Friday, April 29, 2011

1. Katy's foundation coverage looks quite full in the video, and a polished look was achieved using highlighter rather than a dewy base. You will need medium-coverage foundation (Bourjois Healthy Mix in #52) and a soft beige/champagne highlighter (TheBalm "The Luminizer").

2. This is a very classic contoured eye, shaded in the outer V and along the socket line. There are 2 colors needed. A pearlescent peach-based gold and a basic grey/black. (I used the 88 Shimmer palette.)

3. Using the black shade, first pack into the outer corner of lids, then in an arc along the socket, stopping before reaching the center. Then trace all along the top lash line, and 2/3 of bottom lash line. It will look dramatic now, but you're going to blending it out soon.

Read More!

Lazy Face: High-sheen neutral eye

This look was soooo simple it's almost embarrassing. It's also appropriate for work and school, but still eye-catching without being too much.
You need 3 things.
  1. A dark brown shadow for your lashline and outer half of crease.
  2. A soft metallic neutral beige-brown (e.g. below) that's - here's the important bit - a little deeper than your skin color, but very high-shine. This goes all over the inner 2/3 of your lids up to the socket, and on your brow bone.
  3. Mascara.

  • As you look at it in the pan, the tone should be a little deeper than your foundation shade. But when it catches the light, it should be much lighter.
  • The shadow should be translucent rather than chalky and opaque.
  • This type of color will be able to multi-function as highlight AND shading color, and can help emphasize bone structure with minimal effort and skill.
For more makeup tutorials, looks and giveaways, visit my main blog at!

120 Palette Edition 4 - All Shimmers!

Meet the newest (that I know of) edition of the 120 palette.
I can only say one word.


Unlike the first three editions, this is ALL metallic and filled with lots of acidic, warm tropical colors (in fact I'm tempted to call it the Tropical Sunset Edition.) I almost wish I'd known of this sooner as I might not have gotten the original 120.
All the shades are metallic/pearl so there are no tailor's-chalk textures. They are also consistently silky and pigmented (yay!) and unlike the earlier editions, I was thrilled to see a number of duo-chromes.
There were some very impressive MAC dupes (Vex, Electra, Shimmermoss, etc) as well.

One side is an out-of-this-world bright palette filled with saturated yellows, oranges, reds, blues, violets. The other is tamer, but no less pretty, with lovely neutrals (silvers, greys, olives, browns) and warm terracotta tones. Unless you're sure you will use a whole rainbow of colors, I'd say just go for this version or the 3rd edition (one side all neutrals), as you will get much more wear out of these.
If you love cool tones like lots of blues and greens, and use a lot of those, then one of the earlier editions would be better for you.
Swatches in a later post!

About: TheBalm's "Luminizer" (aka Mary-Lou Manizer, or wateva...)

Unwieldy name aside, this is a lovely, LARGE compact of one of the most beautiful golden-ivory shades I've ever seen.
Reasons I love this:
1. It's the most gorgeous pale-champagne shade with smooth-as-butter texture which is not glittery or chalky. It is able to mimic that translucent dewy look liquid or cream highlighters give, but is so much more portable and easier to work with. The shade is also flattering for most skin tones.

2. This is a pretty good dupe for MAC's Retrospeck (which has slightly deeper base tones but identical highlights). As seen below, it is finer-grained and more opaque (Retrospeck is a Lustre) so while you won't be able to get that same flecks-of-champagne effect, it's easier to work with, more pigmented, and gives a very natural sheen when sheered out.

3. Look at the amount you get. Both products are marked up here in Asia, but you get 8.5g of product in The Luminizer (5 x MAC shadows at 1.5g), and an ever-so-cute mirrored compact, for about 0.5 times the cost of a MAC shadow.

Tips for applying:
  1. I swipe this on my brow bones and cheekbones with a wedge sponge after applying my base, and before doing the rest of my makeup. By the time my setting powder goes over it, it's become a soft-focus highlighting sheen which emphasizes bone structure subtly.
  2. I sweep this over lids softly with black kitten liner. Apply red lipstick to complete the retro pin-up look.
  3. Dab this softly over the cupid's bow, and in inner corners of eyes to enhance your features.
  4. If you have light to medium skin, mix a tiny bit of this with your normal powder on a fluffy brush and apply over under-eye concealer for more illumination. THEN apply the rest of your makeup. (Caution: It may be easy to go overboard with this, so be careful and use a very light hand!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

5 Days, 5 Ways: MAC Patina shadow (Frost)

MAC Patina may not stand out on the eyeshadow racks beside its more dramatic relatives, but this rich medium frappuccino-brown with subtle copper-red highlights (below) is oh-so-beautiful to wear.

