Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Folks!!!

Oh, it's the time of the year again!!

I usually get the blues during the holiday season for some reason, but this year I'm trying to reflect on all the fantastic stuff that has happened (YES OMG it's been a whole year already? feels like yesterday), and I am so grateful for all the wonderful things I have received.

Friendships, great crews that I work with, lovely clients, a super family, a roof over my head and chocolate cake in my tummy.

And of course lots of fab blessings from the different cosmetic,skincare & haircare brands in Singapore, including MAC Cosmetics, Lancome, Palmer's Cocoa Butter, American Crew, & Sephora Singapore.
Thank you all, so very very much for supporting me.

And in the Christmas spirit, I'm doing my first giveaway on my facebook page, where I'll send one lucky lady a beautiful Sephora Green Eyes Palatte.
It doesn't matter what colour eyes you have, I believe makeup is universal and colours only express what you want them to! Don't be tied down by "rules" ;)

All you have to do to win this, is to post a comment on the giveaway thread on my page, and share how great your year has been.
Contest ends 26 Dec 2011.


Love, Jo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Her World Brides : Bridal Makeup & Hairstyle inspirations!

It's almost coming to the close of 2011, and this time it's turning out to truly be the wedding season of the year!

If you haven't decided on what style of makeup and hair you're going to have on that day, maybe you'll like some inspiration from these pages of Her World Brides

Makeup & Hairstyling by yours truly :) for Her World Brides September Issue
Assisted by Norah Salazar
Styled by Janice Seah

The model was blessed with full brows, which I paired with a full matte red lip, nude eyeshadow (The Naked Palatte!) , Creamy Eyeliner (24/7 in Zero & Perversion) falsies and lots of mascara. In case you think I'm off my rockers talking dirty, that's cos I'm using Urban Decay for this shoot! Loving their products!!

I curled her hair into tight ringlets and swept it all back into a full, low bun. No backcombing and teasing needed!

And from an earlier issue, the June 2011 Issue of Her World Brides...

Makeup by Joanna Koh
Hair by Sunny Kor

For this shoot I was partial to bareMinerals makeup, which is pretty much taking up more and more space in my kit and drawer. And that's cos I keep going to Sephora to stock up!

If you want a little glow in your skin, try the bareMinerals Original mineral foundation, and if you have oily skin (which so many of us do in this climate!), choose the Matte version.

Their eyeshadows go on beautifully and they have a great range of colours too.

Read on for the looks..

A glowy finish to the skin, with rose lips and a touch of shimmer to the eyelids, so pretty for everyone.

This is how you do a bold lip without having to choose red. A bright pink works, but keep your blusher natural. I've used a peachy blusher and paired it with silvery eyes.
Some might argue against that, citing the warm & cool makeup theories , but hey! We're in 2011, not 1989, so I don't buy that anymore!

A really beautiful bronzed eye and lip makeup look. Wear this to your sunset destination wedding with your tanned skin (remember the SPF while you're on the beach!)

I'll be more than happy to help you achieve these looks for your wedding day! Drop me an email if you would like to enquire more :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Interview with MAXX Brides & a little tip for brides!

Maxx Brides Magazine (Indonesia) featured me in an interview under a section called "The Inspiration". WOW.. I do hope I can live up to that!

Click on the photo below to read the interview.

Today I was reading an interview in US Edition of ELLE, and it was with Dr Brandt. I am a big fan of his Pores No More range!!
But anyways, there was a question posed to him 'What are your anti-aging lifestyle recommendations besides "wear sunscreen and don't smoke"?'
His reply? Do something to reduce stress, because stress increases free radicals, and there's evidence that it disrupts the replication of your DNA and shortens your chromosomes, leading to premature aging.

In my interview above, I was asked what tips do I give my bride-to-be clients. And I said, STOP STRESSING!

Coincedence? We're thinking along the same lines!
It's true, I've met brides before their wedding day, from a year before, to a few months to weeks to days.. the stress takes a toll on their skin and health, and it shows. No makeup can fully bring back the brightness into the skin. We can fake it, but you will feel it.

