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A Slice of Magic
The name was inspired from the manga "Beauty Pop". Koshiba Kiri's catchphrase, "I'll help you guys add a little magic", reminded me that anyone can become beautiful, with a touch of magic~

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Dabbling in DIY prosthetics

Well everyone knows my FAVOURITE time of the year is coming up...
And so far I've done my SFX makeup on the spot
  • With liquid latex and scar wax (See Halloween Terminator Look), or
  • Built a latex prosthetic from ground up using latex and tissue paper,  which is a tedious process and the prosthetic gets hard and stiff and basically quite difficult to reuse. (See Hongo Mio Scar)
The HEAT here may be the reason for all the complications though..

This time I dabbled in making a mold to cast the SAME prosthetic more than once. Hey I needed a pair, so might as well make them as identical as possible yeah??
I'd like to say it was a GIANT success from the get go, but face it... lack of research, impatience and my other faults... well. I'm glad I FINALLY got some passable results.
So here I am... gonna go through step by step... the basic idea of re-creating the molding process, as well as, run through MY MISTAKES, so that everyone benefits.


(Pardon me for the lack of pictures... I was hasty to prep for Halloween :) , and... well... frustrated when things didn't go well... T.T)

Step 1: Sculpting

Yep, first we need to sculpt the prosthetic we want to make a mold of.
Mine was relatively simple and flat, so I did it on an acrylic board.
Fully intended to be able to reuse the board... for other projects, but well... you'll see... later how I messed up.

A late picture is better than none? Taken after de-mold, see the layer of varnish.
For the sculpting, I used Nikki brand Plasticine.
I was going to make my mold using RTV Silicone and I read enough online reviews just before I intended to use it, only to find out that only a few kinds of plasticine were suitable to use with RTV silicone.
And since I only paid 80+ cents for this box... I HIGHLY doubt it was the Sulphur-free plasticine that could be used with the RTV silicone.
Apparently, sulphur based clays can retard or seize the curing process.

I was pretty much screwed... Since I planned on building the walls for the mold using the plasticine as well.

But hey. I spent hours sculpting the piece till I was happy... I wasn't about to clear it up and RE-SCULPT another out of water based clay, i.e.: paper clay, which has risks of it CRACKING as it dries and leeching stuff out of the silicone... since it is a porous material after drying.
So I read up on sealing the sculpt...

Few options came up, using acrylic spray paint, Mold release or equivalent, using PVA in alcohol.
I was kinda running out of time... since I didn't have time to go out and buy more supplies. Working sucks... I end at ridiculous hours.

I dug up a bottle of Acrylic Satin Finish Varnish, which was really quite thick and viscous.
Tried to dilute a small amount in 70% Isopropyl alcohol, in hopes of getting a really thin coat, well.. that didn't go all that well.
The varnish started forming lil clumps and balls, oops.
Ok. I gave up and used it neat. Downside is that brush marks were left on it, but hey, it worked! Gave it a double coat since plasticine is water repellent and the varnish was water based, some areas weren't well covered.

Before we go on to step 2... Let's recap.
Learning points:
  1. Use of plasticine may have resulted in failure.
  2. Need for acrylic varnish to seal, resulting in not able able to reuse both plasticine and acrylic base board, and also brush marks on the sculpt.
  3. Don't try to be a smart alec and dilute the varnish.... had to pick out lil balls of varnish from the surface of sculpt.
Ok. Now on to Step 2...

Step 2: Making the Mold

For the walls of the mold, I found this plastic container that used to house Watson brand cotton buds, cut off the base and then used a snake of plasticine to seal the outside edge of it. And of course, proceeded to smear it in the same acrylic varnish...

Sawed off the bottom of the plastic container to use as a wall!!
I bought the RTV silicone from Artfriend, the Clementi branch, if anyone wanted to know.
The silicone comes with it's own catalyst, and according to instructions catalyst should be 2-3% of the weight of the silicone used. It went on to say pot life of the silicone is 30 minutes at 20 degC, and can be de-molded at 3 hours.

Seems quite straight forward right?
Well first aggravating thing is opening the damned tin. 2 metal clips securing the lid... and then when I tried to pry the lid open... it DEFORMED rather than popping open...

On to the calculations, I previously calculated for a generous height of 1.5cm, i would need approximately 70mL of the silicone... so after converting it to weight (the tin gave the density of the silicone), I needed around 100g, which would need 2mL of the catalyst minimally, which equated to 80 drops.

Ok poured around 100g, note... NEVER do this near the window. The wind provoked a mess.
Cleaned up the mess and continued.

Time to drop the catalyst in. I expected a slow drop drop drop so I could count.
No. Free flow, dammit. A bare tilt of the bottle results a steady stream of drops, unaware, I flipped the whole darned thing over, ok... umm.. I think that was about 20 drops? I need another 60 or so... I think.

Ok, now to mix. The silicone is white and the catalyst is blue, so basically mix it until no more streams of blue. T.T not easy. The silicone is viscous, and not accepting of water based catalyst.
Ok after about 3 mins of stirring, I prepared to pour...
From all the vids I watched on youtube regarding casting, I was supposed to pour in a thin steady stream. Mmm... it's kinda... not doing that. just glooping I guess...
Well... so much for the 30 minute pot life, I forgot Singapore isn't 20 degC...
It started curing as I was pouring the last dregs... so... it did NOT smooth out...
I thought it would... so I have a flat level base... sigh.

=.= what's done is done...

Before we go on to step 3... Let's recap.
Learning points:
  1. Conduct this process... out of the wind
  2. I think it's quite safe to say you can use lesser catalyst... in our hot climate, heat causes the silicone to cure faster.
  3. Use more caution when pouring out the catalyst.

Step 2.5: Demolding and... tidy up

(Unnecessary if you perfected the previous step)
3 hours later... and I suspect I could have demolded it earlier...
I extracted it.
Largely it was fine... but quite a few air bubbles and pockets... and well the giant lump at the bottom...

No way I am going to trash this... that RTV silicone was expensive!!

