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Posts in "HOW TO"

Michelle Phan Inspired Lip Gradation Tutorial


HOW TO | by — September 24, 2012

Back in early August, I was fortunate to be invited to meet Michelle Phan in an intimate press event during her visit to Melbourne as part of the Lancome masterclass series.   I got to chat briefly with Michelle Phan, and whilst we were chatting I couldn’t help but staring at her striking gradation lip inspired by the pattern on her Alexander McQueen dress.   So I asked her and her makeup artist for the list of products used  to re-create this gorgeous lip gradation tutorial for you all!  Except for the lip balm, all other products featured in the tutorial were chosen by Michelle and her makeup artist Molly Oakfield.


1. Apply a moisturising lip balm to prepare lips with an emollient surface for the lip liner to melt against.  I used Sara Happ The Lip Slip as it has a tacky texture and provides intense moisture without making the lipstick slide.

2. Warm up a MAC Lip Pencil in ‘Nightmoth’ on the back of your hand, then shade in the centre of your lips creating a bitten stain effect.

3. Fill in the rest of the lips with MAC Lip Pencil in ‘Magenta‘, focusing on the main areas of the lips.

4. Use a lip brush to apply a vibrant rose pink lipstick such as Lancome Rouge in Love ‘Rose Boudoir 340’  around the outer edges of the lips.

5. Carefully blend the edges together to avoid diluting the gradation.  Layer on more magenta or dark wine lip pencil if needed to bring back the intensity of the gradation.

Hope you liked this tutorial!
Would you try this gradated lip?

Popsicle Tinted Lips Tutorial


HOW TO | by — February 25, 2012

This “popsicle tinted nude lip” look is often seen in Korean dramas, paired with natural makeup.  The gradated effect creating the illusion of youthful smaller lips that have eaten a popsicle.  Whilst this look may not be for everyone, applying a bit of colour to the inner area of a nude lip adds back colour to avoid looking completely washed out.  You can also play around with different variations to this look – pinks, corals, and peaches all work well, but for photography purposes I chose a rosy/cherry stain.

Popsicle Tinted Lips Tutorial

1. Prep lips with a lightweight lip balm.  I used MAYBELLINE Baby Lips Lip Balm “Protecting Berry” (NYFW Limited Edition).

2. Apply a lip stain to the inner semi-circle area of the bottom lip.  I used BENEFIT Benetint.

3. Repeat on the upper lip, changing the direction of the wand  you’re applying outwards.

4. Use a lip brush to apply your favourite nude lipstick around the edges of the popsicle tint.  Don’t worry about harsh lines for now.  I used BLOOM Lipstick “Nude”.

5. Press your lips together to blend the popsicle tint & nude lipstick- gently.

6. Voila! The key to this look is to avoid over-doing it for a natural finish.  Avoid re-applying the tint until your lipstick has worn off, otherwise it may smear and ruin the look.

Hope you liked this tutorial!

Would you give the popsicle tinted look a go?

Christmas Lips Tutorial


HOW TO | by — December 22, 2011

Spice up your red lip this Christmas with rusty red and gold pigments to add dimension.   In real life, this looks velvety, almost fabric-like and the gold/rusty red pigments glowed in every direction.  In this simple tutorial, I will show you how to achieve this festive look that will make your lips the talk of the town.

  • Prep lips with a moisturising lip balm that has minimal slip.  I used Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Velvet (out in January 2012).
  • Conceal lips with foundation using a sponge.  I used Face of Australia Mineral Therapy Liquid Foundation in shade Beige.
  • Fill your entire lips with a deep red lip pencil using light strokes.  I used Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sangria.
  • Fill the outer edges of your lip with a deep red hydrating lipstick using a lip brush.  For added dimension, choose a lip shade that already light shimmers.  I used Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Jewel Red.
  • Optional: Apply a classic red lip shade to the centre of lips for a gradated effect.
  • Apply red metallic pigment to the centre of both top and bottom lips & blend well.  I used MAC Glitter Pigment in “Reflects Rust”.
  • Press gold glitter to the centre of the bottom lip only & blend.  I used RMK Ingenious Eyes ME-02 (Gold glitter eyeshadow).
  • Apply a tiny amount of gold shimmer to the cupids bow to add dimension & create  volume.
  • Clean up any uneven edges with a q-tip dipped in eye makeup remover & refine the lip line with either foundation or lip pencil.

* * *

 Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

This will be my last blog post for 2011.
I will resume blogging in February 2012 once I return from my holiday overseas!
Thanks so much for your support towards Beauty Swatch & I hope to see you back next year~

Beauty Swatch TV: Photoshopping Lip Swatches


HOW TO | by — August 6, 2011

Most people are often surprised at the simplicity of how I approach swatching.

I actually just work with what I have at home –  a shade lamp with cool lighting & a point & shoot camera (Canon IXUS 870IS).  When it comes to Photoshop, I use it mainly to crop, watermark, and adjust lighting / sharpness to bring out the colour to its true shade.   And that’s about it really.

Using keyboard shortcuts (yes I’m nerdy enough to remember them, even on a Mac!) and pre-designed watermark templates is a huge time saver & I stick to 500 pixels most of the time so that my images are evenly displayed on the website.

Here is a video demo of what I usually do with my lip swatches.   I hope you’ll find this video useful in producing swatches for your blog.

And yes, those 2 foreheads belong to me & my husband, from a photograph on our wedding day!

Leave a comment below if there is any other topic you’d like a tutorial on, or a sneak peek in the Beauty Swatch scene!

Ingenious lipstick tips from MAC’s Nicole Thompson


HOW TO, MAC | by — December 2, 2010


A few months ago, I met up with MAC’s Australian senior artist Nicole Thompson, and would you believe that we chatted non-stop about lipstick for nearly 2 hours straight!  She taught me a thing or three thousand about MAC’s lipstick range, and showed me her very own tips on how to apply lipstick.

When I told Nicole that I didn’t like wearing concealer underneath lipstick, she shared this ingenious technique with me, and I was so impressed I couldn’t resist sharing it with you too! The MAC products used in this tutorial are exactly the same as she used on me. 

Nicole Thompson’s Tips for Applying Red Lipstick

(1) Base: Prep lips with MAC Lip Conditioner, then apply concealer on lips and surrounding lip area.

(2+3) Reverse Definition: To create a precise lip line, dip a cotton tip in MAC’s Pro Eye Makeup Remover and erase the lip concealer on your lips.  When you reach the edge of your lip line, move the cotton tip steadily to erase a precise line between your lip and concealed areas.

(4) Colour from the inside out: For mistake-proof application, try lining your lips from the inside out.  Warm up the pencil on the back of your hand, then start colouring in your lips from the centre, and gradually shade outwards towards your lip line.

(5+6) Define: To create sharp definition for your cupids bow, hold the pencil perpendicular to the angle of your upper lip shape. (ie. when defining the left side of your cupids bow, tilt the pencil leftwards. And vice versa).  Use a cotton tip to fix any mistakes, or sharpen your cupids bow further.

(7+8) Load up the colour: Load up your lip brush with lipstick, and apply an even coat on lips.  Blot and repeat.  This ensures the lipsticks is pressed into your lips.  (Akisa’s Note: Sometimes I like to apply using the lipstick directly, then even out with the lip brush) 

(9) Voila! And there you have it. Red lips that are perfectly defined and enhanced by the natural tone and texture of your lips.

Don’t you just love this ingenious tutorial?

What’s your verdict on wearing concealer on lips?

Products used in this post:

Products marked with asterisk were purchased by me.  All others listed were sent for consideration.