If I had to own just one single MAC eyeshadow for the rest of my life, it would be this in a heartbeat. There are some other pretty lovely shades, but nothing I reach for on such a regular basis.

O Patina, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Day 1: As a simple, rich wash of color over lined lids.

Day 2: Spiced up with colorful eyeliner along the lower lash line. (And yes, just about every color liner will work with Patina.)

Day 3: Out for dinner and drinks with lots of black, smudgy reverse liner on the bottom lash line. (This photographs subtler than it really is.)

Day 4: Clean and simple. Worn as a bronze liner, traced over black pencil with a dense smudge brush.

Day 5: Kick off your weekend with a little more color. Worn with vanilla liner on the bottom lash line, and navy shadow on the outer corner.

Now have you tried Patina?

I came up with 5 Days, 5 Ways specifically as a means to
  • use more products, rather than buy more products
  • highlight some very versatile items which I believe are worth investing in
  • challenge myself to think out of the box
Feel free to have fun with this idea, and I'd love to see photo-replies!

10 Favorite Lipsticks (March 2011)

I've always been obsessed with lipstick. Nothing in the world feels quite the same a gliding a creamy bullet of rich color over your lips.

Here are some of my current favorites.

Group 1

1. Bourjois Sweet Kiss Shine #59 Rose Etincelant
Sweet sheer candy pink with gold highlights makes this a soft peach/nude on the lips (below) that's flattering if you have medium to dark skin.
2. Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick #301 Crystal Baby

3. Sephora Lip Attitude #G20
A more chocolate-y version of Crystal Baby, this is a sheer glossy nude-brown lipstick which feels and looks almost like a gloss. Perfect as a base color to mute redness when wearing sheer tinted gloss. Best thing? It's so inexpensive!

4. MAC Lustre Lipstick in Fresh Brew
A slightly deeper version of Sephora #G20, but I love it because it can look like a nice caramel-y true-brown on lighter skins, and a non-chalky nude on darker-toned complexions. Definitely check this out if you are NC40 and deeper, and can't find nice nudes.

5. Maybelline Watershine Pure Lipstick #B24
A pale pink-based nude which is the pinker and more opaque counterpart of Crystal Baby, but at a fraction of the price. If you like milky nude-pinks with a glossy sheen, this is a great one to try.

Group 2

1. Sephora Lip Attitude Star #S22
A flattering, ultra-shimmery caramel, I bought this because it looked so much like a Dior Addict Shine lipstick. It's rich, creamy, sheer, and feels just as luxurious as a high-end lip color.

2. MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Till Tomorrow
Bruised-lip color which stays put for a few hours with normal activity. I'll always find kiss-proof lipsticks fascinating because of Revlon Colorstay, but then there are no Revlon equivalents for this shade where I am.

3. Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick #180 Vintage Pink
This quirky and beautiful dusty lavender-pink always makes me think of a scene in Anne Rice's Pandora, where an ancient vampire sits anonymously in a cafe, writing the story of her life wearing a "purple" lipstick. (I somehow always imagined it to be a mauve that is atypical but subtle, rather than dark and dramatic.) On light to medium skin, this is a medium tone, but if you are about NC40 onwards, this will be a lovely cool-toned nude pink for you.

4. MAC Amplified Lipstick in Up The Amp
One more purple. And what a purple! It goes on more blue than the swatch above. This is the loud and attention-seeking rebel of the family. If you have golden or olive-toned skin, this purple looks sooo nice as statement lips, paired with minimal makeup.

5. L.A. Girl Lipstick in Dreamer
I mentioned this before in my Robin Blue nail polish post. This is a lovely, lovely black. I say so because it does not go on streaky or patchy, and is not stubbornly hard to even out (below). Wear this with any other shade you have to deepen it dramatically.

