Swatches + FOTD: Emilio De la Morena for Artdeco SS15 Collection

Fresh yet sultry, modern but romantic - that's what the new Emilio de la Morena for Artdeco Cosmetics is all about. This spring-summer collection features bold bursts of color and subtle pastels that contrast beautifully when worn together. Delicate rose, subtle apricot, vibrant pink and pastel mint evoke a mood that's sublimely perfect for the season.

But wait, who is Emilio de la Morena? He is the Creative Director of the fashion brand of the same name, founded in 2005. It combines Spanish craftsmanship with a London aesthetic. De la Morena's vision is to create clothes that flatter every woman and highlight the elegance of the female form. His first collection in 2007 actually won the "New Generation Award" and was purchased for a permanent exhibition as part of the textile museum in Barcelona (Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària. 

For Spring 2015 Emilio de la Morena presented his latest fall/winter collection at London Fashion Week. If you can't get hold of the clothes, then his Artdeco collab is the next best thing! Here are my thoughts and swatches on these pieces. ^_^

Let's start with the jewels of the collection: the Blush Couture (P995) and Eyeshadows (P350 per pan) that come in a limited edition compacts designed by de la Morena himself. The blush has three soft luminous shades that deliver a subtle glow. It makes my cheeks look peachy and healthy, but it's not as pigmented as I hoped. On my Asian skin it's more of an illuminator than a blush; on fairer skin, I imagine it shows up more. 

Nonetheless, this blush is still quite pretty! I like to wear it on no-makeup makeup days, or with bright lippies when I don't want my cheeks to stand out.

The Beauty Box Quattro (P475) can fit four eyeshadows and a blush strip from Artdeco. For now I've only got the new eyeshadows - #60 Pearly Milky Mint, #81 Pearly Summer Lilac,  #95A Pearly Soft Pink and in #109 Pearly Snowdrop. The names are pretty descriptive! I find the 60, 95A, and 109 much too pale on my skin tone, but 81 is absolutely gorgeous. It's an electric lilac that makes my eyes stand out when worn around the upper and lower lids.

These eyeshadows need a base to make them pop. Try the Artdeco Eyeshadow Base if you haven't yet! It's an affordable (around ~P500) reliable primer that's great on oily lids.

Here's an FOTD I made with the Blush Couture and #81 eyeshadow. I feel that it looks daring yet still sweet. Pastel makeup is tricky to wear but not when you know how to balance it out with defined features - strong brows, a dark liner and mascara, and a bright lipstick should do it.

Speaking of lipstick, there are four new ones in the collection too (yep it's pretty large). The Art Couture Lipstick (P895) has a shinier, creamier formula while the Perfect Color Lipstick (P650) is more satin and richer in pigment. Both of them wear pretty well at 4-5 hours without eating and drinking.

I've got swatches for three: the Art Couture Lipstick in Cream Soft Pink #268 (left most) is a nice daily color. It's still pastel, not quite MLBB, but it's wearable even on my medium skin. The Perfect Color Lipstick in #91A Soft Pink (middle) is my favorite - it's a gorgeous mid-toned pink that brightens my face instantly! The Perfect Color Lipstick in Strawberry Red #01 looks surprisingly orange-y on my skin tone. It's a great summer red that doesn't bleed and when it fades, it leaves an even stain.

The new collection also has Lip Brilliance Glosses (P795) and a Soft Lip Pencil (P495) for those who are OC about their lips. These come in basic shades that can be worn on top or below your lipstick.

I'm wearing the #81 lip pencil here topped by a sheer gloss. That's always a good combo for days when you don't want to retouch!

So there you have it. ^_^ Do check out the Emilio De la Morena for Artdeco SS15 Collection in your nearest Beauty Bar counter soon! You can also order it from the online store.

Thoughts? Anything calling out your name?

Six summer-worthy eyeliners that are as pretty as they are long-wearing

It's so hot that stepping out of an air conditioned room feels like you're walking in soup. It's so hot that when you shout "Ang ineeeeettttt!" you feel a little better about yourself, although it's still as hot as before you yelled at it in defiance. What kills me though is that the heat has made many of my makeup reliables, well, unreliable! They would melt and start to slide off 15 minutes out of the house.

The good news is that there are still some products that prove their worth in this weather. Here are the eyeliners that can withstand the hottest, busiest day! They will never give you up or let you down, turn around and desert you. ;P 

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner (~P1,500). You can swim in this eyeliner without worrying too much, that's how long-lasting it is. I've had it for a year now and it has never failed me, even though I wish it were opaque in one swipe. Still a winner though!

Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner (P575). Yup, it's affordable and awesome! It comes in lots of intense fun colors and a creamy formula that glides on the lids. Once it sets, it's there 5evr. Promise.

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Intensify Duo (P890). I wore this yesterday from 10am to 10pm and it did. Not. Smudge. It faded a bit, but it didn't budge. I love this stuff.

Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil (~P150). This is the cheapest best eyeliner I know. It's pigmented but not as rich in color compared to the more expensive liners here; still, it's a great deal. It stays on all day too!

Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil (P990). The colors and shimmer on this line are gorgeous. It wears well throughout the day like the rest of the pencils here - you're just paying for a longer pencil (i.e. more product) and beautiful shades.

K-Palette Real Lating Eyeliner 24H Waterproof (P700). Just in time for summer, K-Palette has come out with an even more long-wearing formula! This is SO MUCH MORE BLACK compared to the old formula. Must-try! It's still my fave basic black liner after all these years.

Left to right: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in Cool Down / Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil in Jewel Amethyst / Pixi pencil in Brown / Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Outrageous Emerald / Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #17 / K-Palette black eyeliner

Left to right: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in Cool Down / Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil in Jewel Amethyst / Pixi pencil in Brown / Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Outrageous Emerald / Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #17 / K-Palette black eyeliner

If you can't even with eyeshadow anymore, go for bright eyeliner shades to give your look that summer vibe. It's so easy and makes a lot of impact! 

So there you have it. Which eyeliners in your stash are in your summer rotation? Which ones have given up?

Video Tutorial: How to apply natural-looking concealer and foundation

Over the years, I've tried many different products and techniques when it comes to applying my face base. I've gone through a lot of trial and error but I've finally found what works best for me! The secret? There's no need to be too fussy or precise with your base. Your focus should be to make it look like your skin, and not like you piled a load of gunk on (unless that's your thing of course).

I've talked about my foundation and concealing routine many times here, but I thought it would be more interesting to show it as I do it. Thanks to NMFtv for shooting this with me! I've got a couple of more for you guys, so watch out for my Project Vanity Basics series. ^_^ Have fun watching, and do let me know if you've got any questions or reactions!

Products used: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer in Peach / Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation / NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer / Happy Skin Eye Need A Miracle Corrector / Laura Mercier loose powder

Products used: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer in Peach / Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation / NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer / Happy Skin Eye Need A Miracle Corrector / Laura Mercier loose powder

Smell fabulous, always

I recently had a home decorating itch so I scratched it. Seriously guys, SM and Landmark have it all and at crazy cheap prices too. I remarked to my friend, "How do they even make any money at this rate?" 

"On the back of Chinese labor, of course," he said. Hmmm. My place looks a lot prettier now in any case, thanks to the marvels and misfortunes of modern mass production. So. I decided on a blue, yellow, and cream theme to create a cheerful atmosphere that's not overly feminine. I've got enough of that on my blog! I just have to find a new cabinet for my shoes and some cream or yellow curtains and I shall call it a day.

I got the yellow tray in Landmark for like 500 bucks and it's perfect! Aside from housing a vase and some polaroids, I also placed a few of my fave perfumes here so that I never forget to wear one right before I leave. The problem with rushing out is that I neglect to wear a scent sometimes - it irritates me to no end as I feel naked without perfume. With this new set up though, I'm always visually reminded to smell great. ^_^

Here are my current picks: Elie Saab Le Parfum (boys love this!), Elizabeth Arden Cherry Blossom (so fresh), Estee Lauder Modern Muse (sexy and sophisticated), and Philosophy Amazing Grace (stylish without trying too hard). These scents make me feel beautiful and play well with the outfits I like to wear. You'll notice that all are well-loved.

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Just a slice of life post for y'all. So busy today! Let's talk more tomorrow!

Six of my favorite foundation brushes

Your hands are your best tools when applying wet foundation, but brushes offer convenience, precision, and even speed when applying both powder and liquid bases. I prefer to use brushes when I'm doing someone else's makeup because it simplifies the process. On myself, I use them when I'm looking for a finer, more photogenic finish. They're also best with dense, problematic foundations that cake up if only the fingers are used to put them on.

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And so, here are some of my favorite tools for applying foundation! You'll see some of my old favourites here. I haven't really acquired new brushes in the last few months because I'm already happy with what I have. Besides, they're supposed to last for a long time! Tools should be well-loved and equally well-taken care of. ^_^

Zoeva Luxe Face Definer. I love this for applying powder foundation and finishing powder. It's also a great all-around brush since it can also function as a blush and contour applicator.

