Hi Bellas,

A few days ago I filmed my haul video for this new collection from M.A.C. I stated in the video that I wanted to give myself some time to get a feel for some of these products and give additional swatches to other M.A.C products so you can see how they compare.

Let's start off with Neo Sci-Fi and their shawdows, and Solar Fields and their Solar Bits.

I posted some colors from M.A.C that I thought were in the similar color family. I put initials next to the eyeshadows so I could remember which ones they were.

On the left column, you have Time and Space on the top and Woodwinked on the bottom. On the right column you have Tempting, Bronze, and Bronzescape. You can click on the picture to expand. They all look pretty different in the picture. I think the lighting might also play into that though. Woodwinked and Time and Space look like they could be related in person.

The next swatches are of the Black Ore Solar Bits. I wanted to see how it would look under different bases. I used from left to right: blacktrack fluidline, the eyeshadow by itself, and then cashflow paint pot. You can see the cashflow definitely brings out more gold, the blacktrack brings out more black, and the shadow by itself is in the middle. You actually don't need a pigmented base to make this shadow stand out. But you do need something underneath to help it stick.

Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

I also finally got a chance to try out my sample of the Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. I was a bit nervous because I have sensitive skin and I didn't know if the scrub would be too harsh. The MA's said the granules are made of sugar and dissolve into the skin as you blend it in. When I applied, I put some on my fingertips and proceeded to rub it into my face. The fragrance is actually a pretty strong floral scent. I did notice the the scrub was a bit rough. I had to be very gentle. I think I should have wet my face before I applied it. When I rubbed it in, I didn't notice the sugar dissolving like it had done in my hand at the store. After I added some water it was a little smoother but still hadn't broken down completely. I didn't want to keep bruising up my face so I just washed it off with warm water. Afterwards, I noticed my face felt really clean and kind of tight. Actually, it felt a bit dry afterwards. I don't really like that feeling since my skin is already dry. The next morning, I didn't notice any breakouts so that was good. All in all, I think I would prefer this one as a body scrub. It seemed a bit too harsh for the face. I'm going to skip out on buying this one.

Prep and Prime Microfine Lip Refinisher

When I heard about this product I was sooooo excited. I have major chap lip problems! I haven't tried any of MAC's lip conditioners before, but I thought I would jump on this since it was two in one. It has a conditioner on one half and the scrub on the other. On specktra, they said you applied it like a normal lip balm, with both sides working together. Rub in with your finger, and then wipe off with damp cloth. I tried it that way and wasn't satisfied. I think I like using the scrubby side first so it can really slough off the dead skin, then use the moisturizing side afterwards. I don't think this product is a wonderworker...it did get some dry skin off but I had to kind of rub the rest of my chapped lip skin off on a towel afterwards (sorry, was that TMI?). However, my friend Melissa tried it out and she loved it.

Hi Bellas,

How was your long weekend? Mine was fabulous! It was nice to relax and enjoy not working, he he.

I had half a day on Friday so I was able to get a lot done. I saw an early showing of Indiana Jones-Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I loved that movie. Not only did it crack me up but I think I was the only one in the theatre screaming every time there was an intense action scene.

Afterwards, a few friends and I stopped by at MAC and I was able to pick up the new M.A.C Collection-Neo Sci-Fi, Solar Fields, and Future Earth.

Here’s a video review I did this weekend.

I’m going to do a post with swatches tonight of comparable colors…woodwinked, bronze, satin taupe. That way you guys can see them in person.

All in all, thumbs up on the collection. The colors are all really pretty. I’m more of a bright eyeshadow girl but I can appreciate the gorgeous gold and bronze shades in this collections. I also loveeeee the bright orange lipstick, electro. I wore it out this weekend and rocked it! I also wore it with bronzescape and talk about shimmery! It was gorgeous. I actually paired it with my Milani Color brilliance liner in green and it looked really cool.

Saturday was decorating day. I also finished up most of the decorating this weekend. It was the Bf and I’s gazillionith grip to Ikea. I’m only missing a few random pieces (nightstand lamp, drawer pulls) that I can wait for my wallet to recover. Hopefully I’ll get some pics up soon.

Sunday we had brunch with my friend’s parents who were in town. I had a lox bagel combo with fresh fruit, yum! I also had to go back to Ikea to return something and pick up more stuff! The rest of the night I played with makeup and relaxed.

Monday-Memorial Day.
I woke up early to do a makeup lesson session. The client was going to turn 50 and traveling to Jamaica for a huge party. I taught her how to do one side of her face and she duplicated the other. We went for a gold/smokey look. It was a dramatic before and after! The power of makeup is unbelievable. I’ll post pics soon.

Afterwards, my friends and I decided to play like we were grown ups and put together a nice little barbeque. Talk about too much food! We had hot dogs, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, beef burgers, bbq chicken, marinated chicken, pasta salad, watermelon, potato salad, corn on the cob, and ice cream! Needless to say, we all have some major leftovers. We then had an intense game of scattegories, lol, watched Keeping up with the Kardashians, and called it a night.

I’m going to try and get a Neo-Sci Fi look done tonight. I haven’t quite decided on a look, so I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide. Hopefully I’ll have it up by tomorrow. I’ll be going out of town for the second half of this week. I’m heading up north to NY for a bachelorette party and some shopping and Connecticut for a wedding. I’m going to do my best to stay on my budget!

Stay tuned for things to come:
-Kim Kardashian Tutorial (filmed, needs to be edited)
-Kat Von D Tutorial (filmed, in editing process)
-False Lashes Tutorial (filmed, in editing process)
-Coastal Scents haul and review (filmed, needs to edited)
-Neo-Sci Fi Tutorial (needs to be filmed)
-Blue and Green Pigments Video (done, needs to be uploaded)

Till next time, ciao bellas!

