Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nail Color

When I was young, my mom gave me an important bit of advice: always keep your hands clean. You can tell a lot about a person with her hands, just like what Forrest Gump's momma said about feet. You can tell a lot about where that person's been, where that person's going to, what the person does and what she doesn't do. "You don't want people to think you don't keep your hands clean, do you?" she asked. I never forgot that. So when it comes to nail polish, I always just stick to the ones that I feel will really make me look clean and presentable.

Unfortunately, that's also how I become really boring when it comes to choosing nail polish color. Usually I just have French tips on my nails and something clear on my toes. The other day I decided it was time to chuck out my traditional clear polish for my feet and experiment with colors that are a little more exciting. I still couldn't bring myself to go for anything other than french tips for my hands but at least my toes would be a start! I found myself gravitating towards deep dark reds, maroons and plums. Just like with red lipstick, I was apprehensive at first about trying something dark. I don't want to have gnarly feet with nails na mukhang patay. I don't want to look like I stubbed my feet on something rusty either or as if some small animal just died and bled all over my feet. But surprise surprise, rich dark colors contrast well with my feet, making them look even whiter. They look classy and elegant too so they go with just about anything.

For my first attempt at having dark colored toenails, I settled for Orly's Naughty, a deep dark brown shade that resembles my mom's Chanel's Vamp. It's such a deep dark red that some people have asked me if they were black. I don't mind though, it still looks so elegant. If I'm feeling on the safe side again I'll just go back to my traditional Orly Platinum, which also makes my feet (and hands) look whiter. It's just a neutral, pearly platinum shade that also goes well with my feet.

I'll try out Orly's Manic Monday and OPI's Suzy Loves Sydney next and write about them here. I dunno if OPI still has the Russian Collection around but I heard it's got the nicest maroons, reds and plums. That and the Holiday Collection. It really doesn't hurt to go beyond your comfort zone when it comes to choosing colors. If you find the colors are too off on you, then keep looking until you find something that does make you feel pretty. I was never really bold at choosing colors because I've always felt there were too many rules on the "right" or "proper"colors for morenas. I thought morenas only have limited colors to choose from because of our skin tone. Man, that's so not true! Hopefully this little experimentation with nail colors will also extend to experimenting with bolder colors for eyeshadows, lipsticks and other makeup products.

Here's an article that can help guide you in choosing nail colors. It was written way back in 2003 but some of the tips there regarding choosing nail color might still be able to help you. It even has some brands you might want to check out. Plus, the consultant there is none other than Allure's editor-in-chief Linda Wells so you're pretty sure she knows what she's talking about. Have fun reading!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cheap finds

My newest cheap find is Avon Glazewear lipstick. I like that it actually does what it advertises. It has the rich color and moisturizing properties of a lipstick and the shine of a lipgloss minus the waxy feeling. The texture is great too! It's smooth and creamy so it glides really well on the lips. It didn't dry out my lips at all. Plus, it comes in a slim package so it makes applying lipstick easier and more precise. Still, what I like most about is the price. For just 235 bucks, you get a good quality product without depleting your funds.

Avon Glazewear comes in a variety of colors to suit both mestizas and morenas. I personally like milk chocolate, toasted tawny, juicy apricot and pink toffee. Milk chocolate is now a staple in my kikay kit. I hope they come up with a wider range of colors though, but for now those will have to do. Hooray for cheap finds!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dear Santa

First of all...

Merry Christmas everyone!

Let me just share with you something on my wishlist this year.

A Vanitibasics vanity mirror!

I've been eyeing this one for a long time now. I first heard about this mirror when Lucy Torres raved about it in a magazine. What I love about this vanity mirror is that it comes with its own light, so it's kind of like having your own makeup studio but on a smaller scale. It has white fluorescent light that simulates daylight (it looks more incandescent orange than white) plus it's glare-free and shadow-free so makeup application is made even easier. It's double-sided; one side is for normal viewing while the other side is magnified 8 times. 8 times! It kind of makes you cross-eyed at first as you really have to lean in to see yourself. When you do, you really get to see everything and I mean EVERYTHING like the smallest pores, blackheads and whiteheads. The plus side is, of course, you really get to check your makeup more clearly too. For instance, you get to pluck your eyebrows more easily, you get to check if your eyeshadows are balanced or if your lip liners are correctly in place.

