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How many of us turn to YouTube and Google for answers to the most fundamental makeup questions? There is certainly a wealth of knowledge, tips and how-tos to be found on those platforms, but here’s another goldmine of knowledge you can turn to: professional makeup artists who actually do makeup for a living.

After all, these experts work with makeup on different types of clients every day, and would certainly be able to provide the best advice on choosing and using makeup correctly.

We will be launching a series of articles where we ask makeup artists your most pressing questions on makeup, and we’re kicking off this first instalment by asking them about drugstore beauty, and other general makeup questions.

1. Are there any differences between high-end and drugstore makeup?

The general consensus amongst the panel of makeup artists is that: yes, there is. Most of the makeup artists agree that high-end products have better ingredients, pigmentation payoff, as well as makeup tools.

The panel also agreed unanimously that high-end products have much more attractive packaging than drugstore products, which certainly contributes to their appeal.

However, makeup artist Gin Chia noted that this is not true all the time. Expensive price tags may not always correspond to equally high quality.

“High end products may not suit all skin types as they tend to be richer in content and texture,” says Gin. She instead prefers Japanese and Korean products, which cater more to Asian skin types.

Makeup artists Valerie Tang and Cynthia Oh also acknowledged that drugstore beauty has caught up significantly with high end products in recent years, especially in the eye makeup category.

2. What do you think about applying makeup with applicators vs. fingers?

Celebrity makeup artist TG Goh says: as long as your makeup is well-blended and beautiful, it doesn’t matter what you use to achieve it!

Most of the panel agreed that it’s a good idea for makeup beginners to start off using their fingers to apply makeup.

Gin finds that fingers are better able to pick up the right amount of product needed, and the product can also be warmed up from your body heat, ensuring that it blends into the skin better.

If you do want to use something other than fingers, Valerie says that “whatever [applicator] is provided by the product is typically good enough.”

But if you really want to buy some brushes, Cynthia would advise basic applicators such as blush brushes, or kabuki brushes for setting powder.

Celebrity makeup artist Benedict Choo, however, feels that applicators do a better job overall, and finds it a good idea to have makeup brushes always on hand.

3. What are some of your favourite drugstore products?

bold look essentials loreal infallible le rouge lipsticks

Most of our panel raved about drugstore eye makeup, including:

4. What tips do you have for testing out makeup products in store, especially foundation swatches?


The one tip that our whole panel agreed upon is something you probably already knew: never buy a foundation immediately after swatching. Instead, leave the swatch on for at least one to two hours, just to see how it wears and if it changes colour.

In addition, Gin also suggested having a good look at the foundation in all sorts of different lightings: natural outdoor light, warm and cool indoor light, etc. The lights in the store may not give you the best idea of whether a shade actually matches you or not.

TG added that he prefers using white lighting to check a foundation shade, as it tends to make the product “clearer and sharper”.

Of course, always swatch your foundation on your jawline or on your face, if possible. The skin tone on our hands is unlikely to be the same as that on our face.

Benedict advises that you should be aiming to create at least a smooth, seamless transition between your face, neck, and body, if not a totally uniform colour.

The experts we spoke to

Benedict Choo

Instagram: @unclebene

Having been in the makeup artistry line for the past decade and more, industry veteran Benedict Choo’s work is not only seen regularly in local magazine photoshoots, but also on international celebrities. He has worked with big names such as Eva Longoria, Roger Kwok, Kenneth Ma, Zoe Tay, Quan Yifeng and Carrie Wong.

Cynthia Oh

Instagram: @cynderellasg

Facebook: Cynderella

Website: Cynderella

Having graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business and Marketing, Cynthia originally began her foray into makeup artistry as a hobby. What was a sideline interest soon became a career motivation, as she eventually took a Professional Diploma in Advanced Bridal, Fashion, Glamour, Period, Photographic and Creative Makeup from The School of Makeup in Singapore. Since then, she has developed a strong style in editorial makeup and hair styling, and her works have appeared on cover pages and editorial spreads in magazines such as Singapore Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, and Today.

Gin Chia

Instagram: @ginchiamakeup

Facebook: Gin Chia Makeup

Website: Gin Chia Makeup

Armed with a Diploma in Bridal, Photographic & Fashion Makeup from Cosmoprof Academy, Gin Chia has established a successful makeup artistry brand specialising in bridal makeup and hairstyles. Having earned her reputation in makeup artistry, Gin has been featured in numerous magazines under lists of influential top local makeup artists

TG Goh

Instagram: @tggoh

Facebook: TG Goh

TG Goh has been making people beautiful with his makeup artistry skills for more than 20 years now. He is a regular makeup artist for many local bridal magazines, and has worked with stars such as Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Sharon Au and Vivian Lai.

Valerie Tang Yong

Instagram: @tangyongmakeup

Facebook: Tangyong Hair & Makeup

Website: Tangyong Makeup

Valerie is an award-winning makeup artist that has been featured in several bridal magazines and top makeup artists features over the past few years. She is not only a full-time makeup artist, but also a full-time mom, so Valerie is definitely something of a Superwoman by her own rights. Her successful makeup artistry brand, Tangyong Makeup, has won numerous awards in various local magazines.

What’s coming up next?

Do makeup setting sprays really work? What’s the most important step when it comes to prepping your face so your makeup stays on well? We ask makeup artists these skincare and makeup prep questions in our next instalment.

Featured image from Tangyong Makeup.