I had an idea to work with beautiful model Stephanie Nicholson and photographer James Mui to create a series of images where one face is transformed into several different faces through makeup, lighting and facial expression. We had a great time adjusting the makeup, lighting and facial expressions ever so slightly between images to create something different for each photo making the viewer do a double-take to see if it’s the same person in each photo. This is what we produced:

Studio Session-034 Studio Session-046 Studio Session-071-closeup Studio Session-101



Teenage years…

It all began when I was just 12 years old. My skin started breaking out with tiny little bumps all over my forehead. I was a shy kid to begin with, so having to deal with bad skin on top of that was a nightmare. It continued this way throughout my early high school years; I tried everything: Chinese herbal treatment, topical acne creams from the dermatologist, prescribed antibiotics. But nothing made it go away. It wasn’t until my final year of high school that I decided to try Proactiv. It was the only thing that seemed to work!

University years…

The first year of university was a hard adjustment. With that, came my need to do well for the years to follow. With all of the pressure and stress, I stopped getting my period for 2 years straight! Because my hormones were no longer fluctuating, my skin was great, but obviously this was not healthy.

Working years…

When I got treatment from a great Chinese doctor, my period was back to somewhat normal, but my skin started going crazy. I was getting cystic pimples around my chin and cheek area usually around that time of the month. They were the type of stubborn pimples that were stuck under the skin. I was too old for this. As a teenager, yes, I could see it as a part of growing up, but as an adult this was too much.


Early pregnancy was awful. My skin broke out in tiny little bumps even on my chest area. I was like a teenager all over again. When I hit the second trimester, my skin was perfect though! No makeup needed and it was not oily at all – it was great! But of course, since this was all hormone related, it did not last.


My skin was going kind of crazy with all of the hormonal changes. I had little bumps on my forehead and above my lip area. Then cystic pimples would appear from time to time and take forever to go away. Weaning my son and going back to work did not help the situation. I tried using Proactiv again, topical acne cream with antibiotics and benzyl peroxide, but it did not help. It was just drying out my skin and making me look like I had wrinkles! Because I’m no longer a teenager my skin is totally different. I needed to find another product other than benzyl peroxide that would work for skin at my age.


I started using products containing salycilic acid and glycolic acid to unclog my pores and keep them unclogged to prevent future breakouts. This is what I have been doing for the past 6 months that has been working wonderfully – no breakouts at all and my skin is smoother than it’s ever been:

  1. Cleanse: Wash my face in the morning and night with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying foaming gel and Clarisonic Mia 2. At night, I use once without the clarisonic to wash off my makeup and then a second wash with the cleanser and Clarisonic. The cleasner is perfume free, paraben free and PH balanced. It’s meant for acne prone skin.
  2. Tone: A few times a week, when we eat rice for dinner, I take the water that was used to rinse the rice and pat it on my face a toner. According to my Chinese doctor, rice is great for cleansing.
  3. Treat: At night I use the new La Roche-Posay Derm AHA serum. It contains glycolic acid. It helps to gently exfoliate the skin but it’s very moisturizing. They don’t sell this at all Shoppers Drug Marts. I found it at the Woodbine and Major Mackenzie location.
  4. Moisturize: In the morning, I use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat cream. It’s anti-shine and anti-enlarged pores. I use coconut oil as an eye cream. I warm it on my finger tips and dab under my eyes up to my temples.
  5. Mask: Occasionally, maybe once a week, I use the Avène Cleanance mask which contains salycilic acid and it’s also an exfoliator.
  6. Makeup: I still love the Skin79 Super Beblish Whitening BB cream. It stays on super well and it’s very moisturizing so no cake face! But because I want to use more paraben-free products, I save Skin79 for the weekends and use the La Roche-Posay CC Cream. It doesn’t work close to as well, but I will settle for this for the weekdays.

On top of topical products, I also make sure that I keep my inside clean:

  • I cut out refined sugars (I cheat maybe once a month and go to Demetres with my husband!)
  • I take magnesium at night – this helps to keep me regular 🙂 It relaxes the muscles and draws water to the intestines. It’s a mineral supplement and not at all a laxative. Keeping the toxins out of the body helps to keep the skin nice. I take the Sisu brand.
  • I drink coconut water every day. Keeps skin hydrated.
  • I eat nuts in the morning. Also great for skin. Brazil nuts are great for acne prone skin because it contains high amount of selenium (a very potent antioxidant). But don’t eat more than 2 a day.

This is what has worked for me! I hope this may help anyone who may be having the same struggles that I had had.



I started…

After my friend told me she uses coconut oil as a moisturizer, I got a tub from Costco and started using it all over at night after my shower. The great thing about coconut oil is that it comes in a solid form so it doesn’t drip everywhere as you apply it. I normally slather it on and put my pjs on right after because I don’t have the patience to wait 10 minutes before it fully absorbs into my skin. It doesn’t get my pjs all icky though. Once it absorbs, it’s not greasy at all. It smells great and it’s perfect for dry winter skin.

