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All things beauty and then some. Andrea Claire has been a hairstylist and makeup artist for 23 years now. A Canadian based in Singapore since 2007, she has appeared on Asia's Next Top Model, Yahoo Asia, Canadian Idol, So Chic and more.

Get Ready Girls Cambodia trip #3

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By Andrea Claire · January 9, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
In December I went to Cambodia again to teach one of my beauty workshops with the Riverkids Get Ready Girls program.

I made time to visit The Killing Fields this time.

A killing tree to beat children to their death. I can't even...

Victims' sculls sorted by ages and gender on display as a tribute and reminder to the many lives lost.

I watched The Killing Fields just prior to my third trip too. I am doing my best to educate myself on the history and current tone for the families in which i am trying to help.

I've been trying to reach out to others who are doing the same be it individuals or organizations. It's not as easy a task as I thought.

In my efforts of trying to network and meet people in Cambodia, either for insight or with similar intentions I was introduced to a man who owns many businesses there who was happy-ish to sit and chat with me about it all.

It was an interesting conversation that I had with this business owner in Cambodia, also foreigner to the country. With 11 years previous NGO experience he is, admittedly jaded. 
He expressed to me that although admirable, coming to Cambodia to teach to the youth at risk in the slums seems to be a waste of time. 
What are the intentions? What do I hope to achieve? Was it just a feel good project?
Great questions. Intentions - well, of course to provide an education to these girls to empower them. Give them hope and show that people do really care. Feel good project? That was not even in the cards for me. I knew that I wanted to dive further in from the beginning and with each trip I make, I feel more committed. As I've mentioned in previous posts - Riverkids and I want to start a beauty school.
He believes that it will take centuries to build a proper middle class which would be the answer to a better Cambodian economy. He added that although I have good intentions, he feels that myself and others doing similar projects are a waste of time.
So... What was he saying?! Give up? Why teach when this generation may not reap the benefits?
He criticized my sharing experiences and talking to people about how they can help. He believes it creates an added risk. If the global population hears that a blind eye is often turned away from crime in Cambodia then telling people attracts them. Which is why I've taken so long to write this blog post.
He also criticized the hair and makeup / massage industry. Said it becomes an added service to the list of services that some of the girls potentially offer already; that hair, makeup / massage industries are generally known for added services considering the intimacy of the service. I can say that in 23 years I have never added 'extra services'.

I shared our conversation with my husband who poked a very big hole in this man's theory: most of the clients are women and what I have set out to teach these Get Ready Girls doesn't include services for men. 

This businessman based in Phnom Penh also shared with me a story about somebody in Cambodia that runs a bar with a high prostitute rate and other illegal activities. A French film crew came in and apparently gave so much press to this guy trying to paint him as the pig that he is and instead of condemning him, it made him more popular now a tourist destination. Kind of reminds me of the ping-pong girls in Thailand -I have never seen that but sure have heard of it and know people that go and want to experience witnessing this kind of show - so maybe there is truth to his belief that sharing crime info attracts scumbags? What to do?
Do you then sweep everything under the carpet or do you actually try to help out? Isn't education the key to advance economies? 
Is he right that sharing information about crimes that take place in Cambodia are educating scumbags as to where you can go and do it? 
He says that there is a children's brothel in Cambodia and fears that sharing the information creates more of a demand; that the American way is to swoop in and remove the children but the problem with that is a new batch of children are abducted or bought to replace the ones who are 'saved'. 
Frankly, shutting it down and tossing the people running the place in jail should be what happens.
If we ignore the crimes against women and children, they won't go away. I am no expert. I don't have the answers. 
Year zero was 1979 for Cambodians. We are about to embark on 2014.
My most recent trip was in December. Melville Pepino and MAC Cosmetics sent products in support of education and training for the Get Ready Girls. 
As I have mentioned previously, the goal is to get a beauty school up and running in Phnom Penh. I have heard of one up and running in Siam Reap apparently started by a woman who was once in the sex trade in Cambodia. I am very interested in talking to her.
Educate. Empower. 
I had mentioned Kiva micro-financing to the Get Ready Girls as a goal that they can aspire to. I have tried to connect with Kiva to get more information. How do women who have little to zero ways of connecting over the Internet actually reach them?
According to the businessman I spoke with, he believes that a loan for schooling is better vs free college as it shows you who are the more serious students. They then feel more empowered without a simple handout. If I'm not mistaken, the country he is from offers free education including the university years... hm....

All I can say is being with these girls for a few days showing them an alternative career, having their families support their education, not financially but not selling them either - I see joy on their faces.

