Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Something borrowed...and very beautiful

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe

For brides-to-be searching for their gowns, you know it's going to take more than sixpence to get there. Increasingly in Singapore, more brides are looking past our shores to get their wedding gowns from the US, Europe and even Australia. 

A made to measure gown in Singapore is costly, and those for rent off the shelf... sometimes, you just can't find anything suitable. 

Then again, for the ladies who don't have the luxury of time to jet set to New York just to try on a Vera Wang gown, wouldn't it be great to fit it here in Singapore? I have a friend who decided, for her wedding, to order her gowns from Vera Wang White online, only to find that the material wasn't what she envisioned it to be. Disappointed, she still wore it for her wedding. She looked great, but it wasn't really her style.  

Descriptions of the material (tulle!organza!satin!chiffon!georgette!), cut (mermaid!ball gown!one shoulder!fitted!trumpet!) don't really help much if you can't envision how the gown will fall on your frame, or how it'll change your silhouette. 

I was pretty excited to find out about Something Borrowed, which is offering the perfect solution. They've done the scouring, sifted through hundreds of gowns and brought them back to Singapore. These gowns are available for rent, a great way to get your dream gown at a fraction of the cost, and not worry about storing it after the wedding. 

Gowns from Vera Wang, Vera Wang White (above), Monique Lhuillier, Pronovias, and Johanna Johnson are some of the labels available, and they are constantly adding more. With a background and years of experience in weddings and bridal gown design, the team at Something Borrowed have exquisite taste, knows what works and what brides need. Here are some top picks now available: 

Ethereal Silk Satin Chiffon gown by Amy Kuschel

Full Embroidered Lace gown by Monique Lhuillier

They're having their launch on 30 June 2012, so do drop them an email to preview the lovely pieces at their boutique in the quaint Joo Chiat Place. 

In the meantime, follow their updates on: 

Something Borrowed 
84 Joo Chiat Place, 
Singapore 427801

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jo's Tips To Finding Your Best Wedding Hairstyles

I love browsing the web for hairstyles. has a great library of hairstyles, which was my to-go page when I started doing bridal makeup and hair. Here's a screen shot of their page, this one has tips for your trial session.

Read it? It is true - at least the bit about wearing your hair out after a trial. I always tell my clients to keep wearing their hair and makeup after the trial, and then tell me after how it went. We'll know then if anything went wonky, or they prefer certain things differently, or hey! that the false eyelashes are actually really comfortable (I use the Princess Lee eyelashes from Taiwan ;] )

Another thing I advise my clients to do, is to search out pictures online about what styles they like. Sure, I do give recommendations and suggestions, but when I meet my client for the first time, I don't automatically know their real style.
I am not psychic. I can't read minds, and I can't quite imagine the exact wedding dress from verbal descriptions (lace, tulle, ivory, princess, mermaid... ).
The best way to communicate with your makeup artist? Pictures. Hell, it actually is THE best way to communicate with any of your creative suppliers, be it your wedding planner, designer or florist.
Because "natural" may mean different things to different people, and so does "casual". There are 1038462 different "smokey eyes" - ok, i exaggerate, but really, if you can be specific, do be specific. It'll save you alot of time and also help us get straight to the point and give you what you want.

And if you still have no idea what you want?
You can ask me , or you can also check out ELLE's list of The Best Wedding Hairstyles, and then give me a call :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Born This Curly Way: Making The Most With Texture

Growing up, I used to hate my curly hair. Well, who wouldn't? As a kid not knowing any better, I would brush it till it got big, frizzy, uncontrollable. The only time I liked it was right after my shower, dripping wet, sleek and straight.

For 10 years in my life, from when I was 15 till 25, I tried everything, from relaxers, rebonding, flat irons, and even the Brazillian keratin straightener (did not even last more than a week!). Finally, tired of endless visits to the salon, curly root regrowth, damage from the heat and chems, I let my curls grow out.

Today, I have a curly bob and I'm totally loving it!

