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BeautyJunkees Lipgloss
Despite my predilection towards luxe beauty brands, once in a great while I get smitten by indie or affordable brands that perform just as good sans the pricey tag. I love featuring BeautyJunkees for few important reasons (1) Julie, the brain behind, continue to improve her craft and expand her line. She listens to suggestions from beauty junkies like me and she's completely drama-free. If I take one or two stars off from a review, she does not take it personally but rather, she moves forward and never coerce me to change my views whatsoever (2) I feel confident recommending her products to my friends who are looking for affordable options. Her reviews from Amazon (non-bloggers) reflect how she conduct business vis-a-vis product performance. With that said, allow me to introduce to you the latest BeautyJunkees collection, these super duper (I know it sounds so over the top teenybopper) lip glosses which will make you say awwww they're so cute!
press sample
BeautyJunkees Lipgloss
6 fit in my palm, how's that for cuteness? Sold individually at $5.97 or as trio set at $14.97, they remind me of Buxom lip gloss in terms of formula and texture but without the sting. They're minty but very comfortable to wear. All six create a "hydrated look" effect and under certain lighting, my lips look plump and sexy (the way husband describes it). You can wear it alone or as topper for lip liner or lipstick if you may.
BeautyJunkees Lipgloss
They come in different shades which on swatch appear heavily pigmented like lacquers but when applied on the lips, all render a beautiful sheer finish which is great for neutral-loving ladies. Even Mint Charming (which has specks of shimmer) is so wearable for daytime. With this price point, hoarding is justified ladies! I love these lip glosses, they're now proudly residing in my everyday makeup bag.
BeautyJunkees Lipgloss
On Lips: Mint Pink Buff


Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist, Ecotools Define and Highlight Duo, Dior Lacquer Lipstick Lazy, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Golden Peach, Make Up For Ever, Microfinishing Pressed Powder
Time flies fast when you're having fun...and extremely busy! April was a combination of both, mostly work-wise hence I was not able to blog as much. But before anything, I am so stoked to share with you that I, together with Dr. Reed (owner and medical director of the aesthetic clinic where I work), will be appearing in several episodes of a local lifestyle TV show showing different procedures we perform at our clinic (i.e laser skin resurfacing, Sculpsure laser body contouring, Botox, etc). I will be posting bits and bobs on my Instagram so please follow me there if you haven't yet. Speaking of April, I would also like to share my curated must-haves, a.k.a products that I have used and worn so much the past month. And yes, it's a healthy mix of drugstore and luxury brands, here we go!
pr samples, affiliate links, own purchase
Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist
With so many mists and makeup setting sprays sold these days, how do you add one more to your growing beauty arsenal? Leave it to Pixi because they have a plethora of mists that cater to your needs. My recent favorite is no other than Vitamin Wakeup Mist. While this is marketed as a toner, I enjoy using it pre-makeup application and to set makeup post-powder application. For longevity, spray in between powder (i.e blush, spray, let it dry for few seconds, highlighter, spray, let it dry, etc). The subtle citrus fragrance is invigorating especially after being out and about and you need a quick spritz to hydrate your face. 
Ecotools Define and Highlight Duo,Make Up For Ever Microfinishing Pressed Powder
Another drugstore find, Ecotools fan brush is a must-have whether for highlighting or setting foundation or concealer with powder. I find that it picks up just the right amount of product hence cakey-look is never an issue with me. Just so you know, I don't bake (and you shouldn't too especially if you have dry skin, fine lines or wrinkles because you will only accentuate the problem areas). This fan brush came in a set from Ulta (the other one is sculpting brush). It's the best $11 purchase the past month!