Soffia All Over Face Brush. This is quite expensive but it's the most luxurious brush I own! The hair on it is super soft and fine, yet so densely packed. I use this also for applying powder foundation, especially mineral formulas. It spreads the product beautifully and quickly.

Estee Lauder Foundation Brush. The brand aside, paddle foundation brushes like this are a must for patting on and building up sheer foundations. They can also be used for applying contour and powder makeup.

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Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush. This is a lovely, compact brush for applying runny/watery foundation with sheer to mid coverage. It gives me a smooth finish and allows me to get into the corners of my face.

Beauty Cosmetics Multi-Task Brush. This is such a steal at P250! I like using it to apply my mineral foundation as it's perfect for the swirl-tap-buff routine required of MMUs.

Zoeva Concealer Buffer. This was designed for concealers in mind, but I like using it to blend out small areas where my foundation might have streaked. It's also great for adding coverage on spots and things so that I don't need to pick up a concealer anymore.

Beauty Blender Makeup Sponge. This unassuming egg-shaped sponge is one of the best open secrets when it comes to applying liquid and cream foundation. When wet, it makes even the thickest, most difficult formulas to glide on like second skin. I've had it for two years now and it's still good as new. Love this so much!

And that is that. What are your fave foundation brushes?

Capsule review: Pixi Spring Summer 2015 Collection

Have you tried anything from Pixi yet? If not, you're seriously missing out. This cosmetics brand from London has many hidden gems such as the Flawless Beauty Primer, the Tinted Brilliance Balm, and their ultra-creamy eyeliners. I use them regularly! The products are a bit pricey but not that expensive considering the quality IMHO. They're definitely worth checking out at Glamourbox.

Soooo today I want to show you Pixi's Spring Summer 2015 Collection. The dream team isn't the typical take on the season in terms of color, but focuses more on practical products that we can use everyday. I love it! I'm on board with basics I can add to my collection. I adore color, but I also love having reliable things to use in this weather. It's not like I have a lot of time to primp beyond the basics anyway

You'll be pleased to know that Pixi now has the Brow Powder Palette, Endless Silky Eye Intensify Duo, LipLift Max, and Glow Mist. Here's a quick review of each one!

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Let's begin with the star of the show, the Pixi Brow Powder Palette (P750). This features five matte colors for defining and highlighting the brows. The shades are perfectly chosen to suit any hair color you might have, dark or light, blonde, red or brunette - name it, you can mix it with this palette! It can be used dry for softer brows but it's best applied with a wet brush to achieve amazing (yet still subtle) definition.

This brow powder stays on all freakin' day even when I've been sweaty. It fades but not noticeably so; it doesn't melt off in the heat and humidity. The brush that comes with it is serviceable but far from the best though. I just use a thicker brush with natural hair for better results.

Swatch of the Pixi Brow Powder Palette / Top is a dry swatch, bottom is a wet swatch

Swatch of the Pixi Brow Powder Palette / Top is a dry swatch, bottom is a wet swatch

I usually mix the light brown and the red brown as a base color, then place the chocolate brown where I have gaps in my brows. I use the charcoal black to define choice edges particularly under my arch. Yeah it's trickier to use four colors for just one set of brows but I promise that you'll get better-looking results! Do experiment to see what combination works best for you. ^_^

You can also use this palette as eyeshadow and eyeliner, which makes it more sulit versus other eyebrow products out there. You just need to put your brushes to work and to wear eye primer. It's a great find, something that I highly recommend even if you're not a makeup artist. I've been using it since I got it weeks ago!

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My next favorite is the Pixi Endlessly Silky Eye Instensify Duo in Brown (P890). This is a double-ended pencil with a deep plummy brown on one side and a champagne on the other. This is less creamy than the other Pixi liners I've tried, but goes on a lot more opaque. It also doesn't smudge or smear on me all day.

I love using the champagne on my waterline just to bring some sparkle to my eyes. The brown is also exciting since it's not a flat brown; it almost looks plum in some lighting, and is such a rich flattering color on my skin tone.

The Pixi LipLift Max (P790) is a clear plumping lip gloss with a minty tingle. It delivers on its promised effect - my lips do look poutier! - but it's a thick gloss. It wears well and doesn't slide off, you just have to be prepared for how it coats the lips in a snug blanket of gloss. In this look, I wore it on top of a lip liner to get a defined shape + volume.

