#BacktoBasics: Understanding Your Skin Undertone


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Gone are those days with wrong foundation or contour colour. Say hello to your new flawless look!

Ever wonder why contouring just doesn’t look as good on you as those people you see on Instagram or Youtube? Do you hear the term “find the right shade” a lot but you can never seem to get it right? Well before selecting the tones, you first need to know your skin undertone. There are are obviously the 3 basic categories of: cool, neutral, and warm. You can see the explanation of the 3 categories below (picture taken from here)


Now, most of you understand these 3 different colours but what does these actually mean?

  1. Cool undertones: cool undertones are specifically for people with pink-ish undertone. If you look at yourself in the mirror and see a hint of pink in your face then you are a cool undertone. This is typically for Western people and some very fair Asians (i.e: Koreans). Note that it is SOME Asians because many fair skin Asians still fall under neutral undertone.
    1. How can you find the best contour colour for cool undertones? It is very difficult for cool undertones (or pink, as I like to call it) to find the best match for contour colours. Due to the undertone of your skin, I would suggest that you buy a colour that is 1-2 shades darker than you (in the same undertone, of course). It is quite tricky because if you do go for those dark colours in the contour palette, it will look horribly wrong. Otherwise, you can always buy the ‘light’ version of the contour palette but just dab a little bit of it and make sure that you blend well!
  2. Neutral undertones: I always say that these 3 are categories rather than undertone types because when it gets to neutral undertones, there are 3 different types: olive, yellow, and golden.
    1. Olive undertone: olive undertone is a neutral colour with a hint of green tone. Some famous examples are: Rihanna, Adrianna Lima, or Morena Baccarin. Bronzer colour for this skin colour is best for any earthy brown colour e.g: copper colour. A product example will be Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Warm Walnut.
    2. Yellow undertone: yellow undertone is for what is called a natural yellow/tan colour. A great example is Natalie Portman or Penelope Cruz. Although it may seem like yellow undertones can easily use any bronzer but that is not true! If a yellow undertone uses contour with a copper colour, it will seem fake and you can really see how the red-ish colour to your face. A product example will be Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Chestnut.
    3. Golden undertone: golden undertone is a mixture of neutral (yellow/warm-ish) with a hint of pink undertone. A good example is Jessica Biel or Gisele Bundchen – she is someone who is on the fence of warm and cool. If she gets tanner a little, she is the perfect example of a golden undertone. A good contour colour for this is a dark golden colour for example: NARS Casino.
  3. Warm undertone: warm undertone is for the slightly darker skin colour. It is a tanner version of yellow undertone, in simpler words, I would say. Now, bronzer or contour for this undertone is best when the colour is straight on dark brown without any other undertone. A product example will be Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Espresso. However, it depends on your tan you are. If this colour doesn’t cut it, I would find colours like the cool undertone and search for 1-2 tones darker than your foundation colour.

Now, that was your first #BacktoBasics post. After understanding your undertone, you can easily find your: foundation, contour/bronzer, and even eyeshadow/ eye-looks! As you can see in this post, I am in loveeee with cream/liquid contouring. However, with this, you must be careful. Please don’t put too much just like those you see on Instagram because if you want it to look good on photos – the amount of products you will need is incredible. Therefore, please be careful as you don’t want to walk around with not well blended contouring etc.

More post on contouring will be posted. You can learn how you can take the basics forward to create a natural contour look (with cream/liquid products) and learn the difference it creates with normal powder products.

All the best girlies.

With love,


Beauty Hack: The Perfect Moisturiser for Combination Skin Type


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Combination skin type can vary from normal to dry in some areas but oily in the T-zone areas.

I, myself, have the so-called combination skin type where my skin is very dry except for my T-zone. I know many people (especially women) are also on the same page as me. For years, I have been trying to find the right moisturiser for my face. 

It’s really difficult to find one without, either: getting a comment like “why is your skin so dry?”, “I have a great moisturiser for your dry skin, try this” and such, or simply looking absolutely fine but soon after my skin starts to breakout because it’s too oily. 

Now, for the past few years I have been going around trying different skin care, asking for the best line for “combination skin”. It would work for the first weeks, then it would resume. Most moisturisers are too light for me, leaving my skin around my cheeks to be extremely dry. Ever wonder, why so? Simple, as mentioned above, combination skin varies from “normal to dry skin”. Therefore, unlike oily or dry skin, there isn’t a straightforward skin care products for people like myself.