I wedged it upside down in the plastic piece for the wall of the mold, and used a penknife to saw off the lump, with the plastic cylinder as a guide. I managed to make it kinda flat... but not really level... at least not enough...

What I hoped the mold to come out as... yes, this is a pic of AFTER the heinous sawing
Dug out a tube of bathroom and kitchen silicone, yeah... I have weird stuff at home...
Proceeded to use a spatula to puncture pockets on the surface of the mold and fill the existing bubbles. After repeated scraping and patching over... I finally got it to an acceptable level.
Sure the surface wasn't smooth and pretty... but the scraping helped minimize  the bumpiness...

Alright... now to let it sit and fully cure... since it was still kinda tacky.

Step 3: Preparing the gelatin base.

I decided, quite last minute, to use gelatin instead of liquid latex.
My small bottle of liquid latex was quite sad and frankly I should throw it away... It was not a good idea to store it horizontally... it formed this film on the sides of the bottle and when it dried... more liquid latex adhered... and basically I had v little useable latex.
I still have a fairly giant bottle of unopened Mehron liquid latex though.

Alright so first time doing this. And boy, it was a downright sticky mess to work with.

Basic ratios... quite simple.
Gelatin : Glycerin : Water
    1     :      1      :     1

The smartest thing I ever did in this whole entire process... was to color the water before I mixed in the Gelatin or Glycerin.
I used Acrylic paints to make a skin tone color, roughly near my own. Colors I used include Titanium white, sierra brown, ochre yellow and a green.
I did this on the fly, but I have created skin tone color a few times already before, and google was ever so helpful the first few times, I'd advise to consult Google.

Alright, you don't need a thick paint, just enough to tint the water the right color, so that there's less work later on.

For me I used a tablespoon for each. Not really exactly....
I used the back of the paint brush I was using to mix the Acrylic colors, to stir it.

Into the microwave for 20 second bursts, stirring in between.
Wow it got hot fast.
But the crystals of gelatin weren't dissolving... Total of 1 minute so far, I could see a reduced amount of gelatin crystals... but still a dang lot.
Popped it in for another 20seconds...

Opened the microwave and was greeted by the sight of the gelatin actually doing a volcano.
It just... surged over the edge of the container... ran down and pooled on the microwave turn table thingy.
Well it was hot and messy... I had to take the whole turn table out to stir it. The whole time I was trying to figure out if I burnt it by accident...

Well turns out it was fine... and I managed to salvage the gelatin on the sides of the container... but not the puddle on the turn table... being too hasty... I didn't wait for it to cool and peel it off... but tried to scrape it off... while it was still warm, and needed to use water to get rid of the sticky mess on my hands...

Before we go on to step 4... Let's recap.
Learning points:
  1. Color the water first. Really. the melted gelatin mix is not that easy to stir.
  2. Maybe try shorter bursts...
  3. When cleaning up gelatin... wait, be patient, it peels off easily when cooled and solidified, though still sticky.

Step 4: Casting and finishing the Prosthetic

So once the gelatin base is made, it melts pretty fast in the microwave.
One burst of 20 seconds, stir and another burst of 5 seconds to make it a bit more fluid.
Pour it into the mold, sort of tilt it to spread it out into the grooves.
Quickly place my metal palette over it, FLIP the whole thing over and give it a good squish, until the excess gelatin starts oozing out from the sides of the mold.

I found this was the best method to get better edges and it overcame the fact that my mold  was not level.


I had to redo this 3 times, to get a satisfactory piece to finish up.
A quick run through on my 3 pieces, the first 2 were remelted, none went to waste.
  • First attempt:
    • I was hasty, and removed the mold before the gelatin set, so it kinda lost it's shape a bit. -Yes, this seems to be a running trend-
    • One of the ridges kinda... slumped.
    • But the edges, wow, the edges were pristine and thin... I wouldn't need to finish the piece if I had just let the bloody thing cool as it ought to.
    • Peeled it off and thrown back into the gelatin container for a recast.
  • Second attempt:
    • Ended with a good likeness of the ridges.
    • But no, I was too gentle with the squishing of the mold down, the edge was at least 1mm thick.
    • Nope that would definitely NOT blend.
    • Same process, recasted.
  • Third attempt:
    • Overall, quite good.
    • The ridges were there.
    • Most of the edge was pretty darned thin.
    • But a couple of spots weren't, and I would have preferred the thinning to occur closer to the piece.
    • Settled for it.
Yep, looks pretty darned good.
So to finish the piece, I used my metal spatula to cut around the piece, removed the excess gelatin.
Since it IS gelatin, I thought I could blend the edge down. Tried two methods.
  • Method one - Hot water on a brush
    • Didn't seem to do much...
    • Quite worried it might affect the integrity of the piece
  • Method two - Melting the gelatin on the edge specifically
    • Entails the dipping of the metal spatula into HOT water, wiping off the water and applying it to the edge of the prosthetic to melt it before sliding it at appropriate angles to taper off.
    • Appropriate angles are not easy to achieve. I accidentally cut into the prosthetic a couple of times and had to go back over it trying to hide it.
    • HOT means HOT. After a few passes, the spatula doesn't get hot enough to melt the gelatin. Had to reboil water quite a few times. You know it's melted when you slide the spatula and reveal shiny gelatin. If the gelatin drags... it's not going to work...
This is the blending process for a second piece for the pair. Right messy side, is blended, left has obvious edge

And to finish it all off...
Powder the heck out of it, I used the E.L.F. High Definition setting powder, which mattified surface as well as take the stickiness out. when the top is no longer sticky, slowly peel back the gelatin piece and powder the bottom.

Voila, gelatin prosthetic ready for application


Coloring and what not another day... This is prep for Halloween after all

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

#12 - Nail Polish

OO ok. 2 months is a longgg break.
I couldn't really think about an topic to write about... since stuff I thought of were mostly... things which... aren't easily explained in words.
A video or a demonstration would have been more effective in conveying advice.

