Friday, March 30, 2012

Reviewing Shu Uemura Hard Formula Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil

Aside from their very epic cleansing oils, which have gotten rave reviews all over the world and still remains a cult favorite, one of Shu Uemura's favorite products is their eyebrow pencils. I'm eyebrow makeup-obsessed and I'm always on the lookout for really good eyebrow makeup. Makeup artists that I know have raved about this too saying how easy this can be used and it gives very natural results, even if you're a beginner. It's rated 5.0 out of 5 by Makeupalley members too! Yay.

[image from]

When you first purchase your very first Hard 9 eyebrow pencil, you would see that it looks like an ordinary pencil for drawing. After your purchase, you should have a Shu Uemura artist sharpen the pencil for you. But wait? Isn't it a brand-new pencil? So why sharpen it? The thing is, there's a different way of sharpening this pencil. It's sharpened with a blade in a blade/sword-like shape. Shu Uemura artists undergo intensive training to master that skill of sharpening Hard 9 pencils perfectly.

 The difference though is that the pencil's core is harder (hence the name hard 9) than most regular eyebrow pencils. If you swatch it on your hand, it would be hard to tell where the pencil mark is.

On eyebrows however, they somehow react to the oils on the brow to create a very natural and soft line.

I understand that some girls love the convenience of pencil since they don't have to bring an extra brush. Pencils however can be tricky since a little pressure or wrong turn could result to the hideous stamp-pad brows. We want perfect Brooke Shields eyebrows, not horror movie ones. Each stroke on the brow made by the pencil is very subtle delivering soft color, and never harsh. It's easy to fill in sparse or bald brow spots, extend the brow tail, or make the brows more defined. The intensity is buildable, so one stroke isn't too harsh. It's great both for makeup artists and consumers as it's so easy to use. It's also a long-lasting product so you have brows until the end of the day instead of ending with the tail cut off (provided you don't scratch or rub vigorously, of course).

Right now, the shade I'm using is called Walnut Brown. It's lighter and a bit warmer, almost like a mixture of MAC Lingering and Girl Boy. I chose Walnut Brown since I had my hair lightened to a soft ash color for summer. For those with darker head hair colors, Seal Brown could be a best bet.

What I like about it? The ease of use, the result, and convenience. It's perfect for those who are really busy and don't have time for an hour of makeup. What I don't like about it? Well, of course there's the price (Php 1,400) and the fact that you have to take this to a Shu Uemura counter when you want it sharpened. It's a nice product to have in your makeup kit. For personal use, this can be like a special reward or treat for yourself.

Swatching Viva Glam Nicki Minaj Lipstick

I love how artists and makeup brands agree to contribute to causes. When MAC confirmed that Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin would be joining their list of celebrity spokespersons, we're all a wonder what the new Viva Glam shades would be that would definitely be as hot as Ricky shakes his bonbon. The Nicki Minaj shade didn't disappoint fanatics as I tried it on last Sunday from my friend who was really excited showing me her makeup stash.

The Nicki Minaj Viva Glam lipstick is as quirky and cheery as her candy-colored hair. It's very apt that just for Nicki, a color be super cute and happy as I always associate her with bright colors, LED lights, and super pastel and in-your-face hues. A neutral lippie just wouldn't do, right? Just like the new Viva Glam lipsticks, this one has got the Nicki Minaj signature etched on the tube holding the lipstick bullet.

MAC describes the shade as a "bright yellow pink" in a satin finish. The first Lady Gaga lipstick was a pink also in a lustre finish, if you remember it and as I have reviewed it, it functions better topped over an opaque color rather than on its own. Being a satin finish, the Nicki Minaj lippie is more pigmented, so it's nice to use this on its own. It's not really like a candy Barbie pink though like the other pinks I bought. This is a slightly warmer pink, a bright warmer one that could stand alone or flatter the face with a bit of peach gloss. I could say that it matches up more to the Cyndi Lauper in terms of how it brightens the whole face even on its own.

