How high maintenance is your beauty routine?

Nicole Scherzinger's X Factor beauty looks

Are you still using foundation?

Softer hands in seconds!

Tried and Tested: The Body Shop's Camomile range

How to do orange lipstick like Deepika

Three of the best body oils

Lip savious for the cold

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17 February 2014

How high maintenance is your bedtime beauty routine?!


Lately I've found that I'm getting to bed a lot later than usual and I think it's because of my bedtime beauty routine, which is pretty high maintenance... Here's how it goes down most nights chez moi: cleanse, exfoliate, apply serum, moisturise all over, apply hand cream and foot cream, spritz pillow spray... the list goes on. In fact, you'd probably need an instruction manual to work out all the different things I do before I go to bed!

When did it all become so complicated? And is all this fuss necessary?! Part of me wants to say yes (otherwise I've wasted 100,000,000 hours grooming for nothing) but I'm sure there's a way to simplify my beauty routine without missing anything out...

There are some things that I have to do every night like cleanse, use a serum and moisturise but I'm not too precious about applying eye cream so I could skip this some nights. Thicker body creams can also double up as hand and foot cream so I don't waste time faffing about with different pots and tubes. 

Saying that, part of me likes having a bedtime beauty routine. Rather than just shutting off the laptop and jumping into bed I can wind down slowly and go to sleep feeling relaxed and smelling nice(r). That's also partly why I have my showers in the evening - I feel like I've washed away all my stress and worries! 

Does anyone have any tips on how I can save time on my beauty routine? I could do with an extra few minutes in bed...!




16 February 2014

Bridal Diary: Would you do your own wedding makeup?


A question that I ask a lot of makeup artists is: who would do your wedding makeup? It's a simple question but to someone who applies makeup for a living, handing the reigns to another person must be difficult. After all, you know what you like and you're used to your own style of makeup application - what if she contours using the wrong brush?! Or uses a thicker primer?! 

It's also a question that I was asking myself recently because, although I'm not a makeup artist, I'm not sure how I'd feel about someone else doing my makeup. Working in the beauty industry for so long has got me used to my own style of makeup application and so I'm a little worried about someone else doing it for me. 

I did get my makeup done once and it wasn't a nice experience... The MUA in question (I won't say who!) was working backstage at an event and I cheekily asked her to do a smokey eye on me. After what can only be described as a slap dash of black eyeshadow and A LOT of bronzer she gave me the mirror where I was greeted by a drunken panda. I've been scarred for life since... 

As with all my wedding decisions so far I've made a list of pros and cons to help me decide if it's worth the risk...

Reasons to hire a Makeup Artist
It's your big day which means that it's all.about.you. Most brides will lie and say that it's about love and family but that's just so they don't come across as conceited - it is all about the bride and so I owe it to myself to look the best that I possibly can!

It's a chance to relax - after monnths of planning, appointments, multi-tasking, this is the one chance I'll probably get to just sit still for 3-4 hours and relax, maybe with a drink and some chocolates, while someone else takes care of the wedding stuff. 

They know what they're doing - I have a basic undersanding of how to apply makeup, learnt mostly through trial and error and Youtube, but I'm no expert. And I can't style hair to save my life (thank God I wear a scarf) so it makes sense that I'd hire someone to take care of it for me. 

Reasons not to hire a Makeup Artist

Costs - brides that are on a budget may not want to fork out thousands (yes, thousands...) on hair and makeup, espically as there are so many other events in the lead up to the wedding.

I can't think of any other reasons not to hire a makeup artist - it's a special day - treat yourself!

I've decided to to my own makeup for the pre-wedding parties but for the big day I'm leaving it to the pros... Now it's just a case of finding someone...

Would you do your own wedding makeup?! And does anyone have recommendations for a good MUA??

11 February 2014

CELEBRITY: Best beauty looks at the Zee Cine awards

I'm so impressed with the hair and makeup at this week's Zee Cine awards! I don't think there was a single look that I didn't like and get this, everyone looked different. Big accomplishment for Bollywood I tell ya. 

Priyanka Chopra
This is a little casual for the red carpet IMO but her makeup does look very pretty, albeit understated, and her hair looks impossibly glossy! The curls are a little too defined and could've done with some fingers running through it but I like how it's been casually tossed to the side (when I say 'casually tossed' what I really mean is hours of primping and pinning to make it all look effortless!) Also, how cool is her green bindi?!  

Deepika Padukone
Okay, I'm kind of ashamed to admit this but I love how Deepika looks here! Yes, it's a bit gimmicky and definitely doesn't go with her gown but I'm soooo into head jewellery right that it was an instant win for me. It probably didn't need that much backcombing and pouffing up though. 

