Anina Abola is a freelance copywriter and make-up artist. She is the woman behind Irrational Fits of Beauty – a witty and fun beauty blog. She also helps out with the marketing of a lit-in-transit magazine called Metro Serye.
I’m a person of habit, almost painfully so. When I start liking something, I’ll use it forever. I have sensitive skin so I try to look for things that are gentle or organic. That’s why I use Johnson’s Baby Bath—I love that they come in these huge containers. I decant them into smaller squeeze bottles (I share the bathroom with two other women, I’ve just moved their things first) and use that since I also alternate body scrubs. (For no particular reason other than I bought them so I should finish them up.) I know St. Ives from their infamous apricot scrub so I ventured into their bath products, I like its fresh small. They’re what remain from a time when I would stare at the colorful bath scrubs displays at supermarkets wondering what would change my life. The Body Shop Cranberry body scrub I got on sale while buying gifts, I prefer the Strawberry one but this was what was marked down so this is what I have.
Leyende’s Clear and Present is just the best thing ever. It gave me big hair when I first used it—like “My man left me and all I’m going to do is sing loudly” big hair—and I still love it for that. I think it helped that I finally got a great haircut for my wavy hair (Rolly of Basement Salon in Shang has my hair heart.) I don’t really use conditioner since it just weighs my hair down, and like I said—I love my big hair.
I use Cetaphil Lotion and Leyende Body Oil when I actually do remember to moisturize. I also wish I had the time and the patience to find a perfume I like, but I do have this Dreams from Body Shop and two solid perfumes that works in the meantime. The little jar is called BraveHeart, it’s a balm that I use to soothe allergies and even headaches.
On the sink are the things with which I clean my face. Leyende’s Clean Slate and most things from Neutrogena are the only products I like using since they don’t leave my skin feeling itchy. The brown sugar scrub from Leyende is delicious, I have to stop myself from using it everyday. The Koh Gen Do spa water is an excellent make-up remover and I use it for make-up gigs too since it erases mistakes without leaving residue. I like using it with the MUJI cotton pads since they’re so huge, and when I have waterproof eye make-up or false lashes on, I just soak two pads and leave them on my eyes for a bit. It makes the experience refreshing, and it gets the cleaning done.
My face regimen is pretty simple. For day, I dot my face with the Kiehl’s damage repair serum then follow it up with Leyende’s Face Canvas. I keep telling myself to wear sunscreen, and when I do, i just mix it with the Face Canvas before I put on make-up. At night, I dot my face again then put two drops of the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Serum into my palms and pat my face with it. I love that the night serum has an actual medicine dropper, it makes me feel like I have my hands in an apothecary. I use the Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment when I need to, and though it may not work immediately, I must say my skin is much better than when I first started using it six months ago.
It was only recently that I’ve really enjoyed my wavy hair (get a good haircut women everywhere!), and I’ve discovered that product does help. I started with the Aveda Be Curly system and would recommend them to anyone (I’d love it if someone would buy them for me too!) But since they’re not readily available, I tried out Kerastase Oleo-Curl and loved the results. My waves curl up into bigger barrels. I bought the bottle of The MorocanOil Intense Curl Cream to try it out, and it does condition my hair better while delivering some curl. I usually finish my ‘do ( my undo since I don’t really brush or style my hair) with the Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom to tame flyways, just usually the ends. The Aveeno Leave-in Spray I use to refresh my hair ( *cough* unwashed *cough* ) and the Snoe Hair Heroes PM Night Repair was another experiment. I was curious about Argan Oil this time. I just have to remember to apply it most nights.
Okay, now we get into the heavy stuff. Though I did train to be a make-up artist because I do love make-up, I’ve learned to depend on few(ish) products for my own use. Not finding the right foundation color was what made me start my beauty blog, I was frustrated that everything turned gray on my morena skin. But I think I have found the one—Illamasqua Skin Base in 13! I do love how light this product feels on the skin, and it’s got the coverage I need (I have huge pores, scars, discoloration.) It works best when applied with a beauty blender, or with a flat-top synthetic brush. For setting, I use Makeup Designory’s (MUD) Loose Powder in Desert which is a perfect match. But I just discovered Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Beige Suede and it just seems to make me more matte.
With the morena skin comes a natural smoky eye. I just don’t have dark shadows under my eyes, they’re surrounded. The Makeup Forever (MUFE) Camouflage Cream in Orange neutralizes the darkness, then the MUD Blue Corrector 4 makes everything even and brighter. The Ben Nye Banana Powder sets and helps brighten the area up, especially since I love the Drag Queen trick of brightening the V between the nose and the cheekbone. I pat miniscule amounts of MUFE HD powder to help blur the lines that are under my eyes.
