SINGAPORE - August has turned into September with a vengeance, bringing blistering heat and activating sweat glands I didn't even know I had. Keep your routine and base light, and beat the humidity with these beauty favourites.
1. Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector ($65)
It boasts patented technology that helps skin respond to changes in the environment - on top of the existing WetForce Technology, which reinforces UV protection when in contact with water (read: water-resistant). A new HeatForce Technology supposedly does the same when in contact with heat.
I can't speak for the science of it, but the formula itself 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.
Like with many chemical sunscreens, 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, without pilling.
It could even work alone - the slight pinkish hue gives a "tone-up" effect that brightens complexion instantly. Plus, the powdery, semi-matte finish means you are free from that tacky feeling that gives sunscreen its unfavourable reputation.
Available at Metro, Robinsons and Shiseido stores and Sephora
2. Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara ($49)
Few things grip my heart like a good waterproof mascara.
Many have tried and failed against my excessively oily eyelids, which reduce even the boldest claims of "waterproof" and "smudge-proof" into streaky panda eyes in a matter of hours.
After months of rotating the same three tried-and-true mascaras, this new release from California-based Hourglass Cosmetics has won a spot in my Mascara Hall of Fame.
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 volumnising 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.
Available at Tangs and Sephora
3. Suisai Beauty Clear Jelly Cleansing ($36)
Any beauty expert (or junkie) will tell you that a thorough double cleanse is the most important step in skincare. Even more so now with mask-wearing, where dirt and sweat trapped between your skin and mask can clog pores if not properly removed.
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 makeup remover from Japanese brand Suisai. Seemingly water-based, it has a jelly texture that efficiently removes all make-up without stripping the skin.
Glycerin - a humectant or moisturising agent - in the product 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 and does not require cotton or bamboo rounds to apply. Scoop the jelly out with dry fingers and work it into the skin. It is a good alternative to cleansing balms, which can sometimes feel oily or heavy on the skin and even irritate the eye area.
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.
Available at selected Don Don Donki and Watsons stores, and Lazada
4. Clarins Lip Comfort Oil Intense ($36)
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 their cult Lip Comfort Oil. Consider it a hybrid of a 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.
Available at Clarins boutiques and clarins.com.sg
5. Hera Airy Blur Priming Powder ($72)
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 has become my go-to powder 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 makeup from breaking up and transferring onto your mask.
It also claims to lock moisture in the skin while balancing oil control, and I find just that thin veil of powder mattifies shine without dulling your skin's natural glow.
Available at Hera Ion boutique and heraonline.sg