June 16, 2016 / 16:40 PM
(Bourjois Paris Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix in Dark Beige, Loose Powder in Peach, Little Round Pot Blush in Radiant Rose and Frosted Rose, Rouge Edition Velvet in  Happy Nude Year,  So Hap’pink, and  Pink Pong)
Make-up, my late love, how I’ve missed you.
After a long beauty hiatus – my last entry was in January – I am back with a number of exciting hauls; first on the list: Bourjois Paris!
The French cosmetics brand is a cult favorite amongst the YouTube beauty community because of the Healthy Mix Serum. So many gurus gush about the foundation – a holy grail from the drugstore (or the high street, as Londoners would say). During my recent trip to Malaysia, I freaked out when I saw a row solely dedicated to Bourjois on a spontaneous visit to a Watsons. It stood out alongside other drugstore brands like Maybelline, L’oreal, Essence, and Silky Girl. After a full month of incorporating the products to my daily routine, I can honestly say that I am in deep, mad, undeniable love.
Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation in Dark Beige
To be frank, this foundation is the product from my entire haul I’m least impressed by. It’s good but from all the rave reviews, I had such high, too high, hopes for it. It’s most ideal for days when you don’t want to have too much on your face – a great alternative for those who prefer BB creams and cushion compacts over (full-coverage) foundations. It gives sheer to medium coverage; a concealer is needed to cover blemishes. It’s lightweight, glides easily without being greasy or sticky, and wears comfortably. It’s available in eight shades but Watsons only carried one. Dark Beige is not dark enough for my morena skin. I have to mix it with another foundation (currently: Jordana’s Complete Cover 2-in-1 Concelear and Foundation in Golden Caramel).
Little Round Pot Blush in Radiant Rose and Frosted Rose
The reformulated blushers do smell like roses; it reminds me of fond childhood memories with my Lola. The beautiful packaging comes with a mirror and a small brush but I prefer using my Elf blush brush to apply the product. I dust a little bit along my cheekbones for a subtle, radiant shimmer or build it up for a (contoured) sun-kissed glow. I put this on top of my bronzer to complete my look!
Loose Powder in Peach
I’ve definitely noticed a big change ever since I started using the Bourjois loose powder; I’ve become less oily! Setting the powder after my foundation and concealer makes my skin silky smooth. It doesn’t cake up even after reapplication. It definitely makes my make-up last longer, a great alternative to more expensive powders like the Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder.
Rouge Edition Velvet in Happy Nude Year, So Hap’pink, and Pink Pong
My relationship with the velvet lip creams went from from ‘I hate this with a vengeance’ to ‘I need all colors in my life’ real quick. These are my favorite from the haul. It’s incredibly pigmented, wears comfortably, and lasts the entire day (more than eight hours). It dries semi-matte but the texture remains creamy – very similar to the Nyx soft matte lip creams. It takes, at the very least, three swipes to get the full opaqueness. I’ve been alternating between the three – Happy Nude Year being my favorite – and I keep getting compliments every time I wear it. It’s a brilliant product for those who want the lasting power of a liquid lipstick but refuse to sacrifice moisture on the lips.
Anything you’ve tried from the brand? I’d love to get your recommendations! Also, look out for my next beauty entries: my Sephora haul and Maybelline (Rosy, Creamy Mattes) review.
May 01, 2016 / 20:37 PM
On our last day, Hannah and I toured our colorful neighborhood and found the most animated backdrops.
Lately, I find that it takes very little to commit to creativity. Sometimes, it only takes devotion and a heart which desires to find beauty in every corner.
Photography and Make-up: Elisa Aquino
Modeling and Styling: Hannah To
Shot in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
January 10, 2016 / 18:18 PM
(Ruby Woo, Whirl, and Stone)
I have a deep fondness for matte lipsticks. Sure, they dry my lips after a long day, they mercilessly stain my cup of coffee, but I would not trade it for anything else – except the occasional cream and satin bullet.
In 2015, MAC relaunched their Matte Lip Collection, which includes 21 glorious shades – six in the retro matte finish – all of which are permanent. The new releases include Naturally Transformed, Men Love Mystery, Tropic Tonic, D For Danger, Persistence, Antique Velvet, Matte Royal, and two of my purchases, Whirl and Stone. These particular colors have been sold out everywhere ever since its release that I had to have mine purchased abroad (Singapore) a few months ago.
Retro matte is starting to become a personal favorite next to the original matte formula; I also have Relentlessly Red and Flat Out Fabulous. It does not transfer – applying lip balm beforehand does make it transfer a little bit – and the lines on my lips are not defined unlike cheaper matte lipsticks and liquid lipsticks available in the market.
