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Foundation Review: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

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This is actually my first foundation from NARS. I have oily-combination skin so I didn’t go for the highly-raved sheer glow foundation when it was launched. I was also a very loyal user of MUFE’s foundation which I also use on my clients so it doesn’t make sense for me to buy more than I need.

However, last year end, when NARS Radiant Longwear Foundation was launched, many of the YouTube beauty gurus that I followed did reviews on it and the verdicts were all similar – BUY! So, after it was finally launched in sunny Singapore back in February this year (I think), I went to Ngee Ann City to get it.

I still remember how a group of Chinese tourists were crowding around the counter in NARS official store. They sat on the high chair, demanding the makeup artists/beauty advisors to pile on layers and layers of products on their faces so they could try and see which one to buy. I don’t know if it was because NARS is not in China but they bought a lot of products. Or maybe, they’re just rich.

I, on the other hand, knew exactly what I wanted and just needed the makeup artists to help me pick out the correct shade for my face. The beauty advisors were very nice and apologetic because they had to make me wait while the tourists kept adding products into their shopping list.

When it was finally my turn, I sat down on the ‘hot’ seat, warmed by the buttocks of the tourists and also because it was so popular they had to take turns to sit on it. LOL. The makeup artist serving me asked if I had used any NARS products before so she could match my shade but I don’t so she had to ‘eyeball’ my shade. I just came from a facial appointment so I didn’t want to put a whole layer of foundation on my face so she very kindly swatched them on my jawline.

After trying out 3 to 4 shades, we finally found one that suit my face and neck – Punjab. I left the shop SGD70 poorer but one foundation richer. I did not try on the foundation immediately until a few weeks later because I had another L’Oreal one that I got in Spain to try.

After using NARS Radiant Longwear foundation for 2.5 months now, I can safely say that it is indeed a longwear foundation. I usually use my fingers to blend it on my face because that was what the NARS makeup artist told me to. She said that they use their hands to blend in all their foundation and that’s how the foundation is supposed to work.

What it says on NARS’ website:

There’s longwear. And then there’s strongwear.

Introducing NARS’ first 16-hour foundation that stays turned on by the power of radiance. Untraceable. Unstoppable. Unlike anything else. Longwear is finally lightweight—and radiant. High coverage is now super natural. Its breathable, fade-resistant formula is infused with Raspberry, Apple, and Watermelon extracts to help smooth and improve the look of your skin instantly, and over time for full-powered radiance. It wears longer, stays stronger, and looks better with each hour. Specialized skin-matching technology ensures your truest match yet. Your future looks radiant with Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation.

 

DETAILS

  • Natural, radiant finish
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Fade-resistant

Subsequently, I also saw recommendations by one of the celebrity makeup artists in Taiwan talking on one of my all time favourite variety show for the last 14 years – 女人我最大. He talked about how this foundation is able to even out your skin tone nicely (duhh, don’t all foundation do that?), how it has some new technology that will “…” and also how it has a very extensive colour range to choose from.

Ok, I’m getting very long-winded, let’s get on to the review:

My skin is recovering from an outbreak that I sadly was plagued with after I came back from Europe in January so there are multiple scars and dark spots. Hate my itchy fingers. I purposely sharpened the photo so that you can see my pores and also all the imperfections.

I would say the foundation has a medium-full coverage with a satin finish. Once it sets, it stays on quite nicely for at least 8 hours, I haven’t worn it for 16 hours, my skin will go on riot. My T-zone gets oily easily so I always set it with a powder. Take note that a little goes a long way with this product. I usually only need one pump for my whole face and I will use concealer to conceal any dark spots, redness, dark circles etc. Unless you’re going for super high coverage, you can go ahead and apply more than 1 pump.

The time that I put on the foundation was at 3pm and I was going out for a tuition class from 430pm to 630pm, then dinner with my sister before meeting my husband after he ended work.

It was an extremely hot day. I was sweating so much my sister was telling me she could see drops of perspiration roll down my neck. So, can you imagine how much sweat was trying to ooze out of my pores on my nose? It was so hot I flipped my fringe up because I need wind on my whole face. I took this photo after running to my next appt because I thought I was late, only to find out that the appt was cancelled. -_-” So while waiting for my husband to pick me up, I took some photos at the void deck hence the messy bicycles behind me.

