*****I'm looking to make some extra money, so if you need someone to revamp your blog or do some graphic design/web design for you, please contact me. I won't charge much, just a small fee. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prestige iQuad Review

So today I really needed to relax after school (it was a really stressful day, deadlines and whatnot), so I decided I would play with makeup and maybe review a quad that came into my possession in December. This is technically a present to my mom, but since my mom doesn't wear makeup much, she gave it to me.

Prestige iQuad in Playback
SRP is around $5.99 for 2.5g of product (because this was given as a present and I haven't had the time to check the stores, I don't know how much it costs here in the Philippines)

Ingredients: Talc, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben (LOOK AT ALL THOSE PARABENS), BHA. May contain[+/-]: Mica CI 77019, Iron Oxides CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499, Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Bismuth Oxychloride CI 77163, Ultramarines CI 77007, Manganese Violet CI 77742, Ferric Ferrocyanide CI 77510, Carmine CI 75470, Chromium oxide greens CI 77288, Yellow 5 Lake CI 19140, Blue 1 Lake 42090

Swatches - top row w/o base, bottom row w/ ELF Studio eye primer
The eyeshadows were swatched counter clockwise from the purple
Two swipes each for top row, for bottom row anywhere from 3-5 swipes to get color to stick to base

Here's a mini tutorial for the look I did while I was playing around with this quad in order to review it.

Once eyelids have been primed, apply baby pink shade over eyelid. Layer on until you get your desired intensity (I layered on as much as I could, but it's so hard to get the colors to show up. I gave up at some point since the color would just disappear)

With a crease brush, take purple shade and apply on outer V, bringing the color into the crease. Again build to desired intensity--I was unable to do this again as the eyeshadow just won't layer on. Look at all the fallout!

With a fluffy eyeshadow brush, take the white shade and apply as higlight under browbone, bringing color into inner corner of eyes. As you can see...the first two shades (pink and purple) I applied pretty much disappeared. Still LOTS of fallout.

Line upper and lower lashline. I believe I used Maybelline pencil eyeliner..I forget which kind exactly. It was black, and I went over it with the purple from the quad

Apply mascara

Finished look -- of course you can't really appreciate it granted the fact that the colors pretty much DISAPPEARED.

So here's my review.

First and foremost, I think the packaging is interesting, but upon realizing that it's packaged to look similar to iPods I'm left scratching my head and wondering why. What's the connection between the two products? They're worlds away from each other. But, okay...it's a novel concept (iQuad = eye quad), and the execution was okay, except the pan did not fit the compact perfectly. I pay attention to details and it bothers me (shallow as I am) that there is a gap in between the pan and the compact where there isn't supposed to be one.

Plus points, however, for the mirror--its sized decently enough. Also for the window on the cover which allows you to see what shades the eyeshadow inside come in without having to check. The compact also seems sturdy.

Yeah I know, the quad only costs $5.99 but honestly, I can buy myself 4-6 palettes (5 shades) from LA colors for that price. I gave this such a low rating because as you can see in the pictures above:
  • There was MAJOR fall out
  • I could hardly swatch the eyeshadow
  • It was REALLY hard to get the colors to appear and when they do they disappear after a while. I realize that they're supposed to go on sheerly but come on, I can't even layer on for intensity!
  • The three shades (white, green, pink) all look the same to me when swatched/applied
  • I don't like the consistency of the eyeshadow/powder/formula
  • Would you believe that for the look I did above, I ended up MAJORLY denting the quad? I had such a hard time picking up color that I had to keep going back for more. At this rate I think this would only last me around 10 uses before I toss it...if I even use it
  • It IRRITATED my eye:
I really only gave it a 1/5 because the white, pink and green would seem like decent highlighter colors. Also, the subtle shimmer is nice. The purple shade would have been great, but it disappeared from my crease soon after I finished using it.

No. Just flat out no. Like I said, for $6 I can easily pick up other products that have much more 'bang for the buck'. I kind of actually expected more from this product but oh well, I guess this is a miss for me. I'm really glad this was just given to me because if I'd purchased it I'd probably be annoyed.

If you've tried this product, have you had the same experience with it as I have?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Review: Blistex Lip Tone vs Nivea Lip Care Pinkish Boost

Since I started on Isotane and began experiencing the most common side effect, dry lips, I ended up having to use lip balm all the time. In November, I used up two tubes of Nivea Lip Care lip balm (Cherry and Strawberry). Eventually I became reliant or more appropriately, addicted to lip care products even though I no longer experience dry lips. I ended up buying a few lip care products that I've seen around.

