1. 6. Grayburn: June 2008 7.


Beauty Geek - SPINLASH

The geek in me has a deep fascination for electronic gadgets. My house is fitted with all sorts of these that sometimes make things a little easier for me. I was shopping around in Amsterdam's Schiphol airport (which has fantastic shopping these days by the way) and I came across a shop selling all sorts of gadgets. I laid my eyes on an alarm clock that is fitted on 2 large wheels, and it rolls around the room ringing when it is time for you to get up! I laughed out loud at it because I was imagining me chasing the alarm clock, with half-open eyes, and watching it run out of the room and down the stairs!

This brings me to another gadget pictured here called SPINLASH. You might remember that I voiced disbelieve about this in a previous post. The rotating mascara wand came packaged with it's own wand-holder, and a black mascara.

Let's compare the company's claims against my personal experience with it:

Spinlash 1 : Synthetic brush - 'glide gently and smoothly through.."

I do like mascaras with rubber brushes because they are gentler than the traditional brush on our eyes and lashes. Spinlash's brush is pretty straight all around with a slight thicker middle. The bristles are soft and glides easily through my lashes.

Spinlash 2 : 'Gentle motion of the rotating brush separates lashes while it coats, lengthens, & volumizes."

The rotation happens a lot slower than I thought it would. The fact that it is so slow made it less intimidating during my first trial. Honestly, I didn't want to like this thing. But I was amazed at how easily it combed through my lashes and caught all the little clumps my mascara had left behind. The button on its mid section of the wand controls the brush's direction of rotation. This is smart because it makes it easy to switch between both eyes.

The part of the claim where I am not so sure about is lengthening and volumizing. The mascara that comes with the wand left a rather undesirable effect for me. I normally look for length and volume from any given mascara and this mascara falls short in both categories. I imagine though if you are looking for something completely natural, this is not so bad.

How I use it
I have quite many lash combs which I never use because I find them rather intimidating (hard plastic or metal + unsteady hands near my eyes = accident waiting to happen). Instead, I opt to choose a clump-free mascara, or just ignore the clumps on my lashes (!).

This rotating wand was rather enjoyable to use because all I have to do is hold it under my lashes (which I have already applied mascara to), as it detangles away my mascara mess. I love to watch all the clumps just fall off and land on the soft rubbery brush. After every use, I wash the brush with soap and water, as I would with any lash comb.

I love it and I would buy it as a well-performing lash comb, but not to apply mascara. However, I wished that the batteries inside the wand were replaceable. The way it is designed now, the opening to the batteries is glued shut. So after the batteries are used up, the entire wand has to be disposed.

Mascara comes in brownish black or black, both valued at 14.95 USD. More information at Spinlash.com


6 Ways For A Fresh Face

Items at our disposal to keep the heat off of our faces. These help with sweat/heat-induced makeup meltdown.

1. Start Right - Mattifying Toner
H2O+ Sea Clear Mattifying Toner

Using a mattifying toner to prep our skin not only prepares our skin for moisturizer, it also provides a matte base for anything else we will be layering on top. This one is dual-phased with AHA's (exfoliates) and mineral powders (to absorb excess oil). Comes highly recommended by a friend of mine who is a makeup artist!

2. Prepare Yourself - Suitable Primer

Boots No7 Mattifying Make-Up BaseOkay

Okay, this stuff stinks a little and its feels tacky at first. But applying a small dot of this spread over oily areas as a primer (over moisturizer) kills shine all day long! I only pull this one out on extremely warm days where I know I will need to stay looking cool.

3. A Good Finish -
Setting Powder with Silica

If I still want extra oil-control after the first 2 steps, I finish off my makeup with a light dusting of a loose powder that contains silica on oilier areas.

4. Keep These Handy - Blotting Papers
Clean&Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

I don't like to be without these on me. They are blue, they are stretchy, they absorb oil well without leaving a film of powder on my face. The oily patches left on the sheet are eh hem... addictive to look at (!).

5. Don't Overdo It - Gentle Cleanser
(this picture is for my male readers so you don't feel left out!)

Cleanse your skin gently with a mild cleanser so that you don't overstimulate your oil glands. But make sure that your cleanse thoroughly because you don't want any leftover dirt to give you breakouts either!

6. Treat - Clay Masks

I love it when companies have fun. Burt's Bees says "Your pores will thank you by vanishing [if you use this product]". It's a little cheesy but I love it! This mask has green French clay and other goodies to tighten, refine and absorb. The result is soft and no over-drying. It's good to use a clay mask once or twice a week during the summer for deep-cleansing.