Last but not least is the Pixi Glow Mist (P950). This contains Propolis and Argan Oil to hydrate the skin whenever it needs some lovin'. I love spraying this on my face this after I've applied my foundation, so that the finish looks more skin-like rather than puff pastry haha. It does give a glow. Contrary to what it sounds like it doesn't make me oily at all as the oil to water ratio is very low. 

The Glow Mist is a great way to freshen up skin in this heat without disturbing the makeup. It gives off a super fine mist with a pleasant clean smell. 

Overall, I love the Pixy SS15 Collection and would recommend it to anyone who needs to amp up on their makeup basics. ^_^ If you can just get one product, get the Brow Powder Palette! It's really sulit plus it looks amazing. 

Eyeing anything from the collection?

Pixi is exclusively distributed by Glamourbox in the Philippines.

MAC is Beauty Event + Prices

What's wrong with being a little high maintenance? MAC invites you to indulge yourself in pure, delicious vanity with their latest collection called MAC is Beauty. It has new hues of eyeshadow, lipstick, Cremesheen Glass, nail polish, and 16 new colors of the best-selling Fluidline. The brand launched the collection with a bang in Glorietta 1 last week, in all its pastel pink, salon-themed glory. Here are some photos from the event!

The MAC is Beauty look is all about glowing, peachy skin, lined eyes with pops of intense color, and juicy lips. The big 80s hair and swinging circle earrings are optional!

Here are the prices for your reference. If you can't see the details, open the image in a new tab to view a bigger version. ^_^ Do visit your favorite MAC counter soon to swatch the new collection to your heart's content! I just might, as I didn't get a chance to do so during the event. I remember a bronze eyeliner catching my eye last week. Have fun!

Bloom where you are planted

Often I would comment on the fact that if I were born with more money and if I had gone to a better school, I would achieve more, faster. I have rich friends who I feel have so many opportunities they don't explore because - I don't know. I sometimes think that, if I were in their place, I would do so much with the resources available to that position.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing myself to them (vis a vis who is better) nor do I feel bad about where I am in my life. In fact, I'm extremely pleased with my trajectory and pace at the moment. I'm now thinking beyond what I thought I was capable of before, and I'm making solid steps in that direction.

This is what I'm saying: some people have more than others, but no one is left with completely nothing. We all have a unique set of resources, skills, support, drive, passion, and ambition. It's up to us to know what they are exactly and how to use them to our best advantage. 

It's easy to whine about not getting what we want because we just can't, to stop there, and keep on being miserable. But think of it this way. Imagine yourself being marooned in an island with your ship smashed on the rocks. Will you just lie down in the sand and die? Of course not. You have to survive. To survive, you need to make an inventory of what you have that you can use. Maybe you've got a knife. Some rope. An almost empty canteen. You go into the forest and you will maybe find a pile of rocks that can provide shelter. Maybe you'll eventually build a boat to leave the island. Maybe you will succeed. Maybe you'll just die there of disease and starvation.

Still you tried your best. Effort, no matter how futile it is in the end, is never wasted. Don't give up even if it seems impossible to go on.

Happy Skin Eye Am The One Mascara

These days I'm so busy that I don't even have time to put eyeliner on. Yeah, if you've seen how quickly I apply eyeliner, you'll know that it's something I normally can't miss! I love elongating my eyes and making them look sharper so eyeliner is indispensable - again, normally. But with this heat and the lack of time I just go with the quicker alternative, which is mascara! I get the definition and my lashes don't look patay; my eyes look bigger and brighter too. Plus, there are lesser chances of smudging with the right mascara.

One of the newest ones out now is the Happy Skin Eye Am The One Mascara (P899). It's a fiber mascara with a mid-width brush that slightly tapers at the end. The formula delivers an impressive amount of length on my lashes and is so very, very black and matte. It also doesn't smudge even when worn for 10 hours (at least in my experience) and it wipes off with just a micellar makeup remover.

The brush is longer than I would normally like, but it's easy enough to maneuver around my lashes as it isn't all that thick.  

Eye Am The One is a fantastic mascara for creating dramatic length and for staying on even in the most humid weather, but there's a catch: it doesn't keep curl very well. I have stick straight lashes as you know, and even if I've curled my lashes twice with two different curlers (to get a steeper angle) they still go down a short while after applying the mascara. 

I would recommend this for women who have naturally curly lashes. If you want your lashes up, there are other formulas dedicated to that purpose. 

Overall, the Happy Skin Eye Am The One Mascara is a great find if you're after lengthening, a bit of volume (but not crazy volume), and a non-smudging formula for your lashes. It is so easily removed too! If you're after curl, this is not it though. 

Let me know what you think of Happy Skin's first venture in the mascara world!  

