Friday, September 30, 2011

Black Comet: Smoky Eye with Candy-pink Lips (MAC Lustreleaf and Lime Crime Great Pink Planet)

Black smoky eye with Lime Crime Great Pink Planet on the lips and Barry M Baby Pink Lip Paint worn as blush.

I had to name this the "comet" eye, because I was inspired by how a comet starts at a hard intense point, and then trails out to a smoky soft finish. This look is the reverse of most shaded eye looks, in that the hardest and darkest point is the inner corner of the eye rather, and then shades out and softens to another color at the outer ends.

Step 1: Using a flat, firm brush for precision, apply a matte black shadow to the inner 3/4 of the eye. With what remains on the brush, sweep along the outer 3/4 of the lower lash line as well.

Step 2: With a soft, shimmery silver-green (MAC Lustreleaf)extend the shape from the outer corner outwards in a winged shape, blending and smoking out.

Step 3: Return with the matte black using the flat brush, and extend the black outwards along the contour. Then gently smoke the line upwards under the brow bone to remove the harshness of the line.

Step 4: At the outermost ends, smoke the green and black together for a smoky wing. Then apply black mascara to finish.
For the cheeks and lips, I wanted to keep things colorful, so I dabbed Barry M Lip Paint in Baby Pink (100) onto the apples of my cheeks, and Lime Crime Great Pink Planet on the lips for a really bright candy-pink touch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall 2011 Lipstick Recommendations and Swatches

L-to-R: NYX Iced Honey, Make Up Store Magic, and NYX Chic Red lipstick

Some of the shades that have been showing up for the Fall fashion season include a mixture of soft, dark, and strong shades. Here are some of my favorites.

Gone are the concealer lips of last season. The new "nude" lipsticks are kittenish (they make your lips look much more pouty) with a warm peachy undertone so they give your face some color without grabbing too much attention. These lips will go with pretty much any look.
Swatches (L-to-R): NYX Iced Honey (Round) Lipstick, and MAC Kinda Sexy (Matte) lipstick.

NYX Iced Honey lip swatch

Strong shades make your lips the focal point of your face. This season, the liner has been jazzed up, but the lips remain strong. Just keep the eye color neutral for the day, and any of these shades would look fantastic as a pop of color when you're wearing a whole suit of dark colored clothes.

Swatch (L-to-R): NYX Chic Red (Round), and MAC Up the Amp (Amplified) lipstick

Lip swatch: MAC Up the Amp is a creamy, strong purple mauve.

Super-dark lipsticks have been popping up in many collections. The common variations are those that are brown based, red based, and purple based. The tricky bit is avoiding looking too Goth when wearing these lip colors, but you don't have to pair it with pale eye shadows either. Just keep the lids a soft smoky shade for a more modern touch.
Swatches (L-to-R): MAC Prince Noir (matte) lipstick, and Make Up Store Magic lipstick.

Lip swatch: Make Up Store Magic lipstick gives an interesting metallic purple twist on the dark vamp lip.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Evening: Cherries and Violets (NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick)

Rich, crimson lips can brighten up your complexion, and you don't necessarily need to pair it with pale, neutral eye makeup or kitten liner. For nice Fall evenings (or just any night out on the town), you can pair colored eye makeup with strong lips if the application remains soft and smoky.

Step 1: To soften the overall look if you have dark hair, lighten your hair a tad  with either light-colored brow mascara. I didn't have any so I applied clear mascara, and then used a disposable wand to apply a metallic beige pigment over the coated brows.
Step 2: I  wanted to keep the look smoky so I chose a smoky purple instead of a bright (that would look too 80's). Try The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette 07 in Ruby, which is a shimmery eggplant.

Step 3: Apply a deep purple metallic liner along the lash lines and water line as well. To keep the lash line dark, apply liquid liner along the tide line (under the upper lashes) to cover up any white underneath. Skip this if you have runny eyes.

Step 4: Apply full false lashes to finish the look.

