Today’s Dispatch: Wear Better Makeup

Every year, I often find myself failing to meet my goal of using up as many of my existing cosmetics as possible. So far I’ve managed to use up one product for the entire year, which happens to be a moisturizer that was prescribed by my former dermatologist two years ago; the rest of the products that I’ve thrown away from my arsenal have either turned on me or broken me out (goodbye, cheap-ass “mineral” BB cream!), which annoys me even further because I could have spent all of that money on a good dermatologist anyway.

Luckily, this year seems to be off to a good start, judging by one of my favorite selfies from our family trip to Singapore on our New Year’s vacation:
Taken at Marina Square shopping center in Singapore.
I really tried to get the Esplanade in the background here, but that place is huge.
Product list (and product FAILs), after the jump.. 

Product FAILs:
– Maybe it’s because of the air-conditioning or the colder weather, but none of my eyeliner pencils seemed to work in SG; I couldn’t get them to stay on without dragging or smearing all over. I did manage to snag a pot of Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner, though, so hopefully I can get my act together on the eyeliner front again. 
– Speaking of my eyes, I really need to do something about that under-eye area. Note to self: Use that Garnier Light eye roll on thingy more often. 
– Looking back on all the selfies I took in SG, I’m beginning to wonder if I should also invest in a whitening toothpaste. That smile hasn’t looked happy in quite a while, I say.

And now, on to the actual Products Used for this look…

– FACE:  Maybelline Clear Smooth 8-in-1 Skin Transformer BB Cream, shown here. After a year’s worth of dilly-dallying, I finally went ahead and got a tube of this for myself, and let me tell you – this has got to be one of the best foundations I have tried in the last three years. It’s not perfect, to be honest – it only comes in two shades (mine is 01 Fresh – a little too pale for me, but it has the yellow undertone to cancel out the redness on my face), and it definitely gives you ghost-face when using flash photography – but I am not joking when I say that my skin has never looked better and behaved so well whenever I use this. No breakouts, no itchiness, and it slips on without a single streak when I apply it with my hands, even on the spots that need more coverage.  And all of this in a tiny 18ml tube that I can take on the plane!

– EYES: Now that I’m out of Too Faced Shadow Insurance, I have begun re-using Etude House’s Proof 10 Primer; still stickier than Shadow Insurance, but really gets the job done. The eyeshadow palette I took with me is MAC Colorforms Warm Eyes x 5, which I purchased at Nordstrom Ala Moana four years ago. As much as I tried to re-create the eye look that I got when I first tried this in 2008, it’s just not the same – too subtle, I guess? In any case, at least I have proof that I don’t have to pull too many tricks to get my eyes to stand out. (Also, ELF’s Eye Crease Brush has become my favorite go-to brush for blending and smudging – exactly what I need.)

Mascara used here is Revlon PhotoReady, which I always use with an eyelash curler; it’s a lot more work than I’m used to, but that combination, to me, has brought me some much-needed va-va-voom, on top of preventing annoying smudges. (I use the non-waterproof formula; it’s a tad too runny for me, but once it’s on, it’s on.)  I’m torn about re-purchasing this, though, especially since Maybelline runs a little cheaper over here and their formulas have given me insta-curling with no smudges. And the eyebrows were filled in with a pencil that I’ve purchased from Saizen in TriNoma.

– CHEEKS: All these months of watching makeup tutorial videos on YouTube has gotten me addicted to the concept of contouring, so I’ve been using my Maybelline Mineral Power Finishing Veil pressed powder in Dark (now discontinued) to play down the cheek-chubbiness and give me a little bit of a tan. Since I left my blush in Manila, however, I ended up using BeneFit High Beam (the tiny tube that came with my Celebutante kit) on my cheekbones and other places that needed definition. Judging by my asymmetrical face in this selfie, I probably need more practice on the contouring… or maybe it’s the camera angle? Yep, definitely the camera angle.

(Note to readers in the Philippines: If BeneFit is too expensive for you, try Etude House’s range of Golden Ratio liquid/cream highlighters, which give more bang for the buck.)

– LIPS: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi, which I purchased on sale a few minutes right before this picture was taken. With all the strong eye makeup that I’ve been wearing, I could really use a nice, none-too-orange-y nude that doesn’t erase my mouth altogether. This one fits the bill; it goes on super-smooth, doesn’t dry out too much, and can be instantly revived with a little gloss.

– HAIR: Meet my new best friend, Gatsby Moving Rubber Multiform hair wax. The folks at Gatsby recommend this to get K-pop worthy hair, but I use this to bring out the natural wave from growing out my pixie cut. Great for the days when I just want something carefree for the weekend without looking slept-in. 

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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