Five skincare products I'm loving right now

I woke up today with the best skin I've ever had so far. There were a couple of fading blemishes, but I am pleased with the texture and color of my face. I've gotten rid of most of my blackheads on my chin and nose thanks to the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush (read my rave on that), and I've been getting a healthy amount of sleep too. Oh, and sunscreen! I never leave home without it.

Anyway, thought I'd share the potions I've been using on my face of late. These are good additions to any skincare routine - you can switch them up if you feel that your current set of products aren't as effective, or you can bookmark them for later, when you're shopping for new finds. Here you go!

L'Oreal UV Perfect Aqua Essence Advanced Watery Gel SPF50PA++++ (~P500). Sunscreen is a  basic necessity if you're a beauty junkee. The lighter it is in texture, the higher the SPF number (50 is about right), the better! L'Oreal's latest sunscreen feels like water and leaves no white cast. It does have a scent - floral, a bit of the sunscreen smell - but for the price, it's very nice. I like to switch it up with my Clinique sunscreen, it's easier on the pocket.

Skilabo Cleansing Water (~P200). I bought this in Tokyo because I was looking for a cheaper alternative to Bifesta. Yes, Bifesta is already affordable but since I use up a bottle so quickly I wanted something that'll cost less! Skilabo is effective in removing dirt and sebum - perhaps even more matapang than Bifesta. It stings the eyes a bit but I just wash it off with my eyes closed. 

Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Spot Correcting Essence.  If you're going to plunk money on a good serum, make it Estée Lauder. They make the best ones! That being said, the Cyber White is HG material for me. I've actually been using it since November! It's the biggest reason that I'm ~almost~ blemish free. It's quite expensive at over P5,000 a bottle but I swear it works. It smells great too.

Estee Lauder Full Cycle Brightening Spot Correcting Essence. This one I started using only three weeks ago. I actually thought its the Cyber White; the packaging is so similar! But it works faster than Cyber White and has an even thinner texture. Between the two, I recommend you get this as it'll help noticeably fade out darkness in just two weeks. At least in my experience.

Shiseido Ibuki Multi-Solution Gel (P1,998). Okay so you're about to go to a Very Important Event but your skin is just not cooperating. It's flaring up, it has this weird texture (you know what I mean!), and it looks frighteningly dull. What to do? Use this crazy awesome gel! A small amount spread out all over the face will fix it up in under two hours. It's so potent, you shouldn't use it more than once or twice a week!

I love using this before shoots or say a big date. It's wonderful - it zaps up my skin problems quickly. It's not a maintenance product though. It's a fix, but not The Fix. You should still rely on serums for long-term solutions.

Yup I'm confident enough to post zoomed in photos! I didn't retouch this shot (except for increasing contrast and brightness), plus I only took it this morning. Hopefully I can keep my skin this nice foreverrrrr haha.

Have you tried any skin-changing products lately? Would love to know what you're keeping secret!

Commenter of the month for April and June gift

Ola senyoritas! I'm thrilled to announce the Commenter of the Month gift for May. I personally requested these TheBalm goodies from the kind folks at Beauty Bar and they immediately said yes! I knew you would love these because, well, who doesn't love TheBalm? The names are catchy, the quality is fantastic, and the packaging is all sorts of fun. Whoever will get this is lucky. ;)

But first, let me congratulate Karla Del Rosario for being Commenter of the Month! Kindly email your shipping details to lizlanuzo at projectvanity.com. Hope to ship all my pending packages by Monday.

Soooo what's in this month's set? The CoM will get the Balm Shelter Tinted Moisturizer, Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette , two Instain Blushes (love this, it's super long wearing !), and one Read My Lips Lip Gloss. This set should be all your need for a glamorous day to night look. It's got you covered for eyes, lips, and cheeks!

As you know, TheBalm is exclusively available in Beauty Bar. You can visit any of the branches here, or shop at the online store. The product catalog is enormous enough that you probably need to spend a couple of hours just window shopping! Plus, Beauty Bar's online shop ships all over the PH. If there's no branch near you, you can get your beauty fix any time right inside your house.

So, it's the same mechanics as before! Every month, I'll pick a commenter on my blog. She must be able to leave useful comments, such as sharing feedback about a product I reviewed. It can be a "thank you" comment, or maybe a really good question (I love good questions). A big factor would be the frequency of the reader's comments. Does she always visit? Does she read through the site? At the end of the day though, I always value quality more than quantity. Consistency is key.

Comment away! Am hoping to hear from you. ;) I'll pick the winner by mid-June. Good luck!