Monday, March 24, 2014

MAC x Maleficent Coming Soon

My friend Jessica posted a link in Facebook and tagged me and Leeanne announcing another MAC collaboration. A lightbulb in my head, angels singing, kitties dancing, and (although the collection doesn't have it) leopard prints suddenly painted the world.

We're all so excited with the movie (starring the sexy modern-day superwoman Angelina Jolie) telling the tale from the character's side of the story with the trailer just building the anticipation. When MAC x Maleficent mix, my evil dark side just squeamed with delight.

My first instinct would say that it was just as similar to 2010's Venomous Villains, which also featured a Maleficent line, that was more cool purples and plums. This year's collection is actually different, which had earth tones and reds this time (taking it I guess from Angelina's makeup)

image again borrowed here. It was quite hard to find photos and swatches of it online

A bit of throwback, last 2010's Maleficent, from my blog

I'm spotting nail lacquers, lashes, penultimate, beauty powder, lip glass, lipliner, lipstick, eyebrow pencil, a shading powder, and a palette. The earths and reds (browns and hardly any blushes) are a stark contrast to four years ago, yet I'm excited nonetheless I feel my wallet burning. 

Actually, the shading powder looks promising and I probably can use that when I do my contours, just to get an approximation of Angie's award-winning cheekbones. Believe it or not, I'm thinking the eyeshadow palette can be great for bridal work, especially if the bride wants smokey eyes. I'm visualizing on how to recreate the easy effortless brown smokey eyes Topshop models have, and the palette has those shades. 

As of now, as we are waiting for the movie here, I'm just as excited and nervous of breaking a buy ban for this. Meanwhile, to build the anticipation, let's all watch the trailer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's In the Gym Toiletry Kit?

Part of being beautiful is not just layering makeup or all those lush creams. Since I started going deeper into exercise and fitness, it kind of makes sense that it also helps not only with the body's circulation, but your overall well-being. Pole has helped me gain strength in my core, which I still need in my job, carrying all my heavy equipment. It also helped in my overall self-esteem. When I cross-trained in yoga, I started out first with a gentle yin practice, with the initial intention of getting a split. When I got in deeper by doing dynamic yoga practice like Vinyasa, it helped also with my own inner peace and concentration. Exercise, whatever form you may find comfortable be it dance, gymnastics, Crossfit, running, or just working out in your neighborhood gym can really do good not only in detoxifying the body and giving it its definition but making you stronger and improving your own well-being.

So hence, I have finally decided to just have my own little gym bag which I have ready just in case I could sneak some time to pole or visit the yoga studio to get my endorphin fix. Aside from our change of clothes and the usual essentials, I'd like to share what I keep in my gym toiletry kit and how I maximize space. The bag I have to work out isn't very big. It's actually a tiny one that has the same capacity as a school backpack. Thankfully, my pole/yoga clothes are very tiny and save for the heels I sometimes need to bring for pole class, I can still have a lot of space and it doesn't get overstuffed. 

I'll start first by going through my toiletry kit, which usually contains the toilertries I need if I have to shower after I work out, since I have a meeting later or just to refresh after sweating the pizza I had the day before.

Since my exercise bag is small, naturally, my toiletry kit is just a small pouch instead of a toolbox or a tote bag. Number one rule, sample sizes are our best friends. This is when the shampoo/conditioner sample sachets or bottles we get in magazines, events, department store counters, or giveaways come in handy. Same goes for the shampoo and shower gel bottles we get in hotels. 

So, here are the contents in my toiletry bag:

See? No need to lug out the big pump bottles of shampoo and conditioner. For those who aren't really fond of sachet sizes, you can always buy travel-sized bottles at department stores and just transfer your favorite shampoo there. Okay back to regular programming. I prefer using liquid shower gel to solid soap as well since it's easier to pack and less messy in the bag. I save the solid cleansing bars for home use.

