Nude Models Must Avoid Tan Lines!

4 Jun
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Trying to Avoid Tan Lines!

Come hell or high water, I enjoy my twice-weekly early-ish morning run and walking 30 minutes to the gym each way for my personal training sessions.  And I love bearing my arms and shoulders wearing pretty dresses or cute tops when am out in town.  It’s too hot to cover up!  And why bother working out in the gym if you can’t show them off?

All is great but eeek, I end up with these horrible tan lines!  A blatant no-no and unforgivable faux-pas for a nude model like myself.  We may laugh at the golden-tanned American porn-stars humping about in their white pairs of silicone melons but nothing is more embarrassing than unsightly white straps on any model’s shoulders.

Japanese women out here have the puzzling idea of covering up their delicate limbs in cardigans even at 25 degree temperature and unbearable humidity whilst complaining how boiling it is outdoors.  Many still pop up their parasols at the first sign of sun-rays.  How cumbersome!  Erm…. I wonder if anyone out here has heard of sunblock?

Well they do sell them!   A huge variety of them in fact.  Just the other day, I happened to stumble across a few at a local chemist.  The one the that appealed to me most was one made by Kanebo called Allie SPF50+ PA++++.  The outside packaging said it was waterproof, a necessity not only to last throughout Tokyo’s humid summer days but also when am perspiring like a pig during my morning runs.  The texture is in a creamy gel form which is lightweight and non-greasy.  Yet, it keeps your skin well moisturized.  It is also light enough to wear on your face as well as your body which means I need to bring one tube of item to the gym rather than separately for face and body.

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The Magic Potion!

So I put it to the test.  It is so lightweight it spreads very evenly and smoothly.  No smell as it’s fragrance-free which I like.  Definitely non-greasy as it absorbed well into the skin with no sticky residue like you experience with most other suntan lotions.  You won’t even notice you have any on.  In fact, one morning before my run , I couldn’t even remember if I had already applied any before cleaning my teeth! I re(applied) anyway just to be on the safe side.

Forty-five minutes of running outdoors at 10:00 am.  In my running bra and sleeveless tanktop.  Just before it gets too hot from noontime onwards.  It was still hot and I was panting, huffing and puffing let alone dripping with sweat.  I return to the apartment, peel my garments off and look in the mirror expecting ugly tanlines.  Nada!  I am very well pleased.

I thoroughly recommend this product for daily use as well.  Slather some on before you dress.  It absorbs rather quickly so no need to worry about clothes getting ruined or feeling yucky.  And as for the previously existing tan-lines I managed to get previous to buying this lotion, I simply top up my body with St Tropez self-tan to disguise them!

Don’t Lose Your Cool!

29 May

OK, shut up Miu.  So it’s all horrible and muggy out here in Tokyo, deal with it!  Average temperature of 25 degrees may sound nice in Europe, but in Tokyo?  Now that’s a different story.   It’s not even June yet and I’m still complaining.  I have been told that it gets worse after the rainy season ends in mid-July, and August is when you simply can’t even move! 

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I left Japan for Holland on 4 July 1994.   Just before the worst of the summer hit.   So technically, it’s been 20 years since I last experienced the height of Tokyo summer.  I do recall those days.  Walking through the streets of Tokyo involved dipping in and out of office blocks and buildings just so the indoors air-conditioning could keep you cool.  You didn’t care that the morning rush hour was mobbed with people because the trains still had strong air-conditioning.  Heck, it was better than sweating it all out walking outside!

This morning, I went to my Yoga class.  Mind you it was not Bikram Yoga but I still managed to sweat rather profusely.  I was meeting my fella for lunch after class and had no time to shower.  Then those days when I’m off to the gym which is a good 30-minute walk.  What’s the point of lugging soap, shampoo and big towel to shower there afterwards when the walk back will make you sweat again anyhow? 

