Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Into Color EOTD

I try to do at least one look each time a new collection is released by B.Koi so you guys can see how some of the colors look when applied. I think I'll probably do a few different looks over time using Sushi Boat eyeshadows since it's a decently sized collection and it has such a wide variety of colors. Anyway, here is the first look which I am calling "Spring Into Color". Hope you like it!

Here's a brief description of which Sushi Boat shadows I used:

1. Sure Thing eyeshadow adhesive serum was applied to the entire eye.

2. Salmon Sashimi applied from the inner corner of the eye to about 2/3 of the way across.

3. Mochi was applied to the outter corner and swept along the eyesocket.

4. Cucumber Maki was applied to the inner corner of the lower and upper eye next to Salmon Sashimi and swept up until it met Mochi.

5. Black Out (Grayscale Collection) was used to line the lower waterline and upper lid.

6. Mochi was brushed below the lower waterline 3/4 of the way over, starting from the outer corner until it met Cucumber Maki.

7. The shadows were blended in between each step and false eyelashes were applied.

8. Rice was used to highlight the brow bone.

Here is a slightly different view of the eye. Because of the angle of the picture and because my eyes have an almond shape the upper liner looks thicker than it is, but this gives you a better view of the individual colors.

So ladies, what do you think?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B.Koi Cosmetic's Spring collection Sushi Boat - the inside scoop!

B.Koi's Spring collection Sushi Boat just went up on the site (after overcoming great technical difficulties) this week. It is a vibrant collection of semi-matte and duochrome shimmers ranging from white to reddish brown. Every color is highly pigmented and full of depth, yet "plays well with others". I wanted to talk a little bit about this collection because it is the first large collection I've put out and I'm extremely pleased with it.

The concept for Sushi Boat came to mind last Fall. I am a planner and I like to follow makeup and fashion trends, which are thankfully always predicated and determined way in advance. I wanted something vibrant and fun yet unique from flat pastels. I also wanted versatility. I wanted the collection to be full of colors that could be used again and again after Spring ended. I began thinking of things in my own life that were full of color naturally. Somehow, sushi boats quickly came to mind. Sushi boats, if you've ever ordered one or been near another table that did, are chocked full of a wide variety of sushi. Being half-Japanese, I've had my fair share of sushi, sashimi, rice balls, etc. The pure colors of the rice, nori, fish, vegetables, etc. began to really appeal to me. Sushi is light and clean, yet vibrantly full of color. That is what I wanted for my collection.

From there I began to figure out whether or not I wanted the collection to take on a literal translation of the theme or if I wanted it to be a bit more figurative. Was I going to only stick to things you'd actually see on a real sushi boat or use the concept as a basis for branching out--a jumping off point so to speak. I decided that sticking only to sushi boat items would be a bit too limiting when I thought of the other things I'd like to include. I think I found a happy medium by using some items you'd certainly see on a sushi boat and adding other items you'd certainly relate to popular Japanese cuisine. I loved the idea of adding several dessert/sweet things such as bubble tea, mochi, and red bean (all personal favorites). Adding these other items also allowed me to incorporate some really amazing colors into the line as well.

I was extremely careful in the finishes I chose for each color. For example, mochi, an extremely vivid light purple, has a somewhat soft, powdery finish--without being dusty looking. Spicy Tuna is a semi-matte red shadow that has ample flecks of orange and gold that literally give off the appearance of spicy heat. Nori, a black-based shadow, is so full of green and gold shimmer that I feel it is a really accurate representation of the real thing. Then you have a color like Cucumber Maki which is a light, fresh green hue shimmering with a lilac/light blue sheen.

I feel as though this collection is extremely personal, though obviously every collection takes a great deal of thought, time, and consideration. For some reason, Sushi Boat feels like my most amazing accomplishment with B.Koi Cosmetics to date. Hopefully every collection and new addition feels this way. I think it's important that as the owner of the company I look at every shadow and say, "Oh my gosh, I love that!!!!" I want to react to my eyeshadows the same way I'd react if someone else had created them and I fell in love--not because they're mine, but because they're absolutely fabulous. The majority of eyeshadows in the Sushi Boat collection are vegan, all are dye-free, talc-free, and none were made with chromium green oxide.

Hopefully if I'm in love with them, you will be too.

