Monday, August 17, 2009

Nubar: Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Nail Polish?

I stumbled upon a nail polish brand called Nubar today after checking out random nail blogs. The offer is formaldehyde, phthalate, and toulene-free nail polish. If those words sound like Greek to you, it's a safe guess that they're bad for you. And for us chemistry buffs, you know a combination of those three means toxins and carcinogens, which makes me highly self-conscious about the cheap $2 drugstore nail polish I am currently wearing.

Here is an inspiring excerpt from Nubar's website:

In 2000, nubar was founded as the healthy alternative for beautiful nails. After being affected by cancer within his own family, nubar’s creative force, Noubar Abrahamian, was uniquely committed to his role as a pioneer in producing the highest quality nail care products that were free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP (phthalate). These common ingredients are included in California’s Proposition 65, which lists chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm, and nubar’s exclusive formula omits these components as well as their derivatives without sacrificing quality.
Though a little skeptical, I have to commend Nubar for making an effort to create healthy alternatives to beauty products. When I removed my flaking pink polish today, my nail polish remover smelled strongly. After opening a brand new bottle of Pure Ice Mint Dream (I still love their colours regardless), the penetrating odor that can only be nail polish spread throughout the bathroom and continued to reek as I waved my hands around while chatting with Mom. Several hours later, the newly-applied polish smell is still very strong on my fingers. I'm sure our evolutionary ancestors could tell you that smells like those signify danger. I hope that someday, makeup companies can develop nearly carcinogen-free nail polish and more natural beauty products for affordable prices. As people are living longer today, pretty soon even little things like nail polish ingredients will draw attention in the worldwide campaign to increase lifespan as much as possible.

From nail blogs' swatches, I can tell Nubar's polishes are really rich, pigmented, and smooth. However, there is a price to pay: $7.49 per bottle (0.5 fl oz). I saw an article on Nubar's Going Green Collection and instantly fell in lust. My favourite colour is green and I am definitely a sucker for anything emerald. Healthy nail polish + beautiful green shades? If I were less broke, I'd be in.

The Limited Edition Going Green Collection features: Conserve, Earth, Forest, Greener, Reclaim, Wildlife plus a bottle of Foundation Base Coat and a bottle of Diamont Quick Drying Top Coat. ($49.95)

Note: Swatches borrowed from Steph's Closet (she has a great blog with cute nail ideas)

1) Conserve (each sold separately for $7.49)

2) Earth

3) Forest

4) Greener

5) Reclaim

6) Wildlife

Now the question is: What price are we willing to pay for healthier nail polish? You may not have ever worried about ingredients before, not in makeup, nor food, but Nubar brings this problem into perspective. OPI Nail Lacquer is around $8, China Glaze is $3 something a pop, L'Oreal is $5, Maybelline Express Finish is $4. So in comparison, Nubar's fees are comparable to medium-priced drugstore brands, but give your nails (and other cells) longer life. I don't wear nail polish religiously, otherwise I'd definitely purchase my favourite shades from Nubar's Going Green Collection, hands down. (I am still drooling over them right now!)

If you have tried Nubar's nail polishes, tell me what you think! I'd love to hear your experiences about how "healthy" nail lacquer compares to ones loaded with yummy toxins.

Bye-bye, Blackheads! Biore Pore Cleansing Strips Test and Review

Recently I learned what blackheads are. Crazy, I know, since I've had to deal with breakouts and all sorts of redness from acne for years. But I never quite figured out what the little tiny things on my nose were. So now I obsessively stare in the mirror, trying to glare them down. So far, that hasn't worked. I looked at some videos and reviews online, and headed to Walmart to buy a pack of Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. They were $6.24 in California, so they may be cheaper in your state/location.

I took pictures as I tried this product for the first time:

The box (bonus = 8 total strips yay!)

Goodies inside:

Ready to go!

See the blackheads?


Hahaha I put the strip on lopsided. Good job.

After (it hurt and turned my nose red)

You can see something but it's not black : / (click on image to zoom)

About 4 minutes after application, the strip was super hard, just like they warned (it really does feel like papier-mache). I left it on for 10 minutes just to be safe. I was talking to my friend online and I laughed and the nose strip painfully unstuck a tiny bit. Don't laugh with this thing on xD Afterthought: this may be why it didn't grip all the blackheads :o Now's no time for "Why so serious?" Keep a straight face for 10 full minutes!