I really like what Deepika did with her makeup too. The smokey eye and nude lip combo works so well and really suits her. Also, check out how amazingly well her base has been blended in to match her skin tone perfectly. I'm in AWE.  

Sonakshi Sinha
I cannot get enough of Sonakshi Sinha right now - she always looks amazing! The makeup here is a little similar to Deepika's (awkward) but her skin looks a lot more glowy and fresh. The peach blush is a nice touch and it stops her complexion from looking sallow (common issue with black, smokey eyes).
Also, it's nice to see someone get the straighteners out and opt for a sleeker, more modern 'do, although I'm still in two minds about the statue of liberty head band.  

Who was your favourite at the Zee Cine Awards?!


5 February 2014

Are expensive mascaras worth the money?!


For as long as I can remember I have been vehemently opposed to spending £££££s on a tube of mascara. I'll spend a fortune on luxurious lipsticks and serums but my mascaras were always strictly budget buys. To me, it seemed that the cheaper brands did a good job on my lashes and so I didn't really need to fork out the extra money. 

But that all changed when a friend of mine gave me the Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara. All my other wands now seem poor in comparison! What makes it so great is:

The wand's conical shape means that it coats every single lash - I can even catch the little ones on my lower lash line with the the bottom part of the wand

The coverage is build-able so you don't end up with clumpy, drunken lashes, instead you build up the intensity with 2-3 coats

It smells of Lancome's Hypnose fragrance! Never has applying mascara felt so nice and pampering - the scent is super sweet and floral... mmmmmm

So there you have it - maybe you do get what you pay for, after all using this mascara wasn't just a slap-dash process, it felt quite nice and pampering too! 

After just one coat my lashes are defined and clump-free - impressive. 

So, great news for my lashes, not so much for the bank account! Has anyone else tried this mascara? What's your all time favourite?

2 February 2014

MAC Rebel: The lipstick for grown ups




Anyone who knows me will know that I only ever wear two kinds of lipstick: bright pink and light pink. I tend to keep away from really dark, vampy colours because they can make your lips look thinner and, well, I just don't think it suits me!

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the MAC Rebel lipstick is just that - dark, gothic and way too scary to wear out in public, but the colour of the tube is actually very deceptive! When applied it's a lot warmer and redder, and it's surprisingly very flattering for Asian and dark skin. I'd describe it as a very deep, raspberry red with a semi matte texture

It is the perfect dark lip because it doesn't wash you out and it doesn't make your lips disappear - result! Strangely, I also feel a lot more grown up when I wear this - there's something very sophisticated and refined about a deep red lip.

To make it day appropriate I skip bottom eyeliner (it makes the whole look too vampy) and add loads of mascara instead.



PS - A BIG thank you to Sam who sent me this lipstick after I entered a competition on her fabulous blog. I never win anything so it was a lovely little treat!!

Has anyone else tried Rebel by MAC? What other dark lipsticks would you recommend? 

BEAUTY DIARY: The price for good photos

I think I've left it too late to find a good wedding photographer. I became enamoured with the idea of peony bouquets and five-tier cakes that I completely overlooked what is one of the most important parts of a wedding - the photos! 

In a mild panic I started calling up old contacts from my Asian Bride magazine days - most were booked/on maternity leave/too expensive. Cue slightly more panicking and a scramble to find a photographer that could take semi-decent photos (and video) all for under £100,000,000. 

Now I'm not trying to ridicule or belittle the photography/videography profession at all, in fact I think it's incredibly difficult and something that takes a lot of talent and experience, but I do find it weird how the market has become so saturated and prices have shot up as a result.

Example: one and half years ago I contacted a wedding photographer I knew to find out how much they would charge for my friend's wedding. Fast forward to my own big day and the same photographer is now asking me for double the amount, so you can see why I'm a little frazzled! 

One the subject of photography, I've also gone and got a snazzy new camera. I got it as an extra camera to take snaps around wedding time (there are sooooo many pre-pre wedding events that I really want to capture and remember and my iPhone cam is not ideal). 

 It's the Canon EOS M Compact and I have no idea how it works, but I'm told it's very good. For all you non-techies here are my thoughts so far...

It's compact and easy to carry around but still heavy. 

The photo quality is really good and professional - exactly like a DSLR.

The auto-focus is a little tricky but it's not a deal breaker.

I love it!

That's probably not helpful at all...

Anywho - hopefully the quality of images on The Asian Beauty Blog will also start to improve now that I've got a new camera. Before I'd just hide the blurry, bad quality with an Instagram filter!

