Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Rihanna's look for less

Get this look for less...

I have always loved the simplicity yet edgyness of this look by Rihanna at the 2008 Kids Choice Awards. I thought why not try to replicate this look for less using affordable makeup products.

Rihanna is wearing her signature blue eyeliner look (she wears it alot) which emphasizes her hazel eyes and a bright fuchsia lip which is the same colour in her corset top. Her foundation is very matte and gives her that fresh face look.

This look is very versatile. You can always just do a winged-eyeliner look with any colour of your choice to bring out your eye colour for example purple brings out brown eyes and if the lip colour is a little to bright for you you can always use a different kind of pink. If you do choose to do the blue eyeliner though, pink lips is the best contrasting colour to work with. I Think blue and pink compliment each other perfectly, probably because they are at opposite ends of the colour wheel. ( We will discuss the colour wheel in another post). So here goes...

Foundation: Check out my post on my foundation routine on how to apply foundation. Extra step add a highlighter to your cheeks instead of blush. If you have a pale shimmering eyeshadow you can use it as a highlighter or I use Clinique's up-lighting liquid Illuminator in bronze. ($22.50)

Prime you eyes using your eyeshadow base or primer. Also primer the bottom lash line because you'll be applying eye shadow there too. I use Botanical's eyeshadow base (about $3 us). Then apply any neutral shade to the entire eye lid. Apply a neutral shade two shades darker than the one on your lid into your crease to add definition.

Apply black gel eyeliner with an eyeliner brush or angle brush across the top and bottom lash line and extend with a wing on both top and bottom. Extend the line when u get to the inner corner. This is to create a cat-eyed look. (coastal scents gel liner in true black or Maybelline's eye studio gel liner in black ($6.98 on Eye studio is my fav and it comes with a brush to apply it also) . You could also use liquid eyeliner (NYC makes a good one) or an eye pencil. I recommend Rimmel's Soft Kohl Kajal eye pencil in jet black($4 us). On the higher end, MAC's smoulder eye pencil is an all time favourite of mine. ($16 us)

Take an angle brush or an eyeliner brush, spray it with MAC's fix spray or you can use a mixing medium (2 parts water to 1 part glycerin) and apply Mac's deepest blue shade in Sea and Sky mineralized eyeshadow on top of the black eyeliner from the inner corner to the outer corner in a thin line. You can make the line and thick or thin as you like. Repeat this step on the bottom lash line.

Take a smudger brush or a small eye shadow brush and apply Cover Girl's royal blue shade in the Tropical Fusion quad from the inner corner to about half way across the lash line on top of the MAC blue. Smudge the blue eyeliner to remove harsh lines and create a slight smokey effect just at the last line. Repeat this step on the bottom lash line. You want the black and blue to blend seamlessly together with out harsh lines. For an extra smokey effect. You can apply more blue eyeshadow in the outer corner of the eye (top and bottom) in a V and blend. (L'Oreal HIP Matte Eyeshadow duo in yellow and black $6.78 us on My look is alittle more blue than Rihanna's.

Apply mascara. Two coats of Rimmel's Maxx Volume Flash Mascara in extreme black ($5.47 us on You can also try Cover girl's Lash Blast in extreme black ($6.50 us) False eyelashes are optional if you want to amp up the look.

Lips: First thing is to prime your lips. Use a regular lip balm like chapstick or soft lips on your lips. Then line lips with fuchsia lip liner. Most brands make this colour lip liner. Apply NYC lipstick in fuschia- 405B. You can also try Wet & Wild 511b. Its like .99 cents at walmart and it's a super pink color. I added my victoria's secret lip gloss for some shine (the name rubbed off) its a fuchsia colour.

Remember you can make the look your own. Enjoy- beauty inside and out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Peel or not to Peel? ...that is the question

Hi Beauties,

This is my first Q&A post. Thanks to my girl Omo for asking the first question. She asked if she should consider a chemical peel to remove acne scars.

Oh and this is a long post because I am trying to give you all the info that you need.

