Monday, 18 June 2012

My love for makeup ~ how it all started...

I have always been fascinated with makeup. Ever since I was a kid, I have always played with my mum's makeup stash. Mum used Amway Artistry back in those days, and she still is a loyal fan to them till this day. I remember destroying her red lipsticks when I was only 6 or 7 years old. I would run up to my parent's bedroom and get a rush of adrenaline when I got hold of her little makeup bag. I would then paint my lips the way I thought mum did as I observed her get ready in front of the dressing table and end up looking like a baboon in heat because I had too much pink blush on my cheeks (of course, because I applied my mum's makeup with very bad lighting. It didn't occur to me that natural daylight was best for makeup application).

 I would take mum's hot fuchsia nail polish (mum's very fashionable those days. I think she is the reason why I love colours with my makeup & why I love dressing up) and attempt masterpieces on the baby blue walls of my house. Oh what horror it was to have me as a child, hahaha. Of course, all my retarded artwork are now covered with new coats of paint during the renovation of my kampung house, thank God.

During my schooling years, from kindergarten right up till highschool, I was constantly performing on stage. I was quite a dancer myself. From traditional Malay candle dances to Chinese mountain tribal Alishan dances to modern dance (where there were lots of running man & frozen poses involved), naturally I was exposed to makeup at an early age. But if only there was makeup that was made organic or safe for children's faces. Because using makeup at an early age has a lot of disadvantages. Till this day I am still suffering from adult acne, hypersensitive skin, uneven skin tone & hyper pigmentation because of that. Back in those days, teachers would use expired makeup from Yardley or Zaitun or Avon and use them on all of the kids that were performing. The makeup smelt funny, they used the same unwashed puffs and applicators on everyone. And they thought that using something from their own personal stash would make it better. And they always used way too much makeup on little kids and teens suffering from bad skin. If only, if only. So during that time, I hated makeup so much because I hated how my skin suffered when I took the makeup off. And I envied all those people who could wear tons of makeup or make do with so little makeup and look fabulous.

I remember the very first makeup item that I purchased myself was a Bodyshop Lipstick when I was 17 years old. It was a natural brown colour, in a slim dark green tube. Although the colour made me look a little too old & it was so drying (it was a matte formula) that my lips peeled & cracked constantly, but everyone at school was wearing it and it was the most raved about lip product (followed by Dewberry/Musk/Vanilla perfume oils by Body Shop & Seabreeze Toners). Peer pressure.

In college, I still had to battle with bad skin. Sigh. It was a neverending story with temporary solutions that were like empty promises. I never wore makeup to classes and I didn't own a single makeup product. I don't know what happened, but during my first 3 years of college I didn't bother about makeup. But I did bother about my skincare and my acne medications. I guess my skin was so bad that I felt like no amount of makeup is going to make it any better or look any better. Then during my final year of college, I received a present from my friends on my birthday that changed my life. It was an assortment of makeup products in a lovely box, and boy was I ecstatic about it! I think word got out that I never wore makeup in public but I was always playing makeup games in my bedroom as a hobby (free sample sized makeup that I got from buying Clinique skincare or hand me downs from other people) . And thus I started my journey as a makeup enthusiast aka makeup junkie (uh-oh).

It started with The Body Shop products (naturally) and then I progressed to Ettusais, a Japanese makeup brand made for skin with acne problems. I think the reason why I like those brands was because of their not-so-adult packaging. I don't really like very adult looking makeup packaging so Sasa was also a treat for me at the time because everything was pink and fun and cheaper than most major leading brands. And I loved big jumbo coloured eyeliners at that time (I still do!) because they were very easy to use on my droopy single lids. And during that time, the makeup technique was so old fashioned and unsuitable for my eyes. I either looked like a panda, a very angry ladyboy or a tired person from those makeup trends. If only the current Korean/Japanese makeup was around that time, I think I wouldn't have been so angry at all the makeup counter girls or makeup artists that was so frustrated in their attempts of making my eyes look bigger and sexier. Bless them all. 

