Tutorial: Party makeup with Pixy Cosmetics

It's three days 'till Christmas and the barrage of parties, reunions, and weddings are far from over! If you're still planning your look for the next special occasion, here's a step by step tutorial for you. I used my favorite products from Pixy Cosmetics since the shades are lovely, the formula is long-wearing, and most importantly, everything is crazy affordable. Pixy products aren't priced over P400, did you know?

I've had these products for a while and my favorite is the Pixy Perfect Matte Two-Way Cake since it has great coverage and fairly good staying power. The Perfect Eyeliner (P325) and the Waterproof Mascara (P260) are revelations too - they barely budge even when worn all day! The mascara in particular made my lashes really stand out, and to think, it's only 260 bucks! I'm not kidding. You MUST try it out.

So! Let's get started! I did a gold-and-charcoal smoky eyeshadow look with big lashes, a thickly-lined eye for a retro feel, and luscious lips. This would be totally photogenic and will work with any outfit you can think of. Here's how I achieved the makeup.

So there you go! I hope you enjoyed the look. ^_^ Tell me, are you an Earthy Beige or a Rouge Tango? Let me know in the comments!

This post is brought to you by Pixy Cosmetics. Pixy is available in select Watsons branches.

The gift of scents

Are you done with your Christmas shopping? If you're still at it, allow me to make a few choice recommendations in the perfume department! Shopping scents for someone else is both easy and challenging - easy, because most things on the counter smell good; difficult, because you have to find one that suits your receiver's personality. Gifting a scent is a personal, intimate gesture. It's not something you do just for a random acquaintance!

Here are three of my scent suggestions for three important people you might have in your life.

The Kenzo Flower In The Air Eau De Toilette (P3,100/30ml | P4,400/50ml | P5,950/100ml) is perfect for the feminine girlfriend or girl best friend. It's a modern, young and upbeat floral that has top notes of raspberry and pink pepper. The heart contains dazzling rose, magnolia and gardenia, resting on an elegant white musk base. This is very lovely and hard to make a mistake with. It smells conventionally good, i.e. it's a crowd pleaser!

The flacon is clear glass with a cap that looks like a floating flower. Minimalist yet chic!

The Givenchy Very Irresistible Eau De Toilette (P2,900/30ml | P4,100/50ml | P4,960/75ml) is for a more mature person, say your mom or a special aunt. It's heavy on the rose motif, with notes of spicy anise and lush green whiffs of lemon verbena and cassia. That's a very interesting departure from your typical floral scent - a good thing if you're looking for a sophisticated choice for someone with taste! I feel that Very Irresistible is made for the woman in command, sensuous yet feminine.  

The Clinique Calyx (P2,800/50ml | P3,800/100ml) is a sharp green scent inspired by nature. It's  quite androgynous, ideal for a brother or sister with an audacious personality. The Calyx seriously wakes me up whenever I get a whiff of it. It goes straight to my head but in a pleasant way, surprisingly! I would give this to someone who has a lot of energy and spunk, and does not always appreciate conventions. 

And that is that. ^_^ How are you spending your weekend? I'm about to leave for an overnight trip, just chilling out with friends. Have a great one, ladies!

Look: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Eyeshadow Palette in Untamed Teal

I've been writing about beauty for such a long time that I've met so many amazing people and tried innumerable fantastic products along the way. Sometimes I feel jaded, but most days I just feel extremely lucky. Why? Because things get better every year - makeup, skincare, treatments, and most importantly, relationships with my friends in the industry. I don't know if I'll ever stop beauty blogging. It's as much a part of me as, I don't know, my left hand!

Forgive that burst of enthusiasm, haha. I just feel exuberant today. Anyway. I want to share with you a new release from Estee Lauder, the Pure Color Envy Sculpting Eyeshadow 5-Color Palette in Untamed Teal (P2,550). This is a beautiful palette featuring rich, smooth shades that conspire to dress up your eyes in the most dramatic way possible. 

DSC08978.jpg

The compact is a slim yet hefty navy with gold trimming. It contains two mini-applicators that, while serviceable in a bind, are still not going to replace an eyeshadow brush. 

The formula is well-milled, silky, and pigmented. Well, save for that vertical white strip. It is kinda loose and powdery, meant to be used as a base for the eyeshadows, blending, and for lifting up the brow bone area. It's indispensable to the Estee Lauder technique of applying a white or cream color first before putting on the rest. It's how the other shades go on more evenly.