First row (L-R)

Eye cream and Face moisturizer with SPF 35 - Olay Total Effects Eye cream is light enough to be used during the day and the double-duty Olay Regenerist Day Cream has SPF as well so no need to bring a separate bottle for SPF

Second Row
  • Shu Uemura Cleansing oil (travel bottle) - Going to Hot Yoga or Vinyasa yoga class is better with a makeup-less face since I don't want my makeup to land or stain the studio yoga mat. This is my all-time favorite in removing heavy duty makeup easily. Also, it removes deodorant, i-Tac, and Grip Paste residue as well.
  • Facial Wash
  • Shampoo and Conditioner - To keep with the natural and organic theme, I packed organic shampoo with no harsh chemicals. I got Human Nature Shampoo and Conditioner in the tiny 50-mL bottles (Php 44.75 each) at the grocery store. Right now, what I do is buy the big bottle and just refill the smaller bottles until probably when the small bottle gives out (it's actually Human Nature Peppermint shampoo in the bottle when I already finished the Mandarin Fresh). They smell really good too!
  • Shower Gel -The Body Shop shower gel gift sets are classic gifts and I use this for travel or in my exercise bag because it's so handy. Sometimes I switch to a different scent when I feel like it. The gel variation is also pole dance friendly!
  • Baby Wash - Human Nature's Baby Wash smells really mild! It's also an awesome all-in-one gentle but effective wash that can be used as a facial wash, body wash, and feminine hygiene wash
  • Feminine Wash - Again, I am thankful for Human Nature for having tiny bottles that are perfect for the tiniest gym bags. 
  • Deodorant - roll-on, stick, or spray. Doesn't matter as long as it does its job keeping my armpits dry and my skin likes it.
  • My Amazing Blow Dry Quick Shake 'N' Spray (travel size) - So I can blow-dry my hair so that it can look decent enough for my next appointment without taking an hour to do so. Read my review about it here and thank me later when you purchase your first spray bottle. 

Third Row
  • Hand cream - I use this if I know that I won't be touching a pole after. This works amazingly for chafed heels (since I work out barefoot) and hands as well as rough knees and elbows
  • Wide-toothed comb - separates our wet hair strands and detangles hair without breaking it.

My second bag is more specialized, since it contains equipment that I need for the actual sport I do, as well as a bit of after-pole or yoga care.

This is the one I take out while at the studio.

0Top Row:
  • iTac - Initially, I use this in pole to give my skin some grip since grip paste can be too much. a little goes a long way! I've had my little jar of iTac since Stellar 2. 
  • Tite Grip - I use this on my shoulders to prevent slipping from sweat when I do my shoulder mounts. 
  • Leukoplast and Mueller foam - in the absence of wrist support (Tite Grip and iTac are available at the Polecats Manila Studio) 
  • Rubbing Alcohol - to help dry up the skin and make it more pole-ready. As long as there's no moisturizer.

Bottom Row:
  • YogaLove Healing Cream (check link for store availability and contact information) -  a nice-smelling cooling cream that's non-oily and easily absorbed by the body. it relaxes the mind and relieves pain. I use this to relieve migrains too.
  • Band-Aids - for scraped skin and whatever little boo-boo or accident happened.
  • Wet Tissue - to clean dirty feet and hands after 
  • Salonpas - the more travel-friendly pain killers, the better.
With packing-friendly packaging, I still have space for my workout gear and towels, and it's still light enough for me to carry from Strata to Podium and back. Plus, lockers are tinier this time and can't seem to fit the big gym bags that double as overnight bags,. 

Next up is what I pack inside the main gym bag. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lighter and Brighter with Strip's IPL ACE

As February or Valentine season comes to a close, we know one thing, summer's fast approaching. After the Holiday and love month binge, we've all got a few months to prepare for beach season. Yes, it's a whole production number to prepare for summer, getting our bodies swimwear ready. Why? Because with summer comes beach outings and with outings and our culture, there are photos. And with photos and digital images being shared with today's modern technology, our Summer 2014 (and all the other high-tech summers before that and thereafter) will forever be immortalized in social media and eventually in people's brains. So yes, it's a preparation to have a summer body because one day when we're old and wrinkly, we would want proof that we could rock that bikini, just like Miranda Kerr over here:

Aside from getting summer shapely-ready ( hello pole conditioning exercises and core blasters from yoga), let's not forget to do away those unwanted hairs. Since puberty, we have had a long-struggling battle with bodily hair with our weapons of choice - be it a shaving razor, DIY home wax strips or depilatory kits, or our trusty tweezers. We all want to have smooth and silky underarms like deodorant commercial models and supermodels in glossies with not a strand of unwanted hair peeking through.

