2019 Makeup Favorites

These were the products that I consistently reached for when I was getting ready this year:

By Terry hyaluronic hydra-primer – blurs imperfections and hydrates the skin

BareMinerals complexion rescue hydrating foundation stick – like colored water. this is just so hydrating

First Aid Beauty bendy avocado concealer – this is my second tube. that’s how much I like this

Glossier stretch concealer – this is what I always use when I don’t want to put foundation on and just want some really light coverage

Onomie radical setting mist – I like spraying this on my brush before applying foundation. This just makes everything look better

Trestique highlight and perfect multipurpose stick – the subtle glow it gives is my favorite. It’s also so easy to blend.

Kosas color and light creme: velvet melon – I’ve always been an 8th muse girl but this year was the year of velvet melon for me. The peach tone of this one makes my face look healthy and fun. Like I just spent the weekend by the beach.

Innisfree petal blusher – easy to use, natural-looking, and gives a subtle-looking, pinch-on-the-cheek like blush

Kosas 10-second eyeshadow – I love all the colors but supreme just really takes the throne. It’s metallic, high-impact, yet so easy to apply and blend

Ilia Beauty the necessary eyeshadow palette, cool nude – this is my everyday palette. it doesn’t contain the usual neutrals which I really like but it still works in any setting.

Em Cosmetics fine liner brow pencil-thin, sturdy, and pigmented. Everything I need in a brow pencil

Lilah B glisten and glow skin illuminator – the shade b. captivating just gives my skin a healthy glow. I also like using this on my lids for a creamy-looking shimmer

Benefit Cosmetics they’re real mascara – forever and always

Pat McGrath Labs matte trance, flesh 3 – the most pigmented and longest wearing matte lipstick I’ve tried that doesn’t cake or settle between the lines. Flesh 3 is my go-to when going out

Go-to Blushes for Oily Skin

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I may suck with eyeshadows and eyeliners but blushes are my jam. I used to not have a need for them in high school – a time where I get enough sleep, I have no skin problems, and I have what they call, naturally “rosy cheeks.” Nowadays, less sleep and too much work give me sallow and dull skin overnight. With those, skincare products help but the naturally flushed look can come naturally now. The right blush can warm up the skin, create the illusion of high cheekbones, and make people look happier and healthier than they really are.  I use these to fake it.

Glossier Cloud Paint

For that flushed look, I always go to Glossier’s Cloud Pain in Puff. I thought this was too light for my Asian skin but it just looks so pretty. Thankfully, this helps brighten my whole face and has that tinge of light pink that doesn’t emphasize my pores. It’s creamy, easily blends with my skin, and a small drop can go a long way. I find this best used for the real no makeup look we all strive for. I also have Dusk, for some slightly bronzed look.

Nars The Multiple

It’s Nars’ iconic blushes in cream form. I have the one in Orgasm and, to be honest, I like this better than the original because this creates a dewy glow that highlights my tan. The color compliments my skin well and it works as a blush and as a subtle highlighter. Their multiples are pigmented and vibrant. Its sheen and color in one sleek stick for days when you’d rather be in bed but you don’t want to look like it.

Benefit Coralista Coral Blush

I can’t finish this list without mentioning one of Benefit Cosmetic’s blushes. My favorite, Coralista, is a warm pink blush that creates a subtle rosy glow. It brightens skin and has been a staple in my office desk for when I’m looking for a midday pick me up. I love that they have mini versions that include mini brushes as well. I can just leave in the office and use it whenever.

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color Matte

For evening, this helps get the job done. I use Naughty N’ Spice, which is deeper than most of my blushes and goes on matte. It lasts the whole day and is handy – color on one side and brush on the other, for touch-ups. This is the personification of flushed and as a plus, can be applied to the eyes, cheeks, and lips, as the name suggests.

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick

As you can see, I am a sucker for cream blushes. I feel like I can use them better on my oily skin and it applies more smoothly. Another favorite from my stash is Formentera from Charlotte Tilbury. This is the perfect summer blush. It smells like chocolate and applies like satin, stays put for hours, and provides a dewy, sun-kissed look with a rosy hint. It’s easily blended with makeup and is buildable if I need more intensity.

Marc Jacobs AirBlush

For impact and longevity, the Marc Jacobs Air Blush contains two colors to create a healthy-looking glow. The powder blush feels silky and creamy on the skin. I have the colors Night Fever and Hot Stuff, which is warm pink with a luminous finish. I can’t believe how pigmented this is. A light dab with my brush gives my cheeks colors for the day. It blends effortlessly with my makeup and its intensity lasts the whole day, up to the night. I use this for long working days and events.

**published on puropulence.com last April 2018

Why your AM and PM routines should be different

When I first found out that skincare goes beyond cleansers and toners, I got to know the benefits of serums, essences, masks, and moisturizers. Then I read about the 10-step routine and it’s just information overload. There is so much to do, and for someone who has oily skin with pigmentation, there’s a lot to treat. I bought so many products making me paralyzed with fear when I sat on my vanity. I’m going to put all this twice a day? When? How?

