Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laura Mercier Friends and Family Sale 20% OFF

No code needed. Valid between June 27 through June 30 (11:59 EST) on lauramercier.com.

Enjoy shopping and hope you're having a great week.

Joanne

Monday, June 25, 2012

20% OFF Giorgio Armani Cosmetics


Enter the code GAFAMILY3 to receive 20% OFF and free shipping for any $75 purchase. My recommendations

1. Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows (PurpuraKhaki PulseRock SandBlast of BluePulp Fiction)
2. Luminous Silk Foundation (reviewed here)
3. Eyes to Kill Mascara (reviewed here) and the rest of their mascara range. All are really good quality. Eyes to Kill Mascara Excess has wetter formula than the others, though.
4. Micro-Fil Loose Powder (reviewed here)

Or you may browse through Giorgio Armani label in the post for my other reviews of the line.

Review: Boots No. 7 Mineral Perfection Eyeshadow in 05 Rose

A much delayed review on Boots No. 7 Mineral Perfection Eyeshadow in 05 Rose is finally here. Given how much I love Topaz (review here), I had sky-high expectation for Rose. The satin khaki taupe grabbed my attention immediately while I was absorbed in the taupe craze last November :) There are also a satin cool rosy pink and an satin icy blue that turns silver on my skin. What a tough color combination for my warm skin tone! However, these colors are all wearable.

Rose offers decent opacity although still a notch sheerer than Topaz. The mineral formula seems to soften the texture quite a bit compared to the Stay Perfect line. It lasts for good 10 hours without falls out.

All three shades have a very delicate sheen.

You can see the base colors
Bottom line. Like but not love. If Rose were more pigmented, I would over look the challenging color coordination. Considering the price and the quality it has to offer, I think this trio is a really good deal. 

My quest for the inner peace. Ep 1

You're probably wondering what my inner peace has anything to do with my personal beauty blog. Well, I loose my good feeling about myself as soon as my inner self stirs up. And who would be beautiful without feeling great inside?
In the past few years, stress, tension, emotions, pain, frustration, anger, sadness, you name it, have built up. The good thing is they didn't come to me without notice. I acknowledged the fact and tried to do exercise, find new hobbies (e.g. this blog :D), set new challenges, etc... All those trying helped me to stay focus for some time but then the stress came back. I lost the focus again. Something was still missing.

After several years of experimenting different fitness regimes, I became to realize that they did work my muscles but didn't touch my mind. Being a thinker, and actually loving to ponder about the whole world, I got trapped easily in my thoughts and loose the calmness. Now that things quiet down a little, my stronger wiser self tells me: my mind needs to work out just as much as my physical body. Until then, I won't find the peace I once owned and lost. I'd be able to focus again and feel good again.

Long story for short, while looking for a meditation course, I found out about Dahn Yoga. It's the branch of yoga that places equal emphasis on physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It combines yoga, meditation, tai chi and martial art exercise. Exactly what I need! Everyday, I look forward to the one-hour painful training, which I never do with any other fitness program.

This is only my week three and I already see and feel the difference. So, I decided to post a documentary series about the process. Let's start with some observations :)

I've lost 2 pounds after one week practicing Dahn Yoga and maintained the same weight for over 2 weeks. Put it in a commercial perspective, Dahn Yoga does more to my body in 1 week than Brazilian Butt Lift does in 2 months. Even though losing weight isn't my primary goal, I might have just detoxify my body and lost water weight.

After the classes, I don't feel like eating a lot, especially high protein food (doesn't sound like myself at all). Instead, I crave for plenty of water, fruit and vegetables.

I feel relaxed and at ease.

Have you tried out yoga? Any tips on sustaining a good regime? Any thoughts?

I'll share more about Dahn Yoga, my adaptation to the daily life, and hopefully certain improvement on my physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.


Where the mind goes; the energy follows, the blood flows and the matter occurs. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Dior 5-color Eyeshadow Quint in Beige Massai

If only one eyeshadow palette was allowed (nightmare!) I would own Dior Beige Massai. I can't say enough how much I adore it! The more I use it the more I appreciate the brilliant design of this quint. The swatches as you'll see below don't signal much of its gorgeousness and versatility that it can do for you. Dior, please bring Beige Massai back as it was!!! Please don't turn it into pearly/frosty/shimmery boredom we've seen repeatedly in your recent releases (and remake of Stylish Move :( ) of 5-color palettes.