This summer, the problem has been more prominent for me because it’s dry and hot. So, I have been searching for the best solution… TA-DA! Finally, I have found the perfect moisturiser(s) for a combination skin type. Please keep in mind that you will need to adjust according to how dry-normal your skin is. 

The key is to use two different moisturisers that suits the two skin types that you have. I know, simple, but not many people have thought of this right? For me, since my T-Zone is oily so i use a light moisturiser. While for the rest of my face, it is very dry, so I use a very creamy moisturisers. N.B: you may need to adjust your type of moisturisers depending on the reality of your skin. However, below is a suggestion and review of two combination of moisturisers that work perfectly for me.

So, for my T-Zone, I use Shiseido Pureness Moisturiser Gel:

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I have been using this moisturiser for over 1 year now and it is wonderful. It is light and easy on your skin. It might work okay on normal skin. However, for dry skin, i find it too light especially in summer or hotter and drier days.

For my cheeks, or other areas, I use the Yu-Be moisturising cream:

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This gain popularity in the UK in the past 4-6 months. One of my good friends gave it to me a year ago or so. However, I never really dared to try, it looks really thick and creamy to me. So I was more concerned about breaking out and having pimples than solving my dry skin!

Here is a no filter photo I took from my own Yu-BE cream:

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Can you see how thick and creamy it looks? For oily skin, it’s quite frightening to see!

But after I received a sample from one of my monthly beauty subscriptions, I then dared to try it. I have been hooked ever since. It is quite creamy and think, but after applying, it doesn’t give you that sticky feeling. Moreover, it works marvellously. **N.B: it does have a sticky feeling to it because please note that this is a moisturising cream, but it is not as sticky as other creams. Plus, stickiness disappears after a short time.

Honestly, I recommend you to try Yu-Be. It is perfect for the summer and mostly the winter, for all dry skin, combination, and even normal. I am quite surprised to know that it is not as popular in Asia. I believe this product deserves more recognisition than it has.

All in all, using these two moisturisers have been doing my skin beautifully. Now, I never get any criticisms about how dry my skin is. More importantly, I feel wonderful. I don’t get any breakouts and every time I stare at my skin, I can finally see a clear and moisturised skin.

Say hello to perfectly moisturised skin!

Hope this helps.

With love,

Shannen ❤

10 Things I’m Glad I Learnt Before I Turn 20


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The day that I have dreaded for the past 2 years has finally arrived. The day that I wish would never arrive is finally here. The day that made me realise that I can run away from anything, but time. That, is my birthday. My 20th birthday.

Growing up, I have always thought that being in the 20s is scary. You are basically an adult with a lot of responsibilities on your shoulder. When I was growing up, my mom kept telling me how she got married at the age of 20 and pregnant by the age of 21. Maybe it is the norm back then, but my 5-year-old self had always picture being 20 as like a super adult – one who can do anything, just like my mom in that age.

Hence, if you all know me personally, I had been so scareeed to turn 20. But on the day when I turn 20, I took some time alone to reflect on my journey. The journey I had embark upon for 20 years and for more to come. These are the things I am so glad I had learnt before I turn 20:

     1. Not everyone is going to like you – and that’s fine                                                             This is truth – stop trying to please everyone. Stop trying to make everyone like you. I have yet to master this, but I have finally understand it and slowly learning to let go. Let go of those who are not worth of my time and effort.

    2. Happiness comes not only from within but also from our surroundings                    Everyone always tell me, “happiness comes from within”. Yes , that’s true. But it is only true to an extent. Happiness also comes from your surroundings. One TED talk say, “you are a reflection of the 5 closest people in your life”. I could not agree more about this. How can one remain happy if one of your close friends keep criticising you – sometimes not for the better but for the sake of it. This leads me to my next point.

   3.  Letting go is a sign of maturity
Letting go is a sign of maturity and NOT immaturity. When someone say “let go”, immediately you would think of a significant other. But really, sometimes this applies for friendship too. When it’s not worth your time and effort anymore, then let go. Sometimes, it is okay to be selfish.

   4.  Appreciate those who matter
This is one that many people forget or take for granted. Appreciate those who matter – that is very important. We can choose to let go of those who make you unhappy. But those who don’t, must be appreciated. Take a moment everyday, to give your dearest ones a 5 minute call. Take a moment during your lunch hour, to message your loved ones and say “how are you doing?” Sometimes even doing this to an old friend could really make their day. So start appreciating!

  5.  Never let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.                                   Expect to fail but don’t be afraid of failure. There will not be success without failure. Here is one of my favourite Japanese proverb:

7times  6.   Dream big and make it happen                                                                                                  Everyday, take a moment to think: what did I do today? Did it bring me one step closer to my dream?