P.S. Some other favorites which I love but are either discontinued or a little easier to duplicate are:
  1. MAC Syrup (dupe this with Urban Decay Rush or Etude LED lipstick #10)
  2. Revlon Matte lipstick in Really Red
  3. Lancome Color Fever Dewy Shine lipstick #258

Lea Michele Red-Carpet Sapphire Look

Photo credits:

I don't have any particular love for Lea Michele. I happen to be one of the freaks on this planet who has only watched 1 episode of Glee, and didn't feel compelled to follow up with more doses.

But I love this deep, dark sapphire eye. It brings out the warm, rich tones of her brown eyes and complements her olive skin. I have to say it's a little bit of a navy-overload with the matching dress, makeup, AND nails, but what the hey - the eyes are gorgeous.

Current: Orchid Hush nails (L.A. Girl Robin Blue Creme)

L.A. Girl makes 2 items I love.

1. A true black creme lipstick which has a beautiful sheen and is surprisingly flattering (though I wouldn't wear it to work)

2. One of my favorite creme nail polish colors in the world, #329 Robin Blue Creme lacquer

#329 Robin blue is not really a robin's egg blue. I think someone needs to do some research before naming these shades.This has lavender undertones, not green.

It's a gorgeous muted Orchid tone, that elusive hybrid between grey-blue-lavender, which is lovely on most skins. It's not a fully opaque polish, by the way, so you will need at least 3 coats to make it even. But I wear this to work all the time with no problem. It's surprisingly neutral and muted, flattering on the skin, and does not look too outlandish for a corporate environment.

At the same time, it's an interesting color to look at.

I haven't been able to find a shade quite like it from any other brand, and I love that it's cheap and comes in a big bottle.

My gripe?
It doesn't last as well as Sally Hansen or O.P.I., etc. But then it's not expensive, so I can live with that.

Velvet Brown with a Purple Twist (88 Warm and 88 Shimmer Palette)

This is a simple, flattering look which is wearable for the day, and fun for the night. You can also streamline it to just 2 shadow shades if you want. A matte medium-deep brown, and a metallic medium-purple.

1. Apply base and then pack on a medium brown matte shadow all over the socket, and along the outer half of the lower lash line.

2. Fill in lid with a deep matte taupe brown and layer on a medium satin brown, blending and spreading up over the brow bones. Then line upper lash line with dark brown or plum liner.

3. Apply a rich medium metallic purple wet (I used MAC Fix+ to foil my shadow for instant liner), JUST along the lashline, and layer for more dramatic sheen if needed.

4. Apply generous amounts of black mascara on top and bottom lashes, and voila.

  • Get a dewy glow with: Revlon Colorstay in 310 Warm Golden blended with L'oreal UV Perfect MAT SPF30 
  • Get big black lashes with: Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara
And the finished look again...

Have fun with it!

88 Shimmer Palette vs 120 Palette


If you had to get one, how would you know which one you'd like more?

Well I did order the 88 Shimmer Palette off ebay when I purchased my 120. And it took a little longer to arrive. But now, it's time for an initial comparison of both popular palettes!

Size of Case: Similar palette dimensions, but the 88 palette has all its eyeshadows on 1 side, whereas the 120 has 2 separate palettes within, so it's thicker and heavier.

Case quality: 120 wins. My 88 neutral arrived with the latch broken off, and the 88 shimmer is hard to open. They are also thinner and less sturdy than the 120. The only con for the 120 is that each of the 2 palettes are detached from the main case itself. Some people may like being able to bring the palettes out and about, but I find it too prone to eyeshadow incidents, so I actually glued my 2 palettes to the case.

Eyeshadow Volume: 120 wins. Besides the fact that there are 32 more pans, each pan is also at least 150% the size/volume of an 88 pan. As circles go, it's probably close to double the amount of shadow. Odds are, the 120 will last you a good while longer than the 88.

Color spectrum: I have to say the 88 wins, color-wise, and the 120 wins texture-wise. Despite having less colors, there are no repeats in the 88 shimmer palette. You have all the reds, pinks, browns, blues, greens, yellow, deeps, and highlights you need. The 120 has a some duplicates (or colors close enough to be so). It does offer a variety of matte and shimmer, which is great, but the fatal flaw is it's lack of soft nudes and really rich, deep tones (coffee, navy, indigo) for contouring and definition.

Texture/Pay-off: 88 Shimmer vs 120's non-matte Shades are like MAC's Lustre shadows vs Frosts. Frosts tend to be more opaque, with a satin-y finish. Lustres tend to be a little more translucent, but also more reflective and shimmery. It depends which sort of finish you like. Pay-off wise, the 88 is far more consistent than the 120 though. If that's important for you, get the 88.

