Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Beauty Masters: Jason Hoffman for Date Night Make-Up

Welcome back to the Beauty Masters, a four-part exclusive interview series that combines the most useful tips on hair color, make-up and brows with step-by-step guidance from some of the industry’s top experts.

I'm thrilled to finally unveil the first of my two how-to videos. Join me, and make-up artist Jason Hoffman as we dive into genuinely relaxed and simple glamour -- for date night! You'll see that with Jason's approach, stepping up your look from basic to bold will take less time and energy than you ever imagined.

Many thanks again to Jason for his artistry and advice. And to find out more about him, click here.

What makes a woman beautiful according to Jason?
"When a woman feels good about herself she gets a certain twinkle in her eye, and to me to me that's what it's all about."
Product Picks from Your Best Date Night Video 1-2-3:

1) M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer ($17).
2) Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna, ($32).
3) Serge Lutens Refillable Lipstick in color 1- Mise a Mort ($75).


A huge amount of gratitude to Malcolm Lam, a filmmaker and director, who filmed the masters videos and offered invaluable advice and support throughout. You can see some of his work at


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NuyBeauty's Holiday Gift Picks

Beauty treats are the perfect, last-minute gift.
While the finishing touches are being applied to the expert how-to videos  of the Beauty Masters series (hint, hint!), I thought I'd share a last-minute holiday gift guide. Beauty treats are perfect as stocking-stuffers or presents for special teachers, mothers, childcare providers, and really anyone who appreciates pampering and grooming. Here are some of my favorites for receiving as well as giving:
Who wouldn't like aromatic holiday gifts nestled in pretty, glistening packages?

NuyBeauty's Holiday Gift Picks 1-2-3:

1) I love all things coriander, and Kiehl's Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser "Coriander," ($16 for 8.4 oz.) is one of the most spa-sensational ways to get up in the morning. The scent is just the right balance of crisp and smooth.

2) I've always been a huge fan of Diptyque candles. Their aroma is never obtrusive, but soft and inviting. And they are quite nice to look at, with their understated and minimalist packaging. Try Diptyque Paris's Baies "Noire"/ Berries Candle ($80 for a 300 gram candle), which has a bouquet of roses and blackcurrant.

3) My daughter and I have been enjoying a lot of clementines of late, as they're in season and delicious right now! And so I've been a l'orange, which brings me to my final recommendation: Annick Goutal's Néroli Eau de Toilette ($115 for 3.4 oz.). This fragrance is all about the orange flower blossom and its elegant earthly essence.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Beauty Masters: Tina Turnbow for Eco-Friendly Make-Up

Eco-Friendly Make-Up, Easy as 1-2-3 at with Tina Turnbow

Welcome to the Beauty Masters, a four-part exclusive interview series that combines the most useful tips on hair color, make-up and brows with step-by-step guidance from some of the industry’s top experts. Over the next several weeks, I am unveiling new interviews as we talk our way into easy, (always!) achievable beauty, one topic at a time.

This week joining us is New York City-based make-up artist Tina Turnbow, whose diverse work can be seen on the pages of American Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Nylon, as well as on the red carpet and, most recently, film. She just wrapped up shooting an indie film starring Anne Heche. I first met Tina when I was at InStyle magazine, and have always appreciated her grounded approach to beauty.

Something that Tina is a big supporter of is eco-friendly cosmetics and skincare. And as a mom, being conscientious about the environment is one way I'll try to teach my daughter about responsible living.  Also, you can't help but be more concerned about the ingredients in the creams and such you're applying when you've got a little one involved. When it comes to going green with make-up, I've felt in the past that it can be challenging to know how to do it right -- like struggling with limited product selection. Here, Tina offers us straightforward but sensational advice on eco-friendly beauty.

Effortless Eco-Friendly Make-up with
Tina Turnbow’s 1-2-3:

What makes a woman beautiful according to Tina?
“Of course it is in the eye of the beholder, but to me it's when a woman has a comfort in her skin that radiates confidence. It’s when a woman takes care of herself and makes the most of her positives, and doesn't get hung up on being perfect."

I am of the belief that we should try to do whatever we can to protect and care for our health. We are bombarded by so many things we can’t control, so why not opt to control whatever you can? And since our skin is the largest organ, constantly absorbing and soaking in what it comes into contact with, why not keep as much of it clean -- free from chemicals, artificial colors and contaminants? How about nurturing and caring for it, since you can't change your skin suit? Like you would with a change of clothes! Eco-friendly skin care and makeup that is chemical free, which is good for both your skin and health, makes sense to me.

To avoid animal testing, look for the rabbit logo. Buy U.S.D.A. organic and biodegradable products. Right now there is a crack down for more control with the campaign for safe cosmetics, but do check the ingredients on beauty products: steering clear of parabens, phthalates [synthetic chemicals used as preservatives], petrolatum, and fragrance.

I love my Mineral Fusion Eye Pencil in Coal ($15) because you never know when you want to smolder! And, I like a fast, smudgy line, where the line is blended out and softened with your fingers. It gives the illusion of a bigger eye. You can also try using two colored eyeliners, like a blue-gray one (try Volcanic by Mineral Fusion, $15) from the inner corners of the eye to the middle, and then a black pencil from the middle of your eye to the outer corners. The blue-gray color will help to brighten your eyes.
Also handy is my Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex ($45), which I like to roll onto anywhere that’s dry. Or you can rub it onto the top of your cheekbones for a little sheen. It even can even go onto the top of the lips. 

