Monday, April 16, 2018

ETUDE House Colour Factory: Find A Perfect Lip Shade

Etude House recently launched their Colour Factory service at the spacious Wisma Atria boutique and I will honestly say it's something I'm VERY excited about because color-matching is something that confuses a lot of women.

If you love makeup and want to explore colors but are frequently confused what shades to pick cos some just look "off" on your skin while others seem to give you a radiant glow, you might want to go for a professional color matching service at least once. I first tried this when I was in Seoul a couple of years back, and it totally changed the way I look at colors on myself.

As Asians living in the tropics, most of us have been brought up to think we have a "Warm" skintone and should wear orange, warm-red, gold, olive, and other shades complementary to this type of skin tone. Well, apparently surface melanin from sun exposure can create an optical illusion of sorts, and many girls who have a Neutral (or in my case Cool) undertone can be mystified when bronzes, coppers and other "warm" shades look horrible on us.

Guess no longer.

Etude House uses a special scanner on your bare skin along the inner jaw area to identify your true undertone and group you into one of four Warm or Cool categories.

Warm - Spring and Autumn
Cool - Summer and Winter

I was identified as a Cool Summer because of my skin undertone and natural eye color, although when my hair is uncolored, I sometimes fall into the Cool Winter category as well.

 After the scan, you go through a Draping session, where swathes of colored cloth are placed over your shoulders so you can study the effects on your face and features, and really narrow down the few that bring out your best features. This I feel is an especially important part of the session and something you should all pay attention to. 

Not all shades within your color group will look equally good on you, and different tones create different effects.

I found out that:
  • dusty pinks or purples (Summer Muted tones) are most flattering on my skin overall. It evens out my skin tone, reduces the look of dark circles, and generally makes me look more radiant and healthy.
  • Blues, although cool, bring out the shadows under my eyes and make me look pale, drained and ashy, so I have to be careful about wearing those unless I'm specifically trying to look like a vampire.
  • Given that I like to go with edgier or vampier looks sometimes, dark jewel-toned purples, magenta and burgundy (Winter Dark) tones bring out my facial contours and can stand up to darker eye makeup or hair and clothing.
  • Warm tones like orange, yellow and olive are pretty unflattering on me in most cases. I can wear them by strategically pairing them with other tones and certain styling choices but it takes a lot more effort to make them look good on me.

After the consultation and draping, you get to narrow down some lip shades based on the color groups identified. My two best groups are Summer Muted and Winter Dark, and because there are 240 whopping colors in matte and cream/gloss textures to choose from, you're pretty much guaranteed to find at least a handful that look great on you.

SPECIAL NOTE: the 240 shades in the Color Factory are different from lip shades in their regular lip line, so Etude House now has probably one of the largest lip ranges available from ANY brand on the market.

There are 60 shades in these two categories and I wanted to go with a matte texture because matte is the most flexible. You can sheer it down, gloss it up, or wear it intense. So we narrowed it down further to 30 Matte Tinting shades.

From here, I was told to just eyeball them, and based on what caught my eye and also some recommendations from Evadne, I picked out 4 shades. Two muted Summer colors and two deep Winter ones.

And just so there is no guess work involved, they swatch it out and apply each one to your lips so you can take a look in the mirror for comparison, sharing tips and feedback along the way to help you make your decision.

It wasn't a surprise that all 4 shades suited my skin tone and coloring. But the final choice (or choices) boils down to your styling choices and what else is in your collection. The first shade, a brown rose (CSM8) I really loved. It's flattering and easy to wear. But it also looks like a ton of rosy-brown Kylie Jenner type shades available on the market, which I own triples and quadruples of.

The next shade was a slightly more dramatic purple-mauve. CSM4. Not the most typical color and something that looked instantly edgy. I liked it about as much as CWD6, a deep purply-berry tone.

The last, a blood-red wine tone was the most vampy and dramatic, and the most "grown-up" looking. But again I have many similar dark lipsticks of this tone, so I ended up going with CWD6 in the end. Simply because it was the most flexible; I wanted to be able to wear it deep and dramatic, sheer as a stain, or ombre-style over a softer nude or pink lipstick.

When your consultation is done, you get to choose one of their uber-cute Tinting Lips cases. These are refillable and I actually own a few already cos I swap many of the affordable Matte Tinting Lips refill shades in and out.

You'll also be allowed to engrave your name or (any text you can fit) on the case itself so your tube will be one of a kind.

You can sit around and wait for your consultant to pour and create your personal lip shade right there in the lab but I would suggest setting aside an hour for the session itself, and then another 40-60 mins to collect your lipstick(s). Maybe go for a meal or coffee in the meantime. 

When your lipstick is done, you're presented with a cute little cardboard box filled with your specially-engraved case and the lipstick tube. Super cute. I personally went with the Bitter Sweet tube because it sorta describes the deep berry/plum shade I chose. 

The shade itself looks pretty scary in the tube, but it's perfect for wearing as a soft stain if you want to use it in the day. That's a reason I still prefer these velvety Asian-formula matte lipsticks to ultra-matte liquid lipsticks which can only be worn heavily. 

I just need to tap it on with a ring finger or blot on a tissue for a flushed Snow White look. Or I can wear it two-toned, Korean-style over lip balm or a sheer beige lipstick.

The pricing is impressively affordable in my personal opinion. Most of us won't ever get a chance to get professionally color-matched, so having a device that takes the guess-work out of things and consultants to go through the lengthy draping process with you was something just not available to the average consumer here awhile ago. Now, it's as simple as booking a session on Lazada or Vaniday (or calling the Wisma outlet at +65-6737-2460).

S$58 - consultation + refillable case + lipstick
S$68 - consultation + refillable case + 2 x lipsticks
S$78 - consultation + refillable case + lipstick + foundation
S$88 - consultation + refillable case + 2 x lipsticks + foundation

If you're confident that you know what sort of colors work on you, or you don't want to be "limited" in any way, by all means go ahead and just buy whatever colors you like. But I think for most people, knowing CLEARLY what colors suit you stops you from wasting a ton of money on shades that don't work. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of colors available in stores these days, this also helps you to instantly narrow down the best lipsticks, blushes, shadows and foundation shades.

In my case, it's not only cleared up some misperceptions (e.g. I'm Asian and don't have obvious pinky tones in my skin so I couldn't figure out why cooler toned shades always worked better on me) also helped a lot with better hair coloring and clothing choices in general.

And ultimately, color matching was a totally fun and eye-opening experience for me. It doesn't stop me from grabbing MAC's Lady Danger on days when I really want to wear something warm, but I at least know which shades I need to "work harder" to pull off, and which I can just slap on and go, because they work better with my natural coloring.

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