Browsing Category beauty

The Best Eyeliner in the World: The Clio Kill Black Eyeliner Pen

I had a discussion with my girl friends the other night where we professed our love for the Clio Kill Black Eyeliner pen. I’ve raved about it before, but I never really gave a proper review. And by proper review I’m just going to gush about how much I love it.

clio kill black eyeliner pen

the logo is all rubbed off, but still works the same!

If I had to choose one product, out of all of the many, many, MANY, Korean cosmetics I have tried, the one product that I absolutely cannot live without, I would choose the Clio Kill Black Eyeliner Pen (Not the brush, the PEN. Very important). I first purchased it about 2 months after I moved to Korea, and I haven’t even considered buying another black eyeliner. I buy it religiously every 3 months. I will continue purchasing it long after I’ve left Korea, and if it ever gets discontinued, I will scour Ebay to get my eyeliner fix. It’s that serious.

I’ve been wearing makeup since I was 13. I’ve tried every single kind of eyeliner there is: pencils, gels, liquid, pens, brushes, eye shadows mixed with water…everything. And I am not exaggerating when I say that the Clio Kill Black Eyeliner Pen is one of the best eyeliners, if not THE best, I have ever tried.

clio kill black eyeliner pen swatch

Why do I like it so much? What makes it special? Well, for starters it is extremely black. Jet black. Inky bottom of the ocean black. It’s easily one of the blackest, most opaque eyeliners I’ve owned. My thing is, if you’re going to do a black liner, you might as well make it as black as humanly possible. Why skimp? Another one of my favorite things about it is that it goes on super black in ONE stroke. None of this going over your eyeliner over and over again business. I hate that, because most of time it flakes off.  It’s also ridiculously easy to use. Haven’t gotten on board the whole cat eye trend because it looks too difficult? This eyeliner makes it incredibly easy.  The felt tip is just thin enough for a thin line, or you can up the amp and use it on its side for a thicker line. The length and width of the eyeliner are just perfect to hold in your hand, no extra bulkiness. Sometimes, I don’t think cosmetic companies understand how important that is. I don’t want to feel like I’m stabbing myself in the eye, you know?

clio pen close up

It’s smudge proof, budge proof, sweltering humid omg I’m going to sweat my life away proof, and cold windy crazy ass snow proof. I wear my makeup from 8am until roughly 10pm and at the end of the day my eyeliner  looks like I just put it on. Magical.

Seriously, whenever I think about this eyeliner I turn into the heart emoji face and I get all warm inside. If there is anything that you buy from the stuff I’ve recommended, please get this eyeliner. You’ll love me. Promise.

If you live in Korea, you can find the Clio eyeliner at any Olive Young or Watsons. It’s approximately 15,000W. You can also find it online at Amazon.com for $7.30 + shipping or via Ebay seller f2plus1 for $10.79.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Makeup for Black Women in S. Korea

makeup

So you’re a Black woman moving to Korea…where do you find your makeup? This is a question I get asked quite often so I decided to try and write a pretty comprehensive guide to makeup for Black women in S. Korea. If there’s anything I can add or change, please let me know!

There are very few companies in Korea that carry makeup in shades darker than beige, pink beige, sandy beige, sunny beige, etc. Obviously this is the case because Korea is a pretty homogeneous country and the population of Black women that live here and buy makeup often is like.. .00003% (I’m just making this number up but you get my point). So, if you are a Black woman, or any darker skinned woman planning on moving to Korea and you wear a specific kind of face makeup, I’m here to tell you now to bring as much with you as possible. Face makeup includes foundation, tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush, bronzer, highlighters, etc. Most stores and brands in Korea will not carry anything in your color for these products.

Now, say you’re desperate and you’ve run out and you don’t have time to call your mom and ask her to buy you your products and have them shipped to you (pretty much the only other option). There are a few brands in Korea that carry darker colors. The brands that definitely carry makeup in darker colors are MAC and NARS. Brands that *maybe* (and this is a tiny tiny maybe) carry darker colors are Bobbi Brown, Makeup Forever, and Benefit. Don’t hold your breath for these brands though, your best and safest bet is MAC and NARS. Popular US drugstore brands such as Maybelline and NYX are available in stores like Watsons, Olive Young, and Boons in Korea, but they do not sell face makeup in colors for Black women.

