Tag Archives: makeover

Face Of The Day: A Very Merry MAC Makeover

MAC Holiday 2015 makeover

What’s that faint ringing sound you hear? The approaching onslaught of tinny renditions of Jingle Bells being piped through every Hong Kong mall sound system for the next few weeks, that’s what!

Scrooge sentiments aside, C-Day is well and truly on its way – and with it, party season too. One of the most common questions I get asked as a beauty blogger in Hong Kong is where people can go to get a makeover session pre-party; it’s actually a service that quite a lot of the make-up counters here offer and just don’t advertise properly… but my default answer is always MAC! They have such a huge cosmetics range that covers pretty much every colour or product you desire, so can really give you the full works in any number of styles – and with over 20 locations throughout Hong Kong, there should be a venue that’s convenient for you.

MAC Hong Kong Face

Having been a devoted fan of MAC Cosmetics for many years now, I was invited to hand the reins over to the experts with my own 60-minute MAC make-up session – perfectly timed to showcase some of the newest products from their just-launched Holiday 2015 Magic Of The Night Collection. (Hint that will surprise absolutely no one: there might be a bit of glitter involved!)

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Beauty Spot: MAC Viva Glam makeover for World Aids Day plus giveaway!

How many companies make a huge fuss about ‘giving something back’ only for you to read the small print and discover charitable donations are limited to a small percentage of profits or a tiny fraction of the selling price?

Well, not MAC. I was invited to be part of their World Aids Day initiative to coincide with the launch of two new Viva Glam lip products fronted by Lady Gaga – where I discovered that every single penny/cent from the SELLING PRICE of their Viva Glam items goes directly to the MAC Aids Fund. Pretty impressive… and in Hong Kong alone, they’ve raised over $5.3 million over the past five years.

But a bit more about that later. On December 1, World Aids Day itself, MAC artists around the world gathered to distribute red ribbons and condoms to raise awareness about HIV – and I was amongst them! Alongside two of my beauty besties, Danielle and Jenn, we braved the elements (and the indifference of the general public) to hand out condom packs to passers-by outside iSquare in Tsim Sha Tsui.

An interesting experience to say the least. Given I generally get ogled if I expose just one inch of general chest area, I knew we’d be in for a bumpy ride – Danielle even more so when she decided to station herself outside Chungking Mansions! The high/lowlight was one man coming up to ask for seven packs ‘one for each day of the week… every time I change my clothes, I change my women’; oh well, at least he was planning on using condoms! Then there was the man that put his arm round Dani and asked if they were for use with her (balk)… and then there were the Muslims we managed to insult by insinuating they might have sex before marriage.

Having done the best we could, we were then led into the much safer waters of the MAC Training Studio, for a Viva Glam masterclass and make-up demo by MAC artiste extraordinaire, James Molloy.

I think I may love this man. In the past, I’ve found MAC staff somewhat scary and intimidating with their wild make-up looks, but James was so down-to-earth, lovely to chat to (gotta love hearing a Northern accent in HK!) and, most importantly, a dab hand with make-up! He demonstrated three looks using different Viva Glam lipsticks and lipglasses – the latest, Viva Glam Gaga 2, a creamy peachy nude lipstick with an ‘amplified finish’ and a matching beige-nude lipglass; mine and Dani’s favourite, Viva Glam I, a classic matte old-Hollywood scarlet and the very first creation in the Viva Glam line; and Viva Glam V, a neutral pink with a slight shimmer.

He stressed the importance of priming the lips first (using Mac’s Prime & Prep, a soft lip balm-like product that smoothes the surface and makes the colour last longer), advocated the use of blotting and reapplying to create a colour that stays put and generally made Queenie, the model, look rather fabulous (even if she doesn’t look too happy about it in the photos!)… and made it all look very easy!

We also had a chat about Viva Glam in general – in case you didn’t already know, Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin are the most recently announced spokespeople (and I’ll put money on Minaj doing a bubblegum pink) for the line and Gaga had definite creative input into her choice of colours. I also learnt that ALL of Viva Glam sales, not just profits and not just some piddling percentage of the price, goes towards the MAC Aids Fund, which supports HIV sufferers worldwide and helps fund direct care, prevention and global fight against the disease. Whatever you think about MAC and its products, I don’t think anyone can doubt that this is a really brilliant initiative for such a worthy cause.