Hi Bellas,

So many videos, so little time! I took a sick day, cough cough wink wink, on Tuesday and filmed 5 makeup videos! On top of it all, MAC’s new collection came out on Wednesday– Neo Sci- Fi, Solar Fields, and Future Earth. I like to make regular videos and then prioritize how I like to release them. I know that I needed to get this video out asap since I already posted a review, but I was almost conflicted because I wanted to get my MAC Haul Video up too. Instead, I decided to stay in chronological order and post this eyebrow tutorial first. I’m actually going to wait till today to get my new MAC products since I have a half day at work for Memorial Weekend, woo hoo! Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

As you all know, I reviewed the Anastasia Line of Brow Products recently. I wanted to make sure and get a tutorial out on it as well. You can see from the video that my eyebrows had an amazing before and after when I used these products.

For those of you unable to view the video, I will provide the simple steps to obtain amazing eyebrows.
1) Start with a clean face. Place the stencil shape you choose over your eyebrow, making sure your own eyebrow hair is within the stencil cutout.
2) Dip the eyebrow brush into the eyebrow shading powder—you can choose the lighter color, the darker color, or mix both to obtain a custom shade. Fill in the stencil.
3) Remove stencil. Pluck any stray hairs with the tweezers.
4) Use an eyebrow pencil to touch up any missed areas—I like to go over the top and bottom lines of my eyebrow to make a more defined shape.
5) Brush eyebrow gel to set eyebrows into place.
6) Finish up with Eye Lights Highlighter pencil. Draw a line underneath your eyebrow and above is you wish, and blend into the skin.
And you’re done! It should really take you two minutes to do this. In the video I did both eyebrows using different products on each so that you can get an idea of how they work differently.

Of course I didn’t take any pictures! But luckily I can do my Print Screen option and capture still shots of the video. Sorry it’s not the best quality, but you can still see the difference. For a better look, check out the video.



You can find Anastasia products at www.Anastasia .net , Nordstroms, or Sephora. Make sure to check out my review for dupes.

Till next time, Ciao Bellas!

Reader’s questions answered:

Hey Ren, I was wondering, about products to use for contouring those cheekbones. I noticed you use both mineralize skinfinish AND MAC'S sculpt and shape duo. Is the mineralize skinfinish used to set your makeup or can you just use it to contour? I've noticed in another blog that it's used as mainly a contouring powder, that's why I ask.

I actually use the sculpt & shape duo to contour. the msf natural is used as my setting powder...i like it because it gives my skin a glow as opposed to normal setting powder which can look too matte or cakey. i've heard that many use the msf natural as a contour as well...this requires going a shade or two darker than what you would normally use...for example...my skin tone matches msf natural in med dark. i would choose the msf in dark to contour. so you can you the sculpt & shape duo, or the msf...it's up to you! hope this helps :)

Hi RenRen,

I'd like to quickly say that I'm a huge fan of your makeup blog, and I visit your site daily. It's truly a great resource for anything related to make-up, and your tutorials are awesome! I know that a few posts back you mentioned starting your side bus. of applying makeup for brides and bridal parties. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions based on your experience. I'm actually going to be doing makeup for a bride and her 5 bridesmaids this coming Saturday (ekkk... )! I've got most of what I really need, but I wanted to get an idea from you whether or not there were a few tools I could do without this time around (i.e. disposable razors, etc.) and things you may have left off your list that you later found would have been helpful.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

Hi Hon!

Thanks for reading and checking out my site.

I definitely have a list of must-haves that I found helpful for working a wedding. I know you’ll do great! Just remember, make sure to use face and eye primer. It will really make that makeup stay!

Here are some things I definitely needed that you might not think of
-bobby pins
-small pair of nail scissors
-fashion tape (to help fasten loose straps, etc…they’ll love you for this!)
-alcohol in spray bottle
-lots of makeup brushes…if you have disposable lipstick brushes use these instead of a lip brush--it really cuts down on time
-safety pins
-disposable spatulas...to scoop out product and quickly toss away
-hand sanitizer...use this between each person
-blotting powder for touch ups
-if they’re already dressed make sure you have a makeup cape/or the kind they use at the salon so they don’t get dirty
-extra primer
-fix plus
-extra lashes just in case
-hair pins to hold back their hairdo
That’s pretty much it besides the makeup, lol.

You can go without
-razors (I didn’t need this)
-hair spray (if you're not doing hair)
-brushes and combs

Let me know how it works out for you!

Hi Bellas,

I had the opportunity to try out some products from Anastasia Beverly Hills. For those of you who don’t know, Anastasia is a brow guru whom all the celebrities turn to. She has her own salon as well as this product line. I’ve seen and heard about these products but never tried them. I made a video showing a detailed review.

In this entry I’ll go through the various products I reviewed for those of you who don’t have the video viewing capability (ahemmm some of you at work, lol).

Brow Stix $14

This was actually really nifty. They’re stick on brow stencils that are disposable. It’s pretty much goof proof…stick them on and fill in those eyebrows. I really like them! Of course, I’d be ghetto and reuse them as long as they keep sticking! For $14 it’s affordable so you could give it a try.

Tinted Brow Gel $19

This products reminds me of the one at MAC. It comes in 5 colors and offers you a light hold, like the regular brow gel, and it really does help to naturally color your eyebrows. I tried caramel and it lightened up my whole complexion. I did a little research and noted that MAC has a similar product for $13.50…sooooo go with MAC, it’s cheaper! They do have only 4 colors instead of Anastasia’s five…but it’s significantly cheaper. However, if you purchase $75 in products from Anastasia.net, you get a tinted brow gel for free!

5 Piece Eyebrow Set $65

This little set is pretty nifty. It comes with everything you need to do your eyebrows…except for a pencil. The set includes a cute pink zip up purse, rubber stencils, tweezers, clear brow gel, a duo eyebrow brush/spoolie, and a duo brow powder. It would have been nice if they included a pencil as well so that you could touch up your eyebrows with the pencil after filling it in with shadow. Besides that, the stencils work fabulously. They are rubber and mold to the eye (unlike the Ardell stencils which are plastic and they just make it difficult to hold down). The clear brow gel is very nice as well…I pretty much love the products…what I don’t love is the price…$65! I would have to wait to get this on a sale at sephora…like friends and family.

