Friday, March 18, 2011

Urban Decay's Naked Palette is back in stock @ Sephora online!

I've been holding back on buying at my local Macy's counter that restocked the first of this month because I really wanted to continue to continue collecting more Beauty Insider points at Sephora, so I've been stalking their online page for the past week or so. My local Sephora counter said there was a 40 person wait list, and there was no way in hell I was going to be able to score one when it came into stores!

Shipping is free w/ purchases over $50, so throw a lipgloss, or a small $10 gift set found in their sale section like I did to get it. Also, enter "BITE" into the promo code, and get a deluxe sized Bite gloss while supplies last! Oh, and don't forget your 3 free samples w/ your purchase in your cart. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brush Snob Beauty Report! Pixiwoo's Sam Chapman is releasing her own line of brushes!

The announcement was just launched on YouTube, and if you are a brush collector like I am, you should be excited! They're vegan-friendly, professional quality brushes that were made with the consumer in mind because they're AFFORDABLE! Going to be released through ULTA, they will hit stores on the 25th of this month! I did some digging around on her launch page and discovered these brushes were produced by Paris Presents, which is the parent company of ECOTOOLS!!! *jumps up and down excitedly*

Are you excited? I am! Check out their launch site:

Oh, and watch the famous Chapman sisters on their Pixiwoo channel as well! I'm sure you all know of them by now, but just watch! They get better with age, and congrats to Sam's sister Nic to her being preggo for 12 weeks now!

Monday, February 28, 2011

First Lesson: EYESHADOW BRUSHES - MAC must-haves/starter kit VS Sigma brush kit

When I first started using makeup, I was too afraid to ask for help. Too intimidated by the tools to pick one up and try for myself to see if I were capable of blending colors so beautifully. It wasn't until I took a few art classes that had me do a few paint projects that got me comfortable enough to decide it was time I used those on myself to see what the results for... but where does one start?

"Brushes being sold from every corner of the world, bombarding you with fancy handles and shiny ferrules! This one is so cheap! But THAT ONE is the 'Bently' of brushes if it costs that much!!! Will I be able to replicate a nice eye look if I spend more? What's the difference in hairs/brand/price?"

I ended up with a collection over 50 brushes before I figured out which ones were the essentials. I was already using them, but it didn't hit me until a few months later to almost a year - that I was only reaching for certain brushes when doing my daily makeup:

1.) Blending brush
2.) Short shader brush [to pack on color]
3.) Pencil brush [for smudging to detail crease work]
4.) Angled eyeliner brush [optional if you use gel liners]

Now why buy these from MAC as singles when you can buy a big ol' brush kit from Sigma?

Those 4 are all you need, and buying brush sets, you only use 50% of the brushes in the kit if you're lucky. There's always better out there, and you can always personalize your brushes to the way you like it if you collect them one-by-one.

More bang for your buck might look better going w/ the Sigma kit, but why do that and buy lesser quality brushes you won't bother using? I personally like my MAC brushes because they deliver exactly what they promise to do.

Here are my suggestions for each of the 4 above:

1.) Blending brush:

MAC 217 - better if you have smaller eyes, like more dense color application. Can function as a short shader brush to pack on color by using belly of the brush, but a hassle when using multiple colors and trying to avoid muddying the colors together when blending. [Best to use seperate brushes for different colors anyways.]

MAC 224 - better for bigger eyes, but does not pack on color. [Does not matter if you purchase a short shader brush.] Blends out to a light wash of color easily VS. a 217 which may require a little bit more elbow grease when getting ready. Better if you're more inclined to neutral shades because it is able to blend to a light wash of color, but also blends bright vivid colors into each other well if you have a lot of lid space - and does the job faster than a 217.

2.) Short shader brush [to pack on color]

MAC 239 - does exactly what it promises. Can be flipped on it's side to do some blending and crease work to substitute for 217's blending abilities. Great for getting brow highlight colors close the the edge of your natural brown for a crisp and clean line if you don't want to look like you have stray brow hairs all scraggly and whatnot. I completely suggest you get this w/ whatever else you decide you want to use.

