Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick-change Artist

Women are constantly asking me what's the best way to transition their look from day to night. Simplify your life ladies! First take a good look at your day-to-day routine. Do you have a 9-5 job that leaves you no room to go home to freshen up? Are you always on the go and keep a stack of shoes and bags in the car? If so, read on I'll simplify it for you.



The quickest way to transition from day to night is bright lips. It's really a no-brainer, you just need to muster up the courage to wear a color you normally won't wear during the day time. The shock of color instantly brightens up the face like it does Diane Kruger. She's still fresh-faced with no makeup on but looks like she's straight out of a period film with fuller brows and classic red mouth. Keep everything to a minimum and skip eyeshadow all together, load up on mascara and make sure you're ready to flash those chompers. This look is NOT for those with blemishes as the red accentuates any inflammation that a blemish brings. Not for those with stained or yellowish teeth either. Don't forget to warm up the complexion with bronzer.


3 snaps in a Z formation if you pull this look off!

If you're skilled with a makeup brush and liquid liner or any eyeliner, this look intensifies the gaze and brings high-voltage drama to any outfit. The plus side to having dramatic or defined eyes is that you need not worry about touching up your lipstick and you'll always look amazing in photos even from afar. It takes more practice to perfect a smokey eye and if done wrong will result in looking like someone punched you out. Tip: trace the entire eye with pencil eyeliner then set with the same color eyeshadow, finish off with LOTS of mascara or falsies if you can. Keep q-tips in your purse handy for any gunk that gathers in the corners of your eyes. This is not for the faint of heart: When in doubt, go all out!

(Notice how I used two totally opposite looks worn by Diane Kruger above. It's simple: If you wear dark lips during the day, then a nude lip/strong eye at night gives as much impact as doing the opposite. The best thing is that there are no rules! just simple guidelines to make life easier for you!)


crowning glory

Do you normally wear your hair down? Turn heads and elongate your neck with a textured updo (center) or a french twist with a twist like Nicole Richie does (right most). This works best with halter tops, one-shoulder dresses or backless numbers. It instantly lifts everything including your mood. Secret tip: It's a face lift without the pain, just don't pull the hair back too tight unless you wanna get a migraine. Don't obsess about it being too perfect. The reason why this looks amazing is because Nicole looks like she did it herself! Effortless!


let it down

I used to be one of those women running around in a wet ponytail. That was until I chopped it all off! For those who can't make that drastic switch, do the opposite of Nicole and let it hang loose like Leighton (center). Make it look a little bit more sophisticated by pushing it to one side in a braid or just let it be if your hair is naturally wavy. Tip: braid hair while it's still damp AND THEN put it up during the day. This omits the trouble of having to bring a curling iron with you. Best for those who need some hair to frame the face and graze a bare shoulder or strapless neckline.

skin is in

If your day wear consists of dress shirts, pants & other corporate attire, you might wanna take some of it off at night. Of course it all depends on where you're going, but a flash of skin never hurt anybody. Plunging neckline instantly lengthens the torso (red) and lots of leg (purple) shows off all that running and working out you've been doing. Blake Lively pulls both looks off (white) in one outfit and still manages to look so feminine and sweet!


lotsa layers

Do you live in denim shorts or cargo pants? Or are you simply not the girly-girl girl? Take cue from Alexa Chung who snazzes up the same shorts with a boyfriend pea coat, schoolgirl top & tights. Or you can raid your boyfriend's closet and wear nothing but his cardigan (of course it's not really just nothing!) and push the envelope further by taking the term "black tie" to a whole new level (far right). Just cause you're not in the mood to show some skin doesn't mean you can't look feminine and cool.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brow How

Do not underestimate the power of the eyebrows. An all too thin pair instantly adds years to a face and unkempt, ungroomed ones are totally inexcusable if you're way past your college years. Well-maintained brows frames and anchors the face, but a well-shaped customized pair may give the illusion of a slimmer nose and a slimmer face altogether. Having frequented Tokyo for my makeup training, I discovered something quite amazing, something I never really thought of when it comes to eyebrows: that you can change your expression with every occasion.
Japanese women are known to have purposely blunt-cut brows, almost as if the eyebrows stop growing right before the peak/arch. The reason behind this is that they can change the shape of their eyebrow, altogether changing their expression according to which best suits the occasion. For example, a square-shaped eyebrow would give the impression of seriousness at a job interview and a round-shaped one will give the impression of softness/femininity at a wedding or even a first date. Likewise, if one's features would be deemed as rather mousy or younger than their age, a square-shaped pair of eyebrows would give the impression authority, power and sternness. Features that are rather masculine? soften it up by going for a rounder shape. Same goes for a face that is rather round or plump, a square-shaped pair of eyebrows will instantly balance and give the illusion that's slimmer, so on and so forth.

Square shaped brows say "I'm strong, independent..."

L-R: Dakota Fanning, child-no-more, Angelina Jolie means serious business

Round shape brows say "I'm romantic, feminine.."