You can see the complete line of Sushi Boat eyeshadows on the B.Koi website. CLICK HERE!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eye Makeup Removal Without the Chemicals!

I have been wearing makeup daily since 14 and I've always had a serious love for fabulously vibrant shadows and waterproof mascara that helps my pitiful lashes become noticeable. The problem is, removing waterproof cosmetics and vibrant eyeshadows can be tough. I hate using makeup wipes because I have such sensitive skin it feels like it's pulling on my skin more than I want for daily use. Cold creams always leave a film on my skin that I really don't appreciate. Liquid makeup removers often have chemicals in them that I don't like or they don't completely take off all of my makeup. Basically, nothing has worked well enough for me to want to use it every day.

What's left?

I have always been a fan of natural oils. I use many different ones on my skin and especially my face. I realized a few years ago that several different oils I keep regularly not only work at moisturizing my skin, but they actually melt the makeup right off! I have tried both jojoba oil for makeup removal and avocado oil (two of my absolute favorites) and both work wonderfully.

This is the routine I follow to remove my eye makeup using an all natural oil:

1. I put some oil on my ring finger (since it applies the least amount of pressure to your delicate eye area) and gentle apply in a circular motion all over the eye and eyelashes until it's basically a swirly mess.
2. I give it a second to let it melt into the makeup.
3. I gently wipe it away with a circular cotton pad or wet microfiber wash cloth.

The makeup literally wipes right off without scrubbing! The reason I do one eye at a time is mostly habit because I like to see what I'm doing. Sometimes the oil gets into my eye a little bit, but I've never found these oils to cause irritation and with a few dabs to my inner eye it's quickly gone. I don't know if Vitamin E would work, but you could always give it a try as well. The nice thing is that not only does it remove my makeup, but the oils are fabulous moisturizers for tired eye skin.

I've been working on formulating an oil-based eye makeup remover that doesn't have any nasty chemicals or fragrances in it because I think so many other makeup junkies out there could benefit from it.

What do you think? Are you happy with your current makeup remover or would you be interested in finding something natural that also heavily moisturizes your eye area?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stick it! An all natural eyeshadow priming technique

There are a million eyeshadow primers and adhesives out there. Everything from creams to serums. But what if you have allergies or simply want to use the most all natural, basic thing possible?

Now, let me preface this by saying that I love the eyeshadow adhesive serum I sell on B.Koi Cosmetics--Sure Thing! However, in order to preserve it and keep it from separating, I had to add certain ingredients that are totally skin-safe, but not completely natural. I love it, I stand behind it 100%, and I personally use it every day, but I have a few friends who can't wear much of anything due to sensitivity, allergies, etc. So, here's a fabulous solution for those of you who want your loose shadows to stick, but need something super natural.

Have you ever heard of jojoba oil? You probably have. It is one of the most popular cosmetic oils out there. Look in your lipsticks, lotions, shampoos . . . it's almost always there! Why? Jojoba is an amazing oil. Not only does it moisturize your skin, but it can cleanse it as well (I'll be doing another post soon on natural ways to remove your makeup so check back soon!). You may be surprised to find that it is not actually an oil, technically it is a liquid wax! It comes from the jojoba plant seed and can be purchased many, many places. If you want organic jojoba oil, try Whole Foods, any natural food store, organic online stores, etc. Trader Joe's even carries it!

Now, how do you use it? Simply put a small drop on your finger and very gently smooth it into your lid. The great thing is, it's extremely mild and good for your eyes! Jojoba melts right into your skin and doesn't leave it oily. It's actually pretty incredible, it leaves your skin soft, but not glistening with a film of oil! Once your lid looks moisturized by not oily, pat on your favorite eyeshadows. You want to make sure you use eyeshadows with oil absorbing components like kaolin clay in general (eyes tend to be oily in general).

While this trick isn't necessarily quite as strong an adhesive as something filled with chemicals, it really does work! It's one of the reasons jojoba is a major ingredient in my primer. Try it and let me know what you think!

In my opinion this golden liquid is worth it's weight in gold!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fresh, quick makeup look when short on time!

I recently posted this same topic on one of my favorite beauty forums (beautylish.com) and thought it'd make a great blog post as well for those of you who aren't on beautylish yet.

While we makeup junkies tend to structure our time so that we can apply our makeup the way we like to best, there eventually comes a day when we're tight on time, but unwilling to sacrifice looking fabulous. What's a time-limited makeup junkie to do?

