ELF Baked Highlighter: Blush Gems

Me: NC 40 Indian skin-tone. Normal skin. My skin is now veering towards dry because of that wonderful thing called age.

I like ELF cosmetics as a company and always up for supporting them. At their price point I can afford to experiment with their products to see if they work or not. Some hits some misses.

Anyway I saw the Blush Gems Baked Highlighter at Target and bought it.  Yes you guessed it right! The very same highlighter that everyone loves to hate !

So why am I writing about this one when Tati #glamlifeguru and co have already raved about how great ELF’s newer highlighters are?  Well that is because I have something nice to say and I want Blush Gems to get some internet-beauty-love.

I have been playing with this for over a month now and I feel that Blush Gems behaves like an affordable dupe for the iconic Hourglass Ambient lighting powders.

Placebo effect or not, I think these Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders do impart a creamy, blurring effect on my skin. When I dust DIM Light on my cheek bones it brings that area forward, ‘highlights’ it. When I dust the Blush Gems on my cheek bones it gives me the very same effect ! A subtle bringing  of the area ‘forward’.

There is a sheen but it’s subtle.

At my age I am not into highlighters you can see from space nor into highlighters that emphasise my facial texture or pores. So I like these powders that have an ‘age appropriate’ effect on me.

But bear in mind some housekeeping notes for the Blush Gems.

Take the top layer off: I took a rough-ish tissue and rubbed the top layer off. I did not use anything stronger. On Makeup alley people have said eyebrow spoolies etc etc. Nope just a rough textured tissue was good.

Use a stiffer brush: I always use my Real techniques contour brush for this. Or even those cheap(not soft or fluffy) blush brushes you get with palettes.Blush Gems (1)

Usage: Where I need a single tap of the Hourglass ambient lighting powder I had to use 2-3 good swipes with the ELF to get the same effect. I also buff the powder well onto my skin.

Skintone:  On my NC40 Indian skintone there is a subtle colour payoff.

If you are woman of colour I think  the colour payoff from the Apricot Glow or the Pink Diamonds might be stronger. A nice flush to the cheeks.

Blush gems doesn’t give me a flush just enhances it. A brown-gold sheen with a hint of pink, as opposed to yellow-gold.

What I mean by ‘yellow-gold’ is what Becca’s Champagne pop  gives off on my skin. Blush gems is not yellow.

For a $4 highlighter it is oddly without chunky glitter and suitable for work and/or in  the day while running errands.

NB1: I have not tried the Essence Pure Nude highlighter. This is the one EmilyNoel83 really likes but I am not sure if it will show up on my skintone or not. The way the description reads on Makeup Alley the effect seems similar to the ELF Blush Gems.

NB2: I dont really like the Becca Champagne Pop highlighter. It’s too ‘look I am wearing a highlighter’ for me. After I am done with my mini I will not re-purchase it.





Living in America: Sunny Seattle

I had two sets of guests visiting from Hong Kong over the 1st week in April this year.

Guests who came with a few pre-conceived notions.  Notions where you inevitably put ‘Seattle, rain and Twilight ‘ all in the same sentence. (thankfully they were unaware of Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway)

The last two weeks in March we had the most glorious weather, sunny and warm. celeryI was thrilled. ‘Oh yeah ! we (Seattle) will show you. You weather prejudiced people’

My first set of guests arrived 31st March. They left 6th April. The reception that Seattle gave them could only be described as…….COLD. It was actually a scene out of Twilight.Snoquo.001

I thought ‘you know what ? It’s fine. Spring is hit and miss’.  I had warned my guests and they took it in their stride.

However what really got my goat, and hence this post, is just when the Uber arrived to take them to the airport, out comes the sun blazing away merrily like it hadn’t let me down over for the past week.

Shortly after my first set of guests were well and truly on their way home, we went to catch up with our second set of friends over brunch.

It was so cold, we could barely say goodbye properly. No last minute chit-chat outside the cafe. We shivered, stomped our feet, hugged each other quickly and escaped into the warmth of our respective cars . No post-brunch walk around the neighbourhood as planned.

