27 Feb 2009

My latest obsession

I know I'm super late on the Twilight bandwagon but I decided to see what all the hullabaloo was about and took the plunge. I did it all in reverse order, I first watched the Twilight movie, then read bits and pieces of Midnight Sun (which is basically the first book all from Edward's perspective and you can read it online on Stephanie Meyer's website - click here) and then finally decided to start things from the beginning! I'm currently on the third book, Eclipse. The picture above shows the sequence of the books in the order that they should be read: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn.

These books are really fun and very easy to read. Although these are young adult fiction, they appeal to all ages. These are definitely not the type of books I normally read but I am hooked and have to know what happens to all the characters.

If you're hesitating jumping on the Twilight bandwagon because you think you're too old or that it's all hype - don't! You'll miss out on some very good, page-turning novels. I thought they would be more cheesy and teen-y than they are. I am really enjoying this series, coming from someone who usually reads adult literature or non-fiction books! Now don't get me wrong, these don't make for intellectually groundbreaking reading, but I enjoy them and that's all that matters.

Expect to see a video of me rambling about the whole series on Youtube once I'm finished, where everyone will be able to participate and share their thoughts. ;)

26 Feb 2009

New column! Ask me Beauty

I want to announce the start of a new column on my blog, that my readers will hopefully find interesting. It will be a beauty advice column, where you - my readers - can send in questions to a special email address I have created. I will be publishing the best emails on my blog with my answer! I assure you that I will of course keep your last name and your email address completely private, or you can sign with a pseudonym. If you need advice on the topics of beauty, for example recommendations for a look, skincare, how to achieve a smoky eye, or even other advice on fashion, hair or whatever else you can think of, then please email me at this email address:

Please send your questions specifically for my column to this email. Your email will be published on my blog, but may be edited slightly by myself for grammar or length. Your last name, identity and email address will be kept completely private. If you include any pictures in your email, please specify if you want them published on my blog or not.

I get asked so many beauty related questions, and I don't always have time to answer them all. This way, everyone will be able to benefit, and I will try to answer as many of these questions as I can! (Please note that my advice will come as a peer, I do not claim to be a cosmetologist or doctor with a medical background. I will however do my best to research the topic to the best of my abilities, or pass along my own personal advice.)

Looking forward to your emails!


There's a thief on Youtube...

...stealing mine and other videos from makeup gurus! Very annoying!

Please flag this channel if you have the time: http://www.youtube.com/user/amyoren60
If you could also flag the stolen video as Spam or something else, that would be great, I already filled out a copyright infrigement form through Youtube.

While you're at it, please also flag these videos, stolen from Pursebuzz and Gossmakeupartist on Youtube, by seemingly the same person: http://www.youtube.com/user/anneuem

Thanks for your help! It makes me so mad that these people capture and re-upload videos that are made by the hard work of others! Why not just embed my video? That's what the embed code is there for!

UPDATE: Thanks everyone, Youtube removed my stolen videos! Please let me know in the future if you see anymore stolen videos rehosted on another Youtube channel (embedding my video on a website is fine.)

25 Feb 2009

NYX Haul! Round Lipsticks and Tinted Lip Spas

NYX Round Lipsticks & Tinted Lip Spas
I recently ordered some NYX lip products and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of these lip products. For mere dollars per lipstick, these are great! They NYX Round Lipsticks are cheap as chips and have amazing color payoff, though the longevity is definitely not the same as MAC or other higher end lipsticks. These are the type of lipsticks that you will have to reapply frequently, and for the darker colors, using a lip liner pencil might be essential.

The Tinted Lip Spas are wonderful, I got Sake and Juicy. They have a light menthol tingling sensation, but not to the point where it burns. I would compare these to MAC's tinted lip balms. They don't have a glossy finish, but leave a nice color glaze on those days where you want to keep things low key, with the added benefit that they are very moisturizing on the lips. They are great to just throw into your purse and use them essentially like a lip balm, but they add a bit of color as well. My favorites from this order are Sake Tinted Lip Spa, and the lipsticks in Thalia, Femme, Georgia and Chaos.

