Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swatches: Nordstrom Exclusive Colour Forms Collection

I didn't know what to do with myself as soon as walked in Nordstrom and saw the display for the pre-sale of the Colour Forms collection. Although I won't get my goodies yet in about three weeks, at least I went home with some swatches on my arm.

So what am I going to end up with? The basic and advanced brush sets, Warm Eyes palette, Sun Centered Colour Form powder, and Rose Bullion Rich Metal highlighter.

I was surprised that the brush set are pretty good. It's almost as good as the full-sized one. They're all really soft unlike the Antiquitease collection which were a tad scratchy. This is a great beginner set for those who are just starting out and want to try out MAC brushes. I also chose the Warm Eyes palette since it is the most pigmented palette out of the two. The Cool Eyes palette for some reason was too sheer. I had to dig through the eyeshadow to get a pretty decent swatch. Sun Centered Colour Form powder will be a great bronzer because of it's peachy-gold color. It has a nice sheen finish so it's not overwhelmingly glittery on your face but just enough to give you a glowly look! Rich Metal highlighter in Rose Bullion is very pretty as well. It's great as an eyeshadow or highlighter. I think I'm going to have to go back and get Quick Flash. Rich Metal reminded me of the previous Metal-X collection except that it's more creamy and consistent and almost similar to a cream color base.

The guy who helped me out with my pre-sale order rock. He was soo friendly, funny, and so chatty. I wish all the MUA are like that. Also, he was nice enough to give me samples of the pigments for me to try out. So I'll be doing a look for that soon, so stay tuned.

Colour Forms will be available at your nearest Nordstrom counters and on July 11 (US/Canada) and August 2008 (International). But get to steppin' right now and pre-order your favorite before they sold out!

Based on the swatches, what do you think you'll be getting?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Skin Dilemma Pt. 2: Fighting Acne

The second part of this post.

I know some of you have been wondering how and what did I do that helped me fight my acne problems especially with the amount of grossness I had on my face previously. There's no secret to it really. It's what you're mom has been telling you (at least what my mom has been telling me), old fashion remedies, and just plain beauty common sense. So don't be surprised if what I'm going to be listing is nothing new or exciting to you.

For a couple of years, I had to deal with painful and not to mention ginormous cystic acne on my forehead and cheeks. Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation is the root of it all. Yes, to some people it might be the best thing since sliced bread. Flawless skin within minutes with minimal caking and no streaks on your face. But for some reason it just won't agree with acne-prone skin. Why? Because of this ingredient they have in it called Bismuth. It makes your face flare up with acne, yet you end up using more products on your face to cover up the same blemishes which really only makes it worse. Bare Escentuals was probably the very first foundation I've ever used and it broke my heart... and face. All because of their marketing line: "So pure you can sleep in it." And so I did... numerous and countless times. Dumb move I know to fall for it and everyone knows that you're not even suppose to wear makeup to sleep. But when you know nothing about makeup and with the sales pitch they're feeding you (besides it's mineral makeup so that must mean natural right?), chances are you will believe what they say. And the hype that was surrounding it just increased the chances of falling for it.

But, enough of the sappy story. I should've been smarter than that. It took me a good two years before I actually recovered from all that insanity. After testing every possible products that I can think of that you can buy at the stores, all it really takes is self-control, finding the right products, and beauty common sense. So here are the things I've learned throughout this whole ordeal and how I dealt with it:
  1. Know your skin. At least get a pretty good idea what type of skin you have and the ingredients you might be allergic to. It really helps to know so you know which products to avoid and use.

  2. Do some research. It's usually not enough just asking your BFF what product she uses to maintain her always great looking skin or it's the latest hype that everyone and their mom and neighbors are using it (*ahem* BE *ahem*). She can be using a bar of soap and it'll just work out fine for her. But remember that everyone has different skin and different reactions to certain products. Try not to get drag along with the hype. Be smart and at least Google some product reviews or ratings from a third party perspective or go to or any other forums that offer this service. Try to avoid testimonials from the company's website because we all know that only the good ones will be posted there. Also, be familiar with the product's ingredients.

  3. Do NOT overdo things. I admit I was guilty of this in the beginning. I used to wash my face at least four times a day because "I am cleaning it whenever my face feels dirty" thinking it'll minimizing my breakouts. Well too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Overwashing your face can strip away your face's natural oils. As well as over-exfoliating can make your pimples bleed. Wash twice a day only - morning and night - with the exception that you probably were sweating in your workout. Just don't wash because it 'feels' dirty or just because you feel like washing your face. Exfoliating should only be done once or twice a WEEK, as well for masks.

