May 24th, 2015
I must be the last person living under a rock who until recently had never tried nor owned a Clarisonic. Whilst I prefer physical exfoliation over chemical (as my skin tends to react quite violently to harsh chemicals), I’ve always believed that once or twice weekly scrubs were more than enough. The truth is, even though good scrubs can help greatly in getting rid of dead skin cells and trapped dirt, the micro-beads present in physical scrubs can indeed cause damage to the skin if taken too over-zealously. On the other hand, pollutants trapped in the skin may cause premature aging, and should ideally be removed on a daily basis. Hence, a good cleansing device, like the Clarisonic, which are designed with our safety in mind, can help our skin look even better and delay aging. And now, Clarisonic has introduced its first ever skincare – the Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution – to complement its handheld device for even more beautiful skin!
April 30th, 2015
I realize it has been an unusually content-heavy week here, and things are going to get even more intense today. It’s going to be a wonderful long Labor Day weekend, so I thought I’d leave you with some good reading materials just in case 😉 Since I have introduced so many makeup items thus far, it should be a nice change of pace to look at some makeup brushes today. And here’s a fair warning: these are no ordinary brushes, there is no going back after you’ve had a chance to play with these Surratt Artistique Brushes!
March 16th, 2015
It has been such an incredibly long time since I last wrote about brushes, that I find myself almost at a loss as to where to begin. But that in no way mean that I have not been exploring or acquiring more fluffies… quite the opposite in fact. Good makeup brushes elevate the entire makeup experience to a whole different dimension, and can become quite addictive. However, good brushes also come at a price, so I was ecstatic when I discovered these CDJapan brushes.
July 31st, 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
First, I applied a sheer wash of the top left bronze shade all over my lid using a fluffy brush like the Hakuhodo J5523 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 .
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!
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!).
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.
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.
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
July 27th, 2014
Ever since I got some personal coaching in hair styling at the recent OMY.Sg x Panasonic SBA Finalists Beauty Workshop (read here), I have been working on my technique, and am thrilled to be able to bring you a personalized tutorial today! This is a flirty look that you can wear out on a nice date, some place romantic where you can look into each other’s eyes all night long!
Having spent years perfecting my makeup skills, I am convinced that the right makeup can transform a person. And yet, with this look, it is obvious to me that properly styled hair elevates an entire look to an even more polished level. So, let’s get right on with it, and fix up the hair!
As my hair is medium-lengthed at the moment, I look best with these loose waves, curling in gently at the ends. But to achieve that, I have to start curling about mid-way up, around my ears, so that the curl will hold and my hair wouldn’t fall too flat after I comb it out at the end.
Before doing any heat styling, I usually apply some serum to protect my hair. Kerastase Nectar Theremique is something I always keep in my stash as it prevents heat damage, and actually gets activated when heated, to release nourishments to treat the hair.
My weapon of choice is the Panasonic Nanocare EH-HS95-K. I have used a number of straighteners over the years, from cheap drugstore ones to those designed for salons, and found this to be one of the best. It feels nicely balanced even in my small hands, and the finish is sleek but with enough tactile feel to maintain a good grip. More importantly, it is well insulated around the heated plates so there is no danger of burning your fingers; and the parts are all tightly fitted so no hair gets “caught” in unexpected grooves and breaks. Of course, it is ideal for hair curling because the edges are rounded, it heats up quickly to as high as 200 oC (although 170 oC is sufficient for me), and remains evenly heated throughout. Panasonic also claims that its Nanoe technology is be able to reduce moisture loss by as much 14%, thereby preventing further damage to my precious tresses!
To start, I pin up sections of my hair with some giant hair clips, and work from the innermost layers to the top . And then taking about 1 inch wide sections of hair, clip it mid-way up firmly between the heated plates of the straightener , and slowly rotate the straightener inwards . Keep on turning, making sure to keep the hair firmly in place, until you get to the ends . If you find some odd bits of hair sticking out and unable to coil anymore, you may want to loosen the straightener a little and slide it down so that the ends get coiled in. Hold for a few seconds, then gently loosen the hold, and slide the straightener out.
It is actually fairly easy, the trick is holding the straightener firmly so the hair doesn’t just come tumbling out as you’re trying to coil it up. For me, I find it best to hold onto the opening of the straightener with my other hand while I turn. Also, it is easier to work in smaller sections at a time.
Once it is all done, comb through with fingers to loosen the curls, apply some serum for shine, and set with a good spritz of hair spray. Because I like wearing my hair on one side, I lifted the hair from behind my right ear, and pinned it under for this side-swept style. This is an optical trick for those of us with asymmetrical faces, slimming down a side of the face that may be slightly chubbier by hiding it behind some hair, and exposing the other side with more sculpted features!
Of course, no look is complete with makeup! And to keep with the sweet girlie image, I have decided to dress up the eyes in pretty yet sexy colors! I am currently obsessed with the new Chanel Les 4 Ombres (review and swatches of all the palettes here), so I’ve selected Tisse Cambon for the pink-purple hues!