L-R: hottie Megan fox & romantic Drew Barrymore

The best form of eyebrow grooming is threading because it won't leave the skin sagging the way eyebrow waxing does throughout the years. Threading is able to take out hairs which the naked eye can't see or the tweezer can't pluck. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes if done by a skilled threader. Word of caution though, NOT all threaders are eyebrow threaders. A skilled or professional must understand eyebrow shape, the direction of the hair growth and is equipped with tools OTHER THAN thread. How can you spot a novice? if a session of eyebrow threading leaves your skin with tiny blood clots or patches of skin peeled out raw, bumpy & very blotchy. I would find another threader if I were you. Remember, the skin around the eye area is the most sensitive and thin-skinned part of the face. You can't risk damaging that area ever!

Eyebrow Threading

photo from

Getting your eyebrows groomed regularly leaves you a template to follow on your own in case you're too busy to get them done and cannot set aside time to visit the salon or spa. Here are several tools which will help you in maintaining groomed eyebrows:

Equip yourself with these...

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Brush & Slanted Tweezer by Tweezerman

Regularly combing your brows in the direction of the hair growth will not only set them in place but stimulate the growth of the hair as well. This will also prevent ingrown hairs and make it less painful to pluck or to thread. I like the eyebrow brushes that have a comb on the other side. The brush side is an awesome blending tool for when you have to fill them in later on. Pluck any stray hairs that grow back especially underneath the arch and in between the eyebrows (nobody looks good in a uni-brow, unless you're Bert from Sesame Street!). Slanted tweezers are just sharp enough to take out even as little as a stubble but not pointed enough to injure your eye area. Drop them and the tweezers are dead. Yes, that's right! Dropping your tweezers will disalign the prongs of your tweezer automatically making it less effective at plucking.

As a self-declared mascara freak, I'm always on the lookout for products that stimulate lash growth. Then one day it hit me, if a product is good enough to make lashes grow, then there's no rule that says it can't be used for the brows as well. If you're desperately trying to grow your eyebrows back, daily use of L'Oreal Lash Serum will speed up the growth of the hairs on your eyebrow. It really works for me! My threader as my witness, I now have to come in weekly as opposed to every 2 weeks to get my eyebrows done. She describes my eyebrows as "fuller" and "thicker".

L'Oreal Renewal Lash Serum

(good enough for eyebrows too!)

If your brows are already full, clear mascara or clear brow gel will yield a sleek, put-together finish even without any makeup. It not only sets hair but you can tame them into place without ever the risk of applying them too dark or the hassle of blending makeup altogether. Lucky you, bold eyebrows have made a comeback and they are here to stay! Full brows are the secret to maintaining a youthful appearance!

The Body Shop Clear Brow Gel

won't put a dent in your bank account!

The great thing nowadays about brows is that brands which are at the forefront of makeup and cosmetics realize that not everybody has the time or luxury to buy a truckload of makeup. Catering to the career-driven woman who's either got about 5 minutes tops to do her face or one who can't be bothered fussing over makeup, are the eyebrow multi-taskers. If your eyebrows are semi-full or have an ample amount of hair, need minimal filling in, then these one-stop shop must-haves are yours on-the-go:

Benefit Speed Brow Gel

Polished eyebrows in one sweep!

MAC Brow Set

Best-selling shades are Girl/Boy (reddish-brown) & Beguile (blondish-brown), comes in clear too!

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Manicure in Palm Beige

The cone-shaped pointed brush allows you to use it like eyebrow pencil!

It takes skill and some amount of practice to use the tinted eyebrow gels I mentioned above. I know a lot of women who still prefer eyebrow pencils. With a light hand and the right kind of pencil, anyone can achieve the "bold" eyebrow look that's back this season. Pencils are best for filling in bald spots, emphasizing arches and lengthening the tail.

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Liner in Seal Brown

The most universal brownish black you'll ever find, no sharpening required! retractable pencil comes with an angled brush on the other end!

Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown or Acorn

sold as a regular pencil, trained Shu Uemura associates will sharpen this for free into a "dagger" shaped slant. Used flat for shading, tilted to the side to draw one hair at a time. Guess what? IT ONLY DRAWS ON THE EYEBROW AREA. (don't attempt to use as eyeliner! It won't draw on your eyelid!)

Benefit Instant Brow Pencil

A pencil+wax in one plus brush on the other end for combing hairs into place!

If you've got the blending time and have quite the technique with a brush, you can also achieve a soft full brow with dual powder formulas. The right angled brush plus a little bit of water allows an adjustable finish. Less water for stronger, more defined; more water for a sheer, more natural brow.

The Body Shop Eyebrow Kit

comes in two shades you can mix with a nifty angled+pointed brush that folds in half for storage!

Chanel Le Sourcil Eyebrow Kit

3 shades of powder+brush+angled brush+tweezers = all bases covered (this was my first ever eyebrow kit and I love it to this day!)

Benefit Brow Zings

tinted wax+powder to set+angled & rounded brush+tweezers for depth & definition

Bear a few things in mind when it comes to eyebrows:
  1. You can substitute a bit of hair spray on a mascara brush in place of clear eyebrow gel to tame unruly brows.
  2. No two eyebrows are alike & you'll only end up over-plucking them if you insist on getting them as symmetrical as possible. Pick the fuller brow and fill in the other one to make it look the same.
  3. Dab a bit of concealer underneath the eyebrow arch in case you didn't have time to pluck stray hairs. Doing this gives you that alert-alive-awake-enthusiastic appearance.
  4. Bleaching, dying, shaving & trimming should be left to the professionals. Enough said.
  5. Cosmetic tattoos should be the last option, remember that getting one will leave you marked for life.