I would say that the foundation stayed on pretty well. I did not touch up, just pat away the perspiration on my skin with many tissue papers. If you’re in the market looking for a foundation that has a satin finish, has oily-combination skin like me, don’t mind splurging a little, try this out.

Some comparison photos:

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I sharpened all the photos to the same extent so you can see how well the foundation actually smooth out the appearance of my pores. As I naturally will become ‘dewy’ because of secretion of oil, I don’t usually like the glowy/satin finish the foundation gives at first.

I would definitely repurchase this after I’m done with it.

Love,

XinEr

Elaine C’s Prewedding Photoshoot Hair & Makeup

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I was running a giveaway back in February on another micro-blogging platform known as Dayre. You can follow me here if you’re there! I blog about things that are happening in my life. It’s a more casual platform than WordPress so I kind of express myself more freely there.

So, Elaine chanced upon my giveaway post and contacted me. Her shoot was arranged on 21 April this year right after my course in Taiwan. She was the first person I did makeup and hair for after the course.

Elaine was going to renew her vows with her husband and at the same time do a prewedding (post) photoshoot that they didn’t get to do when they first got married. It thought it was an awesome idea and I might want to try it myself in the future.

She is also a mother of 2 beautiful girls who were so cute when I was doing the hair and makeup for their mom.

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Her eldest daughter was sitting on the bed, observing what I was doing and constantly complimenting her mom, telling her that she is very pretty. She shifted her position so that she could get a better view and even walked over to take a look at her mom’s hair which she said and I quote, “Wah! Mommy, your hair behind is very nice!”

She has a very beautiful family and it’s even more meaningful that they’re doing the photoshoot together.

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It was an honour that I got to be her HMUA for her very special day. Thank you for trusting me, Elaine.

Love,

Xin Er

Bridal Makeup: Do you really need ampoules?

When I first started doing makeup and hairstyling for clients back in 2010, my teacher told me to sell ampoules and fake eyelashes to clients and initially I was only helping with moms, MILs and bridesmaids’ makeup so their packages don’t come with these add-ons. I was new to the industry and thought that was just how it worked and was shocked when I was told to sell it at $35 per bottle of ampoule and $25 per set of fake eyelashes.

I’m not a salesperson. I, to put it bluntly, sucked at it. I am often unable to sell because I, myself, don’t agree with the pricing. No doubt, ampoules do help to make the makeup last longer, especially for those with less than perfect skin. Fake eyelashes will also do it’s magic to open up your eyes, make it bigger and bring ‘life’ back into your eyes. This is especially true for us Asians who are not blessed with long and voluminous lashes.

After I stopped shadowing my teacher for makeup assignments (yay, graduate!), I teamed up with my makeup ‘senior’ (haha), we went out doing makeup on our own and we decided to include these items in our package simply because we didn’t want to upsell to our clients. 1550_Picture_Ampoules

Photo credit: https://www.janssen-cosmetics.com/en/shop/products/THGrp_Cod/10/TGrp_Cod/700/TUGrp_Cod/1550

What are ampoules?

Ampoules are basically more intense, potent versions of serums or essences. Typically, they are formed with high concentrations of active ingredients, which can help revive and boost the skin in relatively less time.

Source: https://www.eonline.com/news/694736/what-are-ampoules-everything-you-need-to-know-about-these-supercharged-skin-serums

The ampoules that are typically used by HMUAs in Singapore are those that come in the form of a vial and once you break it open, you have to use them up. In recent years, ampoules have gained popularity and many skincare brands have also come up with their own ampoules that you can use at home. If you’re interested to find out about them, click here.

Ampoules: Yay or Nay?

Back to the question of do you need it for your bridal makeup? If you have a set of skincare routine that works perfectly for you and you know that your makeup will last with this routine, don’t get upsold. Unless they already included it in your package, then why not?

