Being a long-time reader of Into The Gloss (when it was Emily Weiss' one-woman show) I am thrilled to be be featured as on their #ITGTopShelfie series. I am super stoked and would like to share the full version here as the post on ITG has to be edited because I wrote too much! Please keep on reading if you are interested in my early beauty memories and my full routine.
Earliest beauty memories
My earliest beauty memories as a child, watching my late mother applying her coral lipstick from Avon in the 80s. She doesn't wear much makeup, other than her lipstick I would see a bottle of Christian Dior Poison and some Shiseido skincare. As I was not allowed to touch her anything on her vanity table, at a young age beauty was a curiosity for me.
When I was younger I had acne, so I would flip through magazines to study the perfect skin on the models in the ad campaigns—Bobbi Brown, Lancôme, and Givenchy were my favorites. Owning those brands felt like a goal back then.
My first makeup purchase was Maybelline Great Lash mascara. When MAC arrived Malaysia in my late teens, it changed my world, I have been so obsessed with their concept “makeup for all ages, colours for everyone” I saved a few dollars everyday and splurge them all on lip glosses and foundations. My beauty shopping has not stopped ever since and the rest is history and I am not ashamed of being a beauty addict!
My approach to Beauty
My approach to beauty has always been related to having acne. So I used to believe in having a full face of foundation to cover up any imperfection - everything has to be matte, my skincare has be be oil-free to dry out the acne. And now that I’m older (in my early 30s) so beauty is all about investing in my skin, I have accepted my flaws and wear makeup that suits my personality and lifestyle.
I am all about my signature look - the winged liner or Charlotte Tilbury calls it the "Feline Flick", my undone hair and a blunt fringe. I have had the same hairstyle for the last 8 years - it's super easy, I can get away with not combing my hair in the morning.
If you take a look at my beauty shelves, you will see a lot of rose scented products and a lot of nourishing/glow giving skincare as opposed to a few years ago where all my products were for attacking/drying out acne.
I start my morning with the Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel, which has a lovely gel consistency and doesn't foam too much. I follow that with First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads to remove any flakiness. Then I spray Glossier Soothing Face Mist, which wakes me up. I believe in using essence, so after the mist I pat on This Works No Wrinkles Wonder Essence. I am super picky with my daily moisturizer—I like it to be oil-free if possible but hydrating enough under my makeup. Philosophy Hope In A Jar strikes that balance. At night, I use Muji Cleansing Oil [ed note: not available online] to remove my makeup, followed by the Ren, or I switch it up by slathering Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm on my face and massaging that in for a few minutes—and finishing with a hot towel to steam my face.
I like lightweight anti-aging eyecream like Grown Alchemist Age Repair Tetra-Peptide and Centella eyecream. Depending on how my skin is feeling, my last step before bedtime could be Dr Dennis Gross pads, or Chantecaille Rose De Mai oil, another lovely rose scented product or the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil to decongest.
If I have a spot, all I use is Aesop Control gel. It is nourishing and calming but it treats spots fairly quickly. I have now learnt that to treat spots, you have to be patient and sometimes using harsh products just make them worst.
On weekly basis I love sheet masks, I love SKII masks but given the price, my second best are the Innisfree moisture mask. As for calming and detoxing masks, I like a few - Aesop Chamomile Mask, Origin’s Out of Trouble and Clear Improvement.
As for my makeup, I find applying makeup very therapeutic. I don't have all the time in the world when I am getting read in the morning so I need to be strategic. I need to pick and choose on my steps depending if I am running late. Either spending more time on base or eye makeup.
I start by prepping my skin with the Kiehl's Micro Blur to fill in my enlarged pores. Depending on how my skin look like, I would either use the IT Cosmetics CC cream in Light or the NARS All Day Luminous Foundation in 4. The CC cream is fantastic, hydrating and can be built up to full coverage, I’m really impressed after being a BB/CC skeptic for a few years. I love the NARS foundation because after years of trying full foundation coverage, this one still feels really natural and very thin. I have tried and played with so many foundation because I am just interested with the formulas and how innovative the technology is and how they transform your skin.
I am a concealer hoarder, I have a few - Maybelline FitMe concealer in 15 and 20 for under the eyes and around the nose, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage for blemishes or scars, and By Terry Touche Veloutée in Cream for brightening under the eye area and around the mouth. I always make sure I pat on some Becca Shimmering Perfector in Moonstone on the top of my cheeks and blend with Beauty Blender when my foundation is still wet. Beauty Blender is my secret weapon for a seamless base application.
