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Aspiring K-Beauties of the world, a salute to flawless foundie! © Laneige

These beauty hacks really, really work – and I should know, given my longstanding reservations about foundation. Getting this most basic of makeup tenets right involves tight-roping a Goldilocks-like margin of error: Pile on too much product and you’ll look like a frightful Halloween facsimile of Marie Antoinette; too light a hand and you’ll come off as an equally sorry Victorian-era victim of consumption …

Which is why the following makeup maxims have served me so well; follow them and you’ll attain just-right complexion that looks like your skin, only better!


Always start with a clean, post-shower canvas. Apply your usual unguents – lotions, emulsions, what have you – and then wait a good five minutes. If you’re strapped for time in the morning, use the 300 seconds (count ‘em!) to brew coffee and basically smell the roses.

This hands-off five minutes really allows your pre-makeup prep to be fully absorbed before you move on to your base products – this prevents the “pilling” (beauty-speak for flaking) that can happen when you pile on layer over damp layer. Test by gently pressing a clean fingertip against your cheek: If no residue is detected, you’re good to go.

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Make Up Store Blothing Powder, left, and Base Prep

Follow up with a hydrating primer; this is the foundation for your foundation. Doreen, training manager for Make Up Store Singapore, says you should gun for a gel  formula for maximum glide: “Make Up Store’s Base Prep is a great bet, because the silky texture hides small imperfections and helps makeup stay on the skin longer.”


Bespoke blends are now customary, really, from eye creams to concealers. Mixing different textures together for a tailored flesh-toned fit is a favourite trick of backstage professionals, and it isn’t all that complicated.

Try your hand at being a makeup mixologist with this custom cocktail recipe: A dollop each of a skin-quenching serum, a glistening fluid formula and a creamier base, mixed on the back of your hand into a lightly tinted tincture. Doing this should give you that elusive balance between natural-looking coverage and dewiness that won’t cake or settle into fine lines to boot.

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Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum, left, and Evenfair Perfecting Cushion

Product recommendation-wise, I adore Sulwhasoo’s legendary First Care Activating Serum for its softening botanical blend – said serum is feting its 17th year of existence, incidentally, so happy birthday, Sulwhasoo skin saviour! – and Laneige’s light-diffusing Water Supreme Foundation for its taffety-like texture. The latter makes for a great foil to a more robust formula courtesy of say, Sulwhasoo’s superbly creamy Evenfair Perfecting Cushion.

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Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Stickler for stick foundies? I’ve found that mixing a drop or two of serum into a slick of Bobbi Brown’s brilliant new Skin Foundation Stick works wonders for drier climes; the buttery base binds moisture to my mien for round-the-clock comfort.

A wee caveat: I’ve found that certain brands repel each other for reasons known only to lab-coated cosmetologists, so always give your three-way formula a trial run before taking it outdoors.

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Laneige Water Supreme Foundation SPF15 PA+


Almost there! After applying your custom cocktail (application is an art unto itself; always fan outwards from the inverted triangle bound by your eyes and chin), Doreen from Make Up Store Singapore says it’s imperative to set your face with a sugary dusting of loose powder: “Place the back of your finger against your made-up skin; if it feels sticky, sprinkle on a tad more powder for staying power.”

Try Make Up Store’s curiously named Blothing Powder – a portmanteau of blotting and clothing, perhaps? – which I’ve found to offer exceptional shine control by way of its finely milled translucent particles.

Now for the neat bit: Rein it back by pressing a piece of plush two-ply tissue onto your face. Don’t rub, just pat: This will take off any excess powder and allow a sexy glimpse of your real skin to glimmer through, for that softly diffused, is-she-or-isn’t-she look the Koreans are so enamoured with.

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Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Spray

Finally, if you have a few seconds to spare before your date arrives at your door, do as I do and cement your complexion with Make Up For Ever’s Mist & Fix spray, which seals in all the flesh-toned fabulosity with an added blast of oxygenated goodness.

And bam, a budge-proof face that will have even the most jaded of beauty buffs doing a double-take. (I should know, given the number of compliments I get for my cough, flawless complexion.)

So, to recap. Just three camouflage techniques – wait five minutes; mix and match; and blot with tissue – will take care of all your cover-up jobs. Congrats on successfully laying the “foundation” of any makeup routine. You’re welcome!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, $68 each, is available at all Bobbi Brown counters. For more information, visit and follow Bobbi Brown Singapore on Facebook

Laneige Water Supreme Foundation SPF15 PA+, $55 each, is available at all Laneige counters. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix spray, $48, is available at all Sephora stores and the Make Up For Ever Pro Loft at 36 Armenian Street, #02-06. For more information, visit and follow Make Up For Ever Singapore on Facebook and YouTube

The Make Up Store products listed above are available at all Make Up Store counters. For more information, visit and follow Make Up Store Singapore on Facebook.

Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion, $74 each, and First Care Activating Serum, $106, is available at all Sulwhasoo counters. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.