Monday, March 15, 2021

My Latest Obsession: Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors

A different method of painting...

I'm no artist, but the one thing my dad taught me at the age of 2... before piano, and before reading and writing... was drawing. And he was quite an avid painter in his younger years so I grew up with an obsessive love for art and aesthetics in general.

So I've been spending more time painting on paper than on my face recently. And one of my favorite things to do is swatching paints, sheering them, and blending them. Watching the colors swirl and dance and bleed across the paper, learning to let go, not overblend, and allow the pigments show their own character is so therapeutic. Not unlike makeup.

Anyway my latest babies are 2 Japanese Kuretaki Gansai Tambi palettes, one the basic range in 36 shades (about S$48 on Lazada, which is close to $10 cheaper than at Art Friend locally), and a special non-standard edition of 12 colors ($24 from Art Friend) which I picked up in-store because I noticed none of the shades were an overlap with the main sets. These seem to be very "Spring-like" colors but I can't find any English label with a name I can discern.


A quick Google will return tons of information and videos showing how Gansai Tambi colors differ from standard western watercolors, and how best to use them. They have a more vivid tone in many cases, and higher opacity, but they aren't matte like Gouache. 

My favorite thing besides the vibrancy and high contrast (you can get the colors very intense very easily, and you need the tiniest amount if you want a light wash of color), is the shade range. They have all the interesting in-between greens and reds and blues that you'd usually need to blend several colors to get in standard paint sets. Ivy green, an incredible malachite aqua, prussian blue, bean red, etc. 

It's just EASIER for beginners to find distinctive tones for nature-painting and fantasy art, without fussing with a ton of blending. 

Have you played with any of these and which are your favorite palettes or colors?

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Laneige Neo Cushions: Glow + Matte 8Hr Try-On and Review! (23N)

So much hype around these irresistibly-gorgeous new Airpod-like LANEIGE Neo Cushion foundations (designed by famed ex-Samsung creative director Yeongkyu Yoo) - but do they live up to it?

I'm - spoiler - happy to report that I do like both the Neo Cushion Glow and Neo Cushion Matte (S$62 for a case and 2 refills), and find them to be a significant upgrade from the original BB Cushion Whitening and BB Cushion Pore Control cushions.

Neo Cushion Glow for Dull/Dehydrated Skins (Neo Pink case) 
Neo Cushion Glow is a medium-coverage, niacinamide-containing hydrating cushion with a soft glow created by special light-reflective micropigments (not grease), SPF50+ PA+++. The formula is meant to resist oxidation, and I got feedback from a couple of viewers who said they had to buy theirs one shade deeper in the new formula because of this.
I did not find this to be great for touch-ups or layering if you've already powdered to set, as the moisture in the formula has a tendency to make the powdered layers cake up and lift off the skin, thereby removing some coverage even as you try to touch up. 
Otherwise, this lasted surprisingly well and looks fresh and beautiful on normal/dry combi skin, even in humid Singapore, wearing a mask out in the afternoon.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Maybelline Super Stay "Rogue Reds" Matte Ink Edition: Brick Mask-Proof Lipstick Swatches

Very quick post just to share swatches of the Maybelline Rogue Reds color expansion for their Super Stay Matte Ink line, in case any of you were looking for color-comparisons now that there are no swatch testers in store.

Brick is not only perfect for Fall 2020, but great year-round as well. The combination of reds and browns makes it more forgiving than bright red, and not as dull as brown. But this collection isn't just red-brown. There are some interesting burnt peach, burnt orange and sun-dried tomato tones as well, like 300, 285 and 315.

315 Extraordinary, the soft tomato red, is a particular fave of mine as it looks a little (a lot) like Armani's very pricey Lip Maestro in 405.

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink 315 an Armani Maestro 405 dupe? Not 100% but very close!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Meet Audioblocks - the worst license-free music site for content creators

To any budding content creators looking to find a subscription for license-free music to use in your projects, AVOID Audioblocks.

Speaking as someone who used an Audioblocks subscription for a couple of years, first for license-free images on Storyblocks, and then later for sound effects, and eventually music that I intended to use for my videos when I started creating content on Youtube.

First off, the subscription is pretty misleading. You get "access" to a large library of music files but you're not actually cleared to use the files without paying for a separate "indemnity license" which I only learnt about almost a year after I started Youtube. Very sneaky. I was getting non-stop copyright claim after copyright claim, and demonetization notices, months after I put videos up.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What's In My Bag! Plus a quick overview of two long-time staple bags...

A bit of a non-beauty side note... I do love me some designer bags, but I'm not the type to keep buying and collecting year after year. It's been five years since my last purchase, and I tend to research and think about each bag for months before taking the plunge. That's because I expect them to last me for decades without going out of style.

So I tend not to go for flashy fancy trend designs that go out of fashion quickly. And I kinda steer away from bags that are too common in my circles. (Cue visuals of the Chanel Boy Bag which was on every other influencer's arm the past few years.) I will opt for interesting colors but mainly in classic shapes, like the Saint Laurent Y Cabas in a luxurious pale beige, and a Balenciaga A4 Papier medium tote because I love the biker grunge elements, but find the City bag waaaaay too common.

Friday, July 24, 2020

HERA Eye Shadow Duo AD

In response to the recent market trend of moving away from clunky wasteful palettes, HERA has launched their new Eye Shadow Duo AD line (S$48 in 12 variations). The nifty little double-shade compacts come with coordinated colors and one larger pan, a smart move since most people tend to apply more of the base color and run out of it faster. The formula has also been updated to be creamier and less powdery, to reduce fall-out.

Bronze and burnt eyeshadow tones are big for F/W 2020 so one of the duos I have here is a Satin duo in shade 05. This is a rich flattering color that's easy for most skin tones to pull off. The color contrast between the two shades is not big though, so you pretty much just get a super-subtle gradient when using the deeper tone to contour or define the lashes.

HERA Eye Shadow Duo AD Satin 05
 The second duo I have is a Sparkle one, in a soft rosy tone, 09. The larger base shade is a translucent ivory sparkle in that semi-creamy formula similar to Tom Ford's, which can be applied easily using a finger. The accompanying soft rose shade is a more pigmented metallic with a fine-grained sparkle effect.