No-one else being up for it, I offered myself as guinea pig to James’ capable hands for a quick make-up demo! I rarely wear lipstick (instead going all out on the eyes front), so if I do, I want to make a splash with it – hence my choice of the Hollywood red Viva Glam I! We learnt from a Chinese journalist that local women generally steer clear of such bright lip colours, as they think their lips are too big, and that the colloquial phrase for wearing this lipstick colour is ‘a big basin full of blood’ (血盤大口, ‘huut pun dai hau’), like a monster who’s gorged on some animal! Great!

I personally loved what James did. It might be a little bit more vampire than vamp given how pale my skin is and how long my very dark Morticia Adams hair has become, but it was such a striking look that immediately made me feel gorgeous, glammed-up and red-carpet ready! I usually have difficult finding a red that doesn’t lean pink or orange on me, yet Viva Glam I seemed to do the trick nicely! I will say that I do think you need real confidence to wear bright red lipstick as it tends to magnify any other blemishes or flaws in your complexion and in Hong Kong especially, I’ve noticed it gets you many more stares than usual (or maybe I just notice them more?!).

Dani mentioned that whenever she wears red lipstick, it never lasts the distance and instead, ends up all over her face (what’s she been doing?!). So I decided to put Viva Glam I to the test and wore it for the rest of the day post-makeover. My photos show it after two hours wear, where it’s clearly as strong and saturated as ever. I then went to the Jack Wills opening party later that night; it was still very obvious, if not quite as freshly bloody, so I spruced it up with a slick of Lanolips Lip Tint (in Apple, an amazing product that I will be reviewing properly later) – you can check out some photos of me at the event on Jasmine’s fab blog here, which shows how Viva Glam I was holding up some 4-6 hours after application. If you can’t be bothered to look, the answer is pretty bloody well! By 8-10 hours, it was wearing off, but my boyfriend was still able to detect I had some red tint to my lips. Viva Glam I is obviously intensely-pigmented and boasts a gorgeous matte finish, but the downside to this is that it’s slightly drying – one coat of Prep & Prime beforehand does help matters significantly!

I’ll have separate swatches and full reviews for the two new Gaga Viva Glam lip products, but first I have a fantastic MAC giveaway for you all! You lucky devils can win the MAC goodie bag shown below for your make-up pleasure – including a fluid line gel eyeliner, mascara, mineralize blush, duo eyeshadow, lipglass, lipliner and a MAC World Aids day t-shirt. All you have to do is leave a comment saying who would be your ideal Viva Glam spokesperson and make sure you enter a valid email address in the comment form (so I can contact you if you win!).

The winner of the giveaway was Miss ChicMcMuffin – congrats girl, and enjoy the make-up!

Beauty Spot: Becca Skin Perfecting Make-Up System Makeover review

I usually approach makeovers at make-up counters with wariness.

Take advice from overly orange sales assistants who seem to think the best way of advertising their products is to wear as much on their face as possible? No thanks! And, when I have succumbed, it’s been a case of too too much – plastered on like a mask (and feeling almost as heavy as one!) in whacked-out colours and with an emphasis on whatever products they’re currently trying to promote, regardless of whether they suit your skin tone.

However, I bring you one notable exception to the rule – Becca.

Too too much is a notion that isn’t really in this Aussie cosmetics brand’s arsenal. They’re all about natural, effortless beauty – admittedly not much use if you’re seeking crazy colours and glitzy glitters, but great for your go-to day-to-day make-up. Becca wasn’t around where I used to live in the UK but as soon as I came over, I made my way over to one of their counters quick-start – and the fact I’m now onto my third bottle of their Tinted Moisturiser should tell you all you need to know!

The guy in charge of my Skin Perfecting Make-Up System Makeover was the very lovely Jan. Ladies, ask for him and you need never fear of the makeover foundation force-field again! He asked about my general make-up look, what colours I preferred and paid close attention to my skin (verdict: good but after a really poor facial, currently extremely sensitive) and skin-tone. I’m vampire levels of fair but Jan picked and applied all my products expertly to create a light, natural make-up look that I was really happy with!

I think you’ve seen enough pictures of me on here to know my general look by now so you’ll have to make do with the after shots only – and the pout is more through effort of trying to take a decent photo of myself, rather than through model aspirations, trust me!