It's actually still a bright pink but not really like your stereotype cool blue-pink bright lipstick, but a warmer one. With just the right touch, I'd even recommend this for a bridal look toned down with a bit of coral or peach lipstick. Would I wear it? Yes I would. Do I recommend it to clients? Why not? It's quite a statement color so lazy daisies like me could get away with just this. The satin finish makes it stay put on the lips so color doesn't feather out much yet it's not as drying for those who would worry about their lips looking like the Sahara after.

The Viva Glam Ricky Martin and Nicki Minaj lippies are said to come out next month in the Philippines, to those who might be waiting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Winners of the Suesh Smoky Eyes Brush Set

Announcing the... tetetetenen.... Winners of the Suesh Smoky Eyes Brush Set.

Tara Cabullo
Khris Ladrera
Mary Grace Elardo

Since there were three contestants, all three are winners! Congratulations you girls! You make me smile and I hope this announcement did too. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pole Workshop With Ms. Natasha Wang

Another wonderful opportunity came my way, this time in pole fitness. Polecats Manila brought to the Philippines a very good friend of theirs, US Pole Champion 2011 Natasha Wang for a series of pole workshops. I knew that I would be crazy to let this opportunity pass so I just had to join at least one.

Natasha Wang is a pole fitness/dance instructor and performer based in Texas. She got into pole out of curiosity, just like most of us did. She started doing pole last 2008 and began competing in 2009. You could read about her journey to pole here. Before her workshops, I watched some of her videos in Youtube and I was just wowed at how perfect and clean her lines were - pointed toes, square hips during splits, and all those our teachers would drill us about.

Also, her inverts are very much controlled and cleaner - no stepping on the pole, no flexed feet - straight legs and pointed toes going straight up and over. It was hard to believe though that she absolutely had no dance or gymnastics background. As some athletes start early in their lives juggling school and training, Natasha started her journey in pole in her 30s. That fuels hope in most of us who started pole late in our lives or those with no dance or fitness background. As she said in her blog, "I came into pole dancing purely by accident."

The day of the workshop came, I was excited the very moment I opened my eyes. This is it!!!! I still had my bruises fresh from a pole photoshoot but I was like, "GO!!!!" It's a pole weekend so let's fill it with pole love. And I am so not going to be late. Just to let you know, I took the Pole Dance Technique class, a class for both beginners and intermediate students which focuses on pole fundamentals and mastering your moves. I chose this class because I wanted to improve my lines and technique. As my teachers said, it's not just learning how to do the trick or to get there. We should all get there safely and prettily, the same way getting out of the trick too. I wanted also to take the Get Off The Floor workshop. However, I saw the requirements. It required basic invert (check!) but basic headstand and handstand? I have none of that yet. :P

After introductions were made, we started the lesson with of course, a warm-up to limber out the joints and avoid injury. When our joints were warm, we first learned a new and pretty side climb that looks very clean and elegant. Natasha first demonstrated the trick (which got us all inspired) then broke it down as to how to do it. The trick looked like a closed leg hook spin but it's a side climb. Since it was a new trick for most of us (me, of course) it will hurt at first, with shin bruises to prove it but yes, with enough practice with Stevie, I know it will get prettier and better. The best part about it is that the arm placement shall not cover your face, which is good especially in performances and competitions. We also learned a new technique to make our spins look fast, big, and pretty. Whether it be the super basic fireman spin up to the very badass reverse grabs and one-hand angel spins, it looked so much prettier from the new technique. We all took turns practising it as we were 20 in a class.

We also learned a new trick, called the Teddy plus several variations of it. The teddy is like yogini which entails gripping the pole with your underarm and part of the skin on your torso. It really looks very pretty and once we master it (and conquer the pain), we could do another variation of it called the Teddy pike, like this one in one of her photos:

The inverts came next and she taught us a trick that I really love - doing the gemini (or as others may call it, an outside leg hang) all the way up the pole. The challenge here was to recover on your bad side. I can do the gemini on both sides, yet I couldn't recover on my other side though. Now this sets me a new goal: to get up from gemini on my bad side and to air invert with maximum prettiness, stretched legs and pointed toes. Game? Game!