The girls rock at braiding so I was showing them various other updos, hot pin curl sets and cold sets.

I truly love these girls. A few of them had returned from my previous workshops as they do want to proceed with a hairstyling / makeup artist career.
If you are eager to help or have some input please don't hesitate to message me privately or in the comments below.

A pile of thank you letters from the girls along with hugs and tears.

I'm not done. My goal to have a beauty school is still very much alive.

And my thanks goes out to Blue Lime boutique hotel in Phnom Penh, MAC Cosmetics for your continued support and to Patrick Melville salon in New York!!

Read about my previous trips here.

Riverkids also teaches sewing. Read more here.

VLOG || Bintan, a review of Mayang Sari's rustic cottages

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By Andrea Claire · January 8, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

This weekend we had a little vaca getaway at Mayang Sari, the rustic cottages nestled in the grounds of Nirwana Gardens. Their down to earth, friendly staff and comfortable rooms without being swish is what will have me returning time and again. We stayed in Stingray 1 & 2 after a complimentary upgrade from the Nirwana Beach Cabanas. The cabanas were a few minutes walk away from the beach, not actually on the beach;  our friends were staying in the cabanas and were completely happy there. Tucked back about halfway between Mayang Sari and the main Nirwana resort.

Zoie was thrilled with herself that she could unlock the door. At 5 years old, that's quite a feat.

We made our way to the pool one day. It's just as any resort you'd imagine, swim up bar for mocktails and cocktails. My cocktail seemed to have been free-poured as it was delicious but also found its way straight to my head. For all those places you visit and complain that the alcohol is watered down, this would not be the case here.
I needed to soak up the booze stat. I guess I'm a light-weight now. Trying the poolside restaurant I'm told they weren't serving food as they were preparing for dinner - that was a little annoying as it was 3 pm and when you are on a vacation it is nice to be able to order food poolside. So I ventured upstairs to Dino Bistro where the menu had some creative Western options. I would recommend avoiding the Western-type food unless you like nacho chips with bolognese - the Mexican with an Italian twist sounds interesting but what it actually tasted like were stale chips with sweetened spaghetti sauce. We also tried a grilled cheese sandwich done on buttery tomato focaccia - sounds delish right? Although not horrible, the description was worlds better than the actual sandwich itself. 

However, Baan Aarya, the Thai restaurant located at the Indra Maya pool villas is amazing.

The Kelong Seafood restaurant was not on my list to go to. I don't eat seafood but I was one out of the ten of us so I was a little outnumbered and frankly - the word seafood is misleading as there are many other dishes to choose from. We ordered about ten+ dishes and shared them. Those who ate seafood raved about it and the food I ate was extremely good! Bonus: the restaurant is built on stilts so you are eating above the sea too. 

RIN, Japanese is another fare that I can't say is on my list of favourite foods to eat but again, I am outnumbered. The food was good. I would have been happy to visit the Thai again.    


The spa huts where I had my Royal Javanese lulur and hair ratus were set back off the main spa are heaven. If you are staying here a spa visit is a definite must-do.

I returned with Zoie for a mommy and me spa treat within the main spa and at times I was distracted out of my ohm state because people were conversing loudly outside the room - but then again I would pull myself out of my ohm state to take these totally adorable/creating a monster photos.

This was our second visit to Mayang Sari; the first was in 2008. The Spice Restaurant located at Mayang Sari was exactly as I remembered and is in need of a little reno. The food is pretty good, not mind-blowing but then again, I'm pretty sure Mayang Sari is not expecting your mind to be blown. The satay is really good, the breakfast buffet is just as you need: eggs as you like them, pancake/waffle station, Eastern fare, pastries, fruit etc...

The beach we pretty much had to ourselves.

View from the Spice Restaurant.

I've stayed at the Banyan Tree, Angsana, Bintan Lagoon Resort and Mayang Sari. My first choice with family is still the Mayang Sari and if my husband ever wishes to take me to the Banyan Tree again I won't say no. 

This is another one of my accidental photography pieces. Using a macro lens I zoomed in on a jellyfish. Beautiful colours, right? Nature is amazing!

Why this video (refresh if you don't see it) on my computer shows as high quality but gets pixelated when I load it to youtube I'll never know. It's one of life's mysteries.

*restaurant images are taken from the Nirwana Gardens website.

Most bizarre beauty treatment I've had yet

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By Andrea Claire · January 5, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Staying st Mayang Sari within the Nirwana Gardens resort compound brings back many memories. Zoie was about 2+ months old at the time when we stayed here.

Zoie is a little bigger now.

The rustic cottages, sandy beaches, friendly staff, restaurants a-plenty and a spa. 

