Monday, March 26, 2007

Inspired by Shryh: Beauty At Work

Here's what I cart around on a day-to-day basis. Well, on most days, that is.

* Nivea body Whitening Milk but I mainly use this as a hand cream rather than a body lotion. Staying in the tropics has completely freed me from listing body lotion in my shopping list.

* Sunplay Sunscreen in SPF 50+ but unfortunately it's been ages since I'd used this. Maybe, I should to get back that creamy, silky white hands. Quite a lot of trouble. Meh.

* A decant of Ralph Lauren Romance simply because I was wearing Romance today.

* Nars sheer lipstick in Dolce Vita. The Holy Grail of I'm-late-and-what-lipstick-shall-I-wear-today because it works on every single outfit.

* A sample of Dior Diorskin X3 Control Matifying Compact SPF20 because the SA at Dior insisted I tried it. I quite like it and might consider purchasing this when my Shu Uemura runs out. I'd be happier with a pressed powder, honestly. This is good for touching up on those days that I need to head out straight for dinner and drinks after work.

* Dior Mono Colour eyeshadow in Smoking Black because I thought I might need touching up. Silly me! Dior shadows almost never need touching up! I was too busy hunting for a long-nose plier throughout the day, besides. Imagine a rocker chick wannabe running around the office and lab area,"Does anyone have a long nose I can borrow?" No, don't start with nasal jokes. I've had enough! And, this little eyeshadow goes in only because this was also what I was wearing.

* ZA eyebrow pencil in dark brown. This is also good for touching up but my Dior brow pencil in Blonde pretty much lasts through the day and hardly needs any touching up.

* C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in Pink. From now on, this will always be a staple in my bag because it just goes well with anything and everything. Because it works as a lip balm, lip tint, lip gloss. Because it is tastes so damn good. Because it is like my lip colour but better. Because women who've used it rave on and on about it and for once, I'm glad that I am with the majority!

Smokey Eye: The Lazy Way

2 eyes, or 1 if you're inclined that way
Clean fingers
Small eyeshadow brush
Dark grey or black eyeshadow
Light-coloured eyeshadow in shimmery beige, gold or white
Black mascara

Prime and prep the entire eye area as you normally would. I usually dust on a thin layer of powder foundation and a thin layer of white eyeshadow. Powder foundation from Shu Uemura and eyeshadow from Muji.

The black eyeshadow I chose today was Dior Mono Colour in Smoking Black. I simply apply a layer from lash to crease; increasing the intensity depending on the occasion. It's hardly noticable with my eyes open because of my inherited Chinese swollen lids. Using the small eyeshadow brush, clean up the area of any loose shadows and to make a clean line of the shadow. This will make blending much, much easier.

I used Dior Mono Colour in Ready-to-Beige as a highlighter. First, it was the brow area. Then, I used the highlighter to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and blending it into the black shadow. It creates a shimmery darker grey which contrasts nicely with the black.

Finally, using the liner, do a thin line along the base of the lashes. I went over the line with another thin dusting of the black eyeshadow to blend the line into the shadow.

A couple of coats of mascara to further open up the eyes and I'm all set.

It makes my eyes look more deep-set and adds a quirky twist to the normal sheer pales that I don on.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Perhaps this title might not be that apt. I'm a creature of habit. Upon tumbling out of bed every morning at the clang of my alarm clock, I'd first check how my downloads are going. I'd then be truly awake to think of ideas to overcome the blasted throttled speeds of my download, but that's a story for another blog at another time.

I gulp down a small bottle of water to further wake me up. Then, it's a splash of cold water on my face to wake me up completely.

My cleansing, moisturizing and painting my face includes:

Dermalogica Ultra-Calming Cleanser
Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Eye Gel:
Olay Total Effects Eye Gel
Olay Total Effects Serum
Olay Total Effects Moisturizer SPF15
Dermalogica Ultra-Sensitive Faceblock SPF25

The list above is generally the SAME on all days. With skincare, I stick to what works for me and refuse to change nor budge. As for makeup, now, that's a totally different story!