Nail polish is still... cosmetics sooo.... I guess I'm going to talk about it.
I'm not a nail polish fanatic or a 'pro', -my left hand is still unable to paint designs nicely on my right!!-
But... hey, I think I have some advice to share. Especially with people who just started painting their nails.
sooo... let's go!

1. Base Coat
What is this magical thingus people insist on putting on before color coats?!

Basically, it's just a thin layer of, usually, clear polish which will act as a barrier between your natural nail and the color coat.
say what?
Ok, that means, that it's supposed to help you prevent your nails from changing color, especially if you wear nail polish often OR use really dark colors.

No. This doesn't mean that your nails will definitely become yellow or brown, eventually.
But if you change your nail polish color often and if you like using black or dark browns or something, you have a higher risk of your nails becoming discolored.

Well, that's the basic function of a base coat.
But, a base coat can have other functions, the most common would be to fill in the ridges of your natural nail, so that the color coat can form a smooth finish.
Another function is to help 'bond' the color coat better, so that there will be less lifting and chipping. At least this is what Orly Bonder Rubberized Polish Gripping Basecoat claims to do.

2. Top Coat
Is top coat a must?

Frankly, I would advise to use a topcoat.
It's wondrous, really.
If you left a fingerprint in your color coat, go over it with a topcoat, running the bristles over that spot until it smoothens out, then try to lift off as much of the extra topcoat you have put on there before it dries.
Voila, the nail is 'perfect' again.
At least until you try to open that can of coke you have on the dining table. *shrugs*

But yes, a top coat imparts a shine to your color coat, and we love shiny things. Yes we do.

Some top coats are better than others, and will help your nail polish last longer without chipping.
But let's get into that later.

3. One Thick Coat vs Many Thin Coats
Well... hey. Valid question.

We all have the experience of putting on the first coat of nail polish and... IT'S NOT EVEN!
Then we naturally want to MAKE it even.
So... we put on MORE polish, and it becomes this thick glob on our nails. Eww...

And then... SOME polishes are horrendous. The color is soooo thin, it might as well NOT be there!!
So we try MORE nail polish.

Well, can't say I've never done that. Haha.
But, one thick layer of polish takes FOREVER to dry and while it is drying... 80% of the time, we will blotch it up.
Ok, I will. Not sure about you, but just saying... IF it were me, I can spend the whole day doing that and still not be finished with my nails.

The benefit of doing thin coats is that it dries faster, and hence, we are LESS likely to blotch it up.
But then again, the downside... is you need at least 2-3 coats... to get the color there...

4. Well... FINE. How do you do thin coats?
T.T no need to get all riled up...

I'm no expert at this, but... first check your nail polish. if you think it's gone all gloopy, TOSS it out.
You won't be getting any 'thin' coats from that.

Ok, so now, look at the nail you are going to coat.
Is it 'large' or 'small'?
What kind of question is that?!

I have got to say, this comes with experience, after a while you will know whether you need more polish for which nail (based on surface area) and which nails you can get away with the regular amount of polish.

But to get the regular amount of polish, you will need to wipe ONE side of the brush, starting about 1-2cm away from the top of the brush OFF the mouth of the nail polish bottle.
That just means, scrape off the nail polish ONCE.

The you will turn the brush so that the part with the MOST nail polish will be in contact with your nail.

Position the brush so that it's ROUGHLY in the middle of your nail. No need to be exact here.
and paint a vertical stripe down.
Then go to the left OR right side of the stripe and paint vertically down again. Repeat until whole nail is covered.

IF for some reason, you didn't get enough polish on the brush to cover the whole nail, get more polish in the SAME way, start from the middle AGAIN, but work on the side that needs the polish more.

5. Ok, how long do I wait now?
This... even I am not exactly sure...

It depends largely on the nail polish you are using.
Some dry really fast, some... take forever.

Generally, I noticed... that you CAN paint another coat of nail polish over the last if it doesn't budge when you lightly run your finger over it.
BUT if you have >4 coats on it in total... the next morning, you MIGHT find lil crosshatch patterns on it from your bedsheets.

This is probably because, even though the layer of nail polish is dry, when you paint a NEW coat, the solvent in the coat will 'reactivate' the dried nail polish layer under it, somewhat.
This is why I said that top coats can be used to fix blotches, to some extent.

So the new layer of polish will dry since it's on top, but the layer underneath... well, it's not completely dry, but it's underneath, so it needs longer to dry.
and with every subsequent layer, this... problem gets a lil wee bit bigger.

Often I notice that if you managed not to blotch it up for ~4-5 hours, you shouldn't have much problems with it though.

6. Shit... the polish got EVERYWHERE. On my skin, and look a glob at the side of my nail.
heh, that happens.

Allow me to introduce the two most important tools to have when you are doing your nails.
The toothpick and the cotton bud.

Toothpick. well, cotton bud I get, but toothpick?!
No, I haven't gone off my rocker.

You know, when you've applied too much polish... very close to the left or right side of the nail... it sorta pools between the skin and the nail??
That thing is nasty. It takes forever to dry and since it's soo thick, it peels off VERY easily.

So. what you've gotta do is... while the polish is still wet, lightly run the tip of the toothpick in that space to remove the extra polish.
Wipe it off on a tissue or something.
Dip the toothpick in nail polish remover and wipe it off if you need to.
It really does help a lot.

As for the cotton bud, we all know how tht helps, twist the head to make sure the fibres aren't gonna come off, dip it into the nail polish remover, and use it as an eraser.

7. OPI. I heard OPI is awesome.
Not bashing on the brand, but OPI has some good points and... some not very good ones.

Everything here is personal opinion, so... take it with a couple spoonfuls of salt. A truckload if you wish.

I'm completely utterly in love with the brushes in OPI nail polish.
They are flat and wide.
What does that mean?
Fewer swipes to cover the nail.
It helps A LOT. Makes things easier.

OPI has a very LARGE shade range to choose from, they probably have 50 different kinds of nail polish for the same color.
You definitely will find something you like in there.

