Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MTV VJ Holly Grabarek

This is my latest editorial work - Butterfactory's publication, Rhythm. The cover model is the lovely Holly, a fast-rising MTV VJ.

I love Pan-Asian faces as they have the best of both worlds. The call time was 9am and she came in looking fabulous even though she was not wearing a scrap of makeup. Her skin was smooth and beautiful, but I was drawn to her eyes which are expressive and kind. her friendly and humble personality immediately put everyone at ease.

We started with simple cleansing, toning and moisturising with a water-based moisturiser, which I recommend instead of the the usual oil-based ones. The latter has a tendency to darken foundations and stay true.

I have started getting into the habit of using the foundation brush - something I learnt from another makeup artist, Larry Yeo. My first experience with the foundation brush was disastrous. The foundation went on too thick as I applied it with the same heavy handedness as sponge applicators. Models have also shared similar woes with the brush. The foundation brush is specially designed to pick up the product effectively, so just use the tip of the brush and pick up a very small amount. Then lightly and deftly stroke on the foundation onto the face. I just love the soft, luminous, and natural effect (not as thick as sponge application). Next, I set the foundation with L'Oreal's Mattifying -Minerals in Natural 01. This is one of the best off-the-shelf mineral powders as the texture is really fine and the coverage is excellent.

For the healthy glow, I used Candlelight from Too Faced at Sephora. This is such an amazing product as it imparts that soft romantic glow. I dusted Candlelight, a softly illuminating transluscent powder, on the cheek bones and the chin (this is excellent for those with short chins).

For cheeks, the trend is peach. This shade is great for all skin types as it makes the wearer look healthy and slightly sunkissed. My choice is Hot Mama by The Balm available at all Sasa stores. This particular blusher imparts a nice iridescent sheen that combines well with the Candlelight. I used this combination at a Simply Her magazine shoot and my friend, stylist Janice Pidduck commended on the nice glow on the model.

For the eyes, we went with mauve as instructed by stylists, Firdaos and Mich. This is my first time working with them and I truly enjoyed the experience. Both of them have great, funky taste in fashion (simply love the shoes they got for Holly - fantastic choices).

For the lips, I mixed two matte lipstick shades - warm pink and brown pink. I like matte lipsticks as the high glossy ones sometimes catch the light all wrong and makes the lipstick look badly applied. For a pouty look, just dab a little gloss in the centre of the lower lip.
Holly was photographed by Photographer Colin Wee. Hmm, may I mention that he was once a top international male model? Loved the way he captured Holly - made my makeup look fabulous. Holly's tresses is styled by Ritz Tan, a renowned hair maestro whom I had worked with in my days in publishing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Groovin Mens' Underwear Ad

Finally, the grooming I did for Groovin, a Japanese brand of underwear, is out. It has been a long wait for this post. I have featured mostly female models and have been dying to feature something on men.

It was a whole day photoshoot and we had great models and one of whom (Eddie Tioh) starred in the local drama, Polo Boys. The above picture is Eddie.

Makeup for men is not as easy as slapping powder and applying lip gloss. It is far more complicated and the artist has to understand bone structure and light play.

Firstly, a cream-to-powder by Revlon was laid to complement the boys' tan and to even out skin tone. Then a darker foundation was used to shade the temples to make the forehead stronger. Then I shaded the hollow of the cheeks in straight diagonal lines and highlighted the cheek bones. Then I used a bronzer (Sephora) to blush the cheeks and sweep across the nose for that natural tan look. For the brows, I used a gel mascara to neaten them. A soft brown liquid eyeliner was applied close to lash line to define them and make them pop. To make the yese look brighter, I applied a little highlighter powder to the inner corner of the bottom lid. The lips are given a lick of a nice chocolate coloured gloss (The Body Shop - limited edition). I crimped the eyelashes and tipped the lashes with black mascara.

This image appeared on the cover of a Thai magazine for men. The model featured is Anthony. Yes, there is body makeup to make the abs pop. First, we applied a moisturiser which Ernest Seah, the stylist brought back from the US. Some shimmer powder was mixed in with a little liquid foundation from Constance Carroll to enhance the tan and to impart a sexy glow that is not overly shiny.

