Showing posts from November, 2011

Real Beauty Tips

Some insights on traits that will make you automatically more beautiful to others and that no amount amount of outer beauty can replace:

1. Confidence: This is a sense of self beyond how others react to you or treat you. It's unshakable against other people's opinions. For most of us, it takes time to cultivate. A few are born with this beauty trait ingrained in them like their mother's nose or their father's hair color. Most of us have to work hard at it, sometimes daily.

2. A sense of humor: The ability to laugh at yourself is endearing and reflects your confidence. It also makes life 10 times more manageable.Your life is a tragedy or a comedy, largely depending on your outlook.

3. Compassion: Feeling a sense of genuine concern for others, interest in what they're going through, and the willingness to reach out and express this is a true beauty mark.

4. Intelligence: Take an interest in something far more enduring than your physicality. For all of us, this will …

Hair Experiment: An Update

In early August, I embarked on an effort to improve my hair. What prompted it was looking at my work badge image and noticing my hair hadn't grown in about three months. I can't speak for everyone, but I know stress affects the rate of my hair growth. Hair and nails are dead cells: This means when the body is in any sort of duress, less resources and nutrients go to these areas.

I decided to make a few common-sense changes:

1. I switched to a sulfate-free shampoo and washed my hair every third day, as opposed to daily.

2. I drank more water, between six and eight glasses per day. I added more protein to my diet and focused on making it more balanced. Since this is the building block of hair, adequate protein intake is crucial for growth.

3. I started using a heat protectant whenever I flat-ironed my hair.

4. This sounds crazy, but it's always worked for me: I began doing scalp massages every few days. My theory is it stimulates the hair follicles and increases blood flow a…

Mom Makeover

I did this quick, impromptu makeover on my mom while home for Thanksgiving. She has stayed firmly planted in her beauty routine from the early 80s: She still gets regular perms and bleaches her hair. I couldn't intervene on the hair today, but I tried to bring her look a little more into current-day. I'm not giving up: There will be a part 2 to this.

My mom is 67, so doing her makeup is a very different experience than doing makeup on someone in her 20s or 30s. She has held her age very well and battled cancer in the last year, so I thought she deserved some pampering and tips on updating her routine.

1. When applying foundation, even formulas known for being creamy or dewy can easily cake on older skin. I went in with moisturizer before and after applying foundation to help smooth it out. With more time and the right products, I would've prepped her skin with a moisturizing facial mask beforehand.

2. Skin tone can actually lighten and become more sallow as we age: I appl…

Polished Holiday Makeup

Nicole is a dream makeup subject: She loves makeup, but she's relaxed about the whole process. The day these photos were taken, she'd spent all day studying for her master's and training for a 5K. Despite being exhausted, she showed up and let me subject her to makeup and all sorts of picture-taking. The pictures represent a persona: In real life, she is extremely down-to-earth, funny, and kind. She represents that beauty on the outside is best enhanced when there's beauty on the inside. We share a love of trash TV - "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "Hoarders" - and spent most of our makeup time discussing these shows.

For her face, I applied foundation and concealer, then set it with powder. I applied a pink cream blush to her cheeks, then dusted a powder blush in a similar shade over it. On her eyes, I applied a shimmery gold shadow, accented by teal shadow in the outer v. Her eyes were lined with brown liner, and a set of false lashes were …

Favorite Foundations

Of all the makeup products, foundation is the one I'm most fascinated with. The reasons probably speak to some earlier trauma: Picture an Asian girl living a 95% white community and coming of age in the late 1980s. I had the double-curse of acne, which meant I had to try to find something to cover it. This meant I had a pink face for most of my adolescence and into my early 20s. Even my Caucasian friends sported lines of demarcation and blotchy foundation that oxidized throughout the day.

Of all the makeup products out there, foundation is the one that has come the farthest. It's also the product we expect a tremendous amount from and that can be the most polarizing (second only to mascara).

Foundation used to be like layering paint onto your skin: It was that thick, obvious, and unnatural in color and consistency. High-end or low-end, the options were extremely limited and underwhelming. Today, the types are so varied that we have the opposite problem of narrowing down our s…

Blogging and the Tricky Art of Self-Promotion

I recently re-Tweeted a video of a woman who is trying to win Physicians Formula's glowy skin contest. The woman has the username Howrouge on Youtube. She's everything that someone needs to be successful: natural on camera, a great product reviewer, and absolutely genuine and nice. She isn't followed more because she keeps a very low profile. She replied with a thank you and said she knows how I feel about self-promotion. I clarified that I don't mind self-promotion, but a lot of people have forgotten the fine line between that and essentially spamming.

What is spamming vs. self-promoting? It's when you put yourself everywhere: In comments sections, on pages of high-profile beauty bloggers, anywhere to drive traffic to your site or Youtube account or blog. This probably works somewhat, but I've always stayed firmly in this mindset: If you're truly good, people will find you. Or you can drive your traffic through your own efforts, rather than tying a rope t…

Product Review: Dr. Jules Nabet Zen Lotion

This is the first item I've received to review as a blogger. It's taken me a long time to review because skincare takes a little time to show a difference, if any. This product, despite its name, is not a lotion texture at all. It's a spray that you apply to your bare face that's meant to balance skin (either from feeling too dry or too oily) and offer some anti-aging benefits.

Zen Lotion has a pleasant, fresh scent that dissipates quickly after spraying. There is no residue. I've waited until my skin felt dry to apply it, and it did add a moisturizing quality. Dr. Nabet touts "revitalization skincare" as the driving force behind his brand: The products have a mix of vitamins (namely vitamins C and E), hyaluronic acid, and plant extracts all intended to have an anti-aging benefit. He also adds an element of "native oxygen," but after extensive research, I couldn't find solid information about the skincare benefits of this ingredient.

Zen lo…