Photo credits: Cool tutorial on shaving for my male audiences at menXpert.com, h2oplus.com, boots.co.uk, cleanandclear.com, burtsbees.com.

Love This Girl

A very talented, powerful Dutch singer. Anouk is singing "Modern World" in this video, a new song from her new album "Who's Your Momma".

Who do you love?

Credit: youtube.com


A Brush With Many Talents

There is something sweet about this. It has many talents so it is a definite multitasker. With its lacquered wooden handle and a fan that spans out to an inch-and-a-half, it begs to be held and stroked. The bristles themselves are made from the hairs of the Italian badger which gives this brush its distinctive cream with charcoal tips.

This is a pleasant brush to use. It applies and pats on setting powder, edges on contouring and lightly brushes off eyeshadow pigments that might have accidentally fallen off. All that is accomplished with its angelic light touch.

This is the Italian Badger 104 Deluxe Fan Brush from Coastal Scents. Many of you already know their online site which sells some of the most inexpensive makeup brushes on the net. So you know that this didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

Do you have a favorite makeup brush/tool? I would love to hear about it!

Photo credits: Grayburn


This Month's Picks For Eyeshadows

Featured here are a few of my favorite shadows for the month of June. This is the time of the year to skip heavy makeup but instead opt for a few swipes of natural colors in the crease. These colors are universally flattering and will enhance almost everyone's eye-color. With already heat-flushed cheeks, the entire look will be healthy and vibrant! Make it look effortless, as if you applied the colors with your fingers!

in 04 Emerald Forest

Lovely choices all in one compact! These have a gorgeous texture that is smooth to blend and pigmented. This is the best buy for this month!

MAC eyeshadows from the Neo Sci-Fi Collection
in Magnetic Fields (Veluxe Pearl), Evening Aura (Veluxe Pearl)

I have waited so long for these! The neon orange packaging is quite fab actually and the entire collection is so easy to wear. The idea with this collection is to enhance the skin with warm colors and great textures. I will get into more detail about this collection in a later post.

(with nylon micro-spheres + expert brush)
in 09 brun nylon

Wow! These have fantastic packaging with built-in mirror and a pretty decent (non-sponge tip) brush for application. The collection has a total of 9 colors and they are all intensely pigmented, extremely blendable and an almost 'hugging' texture. The different shades have a personality of their own because they swatch differently than they look in the pan. These were only out for a couple of days and the turquoise shade was already sold out at one store.

Photo credits: Grayburn


Random News

You might have noticed that I have been MIA lately. I have been overwhelmed and really not had the best week. To top it off, there is a huge spot sitting next to my nose that no amount concealer is able to hide. I'm a beauty blogger, I cannot get zits right? Wrong!

I get quite a bit of news of current happenings in my inbox. But seldom do I see anything worthwhile to share. However, I would like to share this one with you because I think it would be great to take part in if you are going to be in the neighborhood.

Mode Marché 4 - June 29th in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

This is a sample sale with some of 46 best of the best new and well-known designers including Jeroen van Tuyl, NOIR from Denmark and Corsage. The event will be attended to by the Rob Peetoom salon in his hair & makeup room, an expo from Edwin Oudshoorn and Iris van Herpen. There will also be a culinary 'surprise' for everyone, and most importantly, live music and Evian-inspired cocktails!

The VIP Shopping Hour lets ticket-holders go into the event an hour prior to everyone else so that they can have the first dips on the garments. The rest will have to run mad through the store pawing at the leftovers!

Photo credit: Mode Marché


Precious Liquid

Looking at this bottle of Lotion Micellaire from Avène brings me back to our vacation in Cuba when we did not have any running water in our room. We were staying at a charming casa particular (room rented out by Cuban families) in a town called Trinidad in the province of Sancti Spíritus. During our first day of staying there, we had apparently drained their entire water tank (how we did that is still a mystery to us today). During those three embarrassing days at this house, the owner had to send their staff into our room to 'flush' for us. Each of those visits had staff in our room, shaking their heads at us while they muttered something in Cuban under their breath. I wish I could tell you what they were saying but I couldn't find those words in our Lonely Planet guide book. A bucket of water was shoved at my boyfriend after each of these visits. We rationed that bucket of water each day very carefully.

The incredibly uncomfortable thing about not having any running water is not being able to wash off the concoction of sweat, sand and sunscreen that had clogged our pores and permeated our hair each day. I learnt my lesson quickly to not put anything on my skin and hair which I would have a hard time removing later. Boy, was I glad to have my cheek & lip stain with me! After 3 weeks of travelling across the island, I had mastered my makeup look just using a cream-to-powder eyeshadow and a cheek and lip stain.