Perfect for this Princess.

i love the spas in Asia. Every treatment starts with a variation of a floral foot bath.

The Anindya Spa has gone under some renovations since I was here last; still with the various traditional services but now the building has been upgraded.

I started with my favourite treatment EVER - the lulur. A Javanese royal body treatment that consists of a massage, scrub, masque and finishes with an herbal bath. Curcuma / turmeric is the main spice used and is known for its many healing powers such as being a natural anti-inflammatory as well as it treats skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It is also an anti-oxidant.

**if you don't see the video here please refresh the post title.

Next up: Hair Ratus (see the Instavideo) is a vapour treatment to enhance the beauty and strength in your hair. Herbs are placed into a burner and the vapour smoke works it's magic winding around hair strands as the spa technician gently lifts your hair, section by section. I'm trying to decide if my hair smells of herbs or chicory bbq ribs. There's no wrong answer here. 

When I was googling the Ratus treatment it was hard to find a lot of information about it. What I did find were a few pieces on the vagina Ratus; a pre-wedding treatment to beautify and disguise odours. 

There is also a kids spa treatment for a lovely mommy and me time. 

Yes we did.

[Do check back as I will be reviewing the rest of our stay here.]

Beauty Lust Haves || concealer, brightener and finishing powder 2013 roundup

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By Andrea Claire · January 2, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Eye brightener vs concealer causes confusion in many.

Here's the thing:

* If you look a wee bit tired, not full of dark circles, then an eye brightener may be all you need. 
* If you have dark circles, sunken eye sockets, scars, acne etc... then you may need concealer or possibly both 

Conceal first then foundation? Only if you're doing makeup in the 80s or going on stage.

Generally when you conceal first you are putting on too much makeup. Foundation formulas are so good now with many having a blurring effect to soften fine lines and cover imperfections, so the modern approach to concealer is to apply after your foundation, but only if you need it. Some chose concealer for touch-ups leaving the skin free of foundation. That's fine too.

Speaking of 80s; sculpting and highlighting a la the Kardashians is not a new technique. It's what us makeup artists learn - of course it's done well on them, but they aren't doing it themselves, and this flawless sculpted look is super high maintenance makeup. Sure, you can learn to DIY but bear in mind, it translates better on film than in real life so if you are starring on a (sur)reality show being followed around with LED lights and wind machines, then why not; sculpt and highlight away.

Of course a less cake-face way of doing it that beautifully translates to reality is to use a bronzer, blush and highlighter which is subtle but with enough shaping for selfies and buying groceries.

Concealers. Every company makes one and with my career spanning 23 years and still counting, I finally find a concealer that I like love.

Benefit Fakeup Concealer $24.00 by Benefit at Bloomingdale's

This hydrating crease-control concealer with Vitamin E and apple seed extract-hides dark circles and diffuses fine lines for a silky smooth, ultra-natural look. Yes, yes and YES! I love the coverage. It lasts as long as I need it too. You can reapply in the day without it creasing or caking. The downfall, it's available in only three shades which aren't fully universal.

Benefit Oh La Lift Eye Brightener $22.00 USD at Macy's

An instant under-eye brightening boost. One of the most sensitive areas to stress: your eyes. Relief is in sight with Ooh La Lift-a formula of lightening botanicals and reflecting pigments that de-puff and firm the eye area. The great news is that it can be worn throughout the day and over makeup.

So, yea, what they said. I also like it around the laugh-line area to brighten and diffuse the deepening signs of aging. Laugh-line and funny bones; not so humourous.

Saint Laurent Touche Eclat $40.00 USD at Barneys New York

Light, luminosity, radiance. The award winning, must-have, take anywhere instant highlighter that banishes shadows, erases signs of fatigue and leaves your skin looking radiant. Touche Eclat is ideal at any time of the day over bare skin, under or over foundation, creme or powder. Suitable for all skin types.

See! Not once did they use the word concealer in their description. This not a concealer wand is handy though. Everything it is you can pretty much get the same with the aforementioned - so just pick one. I have both but then again - it's my j-o-b.

Master corrector $37.00 USD at Giorgio Armani

Corrective concealer in four color-balancing shades designed to target specific complexion concerns. Exclusive micro-fil technology allows for targeted correction, visibly concealing imperfections while light-reflecting pearls impart a halo of light imparting a seamless, flawless facial canvas. Corrective concealer shades include:

  • 1. pink: counteracts sallow, dull skin and effectively corrects yellow and olive pigmentation.
  • 2. orange: targets olive or darker skin tones to conceal under-eye circles, freckles, dark spots and hyper-pigmentation.