I mentioned about TV appearance and so my beauty blogger makeup artist friend Norah suggested that I need to powder sparingly and make sure that I use HD (high definition). While I didn't end up using Make Up For Ever HD foundation because of longevity issues (I tried it several days before the big shoot), I fell deeply in love with the Ultra HD micro finishing pressed powder (yellow for medium skin). Applied with the fan brush I mentioned above, it sets my foundation (holy grail to-date Estee Lauder Stay In Place Double Wear Rattan shade) and more importantly concealer, like a boss. My makeup lasted way past 8 hours, a feat I must say!
Dior Lacquer Lipstick Lazy
Another favorite purchase is Dior Lacquer Lipstick in the shade Lazy, a stunning purple pink lipstick with balm-like texture. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this lipstick quite a few times. It glides beautifully and while it's not long-wearing as I would've wanted it to be, the reapplication was never a problem because it does hydrate my lips tremendously. The shade is great for daytime wear and flatters any skin tone in my honest-to-goodness opinion.
Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Golden Peach
Finally, let's cover the creme de la creme of my April best in beauty, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color in Golden Peach. I haven't really bought anything from Tom Ford because nothing quite excite me from the recent collection. However, when I went to Sephora few weeks ago to accompany a friend, I was totally smitten by this shade. I own several Tom Ford cream and powder and eyeshadow quads already so I was debating whether I should buy one or skip. But my impulse then was stronger than rationale so long story short, I caved in and couldn't be happier! It comes in a pot with the creamiest of cream, almost mousse-like!  Twist open the top and you are greeted with the most pigmented soft gold eye shadow which you can wear on its own or as topper to cream eyeshadow. My favorite way to apply the latter is with a flat eyeshadow brush then buff with crease brush to soften the edges. Then I apply the topper with pinky on the center of the lids for added drama. Together, they create a stunning symphony of colors perfect for spring and summer!
Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist, Ecotools Define and Highlight Duo, Dior Lacquer Lipstick Lazy, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Golden Peach, Make Up For Ever, Microfinishing Pressed Powder
Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist, Ecotools Define and Highlight Duo, Dior Lacquer Lipstick Lazy, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Golden Peach, Make Up For Ever, Microfinishing Pressed Powder
Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist, Ecotools Define and Highlight Duo, Dior Lacquer Lipstick Lazy, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Golden Peach, Make Up For Ever, Microfinishing Pressed Powder
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happiest tee, happiest in hawaii
happiest tee, happiest in hawaii
happiest tee, happiest in hawaii
I have been to many places, cities and countries but I am happiest in Hawai'i. I have always dreamt of living or retiring in the 808-state. Paradise on earth, three words to sum up the very reason I say so. That dream happened 10 years ago and now I am living the island life in all its glory.

Express your love for your happy place! This happiest tee* is one of the most comfortable apparel I own. Made in USA and eco-conscious, it is fully customizable and available in different colors and styles. Mother's day is coming up soon, why not give one to your mommy dearest?

*provided for feature consideration, affiliate links below

Other things that make me happy 

must-have makeup brushes, Besame Cosmetics Boudoir Short Hair Contour Brush, Beauty Junkees Pro-Duo Fiber, Sephora Pro Highlight
When it comes to makeup brushes, I go for multi-functionality and quality more than anything else. My top three must-haves are underrated because they are not widely talked about or raved at the moment. I have discovered and loved them by virtue of serendipity. Prepare to be entranced by their multi-functionality and perhaps thank me later.
own purchase, pr sample, affiliate links provided below
must-have makeup brushes, Besame Cosmetics Boudoir Short Hair Contour Brush, Beauty Junkees Pro-Duo Fiber, Sephora Pro Highlight
Besame Cosmetics Boudoir Short Hair Contour Brush ($48). Hands down the best foundation brush I have ever owned. While it's called a contour brush, you can use it to apply cream, liquid, or powder foundation. The shape and look of this brush reminds me of old Hollywood glamour. The short and densely packed synthetic bristles allow for seamless application and blending including under the eyes and around the nose.  I am planning to do a separate "face-off type post" comparing this to Artis Fluenta Oval 7 foundation  brush which costs $70 but let me tell you now, save your money because aside from the fact that the Artis brush (purchased from Neiman Marcus) is made from China (nothing against it but let's be real, you can get similar brushes at fraction of the cost), this Besame brush applies foundation way better than Artis because it has shorter handle which gives you more control as you maneuver it all over your face. 

Beauty Junkees Pro-Duo Fiber ($11.97). While it is best used for bronzer or blush, this brush which has long and short bristles arranged in dome shape is ideal for lightly setting the concealer under the eyes with powder for a cake-free finish. Mature ladies listen up, do not fall into the trap of baking your under eyes because this technique (as widely demonstrated by millennials all over social media) will only accentuate your wrinkles and fine lines. If you need to set your concealer, gently apply powder without going overboard and you need to use a brush like this that will pick up less product. Yes, less is more!

Sephora Pro Highlight ($28). Forget the good 'ol fan brush and get this highlighting brush if you haven't yet. The domed shape allows more precise application of luminizers whether cream or powder. The bristles are soft which make blending easy peasy.


Hello ladies! I have been quiet here on the blog this week because of my ultra hectic work schedule. But I don't want you to miss this amazing giveaway that's happening on Instagram right now. I have partnered with some of your favorite beauty bloggers and as you can see from the photo, one lucky entrant will have the chance to win all of these eye candies!
Anastasia Beverly Hills + Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit
Smashbox + Casey Holmes Spotlight Palette in Gold & Pearl
Too Faced Natural Love palette
Too Faced Melted Matte liquid lipsticks in On Point, Candy Cane, and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia
Sigma Ultimate Copper Brush Set
$200 Paypal Cash

