Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Makeovers

Here are some before and after shots of two of my girlfriends who volunteered for makeovers this morning. They were such good sports and let me try new colors on them. I used Laura Mercier foundation stick on both of them and it worked great. Glided on without being cakey. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday beauty deals

E.l.f. 50% off bestsellers. Use " bestsell" code at checkout. Expires 8/2. Go to
- I love the primer and flat top brush. At 50% the brush is only $1.50 so stock up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Look of the Week- Smoky Eyes

Every Monday, I will post a "Look of the Week." I encourage everyone to try it and send me a photo of your look. Also let me know what products you used to duplicate the look. This week's look is the "Smoky Eye." I love this look. It can be dramatic if you use black eyeshadow or more warm and subtle if you go with browns. It's a look that involves lots of blending and smudging of the eye makeup. Having good eye makeup brushes is crucial. Here's the look and some tips. Have fun! And remember to send me a photo so I can post it on the blog for others to enjoy.

Smoky Eyes Instructions:

Since this look requires lots of blending, don't use too much eyeshadow primer because then eyeshadow is harder to blend. A thin layer of your favorite eyeshadow primer will be sufficient. Use a black eyeliner pencil to line your upper and lower lashes. Try to get close to the lash. Try lining the eye by making little dots along the lashlines rather than using a straight lining motion. Using an angled brush, dip into some black eyeshadow and go over eyeliner with eyeshadow. You should start smudging the eye makeup- you can smudge by using your finger, cotton swab or smudge brush (the kind with a sort of dome-shape- see photo of Sephora brand smudge brush- $15). Then sweep shimmery gray shadow over the upper lids and blend it up beyond the crease (the more tangled it is with the black, the better). Finish with mascara and you're perfect! For more drama, you can take angled brush and dip into a purple or blue eyeshadow. Then sweep a little bit along lower lashline, right below the black eyeliner and blend slightly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Makeover Weekend- Liz and Ly

Two cool girlfriends volunteered for a makeover this weekend. I gave Ly a natural look and Liz a super blue/green ocean look. Doing Ly's eyes were challenging because I am not skilled at emphasizing eyes with a lower fold. Most asians have this epicanthic fold which is a skin fold of the upper eyelid. I was having problems using eyeshadow and preventing eyeshadow and eyeliner from transferring to upper lid and lower eye. So I need to practice on Ly's eyes some more. Anyone have any tips? Liz wanted a haute couture look. I didn't do a crazy, dramatic haute couture look but I gave her more fun colorful look. We're gonna go for more haute couture next time. I included some photos of this look in the top two shots. Betty also came over and played with my makeup. She's next weekend. Thanks ladies for coming over.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Beauty Deals

As part of my blog, I am posting beauty deals I know about. Check it out and add your own beauty deals in the comments. Enjoy!

*Get 20% off any order. Enter SUMMER20 at checkout. Offer expires 7/21/10 at 11:59pm PST. Items excluded: sale items, stay don’t stray, sugarbomb, the POREfessional. Not valid with other offers.
- Lemon aid: color correcting eyelid primer
- Brow Zings- I've used this product for over 5 years now. It's my to go item for brow shaping. LOVE IT!
*50% off certain lasy chance Illamasqua products.
- This company is based in London but they do ship to the U.S. They offer unique shades and beautiful false eyelashes.
* Go here for discounted products like Smashbox and Laura Mercier. Private sale on Laura Mercier for two more days. Use STYLEIT code at checkout to get extra 10% off.
- Smashbox color correctors
- Laura Mercier Concealer Sticks

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inspired by Tim Burton Characters

I love Tim Burton's films. His makeup is romantic/gothic and very pale. Eyes are super sunk-in and cheeks are hollow. Here's my attempt at this look. The key steps are very pale skin- try a foundation 1-2 shades lighter than normal. Eyes should be layered first with purple eyeshadow then blended with black. Brown in the hollow of eyes to create the sunk-in look. Contour cheeks with burgundy and light pink blush. Enjoy!

Offically a MUA

I worked my first makeup artist session today. It started at 9 a.m. I worked with four models posing for the Harley Davidson Thunder Run Calendar. All the models were posing in bikinis so the look was more sultry and natural. It was tough doing smoky/sultry eyes without doing the same look so I had tons of fun playing with different colors. I did basic black smoky eye, a purple smoky eye and a peach/pink/purple smoky eye. Calendar is out in 3 months so I'll be sure to post pics then. I am working with the photographer the next four Sundays so I have 12 more models to work on . It was a long day but really fun. My skills are definitely getting better.