3.) Pencil brush [for smudging to detail crease work]

MAC 219 - exactly what it sounds like: a pencil smudgey brush. Great for setting gel liners w/ e/s on top for long lasting power, under the water line to smoke out your dramatic looks, and for detailed crease work. Not an absolute must have - can be duped easily. Best cheap alternative for accessibility is Essence of Beauty brushes from CVS. MAC's version does blend much better and faster - which makes for more gentle application - making it why I prefer this over my EOB brushes.

4.) Angled eyeliner brush [optional if you use gel liners]

If you don't use gel liners, omit this from your starter collection. However, I am a dailer user of gel liners, and if you've never tried them before, you completely should. There are two kinds - both angled in different ways...

The angled brush is where the the hairs are cut at a diagonal so it's easy to follow your lash line. A bit of a pain to navigate your lower lash line with, but for those that have problems with gauging thick and thin line weights, this is the better option for you.

The BENT angled liner brush has a bent brush handle and a thin round brush head. Some say this one is easier to manipulate than the angled one, but I find it the other way around. Your general preferrence is subjective. I have the MAC 263 and the Ecotools angled liner brush. I use the 263 for my eyelining needs and the Ecotools one for my brow lining needs with brown/charcoal e/s. I also own the Sonia Kashuk bent angled liner brush, and it seemed a little awkward to me. The bent angled liner brush also only limits you to just lining your eyes VS being multi-purpose and being able to double as a brown liner.

Just remember: I have a brush for every function I want it to serve. those are my absolute reccommendations for a starter, but I must remind you I have back-ups/multiples of the same brush for different colors, or different areas of my face. I'd rather spend a little bit more and make sure the brushes I purchased serve their function VS. sitting there and looking pretty... I do own brushes that sit there and look pretty though... haha. Some are pretty enough to where it was worth wasting the $, but the others - ugh... I don't even want to go into how much I've spent on brushes already.

Now I am not dogging on Sigma - I have been dying to try their F-series face brushes, but that will have to wait until my next paycheck. I'm just saying, don't buy a full brush kit if you feel this is all you need and just starting out. People with usually large collections have a variety because they're too lazy to clean them frequently or they just can't get enough... like me. *grin* BUT you CAN buy sigma brushes with the same function as the ones I listed above as singles as well. That way, you'll know what you want when looking into buying brushes. You don't need a whole set. But if bang for your buck means more for your $, go for it!

Also, the MAC travel sets are great intros, BUT they are machine cut VS. the full-sized ones being HAND-CUT. Once you feel the difference, you'll realize softness ranks like this from highest to lowest:

1.) virgin hair [softest]
2.) hand cut
3.) machine cut [scratchier]

Don't half-ass when going high-end. Go hard or go home... because you're WORTH IT. =)

I hope you the best of luck, and hope this helps. I also apologize first hand for unofficially leading you down the path of being a brush junkie. =P

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FOTD: August 26, 2010 Playing Catch Up/Oh, PLUMS!

Since I'm still transitioning from comfortable neutral makeup looks, I'm still a bit intimidated by the idea of using colors for eye shadows. I started out my first year doing the same earth tones and then scolded myself for settling into something so routine so quickly after I had just started to delve into the world of creativity... I went out and purchased a few plums/purples from MAC. [So bold, I know... haha.] Still, it gave me a completely different outlook and gave me confidence I could continue to branch out into other make up colors.

This also marked a landmark in the time of makeup for me: I grew past being too scared to apply false lashes on myself. It wasn't perfect, but I managed without gluing my eyelashes shut. =D

Eyes: MAC e/s: Fig.1 [or6?], Sketch, Beauty Marked, Carbon, Shroom, Kid, Texture. Stila e/s: Kitten.

Face: MUFE HD: 125 + MUFE duo matte: 205 [foundation], MAC Ripe Peach [blush], MAC By Candlelight [highlight], MAC Harmony [contour]

Sidenote: I apologize for the yellow quality in my photos. These were not edited, however the lighting in my bathroom is an awful old incandescent bulb with no windows for natural lighting. I promise to start using a nicer camera other than my camera phone. =D

Now to those actually willing to read through all of this, I'll put up a nice intro soon enough, so you don't feel like you're reading about a complete stranger. =)

Monday, January 31, 2011

FOTD: March 26th, 2010 - YouTube Mimicry!

