Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two Faced Galaxy Glam Eye Shadows.

Now, I'm a complete dunderhead when it comes to science, which is even more appalling after I tell you that I was in the Science Stream in high school. But I adore space documentaries and science-fiction movies (Mars Attack counts! Shut UP!), and wild horses cannot drag me away from a planetarium, especially the dome theatre shows. When I was in Washington D.C. last November with only an afternoon for touristy activities, I visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum first, cramming in two shows (one dome, one 3D) before running off to an Edward Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery. Two of my best memories include starry skies, frosty temperatures and great company. I love the feeling of wonder as I gaze up into the skies and fantasize about interplanetary travel, and the feeling of despair that we know so little still even after making great progress in space exploration. I have a greater sense of my place in the universe, which is to say, staggeringly insignificant. Stargazing is a remarkably effective ego check!

So naturally, I'm *ahem* over the moon over Two Faced cosmetics's Galaxy Glam Eye Shadow because it looks like this:

Out of this world. Picture from

Is it really eye shadow, or did someone snag a part of the galaxy with her butterfly net and set it in a silver case? Where MAC's Flashtronic mineralize shadows gleamed in the pans like planet surfaces, the Two Faced Galaxy Glam shadows make me feel like an astronaut orbiting the earth in a shuttle. The Galaxy Glam Shadows come in four shades:
  • Deep Space - black with cobalt blue
  • Moonbeam - black with laser light green
  • Shooting Star - black with galactic gold
  • Supernova (shown) - black with peach and pink
Priced at US$19.50 each, the eye shadows are available online at and various Kit Cosmetics outlets in Australia.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Free miracles with $500 serum. Right.

You know how in certain action flicks the hero, after single-handedly dispatching armies of bad guys with his pinkie finger, makes his way into the inner sanctum of a temple, turns the wheel in the right combination, causing a cube to come floating out on a bed of dry-ice clouds and golden rays before it clicks and slides open to the sounds of a soprano-only heavenly chorus to reveal some holy grail-ish artefact that will save humankind from a Certain Fate? Judging from the picture, Amore Pacific's US$500 Time Response Skin Renewal Serum is one of those:

In paradisum deducant te Angeli...

At that price, I expect miracles to happen on my face, wine into water and all that jazz because this serum is meant to be used in conjunction with the Time Response Skin Renewal Creme (US$400) and Time Response Eye Creme (US$250). Yow. Makes my Chanel Sublimage stuff look like serfs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Your Australian Correspondent Updating

After the interview was over, with plenty of time left on my Metlink 2-hour ticket, I decided to roam the streets of Melbourne. Not that there's much I hadn't seen in the CBD, but I was a woman with a mission!

First stop, Belinda at GPO Bourke St. Reputed to stock Balenciaga bags but my hopes were horrendously dashed when I saw they stock merely MiuMiu and Marc Jacobs. The very friendly sales assistant directed me to Miss Louise right next to Chanel on Collins St to try my luck.

Next stop, Myer and David Jones for Laura Mercier and Chi Chi, particularly Eye Magic as detailed.

Chi Chi, to be honest, is a very fun and simple brand of cosmetics fully Australian-owned. Now, Eye Magic, is, honestly, not very impressive.

It's packaged in a rectangular paper box with clear instructions on how the strips should be applied. On a plus side, there's a huge variety of colours to suit both the warm and cool toned girls. The one I picked up was, believe it or not, for smoky eyes! In the very regular brown, black and grey shades, the smoky eye effect was achieved.

It's in fact very affordable, priced at AUD$14.95 for 7 pairs of strips.

I'm very doubtful of its effectiveness because I believe everyone has eyes that are shaped differently. I have almond-shaped, longish eyes, the Cow has irregular-sized eyes and Shryh has round eyes. So, how in the world can a strip manufactured to be mass marketed fit every shape there is in the world?

Having said all that, I'm curious to try it out.

Keep your eyes peeled for the review!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Innovation or gimmick? Chi Chi Eye Magic

Press and swipe. These eyeshadow strips by Australia-based Chi Chi Cosmetics are all it takes to achieve "flawless" results. The Chi Chi Eye Magic comes in 18 different colour combinations inspired by the Australian landscape and can be found in Myer department stores and leading pharmacies across the country. "Professional eye makeup in a single stroke"? I admire the the founders' efforts to demystify the eye makeup process, but I have some doubts about the universality of their tricolour rainbow strips. Will it work on a single-lidded Asian gal? The wrinkly, saggy skin of an aging femme fatale who can barely draw a straight line with her lipstick? Will it look as fake and tacky as temporary tattoos? Only time, and our Australian correspondent, will tell. ;)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Beauty for 2007

Shryh has done an excellent job in introducing what this post ought to be. There's no way I could top it, so, without further ado, the geek's version for this.