Borjuis Multi Shimmer Loose Eye Shadow in Rose 03
Corners smudged with dark brown shadow from Averine
Dior Powder Eyebrow Pencil in Blonde
Curled with Shu Uemura curlers
Max Factor 2000 Calorie
Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1

Benefit Dandelion

Nars Dolce Vita
Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint in Pink

Dior Addict 2

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Curved Brush Mascara

Shryh says: I'm not sure what I love more, beauty products or learning about beauty products. Before I make a purchase, I like to research the chosen item to DEATH, which really just entails reading the beauty sections of various magazines to see what is generating buzz and being adored by editors and makeup artists. I find this especially true of my mascara purchases because mascaras can be tricky to buy - I can blend shadows, foundations, blush on the back of my hand, but I'll be damned before I bring the common mascara tester within a whisker of my mucous membranes. I hear that's how you get mad cow disease.

The Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara is one such mascara that gets a LOT of press, and I have been meaning to try it since I picked up my first copy of Teen magazine in 1994. But I didn't get to wear makeup until I was in college, and when I did, it was so infrequent that I never ventured beyond Maybelline Great Lash and Lancome Definicils. My opportunity came only recently, years after I'd left Smith, when g33kchic heroically relinquished her LAST TUBE of 2000 Calorie Curved Brush Mascara in Rich Black which, like the Great Lash, IS NOT AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA, just so I could sample her Holy Grail mascara.

The 2000 Calorie mascara lives up to its name. The first coat alone caused my lashes to gain like, ohmigahd, 10 pounds, even after I'd blotted the brush on a piece of tissue. What it lacked in lengthening it made up for in fatten- I mean, volumizing, and after a couple of coats, there was hardly any need for eyeliner. I like to apply 2 to 3 coats for a sooty, slightly clumpy look when I'm feeling particularly dramatic. Of all the mascaras I've tried in recent years, this is one that smudged less easily, a major plus in my books.

However, I continue my quest for my Holy Grail mascara. The 2000 Calorie fails me on two accounts: one, it uncurls my curled lashes; two, the curved brush is a little unwieldy for someone as clumsy as I. Every time I use this mascara, the brush inevitably collides with my undereye area. I currently favour smaller brushes, but perhaps if I did more soldering in my job like g33kchic instead of writing propaganda, I might be able to manipulate the brush with greater dexterity.

Image source:

Le Geeque says
: It's a simple straightforward one for me. Being a regular on gives me lots of opportunities to have a peek into a wider world of makeup. So much more compared to the miserly range we have here in Malaysia.

2000 Calorie became my HOLY GRAIL of mascara when I found that it not only gave me so much more OOMPH to my lashes. Like Shryh, its one redeeming factor for me would be that it does not smudge. At all. It's completely tear-proof. There have been many unfortunate moments when work and people around let me down driving me to succumb to tears.

But, never this mascara. No matter how bad the world is, this small little tube stays true to its nature. Despite the creamiest undereye concealer I subject it to, it remains steadfast to my lashes and completely transfer-free.

Like Shryh, too, I'm very conscientious about the application of mascara. I blot like a mad woman, apply, blot and brush my lashes through to get rid of excess to minimize smudges. The only time when this smudges, I know it's time to toss the tube out. About its 3 month limit.

Although I'm always on the constant hunt for a better mascara, I'm really thankful that no matter how the rest of the mascaras fail me, I know, deep in my makeup bag, 2000 Calorie is always faithfully awaiting my return.

Lashes are like hair. It's different from one person to another. A mascara which works on Shryh might not work on me and vice versa. Which is why, I get completely different results compared to Shryh. For my lashes, this mascara holds the curl pretty well and it lengthens pretty well as well.

Another major plus point for this mascara is that it comes off rather easily on a makeup remover towelette. A simple dab onto the eye area, the mascara is removed. To ensure the makeup is removed properly, I use an eye makeup remover to completely remove all traces though this is hardly necessary.

Long live 2000 Calorie!

Beauty at work.

Top row (L-R): Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Clarins hand cream, Hermes Eau des Merveilles travel spray, L'Occitane holiday gift set (containing mini hand cream, shea butter and soap, regular-sized lipbalm), Mac lip lustre in Supernova (Secret Santa gift. "This is very you!" I'm a pink, sparkly person all right), Shu Uemura lipgloss in a shimmery brown.
Bottom row (L-R): C.O. Bigelow Mentha lip shine in nude and red, VERY OLD Nars sheer lipstick in Dolce Vita, Chanel Rouge Allure in Temptation.