I bought my Blistex Lip Tone sometime early December 2009, and as of now there is only 1/4 left in the tube. I was heavily reliant on it for a while. When I thought I lost my Blistex, I bought Nivea Lip Care Pinkish Boost (3-in-1) and started using it. I found my Blistex eventually so now I alternate between the two lip products depending on the effect that I want.

Blistex Lip Tone (Link)

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Meradimate, Octinoxate, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, aluminum hydroxide, beeswax, benzoic acid, butyl paraben, calendula officinalis flower extract, ethylparaben, flavor, glyceryl laurate, glycine, sunflower seed oil, iron oxide, isohexadecane, isopropyl lanolate, krameria triandra root extract, lauric acid, methyl paraben, mica, mineral oil, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, ozokerite, petrolatum, polybutene, propyl paraben, vitamin A, castor seed oil, saccharin, sesame seed oil, sorbic acid, Vitamin E, titanium dioxide, corn oil

Description from Blistex.com:
"Blistex Lip Tone complements the natural complexion of your lips by combining the effective moisturization and protection you'd expect from a Blistex lip balm with a slight touch of color.

Enhances Lips' Complexion: Lip Tone brings out the natural blush and luster of your lips with a slight touch of color. Your lips will look healthy, natural....great!

Moisture Maintenance: Lip Tone's Moisture-Nutrient Complex combines a long lasting moisture protectant with natural plant and amino components. Lip Tone helps to preserve lips' moisture and relieve drying.

Sun Protection: PABA-free Lip Tone provides SPF 15 protection, which is recommended even for people who burn easily and tan minimally. Remember, LIPS DON'T TAN, BUT THEY DO BURN®."

My Impression

  • SPF 15 for sun protection
  • Very moisturizing!
  • Non-sticky texture, glides onto lips easily
  • Tint accentuates lips for that my lips but better effect
  • Scented kind of like chocolate
  • Can be layered on for more color
  • Affordable (P89 or roughly almost 2 USD for 4.25g of product)
  • Rubs off onto clothes and stains because it is tinted
  • There is a weird taste when I lick my lips, but I find it tolerable
  • Only one shade available
  • Feathers into lines
  • Sometimes doesn't apply evenly
  • If your lips are chapped/peeling, exfoliate them first before applying this. The product builds up unevenly otherwise since it's tinted and it looks weird.
Would I purchase again?
YES! I really like this product despite its shortcomings. It gives a really nice effect on the lips and it's a really great substitute for wearing lipstick every day.

Nivea Lip Care Pinkish Boost (3-in-1) - SPF 15 [also: contains ginseng]

Ingredients: Octyldodecanol, C18-38 alkyl hydroxystearoyl stearate, Ricinus Communis Oil, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Ethylhexyl salicylate, Homosalate, Panthenol, Aqua, Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate, Butyrospermum Parkii, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panax ginseng, Cera alba, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Magnesium stearate, Magnesium sulfate, Propylene Glycol, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trideceth-9, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, BHT, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-isomethylionone, Linalool, Methyl benzoate, Parfum, CI 77891, CI 73360, c20-40 alkyl stearate

Quoted from Gracie:
"Nivea Lipcare Pinkish Boost, the first lip care product that helps reveal natural rosy lips. With its Pinkish Vitamin complex and regenerative ginseng, regular use will reduce the dullness of your lips and restore its natural rosiness or pinkish color. The product contains SPF 15 to help protect lips from further darkening while double moisturizers provide long lasting moisturization for up to eight hours."
My impression

  • Nice, fresh scent
  • Non-sticky
  • Glides easily onto lips
  • Tube packaging and applicator works well
  • SPF 15
  • Gives nice pinkish tint to lips and also gives a nice glossy effect
  • Can be layered on for more color
  • Very moisturizing
  • Weird but tolerable taste
  • Somewhat pricey at P175 (approx $3.8) although it is for 10ml so it's debatable
  • I wear this every day and see no difference in my lips (there is no actual pinkish boost unless I'm wearing the product)
  • Unlike what it says on the packaging, the moisturizing effect doesn't actually last 8 hours, I need to reapply this every so often
Would I repurchase?
No, after looking at the ingredients list I'm not sure I want all of that on my lips. I have a habit of licking my lips, after all. I'm still looking for products that are all natural.