Enter GATSBY Ice-Type Deodorant Body Paper!!  Made by Mandom Corp.  It’s a packet of wet-wipes available at most convenient stores (Conveni) in Japan.  And what a god-send it is.  The beauty of this is exactly what the packet tells you:  Ice!! Wipe it on your self and a cold mentholated sensation is infused which lasts for minutes.  And I take it to the gym and yoga classes with me for cleaning myself up, not to mention for that instant pick-me up.  Hmmm stocking up on a few packets of this and bringing them back to Amsterdam may not be a bad idea.  You never know if a heat wave hits this summer!  Now that’s wishful thinking.

So armed with my Ice-Type Deodorant Body Paper, all I had to do after my yoga class was wipe myself clean and fresh before slipping into something sexy.  And thanks to my waterproof make-up routine (see last Blog), a little retouch with powder and lipstick was all that was needed.  And I was all ready to hop onto the metro for a quick but romantic pasta lunch with my boyfriend! 

Make-up for Tokyo’s Humidity

22 May
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Summertime Make-up!

Oh great, it’s really getting warmer now in Japan!  Coming from Northern Europe, soaring temperatures are such a treat for me.  Spring is here and we are nearing summertime.  But alas, do you realise how unpleasantly humid and muggy Tokyo summers can become?  Not to mention the rainy season.

Humidity increases the risk of runny, smudged and fading make-up, not to mention clogged pores and flushed appearance.  So how do we manage?  How do we keep our make-up long-lasting and staying fresh?  After the usual routine of cleanse, tone and moisturise this is what I do.

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Shu Uemura UV Armor

Use Sun Protection!  Shu Uemura’s UV Armor is my godsend.  This product was featured in my blog a few weeks ago, and I thoroughly recommend it.  It not only has a high SPF of 50-plus but the highlight of it is that it is WATER RESISTANT!  Something that is most necessary in humid weather so you don’t sweat the product off.  Besides, it is non-greasy and very light in texture.

Forget Foundation!  I never wear any at all unless I’m shooting or on a special night out.  Daytime, I wear UV Underbase Fluid also by Shu Uemura because it is tinted (I use Medium Beige) but not water resisitant.  Again, it is very light in texture.  I then use YSL’s Touche Eclat (no.3) under my eyes then dust MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish Natural (Medium Dark) rather than a matte powder for a glowy healthy look.  Powder helps to control shine.

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Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow in P Brown

Get Some Colour!  This is also a good time to lightly brush some bronzer on the cheekbones, forehead and nose for that added sun-kissed look.  Alternatively, I like to dab some cream or gel blusher on my cheeks BEFORE dabbing face powder.  I recommend Bobby Brown’s cream blushers.  Unfortunately the Sheer Colour Cheek Tint in Sheer Pink was a limited edition last February.

Waterproof Eyelids!  Normally, I prime my eyelids with MAC’s Prep + Prime but in the summer months, I prefer to use Shu Uemura’s Cream Eyeshadow.  Why?  Because it is waterproof!  A good one to use is a neutral one, and I use “P Brown”.  Then on top of that I lightly tap on powder shadows of my choice.  The cream eyeshadow helps the coloured powders to adhere, and especially as it’s water-proof, you need not worry about colour fading.  Should you decide to go for a smoky eyes look in the evening, I would recommend the Cream Eyeshadow in M Black and go from there.

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MAC Waterproof Mascara and Waterproof Eyeliner

No Racoon Eyes!  Depending on my mood, it is also nice to stick with lining only the top lid with a stylish flick like the 1960s.  Lining the bottom can appear heavy in the summer season.  That said, I feel lining both bottom and top enhances the eyes more but for the bottom, a very thin line is recommended.  I swear by Bobby Brown’s Long-lasting Eyeliner Gel.  A good daytime one would be Sepia Ink (brownish).  Black could be harsh so I would likely go for Caviar Ink.  For a night out though, I do go for Black Ink but to ensure it all lasts long, I trace the liner with MAC Waterproof Liquidlast Liner.  Finally, I use waterproof mascara such as Zoom Waterfast Lash.

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Wearing long-lasting make-up certainly helps in this hot muggy weather.  Just like outfits, skincare routine and make-up colours, the type of make-up used is also seasonal.  I thought I’d share my ideas and hope you find them helpful too!

