Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Makeup 101: Mascara

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Mascara is a cosmetic commonly used to enhance the shape of the eyes by darkening, thickening, lengthening and define the eyelashes. When it is coupled with eye shadow and eyeliner, mascara glamorizes the eyes.

Mascara can be traced back to ancient Egypt in the form of kohl, which was used to darken eyelashes, eyes, and eyebrows. Through Egypt’s influence, kohl usage persisted in the subsequent Babylonian, Greek and Roman empires.

Makeup was considered unsightly and uncouth in Western culture until the Victorian era. During the Victorian era, social opinion shifted radically towards the use of cosmetics, and women were known to spend a majority of their day occupied with beauty regimens. Great efforts were made to create the illusion of long, dark eyelashes by creating homemade mixtures of ash or lampblack and elderberry juice and applying it heated to the eyelashes. The product that people would recognize as mascara today was not created until the 19th century, when it was invented by a chemist named Eugene Rimmel.


Mascara has various formulations, but all of them contain the same basic components of pigments, oils, waxes, and preservatives. It comes in three main forms—liquid, cake, and cream—and neutral shades as well as bright pastel colors.

  • Liquid Mascara – This version of mascara is the most commonly used and the one most of us reference when we talk about mascara. Liquid mascara usually comes in the form of a tube with an attachable wand applicator in the tube cap. It is the most popular and common form of mascara.

  • Cake Mascara – Cake mascara is mascara in a compact powder form. This mascara is applied with a brush that looks very similar to an eyebrow brush and is often more expensive than liquid mascara.

  • Cream Mascara – Cream mascara is mascara of a cream consistency put into a tube that comes with a separate wand applicator.


The key to selecting a good mascara is to find a specialized type for the specific effect you want to accomplish. The resins and waxes in a curling mascara lift and bend straight lashes, while a lengthening formula’s nylon fibers act as extensions on short ones. The brush also matters in determining the look of your lashes: if it's big and bushy, that's how your lashes will look. A brush with spiky plastic bristles separates the lashes to create a Twiggy-like effect.


For full lashes:

Use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara to help lift your lashes. Apply mascara to both the upper and lower lashes. Then, wiggle the brush of a volumizing mascara against the roots of the lashes and pull it through. Finally, swish your wand windshield-wiper style across your upper lashes to beef them up to give the eyes an elongated shape.

For length and definition:

Two coats of lengthening mascara—such as the Acymer Full Lifting Mascara—are a quick fix for a stubby fringe. Start by squeezing the wand in a paper towel. Apply to both eyes and let the mascara dry completely before your second swipe. Shimmy the brush into your lash line and swiftly pull it through the lashes to separate the lashes and make the eyes look bigger.

Makeup 101: Eyeliner

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Eyeliner is a cosmetic used to define the eyes. It is applied around the contours of the eye to create a variety of aesthetic effects, such as creating the look of a wider or smaller eye, and when it is coupled with eye shadow and mascara, eyeliner glamorizes the eyes.

Eyeliner was first used in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as kohl, a crushed black mineral powder worn as a heavy, dark black line around the eyes. The characteristic of having heavily lined eyes has been frequently depicted in ancient Egyptian art, and eyeliner has been thought to protect the wearer from the evil eye.

In the 1920s, the pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered, introducing the use of eyeliner to the Western world. The 1920s were an era commonly associated with many changes in women's fashion, and women were now able to apply makeup more liberally without being labelled as immoral.

In the late 20th and early 21st century, heavy eyeliner use was associated with the Gothic and Punk subcultures. Eyeliner of varying degrees of thickness were used by both men and women.

Eyeliner can be used as a tool to create various looks as well as highlight different features of the eyes. Depending on its placement in the eyes, eyeliner can be used to create different looks. Eyeliner can be drawn above upper lashes, below lower lashes or both, and even on the water lines of your eyes. Eyeliner is available in a wide range of hues, from the common black, brown and grey to more adventurous shades such as bright primary colors, pastels, frosted silvers and golds, white and even glittery colors.


Depending on its texture, eyeliner can be smudged or clearly defined. There are 4 main types of eyeliner available on the market, each one producing a different effect.

Liquid eyeliner like Acymer's Stay-in-place Eyeliner is an opaque liquid that usually comes in a small bottle and is applied with a tiny brush or felt applicator. It creates a sharp, precise line. Because liquid eyeliner gives a much heavier appearance, it is often only applied to the upper lash-line.

Powder-based eye pencil is eyeliner in a wood pencil. It is generally available in dark matter shades and is easier to apply than liquid liner, as it doesn't smudge as easily. Gives a soft finish.