Thank you Tina, for your green glamour guidance!
To find out more about her, click here.

And for more information on environmentally safe beauty care, check out this comprehensive resource, the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Beauty Masters: Marie Robinson for Hair Color

Covering the gray at home is entirely possible
Welcome to the Beauty Masters, a four-part exclusive interview series that combines the most useful tips on hair color, make-up and brows with step-by-step guidance from some of the industry’s top experts. Over the next several weeks, I will unveil a new interview as we talk our way to easy, (always!) achievable beauty, one topic at a time.

First to join us is celebrity colorist Marie Robinson, whose star clients include Rachel McAdams, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, and Uma Thurman, among others. She most recently opened her own salon this past spring, the Marie Robinson Salon, in the Flat Iron district of New York City.

I first visited Marie, years ago, to correct an at-home-blond-attempt that was just not pretty, and she quickly turned my stressed-out mane into silky hair the color of liquid caramel. To date, it remains one of my favorite hair identities thus far.

I labeled this mini polaroid: 3.06.01 colored by Marie.
A glimpse at a color correction Marie did for me, which I ended up loving!

It’s easy to be unsure of home color treatments, so I asked Marie to share some words on a question that has come up again and again with busy moms and women I know, which is whether or not it’s possible to cover one’s grays at home, and have it look good. And trust me, Marie’s advice is a quick ticket to your best color!

Getting the Grays Out at Home with
Marie Robinson's 1-2-3:

What makes a woman beautiful according to Marie?
"A confident smile, that she feels good about herself, and that she knows a style that's right for her."
I think a first timer for hair color can successfully cover their grays at home if, a) you want to stay within two shade ranges of your natural color and, b) if you have 50 percent or less grays to cover. Home hair color kits such as Clairol Nice N' Easy covers grays up to 100 percent and come in numerous shades to help you select your desired color. For those of you who are more than 50 percent gray and/or want to go two shades lighter or darker, I suggest you see a professional. Once you've achieved your desired shade ask your colorist to suggest a matching home formula for you to do at home.
I love Clairol Nice 'N Easy ($8) for brunettes and Clairol Perfect 10 ($12) for blondes and redheads. Virgin applications are fairly easy to do by just following the mixing instructions and applying everywhere. If your hair is shoulder- to long- in length, or if it's dense, you should buy two boxes to ensure even and thorough saturation. If you are a brunette, I suggest choosing two colors -- one shade for the overall desired color and one lighter shade that will be applied 1-inch through and into your hairline. Professionals do this as our hairlines are naturally lighter in color, and we try to replicate this.
If you are re-touching your roots in between professional visits, try Clairol Nice `N Easy Root Touch Up ($7). They come in numerous shades similar to professional colors and match most shades in home hair color. It comes with an easy tool to use for application but you can also try dipping a cotton swab in color and applying to your part and around the face. Whether it’s a virgin application or a re-touch, sometimes it can be confusing to pick the best color. I suggest you try two shades that are closest to what you're looking for and do a test swatch on either side of the head close to the ear. It will help you see how the color will look and if you don't love it, the swatch will not be in such a visible place.
Use shampoos and conditioners formulated specifically for color-treated hair. There are many wonderful products to choose from that are not only good for color, but are also good for particular hair types such as fine, frizzy, or curly, or that provide volumizing. Hair color takes better and is preserved better on healthier hair than damaged hair, so condition, condition, condition! Avoid excessive salt water, chlorine, and sun as it can fade the color molecules. If you have hard water and don't have a water softening system get a showerhead with a filter. They provide better water pressure than they used to and can look great too.
A big thank you to Marie for her color counsel!

And to find out more about her you can visit her website at


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The 50-Post Special

Coming soon to Expert tips from the industry's best
Eleven months and 18 days after after hitting "publish post," I've reached my 50th post! I put the blog on a short hiatus as I thought long and hard about how to celebrate's 50, and of course, to make it something all of you could join in on. What I came up with was my first exclusive interview series, which will showcase tips on hair, brows, and make-up from some of the most talented beauty experts in the industry today.

The series is set to start posting next week. You can always check the's Facebook Page for updates!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The First Real Haircut

I waited until my daughter was two-years-old to take her to a salon for a haircut, choosing to maintain her mane at home until then. While she was younger, I felt comfortable trimming her hair, as there wasn't enough of it for me to feel intimidated by. But then it happened. There was more and more hair that got larger and way too in charge. Sure, I thought about doing it myself to save money, but when I weighed the amount of stress it was causing me to conceive of how to cut through the tangled web, I put the scissors down and realized it'd be money well spent.

I was surprisingly school-girl giddy before we went down to the West Village where the salon was, Doodle Doo's, and had naively expected my daughter to be the same. But upon entering the festive place, she started to cry,  pleading "NO, NO, NO!" It was the classic, Mommy! I refuse to get a haircut! scenario, which for whatever reason, I was totally unprepared for. Probably because all of her previous at-home cuts had been trauma-free. The staff, including our stylist Lisa, were wonderful though -- within minutes, through soothing talk and rewards (including bubbles and playing her favorite movie, Annie, for her) she was calmly getting her haircut. Not to mention they had effectively pacified this Mama, who was a tiny bit shaken up by her baby's shear shrieks.

