Monday, April 22, 2013


There are slew of primers for face and eyes available on the market. Typically they are available in the mid to high range cosmetics than drugstore, though some lines are coming out with them.

Eyeshadow base/primer:
Because my eye lids tend to get oily using a shadow base is a must. Eyeshadow base will keep eyeshadow from creasing and eyeliner from smudging. Also the base will make the colors of the shadow more vibrant.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
This is my favorite among the ones I have tried. UDPP comes in several shades. I use the original as it blends right into the eyelid. The texture is very soft and velvety. You definitely have to blend quickly as it sets very fast. $14-24 at Sephora.
Covergirl shadow blast
This is meant to be a fade resistant eyeshadow which I use as a base. The pink shade I have adds a bit of shimmer and brightens the eye area. It is not completely crease proof though.
About $7-8.
MAC paint pot
This line is also fade and crease proof cream shadow. I have had this for over 4 years (!) and I still have 1/3 of the pot left. It lasts a long time on the lid - the shade I have is Bare Study which is a champagne shimmer.
Essence I <3 stage shadow base
Just picked this up at Shoppers for $3.99. Not sure how this will perform but when I tested it at the store it seemed smooth. Will keep you posted.

Face primer:
I tend not to use face primer as I don't see much a difference. My skin being oily combo with visible pores you would think primers would help. But what I notice is that the primer seems to make my face more shiny.

Benefit Porefessional

Very expensive ($36) tube of skin colored silicone primer. It is supposed to fill the pores to create a smooth base. It does smooth out my skin a little but I don't see enough difference to continue using it.

L'oreal Studio Secrets perfecting base

This base is a mousse type - again silicone being the main ingredient. Does smooth the skin and blurs the imperfections just a little. Because it's in a pot it is inconvenient to use.  About $11-13.

Hourglass mineral veil

Just picked up a travel set at Sephora for $29. It resembles a thick lotion and absorbs into skin leaving it smooth. Looking forward to see how it performs as it has been hyped quite a bit online. The full 1 oz size is $60. Very expensive.

Nars makeup primer with SPF

Got a sample size at Sephora when I claimed 100 points. The benefit of this is that it combines primer with sunscreen. The texture is like Hourglass, a lotion, which absorbs into skin. I tend to like this type of primer better as it feels less like a barrier.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Brand spotlight: Maybelline

This blog entry is a start of a series on different brands of makeup I have tried. Many of the brands will be from the drugstore and a few will be high end.

Maybelline is owned by L'oreal like many other brands but does not share much similarity with the sister drgustore brand L'oreal Paris. 
"Maybe it's Maybelline~"

I think the most outstanding product for Maybelline is their mascaras. Surely all have heard of Great Lash (the pink and green tube), which unfortunately does not work for me. All of the mascaras I use are waterproof as non waterproof make the curled lashes droop. 

Volume Express Line includes Falsies, Rocket volume, Colossal, Mega Plush and One by One. They are all great at adding volume to my thin lashes.
Colossal volume express is similar to Covergirl Lash Blast. But the brushes have longer bristles which is better at separating the lashes.

Falsies is my absolute favorite Drugstore mascara because it adds volume and length. I have no complaint at all about this mascara. Currently there are a couple of back up tubes in my drawer, as would any make up junkie. 

Rocket Volume is the newest mascara in this line. Gives decent volume and length. 

Mega Plush has a very interesting brush head, that bends and is quite dense with plastic bristles. This mascara did not work for me as it gave me more of a natural look. 

One by one is great at adding length but not so with volume. 

Other mascaras
Lash stiletto - very similar to L'oreal Voluminous false lashes mascara. Adds quite a bit of length and a bit of volume. The con is that it can get clumpy quite quickly.

Full & soft - akin to L'oreal Voluminous original. Many people love this formula because the lashes do not become hard or brittle. 

Lash discovery - it has a very tiny brush that is perfect for smaller eyes and the bottom lashes. Sadly this is discontinued. 

Eye shadow:
For drugstore eye shadows, I like the Maybelline quads. Relatively inexpensive but the color range is great. The shadows are all very wearable and the quality is pretty good. 
Expert Wear Shadow Quads
There are 14 quads available; all are pretty neutral and easy to wear alone or together. 
The quad is divided into base, crease, accent and highlight color. 
Currently loving Emerald Smokes:
Color Tatoo eyeshadow
I have yet to try this long wearing cream eye shadow. I own a couple of L'oreal infalliable shadows and MAC paint pot which are similar to the Color Tatoo. Having tried it out at the drugstore, Color Tatoo feel a little drier and harder to work with than L'oreal or MAC.

Eyebrow pencil, eyeliners:
Define a brow eyebrow pencil is very slim. The consistency of the pencil allows for drawing on realistic looking brow hairs. The other end of the pencil has a plastic comb that would be handy to comb longer brow hairs. 

