Friday, December 9th, 2011

By Samantha, Asia/Hong Kong Contributor

Sam is a 16-year old junior with a passion for all things beauty, though she has a soft spot for lipstick and blush. She started off her collection with mostly Western brands but began to get more interested in Asian brands because they were so much more accessible.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Sam speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, a little German, and, of course, English. In her free time, she enjoys photography, craft projects, and spending time with family and friends. She’s studying for the SAT this year and looks forward to applying to universities in the U.S. next year.


5 Must-Have Favorites from Hong Kong

As a high school junior, I stay up late doing homework and wake up early for school. I typically go for a fresh and polished look and look for products that are quick and fail-proof when I’m stumbling around at 6am, as well as long-wearing to make it through long days. I have luckily been able to find these qualities in products by brands that are locally available to me.

I’m lucky to have pretty good skin so since I do not need coverage all over, I prefer to spot conceal.  Canmake UV Stretch and Protect Concealer (1,000 yen) has a thick, cream consistency and is housed in a long tube with a doe-foot applicator. Its consistency covers amazingly well without being drying or looking cakey, whether I’m using it to conceal redness, blemishes or under-eye circles. This is the most long lasting concealer I have ever used, holding up exceptionally well at parties, concerts and even when swimming. When I remove my make up at the end of the day, I can count on this still being on my skin.

Marker-styled liquid liners usually have a felt tip applicator, but the Dollywink Liquid Eyeliner ($13.50) actually has a brush that tapers off like felt tip applicators do. The thin brush tip makes creating really fine lines right by the lash line a breeze, but apply a little extra pressure and the brush flattens, creating a thicker line. The long, thin packaging gives you great control and makes winged liner quick and fuss-free.

Fairydrops Mascara ($18.00) has a very unique wand that resembles the wand of Rimmel Sexy Curves. I have to say, the first time using this was tricky and quite frankly, a little intimidating. The wand has three circular bumps that grabs my lashes, gives them a good coat of mascara, and deposits a lot of product near my lash line, making my lashes look fuller and my eyes more defined. The waterproof formula is creamy but dries quickly, so the occasional clump must be brushed out quickly, and does not smudge or flake on me.

You can spot Hope Girl from a mile away by its tell-tale leopard print packaging. The Milky Balm Lipstick in RD102 Watery Red (12,900 won) is a great, moisturizing sheer red that adds brightness and color to the face. It is a neutral red which should work well on a variety of skin tones and is extremely easy to wear, although it can also be built up for a stronger payoff. It does not stay on for very long, but as a sheer lip product, I don’t really expect it to. I can swipe this on without a mirror and use it to transition my look from day to night, making it a great lipstick for on the go.

Similar in concept to Benefit Benetint, I think that Lioele Blooming Pop Tint in Cherry ($13.60) multi-tasking lip and cheek stain is one of Lioele’s star products. The main thing that sets the Blooming Pop Tint apart from other lip and cheek stains I have used before is that it has a gel-like consistency, giving you more blending time before it sets. The stain just sinks into the skin, leaving a rosy flush that looks very natural and not streaky or patchy at all.

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

By Makeup Morsels, Teen Contributor

Makeup Morsels is a pseudonym, and if that seems a little bulky, just call her MM! She resides in California and on her last year of high school. She has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin (think NC15), and often has people tell her she looks like a corpse! She’s guilty of having a slight obsession for both sunscreen and lipstick (both of which she says she needs to stop hoarding). You’ll typically find her stalking drugstore aisles for bargains or lurking around high-end makeup counters to window shop. MM also enjoys cooking (and eating), food photography, reading, and exploring the world of makeup. Check out her blog, Makeup Morsels!


While my youthful days may seem like the perfect time to experiment with crazy, colorful makeup, the fact of the matter is that I rarely have more than five minutes to get ready for school. I’m out the door by 7:00 AM (still woozy from the paper I cranked out the night before), so I need my routine to be as streamlined as possible. I’ve spent many mornings throughout high school trying to find the perfect, low-effort system, and the products I’ve settled on are some of my favorites.

