Moin!

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Wearing: Uniqlo linen dress, Forever21 shoes, Michael Kors bag

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I’ve just recently come back from Hamburg, Germany to cover the G20 and, safe to say, it was a stressful but unforgettable experience. The G20 has the most beautiful, well-facilitated media centre that I’ve ever been to, filled with all the snacks and hot tea and coffee a journalist could ever need. And — oh! — the cheese and bread. I could never get sick of cheese and bread, though my skin probably wasn’t so pleased with me about all of the dairy products I consumed throughout my short four-day work trip.

This was one of the outfits I wore during the spare time I did have in Hamburg, while I wasn’t running around trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything huge. While I spent most of my time in a two piece suit, this linen striped dress was perfect for walking around in Hamburg’s strange summer — it could get extremely hot during the day but downright freezing in the evenings — and wearing it around Jakarta felt equally as comfortable.

Paired with a pair of black lace-ons, this outfit could definitely be one of those you can take from the office to the bar by switching to fancier shoes and wearing a bolder lipstick. Moreover, the linen fabric means that it’ll keep you cool during the day time and the loose shape means that there’s always space for that extra bowl of pasta and cheese.

Glow Getter

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Getting that glow, isn’t that everyone’s dream? Well, its mine and I was recently incredibly inspired when I discovered the Instagram account of make up artist Nam Vo, who specialises in glowing, flawless skin (seriously, I dare you not to drool over her portfolio).

The only problem I — and I’m guessing a couple of thousand other people — have is that when you see this kind of makeup, it’s always on someone who already has good skin in the first place. Which is discouraging, especially if you don’t want to faff about with all that full coverage stuff and concealer and just want to add an extra glow.

I’m in a good place with my skin right now, meaning that it’s not perfect — I have a lot of discolouration, scarring and one or two hormonal spots at any given time — but I know how to deal with it and sometimes I don’t want to cover it all up. It’s nice when your skin looks real, you know?

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Creating this kind of look needs only eight products — not including brow or lash products — and confidence that your skin doesn’t define who you are. Sure, I’d also like Gaussian Blurred skin but I’ll take what I can get.

The trick to this look is to mix in a fuller coverage, matte foundation (L’Oreal Infallible 24H-Matte foundation) with your favourite moisturiser (I went with the Guerlain Meteorites Oxygene Care and the Hada Labo Moisturizing Milk because I’m extra like that) and slap it on your face with your hands. Trust me, the warmth of your body will help you blend your newly-made tinted moisturiser into your skin and make it look hyper real.

The rest is really up to you, but I would recommend using mostly cream or liquid products to ensure that everything melds into your skin like butter. I admit, I did cheat a little and added some powder highlighter (BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop) to add that mega glow. A glossy lip is also pretty fun, especially since crusty, matte lips can ruin such a glowy look.

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And you’re good to go! Do you have any favourite “glow-getting” products? What do you think is the line between looking super glowy and just sweaty?

The Fallback Face

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Everyone has a fallback face. You know, that makeup look that goes with everything and can be worn for a casual day out or more formal events? This is mine. I wear it when I travel and can’t pack too much makeup, when I want to look put together but not do “too much” and when I just want to do a look where I know I’ll look good without having to think too much about it.

This was also the look I was rocking all throughout my recent work trip to Egypt (pictures are up on my Instagram account).

It has all the elements I love: fluffy brows, winged eyeliner and flushed skin. While one can theoretically switch up the lipstick, this lip colour is definitely a fallback item. The best thing about this look? It lasts all day without any need to touch up. Trust me.

My go-to makeup look includes:

  • The Guerlain Meteorites Oxygene Care which is a hydrating an illuminating moisturiser. I use this as an extra boost of hydration after my regular moisturising serum since the foundation I use in these looks can get a little cakey on dry patches. This is pretty pricey stuff — I was lucky enough to get it for free during one of my reporting duties — but worth it if you’re looking for glowing skin.
  • A smoothing primer is a must for me because having acne-prone skin also means having a lot of scarring and pitting. It sucks, but the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Smoothing Primer has been a godsend in making everything that much smoother. It also helps your base last much longer too.
  • I feel like the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream is an extremely underrated product that you need to try if you’re looking for something that covers everything, because it does just that. The colour I have (7 Sand) is a little lighter than the foundation I usually reach for in these fallback looks, so I like to put it under my foundation to ensure that everything blends seamlessly.
  • The L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation is what I go for when I want something that is full coverage but will also last all day. I apply this with a damp beauty sponge and I don’t even have to set it with power. Love.
  • Fluffy, natural brows are something I obsess about and these eyebrow pencils from Daiso are perfect. I use the grey one as an all over base, and add a little of the brown in for some warmth. My hair is extremely black so using a dark brown pencil does not really work for me.
  • In addition to the brow pencils, I also brush in a lot of this sample-size Guerlain Maxi Lash So Volume mascara to make them look even fluffier. This mascara does not work well with my eyelashes — I feel like it’s too heavy and makes my eyelashes droop? — but it creates the perfect amount of texture for my eyebrows and stays put all day.
  • The Kiss Me Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eyeliner Super Keep — phew, that’s a mouthful — is a pen liner and makes drawing on cat eyes super easy. I got mine in Japan but if you can find it in your local Guardian shop here in Indonesia.
  • I like to curl my lashes first before applying the L’Oreal Paris Miss Manga mascara for super long lashes. I only apply them on top as I can look a little tired with mascara on my bottom lashes.
  • I talk about this product all the time but seriously, the Stila Convertible Color in Camellia is everything you need in a blush. It’s a very creamy formula that is easy to blend with your fingers and it stays a little tacky throughout the day, which leaves a sheen that keeps your skin looking fresh. It also means that you don’t need to put on extra highlighter for that glow-factor.
  • Lip prepping is important and while I’m not so fussy about what lip balm I use, I’m currently using the infamous Lucas Papaw Ointment.
  • Finally, my lip colour. The Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Marvellous Mauve is a beautiful dusty rose that stays on all day but doesn’t dry out your lips. Seriously, go get it if you haven’t got one yet because it will end up being one of your favourites.
  • Wait, we’re not completely done yet. I like to spritz my face with the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray which meshes everything together and keeps everything put until I have to take it off.

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So that’s it for my fallback face. Do you guys have a go-to look that’s hassle-free and can be done in less than 15 minutes? Or a product that you always have to use no matter what look?

Graduation Makeup…

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My beautiful cousin Putri. Go follow her on Instagram @annisyarainy

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…or makeup you can wear for any big day, to be honest.

I did my cousin Putri’s makeup for her high school graduation, which was held over the weekend here in Bogor, Indonesia. Graduation makeup is a tricky thing, while you want to look super glamorous, most graduation ceremonies are held during the day where — sometimes — too much glitter can look a bit cheap. I have nothing against glitter, FYI.

This is why I opted for a more polished, natural look, which was more about luminous skin, bold brows and fluttery lashes. This kind of look also seems to “age” the best, ensuring that you won’t be embarrassed to share these pictures with your future grandchildren when the time is right.

Making sure that the makeup lasts is also an important point to note when doing makeup for any big day, so light layers of foundation, power and a healthy dose of setting spray is crucial.

It’s also important to make sure that you still look like you. Makeup is definitely fun and transformative, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel your best if you can still recognise your face. Just add little details that’ll make your look pop: a pair of fluttery false lashes, a little bit of highlight, and a great rose lip.

Several more notes to take into account:

  • Skin prep is extremely important. I told Putri to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise her face before getting her makeup on in order to ensure that her skin was the best canvas it could be.
  • Moisturise more than you think necessary. Although Putri had already moisturised, I added another layer of the Guerlain Meteorites Oxygene Care to add more hydration and an additional glow. If your skin is well-hydrated, it means that there’s less chance of your makeup becoming cakey by the end of the day.
  • Don’t add more base products than you think you need. Putri had beautiful skin so it was unnecessary for me to use a smoothing primer after her moisturiser and under her foundation.
  • Let your foundation set for a bit before adding other cream products, and especially before powdering on top. You’ll be able to get away with less powder if you let your foundation and concealer set on its own first.
  • Choose base products with a maximum SPF of 10. Although flash photography is horrible, someone is bound to take a picture with a flash no matter the time of day, and flashback is never a good look. I used Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Liquid Foundation, which was made specifically for photography.
  • Contour, even if you hate contouring. I personally am not the biggest fan of contouring, but I have to admit that you need to add some dimension to your face for photography. Contouring your nose is actually the most important part because sometimes head on shots of your face without contouring could make you look a lot like Voldemort.
  • Blusher is also important. You want to look super fresh, so choose one with some sheen in it.
  • False eyelashes are nice, but not necessary. Choose a wispy style to ensure that they look the most natural. I used Lavie Lash in Fleur.
  • Pick a rose-based lip colour that matches your blusher. The monochromatic look makes anyone look more put together.

