The Makeup Box

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Posts tagged tips and tricks

[Requested] MAC Rose Gold pigment tutorial: Smoldering Russet Eye for Fall

This is a very warm eye look that works on pretty much everyone, but can bring out blue, grey and green eyes. If you don’t have blue/grey/green eyes, it’s still a beautiful look for light to dark skin tones. Don’t ever limit yourself too much based on these “color rules” because remember you are more than your eye color!

you can wear 2 ways depending on how dramatic it is and how much lid space you have.

  1. If you don’t have much lid space, you can go ahead and fade the dark brown all the way up to your brows.
  2. If you have a lot of lid space, going all the way up to the brows could look extremely dramatic, so if you want to control the drama, just blend up slightly past the hollow of your socket line.

Base - Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe 

Deep plum-brown shadow: Shu Uemura ME 761 (Alternative: MAC Satin Taupe is a cooler brown, and MAC Antiqued is a more dramatic wine-brown)

Coppery duochrome shadow: MAC Rose Gold pigment

Pale white-gold: (plenty of options!) Coastal Scents Elven Gold hot pot, MAC Vanilla pigment, Urban Decay Vanilla eyeshadow, Shu Uemura IR 811

Black liner: Essence I Heart Rock Gloss Eye Pencil (or any very soft pigmented black liner; Maybelline Master Drama and Lancome Le Stylo Pencil are very good and last better than the Essence one I used)

Black mascara - Clinique High Impact mascara in Black

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder & “Protect” Primer Review - plus Powder Foundation Application Demo

Laura Mercier has long been a brand known for great base products, from one of the first and best known lines of foundation primers in the world, to the best-selling Secret Camouflage, one of my favorite blemish concealers ever.

Their latest products are the “Protect” SPF30 Foundation Primer, and the Smooth Finish Powder Foundation. Below is a review, tips on different ways to apply your powder foundation, as well as a quick demo of my method of getting maximum coverage!

Foundation Primer - Protect

If you’re like me and hate having to wear a separate sun screen and foundation primer, this is a really great option with SPF30 and triple-plus PA production.

If you have oily to normal skin, layering too many products just makes your makeup wear off faster. Save yourself the trouble and just use a multi-tasking product.

This primer is non-oily and fast-absorbing so it works quite well on most skin types. I also took a picture using a camera flash and there was no flash-back or chalkiness. But it relies on chemical sun filters, so if you’re the super-sensitive type that can only use physical filters, you might want to take note.

Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

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Here’s a quick feature summary of Laura Mercier’s new compact foundation powder.

  • velvet finish
  • medium-high coverage
  • no sun-screen (zero flashback in flash photography; I checked!)

The great thing is the finish of this foundation powder is matte and velvety, but your skin will look luminous, not flat. It actually contains oil-based conditioners (shea butter and vitamin E) so it’s very good news for slightly dry or mature skins because it won’t emphasize lines as much as most other powder foundations. But here’s the catch; it’s not stellar at oil-control. If you have oily/combination skin, expect to see the shine breakthrough in about 1-2 hours. I’d say this would be better for normal or slightly-dry people who like a velvety finish.

If you love the finish but have oilier skin, prepare to blot every few hours.

Coverage: variable as with most powder foundations, depending how you apply it. (More on that below.)

Shade range: The shades come in yellow and pink based shades but I find even the “yellow-based” ones to be more neutral than yellow. If you use C and NC in MAC, make sure you try before buying because the range might be warmer (pinker) than you’re used to. Also remember there is minimal oxidation, but it will still darken slightly by the end of the day.

3 Alternate Ways to Apply your Two-Way Powder Foundation!

Aside from using it with a dry or damp sponge, you can get more precision and a more seamless “second-skin” finish using 3 different brushes. Just remember that this always goes ON TOP of liquid or cream concealer. Not under.

