Not everyone can afford a personal stylist or a massive budget to change their outfits, so hairstyling and makeup is a good place to start when you feel like changing your look.
An obvious way to do so is to get an amazing hairstylist who knows how to work with your face shape and is willing to help you change your hairstyle, so as to update your look and create a different perception.
There is always this predominant fear among people when it comes to changing their makeup. Random comments like how they are looking too fierce, or that the new colour doesn’t suit them, and even sillier things like “Oh I only suit pink colour”, or “My face is too yellow” constantly pop out in the sea of excuses.
It’s makeup, not brain surgery. If there is a mistake, you can remove it. It’s not an eyebrow tattoo or embroidery, nor is it a part of your arm.
I remember a constant flow of customers that come in and say “I am bored with my look, what can I do to change it?” from my days on the retail floor with Clinique and MAC. Generally, I find that these people are usually bored of their daily makeup routine, but they are not looking for drastic change – they just want certain updates to their look that are subtle enough so they can feel different.
Of course, there are also those who request for that total change due to personal reasons. I think that a drastic change in hair and makeup is a bold move to empower oneself and to say “I own myself”.
This is why I find people who run blindly into the fire of popular trends like Kbrows (and yet cannot draw correctly), that orange lipstick used by their favourite celebrity or that whole line of lipstick range from the IG-celebrity, are B-O-R-I-N-G. If you think getting your brows to match your pastel hair is considered exciting – FYI it’s a must, not a bold move. #B*tchPlease
So how do we change the way we look? There are so many ways, but let’s focus on the important points on the face. I like to refer to them as the facial focal points, because they gel the whole makeup look together. They are: Brows, Eyeliner, Blush and Lip.
Manipulating the eyebrows
If people keep asking if you are alright at work, it’s probably because of this: Your K-brows are drawn too low and too close, so you look like you have a permanent frown. It’s like watching Crayon Shin-chan’s constipated face. #YesIAmLaughingAtYou
Only small oval faces or long faces are suitable for K-brows. If you have a broad, heart-triangle shape like me, drawing a non-arched brow will just widen the face and make it look even more like a flat-screen TV. Even the K-brow shape has changed over the past two years by developing an arch, so move on with the times!
Draw your eyebrows in ways that suit your face shape. I have a beautiful acquaintance who has amazing skin and an oval-shaped face - it’s a pity she has a penchant for drawing thick lines that resemble McDonald’s arches on her brows.
All I want to do is to pin her down, alcohol-swab the eyebrows away and use a permanent marker to set the shape right – just so she can stop looking surprised every day.
What else can we do to adjust the brow? Your brow hair can match your crowning glory. It disturbs me when someone uses a brow product to fill in the shape but doesn’t use a coloured brow gel to tone down or emphasise the colour of the brows.
For example, if you've bleached your hair to a dirty blonde and your brows are still a startling natural dark brown, you should use a coloured brow gel to go over your brows to change their colour. This will soften your look entirely and make it appear more composed.
M.A.C has an amazing arsenal of brow products like the Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in different colours. Other brands may claim that they have the most brow products in a single launch, but M.A.C already has over 50 items for brows alone in Singapore (and that’s excluding the powder eye shadows that can be used for eye brows).
Changing your eyeliner shape
There are so many types of winged eyeliners, depending on how drawn-out and angled you want your liner. Play with different shapes and stop being confined to that same one because it “makes your eyes look larger”.
Line your lower waterline with different colours to play with your look: Use a navy blue liner instead of just black to draw out the whiteness of your eyes, or use a silver liner just above your black eyeliner for a pop of retro fun.
Do a cat eye, then change it to a kitty liner by winging it from the lower lash line up. Or manipulate the liner to give yourself a Japanese sad dolly eye. Just PLAY with your eyeliner, dammit.
Recently, I’ve fallen in love with two types of pencil liners: MakeUpForever Aqua XL Eye Pencil, which comes in 20 shades with most in a creamy matte texture that lasts forever.