Eyelights Matte $21

Eyelights Shimmer $21

I really like this product. It takes the guessing out of picking eyeshadow colors to use as a highlight. These are creamy jumbo pencils (kind of like NYX jumbo pencils) and they give you the choice of a matte (natural, pink) or shimmer (natural, gold) tone to choose from. They are very creamy so they blend easily with your finger. I like how they’re subtle so you can wear it by itself…or even use it on other areas of the face like your cheeks to highlight. This is a very nice product…once again…kinda pricey though. If there is a similar NYX jumbo color out there as a dupe, you might want to try it. However, I would definitely recommend the shimmer pencil as a highlight color for darker skin tones…talk about fab!

Brow Pencil $22

This was a typical brow pencil with a spoolie on the end. It did the job just fine…but I think it’s overpriced. I like the Rimmel Professional Brow pencil…it’s around $3 and has an eyebrow brush at the end as well.

Brow Wiz $19
I couldn’t find a pic on the website, but they had a product called the Brow Wiz. I think it may be sold out. Here’s a pic of it on Nordstrom’s website for $19.

It’s a retractable brow pencil with a spoolie on the other end. I really really like this brow pencil the best. It’s similar to the brow pencil from MAC…but I like this one better because it’s longer and has the spoolie. I love it!

Go-Brow Universal Brow Pencil $21
Also not on the website is the Go-Brow Universal Brow Pencil. I found this one on sephora’s website.

It has a universal color for eyebrows on one end (called a medium neutral brown) and the eyelights matte on the other. This is great since it’s 2 in 1. As far as it being a universal color…I can kind of see that since the color comes out with a gray tone…so it could mimic the effect of a shadow filling in your brow. It’s a chunky pencil like the regular eyelights pencils so make sure you have a jumbo sharpener.

All in all…I really did love the products. I can’t complain…they are superior quality and really do make your eyebrows look a hundred times better. If you can afford these puppies, go for it. If not, either try to catch them on a sephora sale…or check out some of my dupes I recommended. There are a lot of eyebrow products in the market…and sometimes all you need is a regular pencil and eyeshadow…but if feels nice to pamper yourself with an Anastasia product.

Till next time, ciao bellas!

Hi Bellas,

I was doing my daily blog read through…and I came across Mrs. Lynne’s page. She always has the best posts! I saw her latest post on her top Beauty Secrets revealed…I thought it would be fun to play. See mine below:

My Foundation: MAC Mineralized Satinfinish Foundation in NC42 or MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark (used alone for lighter coverage or to set the mineralized satinfinish foundation)

My Mascara: right now I’m using Max Factor 2000 calorie mascara…it’s alright…I think I like Diorshow better though.

My Blush: MAC Beauty Powder Blush in True Romantic-same as Mrs. Lynne! This is the perfect everyday cheek color.

My Eyeshadow(s):
I loveeeee my bright MAC eyeshadows…some of my favorites are blue calm, stars and rockets, freshwater, passionate…but it’s also great to have some basics…Carbon! It turns any eyeshadow dramatic and smokey in an instant…llama-great for adding to a brush and blending out harsh lines…shroom and naked lunch—awesome highlight colors! I also loveeeee my Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow palette…can’t go wrong with these silky smooth bright colors.

My Day Cream(s): Cetaphil Moisturizer—the thick kind in the tub…I use this day and night…I just use a little less during the day…I also use Lush’s dream cream when my neck gets all itchy…it’s sooooo soothing.

My Lipstick(s): I mainly stick to my MAC! Bare slimshine, Viva Glam V, 4N, Lollipop Loving…these are my everyday…I also love my bright ones…Port Red, Fun N Sexy, Hollywood Nights

My Beauty Product Brand(s): MAC, Urban Decay, Smashbox, Graftobian, Cinema Secrets, Camera Ready Cosmetics

My Essential Beauty Product: Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner in blackest black…it’s been holding me down since High School…love it! Brushes! They really make or break your makeup application…Primers…ever since I discovered these (paint pots, paints, shadesticks) my makeup, especially eyeshadow, has never been more vibrant!

My Favorite Makeup Product(s): Eyeshadow definitely

My Perfume: Oh my gosh I can’t even remember…it’s the one where it’s the shape of the woman’s body without a head…but that’s only for going out…I actually don’t really wear perfume all that much…or I’ll switch it up and wear my sugar one from Aquolina…for daytime use I’ll use my Victoria Secret one that smells like cotton candy

My Nails: ehhhh N/A lol. I just cut and file…I don’t have the patience to keep them painted because hands chip so easily…and I definitely wouldn’t get acrylics…they’re just not me. I usually only get them painted for special occasions….my mom gave me good genes so my nails are thick and usually grow long without breaking…too bad I don’t capitalize on it!

My Feet: Sighhh…I really need a pedicure…I used to do this religiously…now I just try to keep them moisturized and I’ve been using hot pink and fuscia nail polish I got from Sallys.

My Hands: anything I can get my hands on…tee hee….no pun intended…I just like any lotion that’s not too greasy or smelly…I alwayssss have hand sanitizer in my purse…sometimes your hands just feel dirty!

Three Products to bring on a deserted island: moisturizer w/spf, water, and aquaphor…I gotta keep my skin intact…honestly if i’m on a dessert island I don’t need makeup, lol.

Woman I admire for their beauty: I most admire women whose beauty shines from the inside…because if you’re a nasty person…I don’t care if you’re genetically blessed with supermodel looks…your inner ugliness overshadows…

Woman with the Best Sense of Style: Hmmmm…that’s a tough one…I admire a lot of women for their style…I like both glamour and funky styles…I notice my style is venturing into more funky to go with the whole new makeup artist vibe…if I could get hot pink streaks in my hair I would!

