Raving about makeup, skincare, hair and other little obsessions... A Beauty Blog

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Makeover for Ty's Blog of Epiphanies

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a lovely weekend! I apologising for not posting on Wednesday/Thursday like I normally do. That's because I've been shopping for a "personal stylist"/"plastic surgeon" for Ty's Blog of Epiphanies.

Ta-da! Do you like her new look? I really like it. I think it suits her personality, even though I am usually not the biggest fan of pink.

 In case you can't recall what her old outfit looked like. I think it was time to move on. I felt that it looked unprofessional and outdated. And I'm glad I took the plunge and revamped her through a blog template designer.

What do you guys think? Do you like the makeover?

P.S. This is a reminder that my giveaway ends in 2 days!
Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Next Bobbi Brown Ambassador: Kate Upton

I was drawn to Kate because – not only is she incredibly beautiful – she is healthy, comfortable in her own skin, has such positive energy, and is a woman who creates her own rules. She loves life and that is Pretty Powerful.” - Bobbi Brown 

In case you didn't already know, I am a big fan of Bobbi Brown products. My first eyeshadow palette was from Bobbi Brown. I was pretty stoked when I found out that Kate Upton is set to be the next ambassador, second to Katie Holmes.

Known for gracing the covers of Sports Illustrated and clad in bikinis, Kate has an enviable body. My boyfriend and I were appalled when we heard the news sometime back that she was rejected by Victoria Secret to be an angel because apparently she's "too fat". It disgusts me that big brands like that still try to portray that "only skinny is beautiful". Now, I am happy for Kate for scoring this role. I think Bobbi Brown made a smart move. Whilst Katie Holmes remains a suitable ambassador, she is more appealing to slightly older women and speaks for the sophisticated side of the brand. Kate Upton, on the other hand, targets a younger audience and represents the sexy side of the brand. That's my opinion anyway.

Kate Upton and Bobbi Brown campaign images are expected to hit stores and counters in July 2014.

What do you think of this partnership? Are you a fan of Kate Upton?
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Comparison of Makeup Books #2

If you liked my review of the Bobbi Brown, Zoe Foster and Rae Morris makeup books, I believe you'll find this post of interest to you as well. I'll be reviewing the following books: Face-to-Face by Scott Barnes, Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin, and Make-up Secrets by Jemma Kidd. 

I was never a big fan of Km Kardashian and I don't think I ever will be. However, having said that, I do like the look of the smokey eye she almost always wears and every once in a while I would watch a Youtube tutorial on "How-to do a Kim Kardashian smokey eye". I digress. Scott Barnes is an LA makeup artist, popular amongst celebrities like Kim herself and Paris Hilton. When I spotted this book at my local library, I borrowed it without hesitation; excited that I was going to be learning some big fat secret for mastering the Kim K smokey eye. 

To my disappointment, the book did not divulge any such secret. Sure, I picked up one tip or two (literally!) on makeup and that's about. Majority of the book was Before and After photos of models/small-time actresses/dancers Scott did makeup on. The photos would be accompanied by a blurbs of his friendship with this person and why he was inspired to do that particular makeup look on her. Bottom line is, I did not find it helpful in learning new makeup tricks and techniques. This is primarily an inspiration book. There are pages of "how-to's" but you would have learnt the techniques from watch makeup tutorials on Youtube anyway. 

I was gifted this book for my birthday last year. Although I have yet to finish reading it, I've enjoyed it so far. In this book, Kevyn teaches us techniques and reveals bits of his story along the way. I find it endearing. From his words, he sounds like a genuine guy and as I read, I feel like a friendly mentor is speaking to me. The only "complaint" I have is that the steps are illustrated through hand drawn pictures rather than photographs of the actual process. Don't get me wrong, the illustrations are good, created by Aucoin himself. However, I believe that, it would be easier to learn and understand the instructions with photographs. Having said that, I do like that Kevyn has really made his book his own, by making it different from others. The book is full of timeless  and classic makeup looks; and Kevyn provides valuable advice on how to achieve them. 