Due to my frustrations, of possessing so many makeup products and yet not knowing how to utilise them to bring out the best of my natural features, I eventually signed up for Level 1 basic makeup course at Makeup Technique International School (MTI) while I was still working and living in Bangkok, Thailand. Eventhough I was gigging every day and night, 7 days a week, I felt stagnant as everything was a routine. I was playing music everyday and getting paid for doing what I love but I craved for an outlet to express my creative side. I wish I could draw but I couldn't, so I thought maybe I can learn to apply makeup on myself nicely in a variety of ways. And I was hooked! I was so happy & excited even though it meant that I won't be getting any sleep the night before after my gig because the classes that I signed up for were Saturday classes for part time students. Saturday classes were usually 6 hours long, starting at 9am with a lunch break in between. And guess what? There were no makeup classes conducted in English. I just went for it anyway, because the courses were way cheaper than the ones we have in Malaysia and somehow, the makeup techniques & standards in Thailand were way more advanced too. I am so glad that I took up the classes as the teachers were very nice & patient as they understood that I couldn't read or write Thai but only understand spoken Thai. So I would scribble notes down to my own understanding in English and ask questions whenever there's a certain Thai term or phrase that I didn't know. I took lots of photos of the models and the makeup demo shown in class and I always sat in front so that I can observe better. In makeup (to me anyway), the artist doesn't have to say much and I would still be able to learn the techniques as long as I am able to observe what the person is doing. And Level 1 makeup was so much more than just a basic makeup course, because it also covered Bridal Makeup and basic hairstyles for dinner/bridal. 
And I am proud to say that I did very well for Level 1 makeup, even with my language handicap. And I progressed to Level 2 makeup as well, which covered makeup for media, stage, fashion & photography. That was money well spent on extra education as it is now one of my tools of trade.

Trying to complete my drawing for the class exam the next day. This was already wee hours of the morning because I could only do this after my night gig.

This was Che's room. She was my female singer & always graciously went as my model for free. She also helped me draw the faces for me to colour onto. Told you I couldn't draw.

Meet Che aka Roshelle. She's a fantastic performer. And here she is modelling my look for the Stage Makeup exam. I decided on a 20s inspired prostitute character. Hmm. Something about me and my fascination with courtesans.

This was for the Fashion Makeup segment of the exam. The teachers didn't like my single silvery white dot on her lower eye. I liked it.

I booked a room at a backpacker's inn at Khaosarn Road (where I worked nightly) to complete my graduation portfolio. These girls (except for the lady in green) were my band's loyal fans and helped out by being my 'before & after' models.

This is what happens during my makeup classes and when you get to sit on the front row. A different model is used in each class.

This was when I didn't manage to get front row seats. However, you can still watch & learn pretty well because they always used a camcorder to project it on the television for everyone to see better. The teachers also wore headsets or microphones pinned to their clothes for us to hear better.


  1. This is actually quite an inspiring story. Well written and an entertaining read. I now understand better some of the pictures I have been seeing... Well done!

    1. Thank you Mr Sze! I'm so happy that you took time out to check out my blog =) your comments really help motivate me!

  2. Aww Sharon, you never cease to amaze me! I admire your drive and determination. Look forward to see more of your creations be it music, make-up or fashion :) I love Tim Burton-esque make-up ala Dark Shadows and Sweeney Todd - ever done anything like it? Just an idea for a future project :)

    1. Aww...thanks so much Mel! I am so flattered & at the same time horrified at my grammatical & spelling mistakes! By golly gosh I hope I will remember to ammend them from time to time =S

      I love Tim Burton & Johnny Depp too! Will attempt those looks for my future project, definitely!

  3. This was a comment posted by Suraya Jermadi on my Facebook as she had trouble commenting on my blog:
    Harro Sharon, I'm having a bit of trouble commenting on your latest blog post, couldn't log in so i'll post it here (hope you don't mind) :p First of all, congratulations again on starting your own blog and thank you for Sharon (sharing) your passion with us all! I like reading your latest post because it reminds me a little bit of my childhood. Ibu was always encouraging me to be more lady like by buying make up, toy sewing machine (to make my Barbie and my brother's action figures outfits haha), hair styling stuff etc. I loved it but was always too experimental and it didn't go well with my low self esteem so I stayed the Tom boy I was for the public's eye. The only thing i wasnt afraid to show the public was a cap that says "make up artist" hahahaha! You carried out your passion with confidence, which I really admire. I'm very the inspired right nao. Keep up the good work and all the best for your future projects! Ps: if you need help with any weblog tech awesomeness let me know :)

  4. So inspiring lah Sharon! Very well written too. Even though it is long, I read everything!