My Ultimate Dream: To be happy…live happily ever after with my man…kids…house…my family and friends near…and quit corporate slavery and own my own makeup empire!

How Do I Define Womanhood: Limitless…we can do anything we want…we have the tact, intelligence, beauty and grace to pull it off…

My Favorite Fashion Publication(s): Cosmo, Glamour, Essence, Beauty Mags…recently have subscribed to Audrey…an Asian American woman’s magazine…makes me feel happy to stay connected to the Asian Community.

Now it's your turn!

Hi Bellas,

A few days ago I was strolling through the health & beauty aisles of Wal-Mart, looking for anything new and interesting. One thing in particular caught my eye-Rimmel Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer. I don’t know how it is other places, but down here in Atlanta, I haven’t been able to find a drugstore primer at all (this doesn’t include Monistat Chafing Relief gel). When I saw this, I thought “Why not?” It was $6.99. Currently, I use Smashbox Photofinish Primer – the regular silicone one and the correcting green primer.

Aqua/Water/Eau; Cyclopentasiloxane; Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate; Propylene Glycol; Phenyl Trimethicone; Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate; Dimethicone; Polyethylene; Talc; Dimethicone PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer; Magnesium Sulfate; Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer; Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer; Phenoxyethanol; Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone; Lecithin; Parfum/Fragrance; Silica Dimethyl Silylate; Methylparaben; Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Powder; Tocopheryl Acetate; Butylparaben; Ethylparaben; Isobutylparaben; Propylparaben; Silica; Dipropylene Glycol; Tocopherol; Triethoxycaprylylsilane; BHT; Hexyl Cinnamal; Limonene; Butylphenyl Methylpropional; Benzyl Salicylate; Linalool; Geraniol; Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone; Citronellol; [May Contain/Peut Contenir +/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Ultramarines (CI 77007)]

The bottle has a good size of product in it – 1 oz. I noticed that the product has 001 on it…almost as if it was its shade color. However, I looked elsewhere and I noticed that there were no other colors. When I squeezed some of the product out, I was a bit surprised to find out that it is actually has a peachy/orangey tint to it. I was expecting it to be clear, white, or light cream like most primers. Despite the surprise, I proceeded by squirting some on my clean fingertips and smoothing it onto my face. You can also use a foundation brush to apply primer, but when I do it on myself I just prefer to use my fingers. I was relieved to see that the orange actually disappeared as soon as I blending it into my skin. I was left with a nice matte looking finish. When I ran my hand down the side of my face I was shocked to see how smooth it felt! I’ve been in the market for a new primer…I wanted one that was in between a liquid/cream (like MAC prep & prime) and a silicone base (Smashbox Photofinish). I think I found it! Not only that, but it's super cheap!

I wore my studio mist foundation on top of it and my skin looked really smooth…almost airbrushed. I kept checking throughout the day and my skin stayed just as soft and smooth. The next day, I applied my MSF natural on top using a powder brush to see how powder foundation would react to the primer. At the end of the day…still super soft. The primer actually fills in my gi-normous pores on my nose.

I almost couldn’t believe how much I liked the product…I decided to do some internet research to see what others thought. I went straight to makeup alley and was really shocked to see some poor reviews out there. Pretty much, either people really liked it, or really hated it. Apparently, the orange tint to the primer actually made some look orange. I didn’t experience this, but others who also did not have a problem noted that this primer probably works on darker skin tones. Complexions in the range of NC15-20 would probably not like this one. However, a few did note how they’ve never felt their faces feel softer. I agree! I usually don’t have too many problems with my skin, but it's never felt better.

This weekend...I was teaching makeup lessons to a client who is Jamaican with a mix of a caramel/mocha complexion. We tried the Rimmel primer on her as well, and it blended just as beautifully into her skin. She too noticed the softness and is also going to purchase the product.

So in sum, for $6.99, this product is totally worth it. You might want to steer clear if you have a lighter complexion. Or maybe check it out and let me know what you think. This product might also make its way into my makeup kit. It's great for MUAs because it has a squeeze top instead of an applicator where you would need to dip into it. This way, I can just squeeze it onto my steel palette and not have to worry about contaminating it with each use. Check it out at your local wal-mart and CVS.

Till next time, Ciao Bellas!

Hi Bellas,

I’ve gotten quite a few requests to make this tutorial. It was a really easy one to make…all I had to do was apply some liquid eyeliner and try to talk while doing it!

I mentioned in the video, I’ve been wearing eyeliner since middle school. Growing up, I obsessed about my Asian eyes, trying to figure out ways to make them bigger and better. Fortunately, I got over that and have come to appreciate the beauty in my ethnic features. However, I still love to accentuate them with liquid liner. If I could pick one product that I couldn’t live without, it would be eyeliner! It can do so much to emphasize your eyes.

My favorite product is one that you’ve seen in several of my videos…Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner in Blackest Black. Nothing beats this eyeliner. I’ve tried several brands, including MAC, and this is the best by far.

I really like the applicator…the felt tip lets me create a nice line where I can taper and thicken it easily. Morever, the product itself is the best. The liner always comes out very vibrant…you don’t need to go over the line more than once to achieve a dark, vibrant color (I can’t say the same about MAC). The product also never smudges or fades at all! On top of it all, you can’t beat the price! Revlon always has sales at your local grocery store or CVS, and this is the best time to buy it. I also recommend Black Brown for a more subtle day look.

In the video, I show how I line my eyes with liquid eyeliner. Mind you, I have to make my line a bit thicker so that the liner doesn’t disappear behind my eyelid skin. Monolids/Semi-Monolids out there know what I mean! I give a few tricks including bracing your hand on your face for leverage. Applying liquid eyeliner does take a bit of practice. But once you got it down, it comes so natural. Hopefully I’ve helped a few of you with this video.

