Beauty chat: Emily Quak shares the best makeup tips to highlight Asian features and more
Got a burning question or two about makeup? If you'd like to know more about the best way to conceal your pores beneath your foundation and how to pull off a smoky eye without resembling a raccoon, watch our BURO. Hangouts: Live episode with Emily Quak below.
The self-professed makeup and skincare addict dishes on soap brows (she's obsessed), her favourite makeup brushes, and a piece of advice for Internet trolls and haters out there:
What are some tips on acing a smoky eye for hooded lids and monolids?
"One thing that Asians forget is that we have very different eye shapes from Western YouTubers out there. If you follow a tutorial that features deep-set, almond-shaped eyes, it’s never going to turn out the same. Take a look at your own eye shape and where the fold around your eyelid is, because that fold is going to ‘swallow’ your makeup.
"For hooded eyes, we have a thicker layer of skin on our eyelids. If we try to bring our makeup in the inner corners of the eyes, it’s going to make our eyes look smaller. What I do is apply the second-darkest eyeshadow colour in the inner part of my eyelid. This makes a huge difference.
"With monolids, you can do so much more. Apply the dark eyeshadow colour over the eyelid (closer to the lash line) and fade it out upward towards the eyebrows. Another tip to create great smokey eye look is the importance of good brushes—and I don’t mean expensive brushes because I use brushes across all price ranges. If you can get brushes that are smaller, it will help a lot. My brushes are from everywhere, from Zoeva, Sigma, and even some from Lazada."
How do we rock a bold eye and lip without looking extra?
"When you have two really bold looks and they’re clashing in terms of colour palette, that’s when it gets jarring. Sticking within the same colour palette helps a lot. If you’re doing a mauve eye, try a dark purple lip. But I don’t like telling people what to do—if you love the bold on bold look, do it."
What is your go-to eyeshadow palette for a day-to-night look?
"I don’t have a favourite, but if you want something to take you from smokey eyes to everyday makeup, I’d recommend anything that has dark matte colours in them. You can anchor these colours to your eyeliner, which is what makes a great smoky eye.
"Use a matte black to anchor your smokey eye. You can do so with a tiny brush to apply the colour along the outer edges in a triangle shape of your eyeshadow. When you add that black eyeshadow, it creates a smoother gradient from dark to light, which gives a smokier effect and blends out the difference between your eyeliner and eyeshadow."
What does your five-minute makeup routine look like?
"It’ll be basic but glowy. Sadly, I have barely any brow hair or lashes, so I would do my brows and eyeliner; and spend more time on my complexion with highlighter and skincare for a dewy look."
How about if you have a whole hour to get your face prepped? What would your makeup look be?
"Dark smoky eyes (it’s my favourite) with a hint of colour in the middle, and a nude lip. Something like what I’m wearing right now."
Advice for those who love colour — but not sure where or how to begin incorporating it in their makeup routine?
"Start with small hints of colour. If you’re ready for a next step, use a liquid eyeliner in a fun colour. As there’s only a very slight hint of colour, it works wonders in pulling your look together. When I first started out with makeup, I would apply a hint of colour on my lower lash line and I always get questions on what I’m using.
"All you need is a smudging brush to place the colour along your lash line. Build the colour as you go so that the colour translates. If you want to use coloured mascara, wear it with a black eyeliner to let your coloured lashes stand out."
What’s the best way to contour your face?
"The easiest way to do it is use a brush that’s half-stiff, half-soft. Then, all you need to do is swipe and keep blending. Remember to layer the contour colour on instead of swiping on a thick layer when you first apply it on your face."
How do you ensure that pores won’t show when you apply foundation?
"Unfortunately, pores are not 100% concealable. If you see someone with perfect skin on Instagram, it’s likely been Photoshopped one way or another. Don’t feel like you need to live up those standards—they are not real.
"But if you want tips on how to hide it better, use a sealing primer. Tatcha and Urban Decay makes great primers, along with other Korean and Taiwanese brands. On top of that, there’s this viral technique you can try: moisturise your skin then immediately apply translucent loose powder. Spritz on makeup setting spray, apply primer and then your foundation. Apparently, it gives you the best skin ever."
A makeup trend you’re obsessed with right now?
"Soap brows! I love the bold brow look and it looks really fluffy—I love it!"
A makeup trend you’re kind of over?
"I am over people telling other people what to do and what not to do. I hate it when someone goes up to a person saying: 'I don’t think your makeup looks good, you should do this.' I would never tell someone what to do and what not to do—do what you love."
What's your beauty routine routine like during this MCO period?
"I haven’t applied makeup in a while, and it has made me really pick up on my skincare routine. I'll use a 15- or 20-step skincare routine on the daily; I also use hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, overnight masks, acids and retinoids. Not forgetting, I wear sunscreen everyday because the UV rays will get to your skin."
What was the most interesting takeaway from undergoing cosmetic surgery?
"A couple of things that I’ve learned from the get-go: you’re never going to please everybody. Someone will always have something to say about you—so do it for yourself. Don’t do it because someone left a horrible comment on your Instagram photo or because your boyfriend decided that you aren’t good enough. If you don't do it for yourself, you’ll question yourself along the way.
"Another thing I’ve learnt is how resilient the human body is. Right after surgery, the doctor and nurses told me to walk from the bed to the desk—but I did and I was so surprised. You’re stronger than you think you are."
What is the mindset you’d like to change or address when it comes to people who disagree with cosmetic surgery?
"I feel like everybody is entitled to their own opinion. If you like the way I look pre-surgery, thank you. If you think I look horrible after surgery, that is your opinion—I didn’t ask for it, but okay. It’s such a personal thing to go through.
"The one thing that I’d ask for everybody to understand is that you need to respect everybody’s decisions. Be kind to everybody around you. People make decisions and it’s not your prerogative to judge them or not. What I choose to do about my face doesn’t affect you in any way. If your opinion is unsolicited and mean, keep your opinions to yourself. I think everybody deserves respect on the internet, whether or not it’s about plastic surgery."
For more BURO. Hangouts: Live episodes, click here.