With two small boys, I have found myself on more than one occasion taking far too long to get out the door. I realized that between work, kids, and life I simply no longer had the luxury every day of taking my time putting my makeup on. So, I came up with this little routine to get out the door quickly without looking like a bland, uncivilized woman!

Step 1: Check skin for a nice even tone. If my skin is blemish free, which it usually is, I'll put on a nice facial moisturizer that's super light-weight and has some sun protection. Now, many people I know wear foundation, concealer, etc. on a daily basis. I honestly don't. I have a pretty even olive skin tone and my skin is somewhat sensitive on my face, so I've found that no matter what I wear, if I wear it regularly it really bothers my skin. Obviously I love a good foundation and I love the perfect finish it supplies (especially in macro photos), but this is a short-on-time routine for the every day happenings. If you have trouble skin, use what you feel is best when it comes to whether or not to use foundation, primer, or concealer of some sort.

Step 2: Line upper lid with a super black shadow or gel liner. Again, this is my routine. You may prefer pencil or a different shade depending on your coloring. I personally prefer anything that applies smoothly with a brush. I VERY rarely use pencils. Depending on my mood I may or may not include a little wing on the outer corner.

Step 3: Line lower waterline with a super vivid and unexpected color like metallic blue, sea green, etc. I find that this contrast really makes my eyes pop. The reason I don't line my upper lid this way is because I need the black to define my eye above and the color below to highlight and make them pop. I have almond-shaped eyes so I find that I have to have some black liner at all times to avoid "losing" my eyes.


Step 4: Curl upper eyelashes. I recently came across a discussion in a beauty forum debating whether or not it was worth curling your eyelashes every day. I think my jaw must have hit the floor because I've never considered not curling them! I have short lashes that are fairly thin and I go to great lengths to achieve what I feel are normal, gracefully curled lashes.

Step 5: Use a lengthening, dramatic black mascara. Again, I am super eyelash-challenged so I work hard to continually look for the most effective, dramatic mascara on the planet. I'm a fan of a few mascaras (which I'll discuss in a later post, some drugstore and some not), but so far I haven't found THE ONE--though I recently received a tip for a new one I'm planning to try.

Step 6: Add a touch of blush. I go between powder blush and cream blushes. I'm not sure why I like cream blushes so much, but if you find the right one (my favorite is made by Fresh) it's light-weight and highly pigmented. Love it!

And that's it! I don't have super unruly brows so I don't tend to fuss with them on days I'm strapped for time. Whether or not this routine would help you once in a while depends on your preferences regarding your makeup, style, etc. I know some people would rather go out with just mascara as long as they're able to perfectly smooth out their complexions. Do what makes the most senses for you and your face!

If you're in the mood for a more complicated eye, make sure to check out B.Koi's LookBook page--full of different eye looks from dramatic to semi-natural. Click here!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fake lashes--the love/hate relationship!

I love fake lashes, probably somewhat because mine are so short and thin, but mostly because the options are endless for finishing off your look! From natural to dramatic, falsies come in so many different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. But, if you're like me and have an eye shape that makes using false lashes a bit challenging, you may have to go a little above and beyond to find the style you want in a falsy you can use.

I am half-Japanese and my eyes have an almond shape to them. I've found that I simply CANNOT get falsies with a thick band to stick to my eyes no matter what I do, no matter how much I curl or don't curl them, and no matter what brand. The best one I've found for my eye shape have been the ones with a thin, clear, cord-type band that's extremely flexible. When falsies have a thick band (and you can't see the individual lash "roots" on the band) they just cannot shape to my eyes. It drives me nuts because I have tried so many different brands and after nearly gluing my fingers to my eyes, the falsies remain unattached. Just as a quick note, I use Duo lash adhesive, though I have tried several others as well.

Now, because my false lash needs are a bit pickier than some other falsy-lovers, I have a hard time purchasing falsies online because they rarely show the band in pictures. This drives me nuts!

Does anyone have any special tricks out of the norm for forcing falsies to stick to their eyes no matter the shape?