Most people think I've used a curling tong, or permed my hair, but all I did was embrace my curls. Here are my shortcuts to getting frizz-free curls in this crazy weather (where humidity goes up to 90% on a normal day! )

1. I use shampoo and condition for curly hair 

The Luscious Curls range by Fekkai  with grapeseed extract and moroccan oil, helps define curls and control frizz. Available at Sephora in Singapore 

2. Once a week, I use a deep conditioning treatment

My hair has been coloured, dunked in chlorine when I swim, and suffers UV damage whenever I'm out playing (sorry, I mean working on a shoot ;P) in the sun. Although it contributes to the whole "surfer vibe", the ends of my hair do really take a beating. So once a week, especially after swimming, I use L'Oreal Absolut Repair Cellular hair masque to restore moisture and it does help to soften and smoothen my hair.

p.s. I think surfer Rob Machado could use a little of this, but whatever it is, DAMN, I love his hair!!! And I love surfers :)

3. A curling cream really helps to enhance and define curls

Where was I before using Moroccanoil? Pretty much living in frizz.. Seriously though, only this curl cream does it for me so far. Although I like to use Redken Ringlet 07  for work as it is perfect with a curling tong, for my own hair, Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream  both conditions and defines curls. Sometimes I mix in a drop of Moroccanoil Treatment for more shine. And you know what? It smells perfect too, no yucky ol' hair gunk situation here. 

4. Some wax and styling products won't hurt

In fact, they'll help hold your hairstyle, add volume and polish. I use Hoyu 3210 Neutral Wax, which I bought at the salon (more details next!). It has a natural, matte finish. 
I rub it between my palms and fingers, then finger curl sections of my hair, which helps enhance the curls, making them more spiral, bouncy, and prevents them from frizzing and messing up throughout the day. 
Sometimes if I want lots and lots of volume, I scrunch it all in, pushing my hair from the bottom up. 

5. A good haircut is essential 

Without my hairstylist, Ivan from Insquare Salon, my hair would probably still be an unmanageable mess. I first met him at a photoshoot back in....2007? But it was only in 2010 when I went to him, with my hair half grown out from a rebonding, that I saw the possibility of having curly hair again.  

With decades of experience, Ivan is still amazingly humble, friendly and gives excellent suggestions. Unlike hairstylists who insist on chopping off inches of hair, Ivan respects his client's styles and wishes, which is what I really, really love about him. If you would like a creative cut, leave it in his stable, precise hands, and you'll always walk out of his salon always feeling beautiful, with a cut that always grows out well. 

Andrew & Kenny, the awesome designers of Depression, also trust Ivan with their hair! 

In Square Salon also stocks Hoyu, so give them a call if you'll like a makeover for your hair, then follow my easy, easy, easy steps and start loving your curls :) 

In Square Salon 
24 Sin Ming Road 
Singapore 570024
Tel: 6554 0916 / 6554 0917

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How To Wash Makeup Brushes: A Step-by-step Photo Guide

One of the questions that I get asked very frequently (perhaps, just second to, "Do you miss modelling?") is "How do you wash your brushes?" 
Well, here's the answer, in pictures! 

First up, you'll need: 

1. Brush Cleanser aka brush soap/shampoo 

The other blue Biore bottle is the Hydra-Clear makeup remover, which I will use to clean out some hard to remove gunk from my foundation and lipstick brushes. 
If you do not have a brush cleaner, you can use baby shampoo or a mild soap, although I highly recommend a proper brush cleaner. It has kept my brushes going for more than 6 years. 

2. Running water and a bright, airy place to dry your brushes 

3. Clean towel. As you can see, I am partial to the made-in-china Good Morning towels, available at your local mama shop. If you're reading this from the US or Europe, I hear these sell at cut-throat prices there. They're less than a dollar each here. Anyhow... let's get started. 