For a little extra pop, you can always add a bit of brighter purple right in the inner corners. 

There are many great dark red lipsticks, but one of the best and most affordable deep crimson shades that is not too orange, not too plum, not too brown, and not too black, is NYX Chic Red. It's highly-pigmented, very creamy, and just a hair cooler-toned than a true scarlet, which makes it flattering on most skin tones.

For this look, I skipped powder and used just a bit of deep rosy blush (NYX Dusty Rose) because when I'm wearing a lot of stronger colors, dewier skin keeps everything from looking too old-fashioned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Neutral Eye with Thick Cat Liner (Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner and Wet n Wild Greed Palette)

Beige and grey cut crease with thick cat eye liner.
Neutral can be dramatic even without tons of glitter and metallic textures. It all depends on the application.
This look was done using all drugstore or budget products. 
  • Maybelline Lasting Drama black gel liner
  • Wet n Wild Coloricon Greed Palette (POP Pretty Puzzle in Smoked Out Silver has 3 comparable shades)
  • Bourjois Volume Glamour Max Mascara in Black
  • Maybelline Pure Mineral Blush in N01 Original Rose
  • NYX Round Lipstick in 556 Iced Honey
  • Sephora Shimmer Gloss in 17 Golden Beige

Step 1: Apply a matte beige along the inner 2/3 of the lids and around the inner corners to highlight  the eyes. Then a smoky grey heavily along the outer half of the crease. I applied the shimmery black in the Greed Palette, and then smoked it out with the shimmery grey.

Step 2: Apply a thick swatch of solid black gel liner along the lower lash line, making sure to cover the water line. Gel liner gives you the best control and opacity, so I wouldn't recommend using a regular pencil or liquid liner.

Step 3: Repeat along the upper lash line, and then run the brush along the tide line as well to  make sure there isn't any white gap under the lashes.

Step 4: Finish with a voluminising mascara after curling lashes. False lashes would work just as well, but I wanted to try my Bourjois Volume Glamour Max Mascara.

Finish with a warm peach-pink blush that isn't too shimmery (you want the texture to be as muted as the eye makeup.
For the lips, I decided a touch of frost might be in order, so I applied NYX Iced Honey liipstick, and topped with a shimmery beige gloss (Sephora Golden Beige).

The finished look once again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Look: Pearls and Oysters (Greyscale makeup featuring MAC Vex Eye Shadow)

MAC Vex shadow with Coastal Scents Antique Silver mix* and Eylure Nicola lashes
I've always been fascinated by duochrome shadow shades, and it's no wonder that Vex is one of my all-time favorite shadows from MAC. It's a soft pale oyster grey with a pink shift, and has a texture very similar to my other favorite, Patina, in that the base is a satiny demi-matte, and the pearl sheen is very subtle.

Step 1: Start with a good eyeshadow base, and then pick up a generous amount of Vex shadow (or any pale pearl-grey) with a blending brush. Spritz the loaded brush with mixing medium like MAC Fix+ to foil the shadow and then buff it gently onto the inner half of the lids, extending down to the inner corners.

Step 2: Then pack a deeper gunmetal grey over the outer half of the lid, foiling it the same way you did the paler shade. I used a pressed pigment I mixed myself using a deep antique silver with pale violet sparks, but you can try MAC Softwash Grey (soft), MAC Scene (medium) or Urban Decay Gunmetal (deep).
Run along the lower lash line as well.

Step 3: Use a matte black shadow to line the upper lids in a slight wing, and  then use a blending brush to  deepen the outermost corners of the eyes for more contour if you're using a softer grey.

Step 4: Apply black liquid liner just along the upper lash line, and if you have a steady hand,  UNDER the lashes along the tide line, keeping just to the base of the lash roots. This will give you that absolutely black, super-thick lash line without having to overdo the liner. (If you go too far down, your liner will run into your eyes. Not fun.)
Then finish by curling lashes and applying dramatic false lashes, and mascara on the bottom lashes. I used Eylure Nicola lashes, which I love.