This is a combination of what is on my desk and what I carry in my shoulder bag. It's all about keeping my ageing skin hydrated in the Arctic environment of my office.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dior Blackout

An outing with Shryh is not only educational, it's hugely fun! Filled with coffees, delicious healthy lunches, latest office scandals, latest news on puppies and wedding and most importantly, makeup testing!

At KLCC today, there was a huge space set aside for the launching of the latest black, black, black, black SUPER BLACK Dior mascara. Now, for those who know, my past experiences with Dior mascaras, particularly the hugely-raved upon Diorshow have left me completely wary of their products.

Don't get me wrong. I love their glosses. I love their eyeshadows. I think their perfumes are excellent but I simply cannot say the same about their mascaras. This is another mascara I would thumb my nose at and go,"Water proof, my arse!"

We decided to check out the Dior launching while the crowd hasn't yet turn KLCC a madhouse.

We were immediately greeted by a throng of sales folks all clad in black and waving scent strips of Miss Dior Cherie. I was quite stunned that they are pushing this pretty old scent. Making a beeline to the mascara display, Shryh promptly unscrewed the tube and we both went,

"Fat brush! Interesting!"

First criteria for any mascara to go onto our lashes would be waterproof. The salesgirl insisted that it was smudgeproof and it would absolutely NOT budge unless we rub our eyes.

Shryh was more polite because I rolled my eyes in my head thinking,"I don't buhlerdee rub my eyes because I wear contact lenses." Besides that I could not help but retaliate,

"Oh, trust us, smudgeproof would still smudge on us. We've tried enough of mascaras!"

Nevertheless, I allowed her to comb my lashes through a few times. The results were nothing short of astonishing.

True to its name, the mascara was jet black. However, I really wished she was more conscientious about applying the mascara like we would normally. Blot the wand, apply, blot and another comb through.

It most definitely did give the volumnizing effect. However, I absolutely hated the clumped effects. Maybe the spiky-lash look is in. But I'm not one who follows after trends blindly. I just need one which lengthens, volumnizes and thickens.

Blackout does all of the above. And more.

So, 30 minutes after the application of Blackout, I started to get the tiniest hints of smudges. Another 30 minutes, I was officially a spokesperson for Panda Org.

Not only did I have to remove every single trace of the smudge, my undereye concealer had to be removed as well.

By the time I had gotten home, I peered like a maniac into the mirror and found not only more smudges (which proves one more thing: this damn thing smudges even without undereye concealer, so, Shryh, this is not just our concealer at fault. This is a whole tube of crapola!), I found tiny black FLAKES!

Smudges is one thing. But, FLAKES?! Flakes is a whole new different thing altogether! Flakes is most definitely a no-no.

So, this little tube of crapola not only smudges, it flakes! And, it costs about 5 times more than a tube of Maybelline Great Lash. You do the math, you do the logic and you tell us.

I think what irked Shryh and I more is not so much that this tube is such a piece of crap. It's more of how the salesfolks decided to push this out to us. Her insistence that it's smudgeproof on everyone was indeed laughable.

And, she ought to have taken our word for it when we said we'd tested enough of mascaras to show our skeptism at the word of "smudgeproof". That's simply the reason why Dior of Parkson lost a customer to Dior of Isetan. At least the girl at Isetan was polite, friendly and most definitely honest.

Conclusion: This newly-launched tube costs RM90-ish and is most definitely not worth your money. I'm a huge Dior fan but I'm also a very practical girl. Give this a miss and your life would be a whole lot better. Unless, of course, you've got a position with Panda Org!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof) : Test 3

The most crucial and critical of all tests. Did Great Lash shiver and tremble with great trepidation as I picked it up from my dresser this morning? It simply has to pass this test in order for it to replace Max Factor Calorie 2000 as my Holy Grail of mascaras. The look I chose on today would be the look I choose on most days. Simple, under-stated, natural, completely free of foundation.

Test Conditions:
Undereye area concealed with my Holy Grail of concealers. The Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1. The area is further set with powder foundation. I'm told powder would prevent smudges. Lashes are crimped lightly once with the Shu Uemura curler.

This third day of using Great Lash, I am noticing a pattern. The tip of the brush is always overloaded with mascara. That would be where I'd dab onto the piece of tissue today. There was not much "excess" on the bristles itself so I left them alone. I applied about 3 coats of mascara onto each set of lashes. I still love that it coats each lash relatively well and they are still clump-free! Perhaps, it's due to the fact that the bristles are so widely set-apart.

