Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intimidated by makeup? Part 2

You can find Part 1 here.

In part 1, I covered some basic knowledge that can help you to get comfortable and acquainted with face makeup. This post will now focus on the next step after your face makeup has been completed: eyes.

There are several things to take note of before you set off to purchase cosmetics for your peepers. Understanding your eyes can do wonders in saving you time, money and frustration in choosing the right products.

1. Know your eyes. Are they round, almond-shaped, big, small? It's confusing sometimes to find what shape your eyes are but there's no need to worry as all you should take note of in the beginning is this: do you have  double- or mono-lids? People with double eyelids tend to have bigger-looking eyes but mono eyelids are just as beautiful. Knowing how to enhance your eye's natural beauty is key here. Next, look at the length and shape of your lashes. Are they short or long? Sparse or full? Do they point downwards and are straight? Or do they have a natural curl? Understanding how you want to enhance the beauty of your eyes is important in determining what products to use when you decide to.

2. Healthy eyes are beautiful eyes. Look into the mirror. Are the whites of your eyes clear of redness? Do your pupils shine? Or are your eyes dull? Is the skin under your eyes puffy or darkened? You can use as much makeup as you want to achieve your desired look but starting off as near-perfect and healthy as possible should be your goal. So, moisten your eyes when they are dry. Eye drops can be found in drugstores/ pharmacies and are inexpensive. The skin around your eyes is very delicate so try not to rub the eye area too much and be gentle when applying skincare around the area. Treat the skin as you would soft, silky "tofu".  Eye creams, when applied at night help to moisturize the eye area but these creams can be costly. So look around first, and take note of the price ranges that you find appropriate for your budget. Once you find a specific eye cream you're interested in, always look it up online before buying. Read reviews and satisfy your curiosity before committing to a product you've never tried before. Ask for samples if you're browsing high-end cosmetics counters.

3. Determine what products you want to use on your eyes (what you need and will use). Just because a makeup "guru" uses a long list of eye makeup doesn't mean you have too as well. Everyone's eyes are different and beautiful in their own unique way. If you're blessed with long, curly lashes, and you're wanting to skip mascara, go right ahead darling! No eye makeup item is ever compulsory to use. It's up to you to decide what you want to enhance about your natural beauty or the desired look you want to achieve at that given time.

4. Brows! Oh no. This area had me rolling around in confusion the most. I knew groomed brows that fit your face were always better than unkempt, bushy eyebrows- yet, I just didn't know where to start! Well, you would first want to look up the topic online and read about how brows are shaped, groomed and maintained. No pair of eyebrows are the same so never, ever try to have someone else's eyebrows as theirs may not suit you. If you've never shaped or groomed your brows before, I recommend seeking a professional on your first try. I went for eyebrow threading at a small, indian beauty salon in the Bangsar suburb of KL and it was very cheap at RM5 (USD 1.60). They had my eyebrows shaped perfectly to suit my face. If threading is not your fancy then seek help from a certified makeup artist or a beauty salon specializing in eyebrow care. If you are seeking the help of a makeup artist, I would suggest making an appointment with the beauty counter the makeup artist is affiliated with (particularly high-end cosmetics).

Basic eye makeup items:

a) Eye shadow- Adds colour to your eye lids to achieve different makeup looks. Comes in different textures: powdered, creamy, liquid. Eye shadows are available as individual colours in a pot or a palette of a few colours (3-4) or many more colours (a sizable palette would have colours of  different shades and tones). If you're just starting out with makeup, invest in a good eye shadow palette of around 4 different colours. Each colour in a palette usually has its own function in creating a look for your eyes. Try starting out with neutral colours like browns. Search YouTube for "neutral eyeshadow tutorials" and keep searching and learning through observation. That's what I did and it works! :)

b) Eye primer- Acts as a base for your eye makeup. Holds your eye shadow onto your lids and makes the colours last longer. Prevents eye shadow from smudging. Those with oily lids may want to sample an eye primer because oil makes makeup run. I personally haven't tried any eye primers and don't find them necessary for me at the moment.

