Friday, October 30, 2015

MAC Magic Of The Night Collection Swatches and First Impressions

MAC's Magic Of The Night Collection is a true party collection. There is nothing here that is soft and subtle or especially day-appropriate, aside from maybe Please Me lipstick.

If you like smoky sultry colors shot through with beautiful sparkles and shimmer, high-sheen skin, or intense lip shades, this would be a good release to check out.

Must Try:
My favorites in the range are the 4 lipsticks. Really, I like all the shades. They’re all fab. Especially All Fired Up, an intense fuchsia red. It looks a little more pink/cool-toned in press visuals but the actual shade is slightly warmer/redder. 
Evening Rendezvous is a daring plummy-violet, and Dark Side is just a great Fall/Winter noir lip in a creamier texture. Please Me is beautiful but a re-release (or permanent in some markets), and I do recommend the shade for girls who like softer lips.

Also Cool:
The 5 Colourdrenched Pigments are pretty interesting. I thought they would be like Luster shadows; crumbly and un-pigmented. But they’re dense, slightly creamy-feeling sparkle shadows suspended in matte bases. The only thing is you can't be color-shy. They are extremely bling.
My tip for using these is to pack on a layer with your finger for maximum intensity first, and then using a soft brush to blend out the edges. These don’t get ruined when touched with fingers, the way some of the other regular shadows do. But if you want to use a brush, use a flatter, slightly firmer brush rather than a soft fluffy one so it grabs more pigment. 
All the eye looks I have here were done without any base or wetting the shadows. Night Thrill, the soft blonde gold, is slightly crumbly swatched on the hand, but packed on lightly in a small area like the inner corners, or down the center of the lids, it goes on beautifully.

I decided to do additional eye swatches because this is a pretty new formula that most people aren't familiar with, and I know some of you are afraid to buy shadows based on wrist swatches since the payoff can be different from when applied to the lid with brushes.

I would say only Ascent of Glamour (violet) came off a little softer on the lids, but that was also because I didn't spend much time building it up. And again, I think you get the best effect applying this formula with a finger first.

There are 4 pencils with this collection. 2 Lip Pencils, and 2 Eye Pencils. I think the 2 sparkly eye pencils are beautiful. Very smooth and buttery, and the sparkle in them is gorgeous. But I find the shadows compete with them, so you might not need both, or at least you don’t need to wear them together in the same look.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Makeup Tips and FOTD featuring MAC Viva Glam III and Moonshot Jelly Pot in P08 Cafe Con Leche

Tempted by all the dark, lush Fall tones of rich brown, rust, and brick red, but worried that they're too dramatic?

Here's my favorite way to channel the Fall mood and pair all these rich, warm brown-laced colors together without everything becoming too vampy or over the top for the day.

1. Sheer out a dark lip shade

Often in Fall, brands start releasing beautiful rich, deep lip colors. Nothing says Fall more than a beautiful brown-red, berry or plum colored lip. It's posh and chic and dressy, but not as loud as red or as vampy as a full-on noir shade.

One trick is not to go TOO brown as it can make your entire face look quite drab and washed out when paired with brown-toned eyes and dark Fall clothes. Dab a little of the color on the back of your hand with your finger and see if it sheers out to a reddish or plummy tone. If all is you see brown, it's TOO brown.

I used MAC's classic Viva Glam III (the darkest shade on the bottom left) for the look above. It has the potential to look very vampy, but sheered out, it is just a lovely raisiny red-brown that looks pretty, not severe.

Simply dab on the color with a finger and then apply clear lip balm over your lips to add a little sheen and to even out the color.

2. Go for a smoky eye in a softer, metallic shade of brown

Black liner and mascara is the easy way to do your eyes for dark lips. But it can often look very severe, especially for girls who like to draw very thick liner.