Pencil eyeliner are eyeliner pencils that ease application and are great for beginners, as they don’t smudge as easily. They come in a wide variety of intense colors as well as paler shades such as white or beige. It is available in waterproof formulas.

Gel eyeliner is a softer gel liner that can be easily applied with an eyeliner brush. It can be precisely applied and is a hybrid of powder and liquid liner. Has great pigmentation and lasts long.


Tightlining is a unique eyeliner technique done by using eye liner tight against the water line under the lashes of the upper lid and above the lashes of the lower lid. Tightlining is a technique which makes the eyelashes appear to start farther back on the eyelid, thus making them look longer. Do not use liquid liner or powder liner for tightlining, as it will burn your eyes. Instead, use a gel or pencil eyeliner, preferably waterproof because of the liner’s close proximity to the water line of the eye.

Makeup 101: Eye shadow

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Eye shadow is one of the most beautifying cosmetics, applied on the eyelids and under the eyebrows to make the wearer's eyes stand out or look more attractive. Eye shadow draws attention to the eyes by adding depth and dimension and complementing the eye color. Eye shadow comes in many different colors and textures.

Eye shadow has been used for centuries in several civilizations across the world. In ancient Greece, eye shadow was called fucus, and Greek women wore shades of rich green and blue made from gemstones like lapis lazuli and malachite. Nowadays, although both men and women can use it, eye shadow is seen as a feminine cosmetic in Western society. In Gothic culture, black or dark-colored eye shadow and other types of eye makeup are popular with both genders.

Most people use eye shadow to improve their appearance, but it is also commonly used in theatre and on supermodels walking fashion runways to create a memorable and stunning look with bright, bold colors. The effect of a well-blended and well-chosen eye shadow creates a glamorous and captivating appearance.


Eye shadow is usually made from base fillers such as talc or mica, binders, preservatives and pigment. Whether the eye shadow is in the form of a powder, cream liquid, pencil, or mousse form depends on the waxes and oils used in the base.

Powder eye shadowIf you have oily skin it is best to stick to powder eye shadow, which is drier and less likely to crease on your skin. Dry eye shadows also give a natural, soft finish and are easy to build color with if using more than one eye shadow. Dry eye shadows are easy to apply and can have a matte or pearl finish. Powder eye shadows can also be cost effective because they often come in combinations where the colors complement each other, such as the Acymer 3D Dynamic Eye shadow.

Cream eye shadow – For people who prefer a shimmery, glittery texture that lasts long throughout the night, cream eye shadow is a good option. Although they crease more easily than powders and are moist on application, they dry to leave either a pretty matte or shiny reflective look.

Crayons and pencils Eye shadow crayons and pencils offer vibrant, light to full coverage color. They work as shadows or liners as well as full color eye shadows. They are also easy to apply because you don't need an applicator.

Matte vs metallic

Matte eye shadows usually come in powder form. Matte shades can create more depth and definition than metallics as they absorb the light. Matte shades are the perfect day time eye shadows, as they look softer and more natural than bright metallics. Blending two or more matte shades allows for a gentle but effective look. Matte shadows are more likely to hold together and can be transported easily. Metallics have a shimmery texture reflect the light and can be used as highlighters. Metallics are ideal for an evening or club look. Often, applying one metallic color is enough to achieve a stunning look.


Eye shadow can be applied in a wide variety of ways depending upon the desired look. Typically application is done using fingers or brushes. The most important aspect of applying eye shadow is blending well. Using a primer along with your eye shadow helps limit creasing in your eye shadow later. Always apply your mascara first. To minimize the mess of shadow application, use a firm, small brush rather than a fluffy brush.

Foolproof Facial Massaging

Facial massage is a beauty ritual that has been going on around the world for centuries, and its many anti-aging benefits including improving skin circulation, relieving muscle tension, naturally lifting the face, allowing beauty products to seep into the skin better and overall giving the face a rejuvenated, more youthful appearance. Although going to the spa to get a facial massage can definitely be rewarding, it can get expensive if done regularly. Instead, you can give yourself an at-home facial massage using a few tools and your own hands!


Facial cleanser
Massage oil/moisturizer
Your hands
Cucumber slices (optional)

      1)     Make sure your face is dry and cleansed before you start massaging your face. Cleanse with your facial cleanser, then gently pat dry with a facial towel.