I have done research on chemical peels numerous times. As you know I suffer from discolouration and acne scars so I decided to go to a spa a few years ago in Halifax to get a professional chemical peel done due to my uneven skin tone and some old acne scars. I went for a consultation with the esthetician, she informed me about the process and how it will be done and checked my skin type and decided if it was the right solution for me. She concluded that I would be suitable for two treatments of 20% glycolic acid (alphahodroxy acid) would be best. She also mentioned that due to the thickness of my skin ( skin with more melanin tends to be thicker) she would not be able to do a deep treatment like some one who is Caucasian .(trying to be politically correct)

She put the peeling agent on my face. It tingled a bit for about 10-15 mins then she rinsed it off then I got a cucumber face mask which helped to cool down my skin done then she applied moisturizer and sunscreen. She gave me aftercare instructions which were that there might be some flaking and dryness so use moisturizer and APPLYING SUNSCREEN IS A MUST!!! I applied an SPF 45 face suncreen by VICHY every day then I had my second treatment in 2 weeks. My skin did improve, I found that I broke out between treatments with new pimples but she said that might happen due to my skin producing excess oil and a new layer of skin being exposed. After about two to three months , I found that my uneven skin tone and my old scars were significantly improving. I exfoliated at least once a week also to get rid of old skin cells which helped give me the best results.
My skin is much better to this day even though I still have one of two dark spots from new pimples. So tha's my personal story on getting a peel done. I think the two treatments plus the consultation ran around $200. I am considering having a slight chemical peel done also just to even out my skin tone.

Here's some more info on chemical peels. NB I am not a certified esthetician. This is just from my personal experience and my own research.

A chemical peel is a chemical solution which is applied to your skin to remove damaged outer layers or peel away superficial layers of skin or the uppermost epidermis.(top layer of skin)

You can get a peel done professionally by a dermatologist or esthetician or at home with a home kit. Doing it at home is really convenient at cost effective but I still recommend speaking with a dermatologist before you try an at home peel. You don't know how your skin will react to the chemical.

At home peels can come in a variety of agents such as:
Glycolic Acid (alphahydroxy acid)
Lactic acid

Salicylic acid(betahydroxy acid)

Mandelic Acid
Enzyme peels


TCAs (
trichloroacetic acid)

Each of these can come in different percentages or concentrations and different ph levels to accommodate different skin types.

What are chemical peels used for?
Chemical peels are effective for
-anti aging purposes like getting rid of wrinkles or fine lines
-sun damage
-improving the appearance of stretch marks
-fade dark spots and age spots
-improving the texture and tone of your skin
-razor bumps
-enlarged pores
And scarring from acne.

Most chemical peels can be used safely on brown skin however a few have been proven to be more effective than others such as the lactic acid peels, glycolic acid ,salicylic acid and TCAs.
My research uncovered that many people and professionals find that TCAs are the most effective peels for home use. You do not require an anesthesia for a chemical peel but if you have a low pain tolerance you might want to take a sedative before applying it.

For women of colour, 15% to 20% TCA is usually effective, this concentration is very mild. To obtain the best results, usually a series of 4-6 peels are recommended.
TCA chemical peels are more effective than alphahydroxy acid (AHA) chemical peels (i.e. glycolic acid) in removing superficial skin, but does not penetrate deeply as carbolic acid skin peels (i.e. phenol). It is generally referred to as a "medium depth" chemical peel. The main targets of a TCA chemical peel procedure are those individuals with:
  • Fine surface wrinkles
  • Pigment discoloration (blemishes and blotches)
  • Age (liver) spots
  • Superficial acne scarring
  • Dark circles under the eyes
If you go to a doctor:
Medium peels are generally performed as office procedures on an out-patient basis, and require approximately 15-60 minutes. TCA peels will cause a burning sensation that will last about two to ten minutes.When the desired depth has been achieved, your physician will neutralize the peel by applying iced saline. Once all areas have been neutralized, your skin will return to its normal color in 15 to 45 minutes. Your face will be covered with an oil-based ointment, steroid ointment, or vegetable shortening to keep your skin moist and promote healing. Within a few days, your superficial layers of skin will turn dark, become stiff, and leathery. The skin will then crack, flake, and peel with flaking usually complete in four to seven days. Once your old skin has sloughed, your new skin will be bright and flushed.
Typically, you will be able to return to your normal activities immediately, and most people can comfortably return to public within a week. Your flushed appearance will fade slowly over several weeks.
Unlike deep peels, medium peels may be performed safely on people with olive and light brown skin. However, people with dark brown skin are at a higher risk of discoloration. WEAR SUNSCREEN AFTER YOU HAVE HAD A PEEL PLEASE!!!!!!!!

For those of you who want to try it at home:

-Go to the Dry Chemical Peel website.

-Read all of the information on the page, and decide between AHA peel, TCA peel or a combination peel.

-Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ¨Find the cheapest chemical peels to treat these problems >>¨ link to read more about where to purchase your chemical peel.

-Visit or to purchase your home chemical peel kit.

-Scroll down the product options. Check for strength(concentration) and ingredients before purchasing product.