After I attended the advanced bridal makeup and hairstyling course in Taiwan, I learnt that Taiwanese HMUAs believe in doing thorough set of skincare regime before bridal makeup instead of just relying on ampoules. Sometimes, if the skin of their clients are not that good, they might even spend more time than usual to add on additional steps in skincare before they start the makeup. They don’t mind splurging on expensive but effective skincare like Estée Lauder’s Micro Essense to use as toner, Advance Night Repair as serum and etc which I find is missing in Singapore’s makeup scene.

So, the next time you look for a HMUA, check with them if they include all these in their packages.

Love,

Lush Looks

Wedding Skincare Tips

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In Singapore’s hot and humid weather, how can you best prepare your skin days leading up to your big day, pre-wedding shoot or even on your actual day? Makeup can no doubt help to enhance your looks but it will not be long-lasting if your skin condition is not good. I’m not saying that you only do these steps leading up to your wedding, in fact, this should be something you do daily (for some steps) but it will help you achieve that natural glow from within if you take care of your skin properly before your big day.

1. Cleanse

In order to achieve that flawless makeup, especially those ‘glass-skin’ makeup, you need to start with a clean canvas. Always double-cleanse even if you only put on sun-block. I like to use my Bioderma Micellar Water on a cotton pad to clean off any makeup or sun-block. Usually, if I put on makeup, I will use another gel makeup remover in the shower to make sure I get everything off before using my usual facial cleanser. Excessive? Don’t think so.

2. Exfoliate

Ever since I became obsessed with skincare earlier this year because my skin went through a hell period after I came back from Europe, I’ve done a lot of research online on the different types of exfoliant. I used to use physical exfoliant thinking that I can just scrub all the dirty stuff away from my skin but little did I know that I was actually hurting my skin and making it more sensitive.

I found out about chemical exfoliant last year but didn’t find out how I can use them properly to get the best results. I just bought one blindly. If you use chemical exfoliant such as CNP Peeling Booster, you have to leave it on for 20mins before piling on the other skincare products in order for it to be effective. However, I found out the ugly way that my skin cannot ta-han all these chemical exfoliant on a daily basis. So, I’ve been using Son & Park Beauty Water  as a pH balancing toner and micro-exfoliant. What it does is it resets your skin’s pH back to 5 if you used any actives, acids or low pH cleanser.

3. Hydrators

I’ve been using SK-II Facial Treatment Essence for some time now and I love it! However, it can be quite expensive to use it too often. Furthermore, I read online that the effectiveness decreases if you use it too often. I recently bought Estee Lauder Micro Essence to try after I finish my bottle of SK-II. The essence will help prepare your skin to absorb the other skincare that you’re going to layer on later.

4. Korean 7 Skin Method

I’m now a korean skincare convert and do the 7 skin method religiously every night unless unless unless I am freaking tired. haha. So it is not as complicated as it sounds, you basically just layer toner on your face 7 times. WAH! Sounds crazy right? But it’s actually really simple, I usually pour a few drops of toner on my palm, spread them evenly on both my hands and pat it on my face until all of it is absorbed. Toners are usually very lightweight so they absorb quite quickly. Before you know it, you’re done and can move on to the next step. If you find that layering 7 times is too excessive, start from 2 and work your way up. Your skin will thank you.

5. Ampoules/Serums

I just purchased Estee Lauder ANR on my TW trip after my makeup teacher raved about it. She actually use it on her bridal clients before makeup together with an extensive series of skincare products. We have a different practice in Singapore whereby MUA will just apply a layer of ampoules and make you pay extra for it.

I don’t! I feel like it’s cheating people’s money because the ampoules don’t actually cost as much as what they quote you. Ok, they can’t possible quote you at cost price but I still think it’s overpriced. Furthermore, it seems like many people are actually able to get their own ampoules these days.

The concept of ampoules is similar to serums since ampoules are just supercharged serum with higher concentration of active ingredients in a vial. I, myself, is a regular user of ampoules so I’m not saying it is not useful but it can be quite expensive if you use it daily. However, there are many different ampoules in the market, they have targeted ones for makeup or whitening or hydration and the list goes on. If you’re thinking of saving money on your big day, though it’s not a lot, you can ask your MUA if you can skip this if it’s chargeable separately. I personally think if you have a set of skincare routine that already works on you and you know it actually helps your makeup stay on longer, go ahead to do it. You know your skin best since you’re the one taking care of it everyday, I hope. HAHA!

