Friday, June 27, 2008

Hair Straightening Stars

My weekly hair regimen goes something like this...I leave my hair curly (i.e. wild) all week long and then tussle with my hair dryer and round brush for an hour and a half on Fridays or Saturdays to give myself a blowout for weekend events. Yes, an hour and a half because my hair is incredibly thick and down to the middle of my back. I discovered two products recently though that make my hair straightening much easier and provide excellent results.

The first is Chi Straightguard Smoothing Styling Cream. Most people know Chi for its hair styling tools instead of its hair styling products but this cream works incredibly well as a straightening cream for blow drying. I work this through my hair, concentrating especially on the ends where it is dry and blow dry. Even though this is a cream, this product does not provide any greasy residue that other styling creams leave.

The second is Kerastase Ciment Thermique Heat Activated Reconstructor Milk. The Ciment Thermique line has received a lot of hype and for good reason - it works! This particular product has a gel-like consistency that like the Chi product does not leave hair greasy at all and instead, leave my hair feeling very light and bouncy after a blow dry. The product, as its name indicates, is intended to be used for heat styling and therefore is perfect for blow drying or flat ironing. Plus, it is especially made for hair that is already weakened or damaged.

I actually often use both these products together when I'm blow drying and they STILL don't leave my hair weighed down or greasy. As an added plus, both products provide protection against heat styling to prevent hair damage.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lakshmi Menon's Makeup Breakdowns in L'Officiel Paris and Biba Magazine

Lakshmi Menon recently appeared in two editorials in L'Officiel Paris (May 2008) and Biba Magazine (June 2008). I loved her makeup in the editorials, which were both quite similar, as it is a great look for summer - glowy skin that is not too bronze, bronzed smokey eyes and a nude lip. See below for the the makeup used on Lakshmi:

Above, from L'Officiel Paris (love Laksmi's wavy hair in this pic!):

Face: Dior Skin Forever Extreme Wear Flawless Makeup SPF 25 in Miel 040, Dior Blush in Terre de Sienne.

Eyes: Diorshow Mascara in Unlimited Noir, Crayon Kohl in Noir, Fard Paupieres I Couleur Powder Eye Shadow in Flirty Brown 555.

Lips: Dior Creme de Gloss in Prune Elixir.

Above and below, from Biba Magazine:

Face: Dior Bronze Matte Sunshine Bronzing Powder SPF 20, Dior Bronze Luminizer All Over Face Glow Enhancer Shimmering Bronze 002.

Eyes: Crayon Kohl in Noir, Eye Show Shadow in Glam & Glitz Black, Diorshow Blackout Mascara in Noir Kohl, Fard Paupieres I Couleur Powder Eye Shadow in Flirty Brown 555.

Lips: Rouge Dior Lipstick in Brun Storyboard 491.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Steal the Look: Parminder Nagra


Parminder's look here is all about the eyes. The fresh, minty green eyeshadow amps up the glam factor of traditional kohl-lined eyes and neutral lips. This is a great look to wear to an evening party or wedding this summer.

Steal the look with the following products:

Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera, ($32). Use the minty green shade on the lids, and the amethyst color in the crease. Use MAC Blanc Type eyeshadow to highlight the browbone.

Fill in eyebrows with the Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in Brunette ($22). This is my new favorite eyebrow pencil because not only is it a great color match for dark brown and black hair, it has a spooly on the end so you can brush the color through your brows after you're done feathering the color in. I'm finding it much easier to use than brow powder and an eyebrow brush. It's easier to put in my makeup bag for travel too.

Remember, with an eyebrow pencil, use short, feathery strokes to fill in sparse areas in the brows, and then brush over them with the spooly to soften the color and blend it into your brows to make it look like your real hair. Don't put too much color in, and never press too hard on the pencil. The goal is to get natural looking eyebrows, not fake ones like Dr. Spock.

But I digress, back to Parminder's look. Finish up the eyes with MAC Smolder eyepencil and black mascara.

Brush on some blush, like MAC Blush Baby on the apples of the cheeks.

And finally, swipe on Stila Lip Glaze in Blackberry ($22). This gloss is the perfect neutral for summer. You can even wear it alone with no other makeup during the day, it's that flattering. Line with MAC Plum lipliner if you want to boost the color, and your done. Gorgeous!

photo via:

Monday, June 16, 2008

bareMinerals Starter Kit Review

It seems you can't walk past any makeup department, Sephora, or Ulta store without seeing the Bare Escentuals bareMinerals starter kit ($60) displayed front, line and center. The starter kit boasts a value of about $180, but retails for $60, and includes all the basic products and brushes you need to, well, get started with mineral makeup.

Now I've gotta admit, I'm really late to trying mineral makeup. My little sister ordered it a few years back when bareMinerals was sold only through infomercials and she didn't like it much. She said her go-to base Cliniques Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder ($19) gave her much more coverage in much less time, and after trying bareMinerals for myself, I have to agree.

The kit looks really neat when you open it, it comes with three brushes (two powder brushes, one concealer brush), two shades of foundation (one for when you get darker, one for your lighter "winter shade"), a bronze shade called "warmth" that is used on your cheeks and everywhere else the sun naturally hits your face, and a setting powder known as the "mineral veil", which you brush over you face after your done applying your base to make you skin "glow". An instructional how-to DVD and a serum that supposedly makes your skin more smooth is also included.

Okay, so being an NC-42, I got the kit in Medium Tan/Tan and followed the directions on the DVD to apply it. I didn't find the directions difficult since I'm used to applying powder foundation with a brush. You just open the jar of foundation, tap a little powder into the cap, swirl your brush in the cap to pick up the powder, tap off excess, and apply to your face. If you want heavy coverage you're supposed to use the short-handled Kabuki brush, if you want sheer coverage use the longer handled flawless application brush. Next you follow the same "swirl, tap, brush" system to apply concealer (using the concealer brush dipped in foundation powder), a little "warmth" over your face, and finally the "mineral veil" to get a natural looking foundation look.