-Follow manufacturers instructions carefully. Check for adverse reactions before doing the actual peel.
-Prepare your skin for chemical peel as instructed by manufacturer and perform chemical peel accordingly.
-Expect some flaking and dryness. Watch how your skin´s texture improves with regular use.
-Always wear sunscreen after a peel!!
Omo asked about the Brazilian Peel package ($23 for one application of $78 for 4 applications) that you can find on

It claims to be the first professional-strength, self-neutralizing glycolic peel clinically proven safe for at-home use.
It has a 30% concentration.You can also find it on for $78 for 4 applications. It received great reviews 4 out of 5 on Here is a video on youtube of a review.

It seems to be a good choice if you have sensitive skin.

If you can't afford $78 on a chemical peel you can always try or for something more affordable. Prices range from $20 to $30 US. Here's one from

Here's a video also on a woman of colour who had a chemical peel done. (lol she used 50% concentration and it did burn)

So I hoped this helps those who are considering getting a chemical peel done whether professionally or at home. If you do decide to get it done do your research thoroughly please. If you google chemical peel images, you can see what could go wrong with a chemical peel. Remember when Samantha from Sex and the City got a chemical peel done? Yep not pretty!

Until my next question...."Remember beauty is necessary on the inside and out."

Monday, September 27, 2010

My foundation routine


Hello my beauties,
...On some days especially when I am late, I try to do the 5 minute face but it never works out because I always feel like there is something else I need to add to make my foundation flawless. Now some of you may think this is alot to put on but once you have it down pat, its a breeze to apply, with eyes and lips it can take me about 15 minutes to do my entire makeup routine on work days and about 25 minutes when I am going out.

Now these steps cater to the mood I am in, the weather (whether its raining or whether its hot like satan's pot) and whether I am trying to conceal a blemish or some past scar from a pimple.

However step one always remains the same.
Step 1: Prime your face

Primer is an essential if you want your makeup to last long especially in hot or humid climates. I use an oil free primer- usually silicone based which gives foundation a base to adhere to you skin. Have you ever felt like your makeup was melting off. Yep! I've been there. Primer helps to avoid this mishap and can help your foundation to stay on longer during your 8 hr work day. Sometimes I find my primer still leaves me with
a bit of shine. (oily skin sucks now but when your in your 40's, it actually helps to prevent wrinkles). When that happens I use my Arista Vanishing Cream for oily skin. I apply it with my foundation brush and it mattifies the oil keeping your face shine free and ready for your foundation.
Primer of choice: I used Mac's Prep + Prime Primer but it had some little sparkles which I didn't like on my face. I have recently been using GOSH Velvet Touch Foundation Primer ($25 US). It helps your foundation to go on smooth and stay on. If I am going to be out all day in the sun and extra step I take is to apply MAC's Prep + Prime Face Protect Protection SPF 50 ($26 US). Be careful with such a high SPF though. It may give your face a white or gray overcast especially if you are planning to take pictures. A little goes a long way!

Other great primers :

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer - retails for about $40 US (one of the best)
Murad (the acne products line) Oil Control Mattifier- on sale for about $26-30 US. I saw this product in marie-claire. It got great reviews. I think I'm going to try it.

Step 2 : Apply Liquid Foundation with a brush
I did a post on choosing the right foundation. You can check that out. I have tried Revlon Photo-ready Liquid Foundation with SPF 20 in Cappuccino. It promised to look flawless in pictures and bend the light in such a way it hides your imperfections. Well that didn't happen for me. First of all, they didn't have my shade. The one I have is a bit too dark so I had to mix it with another foundation. I use it once in a while. One plus is that its a little bit thicker than MAC's liquid foundation so I use less of it on my face. I am however sticking to my good ole friend MAC's Studio Fix Fluid in NW43 with SPF 15. She hasn't failed me yet. On a side note, I went to explore MAC's new line of liquid foundations- Long wear Pro with SPF 30 i think which promised to last up to 15 hrs. The shade selection however was disappointed. I didn't even find one close enough. The line offers many NC shades and a handful of NWs so for my NW girls, hold strong, maybe some one else besides me will complain and they decide to make more NW shades. Oh and I always apply liquid foundation with a foundation brush. Sponges soak up too much product and are very hard t
o keep bacteria free. I clean my brushes every day with a spray brush cleaner from Quo and one from ELF.