6. Sheet Mask

I don’t think there’s any need to introduce this step since it is actually very widely used by almost everyone. I used to mask everyday leading up to my own wedding last year and I could really see the effects. However, no matter how cheap the masks are, it can still burn a hole if you use the better quality masks. I personally stopped using My Beauty Diary because I don’t think it does anything significant to my skin. I bought quite a few boxes back from TW in April and they’re going to last till my next trip to Korea, the motherland of masks, where I’m going to buy crazy amount to last me a lifetime. (unless I decide to go back again) #justsaying

7. Eye cream

After doing everything for your face, how can we forget about your eyes? To be honest, I don’t use my eye cream everyday because lazy is my middle name. I’ve been trying to finish my 2nd tub of Origins GinZing Eye cream since forever. I’m waiting to finish it before I purchase a new one. Still in search of one that doesn’t give me milia seeds under my eyes. Any recommendations?

8. Moisturiser

I’ve been using Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme every since I got it in TW because of their Mother’s day sale in the departmental store. I got a good deal. In the past, I usually skip this step because I have oily-combi skin and moisturiser just feels too heavy on my face. When I was at the counter, the sales lady introduced this creme and ensured me that I won’t feel that it’s too think. True enough, it is quite a light weight moisturiser that I don’t mind wearing it in the day now. The website says that

In just 4 weeks, 96% of women said their skin felt firmer.”

however, I haven’t used it for a month yet. In addition, my face is not sagging and don’t have that many wrinkles (bless oily skin! lol). I only have fine lines under my eyes because of my sinus since young, I always rub my eyes in my sleep. Can’t help it. Don’t think anything is going to help unless I go for surgery and cure this stupid sinus.

9. Sleeping Mask

What is this sorcery? Mask again? haha. I don’t do this step every single night. But I do try to do it at least 3 times a week since I still have 2.5 tubs of Laneige sleeping mask to finish. OMG, how many face do I need to finish those 2.5 tubs. Goodness.

I found another type of sleeping mask last year that works better than the usual one from Laneige.

The White Dew Vita Capsule Sleeping Mask is a whitening sleeping mask with the synergy effect of vita powder containing vitamin C and Bear-shaped sleeping mask for a clearer and brighter skin the next morning.

The above is the improved version of what I was using last year. You’re only supposed to use this max 2 times per week. Capture

Photo credit: Laneige

I think the formula is too ‘gao’ (thick) for our climate so I usually leave some for my husband to use. Haha. He doesn’t like any moisturiser or leave on mask that has a thick consistency so leaving some for him is better than him not putting anything on his face. Otherwise, you can also apply it to your neck. I know they said to apply everything on your face but in Sg’s weather, it doesn’t get absorbed in until maybe 3am in the morning. I used it when I was in Europe where the climate is so much drier than Sg and the mask just gets sucked into my face within minutes. So, I think it’s really up to you how much you want to apply on your face/neck/husband’s face.

10. Sun block

What!? We are finally at the last step. As the name suggests, you only need to use this in the day when there’s Sun, duh. I use a variety of sun block depending on my mood because beauty shopaholic is me. I’ve been loving the make p:rem UV defense me. Blue ray sun fluid. It has SPF 50+ PA++++ which means you have protection for 500 mins or around 8.5 hours.

Protection of UVA is essentially PPD converted to a grade system. Used commonly in Japan and Korea, the more +, the higher the protections.
PA ++ = PPD 4 to 8, PA+++ = PA 8 to 16, and PA++++ = PPD 16+.

Geekyposh

If you want to find out more about how sun screen works, go to the link above. They break down all the different types of sun screen ratings for you. It’s a very comprehensive blog post.

Sometimes, I also use UV spray when I conveniently forgot to apply sun block before makeup even though my foundation has some SPF. Did you know that you have to apply 1/4 teaspoon of sun screen on your face? I obviously don’t if it’s just the foundation or I’ll look like I baked a cake on my face. So, having that extra layer of spray makes me feel safer from the sun.