Here is a picture to show you the comparison of how the two products look when applied on the lips:
Very subtle effect, no? I do like the effect of Blistex better. :)

So who won this round?
For me, it's Blistex, just for the overall effect I get while using it. Also it does what it promises to do.

What about you, what are your favorite lip care products?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How I Got My Skin To Improve [+Tips]

Let me show you scary pics of my bare face--no makeup, just moisturizer. Click for high resolution/closer view.

Since my last post in October, my skin has improved dramatically. It's still not perfect, not as much as I would like it to be--I still have acne scars and open pores, but if I get pimples they come and go quickly, and they're always small and hardly ever cystic. When I was taken off Isotane for a few weeks, my skin wasn't as oily as before--while I'm sure the cooler weather this time of year is an attributing factor, I also know that certain changes I've made to my life have affected my skin very postively.

So what did I do? It's a really long story.

First of all, I went to a dermatologist. Yes, it's still the best way to get your skin to clear--after all a dermatologist knows best since they went to school for their profession, probably along with several seminars and whatnot.

Back in October, my skin was really in breakout mode, not to mention extremely oily and quite sensitive. I did everything I could to get my skin problems under control (used gentle cleanser, kept my hair out of my face and so on), but nothing was working. I was quite lucky that while we were at the mall with my family (and my cousin--a doctor), my cousin told my father that we should consult with the dermatologist in the building across the street. He reluctantly agreed.

After my brother and I got facial treatments, the dermatologist saw us. She immediately suggested that both my brother and I take Isotane (isotretinoin). She gave us doses of 20 mg a day. Luckily since my cousin was with us, the dermatologist gave us a courtesy discount. Along with the Isotane, I was to use a gentle cleanser (she gave me Avene Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser) and apply an AHA lotion on my face after cleansing (I use NeoStrata). The dermatologist recommended that I come back every month or so for a facial, as well.

Fast forward a few weeks, my skin had already visibly cleared. I still had a few bumps, but after getting a facial, they disappeared and pretty much never came back--except for the ones on my jawline, which probably won't disappear because I have a habit of resting my jaw/chin on my hand. I saw the dermatologist again, and she lowered my Isotane dose to 10mg a day.

A few more facials and I arrived where I am now--with hardly any blemishes left, except for a stubborn bump on my cheek and a few remaining bumps on my jawline. I'm finishing off the last of my Isotane--still at 10mg a day, then I'm going to rely on topical treatments from then on (just the AHA, actually).

So how did the combination of Isotane and AHA work for me?

First of all, what is Isotane/Isotretinoin? [**NOTE: I don't claim to be an expert. What I write here is based on a) research, b) what I've been told by my doctor, and c) personal experience.]

There are many different brands of Isotretinoin. I took/take Isotane. People from other countries might recognize it better by the brand Accutane (now Roaccutane).

Isotretinoin is a retinoid, a derivative from Vitamin A, and is normally found naturally occuring in small quantities within the body. It is a medication with different uses, but it's most prominently used for the treatment of severe acne that is non-responsive to topical treatments. It is extremely effective in controlling sebum production and acne because it shrinks the sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin, therefore inhibiting the formation of comedones. The shrinkage of the sebaceous glands is temporary, but in most cases, acne will not return for years or on a case by case basis, will not return at all.

It sounds perfect, doesn't it? But there are side effects. Firstly, it is a known teratogenic--meaning if you get pregnant or are pregnant while taking oral isotretinoin, your child will be at high risk for major birth defects. This is why before I was given the treatment, I was given a waiver to sign--to use birth control if sexually active (which I'm not) and to confirm that I'm not pregnant during that time. If you are looking to get pregnant, you have to wait until at least 1 month after using the drug before you try to conceive.

Other side effects include but are not limited to: dry lips/nose, dry skin (lesser oil secretions), dry hair, increased skin sensitivity, and if improper dose is given, you might get symptoms similar to that of Vitamin A toxicity. Prolonged usage can also cause liver damage. Therefore, it's best to take the drug under close supervision of your dermatologist.

To answer your question, the only side effect I got was dry lips. I was on a high fat diet then, and I drank at least a litre of water a day.

(For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotretinoin)

Now, what is AHA?

AHA is short for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. They are a class of chemical compounds that may be either naturally occuring or synthetic. They are well known for their use in the cosmetic industry and usually found in products claiming to reduce wrinkles/fine lines/the signs of aging, and improve the overall look or feel of the skin. They are available in professional applications as chemical peels--glycolic peels and so on. The most common AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, and mandelic acid.

