Saturday, May 29, 2010

No NYX/Sleek/Bare Escentuals? Elianto Saves the Day!

This next post was supposed to be my follow up on the Ever Bilena eyeshadows, but after having purchased something ultimately special today at SM Mall of Asia, I could not help but move this review up to the front of the line.  I continuously share the same feelings of frustration that Filipina makeup lovers/enthusiasts have, which is that certain highly recommended imported, affordable eyeshadow brands like NYX from the U.S. and Sleek makeup from the U.K. are not readily available in retail locally except maybe through individual sellers/dealers.  Who knows, perhaps it's better that they aren't.  Maybe this is a chance for high caliber Asian brands to step up to the plate.  Brands like Elianto which is a Korean brand distributed in our region by Malaysia.  You might possibly squeal at the deal and quality I got from Elianto.  This is my first ever purchase from them, two single pearl shine eyeshadows, one in #08 Aquamarine and the other in #21 Princess Plum which is more like a cranberry cocoa shade than plum to me.  Happy happy joy joy, there is also a separate matte shadow range, but I exercised restraint for today, I will blog about the matte eyeshadows in a separate post.  One single Elianto eyeshadow costs Php150.00 (USD $3.50).  The pan is about 1.5 inches in diameter (bow to them, MAC).

I find that from all the swatches, both photo and video, that I've seen online of both NYX and Sleek products from various gurus and enthusiasts, Elianto I believe is Asia's close version of those brands.   I so hate that I didn't take photos in the Elianto store, but I didn't want to have to cunningly dodge the mall's security staff.  Here is a totally awesome thing about the packaging, the pans of product come glued to thin disposable plastic trays from which theyare easily removed, goodbye stressful de-potting, hello easy collecting.  Elianto also sells 4 slot palettes for Php 150.00 if you want to collect 4 single shadows straightway (might I suggest 2 pearl shine, and 2 matte ^v^)  I can't wait to fill my soon-to-arrive organizing palette with these! getting ahead of myself.
08 Turquoise

21 Princess Plum

Finally, the best part of everything wonderful about this, drumroll for the payoff please...........the finger swatch
Oh my, a blue that actually comes out blue, the way it looks in the pan!  The color was actually even deeper than it is in this photo!  Non-chalky, velvety smooth, 2 finger swipes back and forth for each shade and they don't rub off like powder when you run your other hand over them.  I have 1 trio of Nyx eyeshadows from an aunt of mine and these are like the exact same quality only better because they're less powdery and don't break easily (I dropped the Turquoise one in Red Mango as we were eating frozen yoghurt and nothing happened...time stopped).  My friend Kikayrunner was with me and she said "Wow, it didn't break!"
These eyeshadows are absolutely my favorite find for the month of May.  I was told by the Elianto saleslady that they also have a branch in Greenbelt 5.  Their product range includes makeup, skincare, body care and nail care.  They also had a mineral makeup line at the helm of their in-store center display.  A little time on your feet outside with friends can certainly bring unexpected bargain finds your way.  It's nice when every once in awhile you stumble upon something you think is too good to be true...and it truly is good.  Let's see if an FOTD with these reveal if the worn wonderful payoff can stay for a number of hours.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

NOTD Mutya Polish in Vinta

Fiery coral fuschia glamor in a bottle.  This is  Php 65.00 (USD $1.50) Mutya Nail Polish in Vinta.  This could be a close cheap dupe of my favorite fluorescent by China Glaze "A Rose Among Thorns (Neon)".  The color is so fab it confuses digital cameras, seriously.