Here's the thing with the Master Corrector - if you have dark panda eyes - get this. Apply it under your foundation. Mircle in a tube. Don't thank me, just send flowers.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage $32.00 USD at Neiman Marcus

Secret Camouflage contains a unique two-shade system, one to match the skin's depth of color and one to match the skin's undertone, making it possible for every woman to custom-blend her own perfect shade. The high level of pigment requires very little product to achieve perfect coverage.

  • After applying foundation, pick up the product with the Secret Camouflage Brush by dragging across both pans, saturating both sides of the brush.
  • Using the back of your hand as a palette, use the brush to warm and mix the two colors until you find the shade that matches your skin tone. Secret Camouflage is a true makeup artist's formula, so the more you work with the product the more easily you will be able to achieve perfect results.
  • Using feather-light strokes, apply Secret Camouflage to the darkened areas of the face: blemishes, shadows, scars, capillaries, the area around the nose, shadows under the bottom lip, and any imperfections that the foundation does not cover.

*Notice that final sentence: "any imperfections that the foundation does not cover" What I said above. Now, LM does mention using this under the eyes. I personally find this product way too drying and anyone that applies it I can see the creasing. In my opinion, it's better used for covering acne scars and mountainous oily zits because of it's dry texture.

LAURA MERCIER Secret Brightening Powder

$24.00 by Laura Mercier USD at SpaceNK

I have never been a powder fan. OK, maybe when I was in high school; but this 80s New Waver used so much CoverGirl compact powder that my face cracked and bled one night. True story. Horrified with what powder did to my skin, I've stopped using it and highly encourage others to take a pass as well.

But.... This (insert arrow pointing up). Shared with me via Dee Daly (who was once one of my assistants many moons ago, and now that girl's portfolio rocks like the rockstar that she is)

Dark shadows are a thing of the past when you use this weightless powder. The micronized pigments brightens and doesn’t settle into fine lines or pores. Do NOT apply it all over your face but I do like it on the highlight points as well. They say that it's formulated for all skin types but it will lighten on darker skin a little too much so be careful. Also - skin types doesn't say skin tone to me. Type would be oily, dry, sensitive. Tone is the darkness/lightness and cool/warm. Watch for your product's beauty wording so you don't get suckered in.

Transparent Finish Powder - Clear $28.00 by Alison Raffaele at DERMSTORE

A lightweight finishing powder for setting makeup and controlling shine. Alison Raffaele Transparent Finish Powder - Clear

See that word 'Clear' ? Yes. It is. Faz and I prove it here on xovain It's finishing which means the final step before you move on to colour. However, if you use a cream blush I would apply that under your foundation or just before your setting powder. I'll get to that and more in the next beauty roundup.

Beauty Lust Haves, 2013 roundup or click directly to the roundups on:


Primers and Foundations 

Beauty Lust Haves || primer & foundation 2013 roundup

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By Andrea Claire · January 1, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

hair & makeup by me for Bazaar (Singapore), styling Alli Sim
photographer Jingna Zhang

Many artists become known for various traits of their expertise and one that I commonly hear back about myself is my detailed attention to skin and my ability to create a flawless finish. A flawless finish isn't only in the hand of the artist but also the products used. Skincare plays a huge part of course, but the next few steps are crucial too.

I'm sure by now many of you know that if you want your makeup to last, you need to use primer; Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer SPF 30 $48.00 USD at Ulta. Skin Perfect Primer is one of my faves because the active ingredients are pharmacy grade which means the actives are more powerful providing added skin treatments versus a simple cosmetic primer.

Velvety silicones create an instantly smooth surface. Peptides and Age Smart actives help firm and shield against MMP and free radical damage, as sunscreens shield against sun damage. Wear alone over your moisturizer for visible smoothness and luminosity, or after moisturizer application and before foundation to help fill fine lines for a lasting makeup finish. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colors.

Nars Light Optimizing Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 $34.00 at Barneys New York

This NARS primer I've used many times as well. It's radiance under makeup is beautiful without looking shiny. There's a difference between radiant skin and shiny skin. This is a great primer to use when you're looking tired and puffy - either after a night of indulgence or hard work keeping you up to the wee hours.

Primed. Revived. Radiant. NARS Light Optimizing Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 dramatically extends and transforms the appearance and vibrancy of makeup. Weightless and oil-free, it minimizes signs of fatigue to leave the skin luminous and revived. Get primed for a vibrant complexion.

FACEatelier Ultra Foundation will forever make this list. Do you live in Asia? It's on sale here.