DSC08990.jpg

The four shades are for lack of a better word, gorgeous. Are you seeing that matte teal? I'm kinda into dark teals and emeralds lately and this palette is feeding my addiction.

Swatches! There's that matte powdery white, a sandy champagne, silvery taupe, chocolate-y brown, and intense dark teal. You can use these colors without a primer - they will stick - but I still recommend using a primer if you plan to be out all day with these on.

Here is the look I came up with yesterday: I applied the dark teal first on the lower half of my lids, blended the chocolate on the crease, softened up the lines with the matte white, and then, using my fingers, patted on the silvery taupe on the inner third of my lids. Voila! I've got a sophisticated smoky eye if I do say so myself. It didn't take a ton of time too, but hey, I've got the benefit of practice. ;)

I skipped the eyeliner since i wanted my eyes to look deeper in a hazy way. So pretty this palette! If I want something less dramatic I would just use the champagne on the lids, chocolate on the crease, and then line my eyes with the dark teal shadow. It can be used as cake liner since it's so intense - just wet your eyeliner brush and go for it.

So there ya go. ^_^ Try out the palette at an Estee Lauder counter soon, or try your next smoky eye with something teal and silvery. It's perfect for the season!

DSC08972.jpg

Have a merry Lush time!

You can smell a Lush store before you see it. Sometimes, when I want to get my head out of the gutter, I go in and just inhale the scent of all those fragrant soaps and bath bombs. I also like the prices and how I can buy many of the soaps in grams. I can adjust what I buy according to what I need and how much I'd like to pay for it.

Recently, Lush Philippines invited the press to discover their store in Greenbelt 3 as well as a few of their holiday offerings. It was a fun afternoon of making our own bath products, getting a hand massage, and trying out some of the makeup. You should go visit one time too! It's also a great place for getting a few more Christmas gifts that'll smell so amazing even before your receiver tears off the wrapper. 

These look like cake and smell like cake!

I wish I have a bath tub just for these

I wish I have a bath tub just for these

Bloggers unleashing their crafty side by making their own bath bombs

Bloggers unleashing their crafty side by making their own bath bombs

The Do You Want To Build A Snowman station!

The Do You Want To Build A Snowman station!

And here's my favorite find: the Lush Gold Playful Wash. They sell this in a cylindrical lump, and it's like clay that you can mold according to any shape you want. It's fun because it has this gold shimmer in it! I decided to make an elephant sculpture haha. Had such a great time since it smells so sweet and lovely as I was working. Think toffee with hints of orange and bergamot oil!

The cool thing is that this product can be used as a soap, bubble bath, and shampoo. I love using this in the shower, plus a little goes a long way. It's also just around P400-500 per 200 grams.

And that is that. ^_^ Visit a Lush store soon and have fun sh-niffing! (Shopping and sniffing, get it? Lol.)

You can find Lush in the following locations:

LUSH GLORIETTA  G/F Glorietta 4 Ayala Center, Makati City, Tel. No. 8176152 | LUSH SHANGRILA  2/L Shangri-la Plaza Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City, Tel. No. 6331631 | LUSH GREENBELT 3 G/F Greenbelt 3 Ayala Center, Makati City, Tel. No. 7574572 | LUSH MALL OF ASIA 2/L SM Mall of Asia, SM Business Central Park Bay City, Pasay City, Tel. No. 5560463 | LUSH ALABANG TOWN CENTER G/F Commerce Ave., Alabang Town Center,Tel. No. 8429908 | LUSH TRINOMA M3 Level 3, Trinoma, Tel. No. 9153016 | LUSH BONIFACIO HIGH STREET Quadrant 7 BGC Retail Promenade Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Tel. No. 8562022 | LUSH SM ANNEX Upper Ground Floor, Annex Bldg., SM City North EDSA Tel. No. 9212541 | LUSH MAGNOLIA G/F Robinsons Magnolia Tower Center, Aurora Blvd., New Manila, Quezon City

A librarian on a holiday

One of the (way too many) reasons I love going to Tokyo is to watch what people are wearing. The Japanese have this inborn appreciation for beauty, an eye for detail, and a sense of weird humor. These things flow into how they dress and I feel so inspired just seeing that! Everybody is effortlessly stylish, like they just threw on their clothes without really thinking about it.

Last month I observed that the fashion revolved around the academia. So think schools, libraries, and university sporting events! Many of the girls were in loafers, oxfords, crisp shirts, thick cardigans, and full skirts. I love the look so lately I've been hunting down pieces that fit into the narrative. 

