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Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Extract Your Pores at Home

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Want to learn how to clean your pores fast and for free? When you don’t have time to get your pores professionally extracted, there is a simple technique I have been doing for years that you can try at home. I am not a licensed esthetician, nor am I claiming that this is the best way to extract your pores, but when you don’t have time to get a facial, I feel like this is the next best thing and it works great for me.

All you need to do is steam your clean face (must not have makeup on) either by taking at least a 20 minute bath with the windows closed or hovering your face over a pot full of steaming water, with eyes closed, and a towel over your head. Please take extreme caution to not burn your eyeballs by opening up your eyes over the hot steam! If you decide to steam your face over a hot pot of water, do so for several minutes. 

Once your pores are open, put a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and lightly swipe the areas to be extracted as well as on the butter knife to kill any bacteria and prevent breakouts. Take the blunt side of a clean butter knife and with the tip pointing down, press and scrape downwards against the surface of your nose, chin or forehead until you see blackheads or white-ish gunky stuff coming out of your nose.  I like to call the gross white stuff “white wormies”.  Haha. Wipe the blackheads or white wormies onto a tissue inbetween extractions. Never push upwards with the knife otherwise you may experience huge, underground zits -- so always push gently, but firmly and scrape downwards!
I like to use  both the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque and the Skindulgence: 30 Minute Non-Surgical Facelift masque treatments right after to further clean out and tighten the pores. You can use one or the other, but I like to use both, the Queen Helene Mint Julip Masque first and then the Skindulgence: 30 Minute Non-Surgical Facelift masque right after. After you’re done extracting and using the treatment(s), close up your pores by rinsing your face with cold water. Some people like to use witch hazel on a cotton ball to further close the pores but I feel like it makes my skin feel kinda tight and dry so I only do it once in awhile.  You can also use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball again. I try to extract and use my masques once a week. For more info on the face masques, please read my article here, #6 to be specific. Happy extracting!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Say Goodbye to Itchy, Irritated Skin After...Shaving...or Kissing Someone with a Sexy, Stubbly Beard!


Raise your hand if you have ever experienced the uncomfortable itchiness and bumps that come after shaving your beard, armpits or……”down there.” Another problem that can happen is the embarrassing beardful of zits that can appear for the next week after making out with a guy with a 5 o’clock shadow, or very stubbly beard.
Well, irritated skin be gone with the magical effects of PFB Vanish.

It’s a roll-on product that I have been using for the past decade and it has NEVER failed me. I was first introduced to it at a salon when I used to get waxed, but now I can just roll it on right after shaving. It works so well I don’t even need to wax anymore! As long as I remember to use it, I never have the uncomfortable itchiness after shaving when the hair grows in.  Even if you start getting itchy, you can roll on PFB Vanish and the itchiness will disappear so you can use it to prevent the itchies…. as well as cure the itchies!
You can also roll it on after making out with someone with a sexy, 5 o’clock shadow, stubbly beard. Just roll on the product before you go beddy bye and you won’t wake up with a beardful of zits for the next week! The main ingredient in this product is salicylic acid which helps to exfoliate the skin, thus preventing bumps and ingrown hairs. For more detailed info, check out http://www.vanishmybumps.com/site/445529/page/108047#Quest4
One of the great things about this product is that it lasts me quite a long time. The 4 oz bottle is about $21 on Folica.com or Amazon.com and it lasts almost a year for me using it 2-3x a week! You might run out faster if your boyfriend has a sexy, stubbly beard, though. ;)  I swear by this product! Buy it and you may thank me forever.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Are the Best Makeup Colors to Choose for a Brunette, Blonde, Grey-Haired, or Redhead?



I believe there are no rules with makeup. You can express yourself however you want. But here are some general guidelines for the most popular type of beauty makeup you see in magazines, tv, and film. 

Choose an emphasis whether it be your eyes or lips. What part of your face do you want people to be drawn to the most? If you want people to notice your strong, smoky eyes then choose light to medium shades for lips. If you have light makeup on the eyes and want to bring your lips out more, go for a bolder color on the lips. 

How to make your eye color stand out. If you have green eyes, then purple, lavender, bronze, peach, brown, and navy colors will accentuate the green in your eyes. If you have brown eyes, choose lavender, purple, grey, and navy colors which will make your brown eyes stand out. If you have blue eyes, then grey, beige, brown, and copper brown will accentuate the blue in your eyes. Don’t use the same colors for eye makeup as your eye color. For example, don't use green shadow if you have green eyes and want to make the green pop.  Same with using blue colors with blue eyes and brown colors with brown eyes.