I only had experience with topical AHA lotions in the concentration of somewhere in between 5-10%. Topical AHA products reduce cell adhesion in the top layer of the skin, promoting exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin for smoother texture. It's also kind of like a micropeel. After 3 months of using AHA lotion, I noticed that my darkest acne scars have pretty much disappeared. I don't know what the effects are for higher concentrations--you're going to have to do your own research for that. I don't want to give any information that I don't have any experience/actual knowledge of.

The side effects of AHA include (most commonly) mild skin irritations, redness and flaking. The severity depends on the concentration of acid you use. Most importantly, the use of AHAs increase photosensitivity to the sun, so you're more prone to sunburn and sun damage. To counteract this side effect (even if I wasn't sure if I even had this side effect in the first place), I started using an SPF 50 sun block on my face.

(For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_hydroxy_acid)

AHA and Isotretinoin worked together in a combo for me because the AHA helped clear and lighten my dark marks/acne scars while at the same time helping to prevent comedones. The isotretinoin worked from within to get rid of almost all my acne/pimples and the oiliness (although this effect is temporary).

Of course, this wasn't the only reason why my skin started improving dramatically. Just a few weeks ago, my dermatologist stopped my treatment of Isotretinoin for a while so she could observe if my skin would break out again, and so on. She said to expect that my skin would be oily once more (a fact I was sad about). Preparing myself for this, I decided to wait things out and see how my skin would be without the isotretinoin.

I was surprised to find that my skin in those weeks became oily--but nowhere near as oily as I was before. Back then I had to use five oil blotting sheets every few hours or so..and after the isotretinoin I hardly had to use one blotting sheet for a day. My skin still became shiny, of course, but still, nowhere near as bad as before where I pretty much looked like a greased pan. Why did my skin not get so oily when I wasn't on the treatment?

Simple: In December, I decided that I needed to change my lifestyle and get healthy. The first thing I did was cut the oily, unhealthy food that I took in. It's surpising how much a healthy diet can help your skin. I also began exercising everyday--I don't know if this helped, but yeah. Haha.

Since October I've been noticing little things that really help my skin. So I figured I'd share, just in case. But of course, what works for me might not work for you, so be careful and don't overdo it. So here are my tips:
  • Be gentle to your skin! I CANNOT stress this enough. Back then I thought that to get rid of the oiliness of my skin, I had to use all those incredibly drying products in the market. I would jump from product to product because they didn't work, made me oilier, and so on. Use a gentle cleanser formulated for oily skin and don't forget to moisturize. Don't jump from product to product right away, wait at least a month to see the effects on your skin.
  • Diet - I cut out the junk food completely. Back then I could eat a whole bag of chips in a day, sometimes even two. Now I can't even bear the thought of eating chips. Once in a long while I'll let myself have a serving, but never more than a handful. I completely cut out soda as well. Fruits and veggies are really helpful, so don't forget to eat a lot of them!
  • If you think you really need to, see a dermatologist. They'll know what's best for your skin. The costs might be kinda high, but you'll find that it'll all be worth it in the end. In connection to this, FOLLOW EVERYTHING YOUR DERMATOLOGIST SAYS.
  • Sleep - I've been trying to get my 8 hours a night lately. At the very least I get myself 6 hours of sleep. It's very helpful and healthy, not only for your skin. You'll also feel a lot more energized in the daytime.
  • AHA - if you don't have access to products with AHA in them, your best bet is to get a lemon, and cut it in half. After cleansing your face, rub the lemon half on your face and leave on for five minutes. Rinse off afterward and continue with normal routine. For a bonus cooling effect, stick the lemon in the refrigerator first!
  • Vitamin A - try to increase your intake of this, but be very careful to keep within safe dosage. Vitamin A toxicity is not good.
  • Don't touch your face. Cannot stress this enough. Only touch your face after you've cleansed your face and your hands and are applying product to avoid irritation, etc.
  • Keep makeup tools/applicators/products clean. Because it's dusty where I live, I make sure every cosmetic product I own is stored where the dust cannot get to it.
  • And last but not the least, SUNBLOCK!!

I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I hope you at least found it informative and useful. :) For those with skin problems, good luck!! I'm still working on my skin but so far so good. :)

Here is the information for my dermatologist, for those who are curious/interested.

