Monday, January 28, 2008

Vasanti Face Base to the Rescue

Like most South Asian women, I'm constantly on the lookout for that "perfect foundation" that will match not only the yellow in my skin, but also the olive undertones in it.

I started using Vasanti's Face Base about six years ago after reading about them in a magazine. I've gotta say, every time I use their foundation, everyone always asks me what I'm using because it's such a perfect match to my skin (I use the shade V3). And the best part is, unlike MAC Studio Fix and other powder foundations out there, Vasanti's Face Base contains NO titanium dioxide. That's right girlfriend, no more Kabuki dancer pictures for you. Without the titanium dioxide, your face will appear as natural and dewy in photographs as it looks in the mirror.

As I write this, I can't believe it's been six years already and I've stuck to the same foundation. I've never done that before. I've tried other brands in between, but I always seem to come back to this one because it's so fail-proof.

Like anything in life, it's got it's pros and cons, and I'll break them down for you here:


1. You can decide whether you want thick coverage or light coverage simply by changing the method of application. I usually like light coverage, and for that I use a powder brush by Bobbi Brown, it's perfect for applying powder foundation like this. For more opaque coverage, use the sponge that comes with the compact and gently pat it onto your face like face powder. Now here's something you should know: after you apply it, it doesn't stay matte, (which I like), it starts to melt into your skin to look more like your natural skin. This is a good thing for me, because matte foundations tend to dry my skin out.

2. Even though it's a powder foundation, it suits all skin types: dry, combination, and oily. The foundation is both moisturizing and oil-free at the same time, and of course non-comedogenic.

3. If you're ordering the foundation online, Vasanti makes it easy for you to find the right shade by putting a picture of a model that shade is suitable for right next to the corresponding compact. For example, if you're unsure whether you're a V3 or a V4, just take a look at the pictures and see which model's skintone looks the most like yours and match accordingly. And if you make a mistake and order the wrong shade, no problem, Vasanti's reps make returns and exchanges by mail super easy. Also, here's a tip I learned if you're stuck deciding between two shades: choose the lighter shade. Like most foundations, the Face Base tends to get a little darker as you wear it.


1. Honestly, my biggest complaint with Vasanti in general is how hard it is to find. Of course, you can always order online at, but it would be nice to go to a free-standing store and be able to try the products in person. I know they've started rolling the line out at some Ulta chains across the U.S., but I'm not lucky enough to live near any of those cities. I hope they come to an Ulta near me soon, because this really is a wonderful makeup line for desi women.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

OPI India Collection

In the fall, OPI came out with its sultry and mysterious Russian Collection. For spring, OPI is coming out with beautiful new nail (and lip) colors named the India Collection. The colors are truly gorgeous...and I think the collection captures the colors of India nicely.

The twelve color collection includes:

I41. I'm Indi-a Mood for Love, a hot pink

I42. ElePhantastic Pink, a carnation pink

I43. Black Cherry Chutney, dark cherry red

I44. Keys to My Karma, rich true red

I45. MonSooner or Later, orange-red

I46. Moon Over Mumbai, soft light gray

I47. Yoga-ta Get this Blue, deep dark blue

I48. Get Me to the Taj on Time, pale opal

I49. Curry Up Don't Be Late!, golden shimmer

I50. Charmed by a Snake, bronze (Lipstick in this color also available)

I51. Lunch at the Delhi, coral (Lipstick in this color also available)

I52. Royal Rajah Ruby, burgundy (Lipstick in this color also available)

The names, as usual, are so creative! I can't wait to try Lunch at the Delhi and I'm Indi-a Mood for Love. OPI is also selling a "Little Jewels" Mini Pack Edition with three of the collection's mini polishes and a mini RapiDry Top Coat polish.

The India Collection will be available February 6, 2008.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to Wear Eyeliner: Sometimes, Less is More

The celebrity pictures below illustrate both flattering and unflattering ways to wear eyeliner and shadow.

First, the bad. Mandy Moore is beautiful, as always, but her eyes are average-sized and her eyeliner does nothing to accentuate them. Her problem is that her black liquid liner is too thick and harsh which makes her eyes look smaller. A better idea would have been to make a thin line above the eyes and wing out the line slightly.

Now, the fabulous. Catherine Zeta Jones demonstrates that eye makeup can be subtle but not necessarily boring. She has subtle black liner all around her eyes while surrounding the liner, both top and bottom, with lavender shadow. The result is elegant but playful.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lancome LUCI Collection for Spring 2008

While I was excited for the arrival of Lancome's LUCI Collection for Spring 2008, after trying the actual products, I was completely disappointed.

