Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!

Dear friends,

Within a couple of hours, the year 2008 is going to be the past. I would like to thank all of you who have come to my blog and welcomed it to your life. When I first started, I did not think that I would have so much fun here playing and writing about makeup. Now, I have developed some kinship to you, my readers, and I am very thankful for that.

The year 2008 has brought me more downs than ups but within a year, I have grown so much and proved to myself that I can survive through difficulties. This blog has reflected my emotions and at a point became my shelter whenever I needed a place to lift my spirit. So thank you for being there for me, all of you!

Last but not least, I wish you all good health, good time, good company, and good makeup. As always, stay gorgeous!

Dao, Your Makeup Blogger

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hi everybody,

Happy Holidays!
Wishing you and your loved ones a joyful Christmas and a wonderful year 2009!

...but wait, there's more!
I'm giving you a FOTD as well, just click more to find out :)

I love the look of this FOTD and used eye shadows from Coastal Scents 88 palette and let me tell you how pigmented the eye shadows are! They are so awesome and blendable. I did not even use a base on my eyes at all!

Colors that I used are from the 3rd column from the left. If you number it from top to bottom, the order goes this way: (1) 7th green, (2) 5th green, (3) 3rd green, which looks like a yellow, and (4) 1st green, which looks like white.

The eyes:
Apply (1) all over the lid, then (2) above it to contour slightly from the outside to 3/4 of the eyelid, (3) to the inner corner of the eye, and (4) to highlight.
Draw a crisp line with a MAC 266 slanted eye brush and your favorite gel liner
Apply 2-3 coats of mascara

Closed eye.
Beautiful, isn't it?

The cheeks:
LORAC Hot blush from Hollywood Heat collection

The lips:
NYC Retro Red

Pucker up!

Again, happy holidays and I hope you have a peaceful and restful break. I need a break from blogging as well so see you in 2009!

Dao, your makeup blogger

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"Red," I Said: A Comprehensive Guide to Budget Red Lipsticks

Hello my dear lovely ladies,

It's Christmas Eve in the U.S and I'm still blogging! This year, despite the economy, I feel very festive and hope to enjoy the holidays the way I want: with peace and joy in my heart! With that in mind, I feel the urge to reach for my red lipsticks every single chance I get. Let's see how I've done so far:
  • Go grocery shopping: wear red lipstick,
  • Go to the post office: wear another red lipstick,
  • Go to school: tone down a bit- wear red lip gloss (!)
  • At home watching TV: wear red lipstick, which is almost everyday now,
  • Sitting in front of the computer blogging: wear a different red lipstick, again!
The irony is I used to be afraid of red anything and everything. I rarely wore anything with that color at all as I felt washed out. Then I started to blog here and got braver and braver. And one day, you saw me doing this (no kidding!) From that moment on, my life has changed: I started embracing the sanguine shade of lipstick and began my search for the true red lippie of my life. However, with a twist of fate, I cannot rock the reddest red lips to school everyday. After all, I am not a fine arts major and my field is really conservative, hence the tone down lip gloss and balm.

As the holiday season is knocking on our doors, I find my legitimate reason to rock the reds and here is my little comprehensive guide to red lipsticks, especially budget ones.

Le comparative study: Reds in all shades, sizes, and prices
Note: number 4 is MAC Red and 5 is MAC Russian Red, the other colors are comparative to those two
  1. Maybelline Royal Red ($5 USD): closest to Russian Red in term of color and texture.
  2. NYC Retro Red (99 cents): is the doppelganger of Russian Red, read more about it later.
  3. NYX Gardenia ($1-3.50 USD): vampy red lipstick, my first red!
  4. MAC Red
  5. MAC Russian Red
  6. Wet n Wild Hot Red (99 cents): bright red, very sanguine and pretty. (Read more later!)
  7. Rimmel Alarm ($5 USD): a little bit brighter than Russian Red, very pigmented and moist.
  8. Rimmel Temptation (also $5 USD): a bit darker than Russian Red and very pretty.
As much as I love red, it is hard for me to justify spending $14 on Russian Red. Since I don't wear it everyday after the holiday season, buying a cheap drugstore lipstick and wearing it once in a while is a much better solution for me. These days drugstore makeup are getting better and better, which made me feel adventurous to try out some of the rock-bottom red lipsticks. Beside NYX Gardenia that I have for a while now, I picked NYC Retro Red and Wet n Wild Hot Red to "experiment". Three of them combined did not cost me more than 4 dollars and I've had a lot of fun with them.