And the Marc Jacobs Highliner, which is available in 17 shades (lots of them pretty and sparkly), helps to add a different texture and actually lasts. With so many darker shades to define your eyes, why stop at just black?
How to flush with blush
I always roll my eyes when people claim that “pink always brings the youthfulness out to create bright and fairer-looking skin”. With a plethora of pinks available, which particular hue, exactly, will make the person appear fairer?
The pink with the light blue base, the pink with the white frost, the pink with the champagne glow or the pink that borderlines a light mauve? I don’t like the combination of unnatural pink blush with pale foundation. It makes me feel like the person using it is trying to avoid their own natural skin colour.
Or using that burnt orange blush, so you can get a “sun-kissed look”. Girl, you look like you have roasted pumpkin on your cheeks.
Blushes comes in many shades that complement that natural flush in our skin. Play with the different colours. Explore different textures in liquid, cream, gel and powder that might work with your skin tone. Layer different blush types together like rosy mauve with a powdery pink for a glowing dimension. Add that warm apricot over your bronzer for that warm sun-kissed flush.
For those with a blush addiction, lay out your blushes and arrange them in colour groups. The maximum you should own is about eight and all of them should be in different shades and colour. #TimeForBlushPurge
If you’re still confused, check out Tarte’s user-friendly Cheek Stains, which come in eight shades, or their Amazonian Clay powder blushes, available in 15 hues.
Lip colour rules
Most people have the habit of choosing lip colours that they’re already used to. For most, the safest shade is a brown-pinky mauve that has more flush than their normal lip colour. Of course, there are some who insist on only using bright lipsticks or blindly follow trends that look awful on their puckers.
You need to know that your natural lip colour will affect the eventual lip shade - i.e. that K-pop pink might appear purple on your lips due to the nicotine stains from your smoking.
And when it comes to choosing a lip product - well, what do you go for when there are so many? Sometimes it hurts to stay focused on any. There are lip oils that leave a nice sheer stain; traditional lipsticks that come in more than a zillion textures; liquid lipsticks that go on natural/matte/stay liquid/are budge-proof; pencil ones that can be used as a lipstick and liner. Then there are peel-off stains that may even cause damage to lips.
I’ve noticed some online tutorials that show you how to use eyeliners and cream or powder eyeshadows as lip products. BE WARNED: These eye colours are NOT to be used on lips, because the colours haven’t been deemed safe for the lip area. Using them may result in severe staining, an allergic reaction or poisoning.
And no, you don’t need to follow that Instagram account that advises you to use 10 items on your lips for that pouty look. That method is from the 1980s, where there was not much advancement in cosmetic science.
Did you know that you can achieve three different finishes from one strong lipstick?
1. Put on a thin layer of lip balm and apply your lipstick over to make it sheer (or pick up colour from the lipstick bullet with your finger and rub over your lips).
2. Apply it directly to have its original colour.
3. Apply and use a tissue to blot away to create a worn-in look of the original colour, and top up with a touch of lipgloss.
A tip: To get a reference point of which colours NOT to buy on your next shopping spree, you can lay out all your lip products, take a picture and save it on your phone.
If you want to try a wash of bright colour on your lips, but are too afraid to take the plunge, try the new Chanel Rouge Coco Style Lipstick. It can go on as intense as a traditional lipstick, shiny as a gloss and comfortable as a tinted lipbalm – perfect for beginners! #WhoDoesntLoveAChanel
Or you can always wait until 22 July for the reopening of Sephora ION and you will be spoilt with Urban Decay’s VICE lipstick launch in 100 colours.
There’s also the Kat Von D lipstick launch in 26 colours of Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and Studded Kisses in 39 colours to look forward to.
I hope that with my bluntness you have learnt more about what you can do to update your makeup look. Maybe I should start a #TuesdaysWithLarry workshop with ELLE Singapore - what do you think?
For more from Larry Yeo, check out #TuesdaysWithLarry: The Truth About Cushion Compacts and #TuesdaysWithLarry: The Right Red Lipstick For Your Skin Tone.