A smoky hazy eye look in a soft brown is much more romantic and dreamy. Instead of going for a typical dark smoky eye color, pick colors that are 1-2 tones lighter, like Moonshot's Jelly Pot in P08 Cafe Con Leche below. Medium-toned metallics are dimensional enough that you only need one shade to look like you applied 2-3 colors. Great for a low-maintenance eye that you can throw on quickly.
  • Make sure you blend out the edges and there aren't any hard lines.
  • If your eyes do not tilt downward too much at the outer corners, you can run a tiny bit along the outer half of your lower lashes to create that smoky dreamy effect.
  • If you need definition and want to wear liner, use pencil and try to smudge it out lightly with a ring finger so it is not one hard black line.

3. Don't use brown-toned or very shimmery blush

It might seem to make sense to match your blush to your lip and eye colors, but not everyone suits that severe monochrome look with brown eyes, brown lips, brown cheeks.

Skip the brown-toned blushes unless you have caramel to dark skin. Often it's more flattering to inject a tiny bit of soft color to your face with a neutral peachy-pink blush when you are wearing brown tones on lips and eyes.

Just don't pick a shade that's so bright - or apply so much - that it is obviously clashing against the rest of your makeup. The blush is there so you don't look too corpse-like. Not to make a statement in itself. 

This is also the one time I would not go with a very metallic or shimmery blush. A satin or matte shade would look much better. Otherwise it just detracts from the overall look and you will have too much going on on your face.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Look At: Dior's State of Gold Holiday 2015 Makeup Collection

Dior's known for bringing out luxurious "gilded" makeup collections every holiday season, filled with golds, reds, and plush velvety colors. This year is no different.

Named "State of Gold", the 2015 Holiday Collection features rich late-Fall colors like burgundy, red, squash orange, and all manner of nuanced gold tones. Every product is a gift worth giving if there's someone special in your life you want to pamper.

There are the requisite gold compact Illuminating Pressed Powders; 001 (a light champagne gold) and 002 a rose gold. I love both but only picked up 002 as 001 has not reached stores yet. 

Someone mentioned on Instagram that these are like collectibles to treasure and keep. I agree but I would also recommend using them cos they are gorgeous on the skin; more pearlescent than last year's and shot through with flattering gold rather than silver sparkles.

There are 2 cream shadows and 2 lip glosses which I won't speak of because they're not the standouts to me. There are also 2 pressed powder blushes which are shot through with lots of gold sparks. I'm not the biggest fan as there is so much gold sparkle in the formula that it would look quite dramatic on the cheeks. Both of the burnished orange-tones also look like they would work better on medium to tan skins and might be too orange on pale girls.

What I do highly recommend are:
  • the two 5-Couleur palettes
  • two of the 5 nail polishes
  • both illuminating compact powders
  • any of the 6 shades of Diorific Mat lipsticks

The 2 palettes come in variations of Fall tones. One accented with a beautiful sage green, the other a rusty brick red.

 576 Eternal Gold is a slightly more neutral grouping of shades, and my pick between the two, although 886 Blazing Gold is gorgeous as well, especially if you have blue/grey eyes or prefer warmer tones in general.

I like all the lipsticks. Fall and Winter are the best times for seasonal lip colors because instead of the more watery and translucent colors from Dior Addicts and Rouge Diors which are common in Spring and Summer, the brand tends to bring out rich satins and mattes in the Diorific range (which is my fave formula from Dior).

Plus - the ribbed gold cases are so vintage looking.

All 6 shades are gorgeous but the 4 I personally love are:
Fantastique - rich fuchsia
Fascinante - rich warm brown-rose
Fabuleuse - rich deep crimson
Troublante - dark burgundy red

As for the nail polishes, it really depends on your preference. But the two that I find a bit more special and worth picking up this season are 
  • 227 Gris Or - a dimensional oyster-gold that shifts slightly grey and rose depending on the light
  • 001 State of Gold - a gold glitter topcoat; sounds bring but this deposits SO much glitter in one coat that I instantly fell for it. Use it as an accent on one nail or partially over another color. (If you paint over the whole nail, you will blot out most of the color beneath.)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Midnight Periwinkle: Metallic Sparkly Eye Look (feat Moonshot Jelly Pot P04)

Korean brand Moonshot has reached Singapore, and one of the star products I highly recommend are their Jelly Pots, metallic gel-cream shadows which set and lock on. 