Much to my dismay, by 10am, merely 3 hours of application of Great Lash, I see slight hints of smudges on my undereye. As the day progresses, I maniacally checked my undereyes. Smudges grew more and more. By lunch time, I decided to dab on another thin layer of powder to hide the smudges. These lasted me all the way until it was time to go home. By the time I got home, although the smudges are relatively-few, I'm still rather disappointed. Especially having seen completely smudge-free undereyes for the past few days! Especially having seen completely smudge-free undereyes from Calorie 2000.

It would be totally unfair to blame it on Great Lash. I would have absolutely no choice but to say that my Holy Grail of concealer would be at fault too. Its known for its high-pigmentation, high-emollient factor. However, if Calorie 2000 was able to withstand it, I absolutely could not be blamed for putting such high hopes on Great Lash!

Having said that, I would still recommend this mascara to first-timers out there. It's quite a brilliant basic mascara for lengthening, for coating each lash evenly, yes, even for its smudge-free factor. If you're out for a mascara to carry you through in a normal day, this would be the mascara for you. Good news, no?

Well, here comes the bomb of bad news. It's not available in Malaysia. If you can get someone to get it for you from the US or Australia or maybe even Singapore or Thailand carries it, then you might be able to test this out for yourself.

For now, I'd say it's still a relatively good mascara. Definitely affordable, definitely works if you don't have oily skin and most definitely understandable why it is a Holy Grail with so many around the world. Personally, I would still keep a tube of this as a backup: Realizing my 3-month expiry on my HG mascara is due with no backup tubes, Great Lash would be something I'd whip out to tie me over until I purchase a replacement Calorie 2000.

On a last note, having the same mascara will not produce identical results on every single individual. Other factors to prevent raccoon eyes would be oiliness of lids and undereye areas and condition of lashes since everyone has different type of lashes.

This has been the utmost fun "experiment" I'd done in a long time! I might even carry it a bit further and test it by setting my undereye with Bare Escentuals mineral foundation tomorrow.

Again, watch this space!

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof) : Test 2

After the great success I had with Great Lash in the previous test, I absolutely had to subject it to more stringent tests. After sharing my success with Shryh, to my dismay (and hers!), she had absolutely no success at all with Great Lash. Like me, she subjected the tube of 'wonder' to many different types of test conditions and in every single condition, the verdict is a flat thumbs-down, big, fat, NO. So, here's what I found out today.

Test Conditions:
A thin layer of liquid foundation for an even complexion. Light dabbing of powder foundation on the undereye to set the foundation. The rest of the face is left as-is to give it a dewy, natural look. Lashes are crimped lightly with Shu Uemura's eyelash curler. I note that this thin layer of liquid foundation and a light dabbing of powder is good enough to hide my dark circles in the event a concealer is unavailable.

As with previous test, as soon as the brush is unscrewed from the tube, it's dabbed lightly onto a clean piece of tissue to remove excess. Zig-zag manner from base to tip of lashes to coat each lash. I go over each eye at least three times to ensure I achieve the desired length. Damn these Asian stubby lashes! Oh well, at least I can take pride that they are slightly curly. Finally, a lash comb is used to comb through the lashes to further remove excess.

I applied this early in the day. About 730am. By the time I got home and prepared to shower, it was 630pm. It was a good 11 hours of absolutely smudge-free undereyes! I could not believe it as well but hey, the verdict's the verdict! Talk about stringent test conditions! 11 hours of going through a tough day at work, of yawnings and of yawnings until tears form.

Of course, being the vainpot that I am, I checked my eyes throughout the day. Thankfully, my phone has a mirror on its front panel.

So, Great Lash (waterproof) has passed with flying colours 2 out of the 3 tests I have in mind. The biggest hurdle this little tube has to go through would be tomorrow. I'll be subjecting it to going hand-in-hand with my holy grail of undereye concealer. A concealer that's so emollient that it hydrates as well as it covers.

Watch how it goes!

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof): Test 1

This is touted as the Holy Grail of all mascaras for makeup artists around the world. Superstars swear by this humble tube of wonder. It's been around the block far longer than I have in this world. And, when Priceline had a sale on Maybelline products, I simply had to have it. One point that's noteworthy, despite its great raves and reviews from superstars and beauty magazines, it's not sold in Malaysia. Makes you truly wonder how great this is, honestly. Not only that, MakeupAlley reviewers don't seem to be giving this as many thumbs-up as I thought this mascara would get.

