Category: Questions

How to | Applying foundation

Are you doing your foundation right?

Foundation is part of the base of makeup. Some choose to use it, some don’t – which is okay too. The main aim of this post is to talk about some trends that I’ve seen ‘beauty gurus’ use on YT when applying foundation/CC/BB creams/putty/stick/, etc. [not necessarily about powder foundation though], This not about whether which method is right, but rather about how you should approach the different aspects of applying foundation.

Before beginning, I want you to focus a little bit on the title – it says ‘your foundation’; not mine, not ours but yours. so regardless of what I have written here, if you have a routine that works, please do continue to use it.

let’s begin from the beginning.

  1. Prime or Not? – Preparing your skin for makeup application is of utmost importance. The first step should always be a moisturiser or hydrating lotion suitable for your skin type. It helps a smooth application as well as keep your skin looking good and healthy all day. Using a primer, in my opinion, is optional and should be a decision based on the type of foundation you use. In my experience, I use an oil based primer when wearing matte foundations especially focused on the dry patches on my skin. I use a mattifying primer on oily areas if I am wearing a dewy or satiny foundation. Sometimes I don’t wear a primer at all, especially with stick foundations [not an informed decision, but one based on experience]. – in summary: Moisturiser is a must but primer is optional. [Suncare can be added to this step]
  2. Straight to face or on to hand? – I’ve seen many people dispense foundation straight from the container on to the face. I think this is shouldn’t be a practice to follow for two reasons. One, you cannot control the amount of product you put on. I think warming the product on your hand [outer palm as many uses] is a good way to go or use a small makeup tray [glass, stainless steel] to dispense and mix oils, primers or other foundations if required before applying it to face. Two, you run the risk of drying the product on the face before being able to blend it properly. The best way, in my opinion, is to apply the foundation in thin layers and build the layers for coverage as necessary. This way, you can even minimise the wastage of product. – In summary, definitely not straight on to face ūüôā
  3. Brush or sponge [or hand]? – Now, this is purely a preference-based decision as per popular convention. BUT, I would say, it should also be an informed decision. different foundation types prefer different application media to deliver a good base. for example, water-based foundations [e.g. Makeup forever water blend] demand hand or a brush application. if applied with a sponge, it will soak in most of the product before you can apply it onto the face. Other types, usually can be applied with a brush, sponge or hands. however, I recommend test application with all tools and see which gives you the best coverage. if you are an influencer, I humbly request you to demonstrate the application of foundations with different tools if reviewing. – In summary, it depends!
  4. Where to begin application? – If I remember correctly, Wayne Goss has a tutorial applying foundation. The foundation should be focused on the middle of the face and should be blended outwards. go section by section taking time to buff and blend the foundation into the skin as you go. Depending on the foundation, it may be too late to blend after applying the foundation to the entire face because sometimes they tend to dry and set fast. – In summary, start from the middle and blend out.

Those are my tips thoughts and tips on applying foundation. but as I said, if your routine is different from the above and works for you, please continue to use it.

Hope these were helpful. Please let me know below how you apply your foundation, or if you apply foundation at all, and why.


Should you care, what you wear on your skin during pregnancy?



One of my pregnant friends asked me, what she should avoid during pregnancy in term of skincare and makeup. So I did a little digging. Here is a summary of everything I read.

I will provide links if anyone needs to read further about any of the compounds given below.

High risk (Scientifically proven to affect):

  • Retinoids/Accutane – A commonly used substance in acne treatments and anti-aging products. Scientifically proven to cause birth defects.¬†A list of different forms of retinoids to avoid is given here.
  • Formaldehyde,¬†Toluene – Known carcinogens. Commonly found in nail polish, especially in Gel manicures. Opt for nail polishes that are free of formaldehyde, Toluene (not just pregnant women but everyone should consider avoiding these).
  • Aluminium – Found in antiperspirant deodorants. FDA recognise this as a chemical to be avoided by expectant mothers. Instead, opt for natural deodorants¬†or aluminium free ones like¬†Ethique¬†solid blocks.
  • Botox – This is something that has not been tested on humans, but because of how Botox works, it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy. The chemical in Botox – Botulinum toxin- apparently¬†paralyses the muscles around wrinkles so that they become less visible. It is the most acutely lethal toxin known (OMG!) which can spread around when injected to one place. Sounds scary to have around when a person is growing inside you.