If you want to order NYX products online, I would try out Shop Craze or Ms.Cuppycakes for etailers, both ship internationally and have good prices. I ordered these through cherryculture.com and had to wait a month and a half for my order! Totally unacceptable, I never have to wait that long for orders from the States, so I do not recommend.

(please click for full size)

24 Feb 2009

Review: 26 and 88 eyeshadow, 28 blush palette

Please click the pictures for full size.

Finally I've had some time to upload pictures of the other 3 palettes that I haven't reviewed yet, including the 28 blush palette, the 88 matte & satin finish eyeshadow palette, and the 26 blush and eyeshadow combo palette. I've also added a picture (first one) of all my eBay palettes together, including the 120 color eyeshadow and the 28 neutral color palettes. There isn't a whole lot that I can add that I haven't already said in my previous reviews of these types of products. These palettes are all great bargains for the low-budget category, they are highly pigmented shadows and blushes mixed in with a few duds, that may not be the longest lasting cosmetics out there but they are a great bang for your buck. The blush palette is a bit harder to work with as the quality is not so amazing, but still a fairly decent purchase for the price. The size of the blushes in the 28 blush palette is the size of medium-sized eyeshadows, so you may need to use a smaller brush with it.

Which palette do you prefer, the 88 color or the 120 color?

I really can't say, it depends on your criteria. I would recommend the 88 matte and satin finish if you aren't too keen on lots of shimmery and frosty shadows. However, the 120 has a lot more color variety and I just like the colors that are offered more as there are some more unique shades. The downside to the 120 is that it's incredibly soft and the shadows are very fragile and I wouldn't really take this along traveling with me. The 88 palette is pressed a bit firmer so it would be more suited to travel.

Where did you buy these palettes?

I got all these palettes (except the 120 palette which was a gift from my sister) from THIS seller on eBay and had a very good experience. I highly recommend buying these palettes on eBay to get the best prices.

23 Feb 2009

Kate Winslet Oscar inspired makeup tutorial

I thought Kate looked beautiful and so elegant at the Oscars. According to a breakdown I found on the Internet, her makeup artist used mostly Avon and Lancome products, none of which I had, so I decided to improvise with my own products.
Ben Nye concealer, Revlon Colorstay foundation in Ivory, Revlon Skinlights (discontinued), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Blonde
Urban Decay Primer Potion, NYX Jumbo eye pencil in Milk, MAC eyeshadows in Solar White and Jest, MAC Vanilla Pigment, Ben Nye eyeshadows in Cork, Terra Cotta, and Dark Brown, Quo brown eyeliner, Ben Nye black eyeliner, MAC Brows pencil in Spiked, Essence Lash Mania mascara
MAC cremestick lipliner in Pink Treat, NYX Thalia lipstick, MAC Wonderstruck Lustreglass

17 Feb 2009

Video tutorial: Pink and Purple Arabic Eyes

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Without trying to toot my own horn, I personally think this is one of the best looks I have done to date. Recently I've been more adventurous and trying out some Arabic makeup styles, and this one is a bit more technically advanced than the green Arabic eye look I did before. I used THIS (CLICK HERE)picture as an inspiration, then adjusted it a bit to my own taste and changed the colors. If you're just starting out with makeup, this look might be a bit too difficult to do; but then again, you won't ever improve at makeup if you don't challenge yourself! I honestly never thought I could pull this off, but I did, so in a way this look was a milestone in honing my skills. This tutorial on Youtube shows you how to wrap the head scarf, also known as hijab.

Face: Revlon Colorstay foundation in Ivory, Ben Nye concealer wheel SK-II, 28 blush palette from eBay
Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion, Covergirl loose powder (for catching fallout), 88 eyeshadow palette (matte & satin finish), L'Oreal liquid eyeliner, MAC Brows in Spiked and a bit of black eyeshadow, black gel eyeliner from eBay, Maybelline white kajal pencil, NYX white eyeshadow, false lashes from eBay, Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara
Lips: NYX round lipstick in Georgia, MAC Lipglass in clear

16 Feb 2009

The definitive FAQ!

