Urban Decay Naked & Eyeshadow Primer Potion

WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO EVERYONE when they said they loved the Naked palette from Urban Decay? And even though Naked3 is out, people still seem to adore Naked, the first bronze-hued palette that came out three years ago.

My brother is the absolute best – not only does he know that I am cosmetics-obsessed, he asked his cute and adorable girlfriend (who takes cosmetics-obsessed to a whole new level & I love her for that! I envy her make up skills) what she uses and decided to gift me the gloriousness that you see in the photo below for Christmas. The kit came with a mini travel-sized Eyeshadow Primer Potion, which I was dying to try as well.

I have been missing out – period. I’ve been testing the products for a week and a half straight, and they haven’t creased yet. Today was the longest and toughest wear test to date: Applied make up at 7:15 am, finished the day with a run on the treadmill, and didn’t remove my face until 10:30 pm. AH-MAH-ZING. Not a sign of a crease starting (thank yoooou, isododecane!). I’m in love.

The colors of the Naked palette are super easy to use and you could go through so many different looks and shade-themes with it, it has easily become the most fun thing in my make up bag. If you are a skeptic like I was about the palette, I’m giving you one more reason to give it a try.

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pN Dual Brow Creator

The photo of this product below is embarrassing. I apologize in advance for the unsightly state that it’s in. If I could buy it again, I would buy it 20 times over, but unfortunately Shiseido decided to discontinue it (a loooong time ago). Why am I posting about it? Because this product has been the first product I’ve used that is still in my makeup bag over a decade later. Lucky for me, Shiseido still sells the cartridges for the product, so I haven’t let it go.

My insecurities for my eyebrows started in middle school. At the time, Japanese school girls were getting really creative with their makeup, and being in the American school system in Japan, I didn’t know who to go to or what to do with my brows. They were sparse and barely there. What little brow hairs I had were spread out from my lash line, through my eye lid, and all the way up beyond my brow bone. Lackluster and drab to say the very least (& scary!). My mom knew about my woes with my brows, and being a cosmetics connoisseur herself, she brought me to a professional to get my brows shaped and drawn in. This is when I was in 7th grade, before all the brow bars and brow-specific cosmetic brands came out. My mom was pretty awesome to be so open-minded about cosmetics, which is probably 90% of the reason why I’m in this industry to begin with!

The pN Dual Brow Creator has an end with a retractable pencil lead and an end with a smudge stick that picks up powder from the the cartridge. I draw my eyebrows in everyday (if you had brows like mine, you would too)! I use the pencil end from the arch to the end of the brow for precision and the powder end for the rest of it. The smudge stick allows for a soft application, so the brow looks natural and not painted on. To shape my brows, I tweeze/shave/trim every other day. Despite my sparse brows, to maintain their shape they require different techniques. I have to admit that I haven’t tried waxing or threading, for fear that they might overdo my brows. I’ve tended to my brows for 17 years – I think I have it down.

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MAC Blot Powder

During the winter, my T-zone is still on full blast producing sebum (it never takes a break). I used to use those oil absorbing sheets, but I didn’t feel like they were remedying the situation by just letting my pores become oily without anything to suppress it.

Enter, MAC Blot Powder. I have gone through a case of these (when I like something, it’s very hard to convince me to switch)! I use medium-dark all year round. It comes in 5 shades and medium-dark is in the middle of the range. The pigment load in this pressed powder is very minimal, so whether you’re wearing it alone or over foundation, it blends well with the color underneath. It absorbs the oil well, looks natural, and doesn’t cake during reapplication of the powder in the middle of the day (an absolute must!).

I simply use the compact powder puff that comes with it, and swipe/blot it over my face. I’m not particularly happy with the texture of the puff, but it does the job so I continue to use it. I also keep a stock of extra puffs and go through 2 ~ 3 puffs with one compact (I tried cleaning the puff once, and it fell apart so I just replace them as they get old).

I bring my Blot Powder around, especially if I know I’m going out after work or going on the plane. It’s such an easy solution to such an annoying problem that I’ve suffered with my entire life. If you have an oily T-zone, you have to try this!