After taking off the strip (PAINFUL), a bit of the strip's glue was left on my nose. I could see some tiny pore goo things on the strip, which I guess is dirt and oil, and not blackheads? I'm still not sure. However, my pores looked just as huge as they were before, and I was sporting a red nose Rudolph would have been proud of. 5 minutes after removal, my nose is still burning slightly and feeling strange.

I wanted to follow up with some ice to minimize my pores so they wouldn't clog up again, but my fridge was low on stock : ( I do have a Clinique Pore Minimizing Serum somewhere, but in the craze of the move, it could be anywhere.

This is what it SHOULD look like (aka totally gross):

Bottom line: You need practice to use this product properly! I think on the second go, I can grip all the blackheads, but this initial trial failed for me. My own human error is mainly at fault, but the strips don't remove every single little black dot at once. I was a little disappointed or my expectations were way too high.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Discrimination Against Small Feet: We Want Rights! (Or Better Selection)

Something most people don't know about me is that I can wear shoes in size 3 childrens. Of course, it's a tight squeeze, but at least I don't have to tread my footwear along like over-sized clogs (my parents call them boats). I have small feet. I think I measured them once, and they covered 8 inches of the ruler. I could have been super rich in Imperial China (most girls with bound feet managed to squeeze them down to 5 or 6 inches, the smallest at a dinky 3 inches long!).

However, I live in modern day 21st century America. Women in the states, on the average, wear a size 8 wide shoe. Approximately 68 % of American women wear shoes between the sizes of 6.5 and 9.5 (source). I can usually manage most women's size 5 flats and bigger sneakers, but many size 5 heels leave a good 1/4 inch between my heel and the back of the shoe. Add leggings or pantyhose and I get to strut in slippery peril. I fall from the mean and get to deal with frustration every time I search for sophisticated pumps.

When trying on footwear, I notice a lot of stores using size 7 as the model. I love love love Forever21, but their shoes start at size 6 (looking on their online search by shoe size, I see they offer 2 products in size 5.5 and none in 5. Why even give us hope?). Charlotte Russe also has great deals on bright pumps and affordable trendy shoes, but starts at 5.5 (size 5 is reserved for funky-coloured rainboots). At Payless, I spend about 3 minutes inside the store browsing because the shoes available in size 5 are few and far between. At most, there is a selection 4 feet wide by however tall the stacks go. If I move a little to the left to check out size 4.5, I start seeing glittery round-toed flats that are shapely enough for Big Foot and light up sneakers and wannabe sophisticated styles (Limited Too is full of it). I love Ross's inexpensive clothing selection, but there are usually about 10 pairs of ugly sandals for the picking in size 5 (more in size 5.5 but barely an improvement). I drool at the savings for the 7 and 8-ers, with multiple rows and stacks of cute, perfectly cheap casual and dressy shoes for their average-sized feet. Sometimes on the kid's shoes wall, I can find a pair of $12 Converse, one of the better finds in the land of Power Rangers and Bratz.

I recently heard of a store called Giordano's in New York City that specializes in petite shoes size 4-5.5 only. Heaven on earth, right? When I checked their website, I discovered they are going out of business after 29 years. Womens feet are just growing with each generation, and the few of us left behind are struggling to find something to wear. Edit: Here is another website that tells you the best places to purchase petite shoes nowadays. It seems Nordstrom is the best place to buy trendy, fashionable small sizes, but if you're looking to save, we with the petite feet are out of luck (end edit).

However, I have found that American Eagle flats at Payless Shoes have the perfect size 5 for me. My feet are small AND narrow. For under $20, I can have a pair of cute flats that don't look like some stage prop for a kindergarten play. Consequently, I have way too many pairs of black flats all from AE xD. The hunt for the perfect pump is still on, and I found one pair on sale for $10 and bought on impulse, but the super narrow toe space cuts off circulation within minutes and leaves blisters and bruises. Beauty is pain.