They're not that different from liquid shadows that you get in squeeze tubes or gloss tubes, but they can be slightly messy because the gels will move round in the pots, so tap the bottom a few times before opening. The range comes in P (pearls) and M (matte) formulas. Also, they can be used as bases, but they're better as shadows in their own. Once they set, they don't grab powders all that well.

Which is fine if you want a more diffused and soft effect, not so good if you expect your bases to intensify your powder shadows.

For this look, I wanted a smoky but still luminous effect, so I paired Jelly Pot P04 (a medium metallic lavender) with Shu Uemura's Beauty Remix Smokey Eye & Cheek Palette in Indigo.

The final effect should be smoky and defined but still soft, with an emphasis on a blend of cloudy colors and sparkly texture.

 Getting the Look:

Tip: to get maximum shine and payoff with the Jelly Pots I recommend letting a thin layer set, then applying a second layer on top.

As for the lips, I used MAC Spice lip pencil and YSL Rouge Volupté Shine No 8.

Final note on the Jelly Pots:

The Jelly Pots last very well once set, and the sheen is beautiful with the P formula, so I totally don't recommend buying these to use as a base for powders. Use them as a shadow shade in their own right and just pair other powders and creams with them to bring out their color and texture.

There cost around SGD$34 at Sephora; not the cheapest compared to what you'd get buying it in Korea, but worth checking out nonetheless.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Look At: Shu x Maison Kitsuné Holiday 2015 Makeup Collection

Often when makeup looks like airy, dreamy spun-sugar confections, they don't necessarily flatter the face. But Shu has done it beautifully this holiday season with the upcoming Shu x Maison Kitsuné collection.

The up-n-coming Japanese design house Maison Kitsuné is known for very eclectic but tasteful mixing of contrasting elements, but the final effect is relaxed, tasteful, and fun. This is translated into the makeup collection by Shu, where we see plums paired with silver and persimmon orange, or deep indigo and icy steely colors blended with soft petal pinks and sparkly gold.

They also pair deep smoky shades with translucent fairy sparkle, and while most people would not think to pair purple shadows with orange cheeks and lips, the overall effect is actually beautifully balanced; colorful but not too loud, and neither too cool nor too warm.

I personally love the 2 Beauty Remix Smokey Eye & Cheek palettes; one plum and one indigo. And I can't say which one I like more. Which almost never happens. (Usually I will like one more than the other.)

They are both flattering and very wearable, although I find Plum a bit more suited to daily wear, and Indigo slightly more dressy simply because the cool midnight blue and steel grey tones stand out a bit more than the warmer plum and taupe tones.

There are 4 Play & Remix Drawing Pencils to go with the collection, and I personally prefer the 2 matte ones because they just give a lot more color impact, although the silver and gold would be nice as soft accents along inner corners, or traced along the upper lash line when not wearing strong colored shadows.

 As for the lip shades, they are BEAUTIFUL. Love these. There are 3 Laque Sparklers. Just the name sounds so festive and fun already.

There are 3 shades, and all 3 are lovely. There is Persimmon Glow, an acidic orange, Plum Shimmer, a strawberry red with pink undertones, and Fleur Shine which is a soft mauve-y cool toned pink. Each one is shot through with fine microsparkles. to make your lips look even more dressy.

I wanted to show more than wrist swatches, so I did a look this morning using the Plum palette, M plum pencil, and Persimmon Glow Laque Sparkler. You CAN get a soft, wearable look with these if you go easy on the darker shades. Everything these days is quite translucent and buildable so it's easy to just pop a few soft colors on, add a medium shade in the socket, apply liner and go.

If you need more drama, just add more of the darker shades around the outer half of the lids and along the upper and lower lash lines.

As for the lips, I recommend applying 2 coats of Laque Sparklers. The applicator deposits a light layer on the first pass, and that's ok but with defeats the point of getting these beauties. 2 layers is just right because you get richer color, a deep shine, and the golden sparkles will also come through more.