  4. Do NOT evaluate the product's quality based on the price. Just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it will work or if it's cheap and it's not going to be effective. Most of my skincare items are actually inexpensive. I probably have ONE item that cost me over $20. There are really cheap yet good products out there that actually works. But if it works for you then keep it even though costs you an arm and a leg. (What I use: Cleansing - Pure Luxe Calmine Bar Soap $6; Moisturizer - Jojoba Oil $7)

  5. Use sunscreen/sunblock before heading out the door! Make it a habit before you walk out of the door. Skipping the sunscreen makes your acne scar pigmentation darker. It's just like when you go tanning: You get darker easier when you don't have sunblock or sunscreen on (What I use: Shiseido - Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ $37). It'll also prevent wrinkle formation in the future.

  6. Try to skip foundation every other day. For some people this might be a hard thing to do and would not be caught dead without foundation or concealer, but I made sure I wasn't wearing foundation everyday to let my skin breathe. If you really can't avoid it... use mineral makeup at least instead of liquid foundation.

  7. Do NOT use all your new skincare products at the same time. You will disturb your skin's balance. Introduce any new products at least a week later and introduce it to your skin by using it once a day in the first few weeks. I know you're excited to try out that new moisturizer, cleanser, and spot treatment, but by using your new products one by one can help pinpoint which product broke you out in the event that you (then you can toss that product forever!). This includes foundation and concealers.

  8. DRINK WATER! This is probably the greatest beauty advice that people don't follow. Keep your skin hydrated. Water also helps flush out the bad stuff out of your body. Drink at least 8 glasses a day and notice the difference. Also drinking green tea helps and improve the look of your skin because of its anti-flamatory properties. So have a cup every morning at work.

  9. Stick to a routine. If you already have a skin regimen that works, stick to it. Why fix it when it's not broken?

  10. Don't touch your face. No matter how tempting it can be. Just keep your hands off your face.

  11. Wash your face EVERY night before you go to sleep. You've been out and about the whole day. Pollution, makeup, and other gunk that you got from a day's worth is on your face. No matter how hammered or tired you are, get up and wash your face. Lazyness doesn't pay off. Think about that pimple you'll get the next day when you don't. Big, fat, red pimple. Not pretty.

  12. Avoid products that contain alcohol in it. It takes a few minutes to check the ingredients of what you put on your face. Check if it contains alcohol.

  13. If a product stings or itch, TOSS it. Or return it as long as you don't use it anymore.

  14. Wash your face brushes. Do this at least once a week. Your brush is harboring bacteria already and it's getting on your face AND makeup.

  15. Avoid scratchy brushes. Usually synthetic hair are better than animal hair. Using face brush that scratches your face everytime you use it will cause micro-tears on your face making your pores larger which makes it easier for bacteria to get in (hence why you need to wash your face brushes and keep them clean).

Those are only some of the few things that I religiously lived by when I was dealing with my acne problems and even til now. It's really no secret and there's really no miracle to it. It's about having self-control. If you're still breaking out, you're probably doing something wrong and your face is retaliating. Don't take your face for granted because it WILL show!

What do you do to keep your skin healthy?

Check out previous entries that relate to this post:
Product Review: Queene Helene Mint Julep Masque
Product Review: Ly-na Pearl Cream
Product Review: Desert Essence Jojoba Oil
Scarzone vs. Pearl Cream


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Depotting your NYX Eyeshadow Trio (How To)

As we all know that any NYX Eyeshadow Trio fits perfectly in the MAC palette. So here is my method of depotting my NYX Trio. It's pretty simple, and it's almost similar to how you depot your MAC eyeshadow but I thought to just put it out there anyway.

I like depotting my NYX eyeshadow and house them along with my MAC eyeshadows in the MAC palette since it saves more space in storage, and it save you the time of shuffling around for eyeshadows since they're all in one place.

Items you will need:
*Click on the image to enlarge

  • NYX Eyeshadow Trio
  • Paring Knife (make sure the metal part is thin but sturdy enough)
  • Round Adhesive Magnets (my magnets were pre-cut using a round scrapbooking hole puncher)
  • 1 inch Round Labels (available at your nearest office supply stores)
  • Straightening Iron
  • Wax Paper (the gift wrap paper that clothing stores give you)

  • Procedure:

    1. Take your paring knife and pop the plastic casing where the eyeshadow pans sit. You'll need a knife that'll fit in the skinny space on the outer edge of the plastic casing. Poping it should be pretty simple and requires minimal force. It should pop right off.

    2. After popping the plastic off, place it on top of your straightening iron plate with a piece of wax paper underneath. This will prevent the plastic from melting right off your straightening iron. Let it sit for a about 3-5 minutes depending on your heat settings. You'll notice that the eyeshadow pan will rise up as the plastic heats.