Ultra Foundation is a silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long.  Hydrating yet oil-free, it obscures tiny lines and pores to ensure a smooth finish.  No primer needed!  It's built into Ultra Foundation, thanks to the super sophisticated, silicone-based formula.   Another bonus - it sets without powder, preserving the youthful, dewy finish.

The silicone molecule is bigger than the human pore, allowing Ultra Foundation to form a lightweight, breathable second skin that is both moisture and oil resistant.  It is truly non-comedogenic and is ideal for troubled or mature skin. Ultra Foundation's top-secret formulation creates an optical blurring effect that diminishes fine lines and wrinkles and gives the illusion of a smoother, more uniform and naturally dewy finish.  No wonder it's the foundation of choice for stars like Fergie and Lady Gaga! FACEatelier.com [and I confirm every word. Nothing but LOVE for FA]

MAKE UP FOR EVER Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation $36.00 USD at Sephora

This liquid is shine controlling, oil-free and water-resistant. Formulated to hide imperfections, even out skintone, and mattify with a non-oily, perfectly powdered finish. The result is flawless and lasts for hours. I've started using this recently and although it has a complete coverage it doesn't feel heavy on my skin.

TIP! In the digital world where everyone seems to have become paparazzi, you need to be flawless for those surprise tagged photos that you wake up too. Balance your foundation's finished look by using MAT Velvet in the T-Zone and your other fave foundation everywhere else.

Yves Saint Laurent Youth Liberator Foundation SPF20 $69.00 USD at Neiman Marcus

Youth Liberator Serum Foundation offers medium-to-full coverage and skin-firming benefits which now at the young age of 42 I need to reap. With its 24-hour hydration and SPF 20 coverage you can look dewy and flawless as the fine lines start to dig deeper. I bought this recently at Changi airport enroute to Cambodia. Flying out? Check your airport's Duty Free shops. Many beauty counters offer travel-only deals that are worth perusing. 

This anti-aging foundation is infused with our award winning serum, Forever Youth Liberator Serum. Youth Liberator Serum Foundation combines 24 hours of nonstop hydrating properties to smooth and nourish the skin with our patented Color Tune-Up Complex to correct dullness giving you a newer, brighter complexion. From fair to dark complexions, Youth Liberator Serum Foundation corrects, unifies and evens all skin tones, giving the skin an instantly younger appearance.

Available in 10 universal shades. SPF 20 broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

Illuminating Powder Foundation Refill - 20 Watts $28.00 USD at DERMSTORE

It's no secret that I'm not a pusher of powder. The dangers of powder on the skin can leave your looking chalky and full of lines. True story: us makeup artists, when on a job where we need to age someone by a few years we simply add powder. So with that being said, I also need to be up on various products that suits everyone's needs. The only powder that I've stumbled upon so far that I love - this Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation, a silky, lightweight powder that conceals imperfections and illuminates the skin.

Tip: Just like liquid foundation, you shouldn't be reaching for your powder foundation for touch-ups throughout the day. Instead, touch-ups should be with a blot film ( to control oiliness) or a skin brightener (revive tired skin). Foundation should only be reapplied if you have the flu and just snotted off your foundation or post make-out session. 

What's your go-to primer or foundation?

Review my complete Beauty Lust Haves 2013 roundup here.

#AZMondayMakeover || Weiling, undergrad

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By Andrea Claire · December 31, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

*If you don't see a video above here, please refresh the post title

Our final photoshop-free #azMondayMakeover of the year! Yes, it's Tuesday in Asia but we are sliding in under the North American timezone somewhere that keeps us in the Monday realm.

Weling is our youngest yet at 19, and how fitting for the end of 2013 as she wraps up her gap year to enter a law program in 2014!

Good luck Weiling and thank you for joining Zurina and I for our makeover series!

Weiling's makeup breakdown

When you have the youthful glow like Weiling a heavy coverage of foundation is unnecessary. The modern BB creams like MAC's  Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact SPF 30  is perfect. $30.00 USD at M·A·C. Creamy emollients and optical pearl pigments blend with powerful SPF protection. Natural, semi translucent shades in a compact.

The blush I used was a limited edition colour by MAC. Try a blend of bronzer with MAC Tropical Taboo Mineralize Skinfinish in Rio, $30.00 USD at Dillard's to achieve the blend of colour that I used.

I based Weiling's eyes with one of my faves Creaseless Cream Shadow Cream Eyeshadow in Bikinitini, $20.00 USD at Benefit

Perfect for tropical weather and oily-prone lids this crease-proof & budge-proof cream shadow is a must! Benefit has 10 incredibly wearable shades (including my fave Birthday Suit) and they glide on easily, lasting all day long. Fresh & fabulous colours for all!