This Vanitibasics Mirror also comes in another model, but the other model isn't double sided like this one and it's only magnified up to 5 times. It's still close enough if you ask me. Vanitibasics is available at Rustan's.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's Paint the Town Red

(Or how to choose the right red lipstick for our skin tone)

I used to have a fear of wearing red lipstick. I had this idea that red lipsticks were the realm of those with a fairer complexion. No biggie, I thought, morenas like me have other beautiful browns and pinks to choose from anyway. Then I thought, well, why should mestizas have all the fun?

Choosing the right red lipstick, or choosing the right make-up for that matter, really depends a lot on finding the right products that will suit your skin's undertone. One easy way to determine your skin's tone would be to look at the inside of your wrists. If the veins on your wrists are more greenish, then you have a warm, yellow undertone. If your veins have a more purplish tint, then you're more on the cool blue side. Mestizas, or those with a fair or rosy skin, usually have bluish undertones while morenas usually have yellow undertones. Mine are more greenish so I ought to stick to red lipsticks with brown and red orangey undertones.

One product that I've tried that I really like is Maybelline's Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Ruby Lustre. It's still red, but not the scary kind of red, if you know what I mean. It's the kind of red lipstick that won't leave you looking clownish. Another Maybelline product that a morena friend of mine really likes is the Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Brick Rose. I find it a tad too dark for me, but she likes it a lot and it suits her really well so you might want to check that out too.

I also like L'Oreal's Glam Shine Cream in Glam Red. Like Maybelline's Ruby Red, L'Oreal's Glam Red has brown undertones which suit our morena skin. If you're looking for a red lipstick that has SPF, then go for Elianto's Spa Lipstick in Royal Red. This red lipstick has SPF 15, which is really important for protecting your lips and preventing it from getting darker.

One super cheap red lipstick that you might wanna try out is Fashion 21's Lip Spa Nutrient-Rich Lipstick in Raspberry. For only 175 bucks, you get the color and the staying power of a rich red lipstick. Fanny Serrano's Color Brilliance in Army isn't so bad either.

If you want to splurge a little more, try going for Elizabeth Arden's Color Intrigue in Stop Traffic. It's a rich, warm red that morenas can definitely pull off.

I guess at the end there's really no "right" or "wrong" lipstick for you. If you feel like going for cherry reds, then go for it, if you think it looks good on you. It all boils down to personal preference and what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable at the same time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Body Scrubs

Of all bath products out in the market, I am most addicted to body scrubs. I invest in body scrubs more than any other bath product. I like everything about them. How they smell, how they make me feel extra clean, I even like how they're packaged! Some come in plastic tubs, some in glass jars, some in regular tubes. Exfoliating is a crucial bath and beauty routine as it strips away all the dust, dirt and grime we've accumulated. I would love to get a body scrub from a spa every week, but alas, my budget will not permit it! So I just turn to relatively cheaper products for my exfoliating needs. Bottom line is, whether you're morena or not, it's important to look and feel clean all the time. I limit my use of body scrubs to twice a week though. More than that and our skin gets dry and dehyrdated.

So here are my favorite scrubs ever.

1) Philosophy Amazing Grace Body Scrub
- I tried out other Philosophy Products (Philosophy Hope in a Jar Daily Moisturizer, for example) and I remember being pretty satisfied. This other Philosophy product did not disappoint. This salt scrub exfoliates very well and smells really nice! I've even had some people ask me what perfume I'm wearing. The salts aren't harsh to the skin but it still managed to scrub away dead skin cells and make my skin really smooth and soft.