c) Eyeliner- Essential! Knowing how to line your eyes perfectly makes them bigger and puts you in full control of how you want your eyes to look! Eyeliners come in a variety of colours but the most common ones are in black and brown. Black eyeliner is universally suitable for every skin tone/ hair colour. Brown eyeliners are used for a more natural look. Eyeliners also come in different textures and formulations:

- Cream liner in a pot. Applied using an angled eyeliner brush (usually provided with the product but these brushes are sometimes hard to use as the ones that are included with the product are not angled).
- Felt-tip eyeliner pens. They provide a lot of control in drawing precise lines but require practice to get used to the rigid tip.
- Liquid eyeliner. Can be in pen-form or resemble packaging like nail polish. Application requires practice but it is relatively easy due to the tip on the applicator being flexible, thin and brush-like.

If your eyes are small, and you want to keep your look natural, I would suggest using eyeliner only on the top lid and not lining your bottom lid. Look at "eyeliner tutorials" for application tips. Michelle Phan has a good video on YouTube.

d) Mascara- consists of a wand in a tube. Comes in different colours with the most common ones being black and brown. When applied to eyelashes, mascara adds volume and length to lashes. Available in different formulations with some focusing on lengthening lashes vs. others focusing on maximising curl on lashes. Mascaras may be waterproof or not, depending on what you require. Waterproof mascaras prevent smudging but are usually more difficult to remove compared to non-waterproof ones.

e) Eyelash curler- Curls lashes before mascara application to allow for easier application of mascara and to maximise the curl on lashes. Especially handy for those with short and straight lashes.

f) Eyebrow pencil- If you have sparse eyebrows, filling in your brows with an eyebrow pencil helps tremendously. Common shades are browns, greys and blacks. Your eyebrow pencil colour should match that of your hair colour. Black hair- dark grey/ charcoal/ black. Brown hair- light browns to dark browns, depending on the shade of your hair colour. Seek the help of a makeup artist/ assistant at a beauty counter for help if you happen to be there. Chanel makeup assistants seem fairly helpful, provided you show some interest in their products of course. :P

g) Tweezers- Invest in a good pair of slant tip tweezers. They may be used to groom your brows after you've had them professionally shaped i.e. plucking stray hairs that grow beyond your eyebrow shape.

Eye makeup can be quite subjective as no individual product is ever compulsory to use. My basic routine is: Eyeshadow (I have a few different palettes but the browns and pinks flatter my fair skin tone and are easy to use + natural for a daily makeup look) > Black felt-tip eyeliner > Filling in brows with a brow pencil in Charcoal as I have very black hair > Mascara if I'm feeling like it. Some days I like to go bare and be as natural as I possibly can, while still looking presentable so I skip eye shadow and just go with eyeliner and doing my brows.

There are numerous ways and techniques to apply eye makeup (shadows in particular) and some looks may require reasonable foresight into how you want it to turn out. My best advice is to get acquainted with your eye (the feel on your lid especially where your brow bone is, the creases, your lashes), the types of eye makeup items available and watch tutorials on YouTube. And as they say, practice makes perfect. 

I will be talking about makeup brushes in the next post and how I braved myself to actually use some despite being a complete makeup "noob" at that time. Some of the brushes really help in giving a more "professional" finish to your makeup but some are also quite unnecessary. Until next time, I hope this post helped in giving you a brief overview on getting started with eye makeup. Be brave and have fun exploring!

(All images courtesy of Getty Images)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intimidated by makeup? Part 1

There's always that point where one transitions from adolescence to adulthood and it is during this transition that you may find yourself spotting an interest in something totally new to you; something you never thought you needed to try...until now. Makeup, ladies. Makeup.

Now what is makeup? Cosmetics? Maquillage? As a young teen I used to think girls my age wearing makeup was totally absurd. I used to think they were trying too hard to appear older. Well, some were trying to hard... But! Really, is makeup necessary? Yes and No.