Here's what I've got so far!

The gum-soled black loafers from Forever 21 will be my favorite pair for a while, I think. They're a bit challenging since I need to plan the outfit around them but I think that's what makes a good Shoe-Of-The-Moment. It should embody the style you're trying to emulate, and should force you to think of new ways to use your old things. It's how you stay current yet true to yourself!

Thrifted top, Zara satchel, Forever 21 skirt and shoes

Thrifted top, Zara satchel, Forever 21 skirt and shoes

Case in point: the rose pussy bow blouse is an old thrifted one that I dug out of my closet. I only wore a gold watch since the skirt is already quite intricate and shiny, while the top already looks busy.

So that's what I wore yesterday! I was at Manila Peninsula for Procter & Gamble's thanksgiving lunch. They also re-introduced Everyday Me, the lifestyle portal of the company. You must visit it if you're interested in finding awesome ideas about food, shopping, beauty, family life, health, and home-making. As it happens they have a nice set of holiday-related tips for y'all looking to make your Christmas more fun and stylish. ^_^ 

Enjoy! 

Love: the Lancome L'Absolu Rouge

This is the year of glossy, juicy lipsticks. I guess tastemakers have decided that women have had enough of solid swathes of color on their kissers! Don't get me wrong though, I love my mattes, but there's always a spot in my kit for shiny formulas since they never fail to make my lips look plumper and softer. If you have thin lips, my advice is to gloss 'em up whenever you can.

Anyway! Recently Lancome Philippines sent me the new shades of the iconic L'Absolu Rouge. I don't recall ever trying out a Lancome lipstick before so I didn't have any expectations. Well, let me be honest. I had one expectation: that they be awesome. I looked forward to nothing but excellence from Lancome and I wasn't disappointed. ^_^

The Lancome L'Absolu Rouge (P1,600+) features a moisturizing, satin-bordering-on-glossy formula that is enriched with Vitamin E. I don't even use lip balm underneath! I love how my lips look like they're plump and perfectly shaped whenever I'm wearing the L'Absolu.

The pigmentation is sheer to heavy - it depends on how many layers you put on really. I usually takes two layers to get the intensity that I want. The texture is ultra smooth and glides on like butter so there's no skidding as I apply it. It feels quite luxe on the lips, a bit cushy, just the way a high-end lipstick should. ^_^

Staying power is pretty good at about 3.5 to 4 hours plus it leaves a strong stain for a long time after. It's a pretty reliable lipstick IMHO. It's something I take with me when I know I'll be out all day since it requires minimal retouching.

Here are the four colors I have! I believe that these came out in time for the holidays.

212 Nude Peach is sheer, but it surprisingly evenly covers up my lips. There are no bald spots or streaks which are typical of shiny semi-sheer lipsticks. I don't think this will work if you have pigmented lips though! The color is best for fair to light-medium skin

386 Lancome Rose is a vibrant blue-based fuchsia. It makes me think of spring and watercolors - anything light, fun, and fresh!

349 Rose Carousel is a cherry pink that's warmer compared to Lancome Rose. If you're more yellow-toned, this would suit you better (but both would look great either day).

160 Rose Grand Amour is my favorite! Such an intense true red. This is the ultimate holiday lip color if you ask me! I failed to take an FOTD when I wore this last Saturday, but here I am with Angela during the beauty blogger Christmas party. So nice with a little black something no?

The packaging is a sleek, curved black bullet with a magnetic closure. It makes an audible metallic click as the cap slides down the base. Very elegant.

Overall, I love the Lancome L'Absolu Rouge's moisturizing, glossy formula as it is super low maintenance during the day. The colors are chic yet classic, and the tube! So nice to bring around when you're feeling fancy. I highly recommend this to those with dry, thin lips. 

Let me know what you think! Have you tried Lancome lippies before?

What I want you to know

I grew up in a small town without the benefit of a particularly good education, beauty, connections or a lot of money. These things however didn't stop me from having a clear image in my head of who I want to be and how I want my life to be like. I didn't have room for doubting myself, or the luxury of fearing failure; I didn't have time to waste. 

You should have seen me in high school. Big hair, bad skin, thick glasses, even thicker braces, and  questionable taste. Now I'm working in an industry where the superficial reigns supreme! At the end of the day though, I feel that what I do inspires people to aspire for beauty in their lives. What I do makes it possible for others to transform themselves the way I transformed myself into who I am today.

