Dallasite: MiniLux Highland Park Yelp Elite Event

Yelp Dallas has started their 2017 Elite events! There was actually an event before this, but I couldn’t attend due to a clash in schedules. This particular event was at Minluxe in Highland Park, Dallas, TX.


Miniluxe is a high-end nail and waxing salon, first starting in Boston, MA. In recent years they have expanded and there are five locations in the Dallas area so far. 


Miniluxe sets themselves apart from the usual market by being extremely sterile. Everything used on customers are sanitized using advanced techniques in their Clean Lab. They are also very customer service oriented and go out of their way to make each guest feel at home. 
 

At the Yelp Elite Event, they were offering color refreshes on nails and toes, facial waxes, and massages. Since I have on Nexgen nails, I couldn’t take advantage of their nail services, but I did do my first ever eyebrow wax, and now I’m not sure if I can go on without doing it again (pictures will come in later posts… muahaha). I’m considering having my Nexgen removed and having a Miniluxe manicure. The true test to see if I have cured my dermatophagia. If you’re not familiar with dermatophagia, please check out my article on it published on The Mighty.


Overall, it was a great way to kick off 2017 Yelp Dallas, and I can’t wait to visit the Miniluxe Salon in my area of Dallas.

Nicoco

Dior Rouge Lipstick Swatches (555 Dolce Vita and 250 Bal)

Dior Rouge lipstick is probably one of the holy grail lipsticks for dry lips, as is the Chanel Rouge Coco line and the YSL Volupte Shine. I actually found this lipstick in a Japanese magazine when I was looking for pinks. I had been wearing the MAC Cosmetics “Cosmo,” which is an amplified formula, but I wanted to find a similar shade in Dior, because the shade was so similar to my natural lip. I think I have finally found my “my lips but better” shade.

Dior Rouge Lipstick Swatches

Before I review, please note the following regarding my skin type:

Skin Shade: Fair

Skin Type: Oily

Acne: Prone to hormonal areas (jawline, chin, mouth)

Lip Color: Light Muave

Lip Type: Dry

Dior Rouge Bal Lipstick #250 Lip Swatch
Dior Rouge Lipstick Swatches

Dior Rouge in the color Bal #250 is my most recent “my lips but better” shade. It is very pink, more on the nude side than a true pink, but still very pink for most people. Since my natural lip color is more mauve than nude, it does come out to almost the same color as my lips. I think what makes Dior one of my favorites is the formulation. It is moisturizing, glides on smoothly, and best of all…. it fades well! I hate it when I have a great color on and it fades and suddenly I look like I woke up from a party the next morning, smudges all around the edges of my lips and the center chapped and bare. This one doesn’t do that.

Dior Rouge Dolce Vita #555 Lip Swatch

Dior Rouge Lipstick Swatches

Dolce Vita #555 is basically the darker, more vibrant pink version of Bal. Seriously, I first bought this lipstick thinking this would match my lips but nope, way too bright. I think anyone who wants to do the Korean styled lips could definitely use this color to pull it off. The formula is the same as Bal, and it does also fade well on my lip color.

One other thing I like about these lipsticks is the reapplication throughout the day is seamless. They fade after about three hours, but once reapplied, it does not dry or cake on the lips. I find that even just applying most of the color to the center part of my lips and blending it out with my finger is enough to give my lips a good amount of color because these are very pigmented.

Dior will definitely be in my top lipsticks for dry lips! Since I have dermatophagia, I still sometimes bite my lips and these still stay on through all of the abuse. That’s enough to get me hooked!

Nicoco

Tips for Oily Skin

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The forced daily routine: look at your face in the mirror, blot oil from your nose and forehead. Why is this happening? I only put on my make up about two hours ago! Wtf

Having oily skin is worse than having dry skin. Because you still have dry skin under all the sebum. And sometimes you think you have combination skin… on the same areas! Is it possible to be oily and dry at the same places?

Well, I won’t talk about all the science behind it all, because I’m sure you’ve heard all about why you have oily skin, but what you’d really like to do is know how to control it!  I know for myself, I have been trying to control my oily skin for years, and from many agonizing school and work days suffering from my trial and error, here are the top 5 things you can do to control your oily skin!