Medium to low risk (Little or no conclusive evidence for adverse effects but good to avoid):

  • Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid – Used to treat acne. Found in skin care products likes facewash and also in some acne-treating makeup. Using these in moderation with doctors advice is okay. Using facewash with these compounds is comparatively safer than wearing makeup that includes these as ingredients. However, it is recommended to avoid both as much as possible.
  • Phthalates – This is found in Haircare (shampoo), skincare (handwash), nail polish and even hair spray. Effect of Phthalates are not tested on humans, but animals show adverse birth effects. Therefore it is recommended to avoid. Check for products that clearly state Phthalate free.
  • Ammonia – Found in hair dye. Not tested to check the effects but it is recommended to avoid hair colouring if possible due to minor absorption of chemicals via the scalp. However, if the colour¬†does not go near the scalp (e.g. highlights to hair ends), it is okay use in moderation. Always ensure proper ventilation during application to avoid inhaling any chemicals. (Personal advice: Please stay clear of hair dyes until your baby is born)
  • Lead – This is found in lipsticks. However, there are no clinical trials to prove that lead in lipstick causes adverse effects. But because cases of lead poisoning have been reported, it is good to stay away from makeup items that have¬†the ingredient in them.
  • Hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA) – Found in a number of cleansers, toners and exfoliants. Salicylic acid is a commonly used BHA (look for risk factors in salicylic acid above). Glycolic acid and lactic acid are common AHAs. Due to lack of conclusive evidence, these AHAs used in small amounts may be okay. But professionals advice to minimise the use as much as possible and obtain doctor’s recommendation before using.
  • Essential oils – Knowledge around how essential oils affect humans, in general, is limited. A common opinion by medical professionals is that due to the concentration levels, essential oils can be harmful even for non-pregnant people. Two essentials oils to stay clear from, that has known adverse effects during pregnancy, are tea tree oil and rosemary oil.

General Comments: 

  • Always opt for products, both skin care and makeup, that are labelled ‘3-free‘ (Phthalate, Formaldehyde and Toluene) or ‘5-free‘ (3-free + formaldehyde resin, and camphor).
  • Use Mineral makeup if possible – mineral makeup sits on the skin and do not get absorbed.
  • Makeup that is ‘noncomedogenic’ or ‘nonacnegenic’, which do not clog pores, are comparatively safer to use.
  • Avoid hair removal creams – Wax or shave instead.
  • Always wear sunscreen when out in the sun in addition to wearing sunglasses and hats. Always use physical sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc oxide – These too sit on the skin and provide lasting protection.
  • Finally, ALWAYS ask your OB/GYN or the medical officer, before taking any antibiotic, pharmaceutical-grade skin care or any drug for that matter.

Want to read more? Go to WebMD, Baby Center, Mother Nature Network, Vogue 

See you in my next!




Nail polish 201: A brief history of indie & boutique nail polish


I have a massive nail polish hoard so my compulsive need to ‘collect them all’ abated after a few years. I had all the colors, finishes, glitter, holos I wanted. One thing that still keeps me interested are indie and boutique nail polishes (and the occasional Chanel release).


Yeah…look at that pile! See those bottles on the left right corner? Yup those were some of my first indies! Lilacquer Polish had an etsy and figured out how to do these amazing duo and multichrome toppers before it became mainstream. I loved them!

The next was Girly Bits ‘Shift Happens’ – her own rendition of Clarins 230 or ‘Unicorn Pee’. Apparently the pigment is super rare. The brand and e-tailer ILOVENP currently has a limited edition version which is out of stock called The Magician.

Some of the brands I loved have long since gone – like CultNails and Ozotics (who were rebranded into PicturePolish) – others are still going but don’t offer international shipping anymore like Rainbow Honey.

So the best thing to do? Use an e-tailer that stocks a bunch of indie and boutique brands. I love Femme Fatale cosmetics for this, I can still get my A-Englands! They are based in Australia but ship internationally thank goodness.


The bottle on the left is the current bottle for ILNP


This was a mani using ILNP’s Supernova – a multi-chrome flakie that leans blue and green and everything in between! This was with two coats and topcoat.

So what about New Zealand based nail polish makers? Well we have our very own ¬†Nail Juice¬†– so that’s a good place to start.