Usable Wet? Yup for both! But I find the 88 Palette works better with water or mixing medium than the 120. Pretty much the whole palette can be converted to wicked chrome-finish liners because of the intensity of these shades when wet. Below, I picked 2 almost-identical teals, but as you can see, the level of sheen differs greatly. Only a very small handful of colors in the 120 palette can give you that level of sheen.

Longevity: Both of these wear well with a primer beneath, and I'm not about to go out and about without any on, so I am not a good judge on this.

Blendability: The 88 Shimmer palette is easier to work with as far as blending different shades goes. HOWEVER, unless you're going to use everything wet, you will get a stronger contrast with the more opaque colors in the 120 palette. It takes a little more work, but you will get a more dramatic effect without having to wet any except the hardest of the matte shades.

Verdict: If you are looking for the option to spice up your existing collection of shadows without forking out a ton of money on dramatic colors, get the 88 Shimmer. If you're just starting out and need something that will be the centerpiece and mainstay of your budding eyeshadow collection, get the 120.

Review: Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup

This waterproof, ultra-light, water-based gel contains no emulsifiers and provides a totally natural, satin finish. Ideal for normal skin-types as well as for fine lines and large pores. Gives skin a uniform tone without accentuating imperfections. A makeup artist's favorite.

Aqua, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Cycolentasiloxane, Methylpropanediol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Mangifera Indica Seed Oil (Mango Seed Butter), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, PEG-8, Phenoxyethanol, Tromethamine, Potassium Myristate, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Panthenol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Citronnellol, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionene. May Contain: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 777493 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides).


It's a large bottle but I'll have to let you see how it goes. You do go through quite a bit of it if you use a brush or sponge, and it's not cheap to begin with. Still, I'd say I really like the natural look and lightweight feel.
You can get it with other foundations, but not quite so easily.

MUFE Face and Body Liquid #32 = NC30 = Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation #53 =  (slightly lighter than) Revlon Colorstay 310 Warm Golden = Everyday Minerals Golden Medium Foundation
(This foundation is sheer and "adjusts" to your skin tone a little, so though #32 is maybe just alittle deeper than my usual shade, it's not really noticeable once applied. I have not tried #20 but it does look like I may need to mix #20 and #32 for a perfect match.)

A hydro-gel textured sheer-to-medium coverage foundation that stays true to color even in heat and humidity, and allows you to build up coverage in layers.  While transfer-resistant, it's not transfer-proof. But fair enough. I don't want to have to take it off with a toilet-scrub.

This foundation gives a dewy finish (not shimmery; just like natural skin), but be careful what you apply under it (mattifying primer, moisturizer, etc), as that will affect the texture somewhat. The coverage can be quite moderate if you apply and layer it with your fingers. I find it similar to Studio Sculpt by MAC in coverage, though Studio Sculpt gives a matte-skin finish instead of a dewy one.

  • Applied over fresh moisturizer: tacky for hours
  • Applied over clean skin (or after products absorb for 5-10mins): sets to lightweight feel, but will still be ever so slightly tacky to the touch unless you have very dry skin
  • This is lighter than Revlon Colorstay foundation, but has a more noticeable "weight" on the skin than Bourjois Healthy Skin or Mac Studio Sculpt.

Most liquid, gel and cream foundations are water-resistant to a certain degree these days, so I don't find this foundation particularly outstanding in this regard. It does last through a 10-hour work day, but nowhere near as well as my MAC Studio Sculpt, Revlon Colorstay or Bourjois Healthy Mix. Be prepared to touch up quite a few times with powder, especially around the eyes and T-zone. 

This "gel-like" foundation does dry and get tacky, so you need to work at a moderate speed to blend it nicely before things start to get too sticky. It doesn't dry as fast or set as stubbornly as Colorstay though, so you have some breathing room to smooth things out.
  • Stippling brush: Light, satin finish. Good if you want the sheerest veil of color to even out your skin. I have not tried to layer the foundation with this as it sort of defeats the purpose of using a stippling brush. If you want maximum coverage, try a flat brush or your fingers.
  • Foundation brush (flat): Light to Moderate coverage. I find after the second layer, it gets a little hard to smooth more on with the brush, as the liquid starts to dry up on the fibers by then. It also stops looking natural after the second coat, so be warned.
  • Damp sponge: Soaks up too much product for me, even when damp. If you don't mind the cost, this does give a lighter, and more matte finish than the other options. 
  • Fingers: My favorite for wasting the least amount of product, as it gets the largest amount of pigment onto your face in the least amount of time. This is also the best way to build up more layers of the product without looking too unnatural.