What you're seeing is 3 coats finished with an Orly Sec' n Dry Topcoat.  This is completely dry, but the topcoat helps keep it looking glossy and slick.  Purchased along the shores of Boracay, applied in Manila.  ^v^

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MAY 27-AUG31! Maybelline Coupon 20% Off

Yes, ladies.  It's real!  A real, live ecoupon, you can print it as many times as you want and use it to buy Maybelline's Magnum Mascara and/or plus additional Maybelline products at 20% off!   This promo runs from May 27-August 31, yes it begins today ^v^

It would also be great to like/add Maybelline Philippines' profile on Facebook which was exactly where I heard about the promo.  The ecoupon is also available on their profile ^v^  Enjoy the discount!  Promo is valid only in Robinsons Department Stores nationwide  ^v^

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NOTD Mutya Polish in Party in Manila

It actually looks more pastel than fluorescent in this picture.  Sorry bout the rough edges, I painted my nails at night and I was ever so sleepy, then I smudged my top coat, gah.  In person, this citrus shade is a shocker.  I purchased 2 bottles of Mutya nail polish in Tesoro's Boracay for Php 65.00 (yes they're distributed by Tesoro's which also has branches in Manila) one in a bright orange named Party in Manila and another a bright fuschia named Vinta which I will do an NOTD of next time.
and here's another shot without art directed lighting, indoors:
 What you're seeing is 3 coats, each thicker than the 1st respectively.  It glides on smoothly and doesn't dry unevenly, you might be frustrated with the lack of opaqueness though.  It looks opaque in the bottle which is a bit misleading.  With more patience and effort 3 coats can satisfy, or as I would suggest, a thin 1st layer of white nail polish to mute nail detail beneath then 2 coats of this.  My only major complaint would be that it isn't a completely opaque polish considering that the range is available in "Regular" as seen above, and "Glaze" shades which are deliberately more sheer.  Both the ones I purchased are the regular shades.  Overall for Php 65.00 (USD $1.50) I think it's pretty good.  What say you? ^v^

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Bless My Bag's Boracay Summer Stash

I barely made it to the beach before summer's end.  It's a good thing for me (or is it) that climate change has extended sunny days and clear skies here in the Philippines and I got to make that fast dash to Boracay with friends in tow.  May signals the start of early monsoon rains, but not this year.

"Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1990, it was voted by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as one of the best beaches in the world." Thanks, Wikipedia.  I am proud to bear the single flag of 7100+ islands, that gorgeous, steamy archipelago that is the Philippines.  Ok, so let's get to my very sandy summer stash.  Some of these products I already blogged about.

In this picture, in an order generally from the left:

  1.  Your skin's most absolute necessity under the sun is sun protection.  Thanks, Mom, this product is hers, just tried it. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF55.

 2.  Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer- This light base aids in giving a hint of sheen and rosy beige tint, and is also packed with vitamins.
 3. Dior Color Awakening Lip Glow (which I will blog about separately soon) - a mood lip balm that brings out a blushed color on your lips and protects with SPF 10, pretty low protection but at least it's there.  Support it then with your sun protection lotion with higher SPF, lips are still skin ^v^.  Or you could try...

4. Lanolips Lip Ointment in Rhubarb (newly launched shade) - This was one of my prizes from the Lanolips contest giveaway which I wrote about here. SPF in this product is up a notch, SPF15.
 5. Make Up For Ever Ltd. 25th Anniversary Edition Miniature Aqua Eyes pencils, set of 5 -  Whew...that was long.  Lovely, lovely product.  These are long-wearing, waterproof eye pencils (provided you don't rub your eyes while in seawater) that give you wonderful outdoor payoff if you want to give your eyes that extra shot of color for the summer.  I blogged about these here.

6. Cover Girl's Waterproof Lash Blast Mascara --This is a really, really good product.  This eye shot was taken after swimming underwater in the ocean for about 30mins with mascara.  This is a truly waterproof mascara.  The blue that remains on my lower lashline is the remainder of the MUFE aqua eyeliner.  Understandably, the color on my eye's waterline disappeared when I swam (on your waterline you are essentially applying your product to something wet, not something dry it can cling to before rendering itself waterproof) but the color stayed on pretty well.  It was so bright here I could hardly open my eyes without squinting.  My lashes couldn't compare though with this young lady's own. 

Goodness talk about blessed, look at the length she gets on those!  This little one belongs to an officemate of mine.

 7. Last, but not the least, for our beach nights out I was finally able to use my slightly darker shade of foundation, Clinique Superbalanced Foundation in shade Cream Chamois after I had slightly tanned (ever so slightly :( ), that's the 1 shade darker after Fair which would most likely be my perfect shade when I'm at my most sunless.