Using a micellar cleanser such as Avène's Lotion Micellaire, means that one can clean their skin without the use of water. Some sensitive skin types love this concept as water can aggravate extremely fragile skin. A micellar cleanser works by trapping fats or oils then carry them away in its watery solution. (See picture on the left of a micelle containing fats trapped in its center).

It was one of the days when I wanted to try something new. I had on my usual face of waterproof mascara and sunscreen; probably two of the most difficult things to remove. I massaged a cleansing oil by Shu Uemura into my skin first. Without rinsing like I would normally after this step, I soaked a cotton pad with the Avène Lotion Micellaire and wiped my entire face (including my eyes) with it. After a second wipe, my face was completely clean! The verdict? My skin felt surprising fresh, clean and hydrated; sans rinsing with water. I now welcome this bottle with open arms into my beauty cabinet.

Now you can imagine what a god-send this would have been for me in Cuba?

Avène on their Cleanser and make-up remover micellar lotion:

No-rinse formula provides gentle cleansing without harsh ingredients.

Technologically advanced cleansing water the removes make-up without disturbing the skin's hydration and lipid levels.

  • Contains "active" ingredients which are naturally encapsulated within the lotion and released upon contact with the skin.
  • Provides deep cleansing power without irritation due to its lack of synthetic ingredients
  • pH balanced for use on the eye area.
  • Hypo-allergenic and frangrance-free.

Avène's line of skincare revolves around the use of their mineral-rich thermal spring water. This natural and mineralized water has therapeutic uses which received recognition from the French National Academy of Medicine.

Do you have any funny travel stories? If so, please share!

Credits: aveneusa.com, edinformatics.com


Trenchcoats, Bridesmaids, Archives & Bloggers Of Note

Wow our skies are filled with cold rain and gray, going from hot sunny BBQ weather to this in a matter of days. My best bet is that I should try to make the most of the situation and pull out from storage some of my "in-between seasons" jackets. That nice trenchcoat that I didn't get to wear all year is coming out!

Something else unusual has just happened to me. I have just been asked to be a bridesmaid. Weddings are such magical events to attend but I see the toll that it is taking on the bride and the maid of honor. They are both sleepless and glued to the phone making arrangements.

I felt honored to be asked to be a bridesmaid. Even if it looks like it is going to be a busy busy wedding, I do look forward to helping out with the event and giving my utmost support to the bride and the maid of honor. I have already planned a list of things to go into my artillery bag. Things like bobby pins, Bach's Rescue Remedy, safety pins, packs of Party Feet, and mini hairspray to stop a run in stockings.

When she called me to ask if I would play the part, I remember myself thinking about some very important questions: Will I be able to take the dress in for alterations after the event (or even before)? What type of entertainment do we give the bride on Hen Night? etc. etc. I really would love it if any of you would have advice for me on how to be a good bridesmaid and what do I do if I can't stand talking to one of the groomsmen anymore?

Keep On Reading:

If you missed this, here is a post where I wrote about a few self-tanners I have tried and where I found a winner!

A list of expensive products that have dupes!

An at-home hair treatment that makes my hair shine.

I wrote about a line of Japanese haircare products that is very popular in Japan.

How to spot the difference between a counterfeit vs. a real MAC makeup brush.

Bloggers Of Note:

Look to be fashionably-inspired and see what the Seeker is wearing every day of the week. And follow her journey through life in a rainbow of colors!

Izar is back and better than ever! Her recent post on her current lemmings may entice you to create one just like hers!

Brit at Clumps of Mascara has just celebrated her 1 year anniversary as a beauty blogger. This is where you can read about her personal makeup trials. Happy Anniversary!

Hillary at Jack & Hill talks about an intriguing skin powder that I must give a try. Now!

A Canadian blogger at Watercolor Sky will hopefully bring back lots of news for us when she returns from her trip to the Big Apple. I cannot wait!

Painting "trenchcoat" by: sivahstudio.com


Window Shopping - Amsterdam's Elle Pret-a-Porter

Store: Elle Pret-A-Porter
Display: feminine, crisp, & cool
For: Women

A recent addition to Amsterdam's multitude of retail pickings, Elle Pret-a -porter has finally opened its doors with 2 private shops in the city center.

For Spring-Summer '08, Elle sees us in the cheeriness of lemon curd yellow and contrasting toned down gray. This combination will surely see us comfortably through the season with their mix of structured coats and airy silk or cotton shirts. Throw in some buckled flats and a few edgy bangles, and we are styling in comfortable chique!

What are you favorite styles for this summer? Please share in comments.