The three sanguine amigos (L-R): NYC Retro Red, Wet n Wild Hot Red, and NYX Gardenia

< style="font-size:130%;">1. NYX Gardenia

NYX Gardenia in full glory

Lip swatch

There's no doubt that NYX Gardenia has been featuring heavily in this blog. Although the texture is a tad drying, it has been the red that I love due to its vampy nature. Also, it is not really bright which makes Gardenia very wearable. It is a must for red lipstick lovers.

2. NYC Retro Red (308B)

NYC Retro Red

Lip swatch, pardon my chapped lips!

NYC is known among makeup artists as a budget brand that offers some stellar products for less than 5 dollars. This company even goes the distance to compare its products with high end ones. The NYC moisturizing lipstick is comparable to MAC lipstick, according to their website. At first, I thought they were kidding to compare a 99 cent lipstick to a 14 dollar one. After all, MAC is known for their lipsticks. Curiosity got the best of me when I saw how similar the NYC lipstick packaging is: the same bullet shaped version like MAC, except the cap is clear. Now, NYC really is trying to tell me something! I willingly shelled out my hard earned dollar plus tax to bring home the Retro Red, hoping to have a good laugh.

However, the joke is on me! Retro Red not only is a great red lipstick but also the twin sister of its 14 times more expensive MAC sister Russian Red! And no, I am not kidding! Almost everything that Russian Red has, Retro Red also owns...for 99 cents! Except for the slight floral smell, I find this lipstick quite moisturizing and the pigmentation is stunning. Somewhere, I can hear a MAC SA weeping over the lost of sale on a MAC Russian Red.

3. Wet n Wild Hot Red (#519A)

What's wet and wild and red? Hot Red!

The lip swatch, minus the chapped skin.

Wet n Wild holds a lot of memories with me: in the 80s, this brand is popular with its wild fuchsia lipsticks that everyone, including my mom, seemed to wear. Somewhere in my parents' house, there is at least a photo of me around 8 years old wearing one shade of those! When Marie Claire recommended Hot Red as one of their favorite red lipsticks, I took note to try it one day. Among the Yves Saint Laurent, Lancôme, and Chanel, this red lipstick is red enough to be included.

When the day came for me to bring it home, I was quite disappointed of how sheer the texture is at first. However, the lipstick is buildable and very moist-the moistest of the three, to be precise. In the lip swatch picture, you can see my lips look quite shiny. It is comfortable to wear and the lipstick fades into a tint, which looks quite pretty. Like NYC lipstick, this one also has a faint fruity-floral fragrance which quickly fades away.

The most interesting thing about Hot Red is its brightness: of the three lipsticks, it is the brightest and makes my teeth look blindly white! Hot Red is a lot brighter than Russian Red and probably has the same shade as MAC Red or even Ruby Woo. I haven't attempted going out with this lipstick yet because it definitely demands attention from strangers.

If you have never worn red lipsticks in your life, I urge you to give it a try. These lipsticks are very inexpensive and have blue base, which makes your teeth look much whiter. Also, I find blue-base lipsticks easier to wear than orange-base ones. While putting on a red lipstick gives me more charm and power, taking it off makes me feel naked and...normal! No wonder why all super-heroines have red lippies on!

Take care ladies and happy Christmast Eve!