The photographer was Marcus Mok, who is now based in Australia. Fashion styling was by Ernest Seah. If anyone is interested in the underwear (I love it - soft, lightweight and luxurious), can go down to Sportsmen Asia's new store in The Platinum, 46 Upper Cross Street #01-02 (opposite Chinatown Point) and at all Isetan men's department to check the range out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coif On The Go

On one of my shopping sprees I found this palm size flat iron. I had seen it before when I worked on a photoshoot with a Hong Kong hairstylist and was so fascinated with the gadget - so light and convenient for me. however, I was really disappointed when he said he bought it in Hong Kong and that he has not found anything similar in Singapore.

Finally, I found it in Suntec and City Hall basement. The first version I came across was the HerStyler mini flat iron ($120 - they are having a promotion and it is retailing for $90), however that plugs into the car's lighted slot, which is great for people who drive and want quick touch ups before that important date or meeting. As I don't drive, that version was not ideal, so I continued on my hunt.

Then I stopped by the Jose Eber cart in Suntec and saw the normal plug-in version (three-pin). Needless to say I was excited. The Jose Eber mini version ($40) comes in matte pink, matte black and glossy red leopard while the HerStyler comes in matte onyx.

You can use this straightener to create that bone straight style or make natural looking curls by simply wrapping the hair around the 2cm ceramic plates, which promises not to burn the hair. It is really incredible how this tiny wand heats up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit equivalent in temperature to that of the regular sized professional flat iron. This is definitely a worthwhile purchase. This is so light and comes with two voltage settings that you can take it wherever you go.
Jose Eber carts are found in Suntec (2 carts - first floor near Giordano and second floor near Guardian), Vivocity (near Zara). HerStyler cart is found in the basement of Cith Hall near Toast Box.

Snow Princess

I know, I know. It has been quite a while since I posted anything on my blog. it is thanks to it and all my frens that job has been steadily flowing in. Anyway, now that I have a bit of time, I thought I'd share one of my recent works with you.

This shot was taken for a jewelry spread. I love the model, Bruna, a truly sexy Brazilian girl with full luscious lips and sultry eyes. Earnest, the fashion stylist, planned a stunning spread featuring a male and female model. And yes, girls, the male model is really hot with amazing abs. But when came to food, he only ate boiled or steam chicken with little or no rice. What a sacrifice for his profession. I'd rather have love handles than go without food.

Anyway, it was an incredible shoot. I thought I had carefully planned for the shoot. I had bought new bags and was excitedly packing my stuff the night before. But to my horror, when I was applying Bruna's makeup, I realised forgot to pack any lipsticks or lip pencils. Not wanting to panick anyone, I stoically continued with my makeup.

As it was going to be an indoor shoot (at the Gorgeous solarium on Duxton Road), I used liquid foundation. however, prior to laying the base, I applied a gold liquid illuminator for Bruna's tawny skin tone. After letting the liquid illuminator dry, I applied the liquid foundation with a damp sponge as I wanted that nice christmasy glow (oh yes, it was for the December issue of Solitaire, which unfortunately got canned).

Next, a sheer translucent powder was dusted all over the face. Although Bruna has excellent features, I still applied a bronzer to the hollow of her cheeks and temples for a nice healthy look. that was followed by L'Oreal's True Rose blusher. I really love this shade and Hint of Rose blusher, which was sadly discontinued. The latter can be dusted as an all over face powder to lend radiance to the countenance.

I know my makeup procedure is rather strange - I always do the cheeks before doing the eyes. I start with the brows using Maybelline's brow wax and powder. This is another fabulous product. The wax is stroked on to keep brows down and to help you to find your natural shape without making too many mistakes as the colour is really soft and subtle. Then a warm brown powder is brushed on for definition. This product comes in two shades - one lighter for fairer women with lighter coloured hair and a darker one for Asians and those with dark hair. However, I often use the lighter shade as it brightens up the face and makes it look younger. Dark brows are so 80s!

For the lids, I apply an all over eyeshadow base with some shimmer. Next, a iridescent white shimmer cream eye shadow from The Body Shop was dabbed on with my ring finger. Then with an angled eye liner brush, I lined Bruna's peepers with the cream silver eyeshadow also from The Body Shop. Lastly, a white glitter cream was dabbed onto the brow bone. to further enhanced the model's sexy eyes, I crimped the lashes and stroked on Cat's Eye mascara from Maybelline, a favoured brand when it comes to mascaras that even the models swear by.

Now I was becoming truly worried as I had forgotten to bring any lip colour. Thankfully, Earnest came over and said he loved the makeup and wanted no lip stick or colour for Bruna. Phew! but Earnest had brought this amazing lip gloss with soft shimmer to create that pouty look for Bruna.