2) Origins Incredible Spreadable Body scrub in Ginger
- I was first drawn to this scrub because of its name, Incredible Spreadable. Eh ako pa naman, madaling bentahan, hehe. I just hear the words "incredible" or "super" game na ako. I wonder who cooks up these names! So I pick this up although I was apprehensive at first when I read it's Ginger. Ginger?! As in sa salabat? Anyway so I try this and it surprisingly smells good! It works really well too. It buffs the roughness away plus it brightens the skin. You really notice the difference with this product. It made my skin softer and smoother. I must say, it really lives up to its name as it's incredible AND spreadable!

3) Mark's & Spencer's Royal Jelly and Pure Honey Gently Refining Sugar Body Scrub
- Whew! What a mouthful! For only 350, this scrub works double time. It scrubs away dead skin cells plus it polishes your body with honey and sugar too! Royal jelly is a natural source of vitamin B while honey is well known for its moisturizing properties. I love it because the beads aren't harsh to the skin, it's not sticky and it smells nice. My friend's derma naman said it prevents build up of cellulite and stretchmarks daw. I'm not sure but hey, if it does, great!

4) Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Wash
- Aveeno's well known for its line of body washes specifically tailored for people with skin problems like skin asthma, eczema and others but it also works well for people with regular skin. This brand was recommended by my dermatologist so I tried it and yey I like it! Again, I was sold on the name palang, Positively Radiant. Okay, nobody told me "Mia, you look positively radiant!" haha but I did feel clean and thoroughly exfoliated. Plus it didn't dry out my skin even when I used this everyday.

Personal Favorites: Origins Incredible Spreadable Ginger Scrub, Mark's and Spencers Royal Jellyand Pure Honey Gently Refining Sugar Body Scrub.

Want to try out: L'Occitane Shea Butter Super Rich Body Scrub, NuSkin Liquid Body Lufra, and Kiehl's Liquid Body Scrub and Cleanser. Thank god Kiehl's already here in good ol' Manila!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Laying down the foundations

As this is my first ever post on this blog, let me start out with a discussion about foundations. Hehe. Foundations as this blog's foundation. For as long as I can remember, I've been on the lookout for the best possible foundation to suit my morena skin tone. Some products I've come across seem to be the perfect choice because they're not greasy, they're easy to apply and they're good for my skin which can get relatively oily at times.

However, and here's the big BUT.

They don't have the right shade for me! Boo-hoo. So my face ends up like either I've been slapped by an espasol, or my face just doesn't have the same shade as my neck and the rest of my body, which is quite disgustingly obvious in person and especially in pictures. Eeek!

Then I chanced upon MakeUp Forever Mat Velvet Mattifying Foundation. This oil-free, water-resistant liquid foundation, especially when paired with the MakeUp Forever Mat Velvet primer, works well in evening out my skin tone so I don't look like a half-lobster half-human or a wannabe geisha. Also, what I like about this foundation is that it's buildable. I can dab on just a little when I want minimal coverage or I can layer it as much as I want if I want a full one. After I put this on, I just set it with my Laura Mercier Loose Powder and I'm good to go.

Another foundation I like is MAC Studio Finish Powder Foundation. It evens out my skin tone and covers up my dark undereye circles. Their foundations are some of their best-sellers but just be careful as I've read they can cause breakouts. I have normal and sometimes combination oily-dry skin and thankfully I didn't experience any breakouts at all.

For a more subtle foundation, or foundation I use when I'm just hanging out, taking it easy, or just going out for something steady, I use The Face Shop Phytogenic Powder Foundation in R24 pink beige. At first I thought it was too pink for me (morenas I think have a yellow-based complexion) but when I put it on, it blended in quite well. This can be used during the day but works just as well if you want heavier coverage. Just wet the sponge, apply onto your face, and you have instant foundation perfect for your all-night party.

Products that I want to try out would be: Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation, VOV Cream Foundation and Monave Mineral Foundation. I heard they also have a great line of colors that can suit our morena skintone.

P.S. I shall post pictures of the products as soon as possible! Meanwhile, feel free to comment or post your own suggestions.