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  1. A regular big face brush: This is the way to get sheerer coverage. Just dust it on like a loose powder to set liquid foundation or concealer. To get a less powdery look, use a slightly smaller flatter brush like Sephora’s flat blush brush #42.
  2. Eye buffing brush: One of my favorite tricks. Dab the powder foundation on with an eye buffing brush to add precise coverage, set concealer and mask contours over raised spots.
  3. Flat foundation brush: Med-high coverage with a slightly less powdery look can be achieved by just pressing dry powder foundation on with the flat of a foundation brush. (Demo below.)

Dry foundation brush demo!

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Perfect time to do a demo since I’ve got an old spot to cover - yikes.

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Tip: Use a teeny, tiny eyeliner brush to apply concealer right on blemishes and avoid spreading it beyond the actual dark areas.

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Unlike a sponge or a fluffy brush, a flat foundation brush can gently deposit maximum coverage over foundation and concealer, without shifting or buffing off the coverage beneath. It also allows you to be more precise and to get into harder to reach corners.

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If you need any extra coverage, go back in with an eyeshadow buffing brush and gently stipple more powder foundation right over the dark spot.

Can’t hide my blemish 100%, but it covers more, faster!

Benefit Gimme Brow!

Brows are important. Besides adding to the expressiveness of your face, they can make you look instantly more polished and “done” even if you’re not wearing much makeup. (AND most people never notice that a fuller, natural-looking brow also helps you look more youthful.)

I have sparse brows, as you can see from the BEFORE image, and my brow routine usually consists of filling in my brow area with a taupe/grey pencil, and then tinting and setting the hairs with a pale-colored brow mascara to create the look of “lotsa hairs” while taking down the color a bit so they don’t look too drawn in.

At a dinner-event (foodporn shot above at Tiong Bahru Bakery if you’re interested!), Benefit introduced its new multi-tasking brow product “Gimme Brow”. Now this nifty, dinky little tube contains a water-resistant, long-wearing fiber-gel, which can be used like a brow pen AND a brow mascara. Perfect if you want to minimize clutter, or to do your brows on the go.

The 2 application steps are:

  • Use the tip like a regular brow pen/pencil and “fill in” your brow shape by coloring right on the skin. (My tip is to hit the sparsest spot first and spread outwards, so you get the most pigment where its needed.)
  • After you’ve  more or less got your shape filled in, re-dip your brush into the tube, then use it like a traditional brow mascara to beef up the lash hairs.

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Pros?

You can build and build this up until you’re satisfied, because the color is sheer and the water-resistant formula doesn’t clump or set stiff and hard.

The extra benefit is that the formula isn’t a super dark one so it’s easier to control the color build-up layer by layer and decide how much pigment you need without much risk of going overboard. (I filled in my brow, then applied 3 coats to the hairs, and happily, I didn’t turn into Bert from Sesame Street.)

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If you accidentally go outside of your brow area with the brush, you can just use a cotton bud to rub out the mistakes around the edges.

The Cons?

The tiny mascara brush isn’t the fastest for getting the job done so don’t expect the same speed as a felt-tip brow pen or pencil. if you have sparse brows like me, it DOES take a bit of time to layer and layer before you get a full look as well, so if you’re short on time, I’d still recommend filling it in with a pencil or powder like Brow Zing first, and THEN using Gimme Brow to just groom and add texture.

Gimme Brow is available in the US already, and in Singapore from October 2013, in 2 shades at SGD35:

  1. Light/Medium
  2. Medium/Deep (which I used above)

P.S. If all this is too much hassle, you can always stop by a Benefit Brow Bar to get your brows waxed, shaped, and done to perfection!

Brow wax - SGD22

Brow and Lip wax - SGD31

Lip wax - SGD16

Chin wax -  SGD17

Lip and Chin Wax - SGD25

Mad Sequined Duo-Tone Lips!

Completely not practical, likely to inspire outrage among anyone who prefers things to look normal, (and I actually don’t recommend this unless you’re a makeup artist), but what the heck right?