How to clean foundation brushes: 

Now, foundation brushes are tricky because sometimes the creamy foundation just refuses to dissolve and wash off in the regular brush cleaner. These steps also work for lipstick brushes.
Word of advice: Use step 1-3 only for synthetic bristles

Step 1: With clean, dry hands (emphasis on dry when using water-based makeup removers like this Biore one, so that it doesn't emulsify yet), pour a teaspoon-sized amount of waterproof makeup remover onto your palm. 

Step 2: Swirl the foundation brushes and massage the makeup remove between the bristles to break down the gunk and foundation / lipstick (if you're cleaning your lip brush). You'll start seeing the makeup melt off the brushes and onto your palm. 

Step 3: Rinse the brushes under running water. 
Here, I am going to state an important point: Always point your brush with the bristles facing downwards, so that the cleaner and water will not get into the base of the brush. 

Step 4: Pick up your brush shampoo/soap. Pour a half teaspoon size onto your palm.

Step 5: Swirl the brushes and get the initial makeup remover out too. The foundation should wash off really easily by now. 

Step 6: Rinse again. If still dirty, repeat steps 5-6. 
Then, blot the brushes gently against your towel (realise I am holding them almost horizontal so I don't crush up the bristles) 

Step 7: This is a tip i got from fellow makeup artist Andrea Claire! 
Dry your brushes horizontally, with the bristles hanging off the edge of the table. 
This will increase the drying surface area so your brushes can dry much more quickly. 

Dealing with other brushes:

For blusher, eyeshadow, bronzer, eyeliner and most brushes that deal with powders, here's what you do

Step 1: Wet brush and pour out a teaspoon-sized amount of brush cleanser (here I am using the M.A.C cleanser, to the last drop) onto your palm. I also like to put it in a small cup sometimes as it is liquid and tends to just drip out of my palm. 

Step 2: With the brush already fully wet, it will lather up well as your swirl it around your palm (or cup).

Step 3: Rinse out the brush, remember to keep it pointing downwards. If you rinse it out into a white/clear cup, you can see if there's still lots of product rinsing out. If the brush is not clean enough, repeat steps 1&2. 

Same for eyeshadow brushes, repeat steps 1-3 as above. I like to wash them in a bunch since they're so small. 

Let your brushes dry for at least 12 hours before use, and for the large brushes that are quite dense, they make take up to 24 hours to dry

If you have any suggestions or questions about washing brushes, or want to share your fav brush soaps, please share them with us here :) 

p.s. And to answer the question at the beginning of this post, nope, I do not miss modelling at all, I'm much happier now! :)

Thanks to Mia Tan for helping me take the snapshots while my hands were all soapy! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ready, Jetset, Glow!

“Business or pleasure?” These two reasons for hopping on board a flight may separate travellers into different classes of seats, but cabin conditions, dry air, environmental stress and fatigue usually results in the same damage to the skin during travel. Many travellers usually complain of dry skin, which in the long run results in fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and a sallow complexion.

SK-II believes that these multiple signs of aging are due to one cause – the loss in “radical firmness” (in addition to your fabulous jetsetting lifestyle).
“Radical firmness” is defined as a visible firmness in the skin, determined by the thickness and elasticity of the skin, as well as the integrity of it's basal layer.
To put it most straightforwardly, aged skin is thinner, less springy, and also does not renew itself as quickly as young skin.

The solution that SK-II has developed is Stempower, a moisturiser promising to not only combat the multiple signs of aging, but also to turn back the clock and give you skin that's 10 years younger.

SK-II Stempower contains a plant-derived ingredient (Siberian ginseng, to be exact), the Stem-Acanax Complex which helps the skin's production of “lift-proteins”, giving skin a renewed plumpness. Results are quick and visible in just 10 days, thanks to its high active penetration formula.

Measuring this 10 year improvement is possible with the SK-II Magic Ring, a diagnostic device that analyses 5 key factors in skin age: texture, radiance, spots, wrinkles and firmness.