I wear a size 35 in China (based on the European system). The average Chinese woman's shoe size is somewhere around 35-39. At least among my tiny-footed girls, I hit the bottom of the bell curve and not somewhere on the outer reaches of left nowhere-land. I think my best hopes in finding proper footwear is to splurge in China and fill the biggest suitcase I can fit in cargo with my tiny treasures and hope the heels don't snap for the next 5 years. $1200 a ticket to Beijing is a mighty price to pay for well-fitting slippers. But what can a girl do without shoes?

I saw a recent how-to video by Michelle Phan on stretching shoes too small with ice and I frowned. I wish there were some way to shrink shoes. That would solve all our petitite problems. If you know of such magic, please share! Meanwhile, let's get some shoes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

2 New ELF Orders: Get Your Haul On! Brushes + Studio

Since I have a week left before I return to WashU, the mail room should be ready to process my white box of makeup goodies! Also, my first ELF haul took over 4 weeks to arrive, so I went ahead and ordered 14 items that I have been eyeing for a while. This package contains a lot of brushes. I will forgo the pictures until I receive the package so I can review them and take pictures in case the online colour isn't true to the product.

1) Blending Eye Brush
2) Defining Eye Brush
3) Eyelash & Brow Wand
4) Concealer Brush
5) Foundation Brush (I tossed my last one because it was too dirty and stained)
6) All Over Color Stick in Fair (I'm really nervous about this shade but I'd rather it cover my redness and pronounced veins well than it caking my face with orange)
7) Liquid Eyeshadow in Green Machine (a new product! I'm super excited)
8) Clarifying Pressed Powder in Ivory (I didn't notice the other beige and tones restocking so I'll risk it - good for fall and winter hopefully)
9) Brightening Eye Color in Ivy (It does not look as ugly as in the picture online. Can't get enough of greens!)
10) All Over Color Stick in Pink Lemon
11) Liquid Eyeliner in Plum
12) Mineral Eyeshadow Primer in Sheer ($3)
13) Slant Tweezer
14) Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Warm Tan (for contouring)

Sub Total: $16.00
Shipping: $6.95
Tax: $0.00
Discounts: WINNERELF 50% off! ($7.50)
Total: $15.45 (WIN!)
I also will receive a free Candy Shop Lip Tin for referring 3 friends to ELF. Last time I got Mocha Maniac, which I do like - it's very scented (yummy!). I'll do a review on it sometime.

After I placed this order, my boyfriend showed me a coupon for 75% off ELF's Studio Line products. Whoa! I've always wanted to try some of their $3 products but didn't want to pay that much. This is perfect. Now each item is reduced to $0.75 :D End result: another haul, of course!

Coupon Code: WWYB75S (save 75% on all Studio items!)
I wish their studio line had lipsticks. I have been looking for a nice nude lip colour that works on Asians.

1) 10-Piece Studio Brush Set (originally $30 but now only $7.50!!!)
Includes all of their brushes minus Kabuki and Blush Brush: Small Smudge Brush, Complexion Brush, Powder Brush, Fan Brush, Angled Foundation Brush, Contour Brush, Eyeshadow "C" Brush, Small Precision Brush, Concealer Brush and the Small Angled Brush
2) Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in Blushed/Bronzed
3) Blush in Candid Coral (this seemed to match my Mocha Pink blush from Clinique)
4) Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Cherry Tart ($1; I'll risk it being too red because I LOVE this product)
5) Complexion Perfection
6) Eyebrow Lifter & Filler in Light/Dark
7) Eyebrow Kit in Dark
8) Eyebrow Treat and Tame in Dark
9) Concealer Pencil & Blending Brush in Light (boo pimples)

Sub Total: $52.00
Shipping: $6.95
Tax: $0.00
Discounts: WWYB75S 75% Off Studio items! ($38.25)
Total: $20.70
I bought the Liquid Lipstick so I could get a year-long subscription of Marie Claire for free haha (free with any purchase above $20). I get another Candy Shop Lip Tin for referring another 3 friends yay! So far, I have referred 31 friends but none have bought anything. I guess ELF sends really shady emails too, like "Sorry, your email address!" and it will blab about how you fail because you wasted all your money at Sephora xD.

