By Monica Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
I love the fashion and beauty industry.
I have been involved in it my whole life. Naturally, I have tested plenty of products out there and have grown to love many. There are even some I can hardly live without. Some are from your local Nordstrom and others are just a trot down to the local drug store. I love mixing and matching, and any time there’s a bargain I am a happy camper.
I know that for many Asian women, putting on makeup can be intimidating. Many of us feel exposed. Some of us are self–conscious about our Asian facial features. But I want to help you celebrate your uniqueness. A bit of self–pampering is definitely good for the mind and body, so here I will talk about some of my “must haves.”
I used to work as a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. To this day I still wear a little bit more makeup than the average person. I love my eyeliner thick and mascara layered. Late night home from work, the last thing I want to do or think about is washing my face.
Then someone gave me a sample of Philosophy’s “Purity Made Simple” cleanser to try. It’s amazing. It’s a creamy texture that does not foam but breaks down all the makeup, even the mascara. ”
The thing I love about it is that it never makes your skin feel tight, and there is no need for eye makeup remover. This is the perfect one–step solution. Want more good news? Go to Sephora and you can grab a travel size for $10 (I keep one in my makeup bag) or once a year at Nordstrom’s anniversary sale, they sell the liter for roughly $40, the same price as their 16 ounce. It will last for over a year.
Many Asian girls and women either wear their eyeliner thicker or do a little cat eye with the wing at the end. The best product for this is MAC’s Fluidline in “blacktrack” ($15). All you need is a long–lasting angle brush and some brush cleanser (prefer both MAC, $19 and $11). The line is clean and never smudges or bleeds. With thinner lids, it’s also transfer–resistant.
On the days when I want a smokier eye, I dust on a little black shadow on the outer lid and just draw my liner on a little thicker. It’s foolproof.
When first starting out I would recommend stamping and wiggling your way across your lash line versus being ambitious and trying to draw a straight line. When it doesn’t look perfect, just smooth it out with the brush again and again to make it a little thicker.
On my “natural” days, I smudge the Fluidline into my lash line, take some eye makeup remover with a Q–Tip and wipe away the extra. It looks faint. Pair it with some mascara, and I am good to go.
Anyone who knows me knows I love mascara. Perhaps it’s my “Asianness” but I hate splurging on department store brands because it lasts for only a month before it dries up. My best advice for short, coarser lashes is Covergirl’s Exact Volume mascara. The great thing is usually you can find it on sale — buy one get one or pack deals. I always stock up. If you wait for the sale, it’s usually less than $5 per mascara.
The reason why I love it is because it comes with a rubber brush. The formula never clumps on you, and with Asian eyes, those few lashes are precious! You don’t want to apply so much on that they all clump together. It will look like you only have one lash left.
This is the perfect mascara if you want to do just one coat before heading to the gym, or three coats before a night out with the girls.
I have two more products that I can’t live without, Burt’s Bees’ lip balm ($3) and Smashbox’s “Expose” lip–enhancing gloss ($18). With the weather starting to change, I rub on a little Burt’s Bees. It soothes and heals. Then I smear on a little gloss before I head out. It’s a very sheer and neutral color that’s perfect to wear alone or paired with liner.
One of my biggest pet peeves with gloss is that it becomes too sticky. Smashbox’s is smooth. For the illusion of fuller lips, pair it with a lip liner that matches your lip tone. But please don’t draw outside the line. You’ll just look “made up”! ♦
Philosophy and Smashbox products can be found at Sephora stores or at www.sephora.com. MAC products can be found at MAC Cosmetics stores or at www.maccosmetics.com. Covergirl and Burt’s Bees products can be found at local drugstores.
Monica Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.