Last but not least, my favourite book of the lot! I fell in love with this book right from page one. I take my hat off to Jemma Kidd. She gives very good and practical tips in a concise way. It's full of beautiful photographs accompanied by easy-to-understand instructions. Jemma is very thorough. She breaks down all the different components to makeup and answers a lot of common (and important) beauty questions/issues. I love how she manages to be informative yet stay to-the-point. I borrowed this book from the library and I plan on buying a copy for myself. It is so pack full of information that I can never finish it before the due date. I recommend getting this book if you want to and enjoy learning more about makeup. Take a break from watching Youtube makeup videos. This book is a breath of fresh air and it is brilliant. 
Sunday, March 16, 2014

250 Milestone Giveaway CLOSED

Yes, it's giveaway time again! Hooray!

Thank you so much for continuing to read my blog! It means a lot to me that the content I produce means something to you. I'd also like to thank those of you who regularly drop comments (whether it's here on the blog or Facebook). I really do appreciate it. I love talking to you guys. It makes this blogging experience so much more meaningful.

I am giving away:
  • Lancome Hypnose Custom-Wear Volume Mascara 
  • GHD Tail Comb 
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy in Rosewater 
  • Crabtree & Evelyn India Hicks Island Living Hand Care 
  • Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 220
  • Nano White Hydrating Whitening Mask 
  • Nano White Awakening Snow Wash 
  • Natural Instinct Facial Scrub 
  • Michael Todd True Organics Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask 
  • Clinique Gift Time Goodies 
    • Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream
    • Repairwear Laser Focus Smooths, Restores, Corrects
    • NEW Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+
    • Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, & Lips
    • Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Black
    • High Impact Color in Extreme Pink
    • All about Shadow Duo in Beach Plum
    • Cosmetic bag 

1. You must be either 18 or above to enter this giveaway
2. If you are under 18 you must obtain consent from your parents
3. You must be a follower of this blog; either by Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'
4. You must like my Facebook page.
4. Winner will be selected through Rafflecopter.
5. Giveaway closes on 31st March 2014.
6. Simply follow the prompts below to enter the draw!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Test for Makeup Allergies: a Quick and Simple Way

I'm an allergy-prone individual. No, I don't get anaphylactic shocks from peanuts. But I do often get hay fever. I also occasionally find myself reacting to makeup products. The most prominent ingredient being parfum. It sends me into fits of sneezes that can last for the whole day. I am also allergic to other makeup ingredients. The "wrong" lipstick/lip balm can make my lips red, flaky and itchy. The "wrong" mascara/eyeliner can make my eyes extremely itchy and uncomfortable.

It's never a pretty look to be scratching away, especially at your own face. I don't know if you can see it but I've taken a photo of myself after wearing a lipstick that I was allergic to. The reaction was mild compared to some of the past episodes I've had. Nevertheless, it was distracting for me to be "itching away" while I was in class. I've since thrown the product out.

Although I have not isolated a lot of ingredients that I'm allergic to, I've learnt how to test for them.

I would swipe the product onto the inside of my forearm near my elbow (kind of like you're swatching a product). This area of my skin is thin and has some major blood vessels nearby. So if I'm allergic to the product, I get red and itchy within a minute.  You can test lip products, mascaras, and eyeliners. I have yet to try it with powder products.

Note though that this will only work if you've been exposed to the ingredient before and have developed an allergy to it. So it is possible that you'll react to the product later on (on the second exposure). In other words, when you're shopping for a makeup product, you test it with this method and you buy it thinking it's all clear but that's because your body has only come across the ingredient for the first time. So when you start using the product, your immune system is already mounted and will then recognise and start responding to that ingredient.

What I'm trying to say here is, this is not a fail-safe technique. It's just a quick and simple way to save you some grief: from buying products that contain ingredients that you are already allergic to. I hope this post has been helpful!

Do you have any tips and tricks for testing for makeup allergies? Please do share!
Sunday, March 9, 2014

Get Ready with Me - Day Out by the Beach

I recorded by myself doing my makeup before I headed for a friend's birthday party not too long ago. Yes, this occurred prior to my hair chop. It just has taken me a while to edit the video etc. The party was a simple barbeque by the beach. I was inspired to do a look that represented "fun in the sun" and how blue the water was.

