My favorite make-up artist is making some press rounds and because I love her, I agreed to be in a promo video for her to shop around. Bare-faced, no make up, transformational video. I figured I already proudly copped up to being a former fatty, so let’s just keep it real and have you know, it’s alllllllllll just mineral paste and smoke screens! 😛
And now, I’mma gonna tell you how!
I love how Kawon approaches beauty and life. She lives and breathes a great message on self-love and being your best. It is actively loving, getting real, investing, and taking care of yourself. It is something I am passionately behind because I think not enough girls and wives and mothers are told that it’s okay to choose you and take care of you too.
It sounds selfish but stop to really think about it, and hopefully you’ll get it too. Despite all the chaos and busy that life tries to throw at you, please remember to do your monthly breast exams, take time to exercise and feel good about your body, try that beautiful dress in the window you love, or get that massage you’ve been talking about. Even better? Get dolled up and
kidnap ask your husband out for a midweek date! There is beauty in loving yourself and being able to love on others because you are all filled up inside.
I always marvel at how Kawon can ninja transform me from everyday to holy moly! She has gotten me ready for dinners, for fancy do’s, for parties, and she worked her butt off on our wedding and all the seventeen hundred events leading up to it. 🙂
I will gush and thank her for being born and she always invites me to join her at these little workshops she holds so I can learn to do it by myself and blow my own mind.
As if the fates aligned, one of the Sundays she was holding the class, I was scheduled to be nowhere, with no commitments, and no plans, but more amazing than that, my bfffffff was also scheduled to be nowhere, with no commitments, and no plans! This is quite a feat for us..weekends are crazy in our world of family, and in-laws, and husbands, wannabe housewife things, and church/temple! To add to the chaos, it was literally sandwiched in between her trip to Iceland and Borabudur and my trip to America and France so we were really kinda missing each other’s face. I think before Kawon even finished her sentence we jumped in and said YES! JUST YES. YES. YES.
Btw, this is Archananananananananananana (my autocorrect recognizes this as the right way to call her) and she is my girl. You should probably get to know her because she’s kinda pivotal in my life. We have walked each other down the aisle to our handsome grooms and we have weathered lots of hormones and brownie cravings together. If I was going to let my lala flag out, I wanted to do it with someone that would not only proudly let me fly it, but also help me to bedazzle it in pink. Kittyvinder, of course, had it covered.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect but it ended up being a full on girly-girl day of pampering, beauty secrets, make up magic, and the best damn homemade(!!) nasi lemak you will ever eat in your life. If I had to sum it up I would say it is part hoo-rah motivational, part mind-blown aha’s, and with the right mix of people, it is a blast!
My biggest best takeaway was that Kawon made make-up approachable. I pin a thousand things on fancy eye liner designs and lush sexy updos but I is scared and a chicken. The make up. The brushes. The tools. Oh, there are too many.
I have an arsenal of
secret weapons incredibly talented people that I love and are the real stars in my Cinderella moments. One of my friends (say hi to Pam!) describes our favorite adorably Japanese hairstylist as “super handsome, super expensive, and super worth it“. I have a great nail place that turns my stubby man hands into long elegant delicate things and do I even need further proof of Kawon’s awesome?
What I’m really trying to tell you is that I would have never expected this tutorial by me. A tutorial on who to go to? I can rock that. But this? This is so far from left field it still blows my mind. The secret is that there was a lot of trial-and-error, a lot of learning from really smart people, and stubborn determination. If you can’t tell already, I’m a sharer. I’m the kid that finds something I love, and will passionately convince my mom, my dad, my husband, my brother, my friends, my neighbor, a random stranger that they need to try it too because OH. MY. HAPPY!! It’s how I love and how I roll.
(And all my friends reading this just laughed and smiled because yes, I’m pretty sure that just described me in a nutshell. Don’t judge-lah!)
To even say that I am excited to share my at-home arsenal is an understatement. After the longest intro in the history of ever, I am bat shit crazy in love with these products and tricks and I am so dang excited for you to try it so you can blow your own mind too. 🙂 LOVE!