Can't wait to get my hauls and review them!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

False Eyelashes: Putting the "Oh!" in Faux

Recently, I have been watching various makeup videos on Youtube, which led me to check out some of the more expensive makeup websites out of curiosity. While on the NYX website, I came across their Special Effects Theatrical Lashes. They are so over the top and colourful, I have to admit I want to try them just for kicks. But at $10 a pair, it's not very reasonable. They might be good for Halloween, but I think you'll need super glue just to keep these on.

Birds of a feather bat lashes together?

Here are some cool ones from NYX I found (there are 40 styles total):

1) Arizona

2) Parrot

3) Train Wrack (looks like a Train Wreck ... and how do you wear this anyway? Is it like a unilash?)

4) Heartbeat

5) Poignant

6) ?Aholic (what a strange name)

7) White Feather

As for normal lashes, I have tried NYC's self-adhesive lashes. I thought they would fall off easily but they stayed on the whole time! However, after taking them off and reusing them, the second time didn't work as well. I'm sure some lash glue would have fixed things. For around $2, they are a pretty good deal. However, without mascara they don't look very natural, but they're good for a big-eyed anime doll look.

For normal falsies that require glue, the white adhesive that comes with the lashes is usually of terrible quality. I can't quite remember the brand, but grey lash glue blends in with the blackness of lashes better and still dries clear.
Here are some simple directions for applying false eyelashes (after the rest of your eye makeup):
1. Take the lashes out of the packaging (detach it carefully starting from one corner).
2. Place them against your eye to make sure they fit. If they are too long, trim them (little bits at a time) until they fit.
3. Apply a thin layer of lash glue and wait about 10 seconds for it to get a little tacky (too much goop will just slide around).
4. Place the lash very close to your own natural lashline (above it) starting with the middle of your eye. Then fix the inner corner to make sure it lines up and secure the outer corner after that. It may take a bit of adjusting to get it perfect. Make sure one eye doesn't stick out further than the other! Let it dry in place.
5. Gently curl your false lashes to mesh them with your own and apply a bit of mascara to make it look less cookie cutter. However, don't overdo the mascara or you will be in pain when you try to remove them and your lashes can't be reused.
6. When you try to remove them, start with one corner and carefully drag the lashes off. If you put too much glue on, you should try using eye makeup remover to loosen them up so you don't pull out your real lashes. If you don't have eye makeup remover, olive oil or lotion should work, too.

Have fun and enjoy your longer, flirtatious lashes!

DIY Hair Dye: From Black to Auburn

This spring, I decided to do something I have always wanted to try: dyeing my hair! I learned a lot through my beginner's experiment, and I'll give tips on how not to make the same mistakes I did. This will save you the trouble of hair dye blunders and let you keep that $40 for something nice, not the salon. However, if you want a perfect dye and are willing to spend the money, professionals are the way to go! They know what they're doing much more than I do.

Natural hair colour: dark brown/black with dark brown highlights (typical Asian hair)
Hair thickness: relatively fine
Eyebrows: soft black (quite light)

I used Revlon Colorsilk in Light Auburn (#53), an ammonia-free (no bleach) dye that claims to leave your hair silkier and smoother than before you coloured. After I put in the post-treatment conditioner, my hair was really a lot softer for weeks! The best thing is, this dye is around $3, very affordable drugstore brand.

I put on a white shirt that could take the damage, brushed my hair and separated it (poorly) into 4 parts, and piled on the dye, making sure each strand was wet. However, I ended up pouring most of it on my roots to make sure I didn't miss them, and the result was ... well, read on.

I thought this would only show up a little bit in my hair, and the dye itself was purplish, so as time elapsed, it looked very dark with bright red undertones. I was pretty excited. I waited for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, much longer than the box suggested (killing cells, I know) since dark hair takes a lot longer to absorb dye. When I hopped out of the shower and dried my hair, I was so shocked! I had a crown of orangish red hair D: !!! So my hair looked intentionally two-toned in the wrong lighting, my bottom strands nearly the original colour.

Some people loved it, others said I looked like I was wearing a wig. After a while, the colour evened out. I really love how versatile the colour is. I didn't have to trim my bangs as often, and my eyebrows looked more defined simply because my hair was lighter. It's a very typical Asian colour, so if you have dark hair, you should try it once!

In sunlight, it looks like this:

And in bathroom/yellow lighting:

I also experimented on my boyfriend's very black hair and after 45 minutes, his dyed strands were a dark brown (similar to my original hair colour). This would be great for a very subtle hair colour change or highlights!

