Considering I’ve been writing a girly beauty column for close to 9 years now, I was surprised to realize I’ve been a ‘traditionalist’ when it comes to makeup. Yes, I know new trends and products out there but all this time I’ve really only stuck to the basics—foundation (or BB cream), loose powder, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, blush, lipstick and/or lipgloss. I never really bothered to add to that arsenal because it’s pretty much worked for me—until, of course, I found out what I was missing!
So over the last month, I happened to encounter some of these products I used to think were superfluous, and after having done a road test, I simply cannot imagine my life without them now. Here’s my top 10 new must-haves:
- Primer– I know a lot of girls who are puzzled at the prospect of putting a substance on their faces that does not necessarily moisturize, does not add any color and does not offer sun protection. It is a clear gel (or mousse, in Shu Uemura’s case) that pretty much just disappears after you apply it on your face. So why use a primer at all? A primer, my dears, is all-important. It sets your makeup in place and makes the surface smoother for the color to adhere to. Some primers, like the one by Smashbox (in Beauty Bar) can even help minimize the appearance of large pores. And so, if you live a life of seemingly endless busy days that turn into equally busy nights and you barely have 2 seconds to check your reflection in the mirror, you will be pleased to note that with primer, your makeup will remain perfectly in place and you at least have one less thing to worry about. That’s a must-have, if there ever was one!
- Eye primer– You know those awful creases you get on your eyelids after several hours—where the makeup pretty much fades away and turns into an oily mess? This especially bothers me when I’m trying to create a smoky eye and the effect is a raccoon-like epic fail after a couple of hours. The solution? Eye primer! It’s a sticky substance you apply all over your eyelid, and like magic, your eyeshadow stays put all day and all night, down to the gel eyeliner or whatever glittery things or colors you want to sport. My favorites are Benefit’s “Stay, Don’t Stray” or Etude House’s Perfect 10. Totally worth adding to your kikay kit!
- Highlighter– Here’s another product that’s taken for granted. Ok let’s do an art 101 review—painting, or drawing, is all about darkness and light. You apply light on the things you want to emphasize, and darken things you want to hide. So in makeup, you apply highlighter on your facial assets and contour whatever needs to be contoured. For example—a highlighter does wonders to bring out your brow bones, the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones and chin. The inverse is true for contouring powder (discussed in #4). The best highlighters give a pearlized effect that reflect light perfectly and draw the eye on your best features. Spring for Guerlain’s Meteorites, or YSL’s Touche Eclat or if those are way over budget, try Benefit’s “Girl Meets Pearl”. Then experiment with it and discover just how much difference it makes!
- Contouring powder– This creates hollows and helps you correct and improve the shape of your face. Ladies with round or square shaped faces benefit the most from this, as you can darken the parts of your cheek that are too fleshy, leaving a perfectly oval canvas to work with. You can also minimize a double chin by brushing contouring powder along your jawline, create a cleavage with it, and also emphasize your collarbones. You’d be surprised, trust me.
- Lash conditioner– I was obsessed with lash extensions until about a couple of months ago, when I realized my real lashes weren’t growing anymore from the back to back extensions! Massive panic attack. Good thing I happened to be at the Shu Uemura private sale last month, and spotted a lash conditioner I was eager to try. After using it for a couple of months, I noticed my lashes were growing back and becoming healthier, including the bottom lashes! You can also try to use it under your mascara for added plumping effect.
- Cleansing Oil– I’ve always been rather content with my non-soap cleanser in terms of removing makeup. The only catch is, when applying darker makeup, it’s tougher to take out and you end up rubbing your eyes—a major no-no to avoid wrinkles under the eyes! It’s so much easier to just use a makeup remover to wipe it all away in one sweep. Shu takes it one step further with cleansing oil. Ok, I can hear you—if you have oily skin, why would you need cleansing oil? You’ve got to try it to feel what it does for your face. First you apply the oil and massage it on to stimulate circulation and to lift the skin. The makeup just melts away while you massage, then you add some water to emulsify, and by the time you rinse out, your skin has never felt smoother or more supple. I’ve been a fan of the original cleansing oil, but now I find the brightening version even better.
- Brow Mascara– Ever notice how makeup today is all about the eyebrows? And rightfully so, because the eyebrows frame your face and can change your entire look. We’ve graduated from the ‘kilay 2000’ eyebrow pencil look to using actual eyebrow makeup (applied with a slanted brush). What’s been fascinating in magazines lately is how they make some brow hairs appear lighter, almost like they have streaks of their own. That, my friends, is what the brow mascara is for. It lightens an otherwise severe look and emphasizes brow hairs, making them look more natural. If your hair color is a lighter brown, and your eyebrows are darker, this product is absolutely essential. Get it at Etude House in SM.
- Mattifier– I have been plagued with oily skin since I was like 10 years old (who said life was fair, right?) and my issue has always been the unsightly shine. I’ve been living off oil blotting paper and face powder or loose powder all these years. With powder though, there’s a tendency for your pores to get clogged, leading to breakouts. So you can imagine how happy I was when I heard of the mattifier. All you need to do is apply the balm over your makeup and it acts like a sealant. You nose and t-zone won’t get shiny all day. It’s almost a miracle. My favorite one is Dr. Feelgood, also by Benefit.
- Pore minimizer– Usually having oily skin goes hand in hand with large pores. To get rid of pores, you pretty much need serious exfoliation/microdermabrasion, but thank Goodness there’s a short term solution to this problem- a pore minimizer. This product goes into the pore (but won’t clog it) to make your skin appear smoother and finer. So by the time you apply makeup, it glides on easily. You can also wear it over makeup, it has the same effect. Try the one by The Face Shop (it’s what’s in my bag right now) or Pore-fection by Benefit.
- Bronzer– For everyone’s information, the ultra-white ghost look is over. Remember that Miss Angola bested everyone else at the Miss Universe pageant and she looked absolutely fantastic with her chocolate skin. All the other Latinas were ravishing as well, not to mention our own Shamcey Supsup (ok, unfortunate name but she still did us proud), and none of them, not even Miss China, were sporting pasty white, unhealthy looking skin. So stop it with the Glutathione addiction and whitening soaps and lotions, and celebrate smooth, healthy, glowing skin, whatever the color. And to help you glow like you’re a sunkissed goddess, there’s always bronzer. Try the ones from NARS or MAC, I find them to be the best.
Think you’ve got everything you need in your Kikay beauty kit? Better check again. In the meantime, hope you girls have a great week ahead. Catch you all soon!