IPL (or elecytolysis or laser) hair removals have made us say goodbye to our unwanted hairs almost forever. Back then, if you had older sisters, aunts, cousins, or friends who underwent it when it first came out, they may recall that not only was it expensive but also a very painful process. Thankfully, with more research and development, permanent hair removal procedures are now less painful and deliver better results faster.

I have experienced  IPL ACE,a semi-permanent 2-in-1 treatment that reduces hair growth and rejuvenates skin by stimulating collagen production. This technology is offered by Strip Manila . If any of you have already undergone Strip Manila's advanced IPL technology, it's still the same process of removing unwanted hair but also includes the additional process of  tightening and lightening the skin after hair removal so we get soft, smooth, hair-free skin.

I had my treatment on my underarms a few weeks ago. For busy ladies, I have to say you can get this done during lunchbreak because not only was it quick but also a painless experience. In fact, it just felt cold when the gel was applied. The cold gel gets warmer during the treatment and if the gel starts to get a little too warm or a tad hot for you to handle, more gel can be applied to make it cold. The IPL ACE technology felt more like a massage even. Plus points too on standard SOPs like skin preps like cleansing the area before and after treatment as well as wearing safety goggles.

Of course, one session does not instantly transform our underarms into those silky as a baby's bonbon smooth. Depending on the person, hair reduction can be observed after a course of 6-8 sessions. Most people usually expect around 70-80 percent reduction. Immediately though during the first treatment, skin rejuvenation can be seen (around 10-15 percent textural improvement). As for skin texture, results  are more significant in the 4th or 5th session. The customer may have this done every 4 weeks for face treatments and 5-6 weeks for body treatments.

Chemicals in our deodorant or wearing too much tight clothing or daily activities can cause darkening of the underarms or bikini line. I'm glad that IPL ACE can whiten and tighten the skin to make it look more youthful and as if we never had our unwanted hair since birth at all. Now imagine having hair-free, silky-smooth underarms forever and the liberty of just wearing tank tops during summer without worrying of unsightly fuzziness.

So how much does IPL ACE cost per session? A full face costs Php22,500  Underarm costs Php 7,500. Brazilian Php 22,500. Half leg costs Php 18,750. The service though is only available to female clients at all Strip Manila Branches.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ivory and White 2014 Shoot

I'm sharing with this post the photos and behind-the-scenes for the shoot last month I did with Ivory and White Bridal Store. For those who haven't heard it yet, Ivory and White is a bridal boutique based in Quezon City that sells ready-to-wear bridal gowns at a fraction of the cost of what usual designer gowns cost. Now couples have that extra money to spare for the honeymoon, a new TV set or oven, or whatever they want to buy in order to start their new life together.

Our model for the shoot is DJ/stage actress Carla Dunareanu (coincidentally, I was listening to her radio show on the way to QC for our shoot). You guys might have last seen her in the stage play Grease where she portrayed one of the Pink Ladies. I saw her first in The Kitchen Musical,a TV series in AXN, which I regularly followed.

I upgraded my candy pink palette that I had back in 2011 for something that's more neutral, like the bride is naturally glowy and rosy. Loose and big curls for effortless beauty. Veil optional for breezy garden weddings.

This look is more classic bride, like she can look back in her photos when she's 80 and go like, "Wow! I must be a hottie when I was younger!" I see a lot of smokey eyes in brides lately in weddings being posted in Facebook. For brides who want emphasis but still want the classic look overall. In other words, brides who go, "I want to look natural but I really want my eyes to pop out."

I recommend this look too for weddings at night or with receptions done in hotels, where there's mood lighting and light makeup can look washed out.

Oh, I also did hair in this shoot. Here's a close look on the updo I did. It's a classic low bun with loopy hair.