  7.  Today is the best time for you to try doing something new and take that risk!
I always tell my friends, “don’t wait for the right time. There will never be the right time. Create that time and make it right”.

  8.  Those who matter don’t mind, those who mind don’t matter                                                  Be who you are and who you aspire to be! Even if that means you have to change a little. Remember, “Change is the only thing constant – and it’s inevitable”. Some complain when they see others change. But to be honest, sometimes we need to change, for the better. How can we be who we aspire to be, if we remain the same, and don’t change at all? Quoting another TED Talk, I love this quote:  “Don’t fake it until you make it. But fake it until you be it”.

  9.  Do good: to yourself, to those around you, but mainly to the world
This Is a very important point that people often forget. We focus so much on ourselves that we forget the world. We need to spread this happiness. Find what cause resonates with you most, and do something about it. Not everyone will be passionate about the same cause. But it’s better to have one cause that you are passionate about than nothing. 

It could be anything from poverty, human rights, empowerment and so on. Remember, giving is sometimes better than receiving. 

  10. Create legacy: picture yourself how do you want to be remembered?                                   Think how do you want to be remembered? Always remember that in the end of the day, people will not remember what you did but they will remember how you make them feel. Similarly, people will not remember what job you had or what you did to get you there, but they will remember the impact you created.

By the end of this, you probably know my love of TED talks. But I promise you, this one is one that’s worth watching. He quoted “there are more than 1 billion worlds out there. So remember, if you have change 1 person. You have change/impacted 1 world”.


After this reflection, I felt so much better about myself. Maybe, I have not achieved as much as my mom. Yes, she’s a superwoman. But, at least, I know I have learnt so much about myself. Learnt so much to be a better person. I am so grateful about that 🙂


With love,

Shannen ❤

Third Culture Kid?

“A third culture kid, TCK, is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture”

Being taken out of my so-called home country at the age of 10. Spent a significant part of my developmental years in a multi-racial country while attending an International School. Currently studying university in another region. Has made me become one of the many third culture kids.

However, recently, I have been seeing an increase in popularity of articles and posts about third culture kid. I am constantly flooded with endless amount of such posts from my High School Friends. Whether it’s about the benefits, the characteristics, and up to the funny moments of being a TCK. All these posts, make it seem like being a TCK is superior.

The media has made it seems like being a TCK is very luxurious. I could not agree to the fact that being a TCK does open many doors of opportunities for me. I got the best education I could possibly ask for. I got to have the best and most supportive teacher, I was taught in what-to-me is the best curriculum, I was taught to be open-minded at a young age, and I met the greatest and most inspiring people (and most of all, friends). I could not have possibly think of getting anything similar if I was never taken out of my home country at such a young age.

But, there are many hardships of being a TCK that are never revealed by the media. In the end, we are all human. We are all equal. There are so many emotional battles that we need to go through, more than one could imagine. Now, let me tell you few hardships that we need to go through (ones that would even out the fact that we travel a lot). Let me tell you, that in the end, we are NOT anymore superior than other people.

1) We don’t actually know where are we from

Truth is, this fact is not always funny. In fact, it is heart-breaking. To this date, I don’t know where is “home”. Is home where the heart is? Or is it where your family is? Or is it where you passport says it is? Nobody knows the real answer. I don’t see this as something to be proud of. Seeing my friends speak happily and proudly about their home country, do make me feel jealous. You’ll be surprised at how many TCKs wish that they could equally speak with so much pride and joy.

2) We find ourselves disagreeing with our own culture and traditions

Being more exposed to different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking… do end up making us wish that we were brought up the same way. Do you know about the phrase, “the more you know and yet the less you know”. Exactly. The more we know about different cultures and traditions. The less we actually know. The less we know what’s right and what’s wrong.

So? This means, we often find ourselves arguing about these issues with our own family, people from our own culture, or even people who are too open-minded. Sometimes, it is better to not know.

3) We find it difficult to get along with people from our own home country

Moving on from the second point. Because we are constantly arguing on little things, we do in the end find it more difficult to get along. Again, whether it’s from our own country or the more closed-minded people.

Especially when we go back “home”, a place where we did not grow up in. Obviously, we act, speak, and think differently. Some of you, non-TCKs, may think we are showing off or difficult to be friends with. Truth is, we are not trying to offend you, we were just raised differently. This is very heart-breaking, because fact is, most of the time we don’t get these exceptions. As a result, we find ourself alone in our own “home country”.