Let me know if you have any tips on finding a good photographer and how to use a DSLR camera - it really isn't as easy as it looks!

1 February 2014

Dolce & Gabbana The One Desire


Desire is the latest fragrance to be borne from the Dolce & Gabbana 'The One' collection. I used to own The One, Rose which is a really sultry, heady, floral scent - extremely feminine and elegant. Desire, which comes in a sleeker black and gold case is a lot stronger and muskier. 

The scent isn't as distinct as it's predecessors but it is wonderfully sweet and rich. When I spray it I'm hit with a fruity concoction of lychee (yum!), lily and bergamot, but as it settles the sweeter, heart notes like vanilla and caramel start to come out. 

Desire is a beautifully rich scent and the packaging is very luxurious - you definitely feel like you got your money's worth when you hold it (did I mention it's pretty heavy, like a brick??!). 

What lets it down is the staying power. I literally just sprayed it on my cardi five minutes ago and it's already disappeared! Maybe my nose has adhered to the scent but everyone else can smell it... Who knows! It's got the longevity of an eau de toilette which isn't ideal but if you like strong scents that don't overpower your friends/colleagues/boyf then it's for you. 

Has anyone else got The One Desire? I wish they'd bring the Rose version back! 


30 January 2014

Katrina Kaif's beauty evolution


Katrina Kaif: one of the most beautiful and coveted Bollywood actresses of our time. In the past I've berated her for being too safe and boring with her hair and makeup, but despite her lack of imagine or beauty creativity she has been blessed with naturally beautiful features. The picture above is proof enough that she has the bone structure of a supermodel (I've seen her close up and can vouch for this). What I want to know is, has she always looked this amazing, or have there been some 'enhancements' done to look this good?

Taking it waaaay back to when decent pictures didn't exist and thin eyebrows were cool, you can see Katrina was blessed with natural beauty although she clearly hadn't discovered backcombing yet.

Fast forward a few years and Katrina's still got youthful glow about her. Her skin is impossibly glossy and plump - like a friggin' newborn baby! Hair on the other hand looks a little pageanty.

A year or so on and Katrina hasn't changed drastically. There are the faintest lines appearing around her eyes but that's about it.

Woah! Am I looking at a different person here?! Katrina's top lip has swollen to at least twice the size and the tip of her nose looks less round (this could just be because of the angle though). Her hair still needs to loosen up. 

Looks as though Katrina's still visiting the lip clinic here.... Also, there isn't a single line on her face. Not.a.single.line. I know five year olds with more lines on there faces for goodness sake! I think it's pretty clear that, although Katrina has got a killer complexion, she's dabbled a little with lip fillers and maybe some Botox. I'm still debating about the minor nose job - her long nose is an endearing part of her face so I'm sure she would never shave it down completely (ouch!) but it does look a little slimmer. 

What do you think of Katrina's beauty evolution? Do you think she's had any cosmetic enhancements?!

29 January 2014

RIP Clarisonic Mia

I've mentioned how much I love and rely on my Clarisonic in the past; it improves and brightens my complexion, makes my skin super-soft and less prone to spots. It's pretty much a dream product for bad skin! 

So you can imagine how upset I was to find that, right after the one year warranty passed, it stopped working! I'm pretty miffed because it ain't cheap to replace and I have no idea how and if it can even be repaired. Even if i did replace it who's to say it won't break again?!

I'm thinking to try something new now. There's the Philips VisaPure cleansing brush which is on sale at Selfridges for £95 (but it's not pink). To buy or not to buy...?

Help me guys! Has anyone else experienced something similar? My ghds never gave me this much trouble...

27 January 2014

I got engaged!


So yesterday was my engagement party.... To say it was overwhelming is an understatement...! There were a lot of people, and a lot of camera flashes. But, despite my near blindness, I had such a lovely time and it was really, really nice having my family and closest friends all under the same roof! 

I did my own makeup but had to enlist the help of a pro hairdresser as I'm completely RUBBISH at doing hair. I needed it to be quite big and puffy to hold the heaviness of my sari so the hairstylist backcombed the hell out of it and stuck about sixty pins in it. Looked lovely at the time, fast forward the morning after, it feels like cotton wool and I'm sure there are still a few pins hiding in there. 

Does anyone have tips on how to brush out backcombing without completely ripping my hair out?! My mum's already massaged some baby oil on the roots so I'm *hoping* it'll just slip off.... 

25 January 2014

CELEBRITY: It's awards season!


What a sad month January is! It's full of crap like the flu, SAD, sales, empty bank account, rubbish weather... the list goes on. But one thing we can always rely on to perk us up is that it is awards season!  