Dior Beige Massai (0.21 oz) represents the very best of Dior eyeshadows, quality-wise and color-wise, in my opinion.

Beige Massai contains a matte ivory, a satin brownish tan, a satin rusty coral, a matte peach and a satin rich neutral brown. What you see in the pan is how the shades turn out in reality. My favorite shade is the rich neutral brown, the most pigmented in the palette. I only need to use a blending brush (e.g. MAC 217) to pick up the color then tap off the excess before dabbing it on my lids. It's the most gorgeous brown for the crease but also defines the lash lines wonderfully.

Close-ups 
Beige Massai works well on its own. You can coordinate any three shades vertically, horizontally or diagonally (the lighter shades on the lids and the deeper shades on the creases, like here). I manage to wear all but the rusty coral for wearable looks. I'll add the rusty coral for more dramatic effects.

Beige Massai is the perfect company for all of my eye makeup. The matte ivory is a great highlighter for brow bones, inner corners of the eyes, cleaning up falls outs and crisping up the winged eyeliners. The brownish tan compliments my skin tone extremely well, creating a hazy effect while defining my eyes at the same time. The peach matches my skin tone almost exactly so I also use it to brighten up my under eye areas. It brings in the balance for cool or warm looks. I've always use it to soften edges between colors. Many people use MAC Soft Brown to do this, I'll go for the peach in Beige Massai. The rusty coral concerned me at first since this family color tends to make my eyes look bruised (and I solely based my purchase on oneline swatches). But as soon as I paired it with Rimmel Spice Bronze, I was completely sold. For more smokey effect, I add the deep brown, especially to silvery taupe like Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Pulp Fiction. Stunning!

Swatch under direct sunlight

Indoors
Beige Massai has diverse finishes from matte to semi-satin to satin, making it incredibly versatile. The matte shades don't look plain and the satin shades give my eyes a sophisticated sheen. All are buttery smooth without being powdery. The texture is finely milled. All this is achieved without an inclusion of pearl or shimmer that has become a cliche in most Dior eyeshadows today. I really hope that Dior will bring back Beige Massai or at least the finish of this palette. Yes, I do say this twice.

Like other great Dior 5-color eyeshadow quints, Beige Massai stays fresh for over 10 hours (until being removed) with a standard primer. 

It still baffles me why this classic beauty is discontinued. What was Dior thinking? I emailed their customer service and received a confirmation on this. Anyway, some ebay sellers still have some. I got both of mine from ebay and was very pleased with the quality. As long as you do business with a top-rated seller, you should be able grab an authentic Beige Massai. 

Bottom line. Every girl needs one Beige Massai, better yet get two before it forever disappears even in the flea market. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Preview: Dior Beige Massai

In the world where only one eyeshadow palette were allowed, I would own Dior Beige Massai...


Close-up under direct sunlight

Close-up indoors

I first heard about this incredibly beautiful eyeshadow quint from makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. Dior Beige Massai is among her all time favorites. She used this palette in two videos (now you know why I must have that YSL fuschia lipstick :D).

Fresh pink lip

Spring/summer coral look

The review is coming soon here.

Have a great week!

Review: Edward Bess Compact Rouge in Love Affair

Being a huge fan of Edward Bess, especially after falling in love with Back to Basics and Berry Chic palettes, I was determined to try his compact rouge. So I picked up Love Affair during Sephora VIB sale a few months back. And once again, I'm blown away by the wearability of the color, the stay put power and the ease of use. My Edward Bess obsession lives on...
 
Edward Bess Compact Rouge in Love Affair ($38 for 0.05 oz) is a baby pink cream blush/lip color. It looks bright pink in the pot and highly pigmented. However, it becomes a natural pink flush on your cheeks as blended out. I just use my clean fingers to apply Love Affair for a sheer effect. It glides smoothly on my cheeks. Since it's a bright color, a little goes a long way. A foundation brush will blend well too but I feel like it wastes some product and I don't need opaque application anyway.

The wonderful thing about Edward Bess Compact Rouge, in my opinion, lies in the super long-wearing. I have been wearing Love Affair almost every day during the past 3 months. The weather in Houston has shipped from dry to humid and from cool to hot. The thin application of Love Affair stay fresh for over 10 hours no matter what. It literally looks the same at the end of the day when I remove my makeup. It's a huge plus since my cheeks tend not to hold blushes well.

