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Weird and wonderful make-up trends road-tested by The Straits Times

Fake freckles, dotted eyeshadow and toilet paper as lip art are all the rage in the world of make-up

It seems that these days, carbonated drinks, root vegetables and even toilet paper qualify as beauty products.

Several unconventional beauty techniques and looks have popped up recently, going viral on social media and with a handful even making it onto the fashion runway.

Think dousing your hair in bottles of Coke then blow-drying it for a tousled look, mincing up a beetroot to make a natural lip and cheek stain and sticking bits of toilet paper on your lips for a textured look.

Drawing fake freckles with an eyebrow pencil is also a new trend, popularised by a barrage of YouTube beauty tutorials and celebrities such as Kendall Jenner.

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The faux look also made it onto the runway for American fashion designer Marc Jacobs' Fall 2017 fashion show.

Others are experimenting with eye make-up, eschewing the regular brushstroke and adorning their eyelids with clusters of small dots for a pop-art-inspired look instead.

The Straits Times tries out five weird and unusual beauty looks.


1 Polka dot eyes

This whimsical trend first appeared on Instagram earlier this year when 25-year-old American make-up artist Molly Bee created a blue-and-lilac cut crease look - where eyeshadow or liquid lipstick is applied to the eyelid crease in a defined line - with dots. The look quickly gained popularity.

What you need: An eye primer, cotton buds, tape, an eyeshadow palette

Get the look:

1. Place a piece of tape on the back of the hand and peel it off so that it retains its stickiness while being easy to remove. Place the tape below the eye to prevent eyeshadow from staining the lower lashline.

2. Starting with a clean face, apply eye primer on the eyelid so the eyeshadow adheres to the skin and lasts longer.

3. Using a cotton bud, apply eyeshadow to the upper eyelid by pressing it down on the skin. Sprinkle the dots across the eyelids for a quick pop of colour, or dot a cat-eye-shape across the eyelid crease for a more dramatic effect. Use complementary colours to create a colour contrast, or use analogous colours (hues that sit next to one another on the colour wheel) for a softer, ombre look.

Rating: 3 stars

Verdict: I went for a polka-dot pattern in yellow, orange, sky blue and navy, which turned out looking like a colourful leopard print.

The result was pretty, but also resembled something a five-year- old would have crayoned, as I am not what you would call a dab hand at make-up.

Using a cotton bud with eyeshadow produces rather fuzzy dots. If you prefer more defined polka dots, liquid lipstick might work better.

One quibble I have is that excess eyeshadow falls onto my cheeks and makes a mess. One tip is to apply a thick layer of translucent setting powder under your eyes to catch the eyeshadow fallout, then brush the powder off afterwards.

Though the look was tricky to create, it was fun to wear colourful make-up for a change. I received baffled stares in public, but was pleasantly surprised when two strangers complimented me on my look.

Given more time and practice, I would recreate this look for a party or a festival.


2 Beetroot lip and cheek stain

Beauty fans and make-up gurus are looking to do-it-yourself projects to make their own moisturisers, facial scrubs and lip stains, in line with the increasing popularity of organic and natural make-up.

Multiple tutorials on YouTube and beauty blogs have recommended the use of beetroot to make a beautiful Merlot-coloured lip and cheek stain.

What you need: One beetroot, several drops of olive oil or coconut oil, a sieve, filter paper, a blender or food processor

Making the stain:

1. Cube and blend beetroot for a few seconds. The end-product should have a chunky texture and not be a puree.

2. Sieve the blended beetroot twice to remove pulp.

3. Put two tablespoons of beetroot juice into a bowl. Reduce it in the microwave for about 10 seconds until it takes on a thick, gooey consistency that stains the skin. Repeat the process until there is no more juice.

4. Add olive or coconut oil.

5. You may want to add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil, especially if you do not like the smell or the taste of beetroot.

Note: The stain must be kept in the fridge and can last for up to two weeks.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Verdict: I was sceptical at first, but was pleasantly surprised. The stain is easy to make and took me only 20 minutes.

It is sheer and easily applied on the lips with a lip brush or cotton swab, creating a beautiful plum shade. The added oils not only help to moisturise the lips and create a glossy finish, but also ensures that the stain is not sticky.

The downside is that the stain lasts for only a couple of hours. Applying multiple layers and blotting them with a tissue in between will darken the look and help the stain to stay on longer.

The taste of beetroot might be off-putting for some, but that can easily be fixed with a few drops of essential oil. I like the sweet taste.


3 Fake freckles

American Internet personality and model James Charles demonstrating how to draw fake freckles.
American Internet personality and model James Charles demonstrating how to draw fake freckles.

The faux freckled look, seen on fashion runways and popularised by the many beauty tutorials on YouTube, is meant to give one a sun-kissed and fresh-from-the- beach vibe. The look has also been seen on celebrities such as American fashion model and reality-television star Kendall Jenner.

Famous actresses who show off their natural freckles, such as Americans Olivia Munn and Emma Stone, add to the allure of faux freckles.

