Best of Beauty 2016


Super excited to deliver my round up of the best of 2016! Getting back into the swing of blogging has been slow after the holidays, but I believe a quick look at the past year and closing the book of 2016 is a great way to get on with business this new year.

Best of Beauty 2016

1. Givenchy Healthy Glow Powder – I hadn’t been a regular user of Givenchy beauty till this came into my life. Absolutely stellar product on all fronts, packaging, quality and finish. Blogged here.

2. NARS Hot Sand Illuminator Duo – If epic highlighters aren’t your thing, NARS Hot Sand is your match made in heaven. A wonderfully glowy highlight with a soft peachy pink base, this adds subtle glow for delicate radiance. Although initially LE, I’m happy to see it come back in another newly released face palette. The Unfiltered 2 Cheek Palette. Blogged here.


3. Dior Nude Air Glowing Gardens 002 – In 2016 Dior ruled the world of highlighters. Each season I could not resist getting at least one! Possibly my favourite highlighter of the year. Also was available in a pink option.

P.S- how stunning is the floral embossing ❤


4. Dior Diorific Splendor – Part of the holiday collection, this highlighter was the key piece / must-have which everyone needed in their lives. Sadly, did not make it to the U.S market. Luckily I live in sunny Asia and for once I was happy to be here! Didn’t waste any time picking this up for myself. wink. I also got a few extras as gifts!

The packaging, quality and colour was just perfect for that extra sparkle for the holidays. Get it while you can!

5. Clé de Peau Radiant Liquid Rouge – As someone who did not hop on the matte lipstick bandwagon, I was mighty pleased CPB came out with these ultra luxe glossy liquid lipsticks! They are luxury in every sense. If you loath the dry lip syndrome that’s plaguing the world right now, maybe this nourishing glossy type would interest you 😉 Read all about this collection here.


6. Bobbi Brown Nourishing Lip Colour – Possibly my favourite lipstick release this year. Think ultra nourishing, balmy colour with superb pigmentation! It’s all my lips want to wear this season. To be blogged soon!

7. Tom Ford Lips & Boys 2016 – It seems the Lips & Boys get better each year! This year, the colours to watch out for were the new matte ones. Absolute must haves. Blogged here.

8. VB x Estée Lauder collection – Overall my favourite collection of the year! The formula, packaging and colours were to die for! Even though I loved almost everything I received, the stand out products were the nude lipstick in Brazilian Nude, the eye kajal duo & the single shadow Bitter Clove. Unfortunately LE collection sell out fast. However if you come across any, do not hesitate! Blogged here.


P.S- There’s talk of a new VB collab happening soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

9. Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel – The perfect solution for light short brow hairs. I find myself reaching for this almost every time I do my makeup. It’s got the perfect formula to set your brows in place while also adding colour and some body. It’s brows-on-fleek, all day, everyday! To be blogged soon!

10. Tom Ford Le Mepris – Part of the summer collection, this little number was clearly a hot item, specially with that irresistible LE white packaging!!  Blogged here.

11. Dior Diorific Nova – 2016 wasn’t the year of nail polish that’s for sure. Almost all brands left me with boring options. However, just as the year ended Dior launched their holiday Diorific Vernis and this unique little number was quick to come home with me. Almost like fairy glitter/flakes on the nails, this works great as a topper or on it’s own. Don’t miss out!

12. Zoeva Concealer Buffer Brush – I am so happy I finally got to try Zoeva brushes this year and this brush in particular is now my essential/everyday, concealer blending brush. Everything just sits better when buffed with this and i’m happy to recommend it to everyone. To be blogged soon!

13. Zoeva Luxe Fan – A great multi purpose brush, (not just for highlighting). This is my go-to for flicking off any eyeshadow or mascara fall out, dusting off excess powder and of course applying highlighter PERFECTLY. A must have brush in any collection.

14. Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting brush – On a whim I purchased this brush off Net-a-Porter last year. I just needed something precise that’d work for contouring smaller areas of the face. Not surprised, this works brilliantly! It’s my favourite for some nose contouring (which is the only contour I ever do) whenever I know i’ll be taking photos or for special events. Love it!

15. Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage – The only product that’s featured here which isn’t new for 2016. However it’s new to me! I picked this up from a sale last year and let’s just say, my world is a better place. The Cocoa Mirage palette is pretty much the standard matte shadow palette but BETTER. Perfectly curated and multi functional as this mixes great with any other TF palettes you may have. The light cream shade is my go-to brow highlight, there’s a perfect transition shade that’s not too warm, and also a shimmer shade thrown in just for variety. ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE if you are on the look out for a great everyday palette that delivers. Can’t recommend this enough!

That rounds up my list of favourites. Products i’ve used and loved! Unfortunately in terms of foundation & concealers I didn’t find anything new that was truly outstanding, therefore left out a fair few that I tested last year. What you see here is a brutally edited skinny version of what has been tested and I find to be A+!


Top 10* Makeup Brushes (Tom Ford, Hakuhodo, Wayne Goss & Kevyn Aucoin)

Top 10* Makeup Brushes (Tom Ford, Hakuhodo, Wayne Goss & Kevyn Aucoin)

Todays post is all about brushes! My Top 10.

They are a well edited bunch of eye and face brushes that I REALLY enjoy and use practically every day. Therefore I’m certain you’d end up loving them too!

So before we get to todays post, confession time. There aren’t 10 brushes here.

As I started out picking my favourites, I could only manage gathering nine! It wouldn’t have been fair to speak about 9 favourites and add one extra brush I just don’t feel comfortable recommending as a TOP FAVOURITE!. So I figured I’ll keep it real and share a post about my top 9 brushes instead!

First up, here’s a look at the poor souls to be judged based on looks, size and performance.

Makeup brushes review Hakuhodo Tom Ford

Left to Right we have,

Hakuhodo J4006, Hakuhodo J5523, Hakuhodo J125, Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer Brush 15, Wayne Goss 05, Hakuhodo J004G, Kevyn Aucoin Concealer Brush, Tom Ford 05 Bronzer Brush, Wayne Goss 02.

Tom Ford bronzer brush review

Tom Ford Bronzer Brush 05

Is a plush, goat hair brush. One of the oldest brushes in my current collection (4yrs or so).

The bristles are soft and densely packed enabling it to hold it’s shape well and allow maximum control.

The handle is a chubby wooden lacquered one to match the voluminous brush head and gives it good balance. The overall quality of this brush is exceptional. The gold lettering hasn’t rubbed off, the handle has never chipped (even after dropping it many a time) and the golden ferrule has never lost it’s shine. I’m happy that it lasted so well over time and is money well spent.


This brush applies bronzer twice as fast as any other brush I’ve tried. Mostly due to it’s size as it covers a large area one go. It also picks up just the right amount of product and applies it seamlessly without any harsh lines or patchiness so I don’t have to spend time blending.

My method of application is holding it close to the furrule and buff in circular motions to achieve a perfect finish every time.

General Maintenance

I try to wash my brushes at least every two weeks. And so far I’ve never experienced any shedding from the Tom fords. They also never stain and after every wash look as good as new!

Additional info – The bristles of most of the TF brushes are Goat Hair and are a natural off white, which means the goat hair has never been dyed. Usually I notice brushes with dyed hair smell strange when being washed (my Hakuhodo powder brush being the perfect example) and also has a slight colour bleed.

Tom Ford brushes are made in Japan and are available at Tom Ford Beauty counters, which is where I purchased mine. (Now available at the Tangs Tom Ford Counter retailing at SGD190)

Wayne Goss makeup brushes

Wayne Goss 02

Is a small tapered face brush.

It’s described as a natural bristled brush (with uncut hairs for maximum softness).

The bristles are indeed soft and I believe the size and shape of this brush makes it quite versatile. The moderately packed bristles enable just the right amount of give for applying powder products with ease.

