Make Up For Ever Shine Control Primer, $70.
Try: Make Up For Ever Shine Control Primer, $70.

1. Prime time, sans serum

Here’s the thing. The delightfully dewy complexion so coveted in today’s K-Obsessed world can be problematic to pull off in Singapore’s searing weather.

There’s an exceedingly fine line to tread between glowy and greasy, especially in Singapore’s clime.

If you absolutely must ape the complexion of your favourite K-Pop idol, here are a couple of “illuminating” tricks to try.

First things first. Get your fundamentals right by prepping your skin with a pore-perfecting base for shine control before lubing up with a luminising lotion – but there’s a catch. “When you’re using a highlighting product, avoid layering a rich serum underneath because that will be overkill,” advises my beauty buddy Dollei Seah, creative director of Makeup Entourage. My suggestion: Pair your primer with a watery day moisturiser for maximum hydration and minimum heaviness.


Nars Illuminator in Copacabana, $45.
Try: Nars Illuminator in Copacabana, $45.

Modern makeup isn’t about blanket coverage. Instead, think of yourself as a cinematographer and your face as the frame; the secret to great-looking skin, then, is knowing where to direct your audience’s attention – or where to “place” the light, essentially. If you have great skin, a smidgen of shimmer on the higher points of your face would work, as would any area where light hits: Think nose-bridge, cupid’s bow and such.

But here’s the kicker: There are a few “no-glow” spots that don’t necessarily look good when shiny. Steer clear of – and jot this down, please – the sides of the nose and between the eyebrows. No woman will ever look good with a dewy nostril or any sort of shine between the eyebrows, because the light will actually distort the face. Now you know!

Astalift Lighting Perfection Moist Pure Liquid UV SPF25 PA++, $72.
Try: Astalift Lighting Perfection Moist Pure Liquid UV SPF25 PA++, $72.

3. Mix, matte and match

Now that you know where the no-go no-glow zones are, here’s how to, as maquillage master Larry Yeo very cannily puts it, “look dewy at strategic spots and matte at the right places.” For this purpose, bespoke blends are the way to go. Mixing different textures together for a tailored fit is a favourite trick of backstage professionals, and it isn’t all that complicated.

Simply start with a light-reflecting fluid foundation by way of say, AstaLift Liquid Foundation. Blend well with a fluffy foundation brush, then switch to a matte-finish concealer to “spot” correct any pimples peeking through your base.


Tom Ford Limited Edition Shimmer Shot in Spin Spin Sugar, $60.
Try: Tom Ford Limited Edition Shimmer Shot in Spin Spin Sugar, $60.

4. Light up your life

You can also consider concocting your own custom illuminator for use on the aforementioned higher planes of the face. My recipe? One part moisturiser to one part luminiser, mixed on the back of your hand. Use this extra-moist custom “highlighter” for a sexy, out-of-the-shower look.

Simply swipe along the nose bridge and under the eyes to draw attention to the middle of your face; dot on your cupid’s bow to give your puckers a poutier appearance; and finish with a dab in the middle of your chin. Easy-peasy.

Time for a quick recap, then. First, prep with a light serum under a glowy primer; then mix and match your foundations and concealers: Luminous first, concealer later, and avoid highlighter between the brows and around the nose. Other than that caveat, go right ahead and light up to your heart’s content. Good luck getting your glow (not grease) on!

Text: Eugene Quek, Her World Plus / Additional reporting: Arissa Ha 

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