Make-up for A Three-Day Location Shoot

14 May
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Natural Look for Outdoors Location Shoots

So two weekends ago, we went on a two-night break the four of us to Nikko which is 125 km north of Tokyo in Japan.  We combined this relaxing break with photoshoots, involving beautiful landscapes, spooky derelict properties and myself and a friend as models!

Much of the modelling shots involved nude but we decided to play around a little and do some “Miu gets rough and tumbles” stuff in one derelict hospital.  So did this require a whole suitcase load of make-up and hair products?  Not at all!  Location shoots, especially when travelling by car with four people calls for packing as little luxuries as possible whilst focusing on the necessities like blankets, food, water and warm clothes!

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MAC Face & Body Foundation and Prep & Prime Powder

So here is what I packed in my bag of goodies in addition to my travel-size skin-care products:

FoundationMAC Face and Body Foundation which comes in a practical 50ml plastic bottle as opposed to the more cumbersome 100ml.  It spreads well as it’s quite runny and allows for a sheer healthy look under natural daylight instead of that matted effect.  You can always pile on more for a matte look.  Great thing is also you can use on the body to even out skin tones especially on the knees and legs.

Powder:  I swear by MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder.  For shoots, I prefer loose powder but the mirrored compact form is more practical when travelling so you don’t get powder blown all over the place when outdoors!  The powder, as illustrated, is white but comes out transparent and practically invisible.  Unlike translucent powders, it doesn’t give this horrible mask-like appearance in flash photography.

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MAC Pro Palette: (top to right): Carbon, Handwritten, Brown Down, Patina

Concealer YSL Touche Eclat.  The must-have of all concealers.  It comes in a pen brush form with just enough concealer to come out when you press the button.  It has a sheer coverage which is ideal for natural light photography.

Eyes:  The look for the shoots that weekend namely called for nude and natural so we opted for neutral palettes like browns and beiges. I have an empty palette that fits four different colours for which I can randomly chose eyeshadows from my MAC Pro collection.  In this, I added an iridescent mid-taupe colour called Patina and two matte colours in brown and lighter brown, respectively called Handwritten and Brown Down.  Then I added the mandatory Black matte shadow called Carbon which would come handy in case the infamous Smokey Eyes would suddenly be called for!  In this case, I smeared some on my cheeks and forehead for a dusty combat look.

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Top to Bottom: Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow, MAC’s Zoom Fast Black Lash, Bobby Brown Long Lasting Eye-Gel

Eyeliner:  We love Bobby Brown’s Long-Wear Eyeliner in Black Ink!  Though not exactly waterproof, it lasts all day and was in fact recommended by make-up artists when I was training as a MUA in London.  You need to apply this with a thin eyeliner brush, and I recommend the travel-size one by Shu Uemura which is ingeniously also retractable so you don’t get any mess in your make-up kit!  And don’t forget to pack some liquid eyeliner should you want to play around and go for the 1960s flick or 50s pin-up look.  Pack a pen-brush type which is easy to apply like Shu Uemura’s Liquid Eyeliner which by the way comes in replacement cartridges.

Eyelashes:  Forget about false lashes.  It’s going to be a nightmare (as well as dangerous) trying to put them on in the moving car, a busy motorway service public toilet, outdoors in the middle of a forest or heaven forbid, a dusty derelict building.  Instead, stick to curling your lashes and coating them with lots of mascara.  I recommend priming them first with say, Estee Lauder’s Prime Lash to thicken the lashes first, followed by MAC’s Zoom Fast Black Lash, the upgrade to MAC’s Zoom Lash as it’s even blacker and hence enhances the lashes.

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Left to Right: MAC’s Dear Diary, Shu Uemura’s BG 921, Puffy Lip Serum, Bobby Brown’s Heart, MAC’s blusher Warm Soul

Cheeks:  Again calling for a natural look and since it has been a sunny weekend, I figured a sun-kissed look would be awesome.  I don’t favour bronzers much for shoots as they tend to make the face look rather muddy in photos.  Instead, I went for a coppery bronze colour called Warm Soul by MAC.  Apply it just under the cheekbones for that sculpted look which would look flattering in the photos.

