THE Powder (for me): Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

I always kind of want to kick myself in the butt when I write glowing reviews of products that aren’t available in the Philippines. Lately though, it’s only the best of the best in my makeup arsenal that get me excited and wanting to write. The best of the best are also slowly but surely ousting the average, mediocre items that I only recently realised I was just putting up with. I’m not even talking “Holy Grail item” in the way I used to use the term — my HG picks were the best of the bunch, but I still kept a line-up of second-best and even third-best items in the bunch around because, well, I liked them enough to keep them around. These days, I’m nearing what you might even be able to call… a capsule collection (gasp).

I have a couple of bases I swear by, concealers that I never switch up, a brow routine that I could execute with my eyes closed, a bronzer that I slap on day after day (it also acts as my blush, highlight, and even my eyeshadow on occasion), and a single mascara that I purchase over and over again. Oh, and I have this setting powder, of course. The setting powder that sent all my other setting powders to the trash.

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The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder ($45 / £33) is a “super luxe micro-fine powder with soft-focus nano particles that blur away lines and imperfections.” It comes in three translucent shades: 1 Fair, 2 Medium, and 3 Dark. I use Medium and it’s great — and I do think that because the product is translucent that the three shades are enough to cover a wide range of skin tones, but you will hear differing opinions on that, no doubt.

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This Is Gold: Hourglass’ Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden || Review

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is obscenely priced at £42 for 0.25oz of product. It is also unbelievably good and you only need the tiniest amount of product, so I’m going to go ahead and say that in my opinion it is worth the price tag.DSC08986Vanish boasts the “coverage of a concealer, the weightlessness of a powder, and the fluidity of a liquid,” all in a convenient stick form. Stick foundations have never really appealed to me because they tend to be thick in texture and difficult to blend, but Vanish is nothing like other stick foundations — it really does blend like a liquid. That would have been impressive in and of itself, but it also feels as light as the finest of powders when it sets, while also providing the heavy-duty coverage of a spot concealer.

I’m having a difficult time not sounding like an ad as I write about this product, but what can I say? The blurb is actually accurate. 

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Create Your Own Base With Cover FX’s Custom Cover Drops (G50)

I first heard of the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops (44.00 USD) when Tati (GlamlifeGuru on YouTube) did a first impressions video about the product in April. There is seriously no way anyone can watch that video and walk away from it not wanting the Custom Cover Drops. Tati’s skin looked flawless, the product seemed like such a novel idea, and I was just completely sold.

I picked up a bottle for myself at Sephora when I visited the U.S. in May and since then I have been these magical, innovative, revolutionary drops consistently.
DSC03435The Custom Cover Drops are essentially concentrated pigments that you can mix in with other bases, moisturisers, or even sunblocks, to achieve the level of coverage you want. The Cover FX website describes the product as follows:

Custom Cover Drops can be mixed with anything liquid to add coverage – moisturizers, serums, oils, primers, foundations and tinted moisturizers that are water, oil or silicone-based. These revolutionary drops feature our Flash Fusion Technology™ formula, so as soon as you drop, the solution flashes off leaving behind the pigment that weightlessly transforms your favorite beauty product into the sheerest tint all the way to a total coverage foundation, depending on how many drops you add. The pigments are coated with Lecithin, which is biochemically similar to the skin, to ensure ease of blending and the smoothest application. With unprecedented control, you are free to customize coverage like never before.

What a freakin’ amazing idea, right? The website instructs that 1 Drop = Sheer Coverage, 2 Drops = Medium Coverage, 3 Drops = Full Coverage, and 4 Drops = Total Coverage.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 2.29.37 PMThe product comes in an impressive range of 24 different shades. I asked a sales assistant at Sephora to help me find the right shade and just because their colour IQ system couldn’t suggest a shade for me, she gave up. Uhm. K. So I picked out a shade for myself. Good thing I know my skin well enough!

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An O.K. Product: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving (Review)

NARS, to my mind, has always been the cool kid on the block. He’s got the good looks and the “it factor”, but when you dig down deep and get to what’s on the inside — he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. Laura Mercier, on the other hand, is the unassuming, simple girl who happens to pack a punch despite her plain Jane appearances.

François and Laura are the stars of my imagined world of personified makeup (because the token bad boy and sweet girl figures are the bare bones of any clichè story, obvs), but there’s also Bobbi (Brown) — the clean-cut preppy girl who cares way too much following the rules — and Pierre (Guerlain) — the snooty rich, foreign guy who drives a Lambo and vacations at Turks and Caicos in the summer.

Other than Holy Shit I want it all, I want it aaaallll, this is the kind of stuff that I think about when I’m walking through Rustan’s beauty section. I can’t be the only one… so — care to add some character write-ups in the comments section? I’ve thought the whole set through, including “younger” brands like Benefit and MAC, but it should be fun to her how other people view brands, personified. ;)

DSC01867Anyway, yes. I am primarily here today to talk about a NARS product. The NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45 / approx. 2,450 Php) is another one of the products that I picked up from my trip to the U.S. in May. I was seriously considering the dual-intensity eyeshadows as well, but for one reason or another I ended up with this bugger instead.

It looks cool, as is always the case with NARS products, but it’s also got a hefty price tag attached. I’m always hesitant to drop money on NARS’s skin products (only the Audacious lipsticks have fully impressed me), but I thought I would take a chance on the dual-intensity products because they’re relatively new and rated pretty well by other bloggers. 