7. Falsies, False Lashes, Lashies with the upcoming wedding and an obstinate streak in not wanting to end up like a kabuki, I decided to do my own makeup. So, practising to latch on false eyelashes were one of the main hurdles I had to overcome. I've gained HUGE satisfaction from this process and am amazed that one does not need expensive lashes to gain the wide-eyed look. One just need lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots ... of patience.

6. Smoky Eye is one trend that doesn't seem to be ebbing away anytime soon. The latest spring collection from Chanel brings forth a very seductive smoky eye in blues and navy. I am definitely not the most adventurous when it comes to makeup. I know what works for me (Dior eyebrow pencil, concealer/highlighter pen, pressed powder to set, Dandelion, mascara and gloss) and I rarely stray from this. But, the temptation and mystery of a smoky eye proved too strong for me to resist. I finally caved in one day and started to practise. I'm starting to get more comfortable with it and have even stepped outside of the comfort zone to play with brown, purples and blue smoky eyes.

5. Mix-n-match someone once very kindly complimented on my makeup collection that it's a nice size because I have something from every colour and it's just perfect to play around with. But, being the rigid and anal person that I am sometimes, I've found it very hard to move away from mixing colours from one palette with another colour from another palette. This year, I've set aside all reservations and decided that once and for all, I need to be more adventurous. My Dior mono shadow in Ready-to-beige has been used very often in most of my smoky eye adventures as a brow highlight. At the same time, I use Smoking Black from the same range mixed with greens from my RMK trio to create a green smoky eye.

4. Perfumes & scents are something Shryh and I are always discussing. It's a year where I've amassed a pretty decent collection of fragrances. Something for every occassion there is.
For evenings: Gucci Envy Me, Stella by Stella McCartney
For daily staples to handle stupid managers and insane technical requests: Dior Addict 2, Ralph Lauren Romance
For my big day: Vera Wang Truly Pink
For insanely hot tropical days: Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Forever & Every by Dior
For weekends and sleepless nights: Gapscent Dream
For cold, dreary, rainy days: Lacoste Touch of Pink
For flirty, girly days: Benefit Maybe Baby
Of course, a quick browse through this list tells everyone that I'm a floral fragrance kinda girl. So, my very first scent from Hermes is also my very first scent out of the floral, fruity-floral category kind of fragrance. And, ever since then, I've fallen head over heels in love with the works of the very talented Jean-Claude Ellena, perfumer for Sur Le Nil, Sur Le Mediterranee, Shryh's Eau de Merveilles and the highly-coveted Kelly Caleche. 2007 brought forth also many, many lessons in top notes, middle notes and base notes for both Shryh and myself. More for me since I've much more to catch up on. It's amazing how Shryh and I detect different notes on the same scent on the same skin. We've learnt to describe scents, we've associated images with scents and we've come a long way in distinguishing the different elements in each of the top, heart and base notes of each scent.

3. Mascara was another phase that we went through. We went through weeks of stringent testing of the many different mascaras in the market. And, believe me, when we say stringent, we really mean stringent. The mascaras were subjected to different types of environment and the results were duly noted. A clear winner for this was the much-acclaimed Maybelline Great Lash. The iconic pink and green tube is reputed to be sold once every 2 seconds worldwide. How's that for a chart topper? As for yours truly, I discovered the marvels of 2000 Calorie by Max Factor (waterproof, of course. We wouldn't expect anything less) about 5 years ago as an independent working adult in Melbourne. I promptly fell into its spell of no flaking, no smudging even under the creamiest under eye concealer. Sold! It still remains a great staple in my makeup bag.

2. Bronzer might be too harsh a term on this limited edition palette from Bobbi Brown. We all know her shimmer bricks are one of her best-selling makeup products and thus, this birthday present from Shryh in Sandstone has worked wonders on my newly Australian-tanned skin. Of course, being Asian and being completely fearful of wrinkles and lines, I slap on sunscreen very faithfully each day. But, being DownUnder in summer has most definitely given me a tan. It's not that noticeable but it's most definitely there. Dandelion works to give me a pretty flush still, but it's a tad too pink. A light dusting of Sandstone warms the cheeks up to give the slightly-sunkissed healthy look. So, my first bronzer ever.

