Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flax Oil for Healthy Skin

No matter how many topical treatments we use, great skin starts from the inside. In the last month or so, I have been taking 2 tablespoons of Flaxeed Oil everyday, and it has helped my skin in many ways. 

I have been using Organic Flax Oil by Nature's Bounty (BOGO-Free deal at Walgreens!). When buying flax oil, buy cold-pressed, organic, and a bottle that is opaque, not see-through. 

Even my husband has noticed that I am looking like I have a brighter complexion. Being an Indian, I tend to have an "ashy" undertone, so this has helped me look a little lighter and brighter. 

Besides my vain reasons for looking bright and pretty, flax oil is incredibly good for your health. 

Flax contains omega 3 fatty acids which are important for many things:

1. Flax oil can improve acne, psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. It's moisturizing properties can also improve the look of fine lines. You can also apply it topically to dry patches. It is known to be an anti-inflammatory and aids in wound healing (hence why its great for the acne-prone).

2. Flax oil may protect against UV light damage, which can ultimately help prevent skin cancer.

3. Flax oil also aids in digestion. I've always noticed that I break out big time if I am constipated, so staying regular is my #1 priority for acne-free skin, and overall wellbeing. 

4. Last but not least, flax oil can prevent cardiovascular problems because it can sort of dissolve the sticky fat lining your arteries. It also thins the sebum in your pores, and can prevent blemishes.

All in all, flax oil combats everything from cardiovascular disease, skin cancer, and even acne. I hope you guys think about trying this out. But as always with dietary supplements, please talk to your doctor before doing so!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cellnique acne and scar treatment

6 WEEK UPDATE: I've noticed that the zits are making a comeback in a big way. I'm not surprised really. My skin responds very well to any strong acne treatment for a month, but after that, it usually grows a tolerance to the products. My acne scars are still fading away though, so that's good. For now,  I'm gonna have to try a new regimen, and then come back to this one later down the road, just to keep my skin on its toes. 

For the last month, I have been using an acne treatment by Cellnique. Cellnique provides skin solutions for everything from acne to anti-aging. My wishlist is to combat and prevent break outs once and for all, and to fade my acne scars. 

I was sent: 1) the Skin Purifying Cleanser (far left), 2) the Skin Action Gel Plus (middle), and 3) the Advanced Bio Renewal Masque (far right).
 All three products are luxuriously packaged, which encourages me to stick to my routine.

Overall, I must say that this has been an extremely effective skin care treatment. My acne has subsided tremendously; I'm usually completely acne-free, and at the most, I'll get 1 little zit on each cheek. My forehead has been clear for the whole month! As for acne scars, they are noticeably lighter, and the really old ones have faded completely. My entire face is also looking a shade lighter, brighter and more radiant.

Here is my regimen:
Step 1: Every morning and night, I cleanse my face with the Skin Purifying Cleanser. This smells like eucalyptus or tea tree oil, which I think is invigorating. It also has exfoliating particles in it, so that means I'm cleansing and exfoliating at the same time!

Step 2: After drying my face, I apply a bit of the Skin Action Gel Plus on my face. I concentrate the product on my problem zones. The serum stings and makes my skin feel tingly/warm. The stinging harsher on active or open blemishes. Honestly, I don't mind this, because this baby works. It smells quite strongly of camphor.

3. The mask is to be used once a week to deep clean and brighten your skin. I actually use this 2-3x a week. It smells almost like a tropical drink (I think the smell is way too strong, but it goes away after a while). Just like the serum, this mask stings a lot on open breakouts. However, I put up with that because it really brings deep cystic acne up to the surface, where the serum can do its job. This mask has also faded my acne scars, and I love how I instantly look bright when I wash this mask off!

I hope you guys found my skincare regimen helpful. Although these products are pricey ($120 for all three products mentioned here), you can get 3 free samples sent to you. I also like that Cellnique caters to all skin issues, from acne to anti-aging.

FTC Disclaimer:  These products were sent to me for review consideration. I was not paid to review these products. This is my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foundation for Dry, Flaky Skin?