Here are some more photos of makeup looks. The first photo is the set-up at my makeup session at Harley- I didn't know what to bring and what I would need so I brought almost all my stuff. Hong carried it in for me cause it was kind of heavy. I need to get one of those dolly-things people use for suitcases. I recently bought powders by NYX- their black label makeup powder at the Fragrance Outlet at the Tanger Outlet in Wisconsin Dells, WI for $2 each (normally $25 each) and I love them. They work so well, come on very smoothly and silky. ( I am using the powder to set my foundation and it is amazing- such a good product. I buff it on with my $3 E.L.F. face brush. Seriously, makeup need not be expensive. I do buy quality foundation- currently- I am in love with my Stila and MAC foundations.

If you have questions or seeking advice, just ask in the comments section. I think by now I have tried on enough makeup to give you comparisons. You can also follow my reviews on a really great product review and makeup swapping website. My member name is "hongthetran." Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Late night makeovers

Haven't been able to sleep lately. So, what do I do? Play with makeup or talk to my sis on the phone about makeup. She's been pressing her own eyeshadow- pretty cool. Seems like a lot of work but she can make her own palletes. She's into mattes so she can press all the matte eyeshadow she wants. She goes to this website: to purchase pressing kits and pigments. Anyways, here's some photos of makeup I've done on myself lately. Hopefully I will have more volunteers so you won't have to look at just photos of me.

BTW, I used Rimmel Stay Matte and it didn't stay too well. See it in the photo with yellow eyeshadow- powder was starting to come off on my sweaty forehead. I will post a review note on products soon.

Before and After Self Photo

What better to promote my makeup artistry than to feature myself? I have horrible sun spots- mostly from the California sun and from mom's genes. Pictured here is a before and after photo of myself. Listed below is my makeup routine:

I am age 31 and my sun/brown spots are increasingly bothering me. So I've been looking for a routine to even out my skin tone. I also tend to have dry skin so it's not easy to layer products without looking cakey. Here's my routine with corresponding products:

1- wash face - no special cleanser

2- use toner - alcohol free works best for dry skin

3- apply moisturizer with SPF - no special moisturizer but as I have dry skin, I use creamy moisturizers

4- apply MUFE HD primer (I prefer to smashbox- MUFE seems more emollient and glides better on my dry skin)

5- spray MAC fix to each side of face (this product prevents dry skin from getting cakey with makeup to come. may be skipped if you have oily skin and don't need anymore moisture)

6- apply MAC Studio Sculpt SPF 15 foundation (NC35) with foundation brush to help even out and prevent streaking. I even out some more with makeup sponge from Sonia Kashuk line (the egg shaped one)

7- apply Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealer (SC-2) to problem spots and below eyes: This is the key product in my whole routine. The two shade concealer is amazing. I apply with brush then pat with warm finger.

8- set face with powder- in the photo, I used MAC studio Fix (NC35) on the right side of my face then brushed on NYX loose powder on my left face. I noticed the studio fix compact magnified pores a teeny bit more than the loose powder. So I think loose powder is the way to go here. I will just have to find a more finely milled loose powder as I think the NYX is too thick.

9- apply blush (Used here is Jemma Kidd- Chic cheeks powder blush in New York) to apples of cheeks

10- contour with Cargo Water Resistant Bronzer on jawline (right under blush) and up to hairline on side.

11- blend bronzer into blush with kabuki brush

12- apply eye primer to eyelids- I usually use UD but here, I used Laura Geller eye spacke (applied with finger) and it worked fine.

13- apply eyeshadows- ivory on lid, medium brown in crease and bottom lid and dark brown on under lid to smudge out. Then applied black eyeliner cream from Stila smudge pot to lid- very close to lid.

14- follow with curling lashes and two strokes of mascara

15- attach false eyelashes (DUO glue works best for me)

16- apply lip liner and lipstick (Here, I applied Laura Geller Lip Spackle to lips first to even out lip color. I don't usually do this and I think a gently swipe from foundation brush over lips works just as well but this helps to color to last. If my lips are dry, I simply brush lips over with toothbrush before applying the above. )

17- finish with stroke of Bobbie Brown Shimmer Brick in Copper Diamond on cheek bones, bridge of nose, chin, and area right between eyebrows to highlight.

That's my routine. With practice, I have been able to do this in 20 minutes.

Complimentary Makeup Sessions

Summer brings new adventures. This year, I've decided to pursue a dream of mine- to become a makeup artist. Pictured here are two lovely ladies (and brides) I provided a free makeup session for recently.

To get started, I am providing free makeup sessions to volunteers. I am soliciting volunteers from friends, craigslist, photo studios, and bridal shops. Work is steady. Lots of people can't turn down a complimentary makeup session. And I love having the chance to experiment and gain experience.