I don’t know why but I never thought to combine two things I love:

1. Glitter lips

Fun with Magenta Glitter  —  You probably know I have a problem resisting hot pinks and magentas. The funny thing is, I started out hating pink, and when I started wearing or buying pink, it was sort of a lark or a personal joke many years back.  Irony of ironies, huh?  ANYWAY - the next in my glitter series was a magenta glitter (Sagittarius) with a blue/green sheen, so I couldn’t resist packing that all over the mouth for a deep, but dramatically bright sparkle.      When it comes to glitter on the lips, this is where I feel you have the option of going for larger particle sizes which might not be as safe for the eye area. The bigger the particle size, the more dramatic from afar and in flash photography. The smaller the particles, the more you get a dramatic “wet" look that doesn’t kiss off. (Large particle sizes don’t tend to look that good close-up though, and they feel a lot rougher, so avoid these if you have sensitive lips.)  The base I used was a strong purple-toned mauve; MAC’s delicious Up The Amp lipstick. It’s a BEAUTIFUL color. Works on mostly fair-gold to dark skins. (This thing is hot-hot-hot on black women, I kid you not.) If you are extremely fair with flushed skin or have a lot of pink undertones, you might want to try Snob or Revlon’s Pink Pout instead as Up The Amp might look a little too dusky on you.  —    Step 1: MAC Up the Amp. On the lips. Period. Get a thick coat on because you want a good base to hold the glitter.  —    Step 2: Using a flat synthetic brush (ecotools has a great concealer brush that I always use for working with glitter because it’s big enough to cover more space, but not too big for some precision), pick up some glitter on just one side of the brush and gently coat the lip surface bit by bit.   You don’t want to pick up glitter on both sides of the brush simply because it will fall out all over your chin while you are using one side. (If that’s the look you’re going for, don’t let me stop you! ;P)  —    Step 3: When you are done covering the entire lip, you want to go around the edges of your mouth with a damp Q-tip to pick up any stray glitters. The outer corners of the lower lip are the usual problem spots where you’ve gone over with the brush, or some glitter has fallen loose and shifted.   The more precise your mouth, the more dramatic the look.  —  Note on eating and drinking with a glitter lip:   Glitter lips actually stay on pretty darned well. The coating of plastic or minerals actually hangs on to your lipstick and stops it from kissing off as much as usual. You should be safe if you are a little careful  when you drink (nobody I know munches their cups and glasses).  When it comes to food though, because it involves a lot more friction, you will have a tendency to smear glitter off the center of your lips.  If you’re going to a cocktail party where there’s just some bite-sized pieces of finger food that don’t require any tearing/chewing before you can get them into your mouth, you’ll be pretty safe. Not recommended if you’re eating burgers and pizza! A few flecks of glitter never killed anyone, but you don’t really want to ingest any of it if you can help it.

2. Ombre lips

Psychedelic Cyclamen Ombre Lips: Rimmel Color Show-off in 220 Shocking Pink and Lime Crime D’Lilac (plus tips)  —-  When you combine 2 shades that look really vibrant and saturated on camera, you get day-glo Cyclamen lips like the above.   Instead of going for a typical dark shade to contrast against the pale creamy lilac, I went for a strong red-fuchsia in a matte texture.  Tips for perfect ombre lips:  Pick opaque lip colors because anything slippery or sheer is not going to give you that saturated gradient effect  Apply one shade on each lip, leaving the inner rims bare first, then swop the lipsticks for each lip, and very lightly run the second shade along the inner bit of your lips before pressing with your fingers to blend the edges into the first shade better.  Press just the center of the lips together to even out the “mixed" shade, and smooth in with your finger again if the color gets uneven.  If the outer rims of your lips are no longer as vibrant looking due to all the blending and pressing, touch up just the top and bottoms of lips lightly to replace the color.  Looks good with:  Dramatic black winged liner. It actually looks very “cyber-geisha" in real life.  (This is fun and dramatic, but not exactly something you should wear to your next meal. It will take you too much time to touch up.)

