I had loads of fun doing the little layout for my latest outfit post. I do have a bit of time on my hands now before the next onslaught of work that might maim my blogging activities, so I decided to take a break from foodfoodfood writing to do another layout for the makeup products I used on my birthday. I have to warn you about the length of this post, there are 15 products reviewed here, and let’s just say that the sheer long-windedness of this entry should make up for all the beauty reviews that I should have done, but haven’t, owing to the airtime that food has been getting on my blog.
I don’t wear makeup unless I’m meeting people. And on the days when I’m seeing someone, I slap on enough to not elicit nightmares…unless we’re going out somewhere nice for dinner or for a function. Well, my birthday is sorta a function (to me), and we were going to some place nice for dinner. I also wanted to feel pampered and girly. In fact, I was dying to ditch my home rags after eons of thesis writing and couldn’t be more ready to put on a new face. I even went for a haircut a week before my birthday. I know this is going to sound superficial, but I was looking forward to spending a full hour on grooming before dinner on Sunday. I took a hot shower, smoothed out the frizz in my hair with an iron, and slapped on happy amounts of makeup! I dug out products that I don’t usually use (either because they are too expensive or too much for a natural look) and had loads of fun putting them together. I was going for a natural finish on the complexion with strong eyes and slightly bold lips and I think it worked well with the cheongsam-inspired dress. The eye makeup didn’t quite show up in the photos but I thought my eyes were pretty smokey and strongly lined, by my standards anyway. I took the photos after the dinner too, so the lip gloss was gone by then. Here’s a run-through of what I used to create the look, and if you are doing something similar, perhaps you could send me pictures of your makeup and give me recommendations on what you love to use!
Prime: After cleansing and moisturising, I let my face dry out a little and used the oil-free photo finish primer from Smashbox (1). This is the best primer I’ve used to date, it holds makeup well and smooths out the skin. One squeeze of the bottle should yield enough for the face. I allowed this to sit on my face for about 2 minutes to set.
Complexion: I discovered the Cle de Peau Beaute collection when I was in NYC in 2009. This is the high-end range from Shiseido, my all-time favourite for skincare and makeup. The beauty advisor at the Cle de Peau counter in Saks sat me down for a short consult, before testing the makeup products on my face and I LOVED them. My skin was a little flaky during winter last year, but she managed to smooth everything over with the incredible cream foundation (2) and the amazing concealor (3). These two items were very expensive (USD120 for foundation and USD70 for concealor), but I couldn’t resist getting them because Cle de Peau isn’t available in London. I am not sure if this is sold in Singapore too, so if anyone knows, please give me a shout!! I have a bottle of liquid foundation from Laura Mercier, but I haven’t been using it because I still prefer a light pat-down of Shiseido’s powder to liquid foundation. Cle de Peau’s cream foundation, on the other hand, is very light, and I only need a tiny amount (just one twist of the bottle to give you a red-bean sized blop of foundation) to even out my patchy complexion. This also means that the foundation will last a while, so it’s comfortable on the wallet.
Using my fingers, I dabbed the concealor on my blemishes (really harsh-looking broken capillaries, pimple scars etc). This is the best concealor you could ever own. I’m serious. It works just like a second skin, very light even though it’s a stick concealor, and so easy to blend with flawless coverage. If I have to choose one item that I can’t live without, it’s this concealor. Unfortunately these two items are too expensive, and I only use them on special occasions.
Eyebrows: I have been using the eyebrow and eyeliner compact in Light Brown (BL3) from Shiseido (4) for ages and it’s the only thing that I would ever want to shape my eyebrows with. It comes with an angled-applicator, perfect for shaping and filling in the brows, and a long-ish sponge applicator on the other end, which is great for lining your eyes. I tend to use this for eyebrows only because I have oily skin and this tends to smudge on my eyes if I use it as an eyeliner. The duo colour compact also means that you can blend the colours to the right intensity for you. This is great if you colour your hair frequently, there’s no need to get multiple pencils to match your brows to your hair colour! Once you get the hang of using the applicator, you’ll find that this gives a much more natural finish than pencils.