After about 2-3 months, I tired of my dark roots of evil so I decided to go back to black (or dark brown). I originally planned on re-dying the bottom portion of my hair to match the top, but it was too much of a hassle and I didn't want to drown my scalp in chemical. So after a haircut, I took a few strands of the darker bottom half of my hair to Walmart and matched up the colour with boxes of Revlon Colorsilk. I chose Dark Brown (#30):

My hair was shorter this time, so it was easier to dye and get all the layers. Tip: always start from the bottom strands near the back of your neck and go up from there. Separate your hair into smaller bunches for more even coverage if you have longer hair and emphasize your tips! The colour was also darker, so 30 minutes would have been plenty but I left it in for over an hour and got a pretty black result. However, after a while without the colour-treated conditioner, it faded properly to a dark brown with slight reddish undertones in sunlight. Perfect : )

If you don't want to create the fading effect and maintain the freshly-dyed colour, make sure you get a conditioner for color-treated hair. I used Herbal Essences Conditioner in Color Me Happy (it contained acai berries), but I think it would have worked even better with a color-treated shampoo.

I love love love Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners! They smell absolutely irresistible and look cheerful in their bright packaging. A cheap conditioner did the trick in locking in my dye and preventing fading. I think my hair was dyed to the core though, so no chance there. Revlon Colorsilk is pretty gentle in my opinion - the dye that dripped onto my white shirt even washed off completely in the laundry with no other treatment.

Have fun experimenting with your luscious locks!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mamma Mia, Thia Megia!

Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert television watcher at all - in fact, I don't think I've ever truly followed a show beginning to finale. However, I do get on Youtube every once in a while to see what's fresh in the world (I'm too lazy to read newspapers or watch reporters drone haha).

Tonight, I came across this video after packing my brains out (the move is in t minus 30 hours!). The embed was disabled : (

I skipped through the sappy introduction and got straight to the singing. I got up to get some water and came back to hear this AMAZING voice blaring through my speakers. Confused, I took a look to make sure I was still on the same page and there she was, Thia Megia, singing her heart out. Her voice is so mature, I thought she must have been at least 18 or so. Then I scrolled back to the intro and discovered that she's only 14!? What was I doing at 14? Oh right, being angsty about high school.

Automatically, I thought of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who is my age (now 19). When I heard Jordin sing, I felt so inferior, so mediocre in comparison. This was the same thing all over again. She's 5 years younger than me, but her voice is a thousand times stronger. It's kind of sad to think that I'm getting old even at 19, but there is only more of this to come. The amount of insanely talented kids and young adults only grows larger, and I lag more and more behind. In all honesty though, even with training, I don't think I could ever be that good. That's just pure, raw talent right there.

However, I can't be dismayed at every ounce of young talent there is out there. It would be awfully depressing. I like to sing for fun. It's really relaxing and uplifting. When I went to church, my favourite part was actually singing hymns because it washed away all my worries and heart wounds. I've been told I have a natural second soprano range, which I probably inherited from my mother (she sang opera very well before she developed cancer). So, with loads of practice and proper training, I could have a respectable voice, but I think it'd take away the fun of mindlessly letting the music escape. Ignorance (or rather, "amateurity") is bliss! I often find that I excel when I approach learning with a can-do attitude, with no standard of "the right way to do it" vs "the wrong way" in my head. There are too many things in life to enjoy without some virtuoso telling you what floats their boat.

As I listened to the rest of Thia Megia's "There's Always Gonna Be Another Mountain" in awe, I realized that she looked like Filipino Miley Cyrus. Oh, duh. I did some Googling and saw what she was trying to show us: real un-diva-ized talent. (Sorry I'm not all hip and caught up on tweenager idol music!) I hope if she gains stardom and celebrity status, Thia can stay a dreaming down-to-earth girl unfazed by the interests of the media. Sorry to step on Miley, but this girl's got soul and deserves the limelight.

I'm a little dissatisfied that Hannah Montana monopolizes the position of today's young girls' role model. Her Disney Channel show sets up her cakewalk to stardom, though I'm not a fan of her voice at all. And what about those creepy back-up dancers on the show? The whole playing dress-up celebrity is confusing. Where's the competition? Five, ten years ago, there was a whole rainbow of pop sensations to choose from, some better influences than others, but at least we could pick our favourites. Nowadays it seems like it's Miley or bust.

