Urban Decay NAKED Skin Foundation – Match System & Drool-Fest

I first heard about the UD NAKED Skin foundation on YouTube as I was watching some coverage of IMATS in LA. The range of 18 shades was laid out at the UD booth, looking shiny and fabulous. I knew I had to have it. Not necessarily immediately, but eventually at least. Just look at it:

The main problem is that Urban Decay is not available in Manila. That’s easily remedied by generous relatives and friends from abroad who are willing to bring home a few goodies for you once in a while. So the next top problem would inevitably be shade selection. Buying foundation based on a few photos and swatches off other blogs doesn’t exactly seem too smart. Good thing the Urban Decay website has been extremely helpful in solving that problem! Using the  “Find your shade” tool, I pinpointed the exact shade out of the 18 that will suit me best!

Read on to see how it works!

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Adorable teaser video!

Mon Shu girl is Karl Lagerfeld’s adorable character creation for his collab with Shu Uemura (coming out for the holidays)! I can’t wait for this! 

My love/hate relationship with MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

[Feb. 2015 Edit: Please see the follow-up post to this one here.)

My absolute favourite product in the entire MAC Cosmetics range is the Mineralize Skinifinish Natural powder. Their lipsticks come in second and the Studio Fix powder foundation is a close third. I’ve tried the liquid Studio Fix before and thought that was horrible, but the powder variant has its uses. It has a rather heavy coverage and it leaves you with a very matte finish, which can look a bit unnatural if caked too heavily onto your face. The compact comes with a sponge, but you can completely chuck that (or just keep it for light touch-ups) and use a large powder brush or a kabuki brush instead. Buffing Studio Fix into your skin will give you a beautiful airbush-like finish that is still heavy, but full coverage is something we all want once in a while anyway. MAC Studio Fix is not my favourite powder foundation (that “award” goes to my Shu Uemura pressed powder), but I like it enough to feel like I need to have it in my make-up collection. The one thing that really irks me about it though is that I do not have an exact shade match.

With the help of a MAC make-up artist, I first bought the shade NC42. It’s about half a shade to a full shade too dark for my coloring depending on the time of year, but even at my darkest I still get comments about being so tan when I wear this. So then I went and ordered NC40 (next to NC42 in the shade range, there is no “41” **EDIT: There is an NC41, but it is not available in the Philippines nor is it listed in the MAC website!), thinking that it should be perfect… but ohmygoodness it is much too light for me. NC 42 on the left, NC40 on the right. Doesn’t that look like a huge jump in colour? :o I would rather go slightly darker in foundation colour than too light, so I’ve barely touched my NC40 compact. If I use it at all, I use it as a highlight on the bridge of my nose and on my brow bone. If I use it all over, I get that slightly grayish tinge on my skin which is so very unflattering. NC 42 also seems to be much warmer and more yellow than NC40, even though both are in the “NC” category, meaning they should both have warm undertones. I want to love this powder. I really do. But it looks like MAC won’t let me. See how much more yellow NC42 is? The yellowness is something that I noticed a lot too when I used the liquid Studio Fix formula, and it’s not something that I like. I tend to favor neutral foundations, because even though I’m Asian, I don’t have very yellow undertones. Sadly, I may someday soon decide that MAC Studio Fix is something not worth sticking with. If/when I do decide that, I will miss the sturdy compact packaging and the smooth texture—but the absence of a perfect colour match for me is something I find very difficult to get over. I’m not so sure if this has been a review or just a rant, so I’ll end with suggestions that might be of use to other people. MAC Studio Fix might be for you, if – you are looking for a powder foundation, – MAC carries a shade that suits you well, – you like the convenience of a compact, and – you are looking for medium to full coverage with a matte finish. p.s. There is no SPF in this product.

“Color Block” FOTD / My Parrot Eyes!

Thought I’d share a look I did in May for submission to a contest. The challenge was to create a color blocked look using at least one L’Oreal True Match product on any part of your face—which explains why I’m holding up a bottle of foundation. That was my L’Oreal product. :)

Products used: (1) L’Oreal True Match Foundation in W5 “Sand Beige,” (2) MUD Blue Corrector #3, (3) NYX 5-Color Eyeshadow Palette in “I Dream Of St. Lucia,” (4) Maybelline NY Eyestudio 2-in-1 Impact Shadow Liner, (5) NYX Lipliner Pencl in “Pinky,” (6) Some Mascara (can’t remember which), and (6) No.7 Blush in “Honey.” 