These are my most frequently asked questions on Youtube! Here are the answers. You can also find a more extensive and interactive Q&A here: formspring

Are you a professional makeup artist?
That depends on how you define it. I have done some freelance work in the past but don't do it anymore because I just don't have the time. I have a regular "day job" that has nothing to do with the beauty industry, and no, I will not list what that other job is. I am entirely self-taught and have never taken any classes or attended beauty school.

How did you learn how to do makeup, how did you get so good?
I learned by doing! I started out as a complete beginner and just taught myself by practicing lots! There's no magic recipe to get good at applying makeup. Always challenge yourself by trying out new techniques and don't be afraid to experiment, even if it ends up looking horrible! I picked up lots of tricks and ideas from Youtube and Specktra. I have been interested in and practicing applying makeup for about 6 years or so.

Please tell me how to start my career as a Makeup Artist - what schools do you recommend?
I'm sorry, I can't give you any advice on the industry, how to become a successful artist, or which schools to attend. I am not qualified to answer these types of questions and I never went to school for makeup artistry.

Where do you buy Ben Nye? Where do you buy your other makeup products?I order most of my supplies online, please click here for a list of recommended online retailers. I find accessories for my more extravagant looks at my local craft store. I purchase MAC at MAC counters, or swap on Specktra or Makeup Alley. I strongly advise against buying MAC or other high end brands on eBay because of counterfeit issues.

What foundation do you use and what do you recommend?
I use various liquid or cream foundations by Illamasqua, Lancome, Makeup Forever, Nars, and Revlon, depending on the look and finish I need. I used to use a mineral foundation by Alima before but have generally fallen out of love with mineral foundations. That being said, what works for me might be totally wrong for you, so please check out my Foundation Basics video to help you find a foundation that is perfect for your needs.

Where do you get inspiration from for your looks?
Everywhere! Magazines, makeup forums and communities, paintings, art, fashion ads, actresses, eras, etc. I like to take inspiration from different sources and then make them my own in some way. Carbon copies are dull.

Can you recommend a look for me? What makeup should I buy?
I'm sorry, I get so many messages, I can't recommend a specific look for you to match a dress, wear on a special occasion, etc. You should wear makeup that you feel looks good on you, suits the occasion, makes you happy, and that you can afford. I don't think makeup has rules, and I certainly don't want to limit my viewers by telling them what to buy and wear.

Can I make a request for you to do a video on?
Sorry, I am currently not taking requests, but I often get input from my viewers on Facebook.

How can I best contact you?
I have to warn you that at this point I am unable to get back to most people simply due to the high volume of messages and comments I get. I estimate that I get about 1000 questions, messages, emails and comments a day through my various sites. This is well above my capacity of replying back. However, I make sure to take some time to interact with my viewers on my social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, so please be sure to add me there as it's much easier and faster for me!

I sent you an message, why didn't you reply?
There's a chance your question was already answered in the information box below the video, or I already have a video up answering your question, or it is answered in this FAQ. You would be amazed how lazy some people are to look for the answer themselves and just decide to send me a message instead when I've already provided the information! Please use the Youtube search function on my videos to see if I already did a look you're requesting. Otherwise, please understand I get so many messages on a daily basis and I do this as a hobby in my spare time. I work and have many other responsibilities. I do not have time to reply to every single message and email that is sent to me. Sorry!

What is your favorite makeup brand?
I don't have one; no single company makes the best of everything, so I use everything from high end to low end. But generally, I frequently use products from MAC, Ben Nye, Makeup Forever, Illamasqua, Nars, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and NYX. I don't have access to all the products available in North America.

Where do you live? What languages do you speak?
I'm of Swiss-Canadian dual nationality and I currently live in Switzerland. I speak and write English, German, and French (a bit).

What camera / editing software do you use? Who makes your videos/pictures?