Although, through this quarter finals song choice, I can tell her producers or crazy strategists are trying to set her up to be the new Miley (quite literally). Though Thia is young, I hope she can find the courage to fight against a minutely planned out rivalry and sings how she wants to. She has all the right vocal equipment, and the spirit, too.

You go, girl!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Refreshing New Layout!

Okay, so I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I just spent about 4-5 hours picking the perfect blog template and ironically I picked none. I based this one off my roommate's old blog's layout, but changed the header picture (I'll find a way to overwrite the words or maybe I will simply remove them later) and made it my own. The old green blogger default font was too dark and gloomy, but I still loved the layout of it. However, I really like this new two side column setup with plenty of room for personalization.

Here is the original template design:
Sunshine by

After I entered the premade code, my layout did not look like that picture. You still have to add a header picture (they provide one on that template's information page) to make it pretty!

Edit: After a while I ran into comment problems. The comment box was gone and comments were disabled! After a lot of hunting and tweaking (with the help of my boyfriend :3), I found the solution:

1) Change comments from embedded post to popup (under Settings > Comments) or
2) Ctrl+F this line in Layout > Edit Html
b:include data='post' name='comments'/
(with <> on either side)

Then enter this line right after that:
b:include data='post' name='comment-form'/
(again with <>)
That should solve your nonexistent comment box woes!
More information can be found on the troubleshooting page from the original website.
I also found the help page for adding the quick edit pencil button.
(End edit)

If you are looking for a new blog template, has a million templates, but they can look awfully Xanga-ish or Myspacey if you know what I mean. The designs can be wild and the text small, which turned me off, but of course you can modify that. Here are some neat ones I marked as candidates:

My World, My Life by eggiines

I really like the three pictures, but they're too sad! The captions say "What is love?" "Tired, so tired" and "Are you happy?" Sure you may have difficulty describing love in words but there's no need to hide your face! However, I do like the anonymity. The middle frame is my least favourite, though it can be pretty accurate during exam season :D

Things That Make Life So Wonderful by Vintage.Veggie

I really like the 6 picture slots that are very customizable with pictures of the same size. Those are frequently found pasted all over people's Xangas and Myspaces so you can sing "My Favorite Things" as you pick your set. The nice green background is also soothing but there were no side columns D: I'm terrible at coding and that kind of thing, so I'll leave it at that xD

Saving the Environment by tengwan

This layout was just very unique and green! However, Vital knowledge to saving the environment? Fobby-ness can be cute, but not as the header of your blog.

Finally, I found the picture on another one of Vintage.Veggie's layouts. It didn't seem like there was much to it aside from the picture and a few links underneath it, so that screamed "more html work" for me. I did a few edits on sizing and slapped it onto my header and voila! However, because it's a pretty big picture, it lags a bit while loading. Blahhh.

The side columns' customization took a while to figure out and tinker with, but I think everything's in place for now. Blogger's user-friendly (or at least technology idiot-proof) layout editor made my life so much easier.

This new layout is light-hearted and bright, with lots of subtle elements. It's ready for some intense blogging!

Monday, August 3, 2009

EyesLipsFace E.L.F. Makeup Review: Bang for your Buck

A friend introduced me to about a year ago and I placed my first order. With a special coupon code, the total order tax + shipping came out to be $1 for each item! I was really impressed.

I'm an amateur makeup user, but I was quite happy with the majority of my 16-item order. Compared to N.Y.C., Jane, Wet&Wild and other low-end drugstore brands, E.L.F.'s makeup was definitely worth it - and even cheaper!

Eyes Lips Face constantly sends email reminders with coupons codes and everything. They also have a cool referral program - if 10 of your friends place orders, then you earn a $10 gift card, and the rewards get exponentially better, ending with free makeup for life (every girl's dream) after 100 successful referrals. If you work as a makeup artist, collect emails from your clients and you will have more cheap good-quality makeup than you will ever need (so gift them!)