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out since I didn’t really practice anything beforehand. I initially wanted to do a look using only two main colors, but the colors were so tropical-looking that I just had to keep going! So I ended up using orange, pink, yellow, blue, and green—a combination that reminds me of a parrot. :D

Looking back, I think I should have done some contouring and pulled my hair back for the photos… BUT I still really like this look anyway. I don’t know where I would be going with such a lot of colour on my face, but it was definitely fun to do! :) Blending was not too difficult because my NYX eyeshadows weren’t overly pigmented, which was both good and bad in this case I guess. Really wish I could have gotten that yellow on the inner corner of my eyes to be a lot brighter! Oh well. Fun fun! :)

p.s. I did end up being one of the winners of that contest, but I did not avail of the prize since they were tickets to an event that I couldn’t have made it to anyway. Boo.

Cheap Thrill: Nichico Minerals Spot Concealer Pencil in Natural

Ever heard of the trick of lining your waterline with white eyeliner to make your eyes look bigger/more open? It’s a nice effect, but sometimes using a stark white on the waterline can make your eyes look a bit yellow in comparison, especially if you don’t have a full face of make-up on. Beige or champagne-coloured eyeliner can do the trick in a much more natural-looking way.

My dream champagne-coloured liner is from Make Up Forever and it costs close to 1000php, so when I came across this Nichido pencil concealer (yup, not an eyeliner!) at Watsons I thought that it would be worth a try! For under 200php (134.00 to be exact) this is a fraction of the price of a MUFE liner!

There were three shades to choose from, namely: beige, neutral, and natural. I picked out “natural” which was the most neutral of the three, as “neutral” leaned towards the pinkish side and “beige” was more of a yellow shade. It’s meant for use as a concealer but as I mentioned, I haven’t used it for that purpose (nor will I, as I have a good spot concealer already). I’m happy to report that it works nicely on the waterline since it is supposed to be water resistant and it’s easy to apply because it’s in pencil form.

The tip is soft enough. It’s not so hard as to become a threat to the safety of your eyes nor is it soft enough to smudge all over or deposit too much product. I’ve tried Nichido eye pencils before and they have improved their formula over the years.

It isn’t perfect, but I do like this product for the alternative use I’ve employed it for. The thing I like the least about it is that it smells like a coloured pencil— as in the type used for actual drawing and coloring. Haha! But the smell does not linger and I can live with it.

Swatched on my hand, you can barely see it, which is ideal! Very happy I decided to try this out. I’m a sucker for a bargain!

Any cheap thrills you’ve come across lately? :) Do share!

Packing Popcorn & A Pop of Purple!

I love receiving packages in the mail. Opening them always makes me feel as though it’s Christmas (but less dressed up—and the item was purchased by me, for me haha).

Today this little treat from strawberrynet.com arrived, wrapped in purple paper and nestled in some packing popcorn. Based on the shape and the website you may be able to guess what it is… but read on if you’d like to see photos!

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Liv & Lisa

When I did my internship in New York last summer, I had the chance to assist at a fitting with Liv Tyler. I literally was introduced to her, and even saw her again two times after that first meeting. The ultimate kilig part? She actually remembered me and initiated the “hello” when I ran into her at the Stella (McCartney) shop. Anyway, I’ve talked about this tons of times with my friends (shamelessly!) so I won’t ramble on, but I do have to say/add that although I saw several actors while I was there, it was just so fitting that she was the one that I met properly. I’m not the type of person who goes crazy over celebrities—I rarely ever know the names of actors (aside from the big, mainstream ones) and I don’t often make the effort to follow Hollywood news or an actor’s career… but Liv Tyler is one personality who has always fascinated me, mostly because she’s the daughter of a rockstar and always seemed to have such a soft, shy, and almost insecure but also edgy aura about her. I guess delicate with an edge? I don’t know. Anyway, in person, she was just as lovely but complex as I had imagined she might seem—I say “seem” still since I obviously cannot know her from several encounters, but really, it was just so perfect for me to have met her.