I'm a one-woman show, completely. I do everything by myself, from filming, to lighting, to editing, to taking all my own pictures. Here's what I use:

Cameras: Canon 600D SLR with variety of lenses, Canon HF S-21 Camcorder
Picture editing: Adobe Photoshop CS5
Video editing: iMovie for Mac, Final Cut Pro X

Are your nails real? What nailpolish are you wearing in a particular video?
Yes, my nails are 100% real, I've never had artificial nails (gels, acrylics, etc.) I use NailTek Foundation II to strengthen them and prevent splitting, Seche Vite Dry Fast topcoat, and generally just take good care of my nails. I have a video up where I show how I do my nails and apply polish. I always list the nailpolish I am wearing, both brand and colour either in the info bar below the video or on my blog.

What hair color do you use?
I stopped colouring my hair in February 2011 and haven't coloured it since. So what you see now is my natural hair color.

What music did you use in a particular video?
I always list the music I used, please check the information box for the artist and track name. I get most of my royalty-free music from ccmixter.org or incompetech.com to use in Partner videos, or get permission from the artist personally for copyright music on major labels. If nothing is listed, it's generic software music that came with my iMac.

How can I change the thumbnail on my Youtube video? How come your videos are longer than 10:00 minutes? How do I get a banner on my channel page?At the moment these features are only available for Youtube Partners, which I am. You can find out more about the Youtube Partner program and your eligibility to enroll here.

I have a cosmetic company, will you review some of my products on your channel?
Please send all inquiries of this nature to juliayoutube.biz@gmail.com and include a link to your website. I will not feature products that do not have a professional looking website and store (for example Myspace or Blogger.) Please note I have become very picky about which products I accept to try out as I get many requests of this nature and cannot or do not want to accept all. Sending me samples does not guarantee a feature on my channel.

Can you send me free makeup? When is your next contest? No, I won't send you free makeup, I'm not a makeup ATM machine. I frequently hold contests and giveaways on my Youtube channel so be sure to be subscribed not to miss out.

I hope that has answered some of your questions!

Silica powder - is it safe to use? A controversy analyzed

February 16, 2009

The latest controversy in Youtube-land is the whole debacle over Silica speheres powder which has been lauded by some popular Youtubers to be a much cheaper dupe of the Makeup Forver HD powder (100% silica powder). The silica powder is sold on Coastal Scents' website, as well as other online retailers such as TKB Trading, etc.

However, there has been some controversy surrounding this powder! Here is one video talking about the questionable nature of using silica powder for makeup purposes.

In addition, this thread on Model Mayhem, a makeup forum frequented by professional makeup artists, also discusses the topic. Makeup Artist David Klasfeld writes in conjunction to the silica powder sold on Coastal Scents:
What is sold to be used in formulation as is the case with this site, is often done so in presumptive accordance with appropriate manufacturing regulations (i.e. amount, concentration, method of application). This does not speak to its safety if applied directly or undiluted. For example, pure pigments that are used in formulating eyeshadows, can cause irritation, allergic reaction or dermatitis if applied directly to the skin. In this case, through continued use, you may be risking something more serious: Silicosis

I'm going to assume that Make Up For Ever has found some way to regulate particle size, etc. to prevent this from occuring with the continued use of their powder, but I would never, ever use something that wasn't designed with this as its intended use, like the way the HD Powder evidently was.
He then goes on to write:
What's important to note about this product in particular is that it's being sold as an ingredient, and not as a finished product. If you read the recommendations on the page it's all geared towards being part of a larger formulation (ex: "This can be used for slip in small amounts , oil control formulations of mineral makeup."). They aren't recommending that it be applied directly as a face powder.

Given what I know from the manufacturing side of the cosmetics, I personally wouldn't use any silica product with the potential to become airborne, and I definitely wouldn't recommend using the raw ingredient as a finished product.