Till next time, Ciao Bellas!

Hi Bellas,

I had the opportunity to review a new line of cosmetics- Pencil Me In Cosmetics. This brand was developed by Makeup Industry Professional Linda Eisner. With the trend being “Green”, she developed a line of eye pencils designed to be environmentally friendly with ingredients including antioxidants, vitamins, and natural products like green tea leaf extract.

Website Product Description:
My name is Linda Eisner and it is with pleasure that I introduce to you my creation “pencil me in” – a unique line of eye accent pencils. After working for over twenty years in the cosmetics industry, personalizing private label lines for several major companies, I decided to launch “pencil me in” eye accent pencils for you. These innovative cosmetic pencils provide long lasting consistent color. All 30 shades were custom created to boost ever-changing styles. The shades range from toasty browns and smoky greys to vivid purple to frosted shades of blue and green to metallic bronze to subtle glitter. There are sensational choices for people of all races, genders and skin tones. Application is silky smooth without pulling the delicate skin around your eyes. For your convenience, I also included a free a pencil sharpener built into every cap.

Color Selection
There are 30 colors to choose from coming in Matte, Subtle Glitter, and Metallic Shades (A star denotes the items I tested):
-Black Velvet*
-Jet Sparks
-Champagne Sparks
-Pink Lady Sparks
-Orchid Sparks*
-Mint Sparks
-Sky Sparks
-Purple Passion*
-One Cent
-Silky Suede
-24 Karat
-Pink Lady
-Emerald City
-Liberty Green*

***credit to pencilmeincosmetics.com

“Pencil me in” cosmetics has added natural ingredients and blended botanicals like Green Tea Leaf Extract, Pine Bark Extract, Grape Seed Extract, Lecithin, Shea Butter, Cacao Butter, Jojoba Oil, Wheat germ oil, and Safflower seed oil. It also includes Vitamins A (Retinyl Palmitate), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D and Vitamin E (Tocopherol). There is no Beeswax in the formula.

I received these pencils to review a few weeks ago. I’d like to preface this review by saying that I have no affiliation with this company, and all views are coming from my own personal standing. With that said, let’s get onto the review!

I wanted to make sure I gave this product a thorough testing before I released my honest opinion to my blogging audience.

My first reaction to these pencils was hmmm these pencils seem familiar. I realized that I had seen them before on Coastal Scents. My second reaction was, “Yay! A built-in sharpener!” Not a lot of pencils out there have this feature. Oftentimes, I prefer pencils that can be sharpened because it is difficult to always achieve a fine point with the twist-up pencils. Moreover, when using eyeliners on clients, it is better to sanitize pencils by spraying them with alcohol and then sharpening the pencil.

I then ventured over to the website. I was surprised to see all the colors to choose from. There are over 30 which range from wearable tones to brighter colors. Most of the pencils I sampled were more of the wearable everyday colors…but looking back, I wish I could have tried more of the brighter colors. The website itself is very easy to navigate and offers tips and looks from these pencils. The close up eye shots they show of models wearing the products are absolutely gorgeous! I was really excited to try these guys out.

***Credit to www.pencilmeincosmetics.com

When I received the package in the mail, I noticed that they indeed had a built in sharpener and were shrinkwrapped in protective plastic. Those babies were wrapped tight! I had to struggle a bit to remove the plastic wrapping; you may need a pair of little scissors to help you peel off the layer around the entire pencil. I will say that despite the extra minute or two it took to unwrap the layer, it shows that these pencils are indeed untapered with and secure. Next thing I noticed was that the barrel pencil color matches the color of the product exactly. I don’t know why more companies don’t do this. It saves time when you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to check the bottoms or caps of certain pencils.

Next, I got to testing. The first pencil I tried out was onyx. I figured that black is probably the most popular color out there so I wanted to test it. I began to line my eyes and waterline. The first thing I noticed was that the pencil went on very lightly…it wasn’t a creamy consistency. I wore it on my eyes and noticed after only a few hours it started to fade. My first reaction alarmed me slightly. Moreover, I was in the middle of a move to a new apartment, so I put down the pencils for a week or two.

Once I moved, I decided to give these pencils another go. Sometimes, first reactions aren’t always accurate. I decided to swatch all the colors on my arms so I could give an accurate portrayal of color. Upon opening the pencils, I noticed that they all seemed to have the same stiffness I encountered with Onyx. They also had a slight white powdery finish on top of the pencil tip. As I started to swatch, I would rub the pencil over a couple times on my arm…while doing so, I noticed that the white finish dissolved and the pencils became more and more creamy as I worked them into my skin. I then realized that, “Duh! They probably had a protective layer on them!” This product reminds me of the consistency of MAC shadesticks…sometimes they get a bit hard after non-use, but if you rub them in between your palms, the product heats up and is good as new.

Swatches of the product. Colors left to right: lapis, boysenberry, amethyst, liberty green, orchid sparks, black velvet, onyx, purple passion (my favorite)

I went back and cat eye-lined my eyes again with the onyx. This time around, I rubbed it on the back of my hand a few times to get the product working. By doing so, it went on smoother and more vibrant. I kept the liner on even when I accidentally fell asleep. Hours later, even after rubbing my face in my pillow during my nap, the liner was slightly smudged but still on. The next day, I wore the eyeliner to work. Eight hours later…it was still on, waterline and all. I happen to have normal to dry skin, but I do have watery eyes from allergies. These pencils were able to hold up.
***shot of my winged liner test

I will say that they are definitely long lasting pencils. However, they aren’t the most creamy pencils out there…so if you’re looking for a creamy formula, this isn’t it. Rather, it’s more for those of us who want a colorstay pencil. I can see this looking great if blended with a smokey eye. Since the formula is of a more firm consistency, the smudged liner would probably last longer than your average kohl.