Step 3: Concealer
This step is not always necessary, I get pretty good coverage from my foundation but sometimes you might need to conceal a pimple or a scar or you had a long night and some dark circles are looming. I have tried many other concealers including those brands made for women of colour but I have always come back to MACs Studio Finish Concealer in NW 40 with SPF 35. I like the texture and the shade is perfect. I apply my concealer with my fingers because my body heat helps to warm it up and makes it easier to apply. Just tap it on and blend with your fingers. Be gentle when applying under your eyes, the skin there is very sensitive. Now some of you may realize I do the concealer after foundation method, I find it easier and more pratical but its up to you, doesn't really matter when you apply it. I have seen pics of celebs with concealer under their eyes that was too pale or too grey, please avoid that by picking a concealer no more than two shades lighter than your skin colour. I can also recommend high end brands such as Bobbi Brown, Lorac and Laura Mercier when choosing concealers. They get good reviews but their lines are some what pricey.

Step 4: Set your face with Oil blotting powder or Powder foundation.
This step is necessary when applying liquid foundation, however if you use powder foundation you can just apply the primer, concealer and then the powder to set your face. I set my face however with either an oil blotting powder, I use MACs Oil Blotting Powder in Medium Dark but right now I am trying out Black Opal Invisible Oil Blocking Powder. On days when I am really shiny I also use my Mac Studio Fix Powder foundation in NW 43 to give me extra coverage. Don't worry I use it on my t-zone only. (nose bridge, forehead and chin, my cheeks also ) This I apply with my powder brush. Again I don't use sponges because they hold bacteria and waste alot of product. Even though I use the oil blotting powder , I still have to use my oil blotting sheets throughout the day to remove excess oil from my face. I don' t however reapply my foundation. This would only make your face look cakey due to the sweat and makeup you have already applied.

Oil blotting powders are every where right now, you should find a really good one very easily. I still sometimes use my NYC transparent powder that I bought for $4 us in a drug store from time to time. Most blotting powders are transparent so you don't have to find your shade but try not to apply too much because they do contain talc powder which can give you that ghost like effect.
Step 5: Check out how flawless you look in the mirror and finish up your eyes and lips.
Now this seems like a long process and alot of products but I am not advocating this for every one this is what works for me and mostly its because I have oily skin that I take extra steps. Alot of you can probably skip the concealer and liquid foundation and oil blotting powder and still look flawless, if you have really good skin. I however fake it(lol). After this I usually add my blush and sometimes I contour my cheeks and my nose.

Writing this post has made me realize one thing however, I need to start saving up for that TEMPTU Airbrush makeup system. (Wonder if its still $299 US) lol.

I am planning on doing a Q&A post every week for those of you who have beauty related questions that you need answering. I am an open book and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the latest trends in beauty products and tips.

Remember beauty is necessary inside and out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pretty Nails


Hi girls and guy, lately I have been focusing on my nails and been obsessing over finding the latest colours for my nails. I am totally gaga over the metallic trend that I've spotted Beyonce and other celebs wearing. Gold and silver are hot colours for women of colour to rock on their fingers. I have been searching for this amazing gold that I saw some one wearing in a pic. It looks like actually 24 kt melted gold on their fingers but I haven't been successful in finding that exact shade. Instead I stumbled upon LA Girls METAL Metallic nail polish collection where there are many great metallic shades to choose from including my fav which is called "GOLD PLATED". I owned one before which I found in SK from LA Girls called "China Gold" which I thought looked
more bronze than gold when I put it on. Well I used gold plated tonight and I added some bling to my gold using this top coat from LA Colors Color Glaze called "Goddess" which has flickers of diamond and gemstone like sparkle. I am loving it right now.

I also copped a very nice silver from Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Nail Polish called "Celeb City" which I can't wait to try. I also got this really nice bubblegum pink called Power Pink from Xtreme Wear which would look really nice on toes.

I posted my nail last look on facebook from revlon called plum night which is a really dark deep eggplant colour. TO DIE 4! I also copped this really nice orange from NYC line called "Spring Street". All these colours I think would pop really well with my skin colour and other women of colour.

I was never really a nail polish gal but I am beginning to convert:). Let's face it- there is something relaxing about doing your nails or getting them done for you. I always feel proud to look at my nails when my polish is on point and other girls come up to me and ask where did i get the colour from. Pretty nails just make you feel prettier!

All these nail goodies were under $4 US dollars- compared to top brands like OPI which costs around $9 US or ORLY (pictured above) I put two coats on, they dried relatively fast- about 5 mins for each coat and the colour looks better than it did in the bottle. Here are some pics enjoy until next time when I find more goodies to share. Until then remember- "BEAUTY IS NECESSARY ON THE INSIDE- AS WELL AS THE OUTSIDE!"