One of my favorites is a transition she taught us. It looks like a handstand, which was pretty easy to do and easy to modify but looks really fierce on picture. She even guided us on a trick we have a hard time on: the caterpillar. I love how encouraging she was in our class. We may fall, fail, or grimace in pain at first but she encourages us to still try, praises us when we accomplish the trick, and corrects us on certain points that need improvement. This is an international pole dance champion with us, and she's so nice and humble and super patient with her classes.

With body pains and all conquered plus new tips and tricks up our sleeve, the class ended but not without handing over our certificates and a photo-op too!

Yay! It truly was an experience, one of those I'm glad I took and something I'll never forget. It was wonderful meeting and taking a class under a pole dance champion. I learned new things and I loved my sport more - bruises and body pains included.

Thank you so much Polecats and thank you Natasha Wang for taking time out of your busy schedule to teach us here in the Philippines. I hope to meet you soon again, either taking another class, in a shoot, or watching one of your performances. You inspired me a lot to do really well on the pole more.

Pole love is awesome!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make Up For Ever Launches White Definition

A few weeks ago, I tripsy-ed over to the Make Up For Ever Store in Bonifacio High Street to witness as they unveil another line - White Definition - a powder foundation that's said to provide coverage while protecting our skin from the sun while giving an all-over brightening effect. It does sound like a superproduct in a compact right? Don't be scared, it comes in a compact for easy touch-ups and travel, with no power buttons to scare you.

To start the event, Make Up For Ever invited Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino to talk about the basics of sun protection as well as breaking down the jargons we often see in sun protection products - what does SPF mean, PA++, the difference between UVA and UVB, and so on.

Basically, it summarizes one thing - prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature ageing and skin cancer and we must stay protected especially if our lifestyle/sport/activities of daily living cause us to be exposed to sunlight. Also, staying indoors does not necessarily guarantee 100% protection as UVA (i.e. the ageing) rays also penetrate glass, so there can be UVA rays sneaking up our windows. So to those who are driving, be sure to extend sun protection to the hands and arms.

After that, we were introduced to the star of the show - the Make Up For Ever White Definition powder foundation, a special product that addresses the special needs of Asian women, especially those living close to the equator at the same time making sure makeup (with skincare/sun protection incorporated) stays put in the hot, humid, and sticky environment.

"state-of-the-art formula, which contaions an optimum blend of the finest quality powders and pigments, and also incorporates high level UVA/UVB protection." - SPF 30 / PA ++ this literally gets you covered.

A demo was given by two of Make Up For Ever's talented roster of artists. Chief Make Up Artist Yuki Gerardo demonstrates a very pretty look using the White Definition powder on the model, in combination with their other products such as the HD primer and lifting concealer. Explaining the technique is Make Up For Ever Philippines' national trainer Mikee Raymundo.

Their demo was super entertaining the audience was in giggles from time to time. Yuki and Mikee have been friends before they were makeup superstars, which explains the wonderful teamup.

The product apparently also comes with a specialized sponge with two sides - one smooth and one flocked. The smooth side is for medium to full coverage. However, if you want to just achieve the "freshly mattified" look, then turn over to the flocked side for lighter coverage or if you're the one who prefers to add little product and then build as you go. Or, you can opt for a balance by using the smooth side on the t-zone or shiny areas and the cheeks can go with the flocked side for natural dewy-ness, it's up to you.

We also got the chance to experience the product for ourselves by having makeovers done by the Make Up For Ever Pro Team. I had my makeover done by fellow polekitten and good friend Jinky Ureta. She did a very natural look on me, which I can take from client meeting to dinner out using only three colors on my eyes. For me, she used shade 40, which happens to be the darkest shade in this line.

