Empties, May 2016

Sorry about the silence. I haven’t really been in the mood for blogging. You know how your likes and dislikes kind of swing around and contradict themselves? Yeah, like that.

Just a short personal discussion – I was having some problems at my new workplace, and I felt that the almost-no make up look made me look more serious about work, rather than bothering about make up all the time – seriously. I think my boss was in an exceptionally bad mood that week and I really went very light to be Very Serious. Now that my performance is decent and she’s not as cranky, I’m happy to go back to my usual comfort level of make up.

I still wear quite a bit of make up, but sometimes I don’t feel like talking about me wearing make up. So I blog…. sometimes. And sometimes I don’t. But I do always try to make myself post something.

I’ve also been hard at work using shit up, so let’s take a look at the actual point of the post, my May empties! This is a little early because if not I’ll definitely forget this shit.

This was a bumper month, which was actually why I started collecting my empties. I tend to want to throw shit away as quickly as possible.

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Foil samples:

Redflo Camellia Hair Shampoo (very unfortunately named…) and Debon Lily of the Valley conditioner, Carolina Herrera 212 Men sample, Mentholatum Acnes face wash.

The shampoo was quite nice, and the conditioner smelled terrible. They are Korean brands and these samples came free when I mass buy my sunscreens. The 212 sample is from my husband, and I wanted to use it up. The Mentholatum Acnes face wash was TERRIBLE, left my face super squeaky and broke me out after 2 washes. I still used it up by using it to wash brushes, which is how I use up all crap face washes.

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Now onto the stuff I’m really proud of finishing! Because foil samples don’t count.

Clockwise:

Nicole by OPI top coat: I pick my topcoats out randomly on a whim. This was REALLY slow to dry, and hence very unsuitable for my fidgety personality, but it was very glossy, and the thickness meant it smoothed out imperfections quite well, and protected the nails relatively well. But I would not repurchase.

L’oreal Shine Caresse Gloss Stain in Venus: I’ve had this for a year plus, and it REALLY IS EMPTY, I did not throw it away because it turned bad or something. BEHOLD THE GLORY:

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It has quite a perfumey smell and taste when it’s fresh, but my tube is a little old so thank goodness it has lost the smell and taste. Other than that, I absolutely love it. This is a semi sheer pink that perfects your lips without giving too much colour, and I could layer it over nearly any lipstick to refresh the colour and keep my lips moisturized and shiny. I could also apply this without a mirror. It also lasts well because it’s thicker, but it’s not sticky. I don’t like it that much on its own, I prefer its sister Lolita (which I heard has been discontinued :(((((( but it’s a great layering/everything gloss. This line is FREAKING AWESOME. Maybe will rebuy in a carefully considered colour.

Dior Hypnose Homme: Another one from my husband who has the biggest perfume collection in the world. This one had a teeny bit left, so I just sprayed it until it was gone. Not very special or nice.

Innisfree Orchid Enriched Cream: This appeared in my sample rundown post. It took me quite a while to finish it because there’s actually 10ml of moisturizer, which is 1/3-1/5 the size of an average moisturizer which lasts me goddamn forever. I have to say I don’t quite like it. I wash my face with water only in the mornings and pat it dry, but this does not come off with just water. Like I seriously don’t know what’s in this thing, but it just forms a hard film. I learnt the full extent of this when I was washing out the jar to keep to store other things. No wonder I had some small pimples when I was using this. It also doesn’t moisturize me particularly well. Will not repurchase.

Some Random Hotel Lotion: Yay for using it up.

Uriage Isolisse 1st wrinkles radiance cream: You guys, I don’t generally use a sample and think HOLY SHIT, IMMA BUY THIS but it happened with this. Which is why I cut the top off even though it was only a fucking sample. This was a medium weight cream – not too light, not too greasy that smelt slightly chocolatey and buttery so it smells and feels divine going on your face. It sinks in well and moisturizes well. Idk about wrinkles and other nonsense claims but it is a divinely nice moisturizer. It also costs $70 for 40ml here like what the fuck is wrong with you people. I would repurchase this if I could get a fantastic deal because I really liked this.

Now that I’m better settled in my job, hopefully I’ll be doing more make up and coming back to blogging!