1. Stop Using Harsh Exfoliants

People with a normal skin type like to talk about how they are using St.Ives face scrub or this new coffee scrub or whatever. I personally used the Lush Herbalism face scrub. BAD IDEA, GUYS! Using scrubs like this on your face is a harsh exfoliant and will disrupt the skin’s pH levels the “mantle” on your skin. And when this happens, you overproduce oil! It was terrible. The first week I used it, my skin became oily within 30 minutes of washing it and putting on my normal make up. Do you know how annoying it is to blot your face every 30 minutes during a work day? So yes, don’t use harsh exfoliants.

So what do you use to exfoliate then? There are a few choices. There are chemical peels, which will exfoliate your skin without the friction. There is something called Japanese water jelly, which will pick up the dead skin on your face. And then there are micro scrubs you can get, which have an exfoliant so small that it will not disrupt the pH mantle.  What ever you do, do not get a face scrub!

2. Spray Your Setting Spray Before Putting on Makeup

This seems backwards, but if you do this, the oil will have a layer to be absorbed before the foundation! If you use a primer, it should go in this order: setting spray, primer, foundation, powder, setting spray. It makes the foundation lasts so much longer!

3. Use a Damp Beauty Blender to Pat on Your Setting Powder

By doing this, you will be super-setting the powder into your skin, which helps you stay matte longer. Even using a dry beauty blender works, but the damp one works even better. Just make sure to use a translucent powder, preferably one specially made for oil control.

4. Use a Moisturizer for Oily Skin

For the past few months, I’ve been using Desert Essence’s Oil Control Face Lotion, and it makes a huge difference when I use it compared to when I used regular moisturizers or sunscreens under make up. I think the witch hazel helps a lot in this particular lotion. Another one that was great on oily skin was Alba Botanica’s Green Tea moisturizer. As long as it is an oil-free moisturizer formulated for oily skin, it should help control the oil on your face during the day.

5. Be Aware of Acne-Causing Products

Oily skin is often over-producing sebum, causing clogged pores. This leads to acne-prone skin. Some products that might cause even more pore-clogging sebum are lip balms, balm tints, toothpastes containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, exfoliating scrubs, and a handful of other products. Do your research to be sure that what you are using is for sensitive skin. Destroying the skin mantle can turn your oily face into an even more oily and acne-ridden face.

These tips are all from personal experience. I am not a doctor or a dermatologist. But I have battled with oily skin and acne my entire adult life, and I understand the frustration. I am still searching for solutions for both oily skin and acne, so hopefully soon there will be a blog post showing that I have overcome it!

Good luck!

 

xo Nicoco

The Pride of Long Hair

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OOTD: Top – Ivanka Trump | Shorts – American Eagle | Sandals – White Mountain | Clutch – Coach | Necklace – Piercing Pagoda

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In many cultures, long hair is the symbol of being a woman. For some religions, it’s signifies that the woman is deeply invested in that religion. It’s a trait of standard beauty, and for many women, hair is something that identifies who they are.

It takes so much time to grow out, so much effort to keep it healthy, and diligence to maintain the quality of the hair as it grows. I remember oiling my hair everyday for a year, braiding it back into a single dutch braid. It limited my hair styles and flexibility. I took fish oil, biotin, a protein shake, MSM supplements and constantly researched how to grow my hair faster. I couldn’t dye my hair, style it with heat, or use abrasive products. It was definitely an all-consuming process, but it was worth it. Last summer I had my hair down to my waist.

In Japan, people take cutting hair as a symbol of loss. Lose the one you love, cut your hair. Feel ashamed by something you have done, cut your hair. In many Western cultures, people cut their hair to cure the boredom or to provide a change. For me, I think it’s a bit of both. I recently cut my hair to medium-short length. From waist length to just above my chest. For a lot of people, that’s still quite long. But for anyone who has long hair, you will understand when I say that it’s a huge change. Your hair isn’t what defines you any longer. When you have long hair, people describe you by your hair. They notice you because of it. But when it’s chopped off, maybe it feels like taking away a part of you.

I don’t want to be completely defined by my hair. I want a change for the better. And I’m still moving on from leaving my home of 13 years. Chopping off the length means change stemming from the loss to me. To not let it define me.