This is a REALLY really nice foundation.  It goes on silky and blends well, and the cool thing about this makeup is its considered to be Clinique's smart makeup.  It works really well with the Pixi primer, I pat a bit of the pixi primer on my cheeks (the Pixi primer also somehow works well as a cream highlighter/blush for some reason) after the Clinique makeup to give myself a bit of color and glow.  The superbalanced formula adjusts its benefits according to whether you are oily or dry, so this worked really great for me in the hot climate.  I only used it at night when we would roam the island for places to hang out and eat because it does provide medium coverage and you don't really want to wear something that heavy at the beach during the daytime, after swimming you'd look a bit silly.  I guess you could opt to pat on a drop or 2 for the day, but not much really.

By the way, the lipstick I'm wearing is Shu Uemura's gorgeous bronzy nude Rouge Unlimited #908 .  I didn't include it in the summer group shot coz I already wore it down to the bottom of the applicator.  It looked too loved.

That's it for my summer stash showcase.  Now here's me looking at you with a coconut tree growing out of my head.  Enjoy summer while it lasts wherever you are!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Praise for Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer

Once in awhile, you come across a product that isn't too common that satisfies and surprises you because of its effectiveness and individuality.  This was not exactly how I felt when my online purchase of Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer finally arrived and I got to try it for the first time.  I did not gush over the product in an instant.  I had to understand why it was the way it was.  It was not what I expected initially the first time I tried it.  Pixi is a UK brand founded roughly a decade ago by Petra Strand, a Swedish-born makeup artist.

I  first learned about this product after watching one of the Pixiwoo (YouTube) sisters, Samantha Chapman, use it first to start off one of their many extremely cool makeup tutorials.  She raved about it before at the very beginning of this video:

and then again more recently in her "Simple MakeUp Tutorial" posted 2 weeks ago.  In the video I posted above she claimed it gave her pale skin more color, a tiny bit of iridescence or dewiness, simply put, a more healthy glow.  It is labeled as a primer but can be used on its own to decrease dullness in your complexion and lift skin quality with extended use.   It has Vitamin A and E, antioxidants that aid in promoting healthy, soft skin.  It only comes in one color but is labeled No.1 Even Skin.  Petra claims further at the back of the package that this product is 20 year old youthful skin in a bottle.  I commend her for this wonderful product but I think that was a bit pushing it.  I love how this product performs, for me it comes a close 2nd to my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, but that remark was a bit of an exaggeration I believe.

First point of praise, the bottle itself.  It comes in a delightfully pretty pinkish copper capped bottle which is made of frosted glass.

It's a tiny bit heavy, but I quite like the bottle in this way because it gives the product inside some sort of value, and my praise doesn't stop at the bottle.  Open the cap and lo and behold...

...a pump dispenser! Which is an absolute plus for beauty products like this because you don't get bacteria going back in once you pump an amount like this onto your hand.

The color is a deep pinkish beige that is absolutely sheer when spread and rubbed in.  This was where I began to get skeptical.  I saw that it was shot through with finely milled gold-ish shimmer, not glitter (thank God), shimmer.  You can't see it in this photo, it is very very fine, but it's there alright.  This is the agent that supposedly gives your skin that sheen that Sam was talking about in the video.  It was more obvious in the product than I expected, to my dismay.  So I started to blend it in.
It smells like a very mild sunblock, but don't be fooled, this has no SPF (which is actually too bad, that would have made it a daily must-have), it only boasts of antioxidants and moisturizers that balance hydration in the skin.  Then came the part I didn't like, it was somewhat sticky/tacky, just like some moisturizers with SPF are, or rather just like sunblock is.  At first I was like ugh, why!?  What on earth could Sam be raving about?  But I persevered and continued to blend it in on my hand first.  I started to remember that this was initially a primer, and primers by definition are supposed to help makeup stay on your face.  So for a moment I forgave its sudden stickiness.
Ok, a slight dewy sheen.  I wasn't too disappointed.  This was what Sam Chapman was talking about.  My hand looked less pale.  I looked at the inside of my palms which had most of the product on from rubbing it in, they were covered with a satin sheen (that I didn't photograph, how smart) that once again started stirring my doubts.  So I tried it on my face and again the somewhat slightly sticky iridescent dewiness got me frustrated.  Then a light bulb suddenly went on. 