But... here comes the... not sooo nice part.
The polish... chips. A LOT.
Their top coat, isn't great, it STILL chips a lot.

My friend swears that Seche Vite Top Coat is miles better than OPI's.
I haven't tried that one.
So I can't say.

I hope this is helpful enough??


Monday, February 11, 2013

#11 - Testers Part 2

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!!!

I've basically touched on everything I wanted to cover, by accident, in my previous issue.
But I'll try my best to give it more body using this issue! ^^

So... in this issue, I'll cover things about how to choose the right shades, mainly for foundations and concealers.
As well as other products here and there.
So let's start.

#01 - Cool or Warm??
Alright, this is one of the things which confuses the shit out of people.
If you hold 2 different shades of the same color up and ask someone which is warmer or cooler...
well, some people wouldn't have too much of a problem answering you... but then again... some will.

Warmer shades will be brighter, more vivid...
And cooler shades tend to be darker, more subdued.

Yes. There is a warm and a cool shade of yellow, I was shocked too...
haha I've always thought yellow was a happy bright color and HAD to be warm.
But no. the cooler shade would be what we mostly call "Mustard Yellow". I just never associated it... well, with yellow for some reason.

Alright loves, but all that junk above ain't going to tell you whether you should pick and NC, NW, C or W shade of foundation.
And frankly, even I'd get confused, time and again.

Well... time to confuse you even more.
In cosmetics... it's the OTHER way around.
Cool shades of foundation are catered for people with more yellow/golden skin tones (warm undertones)
And warm shades of foundations are catered for people with pinky skin tones (cool undertones)

Alright so this is how it goes, skin undertone wise.
Deep yellow to olive (C) - slight yellow (NC) - pinky (NW)


#02 - Alright... sooo... Am I Cool or Warm???
Good question.
Hard one to answer in words. Next question please.
haha jkjk.

There are a few methods people traditionally use to determine if they have a more pink or more yellow undertone.
They aren't foolproof though... many people get confused over them as well...

a. Take a look at your roots
Well... by roots I mean... your ancestry, by birth or by your actual skin!
Generally... people who are really really fair or sunburn easily (usually Caucasians) have pink undertones.
Whilst people who are get tanned easily or have dark hair (especially Asians) have yellow undertones.

This one is the most... well... old method...
and it's not exactly the best.
Because remember what I said about having cooler and warmer shades of yellow?
Well, when you aren't the palest of pales, and your skin has a slight yellow cast...
it IS possible that for you to have a pinky shade of yellow undertone... so you'd be best off with NW, but then you might mistake your yellow cast to mean you are an NC or a C.

b. Green veins vs Blue veins
Say what?
Another traditional method is to look at your wrist, where your skin is thin and fair enough for the veins to show through.

People claim that... if you see blue veins, you have a cool skin tone and if the veins are green... you have a warm skin tone.
Well... again... there's a bunch of people complaining that they have BOTH green and blue veins, so what do the people who stick with this theory claim?
Well... you lucky buggers are NEUTRAL!

Load of bull crap in my opinion.

c. Colors
Another method that people are telling others about is to see what colors do you look best in.
You have cool undertones if you look better in: Blue, Silver, deep reds... etc
and you have warm undertones if you look better in: orange, golds, bronze... etc

Basically, the theory is... you are what you are and it'll show.
I don't really have much against this method though.

d. Unconventional
Alright, this one ain't much of a method, but still...
For me, I believe that method c, works.
But... as always... it'll fail... on some people.

Nothing works better than the old, put it on and go under a bright light to see.
Basically, if you think your foundation looks grey, pale or orange, you probably are using a foundation of the wrong undertone or you went too light or too dark...
Then again, it's all personal preference. Since my sis says I'm super pale with my foundation on... but I like it because my face is at least a dozen shades darker than my neck and chest... so it matches.

#03 - Color Correctors
well... if you are using an NC foundation, that doesn't mean ya gotta have an NC concealer to match.
A nice tip is an NW concealer can be used as a color corrector for dark circles!!
This is especially because the pink undertones in an NW, makes the concealer slightly orangey, or a salmon color as many people love to call it, and it helps act as a color corrector, neutralizing the blue/purple undertones.

Also if you are severely yellow.
Meaning if you feel like look unhealthily yellow.
Yes, there are people who suffers from a medical condition known as "Jaundice", which causes yellowing of the skin as a symptom.
You can opt to go for a NW foundation to help try to 'neutralize' the yellow undertone.

However, in either case, please note that for some reason or other...
NW shades, tend to be darker than the corresponding NC shade of the same number.
So you might have to end up getting an NW concealer/foundation several shade numbers below the NC shade you match.

Well, it's pretty late...
and in the end... it's largely personal preference...
So... I hope I didn't end up confusing another bunch of people.


Friday, February 1, 2013

#10 - Testers Part 1 (Hygiene)

Mmm... making this a regular... update is more difficult than I thought...
I just can't come up with topics fast enough!

Well, we are FINALLY hitting double digits!! YAY!
Ok, sorry guys... I don't have a BIG issue to release for the double digit occasion... I just don't plan things well... haha

Right, so... let's begin this mini series, "Testers".
Of course, we'd start the bat with the big topic... "Hygiene".
"Why?!" you say?
Well... If you've noticed, I'm pretty particular about hygiene...
And of course, since I'm poor, I tend to buy makeup from Watsons and Guardian... where... the testers... look absolutely, positively... CRAWLING with lil nasties.
Although, occasionally I do splurge on cosmetic sprees...

The importance of testers cannot be undermined, I was adverse to testing once and god knows how many dollars I've wasted on foundations which are a bazillion shades too light or dark for me to save...
Since then... well... I've tried my best to come up with ways to use testers... that doesn't gross the hell out of me.
Hopefully, these will help you too.

The organization of this issue will largely orientate towards 'Drugstore' purchases.
This means testers for products in Watsons, Guardian, your neighbourhood stores... etc where there isn't a clean counter and bright smiley faces of the MUAs trying to help you with your selection at Takashimaya or something.

