the best makeup looks for newly lightened hair

September 14, 2017  |  Makeup Tutorials  |  1 Comment

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently went lighter in the hair department, thanks to Avan at Blow+Bar Singapore. I have been raving about him to everyone because I’m so genuinely impressed: I have really, really thick hair and it takes forever to balayage, but he was so patient and meticulous throughout the painstaking process. I think his effort really shows in how well all the different shades blended together, and I love how it all turned out. So if you want to change things up with your hair colour, you know where to go!

The best/trickiest thing about going light is that it can really shift your needs in terms of makeup. I say “best” because I love trying out new looks and enjoy the challenge or figuring out how my new hair colour affects my overall colouring, but it can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. If you feel like light hair really washes you out, then here’s some advice from a girl who’s really been around the hair colour block.

blow + bar bronde balayage

I naturally have jet-black hair, pale freckly skin and light eyes so there’s a huge shift in my colour balance when I lighten my hair. It’s contast that keeps me from looking ill, and when that contrast doesn’t come from my dark hair it needs to come from my makeup. Bolder makeup is a necessity when I go light, which means – at the very least – filled-in-brows and a punchy lip colour.

This is a quick everyday look that I do now, when I’m in a rush. When I have a few more minutes I’ll use eyeliner as well, however this is the bare minimum I can get away with. It’s not a lot of makeup and it’s no hardship to put on quickly, but wearing a bold lip casually can take some getting used to if you’re usually a sheer tinted balm kind of girl like me. My Cle de Peau Beauté Lipstick in Dragon Red has been making this transition really easy on me though – while the colours are very rich and pigmented, the formula is balmy and comfortable. Like a tinted balm, it wears off very evenly too so I never have to worry about being left with a cakey, matte ring of colour around my lips if I forget to reapply.

Cle de Peau Lipstick Dragon Red

Another good trick to looking healthy is to go heavy on the blush. Well, heavier than you’d normally go but hopefully still well away from scary clown territory. Picking a colour that works for you is going to require testing, but I personally like blushes that are on the warm side and have a bit of a sheen to them so my skin has a healthy, radiant glow.

One that I’ve been loving lately is Make Up For Ever Artist Face Colour Blush in B302, which is billed as being a universally-flattering shade. It’s a very inoffensive pink that has a touch of gold in it, which I find really compliments the gold tones in my hair. I predict there will be a lot of comparisons made to NARS Orgasm, but the Make Up For Ever one is less orange to me, which makes it easier to wear…and more believably universal in my opinion. I need to make a mental note to do a comparison swatch post with this soon!

make up for ever blush 302

So what happens when one gets bored of bold colours, or just NEEDS to wear a nude lip? It’s harder to pull off for sure, but not impossible. The trick is – again – introducing points of contrast. I try not to go too light on the eyes if I want to do a nude lip, so even though I’m not going all the way smokey I still aim for a filled-in lashline and some dark brown shadow in my outer Vs to make my eyes pop.

Speaking of pop, shimmer and shine are your friends with a look like this. Sheen = alive, whereas matte nudes (if your natural colouring is anything like mine) are just going to suck the life out of your face. Fenty Glow Lipgloss has become my #1 for a nude lip lately because it’s got enough colour to it for my lips to look healthy. I’ve also been using Stila Magnificent Metals eyeshadow in Kitten quite a bit to oomph up any neutral or nude eye look.

fenty glow gloss 1

Last but not least, being tan is always a good way to look healthier and less washed-out. That said, I’m not a fan of blatant tanning and honestly struggle a little with bronzer. I’m so pale that it either looks natural i.e. subtle to the point of nonexistence, or actually bronze-y which usually reads as orange on my skin. So I don’t have a good photo example of this yet, but I’m sure I’ll be able to remedy that soon since we’re leaving tomorrow for Bali and then LA.

In the meantime, I hope this was helpful for any of you out there struggling with similar colouring issues!

brow pow-wow

April 26, 2017  |  Makeup Tutorials  |  No Comments

I’m always flattered but flustered when people ask me how I do my brows – I never know how to answer because the truth is that I do very little to them at all. Personally, I like a more natural look (which is a nice way to say I barely tweeze) and on a whole am not a huge fan of the whole Instagram-brow, so my focus is usually on enhancing what’s there rather than creating a whole new shape.

There are pretty much only 3 brow looks I rotate through depending on my mood, the rest of my makeup and how much time I have. So when Make Up For Ever sent me their brow product collection and asked me to illustrate a few looks from their new pro-approved brow product campaign, these were the ones that I chose because they’re what I honestly wear myself.

1. Natural
When I want a fresh, natural look to pair with light makeup, I usually just brush my brows with brow gel – either clear or tinted – to give my brow hairs some hold and a touch more volume. I’m using Make Up For Ever Brow Gel in 0 here, which has tiny fibres in the gel to fatten up sparse brows while holding hairs in place.

Brow gels are probably the easiest and fastest way to do *something* to your brows so they aren’t completely bare. I also like to layer clear gel over softly filled-in brows for more hair definition.

make up for ever brow gel natural brows

2. Full
This is currently my de-facto brow look: filled in and more defined, but with a slightly wild, carefree vibe. I usually do this with powder or a pencil*, but for this exercise tried it with Make Up For Ever Brow Liner in 40 and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use. I initially thought it was just for people who wanted to patiently draw in individual hairs but even my fast, slapdash application yielded good results. All I did here was to colour in the sparser areas of my brows, with a heavier application in the centre of my brows and a lighter touch around the edges.