Remember that part in Miss Congeniality when Sandra Bullock gets ready to do her makeup, and she goes " which one of these is the lipsticks?" All of a sudden, her friends swarm around her and help her out. The beauty blogging world reminds me of that!!

I just had a reader ask me a beauty question, and rather than just replying to her alone, I thought I'd open up the question to you guys so you can weigh in too!

Le Question: Can you suggest a foundation that is super easy to apply, gives light-medium coverage for daily wear, and is for combination skin (oily nose, but dry everywhere else)? I suck at liquid and I have a compact, but it looks funny and gives me flaky dry skin. 

My answer:

1. Using a gentle exfoliator everyday to buff away dead skin cells. I like Olay Regenerist Daily Thermal Peel, Mario Badescu Strawberry Scrub, and Lush Dark Angels.

2. Use a rich moisturizer before applying makeup. I suggest Cetaphil (in the jar) or MAC Moisturelush. You can also try La Mer if you have won the lotto. ;)

3. One of the best foundations I have used is Shu Uemura Face Architect. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation is also great because powders don't accentuate flakes as much. For both products, a dense, flat top mineral brush works brilliantly.

4. In the winter, I used to get dry patches even after the foundation was on. What I did was apply a spot of eye cream on the dry spots and they'd go away (I used Mario Badescu's Hyalauronic eye cream). Because eye cream is heavier than face cream, it really helps combat flakes.

Now over to you guys. Please help this reader out, and along the way, give me a few new wishlist items! :)

Making the most of cabinet space

Unless you're lucky enough to get custom-built cabinets in your bathroom, chances are that storage space in your bathroom is as precious of a real estate as a penthouse on 5th Avenue.

Here's how I have been maximizing my storage space:

I bought these square storage boxes at a Dollar Store, and they were 3 for $1.

In the 1st box (far left), I did a variation on the Sephora-inspired brush holder. I filled up the box with flower filler (available at Michael's) and stuck in things that are tiny and need to stand upright like my toothbrush, tweezers, lip brush and more.

The middle container is half filled with Q-tips and cotton balls.

The last container has my hair ties, clips and claws.

These keep my cabinet looking neat with no effort on my part. I hope this helps those of you who have caught the spring cleaning bug like I have!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning Part 1: Storing your winter purse

Now that spring is upon us, I love jumping on the national bandwagon of cleaning, organizing, and storing. So I thought I'd do a little series on how to get your act together! Here's tip 1:

Got a dark purse that is gonna be totally out of place on a sunny beach in Nantucket? Worse yet, is said purse is a slouchy bag? Well then, stashing it at the back of the closet will only make it lose its lovely shape. It'll have no hope of surviving till the next fall! Here's how to take care of your investment:

Gather your purse, and all your scarves, hats and mittens:

One by one, stuff as many scarves and mittens into the purse until it is full:
I really love stuffing gloves into my purse because they won't get lost that way!

Et voila! Your scarves, hats and gloves are safely tucked away, and your purse retains its lovely shape until the next October!

You can also take this a step further and insert a piece of cardboard at the very bottom of the bag. You can also throw in a small cedar ball in there to keep moths away.

Now was that easy or what? Best of all, this quick tip has relieved me of a purse. I guess I now have to go purse shopping! ;-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Giveaway reminder!

Hey everyone, happy Saturday! I just wanted to remind my readers in the USA and Canada to enter my giveaway! You have a chance to win a Hana Professional Flat Iron, so hurry on over before the giveaway ends!

To enter, click here for the original post.

Hurry, ends April 30th!

To my international readers, sorry I cannot extend this giveaway to you guys! I will one day host my own personally-funded giveaway and keep it open for all. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

5 Reviews in 1: Urban Decay Hall of Fame

I recently won the Urban Decay Hall of Fame from CrystalS's generous giveaway and thought I'd share the contents with you. Thanks Crystal!