And in a few short minutes, it was all done, and the little one's hair was expertly shaped-up, styled in butterfly-clips, and most importantly, she was beaming.

First real haircut? Done!

As my daughter sits in her chosen chair, Daddy's lap, while quite happily sucking on her lollipop, stylist Lisa, who herself has curly hair, works with her ringlets.
The celebration of a haircut "all done!": bubbles!

Kid Haircuts 1-2-3:

1) Taking your child to a local salon can be a less stressful way to approach cutting hair, than the DIY way. There are many salons specifically designed for kids, with stylists trained to work with yes, fidgety and impatient heads! If you are in the NYC area, I recommend Doodle Doo's, on Christopher Street (kid's haircut: $35), but another good one to try is Lulu's Cut & Toys in Park Slope, Brooklyn (kid's haircut: $22). Lulu's salon also does adult haircuts, which is an added bonus.

2)  For those of you outside of New York, here is a good list of nationwide kid's salons with links to their sites. You can also consider asking a friend for a salon recommendation if you see a child with a haircut you like!

3) While your child is getting his/her trim, ask the stylist for tips on how to maintain the longevity of the cut, e.g., are there any easy things s/he can show you how to do at home like a quick bang trim?


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Healing the Adult Boo with Halloween: Pt. 1

A Pre-Halloween explosion atop my vanity: The kid(s) probably already have costumes, but how about you, why not dress up too? It doesn't have to be complicated. I'm doing a pink painted half-mask I found at my local 99 cent store (above left) with the addition of some lashes and make-up I'll write about next week.
I'm late on my post this week, ahhhh!

I got sick, my daughter got sick, and then it was a snowball effect of other life-frustrations getting entirely out of control. You know ... one of those weeks were you look in the mirror and it takes you a second to, um, unearth your eyes behind the pillows of puffiness and sofa cushions of swelling.

So I did two things to cheer myself and my daughter up. For me, and me only, when I did have to leave the house, I put on a dark, wine-hued lipstick and mascara to offset my swollen eyes (the dramatic lipstick averting attention from the tired eyes). For the both of us I did a mini Halloween shopping spree to prepare for the holiday itself -- evidenced in the opening photo -- as well as to ready us for a costume party we've been invited to next week. Because, dressing up? Well, that's just the best mood lifter ever!

I got a mask for the little one too. It helped cheer us up during our not-so-great days. We pretended to be jungle cats and growled.
Wine for Halloween, the Rouge Kind 1-2-3:

A couple of brooding, deep and purple-reds for you.

1) Revlon Matte Lipstick in Wine Not, $8.

2) Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick in Gilded Wine, $25.

3) Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Satin Lip Colour in Fatale, $30.

My mix of the day: Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in BR785M and M.A.C. Cosmetics Lipstick in Up the Amp

Don't feel like buying anything new? No need! Mix any red or brownish-red lip color with a violet or fuchsia one.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conceal Me Pretty!

My daughter shows me her eye patch.
I wonder how handy a face patch would be for this Mommy
those days I feel like giant pimples are taking over my life.
 Upside down, on the nose, lopsided: eye patches make for lots of giggles.
Thanks to our good friend L. for the party favor!
Oh, the woe of adult acne. Not to mention the appetizer plate of blemishes, scars, et cetera, one would like to cover up so they look somewhat fresh off the shelf when walking out the door. Some days I wake up and there are so many monstrosities on my face, I feel like I can't bear to leave the house. But of course I can't do that. Duty calls.

My daughter was playing with a pirate's eye patch the other day, and it occurred to me that sometimes that I wish I could just cover up those teen-aged red-dotted parts on my face with a big old piece of curtain and call it a day. But of course there's a better way that's not so Halloween. I mean spooky is good when you're doing it on purpose. But for everyday, let's show off the pretty and hide the pimply.

Concealer 1-2-3:

1) When you're dealing with light scarring and/or blemishes, try any of these of these concealers (from budget to splurge): Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer ($5), M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer ($17) , and Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer ($70). You can't go wrong with any of one of these. The Maybelline is a great, overall buy and product; the M.A.C. has the added benefit of sun protection and a slightly heavier finish, and therefore coverage; and the Cle de Peau is the Rolls-Royce of concealers -- its finish is superb.

2) It is okay to use concealer on top of pimples, just use ones that won't clog pores. None of the above recommended ones should. Also, I like to apply a little treatment on the area before the concealer goes on, e.g. something with benzoyl peroxide like Clearasil. This way, I know the pimple is being treated while being covered.

3) Make sure the concealer is blended well with your skin or foundation. Use disposable sponge wedges or rounds so that you don't transfer any unnecessary bacteria from your fingers to your face and/or affected areas.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fresh Flowers, For You and For Me

This rose reminded me of the flower in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince.
It was big, beautiful, and a little contemplative.
This week, my daughter has been saying the phrases "for you" and "for me" over and over, like a catchy refrain from a song that's stuck in your head. And she's been very generous of late -- treating me to oodles of imaginary chocolates and foods as she plays. I thought I'd return the favor to all of you with this pretty, pale, pink rose I found at The New York Botanical Garden at a recent visit. The color really struck me because it was so quiet, yet moving.