Did I mention that this pencil is environmentally friendly? I don’t know the ins and outs of green products, but whenever I do use one that totes the “green” tag, I always feel a tiny bit better about myself. Moreover, these pencils are one of the few that are actually GOOD for you. The antioxidants help product your eyes from the free radicals in the air, and the vitamins and natural extracts condition your lids. That's definitely a plus!

I also should mention the built-in sharpeners. While these pencils come with the built-in cap, I would probably still use my normal sharpener. I found it a little difficult to sharpen the pencil smoothly. Interestingly enough, I also noticed that for some reason, my glitter pencils sharpened more easily than the matte ones...

I’d rather turn to my trusty Victoria Secret pencil sharpener that I’ve had for years. But I will say that if I’m on the go, I’d throw the pencil in my bag and use it when I’m out. There have been many an occasion where I’ve needed a pencil sharpener and have had to try and pick away the wood layers with a fingernail, ewww!!! No fear, these babies are built in and perfect for on to the go sharpening and application.

In sum, I think that this pencil has some great qualities to offer. For $6.99, it’s around the same price as drug store brands, but it has a far greater color selection. Personally, I love my MAC pencils, but 80% of my eyeliner collection is from drug store brands. I find it hard to pay over $10 for an eyeliner pencil.

Moreover, unlike most pencils out there, it offers antioxidants, natural ingredients and vitamins that are beneficial to your eyes. The staying power is also far better than the average drug store pencils. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re into the super creamy pencil formulas. But if you’re into colorstay pencils, then you already know that they aren’t the most creamy products out there--if so,they’d just melt off your eye.

I would recommend checking this product out. The company is woman owned and I definitely support female entrepreneurs. Linda is also offering special introductory offer. If you type in TryMe into the source code, you'll receive a buy 2 pencils get 1 free offer (same goes for buy 4 pencils, get 2 free). $14 for 3 pencils is pretty good!

So until next time, ciao bellas!

Hi Bellas,

I’ve recently been on a hunt to find affordable, high quality brushes. Many of you have seen my detailed posts on my current brush collection as well as my Michaels’ Loew-Cornell brush picks.

Over the last couple of weeks, one particular company caught my eye—Posh Brushes. I remember reading a review of these brushes on Asian Beauty Blog, but didn’t think much of it. However, after reading through the hundreds of entries on Posh Brushes on specktra I decided that these brushes were worth a try. I went to the website and found that they are a little bit pricey. I had heard that these brushes can be found in random grocery stores and shops around the country for a far more discounted rate. I found mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond!

Have you ever shopped online and filled your shopping cart with so many items that you feel guilty and just X out of the entire window? This was me! I wanted so many of their brushes that my order kept growing till I was at nearly $200! Fortunately I was able to exert some self control and decided to hold off.

A few brushes in particular caught my eyes:

Posh Blunt Cut Blending Brush $20:
Perfect for blending small areas. The flat-end brush design will evenly blend powder for a perfect finish. Use with mineral or pressed powder.
--I’ve never seen a brush with a shape and density like this one. Doesn’t it look cool? But kinda pricey…

Posh White Angle Blush Brush$12
The angled bristle design provides ultimate control in blush application for a glowing, natural look.
-–Holy Crap! This looks just like my MAC 168. The MAC one is the ONLY brush I use for my face contouring…I really need a second dupe for clients!

Posh 5 Piece Mini Brush Kit w/Zip Purse $25
This mini travel brush kit includes a powder brush, purse foundation, conceal & touch up duo brush, brow & eyeliner duo brush, smokey & angle eye shadow duo brush in a zippered travel purse. Perfect for the woman on the go!
--I really need a set of brushes that I can travel with…and that doesn’t mean the 15 must-have brushes I usually bring with me. This set seemed perfect because it contained all the essentials.

Posh Smoky Eye Brush$8
Ideal for creating smoky, sultry eyes.

-—Hmmm, a smokey eye brush? Now this seems interesting…almost like a chunkier version of my MAC 219.

Posh Brow Brush $8
Perfect for maintaining your brows shape for a neat, clean appearance.
--I’ve been looking for an affordable brow brush for the longest time! I hate using my 3 inch mini brow brushes, but they’re the only ones I’ve found work. This brush looks like it has the stiffness and length to wear I can comfortably use on my clients.

Posh Eyeliner Duo Brush$12
The perfect set of brushes for precise eyeliner application.
--Now this looks interesting…an eyeliner brush that has a rounded tip?

Posh Firm Control Powder Brush$20
The angled bristle design provides ultimate control in powder application. --This could be another contour brush alternate…the word Firm really makes it seem good.

Posh Cosmetic Brush & Accessories Make-Up Set
The Posh brush and accessory kit represents the best of the best… 16 make-up brushes, a brush wrap, a brush caddy, 44 assorted foam wedges, sponges and cosmetic applicators, a duo pencil sharpener, gel face mask and a bonus Plump'Up Lip gloss.
-For $89.99 this is the monster haul from posh…kinda makes you want to get it just because it seems to have EVERYTHING…

So these were my lemmings…by chance I decided to check out Bed, Bath, & Beyond. If you didn’t know, this store has a HUGE selection of cosmetic and hair products. They have drugstore as well as high end brands and accessories. It’s like a mini-ulta in there. And we all know they always have coupons. Fortunately, my suspicions were correct. They did have them there! It took me over half an hour just browsing through the brushes and weighing my options. I’m on a tight budget because of the move and my BF was definitely giving me his look, you know the “I know you’re not trying to buy MORE makeup look”. In the end, I settled on the 5 piece travel piece set. This was $11.99. That’s more than half the price listed online of $25! And if I hadn’t forgotten my 20% off coupon, it would have been $9.58! Now that’s pretty darn good.

I was really tickled my how cute this set was. The set comes in a see through bag so you can see all the brushes in there. They come in a little zip brush holder and some of the brushes are doubled ended so they offer even more functionality.

