I started my makeup journey with one philosophy : If it’s not seen, how would people know I’m wearing makeup?
Yes, I was not terribly secure in my application nor choice of colours, but I was into sparkles and shimmer, pink blushes and blue eyeshadow, all topped off with a bold lip. I had a lot of leeway in my place of work, and they tolerated it even if I might have pulled off some strange looks back then.
It was about then also that I started paying more attention to makeup, and the different collections that were hitting the stands. This was back in the day when new collections would take about 2-3 months to arrive on our sun-drenched shores. By that time, I’d have read all the reviews from people in the UK and USA about what was good or what to avoid. Helped save me money!
But whenever a new collection popped up with a neutral or brown eyeshadow palette, and muted colours for cheeks and lips, my interest level would drop. Brown? Neutrals? What’s the point of a nude makeup look? I’d scoff.
I cannot tell you when exactly I crossed the line from wearing “bright colourful makeup” to “understated neutral makeup” but I crossed that line quite many years ago when I woke up one day and realised that I was wearing makeup not for anyone, but for myself. The lightbulb went on!
So I’m curious to know if or how your makeup preferences has changed over the years and I’ll show you quickly how I do my looks these days – very quick, very efficient 🙂
I started learning how to enjoy wearing makeup when I dabbled into Japanese brands. They had an aesthetic that appealed to me – a clear skin base, transparent colour on lids, with lots of mascara, light blush on cheeks and juicy glossy lips. But Japanese brands became expensive, and the more affordable ones became less and less available, so I began to search further, and I found looks I liked in brands like Bobbi Brown.
Bobbi Brown makeup is I swear, underrated. They don’t shout very loudly, and they haven’t yet descended into the frou-frou and whimsical, for which I appreciate. There is something reassuring about pulling out one of their products, and knowing that I’m getting something high quality that looks, and feels good.
Today, my goal when I do my makeup is very simple. Let me just show you quickly how I do my everyday makeup these days. It is very simple, and I can be done in just a few minutes flat. Very useful for when you just want to catch that extra 15 minutes sleep 😀
A good base
Be it a BB cream, tinted foundation or a full coverage foundation (I like using any one depending on my mood), my goal is to achieve a transparent base for skin that looks like skin. I dab concealer (current fave) where I need it, and keep it light and sheer. Imperfections may show through, but I’m now comfortable with that. It doesn’t define me as a person.
A strong brow
I don’t profess to being able to draw my brows properly, but I like a slightly more defined brow, with an arch. I don’t go for the straight, thick Korean-style brows, preferring a well-balanced but defined arch brow. It helps balance and frame my face better (because I have a big face 😛 )
One of my first loves in makeup is blush. The love remains today. At one time, I favoured light pink cheek colours. Now, I opt for something a little more peachy-pink or coral as I feel it looks more flattering. Dabbing on the colour, and taking it just under my eyes (instead of just on the top of your cheeks, which is quite old-fashioned) makes it look more flattering and fresher (in my view) – tell me if you want a picture tutorial 😉 I now also wear light bronzer for a touch of warmth on the skin.
Bright lip colours
Bright lip colours have always been my signature, but more so now. I wear them because it is so easy to dress up a look with a bright lip (I always prefer a lipstick with a touch of shine), and it allows me to get away with doing less on the rest of my face LOL! 😀
Neutral eyeshadow or no eye makeup
When I wear eye colours these days, I go for something quite neutral or light. I favour browns, taupes and greys just lightly applied over my lids, and an eyeliner for light definition. I wear a lot of crayon style cream shadows, like one of my favourites from Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier, because it’s easier and quicker.I don’t wear mascara – I haven’t for almost 6 years! 😀
And there you have it!
Makeup preferences can change with time and lifestyle
It’s a very simple look that I wear almost everyday, with very little variation. The main variations are in the choice of colours and products I choose to use. But otherwise, it is not only quick, I think it looks fresher too.
It also ties in with a change in lifestyle for me. I now lead a simpler, more casual lifestyle. It reflects itself in my choice of clothes and in how I do my makeup.
It also ties in with better self-confidence in how I look. I don’t need for anyone to actually see the makeup I’m wearing anymore. I don’t wear it to impress anyone, nor do I wear it to show off any non-existent skills. I wear makeup because I enjoy it. If I don’t want to wear it, I don’t. But if I want to, I do.