In comparison to the Tom Ford brushes, the handle of this is much much lighter. But overall I believe it suits the brush well and is perfectly balanced and comfortable to hold.


According to online description, it’s a brush which can be used for bronzing, blusher or highlighter. Personally I feel the shape is too tapered for blush or bronzer. But ideal for placing a perfectly diffused highlight or powdering areas that are harder to reach with a regular brush, such as the inner corner of the eyes, under eyes as well as the sides of the nose.

I mainly use it as a powder brush for setting concealer as it fits the undereye area perfectly.

P.S – It’s also a nice size and shape for softening your contour and blending. So if you do contour your face everyday, you’ll enjoy this multi purpose brush very much.

General Maintenance

As with all my other brushes I wash this every two weeks or so since I use it everyday. I never noticed any colour bleeding but have experienced slight shedding every once in a while.

Additional Info – If you’ve owned a tapered brush before you’ll know that it can ‘fluff up’ after the first wash. They don’t look as sleek as when it arrived. The best way to retain the shape is to put them in a brush guard to train the bristles to stay in their initial form. I obviously don’t do this and have no problems with my brush looking puffy. It doesn’t really affect it’s performance in this case. But I do shape the bristles into a point before I lay them down to dry.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $35 at Beautylish (Ships to most countries)

Kevyn aucoin concealer brush review

Kevyn Aucoin concealer brush

This is a densely packed, stubby brush with a small pointed tip. Perfect for pin point concealing. I came to know about this brush through a Lisa Eldridge video and have found it rather lovely.

The dense bristles allow great control and lets you conceal tiny acne spots or discolouration easily.

The brush handle of the KA is a hard acrylic and very durable. Almost feels like holding a pen.


I use this with a cream concealer. Just dab it right onto the blemish and soften the edges by tapping it with my finger.

As far as spot concealing goes, this brush is ideal. It doesn’t have much give and remains firm, so the application is very precise.

Currently on sale at BeautyBay for $24.60

Hakuhodo J004G review makeup brushes

Hakuhodo J004G

Is a round, medium sized flat eyeshadow brush made of goat hair.

The bristles of this is perfectly shaped to follow the contours of the lid to apply eyeshadow effortlessly and precisely.

What’s special about this basic flat eyeshadow brush is the size. I found it difficult to zero in on a nice medium sized brush as everything I had in my stash were slightly too big with much longer bristles. However this one is perfect for steady application as the larger brushes are too clumsy for precision jobs. I also noticed this particular flat brush retained it’s shape well without the bristles getting unruly or fluffing up after a wash.

I use this mostly with wet eyeshadows (such as the NARS Dual Intensities) to create an intense lid. Just load the brush with eyeshadow and pat to pack on the colour. I find the size is just right and should be perfect for those with hooded eyes or smaller eye lids.

Additional Info – Hakuhodo brushes from the J series are all made of natural bristles that are not dyed. So they always maintain their original colour, be it white or brown without any colour bleeding. It’s why I always purchase brushes from this particular range.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $20 on Hakuhodo US. (Ships worldwide)

Wayne goss makeup brushes

Wayne Goss 05

Is a small, tapered crease brush with a rounded tip. The bristles are natural hair and very soft. They are also uncut which means they won’t feel scratchy when used on the lid.

I personally love the smaller size of this, and the density and length of the bristles allow just the right amount control while remaining flexible. Perfect for blending out harsh edges.

You can even use this to do a very defined crease as this brush gets right into the socket. It also excels in blending out small areas such as diffusing out the edges of a cut crease or smoking out liner keeping close to the lash line.

The Goss 5 is a unique brush and overall I am extremely happy with it. So far it has never shed and always retains it’s shape after each wash. I think I need another one in my life. One of the best eye brushes I have ever come across.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $25 on Beautylish. (Ships to most countires)

Tom Ford Brush review

Tom Ford 15 Eyeliner & Definer brush

Is a rounded, dense liner brush with a very fine tip. As far as eyeliner brushes go, I find this to be unique. The well packed, short bristles allows maximum control and a stiff edge for smudging out liner easily.

