Make Up. Say those two words and you’re bound to get 4 out of 5 girls cringe in excitement. Just like any other human being, women are very meticulous when it comes to selecting the right color, the right texture, the right match and sometimes, ingredients. Yes, its no surprise that more and more women are becoming aware of the content of the products that they apply on their face. I admit I have fairly sensitive skin. Not really severe, but there are just some facial products that just sting whenever it comes in contact with my skin.
If you’ve read my ‘ABOUT‘ page, you’ll know that I’m the sort of person that supports the use of cruelty-free products. And I honestly am, but to avoid sounding like a hypocrite, I’d like to assure you that cruelty-free products aren’t really that affordable in Kuala Lumpur. As far as I know, the only cruelty-free make-up products available in Malaysia are Urban Decay, The Body Shop, Clinique, and Burt’s Bees are probably the most affordable cruelty-free products in Malaysia. However, at the end of the day, its still pretty pricey. On most occasions, I either buy these products online when its convenient or when I’m overseas. But cruelty-free aside, I’d like to share some of the products that are my favorite. I usually do not wear a lot of make-up. My regimen is quick and easy. I start with a clean, moisturized face and apply some concealer on my under-eyes and any zits or any marks of redness on my face. Then a good amount of eyeliner on the upper eyelids to open up my eyes, 3 coats of mascara, then a light dust of blusher on the apples of my cheeks, and last but not least, tinted lip balm, or red lipstick.
I have a medium olive, caramel-like skin tone. In other words, a light brownish and yellow. Olive and caramel-like skin tone sounds much sweeter to the ears.
Among all the images shown, only the Maybelline mascara and the Uptown Visions lipstick are not cruelty-free. If you’ve not heard of Uptown Visions, its an American brand that recently made its way to Malaysia about 2 years ago, but at a very cheap rate. You can get any 2 products at RM8.88 (approximately less than 3 US Dollars for 2 items). I suppose they’re simply getting rid of dead stock. Anyhow, from the range of foundation colors, I noticed it was mainly catered to dark-skinned women, and based on my research online, it was indeed. However, I wasn’t able to obtain much information about the brand, the ingredients and whether its tested on animals. I did buy a small number of these products before because they were really cheap. Quality wise, the lipstick is was surprisingly decent. I was a little concerned with it being so cheap, so I was a little worried about texture and whether it would start getting my lips chapped (because so many lipsticks do this to me). It didn’t chap my lips as much as other brands did (Maybelline, Revlon, Loreal), and for a matte color, the texture was very creamy and swiped on my lips so smoothly. Love at first swipe, as they say. With a good experience with the lip color, I bought another color called Spice, which was a metallic shade of red with a hint of orange and brown. Just a reminder, because they were being sold so cheap, you could not test these products, so it was a matter of choosing your colors wisely, and I was lucky that the colors suited so well.
My former college mate depended on Uptown Visions so much because the colors were exactly were exactly what she wanted, especially when it came to foundation. She recommended the lip gloss, so I thought to give it a try. I now have fire engine red (Fire), bubble gum pink (Beauty Buzz) and a very dark plum (Impulse). I’m really satisfied with these colors because they’re all the colors I need. Red to suit my 50s pin-up look, light pink for a casual day look and dark plum to channel the Flapper look.
So, if I’m going out and I want to look accentuate my best features(eyes) without putting in too much on my skin, I stick to keeping it minimal. On some days when I look really pale and tired and I need a quick fix to glow, I use some concealer, apply a line of dark brown eyeliner, highlight the brown line with a gold liner on the lower eyelids and natural to nude shade of lip color. But most importantly, I love lip balms with a tiny hint of color. Burt’s Bees and Lip Smackers are probably my utmost favorite, especially Lip Smackers because they’re just so yummy and deeply moisturizes the skin! The Body Shop also has great lip balms, but I’m not quite a fan of my lip balms in jars.
If you’re unfamiliar with the eyeliner, Manic Panic, fret not. Its not sold in Malaysia, but you can certainly buy it on eBay for a good deal. Cruelty-free and vegan, Manic Panic started off as a brand catering to punk rockers and goth kids. Established by Tish and Snooki in 1977, they’re now well known for their wild hair dyes and cosmetics. Manic Panic’s Dreamliner is absolutely wonderful because of the brush being thin, flexible and the color is just oh so lovely! I bought my share of Manic Panic products in Wellington Street, Perth, Australia from a lovely little shop called Mame Clothing. If flying all the way down to buy these products is a bit of a inconvenience, fret not, you can also get them delivered right to your doorstep. Visit www.mame.com.au to have a look.
Apart from the eyeliner, I highly recommend using Manic Panic’s hairdye. They’re semi-permanent, but the pigments are so great, you can even get some wild colors even without bleaching your hair. I had my crazy red hair phase last year, and I was so determined to have cherry-red hair. I looked to Manic Panic and mixed two reds from Manic Panic’s range, Vampire Red(deep crimson with a tiny purplish hue) and Pillarbox Red (good ol’ fire engine red).
I was keen on dying my hair bright red, but bright red hair can look somewhat icky on brown,caramel skin hence the use of Vampire Red on top of Pillarbox Red. I get the best of both worlds ; dark and bright at the same time. No compromises. After bleaching my hair, I deeply conditioned my hair with a generous amount of treatment cream, and then used 2 egg whites as a hair mask until it dries, wash it off and then let my hair dry.
I spent a good 30 minutes applying the hair dye all over my head and left it on for about 3 hours to let the colors really soak in and applied heat with a hair dryer every 20 minutes.
After I washed off the dye with cold water, I used some heat protection spray on my hair and lightly massaged my tresses with an anti-frizz serum. I was extremely happy with the result, because my hair was just absolutely red. I was told that my hair reminded them of strawberry soda. It made me giggle in delight.
Maintaining my hair was not easy, though. I had to wash my hair with cold water every time. Semi-permanent hair dye fades off with each wash, so care is extremely important,so doing whatever you can to preserve the color should be a priority. First tip is to wash your hair with cold water, and try not to let your hair linger in the water for too long. Second, you can mix a few tablespoons of your dye with your shampoo so that as you shampoo, you’re still treating your hair with pigments of color. Third, weekly touch-ups to keep the color strong.
I didn’t worry so much about shampooing because I was still washing my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar, so it didn’t fade off so bad, but I did mix a few spoons of the dye into a bottle of color-protection conditioner and touched up every 10 days.
I highly recommend Garnier Fructis’ Color Last Conditioner. It smells yummy from the Acai Berry extract and it actually enhances the color of your hair by creating a great layer of shine. Sadly, I gave up on maintenance after 2 months, and went back to being a brunette again. As my hair was damaged from the bleaching, I stuck to dark brown henna.
I recently cut my hair two months ago because I had too many split ends from bleaching. I currently have shoulder-length hair and its now back to blackish-brown (my natural color). Perhaps once it grows, I’ll get purple strips at the ends of my hair? I wonder what my boyfriend will say about that.