My first weapon of choice is Liz Earle’s Skin Repair Moisturizer ($31.00), which sports a light texture and a ton of hydration. I then apply my sunscreen, Bioré Aqua Rich Water Base ($19.99). Sun exposure can do a lot of damage to your skin over time, so SPF is something I wear all year round. Bioré’s version has a whipped, lighter-than-air texture that dries quicker than you can say, “poof.” As for that giant bottle of yellow stuff? Well, there are days when I don’t even have time to brush my hair. To smooth out any frizz, I run a pump of Lierac Sensorielle ($34.00) through my hair as I race out the door. It also doubles as perfume, which saves me a whole 5 seconds of spritzing time. Score!

Post-skincare, I start tackling the color cosmetics. I begin by banishing my panda eyes with Skin Food’s Salmon Concealer ($12.99). If you’re like me, and have lovely purple shadows under your eyes, concealers with salmon undertones work well to balance those out. The second pot of concealer is Maybelline Dream Mousse ($6.48), which I use for spot coverage on days when my skin is acting up.

Have you ever heard people throw around the phrase, “Brows frame your face?” Well, they say it because it’s true. Taking a minute to fill in your brows can make you look much more put-together. I have black hair, so I look for neutral browns that will define my eyebrows without making them look drawn-on. I use MAC Brun Eyeshadow ($14.50) from the beginning of my brow to the arch, and Milani Easybrow ($5.99) in Natural Taupe for the rest.

Assuming I have the time, I’ll curl my lashes and add some mascara. As far as curlers go, my advice is to find one with a soft, rounded pad. My favorite is the Koji No.73 ($6.51), since it fits my lash line like a glove. I’m actually out of my Holy Grail mascara (d.j.v. Volume Lash) at the moment, but I’ve been getting on well with Urban Decay’s Supercurl Curling Mascara ($20.00).

Finally, I like to swipe on a coat of lipstick. I’ve noticed that many of my classmates prefer to wear lipgloss, but I actually find lipstick to be much more low-maintenance than gloss (for one, your hair won’t get stuck in it unless you have 10 coats on). Lately, I’ve been favoring my Dior Addict Lipstick ($28.00) in Diorkiss (a bright pink with a dewy finish), but you don’t have to go high-end to get a good lipstick. One of my favorite drugstore lipstick brands is Revlon, which stocks a huge color range.

And that wraps it up for my early morning must-haves! What are your favorite products to use when you’re short on time?

See more photos! Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Adrienne, Scotland Contributor

Adrienne lives in Scotland, and she writes for The Sunday Girl, which is mostly beauty but with a little life thrown into the mix. She was born and bred in Scotland, still resides in a damp Scottish town, and jokes that she sees about three days of sunshine a year–but it’s a lovely place to live. She is currently attending university studying both English and French with hopes to become an English teacher.In her free time, she loves to shop and hang out with friends–and beauty blog when she can!


Holiday Gift Guide: UK Edition

Christmas is the time of giving be it a treat for a loved one or something special for yourself, we all deserve a little pick me up now and then. I have picked five of the best value for money gift sets and stocking fillers available from the U.K. high street. I would like to wish each and everyone of Temptalia’s readers a Happy Holidays!

The Accessorize Complete Collection Gift Set (£9.99) has everything a beauty junkie could ever wish for and more! Nestled inside a floral leopard print gift box sits eight full size products. The great thing about this gift set, aside its price point, is the large variety of products; not only do you get cosmetics (a mascara, three eyeshadows and a blush) but there are also two bath and body items that have a light floral scent. I often use Accessorize make-up and can vouch that it is all of great quality, highly pigmented, and wonderfully packaged so whoever you gift this bounty too will be one lucky person indeed. I can’t help but feel this would make a great present for a best friend!