  1. If you apply lotion, sunblock and other skincare before this foundation, you need to let it set for a few minutes before applying the Liquid Makeup as the formula will slip and sheer out otherwise. 
  2. If you need to layer it on, fingers work best, because as the base layer starts to set and get tacky, it becomes hard to slide more product over it without smearing the bottom one off. You will need to start dabbing, not dragging, in order to build it up. A stippler and sponge can do it, but not nearly as well as your fingers.  
  3. This is like nail polish in that the areas where you apply more than one coat will take a disproportionate amount of time to dry fully. If you apply more layers under your eyes, bevery careful that whatever powder you apply over it for several minutes after will still grab and cake up on the moisture.
  4. Be warned that this will easily smear off if you spray your face with a toning mist (oil-free) and touch it before it dries.
  5. This is scented with a strange citrus-y floral fragrance. It also contains silicones and mango seed butter (so I don't see how anyone can claim it is oil-free). If you have objections or sensitivities to any of these, beware.

  1. You want sheer-to-medium or flexible coverage.
  2. You love the dewy finish and will trade off a little durability through the day.
  3. You are trying to avoid the powdery made-up look.
  4. You don't have too many raised/pitted blemishes.
  5. You don't have very oily skin.
  6. You have slightly oily or combo skin but don't have too many contoured blemishes and don't mind blotting through the day.
  7. You want people to say "You're wearing makeup??!"

Red Smoky Party Eye (120 Palette)

Red is probably one of the least used colors when it comes to eye makeup.

There are some "red" looks floating around, but many of them are so muted or darkened that they don't look really red anymore. And the really red ones are not really that wearable or flattering.

Granted, red in itself is pretty dramatic to begin with, and this is definitely not a day look, but I don't think a good look should be restricted to Halloween either.

Done properly, I think it would do very well at a party or the club, where it's still sexy and sophisticated, but just that little bit more standout than the girl with the regular smoky eye.

1. Rim the top and bottom lashes with black shadow, and then start to thicken it dramatically at the outer corners.

2. When you are done, it should look like this (above).

3. Try not to freak out when you trace your socket bone from the outer corners in. Remember to follow the underside of your brow bone, so it's slightly higher than the hollow of your socket. (For a less dramatic look, leave out this line along the socket.)

4. THEN, fill in the inner corner of your upper lids as well, leaving a rough gap around the "ball" of your eye. 

5. This is when you take the richest, truest satin red you have (you can use matte as well, or anything that is not flat-out metallic), and fill in the shape created by the black. Note that you should bring it to the inner corners as well, above the black.

6. Then with a fluffy blending brush, smoke the red and black into each other so there are no harsh lines.

7. Line the upper lids and water line.

8. Apply generous amounts of black mascara, and voila.
OF COURSE, if you're not feeling quite so adventurous, you can replace the red with a brown or gray. But honestly, this method of applying black at both ends of the eye and framing the socket does make the look more wearable.

Please note that in real life, without flash (which makes the red much brighter) and the angles I used to show the color more clearly, the red is a lot deeper and not so coral. And the overall effect is that of a strong but edgy smoky eye.

P.S. I will try to do more wearable looks in the coming week or so. It's just that I haven't had much opportunities to try out these really unconventional colors, so I went to town.

Simple Blue Smoky Eye (120 Palette)

Finished Look.

Below, the steps:

1. As always, prime your lids first, then apply a metallic deep ocean blue over your entire lids from lash to socket.

2. Apply matte black just around the edges of the shadow, avoiding the inner corners. Then blend it into the blue with a soft brush so that it combines into a deep navy.

3. Dust an amber gold into the inner corners for some contrast and brightening.

4. Then with a smudger brush, sweep the deep ocean blue along the lower lashlines, until they meet the amber about 2/3 in.

5. With navy black, trace the lash-line and waterline. (I'm using MAC Blooz.)

6. Then apply generous amounts of black mascara to top and bottom lashes to finish the look.