Includes the following:
1) powder brush
2) foundation brush
3) smokey & angle eye duo
4) fine conceal & touch up
5) brow & eyeliner
6) zip purse

And the case zips up so tiny that it can fit into the palm of your hand! Talk about great for travel!

The size is about the length of a MAC shadestick

Whenever you get new brushes, it’s a MUST that you wash them first. Who knows where that brush has been before? I went ahead and used brush cleaner and was sad to notice that a few brush hairs immediately fell off from my powder brush.

However, after washing the brushes afterwards in shampoo, I was relieved to notice that there was no additional shedding and bleeding. It’s normal if a few bristles come off.

Normally, I don’t like double ended brushes because one end always gets smashed up when it’s being stored. However, I don’t mind it with this travel case. The brushes are help by an elastic in the middle, leaving room on both ends. Smashing is not really a problem in this case.

When I tried the brushes I thought they were pretty good quality. I wish the set included a blending brush like the 222 or 217…but I’ve found this is usually not the case in travel brush sets. :( I used these brushes a few times…one of which is in my upcoming “how to line your eyes with liquid eyeliner” video. Overall, I’m pretty pleased. They aren’t of the same quality of MAC brushes, even though it seems there are some good dupes in there. However, I would definitely recommend them. The quality outshines the price. The only thing that alarmed me was that one of the double edged brushes had an incident where one half of the ferrule detached from the middle leaving two brushes instead of one! I was able to stick it back in…but I guess they aren’t firmly attached and clamped in the center. Still, I can let that go.

Here are my thoughts on each product in the set:
zip purse- too cute! I love how it’s so tiny. Just be careful to tuck all the bristles of the brush in to prevent the zipper from catching.

powder brush- this works pretty well…it’s tapered and just the right size for either powder or blush…I use it both for blush and my msf natural. It’s not the softest brush out there…but it’s pretty good.

foundation brush- this is a little too soft for my taste. I used it to apply my studio tech cream foundation and I had to put a little extra wrist action to use it. It’s probably better for thinner consistencies of foundation.

smokey & angle eye duo- I really like this set. The smokey brush reminds me of the essence of beauty crease brushes but shorter, wider, and more dense. It’s really good for blending out a dark crease color…I can definitely see it working well on a smokey eye. The angle brush is like the MAC 277…also good for the crease or for all over application.

fine conceal & touch up- the concealer brush is pretty tiny…so I guess it’s good for little cover-ups like a pimple or scar…but I use it as a lip brush! The touch up end looks just like the MAC 239…I use it for all over eyeshadow application.

brow & eyeliner- The brow brush is great…firm enough to really get brow shadow in there and shape the hairs. I like how the brow brush is a little thicker…I know that I, for one have dense brow hair and those thin brow brushes out there usually don’t cut it. This eyeliner brush is probably meant for gel liners like fluidline or HIP cream pot liner. The rounded tip is a little odd to me…I think I like the good old angle tip liners. The liner brush was also not as thin as I like them. I couldn't seem to get a precise line. I’ll probably test it out a little more but I’ll probably just use this as a lip brush too.

Overall, if you can find this brush set in your area…it’s a steal. The brushes are decent quality--some are okay but some are great. Check your grocery stores like Kroger, Rexall Drugstore (Canada) or Bed, Bath, and Beyond and try them yourself. If not, I have a little treat for you. Try these codes online at www.poshbrushes.com for 50% off your order. UA123 or CC123. After a certain amount you also get free shipping, woo hoo!

Till next time, ciao bellas!

Hi Bellas,

This weekend was a little more relaxing for me. I had some time to chill…decorated a little more….and had time to do makeup!

Woo hoo! Now that I’m settling into the new apartment, I can get back to my videos and blogging on a more regular basis.

Anywho, this weekend I finally got to my second Naughty Nauticals look. I promised everyone to have a look using Port Red lipstick. I decided to try something a little different on the eyes as well. I did an eyeshadow technique where you put the darker color to create an inner as well as outer V and put the lighter color in the middle. The key is to blend, blend, blend! I really like how it came out…I think I’ll try it more often.

In terms of the red lipstick…Port Red is definitely ones of my favorites. Since it is a frost lipstick, you don’t even need to stick gloss on top of this one. The key to red lips is to make sure and line those lips precisely. Take your time and q-tips are always there for you when you make a mistake. It also helps to dab powder or concealer around the outer rim of your lips to prevent your lipstick from bleeding out onto your skin. That’s the thing with red lips—you gotta keep it neat!

The next video I will post this week is my how to line eyes with liquid liner video. It’s a real quick tutorial to show how I line my eyes with my trusty Revlon Colorstay liquid liner in blackest black. Like I mentioned, it was a quick on the spot kind of video so hopefully it helps someone!

Also on my list:
-Review of Pencil Me in Cosmetics
-Review of Posh Brushes Travel Set
-How to apply false lashes tutorial
-Spring Eyes look using MAC pigments

So without further ado…on to the video!

And of course pics...including a non-photoshopped one to see the actual look...

Here's What I Used (All MAC unless otherwise specified):

soft ochre paint pot
meet the fleet e/s
shore leave e/s
submarine e/s
technakohl in graphblack
Revlon Colorstay liquid liner in Blackest Black
Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara
ardell falsies
rimmel brow pencil

belightful IPP
mineralized satinfinish foundation NC42
select moisture concealer NW37
msf natural medium dark
sculpt and shape duo in lightsweep/shadester

brick lipliner
port red lipstick

Hi Bellas,

I recently did the wedding makeup of a bride, maid of honor, and mother of the bride. Being contracted for wedding makeup is a very intersting experience. I thought I'd share a blow by blow play of my last wedding gig.