      2)     Apply a light layer of massage oil all over your face so that your hands don’t stick as you rub them across your skin. Different oils suit different skin types—for very dry skin, choose argan or almond oil. For medium to oily skin, choose jojoba or a blend of jojoba and castor oil. Massaging your face without oil can lead to pulling of the skin, which can cause sagging and stretching.

      3)     Massage gently in an upward circular motion from the lymph area of the neck right under the ears up to the facial area. Do the cheeks and mouth area before the forehead area to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

      4)     To massage your forehead, massage both sides of your forehead at the same time with both hands. Start outwards near your temples and move gradually inwards toward the centre of your forehead, then back out to the sides. Do this for one minute. If you have fine lines, massage into them against their direction (e.g. if you have prominent horizontal forehead lines, you want to massage against them in a vertical motion).

      5)     An important area to concentrate on are the eyes. Massaging the eyes can help depuff puffy eyes (read my article Pulverize That Eye Puffiness! for more information on how to massage the eyes!) and reduce the appearance of crows’ feet and fine lines and helps ease the pain of eye strain. Use extra massage oil if your eye area is particularly delicate to avoid stretching the fine skin.

      6)     Massaging the nose helps relieve sinus tension and redness. Gently pinch the area at the top of your nose. Slide your fingers down to your nostrils. Do this for one minute or until the redness lessens.

      7)     To reduce stress and combat a headache, concentrate on releasing the tension from your temples and forehead. Use a corkscrew motion to massage both temples at the same time, moving in again towards the centre of the forehead and back out to the sides. Do this for one minute or until the pain subsides.

      8)     Follow the massage with moisturizer or a product such as Acymer Brightening Massage Cream, which serves to nourish and brighten the skin complexion after it has been massaged. Massaging the skin always allows products to penetrate the skin barrier faster, allowing more product nutrients to be absorbed.

      9)     For further pampering, lie down for about 15 minutes with cucumber slices over closed eyelids after you massage yourself. The cucumber slices help depuff the eyes, reduce the appearance of dark circles and soothe the massaged skin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Demystifying Beauty: Explaining Essence

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Essence is a word we hear being thrown around a lot in beauty circles, and it has caused confusion over the essence (pun intended) of its ultimate purpose in the beauty routine. I’m here to demystify your confusion!

Essence is a concentrate of ingredients for specific purposes. It is essentially the same as a serum, but is more lightweight and is less concentrated. Essence liquid is watery and very light, and each essence tends to have a specific texture. The formula can be more watery out of the bottle, or there is a ‘water break’ when applied to the skin, where you feel a release of hydration during application.

Essence is a staple part of the Korean beauty routine and was traditionally used after a toner to add another layer of hydration before applying serums. Because of its lighter consistency, essence is typically used in the day while a serum is used at night due to its heavier consistency.

At its core, essences are moisturizers; however they tend to have smaller compact particles and are lighter than traditional moisturizers. This allows them to get absorbed faster and more effectively into the skin. They also get absorbed deeper into the skin, allowing for more effective cell regeneration and reproduction. However, essence is far too light and water-based to be used as a substitute for traditional moisturizer.

Among the range of purposes an essence can have, whitening essence like the Acymer Niveus Brightening Esssence brightens the face, pore control essence controls and minimizes pores, and skin repairing essence serves to nourish, remove impurities from and treat damaged skin.

Essence is not to be confused with essence toner or treatment toner, a product that can substitute a traditional toner due to the body of its consistency and the hydration it packs. These toners are often thicker than typical toners due to their infusion of nutrients and anti-aging ingredients, but they should not take the place of your essence or serum, which has a higher concentration of specific active ingredients.

Before applying essence, cleanser and toner should be applied. The toner acts as a prep for the essence, helping the skin absorb the essence faster by forming a wet layer on the face. When applying essence, it is best to pat the liquid on the face gently with both palms, starting from the centre to the outer edges of the face. If the essence is concentrated for a specific purpose, focus more on massaging the essence into the specified area.

Overall, essence is a product used to target specific skin concerns. Although it might not be as essential to the beauty routine as cleanser or toner, it is a useful product for those who might be wanting to address problems like blackheads, uneven skin tone or large pores. If you’re in the market for one, be sure to be clear about the ingredients it contains and test it out to ensure it’s the right fit for you. Have fun and safe purchasing!

Demystifying Beauty: Explaining Emulsion

There are many new beauty products out on the market these days, and it can be difficult to keep track of them or even what their purposes are. Today, I’ll be clearing up the concept of emulsion.