 

Brush Feature: Face brushes

I decided to talk about the brushes I use because I have quite a few, and I use them nearly everyday. The key thing is that I don’t have dupes, each brush serves a specific function.

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All my face brushes!

First, we’ll look at the brushes I use to do my base.

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Top – Bottom: RT Buffing Brush, RT Flat foundation brush, Red Earth travel powder brush, The Body Shop Kabuki brush

As you can see, I do like my RT brushes quite a lot.

RT Buffing Brush: it has been a constant companion for about 1.5 – 2 years. It has shed a couple of hairs, but nothing major, and it’s always been soft and great for buffing foundation in. No complaints here.

RT Flat foundation brush aka the most useless brush in the set: I know most people hate it, and I certainly don’t use it to apply foundation. I use this exclusively for undereye concealer because I find it works far faster than the itty bitty concealer brushes. When I’m doing a seriously perfect face, I may also use this to apply primer, to ensure that it gets in all nooks and crannies.

Red Earth Powder brush: Powder, durrrrrh. I suppose you CAN use this as a blush brush in a pinch but I haven’t done that in a long time.

The Body Shop Kabuki: My least used base brush. I generally only use this for powder foundations, which I only wear in weekends. I guess I may be able to really airbrush my foundation if I was very concerned.

 

Next, we have the other brushes I use for my face.

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Bottom to top: RT crease brush (from eye set), RT contour brush (from base set), Red Earth unknown function brush, Ecotools blush brush, The Face Shop travel kit blush brush

RT Crease brush from the eye set is FAR too huge for my eyes. I use it exclusively for the purpose of contouring my nose. It fits perfectly into the sides of my nose and is fluffy and dense enough to blend out the cream contour I put there. I also occasionally use it to do very heavy and precise contour on my cheeks, but I do that like once a year.

RT Contour brush (from base set) is a great brush for everyday contour. It’s nice soft and fluffy, so it gives a diffused natural contour, not an overblown Kardashian level one. It works very well with powders. I gently contour by just running it in the hollows of my cheeks nearly everyday. My absolute favourite game changing brush from RT, I would say.

Red Earth unknown brush: I’ve talked about it in my useless Brush diaries too. (linked above!) The medium sized paddle-with-fluff design makes it a jack of all trades and a master of none. I use it for cream contour (which I usually only do when I’m aiming for very heavy contour) and for stick blushes and highlights. Generally it’s good for dense, dryer products. I find it fantastic for my Colourpop highlight. It works well with stick blush adn highlight too because they tend to be dryer than the products that come in a pan.

Ecotools Blush Brush: Super soft and large. I find that there’s a learning curve to the dome head, because it can be used for both very precise blush application (not a fan) or a larger more diffused area.

The Face Shop travel kit blush brush: Mine’s ferrule is a bit dented – it’s like, 4 years old by now. I wanted to throw it away multiple times but overall it’s still SUPER useful and I can’t bear to. It’s not very dense and the bristles aren’t the softest, but I find it immensely useful for cream blushes in a pan. I use it in a stippling motion and it is PERFECT. Since it’s sort of rectangular in shape and not very fluffy, I can also use it for cream contour if I wanted to.

So as you can see, I have quite a few face brushes, but all of them are pretty important in my routine and none of them are quite useless. In fact, I use them all very regularly. I would like a small and fluffy and un-dense brush for setting undereyes though. I MAY want to replace the travel set of Red Earth brushes with some Jessup brushes eventually but I just don’t want to shell out money for it right now.

Changed my mind: 3W Clinic Powder Crystal Creator Bright

This is what I hope to make into a new series. Basically about products I thought I liked or hated at first, and then grew to hate/love it for some reason or another. I am fickle, yes.

Anyway, let’s talk a little about this powder. This is 3W clinic, the same brand as my beloved sunscreen, purveyor of cheap and good Korean cosmetics. I think this powder used to be called Dodo Palgatong theatrical powder. The history behind this red jar is absolutely confounding.

The red jar is very sturdy, if not very pretty. The included puff is pretty good too, soft and squishy and pretty thick.