Final Look: Greyscale with a duo-tone twist. Perfect for that evening soiree.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Look: Gilded Antique Lids with Kitten Lips (Coastal Scents Antique Gold Mica with MAC Kinda Sexy Matte Lipstick)

Metallic textures can play up very muted or deep colors for Fall.
Fall doesn't need to be a time of monochromatic shades. As you start to deepen up the colors, look out for stronger textures like metallics, that can give a lush and gilded finish to very jewel-toned and neutral shades.

Step 1: Apply MAC Blooz pencil or any soft metallic navy pencil along the upper lash line and the outer half of the lower lashes. It should be thicker on the outer halves of the upper lids, as it would be if you were applying winged liner.

Step 2: With a short bristled smudger brush, pack a dark navy blue  shadow over the navy pencil. Don't smoke out the color too much. I'm using Poison by Stage Makeup, but you can use MAC Deep Truth as well. Just avoid anything too black or you won't get the beautiful deep blue sheen.
Step 3: Pack a deep tarnished antique-bronze over the entire lids, above the blue. You can over lap the blue JUST a little, but not too much or you will muddy the colors. Blend towards the outer corners, following the downward curve of your socket line towards the navy flick. Run along the inner half of lower lashes as well. I used Coastal Scents Antique Gold mica here.
If you find pigments hard to control and messy to use, try MAC Sumptuous Olive.
Step 4: To keep the lash line blue, apply navy mascara. I don't own colored mascara so I applied black mascara and then picked up navy blue shadow with a fluffy brush and wiggled it gently over my top and bottom lashes to coat them with a little blue.

Finished Looks with flash; Coastal Scents Antique Gold mica pigment with MAC Blooz pencil and  Stage Makeup Poison eyeshadow
 To finish off, I wanted muted cheeks and lips but not to erase the color altogether, so I used MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark as a subtle bronzer on the cheeks, and MAC Kinda Sexy Matte Lipstick for a kittenish lip.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Evening Rose: Featuring NYX Doll Pink Lip Gloss (Swatches and Mini-Review)

Evening look featuring NYX Doll Pink Gloss, softly-colored eyes, and cool pink cheeks.

Since rediscovering my love for the richness, opacity and longer wear of lipsticks, I've sort of left most of my glosses lying around for months.

NYX Doll Pink (below) Round Lip Gloss is one of those items that I dropped into my shopping cart while buying all those NYX Matte Lipsticks, and it's been left forgotten and unloved for a long while, until I finally remembered it and dug it out.

As you can see below, this gloss is extremely pigmented as glosses go, but it's not sticky or heavy. In fact, it's really lovely, for a gloss that costs under a couple of bucks online.
Swatches of hot pink glosses (L-to-R): MAC Cremesheen Glass in Loud & Lovely, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Pop, and NYX Gloss in Doll Pink
For the simple eye look, you just need 2 shadows, liquid liner, and mascara. It's meant to hold its own against the pink gloss and blush, but not overpower because it's just a soft neutral smoky eye. But when it catches the light, that touch of shimmery blue should keep everything fresh and interesting.

Step 1: Apply a dark chocolate brown shimmer all over the lids and wing out at the outer corners. You can choose a matte brown if you want, but be careful not to go too dark as the whole look can become overly heavy.

Step 2: Gently pack a stroke of sparkly blue along the lower lash line (you can use transparent glitter with mixing medium for maximum drama) and at the inner corners to highlight.

Step 3: Apply black liquid liner along the upper lashline. I also applied it just to the base of the lashes at the waterline so no skin shows under the lashes. Finish with black mascara or false lashes if you want.

For the lips, I applied NYX Doll Pink gloss first, then very lightly stroked a taupe-brown pencil just around the edges of the gloss for definition. Note that you should not be drawing OUTSIDE the gloss but just over the border so your pencil blends with the gloss.
You don't want a visible brown line.