With it, I've achieved a modest amount of success. It's enough that I can live independently, travel, and pursue my other passions like watercolor painting. 

At my first ever art exhibit in SM Aura last November for Fountain Pen Day. Still can't believe this happened, sometimes.

At my first ever art exhibit in SM Aura last November for Fountain Pen Day. Still can't believe this happened, sometimes.

My point? There are many things that seem impossible from where you stand at the moment. I just want you to know that nothing is out of reach as long as you work hard, do the time, and maintain your presence of mind (i.e. focus). Find courage. Take that leap of faith, for sometimes it is the only available means of transportation. 

Smell like candy with The Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Butter

Lately I've been obsessed with making everything in my life smell extra good - my clothes, my house, my self! I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's a phase. Maybe it's just my tita instinct coming alive, although I'm technically not an aunt of anybody. Nonetheless. I've really been enjoying finding new products with wonderful scents that make me feel happy whenever I get a whiff.

One of my go-tos is The Body Shop, as you know. I loved pretty much every body care-related stuff they came out with or repromoted with this year: remember the Honeymania Collection, the Olive Shower Gel, the Spa Wisdom Ximena & Salt Scrub, and the Fijian Water Lotus Body Lotion and EDT? These are all mainstays in my routine. Now I've got a new one: The Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Butter!

I didn't use to enjoy super sweet body moisturizers but now, well, a girl can change her mind. Glazed Apple smells exactly like its namesake. It also sticks to the skin, turning anyone who wears it into a walking candy wonderland, haha. Obviously it's not for everybody but I guarantee you will like this if you like sweet-scented things.

PS, I skip perfume when I wear this since it smells quite strong on my skin already. I like to think of this as a scent more than just a body cream.

The Body Butter formula is a classic; it's a heavy cream moisturizer that's best used sparingly during the day. Use more if you're looking for intense moisture! I love to slather this on since my skin is tad dry this season. If you have oily skin that tends to sweat a lot though, it might end up feeling greasy.

So there you go, something new to try from The Body Shop! ^_^ Any Body Butter fans out there?

DSC09744.jpg

P500 (and under) gifts for your kikay friends

So you want to give a nice gift to a friend who loves prettifying herself. However, you don't have a big budget to get the usual holiday kits or even a popular high-end item. What to do? Worry not, for Ate Liz is here to help you! Lol. I saw a comment earlier asking me about 500 peso beauty-related gifts so I thought I'd rummage through my stash to find good suggestions.

And found them I did. These are products that I would recommend to anyone, because they're the kind that would surely be used again and again. They're not throwaway items just for the sake of giving something; I feel the receiver would appreciate the thought that went into your gift even though it wasn't that expensive. Of course, don't forget to write a nice note!

Here ya go!

For the friend who is serious about makeup. Get her the Ellana Brush Cleaner (P400), a must-have for any makeup maven and professional MUA. This cleans and conditions brushes stat! It also has a pleasant melon scent which is totes different from the usual paint solvent smell of brush cleaners.

You can also get the Lip & Cheek Duo (P460) specifically the Icon / Illusion combination. These two colors work on ANYONE; they sheer out into a gorgeous flush on the cheeks and looks like lipstick on the lips. 

For the friend with dry lips. Yes, we all have one person in our life who can't seem to find a lip balm that gets rid of the flakes. Get her to try these limited edition Burt's Bees Christmas ornaments! They are not only decorative, they also feature intense conditioning lip balms. The Refresh (with Grapefruit) and Rejuvenate (with Acai Berry) are both only P325, while the Ultra Conditioning (with Kokum Butter) is P375.

This is a nice gift for guy friends as well! Burt's Bees is available in Beauty Bar.

For the friend who loves to travel. The Charm Pocket Brush Set (P500 at Beauty and Minerals) is the perfect size to bring around anywhere. Whether she's tramping in an azure beach or freezing in, IDK, Europe, this set is something she can definitely use! It has five handy brushes for applying and retouching a basic look.

And psssst...it'd be lovely to be remembered as your friend is traveling. ;)

For the friend who loves styling her hair. Lucido-L is quite popular in Japan. It's a rare drugstore where you won't see it in the shelves! Anyway, this set is the perfect gift for someone who's vain about her hair. You know what I mean. Some of us obsess about brows, some obsess about hair.

This set is only P295 - separately, each full-sized bottle is P295 but it's basically on a buy 1 take 1 this season. The one I have here is the Curling Milk and Repairing Oil. There are lots of other variants available in Watsons.