We Filipinos live in a very, very humid country.  We have almost double the atmospheric moisture compared to those living in the West.  When I stayed with an Aunt of mine in Hamburg, Germany for over two months, the Safeguard soap bar I brought with me from Manila cracked in several places through the middle.  My face felt tight around my nose and mouth when I smiled in the morning and my lip would split and bleed.  My aunt gave me Nivea cream and told me to use it everyday.  That's something we don't need to do here in the tropics.  So I understood why Sam Chapman raved about this product, it probably did wonders for her dry skin there. In light of this, I wouldn't recommend this product for oily skin as it might only add excessive shine and stickiness in a climate such as ours.  I do recommend it for normal to dry combination skin (though I have yet to meet someone with excessively dry skin from around these parts.)

Still, I wondered, knowing that, how could I make this work for me?  Then it dawned on me:
 ...I dusted my face with Laura Mercier loose translucent setting powder (a luxurious hand-me-down from mom) and suddenly the choir sang HALLELUJAH.  I had my FOTD (face of the day).  The dewiness of the Pixi primer peeked from beneath the matte veil of the loose setting powder and gave my face a subtle healthy glow.  So enough with the hand swatches.  The photos above were taken last Sunday, but I didn't have enough time to do a face review that day so I did one tonight.  Here are the photos I took just an hour ago.  Here's my face before.  My before face shot is not totally naked, I needed my dignity, I only put concealer here, mainly on my dark circles which were awful.  I used a few finger dabs of Nars stick concealer in custard (another yummy hand-me-down from mom) on my undereye circles, my browbone (it also works as a good cream highlighter), inner eye corners, around my nose and the corners of my mouth.  Other than that there's nothing else on my face.   I have not used Photoshop on any of my blog photos except for cropping.  So no cleanups or color corrections anywhere here.  I shoot for quality. 

So this is my face before Pixi primer, a bit sallow and pale, and you'll notice my face is a different tone from my body.  I'm lying down flat on my bed, it was the only way to get my ceiling light to work with me for the proper exposure:

Get ready for a spot the difference challenge, because the changes are really subtle.  Here's my "after" face, with a generous layer of Pixi beauty primer and a quick dusting of loose setting powder, it's a very subtle difference, but I quite like it. 

You can see I have a hint more color, like I'm half a shade darker than the photo above and I have a healthy glow across my T-zone and cheeks.  It's more obvious in the daytime though, I'll take another comparison with natural light tomorrow.  I know you're probably like "What is Julia talking about?  There's no difference!"  Hahaha, believe me there is, it didn't help that I couldn't take a sharper picture coz my hand kept moving.

Overall this is a wonder find for me, probably because I have the patience to apply powder after.  Some of you might not feel the same way about that.  I'm telling you though, the combination of this primer plus loose powder or mineral make up is absolutely wonderful.  As a plus though, to let you know I've been using it for a week now and my skin surface has evened out, I had rough patches and more whiteheads in some places, and now they're mostly gone and my skin feels happier, must be the vitamins. I'll try to edit the pictures and put them side by side tomorrow, makes it easier to compare.  Right now, it's way past my bedtime...again.  Ugh, my bad.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mini MUFE Aqua Eyes Ltd, Edition Pencils

First off I have to say, these are not new from Make Up For Ever.  This is a limited edition mini waterproof eye pencil collection that's already discontinued, but the full size aqua eye pencils are still for sale at your local MUFE retail store or beauty counters that carry MUFE.  This set comes in 5 essential colors.  I love the selection.  You have your basic black liner, a lovely, gorgeous blued silver, a bright almost turquoise blue, a plummy purple, and a pearly flesh nude which is exactly what you need to highlight the inner corners of your eyes or even your brow bone if you spread and blend it well.