The thin edge also allows to smudge very close to the lash line (upper and lower, both) and define the eyes well. It’s one of the most frequently used brushes in my stash.

I plan on purchasing another since I use it so much.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $52.

Hakuhodo brush review J125

Hakuhodo J125

Is a round brush with an angled tip. It looks like someone chopped off the upper half at an angle.

This brush is very densely packed and has little flexibility. Regardless of the sharp flat edge the brush feels very soft on the lid and never scratchy.

I use this mostly to blend out any stubborn hard lines of a smokey shadow look. Just place the angled edge of the brush along the eye contour and swipe back and forth in a windshield wiper motion. It’s that easy.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $27 at Hakuhodo US

Hakuhodo J5523 review makeup brush


Hakuhodo J5523 (a softer, better quality substitute for a MAC 217)

Is a medium sized crease brush.

I find the bristles of this much softer than the TF Blending Brush which is downright scratchy in comparison (and why I didn’t include that brush in my top 9).

The brush allows for good flexibility while maintaining just enough resistance to blend eyeshadows in the crease.

The rounded fluffy brush tip allows for general colour placement and blending both. Making it a versatile brush for daily use. I already have three and also purchased several as gifts for friends.

If you are just starting out on your brush collection, this is an excellent brush to invest in. The quality is top notch (as all the brushes I’ve included here) and will last you very long if looked after. Plus, it’s very budget friendly.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $19 at Hakuhodo US

Hakuhodo J4006

Hakuhodo J4006

Is a tiny duo fiber fan brush.

It’s the only brush I’ve included which has synthetic bristles.

The brushes main purpose is to separate and define your lashes while removing any unwelcome clumps of mascara with ease giving lashes a natural fluttery finish.

How do you use this brush?

Simple, you just place the brush at the base of your lashes and wiggle and comb out.

Additional Info & Maintenance

The synthetic bristles allows the brush to retain it’s firm fan shape while also extending it’s durability as most mascaras tend to be waterproof and are difficult to cleanse off. This brush cleans easily though with a regular brush soap and dries fast.

Made in Japan. Retailing at $20 at Hakuhodo US


That concludes my post on the Top 9! However I’d like to leave you with some additional info on brushes, questions some of you have asked me on Instagram. I hope you find this useful as well.

The most frequently asked question is what my favourite brush brand is.

It’s Hakuhodo. I love that the quality is great. The brushes are long lasting and are priced very competitively. I feel that artists in particular who are looking to expand their brush collection would benefit a lot as the selection of brushes Hakuhodo carries is just mind-boggling and they have a brush for virtually EVERY need imaginable.

Another FAQ is what I use to clean my brushes.

It’s mostly soap.

There are special soaps meant specifically for brush cleaning. Some brush companies carry their own soaps but also artistry brands such as Make Up Store make a great one as well. So far, I’ve tried the Hakuhodo soap and the Make Up Store one. Both equally good.

For those of you with no access to purchase a brush soap, just use a baby shampoo and luke warm water. It works well. Occasionally I use my facial cleanser (a gel one) too as it’s  very mild and doesn’t dry out or damage the bristles. Of course that’s an expensive option. But I don’t mind, as I only need a teeny tiny bit to wash my brushes. And to be honest my brush collection consists of mostly high end natural fibre brushes which require very gentle cleansing!

So there you have it, lengthy ramble about brushes. If there is any additional information you’d find helpful, please feel free ask me in a comment, I’ll answer them asap.

I’m also planning on doing a post on a brush starter kit for those of you new to makeup brushes, so if you are keen on something like that, let me know!

Anyways, Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great week ahead  🙂

xx, Michelle.






Nude Lip Liners 101

Nude Lip Liners 101

Todays post is dedicated to one of my favourite addictions. Nude liners.


Nude lip liners


Over the years testing various brands, i’ve managed to find a few keepers and they are my everyday staples.