Anyway (for the third time), the real point of this post is to share these amazing photos from Marie Claire UK with you:

Lisa Eldridge did Liv’s make-up in these photos (by Marc Hom) and Lisa is possibly my favourite internet make-up guru. The photos are a marriage of these two amazing people and I cannot get over how amazing the colored shot is most especially. Lisa also did Emma Watson’s make-up for that Elle November cover last year—the one where she has these fantastically thick, chunky lashes on both the upper and lower lashes. If you have a tumblr, you’ve probably seen these going around. But back to this set: it is just a perfect example of subtle but expertly done make-up. Liv (who was wearing not a single bit of make-up when I met her) doesn’t need much, so it would be a shame to overdo her, and it is also a tendency for MUAs to go crazy with her gorgeous lips. Here Lisa focused on her eyes and brought out that wonderful blue! The lips are understated but still full looking. And though there isn’t color in the second set, you can see the lovely shading there. I love it.

Lisa does make-up tutorials and they are awesome. Visit her here and do check out her gallery. This is one of my favourite videos, but they are all worth watching. :)

Ahhh, Liv and Lisa! ♥

My UNII Palette

A couple of months ago I ordered a UNII palette from the US and it has proved to be extremely useful. The UNII palette is essentially a customizable make-up palette, much like the Z Palette except that the UNII palette is made of a sturdy plastic instead of cardboard.

Here she is! I ordered mine in Pomegranate because the black and white were out of stock and it was the closest to red they had. I actually like the color much more than I expected. The palette feels sturdy and is really pretty, too. It’s certainly much better than some original packaging out there, and it makes a lot of sense to be able to have shadows/powders from different brands together in one place.

The palette is a good size (approximately 3 x 6 inches) and it includes a full mirror, a metal plate, a rubber gripper, and a strip of adhesive-magnets (for the bottoms of your refill pans). UNII cosmetics has since come out with a new design which does not have a metal plate and magnet strip. Instead it has the magnet inside the palette and the rubber gasket which you can see on my UNII is no longer removable. A minor change is that the rubber gripper is much cuter in the new palette. A not-so minor change is that the colors available are now much cuter! You can check those out at their website: http://uniicosmetics.com. But for now, let me show you what I did with mine!

These are the shadows that I chose to place in my UNII palette. It’s obviously a neutrals palette, but with this combination I can make both a natural day look and a heavier evening look if I want to. That space below the bottom row of shadows can fit (and it usually does hold) an eyeliner. With that, I’m all set. This has travelled me once and it definitely beats bringing many single shadows or one pre-made palette that may limit you to a certain look. I prefer this even to my Urban Decay NAKED palette, which only makes sense, because these shades are tried and tested by me for use on me. The shadows/powders are namely:

Top Row: Dior random powder – The Balm “Devilish Danielle” – The Balm “Mischievous Marissa” – The Balm “Insane Jane”

Bottom Row: Shu Uemura M 851: “Soft Brown” – Shu Uemura M 860 “BXH2271” – Shu Uemura Bronze – Shu Uemura IR 900Y “BXH 1408” – Laura Mercier “American Coffee” 

The Dior powder is a general highlighter. The theBalm shadows are my favorites from my “Shady Lady” palette (yes, I ripped them out)– Mischievous Marissa gives me a lovely, peachy glow and Insane Jane just makes my eyes pop. The Shu matte soft brown is my perfect lid shadow, while the deep brown to its right is the most amazing brown I have ever come across. I usually use that in the crease of my eye and I only need the tiniest bit to create the most dramatic effect… combined with that bronze, the effect is just amazing. For everyday looks, I use the LM American Coffee on my crease. Also, notice how the Shu shadow on the far left of the bottom row is slightly thinner than the others? Shu Uemura has started producing their shadows in Korea instead of Japan (I was thinking maybe the factory was affected by the recent natural disaster?) and has downsized their eyeshadows. It isn’t very obvious when you buy the single eyeshadows in their new packaging, but it’s definitely noticeable when you place the pans side by side. I only have two that are very recently purchased and I haven’t noticed any compromise in quality which is great, of course, but the downsize is definitely a bummer. Anyway, the other two shadows that I haven’t mentioned (Devilish Danielle and the Shu Gold) are highlighters for me. They are amazing just like all the other shadows in my UNII.

