Musings on K-Beauty

I was in the Korean Market yesterday trading stories and beauty secrets, and discussing the massive influx of K-beauty in the mainstream. My friend (whose daughter now buys Kinky Curly fotd k beauty 1Curling Custard by the tub and says that I saved her hair… did I tell ya’ll about this lovely child and her hair issues?) talked about how some of the best items are still reserved off the beaten path for customers who know. I’m inclined to agree. When we (Westerners) get hold of something, we tend to go nuts and completely dilute the product and the process. It’s kind of our way. And since a lot of the mainstream stuff is geared to younger consumers (although I admit I have every single Dinoplatz Lip Balm because they are AWESOME), mature patrons who want products guaranteed to work past the age of 20 are going to hunt for something more significant beyond Sephora and Nordstrom.

I still get my makeup wipes, clarifying shampoo, random makeup items and emergency fixes from my local mart. I’m constantly absorbing information on techniques, application, and a deeper understanding of each product. Same with Indian and Japanese beauty. The Eastern market is head and shoulders above us… and I think that particularly in the US, because of our Euro beginnings (think of the massive influx of French and Swiss skincare)… we are blown away by how much we don’t know about hair and skincare on an intuitive (versus scientific) level. At least I am. As a woman of color, Western skin care does precisely jack for me (which is why I started making my own)… same with hair care. I remember when I first found Komenuka Binjin for my hair. Changed everything.

One of the perks of living in Los Angeles is the access. You touch so many cultures here, and I’m always thirsting to learn new ways, traditions, and general things about things. I’m thankful that I don’t take it for granted, and have not lost my sense of wonder. Without the close quarters of New York and weather that makes you want to go outside and stay there… I’m grateful.

Makeup for this lil’ post is appropriately East & West: Laniege BB Cushion in Dark and Elegance Blush in Orange. No those are not false lashes (don’t sleep on Armani Black Ecstasy Mascara)… and they’re boosted with a smudge of powdered kohl (the real stuff from my favorite Indian spot on Venice) along the lashline. Lips are Aurora 24hr Lively Lip Stain in Kate, and IPKN My Stealer Lip Gloss in Tiffany Pink.

I love everyone. Namaste.

FOTD: Pale Gold

About 100 years ago, I did a ‘White Gold’ FOTD with terrible lighting and a bogus camera that fotd pale gold 1would not work without a flash. Looking back, the makeup was more full coverage (so actually seeing my real skin was hardly more than a suggestion), and the whole thing took me a freak ass long time. Since then I’ve learned a lot (this look took 15 mintues), and decided to try it again with similar products, better lighting, and a better grasp on how to photograph it.

If I can be completely honest, this is all in anticipation of Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish 003 (which I have not gotten a shipment confirmation for. I told ya’ll it was gonna be some bullshit). Every swatch I’ve seen looks like gleaming skin without shimmer. That’s all cute on a dry or normal skin type, but on an oily girl like me it could be problematic. So we’ll see how it works if the folks over there at PML ever decided to send me my stuff.

First, the base. I buffed in Natasha Denona’s Body Glow in Medium (Dear Skin Fairies: please don’t let me break out from being ratchet and using this on my face) as a primer, because it sets immediately and does NOT transfer until you take it off with makeup remover. You have to use the tiniest bit though because otherwise you look like Charlize Theron’s Mirror in The Huntsman. Then I went over it with the lightest dusting of NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint. A little bit of Charlotte Tilbury’s The Retoucher in #4 really softened the dryness under my eyes without adding too much coverage and letting the ‘glow’ shine through. Contour is Denona’s Face and Body Glows in Medium and Light. No blush.

The eyes are a throwback… I pulled out the old (2011) Armani Madreperla Face/Eye Palette in #1. It’s always such a crime to get distracted by new products (raising hand in shame), and abandon old ones that were once thought to be the best ever. Fortunately, I buy mostly powder products which (if reguarly disinfected) will basically keep forever. The eyes are the lightest ‘white gold’ shade with a little of the yellow gold buffed over it to keep it from going ashy. See how warm the area is just above the lashline? That’s the darkest shade in the Tom Ford Disco Dust palette; just a soft line with a soft brush to transition to the lashline. Mascara is a massive dose of Armani Black Ecstasy Mascara (since I didn’t use lashes this time).

For lips, I patted on the yellow gold shade from the palette, then sealed it with Anastasia Lip Gloss in Gilded.