Your Makeup Blogger

P.S: If you like my blog, please subscribe to my feed. Thanks a lot!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day to Night: FOTD and FOTN

Hi ladies,

How are you doing today? I'm doing fine and happy to bundle up a bit. For many days, the Sunshine state was warm and sunny while the rest of the states suffered from severe weather conditions. Now the weather finally caught up with us and yesterday it dipped down to 50-something degree Fahrenheit! From 80 degrees F down to 50-ish degree F was a big jump for us and yours truly shivered her skinny butt up last night. But things are going to change for folks living in this neck of the woods as it's going to get warmer as we get closer to Christmas. Nice, right?

Since niceness is in the air, I decided to do something extra different today: I'm posting 2 faces- a FOTD (face of the day) and a FOTN (face of the night.) Although you've seen a lot of FOTDs here, I've never done a FOTN before. So here's a real treat for you. In the spirit of the holiday season, I know lots of you are hopping from party to party and may not have time to strip off your makeup to do another different face for the night time party. The FOTN actually is an improvisation of the FOTD with some minor changes.

Are you ready? Let's go!

Part 1: FOTD
The look is fresh and easy, very appropriate for the office.
On the side note, look how great my skin is!

How to do it:

  • Laura Geller Welcome Matte as a primer
  • Silk Naturals regular foundation
  • Everyday Minerals silk dust (RIP! It went to mineral makeup heaven a while ago!)
Eyes: uber simple!

It looks like a lot of work to look this natural, right?
  • Apply Bare Canvas paint pot all over the lid with your finger (or synthetic brush)
  • Apply Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush luminous shadow in Laguna Peach on your eyelid and blend with a MAC 239 brush (if VS already RIP Laguna Peach, you can substitute with any peach color. Stila Kittens is nice as well!)
  • Apply a thin layer of dark brown eyeshadow near the lash line and use a MAC 219 pencil brush to soften up the line.
  • Using a MAC 266 or any synthetic slanted eye brush, apply fluidline (or any gel eyeliner) to your lash line. I used Coastal Scents gel eyeliner in Navy Blue
Cheeks: apply your favorite pink blush you have and blend well.

Lips: use Avon glazewear lipstick in Champagne Glow on your lips. No lip gloss necessary, glazewear is that awesome!

Another picture of the look

Part 2: FOTN

The look

Although I looked like a different animal, there were minor tweaks in the makeup to transform me from day to night. I keep the eye makeup and blush the same for the night look. If we play "Spot the Difference", the pronounced one probably is the lips. Changing from a nude lip to a red lip really brought everything out. Of course you can choose to wear a different color but red is the fastest and effortless way to give you that chic look. In this look, I resorted to my favorite red lipstick: NYX Gardenia! The other add-on is a pair of falsies!

While keeping the eye makeup the same, adding a pair of false eyelashes really brings my eyes out and changes how they look.

It's a free pair of Sephora lashes that I mentioned in this post

I was really surprised of the change. This picture was taken at night and I think I was yelling "My eyes, my eyes!" to the mirror!

"And remember kids, eat your vegetable!", or
"And remember children, don't drink and drive!"

With a pair of false lashes and a red lipstick, you can transform your everyday look from day to night. If you don't wear falsies, applying a lot of mascara also makes your eyes look more dramatic. If you don't like red lipsticks, you should give it a try! It's a lot of fun wearing red, especially during this time of the year.

That's all for today, my dear ladies. Please stay warm and gorgeous!

With love,
Your Makeup Blogger

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Philosophy Inner Grace Perfume: My Inner Strength

Hello ladies,

Happy Monday! We are three days away from Christmas Day and I hope the pressure of the holiday season is not getting into you. Lately, I've gone through a lot and it was hard for me to stay calm, let alone cracking a smile. Although I have a lot of perfumes in my closet, I needed one that calms me down and get me through tough time. While browsing Sephora website (I love thee!), I bumped into Philosophy web page. While toying between Amazing Grace, which is the most known Philosophy fragrance, and Inner Grace, the later one's description really pushed my button:
Inner Grace is your own personal heaven and was formulated with a scent to help bring peace and balance to your life. If you don't have time to meditate, Inner Grace offers an easy, one-second solution.
"That is so what I need!" I thought. Within some couple clicks, a small 0.5 oz bottle of Inner Grace EDP was in my cart! Three days later, a nice FedEx guy delivered to my door a box from Sephora with some stuff and that tiny bottle of EDP.