Eye studio master drama 
This automatic pencil is soft and easy to use. But because it is not waterproof, it tends to smudge on my lids. What I like is how dark the black is - truly giving a dramatic look. 
Eye studio gel liner
For a drugstore gel liner, this one is one of the better ones. What I love is the little brush it comes with. The gel itself does dry out faster than some but the color is very nice. It is a bit sheer with only one stroke. Currently using the Plum color which has a fleck of sparkle (but not obnoxious). 

I have tried a couple of their liquid foundation which I was not that thrilled with and not worth mentioning here.
The one I like the most is not a liquid but a creme foundation called Dream Smooth Mousse. 
This is different from Dream Matte Mousse in that it is a bit more solid. Quick to apply with the sponge provided and the best part is that it goes on smooth like the name suggests. 
I have tried applying this with a foundation brush but the sponge is a much better applicator. 
Note: I have tried the Dream Matte and Dream Liquid foundation but found them too heavy for my oily combination skin. 

Do you like Maybelline? Any other brands you want me to feature?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manicure of the week

This week I decided to do a simple nail art with the manicure. Because my natural nails are weak from a previous salon manicure (they filed down the top layer - I will not be returning to that salon) I decided to use the foundation for gel manicure as a base coat. After the usual gel manicure base coat I used Nicole by OPI to paint most of the nails. For the accent nails I did a moon shaped manicure. Then using a silver glitter nail art brush, drew a half circle on each nail. For the rest of the nails I used a dotting tool and the silver glitter to do my usual dot manicure.
To top off I used the Sache Vite UV top coat which I cured with my LED lamp for one minute. Nails feel very strong and there is no smudge or chipping so far.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Eyeliners swatches

Thought it would be helpful to show the color of each eyeliner mentioned in my previous post.
First photo is of all the pencil liners. 

From L to R
Milani liqu'fy, Dollywink, Rimmel exaggerate,  Prestige in Suede, Clio waterproof in brown. 

They go on smoothly but as can be seen Dollywink and Rimmel liners smudge whereas the other ones do not. 

L to R: Prestige, Dollywink, Rimmel, the Faceshop, Milani, CLIO

I have a fewer number of liquid liners. 

From L to R
Urban decay 24/7 liquid eyeliner,  E. L. F. Liquid liner, Dollywink brush liner. 

Urban decay liner is the darkest and does not smudge. However it does flake off at the end of the day.
As can be seen the smudging is minimal. The last swatch is the Mac black track gel liner. Perhaps I didn't let it set long enough but the smudging is pretty bad in this swatch. 
I do prefer the felt tip over a brush tip because it is easier to control. The advantage of a brush tip is though being able to create a much finer and sharper line. 


Eyeliner is an essential item that is used daily. For me, I don't just use black eyeliner but use dark brown and purple/navy liners as well. I think purple and navy compliment the brown eyes well. I prefer pencil over pen or gel liner because of its ease of use.
Like my mascaras, I tend to buy waterproof ones to minimize the smudging.

For my oily eye lids, I need to use an eyeshadow base to ensure that the liner does not smudge. I almost never line the bottom of my eyes because I think heavy lining at the bottom of your lashes make the eyes look smaller than bigger. I also never line the waterline on the bottom for the same reason, in addition to the fact the liner can smear into your actual eyeballs.

Prestige waterproof eyeliner: cheap, easy to use kohl pencil liner with good color payoff. These are available at London Drugs or Shoppers for under $8. The consistency is smooth and does not smudge much. I always have one in my make up stash.

Clio waterproof eyeliner (brown & black): truly waterproof, budge-proof eyeliners that does not need a pencil sharpener. I have gone through 3 - 4 of these in the last couple of years. The pencil is on the harder side so it may tug the eyelids a bit. If I ever want to line tightline (the white part right below the lashes) I tend to use these ones as they do not smudge at all.
About 8,000 won (~$8).

Dollywink eyeliner: super famous Japanese brand. I bought this because the packaging was too darn cute. The black liner is truly black and it is easy to apply. A little harder than Prestige but softer than CLIO. The downfall is that it smudges.

Rimmel eyeliner (automatic): one of the truest purple eyeliners I have enjoyed over the last 10 years or so. Like the Prestige liner, this one is a permanent part of my make up collection. Very cheap (around $5), readily available and simple to use. It used to have sharpener attached at the back of the pencil but now has a smudger.

The Faceshop Make me star gel pencil liners: another clear winner of non-smudging waterproof pencils. All of them have a fleck of glitter which makes them so pretty. I tend to use the bronze and the navy as a shadow stick.

MAC gel liner (blacktrack): the infamous gel liner that rivals Bobbi Brown gel liner. I don't use this much because this definitely smudges on me. I actually find gel liners not that easy to use. The gel is very soft and smooth but in my opinion, not as easy to control.

E.L.F. felt tip liquid liner: this is $1!!!!!! yes for $1, you get a decent product. Not waterproof, but have not had any issues with smudging or fading. Love this one.

Milani liquify pencil liner: I don't know how they do it but this pencil gives a look of a real gel liners. Super black and super soft. My complaint is that it is too soft and I can never get it to sharpen to a fine point so the lines tend to be thicker than I want. This is also waterproof but has not been completely smudge proof on me.