Of course, at THOSE counters, remember to be thick skinned enough to ask for:
  1. A new applicator to test the product with
  2. Have the lipstick or product be disinfected for you
  3. Ask for a sample to bring home and try it out (Some MUAs might not be happy about this one...)
The first two will ensure that you'll be in contact with minimal germs and nasties and the last can help you figure out if the product is suitable for you.

Alright, let's get cracking.

#01 - Wet tissues / Makeup remover wipes
What about them?
Well... always bring them along whereever you go.
Even if you aren't testing anything, wet wipes are useful at unexpected times.

Basically the idea is that after swiping the makeup over your skin...
You can use the wipes to remove it as best as possible.
At least until you can find a decent place to wash it all off properly.

I prefer carrying Unscented Wet Wipes from Watsons, just because they're cheap and they work well enough.
Yes, I do use them to remove makeup too!!
Does an alright job before I reach home and use the makeup remover.

#02 - NEVER test directly on your face
Really. Don't.
Unless ALL the products have been specially disinfected for your use. At the counters.
If someone offers to give you a makeover, and you see unwashed brushes... walk away.
Chances are... the makeup products aren't disinfected.

I've seen teens and working adults test eyeliners and mascaras directly on their eyes.
Everytime, I stare in horror and try as best as I can to pretend that I wasn't staring at them.

Yes, the testers they were using didn't look half as gross as say... that foundation bottle that cracked and is leaking some oily fluid...
BUT... You have NO idea who used those testers before!!
What if someone who has an eye infection tested it before you? The eyeliner or mascara could be contaminated with the microbe. Chances are... that microbe... is probably infectious.

Even if you brought an alcohol swab with you and disinfected it before using it...
The mascara, for one, is already fully contaminated, since the person using it before wouldn't disinfect it before putting the wand back in.

And that lipstick?
well... who knows if the person who tested it before you had cold sores?
Which by the way, is a viral infection and presents as ulcers at the lips, so the person might just think it's just ulcers...

#03 - Test on your hand
Alright, so... this isn't exactly the BEST representation for your face...
But still, much better than risking an eye infection and blindness.

Testing on the back of your hand is considerably safer and also suitable for a large range of cosmetic products.
This includes... Eyeshadow, eyeliner, eyebrow pencils, blushes and to some extent foundation.
But we'll get to foundation a bit later.

If you are really particular about testing how the eyeliner and eyeshadow will sit on your eyelids...
The skin on the inside of your wrist often is thinner and softer than the back of your hand.
You'd be able to tell if the eyeliner will drag on your eyelid easily.

There really isn't going to be any spot on your body that can represent your lips.
Lips have a special texture, and the base color differs for everyone.
Everyone who's bought a lipstick knows that the color that looks lovely on your skin... might not even show up on the lips.
It really can't be helped...

However, Wayne (yes, I do <3 him) recommends testing lipsticks on your fingertips.
The fingertips are more textured than the back of the hand.
Of course, they probably aren't the same base color as your lips... but still... it's closer than the other alternative.

#04 - Mascaras?
Well, dang!
The rate this goes, you shouldn't ever test a mascara then!!

Haha, good news and bad news
You CAN safely test a mascara, BUT a few swipes won't tell you much about how the mascara wears over the day... it may extend the hair wonderfully... but... maybe it'll smear or flake or sommat.

Oh wait, I have yet to say where to test them... oops.
well... it's not... too strange.
We all have hair on our bodies, they aren't all that different from eyelashes.
So... the easiest place to test that mascara is... yep, on your arm.
Specifically, the arm hair.

What if you had IPL or shaved/waxed it off??
uhh... I guess... grab your best friend or your boyfriend, and test on them??

#05 - Foundations...
If the skin on the back of your hand is the same shade as your face...
Then you are one lucky pup and have no problems with testing foundations on your hand.

But of course... that... is pretty rare.

And in actuality... well... foundation SHOULD match your neck/chest.
It's no surprise if your face is several shades darker or lighter than your neck or chest.
The face IS closer to the sun... and your neck and chest get more shade from your hair and clothes than your face does...

So a good place to test foundations would be the neck or your collarbone.
Of course... this'll only work... if you... have access to a medium sized mirror.
haha... I've tried this out with a compact mirror... Let's just say... it was difficult to find an angle to view my collarbone...

#06 - Look at the condition of the product
Alright. This is kinda duhhh...
Basically, you have to judge for yourself if you dare to test it and where would you test it on.

If the product looks absolutely disgusting...
My reasoning is... just WAIT till you reach another store with a tester with a better condition.
Or you could be a good samaritan and... inform the staff of the condition and have them remove it.
They might take a while to replace it though...

Not exactly the best choice of topics for a milestone issue... (only the 10th though!)
but... I guess it'll do... ^^

Hope you guys like it!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

#09 - Eyeliner Tips & Tricks

Hey guys,
MIA-ed a tad bit too long...
First week of school is almost over, done with a test that I really couldn't bring myself to study, and...
well... signed my life over to a company for the next 2 years at least.

I know I'll probably miss out a couple of tips here and there, but not to worry, I'll be editing the note asap.
This is one topic that people really ask A LOT.
And I keep overlooking it... Silly me...
Thanks to someone on sgcafe for asking me for help on it and reminding me about this topic.

Soooo... this one is on making things easier for YOU when you do eyeliner.
Tricky lil thing it is, isn't it.... grrr
Let's get started.

#01 - Set up a good environment
Say what? What does this have to do with that?!
Anything and everything, I suppose.

Ok, so basically, this just refers to making sure you have the basics you need before you start, which are:
(a) Eyeliner
(b) Good lighting
(c) A stable surface to rest your elbow on
(d) A mirror, preferably one with a stand.

Why a mirror with a stand? So you can free up the OTHER hand to help you stabilize your eyelid.
You MIGHT need to place the mirror on a box to make it tall enough though...

#02 - Don't hold your breath
What??? Don't you NEED to hold your breath when you concentrate on drawing that line?!
The answer is...