Lips:  Yes at last!  With a neutral look to the eyes, you can be quite flexible with improvising different looks with the lips.  I recommend bringing along three shades of lipsticks in plain beige for the ultimate nude look (Shu Uemura’s BG 921), red (Bobby Brown’s Heart) for that Femme Fatale look and last but not least the hottest pink (MAC’s Dear Diary which unfortunately was a limited edition a year ago) in case called for the Bubblegum look.  And of course you can always combine colours to tone down shades…  Don’t forget to top that up with some transparent lipgloss.  I brought with me Puffy Lip Serum to bring out the fullness.

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The Combat Look

And this is how I travelling should be!  Stress-free and lightweight.  Just plan ahead what sort of theme and looks the weekend entails but most likely, outdoors rural shoots ought to call for natural, nude and neutral.  You can always improvise with what you have with you.

Evening Skincare for the Summer

8 May

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So we use SPF during the day, so I hope, to shield our delicate skin from the sun.  As I love being outdoors on a sunny day, it’s a necessity!  In fact, if I were ever stuck on an island, that would be THE one survival item I would not go without apart from lots of water…!

Being strict on evening skin-care routine is just as paramount to healthy skin.  It is at nighttime when cell renewal takes place most actively.  Every evening, I break open a small capsule of vitamin E (400iu) and mix it with my night cream.  Topical application of Vitamin E on skin promotes production of collagen and elastin to improve skin elasticity, hence reducing the appearances of visible age spots, fine lines or wrinkles.  Result:  younger looking skin!  Furthermore, its antioxidant properties fight off damaging effects of free radicals to minimise the chances of new wrinkles. It also acts to protection of skin from sun damage.

When I have a late night and early start next morning, I like to combine it with Evening Primrose Oil which hydrates the skin and helps improve circulation to stimulate skin renewal and nourish the skin.  Skin will literally glow the next morning!

You can buy vitamin E in any major chemists but make sure you go for a strong on like 400iu.  Evening Primrose is difficult to get hold of in Japan so I brought a whole jarful over from Europe.  I bought mine from Holland & Barrett’s in the UK.

Outdoor Sports: Water-Resistant SPF

28 Apr

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Yaaay!  Here comes the sun!  Warm weather at last…at least here in sunny Tokyo where daytime temperatures are starting to reach the 20’s.  Am starting to go out more and enjoying the sun, a luxury we crave for in many parts of Northern Europe like Amsterdam.

Although I prefer running outdoors when the weather is colder, Spring is a great time to go out in the park and play!  This morning, I went off to the outskirts of Tokyo to participate in the weekly Fitness Boot Camp.  Mind you, it disappointingly was not as rigorous as I had hoped it would be but it was great to just get out and meet people.  Then tomorrow morning, am off to Yoyogi Park here in Tokyo for some outdoors Yoga!

But watch out.  Sun can be wonderful for the endorphins but hazardous to your skin!  Who needs premature lines and wrinkles?  And after decades of baking myself under the sun for that beautiful tan, I now have to pay the price:  Age spots on my cheeks and temples.  Not much to be done about that but no more sunbathing for me now!  But then I can’t stay cooped up indoors either.  So what’s a Diva like me to do?

Sun protection of course!  But all that perspiration will wipe it all off.  Then of course, Tokyo is known for its unbearably high humidity in the summertime so that’s no good either.  Enter Shu Uemura’s Extreme Fluid UV Armor!  A high SPF 50PA+++ lotion which comes in a cute blue compact 40ml bottle.  The main thing is that it is WATER RESISTANT!

Now I have tried and tested numerous water-resistant and sweat-proof sun protection stuff for running outdoors.  There are also some designed for holiday makers in case one wants to jump in the pool or sea.  Alas, they felt rather greasy and thus unsurprisingly clogged my pores from sweating and left me with spots!  Touch wood, UV Armor is so light weight in texture with no fragrance which makes it feel so gentle on the face.