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Primavista Long Keep Base UV; Maquillage Pore Perfect Cover

In light of some of my friends going home to Asia for the holidays and getting their annual haul of products, I wanted to feature a set of go-tos so that they can be included on the shopping list!

Last winter, after much research on @cosme (the Japanese authority in cosmetic product reviews) and spending hours in their store dragging a store attendant around with me, I finally found a makeup base routine that worked for me.

Step 1. Maquillage Pore Perfect Cover (Shiseido)
My pores are huge. Huge. Gigantour. What good is foundation, if I have craters causing shadowing and unevenness in my skin? The Maquillage Pore Perfect Cover is literally like spackle. You scrape up a bit of the solid product and rub it into the problematic areas to fill them in. What I love about this (and the product below) is that it doesn’t feel like there’s anything on my face. It’s extremely comfortable and doesn’t budge throughout the day. It has an SPF 10, PA+ that is practically negligible, but a nice-to-have.

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Step 2. Primavista Long Keep Base UV (Sofina)
This is a true gem-of-a-product. It recently received accolades as a hall-of-fame product on the aforementioned @cosme website (received #1 makeup base in 2011 & 2012), which is telling to the performance of the product. The Primavista Long Keep Base UV is a shaka-shaka formulation (shaka-shaka is the onomatopoeia in Japanese for when something is shaken). It’s very thin and the product separates, so there’s a ball inside the bottle to help with homogenizing the formula before use. I was skeptical when I first started using this product – it’s thin, felt very watery, and has no color payoff. Is this really going to do anything for my foundation? I LOVE this stuff. Whatever you apply after, it stays put all day. And because of the thin texture, it really feels like nothing on your skin. I sometimes put the Maquillage Pore Perfect Cover + this and a finishing powder on and skip the foundation all together for a natural finish. With an SPF 20, PA++ it’s a star formula in one teeny bottle.

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My friend from college, who is an expert beauty blogger, put up her make up base and foundation reviews on her site. I’m going to have to try her routine out, too, since she has flawless skin!

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p.s. Since these products are from Japan, I had a difficult time finding links that you could purchase these from the US. I can’t vouch for either site/seller.

Maybelline Falsies Flared Waterproof Mascara

Me and my sad, short, straight, Asian lashes need a lot of help. In my career, I’ve had a chance to try a lot of mascaras (when you go through half a bottle of makeup remover a day from trying so many mascaras… I count that as a lot!).

The Maybelline Falsies Flared Waterproof Mascara has been my go-to for gajillion bottles – no joke. These have made my lashes look like fake lashes and it’s fabulous! The applicator grips all my short stubby lashes and applies really well.

I use my eyelash curlers (I use two – another topic to divulge in the future) and crimp my lashes from root-to-tip in 3-4 sections. When you’re looking for a waterproof mascara that will hold this curl, do not pick  the ones where the ingredients start with water. Products, like this Falsies Flared Waterproof, that have ingredient lists that start with isododecane is what you want. It’s a solvent that flashes off really quickly to help “set” the curl that you’ve created.

When you buy a fresh bottle of isododecane-based waterproof mascara, pump the brush a few dozen times. Waterproof formulas are really thin when they’re fresh and there will be virtually nothing applied on the lash if you don’t pump the brush and incorporate air into the formula. I read a few poor reviews on the Maybelline and Amazon website saying that their product was dried out. It’s probably because they didn’t see any product applied on the lashes due to the lack of this crucial “pump” step. I tend to see the best application after 2-3 weeks of daily use, where the formula is thick and rich, with a great creamy application. The flexing hinge on the wand also allows for the optimal pressure of the brush to my lashes, maximizing the formula application and separation of each lash. The end result are lashes that are long and volumized, with that flared look that I love <3

I know it seems short, but I always buy a fresh bottle of mascara after 3 months from the date of use and chuck the old one. It’s a product used around the eyes and you want to make sure that your product is fresh and free of unfriendly microbes.

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