4) Our friends are spread out all around the world

Some may say, it’s a very “cool” thing to have, which I do agree, to an extent. Many people don’t realise how difficult it is for us to have a reunion. Many don’t realise how difficult it is to meet our friends again.

Consider this, in High School, I was very closed with one group of girls (there were 6 of us). Now, we are all spread around the world, in different countries, and different regions. Yes, I could see them again. But the chances of us meeting at the same time as a group of 6 again is nearly impossible. Because we are spread around, education system is different. Our vacation ends up at different times as well. It’s not too luxurious anymore, is it? While many other non-TCKs, could easily meet their group of friends again, we couldn’t. It is nearing to two years and we have not even gathered as a group again. In fact, I have not seen most of my good friends anymore.

5) We are used to goodbyes, too many that it’s NOT healthy.

Yes. I believe that being used to too many goodbyes is not healthy. Many of our friends and ourselves have to come and leave. It is not good to be prone to these goodbye tears.

What impact does this make in my life? I am beginning to realise that because of this, I am more scared to be attached to someone. Because I fear of being left once attached. This is a typical emotional problem that many TCKs have to go through, and yes, it is unhealthy.

Well after all, we are just human. We are equal. We are not anymore superior. Don’t let the media fool you. Yes, there are sooo many advantages and endless opportunities that are open to be as being a TCK. Yes, I have experience a lot more than an average person at my age.

But what I’m saying is, this does not make us any less human. There are many hardships for being a TCK too.

With love,

Shannnen ❤

Cheers to 2014!


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Cheers to 2014. Though I feel like a ‘party-pooper’, but to me, 2014 is just going to be one of those years….. It is you who could change it to be one ‘heck of a year’.

This year, I am taking a different take on how I will perceive life. This year, I don’t have any specific resolutions, but I do have step by step rules in order to change my way of living.

2013 was not the best year for me. It was the toughest, most tiring, but most educational. Nearing the end of 2013, I began to realised that I have just wasted another year. I have wasted it because I spent so much time trying to invest in my future that I realise that I did not live in the present at all. The last quarter of 2013 has been the toughest for me. I had never been in so much pressure, stress, and have that much workload before. I realise that I barely even have time for myself. By barely, I mean about 2-3 hours weekly at night (midnight, means sacrificing sleep time).

One day, I started to think, if I were to die today, would I die happy? The answer is a definite no. Because I have been living 95% of my life trying to invest in the future, that if I die today, I wouldn’t have achieved anything. Anything I mean. Time is something that none of us could control, isn’t it?

So for 2014, I promised to live my life differently. How? These are the first few steps I would take to achieve happiness. Because if I had to sacrifice my investment for the future, I’d rather ensure that it makes me happy.

1. Less of what ’employers would want to see’ and more of ‘what I have always wanted to achieve’.

What this means, I might need to quit one of my outside activities and pursue something that I had always doubt myself about…. which is learning Programming/Coding.

2. Less of what would my friends want to hear and more of what I want to do. 

Which means, if I would want to stay in and fiddle around with my makeup instead of having dinner/pubbing with my friends… That’s what I would do.

3. Become the Jack of all trade 

I have always had a lot of different interest in High School. Looking back, I realised that if I let myself to go outside the box and chase it like what I used to. I could be good/talented at something that I never thought I could. Hence, this means, go crazy with ideas but make sure to pursue it and not become one of those “I tried once, but I stopped”.

4. Continue what I have always loved to do.

What I have always loved to do is working with mentally disabled children and makeup. Hence, no matter what, I would need to make time for this. Even though it’s 2 hours per week. But I will and I have to.

5. Be happy

The last yet most important thing is to be happy. I need to be happy. Find the happiness and stop saying/thinking that “2012 was the best year by far”. Instead think, “2012 was amazing, but I know this year will be even better”. Make more friends, do what I love, pursue what I have always wanted to. Because everyone deserves to be happy. Pursue it even if people disagree with it. If it makes you happy, then that itself is an enough reason to pursue something. Happiness is the key to all success in your career, relationships, and life. Be happy! 🙂 

Please keep in mind that yes YOLO is a great thing to keep in your mind but too much YOLO-ing means your future is in danger. You need to have that balance. If you realise that you are leaning too far from one to the other, it’s time for you to stop and lean a bit backwards.

I don’t aim to live in the present 100% but I want to have at least 30% – 70%.

I hope this help you to consider how to start your year and how to change the way you live. Remember, it’s not about starting, but it’s about maintaining.

All the best.

With love,

Shannen ❤