For the third and last look, we included a rose accessory which inspired me to change up the look altogether.

Pop of color for bridal? Why not? Red lips made a lot of difference. I made the features warmer by additional contouring and added a bit of eyeliner to tie the eyes with the lips so the eyes don't look that lost . The red by the way, is Collection Cosmetics Queen of Hearts. For those who have it, you guys agree with me on the staying power, right?

Carla's three looks. Each one is very different from the other. Awesome how makeup can change things.

It seems like we were whisked off at a faraway place for this shoot. We shot at Studio Namu in Quezon City, and this studio is quite popular for prenup sessions where the couple would want a lot of layouts without travelling away from the city. They've got a lot of layouts to play along in one big studio too.

Thank you everyone! It was such an awesome day and the first shoot of the year.

Official Photo Credits:Photographer: Niel Ong
Model: Carla Dunareanu
Clothes: Ivory and White Bridal
Makeup and Hair: Me!
Location: Studio Namu

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Amazing Blow Dry Secret - Awesome Pink Potions to Save my Blow-Drying Skill's Neck

My hair literally has a world of its own and I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love it being long and thick and easy-to-style. I hate it for on days when I don't style it, it doesn't fall well like it's supposed to. Blow-drying seems to be the only key for it to look like it was naturally gorgeous and I kinda time some events where I need to look good when I'm gonna have my quarterly trims or if I have to go on trips to the salon where I can have my hair professionally blow-dried. I'm thankful for blow-dry bars and services where I can have my hair styled but if I have a client meeting or lunch with my friends, it's kinda too much if I go to a blow dry bar just to look pro enough so the solution is to gel and perpetually tie my hair. I do have a blow-dryer at home and there are times when I can go DIY but it still doesn't give the naturally flawless results a pro blowdry can give. Also, since my hair is long and thick, it takes forever to dry my hair perfectly. Some of the hairstylists I talk to actually said that even though they know how to fix and style hair, it's still hard to blow-dry your own hair.

I was introduced to a new and awesome product called My Amazing Blow Dry, which makes blow-drying a breeze without the need for pro-quality ionic blow dryers that cost a lot or the skills of a professional hairdresser. It's a safe, nice-smelling sulfate, phosphate, and pareben-free product that can be used by the lady who needs to look presentable all the time but does not have the time.

My Amazing Blow Dry has three products - shampoo, conditioner, and Quick Shake'N' Spray that work perfectly with each other in giving that perfect coif half the time. Of course they work tremendously well together but if you're saving money like I did, the Quick Shake 'N' Spray is the product you can purchase, which does not interfere or clash with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.

The Quick Shake 'N' Spray is a multi-purpose styler that's great for all hair types. If you noticed in the photo, it has like two formulas in the bottle, a clear layer, and a pinkish layer at the bottom. The clear layer on top speeds up blow-drying time by 50%. The pink layer at the bottom contains conditioners, moisturizers, heat, and sun protectors (as you all know, heat styling can damage the hair) to nourish the hair. All you have to do to use it is to shake the bottle very well to blend the ingredients together (it will turn a light cotton candy pink shade) and then spritz on to towel-dried hair before blow-drying. You can style your hair as desired and finish off with a final spritz for added shine. Unlike hair sprays, the results leave the hair soft and silky instead of crunchy, like traditional alcohol-based hair sprays. The Quick Shake 'N' Spray also can be used to refresh hair at the middle of the day to remove the smell of hair pollutants. Instead of odors reminiscent of a chem lab, this one has a fruity candy-like scent.  Hairstylists can have this in their kits should the client be sensitive to alcohol-based traditional hair products or would like to speed blow-drying time. Again, if you're the one who really prefers your usual favorite shampoo and conditioner, just get the Quick Shake 'N' Spray for your own DIY blow-drying at home.