Do you know your hair?

As a teenager, I had pretty thick, long and healthy hair. All I did then was to use a shampoo that my mum bought and oil the hair pretty often. But as the years go by, I have lost quite a bit of it, and also the texture has changed; Oiling is not that frequent anymore. The only positive change is, now I pay attention to what hair products I use.

However, I recently realised that when I say ‘pay attention’, all I have done is read the labels and not really think about if that hair product suits my hair. So I did some research on how to make an informed decision about which hair products to use for my hair. Let’s start with the basics;

Let’s start with the basics;

Hair Type:

There are three main hair types – Oily, normal and dry. To check you hair type all you need a little tissue test. On the second day after washing hair, place a tissue paper on the scalp and press lightly.

  • Oily hair – There are oil patches on the tissue paper. Oily hair usually makes the strands to stick together, is always looking dull and flat, and is prone to dandruff.
  • Dry hair –¬†Tissue paper is dry. Dry hair types also are frizzy and have split ends.
  • Normal hair – May show some oil patches on the tissue paper but the true test for normal hair is through an inspection. Normal hair stays fresh and manageable even after a few days of washing.
  • Combination hair – Some hair types tend to be oily at roots but dry through the length, sometimes with split ends. Longer hair lengths are prone to such types of hair conditions.


Porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb water. Check your porosity by putting a few hair strands into a bowl of water and let it sit for about 2-4 minutes. If the strands are floating, your hair has low porosity, and if they have sunk, you have high porosity.

Now that your know your hair type and porosity (it helps to know your texture and density too, but that is for another day!), let’s see how you need to care for them.

How to care for your hair


Oily hair: The important thing to maintain oily hair is keeping it clean. Even though I do not recommend washing your hair every day, doing it quite often with a shampoo designed for oily hair helps adequate sebum removal. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, oiling the scalp at least once or twice a month helps the health of the hair regardless of the hair type. Before washing your hair, apply lightly heated coconut oil all over the scalp and length of the hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and wash off.

Dry hair: Dry hair needs a lot of conditioning. Oil treatment mentioned above is an ideal option for dry hair and may be done once a week at least. Deep conditioner and leave-in conditioners are also friends of people with dry hair. Please remember to keep heat away such as curling irons and flat irons to avoid further damage. If you really need to use them, use a heat protecting spray with moisturising properties to avoid drying.

Normal hair: Normal hair needs the least attention regarding hair care. But a healthy diet and using shampoo and hair care products that are free from sulphates help maintain the health of the hair.

Low porosity: Low porosity requires assistance in retaining moisture. Use hair products with humectants (a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture) in them. Some common humectants found in hair care products are glycerine and Silicate. If you have low porosity, check if your hair care products include these or any other humectant listed here. Deep condition with some heat preferably sourced from above (like holding a dryer above the head) helps with moisture as well.

High Porosity:¬†If you have high porosity, it means your hair absorbs water and is prone to frizz in humidity (If you are a huge ‘Friends’ fan as I am, imagine Monica Geller in Barbados). Products with protein help to minimise the pores. Tracy recommends products with aloe or whey protein.

Combination hair: Depending on the combination you have, use the appropriate tips from above. For example, if you have oily roots with dry lengths (the most common type of combination), deep condition the lengths but avoid the scalp. You may also need to use light oils or elixirs on the length of the hair to tame the frizz and maintain moisture.

In a future post, I will suggest some recommendations of brands and products to use for each hair type. Stay tuned for it!… Please comment below your suggestions, questions.

See you in another post!



Nail polish 101: which base coat & top coat?

Hello! So before posting about my nail polish hoard, I thought I’d cover the basics: the basecoat and topcoat.

I’m a bit old school so I haven’t shifted over to UV gel or dip gel or any of the multitude array of more permanent solutions.

It was a frustrating (and expensive) process but I found a combo that works for my nails. If your nails are very bendy or flaky – dip gel might be best for you if you have a spare 45 mins and want them up to last 6 weeks.

So my combo is Revlon Colorstay Base Coat/ Gel-Smooth Base Coat and Essie Good to Go.

So…what’s the problem with this combo? Revlon a couple of years back discontinued their Color Stay Base Coat! They bought out a line of polishes called Gel Envy that had the basecoat already included in it instead.