List of products used:
1. Benefit Stay Don't Stray primer
2. Australis 10HR Waterproof Eye Pencil in Aqua Attack
3. Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer
4. Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in Shade 4.0
5. Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Beige
6. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black
7. NYX Eye/Eyebrow Pencil in 912 Charcoal
8. Smashbox Photo Set Finishing Powder
9. Bobbi Brown blush in Tawny
10. Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl mascara
11. Cedel Dry Shampoo for dark hair

I decided against a lipstick because I knew I'd be chomping away on food. The only thing I wore on my lips was my Burt's Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm. I hope you enjoyed the video.

What does your "fun in the sun" makeup look consist of?
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Natural Instinct Skin and Body Care Products

I was sent a box full of Natural Instinct products to try. They were very generous. What's in the photo above is only a portion of what I received. This review will cover my favourite Natural Instinct products.

There are so many reasons to love this brand and its products. It's free of many nasty chemicals such as sulfates and parabens. It is also cruelty-free, and most importantly, it is Australian made and owned! All the products have a subtle scent that I don't mind. I can only describe it as a slight mixed of floral and herbal. I have no complaints on the packaging of these products. They are all of decent quality. So you'll find that I've given all a perfect score in that respect.

Natural Instinct Hand Wash 
RRP: AUD7.95
Packaging: 5 out of 5
Review: I wash my hands a lot. In some ways, I'm a bit of a hygiene freak. I will spare you the boring details. Bottom line is, I've really enjoyed using this hand wash. It cleans my hands without stripping them of natural oils. I've only a quarter of this product left and I'm dreading the switch back to my old neglected hand wash!

Natural Instinct Body Wash 
RRP: AUD11.95/AUD19.95 for 500mL/1L
Packaging: 5 out of 5
Review: I noticed a difference when I first started using this product. Compared to my normal body wash, this made me feel invigorated when I stepped out of the shower. Again, like the hand wash, it cleans without stripping you of your natural oils so your skin doesn't feel dry. I've been using it a lot and yet it, by weight, it feels like I've still got 85% of product left. One bottle will last you a very long time.

Natural Instinct Body Lotion
RRP: AUD15.95/AUD22.95 for 500mL/1L
Packaging: 5 out of 5
Review: Even though the body wash is not drying, it is not an excuse to skip moisturising! This lotion is hydrating and absorbs quite quickly. So I don't get the sticky feeling that I get with other body moisturisers. The hydration lasts throughout the day and night. I never find myself needing to reapply.

Natural Instinct Foaming Cleanser 
RRP: AUD9.95
Packaging: 5 out of 5
Review: Unfortunately, I've left my foaming cleanser at my parent's place without taking a photo of it before hand. So the above image is for your reference if you ever decide to look for this cleanser. This cleanser really clarifies your face. It makes me think of clarifying shampoos. This resets your skin to its original no-product condition. It removes all the products that you've applied previously. I, however, would not recommend double-cleansing with this product. My skin felt stripped afterwards. It's so effective that you only need to cleanse your face once!

Natural Instinct Daily Moisturiser  
RRP: AUD9.95
Packaging: 5 out of 5
Review: If you're interested in adding rosehip oil to your routine but you're reluctant to add another product/step to your routine, try this product instead. It's a moisturiser and contains rosehip. This absorbs into my skin quite quickly and I only require a small amount each time to moisturise my whole face. I expect this product to last me a long time. The hydration lasts throughout the day.

Have you ever tried any of the Natural Instinct products? Which is your favourite?
Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chopping My Hair Off for a Cause

If you've heard of The World's Greatest Shave, then you'd know that it's a mighty thing to do, especially a girl. One of my friends will be shaving this month and I thought it was very brave of her. I wanted to contribute as well. So I decided to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

This is how long my hair was prior to the chop.

Ann-Marie helped me make the chop, literally. I handed her scissors and asked if she could help me cut my hair off. This is how short my hair was afterwards.

The next morning, I went to the hairdressers and got my hair styled and tidied up.

I got it done at Oscar Oscar by a Japanese lady. I loved the results. I don't regret chopping my hair off at all. The donated hair will be made into a wig for a cancer patient who has lost his/her hair during treatment. It's all for a good cause.

What do you think of my new hair? Do you like it? Will you ever donate your hair?