The product has an intense brightening effect, which gave my skin a sort of rosy, mauve-ish look instead of the bronzey look I'm used to. The coverage is actually quite good. Jinky only used concealer on my undereyes, and she tried to see if the foundation alone would be sufficient enough to cover the redness on the sides of my nose. Well, whaddya know it did! It's a yay for the very comfortable feel and lasting ability. I do wish though that the line would broaden the range of shades as it only came in four shades - Beige (10), Ivory (20), Flesh (30), and Sand (40). The shades are mostly catering to those with fair skin to enhance it. Shade 40 is still a bit too light though for most morenas, but what they can do though, is to balance it with contouring and some bronzer so the brightening effect ties in with the wearer's natural skin color rather than having that ghastly contrast of the face being like 2 shades brighter than the neck.

For personal use, use this during the day when sun exposure is inevitable. I'm not a fan of whitening but I do believe on even skin tone and healthy young-looking skin. This product will not turn you from honey bronzey to alabaster in a split-second, so don't worry about it, if you love you skin color too much. As I've said, a balance can be achieved with a bit of contouring and bronzer. Do take heed though, for photo-heavy functions in wearing this product as products high in SPF can react in flash photography. For photoshoots, this probably wouldn't be your option if used entirely but don't take it out of your makeup kit. I use products like these to highlight undereyes and cheekbones.

I wouldn't let the night end without a photo with my three talented makeup artist friends, Yuki, Jinky, and Mikee.

Mikee is practically like my "ate" in the makeup business. We made chika even after the event was done and she gave me tips on makeup techniques and how to maximize my products.

Hugs and thanks to the Make Up For Ever team for this wonderful opportunity. It was awesome!

Forever 21 SM Makati Sale March 16-18, 2011

Apparently, tomorrow is payday and that makes this weekend payday weekend. Isn't it nice for the working force to go home with moolah after two weeks of hard work? Well just in the right time, a favorite store among many women (and men) right smack at Makati Central Business district is having a sale. I'm talking about the store with iconic yellow bags - Forever 21!!!
Drop by the Forever 21 Store at SM Makati this weekend to avail of great deals and fabulous fashion finds, whether it be outfits, accessories, shoes, or bath and body stuff. Now that it's summer, check out breezy maxi dresses, big beach hats, sunglasses, or that cute pair of bikini for the beach trip this summer. Maybe during lunchbreak? or after work? it's up to you. Best to carpool though with friends as I predict that parking would be horrid.

Don't forget too to avail of these promos so you know what plastic pals to bring:

  • On March 16: Present your F21 Mastercard AND SMAC/BDO Rewards, get 20% off on regular items with a minimum purchase of P5,000 until 12nn only.
  • Present your SMAC/BDO Rewards OR SMAC/BDO Rewards, and get 10% off on regular items, until 12nn only.
  • On March 16 12nn onwards, until March 18, F21 Mastercard holders can get 10% off on regular items, with a minimum purchase of P5,000.
  • *BDO cardholders can avail of 5% rebate with a minimum purchase of P5,000 for all 3 days.
If you're there, don't forget to holler hi! :) As for me, I'll be heading to the sports section. Why? You'll find out soon!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gigs: Makeup for Czech Soprano Noema Erba

Another great opportunity came my way last Wednesday. I did hair and makeup for Czech soprano, Noema Erba for her TV guestings here in Manila. It was such an honor to be one of the chosen few to do makeup for an international star such as Ms. Noema, and thanks to Mike, I really prepared for it. Two days before, Mike set up a meeting for us so that she could tell me what look she wanted, guided by her husband, noted glamour photographer, Dan Hostettler.

Her first TV interview was for Channel 4's The Morning Show. She would be a guest with the Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar where she would be promoting and talking about her concert, Jewels of the European Opera. Since it was a morning show, she had to start getting ready as early as 4 in the morning.

Since it was a morning show, it was best that her makeup was very fresh and natural, as if she woke up that day feeling gorgeous. Most of my pegs for her were very classic and bridal. I would like the makeup to be very comfortable for her to wear while highlighting her best assents. For this show, I used rosy pinks for her.