And I wanted to amp up the bling so I used multi-glitters with a mixture of fine and large flecks, for that extra sequin-like effect.

1. Decide on the glitters you want first. Be sure to use acid-free non-bleeding glitters! I went for a pale mauve-pink and a deep magenta.

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2. Find 2 lipsticks with tones that are very similar to the glitters. I used Revlon Pink Pout and Fuchsia lipsticks.

3. Next, just use a concealer brush to gently press glitter onto each lip.

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4. Clean up the edges of the lip with a damp Q-tip (cotton bud) to remove any stray flecks of glitter. The trick is to make sure NOTHING sticks outside of the lip line.

P.S. This is one of those things that actually looks pretty darned cool from a distance and under the lights so don’t knock it if you need to be on stage!

Oceanus: Silky Green-Blue Winged Eye Tutorial

I was looking through my makeup stash and realized I’d been neglecting my I Nuovi eyeshadows for a long time. This Singaporean professional brand was developed by a makeup artist and has been a favorite of mine since before college (I used their glassy lipgloss before I even tried MAC’s clear lipglass) so it’s been about 14 years now.

I was in the mood for something cool and aquatic, so I grabbed 3 shades. All these can easily be substituted with shadows from NYX, MAC, or your jumbo 88/120 palettes.

  • A soft seafoam green (think NYX Seafoam Green)
  • A deep rich blue (think MAC Freshwater)
  • A dark charcoal shot through with green sparks (you can go with a straight matte black because the green flecks won’t really be visible in this look)

I also wanted to play with some new Diamond Lashes I got from the “Japanese cosmetics” section of the drugstore. I’m not entirely certain where you can get these in other countries, but I included the close-ups so you can look for similarly-shaped alternatives. They’re spiky and separated, but have a dense custer at the outer corners.

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Tip: Keep your eyes closed and buff your brush a little at the lash line. This transfers a bit of the shadow neatly onto the lower lash line!

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Tip: I simply used the same shadow brush and flipped it over to use the clean side for the deep blue. The zigzag rubbing is a quick and easy way to pack color onto your lid without making too much of a mess.

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Tip: Use a pointy brush or something firm to apply the defining color to the outer corners. I’d always advise going from outside in, so the color is intense on the outside, then fades as you go inwards.

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Product: VDL Ready Steady felt tip liquid liner. Use any black liquid liner or gel liner you want as long as you can control it to get a thin line!

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Tip: With these types of lashes where there is an interesting accent on the outer corners, I actually trim the inside corners rather than the outer corners, if they are too large for my eye.

DUPE THESE LASHES!

To mimic this lash design, you just need to cut a small chunk from a pair of fuller lashes and then stick it on top of a pair of spikey, sparse ones with lash glue. Just check the lengths of both pairs of lashes before cutting, to make sure they more or less fit each other.

Easy-peasy!

"Hello Kitty Pink" (Metal Decals: What they are, and tips for using them in your nail art!)

Metal decals are a pretty cool way to accessorize and customize your nails because they share the intricate designs of nail stickers but are WAY more bling and cool to look at, besides being relatively simple to work with.

They are made of a very soft, thin metal, can be used on acrylic nails or natural nails, and are usually pretty small in size (below 5mm or 2/8”). At this point, I’ve never seen colors other than silver and gold.

Purchasing:

They’re very affordable (120 pieces in a mixed set usually cost no more than about US$2.50 - 2.99) and come in tons of different shapes.

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  • If you’re just trying them out and don’t NEED to get the hello kitty inspired ones I used, I’d recommend skipping the shipping cost and buying a mixed pack from bornprettystore or lightinthebox.
  • If you can’t IMAGINE not using hello kitty metal decals and don’t mind paying shipping, then I’d point you to reputable sellers on good ol’ ebay who ship internationally.

How To Use:

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Read More

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