Monday, April 9, 2012

Beauty Baggage: My Travel Makeup Essentials

I am high-maintenance. Let's face it, I am a diva. It's no secret around these here parts, and I own it freely. On average, it takes me about an hour and fifteen minutes everyday (if I have to go out) to get ready. Let me break it down for you. On a typical school day, I spend 15 minutes from the moment I wake up, on making my bed and doing a quick exercise routine as a sort of warm up, another 15 minutes cooking oatmeal for breakfast and eating it, and 15 minutes showering. That's 45 minutes so far. The remaining 30 minutes goes solely to getting made up and dressed up.

I was never the kikay or the girly girl, growing up. I went through all the awkward phases of being a pre-teen and a teen, and sometimes I feel like I still haven't quite outgrown all that--braces, glasses, acne, and body image issues. I only started wearing makeup late into high school, but only for special occasions and not on an everyday basis, because it was against school rules to wear makeup. And in my first until second year of college, I used only the basic products like face powder to keep my oily skin at bay and to look presentable. But after my TV Production class, where we learned how to apply makeup, that's when I started wearing makeup regularly and it soon became a pastime or obsession of mine. Now I never leave the house without makeup on. Not for the past year, I haven't. Like this blog, makeup became a means of expression for me. Aside from helping hide my blemishes, it helped accentuate my best features too. And so that's how I discovered the joys of makeup and beauty.   

But it's not only that. As a college student, it's not fun and games anymore, it's deadlines and papers and exams, and all that pressure can really take a toll. Eyebags, blotchy skin, breakouts, you name it, and college students suffer it, so aside from enjoying transformation by lip color or eyeshadow, makeup also became a necessity to compensate for sleepless nights. I remember that one time I posted a status update on my personal Facebook account sometime ago (though I can't seem to retrieve it now) and back then I was swamped with studies and at the end of my rope. I said that it's bad enough that I'm exhausted beyond words, I don't want to look like it too, and that I won't allow myself to look haggard. Makeup offers me a measure of control over my life, at the very least, over the way that I look, and it's a comfort to me knowing that even if I pulled an all nighter, even if my life seems to be on a downward spiral with endless schoolwork (I know I'm a drama queen), that a rosy blush will still grace my cheeks, a vibrant lip color will still bring life into my pale face and eye makeup will brighten my dull and tired eyes. Something along those lines. Basically, I feel better keeping myself up and putting in time and effort to looking good. I mean, I would feel worse if on top of all my school worries and concerns I looked like a mess too.

So, going back to how I got started on collecting makeup, I bought my very first starter makeup kit for my TV Production class, where we had sessions devoted entirely to makeup for TV. Even the boys in our class got a crash course in applying their own makeup. It was a lot of fun and I really miss my classmates because I'm seeing less and less of them. Our tracks or specializations take into effect after sophomore year and we take different subjects depending on that, and we only get to see each other in core subjects.

But that's another story. At least when we put together our makeup kits for class I had the foresight to take pictures. I put everything in a cute pink pouch.

















































I remember how daunting it was, shopping for makeup and not knowing where to start, not having any girly instincts. I'm serious here, I'm the eldest sister, but before this my younger sister had more makeup than I did, while I was the late bloomer. So yeah, it was my first time to go on official makeup shopping, our professor gave us a shopping list and recommended some brands, but I was a lost soul, swatching left and right and feeling like a fool in the cosmetics section of the department store. I came out of it alive, and the rest is history. Well, I still use some of my year-old makeup, but I probably should toss out some...

Anyway, enough about my humble beginnings in makeup, imagine, owning only one piece of lipstick! How little I knew back then. In the course of a year, I've experimented a lot, committed some boo-boo's and learned what works for me and what doesn't. I'm far from being an expert or a guru, I only know how to do my own makeup, and I rely heavily on tutorials for eye makeup because I am clueless when it comes to blending and creases and those stuff. But I've come a long way, and I just want to share it with the world, for all the late bloomers out there, it's never too late!

So there. Over time my makeup kit has grown exponentially. My lipsticks alone are over a dozen. Maybe to more seasoned makeup aficionados, that's still only a few, but from one piece of lipstick to nearly twenty different lip colors, that's already a lot for me. And from the pink bag I used to use, I had to find different storage. I'll tell you all about it another day.