Philosophy Inner Grace EDP, 0.5 fl. oz ($15 USD)
...and my attempt of being artsy (click for a bigger image, of course!)

Text on the front of the box:
"to know peace is to know God. within the context of peace, we can know joy, love and happiness. in the absence of peace, we own nothing but the turmoil of our minds that jump from one negative thought to the next. to find peace, you must shut off your mind and open your heart to the only thing that matters, the gift of the present moment, peace personified."

Philosophy listed this perfume as a soft floral and does not mention the notes. When I wear it, a strong scent of patchouli is very pronounced and as it dies down, it smells a little bit sweeter and I can smell a tiny bit of musk. Usually perfumes with patchouli smells old on me and I was quite put off by it at first (come on, I am the one who recommended Aquolina Pink Sugar, remember?) However, as the day went by, I was more drawn into Inner Grace and the next thing I knew, I took off my shirt and sprayed it all over my body!

I really love the amethyst color of the bottle as well as the simplistic design.
Very zen indeed!

With all that said, Inner Grace is not a heavy or heady perfume at all. Somebody already compared it with Sarah Jessica Parker's first perfume "Lovely" and I care to disagree. I for once cannot stand Lovely at all as it is quite strong and gives me sneezes or headache. Also, I really smell like an old woman (or not showering properly) whenever I wear Lovely. Inner Grace, on the other hand, is lovely! (I know, I'm the master of my words!) It is a type of perfume that is quiet, the kind that you wear for yourself. It does not get into anybody's space but the one who is close to you. It is uplifting and on the days that I think I needed some boosts, I spray a bit of Inner Grace and my days went faster. Sometimes I even dare to think this perfume saves me some neurons. And that's why I love it so much!

If you are looking for some peace in your life, this perfume is definitely for you. I cannot think of any other perfumes that I can wear three days in a row without getting tired but this one. Inner Peace is quiet and calm: God knows there are days I just need something like this! I urge you to give it a try, the 0.5 fl. oz is only $15 USD! It also makes a nice stocking stuffer for your loved ones.

For more information, please visit Philosophy website. Sephora has a better variety of Inner Grace and shipping is always free when you spend $50 USD or more at their website.

Happy Monday, ladies! I wish you peace and love during this week. As usual, stay gorgeous!

With love,
Your Makeup Blogger

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Funny: Of Pets and Makeup

Hi ladies (and gents),

Today is Friday, yay! As usual, I scour the web for cute images for an entertaining post. After all, I think we deserve to have some fun on Fridays. There's so much to talk about makeup and reading reviews can get boring at some points. I was curious of how pets and makeup are related to each other and found two important things on my search for the answer:

1. Cats seem to be more interested in makeup than dogs: at least Google Image search told me so!
2. Some animals are as obsessed about makeup as their humans: you're going to see it soon.

So brace and steady yourself, I don't want anybody to fall off their chairs!

I have an excuse for looking au naturale: my dog ate my makeup!

...and that was why I scared the cat!

You can't replace cuteness with cheap replicas!

Cat to kabuki: "Need to destroy da humanz' other furry stuff!"

Level 10 of makeup junkie-ness: let the dog play fetch with your lipstick!

Extreme Makeover: Animal Edition!

Photo credits: Cartoon Stock, LOL Cats, William Pictures, and Cassidy.

I hope you're having a wonderful week ahead. Stay gorgeous and have lots of fun!

