Makeover my day

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2006, 12:00am

'EVERY TIME I go to the salon - and I can spend up to four hours in there - no one can tell I've had anything done.'

Geraldine Gan, who says she's about to turn the 'big 30', visits a hair or beauty salon rarely and says she's afraid of change.

'My hair has always been long, so I thought I'd try something different.'

Gan, who works in marketing, is originally from Malaysia and has lived and worked in Hong Kong for about six years.

She says she wears makeup when she goes out at night, but not much in the day. Gan was, however, nervous about taking it all off for the 'before' photo.

Despite this, she looked naturally pretty without a scrap of it on, and tastefully glamorous at the end of the makeover. Her big concern was her fine and short eyebrows, but after the makeover, they looked much more like real brows than the pencilled-in look she normally does herself.

'I don't spend too much time looking for new makeup,' she says. 'I use the same colours, usually browns, and then depending on what I'm wearing, I'll sometimes wear lighter shades.'

Gan says she has sensitive skin and is 'quite dry'. She had her hair permed about a year ago and it hasn't been re-permed since. 'I'm the sort of girl who goes to the salon twice a year - max - and I'll just get a few inches off.'

The makeover was done at SE Spa and Salon in Central, run by Swedish sisters Eva and Susan Yarburg. Eva did Gan's hair and Susan did her makeup. Susan has been doing makeup for about 17 years. 'It was the first thing I did when I left school,' she says.

The result? 'I really like it,' Gan says. 'I put makeup on my eyes myself, but it's never like this.'

The makeover starts with Gan's hair:

'Her hair is quite dry, so I'm taking off quite a lot,' says Eva. 'It's also quite heavy, so I'm layering it and cutting off quite a lot at the front so it frames the face.' Eva then blow-dries it straight and uses a hot iron to take out the perm. She lastly applies a product called Sebastian Shaper (HK$81) which 'locks out' humidity.

Eva lightly clips back Gan's locks to the sides so Susan can start on the makeover.

Here, Susan explains step-by-step what she is doing: 'I always moisturise with an SPF of at least 15,' Susan says. 'Then I apply the foundation. I suggest having a dark and a light one and mixing them together to get the right shade.

'I've mixed two colours - Revlon and MAC [HK$125 and HK$230] and I always use non-oil-based foundations because otherwise you can get that greasy look. Now I'm using a green coloured gel by Maybelline [HK$78] because she has redness on her cheeks and this will take that away. It's also not too greasy. Then comes a MAC concealer for under her eyes.

'I don't want to make this concealer too light. The colour is like a honey - a medium tone - and then I can use an eye shadow for the eye base to make the area a bit lighter. Doing Asian and western makeup is similar, but for Asian women, I've found there's more redness and normally they prefer warmer colours.

'Now I use a loose powder by MAC [HK$180] in a medium-brown colour. I always apply it using a big brush. I also put the powder on to a tissue first, otherwise it gets too thick. So to get it more even, do this and then go around in big circles with the brush.

'I then use a light MAC base [HK$360 - limited-edition six colours] to cover the eye a little bit on the inside corner. Then I put some powder on her eyelids. I tap it on and any loose particles that fall down can be just brushed away later.

'The eye shadow comes next. It's from MAC and the first colour I'm putting on is a warm brown [HK$115] on the outside corner and on the inside, it will be a lighter colour because I want to lift up her eye.

'I'm also using a purple, brown and gold and mixing it together. I always do a mix because then you can get the perfect colour. I'm making her eyes sexy because she's going out tonight.

'Now I'm putting on liquid eyeliner. I use this always. If you use a pencil, you put too much pressure on the eyelid. This is a black by MAC [HK$150] and I'm using it just on the top lid. The eyebrows are lengthened and defined with the Sebastian Eyebrow Powder [HK$185]. You can even use eye shadow, but use a little lip balm first underneath so it sticks.

'The mascara is also by MAC and is in black [HK$100]. Then after this, I brush away excess powder and use the MAC blush in Sheer Tint Shimmer [HK$145], which is a peachy pink, just on the cheek bones to make her face a bit thinner as it's slightly round. I also do slight shading on the underneath of her cheek bones to make it look slimmer.

'I'm using a Sebastian lipstick [HK$220] in a browny tint which matches the eye colours, and I use a lip brush to apply that. I apply a gloss on top, which is a clear gloss, but it's a long-lasting lip balm as well. I then get her to kiss a tissue because she has naturally thick lips and doesn't need much. This tones it down. Last is a shimmer by Sebastian [HK$195]. It's a highlighter for her eyelids and above the cheekbones.'

Finally, after three hours of hair and makeup, the clips are removed from Gan's hair. Eva applies a Sebastian paste called Cyclone Hair Cream (HK$195/125g) to set the style. She prefers paste to gel or mousse as it doesn't 'look greasy'. The final touch is some hair spray so the look lasts throughout the night.

Just over a week later, Gan says her friends did comment on her look the night she went out and that her hair felt much lighter in the hot weather.

However, she was a little unsure about the layering, saying it was cut in a way she wasn't used to.

'I was really pleased with the hairstyle Eva gave me. But she cut the top layer bluntly right across horizontally instead of softening or feathering the ends. As a result, the hair did not fall naturally over the hair underneath, and it looked like I had two separate and distinct 'steps' or sections,' she says.

'But I've also decided that I may chemically straighten my hair the next time I have my hair done, following the advice of the girls at the salon,' she says.

Want to know more about makeup? SE Spa and Salon is running seminars on application. It's at 10/F the Centrium, 60 Wyndham St, Central. Tel: 2530 3898.

Sebastian hair products can be bought at many salons, including SE Spa, but the Sebastian makeup line - which goes by the name Trucco - is available only in Europe and Taiwan ( Revlon and Maybelline products are available at SaSa and Watsons stores.

The next makeover winner is Jennifer Jew, who will have her new look created by Toni&Guy.