It kind of sounds ridiculous to me. But it’s true: I’m not the girl with long braids. I’m the one who is silently reaching her way to the top.

Nicole

Japanese Gardens

  
  
   
   
   
 
   
   
   
    
 
   
   
   
    
    
   
Recently, we went down to Fort Worth to see the Japanese gardens. It was like stepping into another world, which is exactly why we wanted to get away and go there. We’ve been obsessed with tea and yoga and meditation, so it kind of fit our mood. I definitely recommend anyone who is in the area to visit!

My outfit was an attempt to bring out spring. I got a lot of states as we walked through the garden, most likely because of the colorful skirt. I actually got the material for the skirt at my dad’s family reunion. One of my dad’s cousins is a missionary in India, and they bring back materials every now and then. I believe it was a large scarf when I bought it three years ago. But two years ago, I asked my mom to see it into a skirt. And I’m so glad I did! Everywhere I go, I get compliments on that skirt, and nobody else has it. I’m glad that events leading up to the skirt happened. 

I paired it with a simple basic shirt from Forever 21, mostly because it was still a bit chilly outside (and of course when afternoon hit, it became hot and I regretted it). My shoes were simple flats I acquired during my time a few years ago working for the Shoe Dept. and my bag is my trusted Calvin Klein sling bag. 
My necklace is an amulet from Thailand from my father-in-law, who is a Buddhist hermit. Every time I wear it, good things seem to happen. For example, when we went to pay the entrance fee for the garden, they waived us through and said its on them today. What’s the chances of that?
I’m used to slacking off on my fashion at the office nowadays, but when I do wear my old style outfits (form fitting), then I realize how unhappy I am with my current figure. I hate the fact that the food here is so good that I lost my self control and are pretty much the whole city when I moved here. Even wearing that shirt made me self conscious because my stomach was protruding. More motivation I suppose!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the garden and my mom’s skirt. Oh, and happy belated Valentine’s Day!
Nicoco

My Current Make-Up Routine | MOTD

I’m not a beauty blogger/writer. Because I’m just not that creative with make-up, I don’t feel like there’s much to write about it. Despite that, I keep buying and trying new products. I think I’m trying to perfect a certain look, but not actually change anything. I believe everyday make up should look as if it weren’t even there. The ‘natural’ look, I suppose. Because I feel like bold looks should be saved for special occasions. (I say that, but that’s probably not going to happen even on special occasions because I’m lazy af) Today I would like to share what has been working for me lately.

Skin Stats

Skin Type: Combination (oily forehead, nose and chin, dry cheeks) and acne prone

Eye shape: Slightly hooded (AKA can’t wear eyeshadow…)

Lips: Dry

Make Up Price Range: Medium Cheap

Make Up Products

Everyday Make

  1. Base: Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream, Shade No. 21

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With all of the benefits of BB Cream, such as whitening, sun protection, and moisturizing, this particular BB cream has always been a favorite of mine because it goes on so smoothly and covers so well despite being a thin layer. It’s definitely a full coverage base, which I need because of my acne scarring. It also doesn’t get ridiculously oily throughout the day. It’s not the greatest for oil control, but it’s much better than a lot of BB creams.

2. Contour: NYX High Definition Blush in HDB02 Nude’tude/Nutitude

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I know, this is a blush, but the nude color makes it the perfect contouring shade. I don’t do full on contouring like most American women do; I do a light contouring on my jawline with a fluffy brush just to thin my face. I find this shade works well with someone of a light skin tone.

3. Blush: Tony Moly Delight Tint in Cherry Pink Shade

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I simply cannot use this as a lip tint because it just brings out the dry lines in my lips and becomes uneven right away. However, using this as a cheek tint has been working out really well. I dab just a dot of the product onto my lips and it gives me a natural flush.

4. Eyes: Tony Moly Petit Fuller Eye Plumper

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This was the weirdest product I’ve ever found, but it’s been a lifesaver! My eyes are sunken from being tired. All I have to do is apply this on my under eye, and it is lifted and bright. It gets rid of my eye bags and gives me a plump aegyosal. Aegyosal is the little fat under the eye, which some people have naturally. I do, but my death no sleep eyebags kind of make that not noticeable. I’ve been putting it on the top of my eye lids and eye socket as well.