The festive season is a wonderful time of the year but it does tend to bring with it a whole lot of parties that require some season appropriate make-up. Glitter can sometimes be a little over the top depending on the type of event you have been invited to so why not treat yourself to this complete GOSH Gold Eye Kit (£5.99 ). For little more than five pounds you get in return three full size co-ordinating products, a gold baked eyeshadow, gold semi-permanent liquid eyeliner and black mascara. I have tested this set and can report that the eyeshadow is well pigmented and easy to blend, the mascara is jet black and gives a natural effect and lastly the liquid liner stays put all day and then some. Gold is one of the few shades that looks wonderful on the majority of skin tones so this would make a joyous treat for yourself or if you are having a Secret Santa event with girlfriends you could do far worse than this set.

Unlike the rest of the gift ideas mentioned in this guide, SleekMakeUp The Berry Collection (£10.00) is a limited edition so you’ll have to be quick to avoid disappointment. Berry really is the perfect shade for winter, and what better way to try and test such hue with a delightful colour coordinated gift set? This trio has a matte blusher, matte lipstick, and kohl liner that can double up as a lip or eye colour all in a warm berry tone. Any makeup lover would be more than happy to receive this gift set this holiday season. As SleekMakeUp was originally founded for darker skinned ladies, you can rest assure that each product will pack a punch in terms of pigmentation. Personally I would gift this to an aunt or cousin as it has a sophisticated feel.

For me one of the hardest gifts to source is that of a makeup fan that is a beginner and rather new to cosmetics. You want something that is easy for them to use, and more importantly, a gift that they will actually use. My younger sisters fit such bill, and I have searched high and low for the prefect gift.  I recently found the Studio Look Books, which contain the perfect cosmetic items housed inside book-like packaging to create one of many looks. I settled for the Neutral Look Book (£5.99) as the shades are forgiving, making it more difficult to notice any faults in application but more importantly the colour scheme is one she can wear to school. The gift set comes with a step by step guide to aid any beginners. All of the eyeshadows and blush in this compact are baked, it also contains a neutral pale lip gloss and a glossy black mascara, all in all a great gift for a beginner of any age!

The thing I hate shopping for is stocking fillers; I’m terrible at choosing small gifts and always go over budget, which is never good. This year I have decided to treat those that I buy small gifts, stocking fillers if you will, a MUA Pro Palette (£4.00) each. These palettes are budget friendly at £4 and each contains twelve eyeshadows in various complimentary tones and formulas. The two palettes I will be stocking up on to gift to friends are Dusk ‘til Dawn – “A versatile collection of eyeshadows that will transform your look from day to night” and Glitter Ball – “A spectacular collection of eyeshadows that will add sparkle to your eyes for ultimate impact.” Both have more than enough sparkle and variety to see through the holiday and beyond season with ease.

What are your picks for holiday gifts from the UK?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Lulle, France, Local Contributor

Lulle was born in France, and she says she came to life so hungry that she was trying to swallow her entire first–and the fondness for food never went away! She wasn’t obsessed with makeup as a teenager or young adult. At 25, she moved to Instanbul, Turkey, where she lived for five years, and this is where the beauty addiction started. When she wandered through duty-free shops while traveling, she discovered a whole new, glamorous world.

Lulle is easy-going, loving, and spontaneous; she loves to enjoy every moment of life. Check out her blog, Beau Miroir!


A Few French Must-Haves

As a typical beauty junkie, I tend to try a lot of new products, and I’m usually not loyal to any brand. Before I even reach the bottom of a bottle or pan, I’m already on the hunt for something better, newer, or just unheard of for replacement. However, there are a few exceptions–some products that I wouldn’t even consider kicking out of my routine: they are the long-term lease tenants of my bathroom. I know everything about them; they might not be spectacular but I trust them, because I know they won’t let me down.