The typical falsy routine consists of:
1. Curling your lashes
2.Checking to make sure the falsy is not too long for your eye (cut from the outside if necessary)
3. Apply a thin line of glue to the band and allow to dry for about 30 seconds
4. Apply the lashes as close to the lash-line as possible without applying them to your actual eyelashes
5. Pinch the false lashes to your natural lashes
6. Check to make sure neither end has popped back up
7.Put a thin line of either liquid mascara, gel liner, or foiled eyeshadow along the falsy band to hide the band completely (I use eyeshadow more than anything simply because I like the way it looks and I have so many colors it's a habit everytime I line my eyes)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Filling in black eyebrows: Why is it so complicated????

To fill in or not to fill in . . . 
For those of you who have naturally black eyebrows you know how absolutely difficult it can be to find the right product or combination of products to fill in your brows. Let me start by saying that I actually like the way natural eyebrows look in person most of the time (unless they're super sparse or badly groomed). On the other hand, filled in eyebrows photograph so much better, especially in Macro! I personally (and this is my personal opinion) do not think everyone needs to fill them in. Some people have VERY thick brows and simply need to groom them and perhaps use a little something to keep them in place. It's all about personal preference to me.

For those of you who have struggled to fill in your brows without looking as though you drew them on with black magic marker, you're not alone! If you're wondering, what's the big deal? You either don't realize yours look like this (hopefully not the case) or you've already perfected your method and you have the holy grail solution. If either of these apply, this post may not be for you. For those of you who are saying, "Yes! Oh my gosh I thought I was alone in this!" then let's commiserate together!

What's the main issue with filling in black eyebrows?
If you have black hair, and I mean truly black hair, it's hard to get a natural black color in any form that can really emulate your color. Black hair isn't one-dimensional, there are typically highlights of different colors mixed in such as blue. A lighter color will show up and look funny. Not to mention that the red in brown tends to contrast severely with the black of your natural color. I had a period of time where I highlighted my hair. I got sick of it one day and decided to dye it back to black. Needless to say, it looked like dolly hair by the time I was done and I wanted to die! Moral of the story, natural black can't be bottled.

Back to the topic of this blog--filling in black eyebrows without looking odd. So basically if you try to use a brown, you often find that it's:
  • Not dark enough
  • Has too much red in it
Natural black hair doesn't have a warm tone to it like brown, so the contrast sticks out like a sore thumb! At the same time, using black on your eyebrows isn't usually the right solution. I say usually because I know some companies and individuals who use black brow pencils or powders for their black eyebrows and swear by it. I personally think it often stands out as shocking, flat black too much, but then again I like a more natural look. I have an olive complexion naturally, and I find that even with a dark tan, fake black still looks so sharp against my skin that it's all you can see when you look at my face. I feel like people would see nothing but black eyebrows walking towards them.

The Solution!
The solution is simple and complex at the same time. The best color to use on black brows from what I've seen, tried and read is a super flat, DARK cocoa brown with NO reddish hue (meaning neutral or cool as opposed to warm). The problem is, where do you find this color? I've looked at tons of colors and seen that most companies offer their darkest shade in what I would consider a chestnut brown. Not dark enough and not the right tone in my opinion! There are a couple companies that offer shades that seem to do the trick. Two of them are Benefit's Brow Zing in Dark and Urban Decay Brow Box in Brown Sugar. The one negative that I've seen in reviews, but haven't experienced myself, is that people felt the Urban Decay box broke over time.

Similarities:
  • They both have wax and a setting powder

Differences:
  • Urban Decay's has two colors for the powder and natural colored wax so you can mix the colors, but in my opinion if you have black hair you only need the darker color powder, not the light.
  • Benefit's has a colored wax and powder. I spoke with a few other people who use this one and one said she actually only uses the pigmented wax because the powder was a bit lighter.
I think it's probably a good idea to read as many reviews as you can, go to the store and check them out in person then make a decision for yourself. Anastasia also has brow duos that have caught my eye. They come in a number of different colors including one called Ebony, which has two deep neutral brown shades (not reddish).They're supposedly smudge-proof and offer light to medium coverage--sounds perfect for someone looking for a more natural look. Again, I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks and sounds promising.

The only other option is doing what I have done until recently and mix your own color. I would take a soft black and mix it with a brown until it looked right. This is time consuming and not convenient.Whatever works though!

B.Koi does not currently offer any items specifically for eyebrows, but I have considered creating something many times . Perhaps in the future you'll see something from us! Until then, take a look at the three I mentioned above if you're on the hunt for brown powders and waxes for black hair.