A Random Dive into My Beauty Toolbag

July 31, 2014

This blog has been mostly about product reviews, and whilst I enjoy providing that, I think it is about time we take a look at the tools that I often use behind the scenes.  From maintaining my skin in tip-top condition, to creating makeup looks, this post will be all about some of my favorite beauty tools!

Spa-at-Home Essential: Facial Steamer

As a beauty blogger, I am constantly testing out new makeup and skincare products, and that puts a lot of stress on my naturally sensitive skin.  In order to keep up with the work pipeline and to continue bringing you lovely LOTDs and accurate reviews, it is paramount that I keep my skin in healthy condition.  Apart from relying on some of my holy grail skincare products, I also go for regular facials.  My favorite part of a salon facial, is lying back with a steamer directed at my face whilst my therapist gives me a relaxing massage.

OMYSBA2014 Panasonic facial steamer for a home-spa experience

Some of my personal favorite pampering treats – Glamglow Thirsty Mud to hydrate, Glamglow Brightmud Eye Treatment to brighten my eye area, La Mer Gel-Creme to plump and soothe, and Guerlain Midnight Star is my favorite serum/primer that I reserve for special occasions. A short session with these products will prep my skin and put it into the best condition for makeup.

Much as I love to have a facial every day, it is not feasible (for lack of time!) nor is it healthy for skin (over-exfoliation strips skin of its natural oils and can cause skin to become irritated).  So I was really intrigued when I was provided with a Panasonic Nanocare Ionic Facial Steamer EH-SA31-VP.  Shaped like a vase, this sleek little device emits a steady stream of hot steam for my own home spa session!  It is perfect for helping to remove makeup – simply apply some cleansing balm over dry skin, and sit down in front of the steamer for a minute.  This helps to open pores, allowing dirt to be lifted out for a thorough but gentle cleansing.  My favorite use for this though, is after cleansing, apply some hydrating mask (like Glamglow Thirsty Mud) or a massage mask, and continue massaging while the steam blankets my face.  It is incredibly relaxing, and my skin looks much happier afterwards.

My Essential Makeup Tools: Brushes

With the perfect canvas, I can put makeup safely to the test, and observe their optimal performance.  However, to do that, I have found that the right brushes make a big difference as well.  I have often heard people complain that certain makeup products are hard to use or perform poorly, when in reality what they are lacking are the right brushes.  There are way too many brushes to be discussed, and I have written a number of posts introducing some different brushes here, here and here, so I shall limit today’s post to purely the eyes.  To illustrate this point, I will try to unravel another common myth, and show you how to create a smoky eye look suitable for daytime wear!

OMYSBA2014 Daytime smokey eye makeup

One of my pet peeves is how girls often limit themselves to nude or pastel eyeshadows, believing that darker shades are “hard” to wear.  Therefore, the perfect palette for my little contrarian tutorial is to work the YSL Fetiche Palette  for a day in the office.

OMYSBA2014 Daytime smokey eye tutorial

This is a very dark and shimmery palette, and one of the most intensely pigmented palettes that I have ever encountered recently.  So for a day look, I need to tone things down considerably, and pick some brushes that are loosely packed.  In general, squirrel hair brushes tend to pack less pigments than goat and synthetics, but the shape and density of the brush also matter greatly.

OMYSBA2014 Daytime smokey eye look tutorial

First, I applied a sheer wash of the top left bronze shade all over my lid using a fluffy brush like the Hakuhodo J5523 [1].  This is a great brush for laying down color as it is not a very dense brush, so you can better control the amount of pigment picked up, and it also allows you to blend out the color quickly.  Next, I lightly tapped a loosely packed pointed crease brush like the Wayne Goss 05 on the middle dark brown shade and applied it to the outer corner of my eye in a V-shape [2].  Depending on the situation, I may pick up a denser fat pencil brush like the Hakuhodo G5528 to blend things out and lighten if needed (think of it like a magic eraser of sorts!).  To blend out the 2 shades of brown and to bring some dimension to the eye, I used a dense, flat brush like Hakuhodo J004G and patted some of the top right shimmery gold onto the middle of the lid [3].  By this point, the lid has a nice wash of color with a smoked out tail and lots of dimension without going too dark.

To make the whole look pop, I tightline the top using Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner, and used a black pencil on my lower waterline.  Then I blended out the lower lash line with the bottom right deep blue using a flat square-topped brush like the Hakuhodo B005 [4].  You could also use a tiny pencil brush if you prefer.  And finally, because this is a day look, I added a dash of the top right gold to the inner corner to brighten up the eyes [5].

OMYSBA2014 daytime smokey eye look

My Favorite Secret Weapon: Heated Eyelash Curler

A common problem that plagues many Asians (especially me) is our short, stiff lashes.  Even with the best lengthening and lifting mascaras, my lashes will only point out stick straight, and crimping with a lash curler does nothing for me.  I’m often envious of girls with sky-high lifted lashes, and I have witnessed how much more awake eyes look when lashes are nicely lifted.  And ever since I got hold of the Panasonic Heated Eyelash Curler EH-SE60-VP, my makeup routine has been transformed!

Panasonic Heated Eyelash Curler

This is a simple to use, sleek (and PINK!) tool that fits nicely in my hands and makeup pouch.  It powers up at the touch of a simple (diamante!) switch, and heats up quickly.  Prior to this, I had been using a cheap heated eyelash curler that I picked up from Sasa, and in comparison, the Panasonic heats up much faster, more evenly, and was hotter (though never hot enough that I’d worry about burning my lashes or melting my lenses!).

OMYSBA2014 Panasonic eyelash curler demonstration

Using it is really idiot-proof – simply hold the curler to the base of the lashes for a few seconds and then hold the diamante button down on 1 side to rotate the curler.  This instantly makes my lashes CURL from roots to tips (as opposed to just stick up skywards)…  I liked that the tip of the curler is removeable so I can wash it to remove build-up of mascara.  There’s even a tiny little brush that came bundled with the curler to keep the tiniest groove and cranny clean.

OMYSBA2014 Effects of Panasonic Eyelash curler

Voila!  I love pairing this with the Guerlain Cil’s d’Enfer Waterproof Mascara, which has some elastic polymer to help hold a curl.  The best part is the heat from the curler has the ability to de-clump the lashes and it seems to pull my lashes longer too.

OMYSBA2014 daytime smokey eye LOTD

And there you have it, my little bag of beauty tools and tricks to achieve that bright-eyed look!  I hope it has been an interesting behind-the-scenes look.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go relax beside my little Panasonic facial steamer.  xoxo