1. Josi Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
I discovered this over the summer stocking up and trying to buy out Sephora. It is an Argan Oil based foundation so it might come off as a little oily at first. Hard to imagine but it actually works out in your favor because it makes it so so so easy to blend and keeps your face moisturized at the same time! Win! A touch of powder after concealer to set it usually takes care of any shine if you don’t like that “dewy” look.
The liquid comes out white with beads (like a CC cream) and when you rub it in, it adjusts to your skin tone because it is magic in a bottle. It is a light coverage alone or a great buildable base if you want something heavier. I love love love that it comes in a pump bottle. One pump and you’re done, no waste, no germs, no spills.
Ninja it: Always always always blend your foundation into your neck. Also, always test out make-up on the area you’re actually applying it to! I’m not sure where this myth started but my hands (inside, outside, the palms, nada) don’t look anywhere near the color of my eyelids, or my lips, or my cheeks so why in the world am I trying it on there? Silly me.
2. Magique Perfector Concealer
This mineral paste is freaking magic in a container. It is by far the best damn concealer I’ve used and it doubles up as an eyeshadow primer replacing my much loved paint pot which says a lot. This stuff will make you look like you have amazing, amazing, skin and it doesn’t have the ugly “white” tell-tale glow that some bb creams and concealers give on camera.
It covers up freckles, zits, red marks, eye bags, scars, any damn thing and gives you beautiful. The best part, a little bit goes a long long way. Ka-Ching!
Ninja it: Apply concealer AFTER your foundation and always remember to set it quickly so it doesn’t crease up or “move”. I have a bunch of concealer and foundation brushes but I find that my fingers do the best job. Dab, dab, dab, blend, blend, blend. Just the right amount of pressure that I can feel and control. I learned this trick from Kawon, conceal not only under your eyes but also the corners of your nose and lips. It is where your make-up oxidizes and rubs off the most! Try it and marvel at the difference.
3. MAC Pro Palette Eye Shadow x 4
This little thing has changed my life. I hate clutter, and I hate having to flip a bunch of similar containers to find the color I want, and make up bags are so heavy so anytime I can trim it down I’m a happy girl.
I have four colors that I use all the time and it is really all I need. Every once in a while I might change it up and get a more intense or subtler shade like Nylon instead of Rice Paper, or All That Glitters instead of Gorgeous Gold but I essentially stick to this bronzey/gold/earthy palette.
Find something that works for your skin tone. A light color for highlighting under your brow and the inner corner of your eye, any shade you like for all over your lid, a darker color for the crease, and black for a little bit more definition when you want to get all fancy.
Just buy your colors in “pan” form and the store will take care of putting it in for you. The best part? The price of the pan is cheaper than buying individuals.
Self-contained happiness and I can build my own palette?
SHUT UP AND TAKE ALL MY MONEY.
Ninja it: Before I pack my makeup bag into my suitcase, I “pad” anything that has the potential to shatter and break my heart (blusher, eyeshadow, bronzer, baked minerals,etc) with a cotton pad between the pan and the lid. Depending on how thick your cotton is, sometimes you might have to split it into two, but that little layer will absorb and cushion all the abuse your suitcase will take and protect your make up bag from looking like a hot tragic mess. Freaking best cosmetic hack I’ve learned.
4. Kawon’s Magic Wand
I have no idea what this is technically called. Kawon designed it and sells it and it is a magical magical brush. You know how people take hours to perfect the smokey look? This brush does it for you in 2 seconds. It is a dense brush that picks just the right amount of eyeshadow. You literally just stab it in the outer corner of your socket at the crease (where you want it to be the darkest) and pull it in to blend. No messing with three different brushes, no blending seventeen times, no racoon eyes..it’s just stick it in and pull and you’re done! WHAT?!?! YES!!
My brain could not comprehend it the first time she taught me I was so mind blown. Every girl I know is getting one for Christmas this year because holy magic shitcakes.