Oh, if you’re going to countries like New Zealand where they literally have a hole in their sky, ozone hole!!! You have to reapply your sun screen regularly. I forgot to bring my sun screen along for my prewedding shoot and my skin was burning like nobody’s business in the tube gown. It doesn’t feel like it’s so strong until your skin starts to burn because the wind was cold. I learnt it the hard way. Don’t be like me.

 

I hope you find this blog post helpful and also find a set of skincare routine that suits your skin.

Love,

Lush Looks

Coming back to Hair & Makeup

The last time I attended any makeup classes was back in 2010 when I first started learning. Over the last 6 years, I’ve tried to start my own business and makeup took a back seat. Once in a while when my old clients contact me to check if I was free to help them with event makeup, I would if I don’t have any other commitments.

Starting and managing your own business comes with all sorts of responsibilities and most importantly, worries. I sold away my business at the end of 2017 to take a break from working, to take a break from chasing after money, to take a break from life.

I explored many old and new hobbies in the last 4 months. I took up watercolour painting classes and found that I had some ‘talent’ in it. I went back to lettering and combined my newly acquired watercolour painting skills and calligraphy to make cards. I am taking online classes on Social Media Marketing, Microsoft excel, Financial accounting (haven’t started yet) and also just got my Google Analytics Individual Qualification Test certificate.

My first few pieces on my own without any guidance, just looking at a photo and trying to recreate it on my own.

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I got back to lettering, a skill I picked up in 2016, and tried new stuff like embossing. It was fun and I created a few cards for my husband, family and friends.

Other than all these, I was also finding suitable advance bridal styling courses in Taipei. I contacted several hair & makeup artists who are conducting classes and found Julie. After many back and forth messages on Line, we finally settled on a 5-day 1 to 1 course in April this year. This is the first time I was in a foreign country alone, not knowing anyone. I’ve been to TW for 3 times but I was never alone. It was very exciting for me to go to somewhere and exploring the city by myself.

Advance Bridal Styling Course

The course came up to about SGD1700 after converting NTD to SGD and this includes the photoshoot so I thought the pricing is actually reasonable. I’ve also been following Julie on youtube for a few years. She has been uploading youtube tutorials where I spend most of my time on since eons ago. So, I was sure of her skills in hairstyling which I was most interested in.

The reason why I chose TW was because of location, language, styles and pricing. I’ve explored other options like Korea but I think language might be a huge problem. Furthermore, it wasn’t easy to find classes for both makeup and hairstyling in Korea. TW is not that far from Singapore, just 4h 50mins flight away. I speak Mandarin fairly well so language wasn’t a concern. I like their style, a combination of Korean natural/nude/barely-there makeup and Japanese loose tousled hairstyles. 12030405-772521429519520-4747755952638844344-o_orig

For 5 consecutive days, I was on my feet for 6 consecutive hours to complete the lessons. MUA usually stand to do makeup and hair for brides so when we were going through the lessons, that was what we did.

The last day was the photoshoot and this was an extremely nervous day for me. I’ve never had the chance to do a proper photo shoot during the last course because it wasn’t included. Also, I couldn’t afford one with a professional photographer because I was still in NUS, a poor student. 😦 So, this chance was extremely important to me and I didn’t want to screw it up.

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I had to pose for the camera but I’m just not a natural in front of camera. haha. This was the best I could pose without looking nervous.

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The model was engaged by the teacher and she is such a lovely person. She was once a Bridal HMUA (hair & makeup artist) so she had her own standards which made me even more nervous. However, from start to end, she was trying to crack jokes so I could be less uptight. I was glad that she loved her makeup so much that she kept taking selfies and videos of herself whenever she could. Phew~

The photos from the shoot are out and I’ve already posted some of them in the Lookbook. I also did a giveaway on a platform known as Dayre for prewedding shoot makeup and have already started on my first assignment last week. There will be another prewedding shoot this Sunday and also makeup for my friend’s mom for his wedding this Saturday.

Although I still don’t know if I will be able to pursue hair and makeup full-time but this already feels like a good start (restart). If you’re looking for a hair & makeup artist be it for your own wedding, for a photoshoot, for your mom/MIL/bridesmaids, for a D&D or event, do contact me to find out about my packages.

Love,

Lush Looks