Finally, I will get to the point (my blog's really living up to its claims of rambling), that when I travel I am always faced with a difficult time in taking only the must have's, the bare essentials, with me. It's so taxing, narrowing down my choices of lip colors, because I'm the type to switch lip colors every day, and I really put myself to the test, take it or leave it. In our recent trip to Ilocos, this task was before me. I spent some time deliberating on lip colors and whether I was going to bring eye shadow with me. I had to make some concessions and took only the following with me.
















Can you believe it, all of it except the black pouch of my makeup brushes and my sun block fit into the purple Kara Nina pouch? It's a tight fit, but it fits. I'll go into everything one by one because basically, this is my everyday routine that I can't live without, I just trimmed down the lipstick and eye shadow.

But before going into the makeup products I brought, here are my makeup brushes:











I have a lot more brushes at home, but when I travel, I take my Beauty and Minerals Charm Travel Pro v3 Brush Set because it has just what I need and it comes in a very travel-friendly pouch. Not to mention it's very stylish. I use almost all the brushes on a daily basis and I washed them right before the trip (which reminds me they're due for another washing). I bought this last October from Digital Traincase and six months of daily use later, they're still as good as new. As much as possible, I avoid mixing up products with a single brush, so I use the liquid foundation brush for my sun block, the powder brush for highlighter, the angled brush for contouring, and the stippling brush for blush. It's only the eyeshadow blending brushes that see the least use because I don't wear eye shadow everyday, and I didn't take any eyeshadow with me on vacation. The odd man out in there is my ELF Studio Line powder brush. I discarded the flimsy plastic packaging it came with and I just keep it in the pouch with the rest because there's more than enough room for it. I use it for powder foundation and setting powder. This set goes really nicely with my Old Rose Longchamp bag.

Let's go to the products:

IMG_0517First things first, after my skin care regimen(another separate entry on my list), the first step in my daily makeup routine, is applying sun block. This one I put in a zip lock for liquids in my carry-on luggage. I am using a 2-in-1 sunblock and primer, which is the Etude House Sun Powder Cotton Touch Primer Base with SPF 50. As the name suggests, it has a cream to powder finish and I use it under all my makeup not just for sun protection, but to help my makeup last. I don't retouch because I don't take makeup with me when I head out, except for lipstick, so I need a heavy duty primer for that. Not only does this offer high sun protection, it's great for someone with oily skin like me. For me, getting oily is only a matter of time, it's inevitable, it's a when, and not if, question, and this primer delays oiliness and helps my makeup adhere to my skin better. However, this has a slight lavender tinge to it to brighten sallow skin, so tanner people might look ashen with this.

IMG_0547 But the Etude House one is more a makeup type of sunblock for day to day activities. For traveling and outdoor activities like swimming, as I've mentioned in one of my earlier entries, I use a different sunblock, when I'm going to be under more sun exposure. And that's my Hawaiian Tropic Baby Faces and Tender Places Sunscreen. This is strictly for swimming and extended sun exposure and it's not really ideal for makeup because while it's not oily or greasy, the formulation is too runny to hold makeup, and coupled with my oily skin, the most you can do with this is powder your face with a translucent powder. This one went in my check-in luggage as per flying regulations because it exceeded 100 ml.

After applying my Etude House primer and sunblock, I apply my concealer to my undereyes and all my blemishes, using Nyx Concealer in a Jar in Fair. I bought this along with the Charm brush set, and at the time, it didn't occur to me that its tiny jar would come in handy for traveling. It does a really good job of minimizing my flaws. And really, I mean minimize, not erase. When I wear makeup, I still want my actual skin to show through, I don't want to look like a have a mask on, so I use makeup like this cream concealer sparingly, which is why, 6 months later, I've barely made a dent in it.










Lately, my skin has become more sensitive, and I found commercial foundations were aggravating my rosacea and acne, so I switched to mineral foundation and I have seen a vast improvement. I ordered a 1 gram sample size of Ellana's Intensive Coverage variant of Loose Mineral Foundation in White Choco Mocha just in late February and the saying a little goes a long way is so true for this, because I've been using it for over a month, and there's still so much left. It's so fine that a few shakes are all you need to cover your whole face. I top it with Krave Minerale's Oil Eliminator and Skin Hydrator which is 3 grams, in comparison. I use a cap from my old Nichido loose powder as an improvised mixing plate. The packaging for both is compact enough to easily squeeze into my travel makeup bag, however these two products are both loose powders though, so you have to be careful and close them tightly if you don't want any accidental spills.