Ninja it: WASH YOUR BRUSHES. REGULARLY. You know how you put on your make-up on the bathroom counter, or in my case, I like to sit cross legged on the floor in front of our wardrobe mirror and paint my face on. Just think about that for a second. Think of the eighteen million six thousand seven hundred and fifty two unavoidable bacteria that you’re picking up. Then think about when you touch up your face mid-day and all the grime you probably have on your face. Then think about how you keep it in your brush case where it’s dark and warm and cozy for it to multiply. WASH. YOUR. BRUSHES. You aren’t getting zits because you’re not washing your face properly, you’re getting zits because your brushes/sponges are nasty! Oh, and don’t forget your lash curler too! (Wipe it with an alcohol swab) You’re welcome for that rant. 😛
5. Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Eye Liner – Waterproof Black
This is the bombdiggity. I have tried expensive liners, fancy liners, cheap liners, crayon liners, ergonomic liners, and I still come back to this one every time. It is so so easy to use, doesn’t flake, doesn’t smudge, doesn’t bleed, and the brush is just stiff and pointy enough for a cat eye and just soft enough to not stab you in the eye. It is also the perfect jet black but the best part is that it’s CHEAP! Drugstore, Wal*Mart, buy it by the dozens, cheap. Hallelujah.
Ninja it: Never ever ignore your eyebrows. I am so guilty of this, I get them groomed (Shu Uemura does a great job, they tweeze and trim and love on it. It’s free when you purchase a certain amount so the cheapskate in me just stocks up and refuses to pay for something I can get for free. Heh.) but I didn’t use to draw them in because it is my total weak spot and I just don’t want to talk about it. But really, it makes a huge huge difference when you draw them in and when you don’t. It gives your face so much more definition and completes your whole look. Not drawing your eyebrows in is a lot like wearing a pretty dress without a bra. Where’s the support yo? You look pretty but something is a little off, lopsided maybe. Wear the bra. Draw your eyebrows in.
6. Shu Uemura False Eyelashes – Farfallina
If there’s anything I can rock and KNOW it’s my totally fake eyelashes. I get lots of compliments on it that make my head big and it always makes me laugh when people ask me what mascara I use! I’m Chinese, my real eyelashes are short and barely there. And then I tell them the secret, I have an Oprah moment where I say, FARFALLINA FOR YOU AND YOU AND YOU!!!
It has the perfect triple blend of dark brown and black, fanning out in varying lengths so they’re natural and they give you instant va-va-voom! People always write off false eyelashes because they think is too hard to put on (read on my little friend) and perhaps they’ve tried others that are hard and poky. It is my personal mission to make you understand that false eyelashes are amazeballs and this is the creme de la freaking creme. I’m not sure what the “strip” part is made of but it is so so comfortable you won’t feel them and it’s so well made it’s reusable.
Ninja it: ALWAYS trim your lashes according your eye and trim from the back end (the longest part of the lash)! It is the key to comfortable wear all day long. To measure, hold it up against your lid (with a little leeway in the front for blinking) to gauge and just snip off with manicure scissors or a nail clipper. When you have them on, you should not feel anything poking you at all. Trim them or readjust!
7. DUO Eyelash Adhesive – Dark Tone
This is the best damn eyelash glue you will ever get in your life. It is smudge-proof, cry-proof, tropical humidity-proof, and has the power to both stay on when you need it to but is easily removable at the end of the night. I love the dark tone one, it just blends right into my eyeliner and I just have a lot of love for this glue.
Ninja it: Instead of buying the fancy fake eyelash applying contraptions, I use a pair of tweezers, the back of a brush, and my fingers. Always let your eyelash glue dry a little on the lash to let it get a little tacky, it makes the process way easier and faster.
Using your fingers, apply the eyelash from the outer corner then use your tweezers to adjust the inner corner. And here’s the mac daddy secret of it all, pun intended, use the back of a brush to push it down. (I like the Mac 217 blender brush for this but any eyeshadow brush with a rounded back will do)
The round back of the stick curves perfectly around your lids and helps you secure your lashes on. I push it down from the top, then push it back out from the bottom to fluff it out. It is all day staying power just with this additional step which if you’ve ever had a corner of your eyelash come undone mid-day, you know how damn annoying that is.
8. MAC Powder Blush – Peaches
I love this blush. It is the absolute perfect color. It is orangy-peachy-rosy goodness and at first, it might look like it will be a little too intense but it has just the right amount of awesome to brighten up your face. I am a sworn believer. SWORN. BELIEVER.