So if you're a bride-to-be and reading this now, take a breather, go out for a walk and fresh air, and maybe ask your little brother to lick the stamps for the wedding invitations ;P

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maxx Brides Indonesia

From a shoot in february, and finally to print!
Well, ok I don't have the actual printed magazine, but here is the fashion spread :)

Shot at the beautiful Intercontinental Singapore

Makeup & Hairstyling by Joanna Koh using Sephora & d:fi

For more, you can check out the Maxx Brides website here

Monday, May 30, 2011

A peek into my makeup drawer and the contents of my makeup bag ;)

So... many people ask me what products I would recommend, or use.

Well, here's my open secret (drawer) !

What a mess right.. I've obviously got too much makeup for this one face of mine. I don't use everything everyday. So I think it's better to show you what are the staples in my personal makeup pouch.

I believe makeup needs to be tailored to suit each person's lifestyle and personality. I don't like to wear too much makeup simply because I'm running around all day for work and honestly, after doing makeup for people day after day after day, I hardly have the energy or patience to do a full face of makeup for myself (especially not in the morning when I've not had my tea!)
Also, I spend 3 days a week working out in the sun and more often than not, I find myself wiping my face with my hand or towel. Smudged eyeshadow and runny mascara is NOT a pretty sight..! Plus the boys I train with can't be bothered if I'm wearing a full face of makeup during training or not (correct me if you're reading this and I'm wrong :P)

So, what do I really, really, favour?


From top left to right:

1. (Silver Pen) Lancome Miracle Teint Concealer .. it's peachy-pink based so it corrects dark eye circles and the formula is really light-weight and comfortable to wear

2. (Black Pen) M.A.C. Superslick Liquid Eye Liner in On The Hunt .. I don't wear this daily but I love how it doesn't budge. At All. Nothing worse on the face than walking into the bathroom and discovering I've got a funny ring around the bottom of my eyes. This one guarantees I won't be getting a shock anytime soon.

3. Urban Decay After Glow Glide On Cheek Tint in Bang. This product was released in spring this year and I keep 3 colours in my drawer and a few more in my professional case. It's creamy, glides on smoothly and it's really sheer, although it looks intense in the compact.

4. Nars Blusher in Orgasm. Classic product! If you must buy only one blusher, this is the ONE. Brightens your entire complexion, with a very light wash of shimmer

5. Kate Kanebo Waterproof Eyebrow Gel. The only drugstore brand in my makeup bag. At about $16, it's not dirtcheap but I haven't come across any other brands that do waterproof eyebrow gels. It's kinda like eyebrow wax, but it doesnt feel sticky and the colours are really natural. I wear this almost everyday cos I have almost no brows! One day I will try it when I go swimming.

6. Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Waterproof Mascara. I admit.. I wear this for sports. And it's never failed me. I could be crying while swimming and it wouldn't move. Best of all it washes out with my makeup cleanser without me tugging at my eyelashes
Click on the link to check out the shape of the mascara brush!!

7. bareMinerals Original in Medium Beige. Tons of compliments about my skin while I'm wearing this foundation. I use it with the Prime Time foundation primer and buff it in with the bareMinerals foundation buffing brush.

8. M.A.C. Mineralize Skin Finish in Medium Plus. Before bareMinerals came to Singapore, I couldn't find any face powder to compete with this one. Why does it still remain although I have the other mineral face powders? Because it's PRESSED! nice and compact.

9 & 10. Bobbi Brown Eyeshadows. These are in Copper Cocoa (Single), Chino and Beige Linen (Double). I have tons of these in other colours. Mostly I choose nude, earthy and brown colours for eyeshadows. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of colour, but it's just much more classic to stick with the neutrals.

And there, the secret is out :) Now to get on with my packing! I'm moving out :D

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects How-to & Review

I want to be a girl in the USA. The girls there are always the first to try newly launched products!!!

But since I'm miles from there, I had to depend on my lovely friend Andrea in Boston to send me some cool Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips that I had been eyeing since Nylon reviewed it!

I have the colours CUT IT OUT, and SKINNY JEANS, decided to go with Cut It Out..

here's what the box comes with

1 mini file which is a file & buffer in one
16 nail strips so you can choose the size to fit your nails
1 mini cuticle stick
an instruction booklet

So here goes.. I haven't done a how-to post before, I hope this will be nice and strightforward!