A rose, my late maternal grandmother's most loved flower, to share on this fall-tickled Friday.

My daughter takes notice of a small bunny who was loving the Edible Garden exhibit at the NYBG.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fabulous in a Few for a High School Reunion

Everyone wants to look amazing at their high school reunion. Years may have passed, but inside we always essentially feel somewhat the same. We may have kids and responsibilities now, but those teen-scented memories never do quite go away. We remember all the crazy things we did, the goofy things -- the things you only do when you're that young, and of that mind.

My friend Jessica called me for some beauty help in preparation for an upcoming reunion. I thought it'd be fun for you to see how it all came together (and all the make-up we used was what she had at home). And when you're done, you can find the links to the products below.

Jessica before, with a clean face and just moisturizer

Jessica after, reunion ready.

Fabulous in a Few 1-2-3:

1) Eyes: M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Honesty ($15)

2) Cheeks: Nars Blush in Dolce Vita ($26)

3) Lips: Sephora Collection Lip Attitude-Glamour Lipstick in Rosy Frivol 06, ($12)


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rock a Runway Look with a Drugstore Haul

Runway at Home 1-2-3: The Lips

1) Pick your look,
Jil Sander Spring 2011
Photo: Gianni Pucci / via

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011
 Model: Julija Stepanaviciute Photo: Luca Cannonieri / via

2) For the Jil Sander look (on top) go with Maybelline's Color Sensational Lipstain in Bitten Berry ($7). Make sure your lips are moisturized before applying, as stains tend to be drying.

3) For the Dolce & Gabbana look, try e.l.f.'s Lip Stain in Heartbreaker, Mysterious, or Fashionista ($3).


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Love for Red-Orange Lips

My daughter sees the lips shining and asks, "What's that Mommy?"
I was low-energy this morning so I thought I'd shoot up the statement on my lips to try and boost some spirit into my day. Color always helps! And, bold reddish-oranges are a surprisingly good match for many skin tones while being totally hot to trot. Just keep the rest of the face clean, and you'll be good to go. I think red-orange is the perfect lip hue for September.

All about red-orange lips for September
Red-Orange Lips 1-2-3:

1) Apply lipstick on well-moisturized lips, starting at the peaks/middle and working your way out. For everyday application I use the stick itself -- no brush. You can adjust the lines and color saturation by blending and cleaning up with your index finger. Blot if necessary with a tissue.

2) Add clear lip gloss for extra shine. For extra pop try a gold-colored gloss.

3) And lastly, here are some riveting red-orange rouges: Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Mandarina ($5) and Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave, ($24).


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Brilliance of Braids

I love braids. I was the girl in the room that begged to braid your hair back in the day, and I'm the woman in the boutique who loves the single braided detail on a long, jersey dress. Braids are brilliant and ultimately romantic. They're the one thing that keep me from chopping my hair off when my daughter playfully but painfully tugs on my loose strands, or when I accidentally zip my ponytail into the over-sized zipper on my purse. Yes, ow! But the long, interwoven "works of art" you can achieve make it worth your while.

The Savvy Sideways Plait 1-2-3:

I braid when I feel like my hair isn't lying properly, and I want a quick up-do. Yesterday I did a sideways-three, meaning:

1) I took my hair to one side and did three separate braids, tying them off with small elastic bands.
2) Next, I braided the three individual braids into one big braid.
3) The effect was something I was quite happy with. Have a look, try it if you will, and tell me what you think!

The three-on-one braid
A close-up of the braid that took me five minutes to do.
I used one of my favorite hair-ties to finish (you can get a similar one here).


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Grandmothers: Love & Beauty

My mother's mother, and my older uncle, circa 1955
My father's mother, and me, circa 1976
I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, i.e., to put photos up of my grand-maternal lineage. Why you ask? Well, not only because I have this urge to share their serene faces with you, but because they both, in their own way taught me something so old-fashioned, yet important: As a woman, take the time to look and be the best that you can be.

Both my Korean grandmothers (both raised during the Japanese occupation of Korea) have now since passed, but of the very few photos I have framed in my home, their visages are there, ever-present. When I look at my maternal grandmother, I remember how much she loved the color violet, and what care she took of her roses. She was the urban monarch of the two. She never left her home with a hair out of place or without her rouge painted with pencil precision. She taught me how a pretty lady sits with her knees slightly pitched to the side, and gestures her hands (always delicate movements), but was also a voracious reader, who confided in me once that if she could live again she would set out to be a detective/crime novelist.

My paternal grandmother wasn't as into the powder and lipstick, as she was more the pastoral regent. But, what I do remember is the care she put into her hair. When I was very young, she had it very long, tucked into a bun, and parted down the middle -- an age-old Korean style. Then at some point after she lost her husband, my grandfather, she had it chopped into an adorable bob, one that only works that well on a 4'10" grandma. That rock-steady part, never missed a beat or drifted from its path, even after she hit age 90. She groomed it with a simple comb, and water. This is a woman that years after her family introduced her to the modern convenience of toothpaste, used the extreme country method of dental cleansing: coarse salt.