For the beginner in the art of kilay. Have a friend who's clueless about shading her brows? Is she daunted by all the options out there? Or do you just hate seeing her with undone kilay? Loljk. Half joke. I get a little tiny bit peeved with girls who don't fix up their brows. Just a little though, everyone can do whatever they want really.

ANYWAY. The Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow (P345 in Watsons) is a fool-proof product. The pigmentation is light and the pencil is slim; nonetheless, when you're done layering, it will look super polished and effortless. Plus, it pretty much stays on all day. Try the 01 shade!

And that is that. Do you have more suggestions? What are you getting your kikay friends this Christmas?

See inside: The December BDJ Box with COVERGIRL

A friend on Facebook asked on his wall: Does "aiming for a bigger audience" always have to mean "selling out"? I said, you can't really sell out if nobody wanted to buy into it in the first place. If you have barely any audience then you don't have a compelling product; if you don't have a compelling product then there is nothing to lose by tweaking your content to suit your target demographic.

My two cents. ^_^ Anyway, today I want to show you what's inside the December BDJ Box, which I got just the other day! It's an exclusive one with COVERGIRL. If you've been disappointed lately with BDJ's luxe samples and mixed drugstore skincare products (lol hard to please?) this is BDJ's way to make it up to makeup lovers!

This month's box contains full sizes of COVERGIRL cosmetics that's worth P2,365 in retail. Considering the box is only P580, this is a crazy steal! I guess the occasional too-good-to-be-true box like this one is the reason lots of people are huge fans of BDJ. Not to say that the service isn't worth it - in fact, it's still pretty great even if sometimes you get "grocery" finds. At the end of the day, BDJ always gives you a box worth at least triple of the amount you pay. Still a good deal if you ask me.

So, let's see what's included from COVERGIRL this month! I don't have swatches yet but I plan to do a capsule review as the brand separately sent me a similar kit earlier.

TruBlend Liquid Makeup (P645, 30ml). A liquid foundation that provides full coverage for a flawless natural look.

TruBlend Pressed Powder (P425, 11ml). A silky-smooth formula that adapts to your skin tone.

Cheekers Blush (P395, 3g). This is a sneak preview as it'll be out February next year! It promises an easy and natural rosy silk flush in a portable compact.

Smiky Shadow Blast (P525, 4.6g). Easily create a bold smoky eye with the two specially contoured ends.

LashBlast Fusion Water Resistant Mascara (P595, 12g). This is supposed to be super-volumizing! I've always liked LashBlast and I'd like to try out a water resistant version.

So there you have it! Did you manage to grab a December BDJ Box? Will you be continuing or starting a subscription with BDJ this 2015?

DKNY My NY For Women

Here's an open secret: if you want to smell unbelievably good, use the same scent in three layers. First as a shower gel (you might even want to put some on your hair), then as a body lotion, and then finally as a perfume. It's a lot of effort and you might even underestimate how considerably better you'll smell (for longer too) when you do this, but it's worth the work!

Now I don't layer my scents regularly, but when I want to feel like a special unicorn, I take the time. It's something I do when there's an event or meeting where I need to feel my best. Doing the three-layer thing technique leaves a trail of subtle scent that should give people a better impression of me, you see. ^_^ Sounds shallow yes but scent is powerful - people might not remember what you wore, but they will remember how you smell like.

Currently I've been loving the DKNY My NY For Women, an energetic, spicy scent that is Donna Karan's love for New York bottled up. Its top notes feature a blend of raspberry, pink pepper and galbanum, coming down to a heart of Egyptian jasmine, freesia and orris. The base is a warm patchouli Heart LMR, vanilla absolute, musk and ambergris.

This scent is surprisingly spicy upon first spritz, but not unpleasantly so. It quickly simmers down to a cozy, grown-up floral that can be worn from day to night.

The latest flacon is heart-shaped, celebrating the New York skyline in the upper part. It's a rather interesting shape but it fits the hand without any awkwardness.

As for the Shower Gel and Body lotion - wow! They smell quite intense, sticking to the skin for more than 2/3rds of the day. Topped with the EDT, the scent practically lasts all day. You must try these out if this is the effect you're going for!

Give the DKNY My NY a sniff next time you pass by a fragrance store! It retails for PHP 3,650 / PHP 4,650 for the 50ml and 100ml bottles respectively. I'm not sure about the prices of the shower gel and body lotion but they should be available locally as well.