Photo-op by the lobby before they leave for the TV station. All these photos were taken by Noema's husband, Dan Hostettler. Dan's such a loving husband to her making sure Noema has everything ready and taken good care of.

The following day, Noema had another interview with GNN in the show Philippines Uncut. It was an afternoon interview, so makeup had to be different than the first, with a bit more definition. Thanks also to Mike who offered to have Noema's makeup done at his shop, which was literally a hop and a step away from the GNN studio, practically 2 minutes away, so makeup is fresh.

Thanks Mike for lending your store to us. You awesome!

Since Noema has blue eyes, I used a palette of warm ambers and golds, which would provide a great contrast with her blue eyes so they pop out. To tie the warm scheme together is a bit of warm peachy-pink blush and coral lip (I mixed Avon French Lace Rose with a bit of MAC Cyndi Lauper Viva Glam lipstick. Lately I've noticed I like mixing lipsticks rather than using one shade).

I super duper love this photo of her.

Thank you so much Dan Hostettler for the photos, Mike Yu for this oppotunity, and of course to Noema Erba for trusting me to do her makeup for her TV interviews.

While at it, I would also like to promote her concert, which would be happening this Monday at Dusit Thani Hotel:
Have a great weekend everyone, and as of this moment, I'm prepping for something very big! :D

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tutorial: Angelina Jolie at the Academy Awards-Inspired Eyes + CONTEST!!!!

Do you like the Suesh Smoky Eyes Brush Set? Well, I did and here's a tutorial I made inspired from one of Hollywood's most beautiful faces from the recent Academy Awards - Angelina Jolie. Angie never fails to be absolutely gorgeous no matter what, even with minimal makeup on a boat in Cambodia. At the red carpet, she's gorgeous as ever.

Nevermind the weirdness of the leg in photos (with legs like her, we have no right to complain), Her makeup has the perfect balance of eyes and lips - both are defined with her trademark cat eyes and - boing!!! - red lips. Full-lipped ladies like Angelina can wear red, and how flattering this red is! However, in this tutorial, we focus on the eyes. I did a look inspired from that, a very wearable, subtle smokey eye that you could take from day to night. I used only four colors and four brushes. Most of the colors are in fact, in the neutral side, so anyone can wear this and they go with any lip color you want - red like Angelina, nude, or pastel pink, it's up to you. Just match the lip color with the blush so everything looks tied together.

So let's get started shall we? As you can see, I used certain products for this look, but feel free to use products you're comfy with. I'll just describe the shade for you to know what to use okay? So let's get started. I started with prepping the face first, then defined brows and applied primer for the makeup to stick.


Using a peachy-nude, matte eyeshadow, apply this color from lashline to lid using the large eyeshadow brush.

Contour the crease with matte warm brown eyeshadow using the small eyeshadow brush. You can deposit pigment on the crease with the dome smudge brush and then blend with the small eyeshadow brush for more intensity.

Create a drop shadow by using the same brown eyeshadow on the lower lid with the angled eyeliner brush.

Eyes should look like this: a bit defined, but okay.

Line the eyes with a smoky eye staple: Black pencil eyeliner. I lined the bottom lashline 2/3 of the way and full on the upper lash and slightly extending upward to create a "wing".Set the liner with black eyeshadow using the dome smudge brush for the smoky intense look.

You can blend the upper liner with the smudge brush like so for that intense cat eye look Angie is known for.

For a bit of 3d sparkle, I applied sparkly loose eyeshadow in a neutral peach color on the lids and blended it. I also used this on the tear duct to highlight and a bit on the browbone.

For more prettiness, mascara comes to the rescue. Choose a mascara that instantly pumps lashes into vavoom hotness. False lashes may be added.

And here you go... an eye look that's very easy and pretty using the Suesh Smokey Eyes Brush Set.

I'm feeling generous today and so I'm giving away three Smokey Eyes Brush Sets to three very lucky readers. All they have to do is answer the question below:

How would you create and wear your smoky eye design?