Anyway, my powder is in the shade 10 Pearl. There are 3 shades: 10 Pearl, 21 Light, and 23 Natural or something. Korean shades are very standardized, so basically 21 = super fair, maybe NC 10-15 thereabouts, and 23 = NC20. I would usually go for 23 in anything Korean. Aaaaand the shades end there. Korean brands don’t have a good reputation for shade range, can you tell? 😀

I got this secondhand off someone, which explains why I ended up with Pearl instead of 23 (ie I wasn’t looking.) Pearl is actually translucent, with a SHITTON of glitter. I shit you not, look at my arm. This is using the included puff, patting it off, and then patting my arm very lightly.

Compare this to the Catrice Radiance Pearls. I used a buffing brush, picked up as much product as I could and really buffing it on. You can tell that the 3W clinic powder has actual glitter in it, whereas the Radiance Pearls just have shimmer.

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L: Radiance Pearls. R: 3W Clinic Crystal Creator

This was why when I first got it I was like FUCK ME why did I buy a tub of glitter. However this week I took it out and trialed it properly and I changed my mind!

The reason is that the glitter doesn’t translate as horrendously as you think it does. On the face, at certain angles when the light hits you yes, you do look like you have glitter on your face, but not like a walking disco ball. The glitter is small enough to be relatively subtle and ‘perfecting’ rather than ‘glittering’. Plus, the powder is LOVELY. It’s makes my skin look amazing, with or without the glitter. It’s very natural, and melds into my skin amazingly. Or if you’re really anxious about the glitter, use it as a highlighter or something.

Of course, I don’t apply it with the puff. That would really look like a walking disco ball. I take my powder brush and I tap it on the puff and tap off the excess. Basically, be a little more careful.

However I have to note that it doesn’t really have oil control properties. I like my skin to look natural, so I just sweep it on after my foundation (the satinish Lasting Silk.) It gives me a very soft satin look. It will NOT make you matte or keep you matte, but it will make your skin look amazing.

The best? It’s DIRT CHEAP. 30g (1 oz) costs $5 on Qoo10. [affiliate] Of course you can opt for 21 or 23 rather than a tub full of glitter you see here instead.

Moral of the story? Great powder can be really cheap! I swear this is as good as any more expensive powder out there.

Lip Balm Smackdown! Lots of mini reviews

Just like most other people (even muggles!) I have lots of lip balms. In my defense, I don’t buy all of them. Some of them were bought by family members, which eventually got passed to me, etc.

The balms here range from expensive to cheap, and obscure to cult.

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Dr Lipp Nipple balm, jar of lanolin + Nuxe and a tinted version too, Nuxe Reve de Miel (green cap.) Carmex in the jar, Kose Pure Organic UV Cut SPF20 (green tube) Dr Rimpler Sun stick (white tube) and Lansinoh HPA Lanolin.

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Closer look at the jars!

Dr Lipp and Lansinoh are basically the same thing, which is lanolin. There is actually a difference between the two. Dr Lipp has a FAR muskier taste. Like, you’re really reminded that you’re eating the hair grease of an animal :S Lansinoh is far more pleasantly tasteless. It’s also is softer and squishier, while Dr Lipp is slightly thicker.

DR Rimpler is a very expensive ($15!!!) and very…. oily lipbalm. It’s exceptionally soft and squishy and thin in texture. I don’t very much fancy it, but it works okay and smells and tastes citrusy. It’s almost used up because I chopped off a large portion to mix into my own tinted balms and stuff. It’s the balm I keep in the office to use and I guess it’s good that it has SPF.

Surprisingly, I actually REALLY like Carmex. The Lanolin/Nuxe mixture is nice but doesn’t do as much for me as Carmex. Carmex really exfoliates and smooths out my lips like no other, maybe due to the small amount of salicylic acid? I alternate between lanolin/nuxe and Carmex for the night. I’m trying to destash Nuxe since there’s a good 70% of the jar left and I just scooped out some for mixing with lanolin.

My favourite of the lot is Kose UV Cut. This is the perfect texture of soft, buttery and just SLIGHTLY waxy. It really softens up my lips and soothes them, and it has UV protection! 😀 (Also partly because tubes are just easier to apply I guess.) Surprisingly it’s also semi-matte. It’s my daily morning balm.