Conversely, holding your breath makes it harder for you to draw your eyeliner.
Well... uhh... it just is.
Nah, when you hold your breath, and concentrate, there is a higher chance of you shaking.
You can't concentrate on keeping both your head and your hand still at the same time.
Holding your breath puts a lot of tension on you and yeah... one of them... is gonna give.

Instead, breathe through your mouth gently, open your mouth slightly.
Strangely, this helps in making you BLINK less as well!!!

#03 - Keep an eraser with you
Ok, now you KNOW I lost a screw... or two...
Who will put an eraser on their face and rub?!

Hold your horses people, give me a chance to explain.
Meh, of course I don't mean an eraser ERASER... those things are for paper... and pencils.

No, what I mean is to get cotton buds.
Yep, cotton buds are amazing, they can help 'fix' mistakes, so you DON'T need to start from scratch again.

Now... thing is...
Different formulations of eyeliner require... different ways of erasing...
So you just have to try the methods below to see if they work, remember if (a) doesn't work, go to (b) and so on.

(a) Use the DRY cotton bud, gently rub at the mistake.
(b) Dampen the cotton bud with tap water, squeeze out excess water. Gently rub at the mistake.
(c) Dampen the cotton bud with WATER-based makeup remover. Gently rub at the mistake.**

After (b) and (c) use the dry end of the cotton bud to absorb excess moisture.

** 2 phase makeup removers are NOT water-based.
If you do not use a water base makeup remover, the residual oils from the makeup remover will eat away at your makeup through the day.

#04 - Look up
Say what? Don't I have to close my eyes?!

Haha... well... yeah you do.
No getting around it. You have to close the eye you are working with...

No, what I mean is... place your mirror to be above eye level.
This FORCES you to tilt your head up and back, so you can see more clearly through the lil silver of space between your eyelids.
When you do this, the lashline is more easily accessed as well, especially for people who have hooded eyelids.
So you can draw the line as close as possible to your eye!

#05 - Choose the type of eyeliner that's more forgiving
Basically... this means... choose one that you can remove mistakes more easily.
Generally, lasting power of eyeliner is: Gel eyeliner > Liquid Eyeliner > Pencil Eyeliner.

Pencil eyeliner can mostly be removed by a dry cotton bud, but tends to smudge and fade quickly.

Most liquid eyeliner can be removed with a damp cotton bud before the eyeliner dries.
Dried waterproof liquid eyeliner may need a cotton bud dampened with water-based makeup remover.

Gel eyeliner... well... generally, they require you to rub harder and sometimes leave a dark smear on the eyelid even if you use the cotton bud with makeup remover.

Hence, you might want to consider using waterproof liquid eyeliner to get the best of both worlds.

#06 - Cheat!
How to get the PERFECT wing?
Well, cheat by using a guide.
I'll not make this note any longer... and I want to promote Youtuber, KlairedelysArt
She has a video about the lil things you can make use of to as a guide.


Well... I hope this helps you people?

Please let me know what other topics I should write about?
Please don't ask for reviews though... I'm not loaded so I basically use brands from Watsons. Unless it's something I really want from the US...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

#08 - Long Wear Makeup Made Easy

Ok, so... I took a leaf out of Wayne's book.
I really admire him and as I said before, I trust MALE 'gurus' more than female ones on Youtube.
Then I discovered neat tips and tricks by watching more videos.
So... yeah, people check him out on Youtube! His channel is called gossmakeupartist.

Well... not everything is from Wayne, but he's an inspiration for this piece, undoubtly.

For each tip, I'll be stating how it performs or how likely it is to work for you.
Remember, every person is unique. What works for me, may not work for you, vice versa.
Also you CAN COMBINE many many tips to get a much better outcome.
So please take everything with a teeny pinch of salt!

So... let's get kicking!!

#1 - Primer
This was covered in much detail under #02 - Prepping your skin.
To avoid this post being too long, please head straight there for more detail.

A primer is good for people with combination to oily skin, as it can absorb oils.
If your makeup is 'sweated off' in the heat, then... this may not be the best solution.

A primer also provides a good base for makeup to adhere to.
It is able to smoothen the skin, to some extent, help colors look more vibrant, as well as help your makeup stick to your face.

I do use a face primer for myself and clients on event days.
I'm currently using the NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer.

#2 - Choose Long Wearing Products
Ok, so this isn't exactly a tip.
Everyone will definitely want their products to be long wearing... but how do you know if it is?!
Let me give a teeny bit of advice.

Look for foundations which advertise 16hrs of wearability.
Logic dictates that ones that state 24hrs would be even better, but take note that some 24hr formulations tend to set very quickly so you might not be able to blend it out in time.
(i.e.: the new formulation of the Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation is 24hrs compared to the old one which is 16hrs)

Before I start on this... let me say that... lipsticks will NEVER stay on more than ~3hrs.
You do have to reapply it, especially after eating.

However, you may choose to find a Lip Stain OR a Lip Paint.
Lip Stains will leave a sheer tint to your lips which lasts fairly long.
Lip Paints on the other hand, are highly concentrated with pigment and a very little is sufficient ans as they are extremely viscous in nature, do stay on much longer than lipsticks.

I'm currently using the SLEEK Pout Paints, which are an alternative to the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars.

There are many many types of formulation (drier or wetter formulation) as well as many many types of mascara wands.
I can't tell you in words which are better...

BUT, for a mascara in terms of staying power, look for WATERPROOF mascaras.
ok, duh... but that's not all.
Unfortunately, you have to test out the mascara for a couple of times to determine how 'flaky' it is.
If you feel that your lashes become dry and brittle or you find lil black bits falling off over the day... it is NOT your ideal mascara.

This differs for everyone because everyone's method of applying mascara is different.

Ok, generally... this is the rule about how long eyeliners wear
Gel >= Liquid > Pencil

Gel eyeliners work for 90% of people. The other 10% are like me and have superpowers that melt eyeliner like crazy.
Liquid eyeliners... well... some aren't waterproof and then some are just crappy.
Pencil eyeliners will not last more than 1hr. You'd end up with a very smudgy line or a non-existent one after 1hr.