IMG_0532 Up next, I contour, apply blush, and highlight, in that order. I use Nyx Powder Blush in Taupe to contour my cheeks and my nose just for a slight slimming effect. I also bought this along with the brush set and concealer. It's just right for my skin tone, all other bronzers I've seen have reddish undertones in them, and they would look muddy on me, or like I've smeared Milo powder on my face, whereas this gives a subtle shadow that looks natural on my fair skin. Another Ellana product I ordered is their Mineral Powder Blush in Fetish. It's my go to blush right now, so I chose it over all my other blushes to take with me. It's a very lovely light pink, and it gives me a healthy glow. Up next, I use the ELF bronzer in Luminance as a highlighter and it really makes me radiant. These three powder products are very lightweight and tiny, so they don't take up much space in my bag.

IMG_0534After all the face makeup, I do my eye makeup next, which consists of eyebrow powder, mascara, and eyeliner. I only ever use eyeshadow for special occasions and events, rarely for normal days because I'm really no good with eyeshadow. So I do my eyebrows first, using the ELF Studio Line eyebrow kit in Light. I have pretty dark and defined brows, so I only use a tiny amount to fill in the sparse areas, or gaps in my eyebrows. Then I curl my eyelashes with my Nichido eyelash curler and I apply my favorite waterproof black mascara, Maybelline The Hypercurl Volum' Express Cat Eyes Mascara. I line my upper eyelids with some Nichido Girl's Night Out eyeliner in Deep Blonde and I use a Fashion 21 white eye pencil for my waterline. The mascara and pencils are slim, and so is the eyebrow kit , so they aren't too bulky to fit in the small purple pouch, but the eyelash curler was a bit of a challenge. It's not exactly foldable so it was the last to go in the bag, and the zipper almost wouldn't close because of it, but a little re-arranging of the tiny pots solved the problem. Speaking of mascara, this is the first one that I'm about to use up, and it's gotten a bit dried up already, and I'm going to have to buy another one soon. I love this one so much, I use it everyday. It's perfect for my stubby lashes, and I really do achieve the cat-eyes effect with it.



Last but not least, the one lip color to sum up my Ilocos Experience: Nyx Round Lipstick in Pumpkin Pie. I bought this along with 5 other shades from Carefree Shopper and it beat out the competition by being nude enough to go with anything, yet still being noticeable. It's a peachy kind of color, but it's more pink than orange, so in a way it qualifies as coral. It's Summer in a tube, because you can wear really loud colors on your clothes, and still pull of a clean, polished face.


IMG_0548IMG_0549  But of course for the in between moments like a shiny nose breaking through, I had my handy oil blotting sheets. I go through about 3-4 sheets a day, using one every three hours or so because I have oily skin and I can't get rid of it, only minimize it and keep it under control. That's why I bought these dirt-cheap Finess Oil Control Sheets, that way even if I run out quickly, I won't feel bad, unlike when I tried the Clean and Clear ones that were so expensive. The end result is all the same, in the end it's just for absorbing excess oil and you just throw it away afterwards so why not buy a cheaper alternative, when it gets the job done just as well.

IMG_0545Before I forget, lip balm is also something else I can't live without, especially in the summer heat, and in my Ilocos experience, without ChapStick, my wind and sun burned lips would have been worse. I don't like fruity and tinted lip balm because that interferes with my lipstick, so I use the Classic kind in Spearmint because it leaves a cooling sensation on my lips.

Those were all the makeup products and tools I brought with me and used the whole duration of our Ilocos trip, so if you want to see the finished look, please refer to my previous posts.

To wrap it up, I believe you should always put your best face forward, and take advantage of cosmetics and makeup to bring out your inner beauty, but you should always shine through all of that, and at the end of the day you should still recognize yourself and not let the makeup outshine you, or in a sense wear you. That's pretty much my makeup philosophy, and as the Pixiwoo sisters say, "natural, but with definition."

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