Credits: ellepretaporter.eu

The Next Generation

We had the mood rings in the 70s, more recently the O-Glow cheek color by Smashbox, and now a color transforming nail polish. All of these fads change color depending on body temperature or sunlight.

A group of students at the Albion High School in Salford have developed a nail polish which goes from nude to colored when exposed to UV light. The school's ban on the use of makeup motivated the group to create the polish for their class' enterprise project.

The school has gone on and created 32 transforming shades (based on the color of brick found around the school) and is now trying to commercialize the product.

Tell me, would you buy this even if you are not banned from wearing makeup?

Credits: dailymail.co.uk


The Promise of Seriously Long Lashes

I think I can safely say that we have all been promised much only to be disappointed. This is especially true when it comes to our humble mascara. Lashes that flutter and stretch out are amongst the most sought-after feature.

During my search for the nearly perfect mascara, I have found a few that are really a head above the others, whilst many others have left me thin and lack-luster.

There is a drugstore mascara that I have been thrilled with. Maybelline's Define-A-Lash Waterproof Lengthening Mascara does not cost a fortune. What is fortunate about it is that it holds a curl extremely well. Albeit the color is not the intense black that I prefer, the mascara is light-weight and works on those days that I wish to wear my lashes naturally colored, seriously long and curled. The brush can be a little fidgety because it is flexible and shaped differently than others. However, the formula has yet to fail me in the smudge department and it is a great asset to have alongside my favorite Imju (Dejavu) Fiberwig mascara.

Application Tip:

1. Start with curled lashes.

2. Find the concave side of the brush and place the entire length of that side of the brush along the base of your lashes, using less pressure than you would normally apply to let the brush flex around the curve of your lash line. Zig-zag up from the base of your lashes to the tips.

3. Next, find the slightly convex side of the brush. Use this side of the brush to extend the tips of the lashes by brushing upwards at the tips without zig-zagging.

Credits: Grayburn


Current Lemmings

My current list of lemmings consist of a few items that I think will be perfect for the Summer. What about you? What are your current lemmings?

No 7 Dream Lash Jet Black Mascara
I really enjoy using mascaras with rubber bristles and especially like the way this one looks. This will be great for defining features for nights out, because it is supposed to be punched with extra carbon for intense black lashes.

Diane von Furstenberg's Knotted one-piece swimsuit
As much as I love a 2-piece swimsuit, I find the 1-piece sophisticated and glamorous. This one from Diane von Furstenberg is sultry and confident. I could take this from the beach to drinks by adding a pair of dressed-up shorts or a skirt and heels. The color of the suit will compliment from my current state of paleness to a late summer tan.

Lash Tint Kit by Lip-Ink International
Lash kits are not usually popular because they take time at night to apply. Most people would prefer to use a water-proof mascara and call it a day! Personally, I think lash tinting makes sense (even for those with darker lashes) because they enhance our lashes on days when we just don't want to wear mascara. They are great when you know you will be swimming or sweating a bit. Having no mascara melt-down to worry about will leave you with a peace of mind to worry about other things!

Viktor & Rolf T-Shirt
My love for the creations from Viktor & Rolf doesn't only come from the fact that they are a famous Dutch fashion house. I love the magic and glamour that they represent; especially their sweet-smelling Flower Bomb perfume. This t-shirt is on my list and I would take the skirt as well if I could.

Easy Looks Makeup Shop Kit in Shimmer & Glow
The Scandinavian countries have some of the most interesting and innovative companies who produce products of great quality. I discovered the makeup kits from this company and I want it so much that it hurts! This company produces 5 kits and all of them have user-friendly shades - SilverGrace, Electric, Sun-kissed, Smokey eyes and Shimmer & Glow. Since they come packaged in blisters, they are handy to pack on vacation and on the plane. My only worry about these is that the foundation that comes with them will not match a wide variety of skin tones.

Guerlain Meteorites Poudre De Perles, Illumiating Perfecting Pressed Powder
Last but the most lemming-worthy is this luminizing pressed powder from my beloved Guerlain. The center of the one shown in the picture above contains a green pearl that promises to whisk away redness. All of them have different shades of illumination, depending on your desired look.

The shades available are:

01 Mythic Parfait: instant radiance
White and pink powder with a center green pearl.

02 Rose Frais: freshness
Designed to illuminate slightly tanned skin tones. White and pink shades with another pink center pearl gives the face a freshened appeal.

03 Beige Lumineux: creating a luminous matte effect
Two matte beige shades with a center purple pearl gives a wash of brightening, without the use of shimmer.