Now comes some color. I’m a big fan of neutrals so the Urban Decay Naked Palette is great though I do reach for this personalized palette more often than not. I put together eyeshadows from MUD and Stila, the three shadows to steal are the brown ones in the middle — from the bottom to the top: Canyon, Taupe, and Cashmere. Taupe is the multi-tasker, I use it to give myself more defined cheekbones or a higher bridge on my nose, to deepen my eyes and even to fill in my eyebrows. Canyon (the more chocolate-y brown) is what I use to blend out any eyeshadow since it’s closer to my skin color. The two Face Shop eyeshadow compacts were bought solely for their kitsch factor, but they turned out to be great semi-matte neutrals for everyday use. When I want a really dramatic brow or even just to lighten them to soften my face, I use the MUFE Brow Corrector in 2 with an angled eyebrow brush.
I love eyeliner, but since I have oily lids, I’ve discovered that only liquid liners work for me. I’m currently using the Maybelline HyperSharp Liner and it’s a great felt tip liner for precise lines. To darken my lashline, I use an angled eyebrow brush with the MUFE Aqua Black which I discovered was the only the waterproof cream liner that didn’t smudge on me. If it works for water ballerinas then it should definitely work for me! The MUFE Aqua Eyeshadow Pencil in teal makes for an interesting smoky eye.
Because everyone says it was a great investment, I caved and bought the Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Waterproof mascaras are a must so am loving this Maybelline Great Lash mascara, this Kate mascara (the black tube) has a comb applicator so it allows me to really get to the roots of my lashes and thicken them.
This picture gathers what I usually throw into my bag for touch-ups or if someone wants me to play with their face. There is a revolving door for the lip products, but yes, I bring majority of what is shown here.
1. The MAC SkinFinish Natural gives a great bright finish for a powder and it’s light enough for me to use for touch-ups during the day.
2. I like bringing the Smashbox contour kit because it has a mirror, also because I can use for a neutral eye look in a pinch.
3. NARS Dolce Vita in a blush and lip pencil are my everyday pretty secrets. They’re both matte so I can pretend that my flush is god-given.
4. The pencils are highlighters/brighteners. One is a MUFE Aqua pencil in a pink champagne color, the other is a MAC pencil in NC25—I use both to convince people that I actually am awake. I also use either to highlight my cupid’s bow.
5. The MAC Studio Finish concealer is still a great workhorse for either my undereye shadows or my blemishes.
6. The powder compact in a light yellow shade is a fantastic product from MUD called LemonCream, it’s a matte brightener so all you get is glow—no glitter or shimmer. Great for the Drag Queen V, cheekbones and the bridge of your nose.
7. The decanted bronze cream product in the white container is Chanel’s Bronze Universal. I like how it brings out my complexion, and I love how it smells.
8. The OCC Lip Tars are in Grandma (coral,) Anime (hot pink,) and Harlot (cherry red.) They’re liquid lipsticks that are so pigmented that you only need a drop to cover your lips. They can also double as cream blushes. I do recommend using them with a brush though since they do stain the fingers!
9. The lip moisturizers are Keihl’s and Aesop’s Lip Cream. The Aesop product has a unique smell and it really just moisturizes without adding gloss.
10. Benefit’s SunBeam and ChaCha Tint are morena must-haves. The Sun Beam is gold, while the ChaCha Tint is a happy papaya color. They’re liquid stains so dab a little then spread with your fingers.
11. The Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray helps tone down the initial espasol nature of my matte-ness, but it also helps my make-up stay longer.
The Beauty Blender is my favorite thing to apply make-up with—I can apply foundation, powder, cream blush, even highlighter with it. (I found that good old white Safeguard soap cleaned this beauty blender without harming it. ) But when I do use brushes, the Real Technique brushes are pretty hardy. I really like the blush brush, it’s easier to control since its tip is more narrow. I also use a blending brush from ArtNet to apply corrector and concealer so I can blend them out easily. I’ve had those MAC brushes for a while and they’re still functioning great (especially since I actually do know how to use them now.) The spatula and palette are a habit I got from training, but I do like mixing things (lipsticks, blushes) so it does come useful.
I keep telling myself that my beauty habits are relatively simple, but I should really just stop denying how kikay I really am.
as told to divasoria