On witches and wands

In her Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling was unto something when she wrote about how each wand had to be the perfect match for its witch/wizard owner. In real life, wands have to be matched to the owner, too. Mascara wands, that is. Now before you brush me off as a wacko Potter fan, allow me to elaborate.

More than the actual formula, I think it’s the mascara wand that makes a massive difference to your lashes in giving you the effect you desire. Generally, my only criterion formula-wise is that it be waterproof. I take more time in deciding on the wand shape.

For instance, when I want my lashes to look defined and well-separated, I will use a mascara that has a smaller wand, with shorter bristles. This allows me to really get to the lashline and define my lashes from root to tip.

Something like this…

Too Faced Pinpoint Lash Injection

Now when I want major volume, I will opt for a bigger, thicker wand. This will allow me to really build up my lashes and get them thick and lush after as little as one or two coats. (Me being me, I usually layer more than that.)

Here’s a picture of a wand that will get you volumized:

MAC Loud Lash

I also took a picture of these two wands side by side just to help you see the difference in their shape and size.

Too Faced (defining) on the left, MAC (volumizing) on the right. See how huge the MAC wand is?

Oh and while we’re on the topic of mascaras, nowadays, there is such a thing as lash primer. You’re supposed to apply it to your lashes first, and then follow with mascara. I tried using it once and it makes your lashes look thicker. Personally, I think you can get the same effect with multiple coats of mascara. Some lash primers have added ingredients, e.g. they claim to make your lashes longer/healthier. I haven’t used one for a long enough period of time, so I really can’t comment about that. But I’ll show you some pics of a lash primer that I pilfered from my mom.

This is an Estée Lauder one, and the tube looks like this:

And here’s a close-up shot of the wand and the formula:

You see how ghastly white it is? That’s why you have to layer mascara on top, or risk looking like a weirdo.

So when you go mascara-shopping, apart from the formula, do check out the wand that comes with the tube. Make sure it will work for the type of lash effect that you prefer.

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.

One-upping Mother Nature with false lashes

While I am all for loving what Mother Nature has chosen to bestow—or not bestow—upon you, there are times when you can’t help but want to add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to your look. Case in point: eyelashes. Whenever I want to look extra special or play up my eyes a bit more, I will sometimes add a pair of false eyelashes to my normal routine of eyeshadow/eyeliner/mascara. Granted, I do have a little difficulty attaching falsies to my real lashes (I find it way easier applying them unto other people’s peepers); however, when I do take the time for this extra step, I always find that the effort is worth it.

In my opinion, there are three important things to remember when it comes to false eyelashes. First, you have to measure the false lash against your own lashline; if you find that the false lash is too long for you, trim from the inside with a pair of sharp scissors. Trimming from the inside will allow you to keep the longer hairs at the outer end, so important for lifting the eye and really enhancing your look.

Second, you’ll want to invest in a good-quality eyelash glue. Cheaper falsies will usually work as well as the more expensive ones (emphasis on the word usually: I’ve tried some of the dirt-cheap ones and found them so inflexible that I couldn’t get them to follow the contour of my eye). What you want to do is spend a bit more money on the glue so that your falsies don’t come off at the most inopportune moments.

DUO waterproof eyelash adhesive

Third, you will probably need to practice attaching false eyelashes a few times before it comes easily to you. Applying falsies five minutes before you have to leave for a night-out is not a situation in which you want to find yourself, unless your fine motor skills are all in place, that is.

Now let’s run through a quick how-to:

1) Gently detach the false eyelash from its plastic tray. Trim from the inner corners, if needed.
2) Apply a fine line of glue to the entire lower edge of the lash (the part that will sit atop your own lashes), making sure to apply glue all the way to both corners of the lash.
3) Wait for 15-20 seconds until the glue becomes a bit tacky, and then lay the false lash on top of your own lashes. Secure the corners by pressing on them gently. You can use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to do this.
4) Gently press the falsies unto your own lashes so that they blend together seamlessly.
5) I use a glue that dries clear. If you find that the glue is still obvious even after it dries, you can draw a fine line of liquid eyeliner on top of it.

Here are some false eyelash styles that you can try out. I got these from the Face Shop at Php 115 each. (All of them come with a tiny tube of glue, which is nice. They also provide detailed instructions inside the box. Totally useful, if you can read Korean 😉 )

This is a pair that you can use if you want to enhance your own lashes, but still want a natural effect. What I love about these is that they’re three-quarter lashes (if I recall correctly), eliminating the need for trimming the lashes to fit my eyes.

And here’s a really dramatic pair you can use for special evening events.

And, for the times when you just want to accentuate your eyes’ outer corners or you want to control which areas of your lashline to emphasize, you can use individuals like these.

Best to apply these with a pair of tweezers to aid you in placement 🙂

Oh, and one last thing: if you’re careful about removing, cleaning, and storing your falsies, you can actually reuse them several times. Just detach them carefully (with a little help from a cotton ball soaked in warm water), remove bits of glue, and store in their original plastic tray. For purposes of hygiene, of course, it is best that you reuse only falsies which you’ve used on yourself. 🙂

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.