Here is a general color guide for:

Brunettes with fair skin
Eye Shadows: beige, browns, peach, khaki green, sage green, light grey
Eyeliner: black, brown, navy, charcoal grey, forest green
Lips: rose, beige, true red, brick red, fuchsia

Brunettes with medium to tan skin
Eye Shadows: lavender, purple, bronze, browns, sage green, greys, pinks
Eyeliner: black, brown, navy, purple, forest green, charcoal grey
Lips: rose, nude, peach, pink, true red, brick red, burgundy red, fuchsia

Blondes with fair skin
Eye Shadows: beige, browns, peach, light green, light gray
Eyeliner: black, brown, dark purple, forest green, charcoal grey
Lips: rose, nude, beige, pink, peach, true red, brick red

Blondes with medium to tan skin
Eye Shadows: purple, bronze, brown, copper, any green, grey, pinks
Eyeiner: black, brown, forest green, grey, purple, navy
Lips: rose, pink, nude, peach, true red, brick red, fuchsia

Grey haired people with fair skin
Eye Shadows: beige,  beige-brown, grey, peach
Eyeliner: charcoal grey, black, forest green, navy
Lips: rose, beige, true red, fuchsia, burgundy

Grey haired people with medium to tan skin
Eye Shadows: grey, peach, light beige, rose, light pink, lavender
Eyeliner: charcoal grey, black, navy, forest green, purple
Lips: rose, pink, true red, fuchsia

Redheads
Eye Shadows: grey, light brown, copper brown, light green
Eyeliner: black, charcoal grey, navy, dark brown, forest green, khaki green
Lips: nude, rose, beige, true red, brick red

Have fun experimenting!! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazing Makeup Starts With Good Skin


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I can’t tell you how many times clients sit in my chair and I can guess what type of cleanser they are using just by looking at their skin.  Bumpy, flaky, rough, tight skin that tends to be oily is a sign that a client is using a harsh cleanser, one that strips away natural moisture and causes the skin to overcompensate by producing too much oil. “Are you using a foaming cleanser or a gel cleanser everyday which contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid? Does your skin feel really tight after you rinse the cleanser off your face? Are you scrubbing your face really hard with a drugstore-bought exfoliant that contains large, rough particles?” 99% of my clients to whom I ask these questions say yes.  Then they apply a super heavy moisturizer to compensate for the loss of moisture, moisture that is stripped away by the harsh cleanser. But a heavy moisturizer can’t absorb all the way into the skin so it sits on the face, which in turn clogs pores and causes bumps.

Cleansing their face with harsh products and applying thick moisturizer can become a vicious cycle with not so great results. Oh, and over-drying your skin can cause pre-mature wrinkles. But don’t worry, I am here to help with my skincare recommendations! I cannot guarantee that they will definitely work for you, but the following list has immensely helped many of my clients who were using a lot of the wrong products. Here are some of my personal skincare tips, tips I've followed for the last 6 years or so.