My tip for recreating this look would be to either first deposit the bulk of the product into the middle of your brows, or wipe the applicator off on the back of your hand before doing any edge work so that you don’t get any blobs of colour.

*Honorable mention: I use Make Up For Ever’s Pro Sculpting Brow in 40 which I reviewed here. I’m actually onto my third one now, because it’s the only pencil-type brow product that is foolproof enough to work for me!

make up for ever full brows brow liner

3. Sophisticated
I usually only wear my brows like this when I do very dramatic eyes, but I just wanted to keep the looks consistent for clarity so please excuse the incongruence of this look! This was created with Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow (a mix of shades 25 and 30) which in my opinion is a great product on its own but pushed into “must have” territory by its exceptionally smart packaging: it comes in a tube rather than a pot so it’ll never dry out on you.

Here I used a stiff angled brush to trace the natural outline of my brows before filling them in with short, light strokes. I also brushed them thoroughly with a spoolie to distribute the product and soften up the edges. My advice when doing the initial outlines would be to trace just on top or slightly inwards from your natural brow line rather than outside of it. Visible hairs around the edges of your brows is what will keep them from looking too stencilled-on and artificial.

make up for ever aqua brow sophisticated brows

I hope this post was helpful to anyone thinking about upping their brow game! If you need a little more guidance, Make Up For Ever Singapore has kindly offered my readers a 2-for-1 deal on mini brow makeovers at Sephora! $15 will get both you and your BFF a brow trim + your choice of any 1 of their 6 Brow Show looks. All you have to do is book your appointment at either Sephora ION (6836 5622) or Sephora Ngee Ann City (6341 9017) at least 3 days in advance and quote “EMILY” to get the deal. If you do make an appointment, I’d love to hear which of the looks you chose!


This post features products that were provided as press samples, however all opinions and observations are my own and not influenced by the brand or its PR team. This post contains affiliate links.

tutorial: natural contouring with powder

August 25, 2015  |  Beauty, Makeup Tutorials  |  15 Comments

The best way I’ve ever heard contouring described was in an article that likened its effect to standing under the most flattering light possible. It isn’t going to change your bone structure, but it can certainly turn you into the most sculpted version of yourself. Mouse over this image and you’ll see what I mean (you may need to give it a minute to load):

Before we get started, it’s important to begin with a very smooth even base. This of course means using medium to full coverage foundation and a fair bit of concealer, plus translucent powder to set your base products and make for smoother blending.

For this tutorial I used Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder in Shade 40, which I absolutely adore for its amazingly silky texture. It has a darker contour shade and a lighter highlight one, both of which are matte. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in a full review of this. In the meantime, on to the good stuff….

Step 1: Suck in your cheeks to find the hollow beneath your cheekbone. That’s where your contour shade will be going.
how to contour1

Step 2: Using a very dense brush, pick up a good amount of your contour colour and draw a stripe of it in the hollow of your cheek. I used Marc Jacobs Beauty The Shape Contour and Blush Brush.
how to contour2

Step 3: Based on your face shape, add contouring to other areas you’d like to recede. I have a round face, so I like to add a bit of contour to the sides of my forehead and on my temples which makes my face look less wide. I also contour the sides of my nose to give it a sharper appearance.
how to contour3

Step 4: Blend, blend, blend! With a soft fluffy brush (I used Sephora’s Classic Must Have Angled Blush Brush), use the lighter shade to blend your contours out. Focus primarily on softening the edges of your contours – you don’t want to over-blend it all into a tan!
how to contour4

Step 5: If you’d like, you can also sharpen your jawline by contouring along and just beneath it. I actually like to bring my contour shade down my neck a little as well just to blend my face in with the rest of me.
how to contour5

These next two steps are optional – it’s a weird little trick I do to give my contouring even more pop and my jawline better definition. It has a lengthening effect on short faces like mine, but skip to step 8 if you have an oval or long face.

Step 6: Suck in your cheeks again and locate the lowest point of your cheek hollows, just above your jaw.
how to contour8

Step 7: Using a flat foundation brush, draw a line over this area with the highlight shade and blend downwards over your jaw. With your dense brush, buff over the line. Once it’s no longer visible, you can add a touch more contour to the hollow of your cheeks if necessary.
how to contour6

Step 8: Finally, dab blush onto the apples of your cheeks, blending it towards your hairline and into the contour colour slightly.
how to contour7b

Thank you for making it all the way through my first tutorial! For easy reference I’ve included a Pinterest-friendly chart below, but I promise that after a few tries you won’t even need to look at it. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability. Also, I’d love to hear your feedback on tutorials like this, so let me know if it’s something you’d like to see more of. I’m seriously considering a cream contouring tutorial next…

**Sale Alert! Take 10% off (15% off for members) this and all other base products at Sephora Singapore till September 3rd**


This product was provided as press sample, however all opinions and observations are my own and not influenced by the brand or its PR team. This post contains affiliate links.