You can find brands like MAC, NARS, Benefit, etc. at any department store in Korea, such as Hyundai, Shinsegae, and Lotte department stores. MAC is easier to find, with a counter in pretty much every major department store. There is also a MAC Pro Store in Apgujeong, which carries a wider range of products.

NARS is a bit harder to find, with locations in the Seoul area in the Shinsegae at Express Bus Terminal, Hyundai Department Store in Jamsil, and The Galleria in Apgujeong. Other locations are available here.

Foundation, BB Cream, Tinted Moisturizer, and Concealer

Sadly, these brands will not have a great range of dark colors, if any at all. The darkest color MAC carries just so happens to be mine, which is NC45. The color range jumps from NC35 to NC42, then NC45. That’s it, nothing in between. There aren’t any NW colors or C colors. If you are anything in between these shades or if you are darker than an NC45 in MAC, then sadly, you will most likely not find makeup  in your color in Korea. Make sure to bring as much with you as possible. Of course, again, if you have seen anything darker than this in the stores, or know of any places that carry makeup in darker shades, please let me know in the comments.

MAC also doesn’t carry NC45 products in every type of foundation. I’ve only seen NC45 in the Mineralize SPF 15 compact foundation, the Studio Fix foundation, and the Mineralize Moisture foundation. If you don’t like MAC or these 3 formulas, then you’re out of luck. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of MAC foundation, but I have had to buy the Mineralize SPF 15 compact foundation twice and it wasn’t that bad.

NARS carries powder foundations in the colors Tahoe, which is described as medium to dark with caramel undertones, and Syracuse which is medium to dark with brown undertones.

NARS is your best bet for tinted moisturizers, but they only carry up to the shade Malaga, which is described as medium dark with warm, caramel undertones. I actually use the shade below that, Seychelles, which is medium dark with golden olive undertones. I could maybe get away with using Malaga (if I used it with a bronzer), as tinted moisturizer is pretty forgiving when it comes to matching shades 100%.

BB creams in shades for Black women barely exist in the US, and they definitely 100% do not exist in Korea.

You will not find any concealers darker than an NC35 at MAC and the darkest shade at NARS is Ginger, which is way too light. I have yet to find a brand besides Benefit that carries a concealer in Korea for dark skinned women. And Benefit only carries the FakeUp concealer in the color Dark, they don’t have any other concealers in darker shades.

Bronzer and Highlighter

If you wear bronzer, MAC sells the Mineralize Skin Finish powder in Gold Deposit, the bronzing powder in Golden, and the Natural Mineralize Skin Finish in Dark. Depending on your skin tone, these could be used as either bronzers or highlighters.

NARS carries the multiple stick in all colors, including the bronzer stick I use in Palm Beach. NARS in Korea also carries all three of their bronzing powders: Laguna, Casino, and Irresistiblement. Casino is the best shade for dark skinned women.

Blush 

Blush is another product that I have trouble finding in a typical Korean cosmetic store, so I usually to go to MAC or NARS. MAC doesn’t carry the full range of blushes they do in the US, so they don’t have colors like Sweet as Cocoa, Format, or Desert Rose. They still have a wide range of colors that work though, including Stubborn, and Love Joy. NARS is a better bet for blush, as most counters in Korea carry all colors, even the holy grail color for dark skinned women, Taj Mahal.

Lipstick, Lip Tint, Lip Gloss, and Lip Liner

If you’re a lipstick wearer, chances are you will most likely be able to find colors and formulas that work in a Korean cosmetic store. I’ve had the most luck with sheer lipstick and lip tint colors from Korean cosmetic stores. I haven’t had much luck finding a highly pigmented lipstick from a Korean store that I really, really like, so I stick with MAC and NARS, or a drugstore brand I can find in Korea like NYX or Maybelline.

Lip gloss is way easier for me to find in a Korean cosmetic store, so I usually opt to buy my lip glosses from one. I’m quite fond of Etude House and SkinFood lip glosses, as they aren’t sticky and don’t have any weird smells (like the Innisfree ones…gross).

Lip Liners are another product I have trouble finding in Korea because the colors, especially brown ones, aren’t dark enough for me. I have had success with a few red colors from Aritaum and Missha though.

