The Barely there Makeup

by Jeanette Aw

Let’s start from the very beginning. My first experience with makeup was when I was a Primary school student. I was in the choir group and it was our musical night. Parents came in helping us with our makeup. This eye liner pencil started lining my eyes and I was so extremely petrified I almost blacked out. Fast forward a few years when I started dancing. I went for Ballet summer school and at the end of the 1 week practise, we all had a presentation. I did my own makeup, foundation and all. In the photos, I looked like I had an outline of a white mask on my face. Fast forward again, I was in University, president of Dance Ensemble. We always had performances, and dancing on stage meant we had to have pretty heavy and exaggerated eye makeup so the audience sitting far back can still “see” us. Perspiration often streaked across our makeup, sometimes smudging our eye liners, and we looked almost terrifying, but of course only when you see us up close.

My makeup journey has been adventurous, mostly filled with mishaps and weird looking pictures. But I learn. I never applied makeup on my casual days, maybe because it never really turned out perfect ever. I only started makeup for real  when I entered the industry. As with most onscreen performances, it was always the full and complete look, done by the station’s makeup unit. It was until I played a character and the instruction was: NO makeup. I liked it. I decided that I will never apply foundation again when I’m acting. I hate it when I have to do crying scenes and the tears streak across the cheeks and leave a mark. I hate it when I’m filming under the scorching heat and perspiration destroys the makeup. I hate it that when I’m filming I have to worry about trivial things like makeup, when I’d rather focus on my delivery.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying makeup isn’t important. I still think it’s the best invention ever. Especially when I have bad days and a quick cover up hides everything instantly, or when I just need a touch of colour to enhance a certain look. I still love experimenting with different looks for shoots, events and red carpet functions, but it would always be the professional makeup artist working on my face. But on a usual day, what always works for me is, the less the better. Messy hair even better. I guess that’s me. My makeup routine takes 10 minutes to complete. Moisturizer, sunblock, concealer for the dark circles, loose powder, brows, light liner and mascara, lipbalm, or maybe lip tint/lipgloss. Some blush for tired days. That done, and I’m ready to face the world. In all these photos you see, it’s really just this, the barely there makeup.

I’m definitely no makeup guru. I just learn along the way and I always observe how makeup is done for me over the years. Western countries do it differently, what works on Caucasians may not work on Asian features. Korean dewy looks are desirable looks to have, but it also depends on your skin and if the makeup will sit when you have such a high shine base. Different countries have different methods of application and I’ve come to know what I like and what I don’t, what works and what doesn’t. I try something different on myself from time to time and I figure out if it makes me look good or not. I often always go towards natural looks, because ultimately, that’s what I feel most comfortable and confident in.

It’s exciting to try different looks from time to time, and you may just like it. So go ahead and experiment. Makeup is a personal preference. It’s an individual expression. No point following trends blindly. No point putting another look on yourself when it does not complement you at all. Makeup should allow you to feel confident. And confidence, makes you look good.

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