The next day they left for the airport….and……..guess what ? Yeah….sunny, warm, 17C/61F.

See the Needle ? That’s how it was when our friends were in town. Now ? Well what do you think ? Check those turtles out.Untitled.001

I am not complaining about the vagaries of the weather in spring. What I am complaining about is WHEN when the sun decided to come out.

Enroute to SeaTac International Airport…enroute to Hong Kong !

Seriously what is the point in impressing me, Sun ? I needed you to be there when my guests were here. To come out and STAY out, so I could show them the breathtaking beauty of Washington State. the mountains and the Eastside.

The only time they got to see Mt. Ranier was from the plane on their way back home!Rainier plane (1)

Oh well, rain, mist and we still enjoyed ourselves; Stuffed our faces with fresh oysters, gawked at the beauty of University of Washington, marveled the Snoquolmie Falls,  gazed in wonder at the Amazon Spheres, had a ball at Pike Place market, and most all was awestruck at the numerous cherry blossoms in full bloom.cherry blossom (1)

When you are from Asia whenever you think Cherry Blossoms, you think Japan !

Seattle ? Would have never crossed our minds.








Sephora 2018 Sale: Viseart Eyeshadows

ME: NC 40 Indian skintone. Small hooded eyes. 

Viseart. Pronounced vizy-art.  These eyeshadows are dope! The expensive, top quality, gourmet, ‘chef’s table’ kind of crack. They are cruelty-free and made in France. ….And they are expensive.

I have my eyes on the $80, 12 pan, Paris Nudes eyeshadow palette but literally can not justify it right now.

This year I spent around $160 dollars on hit and miss drugstore eyeshadow palettes and regret it.  Yes I know, I should have saved all that money and invested in Viseart palettes. Damnit!

The Viseart palettes are professional quality eyeshadows. Beautifully pigmented shades that are easy to blend. Even novice beginners like me can use these shadows and create the most glorious looking eyes, in minutes!

Nothing like the fiasco that ABH Subculture is, where you need a PHD in Beauty and a Yogi’s degree in Patience to use it.

These Viseart eyeshadows are capable of leaping out of their pans and applying themselves on your lids !

Currently I own only one Viseart palette. The Petit Pro 1.  I watched Emily Noel and Stephanie Nicole rave about Viseart and decided to take the plunge with a $30 trial palette as opposed to a $80 dollar one.

$30 for 8 mini pans. Thats a US 1 cent coin for reference. Viseart Petit Pro 1

The shades are described as Matte, Satin and Shimmer on the Sephora website but for me I label them as mattes on one side and shimmers on the other, and I use them as such too. Matte in the crease and shimmer on the lids.

VA Swatches.002
Mattes with their corresponding Shimmers
VA Swatches.001
4 Shimmers

These mattes did not swatch well on my arm but they are a dream on the lids and blend out in seconds! With or without primer. Probably some of the best mattes in the market today.

The shimmers are gorgeous. Like with most shimmers and/or metallic shades they apply better with my finger or my flat Shu Uemura eyeshadow brush. For a light wash I use my Wayne Goss 06.EyeBrushes

A point to note as far as the shimmers are concerned. These are not your out there visible from space shimmers. These are definitely pigmented but more of a quiet glam.

To me some of the ‘shimmers’ can behave like a ‘shiny satin’ finish.  Hope I am making sense!

What sold me to these Viseart palettes is the fact that these shimmers are ‘crepey-lid friendly’.  They give my lids a good ole pop of colour without emphasising the lines on my lids.

I have been bitten by the Viseart bug and I want more. So this month at the Sephora Sale I am definitely picking up the Viseart Petit Pro 2 palette.

Petit Pro 2.001
Petit Pro 2

The other one I am absolutely besotted by is the Paris Nudes palette but honestly at $80 I really have to think hard. Money yes, but I also MUST frikking hit pan and use up all the sh*t I already own.

Wishlist ESP.004
Paris Nudes