The Good Girl’s Guide to Makeup.

Those who know me have probably witnessed just how much makeup I can cram into a tiny makeup bag. No joke, I once managed to fit in 8 lip products, 2 concealers, 1 eyebrow product, 1 eyeliner, 1blush, 1 mascara,1 powder foundation compact, 1 eyelash curler and 1 brush in a 6×3 inch makeup bag. That’s a whopping 17 items in one small makeup bag. (Weirdly, I actually consider it an achievement. Like, Tetris Makeup Kit Edition or something) My friends have joked that half of my bag’s weight was probably my makeup bag. Sadly, since my wallet almost (more like, ALWAYS) never has a giant wad of cash in it, it really is my makeup bag that weighs it down. Now, you ask, “who the hell needs that much stuff in their makeup bag?”. And the answer is really, well, NO ONE.

If you are like me, someone who has a tendency to pack 3 lipsticks shades in case of a spontaneous night out (because really, my lips gotta reflect my mood), then this blog post is probably not for you. I write “The Good Girl’s Guide” because these items are my Bear Grylls- Stranded on an Island-but you still want to give-Island Glam-Emergency Makeup Kit-Must Haves. Basically, the items a girl very good at controlling her makeup splurges (obviously, not me), would have in her makeup kit.

Let’s begin, shall we? Grab your chips and dips, kids, coz this is gonna be a looong post!

  1. CONCEALER

If you are one of those girls who got #Blessed in life’s genetic lottery and have flawless skin (Aiah, if you’re reading this, I’m talking to you, biatch!!), then A.) I hate you already. (Kidding!!) B.) Start taking good care of it RIGHT NOW. And C.) You may or may not choose to skip this item. But many a times have I been saved by this magical makeup item, and #NoRegrets to carrying this around my bag all day every damn day. Whether it be those pesky dark undereyes or the occasional Monster Monthly Period Pimple, concealer will solve all those woes. Since, let’s be real, a bottle of your favorite foundation isn’t exactly the most practical thing to carry around in you makeup bag, a tiny pot or tube of concealer and your ring finger will be your best tool to flawlessness. Granted, none of us will achieve Kardashian perfection with concealer alone (or,ever, really), but spot concealing where needed is a game changer. In the immortal words of Disney’s Elsa, “CONCEAL, DON’T FEEL!”

Writer Recommends: Find a concealer that’s great for both undereye concealing and for blemishes. (Yes, different formulas work for different problems) My personal favorites include the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, RCMA foundation (which is a foundation but works brilliantly as a concealer), MAC Studio Fix Concealer (can double as a cream foundation) and the MAC Select Cover Up. Set the undereyes immediately with a little powder after application to prevent creasing.

  1. FACE POWDER

Never underestimate the power of a good powder. A light layer of powder was the Valencia filter of the pre-Instagram game. It will set, blot and refresh your makeup life. Must. Have. Nuf. Said. I, personally, am a fan of powder foundation rather than pressed powder, because I need the extra coverage (Thank you, acne, for the lasting memories, you da bomb) and even a makeup artist/ makeup junkie like me can’t be bothered with concealer or foundation all the time. A good buff of powder all over, and we goood.

Writer Recommends: Ride or Die powders include MAC Studio Fix Powder, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish powders (although you need a brush with this as it doesn’t come with a puff or a mirror) and the NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation.

  1. EYEBROW PENCIL

Your (eye)brows are the windows to your soul. Remember the days when the perfect brow was a thin, almost nonexistent line above your eyes? Well, the brow game has gotten strong the past couple of years. I used to be that girl who couldn’t leave the house without her eyeliner on. Now, I’m the girl who can’t leave the house with her eyebrows on. I can not stress how much a nicely groomed pair of eyebrows will change your life. Have them professionally done, then maintain them on your own to save bucks on the brow maintenance. Tweezers are cheap, you have no excuse. If you have had the misfortune of being the victim of #BrowMassacre, fear not, all is not lost. I have personally experienced that nightly dabs of Castor oil or Argan oil, will help coax your brows back to their bushy glory. I’ve also found that brow products that are a bit on the harder side work best. Why? Unless you have a really light hand, working with a softer brow pencil makes it easier to make mistakes. Ever had that moment in life when you inadvertently made your eyebrows look like 2 hairy buses crawling towards each other in an inevitable car crash? I have, and its not a good look. They also seem to last longer. Lastly, SPOOLEY, SPOOLEY, SPOOLEY!!! Brush out the brows! Brushing them out creates a softer, more natural look.

Writer Recommends: I keep coming back to the Shu Uemura Hard 9 eyebrow pencil. (TIP: try to have it shaped into a NAGINATA, they do it for free in Shu Uemura counters) At my most high maintenance point, I once had 2 shades of this in my makeup kit. It’s the type of pencil that you can squiggle on your brows in the car, at night, with the lights off, and still come up with a relatively soft brow. It’s pigments stick only to the brow hair, and not on the skin, making it one of the most idiot proof brow pencils I’ve ever encountered. The NYX Microbrow retractable pencil is also a favorite (plus it comes with a spooley, so much YAY!), I can’t say for sure if it’s a dupe for the famous Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, as I’m too cheap to shell out for the Anastasia one. The Face Shop Lovely ME:EX Design My Eyebrow has also found its way into my makeup kit (also comes with a spooley). The slanted edge makes drawing your arch so much easier.