More important, have fun! It’s your big day and it would be a waste to look super hot but not enjoy yourself. Take a lot of pictures and eat a lot of food. Don’t worry about your lipstick, you can touch up anyway.

Relaxed fit

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Wearing: Stradivarius reversible bomber jacket, Uniqlo T-shirt, Metro trousers, Rubi black trainers

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I feel like I say this all the time but I think it’s really time for me to take things a bit slowed because it’s really been showing physically. While I don’t mind a few grey hairs here and there — the grey hair trend is still going strong…right? — I’ve been growing more than a “few” and my skin has really been all over the place; I think my skin might be getting drier because the amount of additional texture — apart from the usual spots — has been driving me insane. I’m thinking of changing up my skincare routine but, at the same time, I’m really scared to because my skin is the most sensitive beast out there. Anyone have any suggestions for someone with sensitive, combination skin that is prone to cystic acne? I’m totally open for any product suggestions since I feel like this is the year that I should really take skincare seriously. Makeup is all well and good, but even the most photogenic foundation — and trust me, this Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid Foundation is crazy photogenic — can’t hide all that uneven texture.

On a lighter note, I’ve recently been embracing — very, very late in the game, I must say — this athleisure trend, mostly because it’s really comfortable but still stylish so long as you have one statement piece. I’ve also been really bored with my regular cat-eye and wanted to switch it up, and honestly, I felt extremely cool. A little like a mime, but still cool.

The essentials: Cheeks

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Lipstick may complete any make up look, but cheek-colour is the true love of my life; using just a bit on your cheeks can make you look so fresh! My love affair with blusher, bronzer and highlight might have come a little late in life but it is honestly the one make up product that I will always wear if I’ve got my game face on.

Like most people, I started off using mostly powder cheek products because I have oily, acne-prone skin — and that’s what all the magazines tell you to use with this skin type! — but I’ve since moved on to using more cream products on my face because it just looks so much more natural, gives you a glow and literally can be applied with fingers.

I’ve listed down nine of my favourite cheek products in this blog post from my ginormous pile of other cheek products, but these are definitely the ones I gravitate to the most.

There are a few tricks on how to ensure that your cheek make up remains at its top form throughout the day. First, using a pore-filling primer will make sure that the texture of your skin won’t be enhanced by any cheek make up you use. Second, layering a powder blush over a cream blush will double its pigmentation and lasting powder. Third, you can always dab over too much colour on your cheeks with a damp sponge.

Finally, just experiment with colour, formula and application! My skin has a pretty neutral undertone so I can usually get away with most colours except for light pastels and let me tell you, changing up your cheek colour to suit your mood or look is pretty damn satisfying.

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Cream cheek products (swatches from top to bottom):

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Berry Jamm is a vibrant berry colour that absolutely blends into your skin to give you the perfect winter flush. This blusher is also great when you want to make your cheeks the focal point of your make up and also looks great with both pale or dark skin tones.

Topshop Glow Stick in Heat is a beautiful cream bronzer with a warm sheen to it. Although you can’t use this to contour, you can definitely swipe this all over the high points of your cheeks to fake that I-just-came-back-from-holiday glow. This cream bronzer is a little on the stiff side, so make sure that you use your fingers to blend in the product as the warmth will help it melt right in.

Stila Convertible Color in Poppy is a bright red that needs to be used sparingly. Used right, though, and it instantly perks you up, especially when you haven’t had enough sleep and are still looking for that first cup of coffee. The Convertible Colors are very creamy and stay tacky and dewy after application — unlike the first two products I mentioned — so be aware of that before you buy it.

Stila Convertible Color in Camellia is the blusher that truly converted me to cream cheek products. This nude colour goes with everything, and the slight sheen and dewiness the product offers makes you look super fresh and youthful. This is the blusher I usually carry around with me when I travel or when I know I have a fun after-work dinner.

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Powder cheek products (swatches from top to bottom):

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (pressed) is simply divine. It really is more a sheen than anything — though an intense one, at that — and doesn’t look glittery on the skin at all. I usually love applying this on the tops of my cheekbones, before spraying my whole face with a setting spray and dabbing over the highlight with a damp beauty sponge to up the dewiness factor and make sure it sinks into my skin.