1. Use a gentle, nourishing cleanser: Cleansing oil and/or 2nd gentle cleanser
I know it sounds REALLY weird to put oil on your face, but oil adheres to dirt and makeup and when you wash it off, down the drain goes all your makeup, dirt, and excess oil without overdrying your skin! Voila! Cleansing oil was first introduced to me when I worked for a Japanese cosmetics company called Kanebo at Saks Fifth Avenue. Then I worked for another Japanese brand Shu Uemura where they are famous for their cleansing oils. And then when I worked for Laura Mercier and NARS they came out with their oil cleansers. Before I fell in love with cleansing oil, I used a makeup remover with about 6 q-tips and 4 cotton balls every night to remove all my makeup even before washing my face with a face cleanser. Uhhhh, that’s a lot to throw away in the garbage every night. Cleansing oil has allowed me to just use my fingers to remove my makeup and clean my face and THAT’S IT! I can even remove waterproof makeup. It is amazing.
There are many different types of cleansing oils, some thick and some thin. I find that the thicker the oil, the easier it is to remove makeup with, especially waterproof makeup. Also, the thicker the oil, the more moisturizing it is so if you have dry skin, then a thicker oil will benefit you the best. A second cleanser may be used after the oil cleanser in order to remove any impurities left behind if it leaves too much moisture. Or you can always try a thinner oil, one for oily/combination skin. Prices vary from about $36 - $40 for a small bottle which lasts about 3-4 months or a big $75 bottle from Shu Uemura which lasts me over a year. My favorites are the Shu Uemura's A/O, the White Recovery Ex Oil, and NARS for its consistency and divine scent.
Using a 2nd cleanser is something I learned from Kanebo, the Japanese company I worked for at Saks. The 2nd cleanser I like to use after my cleansing oil or just in the mornings is the gentle cream cleanser inside the Skindulgence: 30 minute Non-SurgicalFacelift set which I will get into more later. Keep reading. :)
DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO USE CLEANSING OIL
Do not use water at first on either your face or hands. Simply pour a little cleansing oil on your fingertips and rub them together. Massage all over dry face. Next, pour a little more cleansing oil on fingertips. Close eyes and massage the oil all over lids and in between your lashes so you loosen all the eyeliner and mascara.  Next rinse off fingers and with wet fingertips massage face 1st and then eyes so the oil will emulsify and turn into a white-ish, foamy consistency. (I don’t like getting my eye makeup all over my face so that’s why I like to start off with my face first.) Lastly, rinse your entire face off with lukewarm water. (Super hot water will over dry your face.)
If you don’t wear makeup, you can still reap the benefits of using a cleansing oil. Your cleansing routine time will be faster since you won’t have to spend the 20 extra seconds on your eyes to loosen up any makeup.
2. Exfoliate 2-3x per week
A good exfoliant is designed to help gently remove the top layer of dead skin particles from your skin to reveal fresh, radiant skin. This process allows your serum and moisturizer to absorb deeper into the skin. If you don’t exfoliate your skin your moisturizing products will not be able to penetrate that dead skin layer so you will essentially be wasting your serum and moisturizer and not gaining all the benefits. My favorite exfoliant is Laura Mercier Face Polish. I have been using this amazing exfoliant for 10 years when I first started working for the company. It’s about $30 from department stores and one tube lasts me a year. I just keep the tube in the shower and gently massage a pea size amount everywhere on my face except for my eye area. For a deeper scrub, try a microdermabrasion exfoliant. I will be coming out with a Maria Lee Microdermabrasion product soon. I love using it in the shower with my Clarisonic brush for an amazing deep, but gentle polishing effect. My skin feels like a baby’s ass afterwards and I love how my moisture products absorb into my skin right away.
3. Use Face Serum if you have certain skin conditions
Serum is used alone or underneath face moisturizer. It has smaller molecules and a thinner texture than regular moisturizer since it is designed to be absorbed into the skin deeper than regular moisturizer. Serums deliver concentrated nutrients and vitamins to your skin in a way that a regular moisturizer can’t. If needed, a moisturizer can help lock in your serum and give you extra moisture benefits if applied on top. If you have certain problems like early signs of aging or sun spots (like I have), use a serum containing high concentrations of anti-oxidants that can greatly reduce such problems. My favorites are SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($144), Dr. Perricone Advanced Face Firming Activator ($120), and Maria Lee Glycolic Serum that I will soon have in my own line for less expensive. ;)
4. Don't forget to use Moisturizer
I like using a moisturizer with spf 15 for daytime and one without spf for nighttime. I use a separate, higher spf like Neutrogena SPF 30 sunscreen if I know I will be out in the sun for longer than 15-20 minutes. My favorite spf 15 moisturizers are Mega Moisturizer by Laura Mercier ($50) and the Maria Lee spf 15 Moisturizer that I will soon be coming out with.  For nighttime creams I love Dior Capture Totale ($130) and the awesome, botanical ingredient filled moisturizer inside the Skindulgence: 30 Minute Non-surgical Facelift ($95) set which I personally distribute.
5. Use Eye Cream
Don't slather body or face lotion all under your eye area, people. This is a big mistake that many make because they don't know any better. The skin surrounding the eyes is a delicate area where it is thinner than the rest of the skin on your face. It cannot absorb the same amount of product so if you put a lot of moisturizer on the eye area, you may wind up with annoying bumps. I learned this from my mother who had to go to the doctor to get her eye bumps deflated and drained by a needle. This is why there is eye cream on the market. It is specially made for the orbital bone area of the eye. Even if you are using eye cream and still getting bumps that means either the product is too rich for you or you are applying way too much. A little jar of eye cream should last you about a year or more. My favorite has been the Dior Capture R60/60 eye cream ($82). I am testing an eye cream to put in my own line so stay tuned!
6. Do Indulge in Mask Treatments
I’m all about masks. Once a week after a nice bath makes such a difference in your skin. For $4 at Walgreens, the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque I’ve been using since high school for over 20 years is so awesome and inexpensive. It sucks out impurities like blackheads, draws toxins out of your skin, and relieves stress. It feels SOO amazingly good!  I apply this mask after taking a bath so my face is steamed and my pores are open—it just seems to work 10x better with loosening or sucking out black or whiteheads.  After I rinse the mask off, I go to town with extractions. I will explain in another article how I do this myself.
After extracting, I put on a second mask, the mask from the Skindulgence: 30 Minute Non-Surgical Facelift system. The 3 products in the set are loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and botanical ingredients. And the mask in this set is NO JOKE. Out of all the dozen or so cosmetic lines I have worked for, there is NOTHING ELSE like this mask out on the market. It is sold world-wide through independent distributors only. I have been selling it for the past 8 years only to clients who express interest in trying an amazing anti-aging product. What it does is it gets super tight on the skin as it dries and essentially exercises and tones your facial muscles in a way you cannot do on your own.  This product is CRAZY but in a fantastic way. I even tried it on my dad who was 78 at the time, but only on one side of his face. After he washed his face, the side that had the mask on was noticeably higher than the other side. His face was lopsided temporarily! The Skindulgence 30 Minute Non-Surgical Facelift mask is similar to exercise. If you don’t exercise the muscles in your body, your body will sag and lose its shape. It is the same for your face. You must use the mask on a regular basis just like one should exercise his or her body to keep it in shape. Some of my girlfriends and I have been using this Skindulgence 30 Minute Non-Surgical Facelift set religiously for years and we swear by it. Not only does it tone and firm your face, but it also dries up any zits you may have without over drying your face and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles. And if you have a bad hangover, voila. This product will help make you look like you only had 1 martini instead of 6. There is a 30 day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. It’s THAT good. For $95 you get a gentle cream cleanser which I use in the morning, the amazing tightening mask which I use once a week, and a moisturizer which I use at nighttime. The product amount in the mask is very generous and it lasts me a whole year! You can get the incredible Skindulgence product here: http://www.nhtglobal.com/mariamakeup.
So there it is, folks --all my beauty secrets revealed. Remember, don’t skimp on your skincare products or your skincare routine…. you’ll sadly regret it later. All the makeup in the world can’t hide what could have been prevented! Your skin is the biggest organ of your body, so please invest some $$ on good products and a little time to maintain and take good care of it. :)