#3 - Makeup Setting Spray / Finishing Spray
Ok... this is one EXPENSIVE PRODUCT but it WORKS.
A good one will not only 'set' your powder makeup, but also make it look more natural.
Note that this product is to be used over POWDER products on your face.
If you spray if directly on your face covered with liquid foundation, don't expect it to last much longer.

I'm currently using Skindinavia Cool Flash Makeup Finish.
This particular product is designed so that your face, after spraying, will feel less hot and produce less perspiration.
Unfortunately, I had to spree this item over and it cost me a small bomb...

Similar products available in Singapore are sold under Urban Decay, but... here's the catch. Skindinavia makes them.

#4 - Hairspray
This... isn't highly recommended... for reasons below...
BUT if you are going to under some very hot spotlights, it is a trade secret in the industry.

Rather than the makeup setting spray or finishing sprays, makeup artists behind the scenes on runways, use cheaper hairspray instead.
It definitely holds the makeup on as well as, if not better than, setting sprays.

Hairspray will clog up your pores, therefore... giving you more skin problemsAND sometimes leave a shiny finish to the skin.
To remove the shine, lightly pat a layer of powder (foundation, setting powder) over the DRIED hairspray on your face.

#5 - Layering Product
Many people underestimate layering.
They just slop on a thick layer of liquid foundation and call it a day.
Nope, that will DEFINITELY slide off within 2hrs.

Layering means to do thin coats of the product and let that dry before applying another coat.

#6 - Setting Liquids and Creams with Powders
Very basic technique.
After you applied your layers of foundation, lightly go over with a pressed powder or a powder foundation.

What people don't know... is that they can do the same for blush.
Apply a cream blush (i.e.: the new Jelly blush by Maybelline) or a lil bit of lipstick in a suitable color to act as a base and blend it out.
Then top it off with your powder blush for more vibrant and longer lasting color.

Same with Eyeshadows!!Use a cream eyeshadow or a gel eyeliner in the correct color as a base and then apply your eyeshadow!!!

The same is recommended for gel eyeliners... but honestly, it didn't do any good for me...
I got raccoon eyes within 10minutes. I guess my black eyeshadow was too black!! haha

#7 - Eyebrow gel
If your eyebrow color doesn't last long enough, apply a thin coat of eyebrow gel or clear mascara over it.
TheFaceShop carries a clear mascara which is fairly generous in size.

#8 - Blot
If your face gets oily, you can blot with the oil absorbent facial papers.
If you perspire a lot, blot gently with a tissue. Please take a look in the mirror to make sure that there isn't any bits of tissue stuck on your face!!

Alright mateys, I'm turning in soon and my brain is mush.
I can't dreg anymore tips from my brain at the moment, so... well... I'll update this note if I DO think of sommat.


Friday, December 7, 2012

#07 - Brushes vs Sponges Part 3 (Eyes)

Following up with the next installment!!

Yep, we are continuing in the same confusing manner.

Today, we shall go through:

 - Flat Shader Brush
 - Fluffy Blending Brush
 - Crease Brush
 - Pointy-type Liner Brush
 - Angled Liner Brush
** We will not be touching on Pencil or mascara brushes, either because I have no experience with them or because this will get too long!

 - Eyeshadow Applicators
 - Felt Tip Applicators (Just throwing this in to make it slightly more balanced!)

1. Flat Shader Brush
Well, as the name implies, this brush has a flat ferule, and the bristles generally form a gentle arc.
The main purpose of this brush is to apply eyeshadow.
There are many variations to this brush, so let's get a brief coverage on the general bits.
The brush can be densely packed or medium packed bristles, the more densely packed, the more pigment it picks up and applies.
The brush can also be made of natural hair bristles (e.g.: goat, squirrel... etc) or synthetic bristles.
Synthetic bristles are preferred for liquid and cream products.

- Comes in many different sizes. Can choose a suitable size for any use.
- Versatile, you can basically use it for other purposes (e.g.: concealer)
- Good for packing on color for more vibrancy
- Can be used to blend colors

- Some may have stiff bristles which irritate the skin
- Difficult to blend eyeshadow out

Method of Application:
1. Gently dab the side of your brush into your eyeshadow pot, drag it across a couple times IF the eyeshadow does not want to transfer
2. Tap the brush gently against the side of your table, palette or compact mirror (anything actually...) to prevent fall out.
3. Press the side of the brush against your closed eyelid. Dab until you cover the entire area desired.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you get your desired effect.

Sponge Equivalents: (See Below)
(a) Eyeshadow Applicators

2. Fluffy Blending Brush
Yep, it's fluffy.
Generally, this brush has a round ferule, with medium packed bristles.
The length of the bristles vary. Shorter bristles pack more color and longer bristles blend out eyeshadow better.
The bristles are generally shaped into a dome shape.

- Good for blending (duh...)
- A shorter bristle brush can also replace the use of a Flat Shader Brush. A good one is the e.l.f Blending Eye Brush.
- Longer bristle brush is good for people who are afraid of applying too much eyeshadow/ want to build up their eyeshadow gradually.

- Loses it's shape fairly easily
- Result heavily dependent on technique

Method of Application:
-Packing on color-
1. Dip the bristles into the eyeshadow pot.
2. Tap off the excess
3. Dab the bristles against your closed eyelid
4. Repeat steps 1-3. It probably will take longer than a Flat Shader Brush
1. Dab the bristles into the LIGHTER colored eyeshadow pot.
2. Tap off the excess
3. Place the brush at the part of your eyelid already covered with the darker eyeshadow color
4. Lightly buff the eyeshadow out with teeny circular motions while moving the brush left to right across the eyelid.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 as many times until blended.