4.    MASCARA

Whether it be a clear one or your blackest black, mascara is a must have. You can use your clear mascara to brush up those brow hairs for a bushier look, or to set freshly curled lashes. Nothing beats curled lashes and a good mascara in making you look like you had that “oh yeah, I so got my 8 hours of sleep taaaadaaay!”. Pair it with a great lash curler (the Shu Uemura one is my all time love) and you’re golden.

Writer Recommends: Seriously, almost all mascaras from both Covergirl and Maybelline are top products. I prefer a waterproof one because I feel that it holds a curl better. If you are the type to splurge on mascara, I was gifted the Givenchy one with the ball wand years ago and I remember it being amaaaaazing (will probably never purchase one myself but it still haunts my dreams). The Benefit They’re Real mascara is also a winner! Don’t forget to put mascara on the lower lashes.

5.    EYELINER

Eyeliner is one of my all time favorite makeup of all time. Hands down. I am a firm believer that everyone looks better with eyeliner on. Most girls I’ve met have an irrational fear of eyeliner. Fear not, ladies, its makeup! It washes off! Experiment which liner shape works best for you. Thick, thin, wing, straight. You ken do eeeet! My best tip would be to lean your elbow on a flat and steady surface, GENTLY stretch your eyelid, and let the pencil glide SIDEWAYS on you skin. If you are using a brush tipped liner, lay the brush flat, almost like you’re stamping on lines on your lid. Girls, LINER IS YOUR FRIEND. Think not what you can do for your eyeliner, but what your eyeliner can do for you. If you are one of those girls that has mastered the wing, I congratulate thee!

Writer Recommends: The Essence black retractable eyeliner has beaten all the soft black pencils I have in my collection. Yes, a drugstore brand has overtaken my higher end ones. Its soft, but when it sets, IT SETS. It’s as black as my evil soul (hahaha) and it’s so cheaaap (which, incidentally, is also a word that has been used been to describe SOME aspects of my spending skills. Well, obviously not when it comes to makeup hahaha). For liquid liner, the NYC Liquid liner is my fave, although the brush tip requires some getting used to. Unfortunately, its not readily available in my country, but if you’re in the US or any country for that matter that sells this, GET IT. For liner pens, I love you, K-Palette Waterproof. I love you. As for nude liner? Don’t get me started, that deserves its own blog post coz I love it so much.

6.    BRONZER

Like most Asian countries, we here in the Philippines idealize pale skin. Tan isn’t really tantalizing unless its summertime and people show off their tan lines as being the social equivalent of “I actually saved up enough money this year to travel to Boracay/Palawan and party! Yeaah, highrollaaaaz!” P.S. if you don’t know where Boracay or Palawan is, RESEARCH, YOU NEED TO GO ATLEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE. I’ve only recently started to appreciate the value a good bronzer. You can use it to contour (if its more of a neutral/golden toned bronzer) or dab on your lids for subtle definition in the eyes. Everyone deserves chiseled cheeks.

Writer Recommends: Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer is popular for a reason. I legit sing Boyzone’s Love Me for a Reason to it. Works great as a transition shade in the crease too! The brush that comes with it is, in my opinion, the NARS Ita brush’s younger, stubbier, scratchier sister, but is still a great brush nonetheless.

7.    BLUSH

This item is your one-stop shop to looking like you live a healthy, active lifestyle, when in fact you spend your days on Facebook, Instagram or whatever social media drug of choice you have. Ever read a romance novel where the heroine sees her one true love and has “blood rushing to her face, coloring her peaches and cream complexion” (or something to that effect)? Well, good news, you don’t need a man to give you that rosy glow! Makeup does it way better, anyway.

Writer Recommends: The Balm Hot Mama blush was my answered prayer when I checked out NARS Orgasm blush and found that it was too chunky and glittery for my taste. It’s cheaper (so muuuch yay), and less glittery (yay again) but still has that universal peachy pink tone that works on all skin tones. TIP: the subtle shimmer saves you from buying a separate highlighter. Aaaaand it works as a beautiful eyeshadow (then add some bronzer in the crease). TRUST ME, IT’S SO YUMMM. For a matte blush, I’ve found that MAC Melba blush has yet to look unflattering on anyone.

8.    LIPSTICK

Back in the day, there was a sitcom called Lipstick Jungle. That may very well be the most accurate description ever as there are probably as many formulas and colors of lipsticks as there are species of flora and fauna. Being the Makeup Girl Scout that I am, I have always believed that its best to be prepared and always keep one or two (or 8, for that matter) shades of lipstick in your purse. One for day wear, and another to amp up your look later on. I won’t even dare to suggest colors because YOU DO YOU, GIRL. If black lipstick makes you feel like Pia Wurtzbach circa Ms. Universe 2015 runway, then GOOOO.