Pre-Wedding: For this wedding, I had two timed run throughs on the bride as well as
a run-through on the mom and sister. I also worked with the bride to create looks we thought would suit the bridal party. Fortunately, the clients loved the looks!From there I packed my kit with all the essentials including things you might not think of: altoids and visine.

I also made a face chart for the bride and framed it as a special wedding token.

5:00 A.M
Talk about early morning wake-up. The wedding location is an hour away, and I was meeting up with my clients in the nearby hotel room they were staying at. So I quickly took a shower, dressed in all black (this looks great in pictures where I'm applying makeup on the bride) and loaded up the car. My roomy was my assistant on this gig and came with me.

7:00 am. Arrived at the hotel..it was kind of scary because it was really rainy and dark on the roads but we made it.

7:00-7:10: I chatted with the bride for a few minutes and set up my supplies including the foundation palettes, blush palette, mixing palette, tissues, etc. I made a lil ziplock baggy with specific products I used for each person in order to be as efficient with time as possible. I also had my brush apron which helps so much to prevent extra clutter. My assistant was armed with paper towels and my brush cleaner.

7:10-7:45: The mother of the bride comes to the hotel room ready to go. For 51 years old, she has amazing skin. It’s very smooth and fair and she only has a few wrinkles around her eyes. Putting primer and foundation on her was very easy, it just glided on. To deal with fine lines around the eyes, I added extra Smashbox Photofinish primer on top of her wrinkles after applying the foundation. By concentrating the second coat on problem areas, it filled any lines right up and prevented makeup from unattractively settling into the lines. The lighting was not that great since it was still dark out. Next big gig I’m going to invest in a fold up director’s chair and clip on lamp so I can save my back and eyes. Another issue I ran into was picking a lipstick color that was appropriate for older women. I went with a nice rose color and pink gloss in the end, and I she loved it. When doing makeup on others you have to think what looks best on them as opposed to what you might like for yourself. It’s also best to avoid dark colors in general on mature skin.

7:45-7:50: I threw away any disposable applicators and cleaned up the work area. Melissa handed me the brushes she had cleaned and I prepared for client #2.

7:50-8:40: The maid of honor/sister sat down. Just a reminder, she is the one who has problems with Psoriasis and Eczema, and is also allergic to talc in makeup. I had done a run-through on her 2 days before and her skin was actually pretty clear. The same can not be said for that morning. She had broken out into patches on her forehead as well as her cheeks and had red all over. This was definitely a challenge. I started out by moisturizing her face with a foundation brush and Cetaphil cleanser. Mind you, I scooped out everything beforehand and put it on my steel palette as to not contaminate my products. The moisturizer was used to make sure her face was smooth enough for the foundation. I then applied primer. From there I added concealer using a dabbing motion to get more coverage. I didn’t thin out my cream concealer because we needed max coverage. I then set the concealer with powder and moved to foundation. I used a sponge to apply the foundation so that I could really press it into the skin. From there, instead of setting it off with translucent powder like I usually do, I used my graftobian powder palette to get extra coverage. I then went to the eyes and cheeks and those went according to plan. At the end, I did a dusting of translucent powder and made sure to spritz her with fix plus to prevent the foundation from looking too heavy and cakey. The work paid off because she looked absolutely gorgeous.

8:45 – 9:20: dum dum da dummmm…time for the bride! The bride's skin was nice and clear. She had been strict with her facial regimen and it paid off. I pretty much had a smooth surface to work with. The only thing I had to watch out for was some minor acne scarring and some skin discoloration on her neck. I used two different concealers for this…especially since skin is lighter in the middle of the face for some and darker on the edges. I also added extra primer around where her laugh lines emerged as well as under her eyes. This prevented the makeup from creasing during the day. In doing bridal makeup, you have to find the balance between enough coverage so that it looks good and camera and in person. Everything went according to plan. During our run-throughs we were deciding between a pair of MAC #7 lashes and Wispies. In the end she went with the wispies, which I think was a good choice. I finished everything except for her lips and cheeks. We decided to save these for the wedding venue where a photographer would take a few shots of me doing makeup.
***action shots of me doing her makeup at the hotel

9:30: Arrived at the venue. We had some time to kill since the photographer wasn’t ready yet. With that said...my assistant and I turned into mini-seamstresses for the brides and bridesmaids. If you do a lot of weddings, here’s a tip: carry safety pins, mini scissors, and the double stick fashion tape to hold down clothes. I was pinning and taping like crazy. Anyways, I was able to finish the blush and lips without a problem. I also covered a little pimple on the bride’s chest after she had the dress on. A little powder and concealer and it disappeared.

***Photographer's shots of me doing the bride's makeup pre-ceremony

***Fun Shot of the bride before the walk down the aisle

12:05: I went to the room to touch up the bride. Mind you, this was supposed to be an outdoors wedding but it had been raining all day. Fortunately it was only misting at this point and the area outside had a covered walkway and overhang for the ceremony. The only thing I really needed to touch up was add a little more gloss. After that, I went downstairs to where the bridal party was lined up and passed out altoids (gum is a no no at weddings) and powdered a few people, including the groom who has a bald head!

12:30: I finally got to sit down and enjoy the ceremony. From there, I had my kit but really didn’t have to use it much except a quick lipstick retouch after the ceremony.
***Touching up the bride's lipstick after her walk down the aisle and the big smooch.

***I was able to do makeup for the bride as well as her sister/maid of honor

1:00-5:30pm From there...we went and enjoyed the reception...chocolate fondue fountain...champagne toast...bouquet toss...cupid shuffle...you know the usual...it was a lot of fun!

7:00pm I arrived home after the ceremony. Exhausted, but satisfied at making a bride to most beautiful she could be on her special day.

More Pics...

***Shot of the happy bride and groom...

***I also did the mother of the bride's makeup.

***Shots of the bride with some of her bridesmaids

***More of the photographer's pre-ceremony "getting ready" shots...isn't the bride beautiful?!

MARI themes

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