Post the answer to the comments section after this entry with your full name of course! Contest will run this week and it would end March 11. :) Good luck lovies!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smoky Eyes Made Simple By Suesh

We all love smoky eyes, don't we? That's why there are hundreds of makeup palettes created to achieve the look. Blame it on the bikini-clad cover girl, the runway model, or that smoldering stare of the red carpet celebrity. With all these palettes, you guys know that even with the best brands out there, without the right tools, makeup is practically useless and the smoky eye may look like panda or smudged-on charcoal eye if not with the proper blending using the right tools. I'm glad that Suesh has made creating makeup brushes that deposits and blends colors so awesome and easily without putting a dent in your wallet with their super-affordable brush sets and individual brushes, just like their newest product, the Smoky Eyes Brush Set. Another thank you to Suesh for giving me a set to try.

Whenever I make tutorials and reviews, I make sure that it's not just makeup artist who would be using the tools or products I review. I keep in mind there are makeup enthusiasts or girls who simply want to create pretty looks for themselves, so I try to make everything simple as possible without sacrificing awesomeness. I'm feeling absolutely inspired tonight, so with this blog post/feature, I'll be doing a follow-up tutorial too.

The set has four brushes, to avoid utmost confusion as to what brushes to use in a pouch so they never get lost in your bag. The pouch also serves to protect your brushes from damages, dents, and dirt and it's roomy enough to hold pencils and mascara, should you wish to take them with you to create your own smokey eye. And it's vinyl so yay to not using leather hide.

There are directions in the pack as to how the brushes are supposed to be used. Of course, as you get better with makeup application, as I say in all my reviews, you will find your own way of using the brushes. Makeup techniques are discovered in time, and can vary from person to person, and you'll get what I mean when you start doing your own looks.

Okay, first up is the large eyeshadow brush - it's dome shaped and flat. it's dense enough to pick up pigment but loose and fluffy enough to make the colors blend easily. I use this to apply all-over color or base color, like a bone or ivory/nude color.

The small eyeshadow brush has also a more tapered dome shape, which fits around the crease better. It's a bit fluffier than the large eyeshadow brush, which aids quite nicely in blending pigments. From its shape, this product is used to apply the contour/crease color or darker lid color (depending on the user's technique). Although the large and small eyeshadow brushes are made of natural hairs, I like that there are no annoying bristles that poke the delicate eyelid skin whenever I deposit or blend pigment. Of course, the user should always take care of her brushes so they retain their proper shape and softness.

The angled eyeliner brush has a lot of uses. It can be used to apply a drop shadow, or the darker shadow on the lower lid, to define brows, or apply gel eyeliner on the top lid.

The dome smudge brush is almost like a pencil brush. It can be used to intensify the contour by depositing a bit of black on the outer V of the eye and blending this with the contour color. Its pencil-like tip (similar to MAC 219) can function to set eyeliner pencil with matching powder or to create the smudgy, sexy smoky eye.

The angled eyeliner brush can also be used wet, if you're the person who's fond of the wet technique in eyeshadow. Personally, I'm still iffy about wetting my brushes but if you are, then fine, this can be used wet to transform eyeshadow to liquid liner for a precise line for instant cat-eye look. As I've said, there is a possibility that these brushes may not be limited to these uses. I've found out that the small eyeshadow brush can function for a bit of nose contouring too.

The Suesh Smoky Eyes Brush Set retails for Php 850. It's available online already at the Suesh websites in Multiply and Facebook or their stores at Greenhills, Trinoma, and the recently-opened Alabang Town Center shop. Yes they do have a new branch for makeup enthusiasts living in the South area of the world.

The new Suesh branch is located at the lower ground floor of the newly opened wing, The Gardens. To get there, you enter the hall with Bench, Penshoppe, Getlaud, etc (the one where the old National Bookstore used to be). When you see Daiso, turn left on this new hallway and you will see Suesh on your right. :) It's near Gong Cha, so while you ooh and aah at the makeup sets while your companions can have milk tea there at Gong Cha.

Be sure to check my follow-up post for a tutorial and also a bit of surprise!