There are lots of cool features on the site, including a Virtual Makeover Program (use your own photo or a model's and try on makeup before you buy: I tried it and all the colours seemed way too subtle, which is not true in real life), Get the Look guides, and awesome customer reviews for each item. Always see what others have to say before you buy! Sometimes the colour displays aren't very accurate.

I will review select items I bought in that first batch.
I am Asian with slightly tannish yellow undertones.

1. Brightening Eye Color in Drama (5/5)

This eyeshadow combo is perfect for the smokey eyed look. I personally use the second colour the most, usually by itself for every day use. The colours are also very pigmented and sparkly though they seem matte from the picture. Another tip: When searching for a colour go by the image you see when you scroll over the item. They seem to be more accurate than the ones next to the order form.

2. Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Maple Sugar (5/5)

I'm usually not a huge fan of lipgloss because it catches my hair all the time, but I'm not big on lipstick either since it dries out my lips. However, this lipgloss is thick but not goopy and the coverage is super even. There's no weird taste either and the container is nice and clean. You take off the cap and twist the bottom to release some of the gloss and apply. No more fishing to the bottom of the tube/along the sides for the last drop! I was also impressed because lip colour makes me look like a clown. This shade really fit my lip colour - give it a try!

3. Plumping Lip Glaze in Oasis (3/5)

This double-sided lip plumper actually worked! It didn't turn my lips into Angelina Jolie's but I could feel my lower lip tingling and volumizing. This sheer coral colour looked nice. I first added the white sheer layer, then topped it with the pink. However, the major turnoff is this product tastes like soap, so don't wear it when you have to eat something : (

4. Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder (5/5)

I never used bronzer before but I was really happy when I tried E.L.F's. I use apply it to my T-zone with a big brush (I usually use E.L.F's Total Face Brush) to finish off the look. It makes my face more radiant and replaces the unpleasant forehead shine. A little dab underneath the eyes, on the nose, and on the forehead brightens up the complexion very well. I am ordering the bronzer in Warm Tan (a darker bronze) to highlight my cheeks to create the illusion of high cheekbones. Drop 10 pounds in an instant!

5. E.L.F. Brushes (4/5)

Total Face Brush:
For blush, bronzer, pressed powder. The bristles can be a little hard though

Eyeshadow Brush:
Super soft! Great for applying shadow to your lids or browbone

Foundation Brush:
Much better for your skin than your fingers. I used mine so much the brush came apart from the stick but a little super glue fixed that. You can use this brush with wet or dry foundation - it smoothes out the application well

Final thought: These brushes are great for only a dollar! They may not be as fancy as MAC brushes, but their quality is comparable. I am going to purchase the Defining Eye Brush for creases, Blending Eye Brush, and Eyeliner Brush in my next order.

6. Tone Correcting Concealer in Light (2/5)

Perhaps I chose the wrong colour, but it didn't blend well with my skin colour. It was strangely yellow. Also, this product is super watery and has poor coverage. If you need a concealer, don't get this one.

7. Nail Polish in Coral (2/5)

I thought this shade would be pretty with all its pink and gold shimmer but this colour looks horrendous on Asian hands! I'm sure on people with super fair skin, it would look great, but against our yellowish undertones, it just looks gross. The quality of the nail polish isn't bad - better than the 88 cent BonBons from Walmart and drugstores.

8. Liquid Eyeliner in Black (3/5)

This eyeliner was average. It sometimes leaves gaps during application and rubs off easily, so you may have to go over it a few times. Plus it has this weird medicine odor that emits from the tube but isn't noticeable on your eyes. I did like the hard-tipped applicator because it gives more control than the soft brushes in Wet&Wild eyeliners. I am curious about the other shades (i.e. Plum and Stardust) so let me know if you try them!

I haven't tried any of the Mineral products or the studio line because they are a bit more expensive (usually $3 or $5 per item) but even those prices are affordable and usually worth it! If you have any amazing success stories or tips, please let me know :D

Finally, as a little gift, here are some coupon codes to get you started on saving!
E6SHIPT: $1.98 shipping on any purchase of $15 or more.
Carolina: 50% off on orders up to $25
Winnerelf: 50% off on orders of $15 or more
FreeFive: $5 off any order
5for5wow: 50% discount on mineral makeup

I was not paid in any way for this review; these are my opinions after use. This product was purchased with my own money. Results may vary from person to person.

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