Many out there share different thoughts on makeup and my philosophy is that makeup should be used at one's comfort and pace, to enhance one's natural beauty. Once you're armed with some basic beauty knowledge, the world's your oyster and you will feel comfortable to explore the realm of makeup.

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Let's find out if you're intimidated by makeup but ever-so-want to be apart of the beauty community:
1. Do you walk past beauty counters in a department store not knowing what to look at but wanting to stop and take a peek?
2. Do the presence beauty counter sales assistants (SAs) make you feel uneasy whenever you do stop and peek at a counter?
3. Have you ever wanted to buy some sort of makeup item but didn't know what shade/ colour/ texture/ type of product to choose?
4. Do you search for beauty advice online but do not understand the difference between various cosmetics and find it difficult to understand makeup lingo?
5. You've bought some makeup items but don't know which to begin with/ order of application?
6. Are there too many brands out there and you're just overwhelmed by the choices available to you?

If you've said yes to more than 2 of the above, then you're probably trying to find your comfort zone with your new found acquaintance, makeup. No fear, you're not alone and I've been there. We've all been there.

I have some advice I would love to share for those trying to settle into the beauty community. Take my advice lightly with a pinch of salt, ok? I am by no means a beauty expert and I'm still discovering more things beauty-related on a daily basis. Just thought I'd share some experience when I had to face my fears in trying to settle in :D

1. Knowledge is power. Read up on cosmetics online. Take note of a product you see in stores and search for it online e.g. Google "cosmetics foundation" and look at what a number of sites have to offer.
2. Once armed with an arsenal of basic beauty knowledge (knowing face, eye & lip makeup items), look up any brand you may have noticed in stores, online e.g. If you've walked past a Chanel counter, visit their cosmetics site to get a brief understanding of their cosmetics lines and releases.
3. Before thoroughly understanding makeup, take some time to understand basic skincare. After all, flawless skin won't need much or any makeup to cover up ;) The health of your skin will determine what cosmetics you would want/ need to use to enhance your natural beauty.

4. Beauty blogs provide a good source of makeup reviews and tips. Some blogs feature higher-end cosmetics while others review drugstore items. So, take some time to scout drugstores/ pharmacies and beauty counters to know the market prices of cosmetics and find what you want. Be patient during this discovery process :D

5. Learn by observing. There are tons of beauty gurus on YouTube and they provide makeup tutorials that can teach you a thing or two on applying makeup. juicystar07 , RAEview, MichellePhan, BEAUTYQQ Just a few to get you started :)

The basics

1. Face makeup. Also known as "base makeup". Basic items in this category are:

a) face primer- Prepares your skin for concealers and foundations. Acts as a "base" for foundations to last longer + allows for smoother application of foundation.

b) concealer- Conceals imperfections on skin (acne scars, blemishes, dark eye circles, red patches) that cannot be concealed with foundation alone. Available in different shades. Should always be lighter than your foundation shade.

c) foundation- Probably the key item to create an even finish on your face. Usually available in powder-cream and liquid formulations. When choosing a foundation, first determine your skin type and the finish you are looking for. Is your skin oily or dry or a combination of both? Are you looking for a matte or dewy, natural finish? Next, determine your shade (colour). Your shade should match your natural skin tone. Also, determine first if your skin is yellow or pink toned. This part intimidated me the most because finding the perfect foundation shade required the help of a beauty SA at a Chanel counter but I overcame my fear and as a customer, I knew it was my right to demand their assistance :D But really, popping by a beauty counter will save you the hassle of searching and matching a foundation shade to your skin tone. The beauty SAs will do it for you. It's their job.

d) highlighter- Used for contouring your face. Highlights (draws light to) the high points of your face to create more depth and also give the impression of a higher cheekbone/ thinner, higher nose bridge. Can be used on forehead and around eye area to brighten these areas for a fresh look (not dull). If you have naturally good features, you may learn how to use highlighters and darker beige tones/ bronzers to contour your face and further enhance what you're blessed with

e) blusher/ cheek colour- An absolute favourite of mine because it adds that tinge of colour on your cheeks to give some life to your look (healthy glow). Usually available in a variety of shades of pink, red, orange and everything in between. If you're fair skinned, try light pinks and corals. If you're more tan, you can experiment with darker shades of rose and reds.

f) powder- Essential! Helps to "set" your makeup, creating smooth-looking skin and allowing your face makeup to last longer. Also helps to keep oiliness and shine at bay. Usually applied after foundations and before blusher/ cheek colour. Available in loose form or compacts and also different shades depending on the brand.