Sponge Equivalents: (See Below)
(a) CLEAN Eyeshadow Applicators

3. Crease Brush
Fairly similar to the Blending brush but often is smaller with shorter bristles.
The shape is usually slightly more pointy than the blending brush too!
Usually used to help define the crease of your eye with a darker shade of eyeshadow.
The crease is the part of your eyelid which corresponds to the space between your eye socket and your eyeball.It does NOT hurt to press lightly on that area.

- Smaller brush head allows it to fit into the 'crease' of your eye easily
- Able to place color more accurately
- Shorter bristles allows you to concentrate more color into the crease

- Loses it's shape fairly easily
- Result heavily dependent on technique

Method of Application:
1. Dip the bristles into the eyeshadow pot (try not to get a lot of product on the brush)
2. Tap off the excess
3. Locate the crease (with your finger, if you are not familiar with it position), position the tip of the brush on the outer side of the crease (i.e.: the side further away from your nose)
4. Lightly move the brush over your crease in a windshield wiper motion, back and forth.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 as necessary to get the desired intensity.

Sponge Equivalents: (See Below)
(a) Eyeshadow Applicators (Not really good for this though)

4. Pointy-type Liner Brush
Well... This brush comes to a sharp point, yes, captain obvious.
Eyeliner brushes are usually made of synthetic bristles. In general.
The bristles are usually pretty stiff to improve control.

- Stiff bristles allows for more control when lining your eyes.
- Synthetic bristles are good for liquid and cream products (e.g.: gel eyeliner)

- Stiff bristles might be too harsh for people with sensitive skin
- Splaying of bristles/brush losing it's shape. Defeats the purpose it was designed for

Method of Application:
1. Scoop out some gel eyeliner using a disinfected spatula to reduce/prevent contamination of the main pot.
2. Dip the tip of the brush into the scooped out eyeliner.
3. Lay the brush such that the side of the bristles is in contact with a clean portion of the spatula/back of your hand.
4. Gently roll the brush back and forth to create a nice point to the bristles.
5. Place the brush against your lashline and draw a line. The eyelid tends to move less if you draw from the inner corner to the outer corner.

Sponge Equivalents: (See Below)
(b) Felt Tip Applicators

5. Angled Liner Brush
This brush has a flat ferule, and usually is made of short synthetic bristles.
The bristles are cut and arranged in a manner such that they form into a slanted shape, much like a tetrahedral on it's side.

- Larger surface area to be in contact with your lashline, makes eyelining faster and easier.
- Slanted/Angled shape helps as it can follow the contour of your eye, distributing the pressure from the hand more evenly.
- Synthetic bristles are good for liquid and cream products (e.g.: gel eyeliner)
- Less likely to lose it's shape

- Need to find a brush with a good amount of bristles to make it stiff enough but not too much that it makes a fat line.

Method of Application:
1. Scoop out some gel eyeliner using a disinfected spatula to reduce/prevent contamination of the main pot.
2. Dip the tip of the brush into the scooped out eyeliner.
3. Lay the brush such that the bristles on the angled edge is in contact with a clean portion of the spatula/back of your hand.
4. Gently move the brush back and forth to make the bristles form a thinner edge.
5. Place the brush against your lashline and draw a line. The eyelid tends to move less if you draw from the inner corner to the outer corner.

Sponge Equivalents: (See Below)
(b) Felt Tip Applicators

(a) Eyeshadow Applicators
These are the sponge tip applicators you get when you buy a eyeshadow duo/trio/quad/palette.
They can be dual or single ended.

- Very easily obtained. Do not need to buy separate from the makeup.
- Good for packing on eyeshadow for more intensity.
- Can be used to blend eyeshadow

- Blending eyeshadow can make the colors muddy, especially if you do not use a clean applicator
- Foam tends to absorb a lot of product.
- Foam also absorbs oils and dirt from the face and air, is a good breeding ground for bacteria
- Not durable. The foam tends to fall off the plastic handle after a while
- Not easily washed/cleaned. See "#05 - Brushes vs Sponges Part 1 (Hygiene)" for more details.

Method of Application:
-Packing on eyeshadow-
1. Press the side of the applicator against the eyeshadow and firmly wiggle it a couple of times to pick up color
2. Tap off excess product if the product is very powdery
3. Gently pat on the eyeshadow onto your closed eyelid
4. Repeat steps 1-3 to get desired intensity
-Blending eyeshadow-
1. Apply both the darker and lighter shades of eyeshadow as described in packing on eyeshadow
2. Using a clean side of the applicator, pick up a little bit of the lighter shade of eyeshadow. Tap off the excess product if needed
3. Place the applicator at the border where the 2 colors meet.
4. Gently move the applicator across the border while wiggling it slightly to blur the border.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 till you obtain the desired result.

Brush Equivalents: (See Above)
1. Flat Shader Brush
2. Fluffy Blending Brush
3. Crease Brush

(b) Felt Tip Applicators
Normally comes attached to liquid eyeliners.
Either as the pen nib in the pen-type liquid eyeliner or the applicator of dip-type liquid eyeliners.

- Easy to use, more beginner friendly than brushes
- Dip-type: Picks up a lot of liquid eyeliner, need to redip less to line the eye.

- Easily loses it's 'shape' (i.e.: condition where there's lil fibres or wonky bits attached to the tip)
- Dip-type: Need to clean the stem of the applicator periodically as it tends to build up and gunk along the length.
- Pen type: Needs to be left on it's side or upside down so that the eyeliner actually comes out.
- Pen type: For some brands/formulation, when left upside down, will cause lots of product to leak and form a mess when you try to use it.

Method of Application:
Self explanatory, so... I'm going to skip this.

Brush Equivalents: (See Above)
4. Pointy Liner Brush
5. Angled Liner Brush

Brush and sponge equivalents listed here are not perfect equivalents. Specific brushes have their benefits over the sponge equivalent, but you can replace them.

Ok. That's the end of it!
I was going to take a picture and add it into this note, but I washed all my brushes this morning and they are drying right now...
So... I guess I'll do it another day.
I don't think I have a felt tip sample though... I threw my eyeliner away a while ago, I'll see what to do later... I guess.

Nights Guys!