As I knew I was getting made over, I only applied a quick base with SPF and a slick of eyeliner (I rarely leave my neighbourhood without it!) so the first stage was a quick make-up removal. ‘Wow, this eyeliner is good!’ Jan commented, as he moved onto his third cotton wool square for just my left eye… of course, it was a good old Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencil, one of my bona fide make-up miracles. Jan had heard of Urban Decay’s magical mystical properties but, UD not being sold in HK, had never tried them, so I told him to recruit someone to go haul for him in Sinagpore’s Sephora… and the rest of the makeover breezed by in make-up gossip and easy chatting!

First, there was a primer, then onto their Luminous Colour Tinted Moisturiser, one of my favourite Becca products. It has a really gorgeous consistency and applies silkily smooth, whilst also offering pretty good coverage for a tinted moisturiser (which often tend to be on the sheer side). The best thing about Becca’s Tinted Moisturiser is that it comes in 13 different shades – so you’re bound to find one that matches and blends in seamlessly with your skin-tone, rather than making do with one of the regulation ‘light, medium or dark’ that most brands (and BB Creams) manage. Factor in an SPF of 25, a light and dreamy texture and that a little goes a long way (one bottle generally lasts me around 18 months), and it’s no surprise this is a total stalwart in my make-up bag!

I also loved what Jan did with my eyes, a slightly smoky look but still subtle enough for day-to-day wear. He used a matte taupe shadow from the Lost Weekend Palette and then added extra depth with an eye pencil, but without going heavy on the waterline – and I am absolutely loving those flicks (no Benefit Get Bent Brush required!)!

What’s more – Jan didn’t use mascara. Is he my guardian make-up angel or what?! My eyes are pretty sensitive as the best of times, but following crap facial, have been bugging out more than ever. He took one look and, rather than ploughing on regardless, said there was no way he was using mascara (and even then, went light and gentle with the rest of my eye make-up). You’ll know it’s a super-special occasion if you see me in my mascara, that’s how much I hate wearing it (it always makes my eyes feel heavy, they invariably start watering at some stage and the hassle of taking it off is enough to kill the ‘oooo fluttery’ joy of initial application) so this really cemented it as a perfect make-up look for me.

After finding out I preferred corals to pinks, he went that way for the rest of my look. He used one of Becca’s best-selling Lip & Cheek Crèmes as a blush (Tuberose I think) and I was really surprised with the results. Cream blushes often come off rather intense and feel heavy on my skin-tone yet with Jan’s dab hands, he managed to create a pretty, delicate and effortless coral flush!  I only wish I had enough confidence in myself to know I could work it just as well at home!

IFC’s toilets – home to decent lighting!

After trying a few lip looks, we eventually settled on one I really loved using another cult Becca product, Beach Tint in Grapefruit, a pretty pinky-coral. I’d heard lots of good things about their Beach Tints, which can be used on both lips and cheeks, and because of that, had been expecting them to have the same kind of watery liquid stain consistency as Benefit’s Benetint/Posietint/Cha Cha Tint/whatever new Tint retread they’ve brought out. Actually, the Becca Beach Tint is more like a light cream (intensely bright out the tube but easily blended in) and in my books, work far better as a lip tint than Benetint’s moisture-sapping stain ever did!

I absolutely loved the light coral colour, plus the deliciously unexpected fresh fruity scent, but what I loved even more was the finish. It’s pretty much the most natural lip finish I’ve seen, but which still made an obvious colour difference to my smackers. It’s definitely not a gloss, glaze or satin finish but definitely far away from being a matte or balm look either; basically, it’s a totally gorgeous, natural lip look, the ultimate ‘my lips but better’ and has immediately gone down on my wish-list!

Finally, a few judicious dabs of concealer for any red patches, a finishing powder (another Becca best-seller with a feather-light texture and radiant finish) and a highlighter and I was good to go!

Do not fear… I will be getting a new camera soon!

I absolutely loved my makeover – and Jan! It’s a really natural but pretty make-up look that totally suits my lifestyle, which for me, is exactly what a good makeover should be – one that took into account my style and my needs, rather than those of the make-up assistant! This is a look that I would wear without hesitation in my day-to-day life; I loved how light and non caked-on it felt and it stayed picture-perfect for a good eight hours, with the eye make-up holding up especially well. Plus, with Jan talking me through it the entire way, it’s one I feel I could manage to do myself too.

Proof positive that this makeover was a good ‘un through and through? I, control freak and beauty addict, would happily entrust Becca and Jan with my make-up again… and again… and again…!

Becca counters are available at Times Square, Pacific Place and IFC Lane Crawford.