My Amazing Blow Dry Secret is available at all Strip Manila stores and Tokyo Posh outlets. A 200-mL bottle costs Php 1250. If you want to get a set of three, (Shampoo, Conditioner, & Quick Shake 'N' Spray), the cost is Php 2998.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Eye of Horus: Taking Inspiration on Ancient Egypt for Today's Modern-Day Smolder

I was introduced to an Australian makeup brand called Eye Of Horus in a small gathering at Apartment 1B in Rockwell. Eye of Horus sounds like an artifact straight from The Mummy series and I would be expecting Brendan Fraser to come out guns and all but what we have are actually something that I also would like and strike my fancy - makeup ideal for sensitive eyes that is uniquely formulated in the style of the ancient Egyptians.

Remember in movies depicting ancient Egypt and photos? Notice anything with the eye makeup? They are heavily lined, take for instance Elizabeth Taylor's character in Cleopatra.

Heavily lined and defined eyes were the thing then in ancient Egypt. It was said that the cosmetics then were used to ward off evil spirits. Today, it has some modern-day adaptations seen in runways and fashion spreads as well as everyday adaptations so we don't look like we were teleported via time machine. Of course, the modern day's materials are different due to the advancement of technology and the change in lifestyle. Eye of Horus products uses modern-day research and development to develop eye products which give maximum results while caring for the skin with its ingredients. Also, the products are said to be very safe for sensitive eyes while delivering optimum results.

The brand is pretty new here in Manila. Most of us who attended the event have not heard about this yet but quite a few actually use it. Very popular in Australia, Eye of Horus makeup products are now available in our shores at all Snoe stores.

Of course we are all in the quest for perfect and long-lasting pencil  eyeliners. The original goddess smokey eye pencil (basic smokey black) not only glides smoothly along the eyes without any funny, itchy feeling after, it is also long-lasting, easy to use, and waterproof, and I mean waterproof. I tightlined my eyes with it, went to yoga class and had an extensive Vinyasa 2 class, and I didn't resemble a panda come after the class. Now don't you fret about having eyeliner residue up to three days. You can still remove your eye makeup with your favorite eye makeup remover or simply with a warm washcloth.

The pencil, (shown here in Nubian brown, a warm brown shade which can be used for everyday or in weddings) also has a smudger tip, which can create subtle smoky effects or just blend in your eyeliner. Some people prefer setting their pencils with loose powder or matching eyeshadow, some leave it just as it is. Personally, I still prefer setting liner with eyeshadow and blending it to make the smokey look last longer.

The eyeliner is something else in waterproof ability. The brush felt tip makes it easy to create lines and squiggles for avante garde shoots or precise cat eyes. Actually, Im looking at the swatch on the back of my hand i made yesterday, it still has a mark.

Eyeshadow trios are named after Egyptian goddesses like Sheba, Maat, and Isis, which contain three neutral brown./gold colors which can be mixed and matched to your preference. They are also super pigmented too (the swatch of my Maat palette is below)

Maat is a cool palette of browns, grays, and neutrals which are great for even basic smokey eyes. All you need are liners and mascara and you're done. This usually gives the subtle smoldery smoky eye seen in European fashion spreads. All you need is eyeliner. I am looking forward for the palettes to finally be available as they have a lot of nice neutrals suitable for everyday wear for any complexion.

I'm looking forward to the Sheba palette, because it has a picture of a cat!

The SRP for the mascara (another must-have), pencils, and liquid liner pen is Php990. I would recommend this for makeup artists especially those who do weddings or have clients with sensitive eyes that request for smoldering eyes. For personal use, Eye of Horus products are great for those with sensitive eyes and those who wear contact lenses. For the thrifty girls, you can use this on special occasions like attending parties or weddings. Nubian brown and goddess are great for everyday and make you all set for your own personal makeup kit but if you want to experiment, Eye of Horus pencil liners are also available in charcoal, blue, jade, and bronze. Mix and match colors to your preference or Google up makeup tutorials for ideas.