Sleek Blush by 3 in Lace (colours: Crochet, Guipare and Chantilly) is a handy set if you like to mix and match your blusher. Although I don’t go for Crochet that often since it veers almost on the pastel side, Guipare and Chantilly are always a dream to use, whether together or separately. Guipare is said to be a dupe for the infamous Nars Orgasm blusher, while Chantilly is a great bright orange that helps intensify any tan without any shimmer.

NARS Blush in Taj Mahal, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Although I said that cream blushers are what I’ve been using recently, this blusher is my all-time favourite, and for good reason. I can only describe its colour as a pigmented rusty orange with super fine gold shimmers running through it and, yes, it looks scary as hell in the pan. However, if you use a light hand and focus this blusher on your outer cheeks and cheekbones, it will give you the most beautiful, soft focus, sun kissed glow. I’m wearing it here, need I say more?

MAC Powder Blush in Melba looks so-so in the swatch above, but is honestly so much more. This is the blusher I typically reach for when I want a powder product that goes with everything. It’s a neutral blush with peachy undertones and it’s sheer enough that you won’t ever accidentally have crazy clown-face, but it’s also build-able in a way that doesn’t make it look cakey.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Sculpting Kit in 2 (Neutral Light). I don’t use the highlight shade in this too often as I’m not into the super matte-highlighted look. However, the bronzer in this set is another story. Although it looks super cool-toned in the pan, it actually has slight red undertones in it that mimic real sun kissed skin, which is great if you’ve been stuck in the office all week and want to look like you’ve seen some sun the past few days. I can also get away with using it as a contour shade — for the times I do bother to contour — as it’s not too orangey and is dark enough for my skin tone.

Wedding daze

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Wearing: Zara lace top, batik skirt, Stradivarius bag

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Wearing: Staccato shoes

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Wedding essentials: portable phone charger, pressed power, nude lipstick, setting spray

…a.k.a how to look good for an Indonesian wedding.

When you hit your 20’s in Indonesia, you will suddenly find yourself going to a wedding at least once a month, which I feel is pretty often compared to the number of weddings you’re invited to if you live abroad. Moreover, sit-down weddings here are still pretty rare due to the large number of guests usually invited — 1,000 guests is considered pretty normal — so you have to be prepared to stay on your feet for at least an hour while also trying to ensure that you don’t get cake face, which can often happen since you’ll be in close proximity to a lot of other people and, more often than not, you’ll get really sweaty.

It’s all just a balancing act between looking good and staying comfortable, so here are a few tricks I’ve accumulated from all the weddings I’ve been to:

  • Choose a kebaya-style outfit with sleeves: This is the safest outfit to wear to a wedding because (1) it instantly looks formal because it’s traditional wear and (2) sometimes you don’t know whether or not the bride and groom’s families are conservative and it’s always good to stay on the safe side, and (3) sleeves can help disguise really bad T-shirt tans like mine. I’ve worn my fair share of normal, sleeve-less dresses, but I’ve always felt that I’ve looked my best and feel the most comfortable when I wear a kebaya.
  • Your heels don’t have to be a neutral colour, and they don’t need to be sky-high either: Black or nude shoes tend to be a little boring, while choosing other colours in darker shades can help bring a little pizzaz to any outfit. Also, don’t forget that you might be standing around for around two hours, so you’ll want to be comfortable on your feet.
  • Neutrals are your best friend when it comes to makeup: This is honestly a no brainer because neutral makeup will look good no matter what clothes you wear. Indonesian weddings also come with a lot of eating so a nude lipstick in a cream texture won’t look so weird if it starts to fade off.
  • Try to avoid SPF: SPF is definitely something you should be wearing every day, but it really looks awful in flash photography. Most weddings are held during the evenings anyway, so try to find a foundation and powder without the SPF to avoid that dreaded ghost-face.
  • Highlight only certain areas, and powder the rest: We all like to look glowy and dewy, but you can end up looking a little too sweaty due to the heat accumulated from all the guests in one place. Try sticking to just your cheekbones and your cupid’s bow while powdering down on the rest of the face. Spritz a little setting spray on there too to ensure that it lasts all day and looks a little more like skin.
  • Bring a portable phone charger: Just do it.

In the end, though, it’s all about having fun and eating lots of food! So head out there, take a gazillion pictures with your friends and make it a fun night out!

Do you guys have any more tips on how to look your best when attending a wedding? I’d love to hear of them, so don’t forget to comment below!