My hair is generally going wild, because I’m just no good at brushing, styling, or shaping, and I really hate going to the hairdresser (having my scalp stabbed by a comb and burnt by a dryer is no fun for me).  But I have an ally to keep it looking shiny and tidy: the Masque Garnier Ultra Doux (€6.00) conditioning treatment, which is sold in supermarkets for less than 6 euros. It comes in a large pot with a fat belly, and it has a creamy texture that helps nourish and detangle my hair. It can be used as a regular post-shampoo conditioner, since it only needs to stay on for three minutes to be efficient, but I often prefer to give my hair deep moisture by applying it before shampooing, and keeping it on for at least half an hour. It is actually a whole range, and it comes in different varieties, which specialize in specific issues (anti-frizz, dyed hair, extreme dryness, damaged hair tips, etc.). I’ve had a good experience with all the “flavors” that I tried; they have nice scents and leave my hair healthy looking, smooth, and shiny without making it heavy. I think it’s an accessible, cheap, easy, and efficient way to take care of my hair, and I’ve been using for over 5 years now!

I’ve always loved the refreshing feeling of a spritz of cool water on my face, but for a long time, I avoided mineral water sprays as they increase evaporation thus drying out the skin. Then, about 6 months ago, I discovered a product at my beauty salon, which has now become a corner stone of my skincare routine: L’Eau Cellulaire (€19.00) by Institut Esthederm. It’s packaged in a nice silver spray bottle, and unlike regular water, it is formulated to be as close as possible to the fluid cells live in, called inter-cellular liquid. It supposedly brings energy and nutrients right into your skin cells, making it more responsive to the skincare you use next.  It is designed to respect the fragile ecosystem of the skin. After spraying it on your face, you have to gently massage it in to help it sink into the skin. I’m not a biologist so the whole concept behind this product is quite complex for me, but I appreciate the research effort. I can say it really works for me: it leaves my skin smooth, soft, moisturized, comfortable, and the serums or creams I apply after it are definitely absorbed faster and seem more efficient. The downside is the cost, that’s an expensive kind of water! Since I enjoy using it, and it visibly improves my skincare routine, I’m ready to cope with the price tag.

One makeup brand that you’ll most certainly find in any French girl’s makeup bag is Bourjois. It’s been around for over 150 years, and the famous colorful round boxes containing eyeshadow or blush were already among our grandmother’s and mother’s favorites! There’s a wide choice of shades in the shadows and blushes and the quality is consistent throughout the range, plus it is affordable although not really cheap (about 12 euros for an eyeshadow), and very easy to find in department stores, beauty stores and some supermarkets. Apart from the round boxes, I mostly like their eye pencils, and they also have a lot of good lipsticks and glosses. Because it is so accessible and familiar, young girls, including me, often discover the joys of makeup through Bourjois when secretly playing with their mom’s stuff or when purchasing their first products!

These three products are really no-brainers for me and I never hesitate to buy them again and again! If you ever come to France for a visit, you can grab one (or all!) at the store and I’m pretty confident you’ll be happy with these touches of beauty à la française.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Aleta, Fragrance Contributor

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Other obsessions include lipstick, Pellegrino, Adirondack chairs, and yoga. You can find her at worldwarII.com.


Scents for the Holidays

My first college holiday season was…brief. November and December went by in a blur of studying, social events (okay dorm parties), and finals. My dad and I had to stop at the grocery store after he picked me up for winter break, and I realized that the campus bubble had utterly shielded me from the season–the music, the decorations, the food. Lesson learned: when you leave the nest, you either get yourself in the holiday spirit or it will pass you by.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to fell merry and bright this time of year is to–you guessed it–surrounding myself with nostalgic, festive fragrances. Bonus: the fragrance notes we often associate with the winter holidays are ones that play nicely with big family meals and intimate social gatherings, times when everyone would rather smell the turkey, fresh-baked gingerbread, or their glass of Riesling rather than someone’s boldfaced eau. Here are some of my favorite fragrances for the season, most of which are available as dry skin-soothing lotions, pick-me-up cleansers, and candles:

Years of making orange pomanders has left me with a serious citrus fixation every December. My favorite is Fresh Hesperides ($32.00) it balances the effervescence of grapefruit peel with a dose of sugar. Aftelier Candide ($45.00) is also gorgeous, tempering its zesty orange notes with a kick of pepper. Pacifica Blood Orange ($22.00) is perfect for purists, plus the brand is widely available and an absolute steal .