1. Partner in crime - Shryh, we've most definitely NOT bought too much makeup. In fact, if anything, I don't think we've bought enough. Thank you for the very interesting lessons. Thank you for always reminding me of my Specktra log in and password and thank you for ogling with me on Specktra. I have yet to find anyone who's as passionate about this but hey, I'm glad this wonderful technology called the blogosphere has brought us together in this! To more makeup, more perfumes and many, many, many more chocolate and coffees.

Shu Uemura: 1928 - 2007

Shu Uemura, the inimitable Japanese cosmetics pioneer and Hollywood makeup legend, passed away on 29 December aged 79. Click on the links below for more news:

TIME: Uemura, makeup pioneer, dies
Reuters: Japanese make-up guru Shu Uemura dies at 79
Bloomberg: Shu Uemura, Japanese makeup artist, dies of pneumonia at 79

Monday, January 07, 2008

2007 in Beauty.

I'm quite indifferent to year-end festivities as I don't celebrate Christmas (spent hunched over a laptop while my family cavorted in the hotel pool) and the New Year as a holiday baffles me. None of the places I've worked in were big on office parties, and while I like champagne and fireworks, I dislike sweaty, drunken crowds of revellers.

But the new year never fails to bring on a bout of introspection, and g33kchic's coverage of 2007's best beauty products reminded me that I had a great year in beauty. Screw raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, these were a few of my favourite things in 2007:

7 for 2007

7. Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Pocket Pal -
I received this as a gift from the chic geek herself, but did not really use it until 2007 was on its last legs. I'd resigned from my job and was hiding in L.'s apartment in California, trying to figure out The Next Step. It seemed ridiculous for a recluse to put on a full face of makeup, but I didn't want to be a complete slob so I pared my normal routine down to the barest minimum: all I used were eyebrow pencil, mascara, concealer and lipbalm. In a fit of inspiration, I dabbed some Benetint onto my cheeks and voila! the perfect 'bare' face. Benetint imparts a natural 'just-came-in-from-the-cold' rosiness to the complexion, and the sheer, practically transparent formula makes this liquid blush nearly impossible to botch. It did give me a bit of a scare as the product appeared to irritate my skin immediately after application, but the red patches disappeared after a while and it's yet to happen to me in Malaysia.

6. Blinc Kiss Me mascara - I am now utterly ADDICTED to this mascara's ease of removal. Eye makeup remover has always irritated my eyes, especially when I'm trying to clean about six coats of waterproof mascara off my lashes, but such battles are a thing of the past with the Kiss Me mascara in my cosmetics arsenal. I still need a second mascara for occasions that demand thick, sooty lashes, but I think I've found the perfect mascara for every day use.

5. MAC rediscovery - Having sampled a few MAC classics like the clear lipglass, Spice lip liner and Studiofix compact foundation, I dismissed MAC cosmetics and moved on. The consistency of MAC products leave something to be desired and there are better products out there: Dior shadows are more finely milled, more densely pigmented; Nars lipglosses aren't as sticky etc. This year, I've discovered very, very belatedly that their limited edition makeup collections are unrivalled. The Barbie Loves MAC collection first caught my eye, but I didn't make my first purchase until Flashtronic. Then the floodgates opened. My Smoking Eyes quad from the Smoke Signals and Electroplush lipglass from Flashtronic are now among my favourite items to use.

4. Vincent Longo eyeshadow trio in Easy Rider - The first eyeshadow palette I've used to the very end. The cool, velvety neutrals went well with my skintone and I wore this nearly every day to work.

3. Winged-out eyeliner aka the Cat Eye -
I'm still an eyeliner novice, but I spent many hours this year learning how to 'wing out' my eyeliner to approximate the look favoured by silver screen sirens in the 60s. Instead of liquid liner or kohl, I used dark eye shadow and the eyeliner brush from the dual-ended applicator that came with my Bobbi Brown palette for a softer look. This took me quite some time and I was invariably late to work on the mornings I decided to wear eyeliner in this fashion on weekdays. Oopsy.

2. Hermes Eau des Merveilles EDT -
Pepper, oranges and salt. The scent I put on in the mornings to empower myself before meeting fussy, tiresomely garrulous clients. The scent I can count on to stand out and assert itself in a room without being chokingly overbearing. The scent with which people began to associate me and the scent that garnered me the most compliments!

1. My partner in crime -
The only person whom I know will pull a pair of women's stockings over her head to rob a beauty emporium with me. Right, g33kchic?? We probably (only probably!) bought more makeup than we needed, but I'll be damned if we did not have a fantastic time discovering new products, gawking at the hauls on Specktra and running wild among the makeup counters in department stores with a patient Mr. g33kchic in tow. May you get your bottle of Kelly Caleche this year!