And sometimes, that’s all there is to it. Growing up, maturing in your views and outlook on life, and having your lifestyle change all play a part. I now have palettes of blue and bright coloured eyeshadows gathering dust in my drawers 😛 Yet, I’m loathe to toss them out 😛
For fun, I thought I’d show you how I might have used to do my makeup back in the day, and how I do my makeup these days.
On left is how I used to do my makeup almost on a daily basis. Yep, blue eyeshadow and chockfull of shimmer! 😀 Pink blush applied on the sides of the cheeks (the smile and swipe trick everyone does), a heavy base with concealer and powder to set, and a bold lip.
On right is basically how I tend to look today on a daily basis. Very light, barely there eye makeup, bolder brow, sheerer base with just a very light or no setting powder, cheek colour dabbed under the eyes and to the sides of cheek, and a bold lip. In fact, today I wear lighter lip colours too, compared to what I used to before.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either look. The first used to take me much longer, while the second is now quicker. The second suits my current lifestyle better, and if I hanker for the good ol’ days, I just pile it on 😀
Has your makeup preferences changed over the years? Do you use more today or less?
I don’t think I use less per se, but I think I’m more economical in my use, and choice of colours and textures. Makeup is fun – if you don’t like it, just wipe it off and start over! 🙂
This post is made possible in part by Bobbi Brown Malaysia. All comments and opinions are our own
27 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Much less. I think being time-poor has a lot to do with it. Also it has to do with knowing myself more and learning to be comfortable in my own skin; warts and all. I’ll be the first to admit I used to hide behind the make up so the world doesn’t see me for who I am. I have much less *beep* to give now.
Make up should be fun. Do what you want, don’t let the world dictate what you should and shouldn’t wear.
Paris B says
Actually I think it’s less to do with time, and more to do with self-acceptance. I’ve come to realize that people don’t actually notice the flaws that we pore over in the mirror and then try to hide. To someone else, we could already be having the skin of their dreams! And accepting that is the first step towards changing our perceptions on wearing makeup. I do still enjoy it and I enjoy playing around with it. I just no longer think too hard about it 🙂
As I have become older, I find that putting a lot of powder on my face accentuates fine lines. So I have begun wearing cream blush and cream eyeshadows. The cream blushes I like most are: Shiseido (the new Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush is great – not really a powder, but a cream to powder blush) and Bobbi Brown (Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks). For cream eyeshadows, I like Shiseido because they withstand heat and humidity, plus my eyelids are a bit oily, so these are the only truly long-lasting shadows for me. I just bought the new Clarins Skin Illusion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Foundation (with the dropper applicator) in HongKong and I love it! It provides good coverage but the fluid itself is thin and light, and it gives just the right amount of moisture. When I am running out of the house and want light-to-medium coverage quickly, this is what I put on my face. I also bought the Three Cosmetics Flawless Ethereal Fluid Foundation, which is slightly thicker than the Clarins Skin Illusion, and provides more coverage, but it, too, goes on smoothly and moisturises well.
I’m still a huge fan of Japanese makeup. I love Lunasol. You should see their new eye shadows and lipsticks this season. There is a new Japanese makeup brand called Amplitude. Oh my gosh – the quality is amazing. I saw it in Kyoto Daimaru early this week. Amplitude is the new makeup line of Rumiko, the founder of RMK (she left RMK in 2013), and it is manufactured by Pola, the Japanese skin care conglomerate (which makes all the Pola lines as well as Orbis and Decencia).
As for Bobbi Brown, I don’t like where the company is going. After the founder left, it seems they’re going down the same road as MAC (not surprising as they are owned by Estee Lauder). So now, Bobbi Brown spits out cheap looking eye shadow palettes — collaborations with who-knows-what celebrity of the moment. I think Bobbi Brown makeup is way overpriced compared to what you can get from competitors.