I watched them, learned from them, and loved them dearly. And they LOVEd me, carried me on their backs, wiped my tears away, and gave me the confidence to be me. And I still feel it, everyday.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Giveaway: The Get Gorgeous Gift Bag

Gift Bag Contents (clockwise):
Philosophy Deep Sea Ultra-Fine Hydrating Mist
Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio
Hello Kitty Nail Files, set of four
Maybelline Lash Stiletto in Very Black 951
Tokidoki Cromatico Eye Shadow in Nancy Rocks (bright purple)
e.l.f. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Black 7303
It's getting breezy out, and there's that certain fall, apple-crispness in the air. I've just bought my daughter her winter boots (waterproof and black, a no-brainer for matching), and I couldn't help but get her two fall jackets, also black: one in corduroy, and the other a soft, motorcycle jacket from Old Navy. Soon, it'll be time to bust out the cozy cashmere sweaters!

Given all the changes going on in my family's life with our move, I thought I'd do a fall giveaway, because why not? `Tis the season for some fresh color! And, just to make it extra special, one item I picked for the gift bag spread is the beautiful, just-launched, matte red lipstick by Nars -- in Vesuvio.

So hurry up and get gorgeous! All you've got to do is comment on this post to enter the contest.

UPDATE: Mi-Eun is our lovely winner. Thanks for commenting!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, September 10, 2010

Moving, Moving, Moving!

My daughter tests out some of the doors at our new digs.
I apologize for not having posted in awhile. I knew I was going to have to move, but it then came up so quickly. The unpacking, reorganizing, cleaning, etc., that all come with the territory, have all been extra challenging with a two-year-old. But I'm almost there with the new apartment, and it's wonderful that my daughter will now have her own bedroom. That's very exciting for me, since I never got the opportunity to decorate an entire room for her before she was born. So yes, it's been stressful as moves inevitably are, but this also represents a great transition filled with fun, and a whole new landscape to color coordinate and design. A perfect fall project!

I promise I'll be back soon with my beauty head intact, once my house has been restored to a home-state. Until then, you can always listen in and/or join in on the discussions on everything from stain removal tips to your favorite perfumes on my Facebook Page!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, August 27, 2010

Make-Up at My House

Every morning after my requisite coffee, I put make-up on. Sometimes a dab, sometimes more, but the average session takes between three to five minutes. Brushing my teeth and washing my face helps wake me up, but my morning make-up goes the distance by elevating me from blah and not composed, to bright and put together. I like the preening time in front of the mirror, no matter how brief. It's my little, one-on-one get-ready-today show.

But I do quite regularly have a very special guest on Morning Make-Up: my two-year-old daughter. She's usually too caught up in her own activities, walking back and forth while I stand at the vanity doing my thing. On occasion though, she stops by to see what's happening, and wants in on the affair. And this is how we do it.

Have a look!

Note: No make-up is actually ever applied to my daughter. I pretend by "fake-applying" with covered pencils or, e.g., by using sound effects to have her believe I'm brushing blush, when I really have it about an inch away from her cheeks.

Morning Make-Up 1-2-3:

1) I start with foundation or tinted moisturizer with SPF.
2) I work my way down the face, starting with the eyes. I fill my eyebrows in first, then apply mascara.
3) I then add blush to my cheeks and finish with lip color.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teal Toes for Thai Food

As the summer draws to a close I feel everything quickening. I will also be moving soon, and packing boxes and throwing out needless things will shortly be taking over my life. My mind is swirling with thoughts, plans, and all the upcoming to-dos for the next, busy months ahead. Why is it that once September hits, it feels as if the rest of the year rushes to a close like the surge of a speeding car?

I am really taking in these last few days of August. My daughter celebrates her second birthday, and I want my summer to wind down slowly. So in preparation for the upcoming seasonal-, as well as, address-change, I thought it was good cause or pause, for a thoughtful moment in the form of a picture: "Teal Toes for Thai Food."

My daughter asked for teal nail polish (Piggy Paint Polish in Ice Cream Dream), and she wore them happily to the opening of a new Thai restaurant in our neighborhood last week. I love the contrast with her metallic gold sandals.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, August 16, 2010

Healthy, Long Hair 101

For whatever reason, my hair was never long as a child. It never went past shoulder-length. I asked my mother once why this was so, and she insists that I was the one who always wanted it cut. I remember being suspicious of this response at the time. However, being a mother myself now, I realize that longer hair on a child can be harder to maintain. There are more tangles to be dealt with, more hair to wash and primp. Shorter hair is plain simpler.

Me, at age 3 perhaps, with my perennially shoulder-length hair.
Long-hair-story short, after countless hairstyles (some being entirely regrettable of course), I’ve settled on lengthier locks as a more permanent adult, look in the last few years.  And keeping the hair healthy is easy. Just make sure to get a haircut every three to six months to keep your shape and ends in good standing, and then follow my 1-2-3 in this quick two-minute video, and you’ll be on your way!

Healthy, Long Hair Tool Kit 1-2-3:

1) Conditioning: Pantene Pro-V Restore Beautiful Lengths Breakage Defense Conditioner ($6).
2) Detangling with a wide-toothed comb: Mebco Tortoise Shower Detangler ($2).
3) Dry-brushing: Frederic Fekkai Classic Brush ($95). Wet-brushing: Denman Paddle Brush ($12).