What you need: Eyebrow brushes in two shades (a light brown and a darker brown), a make-up sponge, translucent setting powder

Get the look:

1. Use a light brown eyebrow brush to dot on "freckles" across the cheeks and nose. There should be more spots on the sides of the nose and on the nose bridge, where more freckles would typically form. They should be applied more sparsely on the cheeks. Add a few on the forehead and chin.

2. Use a make-up sponge or fingers to lightly tap the "freckles" into the skin for a more natural look.

3. Not all freckles are of the same shade so use a darker brown eyebrow brush to draw a few darker spots.

4. Finish the look with translucent setting powder so the freckles last longer.

Rating: 4 stars

Verdict: Wearing the faux spots made me feel a little whimsical. Just like how wearing a good shade of red lipstick makes most women feel ready to take on the day, having fake freckles is a cute look that puts me in a fun mood.

Though some may think the spots age the wearer or make one look less glamorous, pairing the faux freckles with minimal make-up helps to create a natural and fresh look. It can even make one look more youthful and down-to-earth.

I used sheer foundation, lip balm and some coral blush to complete the sun-kissed look.

The faux freckles were easy to create and lasted the day.

It is definitely a look I recommend for a shift in style or for a beach party.


4 Toilet paper lips

This look became a hit after Italian make-up artist Greta Agazzi posted her version of it on Instagram in May. Beauty magazines and make-up fans rave about the creativity of the unusual textured style.

What you need: Lipstick, toilet paper, eyelash glue, lip gloss

Get the look:

1. Apply a layer of lipstick on the lips and blot the shape of the lips onto a piece of toilet paper.

2. Cut out the printed shape. Crumple it for more texture and peel off one ply to stick to the lips.

3. Apply more lipstick on the cut-out. This colours the paper and helps it adhere better to the lips.

4. Position the cut-out on the lips, lining up the shape.

5. Use eyelash glue to stick it on more firmly if needed. 6. Finish up with a layer of lip gloss.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Verdict: Professional make-up artists make creating this lip art look easy. For me, it was not.

Cutting the toilet paper to the exact shape of my lips took three tries. When the edges did not line up with my lip line, I ended up looking like I was trying to eat a child's papier mache project.

Getting the thin film of paper to stick to my lips without tearing it also required a deft hand and a good amount of patience.

Having nothing close to the skills of professional make-up artist Agazzi meant that the result was also worlds apart.

Still, the endeavour was surprisingly fun to take on. Figuring out how to get the texture right was pleasantly engaging. Removing the result was challenging and I applied some baby oil to help ease the paper off my lips.

This impractical look is definitely not for everyday wear. Smiling or talking too much easily tore the paper. I couldn't eat or drink with ease either.

But, if you are feeling particularly adventurous in the make-up department, this inventive look is one you might want to try.


5 Coke hair rinse


Reporter Sabine Chen’s hair became pin-straight (right) after a soda rinse followed by a blow-dry.

Dousing your hair with the popular soda has been lauded by English model Suki Waterhouse as a quick and easy way to get beachy tousled waves. The look has since caught on, with numerous how-to videos put up on YouTube.

The phosphoric acid in the fizzy drink is said to smoothen hair cuticles, making the strands appear more defined.

What you need: A 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola, a basin, a blow dryer

Get the look:

1. Lean over the basin with your hair flipped over your head. Pour the soda on your hair, making sure to drench the roots. Pour the rest of the liquid over the bottom half of your hair. Use your fingers to massage the liquid into the strands.

2. Leave the liquid in the hair for five minutes.

3. Rinse thoroughly with water.

4. Blow-dry.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Verdict: My initial concern was the high sugar content in Coca-Cola. Wouldn't it make my hair feel sticky, or worse, attract an army of ants?

The good news is that none of those things happened.

In fact, the carbonated beverage felt pleasantly refreshing against my scalp as it was fizzy and ice-cold. The process tends to make a huge mess, so it is best carried out in the bathroom sink .

I chose a large basin to do the deed, placing it on the dining table. I started off slow, pouring the drink over my roots in small amounts and working my way across my scalp. Still, I managed to spill a good amount on the table and floor.

I ended up dipping my hair into the basin for a thorough soak.

Next, I squeezed out the excess Coke from my hair, threw a towel over my shoulders and waited five minutes. It was then off to the shower for a rinse.

As I blow-dried my hair, I anticipated the magic that was to come. However, the result was pin-straight hair rather than a mass of voluptuous waves.

Though it did not have the intended effect, the soda rinse left my hair feeling soft and looking shiny, and my scalp was not sticky afterwards. The look lasted the entire day.

I was rather disappointed that the process had not given me Waterhouse's voluminous mop, but, as I have naturally straight hair, I suppose I should not have expected a dramatic change.

As carbonated drinks contain phosphoric acid, regular cola-rinsing is not advised as it may cause hair shafts to become brittle. This could lead to thin, breakable hair.

I would recommend this for people with naturally wavy hair as the wash will give curls a fuller body and reduce frizz.

However, I would not try it again. It was a tad messy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'Weird stuff, quirky beauty'. Print Edition | Subscribe