SK-II's Beauty Consultant Training Manager Nitiwadee Songrienchai 
demonstrating the SK-II Magic Ring  

The "Ageless Vector" is a measure to gauge your skin age based on 
the angles of your skin's fine lines. The more horizontal the lines, the younger your skin looks.

For frequent fliers wishing to get their hands one the SK-II Stempower, be one of the first to try and purchase it exclusively at Singapore Changi Airport from June 1, 2012.
It will be available at the SK-II counters in Singapore and internationally from 15 August 2012 onwards.

Price(exclusively at Changi Airport): S$116 (50g) & S$167 (80g)

Price(SK-II counters in Singapore): S$149 (50g) & S$219 (80g)

Not a jetsetter but want to be one of the first in Singapore to try SK-II Stempower?

Click here to join the exclusive StyleShoppes Contest by 15th June to win a full sized SK-II Stempower (worth S$219)!


What We Say:  Mia Tan & Joanna Koh weigh in on SK-II Stempower while sharing their travel skincare routine 

Mia Tan, 30s, Entrepreneur  

What are your main skin concerns? 
My main skin concern is combination skin, so it's difficult for me to find a moisturiser that balances the different zones in my skin. I tend to get the occasional breakouts. 
In last couple of years, I've begun to realise that my skin is not as plump and supple as before. 
I also want to even out my skin tone because I have some old scars from pimples. 

Where have you travelled to recently? 
Recently I've been to different islands in Thailand for beach holidays, and my last long-haul flight was from Singapore to Boston. 

What type of skincare regiment do you adopt while travelling? 
Before I board the plane, I make sure that I put an extra dose of moisturiser, and I will pack a moisturising sheet mask in my hand carry luggage which I use during the flight to combat the dryness. I also do not use makeup when I board the plane.

Is it any different from your regular skincare routine? 
Yes, I usually do not use as much moisturiser on regular days because I feel my T-zone gets oily.

How did your skin feel the first time you tried SK-II Stempower? 
I was pleasantly surprised because I thought it was going to be sticky since it was a cream moisturiser, but when I applied it, it did not leave a greasy film on my skin. After three days of application, combined with the unique SK-II massage technique demonstrated at the event, I could see the firming effect. 

What's your favourite thing about SK-II Stempower? 
I love that you don't have to use much, a little bit goes a long way. 

Any downsides to using it? 
At S$219 for 80g, the price is a bit steep, but because the results show, I think it is worth it. 


Joanna Koh, 20+, Makeup Artist

What are your main skin concerns? 
As I spend many hours in the sun for work and sports, I hope to prevent and possibly reverse sun damage, which is also a main cause of aging. 

Where have you travelled to recently? 
I visited Italy on holiday this year where we spent two weeks eating and drinking our way through the country. 

What type of skincare regiment do you adopt while travelling? 
I make sure I apply sunblock with a high SPF as I know I will be out all day exploring. Also, because the air in temperate countries is a lot drier than in Singapore, I apply more moisturiser and sometimes carry around a moisturising spritz. 
However, I still felt that my skin was extremely dry when I was in Italy, possibly from the climate, and although I didn't wish to admit it, the alcohol in my daily wine consumption also made my skin dry. 

In Singapore, what's your skincare routine? 
I use a toner and moisturiser daily, with sunblock under my makeup. At night I try to moisturise my cheeks more as I have combination skin. 

How did your skin feel the first time you tried SK-II Stempower? 
The Stempower moisturiser was absorbed quickly by my very thirsty skin, it felt smooth and silky to the touch after. 

What's your favourite thing about SK-II Stempower? 
I love that I can see visible results, just after 3 days of using it, my facial contours were more defined and my skin felt firmer. 
The dry areas of my face also feel much more moisturised. 

Any downsides to using it? 
I try not to apply too much of it on my nose and forehead as I have combination skin and some pimples on my t-zone, so I was advised by Niti (SK-II's Beauty Consultant Training Manager) to use less of it on the oilier parts of my face. 

Joanna now uses the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence daily and loves it!