The downside is that it is rather runny.  Hence you need to be careful that you don’t waste the lotion by squeezing out too much.  A tiny amount in the size of a watch battery is all you need.  Also you need to combine this with applying moisturiser underneath for a more hydrating effect.  I recommend Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion which may also be rather runny but the bottle comes with a pump dispenser to give out the right amount.

A 40ml bottle of this wonderful lotion is 5,250 yen in Japan which is roughly €40.  Maybe on the pricey side but then in line with the leading cosmetic brands.  I think this is a good investment considering the convenience of the size, packaging, texture and feel to the skin.  Besides, being water resistant means not having to reapply so frequently so it could work out quite economically!

This time while am still in Japan, I am planning to do a lot of outdoors stuff.  Running, boot camp,  outdoors yoga and lots of hiking too.  Though not as extreme as the tropics, heat and sun exposure will be quite frequent.  This would mean really investing on effective sun protection.  And the fact that it is water resistant appeals to me as I need not worry too much about having to reapply so frequently.

My next instalment will be advising about “repairing” our skin from sun damage so look forward to it!

It’s Lady Danger!!

21 Apr

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Watch out!  Well, not to scare anyone.  That’s the colour of one of MAC’s lipstick shades I got hold of a few years ago after admiring it on one of my classmates at the make-up school I had attended in London.  She was blond and fair-haired and wore nothing on her face but that shade of lipstick.  Perhaps she had a late night.  Had little sleep.  Whatever it was, I found the shade really flattering and certainly did well as a perk-me-up.

So the shade is called Lady Danger.  Available in MAC stores in Europe but was a limited edition over in Japan I was told.  A sort of orangey-red, like vermillion or poppy.  The warmer side to red lipstick.  Actually, it kinda reminds me of the milder version of that ink from the chopped seal (known as hanko) you get from official documents in Japan.

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MAC’s Lady Danger

The last two days have been rather cold in Tokyo for mid-April.  Surprisingly, a modest 10 degrees and quite cloudy.  It rained last night and much of today, reminiscent of my other home, Amsterdam.  And although Spring should be officially here, it seemed odd as we all dragged out our down jackets and boots we had supposedly put away for the season.  And now, what of the make-up?  Definitely not pink just yet.  And red may be a tad too wintery.

After a rummage through my lipstick drawer, I came across that shade of Lady Danger.  Good job I brought it with me from Amsterdam.  I haven’t worn that for a while.  It wouldn’t look bad to wear it on its own as well of course as my classmate had done, but I also wanted some colour in my eyes as I was going to the shops this afternoon after the rain settled.

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Now when it comes to mixing and matching eyes, lips and cheek make-up, I always tend to refer to the colour wheel.  Either complimenting or contrasting.  So I figured why not experiment this orangey warm red shade of this lipstick shade with a light touch of blue eyeshadow?  Given the rather gloomy climate outside, I figured baby blue would better be saved for a sunny day and that navy or indigo be too harsh for the daytime.

So I decided to brush my eyelids with a wash of matte cobalt blue shadow by Shu Uemura.  I bought this shade some time ago but I’m sure we can find similar shades like that.  MAC’s eyeshadow in Atlantic Blue is one alternative.  The eyes were lined in my favorite Long Lasting Eyeliner Gel by Bobby Brown in Caviar Ink on the bottom lids and Black Ink the top, then blended with a matt medium dark brown eyeshadow like Shu Uemura’s M863.  Then I applied mascara, my regular being MAC Zoomlash in Black.

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A Wash of Cobalt Blue Eyeshadow

For cheeks I figured a pinkish shade of MAC’s Pinch blusher would help blend in the coolness of the blue on the eyes and warmth on the lips.  The base was actually a tinted moisturiser, MAC Studio Moisture Tint SPF15 in Medium Dark after which I used Bobby Brown’s Sheer Pressed Powder in Warm Natural.

And this concludes my suggested make-up when you feel like going dressing yourself up with a lippy shade like Lady Danger but don’t want to go bare.  Of course, this can be combined with navy or even black smoky eyes, for that ultimate Lady Danger look!

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