The red lipstick. The dark-winged eyeliner. There’s no doubt the high impact products in your cosmetic case hog all the limelight. But here’s the rub: Near-invisible predatory and setting products are the ones doing all the hard yards. Clever prep and setting products balance the skin so you don’t have to be heavy-handed with visible makeup.
With face masks being mandatory, it’s likely that not many of us are wearing as much makeup as before. But if you still want to (or need to) stick to your routine, we’ve narrowed it down to these essentials, plus tips and tricks to keep them as long-lasting as possible under the mask.
The thing about primer is, it’s virtually undetectable on the skin. So the temptation and logic would be to skip the step. But to understand its importance, let’s take the analogy of painting a wall. To get the best finish, there are things you should do before applying that final coat – and the same goes for your makeup. Starting your routine with a primer allows your foundation to smooth easily over skin, and also helps the rest of your makeup to last longer. Within the primer spectrum is a range of options – from colour correcting, hydration, oil control to smoothing out pores.
Try: Hera Airy Blur Priming Powder, $72 (8.5 g)
The Hera Airy Blur Priming Powder smoothens the skin by helping to minimise the appearance of pores and imperfections with a lasting 24-hour effect. It also protects the skin from harmful particles, and acts as the perfect base that helps absorb excess oil to prevent makeup transfer onto the mask.
Concealer might already have its spot in your beauty routine, but there are some tips and tricks we can adhere to to ensure that the finish looks as flawless as possible. By moisturising the skin and priming the face, you keep the area dewy so that it doesn’t leave a dry and patchy finish. Using a colour corrector can also help with hiding any imperfections you want to conceal. As a tip, green counteracts redness, which occurs due to broken capillaries, rosacea or pimples. Lilac neutralises dull, yellowish skin while peach can correct blueness often seen around the under-eye area.
Don’t be afraid that a thicker concealer will be tough to blend. For an invisible finish, warm up a tiny bit between your fingertips and dab it on the affected area, until the product disappears.
Try: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Concealer, $60 (12 ml)
This multi-purpose action concealer hides precise areas with its lightweight finish and doubles up as a subtle highlight to add a luminous accent. Designed specifically for the eye contour, it helps hydrate the skin around the eyes and reduce the look of dark circles. As its formula is enhanced with amino acid-coated mineral pigments, it makes blending a whole lot easier for a smooth finish. This concealer wears all day long and provides a 24-hour hydration to help keep the skin dewy.
By now, most of us know our ABCs when it comes to BB and CC creams. Falling under the tinted moisturiser umbrella, these lightweight creams are applied like regular moisturiser and offer an almost undetectable layer of coverage as well as a plethora of other skin benefits – the topmost on the list being hydration. Within the category is a variety of formulations – everything from anti-ageing to sun-protecting or even packing ultra-nourishing ingredients. No matter what BB, CC, or DD route you take, the hallmark is a sheer and barely visible finish perfect for use during the weekend.
Try: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30, $77 (50 ml)
Formulated with tamarind seed extract, this tinted moisturiser locks in the moisture to prevent water evaporation and keep the skin as hydrated as long as possible. It’s also enhanced with macadamia and kukui seed oils to give your skin an extra boost of hydration all day long. Using a silica treated pigment, this tinted moisturiser is the secret to effortless skin that brings a sheer coverage with a dewy finish. Plus, it contains SPF 30 UVB and UVA sunscreen that helps defend the skin from the damaging effects of the environment.
Eyebrows are important facial features and arguably more so with the norm of masks covering the bottom half of our faces. Eyebrows frame the eyes and shape the face, and for many, it can be all the difference in their makeup routine. That’s why for some people, they don’t necessarily find a need for a full face of makeup as long as they’ve got their brows done. The difference goes a long way.
Try: Best Brow Pencil 2021 – Expert’s Pick: Gucci Crayon Definition Sourcils, $39
For those who are familiar with brow pencils and even for those who are new to this format, the Crayon Définition Sourcils is a versatile tool that’s easy and effortless to use. Available in six different shades, this eyebrow pencil delivers a powdery texture that’s flake-free and doesn’t smudge or transfer once applied. It comes dual-ended (and with a sharpener to boot), so you can blend it out with the spoolie attached. Its precision allows for ultimate control to fill and define the brows as you like, just draw and comb through.
Since the eyes are the first thing that most people notice, especially with everyone wearing masks now, there’s no arguing that eye makeup is transformative. Typically, Asian lashes tend to be straighter and align downwards, and if you want to natural makeup look without making too much of an effort with eyeliner and eyeshadow, then mascara is the way to go. Lashes, like every other body part, come in all shapes and sizes. Needless to say, there’s a wide range of mascaras that are available to accentuate your lashes, and a few coats of the right mascara can instantly make your eyes appear bigger, brighter and rounder.
Try: Heroine Make Micro Mascara Advanced Film, $21.90
Perfect for short lashes and Asian lashes that tend to curve straight down, this mascara has a slim wand that easily coats every lash with ease. The triangular tip helps reach the tricky corners of the inner and outer lashes, and its formula leaves it smudge-free even in Singapore’s humidity and heat. Its Power Curl Setting Polymer helps leave the curl voluminous throughout the day, even for Asian lashes, and the formula of camellia oil, royal jelly extract, argan oil, and wild rose oil keep the lashes hydrated and protected.
Just use an eyelash curler beforehand and apply in an upward motion for extra height and length. Coat it with a generous first coat and wait for it to dry before layering it on if you want an added effect. You can also use it just as easily for your lower lashes because of its fine brushes.
From a spectrum of lip balm to lipstick, you can find lip tints and stains bridging the gap in the middle. They’re designed to leave a perfectly subtle hint of colour, for those who want a natural lip that looks (and feels) effortless, this is the way to go. There’s a reason why these are a K-beauty staple, all you need is a touch of pigment, smack your lips together to blend and that’s that. Most stains are formulated to be long-lasting, hence their name, so they’re in it for the long haul.
Try: Laneige Stained Glasstick, $34 (2 g)
Laneige Stained Glasstick has a soft texture that melts and glides onto the lips, leaving a watery stained glass lip that shines like glass. For a subtle and natural flush, we recommend the colour Red Jasper, just tap it on the center of the lips and blur the colour out for a natural gradient. The natural my lips but better tint adds a beautiful and subtle colour to the lips as if you just had a glass of wine.
Fast forward to the final stage of your makeup routine and setting products will perform some more invisible makeup mastery. A translucent setting powder is an oldie but a goodie, keeping foundation in place. The technology has also vastly improved, with finely-milled powders that are virtually untraceable on the skin, leaving only a velvety-looking finish that looks like real skin.
A fixing spray is the final imperceptible step in your makeup routine. Available in both matte and dewy finish, simply spritz over skin to hold makeup in place. If you need to refresh it in the day, try re-misting to give your skin a surge of hydration.
Try: Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Setting Spray, $22 (30 ml)
This long-lasting and light spray seals the makeup and keeps it in place with a weightless and invisible film. If you’ll be wearing makeup under the mask – this is essential to keep everything set in place and transfer-free. The Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix setting spray also acts as a shield and protects the makeup and skin against external aggressors.
A print version of this article can be found in the April 2019 issue of The Singapore Women’s Weekly. Additional reporting: Farisia Thang
This post was first published on June 8, 2019, and updated on July 28, 2020.
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