If an apocalypse were imminent and you only had time to grab three makeup products before dashing out the door — which products would you choose?
When posed this question, some writers and editors turned in answers which proved to be pretty revealing of what they thought of their facial features — in particular, the strongest (and most defining) traits. While some opted for colour (a flush of red) because it would immediately bring life to their faces, others cared more about their complexion. But, all said and done, everyone agreed that products for their eyes (mascara, eyeliner, brows) were the most crucial. After all, the eyes and brows frame the face.
Here, seven team members from our editorial desk share their chosen ones:
1. The Time-Starved Writer
Glossier Boy Brow in Brown: I use this every morning. Before I switched to the Boy Brow (US$16), I was using Benefit’s wax and powder thing (the Brow Zings Eyebrow Shaping Kit, S$56 from Sephora), and I had to use a brush, which took me a long time (roughly 15 minutes) to do my brows every morning. With the Boy Brow, that process has been reduced to 10 seconds?
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint: This comes in a tube. I just put it on with my beauty blender. It’s not really a foundation but skincare-slash-foundation. This Skin Tint (S$70 from Sephora) has SPF and it’s good because sunscreen products usually break me out because I have very oily skin. This doesn’t.
Glossier Balm Dot Com (Cherry): I just use it on my bare lips with my fourth finger. Yes, very exact. So, this balm (US$12) definitely moisturises your lips. But the cherry one, to be specific, gives your lips a flush of red that looks natural. The other Balm Dot Coms don’t give you any colour. But this gives you colour so it’s nice. In Singapore, I buy them overpriced on Carousell.
2. The Fake-It Writer
Heroine Make Kiss Me Super Waterproof Mascara: With this mascara (S$21.90 from Watsons), I can build on it if I want my eyelashes to be more poppin’. But one layer is good enough for that everyday casual situation. And it makes me look alive, yes.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter: I bought it ’cause everyone was raving about Becca’s highlighters. My skin just looks better when there is a glow to it and highlighters help me fake that (when your skin isn’t naturally as dewy as you’d like it to be). I use this highlighter (S$58 from Sephora) on the top of my cheekbones, my nose bridge, and sometimes on my cupid’s bow. A very little bit goes a long way with this highlighter.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation (2.1 Y): Damn, this is like a second skin for me. This serum foundation (US$10.90) is great because it doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry. It’s medium coverage is perfect because I think that just makes me look not too made up. I like the my-skin-but-better look it gives. Essentially, good skin is a life goal. But while I’m working towards that… I shall use this to pretend like I’m sort of there.
3. The Beauty Editor
Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Concealer: I will put this concealer (S$105 from Tangs) on points like imperfections, scars, and discolouration around the nose. The formula dries into an almost powdery finish. It doesn’t look greasy or unnatural. It comes in a stick format and while you don’t normally use stick concealers around the eye, this glides and blends very seamlessly into the skin. Even though it covers marks well, it still gives a skin-like finish and I find I can skip foundation. Then, I add on a blush.
Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam: This cream blush (US$18) is a bit sheer but you are talking about a tube of blush that’s easy to carry around — that’s the important thing. Another thing that’s nice about this is, again, it blends seamlessly into the skin. My skin is very one toned and I don’t have a natural, healthy glow to it. I feel like blush is important to me as it adds a bit more dimension and liveliness to my face.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara: The reason I chose a mascara (S$44 from Sephora) is because I need one to help me define the lash line as I typically skip liner. Mascaras are very specific to your lash type. This may not work for everyone. I have quite long, curled lashes so this helps to volumise and define them without looking fake and clumpy.
Can we have a bonus item? No?
4. The Upmarket Fashion Director
Boy De Chanel Foundation: It’s highly pigmented, which means high coverage but when applied to the skin, it turns out to be quite sheer. Most importantly, it doesn’t give you the infamous foundation oxidisation.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Power Fabric Concealer: Generally, Giorgio Armani Beauty’s cosmetics are good. This concealer (S$60 from Tangs) doesn’t cake unlike creamier concealers. It comes with an applicator (like most concealers), which makes the formula quite easy to blend, and it dries off into a powdery finish.