Besides UDPP, I've never really tried any other Urban Decay products, mainly due to sticker shock. So I was glad that UD came out with the Hall of Fame set, which features 5 of their best-selling products:

The set includes:
- Primer Potion (60% bigger than the normal size!)
Travel size versions of:
- Midnight Cowboy lipstick
- Timothy Pocket Rocket
- 24/7 liner in Zero
- Skyscraper mascara

Obviously, I'm super happy at having a backup of my UDPP, which I think is a must-have for any makeup collector. Here are my thoughts on the rest of the products:

Zero: I see what the hype is all about. This baby is blacker than a black hole and instantly gives so much drama to the eyes. Compared to MAC Engraved or Prestige liners, Zero is so much creamier, smudgier (in a sultry way), and has great staying power. I just set it with a matte black e/s and I'm good to go.
This just gives you those far away, enigmatic eyes!

Skyscraper Mascara: I first of all adore the rubbery-embossed packaging. But the hype ends there. It delivers the same kind of length and volume as my Maybelline Colossal. And this is not a waterproof version, so smudging does happen towards the end of the day. The wand is quite similar to lengthening mascaras like Define-A-Lash:

Midnight Cowboy: I think the nude shade of this product is gorgeous. However, I find that the glitter in it is a bit chunky and gives the lipstick a gritty texture. I'll probably take this lipstick to the MAC counter and look for a creamy, non-glittery dupe for this!

Timothy Pocket Rocket: If Timothy was a real guy, he'd be one of those obnoxious ones at the club that drenches himself in something hideous like The Axe Effect. Although this lip gloss is a cute ripe peach color, and goes on creamy and not sticky, I hate the strong creme brulee scent. It's the only downside of this product though, so if you don't mind the scent, knock yourself out (literally).

Below are swatches of Zero (top),  Timothy (middle) and the super-nude Cowboy (bottom):

After trying out all these products, I know I'll be racing to Sephora to buy Zero in full size. Although Midnight Cowboy is a gorgeous nude color, I'll probably buy a non-glittery dupe for it (any suggestions??) All in all, this was a terrific gift to receive, so thanks again Crystal!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My first Project 10 Pan!

Yup. I'm launching my first Project 10 Pan! Although my collection is small compared to most makeup collectors, I really want to do this project as a way to use up the products in my collection that are so-so, or products that are nearing their expiration dates. Once I use these up, I'd love to try out some high-end products, so I figure using up 10 products justifies the splurge. There are actually 12 items, but I've counted the smaller items as 1 collective item just to be fair. Click on picture to enlarge:

Roughly clockwise and then center:
  1. e.l.f. blotting sheets
  2. Egyptian magic (sample)
  3. Origins Underwear for the Eyes in Beige
  4. Mario Badescu Hyalauronic eye cream
  5. Maybelline Dream Mousse blush
  6. C.O. Bigelow lip tint
  7. Coastal Scents Monroe A Go Go lip gloss
  8. Lush Dark Angels
  9. Merle Norman Super Lube
  10. Shu Uemura Face Architect
  11. Shu Uemura Base Control
  12. Revlon Colorstay foundation
I am allowing myself 2 reasons to break P10P. First,  If I run out of my Shu Uemura foundation and can't use my much darker Colorstay, then I will buy a new foundation (nothing else though!). Second, if my lip balms get used up before all other products, I'll let myself buy a new lip balm (again, no other items can be purchased). 

I'll keep updating you guys as I go through this project with exit interviews. Feel free to do this project with me and keep me updated with your progress too! I can't wait to use up these products because afterwards, I plan to create my first MAC e/s palette, explore Bobbi Brown concealers, Essie nailpolishes, and some drugstore gems that need exploring. 