The LUCI collection, which stands for Luminous Colorless Color Intelligence, includes:


1. Traceur Design Illuminating Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Ray of Purple Light: It goes on as a white liquid liner that changes colors to light purple based on the light.

2. Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow in Personal Style (Baby Blue), Exhibition (Lavender) and Off the Rack (White with Lavender effects).

3. LUCI Eyes Light Color in Motion Eye Shadow Duo in Ray of Apricot Light: In a seashell shaped palette, there is a shimmery bronze shadow and shimmery white shadow that changes color based on the light.

4. Ombres Glacee Cooling Gel Illuminator Eye and Face in Sunrise (shimmery bronze), Morning Pearl (shimmery white) and Chameleon (shimmery beige).


5. Color Fever Shine Lipshine in Femme Fire (a bright rose pink).

6. Color Fever Gloss Photonic in Seashell (bright fuschia pink), Sunray (shimmery white), and Rainbow (shimmery pale pink).

7. Color Fever Shine Photonic Lipshine in Luminous (shimmery white) and Desert Pink (bright pink)


1. Photonic Illuminating Powder Brush Face in Ray of Apricot Light (a shimmery white)

The collection sounds pretty, right? My problem with it is that I tried every product and it just is not flattering on brown skin. Yeah, yeah, the ads feature both a white model and a black model so you assume this collection would be "one for all"...but it is really not unless you want to look totally washed out. The three powder eyeshadows, the two lighter shades of the Color Fever Gloss, the shimmery white shade of Photonic Lipshine (even when layered with other colors) and the Photonic Illuminating Powder do absolutely nothing to enhance tan skin. The Illuminating Eyeliner in Ray of Purple Light just makes me wonder...what self-respecting woman over 21 would honestly wear a white eyeliner that sparkles lavender in the light?

The Eyeshadow Duo and Cooling Gels are better options for the eyes but they aren't products that blew me away. The Cooling Gels reminded me a lot of the Shiseido Hydro-Power eyeshadows, the latter of which I like better. The Femme Fire Lipshine, Seashell Gloss and Desert Pink Lipshine are definitely on trend with the bright pink lips for spring but similarly, I prefer the pink lip products of Bobbi Brown's spring collection.

Stila Cosmetics Winter Sale

If any of you are fans of Stila cosmetics, you are in luck, as the Stila website is having a sale on certain products! This is a good thing since I am sure a common New Year resolution among many of us is to save money.

I am not using any Stila products at the moment but I have tried its lipglosses, eyeshadows, and concealer in the past and really like the brand. Plus, the feminine packaging is so cute!

Click on this link to go to the website!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do Fashion Magazines Finally Get it??!

There seems to be a new revolution in fashion magazine publishing...its the diversity revolution. Finally, it seems that fashion magazine editors are starting to realize that their female readers are made up of various races and ethnicities...and that blonde hair and blue eyes on the cover (or in the magazine, for that matter) just isn't going to cut it.

January's Allure cover featured a gorgeous, tawny-skinned Rihanna. In February, the In Style cover features Halle Berry, the Harper's Bazaar cover features Jennifer Lopez and the Elle cover features Jessica Alba (I'm going to forget that Alba once made the comment that she doesn't think of herself as Latina and pretend she's lost her mind).

Even the substance of these magazines are starting to the past few months I've seen Allure do a story on global beauty (Aishwarya and Bipasha were both in there!) and Glamour regularly has diverse women of all sizes in their "fashion-help" sections. While I haven't seen much change in the editorials (with the exception of Liya Kebede in a recent issue of Harper's Bazaar), hopefully the modeling industry will start to embrace diversity as well and fashion magazines will continue this trend of incorporating women of all colors within its pages.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bobbi Brown Pink Rasperry Collection for Spring 2008

It is hard to believe that many spring makeup collections are already in stores when my fingers and toes are still thawing from the freezing cold weather!! As in every season, there were hits and misses.

Bobbi Brown's Pink Rasperry Collection is a collection of vibrant pink colors. The collection is quite a bit brighter than her usual collections which is a nice change.

The collection consists of:

1. Pink Raspberry Face Palette (Navajo (ivory) and Fog (charcoal gray) shadows, Pink Raspberry Blush (cool bubblegum pink), and two lip colors - Rasperry and Blue Raspberry Lipsheers)

2. Black Raspberry Lip Sheer.

3. Wild Raspberry and Pink Raspberry Lip Crayons.

4. Pot Rouge For Lips and Cheeks in Pink Rasperry and Raspberry.

5. Pink Raspberry Glitter Lip Gloss and Pink Popsicle Lip Gloss.

The makeup artist that assisted me was probably correct in noting that this collection seems to look good either on very fair ladies or very dusky ladies. This is great news for all the brown-skinned ladies that have managed to keep their color this winter. Almost every product in the collection has a light pink and then a darker pink, the latter pink being suitable for brown girls.