Eye Shadow

Eye shadow is a tricky beast in Korea. There are a few brands that make colors that are pigmented enough to show up on dark skin. Etude House is on of my favorite places to buy eye shadow, as they are cheap and are usually pretty pigmented. One of my favorite eye shadows is a golden bronze color from Etude House that I’ve actually bought twice now. Innisfree also makes a lovely dark bronze shade that I love. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of most Korean eye shadows as I find them way to shimmery and glittery for my liking. A lot of the colors are also extremely sheer and not pigmented enough for dark skin. If you can spot a NYX in your local Olive Young or Watsons, that may be your best bet for inexpensive eyeshadow. If you want to splurge, MAC is a great choice.

Eyeliner, Mascara, Etc.

You will have no problem finding eyeliner or mascara in Korea. Unless you are picky about what kind you use, I wouldn’t stock up. My favorite eyeliner of all time is the Clio Kill Black Liner Pen, and I recently bought the Innisfree liner pen and love it too. I’ve also had luck buying eyeliners in all different shades, from green to cranberry to aqua to blue. All have definitely been pigmented enough for my skin. Mascara is readily available in all Korean stores, and you’ll find popular drugstore brands in Watsons and Olive Young.

Expect all makeup, except from Korean stores to be extremely expensive. Everything I’ve bought from the department store or Olive Young has had at least a 50% markup. For example, the MAC foundation I bought in Korea was 56,000W. In the US, it’s about $32. MAC lipsticks are 27,000W, and in the US $15. I first bought the Maybelline Rocket Volum’ Mascara at Olive Young for 15,000W. In the US, it’s $7.99.

If you’re a makeup junkie, keep an eye out on upcoming collections via Temptalia. Brands like MAC and NARS will carry the full range of limited edition collections, and that’s usually the best time to check and see if there are colors that would work for you. For example, MAC in Korea had both the fall and winter Rihanna collections, which featured great bronzers and highlighters for Black women. If you’re looking to travel while you’re in Korea, keep an eye out on cheap tickets to both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I was able to find makeup in a much wider variety for women of color in those 2 places, and it may be worth it to take a quick trip to stock up.

All in all, makeup for Black women living in Korea is extremely limited. Of course, you can always get things shipped, but I wanted to focus on what is available in Korea.

If you have any questions or anything to add please let me know in the comments!

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Hair Cut Magic with the Curl Doctor, Shai Amiel

Besides the food and Sephora, the thing I was excited about the most during my trip to the US was getting a hair cut at Capella Salon by Shai Amiel, more affectionately known as Curl Doctor. One look on his Instagram page was enough for me to make a phone call to his salon first thing in the morning (2 months before my trip!). He’s legitimately a curly hair wizard.

I made the appointment for first thing in the morning the day after I landed in LA. Jet lagged out of my mind, I stumbled into his gorgeous salon in Studio City. Very rarely do I make trips in LA that involve going to the Valley, but this was definitely a special occasion.

before hair cut

As I sat in his chair, we went over the game plan. At that moment, my hair was incredibly uneven, limp, and lacked volume. My ultimate goal was to have layers, get bouncy curls that move, and to get volume at my crown, which is something I could never really accomplish because my hair is so fine. Shai uses the Deva Cut technique, which means he cut my hair, curl by individual curl, while it was dry (CRAZY IMPORTANT!). Every single other time I’ve gotten a hair cut it’s ended up wonky because the stylist either cut it while it was straight, or while it was wet. I never straighten my hair so getting it cut while it’s straight doesn’t make sense, and cutting it while it’s wet doesn’t make sense either because I have tons of shrinkage.

As he took each individual curl and snipped away, he told me about products and methods that would work for my hair type. Ions ago, I was always trying to get my hair to look “perfect”, meaning no frizz, and super defined curls. I’ve realized that’s not the look for me, and I want to get big hair, even if it’s slightly frizzy. For his “hair prescription”, he told me to invest in a hair pick, so I can lift up my roots at the crown, and to make sure to use products without sulfates or silicones. I’d already cut out sulfates, since at that time I was only co-washing, but silicones were a different story.

Silicones are awesome because they make your hair FEEL great, that super silky, super soft feeling that everyone loves. Unfortunately, for a lot of curly haired girls, silicone is awful. It causes awful build-up that weighs your hair down, which is why my top complaint was that my hair didn’t “move”. It would look great for a day or two, then I’d have weird hair and I didn’t feel like dealing with it so I’d wear it in a bun. I really felt like a had cartoon character hair, it just sort of stayed in one place. Gross x 232535. Shea butter is another culprit for me. I had stopped using products with shea butter a few weeks before the trip, because I just found that oils and certain creams are just WAY too heavy for my hair.