Claudia Y. Samonte, M.D., FPDS
Mobile #0920 921 5715
E-mail samonteclinic@yahoo.com

Aesthetic Concepts
Unit 216 Royal Place Building, Don Antonio St. Commonwealth (fronting Ever Gotesco Mall)
Wed&Fri 2pm-7pm
Sat 10am-12nn by appointment
Tel. No.: 951-0969

Delos Santos Medical Center
201 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue Room 257
Mon & Thurs 2pm - 6pm
Direct line: 412-1379
Tel No. 723-0041 loc. 5141

St. Luke's Medical Center
E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue Rm. 1401 North Tower Cathedral Heights Bldg.
Tue. 10am-2pm, Sat 1pm-5pm
Tel No. 723-0101 loc. 5141

Tri CosmedX
M1 Level, Trinoma Mall, North Ave.
Tue. 2pm-7pm
Tel No. 916-6095

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm Back! [+Tutorial]

WOW. It's been so long since I last posted (in October!), and I feel so out of it. I've just been so busy with school, and couldn't find the time or inspiration to play with makeup. For a few months I barely even touched my stash, except for my daily face powder+lippie combination. Haha. But now that I'm back I realize just how much I miss blogging and makeup in general. I also miss reading blogs, which I now have promised myself to devote at least half an hour to every night.

Many things have changed since I last posted in October. For one, I've gotten a lot more health conscious and I've been exercising more, and because of this I've gotten rid of, or am in the process of getting rid of several health problems I've been having for a while now. Not only that, I feel much more energetic, and my change in diet (aka change in lifestyle) has allowed me to keep my skin a lot less oily and almost completely blemish free! Of course, this was with the help of a dermatologist, but at the same time I know that my current eating habits are very helpful to maintaining the smooth skin I've managed to achieve.

I've changed my bedroom around, moved furniture and whatnot, and I now have a desk by the window which would be perfect to do my makeup on (finally, even light!).

My friend Sam and I are working on something that we hope to finish soon. I'll give you more details on that later.

But for now, how about an FOTD and a tutorial for it? I've completely missed doing this, it's crazy! Haha. For today, I wanted to try using L'oreal's British Red lipstick, so I decided to do a pin up look.

I started with a cleansed and moisturized face. I concealed my undereye circles and put on Maybelline's Clear Smooth face powder (yes, no foundation) for light coverage. I moisturized my lips with Nivea (3-in-1) Pinkish Boost lip care

Items used:
FACE Celeteque Moisturizer, ELF Studio undereye concealer/highlighter, Ellana Minerals concealer in Smile
CHEEKS Shawill blush in #01 (used very sparingly), Physician's Formula pears of perfection bronzer
EYES ELF Studio eye primer, NYX ultra pearl mania in Mink, Jesse's Girl quads 432A-2 and 432A-3, ELF eyeliner in coffee, MAC Zoomlash, Jordana kohl eyeliner in silver
LIPS Nivea Lip Care 3-in-1 pinkish boost, L'oreal lipstick in British Red

It's optional that you use eye primer, but I prefer to use it so I primed my eyes first. Then, with the a fluffy angled eyeshadow brush (pictured above), pick up NYX ultra pearl mania in Mink (color 1) and pat onto eyelids going just above the crease. Build to desired intensity like in the picture below.

Use a small fluffy domed brush (pictured above) to deposit color 2 (a matte brown) onto crease, buffing and blending carefully in order to achieve an effect like pictured below. Don't forget to bring the color lightly toward the inner corner of the eye.

Above: Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush (I used ELF's eyeshadow brush, the one that sells for $1 each) and pick up your highlight color (color 3). I used a soft/pale gold. Sweep the highlight color generously under the brow bone and apply to the inner corner of the eyes to achieve an 'awake' look. Blend into dark brown color on crease.

Line your eyes with your choice of eyeliner. I used ELF's eyeliner in Coffee--it's hardly visible in this picture so using EcoTool's angled brush I picked up some of color 4 (a shimmery brown)

and I went over the line I made with ELF's eyeliner in Coffee, so now it will stay put better, not to mention look more prominent. I did the same thing (ELF's eyeliner in Coffee + Color 4) on my lower lid.

Fill in your eyebrows and apply mascara to your upper and lower lashes, and we're done!

If you feel like looking more fresh-faced, leave it at this. But because I wanted to try the L'oreal lipstick in British Red, I just put some on. And that's the finished look!

More pictures:

I think L'oreal's British Red is gorgeous. I'm not so sure about how it looks on me, but for those who are a fan of red lippies, I think this is a definite must-have! I might review it sometime soon.

I guess that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. :)

So how is everyone? I miss you all!
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