5. The Money-Conscious Fashion Editor
Clio Waterproof Pen Liner Kill Black: This Japanese eyeliner (S$24.90 from Watsons) is smudge proof and, surprisingly, very easy to remove. In comparison, other eyeliners like NYX’s smudges on my eyelids like mad. Once, I used that and I looked like an emo kid by the end of day. This comes with a brush tip, which makes it very easy to draw and, over time, the brush doesn’t fray easily. It’s S$24.90, which makes it not bad for a Watsons drugstore brand.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz: This brow pencil’s brush (S$40 from Sephora) is on the thicker side and the brow pencil lead is sturdy—which means it doesn’t end up getting blunt. When it gets blunt easily, you’ll have to sharpen the pencil a lot… and that’s very expensive considering it’s S$40 per brow pencil. Even though the pencil is highly pigmented, it’s nonetheless easy to control.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Cushion To Go: Definitely Giorgio Armani. This cushion foundation (S$105 from Tangs) has got high coverage and is not excessively dewy like the Korean brands’. It’s capable of covering up the eye bags but not, say, pimples. When I use cushion foundations from other brands, they’ll always oxidise and within half a day I will become yellowish. This Giorgio Armani cushion oxidises too. But not till the end of the day.
6. The Well-Groomed Social Editor
Makeup Forever Brow Gel (Clear): I chose this because I think neat brows are very important when you don’t have a lot of makeup on your face. You don’t look as unkempt. I use this clear brow gel (S$32) because it’s small and discreet and you can throw it in your bag. The brush makes it easy to apply and the gel holds up better than other brands. I look like I naturally have very obedient brows when I use this.
Erborian CC Cream: This is the best. Let’s start with the only downside: there are not a lot of shades available. When applying, this CC cream (S$29) starts as a white cream with nude capsules suspended within. When you start to spread it over your skin, it’s magical — it turns nude then it looks like your exact skin tone. It comes with SPF 25, which is not a lot but for indoors it’s fine. I prefer this to other BB/CC creams because it gives you light to medium coverage. Say, if I have a scar, it tints it. And it carries a hint of orange to wake the skin up.
I used to have bad skin and a lot of acne scars. When my skin got better, I wanted to move on to a product that evens out my skin tone and cover broken capillaries — all without it looking like heavy makeup. Now, I don’t go overseas without this and I always have a tube in my bag. I buy them from Sephora.
Eight Hour Lip Protectant Stick: This is healing and protective. I can start the day with chapped lips but after I put this balm (S$53 for three from iShop Changi) on, it calms the lips down. The texture is sheen and very light. You don’t feel like there’s anything on. It’s not heavily scented like lip balms from other European brands. Why a lip balm? I have very big lips and to have such a big surface area be crusty, is not very presentable.
7. The Makeup Fanatic & Social Editor
Heroine Make Kiss Me Super Waterproof Mascara: I’m very particular with my mascaras. Here’s the criteria: it’s got to be very waterproof, lengthening, non-clumpy, non-volume, and has to look like my own lashes, but better. This Heroine Make mascara (S$21.90 from Watsons), recommended by many friends (and since I’ve been recommending it to others too), is value for money. It’s highly waterproof (I’ve worn it swimming and it doesn’t budge), and holds my lashes up for the entire day — perfect for anyone with oily skin.
Kate Tokyo Eyebrow Pencil: Can’t. Live. Without. Eyebrows. Brows make the most important step of my beauty routine. I can meet people with no makeup but not without brows. I personally feel that many women overlook this step. There is a sea of good eyebrow pencils out there, from Benefit Cosmetics to Anastasia Beverly Hills but the one I swear by is a S$10 pencil from Kate Tokyo (S$10.90 from Watsons). With a super fine tip and not-so-concentrated pigment, you have absolute control and will never overdo your brows.
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer: I’m not big on high coverage foundations. Instead, I usually go for a tinted moisturiser or CC cream, only to pile on concealer if needed. Sometimes, I even leave out the foundation entirely and just bank on the concealer. Disclaimer: I have super oily skin so finding a matte concealer with substantial coverage that lasts an entire day? That’s not easy! So far, NARS’s soft matte concealer (S$46 from Sephora) is the closest to what I’ve been looking for. It does its job, it’s pretty long-lasting and doesn’t cake at all. Voila!