Tag Archives: demo

Beauty Spot: MAC Viva Glam makeover for World Aids Day plus giveaway!

How many companies make a huge fuss about ‘giving something back’ only for you to read the small print and discover charitable donations are limited to a small percentage of profits or a tiny fraction of the selling price?

Well, not MAC. I was invited to be part of their World Aids Day initiative to coincide with the launch of two new Viva Glam lip products fronted by Lady Gaga – where I discovered that every single penny/cent from the SELLING PRICE of their Viva Glam items goes directly to the MAC Aids Fund. Pretty impressive… and in Hong Kong alone, they’ve raised over $5.3 million over the past five years.

But a bit more about that later. On December 1, World Aids Day itself, MAC artists around the world gathered to distribute red ribbons and condoms to raise awareness about HIV – and I was amongst them! Alongside two of my beauty besties, Danielle and Jenn, we braved the elements (and the indifference of the general public) to hand out condom packs to passers-by outside iSquare in Tsim Sha Tsui.

An interesting experience to say the least. Given I generally get ogled if I expose just one inch of general chest area, I knew we’d be in for a bumpy ride – Danielle even more so when she decided to station herself outside Chungking Mansions! The high/lowlight was one man coming up to ask for seven packs ‘one for each day of the week… every time I change my clothes, I change my women’; oh well, at least he was planning on using condoms! Then there was the man that put his arm round Dani and asked if they were for use with her (balk)… and then there were the Muslims we managed to insult by insinuating they might have sex before marriage.

Having done the best we could, we were then led into the much safer waters of the MAC Training Studio, for a Viva Glam masterclass and make-up demo by MAC artiste extraordinaire, James Molloy.

I think I may love this man. In the past, I’ve found MAC staff somewhat scary and intimidating with their wild make-up looks, but James was so down-to-earth, lovely to chat to (gotta love hearing a Northern accent in HK!) and, most importantly, a dab hand with make-up! He demonstrated three looks using different Viva Glam lipsticks and lipglasses – the latest, Viva Glam Gaga 2, a creamy peachy nude lipstick with an ‘amplified finish’ and a matching beige-nude lipglass; mine and Dani’s favourite, Viva Glam I, a classic matte old-Hollywood scarlet and the very first creation in the Viva Glam line; and Viva Glam V, a neutral pink with a slight shimmer.

He stressed the importance of priming the lips first (using Mac’s Prime & Prep, a soft lip balm-like product that smoothes the surface and makes the colour last longer), advocated the use of blotting and reapplying to create a colour that stays put and generally made Queenie, the model, look rather fabulous (even if she doesn’t look too happy about it in the photos!)… and made it all look very easy!

We also had a chat about Viva Glam in general – in case you didn’t already know, Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin are the most recently announced spokespeople (and I’ll put money on Minaj doing a bubblegum pink) for the line and Gaga had definite creative input into her choice of colours. I also learnt that ALL of Viva Glam sales, not just profits and not just some piddling percentage of the price, goes towards the MAC Aids Fund, which supports HIV sufferers worldwide and helps fund direct care, prevention and global fight against the disease. Whatever you think about MAC and its products, I don’t think anyone can doubt that this is a really brilliant initiative for such a worthy cause.

No-one else being up for it, I offered myself as guinea pig to James’ capable hands for a quick make-up demo! I rarely wear lipstick (instead going all out on the eyes front), so if I do, I want to make a splash with it – hence my choice of the Hollywood red Viva Glam I! We learnt from a Chinese journalist that local women generally steer clear of such bright lip colours, as they think their lips are too big, and that the colloquial phrase for wearing this lipstick colour is ‘a big basin full of blood’ (血盤大口, ‘huut pun dai hau’), like a monster who’s gorged on some animal! Great!

I personally loved what James did. It might be a little bit more vampire than vamp given how pale my skin is and how long my very dark Morticia Adams hair has become, but it was such a striking look that immediately made me feel gorgeous, glammed-up and red-carpet ready! I usually have difficult finding a red that doesn’t lean pink or orange on me, yet Viva Glam I seemed to do the trick nicely! I will say that I do think you need real confidence to wear bright red lipstick as it tends to magnify any other blemishes or flaws in your complexion and in Hong Kong especially, I’ve noticed it gets you many more stares than usual (or maybe I just notice them more?!).

Dani mentioned that whenever she wears red lipstick, it never lasts the distance and instead, ends up all over her face (what’s she been doing?!). So I decided to put Viva Glam I to the test and wore it for the rest of the day post-makeover. My photos show it after two hours wear, where it’s clearly as strong and saturated as ever. I then went to the Jack Wills opening party later that night; it was still very obvious, if not quite as freshly bloody, so I spruced it up with a slick of Lanolips Lip Tint (in Apple, an amazing product that I will be reviewing properly later) – you can check out some photos of me at the event on Jasmine’s fab blog here, which shows how Viva Glam I was holding up some 4-6 hours after application. If you can’t be bothered to look, the answer is pretty bloody well! By 8-10 hours, it was wearing off, but my boyfriend was still able to detect I had some red tint to my lips. Viva Glam I is obviously intensely-pigmented and boasts a gorgeous matte finish, but the downside to this is that it’s slightly drying – one coat of Prep & Prime beforehand does help matters significantly!