Don't worry about these being sticky and gloopy. They have a gel-stain texture so they're quite light and fresh feeling.

And if nails are your thing, Shu x Maison Kitsuné has 2. They're themed to go with the eye palettes but are more in line with the Fall/Winter theme. Both shares are deep and rich metallics, to balance the sweetness on the face.

Shu x Maison Kitsuné is out at the ION Orchard boutique and will be available at all Shu free-standing counters and boutiques from 1 Nov!

Monday, October 5, 2015

How to look fab after a long-haul flight: Skincare and Makeup Tips plus Eye Look feat. Chanel Les 5 Ombres de Chanel Eyeshadow Palette

Face it - we may love going on vacation or visiting another country but I don't know many people who enjoy a long-haul flight. 

Besides lack of sleep and jet-lag, you need to deal with dehydrating cabin air that sucks all the moisture out of your skin, a tendency to retain water and get puffy around the face and eyes, and makeup looks terrible on top of all that.

So what if you need to hop off a flight and go straight to a social engagement? You kind have to get yourself looking as good as possible. No easy task.

Here are a few tips (and product faves) that you can consider on your next flight.


Cabin air sucks the life out of your skin. Which can give you a crepe-y looking skin surface, magnify fine lines, and compromise your skin barrier and put you at risk of sensitive reactions later on. Always use a product that is a bit more moisturizing than you normally need, even if you have oily skin. Your skin will thank you for it. 

My favorite in-flight skin protectants after trying tons of different lotions and potions over the past 10-15 years are oils, because they help seal and protect the skin surface longer than a water-based lotion will, and they don't contain fillers and additives that might give you a reaction after a 20-hour flight. 

You also get a bit more time to give yourself a good facial massage during application, which can help reduce/prevent puffiness.

For normal to dry skins, try more nourishing concoctions:
  • La Mer The Renewal Oil (available from Nov 2015)
  • La Prairie Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil
  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
  • Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Face Oil
  • Clarins Santal or Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil

If you're combination, there are lighter oils that help protect your skin while not sitting in a greasy film on your skin:
  • Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate
  • Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil
  • Laura Mercier Rose Infusion de Rose
  • By Terry Huile de Rose
  • Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Oil Capsules

Even if you're very oily and cannot imagine applying a straight oil to your face, consider an oil-in-water serum like Chanel's Hydra Beauty Micro Serum. It will not feel oily but supplies a dose of calming camellia oil to the skin, along with other water-based humectants.

Some people also like to bring hydrating masks and sleeping masks (Origins and Laneige have some good ones) on flights. Do that if you have something on hand and prefer it to an oil, but I personally just find oils last and work better. You need less to keep your skin supple for hours and it just doesn't feel as sticky and heavy. Plus, you can use oils on your cuticles, on the ends of your hair, etc.

Reapply every few hours, and make sure you drink plenty of water.
Keeping your makeup on for an entire long-haul flight is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. You might be able to get away with it in your teens and 20s, but as you get into your 30s and up, your makeup will look positively leathery, cakey and cracked by the end of a 10 hour flight. Putting more makeup on top of it will not help.
I'd rather have no makeup on for a few hours on the plane where few people will be looking at you (trust me, nobody will be staring at you and thinking "man she looks bad") than spend the rest of the day looking raggedy after touch-down. 
You're better off removing all your makeup after take-off so you can apply all your skincare and lip balm first, and then having a fresh canvas at the end of the flight to apply fresh makeup on.


About 40 minutes before landing time is about the time I start to prep my skin. You can't just slap makeup on and expect it to look great. Even if you've managed to keep yourself well-hydrated and smooth the past few hours, you probably still want to remove the hours of residue and dirt on the surface.
  1. A gentle wipe or a very light and non-drying cleanser is usually sufficient to refresh your face. 
  2. Then give yourself a nice gentle massage with a few drops of oil mixed with a brightening primer, like Le Blanc from Chanel. This not only brightens and evens out your skin slightly so you need less makeup, the lighter layer of oil will help your makeup to go on MUCH better.
Tip: In the cold, dry environments, foundations and concealers will all feel a lot drier and be harder to blend out. That little bit of oil on the skin surface is just going to make sure your makeup is not cakey and heavy-looking. If your makeup is feeling really dry, add a single drop of oil into a pump of foundation and it will go on beautifully.