Paris B says
I agree with you about powder makeup Evie. It does have a tendency to settle and look a bit heavy on drier skin, so I stopped wearing it many years ago. Fortunately, it also coincided with the rise of better quality, lighter textured liquid foundations so that made the transition easier. I do still wear powder blushes. I could never get the hang of a cream blush and BB Pot Rouge is one product I never loved LOL! I did check out the Shiseido Whipped blush during their launch, and I remember it was lovely. Light and moussy. I have to go and try it again. I’ve been meaning to try Three foundations too. I’m told their quality is stunning! But then I do have a soft spot for Japanese brand foundations – they rarely ever get it wrong 😀
For me the problem with Japanese makeup, as much as I do still love them, is that it is harder to access it here. The Japanese brands have quietened down a lot, and even Lunasol is no longer selling their newer releases here. They’re switching it to Kanebo makeup instead, and I did not like the texture of the new foundation. I do want to get their latest eyeshadow palettes – they look terribly pretty!
I actually find that the quality of BB core products have improved in recent years, in the last few years before Bobbi herself left till now. Their new lipsticks are hitting it out of the park in terms of quality, and their foundations too. I don’t really pay attention to the palettes, because it’s always the same old, same old. I swear you could collect BB palettes from a few years, put them together and not be able to tell them apart LOL! But in terms of individual core products, I think they’re decent, in their category when benchmarked against their competitors. But I also understand where you’re coming from. The EL group does tend to swallow up the brand identity of its individual brands after a while so I will definitely be watching for a dip in quality.
I barely touch any makeup these days . Most of the times too tired from chasing the kids . Trying to go all bare with a dab of blusher the most . But I do miss those days when I experimented with makeup more . No mascara for almost forever now . I probably check back my makeup stash when my kids leave for college hahaha . That’s like 20 years from now ?
Ditto Syeang. I also have a few kids myself. Some days I just want to look nice for myself even if I won’t be going anywhere. But hell… where has all the time gone? By the time the baby and the 3yo goes down for their lunch time nap then only I have some free time. But then half day has already gone and it’s only another 4-5 hours before I remove the makeup… not worth the energy. Better have a nap myself. Hahahaha
Paris B says
Hahaha by that time, it’ll be time to buy a whole new batch of makeup! Yay! 😀 I’d say at this point that sometimes, Mommy will need some me-time too to look pretty but I understand that often, it isn’t possible when kids decide to behave like koalas 😀 So, do what makes you feel comfortable and go back to it when you feel up to it!
Guilty as charged, me also used to wear blue eyeshadows (got some icy blue ones… shiver….) decades ago. Oh dear I sound so old…. 🙁 Those times there weren’t any makeup tutorials. Only see and copy from magazines… The very first makeup tutorial I watched was made by Michelle Phan and oh wow I watched almost every single one of her videos because I never know at all how to apply makeup. After watching so many of them I’m still not a pro but at least it’s something I manage to do. Haha
And I wore dark vampy lips too… I thought if it’s not making an impact why bother with lipstick? Might as well just put on some lip balm and call it a day. Hahahaha These day’s I change around. Your blog influenced my choices of lipstick colours really. I still cannot accept the weird ones like blue or black or silver (of course not from your blog). Next life maybe. Hahaha! And these day if I do wear a dark vampy lips that means I am angry (with my husband obviously). Even the kiddos know when mummy is angry she has dark lips like a witch). ?
Paris B says
Hahaha for some reason when we want to experiment, then we wear blue eyeshadow. So funny right? 😀 I remember getting some strange looks back in the day. My style wasn’t as smooth as what you see now, so it was much more obvious. But still, who really cared eh? Since no one said anything! You are right that we had no reference point. I could only experiment hesitantly, and didn’t even have proper makeup remover. Yikes! LOL! 😀 And LOL at your lipstick colour story! You know, I was in a phase once when I’d wear a lot of deep vampy colours for lips. Today, I don’t go near them anymore. I think as we age, it makes us look older (but fiercer which can be helpful! 😉 )
By the way, I love your “now” eye makeup. I think it’s very chic and pretty. ?? 🙂
Yeah as we age less is definitely more. I notice if I put a lot of foundation on it just shows up in fine lines man… ? does that mean we can save money on makeup ah? Hahahaha
And very dark eyeliners on top and bottom… ooooh.. no no for me now. Otherwise I look like an auntie still thinking she’s a teenager trying to pull off a heavy metal babe look. ???? I haven’t got enough sleep as it is so I don’t need to look like a half zombie as well. Hahaha
Paris B says
Thank you Ting! My “now” eye makeup is basically very barely there coz I’m just not very good at eye makeup. So just a hint will do LOL! Oh yes about eyeliner! I was into the lining the upper and lower lid once. I thought it defined my eyes. It also made me look like I wanted to eat people up (which is helpful in a work environment but not so helpful in social engagements LOL!)! So now I don’t line my lower lash line anymore. It looks fresher, if I conceal my dark circles properly haha! 😀
Oh, what a great post! Didn’t we all wear blue eyeshadow some time way back ? I did when I was 14/15 (blue eyes with blue eyeshadow….well….my brother told me I looked like a kitten with huge blue eyes and I guess I did like the idea…)
I would never any more, I’m a neutral lover now !