As far as silica products that are sold for direct use, there's no reason to assume they're unsafe. Especially if a major company is marketing one, I would presume they took every necessary precaution currently known to ensure its safe use. If there's little or no potential for inhalation (i.e. liquid and creme formulations, pressed powders), then there's probably no cause for concern at all. But again, if you want to err on the safe side, then avoid it.
Kathy, the propriertor of Coastal Scents, goes on to call a loyal customer ignorant for spreading "lack of knowledge" on Youtube, and then posts this in response on the comany's website:

1. No, you will not contract silicosis by using cosmetic grade, fda approved silica powder by itself or mixed with other products.
2. Yes, the silica we sell, and the silica others sell, including companies selling it as a finished product are the same product.
3. Yes, all cosmetic silica has gone through special processing, just as the silica used by finished makeup companies, the same exact process.
4. No, Coastal scents silica is not any different than any other silica being sold on the market, we are not special nor should we be singled out.

You can read the entire stance of Coastal Scents here and I leave it up to you to decide if you want to use silica powder or not. I personally can only add that Coastal Scent's business practices leave much to be desired, to say the least! I feel they could have handled the situation much more professionally. You can read some more discussion on this controversy here, or share your thoughts in the comments!

15 Feb 2009

Pigments or pressed eyeshadows?

Some people prefer pigments or loose eyeshadows, while others prefer pressed eyeshadows. I personally prefer the pressed variety and here's why.

The argument goes that pigments, such as MAC pigments or other loose eyeshadows have better color payoff - as they are essentially pigments, or pure color. This isn't entirely true, since most pigments contain fillers which are necessary to help the color stick on your lid, add shimmer, etc.

So the statement that pigments as a rule have better color payoff is untrue. I have a large collection of MAC pigment samples and some full sized pots, and not all of them are equally as strong in pigmentation payoff. They suffer the same fate as pressed eyeshadows, while some have great pigmentation, others don't. I want to dispel the myth that pigments have better color payoff than pressed eyeshadows in general; I personally have some Ben Nye Lumiere eyeshadows that would blow MAC pigments out of the water.

There's also the messiness factor. Eyeshadows are easy to use and don't get all over the place, if they are of good quality. Pigments come in screw top jars, or sometimes the dreaded plastic baggies, all of which have the potential for messiness, spillage and fallout. That all being said, there are of course some stunning pigments out there, for which it is nearly impossible to find dupes for in pressed eyeshadow, and some pigment colors are also multi-usage.

So in conclusion, for me it's good quality pressed eyeshadows any day over pigments. What about you - what would be your choice? Let me know in the comments below!

14 Feb 2009

Cute Valentine's Day Manicures

February 14, 2009

Without a doubt, these are two cutest Valentine's Day manicures that I have seen! I am in love with them!

The first comes from fellow blogger Ms. Katee @ e-polishblog

And the second from Scrangie

Just gorgeous! I'm seriously lemming one of these hearts polishes but I've not seen them in Switzerland. I'll have to hunt around online to see if I can find something like this. It's too cute! Wishing you all a lovely Valentine's Day! *smooches*

8 Feb 2009

FOTD and Tutorial: Arab Eyes using greens

February 9, 2009

I hope you enjoy this Arab eyes inspired look! Products I used to create this look:

Afterglow mineral foundation - Cameo, Ben Nye concealer wheel, Ben Nye blush - Latte, Estee Lauder Shimmering Powder - Light Snow

Urban Decay Primer Potion, 120 color eyeshadow palette, L'Oreal Carbon Gloss liquid eyeliner pen, MAC Fluidline - Blacktrack, no name brand false lashes from eBay, DUO lash glue, Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara - black, MAC Brows - Spiked

MAC Myth lipstick, MAC Liplacquer - Babied

Thanks for watching and subscribing! Until next time...

Review: 120 Color Palette

February 8, 2009
I received this palette as a gift from my sister; it's the popular 120 palette available from eBay. (I don't have the link for the seller as this was bought for me.) I've been looking forward to trying this out since ages! This is a great bargain for those on a budget. It's basically an assortment of dime-sized eyeshadows in one convenient case. Here are my thoughts on this product.