5. Eyelashes: Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Chaotic Lash Mascara

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I do not put on layer after layer of mascara like they do in the commercial for this. One coat does just fine. I used to be into the super long and thick lash look, but lately I’m just lazy, tired of getting mascara fallout on my cheeks, and just going for a more natural look. This one does not have fallout as long as you do not overdo it. I have this in the dark brown shade for a more natural feel.

6. Brows: Daiso Japan Eyebrow in Natural Brown

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This has got to be the cheapest but best eye brow pencil I’ve used so far. I draw a straight brow, and this is perfect for making them look full and fluffy. Since it’s from Daiso, it’s only $1.50! I will probably not buy anything else, as long as I live near a Daiso store.

7. Lips: Burt’s Bees Rose Lip Tint

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I love my MAC lipsticks, but the Texas winter is just too dry to do that. I’ve been getting by with this tinted lip balm by Burt’s Bees. I do have to reapply a lot throughout the day, but at least I don’t have dry cracked lips. The color is very natural and spreads evenly on the lips.

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My make up is so basic because I need to be able to do it in five minutes so I can sleep in more. Hopefully you can find some of these products that I use on a daily basis and incorporate it into your make up routine.

Nicoco

New Series: Lip Product Reviews

Since May of this year, I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect lip products.

It seems like it would be easy, but with my lips, for some reason it’s been such a hassle. Redrawing lip shape and finding colors that go well with my skin are no problem, but I have two main problems. First, my lips are very pigmented, so the colors do not stick well over top of my lips. Secondly, I have bitten the lower lip so much that it is chronically dry and flaking. Stemming from my dermatophagia problem, I also tend to bite my lower lip when I’m nervous, which apparently resulted in an uneven lip texture.

  

 I’m not sure if it’s even fixable through using primers, but so far it’s made using lip products quite the difficult experience. I have frequent problems with uneven color with the products as well as dryness. You will see what I mean in the upcoming reviews.

Through all of the trial and error, I’ve picked up quite a few lip products, so I am going to group them and do reviews on each of the products I’ve tried.

MAC Experience | My Story

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I expected it to be horrible.

I’ve seen the videos on YouTube. I’ve seen how they treat their customers. They say if you aren’t dressed nicely, you won’t even be acknowledged when you walk in the store or up to the counter. I’ve seen stories about MAC employees being racist, prejudice against younger girls, and just plain rude.

And I did have one previous experience that really solidified those complaints. Back in May this year, I went to a MAC counter in Maryland and I had to practically beg the make up artist to stop for a moment while he was organizing the counter to let me buy the Velvet Teddy lipstick.

That time I had been wearing a skirt from the thrift store and and old camisole. This time I was prepared.

I was wearing a playsuit from BooHoo.com. I had my hair fixed and my Flowerbomb perfume on my wrists. I was wearing name brand shoes and a gold necklace. And I confidently walked into the MAC store in King of Prussia Mall.

And right away, two make up artists greeted me and asked if I needed help. All of that worry for nothing!

The reason I was there was to find “my lip color but better.” I previously said in another post that Kinda Sexy matte lipstick was very close to my lip color. I noticed over the week that it was a bit more pink than my lip. Unfortunately, my lip color naturally is more purple-brown toned. So I decided to just go to the store instead of guessing on the colors online and randomly buying shades.

I told the one artist what I was looking for: a matte lipstick that would naturally match my lip color. She took one look at me and whisked away, coming back with a lip primer, a lip liner and a mysterious lipstick. She sat me down and had me take off my current lipstick (I was wearing MAC’s Taupe), and applied primer to my lips.

Then she shaded in the liner and the lipstick (with a lip brush, of course). It matches perfectly. And she sold them to me. She was very good about it too. I originally told her I was only going to buy the lipstick, which turned out to be Honey Love (!!!), but she showed me the way the color blended much better with the pencil liner. The liner is called Spice N’ Nice, and honestly, I think it matches my lips even closer than Honey Love lipstick does. So of course, I bought both.

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I’m quite happy with the results so far! I will have to say I was treated honestly and fair at the King of Prussia store. Was it because I tried to dress up? I’m not sure. But I’m just glad I didn’t have to chase anyone to buy a lipstick this time.