Then I curl my lashes with the one and only Shu Uemura eyelash curler and smudging my upper lash line and upper waterline right away, I swear by Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner in Obsidian, it is the blackest and the most long lasting. Then depending on the time, I would do eyeshadow first or just go straight to my feline flick. I have heavy eyelids so a cool toned taupe - Bobbi Brown Cement on my lids will lift my eyes up.
I have recently been investing in luxe eye brushes like Chikuhodo and Rae Morris and they feel like a dream to apply eyeshadows with. I would like to spend more time on my feline flick if possible but I have mastered a way to do it really quick for the last few years. Flick first then fill. It can take me less than 10 seconds per eye for a quick flick, I swear. My holy grail liquid liner is a Japanese eyeliner called Rose De Versaille or Kat Von D’s Trello is near perfect.
Mascara is always Maybelline - My favorites are either False Lash or Full and Soft depending which one is on sale at the drugstore. I only use waterproof version to hold the curl, I used to like the clumpy mascara look but now I would just quickly dab on the roots of my lashes and zigzag towards the tips and I am done. I like grey toned eyebrow pens like Suqqu, I hate having warm brown eyebrows. My eyebrows are quite full and can be unruly, so I finish off with a clear brow gel, curently liking the Laura Mercier Eyebrow gel.
For contour, I like greyish tone so I use the same Bobbi Brown Cement eyeshadow. I finish off with any blushers that I can find at that moment - Chanel Rose Initiale is my all time favorite, it is the most perfect pinky peach and not too shimmery or if I forgot highlighter, NARS Orgasm will do. I am always conscious about shimmery blush like Orgasm because of my acne scars on my cheeks but really I don't care anymore.
If I am going out at night, I love smokey eyes, not just matte black but dark shimmery colours as well. I think I do a pretty good smoky eye, the key is to tightline the waterline. I fell in love with cream eyeshadows after being so loyal with powder eyeshadows for years. The most beautiful warm bronze shadow has to be Tom Ford Spice, it blends like a dream and perfect for summer. Or my newest addition, the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Rouge Noir, the perfect plummy eyeshadow that you can layer well because it's not too opaque. I also really like By Terry Ombré Blackstar, I bought my first one which is Misty Rock, a beautiful mauve-brown and it gives a beautiful glossy effect.
For an everyday lip, my current staple is the Laura Mercier Lip Parfait in Cinnful. For fancier days, I use Chanel Rouge Allure inDiscrete or Tom Ford Spanish Pink, which I bought for my wedding. Nars does good reds as well. I like their Velvet Matte Pencil in Red Square and their Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red. I wish I could wear red lipsticks all day every day, but my lips are dry all year long. When I do wear lipstick, I apply generous amount of Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm the night before.
My hair is dyed, and since I started doing balayage, I spend more on good haircare. I've gotten really into Oribe—their Signature Moisture Masque, Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, and Dry Texturizing Spray. For shampoo I like Aesop's Equalising Shampoo, which is good for my sensitive scalp.
For nails, I like to do myself, I'm boring - so it's either Chanel Rouge Noir or Frenzy. I also like reds, I have a few from Chanel and I swear, every season Chanel’s reds get better and better! I also like a good nude and I think JinSoon does that best nude nail polish ever, Nostalgia. It is elegant, not too pale or pink - I am really inspired by Carla Bruni’s perfect manicure in her Bvlgari ads and Nostalgia looks like that. I only treat myself to a manicure say 3 or 4 times a year and I'm a perfectionist so I go to this Japanese salon and they are the best. They converted me to gel manicure and my nails look perfect and strong, but it isn’t cheap therefore I only have it done before a trip.
I love fragrances. My first was Estee Lauder Pleasures, I had an older stylish cousin and she has one and I used it throughout my late teens. Then I went a little heavier and more floral with my perfume, like Moschino Cheap and Chic and Gucci II. When I moved to Australia I got exposed to more specialty brands like Serge Lutens and felt deeply in love with Nuit De Cellophane, I went through like 3 or 4 bottles of it. Now I rotate between Tom Ford Cafe Rose (my wedding perfume), Diptyque Do Son and Aerin Evening Rose. I love floral perfumes but I also have some not-so-floral ones like Diptyque Florabello and Serge Luten’s new La Vierge De Fer. If I can pick a perfume at my funeral, I think it will be Nuit De Cellophane.
I love movies and am inspired by iconic looks—like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction with her perfect bob, sculpted eyes and ChanelRouge Noir Nail Polish...and oh my God, Helena Bonham Carter’s smokey eyes in Fight Club. I adore Penelope Cruz with her seductive winged eyeliner in Pedro Almodovar’s Volver, Zhang Ziyi’s luminous skin in Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and Tilda Swinton’s vampire pale skin in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. Somehow I'm the most transfixed by Charlotte Gainsbourg—she always look amazing.