Thursday, November 6, 2014

The 2 Best Kept Secrets Of The Beauty Universe

[As published on HERE]
There are things beauty brands will never tell you. (Sales figures must be hit, no matter what, you know…) There are also things that you tend to overlook, even though they are the most important. This article is going to be lengthy, but please bear with me and stay until the end. Today, I’m going to share the two secrets that will end all your skincare and makeup woes.
Yes, there are only two. Read on to find out more!

Secret 1:
Adequate hydration is the solution to your skin’s problems.
There’s actually no rocket science behind the secret to good skin. The answer is plain and simple – hydration. If your skin is properly and adequately hydrated, your problems just disappear. But how can that be…? Skin problems come in all shapes and sizes, like dryness, pimples, blackheads, fine lines, uneven skin tone and more. How could there just be one answer to address all that?
Think of it like a life cycle. Your skin’s health depends on your diligence. If you don’t give it the nourishment it needs, moisture escapes and your skin starts to feel dehydrated. Sometimes your skin tries to produce more oil to correct the situation, resulting in excess shine. You blot away the oil with powder, and the powder mixes with the oil and gets stuck in your pores, creating blackheads that in turn gets infected and transforms into an angry zit.
On the other side of the spectrum, lack of proper care/using the wrong products leaves your skin wanting more. What you’re doing isn’t enough, and it’s starting to dry up like a grape left in the sun. The more you neglect it, the wrinklier it gets. When your cells are parched, you get problems like fine lines, dullness, wrinkles, sagging and uneven skin tone.

How to use the secret to your benefit:
  • Your skincare doesn’t have to be expensive.
The excessively friendly counter sales assistants pushing you to get 8 products (3 which you don’t need)? Well they can kiss your money goodbye. You can get perfectly decent skincare products at Watsons, Guardian or the local pharmacy (check out BIG Pharmacy at Damansara Uptown, the prices are way cheaper). At the end of the day, make sure you’re paying for what’s inside, not for the fluff and advertising and packaging.
  • Sometimes your skin needs a little push to work harder.
Like cars, your skin needs a jumpstart to improve its performance. If your budget allows it, book yourself a facial each month. Places like Herbaline offer value-for-money treatments without the commitment and stress of a package. If not, exfoliate your skin with a mild facial scrub once a week and follow with a hydrating mask.
  • Incorporate at least 1 hydrating product into your regime.
Through personal experience, my preference is a hydrating toner, because I don’t like the sticky/greasy feeling I get with rich moisturisers. Serums are also a good bet, especially the clear ones because they sink easily into the skin and don’t make you look like a shiny Yeti.
  • Opt for a milk/liquid cleanser instead of a foaming one.
One of the best changes I’ve made this year was to switch to Cetaphil. Boring, I know, but it works. I’d been struggling with foam cleansers for a few months, even the ones that claimed to be hydrating left my skin feeling taut. So I picked up a bottle of Cetaphil (which actually removes light makeup really well too) and within a week, my skin had improved immensely.
  • Drink more water.
As much as you can. My goal is at least 2 litres a day. It’s not easy, but I’m getting there. Water helps hydrate your skin from within, and flushes out toxins. Going to the loo more often is a small price to pay for the amazingly clear skin I’m getting.

Secret 2:
Blending is the (most often forgotten) key to a flawless mien.
My secret hobby is checking out other girls. Not in a weird way, but I like to learn from them and make mental notes on how to improve myself. And also, to serve as a reminder as to what I should not do, especially when it comes to makeup application.
I have realized, time and again, that the biggest mistake women make is to skip the most important step ever – blending. Up until a couple of years ago, I was also guilty as charged. I had the works: highly-arched tranny brows, too-pink blusher, and eyeliner to rival that of a black metal rock star. My makeup was harsh, hard and to put it simply, horrible.
That was until my makeup artist friend ever so subtly suggested to help me change my eyebrows. I noticed that after he pencilled in my brows, he combed them through with a spoolie brush (the type that looks like a mascara wand). When I worked in publishing, one of the best things was that I got to meet a lot of makeup artists who were generous in giving out beauty tips. Another makeup artist told me that brows should always be lighter at the beginning, and go darker as they taper off towards the tail. Someone else introduced me to the magic of layering eyeshadow over my eyeliner so that I retained the same shape, only softer and more smokey.
I noticed that most of the makeup artists I worked with used a combination of brushes and fingertips to achieve the look they desired. I remember the wide words of makeup extraordinaire Geraldine Loy: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the brushes and the tools. All you need is your fingertips.”

How to use the secret to your benefit:
  • Blend your foundation.
I never use sponges or brushes to apply foundation. I pump some onto the back of my hand, and dab on where necessary using my fingertips. I find that this helps the product to ‘sink in’ better, so that there’s no whitish cast. If I’m feeling lazy, I mix liquid foundation with my sunblock. It works miracles to improve the skin tone instantly.
  • Blend your eyebrows.
I have close to no brow hair, so I can never be caught outside with no brows on. If I dare say so, I quite like how my eyebrows look after they’re drawn in. I start by defining the shape with brow pencil and then I fill them in lightly. After that I blend with a spoolie brush, and further lighten them with matte beige eyeshadow. Then, I comb through with the spoolie again. The effect is soft, light brown eyebrows that have no harsh edges, and last me all day.
  • Blend your eyeliner.
I have seen too many girls who simply slick on liquid eyeliner haphazardly and consider it done. For girls like me who have monolids, pencil eyeliner is a better bet as you’ll need to use more eyeliner, and liquid eyeliner dries shiny. Gel eyeliner is cool, but not when you’re in a rush as you’re more prone to mistakes. Always shade the lined part with matching eyeshadow to soften the harsh edges. Very, very important!
  • Blend your blusher.
First, throw away that stupid flimsy brush that came with the palette. Buy a blush brush or powder brush (if you’re not particular you can get one from Daiso, as I did). After applying blusher on both cheeks, use your middle and ring finger to buff upwards in circular motions. This makes the blusher look super natural. Repeat to achieve desired intensity.
  • Blend your highlighter.
If you like using highlighter, make sure it looks like it’s part of your skin tone. It shouldn’t look like it’s there. Similarly, your fingertips are the best application tool as using a brush only creates a powdery surface that will make you look older.

In the end, this is what we should all aspire to to achieve:
Make a change today!


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