My favorite products are the Wild Raspberry Lip Crayon, the Black Raspberry Lip Sheer and the Pink Popsicle Lip Gloss. The Wild Raspberry Lip Crayon goes on creamy and is a long-lasting dark pink -- a great shade for work. The Black Raspberry Lip Sheer is very moisturizing and the color is an outstanding sheer reminds me so much of Clinique's Black Honey. Finally, Pink Popsicle is most likely going to my favorite lip gloss of is bright pink, extremely shiny and looks great against brown skin!!

As for the rest of the collection, the Pink Raspberry Glitter Lip Gloss, Pink Raspberry Lip Crayon and Pot Rouge in Pink Raspberry were way too light for my dark skin tone. The Raspberry Pot Rouge is a gorgeous color but I'm not used to such bright color on my cheeks - if you do love wearing bright colors on your cheekbones, check this rouge out. Finally, the palette didn't do much for me...the lip colors are beautiful and the shadows are practical but the blush is a very cool toned pink that looks odd against brown skin. All in all, though, the collection is beautiful and worth trying to liven up a dreary winter!

Best-Selling Cosmetics of the Winter

The New York Times came out with an article today regarding this winter's top-selling beauty products. While I had heard of greatness of some of the brands and products, I was surprised at others. I haven't tried any of these products but after this article, I'm willing to give a few a go.

On the top row is:

1. The Bliss Youth As We Know It Cream. I've heard many things about this cream's ability to erase signs of aging. Apparently, it has cult following among some women. The wrinkles haven't set in yet so I'll probably give this one a pass for another few years.

2. Shu Uemura false lashes, Shu Uemura Fiber Xtension Lengthening Mascara, Kevyn Aucoin Curling or Volume Mascara, which the NY Times says have become "all-around favorites." The Shu Uemura false lashes on this list didn't surprise me at all since more and more women are experimenting with false lashes (especially over the holiday party season) and Shu Uemura has some of the most unique false lashes available. I hear that at some locations, the Shu counter even has a lash bar devoted to their false lashes. I was more surprised at the mascara picks. The internet reviews of both are not as superb as the Times' makes them out to be.

3. Patricia Wexler M.D. De-Puff Eye Gel. I am excited to try this product out since my allergies have been acting up and my eyes are puffy every morning. I think the fact that the product is created by a dermatologist is appealing to definitely is to me!

In the middle row is:

4. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Body Lotion. I haven't heard about the lotion in particular but I have read rave reviews about Kate Somerville products in general, especially The Kate in a Jar, which is supposedly brilliant at exfoliating the facial skin. I can't wait to try these products.

5. Beauty kits by the London-based Space.NK, which the NY Times states "contain bath and body products in gorgeous boxes with graphics inspired by Japanese kimonos."

6. That Gal brightening face primer by Benefit. This is another product I was skeptical about. Its somewhat new so it might not have caught on yet, but I haven't heard much hype about this product and other brands' primers, such as Smashbox, seem to have huge followings as well. I'm going to keep an eye out on That Gal.

On the bottom row is:

7. Laura Mercier Stickgloss. This product is supposed to be a mix of a lip gloss and lipstick...not a groundbreaking concept but the Times implies that its pull is due to the "subtle and elegant" color palette.

8. Vegetarian Miracle 10-Minute Mask for hair by Davines. The Times says this product moisturizes and de-frizzes. De-frizzes, you say?? I'm there. This is on my list as well although I've never heard of it.

9. Lime & Sage shower gel and Thyme & Sage facial gel cleanser by Korres. I love the smell of Korres products but I will probably take a pass on these products. Its hard for me to pay big bucks for a shower gel when I get a great smelling brand at Walgreens!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sameera Reddy's Shimmery Eye Makeup

At the Swarovski fashion show in December, Sameera Reddy sported some seriously shimmery eyes. Her eyes were done up in shades of silvery blue which made her dark eyes pop.

To get Sameera's eyes:

NARS Underworld, which came out this past fall, is the perfect eyeshadow duo for this look. Apply the silvery blue shade in the inner half of the eye and the darker, stormy blue shade in the outer half of the eye, extending the shadow out past the outer corners of the eyes. Finish with black or navy blue eye pencil and lots of mascara.

Makeup Tricks to Cover Up Waxing Mishaps

It's happened to all of us at least once in our lives. While doing a routine waxing of our face, we accidentally rip off a little skin along with the unwanted hair. Ouch!