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, August 9, 2010

Twinkle Toes for Mama

Every six months or so, I go all out with the nails, and add something a bit 3-D. It feels good to jazz up the Mommy beauty! Sunday, I went with Priti NYC's Polish in Oleaster (a grey-blue), $13, in a reverse French pedicure with pink crystals. Priti NYC polishes are non-toxic and organic, so they're an option to consider for those with painted fingernails worried about chipped lacquer getting into their babies food or mouths. 

Normally, I would opt for clear crystals, but they were all out at Sakura Nail and Spa, so a twinkly pink line on the moon it was.

Try it out!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Mommy & Me Pedi

My daughter attempts to touch-up Mama's pedicure with a marker.
As a child I wasn’t allowed to wear nail polish. It wasn’t that my mother didn’t allow it per se, it was that I played classical piano, and you don’t usually find serious piano students flaunting painted nails. But I wanted the colors, trust me.  As a mother, I now of course love the indulgence of getting manicures and pedicures, but the manis are completely impractical. With all the sippy-cup washing I do, my fingernail polish chips in seconds.  However, in the summers, having spectacularly colored toes makes me supremely happy. It’s a simple, but sometimes hard-to-achieve pleasure, because getting to the nail salon isn’t always easy as a busy mom. But when I’m there, it’s fantastic. And as my daughter’s been getting older and showing interest, I’ve wanted her to partake in the fun.

Given how young she is at just barely two years old, I wanted to avoid using chemical-laden, adult, nail lacquer on her. She still puts things in her mouth, and obviously I can’t hand her a People magazine and have her be content to sit and let three coats dry.

Last week, I decided to give Piggy Paint, a non-toxic, water-based nail color made specifically with children in mind, a try. We sat side by side outside, where she could be free to run around while the nails dried in fresh air, and I applied one quick coat to each toenail as she watched with delight. I made sure there was very little polish on the brush before I applied it (to provide for optimally fast drying), and told her to help Mommy blow after I finished each foot. It took all of three minutes to the complete the whole pedicure.

After all was said and done, she smiled, satisfied, declaring repeatedly: ”Look! Look!”  Then, alternately pointed at my toes and hers, reveling in the mommy-daughter matching yellow toes. I also tested the Piggy Paints on myself to get a sense of how durable they were. They do dry pretty quickly: one thin coat dried in about a minute, but the polish doesn’t last very long. I noticed, on my thumbnail, as well as my daughter’s toes, that the polish started fading/chipping away within the next day. Applying more coats helps with longevity, but it's dependent on how much you and your child can manage together -- more coats = more sitting still. I would recommend, that even though they are advertised as non-toxic, it’s a safer bet to keep the Piggy Paint polish limited to the toes for those young ones who still, like mine, eat a lot with their fingers or put their fingers in their mouths.

And there you have it:  a kid-safe, totally doable, mother-daughter pedi!

Piggy Paint's Project Earth: Solar Power on my daughter, and China Glaze's Nail Lacquer in Solar Power on Mama.

The Itty Pedicure 1-2-3:

1)    For trimming tiny nails, I personally love the ease Pigeon Baby Safety Nail Scissors ($15) provide.  These scissors are designed wonderfully by the popular Japanese baby brand to deliver speedy cutting in a secure and precise manner. It takes me twice as long to cut my daughter's nails with any other nail clippers or scissors. I also like the Tokidoki Sandy Nail File ($5) for both my daughter and I. It's easy to find in the beauty cabinet and adorable.

2)    Before we were ready for a full-blown pedi, I opted for a few nail stickers when my daughter was younger. It’s the perfect way to involve a very young child into your at-home pedi without getting messy with liquids. You can pick up nail art decals from your local dime or drugstore, or here’s a nice one dozen variety set ($5).

3)    Piggy Paints are a solid option for a Mommy & Me pedicure. The biggest test it had to pass with me was the “fume-test,” and upon opening the container the polish merely smelled like kids’ school paints.  There are some great colors. We like: Piggy Paint's Project Earth: Solar Power Nail Polish (neon yellow) and their Ice Cream Dream shade (metallic green/teal), $9 each. And to match with Mama? Try China Glaze’s Nail Lacquer in Solar Power ($6), and Sephora by O.P.I.’s Nail Colour in Teal We Meet Again ($9), respectively.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thought for Thursday: The Exit Vanity

Do you look in the mirror before leaving home? Here's my foyer vanity where I sneak a peek and do last-minute touch-ups if needed. It sits right at eye-level -- out of my daughter's reach, and right where I can make sure I'm not about to hit the town with miniature finger-paint prints on my face.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, August 2, 2010

Away We Were!

We went away for a few ... now we're back!
Oh, summer, summer, beautiful summer ...


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Beauty Clean-Up 101

Life’s messy. Before my daughter A was born, I spent what felt like weeks with my husband throwing out unnecessary things and deep-cleaning. Only for a whole new type of mishmash to enter our home: what began with countless diapers and stacks of bibs turned into Legos and doll accessories running rivers through our apartment two years later. My vanity used to be set up like a make-up playground, but now that I’ve got my hands full with the bee that is my daughter zigzagging about with broccoli bits in her hair, my beauty housing is now all about function.

Before child, I liked to either have my vanity down low so I could sit cross-legged in front of it, or at standard waist height, but without a chair. Overall, I’ve always preferred to stand and apply makeup because it allows for the most freedom of movement. And so when my daughter was born, in order to keep all the cosmetics and such out of her reach, it was easy for me to move the showcase- and most-used items to the top of one of my chests, which is at shoulder height,  making everything conveniently eye-level.