Writer Recommends: Ofra Liquid Lipsticks are my jam. MAC lipsticks are worthy of their universal holy grail status (although some matte formulas are mehh). Wet n Wild matte lipsticks have won my heart since first swatch. The NARS Audacious lipsticks have one of the best formulas for me, hands down. If you’ve been my friend for any reasonable length of time, then you probably know I always (for the past decade or so) keep a tube of Nivea Strawberry or Cherry lipbalm in my bag or pocket. It’s my version of a security beauty blanket.

Wooooooooow. There you have it, folks. The Good Girl’s Guide to Makeup! If you’ve reached this far down my blog, CONGRATULAMALATIONS on your perseverance and patience!  I hope you got some good stuff out of this post. These items have been the answers to makeup questions I’ve been asked for years. They. Are. The. Bomb. Try them out 🙂  How about you, what’s in your makeup bag? 🙂

Love, Skin and other Drugs.

Skin. Science tells us that the skin is the body’s biggest organ. Puberty, on the other hand, tells us that skin may or may not be your worst enemy in your teens.

I had acne. It almost makes me feel scared to write down HAD, for fear that the Acne Gods might hear and make a cameo again on my face.

My acne story, I guess, is pretty standard. When I was in Highschool, my skin was pretty solid. I got the occasional blemish that appeared when you least hoped it would. You know, the pimple that appears a couple of days before your interaction with the neighboring all boys school (yes, I went to a Catholic all girls school complete with the uniform and mary janes), the zit that you desperately try to medicate the week before prom, that whitehead/blackhead you shouldn’t have popped but couldn’t resist that took its revenge and grew to monstrous proportions before your first date. We’ve all been there. We’ve survived. College was a lot more challenging. I don’t know if it was my first break up or the copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes I took in to soothe said break up that made my skin go haywire. It took numerous visits to my dermatologist, ticking laser sessions on my face and the ever depressing amount of medication I had to put on my face to calm my skin back down, but by the end of college, I had emerged victorious and quite literally scar free.

Law school, on the other hand, was my least skintastic moment. It seemed to grow worse every year that passed, like it was following my law school career. Like, oh you finished freshman year? Here’s one pimple. Oh, third year? Here’s a gabillion zits to celebrate your passing of your Succession and Wills class! With my constant stressing over exams and recitations and cases, I felt that one of the only few things I could control was my makeup. I would pile on cream foundation to cover up my bumps, which, let’s be real, probably wasn’t the smartest of choices. I spent a good portion of my allowance those years on facials and acne treatments, hoping to finally prick out all the nasties from my face. Did. Not. Help.

Fast forward to a law degree, 3 failed bar exams, a year of floating around not knowing what to do then deciding to finally pursue Makeup school, my skin is at the point that I feel that I don’t need to wear much makeup anymore. Granted, I will probably never break away from makeup and go all naked skinned glory (I am a makeup artist, after all) but I can finally practice a 5 minute minimal makeup routine, without wanting to throw my arms up in frustration. I still have my battle scars, parts of my skin which haven’t fully recovered from all the stupid things I’ve done and put on my face. But hey, we live and we learn, right? Over all, I am pretty happy with my skin right now. Hopefully, I don’t jinx it by writing this post. Haha.

How about you? What’s your skin story? 🙂

Faking the Freckle.

Gone are the days when the idea of a perfectly made up face meant a flawless and spotless canvass. Beauty today means a rawer, more earthy quality to the face. Imperfect, often times, even messy and deconstructed.

Now, imperfect makeup is by no means easy. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s actually harder than your normal beauty makeup.Take this look, for example.

I have always, always been fascinated by freckles. My Pinterest pins include numerous pictures of these gorgeous women with beautiful freckles strewn across their faces. I wanted to be them. If you’re like me, and you live in a country where it’s almost always sunny, even in the Ber months, you’re probably thinking “girl, just go out and sun thyself!” BOOM. Fast forward a few years and you’ve got yourself some frecks. Well, I’ve also got a sister who’s a doctor and I’ve heard the words “SKIN CANCER” enough times to make me shell out the cash for my daily dose of SPF 50. We just can’t get em’ all, can we?

After years and years of lusting over freckles, but being too chicken to go out and permanently sun-damage some real freckles on my face, I finally faked the freckle. Now, Youtube tells you that “oh, it’s easy! Just dot some brown liner on your nose and cheeks, and you’re good to go!”. Weeeeellllll, let’s just say that didn’t quite work out that way for me. I spent a whopping hour dotting and blotting, trying to make my beloved freckles look as naturally mine as physically possible. Who knew that mapping out brown spots all over your face would make me so obsessive? Haha. They had to look brown but not too brown. Light, but not too light. Round, but not so round. Until finally, I put down my brush and declared myself thoroughly freckled.

It took roughly a hour, 4 shades of foundation, one shade of lipstick, multiple dabs of powder, but no regrets! I loved how it turned out. How about you, out there? Would you ever fake the freckle? Let me know 🙂

 

img_9199