Your Makeup Blogger

Please subscribe to my feed. Thanks a lot!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide: Perfumes for Mom

Hi ladies,

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, I hope you get all of your gifts ready for your loved ones. For the most important person in your life who brought you to this world, sometimes it is hard to get a good gift for your mother. To me, perfumes make really good gifts if you know the receivers very well. For your mother, a new perfume not only makes her happy but also gives her a chance to try something new and different. Growing up with my mother and grandmother, I have a lot of fond memories that are related to perfumes. Once in a while I would smell something that brought me to tears as it reminded me a lot about my mom or grandma. I think perfumes are really sentimental gifts and if you choose to go this route during this holiday season, here is a comprehensive guide for you.

1. Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Since I first smelled this perfume, it evoked a lot of emotions in me as Daisy smells like something my grandmother used to wear. It is a very sunny and cheerful perfume that is as light and lofty as a crisp spring day. The bottle is also very beautiful and is worthy as a vanity display.

2. J'adore by Christian Dior

This perfume is very sensual and I list it as a LBD (little black dress) type of perfume. For your mom, it may blend well with her pearls and diamonds as J'adore is also a rich type of perfume. It is made by Dior, what else can I say?

3. Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan

This perfume revokes femininity and is a very beautiful eau. Although created a long time ago, it still has a big group of followers. As J'adore is more appropriate for night time, Cashmere Mist rules the daytime wearers. If you ask me to name a famous American perfume, this one would be on the list!

4. FlowerByKenzo

If your mother likes art, this is the perfect gift for her! Kenzo is not only famous for his perfumes but also for the bottles that contain them. The first time I saw a bottle of FlowerByKenzo, it took my breath away: the bottle was so beautiful! The intricate structure, the flower, and the glass bottle make the bottle look both fragile and strong. The juice is flowery and powery, makes it suitable for daytime wear.

5. Chanel no. 5

No list of perfumes is complete without mentioning Chanel no. 5! This classic fragrance is still a favorite among a lot of people. For your chic mom, a classic bottle of Chanel will definitely bring a lot of joy to her during this holiday season. Don't skimp on mom, she deserves the best!


When it comes to choosing the perfume, the type you choose does make a difference. Eau de parfum has more of the perfume essence than eau de toilette. EDT also has more alcohol content and therefore lasts less than its EDP version. Also, as it is more diluted, EDT costs less.

So which one should you buy?

While most fragrances have both versions, some only have one available. If your mother's skin is sensitive and/or she does not like strong fragrances, an EDT is more suitable. However, if you have more cash in the bank and wants to give your mom the best, by all means go for the EDP. Also, paying a little bit more for a gift set is a nice touch.

All the perfumes I mentioned are available at Sephora or fine perfume stores. Photo credit goes to as well. I know this is the second post about perfumes this week but during this time of the year you can really get good deals on fragrances.

That's all for today, ladies. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead!

With love,
Your Makeup Blogger

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DIY Eye Makeup Remover: A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Hello my beauties,

How are we doing today? I'm so glad that you're here to read my blog! As a beauty blogger and makeup junkie, I find myself applying and taking off makeup more than usual. At times, I realized that I went through a bottle of eye makeup remover a week. Although I really love the expensive department store makeup removers such as Lancôme Bi-facil and Clinique Take the Day Off, I cannot afford spending $20+ USD per week! Also, drugstore eye makeup removers do not seem to do a good job removing all of my eye shadows. What can a makeup junkie do?

Don't fret, my lovely ladies! When there's a will, there's a way. Once upon a time, I read about diluting baby shampoo to remove eye makeup. However, it did not work out quite well for me as I bought a generic version of the baby shampoo to save me some money. Apparently, the cheap version did not do a good job cleaning anything, especially makeup. Also, as I experienced more with eye makeup remover, the best type is the bi-phasic ones that consist of a water-based cleanser and an oil-phase liquid. When you shake them together, the two different phases mix up and combine their power to remove everything on your lids.