  • very inexpensive! Available for anywhere between $20-$30 USD on eBay
  • wonderful color selection with bright, vibrant shades
  • 2 rows of neutrals, highlighters, monochromatic, 2 blacks
  • variety of finishes although the majority are shimmering
  • easy to blend
  • great pigmentation payoff for most of the eyeshadows
  • very compact so good for traveling and storage
  • Not all the eyeshadows are equally as pigmented or have great payoff, though that is fortunately the minority
  • These eyeshadows are very fragile and soft, meaning they are easily damaged and also cause some fallout during application
  • some eyeshadows might be damaged during shipping so I recommend insurance
  • lasting power not as good as high end brands
  • the "marbelized" row is pretty pointless though I'm not sure if that's worth mentioning
Overall I think this is a great purchase if you are starting out with makeup and want a large color selection for not a lot of money, or you are missing some shades and just don't want to shell out for high end. Stay tuned for some tutorials using this palette on my Youtube channel! (Click on the pictures for full size!) You can also see pictures of all 120 shadows swatched on Vintage or Tacky's blog.

3 Feb 2009

MAC: Creme Team, Grand Duos, Sugarsweet pictures

Bjooti.net has shared some new pictures from upcoming MAC collections on her blog. Click for full size.
Creme Team:


Grand Duos:
These upcoming collections look a lot more interesting to me than that over-hyped Hello Kitty tripe. Yes, I said it. I have to reserve the final judgment for when I see the collection face to face, but so far it's thumbs down to Hello Kitty for me. Everyone has been asking me what I think of the HK collection and honestly I find it completely snooze-worthy. Besides fancy packaging, there's not much excitement for me in the actual color collection. These upcoming collections have a lot more pizazz for me. For detailed information on all the upcoming collections, please check out Specktra.net.

Body Shop Wild Cherry

Mmmm yummy yummy! The Body Shop is releasing a new fragrance for their Body Butter line, just in time for Valentine's Day: Wild Cherry! I can't wait for this to be released. While I don't think that the Body Shop Body Butters are actually the best moisturizers out there, I am a sucker for their delicious scents, Moringa Body Butter probably being my favorite of the bunch.

The collection will include Body Butter, Shower Gel, Body Scrub, Body Puree, Soap, and Lip Butter, all available on February 4, 2009. Check your local Body Shop store for prices!

2 Feb 2009

China Glaze Summer Days collection

I have been so excited for this nailpolish collection since last year when I first heard about this on various nail blogs. Alllacqueredup.com now has some great swatches available on her site and I can honestly say this will probably be my favorite collection for the summer. I'm especially loving Orange Marmalade, Raspberry Festival, and Grape Juice. These colours are so much fun! I'll let you know when these become available on polish etailers, I'll surely be ordering a few, or maybe even all of them! Click on the pictures for super size.
L to R: Orange Marmalade, Cherry Pie, Raspberry Festival, Strawberry Fields, Grape Juice, Watermelon RindRomantique Collection (this was already released for Spring 2009)
1 Passion
2 Magical
3 Poetic
4 Delight
5 Emotion
6 Joy
7 Awaken
8 Adore
9 Cherish
10 Harmony
11 Admire
12 Devotion
Summer Days:
13 Orange Marmalade
14 Cherry Pie
15 Raspberry Festival
16 Strawberry Fields
17 Grape Juice
18 Watermelon Rind

Pictures courtesy of MrsFinley on MUA

1 Feb 2009

FOTD and Tutorial: Soft Natural Look

Here's a look I recently did using the palette I reviewed previously on my blog. I like the outcome, it's very wearable and natural looking for everyday wear, or also for work! Click on the image for full size.

You can also check out my tutorial for this look!

MAC Beigeing shadestick
28 Color Neutral Palette
Revlon Colorstay black liquid eyeliner
Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara
Afterglow mineral foundation - Cameo
MAC Blushbaby Blush
Rimmel lipstick - Paradise
Rimmel white eyeliner
MAC liplacquer - Babied

Catrice - Little Pink