Again, take a minute to massage your face with firm, gentle pressing/patting motions to get your circulation going a bit. It will help to drain some water and helps with absorption. What you want to be left with is plumped, smooth skin that's perfectly primed for makeup.


When it comes to makeup in your carry-on bag, less is more. Honestly, heavy thick concealers and camouflage creams will not even work well in such a cold and dry environment, so look for creamier formulations. If you have good skin and minimal blemishes, a good BB cream will do fine.

If you need more coverage though, look for one of those multi-tasking serum foundations that either have great coverage, or come with a matching concealer in the cap.

Lancome's Teint Visionnaire is a classic, but La Prairie's launching a anew Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation as well. The added benefit is many of these foundations and BBs do contain sun protection, but it's minimal, so if you're going to be in a sunny environment, make sure you apply a proper sunblock first.


Heavy thick powder foundations can look dull and chalky on the skin. If you have dry skin skip powder entirely. If you need to set your makeup still, skip the traditional powders and use a lightweight illuminating powder like Guerlain's Meteorites (I have the traditional pearls here to show you but I would recommend the pressed compact or travel-friendly brush-on containers for traveling with. You don't want to accidentally tip these over and scatter your precious pearls all over the cabin toilet floor.)

Guerlain Meteorites in 03 Medium
Many people don't quite know what Meteorites powders are for.

These are actually satiny-matte powders that help correct discolorations and illuminate the skin without looking pearly and sparkly. They are NOT highlighters in the traditional sense. They work more like brightening setting powders, but can be used alone as well.

If you're feeling tired and sallow, the warmer shades in 03 Medium work better to correct discolorations than the cooler-toned 02 Clair, which actually does not correct undertones as well (unless you happen to be porcelain pale).

For me to look alive and rested (no matter how tired I might feel), there are a few other tricks.
  • Use darker defining colors around the lash line and a matte shade in the hollows of your socket, rather than pale shimmery shadows all over, which can emphasize puffy blood-shot eyes. Well-defined sockets and lash lines are instantly eye-wideners and can help minimize the appearance of puffiness.
  • Redness-relieving eye drops like Visine or Prefin will remove the bloodshot appearance in minutes. Filling in brows (naturally), and applying mascara can also make a huge difference.
  • Groom your brows. They instantly lift and frame the face and make you look more alert and put-together.


I'm talking about your makeup bag. Your makeup should allow you to do both more dramatic looks as well as more natural looks. But you shouldn't have to bring lots of it.

Here are some favorites, many of which have been my trusty companion for years.

  • My trusty travel companion for brows is Shu Uemura's Hard Formula 9 Pencil (above). One shave in the sword style lasts for weeks and weeks so I can be sure I don't need any sharpening on a trip. It's an investment as these cost more than most pencils. But they do last a year each, so purchase them at Duty Free and save some money.
  • Benefit Gimme Brow - these tiny tubes of brow mascara actually hold your brow hairs in place amazingly well. And they're so small they don't take up any space.
  • Dual-ended eyeliners like Urban Decay's 24/7 Double Ended pencil in Naked 1 is perfect because it's not only creamy and easy to use, but has 2 shades that would go with most looks.

  • A perfect neutral palette that's not too large - not too small, and has both very deep, as well as pale shades in a variety of textures. It will carry you from day to night, and can work with pretty much any lip color you choose to wear.

This gorgeous thing is Chanel's Entrelac palette from the Autumn 2015 collection. It's sadly a limited edition, but again - this is one thing that you should pick up at Duty Free if you see it because it's so much cheaper than retail. (In Singapore at least.)

I love the Naked palettes but this is so much sleeker, smaller, and sharper.