"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

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· Beauty Notes: Second Coming (Anne)

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Beauty Notes: Second Coming (Anne)
by Anne

I should feel bad about having lost my entire stash of makeup, especially considering how much money has literally gone up in smoke (or down the drain, take your pick of natural disasters) but I suspect I will instead feel secretly relieved.

I have always wanted to have a stash that can be wholly contained in one compact makeup bag, easily portable and tightly edited.There is a silver lining to every cloud, and such a catastrophe would be an excuse to finally cast off all those white elephants—that I couldn't bring myself to throw away but wouldn't miss if they were to be gone—as well as to acquire those few products I couldn't bring myself to buy, because I couldn't justify buying something that I already have in my stash, however superior in quality and utility.


  • I have and like DHC Cleansing Oil, good against bulletproof makeup, but it has a tendency to clog pores. Bioderma Créaline is kinder to pores, hydrating and soothing overheated, tired skin at the end of the day—especially in summer— while it cleanses away quotidian grime and makeup. It's not really a lightweight product, despite its gentleness; you might be surprised at what you can get off with it, and I highly suspect that I'll not need anything more heavy-duty, considering I don't wear spackle.

  • I'm not really a skincare fanatic, I'm just happy to find cheap products that work. The Face Shop has the best skincare for value, in my opinion, of the Korean "road shop" brands, and despite its ridiculous gimmicky name, the Marine Stem Cell Toner pampers and cushions my perpetually dehydrated skin with its slippery texture rich in hyaluronic acids and other hydrating agents, so I'm sticking with it.

  • Moisturizers are tricky, especially since one often needs different formulations for each season. I'm still looking, though I refuse to pay for anything higher-end than Kiehl's, which I am eyeing next but not completely decided on. If not, I'll default to matching moisturizer from TFS, which forms a reasonably good barrier to seal in the moisture provided by the toner.

  • Thick, scentless and yellow, with a waxy consistency,
  • Kiehl's Ultimate Hand Salve looks and feels like a heavy-duty product, one that you might expect to instantly soften chapped, raw, unhappy hands... but might take you by surprise when it absorbs rapidly and completely, leaving behind no messy residue.


  • I would guess that Chanel Vitalumiere contains some unique blend of silicones that is especially adept at smoothing over uneven skin—my skin is fairly rough on a small scale—for a satiny finish. I might also guess that the formula works with the natural oils in my skin, rather than battling against them, transmogrifying unflattering shine into a dewy soft-focus glow, but that is just a guess. All I really know is that this product works such wonders on my skin, I am tempted to blame witchcraft rather than science for actually tempting me to fork over money for a Chanel foundation: horrifyingly expensive, not to mention I secretly dislike the interlocking C's.

  • Vichy NormaTeint Anti-Imperfections is really a very matte-finish foundation (for acne-prone skin, if anyone is interested), but the sparse color selection, the fine powdery texture when blended out, and the lasting power like glue make it a better concealer in my opinion, especially in the yellower shades,for everything from undereye circles to ruddy acne scars.

  • I admit I'm probably selling out here, as I concede that I prefer to keep my skin as light as possible—any darker, and my olive undertones ensure that I look muddy, or even ill—so sunscreen is a requirement. Shiseido Anessa fulfills all my requirements for a sunscreen—high SPF, broad-spectrum protection, and meaning it when it says "waterproof" on the label—in addition to serving as a mattifying base in summer that actually makes my skin look better by taking down a bit of the heated flush and oily shine that plague me around that time of year. In fact, I don't really need the excuse a natural disaster would provide to justify buying this product, since I have nothing comparably useful in my stash. This is an Asia-exclusive, but I am taking the liberty of including it, since it is quite easily available to me, at least.

  • The point of a blush is to replicate a natural rush of blood to the cheeks: for this reason, it is crucial to properly match a blush to the color of the skin. On me, I've never met the color that performs like the bruised mauve of NARS Sin: my guess is that the purplish grey in it is good for neutralizing sallow olive tones, to leave behind only a faintly visible flush of rose. I've even got the hang of applying it with a finger, saving me the trouble of having to buy a brush.

  • I actually really like Etude House's brow pencil: a tapering wedge-shaped twist-up crayon, with a hard texture and in a wide variety of shades (who knew that such a cheapie brand would give such seemingly humble considerations as brows the attention they really deserve). With a product like this, I honestly don't see the need to seek out something more expensive.


  • I scoff at the notion of high-end mascara (so overpriced, and you throw most of it away) but I would like to live with DiorShow for a little while: it's the only mascara I've ever liked, as opposed to "it gets the job done." I think the secret is in the fat brush with the blunt bristles spaced at extremely tight but regular intervals, coating lashes thickly enough to make an impact, yet separating each hair from each other carefully to avoid the spider effect. I would get a cheapie dupe if I could find that.

  • L'Oreal Extra Intense Liquid Pencil liner goes on as smoothly as the name implies, like melted chocolate, but once it sets, turns into a waxy formula that stays on and does not smear or transfer, even through a torrential crying session (as I can attest from personal experience). In brown it imparts to my eyes the depth but not the harshness of black. To be honest I'm cheating a little here, as it's easily obtained in the United States, but is nowhere to be seen in Korea.

  • Finally we have come to eyeshadow! Usually the eyeshadows comprise the largest proportion of a stash, not because they are the most frequently used, but because they are the collectible action figures of the makeup world, coming in infinite and infinitely attractive variations and serving little practical purpose whatsoever. (Though, don't take my word for it, I'm an Asian for whom eyeshadow doesn't do much and who is consequently bitter about the fact.) So when paring down a stash, it makes sense to cut away at the eyeshadow collection first. For now, I will only buy two: Laura Mercier Sandstone (a peachy fine bone in a satin finish that imparts an imperceptible glow to skin, not shown) and MAC Shale (an analogue of taupe hovering between silvery grey and sheer lavender, more flattering for my cool and light olive tones than a true brown-based taupe).


  • Guerlain Kiss Kiss Essence de Gloss, in 421 Grenat for me, may be the classiest lip gloss that I know of. Now, if someone would please do something about that stupid bling packaging?

  • I'd like a good everyday matte rose lipstick for professional settings... but what?

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3/03/2011 [0]

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