Awww, look at me all grown up (and about 20 pounds lighter. Let’s not be cute) now. One of the things I love about makeup is that being good at it comes with DOING it. All the courses on color theory and application in the world (been there and done so much of that) will never hold a candle to picking up a product and breathing life into a complete look.

FOTD: Light Flush

Okay, this new mess with dry patches is forcing me to pivot, so I broke out the Seven Veils fotd spring flushSerum last night and slathered it on before bed. That helped a lot. I looked a lot more like my ‘dewy’ (sounds so much better than oily) self the next morning. Before this FOTD, I added a little more to my Oatmeal & Peppermint moisturizer just to make sure my foundation laid right. Cracks and patches in the middle of an otherwise oily face is not cute. I need to balance this madness stat.

To make sure things stayed smooth, I put YSL’s Blur Primer under a thin veil of Lunasol Foundation. I kept this look super simple with one of the amazing Kiko blushes (this time in 111), and highlighted with a silvery-pink blush that I picked up from a local Korean market a million years ago.

The eyes are a mish-mosh of the pink and coral colors from the Viseart Bridal Satin Palette. I’m only just realizing that the ‘colors’ in this palette are barely that. For the most part, they translate as a high shine ‘wet’ look with just a hint of color. For what I wanted this time around, that’s perfect. But I swear that had I swatched this damn thing before buying it, I’d feel totally differently. For $80, I’m gonna need more than a sheer ‘wash’ of color. Just saying. No liner, and a light coat of Volume de Chanel mascara (mostly rubbed in at the root) for the eyes.

Lips are Tatcha ‘Sunrise’ lipstick in Plum Blossom.


So apparently I have to type this all over again because my initial post was magically erased. Stupid keyboard. I’m so irritated right now. I’ll just let the Instagram posts speak for themselves:

Raggedy. Trifling. Rude. Unacceptable.

I’m tired.


*cracking knuckles*

Okay lets try this again. I got my keyboard professionally cleaned (don’t judge) and everything is ship shape again. SO…

We get an ‘early access code’ from the unprepared folks at Pat McGrath Labs that will help everyone log on an hour ahead of time (8am  PST). At 7:59, the damn thing crashed. Wouldn’t let you put in the access code. Nothing. Folks were opening up multiple windows, using multiple navigators… just a blank white page. And on the off chance that you were able to get the access code to actually work (the thing kept saying INVALID PASSWORD), the whole site would refresh itself and shut down again!

People (including me) were LIVID. This was some MAC level shenanigans (which is partially why I don’t mess with MAC much anymore. That, and the substandard makeup that continues to decline in quality with every half-baked launch). I honestly expected better from the Legend. I did. It was awful. Her instagram was BLOWING UP with folks telling her that she should have known better (they promoted the HELL out of this thing) and that she needs to invest in a stronger IT team. Right on both counts. They sent out a billion emails, reminders, built buzz on every social media and magazine platform on the planet…

And there’s some confusion on their end about why the website would crash? Really? Plus, they only released 700 for the early offering. No word on how many were made for the rest of mankind (or how many will end up at Sephora next week).

And you KNOW mofos were trying to snap up multiples to sell on ebay. Just ugh all the way around. I had to purchase each one separately (the site was too slow to navigate between pages). I refused to pay an extra $25 for 2-day shipping, so I figure mine will get here some time in 2017. So ridiculous. My days of scrapping in the dust with hoarders and ebay vultures are over. Or so I thought.

I don’t even have the earlier Instagram posts screenshot because I WAS TOO BUSY TRYING TO BUY THESE STUPID THINGS. But they’re all up on Pat’s Instagram. Have fun scrolling through the crazy.

These things better be worth it. I’m gonna be walking around looking like a shiny ass alien because I am DETERMINED to get my time and my money’s worth.

On Raggedy Skin Issues and Skin Fetish

First of all, the ‘y’ key on my board is acting up and staying stuck down every other stroke,  fotd denona green mixbecause of the one time I spilled Kombucha on it. I’m TRYING to be yogi and live in the present but it insists on bringing up old stuff. SMH. Just won’t let me be great.

Today my skin is raggedy. Probably has a lot to do with hormones (again)… you know you can set a clock to it in my body. And the worst part is, the older I get (42! Where is the time? I swear I was 25 yesterday.) the more unique these issues get. Like WHY do I have dry skin around my mouth and under my eyes today? Whose idea was that? As a person who’s struggled with oily skin my entire life, dry patches anywhere on my face is just foreign and generally stupid. I need to call someone on high. I’m fairly sure some celestial being got the paperwork mixed up and I have a problem that really ought to be assigned to someone better equipped to handle it.