Putting my palette together was a ton of fun, which I did expect since I love my make-up (hehe). One down side to the UNII might be removing single shadows from their already beautiful original containers. In this case though, there wasn’t any particular casing that I really wanted to hold on to. It’s a good way to customize to your own needs, as make-up really is something as personal as jewelry– only you really know what you like best. I might want another UNII palette in the future for powders or even a collection of brighter eye shadows, but I’m still not too sure. For now, I’m perfectly happy with the one UNII that I own and have come to love.

Again, you can check out UNII cosmetics here and have a look at that adorable honeysuckle palette! They’re now going for 26 USD (usually 29) which is a holiday price, I think.

Gold and Sparkly Christmas c/o Lisa Eldridge

Having a hectic week, but I really do feel that Christmas is finally nearing! And I know this because I’ve begun to obsessively think in a Christmas palette–I’m serious, everything in my mind is all about warm reds and greens, glitters and glowing gold, and sparkly, shiny silver. This goes for outfits, nail colors, decorations, and of course, make-up.

Now I always look forward to Lisa Eldridge’s make-up tutorials. She is by far my favourite make-up artist to follow; nobody even comes close. This is her latest video tutorial, which is a really nice and simple gold Christmas look. She always makes it look so easy!

Lisa does a lot of work on celebrities, and one cover look you might have seen that was done by her is Emma Watson’s cover for Elle UK. That photo got bounced around a lot, so I’m almost certain you’ve seen it. Will post that below along with another one of her party looks that was just really nice and polished.

Hope that inspired you as much as it did me! Her bright-lipped looks are also awesome and her “One Lipstick… Many different ways to wear” video is an absolute must-see! Check her out on youtube or at her blog! For now, I will go back to dreaming of Christmas while hopefully also getting some work done on my thesis.

Dolce Vita, Dolce Vita, Dolce Vita

Well hello again, personal blog! I’ve been absent for almost four months now, mainly relying on Tumblr to satisfy my blogging needs, but I really should get back to you and keep you updated. Now that Christmas is coming up, I should have a ton of lovely things to write about. For now though, here’s a drafted post that I just never got around to publishing:

[Written in August!] Made a quick trip to Shangri-La this morning to do some errands, and I decided it was time to use up the last of my Rustan’s GCs. I was initially thinking of getting Jungle Red, but as you are about to see, I love Dolce Vita so much that I had to purchase three different products in that very same colour!

I have NARS Dolce Vita in three different forms–the blush, the velvet matte lip stick, and the regular lipstick! A lot of people say that Dolce Vita is a universally flattering shade, and I can see how that might be true. It’s a very safe color; it can swing between warm and cool skin tones very easily and it is subtle yet there enough to make its presence known. As much as I love the color, the blush is not my everyday blush. I use it more for the evening and for when I want to have a deep, warm glow just under my cheekbones. Even though the velvet matte lipstick and the lipstick are both lip colors, they do have different effects. The velvet matte lipstick goes on more opaque and (obviously) more matte. It’s great for casual nights out when I want my lips to look healthy. It never competes with eye make-up either. The lipstick (which I just got) is actually quite sheer, but as I’ve said, it’s also very obviously present. This is perfect for day time use!

This past year I seem to have developed a real love for NARS (though Shu Uemura beats it out for overall favourite brand). I also have the Orgasm multiple, which was a Christmas present from my dearest boyfriend, and the cult favourite really does live up to everything that everyone says about it. The one thing I don’t like about NARS is that their lipsticks have quite a small amount of product in the tubes, and they’re not exactly cheap. But for the blushes, I can’t find a reason to complain. They last forever and they are always amazing to apply! This Christmas, I’m eyeing another lippie:

This is Joyous Red! It’s a part of their Christmas collection so it’s limited edition. I hope that doesn’t mean it’s more pricey. Will have to check on that. I do however want to try out some other brands soon, such as Chanel and YSL, so my purchasing this is not all that certain just yet. Joyous Red looks much more appealing than Jungle Red (a part of their permanent range) which I was thinking of getting before. Of course I also have to consider that I don’t wear red lipstick very often because they are so strong… this looks very wearable though, don’t you think?

Gosh, I can just go on and on about make-up, can’t I? It’s an obsession, I tell you! Anyway, I promise to get back with something else very soon. Must focus on school first and foremost!

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