Is this a must-have in a makeup artist kit? Yes of course! Especially if we have brides and clients with sensitive eyes. Whether bridal fresh or smoldering smokey vamp makeup, this is a great product that's easy to use and worth your money. I even have a friend who bought two liners and she swears by it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Throwback with Ellana Minerals and its new look

Do you remember the time when mineral makeup became the craze in the market? I remember that it was quite about the time I was still a makeup newbie. At first, they were being sold just by the sample gram sachets or tiny jars in Ebay or in Multiply resellers. Mineral makeup promises a natural, dewy glow while covering imperfections without that heavy feeling. It's also makeup that's talc-free. fragrance-free and hypoallergenic and pregnant women who need their makeup fix can use it. Mainstream brands even produced their own mineral makeup line in line with this trend.

Mineral makeup had its cult following in YouTube vloggers and several beauty bloggers both international and local ones. Since a big jar of imported mineral makeup can get too expensive for the startup makeup artist or college student, they were resold from imported brands and repacked in plastic ziplocs and sold in 1-gram sample sizes.

Ellana minerals is a local mineral makeup brand that became a cult hit among a lot of girls, makeup artist or not. It's affordable and it's got a lot of yellow-toned shades, named in such yummy-sounding names like almond latte, cafe breve, and french vanilla latte. The loose mineral foundations melt seamlessly to the skin making it seem like we really have naturally beautiful and smooth skin with no visible giant monster pores at all. Back then, Ellana can be found in Multiply, Ebay resellers, and SM Makati bazaar stalls. Back then, it still had this look. Remember now?

I still use this as a setting powder after makeup, especially to male models or grooms, who just need to look like they have naturally good skin instead of wearing makeup.

I was invited at the relaunch of Ellana minerals, which also introduced new packaging and their new showroom. The new packaging features artwork made by Manila's top lifestyle illustrator, Soleil Ignacio.

6g jar for Php 460, refills for Php 330

I did say that they have makeup shades that fit our Asian skintones right? Well morenas ought to be happy for they have a dark shade too that will not turn red, ashy, or gray as well. Love our own skin.

The number one complaint though with mineral makeup is that they can be quite messy to take with you for on-the-go touch ups, since they come in loose form. Thankfully, Ellana now has the Ultimate Pressed Foundation and blushes which come in compacts.

 For those who want to be shine-free throughout the day, keep your loose powder at your home vanity and take the pressed form with you in your purse. For those who just want to look fresh without much coverage, you can use the pressed form since it delivers medium to light coverage. And it's so pretty it looks nice in your purse, office drawer, or touch-up kit. All you need now are tools for proper makeup application.

Of course, quality makeup wouldn't be complete if not for brushes. I'm glad Ellana also has very affordable brushes so we won't break the bank for our makeup fix.

A personal preference of mine is the flat angled kabuki brush, which can get makeup in hard-to-reach areas for better coverage. Not bad for Php350. For pressed or loose, this is all you need.

There are also dual-head brushes for concealer, brows, lips, and eyeshadow.

The brush cleanser  (php 400) is another personal favorite of mine. I love the refreshing cucumber melon scent it has. Perfect for quick-cleaning in summertime gigs, or on super stressful gigs. Brush cleanser is important, especially if I'm doing more than one face, say in weddings, fashion shows, or makeup demos. It keeps colors true instead of being muddy. It also prevents the buildup of gel liner in my gel liner brush so my application is still precise.

Starting MUAS who can't afford expensive makeup primers can use Ellana Minerals makeup primer, which functions just as well as the expensive brand. It fills in pores and fine lines, helping us attain naturally flawless skin. It literally says goodbye to shine as it mattifies the skin. I can use this for everyday priming up, and save my expensive one for clients or special occasions.

It's got this silicon-like finish that leaves skin feeling velvety smooth like a newborn baby's bonbon.

For a bit of color, the lip and cheek gel can be used under mineral foundation for a glow-from within. I really stress on using the cheek gel under powder makeup because it glides on evenly and powder will set the gel quickly making it hard to move. (remember to wash hands right after application)

I'm glad that there's mineral makeup made locally for ladies who want that same poreless perfection without costing a lot of money. When I posted this on Instagram, one of my friends commented that she has been using this since they started. For those who want to order, Ellana minerals is sold online in their website. You can follow them as well in Facebook and Instagram. The Ramp Trinoma, EDSA Shangri-La, and Glorietta are also carrying Ellana products so you may check them out as well.