**A few of my readers are not aware of our little makeup culture lingo. So just to clarify, Project 10 Pan is the Lent of the makeup world. You commit to using up 10 makeup/skincare products of your choice. It is called "Pan" because when you get to the end of something like a blush, you see the steel pan underneath. Anyway, until all 10 items are used up, you cannot purchase new makeup items. It's a good way to impose a spending ban on yourself, free up space in your makeup kit, and truly use up and experience the products you've paid for in the first place!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

OPI Sand in My (Business) Suit

Got a boring suits-and-pantyhose job? Boy have I got a nail polish for you! I've found THE color I can wear to nerdy scientific conferences and not feel like a glamazon (anyone wearing more than chapstick is a glamazon at such events). It is OPI Sand In My Suit, an ivory-beige color. Although this color makes me yawn, I think it's a good purchase because I'll get a lot of use out of it when I go to professional events. 
Do you have any nail polishes that are exclusively great for professional events? Besides a french manicure of course.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A depotting rampage!

I recently got 2 lovely products from a friend. They are Origins Underwear for the Eyes. The two colors are shimmery beige and a shimmery gray and are basically shade sticks:
Lovely, neutral and wearable, but the container they came in was rubbish and the sticks were actually falling out of them! So a simple depotting was in order! Here's the How-To:

Grab 2 sample size jars, a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol, a piece of tissue paper, and a dime:
Make sure the sample size pots are clean and dry. Wet the tissue in a bit of water, wring out, and place the dime inside it so that you create a little stamp.

Next break the shade sticks so they side inside the jars. I used the shade stick containers to initially press the sticks into the jar. Since they have a clay-like consistency, it was very easy to press them down so that there were no air bubbles (left)!
Put a few drops of alcohol on the shade stick and cover the whole surface. Use the dime in the tissue paper to gently but evenly press the shade sticks into the jars. You will actually end up with a very pretty rosette design on the colors!

That's all! Because this was super easy, I also applied the technique to a Coastal Scents contouring palette. I only use the blushers, and not the rest of the colors.

Because these pans are glued in tightly, removing the 2 pans of blushes was not possible. So, I just grabbed two more sample size jars. I scraped out the blushes with a scissor, and filled them inside the jars. I pressed in the blushes with my fingers and the plastic end of the scissor. Then, alcohol drops were placed on the blushes, I used the tissue-and coin method to press them in evenly. This time I used a quarter since the jars were bigger. Here's the final result:

I put stickers on the lids of the sample jars with a light pink heart and one dark pink heart. That corresponded to the light and dark pink blushes. This way I could tell what I was grabbing for. :)

I loved doing these projects. They were both super easy and saved me some space in my Caboodle!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

March Favorites

It's been a wonderful month of new purchases and rediscovering gems I already had. Here are the products I've loved all month long:

Maybelline Dream Mousse Bronzer: I have been LOVING this as an all over lid color for my eyes! It's a perfect shimmering bronze and the mousse consistency is a dream to blend. I think the mousse line needs to launch eyeshadows too! Click here for my full post on it.

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Ever So Rich: This is my go-to gloss for a swipe of sheer baby pink. It complements any lip color you have underneath. No really. Any. Repurchase is very likely. Here's how it looks over a bronze lip.

Maybelline Color Sensational in Warm me up: a perfect dusty rose color. Not sure why this is categorized in the brown section of the lipsticks, but who cares. It's an amazing color. Pair this with Ever So Rich, and you'll have Victoria Secret lips! Here is the full post on it!

Shu Uemura Face Architect: What I love about this foundation is how easily it goes on, blends, and stays put. It also doesn't break me out. What I still don't like is that it is pricey as heck, therefore repurchase is unlikely. Anyway here's the full review.

Prime Time Foundation Primer: This was a pretty affordable primer I purchased from Sephora a year ago. It stayed dormant in my drawers because a lot of makeup gurus skip primers, but I recently tried it again and fell in love. I only use it on my T-zone, which is never prone to acne. It controls oil very well, and a little goes a long way!

Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Turbo Mascara in Blackest Black: Repurchase is 100% guaranteed, and this is a Holy Grail for me. Enough said. :)

My DIY 188 brush: My Coastal Scents stippler brush has made a comeback into my life as a MAC 188 dupe! A simple rubberband reunited me with this little gem. Here's my full post on it. I love applying blush with this brush. It's small and precise enough to fit right on my cheek bones, but blending very highly pigmented blushes can be an issue, so be careful how much you pick up in the first place.