Here’re my top favourites, my babies ❤

Kevyn Aucoin – Medium

MAC – Whirl

No.7 – Nude

NYX – Nude

Bite – Cashew

Some swatches to get started.


nude lip liner swatches


No.7 Nude – Is a medium nude with the perfect mix of pink & peach. The undertone leans slightly warm making it easy to pair with most medium nude lipsticks.

Kevyn Aucoin Medium – As the name suggests is a mid tone brown nude. This too is a neutral shade. Pairs well with your typical 90’s style lip.

MAC Whirl – An oldie but goodie! This is a dusty mauve rose with a neutral undertone. A good nude shade for slightly deeper skin tones.

NYX Nude – A nude for fairer skin with more pink tones.

Bite Cashew – Is a very light, almost beige nude with a tinge of yellow. The undertone is warm and pairs well with most light nude lipsticks such as MAC Honey Love.


Best nude lip liners


Formula & Texture

When it comes to lip liners, I prefer them to be weightless, just defining the lips and evening out any discolouration without feeling heavy. For this, the best suited are the pencil types that need sharpening. They aren’t overly creamy and don’t deposit too much product.

The Kevyn Aucoin pencil is the perfect example. And as far as formula goes, this is what i’d consider the gold standard in lip pencils. This pencil has the right density. smooth enough so it glides on without any discomfort and stays put all day preventing lipsticks from migrating. Personally I just wish they had more shades. But I guess this one in itself is quite universal as far as nude liners go.

The No.7 Nude is a holy grail find for me. After being declared by pro makeup artist Lisa Eldridge as her favourite liner (a colour she designed herself), I had to get one too. Without a doubt, this is probably my most used. It goes with anything and everything and the peach tones in this make for a very flattering nude base (nothing like the Walking Dead, corpse lip we see occasionally). If you are fair to medium in colour. I highly recommend you try this!

For days when I crave a more defined or contrasting lip liner, I choose MAC Whirl. It’s deep enough to carve out the lip and redraw the shape to give the illusion of fuller lips. Using a slightly darker lip liner also adds dimension to the lips making them look pouty! Hence why the Kardashian that shan’t be named finds this an essential 😉 On the downside I find some MAC lip pencils a bit dry and a little uncomfortable to use once sharpened. They aren’t as soft as the Kevyn Aucoin lip liners, but come in a myriad of colours and it wont be hard picking one to suit your needs!

NYX Nude is a great find. It may not be my favourite formula (slightly on the drier, thicker side), but it does have it’s days. This pairs well with my pink toned matte nudes and to be honest, it’s a good pencil for the price. I like that these are a twist up formula, no sharpening and very easy to use. And again, THE PRICE!

Whenever I go for light nude lips, I choose Cashew by Bite. It’s for days when I brave a deep smokey eye and want the lips to look lighter than my own. I pair it with either Tom Ford Sable Smoke (for which this is a perfect match) or Laura Mercier Coy. The formula of these are as lovely as KA. What makes them special though is that it’s made with 99% natural, food grade ingredients. Good enough to eat!

For comparison purposes I picked out 10 nudes lipsticks from my collection. These are pretty much my most used. (Click image for a closer view)


Nude lip liner swatches


On a completely different note, In case you were wondering, Lipstick Queen You Kid, Laura Mercier Coy and Rouge Bunny Rouge Prey of Lust are my most used. They’re all a very hydrating formula and extra comfortable for day to day use.

The final verdict

If you are looking for great lip liners to add to your stash, the Kevyn Aucoin and No.7 ones are lovely. No.7 being the more cheaper option, although my first choice as far as the perfect nude goes.

NYX is a great brand to try if you are on a budget. The pencils are creamy with very good pay off. The only reason I don’t luuurve them is because they feel slightly heavier and cakey on the lips. Other than that, they are awesome for the price and come in a bunch of different shades to suit all skin tones!

For those of you who like overdrawing the lips, either Whirl or Spice would be my recommendation. Spice is a warmer, more brown toned liner in comparison to Whirl and goes beautifully with richer brown shades such as MAC Mocha. Perfect for women of colour.