templates/products/sp_shaded.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CATEGORY5980&PRODUCT_ID=PROD6521

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!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

It Takes Two

If you're like me, you probably don't pay much attention to your eyebrows until it is waxing or threading time. As long as they are nicely shaped and trimmed, what more do they need, right? Wrong.

Last year, I was approached by a Sephora makeup artist floating around the store, and she asked me if I have ever used a brow maintenance kit. With the exception of the occasional use of a brow brush, I said no. According to her, enhancing the color and shape and brushing some of the outliers in place will make a world of difference to my look. I was skeptical, but I agreed to a quick tutorial. She introduced me to the Anastasia brand that specializes on eyebrows. What was really helpful was that she actually recommended that I NOT spend the $75 on the kit, especially if I already have my eyebrows waxed/threaded by someone.  She used only ONE item from the kit - Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil - a pencil on one end and a brow brush on the other end. Two tools for $22! Now, that is a price I can live with. Some pencils are too greasy or creamy. This pencil actually has a waxy feel, which, I think, helps it last throughout the day.
The makeup artist first brushed my eyebrows. Then, she used the pencil to lightly fill in the sparse areas. Lastly, she used the brow gel from the kit.  Brow gels are mainly used to keep the hairs in place.  For a brow gel, she recommended that I use Maybelline Great Lash Washable Clear Mascara, and the price for this substitute: $5!

Anastasia All About Brows Kit:  $75 at Sephora (suggested retail price $141)

Anastasia pencil/brush and Maybelline mascara:  $27

Fun Fact Friday
Eyebrows once served a primitive survival function. As humans evolved, eyebrows are now known as an "umbrella" for the eyes. The arch/shape of our eyebrows help protect our eyes from raindrops and the salty sweat that drips from our foreheads.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Smooth Operator

Primers are essential to a flawless look. They smooth and even out the skin surface; they help in reducing excess oil shines; in addition, if you have uneven skin tone (redness, dark circles, sallow undertones), there are primers to correct that too.

When I first started using make-up, a primer was never part of my routine. Now, it's the foundation to the foundation. My skin is never consistent, changing almost in unison with the change of seasons here in DC. As a result, I own two primers. Both work well, just at different times of the year.
How To Use Primer

It is very simple. Always start out with clean skin, so make sure you complete your face washing routine right through moisturizer. Next, apply the primer. It's best to use your fingertips for application. Target the chins and eyelids since those areas are usually the first to lose the make-up. For best results, I would wait a minute or two to let the primer set in. I sometimes use these few minutes to pick out my work outfit for the day or work on my hair. Lastly, apply your foundation. Done!

First up is
Make Up Forever HD Microperfecting Primer. I love this primer. I actually used this primer all year round, until my skin decided to be fickle, forcing me to alternate with another primer (see below). The primer has a moisturizer-type texture (just a little watery). But it is so lightweight that as soon as you apply, you can feel it absorbing into your skin, and next thing you know, you feel like you didn't put anything on! It also has a nice, refreshing scent. Reminds me of baby lotion, but that's just me. All you need is just one pump for full coverage. Give it a few minutes, and your skin feels soft and smooth and ready for foundation! I have combination skin; so sometimes it's oily, and sometimes it's dry. I use this primer primarily in the fall and winter, when my skin is drier than usual. I noticed when I used this primer in the summer, my face became more oily; with the moisturizer, primer, and foundation, combined with my oily skin in the summer, I could feel the weight of these products on my skin.

For the spring and summer months, I like to use
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This product has been voted as THE primer by fashion magazine editors. It's lightweight and smooth, as a primer should be. Unlike the Make Up Forever primer, the consistency is thicker, but once it's applied, you can feel the effects. For me, when my skin gets oily in the spring/summer, it definitely helps in reducing the excess oil. My only issue with this product is the container. The pump is not designed very well. It works in the beginning when the primer bottle is still full, but once it reaches about two-thirds full, it can't draw up the primer. The pump actually broke on my last bottle, so I ended up having to use a q-tip or pounding the bottle on my palm to get primer out (NOT fun when you're in a hurry, which I usually am!)

Both these products also offer primers that help reduce uneven color. For example, Make Up Forever's green primer is supposed to reduce redness. I haven't actually tried any of the tinted primers. I'd love to hear feedback if they actually work!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eyes, Eyes, Baby...

The skin around your eyes are delicate and, for a lot of people, sensitive. The wrinkles around your eyes is one of the first signs aging. So, taking of that area is very important.

If you suffer from tired eyes and puffiness, I suggest Clinique's All About Eyes Serum. I've been using it for the last two weeks, and it works great! During this time of year, I am usually swamped with a lot of school work and work-work to the point that I don't get as much sleep as I usually do. The metal rollerball has a cool soothing effect when you apply.  If not the serum, the metal ball will wake up your fatigued eyes.  My eyes feel instantly refreshed.  It really helps during those late night drives!  I have yet to see the brightening effect the serum is supposed to have, but overall, this product actually works in waking up one's eyes. There's no limit to the application, so roll it day and night, in the car at the stop light :)

SebaMed's Q10 Lifting Eye Cream (sold only online) is one of my favorite eye creams. It's light, refreshing, and it actually works! I've noticed that the skin around my eyes have smoothed and tightened. And like all their products, this eye cream is pH balanced. The skin is slightly acidic. Yet, a lot of eye creams or serums add to much acidic ingredients. Why? Because it produces that "cooling effect".

TIP #1: Every now and then, I like to put the Q10 Eye Cream in the refrigerator and let it sit there overnight. Then, in the morning, Voila! Cooling effect without the unnecessary acidic stuff!

TIP #2: You only need to use a small amount.

TIP #3: Use your ring finger to apply. Why? Your ring finger will apply the least pressure.

TIP #4: Apply in delicate circular motions from the inner eye to the outer eye (helps to prevent crow's feet!

TIP #5: If you squeeze out too much product, don't worry! Take your other ring finger and apply a portion on your lips. Your lips are just as sensitive as the skin around your eyes.

Sunday is Mother's Day, so give the mom in your life something "cool".

Monday, May 3, 2010


Welcome to MakeUp Actually! I am a 20-something young professional here to write about one of my favorite things in the world: make-up and all that it embodies - beauty, style, art, self-confidence. I decided to start this blog to share with you what makes me happy. In today's world, we hear more often than we want all the crazy, sad, horrible happenings than we do happy, fun, warm-hearted ones. It is our reality, but there's no sense in us dwelling every second, minute, hour of our day on those things. It does a body AND a mind good to focus on YOU and your happiness and well-being. Health is wealth**, right?

This blog is also here to chronicle my experiences and discoveries and reveal what make-up products
actually work (see the connection with the Blog name? If you thought it resembled the movie title Love Actually, you're right too!). Make-up will be my primarily subject in my blog posts, but I will also throw in a confetti of fun stuff - beauty tips, products for the guys, etc.