This month there were two big events in Bollywood that saw celebs crawl out of their comfy (queen size) beds and don the most extravagant outfit for the red carpet! However, with the exception of a few, I was kinda underwhelmed with it all. Let's discuss...

Bipasha Basu
  Can someone bring Bips back please?! You know, the one who played the hot, ant-heroine roles in films like Raaz?! She used to be the actress that the paps would break necks to get a pic of but it's all gone a bit 'blah' lately. It's not that she looks bad (life is just not that kind), it's that she isn't as glamorous and exciting as before.  

Her hair looks very pretty here, albiet a little bridesmaidy. The smokey eye is good - not too over the top, but smokey enough to have an impact. 




Second look: Bipasha's makeup isn't bad but that heavy side fringe needs to go back to 2004.


Sonakshi Sinha
If there's one actress I can rely on to pull something new and exciting out of the bag it's Sonakshi. Girl's done me proud! I'm having a bit of a pink moment and I love how it's used here, in contrast to the neutral tones to make the whole outfit really pop. The curls are also a really nice touch - not too primped, just undone and tousled enough to look effortlessly glam. 



Pairing glossy nude eye makeup with a deeper, matte pink is genius! Everything is just perfectly balanced!


How adorbs are Sonakshi's collages?! 

Her second look that week was a stark contrast to the first. The eyes are a little more smokey and they really stand out and make an impact with the slicked back bun and drop earrings - very chic!




Seriously, I LOVE her!

Deepika Padukone
I'm going through a bit of phase were Deepika can do no wrong and as much as I love this red carpet look of hers I am getting kinda bored of her quiff. She has a nice head shape (there's a compliment you wanna hear!) so it would have looked a lot better just slicked back. 




Again, I have lipstick envy. I would never have considered dark plum lips but it just looks so good on Deepika. 

On to the second look, and as a side note I actually LOVE this outfit, although I'd expect something a bit more bling during awards season. The hair is pretty if not slightly reminiscent of a five year-old me. I'd have liked to have seen a contrast between the dress and hair - a sleek, straight do would have looked a lot more contemporary. 


Maybe it's the flash photography but in this shot it looks like she's wearing bright red lippie - strange!

Kareena Kapoor
Has Kareena being having a few facial injections? Her face looks a little too plumped up here.... Despite that she does look pretty HAWT. Kareena knows what works and pairing a crazy bright red lip with sleek hair is always going to be a winner. 




What's your favourite look from the awards season so far?? 

23 January 2014

Lip saviours for winter weather


The other day, during the mother of all clear outs I came across what can only be described as mountain of lip balms - most which had been used a few times and then completely forgotten about. I mean, they're hardly the most exciting beauty product are they?! But, as hard as it is to get excited about lip balms they are kinda necessary - even the most makeup/beauty-adverse person will have one stashed away - my brother has about three!

Having amassed such a huge collection I've come to understand which ones are good (can you guess which one I use pretty much everyday??) and which ones remain untouched. 


The YSL Top Secret lip conditioner is probably the most luxe balm in my collection. It's meant to help make your lips appear fuller and plumper (it doesn't), what it does do is make them super-soft. But then, for £24 you'd expect it to.... The Sun Sense lip balm is the most heavy duty one of the lot and is probably more suited to colder climes (think mountain trek in Ben Nevis) and has an SPF of about 100. It means business. The MAC Lip Conditioner came out as part of the Viva Glam range with Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin. Poor Ricky got fobbed off with a nice smelling lip cream that kinda just sits on your lips and then slips off after about ten minutes.

The Nude lip balm is an all-natural product and although it's a little blah (it has absolutely no scent or a discernible texture) it does leave my lips feeling nice and soft. The Body Lip Butters are also pretty good and hydrating but it can leave a slight white sheen on my lips (ugh) because it's so thick and heavy. The Rose&Co Rose Petal Salve is the one lip balm that I reach for the most - it's light but very moisturising and has the most beautiful rose scent - I'm telling you guys this is better than Vaseline! The Lush Lip Service balm was a bit of a disappointment. It's not as pampering and moisturising as the others and needs to be warmed up before you can get the product out. 

The Balance Me Rose Otto lip salve is quite glooopy with a glossier finish than the others. It's very moisturising and rich making it the ideal lip balm for winter. I like to apply a thin layer before bed so that I wake up to softer plumper lips. 

Phew! Have I missed any out? I feel like I've just written an encyclopaedia on lip balms! Maybe I should change the little to 'Everything you need to know about my lip balm collection'? 

Tell me, what lip balm do you reach for the most?? 


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