Never without eyeliner

How Do I Look? host Jeannie Mai was a make-up artist before entering the entertainment industry.
How Do I Look? host Jeannie Mai was a make-up artist before entering the entertainment industry.PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES, DIOR, TOO FACED, NADIA CHAND, TOM FORD, MAC COSMETICS

Jeannie Mai, 36, television host and celebrity stylist

Before the American-Vietnamese television host and celebrity stylist broke into the entertainment industry in 2005, she worked backstage as a make-up artist.

Mai was a trainer at M.A.C Cosmetics from 2000 to 2002 and has done make-up for singers Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera and actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

"I can get my own face camera-ready in seven minutes," she says.

Today, Mai is best known as the host of the hit make-over reality TV show How Do I Look?, in which fashion victims are given an image overhaul. She was recently in town for the launch of its Asian spin-off, which she guest stars in.

How Do I Look? Asia premieres on Diva (Singtel TV Channel 303 and StarHub TV Channel 513) on Monday at 8pm.

1. Skin Illustrator Dark


I have tattoos on my arms, but you would not know when you see me on TV. I cover the tattoos with this palette, which has a blend of skin-tone shades. The formula is not cakey and feels like a second skin. I discovered it years ago when I had to cover rapper Missy Elliott's tattoos before a shoot.

2. Animal face sheet masks

All of us need hydration and elasticity in our skin, like we need stretchy jeans and Spanx in our wardrobe. I prefer sheet masks because when I put them on, I have to lie down and relax. I like these masks with animal faces from the United States because they make you look cute, not scary, when you have them on. They also give the skin a nice bounce.

3. Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection, from Sephora stores

I use this palette on my face and eyes; I line my brows with these eyeshadows to keep them looking soft and feathery.

The product is made with real cocoa powder. The colours are strong too; I make them bolder by using a damp brush. I use five of these neutral shades very often. To keep my make-up bag light, I pop the palette into an oven for two minutes to loosen the glue and put the shades that I need into a customisable palette box.

4. Tom Ford Plum Japonais, from Tom Ford counters

I love all Tom Ford perfumes with a touch of oud wood in them, like this one. I don't have a lot of perfumes - I own fewer than 10 - because I know what I like and stick to them.

But I like experimenting with new scents. I subscribe to Scentbird, which sends me samples of designer fragrances every month. I also carry around a bottle of lavender oil to calm myself down before filming or after a rough day at work.

5. Diorshow Art Pen, from Dior counters, and M.A.C Eyeshadow in Carbon

Never mess with a woman with liquid liner on because it is a sign that she means business and loves control. Perfectly drawn liquid liner takes talent, precision, concentration and plenty of time.

I'm never without liquid eyeliner because it frames my eyes. If I've been drinking the night before, I use the Dior liner as it works like a tapered marker and the liquid runs rich. If you mess up, you can clean it up easily with your finger tips.

Otherwise, I use M.A.C Eyeshadow in Carbon, applied with the 266 - a thin and sharp angled brush from M.A.C - which gives a crisp and precise line.

6. Brown eyeliner

I love to draw freckles on my face with a light brown pencil because I think it gives me a cute and youthful look. After I'm done with my foundation, I go freckle-crazy on my cheeks and nose.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Never without eyeliner'. Print Edition | Subscribe