Step 1: Remove all old nail polish and trim nails down to your preferred length. I always have short nails because of my work so you can hardly see any free edge on mine. Use the file to shape all edges.. my nails have a round edge

Step 2: Use the cuticle pusher to push back any cuticles(gently!). I was abit more obsessive so I used cuticle remover too. If you're using chemicals on your hands, wash them thoroughly after this step.

Step 3(not shown): Run the nail polish remover over your nails again to clean up any oils or debris from the filing

Seep 4: without removing the backing, compare strips to nail bed width and choose appropraite size which fits as closely as possible. If it is a little little little bit smaller it is OK because you're able to stretch it slightly on application

Step 5: Found the right size? peel both the top plastic protector as well as the bottom away. Be careful now.. it becomes very limp.
Align it with the base and side of your nail.

tip: You can stretch it slightly while applying careful not to stretch it too much.. it is very thin and fragile, will tear easily. If it sticks you can still lift it up a little and restick it.

Try practicing with a couple that definitely do not fit your nails just to get a feel of it before doing it for real

Step 6: Bend the excess over the free edge of the nail but make sure what's supposed to be on the nail is completely stuck on. Don't leave air bubbles under it, especially while trying to bend it over the edge.

Step 7: Filing the edge off. Gently file it vertically at a few points, before horizontally filing it all off.
Important tip: While filing it off, always do it towards the center and in short, gentle strokes. If you do it in a long quick stroke, it may lift of what's on the nail and tear. Now you don't want that happening!!!


What do I think of it? Super easy to use!! I honestly do not like spending alot of time on my nails. And if time is money, this one is so fast for such a cool design that I think it's well worth my money!
It costs between US$8.95 - 11

It smells a little like nail polish. I tried to remove the design off one nail and it came off relatively easily just like nail polish.

Tomorrow I will try adding a top coat for extra gloss and protection. From many reviews I've read online, the girls say it lasts over 6 days without chips (SH claims 10 days). We'll see how it goes :D

The only thing I don't like is the amount of waste there is. Each pack contains an instruction booklet, file/buffer, and cuticle stick, packed in a nice plastic box. If they could make some "refills" without the excessive packaging, that'll be really green.

Please Sally Hansen, bring this into Singapore too!!!
Sephora Singapore carries something similar by Sephora, but no cool patterns brought here :(

They have tons of designs!! I'm gonna be begging my friends to bring this back for me :D

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Her World Brides Editorial (issue Mar- May 2011)

I'm so glad to have worked on this new, gorgeous issue of Her World Brides with stylist Janice Seah & photographer Toon Liang.

Here are some of the tear sheets from the bridal fashion spread we shot in The Club Hotel @ Ann Siang Hill

Photography: Toon Liang/ Lightspade
Styling: Janice Seah
Hair & Makeup: Joanna Koh using Redken & RMK

Scroll to the end for my tips on recreating this look :)

The Hair & Makeup

We were going for a more glamourous / hollywood kind of feel, but without too elaborate makeup or stiff hair.

Here are some crops.. the resolution isn't too good from the scanning but hopefully you'll be able to make it out!

The makeup:
I used muted, brown and nude tones for the eyeshadow, but still played the eyes up with a soft kohl and lots of mascara and lashes.
For her cheeks I contoured them with a matte bronzer, and lips in a complimenting satin nude shade.

The hair:
The model actually had long hair, but I was requested to give her a more glamourous bob. So I had curled her hair into tight ringlets, then gently brushed them out with my fingers to create volume. After that I pinned them into shape close to the nape of her neck. For her fringe I had lightly twisted it back to give it definition and then pinned with the rest of her hair.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Now I know why so many people take wedding pictures in Taiwan!

Last week I had one of the best times in my life in Taiwan, with 2 amazing girlfriends of mine.
We visited Pu Li, Sun Moon Lake, Yang Ming Shan, Wu Lai, and Taipei city :D

First time ever that I saw Cherry blossoms, and ate a Sakura Mochi!
The scenery is gorgeous and the weather was great (a little cold spell midweek), but when we were more south in Sun Moon Lake, weather was JUST PERFECT! for pictures.