    3. When the plastic has melted, it should be really easy to get the eyeshadow pan out of the plastic casing. If you have to force the eyeshadow out, place it back into your straightening iron and let the plastic melt some more. Since the metal pans are softer than the MAC eyeshadow ones, applying force will distort the NYX pan's shape and can break the eyeshadow. THE EYESHADOW PANS AND THE PLASTIC WILL BE HOT! So be careful when you do take them out, and try not to touch it. The pans still has some glue in it, it'll just be painful having a hot pan stuck in your finger or hand.

    4. Also, keep in mind to line up your eyeshadow in the order they were. I made this mistake in the beginning and I had to retrace back which eyeshadow matches the color at the bottom of the trio. It'll just be much simpler when you label your eyeshadows but in case you still forget, you can go to and try matching and lining up the colors based on the images on the website.

    5. Unlike the MAC eyeshadows, there's not much glue at the back of the NYX eyeshadow pan. This is why it's easier to get it out of the plastic casing. I didn't really need to clean the back with alcohol especially since a label will just go on top of it.

    6. Place your adhesive round magnets facing the sticky side at the back of the pan.

    7. Put your round label sticker on top of the magnet to label your eyeshadow. Or if you prefer, you can stick it on the inside cover of the palette like some people do for better visibility of the color names. However you want to label it is up to you.

    8. Now your eyeshadow is ready to be placed in your MAC palette.

      Wednesday, June 18, 2008

      Skin Dilemma Pt 1: Skin Timeline

      ***WARNING: This post contains visuals that may not be appealing to the eyes. None of the pictures where Photoshopped except for the cropping and text. Also, please note that this entry is based entirely on MY experience and opinion, and what has been effective for ME. I'm NOT in any way a skin expert, aesthetian, or dermatologist. I never had extensive knowledge about the skin. Please REMEMBER that different techniques and products have different effects on people. Before you try anything that you might get out of this post, be aware of the ingredients you might be sensitive or allergic to.***

      This post will be a two part series: Part one will show you few stages that my skin had gone through for an introduction, and part two will be tips, recommendations, and steps that I did in order to get to how my skin looks like today.

      When we were younger, pretty much everyone was all blessed with clear skin. The type of skin we always want: no pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. Just a nice clear and soft skin.

      But then, we hit puberty or just get older, and sometimes things just don't work out like we want to. We notice a pimple here and there. What about the blackheads on your nose that never seem to go away? But some of us just have it really bad. Bad to a point that your acne takes a toll on your self-esteem. It might seem to be in a shallow end, but acne does change how your visually and mentally perceive of yourself. I know because I've been through it and experienced it

      Here are some pictures of what my face has been through in the span of 3 years.

      Trust me. I'm really embarrassed to even show half of the following pictures.

      Click on the images to enlarge:

      This picture was around the end of my freshman year of college. I never really needed any foundation or concealer to cover up any pimples or scars. Never wore any makeup except for eyeliner. My face was really that clear, and it's not Photoshopped (Aww, look at the symbol of my rebelliousness. I was so bad ass with my nose ring heehee).

      Now fastforward to a year later. After using Bare Escentuals (I swear that's the work of the devil!), My face insanely brokeout! At this point I've met with my dermatologist twice already. I was prescribed Tazorac, had a facial, and steriod injection to help minimize the size of a huge, stubborn pimple on my left cheek (which was really composed of four small ones. I know gross). I swear that pimple never went away for the longest time. Anyway, in high school my usual breakout area was my forehead, but after using Bare Escentuals I started getting them on my cheeks. Big, red, ugly pimples. You can't even really see all of them. There's more of them somewhere but the picture is a bit blurry and my angle hides most of them, I've also tried Proactiv for the first time.

      Sorry, I had to block out eyes and my mouth because I really had a silly expression. Anyway, my skin was not getting any better. I actually had foundation in this picture. It didn't really do much covering since you can still see the pimples. At this point, I've tried out Proactive AGAIN, Neutrogena, Clean&Clear, Clinique 3-step Acne Solution, Shiseido Pureness, and some other things I can no longer remember. Not to mention I've always made it a habit to to put foundation and concealer on to cover my acne.

      Very minimal breakouts. But my previous acne problem left horrible scarring on my cheeks. My skin has actually improved. The Lyna Pearl Cream has faded most of the scars and prevented the cystic acne. The Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque minimized the breakouts. I was actually able to go out bare face most of the time.

      And, my bare face as of today (the scar on the left picture was from my chicken pox days). Scarring almost gone, and been breakout free for about a month now. I haven't really used foundation. Seriously.