Paris B says
Haha that’s so cute of your brother! I think color is fun but not all of us are blessed with the skills to pair and apply colour so effectively 😀 Hurrah for being a neutral lover!
When I was younger, I wanted to achieve a matte, flawless look. I hardly did any specific skin care, but my skin was pretty. When I hit the 40s, I aged pretty badly in a few years. I started doing diligent, systematic skincare and I was able to undo a lot of damage. Nowadays, I want to show off my beautiful skin and achieve a glow.
Also, I have half Asian eyes with oily eyelids, and for years I tried to make a powder eyeshadow last, with primer and powder. Nowadays I use mostly cream eyeshadow, much more successfully.
Until recently, I loved a bold lip color. But I’m in a new relationship, so when we go out I have some tint on my lips, so I can still kiss. 🙂
Paris B says
Aww that’s sweet to not want to leave your lipstick all over your beau! 😀 Thanks for sharing your story Maja. I think eyeshadow has always been a bit of a bane for many of us. Whether because it doesn’t stay, or because it creases, or simply because we can’t apply it as well as a makeup artist can. but I also think ultimately, we should all just wear what we want, how we like it, as brightly or as little as we like. I also think that as we age, sometimes, it is just about enhancing our features, instead of changing it totally. As you say, ultimately, we want to show off our skin first! Well, good skin anyway 😀
I also wear much less makeup now and prefer a natural look. You’re absolutely right that it has to do with self-confidence and self-acceptance. I used to have acne in my twenties and I wore high coverage bases and eyeshadows to draw attention to my eyes and distract people from noticing my not so perfect complexion. Now I feel I’d be fooling everyone if I wore more makeup, because that is not how I look in reality and I’m perfectly fine with the way I look. I often see beautiful girls wearing a ton of makeup and it makes me sad that they’re hiding their natural beauty behind a mask. Plus, smearing all of those products on your face doesn’t look hygienic!
That said, bright lipsticks are godsend when I want to look fresh and more polished. Mascara is also a must for me, without it I look tired. So for me it’s a low coverage base, blush, mascara, lipstick – done! Oh, and a little bit of a brow product when I feel like it, just for a slightly more defined look.
Paris B says
I think we all start out with heavy bases because we think foundation will be our camouflage for our bad skin. Also, when younger, we do want to be more accepted, and to conform to the norm. It’s only as we get older that we realize that a) no one really cares and b) we should really be more confident with ourselves and our capabilities. But it is unfortunately something that will come with age and experience. Oh and hurrah for a bright lip! A surefire way to perk up the complexion 😀
I’m curious to know about other readers’ preference too over the years. My first makeup item was Revlon Colorstay lipstick, 25 years ago…yikes. Then it went onto foundation, face powder, blusher, eyeshadow, mascara.
Today it’s just sunblock, BB cream, finish off with powder (still can’t kick that habit), no eyeshadow (irritates my eyelids after wmjqqqqqwe them for more than 10 years) no, still using blusher and lipstick shade got bolder, the redder the better.
Mascara and eyeshasows are only for dinners when dressed up. In a nutshell, the simpler the better for me.
Paris B says
And it also saves us more time getting ready! haha! I also think that the quality of makeup now (reputable brands) is actually far better than it used to be back in the day. Foundation is lighter and it actually feels more comfortable on skin. I remember when liquid foundation was like plaster 😛 So thick and dry! But I can never be without blush and lipstick if I wear makeup!