There are many reasons why this happens. We could have been using an acne cream that thinned out the upper layer of our skin, or we just got a little overzealous and forgot the golden rule of waxing, to never go over the same area more than twice in one session. Whatever the reason, we'll help you learn a few tricks to help you survive the 5-10 days it takes for the minor wax burn to scab, peel off, and return to normal.

From experience, I can tell you, the look of a minor wax burn is going to look worse before it gets better. That means that you probably won't scab until the third day after you've ripped off your skin. Once it starts scabbing, the color of the scab will get darker before it starts peeling off to reveal new, pink skin underneath. It's best not to apply any product at all during this period. Just keep your skin clean using a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil and let your skin breathe and heal on it's own. If necessary, apply an over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the area to help it heal faster.

But, if you must make an appearance in front of others and are afraid to do so without makeup, here's what to do. Again, it's best to wait at least 24 hours after waxing to apply anything to the face at all, so if you can, give the makeup a rest for a day. After 24 hours have passed, try these makeup tricks to hide your waxing mishap.

Step 1: Get a good non-comedogenic concealor like Makeup Forever Full Cover and pat it onto the scar. Take care not to apply too much powder on your face while you're waiting for a scab to heal, if you can, skip powder entirely. Powder has a drying effect, and will make scars more visible. It's best to keep the skin dewy and natural looking, so just stick to the concealor.

Now, if concealor is not enough and you have, say, a wedding to attend the day after you've botched your face, try the super duper state-of-the-art advanced concealor known as Lycogel Camouflage, by Dermacia MD. It comes in eight shades, one of which is sure to match yours as it is meant for women of every color tone. What makes Lycogel such a wonderful product is that it not only hides scars, it promotes healing of scars up to 2 days faster than wearing nothing at all. Check out the link to see pictures of women using it to cover up the effects of a chemical peel. I haven't personally used it yet, but it looks like amazing stuff. Makeup artists are known to love this product, and use it on celebrities and TV news anchors/personalities all the time to cover up everything from birth marks to sunburn on their clients.

Step 2: Since most facial waxing is done around the mouth/chin area, avoid using a dark colored lipcolor or attracting attention to your lips with high-shine gloss. At all costs, avoid lipsticks in shades of brown, red, dark plum or fuchsia. These colors are very similar to the color of the scab that is going to show up on your face, and only make your waxing mishap more visible. Instead, try using just a dab of Vaseline, Chapstick, or a one of Vasanti's tinted lip balms. They add just enough color and shine to make your lips look soft and healthy. My favorite neutral color of the bunch is Bahamas. Don't use a matte or taupe colored lipstick that makes your lips look dry and parched. Dry lips, and lips that are too nude in color attract attention to the mouth as well, and trust us, the next place eyes will wander is the darker colored waxing accident on your upper lip. Lip balms are the best thing to wear when you want a neutral lip look during this time because they're neither too glossy, nor too dry.

Step 3: Play up your eyes so when people look at you, they focus on your eyes, instead of your mouth. A good look to try is using a peachy shimmer shadow, like Vasanti Paris all over your eyelids, lining both your upper and lower lashline with a dark eyepencil, and piling on lots of mascara on the upper lashes. At night, you could even go for glittery, shimmery shadows in bright colors, anything to get attention away from your lips.

Step 4: Go easy on the blush. Avoid colors that are too bright, like red or fuschia. Again, it's best if you can try to go without blush for a few days, and you can totally pull if off if you're sticking with a smokey eyes and neutral lip look. If you must add a little color to your cheeks, try something very neutral and barely showing, like MAC's Blush Baby.

Step 5: Hairstyle can make a big difference too, so choose a hairstyle that keeps the focus on your eyes rather than your jawline. Some hairstyles draw more attention to your face and facial features than others. Bangs help attract attention to the eyes, but if you don't have bangs, wearing your hair in a side part and pinning it with a big pretty hair clip will also work. A nice flashy scarf or headband, with your hair pulled off the face, also helps attract attention to your eyes. It goes without saying that if you can leave your hair down, do that instead of wearing your hair pulled back into a pony tail. The less attention you draw to your mouth and chin area, the better.

Remember, due to the large amount of blood flow in the human face, waxing accidents rarely leave permanent scars and usually heal on their own within a week to 10 days. It may seem like it's taking forever to heal when it happens to you, but you'll be fine before you know it, and you'll most likely be more careful next time!

NOTE: If you've taken off more than the upper layer of your skin and can see pink, yellow, and/or blood, get help from a doctor IMMEDIATELY. This is usually a sign of a second degree burn and may require a visit to the Emergency Room for treatment.