All purpose: Lanolin. Works for everything – lip gloss, lipbalm, cuticle balm, emergency moisturizer for really dry parts of the face, face gloss, etc. I prefer Lansinoh over Dr Lipp.

Most effective: Carmex at night. Holy shit it does work. It just smells and tastes kind of gross, like er, burnt rubber tires mixed with oranges.

 

I keep Dr Lipp and Dr Rimpler at my office desk. Dr Lipp is when my lips are truly horrible and I need something mega soothing. I also bring it along for travels since it’s very small.

 

What are your favourite lip balms?

 

 

Weekly Make up Basket W18

This week I picked a gorgeous palette that gets little use because… I’m an idiot D:

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The illamasqua Empower palette is gorgeous. It’s what I would call the SFX palette because it’s full of duochrome and shimmer and glitter. PACKED.

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Left to Right: Matte shade, glitter lavender pink, teal brown duochrome, dark grey cream filled with GLITTAH, teal brown over grey cream, lavender over grey cream.

There is 1 matte shade that’s a bit dark to use as a base, but a bit light to use as a crease and it doesn’t really show up. So I guess it’s best to call it a blending/transition shade. There is the famous blue brown duochrome in a beautiful iteration. This is very warm and chocolatey, definite green shimmer. It’s also SUPER silky. Too bad, like all blue-brown type shades, it requires a black base for the green to really shine through. On it’s on it’s a brown with sneaky green shimmer (but a very gorgeous brown!)

There’s also a white-pink shade absolutely packed with silver and purple microglitter. It’s sort of duochromey too since it’s a white base with lavender/pink shimmer (and the microglitter, don’t forget.) This shade can feel a bit gritty when you touch it with your finger, but it feels alright going on. I tend to use my fingers for this because brushes lose the microglitter. Lastly, we have a silky cream, the kind that doesn’t set, that is a dark grey base packed with silver shimmer. For a non-setting cream, it wore pretty well throughout the day for me with some smudging at the outer corners (like almost everything for me) but it looked more like a grungy smokey eye than my-eye-makeup-smudged.

The sad thing is, it’s a little too grey and washes the teal out, so it necessitates a separate black liner/base for the teal to shine through. Thus, I have no idea how the palette works together as 4 colours.

But SO MUCH SHIMMER. I approve.

I also happen to be doing a 1 lipstick a day challenge for May, so my lip colour will be different every day of this month! Yippee.

I decided to pair this week’s very SFX look with no blush and MOAR special effects in the form of my pearlescent highlighter.

Look 1: ALL TEH COLOURS! Lavender pink in inner corner, grey cream to line, teal brown on lid, transition shade…. used as a transition shade.

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The brown in the teal brown kind of brings out my undereyes :S Also partly because I was using my finger to apply it, lol.

 

Look 2: PARHPUL. Lavender pink over messy base of the grey cream, and the teal brown just on the outer corners. I was not too big a fan because the purple is super pretty but I’m not sure purples of this shade look good on me. I think I had another eyeshadow that looks similar and it made me look really sallow.

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Note: From n ow on, I will post the weekly make up baskets at the end of the week. I take photos of my looks nearly every day, since I have to do the daily lipstick challenge, but I’m too tired when I come back home and I generally just want to laze around instead of blog, so….

Makeup Obsessed Tag!

Stolen from Auxiliary Beauty! I don’t usually do this but it’s good fun 😀

 

1. Do you remember your first makeup item?

The first one I used was a multi-palette (the cheap and nasty ones) for various childhood events like graduation, presentations, etc.) My mother bought it and I sometimes secretly played with it.

The first one I bought for myself a glittery pink lipgloss from ZA (Taiwan brand.) Kind of makes me cringe now….

 

2. What kind of coverage do you prefer from foundation?

I like sheer-medium. I have pretty decent skin (she says, while nursing 2 large pimples currently…. I swear it’s the new sample of facewash I have that’s breaking me out) but it can look pretty sallow and a bit unevenly coloured, so I just like to smooth everything out a bit. I prefer those leaning towards medium because I don’t use concealer anywhere except my undereyes and I do like the occasional small blemish to be covered up decently. I don’t like full-coverage foundations because it’s way too heavy and often cakey. And too sheer foundations are kind of beyond the point. 
3. Favorite high-end brand?