Ah, yes, my first attempt at a FOTD after obsessively watching COUNTLESS YouTube tutorials online for hours on end. I watched everything from the ever so famous Pixiwoo sisters to every newbie YouTuber I could find with new talent to offer. My favorite discovery came by the name of MakeupByEman, a Canadian makeup artist. I used practically almost the same exact eyeshadow products she used in her "Bronzy Smokey Eye" video, and this was the result. Here are the products I used:

MAC: [unless otherwise noted]


Shroom [highlight]
Embark [crease]
Carbon [outer V]
Woodwinked [lid]
Tempting [center of lid]

Eyebrows: Embark + Typographic

Contour: Harmony, Blush: Dollymix, Highlight: Shroom e/s

Liner: Fluidline "Blacktrack"

Foundation: Makeup Forever's HD foundation: 123, HD Microfinish powder.

Gloss: Say Yes to Carrots... Pink [I fogot the name]

Brushes used: Ecotools angled brush [Brows], MAC: 217, 224, 219, 239, 263 [eyes] 109 [contour] 129 [blush], Sonia Kashuk flat blush brush [highlight], Sephora #55 airbrush, Ecotools powder brush [foundation]

At this point in time, I probably had been a part of my makeup obsession for a good year, and this was the progress I had made on my own. Not bad for a first-timer at mimicry.

The only thing missing was false lashes - only because I did not know how to apply them and I had a terrible experience one New Year's Eve when a friend applied them for me, but glued my lashes shut [top and bottom]... so I was still scared to even try at this point in time.

Here's where you can find the tutorial for this look, and done better by Eman herself:

And here's where you can find the list of products she used to compare and contrast w/ what I used:

This was the very first example of my confidence building with my makeup skills. Enough so that I entered it into her contest. I did not win, but it was still a huge leap from being too shy to try. =D

My photo above appears at 1:39 in the video. Ah... memories. =)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

FOTD: 07/2009 - backtrack to get to know me...

It all started with this, really... I ran into an old acquaintance from back in the day while shopping, and she told me she would like to try having me as a model for her portfolio. I was flattered the first time she asked years ago, but was too self conscious to let myself do it.

Fast forward a good 4-5 years and 15 pounds later, I run into her yet again at the mall, and she says she's doing another test shoot to update her portfolio. I figured I was never going to be happy with my body, but if she feels she can use some part of me, I might as well do it for some pretty pictures... and this was the result.

I wish I knew well enough back then to record what she used on me, but this was when I was too shy to walk into a MAC or a Sephora. This was when I had one look based around a black cream pencil I smudged across my eyes for the same sloppy smokey eye I wore for almost close to 10 years since learning how to wear makeup. This was the end of the days of my being too ashamed to ask for help and learn...

Now, after that shoot, I have come to terms with whatever it is I am unhappy with and I'm fine with it. On days I feel like I need a good pick me up, I'll slap on the war-paint and step out of my door ready to conquer the world. This is how I feel after knowing the confidence a few simple steps could do for you. Thank you, to Maria Lawas of MVL Designs in Hayward, CA for the glamor session and photoshoot. If you are interested in her work, please check out her portfolio @

Even more flattering, my friend Anthony Nguyen even decided to paint one of the photos from the shoot for one of his school projects a year later 08/2010:

Photo Credit: Anthony Nguyen

I believe it was a split-complimentary color scheme painting project w/ shades and tints thrown into the mix. Here is the digital mock-up of what he was able to do:

Photo Credit: Anthony Nguyen

Last but not least, the finished product... It amazes me that the makeup medium translated into the "art" medium for me thanks to having to wonderful people willing to use me as a concept. Seeing their work inspired me to try on my own.

Photo Credit: Anthony Nguyen

Now I just need to find a way to get this matted nicely in this frame, and then get painted pictures and art from many other friends if I can to decorate my walls. What a lovely marriage between the few things I love the most.

Photo Credit: Anthony Nguyen

He takes amazing photos w/ his Hipstamatic app on his iPhone as of late and posts random projects as he studies at the Art Academy in SF. Check his Tumblr out @: AntSpeak