Life @ NCP

not everyone needs to go outside to have fun

Making Makeup Work and Civilised Eyebrows

I am going to talk about makeup stuff today. Yes, that girly talk, you guys should still read on though. I promise it won’t be just skin deep…

This post will not be complete without the before and after shots, so here they are, left without makeup, right with makeup:


I think it’s fair to say that many girls in IT are late-adopters in the makeup market, me included. The product types themselves baffled me for quite a long time – eyeshadow, foundation, powder, bb cream, eye curler, bronzer, eyebrow pencils, etcetera etcetera. Not to mention the brands supplying those products. What I tend to associate when I heard about these products was, money, money, money and money. And more often than not, it also conjured some feeling of disappointment caused by buying something that ended up useless, only to be thrown in the bin five minutes after. Like buying lipstick that I thought would make me look great (read: look older), only to find that the colour made me look like a prostitute instead. Bin.

Despite the frequent experimental failures, I know that somehow, I will have to make it work for me. Yep, make the makeup work (can’t resist!). Men don’t have to put on makeup, good for them, but women can’t really get away from it. I’m not trying to be sexist, because a study done in 2009 illustrated nicely why makeup is only for the female sex:

‘Given this sex difference in contrast, Russell found a connection between the application of cosmetics and how it consistently increases facial contrast. Female faces wearing cosmetics have greater facial contrast than the same faces not wearing cosmetics. Russell noted that female facial beauty has been closely linked to sex differences, with femininity considered attractive. His results suggest that cosmetics may function in part by exaggerating a sexually dimorphic attribute to make the face appear more feminine and attractive.

“Cosmetics are typically used in precisely the correct way to exaggerate this difference, ” Russell said. “Making the eyes and lips darker without changing the surrounding skin increases the facial contrast. Femininity and attractiveness are highly correlated, so making a face more feminine also makes it more attractive.”

In the photo, “Illusion of Sex,” two faces are perceived as male and female. However, both faces are actually versions of the same androgynous face. One face was created by increasing the contrast of the androgynous face, while the other face was created by decreasing the contrast. The face with more contrast is perceived as female, while the face with less contrast is perceived as male. This demonstrates that contrast is an important cue for perceiving the sex of a face, with greater contrast appearing feminine, and lesser contrast appearing masculine.’

So if wearing makeup objectively increase attractiveness for women, then I suppose the reasons to apply makeup everyday will be very similar to the reasons why we have showers or why we wear something decent. The quote I hear a lot is “Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others” (Benjamin Franklin). If you want to look your best, spending time on makeup can be more effective than spending time and money on other items like dresses or shoes. This is because people will look at your face more often than your shoes (wanna bet?). Applying foundations and powder makes your face looks brighter, looks healthier and most importantly, not pale. Lipstick does a great job in making the entire face appear fresh, even if internally I’m kind of sick *cough*. When I don’t have enough sleep the night before, concealers will fix up the bags under my eyes, they’re gone in a puff!

I have one monolid, and one normal eyelid. This drove me nuts, because I couldn’t really follow eye makeup advice for monolids, nor could I follow the advice for normal eyelid. It took a lot of trial and error using sticky tape, eye sticker, and eye glue to “fix” the monolid to make it look somewhat like a normal one (guess which method works best?). One of my aunt apparently used to have monolids when she was younger, so she cut sticky tape in the shape of the normal eyelids she wanted, and persevered to keep them on her eyes for the entire day, every day, for over a year. She was a real perfectionist and methodical. She got the double eyelids at the end, it was epic hardwork.

Good makeup brings the best of your facial features. I have always thought of my eyebrows to be dull, no more than messy pile of crumpled hairs. But with a little bit of shaping, and some brow zings, voila they turned to be something else!


I love my madeup civilised eyebrows now, they’re kinda cool 🙂

Of course there’s also the negative side of makeup. Once I’ve decided to use makeup in a work setting, I have to consistently apply them because I will look quite different without it. This get quite repetitive and boring when I do it for 15 minutes each day, five days a week. Lately I put the stopwatch on and record the time it takes just so I can race my past self. It’s more exciting this way.

I’ve put off writing this post because I thought it’s “too girly”, but hey if boys can talk about cars and not being labeled “too guyish”, I don’t see why girls should shy away from topics like this. I hope you can share some of your experience too, I noticed quite a lot of my girl friends started putting serious makeup (using eyeshadows++) within this last year. We could have probably helped out each other and avoided the earlier frustrations.