That does it for March. Now that it's April I'm roaming out and about in skirts and light jackets! Spring is here! I now leave you with my current mood:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


My love for a great bargain has reaped a seriously cool harvest. I recently talked about how TJ Maxx had an amazing line of bath and body products with spa brands like Ahava and H20 at heavenly prices like $3.99 (I'm still enjoying ginger-citron showers everyday).

Well, news of my little loot actually made it back to TJ Maxx, and they have put up my blog post on their brand website! I'm positively "chuffed" as my English readers love to say! Here are the screenshots: By the by, is it classy to frame screen shots? No? Ok. Wallet-sized photos then.

Now that spring is upon us, take a cue from the daffodils and snag yourself a designer spring bag minus the designer price. For me, I can't wait till the weekend for a haul fit for a Maxxinista.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lip Combo I'm Loving Lately

I have been religiously using this lip combo all month and thought it was time to share. It is Maybelline ColorSensational in Warm Me Up, paired with Ever So Rich Cremesheen Glass on top:

Out of the 3 pictures, I think the lowest one does the most justice to this color. I'm really happy with this lipstick, its a wonderful dusty rose that looks even brighter with Ever So Rich on top of it. It just brightens up my entire face! One of the best makeup tips I ever heard was from the amazing Carmindy, who says don't worry about covering up your imerfections. Instead, bring out your best features. I couldn't agree more. Although I do lightly cover up my flaws, I spend more time playing up my eyes and lips, which are my good features. It's like a psychological concealor because no one notices imperfections when your strengths are radiating!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Two Hairstyles, One Tool and GIVEAWAY!

There are 2 reasons to justify splurging on a product: it gets great reviews and it serves more than one purpose. I can wholeheartedly say that this product satisfies both requirements. Ever since I started using the Hana Professional Ceramic Flat Iron by Misikko (a website featuring many professional straighteners), I've discarded my bulky hot rollers and old flat iron. This is one sleek tool that straightens and curls equally well.

Take a look at the exquisite packaging this comes in:

The pink pouch is chic and is small enough to stow into a carry-on bag. The pink pouch comes in a beautiful tin box, which would make this a great gift too. For every-day storage, you can use the black pouch. The rubber mat is meant to hold the hot flat iron while in use, but I don't think it's necessary because they've done a good job at insulating the iron in such a way that it doesn't harm surfaces. The iron itself is compact, and the temperature dials and on-off switches are neatly tucked inside the flat iron. The manual also tells you what temperature to choose depending on the condition of your hair. Cool.

Compared to my old flat iron, the Hana Professional is so much more compact, travel-friendly and just plain stylish. I feel like I'm channeling Elle Woods with this thing.

In the picture below, you can see my normal hair on the left, my straightened hair in the middle, and my curled hair on the right. I straightened my hair in no time, and the Shine Shield serum made my hair look commercial-ready. After looking up a quick YouTube tutorial on how to curl my hair using a flat iron, I got perfect beach-tousled wavy locks.
This is seriously the best flat iron I've ever tried. It not only does a great job at 2 hairstyles without damaging my hair, but it is also super sleek and chic. Misikko also carries Chi straighteners and Corioliss flat irons, which have received rave reviews elsewhere. I'm so happy that I can now sport straight hair and be ready for the must-have summer hair style--messy waves.


Don't just take my word for it. Try this puppy out for yourself! Here how you can win your own Hana Professional Ceramic Flat Iron! This giveaway is open only to readers in the USA and Canada. Sorry international readers--not my rules, but I'll hold another giveaway in the future for everyone!

1. Be a subscriber on my blog.

2. Blog or Tweet about this giveaway on your blog or Twitter page (leave me a link to your page in the comments)

For 3 extra entries, join Misikko's newsletter.

Please state all the things you've done in the comments box. And please give me your e-mail address so I can contact you if you've won!

The giveaway ends April 30th at 5 PM, and a winner will be chosen randomly. Thank you SO much for entering and best of luck!

FTC Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review. I am not being compensated for this review, and this is my honest opinion.