The makeup items I used:
And here is a detailed look at how I used Chanel Les 4 Ombres Tisse Cambon:
For the eyes, I first applied the bottom left medium pink shade all over the lid . Next, I deepened the outer third of the lid with the bottom right dark eggplant shade . Then, I added a dab of the top left shimmery mauve in the middle of the lid to create some dimension , and dusted some of the top right pale pink over the crease to blend out any harsh lines and under the brow bone to highlight. To finish, I lined the upper lash line with black liquid liner, winging out slightly. And lined the lower lash line with black gel pencil, following over with some of the dark eggplant shadow to blend out. And 2 coats of mascara on lashes.
Remember the art of getting dressed includes some personalized fragrance too, so give yourself a good spritz of your favorite scent (mine’s Diptyque Do Son EDP for the moment layered with Jo Malone Silk Blossom!) and you’re all set for the night of your life! Remember, all these preparations are for 1 single purpose… for you to have FUN! So be confidant, and go knock his socks off! Come back and tell me all about it later! xoxo
July 20th, 2014
I am still reeling from the honor of making it into the top 10 finalists for this year’s Singapore Blog Awards… I have only been blogging for 1.5 years, and am pretty much learning as I go. Writing this blog has taught me more about makeup and skincare than I had ever known, and just as I was getting comfortable, I was nudged into a completely new area of beauty – hair styling!
Thinking back, I remember my college roommates rolling their hair up in strips of cloth at night and waking up to gorgeous beachy waves the next day. I found out that girls in the US learn at a very young age to style their own hair, and it is common practice to head out for a movie and dinner date in jeans and nicely coiffed hair dos. In contrast, I grew up with a very casual attitude towards my own head of hair, relying instead on damaging chemical processes like rebonding or perm, resulting in the same boring look every single day. So as you can imagine, I am hopelessly clumsy and lackadaisical when it comes to hair styling. Therefore, it was a real eye-opener for me when I attended a recent Panasonic hair styling workshop organized for the Singapore Blog Awards 2014 finalists!
Taught by professional stylist and hair extraordinaire Lim Hongling, we all got to roll up our sleeves and do some hands-on practice with products provided by Panasonic! We started with the basics, and I am proud to report that with a lifetime’s experience under our belts, my friends and I did fairly well blow drying our own hair!!
Next, Hongling demonstrated a simple hair straightening technique using the Panasonic Nanocare Hair Straightener. I was quite impressed to find this straightener was well designed with seamless rounded edges that allowed my hair to flow smoothly without breakage. Also it heated up quickly and it went up to as high as 200oC to enable quick and easy styling.
Things got a little more tricky when we progressed to actually curling our hair using a straightener! I know it sounds counter-intuitive, and my initial reaction was “huh?!”… but it is actually far easier to curl with a good pair of straightener than a curling thong (as my once-burnt fingers would attest to). The concept looked simple enough – grab a little bit of hair between the plates, turn the straightener inwards and keep turning until all the hair has been coiled up, and then very slowly loosen the grip and gently remove the straightener.
I must say though, this takes a bit of practice. I found it easiest to hold onto the straightener with both hands to keep the hair within it firmly in place. To do that, you *ahem me* must overcome the fear of potentially burning your fingers, but with Panasonic Nanocare Straightener this is not likely as the plates are well covered!
I couldn’t quite figure it out initially, and Hongling came to my rescue! See how beautiful the resultant curl is using the straightener? Simply repeat the process for the entire head for some seriously sexy waves! I think this could be good for both a day at the office, followed by some after work drinks and who knows what may follow? *wink*
To amp things up a little, and to bring out the sweet demure princess for more special occasions… a romantic dinner date perhaps? … Hongling suggested a sideswept hairstyle. Show a little of that alluring neck on one side… hide coyly behind a little hair on the other… you get the idea. This is easily achieved by simply taking a bit of hair from one side, braiding it, and then pulling the braid to the other side and pinning it up.
To polish up the look, Hongling suggested curling the fringe slightly outwards… and here is the finished work!
Finally, working off the curled hair, Hongling demonstrated how to twist and pin up sections of the hair for a glamorous updo. To be honest, most of that just went past me in a blur… and I’m not altogether sure how I could possibly grope around the back of my head to pin up a dream ‘do… but it never hurts to experiment!
Keeping things a little tousled for the additional oomph, Hongling intentionally left things a little bit messy and used lots of hair spray every step of the way instead of pinning every strand to death.
I’m really impressed with the way Hongling managed to pin everything up firmly yet with a sense of ease about it, and yet not a single pin is visible!
Here are all the 10 finalists together with our wonderfully loving friends who were there as our muses and helpers throughout the workshop!
The workshop was a real experience for me… the right hair do really does complete a look. Watching hair tutorials on Youtube has nothing on a live interactive demonstration! I picked up some tips, and have prepared a total hair and makeup tutorial tailored for a sweet flirty date night out here! xoxo