When I start spending more time digging through piles of eye-shadow dusted products to find the right mascara, than it would take me to actually apply the stuff, I know this Mama's gotta start pickin' up after herself.  But with the right organizational tools, involving merely a few simple containers and an easy-to-follow strategy, you can keep your vanity’s clutter at bay -- and the mess will be minutes from away.

Vanity Sanity 1-2-3:

1)    Only while putting together this story did I realize that I use the same, basic system to organize my cosmetics as I do my daughter’s toys: bins. For her, I’ve got big canvas ones with handles. And at the end of every day we sing the "Clean-Up, Clean-Up" song, throw the toys in, and then the bins get tucked away. For make-up, I favor rectangular or square trays for most beauty products, and a cup-like container for brushes, as a simple ways to keep things neat. I keep the items I use the most, in a single everyday tray, which rests closest to where I stand (see photo). I recommend these Stackable Acrylic Drawer Organizers ($3-$5), as they are nice and minimal in their design. For brushes try Sephora Collection’s Makeup Brush Box ($20), or even a tall and heavy ceramic or plastic cup will do.

2)    For items that I don’t use daily, I keep them stored away in special boxes (e.g. my “Lash Box” in the photo) or in drawers – ensuring that my little one can’t and won’t be tempted to go exploring. Within the drawers, I use the same tray system to separate the cosmetics by genre. The container store, in general, is a great place to find things like a 24-Lipstick Acrylic Organizer ($7), where you can put the sticks upside down to see the shade names (this lovely tip courtesy of my good friend, make-up artist, Jason Hoffman).

3)    Every couple of months I go through my make-up, as I would with clothing and shoes, and I do a super cleanse. Part of an easy tidy-up is not having that much around. Go through your beauty supplies and purge all those items that haven’t been of use to you. Don’t hold onto something just because the box it came in a year ago told you you’d be scar-free in seconds.  If you didn’t wear that eye shadow six months ago, chances are, you’re probably not going to wear it today.  Only keep what you use and need, around.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Vanity, circa 2005

My vanity, in NYC, circa 2005. I've since streamlined the organization, chucked the Japanese tschotcke collection, and raised the vanity to shoulder height (instead of knee-height, which this one was at), so that my daughter can't and won't be tempted to play with the products.
These days, navigating the words in my head has been like treading through a swamp. I think it's the heat, the humidity and the fact that I'm starting to feel the city closing in on me and my brain, like a big, hot robot. I need a vacation -- preferably somewhere where the breeze isn't being created by my Frigidaire or a street sweeper taking a quick turn. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love this city to death. My daughter and I have great fun here and are lucky enough to live by some beautiful parks. I'm just city-hot. And my beauty product organization story is taking me longer than I'd like because I feel sluggish in this heat. So as a light appetizer for the bigger item in the works, here's a photo from 2005, before I had my child: one of my many vanities. A look into my life ...


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Gaga Night Out

On Independence Day, I went to see Lady Gaga in concert for her Monster Ball Tour with friends. I had been looking forward to this for months, and as a busy mom to a 22-month-old, this type of night out was a rare opportunity for me. It was a chance to don some super fun make-up (my fave type of über dress-up), sing and dance, and let loose.

Recently, I've noticed my daughter enjoy and practice dressing, be it clumsily. Pulling clothing on and off of herself, she is beginning to enter the world of practical and fantasy fashion. As adults, we have our everyday dress-up, and when we go out for a big night on the town, we pretty ourselves by puckering up with that pouty lipstick or blowing out our hair. This reinforces our inherent beauty and encourages our confidence.

For the special Gaga occasion, I had my good friend, make-up artist Jason Hoffman do an inspired look for me. I gave him free reign to play, and the results involved two sets of false eyelashes on the top and bottom (one set mimicking spider webs), as well as daring eyeliner strokes, and a hot, pink lip. Batting my make-believe lashes with “Just Dance” beating in the background, it was this Mama’s music-meets-maquillage moment.

Make-up by Jason Hoffman. Photo by my good friend B!

Next time you're out to celebrate, try the five-minute version of this look, which Jason and I built around a strong, matte lip.

And, hey, turn the music up while you’re getting ready. 

Five-Minute Glam 1-2-3:

1) Start out with an even complexion; using some sort of foundation/concealer if needed. Make sure your lips are well hydrated with lip balm, as the matte lipsticks you’ll be using require a smooth surface.

2) Jason used Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick in Schiap ($24) on me. You can also try Wet n Wild’s Mega Last Lip Color in Smokin’ Hot Pink ($3). For a fully saturated lip, use either a lip brush, or the stick itself and start applying the color from the middle of your lips, staying within your lip lines. If you’re feeling color-shy, you can always choose to smudge some onto your index finger and start, little by little. Blend, blend, blend, with either or your fingers or tissue paper. Many times gorgeous make-up is about what you end up removing.