But apparently a good replacement is Orly Bonder which you can get from Farmers NZ.

If you want to try something other than Essie, a good swap out is Sally Hansen Insta- Dri.

So choosing the best base coat/top coat (if you even want to use them) is based on a couple of things for me,

  • Does it work? I can get about a week without chipping with most polish brands/types with this combo.
  • Does it bubble?¬†Not too much, but they all do when your fingers are too hot from the heat and humidity.
  • How shiny is it? Shiny! The base coat also acts as a nail ridge filler which helps.
  • How hard is it to apply? Well they can get gloopy – so I normally add a drop or two of some Orly Nail Lacquer thinner when that happens (which I also get at my local Farmers NZ).
  • Smell? They stink! But nail polish tends to have chemically smell anyway. It fades within an hour of application for me.
  • Brush? This made a difference for me in terms of frustration. I have a strong curve in my nails – they certainly don’t lie very flat!

The brush on the Revlon base coat is good for me because it covers a lot of surface area. It’s different from most because Revlon appeared to just have doubled up on a typical thin brush (?!). Weird but it works for me. Press harder and I get lots of coverage, flip it to the edge and I can get around the end of the nail without having to load my brush up.

The Essie Good to Go top coat has a thicker brush – a little thicker than the original ones thank goodness. It let’s me glide over the nail without having to do more strokes and run the risk of adding bubbles (never shake your nail polish – bubbles galore! If you have to, shake and leave for a 30 mins).

I’ve used a number of base coats and top coats over the years (like Seche Vite, OPI RapidDry, INM Out the Door) but because I’m in NZ, I found a combo that was easy for me to get a hold of. All three products are found in my local Farmers NZ (Albany in Auckland). Ranges can be regional so please check!

You can go without, but this combo helps me with staining and chipping. In the future I hope I can trial and post on the newer technologies in nail polish.

Should you wear Bronzer?

Even I’ve often wondered; I am brown skinned (for reference, I’m a MAC NC44), do I still need to wear bronzer? The answer is… It depends! (my favourite answer :D). First I must clarify, my question carries a misguided assumption – that bronzer is to make your skin darker. Well, it is in a way, but the purpose of bronzers is to give the skin a healthy sun-kissed look (This is not synonymous¬†with having a darker skin shade).¬†bronzers

The choice to wear bronzer depends on several things:¬†Most important one being the personal preference. There are no hard-and-fast rules in makeup. As someone rightly said, ‘in makeup, you do you!’.

The second thing is the occasion or the makeup look that you are going for. If it is for something outdoorsy like a beach party or a formal event, bronzing adds a nice touch; But a trip to the grocery store … maybe not (again keep in mind, personal preference dictates).

Lastly, the time of the year should be of concern. As counterintuitive as it may sound, bronzing is appropriate in summer or warmer months. It helps to maintain a natural look during the season. But that should not stop you from wearing a little colour in winter if you want to.

If you decide to wear a bronzer, there are three things to consider.

  • Shade and undertone of the product (of course!): A rule of thumb is to choose one that is two to three shades darker. As a general guide, lighter skin shades look better in peachy bronzers; olive/ tan skin tones look good in golden undertones; the darker skin shades¬†look flattering in orange/apricot undertones.

But I am a yellow undertoned medium to deep skin shade. Going by the rule, I should look good in orange-toned bronzers. But I look like an Oompah Loompa when I use that. So in my case, I use bronzers that are in between golden and orange tones (yeah! that easy).

  • Skin type: for oily skins, use powder bronzers as well as ones without shimmers and sparkles to avoid the slick look. Cream and liquid bronzers look appealing on dry skin. If you Normal or combination skins, both types can be used.
  • Application: for powder bronzers, using a big fluffy brush is appropriate. It helps the product to distributed evenly and more naturally. For creams and liquids, start with your fingertips and then blend with a makeup sponge or a brush.¬†Model on blue background.

Imagine the ‘3’ shape when applying bronzer as shown in the picture. On both sides of the face, make the ‘3’ shape, starting at the forehead along the hairline, follow along the hollow of the cheek and just under the jawline. Keep it sheer and build as needed.

Hope this answered the question! ūüôā

Don’t forget to follow me for updates on new posts. See you soon!



Further recommended readings here and here. Enjoy!