Anyway, after cutting my hair, his assistant washed it, conditioned it, and then deep conditioned it. While it was still completely soaking wet, he applied the products, first, a gel, then a styling cream. Apparently, applying products while your hair completely soaking wet is key. I’d always wring mine out or let it dry a little bit first before doing anything to it. After the products were applied, the assistant diffused my hair dry. And what I saw next was nothing short of a miracle. My curls were bouncy, soft, and extremely defined. There was virtually no frizz, yet my hair had volume and shape. He didn’t cut much off, but it made an entire world of difference. It really and truly felt, and still feels like I have new hair….like my old hair was removed and I got a new hair replacement. Insanity.

sheryll after 2

The second day was even better! I wore my hair in a pineapple bun that night, and when I took it out the next morning, I just shook it out and BAM! It was done! I didn’t even have to reapply product like I normally do. I can wait until the day before I wash it (normally every week.to  1.5 weeks) to throw it in a bun, instead of like the 3rd or 4th day.

2nd day hair

Per his recommendation, I bought the DevaCurl No Poo Shampoo, and DevaCurl One Condition Conditioner, along with the DevaCurl Arc AnGEL Light Hair Gel. They’ve all 3 been working wonderfully for me so far. I especially love the hair gel, because it instantly dissolves when it touches water, but it forms sort of a cast/shell over your curls. Once it’s dry, you can scrunch your hair and it’s unbelievably defined, soft, and bouncy. I swore I’d never use gel in my hair, but I’m a fan.

sheryll today

Since DevaCurl is hella expensive, I wanted to try and find something I could stock up on, since I won’t be in the US for a while. At Target, I found the brand Curls, which I had used very briefly when I lived in LA. Curls is paraben, sulfate and silicone free, perfect for my fine curls. I purchased the Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream, the Coconut Sublime Conditioner, the Quenched Curls Curl Moisturizing Spray, the Blueberry Bliss Control Paste, and the Créme Brule Curl Cream, and the Cashmere Curl Jelly. Yes, it’s a lot. But no one in Korea sells it, and I just gotta bring everything.

products

Anyway, my hair is incredible and my new products are awesome. I finally, FINALLY have the hair that I love!

(ps this post was in no way sponsored nor does it feature any affiliate links, I just wanted to share how amazing my hair is now lol!)

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NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

nars concealer

Holy Grail Alert, Holy Grail Alert! The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is one of my best makeup purchases …EVER.

Shopping for makeup was one of my top priorities for my trip to the US. Obviously, there is .9% makeup in my color in Korea, and I was running dangerously low on all of my essentials. MAC is the only brand that makes foundation and blush in my color in Korea, but sadly, they don’t make concealer. What gives?! I’d been getting by on my Benefit FakeUp concealer, but to be honest, I was only using it because it’s was the only concealer in Korea that sort of came close to my shade.

I went to Sephora on a mission. I needed a new foundation/tinted moisturizer, a concealer, bronzer and blush. I did the color match thing with the sales associate, she asked me a few questions about what type of makeup finishes I like (my personal preferences are dewy, glowy, etc.), and BAM. I ended up going crazy in the NARS section, picking up new tinted moisturizers, a new blush and my new favorite thing in the world, the Radiant Creamy Concealer.

nars radiant concealer

The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is described as “A creamy concealer with hydrating, multi-action skincare benefits and light diffusing technology to create a softer, smoother complexion.” That about sums it up. It’s smooth, it’s hydrating, it’s build-able, it’s extremely pigmented, it’s everything I have ever wanted in a concealer. I loved it so much I actually went back to buy a second one so I don’t run out. It’s that serious.

It comes in a tube with a doe foot applicator, perfect for getting around under the eye. I dab a bit under my eye and tap it in using my fingers, or sometimes my Etude House Beauty Blender dupe. It blends like a dream, with no creasing, no caking, no settling into fine lines. And best of all, it looks like my real skin, none of this overly highlighted under the eye nonsense that’s going around lately. No lie, when I first used it I swore I looked like a different person. It instantly brightened up my face, making me look I’d gotten 12 hours of sleep instead of looking like a jet lagged mess. Not only do these concealers do a great job at hiding discoloration, they are extremely long wearing. Once you set it with some powder, expect at least 12 hours of wear.

My perfect shade is Caramel, which is described as medium dark with yellow and golden undertones. It retails for $28 (and probably a million dollars in Korea), and can be purchased from NARS or Sephora.

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