Yaby Dramatic Neutral palette using a mix of black and navy as well as Bobbi Brown's Midnight (metallic)

Star Lash Tokyo Lash 008
, a doll-like yet natural looking lash

Star Lash Brow pencils have a great angled tip for a seamless application, even if you are brow-application challenged. Blend with a soft toothbrush.


Hair & makeup:

*check back for updates. I have some notes to add y'all.

Happy New Year!!!

Beauty Lust Haves || skincare 2013 roundup

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By Andrea Claire · December 28, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

I decided that the Lust Haves for December could be delayed and then I'd stretch it out over a beauty fave series wrapping up 2013.

 Starting with step one: skincare

If you follow my blog or my Instagram you won't be surprise that I am starting with Dermalogica's Special Cleansing Gel

Recommended for all skin conditions, its a soap-free, foaming gel designed to thoroughly remove impurities without disturbing the skin's natural moisture balance. Calming Balm Mint and Lavender extracts soothe the skin while natural Quillaja Saponaria gently foams away toxins and debris. Contains no artificial color. Gently lather a small amount of gel on moistened hands and apply to dampened face and throat. Rinse with warm water and repeat for professional cleansing results. Follow with Multi-Active Toner and recommended Dermalogica Moisturizer.

I ran out of my above favourite cleanser and in a pinch I bought The Body Shop's Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish 3.38 fl oz (100 ml) $16.00 USD at Beauty.com

Truth be told, my skin which resembles a delicate flower tends to break out with The Body Shop's skincare so I was hesitant but know that the Vitamin C helps to brighten dull skin (and I was having a dull skin moment) I bought it.

I do find that I can't double cleanse like I do with my Special Cleansing Gel because it makes my skin tight if I do, but I did see my skin brighten up after using it for two weeks. Yay for birght skin!

This Body Shop cleanser removes dull skin cells and reveals a radiance with a gentle, exfoliating face wash that will leave your skin smooth and revitalized. Contains Amazonian Camu Camu berry which is known to have one of the highest contents of Vitamin C in nature. Antioxidant Vitamin C encourages production of collagen, improves elasticity and protects against damaging environmental aggressors. We have never tested on animals. Similarly, we insist that our suppliers have not tested their ingredients on animals for cosmetic purposes. This product is 100% vegetarian.

SKII 'Facial Treatment' Essence (2.5 oz.) $100.00 USD at Nordstrom

This toner was given to me in an SKII package when I spoke at an event for them. The smell is a little off-putting at first but as it absorbs into your skin it goes away. I speak to many women who avoid toners because they claim they make their skin tight - if this is you then you are using toners that 99.9% of beauty pros would NOT recommend. If anything makes your face feel tight then you need switch products.

This unique pitera-rich product moisturizes to improve texture and clarity for a more beautiful, glowing complexion. It also helps stimulate the natural renewal process of the skin's outer layer to rebalance and bring harmony to your skin. Women are so passionate about it that they describe it as their 'holy water.' It contains over 90% pure pitera, the seemingly magical ingredient found in all SK-II products. Rely on it daily to moisturize instantly and renew skin's surface for a smoother texture. Skin absorbs the benefits almost on contact. The result is supple, smooth, radiant skin.

I've been using Sheep Placenta serum for about a year now. It doesn't smell at all so I don't get the heebee jeebies. At first I thought it was weird and a little gross but the results are truly amazing. I know I've joked about the #nobotox #faceof42 but the truth is - I don't have Botox and I'm reaching 43. sigh From the neck up I'm doing ok... 

Baaa-nefits of sheep placenta:

- Stimulates skin cell renewal thereby reinvigorating old cells and generating new healthy cells. The result is an increasingly youthful appearance.

- Provides intense hydration to skin, returning firmness and suppleness while reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

- Reduces pigmentation and diminishes appearance of age spots, blemishes and discolouration.

- Promotes a smooth, translucent skin complexion.

- Increases skin elasticity thereby reducing saggy appearances.

- Encourages rapid healing and reduces scars.

- Returns vigour to dry, aged skin with young and radiant looking skin.

- Help balance skin's natural sebum production and reduce open pores

If animal products give you the willies (I bet readers in the UK have a different visual here) then let me suggest to you SKIN INC whose wide variety of serums come from plants. They have a plant placenta that I've tried - the sheep placenta gives me better results but the vegan one does work. I also have a customized Daily Dose by SKIN INC that I use every day.

Frankly I'd be better of financially to just get the Botox vs the investment into my skincare arsenal. I kid. Kinda.