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Emulsifiers are used in creams and lotions to mix water with oils. Since water and oil do not mix but stay separated, an additional agent (emulsifier) is necessary to form a homogenous mixture keeping water and oil together. There are 2 types of emulsifiers. Oil-in-water (o/w) emulsifiers keep oil drops packed in water, while water-in-oil (w/o) emulsifiers keep water drops packed in oil. W/O emulsifiers are used for a fatty feel (e.g night & sun protection creams). O/W emulsifiers are used more in moisturizing products (e.g. body lotions, day creams).

Emulsion is a water-based light moisturizer. It is typically used after a toner, but before applying any serums, essences or moisturizers. Scientifically, an emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally non-mixable. The liquids commonly used to prepare lotions are usually water and oil. Hence, some companies label their lotions and moisturizers as ‘emulsions.’

Emulsion is more commonly used in the day, whereas traditional moisturizers, lotions and creams may be used at night. As a light, non-sticky moisturizer, it absorbs into the skin a lot faster, and does not clog pores; hence it is very beneficial for people with combination or oily skin who don’t need a lot of moisturizing. Furthermore, as a light moisturizer, it does not give the skin the shiny or oily look, giving the skin a nice natural look. Emulsion can be applied below makeup or normal creams, making it an easy and convenient beauty product. If you’re just looking for moisturizing purpose, and you have a clear and problem-free, combination-skin or oily complexion, emulsion can be an excellent substitute for heavier moisturizer.

After cleansing your face and applying toner, apply emulsion to the forehead, cheeks, and chin, and spread it over the entire face. Work your way from the center to the outer edges of your face with light pressure from your palms. Focus on massaging the areas around the eyes and the mouth with your fingertips, as these are the areas you want to concentrate the emulsion on.

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If your skin is dehydrated and badly in need of moisturizing, apply a liberal amount of emulsion to the face and massage lightly all over to help speed up the absorption rate. Rub the forehead and cheeks in spirals and massage delicately under the eyes to de-puff and reduce dark circles caused by dehydrated skin.

Emulsions have other purposes than moisturizing, however. Products such as the Acymer Pore Minimizing and Refining Emulsion maintain healthy oil balance and tightens and shrinks pores, while other emulsions contain microbeads for exfoliation or seek to enhance skin immunity from environmental stressors and pollutants.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a light moisturizer that can work under makeup and doesn’t stick, emulsion may be an excellent option for you!

Demystifying Beauty: Explaining BB Cream

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BB cream is a relatively recent trend in the beauty market, but it’s really been around since its invention in the 1960s by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek. BB cream’s original use was to protect Schrammek’s patients’ skin after facial peels and surgery, but after further developments were made by Korea cosmetics companies in the 1980s, BB cream has emerged as an all-in-one staple product in the beauty routine.

BB cream stands for blemish balm or beauty balm, and is promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product that can be used to replace concealer, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock. It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer as a regular foundation, and under makeup.

Instead of offering multiple shades for different skin colors, Korean BB creams are designed to oxidize to match the user's skin tone, though the skin-whitening properties of the cream as sold in the Asian market are an important element in its popularity. However, since Western cosmetics companies began to launch BB creams in the Western market in 2012, more variations of color have been offered, and certain BB creams have been tailored for Western markets: Estée Lauder, for example, has not included the whitening properties in their formulation for North America. Some of these creams have been criticized for lacking the skin-caring functions that BB creams normally have, and for being no more than tinted moisturizer.

Korean women mostly use BB cream as an alternative to Western foundation, which tends to have very heavy consistency. The coverage is often mineral-based, and is intended to both cover and treat blemishes such as acne, sun spots and age spots. BB cream is also formulated to have anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effects. Some popular ingredients in BB cream are hyaluronic acid, such as the Acymer Brightening BB cream, Vitamin C and mineral oils such as jojoba oil.

To test out a BB cream, swipe the BB cream on the inside of your wrist—your natural skin tone—and see if it matches. Try out a bunch on the same wrist and select the one that most resembles your skin tone. To apply BB cream, squeeze a small amount onto your fingers and apply to the face in a gentle circular motion, starting from the centre and working your way outwards. This allows you to blend the cream into the skin for an even coverage. Apply a thin layer and wait until it absorbs into the skin, then add another layer if necessary. BB cream can be focused on areas of the face that need concealing (e.g. dark circles, acne), and can substitute for both a concealer and sunscreen, as most BB creams now come with an SPF level of at least 15.

Overall, if you’re looking to find an absolute “essential” product to incorporate into your beauty routine, BB cream is just that. Make sure to read the ingredients’ list carefully and test out the BB cream before purchasing, and stay away from those Western brands that only market BB cream as a tinted moisturizer and nothing else!