Bourjois Cosmetics - Japanese Version

Last week I talked a little about Bourjois' website in Russian and their upcoming new line of eyeshadows. But there is something really special about Bourjois' Japanese version of their website. I often prefer to view the makeup looks and pictures from there, rather than the ones written in English because it takes a slightly different perspective. One will find plenty of interesting information such as Bourjois news and history.

The shimmer in these remind me of one of my favorite lipglosses; the Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes Chanel Glossimer (I wrote about it here). It doesn't surprise me since Bourjois is the sister line of Chanel. The predominant favorite shade for lips in Japan has to be pink. Since pinks are very popular there, I can see these ones doing very well; especially shade #29 Rose Charismatic and #39 Rose Utopic.

Alesha Dixon who won the competition on UK's tv programme "Strictly Come Dancing", is seen here endorsing the mini Bourjois.

Bourjois' Company History Page
You can find a bit of Bourjois' history (see picture above) as a cosmetics company since 1863. The ad from this time showcased a makeup set which resembled a pencil case holding all the crayola-like makeup essentials.

Credits: bourjois.jp


Getting Started With Decléor

A set containing 4 of Decléor's products is the training wheels that eases us into Decléor's special method of maintaining good skin.

The kit contains the Stick Lèvres, Crème Hydratante “Nectar De Fleures”, Aromessence Néroli, and Phytopeel.

I believe Decléor is skincare made for and created by scent gourmands. Being a company who's products are made in France, they recommend a method of skincare which I find is quite typically French. The reason is that their line focuses on the use of good quality essential oils. Looking at the steps which we follow to apply these products, it seems that the French way is that we must take time when caring for our skin.

First the skin is gently cleansed, then the face and neck are massaged with an essential oil blend until absorbed. Third is the application of a moisturizer (for day), or a balm (at night) to seal in moisture and perfect the tone of the skin.

The Decléor scents transcend me. My favorite scent comes from the little bottle of Aromessence Néroli, which, by the way, has been really good to my skin. Layering Crème Hydratante “Nectar De Fleures” (it has a rather nice scent and texture as well) over the Aromessence Néroli completes the experience, as they work to calm and hydrate my skin. All is done in a luxurious and elegant way.

The tube of lipcare is a pleasant surprise. It smells of candied orange peel and has great softening properties. Nothing sticky or shiny about it, just a simple, elegant product.

A disappointment however, is the Phytopeel. I despise the smell of Marjoram which is predominant in this product. And the worst of all, the product must be smeared on, left until dried and then rubbed off. It left me with reddened skin and my mood deflated.

All in all, Decléor is a skincare line created to be savored by our noses and as a savior to our skin. This kit packs the essential items and is a wonderful introduction to Decléor. Following the company's recommendations will ensure excellent skin hydration.

Credits: Grayburn


Bourjois Cosmetics Russia

A few images from the Russian Bourjois website . This is a new series of eyeshadows that are unique in that they have 'stretch'. It looks like they will blend effortlessly. I look forward to seeing these little boxes in person, and to test how well they adhere.

Available this month.
Credits: bourjois.com

Pictures Taken From Above

Wanted to share a few pictures taken while I was flying in the skies 
above Amsterdam. It was pure joy to witness this view from high
and I could not resist capturing a few shots. The rows of
are tulips. Every year during the Dutch's 'tulips-season',
of locals and tourists gather to catch a glimpse of field upon
field filled with flowers, and to take in some fresh air while
It was a real great way to start off my journey!

Credits: Grayburn


Bioré - Past & Present

I remember the time when I was first introduced to a Japanese brand of personal care products called Bioré. What was special was that Bioré's products were readily available in drug stores but their products had a complete different concept. One of the products that Bioré was well-known for was their pore strips. They were bandage-like patches shaped to fit on top of our nose or forehead, and were activated by moistening the skin with water before attaching them. Their purpose was to remove blackheads and more when the patch was peeled off. Sounds painful...YES it was! But I remember being obsessed with them and not listening to my facialist's words of warming. She even threatened to cancel our future appointments.

As fate would have it, I recently received the wrong product in the mail. Low and behold, it was another pore -clearing product from Bioré. A vivid image of my angry facialist popped into my mind. From what I could gather on the little box with Japanese writing, this product was made to dissolve dirt in our pores with its self-heating mechanism. The pore-cloggers would thus be easily carried off because they were softened with heat and then rinsed off with water.

My experience with this product was that it smells slightly artificial like plastic. The texture of it was a thick paste and it dried matte. The result was not drastic, however, upon inspection in my 10x mirror. The only improvement that I noticed was that my pores looked more refined.

Credits: Grayburn

Remembering Yves Saint Laurent (1936 - 2008)