Ninja it: Totally smile when you’re applying blush to apples of your cheeks and definitely make the fishy face when you’re contouring! You look stupid, but it really does guide where you need to put the colors in.
For the darker color (what you are trying to define), imagine a big 3 on the side of your face and follow. The top of your 3 is your hairline/temples, the middle is your cheekbones, and the bottom is just beneath your jawline. Don’t forget the sides of your nose too then follow up with a highlight color for the areas you didn’t touch. BLEND. BLEND. BLEND but never put the colors on top of each other, just side-by-side then blend to meet. The order for your cheeks from the top should be highlight, blush, dark color. Sometimes, I finish it off with a shimmery highlight in the “triangle” just beneath my eyes and into my temples. It really helps to make it “pop”.
9. Urban Decay Make Up Setting Spray – All Nighter
This is the best invention in the history of ever. You spray it on and nothing moves and nothing smudges. I live very very very close to the equator, the humidity is about 100000000000% so things can get ugly. I almost never carry any touch up tools with me, I just don’t have time or space so this is a god-sent love! In my everyday normal life, I don’t use this, you’re lucky if I even have mascara on. Hah.
But when you’re all dolled up for a party and you’re not going to be able to untag the seventeen hundred photos tomorrow, the vain part of me kinda wants to make sure my face is not melting off. You may still wonder what the heck I’m doing in that picture or what is that face I am making, but hey, my make up is flawless! 😛
Ninja it: DON’T BE LAZY. Wash it all off at the end of the night. All the steps. I know so many times I want to skip a bunch of steps because I am so so tired. But no matter how organic, how natural, how non-violating your product promises to be, you’ve still essentially covered up your face with a bunch of junk for the day. Use a make up remover. Get the proper products and tools. Use a sponge to wash it all off. Double cleanse. Exfoliate. Ice. Tone. Masque. Serum. Eye cream. Moisturize. Do it all. It makes a huge difference if I even just skip one step and you can horrifically tell. Over time, it translates into bad skin, wrinkles, pore scars, nastiness. 15 minutes now versus a lifetime. IT’S. WORTH. IT. Trust me-lah.
10. Rock it like a Princess Kitty
I saved the best for last, and it is the most important.
The best most charming beautifully flawless girls are the ones that are pretty inside too.
I am a work in progress, and I may never be done in this lifetime learning beauty secrets or new makeup skills but mostly, I am challenging myself to be a woman obsessed with being comfortable in my skin. Some days it is hard, and some days it is easy but every day, I remind myself to just wake up and try.
Make your insides pretty. Smile a lot. Find a sense of humor. Laugh it off. Be kind. Say please and thank you. Encourage. Forgive. But above all else, be passionately optimistic. Every girl wants to be told they’re beautiful but I love it when my friends randomly call me Miss Sunshine, it makes me giggle and is a compliment I hold dearly because I feel all mission accomplished.
Choose to shine your light.
These other things, they’re just masks and make up. They are very well designed and amazing products that I LOVE and have all the magical goodness to make you look flawless. But they are not enough. They can be removed and screwed up.
I have days where my roots severely need a touch up, and my eyeliner has a mind of it’s own or I am way too lazy to look “flawless”. It is bare faced as real as it gets comfy in my mumu goodness. But I remember all the good and great in my life and I am grateful. I smile that pretty smile I lucked out getting from my mama and I just work that.
Find your moments, find your joy, declutter, reconnect, and know who you are and whose you are.
That’s beauty that no magazine can scream insecurities at, no million dollar product can deliver, and not one you can buy. That? That is my ultimate must-have and I hope it’s yours too.
Ninja it: I like words, and I have a collection of “feel good” quotes that I hoard. On crappy yucky days, I go to my “soul speaking” board. It is my rainy day safe place, a good place. It is a place that forgives and inspires, but mostly, it makes me feel less alone and less scared in this crazy awesome seven billion people world we live in. You can breathe in there, and cry, and suck it all in and start again. Just always, always, start again. Start your board of “good” just for you today.
So much love and make up magic,
If you get, give. If you learn, teach.
~ Maya Angelou
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