Setting the foundation & Blush: I set my foundation and brows with the pressed powder (5) from Shiseido and lightly swipe the apples of my cheeks with the Boots No.7 Mineral Perfection Blush in Soft Damson (6), a blush with rosy hues. I love this blush, it’s cheap, it’s good, and it’s very slightly luminous.
Eyes: To conceal my dark circles, I used YSL Touche Eclat in No.2 (7). It’s illuminating, gives good coverage and easy to blend. It’s also very light and thin, so it’s perfect with the cream foundation. (I have another favourite concealor for my dark circles, but I tend to use that with powder foundation.) Next, I primed my eyelids with the primer potion from Urban Decay (8). This is a godsend, I tell you!! It helps eye makeup stay on forever, and I never have to worry about smudges on my fleshy lids. My love-hate relationship with eyeshadows was transformed after I discovered this primer. It also intensifies the colour of your eyeshadow. A little goes a long way, so a bottle like this should last you for ages. Use your fingers to blend it over your eyelids and allow it to set for 2 minutes. Following this, I lined my upper lashline with the gel eyeliner from Bobbi Brown (9). This is great stuff too, because it doesn’t smudge and it’s really easy to apply with the eyeliner brush! To line my lower waterline, I used the Infallible Indefectible eyeliner from L’Oreal (10). I got this for free when I purchased a mascara from L’Oreal at Boots (yay to Boots for insane amount of freebies!!) and tried it for the first time on my birthday. I half-expected my waterline to bleed by the end of dinner since the waterline is very moist, but nope, this stuff stayed and it was a breeze to apply and remove. It comes an eraser on the other end if you want to correct mistakes! I didn’t have to use the eraser, and this is saying something about the ease of using this product. I rarely line my lower waterline and when I do, I end up looking like a panda because of unsteady hands.
I painted my eyes with the Sorceress palette (this was released for the holiday season in 2009) from M.A.C. (11). It is the only eyeshadow palette that I use and the colours are right up my alley! Purples, greys and blacks work well on my skin tone. I highlighted my brow bone with the white shadow, and dabbed on a little of the shimmery light purple on the inner corners of my eyes. I swiped the lightest purple over my eyes for a base, and blended the darkest shimmery grey and purple onto the creases. While I was at this, I added little flicks at the outer corners to widen the eyes. I blended the flicks so they wouldn’t look too harsh. The idea is to achieve soft-focus smokey eyes. For the first time ever, I also used a blending brush to help me. I used to just rely on the applicators that came with eyeshadows and well, let’s just say that proper brushes are way better. I also applied a teeny bit of the darkest shimmery purple close to the outer corners of my lower lashline.
I curled my lashes with my trusty S$2 curler from Guardian Pharmacy (12) (yes, these work just as well, if not better than the high-end ones) and fixed Shu Umeura’s false eyelashes (s217) (13a) onto my upper lashlines. I highly recommend the eyelash glue from Shu (13b) as well. The s217 false eyelashes are the same ones I used for my wedding and they are brilliant. They open up your eyes and yet, stay very natural-looking.
Lips: I love Palmer’s Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Lip Balm (14), this is the only lip balm that has worked for me, and after allowing it to set, I lightly dab Urban Decay’s Timothy lip gloss (15) on my lips. This gloss was a freebie from Boots. It is a very strong, coral-red hue, so if you’re afraid to use it, just dab a little at a time (don’t swipe!) and press your lips together to blend it. Check for intensity before dabbing on more.
I set my face once more with pressed powder and I was good to go, makeup stayed on (except the gloss), and the strong eyes with slightly bold lips worked well with the cheongsam dress. You need to work out a balance between the eyes and lips though, as equally strong features on both ends of your face spell a disaster. I chose to dress my eyes up more than my lips, as I don’t have naturally big and lovely eyes. Not that I have nice lips too, but it is true that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Mine really needs curtains and a good wipe, so there.
Hope you enjoyed this post. It will be a while now before I write another beauty post (perhaps one on the usual products I use for natural day makeup), so for those who felt nauseous after reading this feeble attempt, you may heave a sigh of relief now!