After the makeup was done, hairstylist Ivan Kweh and his assistant, whose name escapes me, went to work on Bruna creating that big diva coif.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ultra Vamp

The title of the spread is Anna Karenina. But I was briefed differently.

"I want 'Brides of Dracula,' squealed Earnest Seah the fashion editor for Solitaire. I was intrigued. There is nothing more exciting to a makeup artist than the challenge to do something out of the ordinary. However, I was warned that gore was a no-no!

Earnest had insisted on blood red lips and the whole entire looked started out from there. I looked into my box and there wasn't anything that deep so I went shopping. Finally, I found a red dark enough at The Body Shop (limited edition). With the lip colour settled, I headed home to plan the look.

We wanted a really pale look but yet glamorous. I decided to give the two models smoky eyes: one black and the other russet. I found Boujois shimmer black which was more of a grey and used it all over the entire eye area including the lower lids. I used a MAC deep black to define the contours of the eyes to create a 'glamorous gaunt' (if there ever was such a thing. Just love fashionspeak). The other model was given brown mix with bronze for a reddish tone and the eyelashes were stroked with blonde mascara.

Then I outlined and filled the lips with a brown eye pencil. Then I followed with the deep red lip colour I found at The Body Shop. The lip colour comes with a clear gloss at the other end of the wand, which I decide to omit for a matte look.

Cheeks were given just a Hint of Rose (discontinued) from L'Oreal to add just a little colour without overpowering the look.

Next Ivan Kweh worked on the hair to create that Transylvannian princess coif for the models, while Ming, the manicurist gave the girls some glamorous 'talons'. The prep took more than two hours, but Earnest kept us all entertained and well fed - there was food galore. As this is a jewellery shoot, the clients personally delivered the pieces and contributed food to the already lavish spread that Earnest had already prepared.

Aidan the photographer captured the girls against a white background the the palatial background that you see in the pictures were digitally added in at the magazine layout stage.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maldivian Sunset Babe

A Maldivian Sunset Babe

It certainly has been a long time since I posted anything here. Thanks to this blog and to many friends and believers I have been rather busy with loads of makeup and hair styling work.

Anyway, I want to share with you my first cover. As you can tell it is for Shape Singapore, a magazine dedicated to health, fitness and living well. Not only is this my first cover, but also my first time in Maldives where the photo shoot took place. While it was hard work--we worked from dawn to dusk, it was all worth it. I'd like to thank Linda Tom, the former art director of Shape for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity to work with her and the wonderful team of stylist and photographers.

On the first day, we waited patiently for the perfect sunset for the cover shoot. While I was busy getting our actress/model cover girl Sonia ready, the stylist Dolphin was selecting the perfect bikini for the camera. Makeup for the cover and fashion pages was generously sponsored by Shu Uemura.

As I wasn't sure if Sonia was going to get wet for the shoot, I decided against using the commercial foundations and opted for the waterproof TV foundation stick which would hold up should the cover girl get wet.

Sonia is a wonderful model/actress based in Hawaii and she has appeared in a major television series in the US. I loved her healthy island girl look and her really nice caramel skin tone. As her complexion is great, I decided to dampen the foundation sponge and applied the base for a sheer look. The foundation is then fixed with translucent powder. I love transluscent powder as it suits all skin tones. These days translucent powder is almost impossible to find.

As Sonia has strong brows, I stroked on a clear gel-based brow fix and then got to work on her eyes. Of Filipino and American heritage, Sonia has large and really expressive peepers. In the upper inner corner of Sonia's eyelids I brushed on a burnished copper. Then using a metallic brown shadow I applied the colour to the outer corners while working it into the contours. Finally, I applied a pale pearlescent gold on the brow bone for highlights. With a mettalic brown pencil, I lined her upper lids and rimmed her eyes (top and bottom)to make her eyes pop.

For her cheeks, I brushed on a nice sienna with a little shimmer. This Shu Uemura blusher is a godsend as it blends nicely into the skin and imparts a sexy, healthy glow. Sonia has good bone structure, so there was no need to shade the hollows of her cheeks and jawline. However, I lightly brushed some shader at her temples and hairline to give her that nice, tawny sunkissed look.