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Review: Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette

DSC01895This, dear readers, is the Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette (46.00 USD). It was the first thing I dropped into my shopping basket when I hit Sephora back in May and I had been ogling it online prior to that for months. I knew even before getting my hands on it that I would come to adore it. Its sister, the Face Contour Palette, seems to be the more popular of the two palettes, but I thought the idea of a contour palette for the eyes was much more interesting and original.

Plus: look at that packaging. How could anyone resist?

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Maybelline’s Color Sensational Rebellion: The Rebel Bouquet

I love flowers. I love lipstick. Put them together in one pretty basket arrangement? You’ve got one very, very happy IanaBee (that’s me, FYI). DSC01781Cue the seraphs singing! (Also insert a heart-eyed emoji here.)

Receiving the Maybelline Rebel Bouquet* was the highlight of my day and I could hardly wait to get my hands on all 11 lipsticks — but I waited — patiently, as a good beauty blogger should, and I took photos first so that you can get a glimpse of Maybelline’s newest line of lipsticks before you go out and grab some (or all). 

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Filter x2

I had absolutely nothing planned for this afternoon, so I decided it would be a good time to catch up on photographing things for the blog. I sat down to do my makeup even if I wasn’t going anywhere and I tried to use as many new products as possible so that I could photograph multiple things in one go.

I don’t normally do that sort of thing…wear makeup without plans of going out, that is. It feels strange and I guess that’s part of reason why the look didn’t turn out well. Or maybe it would have turned out just as bad even if I had had plans of going out — who knows? Anyway, none of the photos I took are usable for review purposes. I slapped a filter on the best one and that’s the only thing that made it better:
DSC01670This is one of the filters that comes with iPhoto and it’s quite heavy. There’s no toggling with the intensity like on Instagram. It brings my dull skin to life and masks the mess I made of my eyeshadow today. It’s certainly not realistic, but it actually makes me like the photo. Now here’s the original: 

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USA Makeup & Skincare 2015

It’s always difficult to control myself when shopping in the States. That goes for everything, not just makeup and skincare, but it’s especially bad with beauty stuff because they tend to be small items that add up in price quickly. So this year I attacked the U.S. beauty shopping scene with a detailed list of things I knew I wanted to get. I did save a lot of money, but I also ended up with much less than I normally take home. Wether I’ll regret that or not isn’t really clear yet… but here are the (relatively) few things I am glad to have: DSC01201Let’s start with body and skincare because — why not!

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Fight Of The Century FOTD

I woke up this morning with the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight on mind.

I don’t normally watch boxing — but I’m Filipino, which is an explanation for my excitement and anxiety in itself. I remember being in New York a few years ago and whenever a taxi driver and I got to talking and they found out I was Filipino, they would nearly always scream out “PACMAAAN! I love that guy!” and of course I would beam from ear to ear and agree: everyone loves Manny; he’s an incredible athlete with a tear-jerking rags to riches story behind him and he’s a fun-loving guy to boot.

Now I wouldn’t be keeping true to myself if I didn’t mention that I don’t admire Manny in all aspects. I don’t think he’s a good public servant and the company he keeps is often questionable. As an athlete, it’s undeniable that he’s brilliant. I just wish he had stuck to being a boxer and kept his hands out of politics, but not much to be done about that anymore. There were even rumours flying around that if he had won today’s fight, he would have run in the 2016 elections. Uh… if my choice is between Binay and Pacquiao in 2016, I honestly have no clue what I will do. Bury my head in the sand, perhaps.

ANYWAY. Manny lost today. And really, I was rooting for him as an athlete. Mayweather fought dirty and brought all sorts of BV to the fight, while Manny put up a good fight but fell short in terms of adapting to the situation and being aggressive. I couldn’t help but feel down after the decision was announced. Still, the whole thing was quite the spectacle and I enjoyed watching it on PPV with my family. We had white sangrias and some pica-pica during the fight, and a full lunch of paella, prawns, and grilled chicken afterwards.

I’m getting to the makeup part of this post now, don’t worry. Haha. I did try to match my look for today with the occasion, but after sitting at my vanity for a few minutes I knew I didn’t want to go too literal by wearing blue, red, and yellow (our flag colours) on my face. So I threw on a blue top instead and decided to go for a very golden look on my face (never mind the red lol) … because Manny is the golden boy of boxing and I wanted him to go for gold (even though there technically is no gold medal up for grabs–gold belt, pwede?)! Get it? Bit of a stretch? Haha! I do what I can. P1190071Keeping with my golden theme, I used my L’Oreal Lucent Magique Foundation in G7 (my summer shade) mixed with my Myra VitaGlow BB Cream* in Ivory to get a very glowy base. 

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Quick Trip To Macau — What I Packed

This post was supposed to go up when we flew out on Wednesday, but things came up the day before we had to leave so I didn’t have time to actually write the post. Anyway, it all works out because now I can tell you if I actually ended up using the stuff I brought. I find that no matter how long or short a trip is, packing makeup and skincare is always such a tricky job. BrushesLet’s start with the successful part of my packing: brushes! I love using the travel case that comes with the Real Techniques sets (Starter, Core, and Travel). You’ll notice that I don’t have a single RT brush in there. Sometimes I do end up bringing a couple, but mostly I take whatever brushes I want to. The best thing about it is that it folds into a stand that you can set out anywhere.P1180526To house my makeup I used the pretty Revlon bag that came with the Ultra HD Lipsticks I received last week. It’s a thin bag so I was forced to pack as little as possible. Not a major problem because we were only out for 3 days. Inside it I had:

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