Ageless, timeless, appropriate work and play faces that suit your lifestyle and personality.
Shopping for cosmetics can be confusing and stressful. Variety has made it so. Too many things to consider, with new items being launched every so often. Beauty editors aside, who can keep up?
Little wonder many of us stick to the one look that works for us, and maybe just amp it up to make it a little dressier for special occasions.
So how can refreshing and exciting still work on a practical level for most of us who lead real lives – work, travel, multi-task, have families to take care of, and friends to catch up with?
I’ve pared it down to two looks for three major types of personalities and lifestyles. Each look has options for both work and play, because I’m always for dressing appropriately, even in the makeup department.
You can switch the looks about when your lifestyle changes, and introduce new items into each face palette to keep it new, but by and large, if you stick to this flexible formula, you’ll never look under or over made up and inappropriate ever again.
This is a formidable, challenging combination, but my mother always said that makeup is protocol and that it’s courteous to put on your best face for the world, so some makeup is a must.
At work, you want to aim for professional yet approachable. Sunblock is essential whether you’re into full-face makeup or next to nothing. And tinted sunblock is perfect for the lazy, busy and always-late, because tinted sunblock offers both coverage and natural colour in several dabs and sweeps with the fingers.
Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Wetforce is great for active gym days and La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50 works for sensitive and oilier complexions that need see-through flawlessness all day. The soft, matte effect is great for the lazy and busy, who have no time for touch-ups.
I always find eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow too fiddly for people who like their makeup fixes quick. But brows are fundamental. To cut makeup time but still have wow brows, groom them every night before bedtime, so they’re easy to shape in the morning when you’re rushing to get out of the door.
A quick fix for the brows comes from NARS Brow Gel. This mascara lookalike sleeks the hairs down, adds instant colour, and holds the look in place.
No time for deep, dark lipstick that takes time and precision to put on? M.A.C Cosmetics Versicolour Stain is all you need. This range of lip tints is compact and too easy to apply.
For parties or galas, touch up your ‘work’ face by using a deeper shade of brow gel for bolder brows, add colour to your cheeks with NARS Blush in Orgasm, and a sultrier shade of lip tint.
You’d think it’s easy to recommend the right makeup face for someone who would take the time to trawl beauty reviews and shop for new colours and products all the time.
Not completely true because there is such a thing as wearing too much makeup. Makeup overload cancels out the good things that makeup can do for us – that is, enhance and define our best features.
If you’d rather sacrifice sleep than not put in the time and effort on your makeup, good for you. But stay focused, don’t get carried away, and aim for these two things: flawless coverage and definition.
Create a beautiful canvas with these products: Yves Saint Laurent’s weightless yet protective Touche Eclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation with SPF 22, and the magic wand of the cosmetics world that is Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s Touche Eclat pen that brightens your complexion, covers dark circles under the eyes and temporarily lightens wrinkles and age-related gauntness.
Again, brow grooming is non-negotiable, and time and effort notwithstanding, I still like Tom Ford’s easy-to-use Brow Sculptor that gives you an immaculate pair every time.
For work, I’d pick curled lashes and mascara over eyeliner, as the effect opens up the eyes and makes you look bright-eyed rather than bedroom-eyed. Most of my makeup artist friends recommend Shu Uemura’s lash curler, and their trick is to curl your lashes in three places (near the roots, mid-length and near the tips) before you apply mascara to reap maximum eye-opening benefits.
I’ve never had much luck with mascaras, but the beauty grapevine recommends Fairydrops Platinum Mascara Film Type T2 for short, straight Asian lashes like mine. Matte lips in mauve or chestnut brown are always work-appropriate and Kylie Lip Kits (lip liner and matte liquid lipstick) come in colours that are rich yet professional-looking, like Candy K and True Brown.
For occasions that allow your face to sparkle and shine even more, add eyeliner from the potent pots of Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner Waterproof or Yves Saint Laurent’s Eyeliner Effect.
Soften eyeliner with eyeshadow from Sephora Collection’s extensive range of colours, and switch up lip colour for a stronger hue from the Kylie Lip Kits Dupes Glosses collection. Then blush on NARS Blush in Super Orgasm, a deeper natural flush with gold speckle accents that highlight your cheekbones.
There are lazy women who don’t want to wear too much makeup, if any at all, and there are women who will take pains to primp and paint, yet want to look like they don’t have much makeup on.
Call it the K-Beauty craze. You know the look: except for strong brows in a deep brown shade, everything else is muted, soft, dewy, feminine and well put together.
To achieve a dewy complexion, opt for face bases that offer a translucent effect, such as Bobbi Brown’s Skin Weightless Powder Foundation, M.A.C’s Blot Powder and Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Compact Encre De Peau Fusion Ink Compact Foundation. Kate Designing Eyebrow N will give you thick, straight-ish, slightly arched K-brows – no fuss, no muss.
K-eyes may look bare and clean, but much work goes into it. Soft brown gel liner defines the eyes and this is softened further with a matte grey brown eyeshadow from NYX Professional Makeup called Nude Matte Shadow in Maybe Later Tawny.
This same eyeshadow is then blended into the eye sockets and the look is finished with few lashings of a natural-looking transparent mascara from Maybelline’s Great Lash applied onto carefully curled lashes.
Blusher and lipstick need to be sweetly sensuous, but barely there. I still like NARS Blush Orgasm for that cheeky effect, and for lips, go for Laneige Intense Lip Gel in a range of sweet shades.
K-party looks are fun because they are natural-looking yet rather ethereal. In other words, fairy-like and sophisticated.
Soft is still the order of the day, or should I say night. But liner and shadow come with sparkle. I like Eyedust in Pearl and Eyedust in April, both from Make Up Store.
Wear your lips outstanding in a natural way – with the one lip item from Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Coral Crush, a luscious coralline with a touch of gloss. The result is not unlike your naked lips, only more delicious-looking.