Here are some pictures and recommendations where to go

Starting in Taipei:

Go to the many night markets to have your fill of delicious street food. We went to Shilin night market. I love these meat on sticks

Getting to Shilin night market: Take the MRT to Jiantan

From Taipei you can drive/ take a bus to Yang Ming Shan, which is a live volcano. Here are the pretty sights.. they have a spring flower festival, with lots of pretty Sakuras and other flowers. Now you don't have to go to Japan to view them!

Drive higher up the mountain and on a bad day (like when we were there), it's heavily shrouded in fog. On a good day you'll get a view.
And everyday, it'll smell like sulphur. Yuck.

On the plus side, you can hunt for a sulphuric hotspring. there are many hotsprings there and for about TWD150 ( SGD6.70), you get access to one. They usually have a few large shared pools, and some tiny cubicles with a small plunge pool for those who don't want to get naked in front of others.

North of Taiwan is a spot called Wu Lai. It has many hotsprings too (none with sulphur, thank goodness)
There are also lots of taiwanese aborigines living in this area and the streets are painted with their images.

Gorgeous scenery..waterfalls and rivers run through this area

You can either check into hotel with hotspring water, or go au natural like us, and many senior taiwanese folk, to the hotspring pools next to the river. Bring your own towel and a big smile to make friends with the oldies who come here everyday. Seriously, the old men here are SO FIT! I see some 70 year olds with abs!

Here are my friends enjoying the spring.. it's scalding hot, and after that you have to jump into the freezing river behind. And repeat for at least half an hour.

Getting to Wu Lai via public transport:
Take the MRT train to Dan Shui & change to bus

If you have time, you must go to Sun Moon Lake. Granted, it is a very tourist-y destination, but locals and tourist alike come here.

Lots of people do their wedding pictures here too..

Hijacking their shot :P

When you arrive at Shui She (the town on the north of the lake), drop by the Mochi shop. You can't miss it, there's only one there like this! She also serves delicious fresh Milk Tea in the front, you must try all!

My favourite flavours:
Sakura, Green Tea, Chocolate, Ume, Orange

If you have a couple of hours, take a walk or go cycling around the lake. The scenery is gorgeous, and on a spring day, great weather.
If you are too tired you can take the bus or boat instead.

Drop by the temple on the western side of the lake (about 20mins walk from shui she), the deity here is Yue Lao 月老 (thanks Joey!), he's the one who suppossedly "ties red strings" to join couples meant to be together.

Getting to Sun Moon Lake:
Take a bus from Taipei Bus Station Terminal B. There is a straight bus to Sun Moon Lake but they leave only a few times a day so buy your tickets in advance.
If not, you can take a bus from the same terminal to Tai Chung or Pu Li and transfer to another bus from those cities/ towns.
There is no direct train to Sun Moon Lake, your best option will be to take the train to Tai Chung and get a bus from there.

My best tip? Avoid weekends and public holidays and you can get shots of the lake without people in it :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Behind the scenes: MAXX Brides (Indonesia) Photoshoot

Hello!! I know I've been terribly naughty, being missing for over 2 months ! :(

It's been a CRAAAAZY time, going from 2010 to 2011.
I had a fantastic ultra-extended festive season, partying more than I thought I'm currently capable of :P
I've met some really cool new friends from all over the world, and tomorrow I'm going to Taiwan for a week with two of my girlfriends from Boston! <3
I'm heading to Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, it seems to be really beautiful for wedding photoshoots ! I promise to take lots of location pics and upload them here.. :D

Anyway, yesterday I worked with a really great team from MAXX Brides from Jakarta. Their inaugural issue will be out this May, and the gowns from the Indonesian designers are simply exquisite!! I've worked with Indo designers before and I love the complexity of the detailing on their garments and their extreme dedication to their craft.

Here are some behind the scenes shots of the photoshoot that was done at InterContinental Singapore . The interior of the hotel was simply gorgeous.. It seems to be set in an era far forgotten, with alot of Chinese and Peranakan influences in its decor

Makeup & Hair: Joanna Koh
Model: Erica Denise Lee

Completely insane shoes complete the look!!!

See you guys in a week :D