August has turned into Sept with a vengeance, bringing blistering heat and activating sweat glands I did not even know I had. Keep your routine and base light, and beat the humidity with these beauty favourites.
Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector, $65
Shiseido’s cult sunscreen has been my go-to for SPF the last few hot and sweaty weeks. It boasts a patented WetForce Technology, which reinforces UV protection when in contact with water (read: water-resistant), and a new HeatForce Technology that supposedly does the same when in contact with heat.
I cannot speak for the science of it, but the formula is a beautifully thin, milky liquid that is lightweight and comfortable for extra sunny days, giving some peace of mind for trips to the beach or pool.
The thinner consistency is also ideal if I have to wear a mask and an added layer of make-up. It layers well with other products, with no pilling.
It could even work alone – the slight pinkish hue gives a “tone-up” effect that brightens the complexion instantly. The powdery, semi-matte finish means you are free from that tacky feeling that gives sunscreen its unfavourable reputation.
Any beauty expert will tell you that a thorough double cleanse is the most important step in skincare – especially now, with mask-wearing bringing a higher risk of clogged pores.
I typically favour an oil cleanser as my first step, but less so lately now that I already feel oily. Instead, I have been reaching for this rinse-off make-up remover from Japanese brand Suisai.
Seemingly water-based, it has a jelly texture that removes all make-up without stripping the skin. Glycerin – a moisturising agent – retains the skin’s natural moisture, leaving it feeling refreshed and plump after rinsing off with water.
I like that it is waste-free too as it does not require cotton or bamboo rounds to apply. Scoop the jelly out with dry fingers and work it into the skin. Plus, a little bit goes a long
way. With each scoop barely making a dent in the mysterious jelly, this massive 240g tub will last you a decent amount of time.
It is a tubing mascara, meaning it wraps individual lashes in water-resistant, “tube-like” polymers, unlike regular mascaras that coat lashes in pigment. The result: a hardy product that does not smudge yet comes off easily with just water.
This lifts and lengthens lashes to make them instantly obvious. It is not the most volumising option around, but that makes it versatile enough to layer with your favourites, or use on its own at home, when you are scrambling to look put together for that umpteenth video call.
Powdering on-the-go just feels different when you are dealing with a mask. You can end up looking more cakey than usual, with unwanted powder concentrating in uneven patches around your mask.
South Korean brand Hera has devised quite a novel formula that is timely for this new normal.
Unlike regular powders that set your make-up as the final step, this one is meant to be applied after your skincare and before base make-up – replacing a traditional primer that prolongs make-up wear and holds everything in place.
Aside from its intended use, it is now my go-to compact for touch-ups, thanks to the convenient packaging and generously sized mirror. The lightweight, dough-like powder absorbs excess oil from the skin, to prevent make-up from breaking up and transferring onto your mask.
It also claims to lock moisture in the skin while controlling oil, and I find just that thin veil of powder mattifies shine without dulling your skin’s natural glow.
Every now and then, I still wear lip products – with or without a mask – just to remind my lipsticks that I have not died.
My favourite at home is this coloured lip oil from French brand Clarins, a relatively new formula that builds on its cult Lip Comfort Oil. Consider it a hybrid of liquid lipstick, gloss and lip oil – more moisturising than a lip balm yet with impressive colour payoff and shine.
And “intense” is right – the formula is intensely nourishing, smooths over fine lines in the lips and, miraculously, never feels sticky. The colour fades beautifully and naturally throughout the day, leaving you with plump, hydrated lips in this confusing humidity.
Of the eight shades, the lightest – 01 Intense Nude – is perfect for everyday wear. I am already eyeing some of the deeper hues for when glamorous nights out, sans mask, are safe again .