Under the eyes??…

I recently ran out of eye cream and looked over and saw my jar of coconut oil sitting on my counter top and thought, why not? I took a very small amount and warmed it on my finger tips and applied it around my eye area, up to my temples. I waited until the next day to see if it would clog up any pores, but nope, it worked great!

As an eye makeup remover…

At the same time as running out of eye cream, I ran out of my shu cleansing oil – not a good day lol. I normally use the shu uemura Fresh (pink) cleansing oil for my eyes only to remove the eye makeup. So far, I haven’t found any other product that takes off my waterproof liner as well as the pink C/O does. I tight line my eyes, so the product becomes really hard to remove. I try to avoid any unnecessary rubbing of my eyes because I’m scared of wrinkles; The pink C/O works sooo well. I’ve tried the regular shu C/O, but it doesn’t remove as well as the pink.

Anyways, so because I ran out, I thought why not try coconut oil. So I did the same as with C/O and massaged the coconut oil onto my eyes without wetting my face or hands. Then, I used water and massaged my eye area and followed by washing my face following my regular routine. The eye makeup come off, not as clean as with the C/O, but it works and it’s all natural!

On the lips..

It works great as an all natural lip balm! I do this occasionally when my lips are super duper chapped.

All over the face?..

After applying all of my body, I tried patting the remainder of the coconut oil on my hands onto my face. This didn’t work so well for me because it clogged my pores :(. If you have acne prone skin, I wouldn’t suggest doing this.


  • When storing coconut oil, do not store anywhere close to heat i.e. I stored mine in the cupboard under my washroom sink, but the vent is close by so it ended up melting it. When the melted coconut oil solidifies again, it’s no longer as soft and frothy as before. It becomes hard like a stick of cold butter and requires your body heat to melt it as you apply.
  • When using as an eye cream, apply a very very small amount.
  • As a lip balm, you can buy little travel cosmetic containers from the dollar store and scoop some coconut oil into it so that you can carry it around and re-apply during the day.

It’s great all-natural alternative to all those products that contain parabens. Of course some cosmetic products work much better, but going natural from time to time is always a good idea to give your body some time to detox. After all, skin is the largest organ of the human body.

this post is slightly late, but better late than never! nothing better than to end of 2013 with a fun beauty and fashion shoot with photographer mark darren and toronto fashion designer monica mei of aime luxury. with a request for gold makeup, i did a glittered in gold makeup look on swedish beauty megan mane.



monica’s pieces are so stylishly sophisticated with such lovely textures. i love how she mixes delicate silky fabricates with more structured ones – not an easy task!

Megan-510 2 Megan-477 2


her new collection inspired by turkish travel is so beautiful!Megan-3


that’s it for now! happy 2014!


brides often ask me whether or not they should get lash extensions for their wedding day. in my opinion, falsies are a much better option for the wedding day and i would save the lash extensions for the honeymoon.

here’s why…

for the camera: lash extensions are great for a natural, day-to-day, makeup-free use, but for weddings, you need full and more dramatic lashes in order for your eyes to show up nicely in your wedding photos. it’s important to remember that for your wedding day, you need a good balance between looking naturally beautifully in person, as well as stunning on camera.

i have had brides who have gone to get the full set of mink lash extensions before their wedding day and later realize that they do not show up very well in their wedding photos. i do think that the extensions look great in person, but are lacking in photos.

for makeup: when brides have lash extensions, it puts limitations on what i can do for their makeup. for eyes to really pop, lashes need to be tight lined; this means that eye liner needs to be applied in between the lashes to really outline the eyes. it is also much more difficult to apply liner to the lash line without ruining the lash extensions. you should keep in mind that in order to remove waterproof liner, you must use an oil based makeup remover which would also loosen the glue used to adhere the lash extensions to your real lashes.

save them for the honeymoon!…

i myself had lash extensions done after my wedding just before heading off on my honeymoon to bora bora and hawaii. it was great because i didn’t need to pack any makeup with me since i had planned on being out in the sun and on the beach every day! they lasted just long enough (our honeymoon was 2.5 weeks). they are supposed to last 3-4 weeks, but it was hot weather and i was in the water so random lashes were falling off here and there.

lash extensions by stephanie trieu at trulyposh…

i couldn’t talk about lash extensions without showing some photos! i went to my good friend stephanie trieu who is a lash extension technician in markham. she is based at mccowan and steeles but also does mobile services. during my session, i interviewed her at the same time to find out more about lash extensions and so that i could write about pros and cons that i’d find.

contact: STEPHANIE TRIEU 416.275.1678 ||

so here are my lashes before the session:


here they are after my session:


these are synthetic mink lashes. at first, stephanie had applied a full set to each eye (60 lashes) which gave a very natural look. i would recommend that to people who do not normally wear any makeup. but for myself, i’m used to putting several coats of mascara and tight lining my eyes, so i requested more lashes to give a fuller effect.

will lash extensions make my lashes fall off??…

that was my main concern and my question to stephanie. i’ve had bridesmaids tell me horror stories of all of their natural lashes falling off after repeated sessions of lash extensions.

