I have been so busy lately that I wished I had more time on my hands. Besides setting up shop and trying to get everything together, I forgot to write. And when I posted on Twitter today, I asked myself what have I posted on My Blog. Nothing! There are so many topics that I wish I could have commented but had not. And tonight, I am going to go for something light-hearted and that is make-up.
When I had a short stint as a customer service representative at HSBC before university, they recruited Lancome trainers to teach us make-up techniques and also taught us how to groom ourselves. In the 1990s, I remembered HSBC invested a lot in their staff training and it was a great organisation to work for. However in my case, the one person who influenced and inspired me a lot in looking good is my mother. My mother is a jack of all trades. She is a good nurse, a top insurance sales agent and a trained beautician with Pola from Japan and Yves Rocher from France. Pola and Yves Rocher were very exclusive skincare products that only the Tais Tais used them in the 1980s and 1990s. I don’t see them around in Singapore anymore. What a waste! By the way, my mom was also trained in bridal make-up (the 80s look).
My mother inspired me to look good and no matter how tired she was, she would definitely keep up with her beauty regime of skincare and light make-up. Those who know my mother will know how pretty she is and how young she looks for her age. When I turned 19, my mother got me my first make-up set from Clinique. She had asked my aunt who was with the SIA crew to buy me Clinique compact powder, blush and lipstick. These basic cosmetic products did the trick and form the basis of my everyday make-up. I got interested in looking good and started to get a lot make-up tips by reading a lot of Cleo Magazines.
By the time I graduated from university, I was using make-up from MAC and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. I learnt from Bobbi Brown make-up artists at their counters on how to use the concealer to cover my dark eye circles and the face cover stick to cover blemishes. I invested a lot on make-up, buying different types of blushes to create that perfect pop of colour on my cheeks. I also invested in good make-up brushes from Bobbi-brown but they lasted quite long. So it costs a bit more for good quality stuff.
When you are single, all that you earn goes to savings like insurance and then the rest for entertainment or clothes and make-up. That was my spending cycle. My mom tried hard to instill the importance of money but I think she failed miserably with my brother and me. Both of us are spenders but we do save through buying lots of insurance.
I started to be more stingy on myself when my kids came along. Now, my priority is to buy toys, books and clothes for the kids. Whenever I wanted to buy make-up, I thought the monies could be better used to buy cereal or milk powder for Caden and Charles. So I went in search of budget brands of make-up. When I was pregnant with Charles, I didn’t use a single bit of make-up because my face was ultra sensitive and because I didn’t use any makeup for the period of nine months and only cleansing foam and moisturizer, my skin got so much better.
After Charles was born, I began to research on cheaper brands of cosmetics from US brands to Japanese brands to Korean brands and I found my best mix. I will let you in on 3 of my secret budget brands, one is skincare range called Neutrogena for its facial wash and the other is St Ives Brightening Scrub. which I use once to twice every week to remove dead cells and blackheads and to brighten my skin. The 3rd brand is a renowned cosmetic brand called Revlon and their PhotoReady Foundation and compact powder are very good quality products. The Revlon brow liner which I got from Changi Airport is great too.
After I found these 3 brands, I never looked back and I saved a lot on skin care and make-up. I still look good because I wear make-up, blusher, eyeliner to accentuate the eyes and brow liner. The steps are simple. Wash your face with Neutrogena facial wash, sweep on toner and moisturizer and eye cream, then use the Revlon Photoready Foundation and Compact Powder. I still use my MAC blush and Bobbi Brown lipstick but have since swapped my L’occitane lip balm with Burt’s Bees lip balm that costs only US$2.99. For lip gloss, it would be Shu Uemura but recently I bought a Revlon lip gloss and will be starting to use it soon. Just remember to remove all make-up with a good make-up remover before you retire to bed. You can find budget make-up removers from The Face Shop.
I am not being sponsored by these brands but they are great pharmacy brands comparable to boutique brands. You can try them out and believe me the texture for Revlon is soft and gives good coverage. Great products are hard to come by. I know because I was stupid enough recently to be tricked into buying a S$36 blush from the Make-Up Store from Sweden without trying the product first. How can I be so stupid? I just thought the Caucasian make-up teacher would know her stuff and the best blush colour for me. I didn’t even bother to try the blush out at the shop and bought it blindly. When I tried it 2 days ago, I looked like I had just ran 21km. In an instance, I wiped it off from my face and threw it into my makeup box and didn’t touch the blush again. I should have just stuck to my usual brands and the monies could have bought one bottle of Enfagrow milk powder for Caden. So ladies, always buy the same make-up that the make-up artist has tried on you and that you feel happy in that colour. Do not blindly follow or believe make-up artists when they say “This is Fantastic Colour To Brighten Your Face.” You know your skin colour best, and if you are in doubt, your should invest in one of those grooming lessons and learn which colours suit you the best. If I have the time, I am definitely going to for one of those grooming classes after using make-up for like 17 years. I didn’t go because I have an expert at home.
I want to stress here that it doesn’t mean that pharmacy brands are lousier than boutique brands when they cost so much less, they are just as good and could even be better. Use the tester and try the cosmetic out with a clean tissue and you might find another piece of diamond in Watsons or Guardian Pharmacy. Do you know why they cost less? They spend a lot less on advertising and branding. They also spend less on rental of the boutique counters at Takashimaya, Tangs and Isetan and since they are well-established brands with a long history, they do not have to employ several make-up artists to mend their stores and all these add up to their savings which are passed on to the consumers.
If you are interested in finding out more about the colours that suit you, I have read on Facebook that Singapore renowned Celebrity Make-up Artist and Colour Expert, Audrey Quek, will be conducting a makeover course at SMU for ladies on 16 June 2012. I think the makeup range comes from Silkygirl. It is a is a Malaysia makeup brand, topping the retail charts and making waves in the Asia markets. Maybe you can sign up for the course and get great makeup and colour tips from an expert and not to mention budget makeup. I just saw the full Silkygirl cosmetic range retailing at NTUC today.