My favorite bi-phasic eye makeup remover: Clinique take the day off ($17.50 USD for 4.2 oz!)
Imagine going through one of those every week!

Knowing what I want in my eye makeup remover actually makes it much easier to create my own DYI version at home. This time around, I purchased Johnson's baby shampoo (brand name FTW!) and with some mad scientist skillz, I finally figured out a formula that gently removes my eye makeup and nourishes my lashes as well.

So my kittens, take carefull notes. At the end of this post, the entry will vanish and you will never ever ever seen this secret eye makeup remover formula again!

Are you ready?

What you need (L-R):
Johnson's baby shampoo ($2.50-$4.00 USD), castor oil (~$3 USD), a tea spoon, some water (not pictured), and a Pyrex mesuring cup

  • As I mentioned earlier, the generic (aka store brand) baby shampoo does not work for me. In the past, I used Target brand and Wal-mart store brand: both of them failed miserably. The Johnson's original formula (with yellowish liquid) works gloriously!
  • Castor oil is one of the oils used in Take the day off and I decide to use it instead of other lighter oils such as olive or jojoba oil. Castor oil seems to hold the emulsion much better and the emulsion is the power force to remove all traces of eye makeup.>
  • Although you can use purified water, I prefer my municipal tap water straight from the source. However, it does not hurt to use bottled water when you mix your DIY eye makeup remover.
Step 1: Measuring baby shampoo

Using a clean spoon, add two spoons of baby shampoo to the Pyrex measuring cup

Step 2: Add water to make a 10% soapy solution

Add enough water to make a 2 oz. soapy water, gently mix the shampoo and water together without causing foams.
You just made a ~10% soapy water solution. At this point, you can stop and use the above solution as an eye makeup remover if you wish.

Step 3: Add castor oil to make a bi-phasic eye makeup remover

Add 1 oz of castor oil to make a 3 oz of bi-phasic eye makeup remover

Then carefully transfer the cleanser to a bottle
As baby shampoo is sudsy, I prefer the volume of the bottle to be bigger than the volume of bi-phasic cleanser I make. Therefore, there is enough room for the two phases to mix together while the cleanser foams up.

Although it is hard to see, an emulsion forms after shaking the two parts together
(I tried to find a clear bottle but had to settle with a dark one instead!)

Castor oil has moisturizing property and since I've been using this DIY cleanser, I've seen my eye lashes getting longer. The regular water-based cleansers tend to dry out my lashes and make them more brittle. However, if you are allergic to castor oil, I suggest you to switch to a different type of oil to use as the oil phase.

When I took the pictures, I toggled between different camera settings but the one that casted yellowish hue gave me the clearest pictures. I tried to edit out the tint but was not successful and I'm very sorry for that. I hope the hue does not annoy you and I did my best to make the pictures as clear as possible.

That's all for today, folks! I hope you find this entry helpful and I've been making my own eye makeup remover for about 1/2 a year now. It is very affordable to get all the ingredients and not really time consuming to make a batch (took me about 10 minutes to make this batch and take pictures at the same time!)

Note (10/28/09): It's funny how the Internet works: I wrote this post almost a year ago and recently, it got picked up in a fashion forum. People there questioned how I went through a bottle of eye makeup remover a week. Back then, I bought store brand or cheap eye makeup remover and wore hard to remove mascaras. In order to remove all traces of mascara, I had to saturate two full cotton balls and if you do the math right, a bottle of eye makeup remover did not last that long. On top of that, I felt very irritated to still have remnants of mascara after spending a chunk of makeup remover and time to remove it. I still wear mascara but thanks to this solution, I actually spend less time and liquid to remove my mascara.

You can get castor oil at drugstores and Walmart. It costs around 3-4 dollars per bottle.

Take care and stay gorgeous,
Your Makeup Blogger

P.S: For those who do not use the British system, 1 fluid ounce = 30 ml.
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