I see many clients who share their Botox and filler stories with me. Some have left me in shock and awe at how great they look and they can make facial expressions! LOL. I believe that one day I'll break that no Botox/filler seal; and when I do it will probably be here with Dr. Komathy Rajaratnam. I had a client who moved away but had her work done here and raves about her and since I've sent many her way with the same rave reviews.

WAIT! How did I go from skincare to where to get your Botox??!! Moving on.

Hands-down the best moisturizer that I have ever used: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream $40.00 USD at Ulta

I love this under makeup for anyone I work on too - regardless of age and skin type. It really helps glide the foundation on. 

A medium-weight cream that maintains skin's moisture balance while improving its texture. Deep-moisturizing Lecithin and Aloe Gel nourish while extracts of Mallow, Cucumber and Arnica soothe and hydrate the skin, helping to restore suppleness and tone. Antioxidant Grape Seed Extract plus vitamins A, C and E reduce free radical activity while the light, emulsive protection helps shield against dehydration and pollution. Contains no artificial fragrance or color. Professional recommendation advised.

SK-II Signs Eye Mask $110.00 USD at Saks Fifth Avenue

I've stashed a few of these in my makeup kit. They're great for models and celebs who are jetlagged and overworked. I also love them for pre-Red Carpet or pre-bridal makeup.

Designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the delicate eye area. A soft cotton mask, drenched with moisturizers enhanced with Pitera and an exclusive Cell Treatment complex, hydrates deeply, smoothes fine lines and revives the eye area. Comes with 14 pairs.

Dermalogica Age Smart MultiVitamin Power Firm $56.00 USD at Ulta

If you are a skincare company with an eye cream that you believe is better than this please send it to me. I'd kindly review it. I've used this since 2004. I've tried other eye creams along the way. It is part of my job to be in the beauty know. La Mer? Creme de la break the bank. Don't waste your money. Tried it. Not a fan. And if you are a cry-baby about silicones in your skincare and makeup then you need to research more. Silicones are not bad for your skin. I actually look for silicone in foundations because of the non-comedogenic and slip properties.

Combat visible lines around the eye area with this powerful firming complex of skin-rebuilding antioxidant vitamins, protective Silicones, and Red Seaweed Extract. Contains no artificial fragrance or color. An infusion of vitamins A, C, and E help accelerate skin's natural repair process, strengthen elasticity, improve smoothness, and defend against Reactive Oxygen Species (free radicals); Silicones melt gently into skin to help diminish fine lines and smooth texture; Green Tea helps soothe irritation.

Do you have a fave skincare product? Wrote a review on one you'd like to share? Go ahead and link it in my comments.

Recap of the previous Beauty Lust Haves

Selfies for Science!

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By Andrea Claire · December 27, 2013 · 0 Comments ·
Prior to the holiday season I bought myself a few new palettes... I was 'Christmas shopping' when items for me just happened to fall into my basket. *wink*

I also received some lovely palettes and other beauty items from beauty companies  who support my editorial/celeb work. Job perk: free beauty.

Some of these items will be added to my blog but I've decide to start #acselfiesforscience on my Instagram as well so when I try something new you can have a quick look perhaps with a tip or two and whether is comes with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Why selfies for science? You've heard the term 'for the sake of science' - well I won't be testing my beauty products on Zoie's new bunny...

*If you don't see a video above here, please refresh the post title

In this first #acselfiesforscience Instavideo I've used three colours from the Too Faced These are a few of my favorite things limited edition palette.

In the video I said one of the colours was chocolate strudel. Clearly I was in the festive mindset of eating chocolate. Actually the three colours that I am wearing in order of application are:

Crisp Apple Strudel
Dark Chocolate
Party Time (excellent)

SEPHORA COLLECTION Pro Bent Liner Brush #23 $17.00 USD at Sephora

*The Dark Chocolate and Party Time I applied with a bent liner brush. Everyone needs to own one of these brushes. They are a must have for your brush collection. Great for precision lining and geometric wing-tip liner.

Here I am wearing [not sunscreen on my chest apparently :( ]

MAC M·A·C 'Mineralize' Moisture Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15
$34.00 USD at Nordstrom


Yves Saint Laurent TOUCHE ÉCLAT - Radiant Touch 2.5  $40.00 USD at Sephora

I just discovered this 2.5 at the airport on my way to Cambodia. The .5 series is for warm undertones - just using the 2 washes me out.

*This is not a concealer but to add luminous highlights and lift but sometimes all you need is this with your foundation.