Using many products at night is okay with me. I’ve gotten used to it and even take pleasure on having a few minutes to myself –between my thoughts, my skincare, and I. It’s a time for me to really look at my face and check what exactly I would need that day.

At night, I usually remove my makeup with a cleansing balm like Banila Co’s CleanIt Zero Purity or Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm before anything else. They both remove my makeup so quickly and so efficiently. This step also serves as the time to relax; I turn on the music, close my eyes, and massage my face until the song is over. I know it’s too long but I like the feeling of balm on my face.

I then cleanse with a foaming cleanser like Earth Tu Face’s Palmarosa + Aloe FaceWash before I put on my masks. I choose my mask depending on what I need that day – Georgette Klinger’s Vitamin C Mask if I need some brightening, Dior’s Hydra Life Pink Clay Mask for when my skin needs an extra glow, or Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask if my skin is a bit congested. I put on my mask and watch a rerun of The Office while waiting for it to dry.

Once that’s off, I go to my vanity and watch makeup tutorials until I finish my routine. I start with a hydrating toner, like Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner in Refresh or By Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. I then pat SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, the cult fave fermented essence, which helps refine pores and even skin tones. After that, I put on an acid, like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, which is both clarifying and anti-aging. Then I use an exfoliating toner, Biologique Recherche’s P50, which is literally a miracle in a bottle. My skin is always clear and glowing the morning after whenever I use this.

I follow this with serums to treat whatever my skin is feeling that day. If my skin is feeling extra oily, I will use the Bare Alchemy Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. If I have a budding zit, I will use Glossier Super Pure and use this continuously until the zit subsides. If it’s a good day, I will pull out Sahajan’s Ayurvedic Radiance Blend Face Serum or Bare Alchemy’s Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. With this, I always use a hydrating serum, like Jordan Samuel’s Hydrate Facial Serum, because it’s like a tall drink of water and an anti-aging serum like The Ordinary’s Buffet because I need to. I’m already in my 30s so I desperately need to keep those wrinkles at bay.

I cap my nighttime routine off with a moisturizer. This was a tricky part since it took me a long time to find a moisturizer that will not make my skin oilier. I found Blended Boost’s Face Cream, which can be customized to fit your skin needs, and J.One Cosmetics Black Jelly Pack. They are both hydrating and moisturizing but I don’t wake up with a greasy face after. I sometimes mix Butter Elixir’s Face Oil with my moisturizer if I feel like I need more nourishment.

Having these many products in my stash was a huge adjustment in the morning. You see, I love to sleep a bit too much. I tried doing all the steps above in the morning but it just didn’t work. My skin got greasy even before lunchtime and it was difficult to apply makeup. I also experienced breakouts. This is when I realized that I don’t have to follow a specific routine, I can adjust it based on what my skin needs and how my skin works.

I use a different type of cleanser in the morning – something gentler like Goodal’s Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam or Alder New York’s Everyday Face Cleanser. They don’t strip my skin but they do the cleansing part well. For toners, I use something lighter like mists. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator or Enature’s Vita 8 Nutritive Mist is so light and yet so hydrating. Mists are also great for waking up the skin and for reducing the puffiness a bit.

In the morning is when I will use my Vitamin C serums, like Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum or Skindeva’s Vitamin C+E Serum to brighten dull spots. These two products have a very light oily texture and sink in the skin quickly so it goes great with makeup. I do this because Vitamin C is very fussy with products used with it. After this, I use Onomie’s Priming Serum to even the tone of my skin.

After the serums, I use a different moisturizer, something lighter than what I use a night – Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion or Yasou’s Cellular Day Cream. They both work great with makeup and don’t make my skin oily. Up next is sunscreen, which is, again, a difficult search for me. Most of the sunscreens in the market are too greasy or too thick for my skin. Some have even broken me out. I use either Benefit Cosmetic’s Dream Screen or La Roche Posay’s Antihelios XL Ultra Light.

As you can see, my morning routine is much shorter. I have toned it down because what I need during the day is very different from what I need at night. During the day, my main goal is to mattify and protect my skin. I spend my days either stuck in the office surrounded by air-conditioning or outdoors surrounded by dust or under the sun so protection is important. Also, if you apply makeup finding products that will blend well with your foundation is necessary.

My goal for my nighttime routine is to cleanse, treat, and moisturize to prepare for the next day. Double cleansing is very important because it removes everything that my face has encountered during the day. This is the time to check what my skin needs and what I can do for it be it a serum or a mask.

It would, of course, be a different thing for people who have normal or dry skin types as they are looking for different things. Note that the routine I mentioned took a lot of trial and error on my part in order to find the most suitable products for my skin. However, my experience just proves to me that yes, layering products can be effective but it can also be customized depending on what your skin needs. Happy Discovering!

**published in puropulence.com last December 2017