single lash vs. clusters: stephanie explained to me that applying single lash to each individual lash ensures that the extensions fall off with your natural lash cycle. however, if you apply cluster lashes (which are lashes that are kind of like a fork… more than one lash being attached to one real lash) the weight of them could make your real lashes fall off more quickly. although it looks fantastic, ladies should keep in mind that it should not be done repeatedly. you need some time in between to give your lashes a “rest”.

are real mink lashes better than synthetic?…

real mink lashes are much more expensive than the synthetic ones. stephanie explained to me that they are softer, however for that reason they have less of a curl to them. i personally like a nice curl because my asian lashes are so straight that i need the synthetic ones to lift them. i have seen friends with the real mink extensions and i do admit that they look great because they seem more dense and full, but i have not yet tried them myself.


stephanie also explained to me that it depends on how many lashes you have naturally. you notice the gap in my lash line? it’s because naturally, i am missing some lashes there… it could be because i may have accidentally pulled some out when removing my falsies.. oops! so if you’ve got lots of lashes for extensions to be attached to, then you’ll get a fuller set of las extensions.


i do love how natural they look and how much time it saves me to get ready. i’ve recently been extremely busy and have no time to sit down and really apply makeup, so having the extensions are great!

to sum it up.. pros and cons!


  1. saves time getting ready
  2. lasts for 3-4 weeks
  3. great for travelling
  4. saves product (no need for lash curler, mascara or eye liner)
  5. excellent for those who don’t wear makeup
  6. subtle and natural compared to falsies. (when my sister saw me, she thought that i had just used a lot of mascara that day.. lol)
  7. hassle-free compared to falsies (which you have to apply carefully and remove carefully so as not to rip off your own lashes!)


  1. need to be careful when washing your face (not to rub them)
  2. difficult for those who like to wear makeup (eye makeup remover will loosen the glue for the lash extensions)
  3. not ideal for those who like to work out a lot, i.e. hot yoga (sweat will loosen glue as well)
  4. need to put aside a block of time for application (it takes a few hours to get them done nicely, so be prepared to block out a good amount of time from your day)
  5. lashes fall off at different times which could make your eyes look uneven. you would need to go back to refill them.

IMG_5810 IMG_5807

would i get them again?

i would like to try them in clusters to see how they look. at this point in my life, i would get them again because i’m so busy!

final verdict, falsies or extensions?

i love my falsies so i’d never give them up! to create looks with makeup, i find that extensions could never replace falsies. falsies enhance the eyes far more than extensions could and are essential for creating different types of eyes with makeup. however, for those who don’t like wearing makeup, extensions are the way to go.

makeup for monolid eyes is a challenge for many asians. even more challenging is making the makeup natural, as opposed to drawing thick eyeliner across the lid in order for it to show up when eyes are open.

for aspiring actress amanda zhou’s headshots, we did a youthful look using matte brown eyeshadows to keep it very natural.

here is a shot of her eyes before makeup:

IMG_5162 IMG_5163

how to achieve natural makeup for monolid eyes:

  • apply a brown cream base eyeshadow using a natural hair flat shader brush (brush 10) to create the desired shape for the eyes. be sure that the cream shadow shows when eyes are opened.
  • pat a matte medium brown eyeshadow on top of the cream base using the same brush, creating a gradation from the lash line upwards.
  • use a round pencil brush (brush 5R) to apply a matte deep brown eyeshadow to the outer corners of the eyes.
  • curl lashes, then tight line lash line with black painting liner. apply a bit of painting liner above the lash line as well.
  • apply a natural set of lashes and coat both the natural and false lashes with lots of mascara. then, use eyelash curler to clamp both together.
  • apply brown painting liner to bottom lash line and soften with matte medium brown shadow. apply mascara to bottom lashes.

and here are the photos taken by photographer denise grant in toronto:

AZ160 AZ162

and here are some fun shots taken after the shoot:

AZ164 AZ163 AZ155 AZ145

international artistic director for shu uemura, kakuyasu uchiide, designed a lovely pair of limited edition lashes for the christian louboutin exhibition at the toronto design exchange exclusively available in canada!

i used the rouge et noir lashes to create a femme fatale look captured by photographer mark darren mui and edited by the retoucher extraordinaire james mui. we wanted to create a sultry, moody photo composition to complement the seductive and enchanting lashes.


how to get the look:


  • ultime8 cleansing oil
  • red:juvenus toner, serum and lotion
  • stage performer instant-glow
  • nobara cream cover stick 764 and pentagon sponge
  • face powder matte in colourless and brush 18R


  • m black 990
  • p black 995
  • ir 985
  • me 472
  • natural brush 10, 10F, 10
  • black painting liner
  • brush 4F


  • brow manicure in ash brown


  • glow on 761
  • brush 20


  • nude lip liner
  • mon shu red lipstick (karl lagerfeld collection)
  • burgundy luxe lipstick (karl lagerfeld collection)


  • rouge et noir lashes in collaboration with christian louboutin

visit to find out more about the lashes!

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