When I started out in my teens, I just followed my mom’s example which was a lot of shimmer and colour, and a heavy hand with blush. But I was never bold with lip colours. After a couple of years or so I decided to go with more neutral tones just because they were easier to pull off and I never really wanted to stand out which does transition into my preferences today.
I’m not too fond of heavy makeup and I always feel the current trend of heavy contouring/ bold eye looks/ matte lips was much too strong. Also dabbled in liquid lipsticks and didn’t like the way they felt on my lips. Also I feel like it can be very aging to have makeup caked on my face.
I think that I’ve solidified my preferences over the years and I much prefer simple looks, with clear skin, and neutral eye colours. I often opt for a neutral lip but I do throw on a red lipstick every once in a while just to feel glam. I would say that your blog has influenced my preferences over the years for all your timeless and classic makeup looks 🙂
Paris B says
You are actually absolutely right that a lot of makeup on your skin can make you look older. It is a bit of an irony considering that most older women are now wearing less makeup, but I think it’s because makeup can be quite drying, and if you wear a lot, it can look cakey and that settles on skin so it looks older. The irony in that is that most young girls who are just starting out, like you and I, would be piling it on! Only to realize in their later years that less is more 😀 Quite a cycle it seems! And thank you for being so kind as to say that my makeup style is timeless! I must say that I have felt a little inferior when it comes to makeup “looks” because I can never do any fancy look to showcase a new collection.
Beauty Bee says
I’ve always loved makeup! Ever since I can remember… has my makeup changed a lot in recent years? I don’t know… nothing really stands out to me.
I do always wear makeup to the office (Im not in the office 5 days a week though…) so to look polished and less tired, but it’s quite minimal cause, well, no time!
I have recently thought about the fact that if I want to wear bright eyeshadow, I should, before it I loose the motivation or ability to do so haha
I’m just glad that I’m comfortable wearing makeup or not wearing it. I feel sorry for the girls who feel like their makeup has to be ‘perfect’ day in and out. That Instagram aesthetic of perfection is just so boring and harsh… it doesn’t appeal to me at all!
Paris B says
That’s a healthy approach to take to makeup Sylvia 🙂 We should wear what we want, when we want it and more importantly, be just as comfortable without makeup. I think sometimes, that there is more of a pressure to wear makeup today, than it used to be back in the day. Well, for me anyway, as I never felt any pressure nor did I feel any need to wear makeup before I started working. I didn’t even own a lipstick! HAHA! 😀 But today, with instagram and phone cameras, there is a greater need to look “perfect” all the time and that adds to a lot of pressure to look good.
Last time my skin was terrible, a lot of scars and bumpy acne. So at that time what I’ve done was put more than 2 layer of Dior foundation. The more coverage was better. Before lunch time I need to make sure that layer of foundation not cracking in my smile line/ forehead. But that was like a circle of problem, as my makeup routine caused the congestion lead to acne. And because of acne I put more makeup to cover.
Till I try to accept what ever I had.
And Not stressing about acne, put better skincare routine.
Over past 2 year my skin is better now.
I still love full cover foundation, but I feel better with my skin condition.
These past year make up menu change to bullet lipstick.. I have 1 lips but with 50 shade of nudes.. LOL
Paris B says
I hear you girl! We have all gone down the route of trying to use makeup to cover our skin imperfections and in the process, made our skin worse! Coupled with the fact that we probably were a little less educated about proper cleansing methods too! I’m glad that you’ve worked out what’s a comfortable level for you and even happier that your skin has improved 🙂 It’s always such a pleasure dealing with happy skin isn’t it? 😀 Oh and welcome to the lipstick family haha! I think you’ve voiced what every woman can identify with – multiple lipsticks in similar shades. Why?! LOL!
Eva Leong says
Hi Paris, love your post so much! I’m the newbie for makeup even though I’m in my 40’s 😛 I agreed what you says we wear make up for our self not for others. I do worry what others will comment about me when I apply this & that color? but after reading your post, who cares right? as long as we feel great of our self that matters the most. Have a nice day!
Paris B says
Happy to have made you think about why you wear makeup Eva 😀 We owe it to no one but ourselves to look good 😀