Ruby Woo is a a very matte vivid blue-red. With all honesty, I did not need it because I already have Russian Red, which (I thought) is a very similar color. The sold-out product because of a certain Maine Mendoza was a surprise (along with the other bullets) from an ‘AlDub’ fanatic mother. Apparently, I needed the signature Yaya Dub lips – I’m not complaining, at all.
Russian Red vs. Ruby Woo
Russian Red and Ruby Woo are similar reds – both are ridiculously pigmented – but from experience, they are pretty different.
Russian Red, a bluish-red, has a one-of-a-kind creamy matte formula. It applies like a dream. It is more neon. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it makes my lips fuller, and I already have such plump lips. I used it the entire day – 11 hours in total – with plenty of eating and sipping on straws involved, and there were no signs of feathering.
Ruby Woo is more lightweight; it feels like you have no product on your lips. It is a universal red; it looks perfectly good on all skin tones. I needed more coats aside from a single swipe to perfect the application. It leaves a great stain but product fades towards the center throughout the day – reapplication is necessary.
The grunge lipstick trend has made a comeback that Whirl – a dirty rose – is the perfect every day, warm brown lip color. I actually set this aside for a few months because it was so dark and dull for my morena skin. I tried it again recently and fell in love. It is the type of lip color you pair with the right make-up – a slightly bronzed, highlighted face with a good shimmer eyeshadow and really big lashes in my case. The most similar color that I have is MAC’s Creme in Your Coffee, which is more on the mauvy side. This was drying on the lips after a whole day’s worth of wear but nothing a good Carmex lip balm can’t fix.
Stone is a more complicated lip color that you can either really love or hate – there is no in between. It is a muted grayish taupe brown that can make your lips look really pale, depending on your skin color. I had trouble covering my already pigmented lips so it needs more than a single swipe to get its full opacity. From recent tutorials and reviews, beauty gurus say that Stone is best worn with really dramatic eye make-up, which I have yet to try.
Anyway, any New Year beauty resolutions? I’d love to hear yours (while I try to formulate mine). Thank you for reading!
December 13, 2015 / 12:00 PM
(Dreamy, Bazaar, Rebel, Obsess, Backstage)
I thought I was over liquid lipsticks until one October day – I was at an incredibly fragile state – my reasoning was compromised, and I purchased these lip products. YouTube has been abuzz over the L.A. Girl Flat Finish Pigment Glosses. Lately, liquid lipsticks have been a bit sparse at the drugstore that these seem to be Heaven-sent (P250 on online stores, $5.00 on the website).
Count Milani’s Amore Matte Lip Creme, Nyx’s Soft Matte Lip Cream (which simply don’t dry to a true, kiss-proof matte finish) and Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick, Sleek MakeUP’s Matte Me Liquid Lipsticks plus ColourPop’s Ultra Matte Lip (only available online), and everything else is expensive (Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Liquid Lipsticks, Sephora Collection’s Cream Lip Stain, Stila’s All Day Liquid Lipstick, Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, etc.)
With 16 (cruelty-free!) highly pigmented colors, these remain true to their claim; they do last the entire day. If you’re not a fan of touching up, these opaque matte ‘glosses’ can last for about 5-6 hours before your lips get patchy – meals and drinks included. It stays on during long hours of shoots and coverages, which makes me, the photographer, so relieved!
Watch: L.A. Girl Flat Finish Pigment Glosses Swatches via Emily Fox
Among all the colors, Dreamy is my favorite. I’ve been using this color 70% of the time for the past two months. It’s replaced my favorite nude liquid lip cream, which is Sleek MakeUP’s Birthday Suit. Rebel is also such a gorgeous color, considering I hardly wear purple. The product is a bit tacky upon application (nothing too bothersome) but it gets lighter after a few minutes. The applicator is great so messy applications can be avoided. It is very difficult to remove so better use an oil-based make-up remover or even baby oil.
Disclaimer: I drank green tea upon trying the product, and it started to disappear but other than that (water, coffee, and other liquids), it does stay put for (almost) the entire day.
December 09, 2015 / 12:00 PM
“What I see is that look in her eyes, the one that says she’s worthy of that stare, that all the attention is well-deserved. That’s when I click the shutter.”
(BJ Pascual, PUSH)
Through the years of taking portraits – I started in 2011 – I’ve come to photograph the same faces over and over again. My friends have always been so gracious to allow me to, if I may humbly say so, reveal parts of themselves they have not seen or they do not know to even exist.
My subjects transform right before my eyes.
It is so beautiful to see newfound courage and confidence in other people, especially those most dear to you. To be able to say that I am part of that change, even in the smallest of ways, gives me more reason to come back to portraiture again and again.
Photography, Styling, and Make-up: Elisa Aquino
Model: Samie Betia