For the cheeks, I applied a pale pink blush onto a kabuki and then dabbed it lightly into an intense blue-pink shadow before applying the mixture to the cheeks. Try MAC Stars n Rockets or any other intense magenta-pink (or even pinky-purple).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Applying lip balm constantly retards your lips' ability to produce new cells?

We all know the skin on our lips is different from the skin on the rest of our body. However, according to, applying too much lip balm on your lips retards new cell production as your body is not receiving enough signals to stimulate normal levels of turnover.

The main culprits cited are petrolatum (that's most lip balms out there) and beeswax (hello, lipsticks) because they are the most effective barriers from the environment.


Of course, you should not be rushing out to snap up all those "organic" lip protectants. I don't see any studies that show that using petrolatum and beeswax products will impact your lip cell renewal more than other lip care products. The writer is, as far as I am concerned, only stating that those 2 ingredients are some of the most effective moisture barriers, and theoretically, might have the biggest impact on cell turnover.

Also, the rest of your face apparently does not react the way your lips do, so you SHOULD still moisturize or at least wear sunblock.

Read more about it at:


Personally, I first started using lip balms when I was 11 and got massively chapped and cracked lips during a trip to the dryer parts of Western Australia. I probably began regular balm usage from about 17, after I started wearing lipsticks, and since then I can't go ANYWHERE without something on my lips.

It's definitely not psychological, as my lips will get very tight, sensitive and uncomfortable very quickly, and licking or rubbing them excessively will almost always guarantee rashes and raw redness.

On one hand, I would like to dispute this claim about lip balms retarding cell renewal, but now that I think back on it, my lips weren't always this parched and sensitive until I started wearing lip products regularly.

Well, I might do an experiment (more in later posts) and try to slowly wean myself off lip balms to see if my lips get less wimpy, but honestly I'm not sure how much help it would make considering I use lipstick almost daily.

Still, it's worth a shot probably!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MAC MAC Me Over Collection: Tiny Haul and Swatches (Prince Noir and Take Root)

Dark lipsticks (L-to-R): Bourjois Sweet Kiss Naturel #05 Prune Caresse, MAC Amplified Lipstick in Deepest Wish, Make Up Store Lipstick in Black Orchid, and MAC Matte Lipstick in Prince Noir (Pro)

 Pending a recent Fall look tutorial featuring Make Up Store's Black Orchid Lipstick (below), I figured it was time to feature a recent haul from the MAC Me Over Collection. Unlike the Seasonally Supreme and Styledrive Collections, this is a limited edition collection.

I went over and over the collection for the better part of an hour, and finally decided on just two products that I felt were:

  1. standout shades/textures
  2. not dupe-able or available in the regular line
The first, was Prince Noir Matte Lipstick
If you're in the market for a good, rich, dark black-plum shade, this is it. I did like Smoky Purple from the collection as well, but felt I'd get more use out of Prince Noir, which is a bit more red-based. If you have very sallow skin, Prince Noir would look better on you.

Dark lipstick swatches (L-to-R): Bourjois Sweet Kiss Naturel #05 Prune Caresse, MAC Amplified Lipstick in Deepest Wish, Make Up Store Lipstick in Black Orchid, and MAC Matte Lipstick in Prince Noir (Pro)
 Texture-wise, it is much more even going on than creamier black-plums. by virtue of the fact that it is matte and opaque. This means no lip liner is necessary unless you want a very heavy and dramatic mouth. Glossier textures tend to look streaky, and will need more effort to even out.

MAC Prince Noir lip swatch

The other product I got was Take Root Cream Color Base, an interesting, shimmery brown with an orange-toffee tone. Packed on thick, it's a deep ochre brown. Spread out,  it gives an effect that I can only describe as caramelized.
MAC Take Root Cream Color Base
 Swatched on thick, it looks like dewy red clay. As a translucent wash, it's delicious. The only thing is this might only work on those with lighter skin tones. If you're very pale, with blue eyes, this would look amazing as a smoky gleam on the lids.

MAC Cream Color Base in Take Root, worn with No 7 Extreme Lengths Black Mascara