Divine Night Mineralize Skinfinish in Scene to be Seen from the holiday 2013 collection $33.00 USD at M·A·C

Using Laura Mercier expert eyes 2013 palette: Guava on my lid, Primrose in crease, Bamboo on the outer half of my lid and smudged a little into my crease.

Maybelline Falsies, my new favorite mascara


Stila Lip Glaze In Kitten $22.00 USD at Rent The Runway

#AZMondayMakeover || Dina

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By Andrea Claire · December 23, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

*If you don't see a video above here, please refresh the post title

Dina is our latest #azMondayMakeover subject. The eldest twin (her sister Diana is Zurina's assistant), Dina works in the shipping trade.

Shop Dina's makeup look

MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm Compact SPF 30 in Medium Plus $30.00 USD at Dillard's

Alison Raffaele True Concealer, Skintone 4 - $25.00 USD at Beauty.com

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer $30.00 USD at Macy's My fave for sculpting and shading.

Blush NARS The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta $39.00 USD at Lord & Taylor

MAC Palace Pedigreed
(pictured) is what I used but it is unavailble so try Plum Dressing instead!

Star Lash Brow pencils have a great angled tip for a seamless application, even if you are brow-application challenged.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara - Black Drama $6.99 USD at Ulta is the mascara to have. Cheap and cheerful!

I used Black Up Cosmetics 2n1 Jumbo pencil in #4. Off to Paris? Visit the Black Up counter at Sephora or their free-standing store.

*Hint* Their store gets you more 1-on-1 attention.

photography by

hair, makeup, directing, editing, concept and sarcasm by

Want to participate? Email me a photo with the subject line AZMONDAYMAKEOVER.

Why our little makeover project? Speaking for myself, I am tired of women being bullied into beauty with visions of photoshopped perfection that is impossible for us to actually achieve day to day. Beauty should be fun that doesn't breed insecurities but empowers.

Andrea Claire

ps - I am home with the flu so I reserve the right to make corrections here later.

#AZMondayMakeover || Adlena, Platform PR

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By Andrea Claire · December 16, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

*If you don't see a video above here, please refresh the post title

Our latest #AZMondayMakeover is

yummy mommy-to-be Adlena, Platform PR. Beautiful both before and after.

Get the look:

First I applied some Dermalogica skincare to Adlena's skin which included the SkinPerfect Primer to help smooth the texture for an even application of my favourite FACEatelier Ultra Foundation.

Then I applied Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer ($30.00 at Macy's) to beef up that pregnancy glow.

Nothing wrong with a little drama-mama! That pop on the eye is Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow in Metallic Merlot (not pictured) $32.00 USD at Sephora

MAC Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow: Smokeluxe ($40.00 USD at Dillard's) If blending is an issue for you then get these Pearlfusion palettes. They are so easy to blend. We makeup artists like that too - sure we can blend that powdery matte stuff with our trained fingers but why bother?

*In the video we chat about the typical Asian eye makeup: black liquid liner smothering the top lid. Now, although this look isn't bad (it is a look after all); it won't give you an opened eye look. Dark colours will typically recede. So, if you have Asian eyes or even a hidden eyelid that's hooded with ageing choose something a little more vibrant on the lid and create a shape with a fake crease. Refer to the video for a visual on this.

Eyebrows are softly defined with Starlash brow pencil.

 I lined Adlena's eyes using Maybelline's Color Show black kohl and then applied this miracle mascara that landed in my lap during a recent shoot for Cosmo - love it! That pink/green tube - not a fan, but this? Yes. I like it a lot. Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Big Eyes Washable Mascara Blackest Black 202 $8.99 USD at Walgreens

I'm a fan of focusing the drama on one thing or the other so I chose a subtle lip with NARS Prego Prego Pago Pago.

Hair is straightened for a little edge with my beloved CHI Dual Voltage Ceramic Hairstyling Iron, 1 Inch Plates $170.00$119.00 USD at drugstore.com

Creates Silky Shiny Hair Instantly Versatile "all in one" ergonomic design Straigten, curl, flip, style Professional salon model Flash quick heating Swivel cord 1" Ceramic plates Heats up to 200°C/392°F Automatic dual voltage adjusts to where you plug it in.


Want to participate? Email me a photo with the subject line AZMONDAYMAKEOVER.

Why our little makeover project? Speaking for myself, I am tired of women being bullied into beauty with visions of photoshopped perfection that is impossible for us to actually achieve day to day. Beauty should be fun that doesn't breed insecurities but empowers. I feel that enough voices are out there putting the beauty industry to task; let's actually do something about it.

Our images are proudly photoshop-free!  

Andrea Claire

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