Armani for sure. I like the overall aesthetic, and it has some fabulous products. I’ve used the illuminator, a liquid lipstick, several foundations, and most of all, my cherished Eyes to Kill Silk eyeshadow pots and you have to pry them from my cold dead hands. In my rounds of destashing I opened up all the pots and swatched them and wore them and couldn’t let go of any of them.

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I have like 3 or 4 more now!

4. What cosmetic brands have you always wanted to try but still haven’t?

Besame Cosmetics! I swear the vintageness is just made for my vintage loving soul. I hope to live in eternal glamour and elegance and cateyes and lush lashes and red lipstick (preferably NARS Dragon Girl. Red Velvet the Agent Carter lipstick is acceptable too.) (Okay, no, I want to switch up my look all the time, but you get my drift.)

5. Favorite drugstore brand? 

Man, I have to say that I love a whole mix of drugstore brands. I would never touch drugstore foundation ever because they would never match my undertones, but Catrice makes a whole lot of lovely single eyeshadows and gorgeous limited edition items, Maybelline and Revlon make awesome lipsticks, and I also love Asian drugstore brands like Clio.

If Kiko is counted a drugstore brand, definitely Kiko. I think they do lots of types of products well, often with impeccable marketing and packaging. They offer a huge range of colours and products at a SUPER LOW price point. I always end up binge buying Kiko when I’m in Europe.
6. Do you wear fake lashes?

Tried to, hated it. I may wear it for REALLY special occasions. I believe the last time I actually wore it of my own volition was when my girlfriends and I went to a club and we went ALL out. (that was like, 3 years ago…)
7. Is there any kind of makeup you can’t leave the house without? 

I am perfectly willing to leave the house bare faced, even without sunscreen, if I had to. I’m not that fussy. That said, I try not to leave the house without doing my brows (and also the sunscreen.) I have quite a fair bit of brow hairs but they’re not very densely packed, so I like to at least fill them in a little.

8. What is your most cherished makeup product? 

NARS Dragon Girl. I don’t actually have it now, because I lost 2 of them, but I definitely love it. There have been make up I bought, lost, and didn’t care about, but I actively want to buy my Dragon Girl no.3. I’m holding out because I want to use up some reds first.

9. Do you utilize coupons, rewards cards, and sales when you shop for cosmetics? 

Definitely, I make mental notes of products I love and wait for black friday sales and such. I am very, very good at waiting. I love indie cosmetics and I’m totally waiting for this black friday to scoop some up. I also wait a long time for people destashing their products to snap up something I want.

10. What type of product do you buy the most of?

Used to be lipstick, but now that I have quite a lot, my focus seems to be lemming after eyeshadow now (not that I don’t have enough eyeshadow….) I haven’t bought any make up for awhile now though, so I’m proud of myself!

11. Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick, blush, etc.) or neutral ones?

I love neutral tones with pops of colour. I think plain neutrals are just blah, and I’m always trying to work in something funky into my look. Be it a simple clean eye with berry lips in the office, or copper/pink/burgundy eyeshadow or TONS of blush, I try to stay on the teetering edge of wearable.
12. What is your favorite eyeshadow color?

Mint green with gold shimmer!!!! Such an easy question. I have 2 such shades, and a few more that are close (seafoam green with gold shimmer, mint without gold, grassier green with gold shimmer, you get the drift) I seriously LOVE minty greens. And I’ve been lemming after an indie one too.
13. Is there a brand that you absolutely can’t stand?

I would say no? I dislike lots of brands (Kylie, Glossier, Tarte, Lush, Fresh) but I wouldn’t stay I absolutely can’t stand them. I just generally dislike overpriced nonsense in general, like Fresh and Lush skincare, and super expensive Glossier Generation G lipsticks.

14. Do you like trying new skincare products or do you keep a certain routine?

I detest trying new skincare products, but I have a ton of samples I’m slowly working through. Skincare is extremely unexciting to me, and I just stick to a few basics. My ultra-lazy morning routine is toner (since I’m trying to use up my bottle of toner now) and sunblock. When the toner is gone, it will be just sunblock.