Indoor. Heavy swatch (top left) and actual application (bottom right)

Outdoors, direct sunlight. Heavy swatch (left) and actual application (right)
It compliments a wide range of skin tones. On fairer skin, it creates a baby rosy cheeks. It pops as pink flush on darker skin. It works well for both more conservative office looks and spring/summer parties.

Bottom line. Quick. Easy. Fool-proof. Wearable. Beautiful. Love Affair is simply a MUST-HAVE!   

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector SPF 25 in Pearl and Opal

I was never impressed with liquid highlighters until I tried out Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors ($41 for 1.7 oz). They produce such a natural glow that becomes seamless with the skin. The idea of liquid shimmering highlighter is no new but the consistency of texture and just right amount of shimmer make this product stand out.

A few close-ups of the packaging
Don't worry about dropping them. The bottles are made of plastic and rubber-like material with a pump. 

Pearl, as its name suggests, is a pearly white with extremely delicate white shimmer. When I first pump it out, it looks stalky white and nothing like a shade that can match with the rest of my face. However, it blends seamlessly into my skin and quite sheer. I have medium, yellow undertone and Pearl doesn't wash me out or concentrate into white stripes on my cheekbones.

Opal is an apricot with coppery champagne shimmer. Like Pearl, the shimmer is finely milled, creating a from-within glow that is incredibly natural. Opal compliments my skin tone really well and better than Pearl. I would recommend Opal for warm skintone. If you're on the cooler side, it might not look as natural.

Side by side outdoors
There are two ways I apply Becca Skin Perfector, with either a foundation or concealer brush and with clean fingers. Even though I prefer the brush, clean fingers will work just as well and the effect is sheerer. In the photos, I swatched Pearl and Opal heavily for them to show up. On my skin tone, though, they create glycerin type of glow that catches light and only show when I turn my face to certain angles. And the glow stays put all day. This result, ladies, is what I expect Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer should have.

The only drawback of these goodies is the setting time, around 10-15 minutes, which doesn't break the deal. I don't complain much since liquid formula tends to require more time to stabilize on skin in compensation for the ease of blending and natural looking effects.

More swatches indoors (using heavy hands on Pearl!)
Final thoughts. Totally in love! Natural, effortless and long-wearing. I use Pearl for day time and Opal for night time. For the amount you need of each application, this bottle is huge. If you love highlighters, you MUST have one of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors. 

Lately

I literally stayed away from beauty blog through out the months of April and May. My life has been hectic like hell and I lost my inspiration to blog. But all the beauty purchases I made since January were all huge success. I love every single one of them. So I decided to share a brief overview of these goodies and will do a more in-depth description later on.
First and foremost, I finally found THE foundation that I desperately wanted for years ever since my love affair with makeup began. Yes, nearly 10 years. Clarins Ever Matte Skin Balancing Foundation. Smooth with extra finely milled texture. Matte without being dull. Stay on all day (no setting powder needed). Natural like second skin. Doesn't turn orange half day through. Weightless. Cover well and buildable. I found my right shade. Affordable. Smell refreshing. Smart packaging that works well for traveling. I don't think it's the perfect match for everybody but it should work well on loads of skintone and type. I can no longer come back to my Chanel Matte Lumiere or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Totally in love!
Other awesome discoveries were Dior 5-color eyeshadow quint in Beige Massai and Chanel 4-color quint in Kaska Beige. Both are universally flattering neutrals with beautiful pop of colors. Beige Massai, in particular, has everything I love about the best of Dior 5-color quints. And Chanel Kaska Beige is simply a-must. Hands down. Sadly, Dior Beige Massai was discontinued (yes, I checked with Dior). So I had to raid ebay's beauty department and grabbed two (of course).

I've also been using Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Espresso Ink non-stop since March. YSL Touch Eclat is my new under eye concealer. Edward Bess Compact Rouge in Love Affair (seriously, every girl needs this) is my every day blush and will be until the fall comes.

Some other happy procurements include
YSL Rouge Couture in 27
Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Gloss in Beach
Makeup Forever HD Blush in No. 6
L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe
Maybeline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Tough as Taupe
Clinique Black Honey
Becca Shimmer Skin Perfectors in Pearl and Opal, both of which aren't new to my collection but I waited until I got a good use of them to write reviews.

I'm very excited to continue to share and learn more about makeup. I hope you are doing well.

Joanne
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