Test Conditions:
Undereye area is dabbed lightly with powder foundation to hide undereye circles.
Lashes crimped once with the Shu Uemura eyelash curler.

Once unscrewed from the tube, I dab the brush on a clean piece of tissue to remove the excess. As usual, I go zig-zag from base to the tip of my lashes. The bristles are rather sparse but I've got no problems with that since I do have relatively sparse lashes. As usual, I brush through my lashes with a lash comb upon completing with the application. Excess mascara has to be removed to ensure as little smudges as possible.

The mascara holds the curl rather well. I do see a bit of lengthening of my lashes. However, if you're after something that will thicken your lashes, you're in for a disappointment. It does coat the lashes relatively evenly with minimal to no clumping at all. This will not give you a dramatic change of looks. But, if you're after a simple, natural everyday look, this will be the mascara for you. There's no va-va-voom factor here at all. Just your regular girl-next-door look.

Most of you know that I have a hate-hate relationship with Maybelline mascaras. Waterproof, my arse would be my tagline most of the time. Surprisingly, this did not smudge at all. And, for that, I am astounded. I'm amazed. I'm left with my mouth gaping wide open in astonishment. I'm dumbfounded.

I've to retract my "waterproof, my arse" sweeping statement for Maybelline mascaras then. I might say,

"Waterproof my arse! (Other than Great Lash)".

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mascara trivia: Maybelline

Maybelline's Great Lash mascara is probably one of the most, if not THE most iconic product in the cosmetics landscape. Not only is it the most popular mascara in the United States, the company estimates that one tube is sold every 1.6 seconds. The ubiquitous green and pink tube has found its way into the makeup bags and hearts of many women since its debut in 1971 although opinion is divided about its efficacy and status. I'm personally neutral/positive, but by keeping a tube in my bag, I feel as though I own more than just a mascara.

Mascara is Maybelline's flagship product not just because of phenomenal sales figures, but because the company was founded by T.L. William in 1915 to sell the mascara he had concocted for his sister Mabel two years before. A chemist by training, William is credited as the creator of modern mascara, and his lash darkening formula was a blend of coal dust and Vaseline (petroleum jelly). In fact, the company's name is a combination of William's sister's name, Mabel, and Vaseline. How's that for a big brother? The first Maybelline mascara did not come in a tube but was a cake formula packaged in a compact that was meant to be applied with a comb. The advertising slogan "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline" did not appear until 1991, and in 1996, cosmetics giant L'Oreal acquired the company.

Just for kicks, here's a vintage Maybelline ad from possibly the 60's, judging from the mascara wand, which did not appear until 1958.

For comparison's sake, here's a more recent ad:

Which advertisement appeals to you more? :)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof

My relationship with mascara has been a rocky one of late. Mascaras that have seen people through weepy breakups or Olympic swim meets are no match for my stubborn lashes, who should know by dint of their stubby sparseness that dammit, they NEED the lengthening, volumizing effects of mascara. All it takes, it seems, is a blink and a tear to transfer mascara from my lashes to my undereye area.

I bought my first tube of the syntactically dubious Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof after my sister assured me that it had stayed put during a prolonged crying jag. Being a huge SU fan didn't hurt either, and SU, fortunately, did not disappoint. The Mascara Length and Waterproof applicator ends with a brush that isn't much wider than the wand, which makes it easier to control during application for someone like me with small, Chinese eyes. I use the tip of the small brush to get my outer lashes and, when I'm feeling charitable, the eleven hairs that grow on my lower lash line. The mascara coats every lash evenly with little to no clumping or flaking, and lives up to its name by visibly lengthening my lashes. I've also used the Mascara Length and Waterproof to great dramatic effect by applying 3 - 4 coats, attaining as a result sticky, tolerably sooty lashes.

My only grouse is that I'm still left with tiny smudges at the end of the day right where my outer lashes touch my undereye area when I blink or close my eyes. Therefore, I hesitate to award it full points though given my recent mascara run-ins, I'm just grateful for something that doesn't leave me looking like an American football player.

Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof is available at your nearest Shu Uemura boutique (One Utama, Mid Valley Megamall) or department-store counter (KLCC).