My night routine is something like BHA/AHA, whatever hydrating serum I have on hand, and whatever moisturizer I’m trying to use up. When I have samples of stuff I will throw them in. I’ve found my HG AHA and BHA and I’m happy enough with my hydrating serum to not bother about looking for more, so it’s just moisturizer that I’ll have to replace or try out new ones until I find one I like. I do a sheet mask once every couple of weeks when I can be bothered to.

(So far, I’ve really liked one moisturizer sample I had, but it’s 70SGD  (~50USD)… holy. I am never going to spend that amount of money.)
15. Favorite bath and body brand?

Don’t really have one so far. I think it’s because we don’t really have bathtubs here, it takes AGES to draw a bath, water is expensive, and we have to shower like 3x a day because it’s SO HOT. So who cares about what products we use, so long as it keeps us clean. However, Boots housebrand shower gels are pretty nice and smell divinely like VANILLA CAKE, so I love them. The Vanilla body lotion is awesome too.

16. If you could only buy from one brand, which brand would you choose?

Wow this is a tough question… Hmmm, I think I’ll pick Kiko Milano. They have a great core line with loads of colour options and formulas so it will have everything I fancy, and they release gorgeous limited edition items every season too. The only thing is that their bases are probably very off in terms of undertones for me.

17. What brand do you think has the best packaging?

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For fun and cutesy, I think Tonymoly is great. I have their bunny spray and it’s so goddamn cute. And the Cat mascara (not that it did much for me, booooooo) For classy packaging I think Armani packaging, with their oval-round shapes, are awesome.

PS, Asian brands have really preposterous packaging. Below is a blinged out lipstick with intricate embossing and a lipbrush that is apparently, magnetically attached. WTF.

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18. Which celebrity always has great makeup?

Well, I hate Taylor Swift but she wears NARS Dragon Girl, so I guess she has good taste… I really like Zooey Deschanel’s make up aesthetic (and her as well!) It’s always very light but her lashes and lashline are really dark and dolly and even when she does smokey eyes there’s a girlish demureness to it. It’s lovely.

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I’m like 99% sure those are false lashes but those bottom lashes are amazing.

19. Do you belong to any online makeup communities?

I’m on MakeupRehab (as kongci) and I sometimes participate at Indiemakeupandmore, and I comment on a few favourite blogs I read regularly!

20. Five favorite beauty/lifestyle influencers?

I don’t like influencers. I like to think the way I decide how to, thanks. That said, the blogs I do read frequently are: Auxiliary Beauty, Cheapasf, Rocaille Writes, Badoutfitgreatlipstick, and Alle Connell. There are a few more bloggers that have since gone inactive that I love.

21. Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?

I use a lot of products everywhere. My favourite is using lipstick as blush. I do that for especially horrible lipsticks, like the Revlon Matte Audacious, which is quickly becoming my favourite coral summer flush. I’ve used mascara for brows, dipbrow-esque product to line my eyes, blush as eyeshadow, highlighter as eyeshadow, eyeshadow as lipstick, you name it! So I don’t actually need items that specifically call themselves multipurpose because you can bet that if I like it I’ll put it everywhere on my face.

22. Are you clumsy while putting on makeup?

I’m always clumsy, but I’ve gotten into a good routine in the mornings so that I don’t need to grope around for products. I’ve smashed lots of items though D:

23. Do you use makeup base/primer for the eyes?

I use both face and eye primer, although I’m trying to move away from the face primer since I don’t find it very necessary with my foundation of choice (Armani Lasting Silk.) I’ll probably still use it on fancy event days though. Eye primer is absolutely essential for me because my eyelids are oily as hell. Currently I am using Etude House Proof 10, bought because it was cheap and had decent reviews, after my NYX HD eye primer shattered (my 2nd tube, after I lost the first one. I seem to be very unlucky with a certain few items.) It’s a solid meh, colours don’t show up very brilliantly over it (although it does help, certainly) and the longevity is better than no primer but also not fabulous. I am waiting to use it up more before moving onto Eccentric Cosmetic’s longwear primer, which has amazing reviews.
24. What do you love about makeup?

I like that I can switch up my look whenever I want to. I have a lot of facets to my personality, and I love glamour, but I also love girl-next-door and SFX and mint green and bold colours and The Resting Bitch Face and all that, you know? I can be whoever I want to be that day with just a bit of make up and the right clothes.