3) A beautiful, bold lip is a fantastic statement, in and of itself. And the look can be that simple. However, if you want some eye flair, Jason suggests taking an eyeliner brush (try e.l.f.'s Small Precision Brush, $3), and using it wet, with a highly pigmented black eye shadow, like M.A.C.’s Eye Shadow in Carbon ($15). The trick is to dip the brush in a little bit of water, which makes for a great, liquid eyeliner. I suggest doing a thick line, with an upward slant, right above your lash line.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shu, Bobbi, Lash Giveaway: Done and Done and Done!

I live for my waterproof liquid eyeliner!

I loved everyone's comments on their favorite beauty products!

When it comes to cosmetics, there's just something about all those colors and little cases of powders and creams that make me giddy. Thanks for loving everything beauty along with me and stay tuned for more giveaways to come (wink)!

The first beauty booty goes to Eva! Enjoy!


Monday, June 21, 2010's First Giveaway: Lip Gloss, Lashes, Nail Color!

No time to shop for make-up? Post a comment and these could be yours. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss Trio (Pink Blossom, Marina Pink and Cocoa Sugar), Shu Uemura Nail Enamel in P Sparkling Garnet Aquarium, and Lash Addiction's Dream Girl false eyelashes.

Want some new make-up? I love applying make-up on myself and others, as well as gifting it, so right from the heart of's Beauty Closet comes my first giveaway!

I've assembled a trio of products to make for a mini at-home makeover: a Bobbi Brown lip gloss set, a Shu Uemura nail polish, and a pair of fun, false eyelashes by Lash Addiction. All you've got to do is write a comment for this post by next Tuesday, July 6, on what your all-time favorite beauty product is, and why, and you'll be entered into the random drawing.

Why I Love My _______:

Nuy: If I was forced to dump all my make-up except for one lucky keepsake, I'd hold on to my black, liquid eyeliner (with a brush tip). That way I know I could still do a classic cat-eye, draw fake lashes onto my eyelids, or even individually paint my lash hairs as if I had mascara. Liquid eyeliner is undeniably versatile and for me, an adventure.

Now, what's the beauty product you love the most? Let's hear it!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, June 14, 2010

Potty Times and Perfume

My daughter A took this photo of me right after a successful potty. I'm on her plastic cell phone taking a very important call, and holding her panty in my left hand. No make-up. Just fragrance!

I’ve fallen a bit behind in my blog in the weeks past. There was a recent breakthrough in my daughter A’s potty-training, but the seemingly never-ending period preceding it involved a slew of accidents, which left my hands slightly chapped from the copious amounts of hand-laundry. My mail was piling up into leaning skyscrapers (thankfully it was tidied up this morning), my health problems flared up, and my vanity is in such a sad state I can’t bare to lay my eyes on it.  So what’s my beauty regime for these potty times? On a good day, I’m still on top of it with my tinted moisturizer with SPF and some pretty blush. But on those super haphazard days where I feel like roaring before it’s even 8 a.m., it’s that little bit of perfume that get’s me from lion to lady in two spritzes.

I decided to potty train my daughter A, by loosely following the way they do it in Korea (I am Korean-American), where they believe in pulling the diapers off as soon as the child starts walking. My eager mother bought my daughter a potty as soon as she got word that she was on her two feet, but I didn’t start the real training for another few months. I think the whole process, once it began, has taken us now into, five or six months, and there’s been a lot of stressed-out Mommy running after a panty-less, hysterically giggling wee one.  My daughter loves to throw her half-clothed body onto the couch and chair and roll around and flip, until I'm dizzy. Watching her is fun -- sometimes it's awesome. The clean-up? Not so much.

I can be a neat freak – there have been waves of more extreme episodes in my life. When I was in journalism school, there was a joke made about me that when people weren’t looking, I was scrubbing my white Adidas with bleach and a toothbrush. I promise I wasn’t doing this, but evidently, that’s how white my shoes were. Obviously, with a small child, my house doesn’t quite look the way it used to, and I was smart enough to change my color scheme from stark white to chestnut before the baby came.  Potty training has been definitely been, um, a voyage. I’ve had to adapt, adapt, adapt. And sometimes, it’s meant that all I’m wearing for the day, beauty-wise, is fragrance.

And there’s something utterly simple and pacific about it.

Your Best Scent 1-2-3:

Fragrance is a very personal thing. Everyone has a fairly specific idea of what they like or dislike in a perfume, and also, scents smell differently on individuals depending on body chemistry. Here are some of my all time favorites, as well as some suggestions for some new ones to try. I’m noticing that all three include flowers from home state of Oahu. I guess a youth in paradise does make its impression!

1)    I’ve loved Kai fragrance for a long time. The notes of gardenia remind me of afternoon floral breezes in Honolulu, and I find that the Kai Perfume Oil ($45/.125 oz.), which comes in a convenient-to-carry roll-on vial, is easy to slip into any bag, big or small. The oil form also makes the scent longer lasting.

2)    Another one of my go-to perfumes is A La Nuit by Serge Lutens ($120/50 ml), which has notes of jasmine, honey and musk. A little goes a long way with this one, but it is graceful and delicate.

3)    My relationship with Jo Malone’s Tuberose Cologne  ($55/30 ml) took a while to develop. But now I quite enjoy the way the scent rounds itself out with the spiciness of the cardamom, sandalwood and myrrh. Again, this one, like A La Nuit, is better when used sparingly.

*Want a look-see at some new aromas? Check out’s “Lovely Summer Perfumes”


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on