Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mac brushes 134 & 190

For many years, my fingers have been my only makeup tool. But after a recent makeup consultation, I bought Mac brushes no. 134 and 190 and would like to review them today. I have to confess that I've never really tried brushes of any other brands (alright, except for those small ones that came along with the blush or whatsoever cosmetic items), but I guess Mac should be one of those brands that people would usually consider getting brushes from.

In short, I've fallen in love with 134, can't seem to live without it these days! But I kind of regret getting 190. 

Mac Large Powder Brush - 134
The brush is made of super soft natural fibre, which feels perfect on your skin. It's large enough for you to gently sweep powder across your face to set the makeup. Well, isn't that what all powder brushes can do? Yes, but that's not the best part of this brush! What I love is the slimness of the brush and its tapered end, which make it easy for you to squeeze it when powdering smaller areas like the inner edges of your eyes and the sides of your nose. This ingenious design also helps prevent you from overdoing the blush and end up looking like a monkey. In other words, it's practically fool-proof! I use it to powder my face, under eye area, and neck, as well as to apply blush and highlighter. It's indeed a perfect cosmetic companion! The only drawback is that I can never understand the point of having such a long handle. The travel size will definitely suit me even better!

Mac Foundation Brush - 190
This purchase was highly recommended by this Mac makeup artist, but I personally find it quite useless. Using the brush seems more time-consuming and it doesn't blend the foundation in as well as my fingers do! The heat of our fingertips actually helps melting and spreading any extra foundation that's stuck in our pores or fine lines. And look, some professional makeup artists do also recommend using our fingers. They don't cost a penny, but it's flexible and effective enough to create a sheer look! I could've spent the money on the NARS Illuminizers that I bought shortly afterwards... 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Prepping your lips

My lips have been very dehydrated, well in fact my cheeks are the only pretty-good pieces of skin I have, and they've given lots of people a false impression of my actually-flawed skin! Anyway, to ensure that my lips can look moist and sheer the whole day, overnight prep is the first and most important step. Although lip scrubs (e.g. Fresh Sugar Lip polish) are available in the market, I'm trying to cut down on the unnecessary skincare expense and see if some cheaper alternatives can serve the same purpose.

Before bed...
All you need to prep your lips overnight is a thick lip balm that doesn't disappear in a minute since your lips will need continuous hydration through the night. I use Bioderma Atoderm Lip Balm for dry, chapped damaged lips, generously. As the product description says, it restores the chapped, dry lip mucous membrane, it really does! By now, you should've noticed that I'm a big fan of Bioderma, but my fondness comes with reasons! If you have dry lips like mine, your lips will most likely look horrible the next morning, with a pale white layer of skin surfaced. Now, (SCRUB) RUB IT OFF GENTLY!!! Make sure you've rubbed off all the surfaced dead skin. I always do the rubbing right after washing my face, when my lips are still damp and soft, to prevent cracking my lips. You can now finish off the morning routine with a thin layer of lip balm.

Before hanging out...
I had a hard time hunting for the right lipstick and lipgloss that won't leave me with chapped lips after a few hours. But this hunt should come after the one for a good lip balm that can be worn under lipsticks/gloss.

Mac Prep + Prime Lip is a good buy. It feels like a thin layer of silk. Unlike many normal lip balms, it won't make the color 'swim' on your lips. You will be able to glide your lipstick smoothly, evenly, and happily on your pouts.

A more luxurious choice is Chanel Hydramax + Active Lip Care. The tender layer of moisture wraps your lips comfortably and gives your lipstick a naturally smooth and glowy touch. The effect is very lasting - Love it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Be a baby doll!

I used to be a big fan of Shu Uemura's blush, but Nars Angelika blush's become one of my recent favs. Although it's very intensely pigmented, it glides perfectly on your cheeks. It's super spreadable, and the silvery glitter in the blush luminizes your skin to give a healthy dolly rosiness. As Bobbi Brown said, pink looks nice on all skin tones. Angelika is not the bold, shocking kind of pink, but tender and sweet, like the natural blush of an innocent baby. I prefer using it after foundation/tinted moisturizer and before powder (I use Mac Blot Powder), which makes it more natural-looking without trading off the sweetness. The best news is, the color lasts for the entire day! It's absolutely a once-and-for-all blush!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Oil free)

Although I recommended the non-oil free version of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, I bought the oil-free version last Saturday because Porcelain seems too fair for my complexion. After using it for two days, I love the oil-free version even more!!! The coverage is just as good, and this water-based formula is so lightweight that it feels like my own skin! It's a must-have, especially for the lazy bones!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A natural touch for combination skin