"Are You Drinking the Blood of Young Children?"




This question was asked by one of the many people who think I look a lot younger than my age. In fact, I still get carded and would be flattered if I do until I’m 50. Yes, I am Asian so I do have good genes on my side. My dad is 86 and he looks 20 years younger. Another question I get asked a lot is “Can you make me look younger?” Well, yeah of course, temporarily. But here are some pointers you can follow yourself in order to take years off your age.
1. Take good care of your skin.  Wear sunscreen and make sure to use skincare products that make a noticeable impact.
2. “You are what you eat.”  Don’t eat crap all the time or you will feel and LOOK LIKE CRAP. Duh. Eat high fiber, high protein, and low-fat foods. Eat lots of fresh organic fruits and raw veggies. Eat foods high in good fats and omega 3 fatty acids such as nuts, avocados, organic eggs, and fish. Minimize intake of sugary, fried, fatty, processed, high sodium foods. Anything “bad” in moderation, right? Sure. I eat a few pieces of dark chocolate everyday. Just don’t eat a pound all at once.
3. Reduce overall stress level.  For example, if you hate your job, stop complaining about it and try something different. If your friends are always stressing you out, maybe it’s time to hang out with new ones.  Stress causes zits, too.
4. Exercise at least 2-3x a week. This will help to reduce stress and make you want to eat better.
5. Date someone 10 years younger.  Hehe, just jokin'.

And just so you know, my skin hasn’t always looked great. My skin broke out a lot, felt dry, tight, and my nose looked like an oil slick because up until I started cosmetics at 28 I was using all the wrong skincare products. Grade school and high school don’t teach you about how to take care of your skin. And there are so many products out there how do you know which ones are going to work for you until after you try them? If no one is teaching you what’s good for your skin, shopping for skincare is like playing Roulette. When I was in junior high and high school I thought the stinky Noxzema white cream stuff, amber-colored Neutrogena liquid, stinging Sea Breeze toner, and gritty St. Ives Apricot Scrub were all great for my skin thanks to afterschool tv commercials and Sassy magazine ads. I mean, if my skin made a squeaky clean sound after I used these products, that meant that I was doing a great job in cleaning my skin, right? WRONG. After 10 years in cosmetics I have learned that this is not the feeling you want after washing with the right cleanser. To learn about cleansers and proper skincare, read the article "Amazing Makeup Starts with Good Skin."