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter and make sure that you follow all the lovely participating bloggers. OPEN WORLDWIDE! This is not sponsored or associated with Instagram, Paypal, or any of the brands shown. By entering you are confirming that you are 18+ years of age (or have parents permission). Void where prohibited by law. Once shipped, the sponsors of this giveaway are in no way liable for damaged or lost items. Once contacted, the winner has 48 hours to reply or they will forfeit their prize. Fake or giveaway-only accounts are disqualified from entering. Profiles must be public to be eligible to win. Giveaway ends 4/9, at MIDNIGHT EST. All entries WILL BE checked! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I use the word dupe with utmost caution and in my six years or so of active blogging about makeups,  I have not really encountered an exact, blow-by-blow similarity amongst all the products being promoted or claimed as dupe. For the most part, a dupe does not only translate to "cheaper" alternative. A legit one has to perform just as good as the product being compared to in terms of longevity, ingredients, formula, texture, color, even the way it is packaged. Dupe by definition is deception or trick. Now the big question, is Sephora Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation ($28, 2.5 oz) a dupe for luxury brand Dior Airflash Spray Foundation ($62, 2.3 oz)? Scroll down for the juice and scoop!
own purchase, affiliate links are provided. 
Dior Airflash Spray Foundation, Sephora Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation, Dupe Dior Airflash Spray Foundation
I love comparing ingredients because it educates me (and hopefully you as well) as to what goes in to the product I purchase with my own hard-earned money. I have underlined similarities for your better reference and judgment. I have tackled the active ingredients mainly to shed light on certain grey areas. I will devote another post to discuss common cosmetic ingredients so stay tuned for that.

Dior Airflash Spray Foundation: Butane, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propane, Nylon-12, Cocoglycerides, Sodium Lactate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Glycerin, Caprylyl Dimethicone Ethoxy Glucoside, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aluminum/Magnesium Hydroxide Stearate, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Stearate, Methylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Propylparaben, Fragrance, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Sephora Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation: Isobutane, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butane, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Peg/Ppg-20/15 Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-4-Isostearate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg 10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethiconol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Propylene Carbonate, Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Hexylene Glycol, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Corallina Officinalis (Red Seaweed) Extract, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7.

Butane or Isobutane: don't squeal in horror but this is typically used as propellant in aerosol products. Butane, isobutane, propane are colorless gases classified as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). While it sounds scary, these three have been classified as generally safe for cosmetic use by FDA and reviewed by the CIR (cosmetic ingredient review) panel. However, they are highly flammable so keep away your bottles away from heat, open flame, direct sunlight or any room with temperature above 120 degrees fahrenheit (50 degrees centigrade).

Cyclopentasiloxane: generally use in makeup and skincare because it makes the skin look and feel softer. It's a colorless silicone derivative which is synthetically-manufactured, it's cheap or more "cost-effective" from a manufacturer's standpoint. It's a bummer to see it in most high-end or designer brands. 

Color selection: Dior has 11 shades, Sephora has 13 shades. I have 300 Medium Beige for Dior (a close match) and Medium for Sephora (one shade darker than I would normally wear for my face).
Packaging: Both are canister-type. Dior has "something inside" probably a small ball which helps to mix the product. It is advised that you shake it then spray. Sephora is frill-free.
Type of mist: Dior propels fine mist which scatters very nicely on the skin. Done correctly, it doesn't even require blending (but of course I do). Sephora's spray mechanism dispenses more mist which deposits concentrated pigment on the center and diffused outward which requires blending.
Fragrance: Dior has a sweet synthetic smell while Sephora has faint chemical smell.
Amount of product: Dior has 2.3 fl oz, Sephora has 2.5 fl oz
Finish: Dior has a soft silky and luxurious finish. Sephora feels and looks more like creamy matte.
Oxidization: Dior did not oxidize on my combination skin, Sephora slightly did.
Wear time: Dior melds into the skin (layered with moisturizer and serum) nicely giving me a dewy glow 4 hours into wearing it. It has minimal fade or budge on the 8th hour. Sephora made my skin look oily in about 3 hours with noticeable fade or budge on the 8th hour.

So how do you really use this type of foundation then? if you like light coverage, spray few inches away from the face (6-8 inches); for medium coverage, spray into your brush then apply as you normally would with a liquid foundation.

Final verdict: No, Sephora is not  a dupe for Dior as clearly pointed out above. Sephora is an okay spray foundation, it's not the worst but it isn't revolutionary either. Dior is admittedly expensive so while I love it over Sephora, I reserve it for special or fancy occasions. Or let's be honest, in days I want to feel fancy, haha!

This is me feeling fancy in Dior Airflash. Yes my FOTD for a quick Target grocery shopping, because why not! Let's not forget Tom Ford bronzer (from Soleil palette afternooner) and Stila liquid lipstick (dolce) for full throttle fancy schmancy.


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