I didn’t even know my skin was dry today until I put on the Burberry Cashmere Foundation (in Camel. Why didn’t ya’ll tell me that Almond was too red and that I looked like an Oompa Loompa? Just rude.) and it literally ‘curdled’ around my mouth! WHY? Ugh. So I did what any self respecting MUA would do in this situation… I covered it with shimmer. Yep! A little bit of Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow, and suddenly the matte look that I was going for turned into a shimmer. So I kept going.

Instead of my sudden go-to Tom Ford Bronze Age, I pulled Natasha Denona back out and contoured with her face and body glows in Dark and Light. Oh she’s having a sale for Mother’s Day. Get into it. Anyway, more Natasha Denona (green/brown palette) on the eyes. No, I’m not doing swatches because I’m lazy and there’s too many of them (but I’ll link this awesome woman who not only knows her shadows… she knows her ingredients ’cause she works on the manufacturing side). Plus… lemme be honest, the shimmer factor on those suckers is so high that they start running together. Instead of fighting it, I went with it and mixed Bottle Green with Umber to get a really cool smutty industrial green color. I think I’m about to make mixing a thing for a while ’cause I really like it. And I honestly can’t be bothered with wearing 15 colors on my eyes as a testament to some kind of Instagram skill set that I truly don’t have the patience for anymore.

Lips are Marc Jacobs Lipstick in Jadore. I’m gonna marry that color. SUCH a good nude and SUCH a good formula! Really comfortable, like a good marriage. I should probably tell my husband…

SKIN FETISH IS COMING! Today, actually. The legend that is Pat McGrath sent out this email to make us feel special with a code that’ll spark a feeding frenzy and probably shut down the damn site. Whatever. I’m here for it. Ya’ll pray I don’t have to wait until Sephora gets off their ass next week to release it to the masses. Gonna get ugly. I’ll let you know if I score a set (or both), and swatch it when it gets here! You already know it’s going to take them 10 years to ship it because that’s always the case with early releases (in truth they are never ready for the frenzy. It’s just a pre-sale money grab). I’ll probably end up getting it from Sephora anyway and get that one before the original. Watch. Same thing happened with UDX Gwen Stefani. SMH

You guys have no idea how hard it was to type this entry with this stupid ass key. I need to call a professional and get this idiocy handled. This is such a stupid #firstworldproblem to have.

FOTDs: Color Play

I’ve been experimenting with the new Viseart palette, to make new colors. I had to dust off boheme mix 1my brain and retrieve my old color theory lessons for it. 🙂 Observe:

This was my first attempt at a ‘warmed’ purple shade. I mixed the bright fucshia with a teeny  bit of blue and bronze and then sheered it out for a color wash all around the eye. It came out okay. Not knock your socks off awesome, but definitely wearable.

The rest of the face is standard with Lunasol foundation, Bronze Age, random black liner and black mascara.

Lips are Chantecaille Water Lily. 

My second attempt came out much better… or was at least a lot more visual. I wanted a boheme mix 2lavender wash to help bring out the NARS Dominique Lipstick.

So I laid the silver as a base, and then buffed out a teeny bit of blue and the palest pink shade until I got the lavender hue that I wanted. Same foundation and bronzer, with a little Chanel Fleur de Lotus blush on the cheeks to warm up the overall effect (lavender is a pastel after all, and has the potential to go ashy on my warm skin tone.

So far I am really loving this palette. I was so sure that I wasn’t really going to get much use out of it (but bought it anyway. SMH) but I’m happy to be proven wrong. Eventually I’ll start experimenting with the blue and fuchsia shades and go a bit more dramatic.

Or not. 😉


GAIA Giveaway

Hey People!

As you may (or may not) know, I own a lil’ organic skin care company called HABIBI. We just released our newest skin care line, GAIA, and I need test babes to give honest feed back about the product.

gaia set

Here’s what you need to know, GAIA is suitable for all skin types, but sensitive types may not fare well with the fruit extracts. The Brightening Wash and Moisturizer are designed to exfoliate the skin naturally and gently using fruit and papaya (a natural enzyme exfoliant) to reveal brighter and more youthful skin.

gaia set 1

I have six sets to give away. Once you receive it, just use it all up and answer a few questions about how it felt and performed.

All you have to do is like this post and leave a comment. I’ll randomly select 6 people for a GAIA Discovery Set in one week.

Good Luck!