Evergreens feature prominently in Western holiday traditions; Yankee Candles fill in for the Douglass firs I grew up with, particularly Christmas Tree. Holiday Bayberry smells like the fresh-from-the-attic decorations did when I was growing up. It’s a hard note to wear on the skin, but Pacifica’s Avalon Juniper ($22.00) is beautiful. The resinous juniper is perfectly balanced with juicy grapefruit, simultaneously warm and fresh. Those who grew up in warmer climates may resonate more closely with Chanel Sycomore ($110.00), it’s a gorgeous balance between sap and smoke–meant for men, I think, but gorgeous on anyone, anytime.

Vanilla and spice abound during winter, and there are too many fragrance iterations to count. Personally, I like something just a touch inedible, like Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu ($71.00). It has recently been reformulated, but I never smelled its previous iteration, so I am unabashedly smitten with the bottle I purchased this November. If you grew up with anise and almond extract in your holiday cookies, this one’s for you–especially if you went through a rebellious stage involving countless sticks of Nag Champa ($71.00) incense. Many also love Guerlain’s Shalimar ($55.00) and its many vanilla-spice offspring, though it’s not one that grabs me. You also can’t go wrong with Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar ($5.00), a gorgeous vanilla bean tempered with Basmati rice water and cinnamon. Spice lovers: try Pacifica’s clove-laden Madagascar Spice ($22.00).

Sometimes the brightest holiday memories attach themselves to a non-holiday scent. For me, it’s Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($100.00). Each year my parents would skip the Macy’s line for Santa and take me to Nordstrom to see Father Christmas. And in my mind, nothing conjures Nordstrom like Flowerbomb.

What scents keep you warm during these darkest months of the year? And for those who grew up in a non-western culture, I’d love to hear about the scents that speak to you during November and December!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

By Victoria, Theatre Makeup Artist

Victoria is a 19-year old college sophomore who attends school in Massachusetts for Engineering, but she’s an avid Theater Makeup Artist and has worked on a variety of shows, from dance shows (think intense, flamboyant glitter) to periodic musicals. She aims to combine her “nerdy” passions with her artistic ones: to overanalyze the mathematics of reshaping the face, learn the science of why a product works better or worse. She’s a romantic dreamer who enjoys re-imagining herself in a soap opera, pretending one day a prince is going to come riding in on a dragon and take her away. Until then, she’s planning to use her makeup brushes and colors to force her friends to be the stars of her imaginary fairy tale.


How-to: Contouring

I remember the first time I looked at my pictures from a dance performance:  my face was completely bleached out, and I was so embarrassed I didn’t want to show them to anyone! At the next show, an older girl with beautiful orange stripes down the sides of her face came over and lovingly gave me some help. After a friend asked me if that performance was “Lion King” themed, I knew I needed a change. Since then, I’ve joined the battle against the monster we theatre makeup artists have to fight: giving life and dimension to a face that is flattened by unforgiving lights.

My weapon of choice is contouring. Highlighting and contouring is the art of changing the face. For theatre, we may contour for two reasons: one, because theatre lights bleach out all the shadows and dimension of the face, or two, to make the face look like a different ethnicity entirely. Today, I’m going to concentrate on the former: on giving yourself beautiful cheekbones.

One thing that I really want to highlight (ha!) in this post is that having beautiful cheekbones is not just about the cheekbones! It’s about how things look in relation to each other; how far the cheekbones are positioned from the eyes or the shape of your jawline. A relatively wider set jaw can mask any high cheekbones. Just shade along the jawline to soften and recess it a bit, and your cheekbones will pop out naturally.

Cheekbones generally start a finger or two widths away from the edge of the eye; if yours don’t, you might want to consider shading under the outside corner of the eye to push the cheekbone down further. Some cheekbones are naturally quite prominent and maybe your goal is to diminish them a bit! Avoid highlighter and place your blush further down. Before you start, analyze your own facial structure and compare it to the look you’re trying to achieve.

Find out what you’ll need and how to contour! Continue reading →