I’ll have separate swatches and full reviews for the two new Gaga Viva Glam lip products, but first I have a fantastic MAC giveaway for you all! You lucky devils can win the MAC goodie bag shown below for your make-up pleasure – including a fluid line gel eyeliner, mascara, mineralize blush, duo eyeshadow, lipglass, lipliner and a MAC World Aids day t-shirt. All you have to do is leave a comment saying who would be your ideal Viva Glam spokesperson and make sure you enter a valid email address in the comment form (so I can contact you if you win!).

The winner of the giveaway was Miss ChicMcMuffin – congrats girl, and enjoy the make-up!

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Eye Masks review

The third and final element of Bliss Spa’s Triple Oxygen trinity are their Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Eye Masks, sold in boxes of four. Bliss reckons that they’re like ‘an energy drink for the eye’ and they’re certainly more stylish than a DIY cucumber job, but are the results any more effective?

Bliss claim that the Triple O eye masks will brighten dark circles, de-puff under-eye bags (or in my case, should that be rucksacks?) and soften fine lines – all from one strip of fabric in just 15 minutes. The magic ingredients that make this possible? Three forms of ‘glow-inducing oxygenisation’, the antioxidant vitamin C and ‘puff-pummelling’ cucumber extract, all delivered via a liquid solution that you yourself soak into soft marine collagen pads via the super-innovative packaging.

The snazzy packing is definitely the most unique aspect of these masks. There are two compartments – one containing a pad to go under each eye, the other filled with a clear liquid solution. Bliss states that this keeps the active ingredients in their purest form, meaning they have ‘maximum potency’ once released onto your face.

All you have to do is press down on the fluid chamber until it pops, releasing the liquid onto the masks and saturating them until they look something like this:

Others have reported packs popping their contents all over their bathroom sinks, but I found it simple and fuss-free. You then peel away the foil back and place the pads under your eyes. Be warned – the soaking wet fabric is very soft and can tear easily, so be delicate! Instructions are printed both on the box and on the back of each pack so there’s no chance of forgetting what to do.

The pads themselves are also infused with all sorts of vitamins and minerals and freeze-dried to lock these goodies in – at the Bliss Spa evening, we were told that a huge percentage of people noticed a difference just by using the masks on their own without soaking in any of the solution.

The pads are so saturated that they drip quite a lot, so you really have no other option than to lie back, close your eyes and relax! I would also advise that you don’t use these immediately after you’ve applied moisturiser or any other product to your face, as the solution trickles down and you’ll end up wanting to rinse it all off afterwards. I’ve also found that if I place the pads too near your lashline, it irritates my eyes – it could just be the result of my sensitive eyes, whilst others have suggested it’s the active ingredients working their magic but either way, you may end up needing to adjust the placement a little.

There is no doubt that these Triple Oxygen eye masks are ultra, uber-refreshing. I store mine in the fridge, meaning that they’re even more deliciously cool and invigorating! It’s also surprising that even though they’re only for under your eyes unlike the more conventional masks on the market, they definitely leave your whole eye area feeling recharged and ready-to-go.

However, I honestly didn’t notice any difference to my dark circles, which remained as resolutely panda-like as ever, and only a minimal and temporary difference to under-eye puffiness. As yet (*frantically touching wood*), I don’t have any noticeable fine lines under my eyes so can’t really comment on that either, although my skin did feel softer. Although Bliss reckons the Triple O masks are a quick and easy solution for faking a full eight hours sleep, I’m unconvinced that the results are any better than getting a good dose of some serious shut-eye – or indeed a bout with any other conventional eye masks that you might have hibernating in your fridge.

Where these eye masks are a definite winner is in terms of pure relaxation. Unlike the Triple O face mask, which you can wear whilst still going about your daily chores (even if you might scare your boyfriend in the process!), the drippy nature of the eye pads really forces you to take some time out. Whether or not you view this as a positive or negative depends on your lifestyle as much as anything else but the cooling sensation is so refreshing and energising that it really deserves to be wallowed in and enjoyed!

For me, the eye masks are the least essential of Bliss’ Triple Oxygen products – the face mask is one of my make-up miracles whilst I was also mightily impressed with the moisturising cream – and, for the price, they’re more of a luxury than a must-have. However, if you’re in need of adding some extra zing to your peepers and fancy treating your indulgent side, these might just be ‘eye’deal!

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Eye Masks, available from Bliss Spa @ W Hotel, Kowloon, or Bliss counters at Faces and Lane Crawford.