Ah, so how did I get it?  Well, let's just say I sourced it pre-owned online, never been opened and a contact made his way home from the U.S. of A.  If you're new to the brand MUFE, basically the company's name highlights their specialization in long-wearing make up, hence Make Up For Ever.  The brand is a prestigious one in the cosmetic industry.  The prices of their products are also unfortunately very indicative of the quality that these guys are known for, which is why I'm so happy I was able to source this rare, cute baby of a set online, for a real cool deal.  The original retail price ranged near USD $50, got it for much, much, less than that.  Online is the best place to find discontinued products.  In fact, God again blessed me unexpectedly with this purchase.  The sellers sent me double the order by accident, and by the time it reached me in Manila and I notified them immediately like an honest buyer should they admitted their mistake but said I could have the extra product free of charge and just let them know if I enjoy it.  Double the blessing ^v^

I heard MUFE being mentioned somewhere in the online world as the "Harvard of Make Up".  Of course they had to release an especially super long-wearing line in time for the summer, actually, way ahead of summer, the Aqua Collection, super waterproof makeup.  In their ad campaign, the made up models are swimming underwater, impressive.

Ok, so I have yet to conduct an underwater test to add to this review, so for now let's get on with simple swatches, a full on smudge test, and a quick non-spectacular eye look.  As you can see below, the pay off is very good, BUT but, I do have a complaint.  The black and purple pencils don't glide as easily as the blue grey, bright blue, and flesh colored pencil.  Something to do with the pigment perhaps?  I haven't the faintest.  Anyway, the black and purple require a bit, just a bit more effort for equal payoff alongside the other.  These swatches required about 2 normal pressured strokes per color on my hand.  Gorgeous.

 Now, for the smudge test.  I took a piece of very white used bond paper, and using the clean side I gave my hand a hard rub downwards...

Heavens be praised, you must be's that good? Aw, come on, let's give it another go shall we?  And I'll rub harder this time...

These are  Out of the water they are definitely budge-proof. Although I must say that a friend of mine who has very active tear ducts (make her laugh and tada, Niagara Falls) said that these didn't survive with her.  I teased her alongside another friend saying these are waterproof, not tear proof.  Hers was an extreme case.

Now for the not so gorgeous eye sample.  Please forgive the eyebags, it's pretty late, wee hours of the morning, I just really had the urge to post.  I didn't give myself a base here, I just wanted to give you a simple test of the product on one eye.  I promise to try and do a full polished look to follow up on this review.  I'll be using the bright blue, since it's nighttime and this shade will show up best.

The mascara I'm using is Rimmel Sexy Curves.  Though my eyes don't feel too sexy here at all, they're extremely sleepy.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

An Intro to Ever Bilena, Bili Na!

Fellow Filipinas, who would have thought?  I popped into Mercury Drug last week, (the Philippines' biggest and most common drugstore/convenience store) while waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up.  I drifted nearby the Revlon counter inside Mercury only to be disappointed and not surprised that the only product available so far from the Photo Ready line was the face powder.  I hadn't planned to purchase anything,  I just wanted to see what they might have had.  Such is the horrid case in 3rd world countries, where the newest thing out is usually last season's leftovers from the more developed nations.

Out of curiosity and a bit of shame (that I never bothered to check out local stuff while getting all googly-eyed over  imported beauty products online) I decided to give a shelf with insanely cheap Ever Bilena products some of my undivided attention.  "Allergies!" screamed a voice at the back of my head but then I decided to stop being pretentious and give these a shot.  I had never given local stock a chance to win me over.  This is just a preview of the next product I'm going to be blogging about, which is their 12-shade eyeshadow palette P145.00 (approx. USD $3.00) and mascara priced at P98 (approx USD $2.00) .  As you can see, I did a partial FOTD.  I apologize for the awful lighting, it's so hard to get good strong light anywhere in our house at night.  I will add a closed eye shot in my follow-up article, multiple looks using the diff colors and hand swatches as well with my opinion on the shadows and their quality.

This is not yet the complete article on the product anyway ^v^  Just something to spark interest.  I believe local products can be worthy of our attention.  Products used:  Ever Bilena 12 Eyeshadow Palette, Ever Bilena Superlash Mascara, Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Liquid gel liner.

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