M.A.C. Lipstick Part II

I’m not sure if it’s become an unhealthy obsession, but in the last two months, I’ve collected all of these:

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Each one was about $20 so…. 

But hey, I needed them! To swatch for this review! 😉

 mac lipstick swatches 
The ones I reviewed previously are Taupe, Velvet Teddy, and Blankety, which are all nudes. This time I have three more, and they are all quite different from each other. 

 mac lipstick swatches 
From top to bottom: Kinda Sexy, Ravishing, and Impassioned.  They are all quite summer-y in my opinion. They have worked quite well for my summer outfits. 

Kinda Sexy

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This lipstick is a matte formulation, which is definitely my favorite M.A.C. formulation. It’s creamy and smooth on the lips. The main reason I bought this lippy was to find a lipstick that matches my natural lip. Velvet Teddy was close to my lip color, but it needed a little less of a brown tone. I would say this is a nude with a pinky-coral undertone. This is my all time favorite at the moment. I’ve been wearing this to work everyday. 

Ravishing

 
The traditional color for summer lips is coral. This is definitely a light and wearable coral. It’s classic for summer, goes well with all skin tones, and it’s got a slight sheen to it, as the formulation is a creamsheen. It is not as pigmented as the matte and amplified formulations, so you do have to apply a few coats for full coverage. 

Impassioned 

  

With its amplified formula, this lippy is super bold and bright. I love this color against my fair skin tone, but it’s a bit flashy for everyday wear. To tone it down, I apply only a small amount in the center of my lips and blend outward into a gradient. Otherwise, this is good as an alternative summer lip. It’s bright just like the sun. 

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I will probably continue to purchase new M.A.C. Lipsticks, but for now I’m going to try to stick with Kinda Sexy as my main lippy. Hopefully this will help someone when choosing to buy one; I know, there are way too many choices!

Mornings: Five Tips for Surviving

Mornings are so hard for me! I’d prefer “afternoon” to be my “morning.” But life demands that most of us wake up and start our day in the morning, so here are some tips to make your mornings easier!

1.) Drink water RIGHT when you wake up.  I mean seriously as soon as you sit up, even if you’re half asleep, drink a glass of room temperature water. Just down it, I swear it will help. If you don’t do it right away, you will forget, trust me on this.  The best way to prepare for this is to fill a bottle of water or a glass right before bed and to leave it on your nightstand.

2.) Meditation will help you clear your mind for the day. It’s not a great feeling to wake up and then immediately think about all of the things that you have to do for that day. It’s like getting on the internet and immediately opening 50 tabs; you’re going to be unfocused and overwhelmed. Meditation, as Headspace (meditation app) puts it, is the ability to acknowledge and be aware of the thoughts in your head as well as your surroundings, but not follow any of the thoughts. It might seem easy to just sit up with your eyes closed, but try it. You probably will not last 30 seconds the first time. The best way to start meditation is to start with a technique to become aware. The Headspace app is a great tool to guide you in the beginning. After you finish the ten free sessions, you will be set to meditate on your own. Lately, I also have been using binural brainwave synchronizing to help calm my mind with the Brainwave app. There are many tools and tricks to help you understand how to meditate, but it all comes down to being focused on your breathing and acknowledging the present while not following any of your thoughts that pass through. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you start meditating, you will feel your mind becoming much clearer and less ridden with unnecessary emotions throughout the day.

3.) Hygiene tips! When brushing your teeth, never forget to floss and clean your tongue with a tongue scraper. If you shower in the morning (I don’t but I know a lot of people do!), soap your body with a loofa; it will remove dead skin and body odor better than simply using bar soap alone. 

4.) Have breakfast. I know it’s so much easier to just skip it, but try to make yourself excited about it. Do it French style and have a citron pressé with a croissant and some fruit. Or have a waffle with fruit. Eggs also do your body good. Just make sure you eat something! Even if you’re one of those people who get sick eating in the morning, ease yourself into it and eat small portions. 

5.) Airplane mode is the best phone policy when getting ready in the morning. You won’t be tempted to check the social media sites, you won’t be getting notifications and texts or calls while you are getting ready. This also prevents the clutter from getting in your head right after you’ve meditated. 

I’m not a morning person, and I might never be one. But I want to try to wake up the right way because it’s better than starting out my day stressed out and grumpy.