It is most definitely not compulsory to use all of these items. The purpose of having face makeup is to create natural, flawless skin on your face. If you have good skin to begin with, then don't bother with having too much stuff on your face.

Essentials: A good foundation + powder + blusher/ cheek colour. If imperfections show through your foundation, consider using a concealer that is suitable for your skin tone. If it doesn't bug you, then you may do away with concealer. My routine: basic skincare + sun protection > foundation > powder > blusher > eye makeup (covered in later posts)

Important: set a budget, try to stick to it and never ever be pressured by a SA into buying a product you've never tried/ researched online!
This is all for the first part of my guide to getting you settled in. Remember, you should be discovering and wearing makeup at your own pace and comfort. The way you wear your face is for yourself, entirely up to you and all about making you feel good. Be yourself, find your style and have fun!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Coffret D'or "Beauty Sharp Designer" Cheek Colour

Coffret D'or is one of Kanebo's makeup lines and items from the Coffret D'or brand are usually a tad more affordable than its sister line, Lunasol. Packaging however, is a whole different story with the two!

The "Beauty Sharp Designer" palette is a S/S 2011 release featuring three sets of colour bases to choose from: 01 Coral Orange, 02 Pure Pink, 03 Rose Red. There is an additional 04 Peach Beige colour that was released for the A/W lineup. I purchased 01 Coral Orange. (link- product guide & application tips on Coffret D'or site)

I've always preferred a tinge of orange and coral in my blushers because it shows up well on my fair skin and a pinky coral is very flattering and looks natural most of the time. Reddish blushers show up very harsh on my cheeks, in that the colour seems to stand out too much. So I stick to the pinks and coral-oranges. :)

Aside from the usual blusher, this palette comes with three other shades for contouring. L-R: Highlight colour, Medium colour, Shade nuance colour. These colours don't show up much, save for the highlight colour. Those with darker, tan skin may want to reconsider purchasing this product as I don't see the contouring shades doing much for you.

The brushes that come with the palette are pretty bad as they barely pick up any product. Other reviews have mentioned dismay at how sheer this blusher is BUT I believe its sheer only because the brush used is barely picking up any product! Using an angled blush brush/ universal face brush (dense & fluffy) will do the trick with the cheek colour.

The best way to have a look at the cheek colour palettes is at the Kanebo beauty counters themselves as the colours don't really show up well in these photos.

I purchased mine at the Kanebo counter at Jusco MidValley for Rm108 (USD34). Truth be told, I find Japanese blushers a tad expensive here in Malaysia because some Japanese brands like Coffret choose to sell the case separately (RM25/ USD8). So the total comes up to RM133 (USD42) just for...blush. Even a limited edition Lancome blush retails for rm120 (USD38)- case included! I don't get why they can't include the casing. High-end cosmetics companies like Chanel have sleek cases at no extra cost. What's to say for a lower end Kanebo sub-brand like Coffret?

There's always the option of going without a casing as the palette comes with its own transparent plastic casing (shown in second photo above). The cover on the plastic casing slides off and that can be very inconvenient when you're in a hurry as you risk being too frisky with the product, which may lead to some fallout.

The case is a universal eye shadow/ powder case that comes in black or white. So far, Malaysian Kanebo counters only have them in black. No problem here as I love black!

All in all, the cheek colour is a pretty pink-orange mix but the contouring shades don't do much, save for the highlighter. If you're willing to spend RM133 (USD42) on a decent cheek colour, then you may try this. Otherwise, save the money for some other blusher as you won't be using much of the lower half of this palette.