I wear foundation whenever I step out of my place. I just can't accept letting anybody see my true haggard self. The most recent foundation I used was Mac Studio Fix Fluid, which I usually set with Mac Select Sheer Pressed Powder. But I look cakey with or without powder, and even hideous under the sun. I will review Mac's foundation in another entry. Anywayz, for better skin in the long run, I'm hunting for a lightweight product which can even out my skintone with light-medium coverage, and more importantly, can last for the whole day without much touch-ups. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 (it's not the oil-free one) is my answer! I have to confess that because of my combo skin, I still have to use foundation fluid on my T-zone for better oil control and lasting coverage. But as the name has prompted, the tinted moisturizer really works like a moisturizer and I just have to apply it on clean bare skin - how easy! I do have a bit of spots around my apples, but this tinted moisturizer almost covers them all with just a thin layer. I don't even think I need to use a prep or corrector under it. It's very buildable, like lots of other foundation. I usually dab a bit more on my cheeks and chin to brighten the dull areas. My skin feels soft and looks perfectly natural and energized. Depending on the humidity, I may selectively apply some Mac Blot Powder or Select Sheer Pressed Powder on my T-zone, jaws and chin (with a powder brush). To add some natural rosiness to my cheeks, I use Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge 11 - Pale Pink. Dab it on your apples with your ring finger and spread the edges. The pink rouge will blend into your skin and become part of it, making you a rosy, innocent baby! =)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rosy cheeks with powder blush

I always believe that the whole point of wearing makeup is to cover up your blemishes and make you look natural and radiant, like you've had eight hours of good quality sleep instead of four...or pumps up your sexiness!

A good blusher and/or illuminator is essential here. For rosy cheeks, using powder blush could be a good option, especially in a humid summer. It usually lasts longer than a cream blush, but very often, it's not as natural-looking as gel/cream blush. It may even make your face look dry sometimes. Anyway, I used to like the pastel colors of Shu Uemura's powder blush, but I've switched to Chanel's since last summer. This new color released last summer, Pink Cloud (No. 66), can be worn alone or under a more intense pink blush (e.g. Rose Tourbillon, No. 67) right at your apples to add a natural rosy tinge to your cheeks. You can start sweeping the blusher from the apples across your cheeks in a triangular manner, and generously, for better results. Personally, wearing it alone is enough to brighten my face. The texture is soft and silky. But if you are using Rose Tourbillon on top of Pink Cloud, make sure you just GENTLY dab it on your apples as the pigment is super fine and light!

I was recently told that NARS Angelika glides more smoothly on cheeks. Going to get it this week. Can't wait!

Clinique for younger skin (Part I)

Before the change of skin condition last summer, I was practically a die-hard fan of Clinique (well I did and still do use a couple of products from Shiseido). But as I said in the previous entry, almost the entire collection didn't work all of a sudden. It must be AGE! 

Like many other Clinique users, I used Clarifying Lotion 2 (one of the Clinique items that I'm still using - it's a great exfoliator!), Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief for my cheeks, Anti-blemish Moisturizer for my T-zone, All About Eyes Rich and I topped up with their Antioxidant Night Moisturizer at night. I also used and am still using their Turnaround Facial Mask once or twice a week (if I remember). The collection gave me flawless skin for...2 to 3 years...That's somewhere between early- and mid-twenties! 

Some people may find their Clarifying Lotion too dehydrating. The rule of thumb is, you don't always have to use it on your entire face. It really depends on the season. Here in Hong Kong, I will definitely go without it or any other toner in winter, when the relative humidity hovers around 20-60%. Over those dry days, I will only do a weekly facial scrub (with Turnaround Facial Mask), which is of course followed by a moisturizing mask. In summer, as I apply the toner with a cotton pad, I will first wipe the Clarifying Lotion on my T-zone, then my cheeks and other parts of my face. On certain days, I may only wipe it on my T-zone. If you can be selective in using it, it can be one of the best exfoliator in town! Another rule is, make sure you use a moisturizer after that!

Although the official Clinique website says that Moisture Surge can be used as a quick facial mask, it never worked for me. It's too greasy even for my relatively dry face. But the product was great if I used it in a smaller amount, just nice to cover a thin layer on my face (excluding my T-zone). The gel is very spreadable can be absorbed very easily. Plus, the aloe vera extract in the gel really gave my skin a soft hydrating finish. 

I love Turnaround Facial Mask because the grains are really fine and since you're supposed to scrub it while dapping a bit of water onto your face, it won't damage your skin, but give your skin a good gentle exfoliating massage. The pearly particles in the mask leaves a natural-looking glow on your face. Clinique advises you to use their Turnaround serum right after the mask. My skin felt really smooth, looked poreless and illuminated after using the mask (and the serum). But other than the smoothness, I personally don't think there's anything special with the serum. You can happily use other serums which provide more beauty benefits. Again, the usual moisturizing regime is a must after using this mask!


My skin's beginning to have problems adapting to climate changes these two years. I've dry combination skin that's only oily at the T-zone. But the 'beauty war' broke out last summer when oil suddenly oozed out all over my face and my entire collection of skincare and cosmetics just didn't work, almost at a click of the mouse! Since then, I started hunting for the right products and natural remedies to replenish and maintain my skin condition. Natural beauty is like a luxury when the air is polluted, working hour is long, and more importantly, when you are sleep-deprived most of the time (I'm also referring to a quality sleep)! 

Basically, my 'battle fields' are my dark circles, the dry fine lines under eyes and the unhealthily pale and uneven skin tone. In this blog, I will review the products I've tried in the past, as well as my latest purchases.
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