Sonia's full lips were painted with Shu Uemura's brown lipstick for a nice natural appeal. Then a little gold shimmer gloss was applied to the centre of the lower lip for that sexy pout.

I had some problem with Sonia's hair as the humidity level in Maldives was incredible. As the look called for big loose curls, her hair straightened out in no time. Thus, we had to give her tight curls and leave the moisture in the atmosphere to relax them just right for the camera.

Linda, Dolphin and photographers Aik andWei Liang, found a nice rocky spot with the sunset in the background. The team headed out to the chosen spot about 4.30 pm. Despite all the planning, the wind was not on our side. It blew inland and Sonia's hair was blown forward, covering her face. We pulled the hair to one side and tried to pin it down, but the look was too neat. We resorted to just having Sonia hold her hair down with one hand. The team decided to apply baby oil on Sonia for that healthy glow, but no one brought the baby oil. Anyway with the wind billowing around, it could end up with sand sticking onto the model's skin. So I guess it was a blessing in disguise.

Aik did a fantastic job of capturing Sonia against the beautiful Maldivian sunset. The look was so natural and totally healthy. And of course, totally Shape. I really loved the shoot despite the fact that the craggy rocks made manouevring around the cover girl for touch ups extremely precarious.

The next morning we got up early again to shoot a backup cover. This time, an apricot swimsuit was chosen. The makeup was alsmost the same as the previous day, but I used a warm pink lipstick to match the outfit. After the makeup and hair was done, we hurried to the eternity pool and waited patiently for first light.

The Resort

The location was so idyllic, and the waters so clear and cerulean blue. I never believed such crystal blue waters existed and those in holiday postcards were just doctored to make the pictture more appealing. Now, I am a believer.

What is so wonderful about this resort is the exclusiveness and privacy it offers. Each villa has its own stretch of beach, while the water villas have their own patios. The exterior appears very humble and almost nondescript, but stepping inside one is blown away by the sheer luxury of a 6-star resort. It is definitely home away from home, but only better. If you have the means, this is definitely one resort to stay at and be pampered like royalty.

Model: Sonia Balmores-Chung

Art direction: Linda Tom

Photographers: Aik and Wei Liang

Stylist: Dolphin

Location: One & Only, Reethirah

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fab Foundation And Powder

What would you give for a foundation and powder that is light as a feather and takes years off your face? No, this is not a hoax. Makeup Forever has developed High Definition (HD) foundation and powder that is so light that it feels like you are not wearing makeup. Coverage is even and so sheer that it looks like you are born with great skin.

Developed for professional use with high definition TV and films, this product looks like it is going to be a huge crossover commercial success. What is HD foundation and powder? And what is so different about these two products compared to the others on the market?

The introduction of high definition films has stressed out many makeup professionals. This is one instance where technology is more bane than boon. So sharp is the resolution that it is putting the skills of makeup artists to the test. Poorly laid foundation and sloppy eye shadow blending are obvious on screen although it may not be to the naked eye. No longer can makeup artists depend on digital imaging to bail them out.

Answering the plaintiff cries of these professionals, Makeup Forever has launched their specially developed base and powder. Foundation and powder are talc free thus eliminating that cakey look and feel that you get from regular off-the-counter makeup. To ensure streak-free application, the French makeup company has developed a special sponge and foundation brush. The sponge is almost poreless unlike many found in pharmacies and therefore does not excessively absorb colour. So all you need is just a little foundation and your entire face can been sufficiently covered. The foundation brush is made of nylon as natural bristles, being organic, will suck up the moisture in the product and result in a streaky application. While the foundation comes in 15 shades (10 more to be added by end of the year) to suit different skin tones, the powder comes only in one colour: white. Made of micro-fine particles of silica, mica and zinc oxide, the powder smoothens fine lines, reflects light and protect skin from harmful UV light. And the good thing is that you don't a lot of product to set the foundation; all that is needed is a little dusting with a specially developed Kabuki brush.

At a special seminar for makeup artists, Makeup Forever's trainer applied the products to half a face of a volunteer who is in her 40s. You can barely see makeup on the model's face, but the side with HD foundation and powder looks distinctly younger and fresher. The product is also suitable for men wanting great looking skin. I got the trainer to paiint my face and after the session I caught up with some friends who could not tell that I was wearing makeup, but they did comment on how good my skin looked.

Retailing at $75 per bottle of foundation and $55 per container of powder, Makeup Forever's HD foundation and powder is certainly going to be a great success.