Snacks and childhood memories

When I was I kid, I loved going to church because after that, my mom would treat us to our favorite ice cream parlor (typical kid! :P).  We wouldn’t eat anything out of the ordinary, just vanilla for my sister and banana split for me and my mom.

In high school, I would watch what I spent from Mondays to Thursdays because every Friday, my service mates and I will eat at our favorite fast food joint.  Again, nothing expensive: just fries and a sundae.

My childhood is peppered with happy memories. And, as you may have already guessed, most of them include food.  This isn’t to say that I’m a glutton for food. It’s just that whenever I think of a specific food or restaurant, some memory from my life pops up.  And sometimes, I eat a certain dish not because it’s delicious, but because it reminds me of someone or something in my life.

Now that I’m a working girl and that my taste buds have become more mature, I still occasionally crave for some of the fun food I had when I was younger.  Well, now I get to eat them without my mom scolding me to brush my teeth afterwards. Or her telling me to drink lots of water after eating ice cream.

Yan Yan

I love this cracker that you dip in chocolate.  I know that there are better-tasting brands than this, but there’s something about Yan Yan that reminds me of my childhood.  It’s like all of us ate and enjoyed this snack when we were little.  I don’t know anybody who didn’t like Yan Yan.

Hopia

My family is not Chinese, but we never ran out of hopia in our household when we were kids.  I particularly like the ones that my mom bought at the market, though my younger sister insists that those are dirty.  Oh well, we call the ice cream being sold in the streets as dirty ice cream and yet we still eat it, so I guess it’s the same thing with the hopia.

I like monggo hopia.  I don’t really like the newer flavors because I’m too content with the monggo.  I feel like my ube belongs to my halo-halo or with some crackers, but as a flavor for hopia… Well, to each its own.

Durian chips

I’m not sure if they sell this certain brand everywhere, but I really love durian chips.  Actually, I like durian.  Even with its foul smell, I’m down with it.  The first time I ate a durian I was in Singapore.  I wanted to scream my lungs out when they offered me the fruit.  But I couldn’t refuse because that would be very rude of me.  So I closed my eyes and prepared for the worst, but I really ended up liking it.

So when I chanced upon the durian chips, I just had to taste them.  They’re now in my top 10 favorite junk food of all time.  They’re a little bit expensive, so I don’t really eat them often, unless my sister or my mom buy them for me.

These are just some of my favorite snacks.  I haven’t even made my list of my favorite dishes—maybe next time.  And please do share with me your favorite snacks too.  I’m sure I’m not the only one here who tries to reminisce their childhood with food.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Getting ready for your close-up: how to look nice in pictures

Admittedly, I am not the most photogenic person in the world. Add to that my current battle with acne, and you’ll understand why I was anxious about the recent photo op that took place at our office for our new IDs. On the day of the shoot (what else am I supposed to call it?), I spent a little extra time on my make-up, working hard to conceal my pimples and scars.

Having managed to make myself look presentable for my mug shot—and with the evidence to prove it (scroll down please)—I thought I’d list a few of the things I did in preparation for having my picture taken.

Ace your base. Sounds like the name of that 90s band; I couldn’t resist, sorry 🙂 Making your base as flawless as possible is key to looking good in pictures. You’ll want to carefully conceal blemishes and any discoloration, taking care to blend your concealer well into your foundation so that no part of your face is abnormally paler than the others.

Take time to define. In order to NOT look washed out in pictures, there are certain features that you need to define with product. These are your eyebrows, lashlines (both top and bottom), and lips. I filled in bare spots in my brows with a grayish-brown pencil, lined my eyes with brown liner, and stained my lips with just a bit of pink lipstick. Of course, I also applied mascara, eyeshadow, and blush/bronzer (not that my contouring was obvious, thanks to my chubby cheeks).

Classic is basic. (Okay, this rhyming thing is getting harder to sustain.) The thing about pictures is that they’ll be around for a really long time. With this in mind, I think it’s better to stick to neutral tones and not opt for shades that are too dramatic or trendy. Case in point: I used shades of peaches and browns on my lids, and soft pink on my cheeks and lips. Keep in mind that this was for an official ID, so I couldn’t really do a smoky eye, now could I? Although I volunteered to do it for an officemate whose make-up I worked on, I’m not surprised she refused 🙂

One last thing, makeup pros discourage the use of foundation/concealer with SPF in it for pictures. It seems the SPF, combined with the camera flash, results in a face that is too white, too pale, too reminiscent of ghosties. Personally, I haven’t had this experience, but I just stick to SPF-less foundation for pictures to be on the safe side.

And now, are you ready for the unveiling? Here we go…

Apart from that pimple above my left eyebrow (which I’m officially claiming is a birthmark which I’ve had since…erm, birth), I think I did okay. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know that I have a bit of an acne situation at the moment.

What do you think? 🙂

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.