      So, how was the last picture even possible? Stay tuned for Part two!


      Tuesday, June 17, 2008


      After one bottle of brush cleanser and 11 depotted eyeshadows...

      I got two eyeshadows in exchange :).

      So I ended up going back for Warming Trend. I swatched it again and for some reason it looked better when I did the first time. I just decided to get it since the eyeshadows are technically "free" especially that they were limited editions too. I was going to get Evening Aura as well, but for some reason the MAC store at Topanga Mall never got a shipment of it (supposedly). However, I did check Nordies and they did have it. I ended up not getting it though since I got the Expensive Pink eyeshadow already.

      Miss Jaclyn Rose actually gave a detailed post that answers any of your questions about the Back2MAC program. In addition to what was mentioned in her blog, Nordstrom and Macy's apparently only swap for any choice of a lipstick while your MAC freestanding store will gladly exchange it for an eyeshadow (in a pot, can be LE), lipstick, or lipglass.

      So depot those eyeshadows, finish up those lippies or any other skincare products, as long as you have 6 containers saved up and ready to go (certain exclusions apply), then head down to any of your MAC freestanding stores, Nordstrom, or Macy's for your swap.

      Thursday, June 12, 2008

      MAC Neo Sci-Fi and Cool Heat Collection (Haul and Swatches)

      Sorry for the lack of updates once again. I've been insanely busy at work that I'm usually there early and yet still the last one to leave our "cave". I'm just trying to learn and get a better understanding of my job. So needless to say, I've been coming home really tired at the end of the day, and sleeping late is hardly an option since I have difficulties waking up bright and early.

      Anyway, the Cool Heat collection from MAC released today, June 12. I decided to check it out and take advantage of the 15 percent coupon that MAC has miraculously sent out to their customers yesterday. I guess with the recent downturn of our economy, so did their sales hence why they offered this discount. But being a recent business graduate, I still wanted to hold on to my weak dollar by spending it wisely on something I will actually use while satisfying my inner MAC addiction without going overboard. I also checked out Sephora and finally got the Too Faced Shadow Insurance and got a sample of the Cosmedicine Medi Matte Oil Control Lotion.


      Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($17) and Cosmedicine Medi Matte (Sample)

      MAC Blush palette, MAC Gulf Stream e/s (Cool Heat Collection), and MAC Expensive Pink (Neo-Sci Fi Collection)

      Upclose: Expensive Pink and Gulf Stream


      MAC Cool Heat Collection Swatches (*missing Warm Chill)

      The Cool Heat collection has some hit or miss for me. The rest of the eyeshadows can be substituted with a permanent color. Solar White can be duped with Femme Fi (Neo Sci Fi) or with Naked Lunch (permanent). Gulf Stream is almost similar to Parrot in my opinion. But, I did get it since I don't have Parrot. Blue Flame can be subsituted with Deep Truth (permanent) as Vanessa had observed and mention while we were swatching these babies today. However, Deep Truth has a better color payoff than Blue Flame which looks a little flat or too matte for its color. Warm Chill (not pictured) was a miss for me since it seemed too sheer for my taste. And lastly, Warming Trend just reminds me of my Milani Sheer Sand. Other misses are Cool Heat and Climate Blue. The texture of these eyeshadows seemed to be chunky.

      MAC Neo Sci-Fi Collection Swatches

      As for the Neo Sci-Fi Collection, these colors are more up in my alley (yes, I'm aware that I'm a bit late for this information). However, like the Cool Heat collection, it can be easily be duped with a permanent color. As mentioned earlier, Femme Fi can be duped with Naked Lunch; Time & Space is similar to Woodwinked; and Expensive Pink with NYX Salmon (trio). The only slight difference I noticed with Expensive Pink vs. NYX Salmon e/s was Expensive Pink is a little bit more on the peachy side than the NYX Salmon.

      I passed up on getting the Magnetic Fields since I thought it looked like my Milani Java Bean, but it wasn't. The closest color with Magnetic Fields that I have is Brun, except Brun is a matte color while Magnetic Fields is more on the frosty side. So, I might have to go back in getting Magnetic Fields after all.

      I hope this helps with anyone thinking about getting something in this collection. For the past weeks, I've been analyzing every single eyeshadow I own to justify why they should stay in my stash. As much as I am a beauty addict/junkie, I still have to weigh in some benefit or purpose for my purchase especially with gas prices going up, the dollar getting weaker, rice shortages, and the economy slump. We only have two sets of eyes and one lips. How much makeup do we really need? Creativity doesn't come from the amount of eyeshadow you own, but how you can utilize on what you have. But sometimes it's easier said than done to stop an addiction.
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