The verdict? I found this foundation not only made my combination skin look oily after a few hours, it did a terrible job of covering up imperfections. It covered up redness decently (albeit, I had to use the full coverage Kabuki brush) but if you have any blemishes, dark circles, or hyperpigmented spots or acne scars to cover, don't even bother with this stuff. In the DVD they mention a Multi-Tasking Face Product which supposedly comes in two shades, Bisque (for lighter skin) and Summer Bisque (for tan and darker skin), but I didn't get a chance to sample this as it was not included in the Starter Kit. And quite honestly, I don't know why it was not included. The whole point of wearing foundation is cover up imperfections and get rid of blemishes to get an even skin tone, and for $60 I would expect at least some kind of concealing product to be included.

bareMinerals seems to be a foundation for those women who already have great skin, and are just looking for a product to make their skin tone look more even. On the plus side, it does succeed in giving your face a natural looking even tone and probably is a great choice for women with dry skin. On the other hand though, if you've got problem skin/combination skin/oily skin and are looking for coverage that is more than sheer, stick with other brands that are tried and true (like my favorite, Bobbi Brown or Vasanti Cosmetics).

I don't want to discount all mineral foundations completely though, because I hear they are good for your skin and long wearing. They must be, because so many cosmetic companies like Revlon and MAC have rolled out their own versions of mineral makeup. I just think bare Minerals just wasn't for me.

For an excellent review of Revlon's Colorstay Mineral Foundation (yup, the one you see Halle Berry wearing in the commericials), check out this link at Beetrice's Reviews. This is one I actually may try next because the results are supposed to be matte.

P.S. Don't believe the hype that bareMinerals or any mineral makeup is so good for your skin that you can sleep in it. I've had conversations with countless women who said doing so made them break out like mad. Trust me, no makeup in the world is like manna from heaven that you can sleep in it and not mess up your skin. Always wash your face before you go to bed, your skin needs rest too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to Look Like a Bollywood Star

Hey ladies, I found this great video online that gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how to apply makeup Bollywood style. The artist applying the makeup is the very talented Naveeda, who is popular with both Bollywood celebs and South Asian brides in the U.K.

If you've ever seen really pretty makeup on a desi girl at a party/wedding, and wondered how she got the look (or how long it took her to do it), this video is a must see. Naveeda shows you how easy it is to get smoldering eyes and gives you tips on how to apply the colors. Even I learned something new here. I usually apply my light eyeshadow colors first and then contour with dark shadow, but as Naveeda points out, you get a much more blended and goof proof application if you apply the dark crease color first. Interesting.

How To Look Like A Bollywood Star

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot for Summer: Orange Lipstick

I've always been a little scared of orange lipstick. Pick the right shade, and it can make you look trendy and chic. Pick the wrong one, and it'll make you look like a whore.

Well, there's nothing whorish about Bipasha's look here, in fact, I LOVE this look for summer.


With a little MAC Mocha blush, and eyes lined in MAC Smolder, you've got the perfect base for swiping on the hottest shade of the summer, orange.

To get the look, don't waste time with any other color other than MAC Electro ($14). Hot, hot, hot! It's from their Neo Sci-Fi Collection, so it's a limited release color, but it's the most universally flattering shade of orange I've ever seen. Use it with MAC Half-Red lipliner, to redden it up to get Bipasha's look, and top it off with MAC Pink Grapefruit lipglass (also from the Neo Sci-Fi collection). Viva la Orange!

Note: MAC Mahogany lipliner works well with this shade too!

photo via

Buh-bye Dark Undereye Circles

You know how some beauty mags ask you, "If you could take one beauty product to a deserted island what would it be?" The answer for me was always concealer. I could always use some island fruit juice for lipstick and blush, but I've gotta have my concealer. I've been on a quest to find that one perfect product that conceals my dark under eye circles for what seems like forever. Women of color, I know you hear me on this. Dark under eye circles for most olive and tan skinned women is just part of our genetics. Working out and drinking alot of water helps a little, but nothing really gets rid of them completely like a good concealer.

I've tried a bunch of concealers over the years, both drugstrore and department store brand, but was never really satisfied with them. With Stila's Illuminating Concealer, the formula was so sheer than I could still see the darkness peeking underneath, and with Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage, the formula was so dry it drew more attention to my under eye area by making it look parched and wrinkly. I also had a hard time finding a shade that suited me as well, her foundation products don't really cater to women with olive and golden undertones.

What I've found after much trial and error, is that women with olive and tan skin need a concealer that looks a little orange to cancel out the dark circles. And this is where Bobbi Brown comes to the rescue.


The product is called Corrector, rather than concealer, and hides all signs of dark circles in one application. There's no mixing of two shades or needing to apply extra eye cream before you apply, or needing to use extra foundation on top. Just apply with a concealer brush, set with a little powder on top (totally optional, but I prefer to), and those circles are gone. The makeup artist who helped me find my shade (Dark Peach) said some women follow up with using Bobbi's Creamy Concealer after using Corrector, but I didn't need it, and many women use the Corrector alone as concealer.

I'm a MAC NC-42 and the shade Dark Peach in the Corrector worked for me. Although it's best to get a professional consult to find the right shade for you, Bobbi Brown has a great chart on her website to help you find your color match if you live far away from a store that sells Bobbi Brown. If you decide to order direct from, use the promo code "Bronze" to get FREE STANDARD SHIPPING. (Code expires at midnight on June 14, 2008.)