The 5 Minute Face


My daily make-up routine is no longer the 40 minute melodrama of my youth nor the 15 minute slapstick comedy of my undergrad years. Calling it a “daily” routine is probably a half lie. I am barefaced 90% of the month since glamour has no place on university grounds. Good coffee, yes, but going to uni with layers of face paint seems more JAFFY-like than anyone would care to admit.

Diving into my archives is an unearthing of coloured shadow and light; I was all about the eyes when this blog was first conceived: I was 21 when I made my first shit make-up tutorial, photographed numerous smokey eyes I did on myself (God have mercy) and gave my cousin a glitzy makeover. These entries don’t happen much anymore since my free time is boxed up in the lost and found section of my life, tagged “RECLAIM AFTER GRADUATION”. But if I am to be honest with you, it’s mostly because my perspective on beauty has gone all Phoebe Philo.

No, Céline isn’t making cosmetics but like the label, I’ve come to appreciate some minimalism in the make-up department. Is this an indication that I’m finally reaching the frontiers of proper maturity? On issues of vanity, maybe a little. Bobbi Brown and our mothers has schooled us in the necessary fact that true beauty is from within and while I make no arguments against the truth, I have to point out that beauty is, in some ways, artifice. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy make-up’s inherent trickery; its talent in making me feel certain enough that I can leave the house without scaring grown men away (my dark circles, man. I’ve had ‘em since I was 9).

I’ve had my fill of cray eye colour combos but it’s time to move on to the next level of deception: The Five Minute Face. It’s a step above what women love to call “no make-up make-up”, but this is only because I’m still not over the red lip. My other 47 lipsticks are beginning to feel the neglect since I am a few Pantone universes away from ever using them on my lips. I don’t know, guys. There’s just something wonderful about red lips and the way it works with my milky skin; it gives everyone else the illusion that I’ve got my shit together when I really don’t. Beauty is artifice, save and repeat.


And this is all you need. Honest. Oh wait, I see my concealer isn’t in this photo. For reference’s sake, I use MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer and I have converted legions of friends to this because it is fantastic. I have strayed away from it a few times out of sheer stupidity and wanting to try something ‘different’, but I always come back to it like a first love story.

The Garnier Oil-Free BB Cream is something new to the blog, I’ve had it for a month now and having hated their original BB cream, this oil-free version is heaven sent. It’s very watery so fingers are the best tool for smoothing this on your face – no need for pesky brushes since 5 minutes is all we have. Coverage is light but buildable and the only thing I hate is that it comes in 2 shades: Light and Medium. I use Light; it’s half a shade lighter than my face which isn’t too bad but Medium is way dark – there are no variations in between. It’s so cheap though, I only paid AUD11 for my tube which makes it the cheapest BB cream I’ve purchased. If you can make either Light or Medium work for you, get it!

L’Oreal gave me a few new products to try the last time I was in Singapore (thank you L’Oreal!) and I am now convinced Maybelline might not have the monopoly on the best mascara after all whoops. Look at my lashes after a coat of their Curl Impact Collagene Mascara omg, it’s so..fluttery. I want to try their Voluminous Million Lashes formula when I’m done with this though – my friend, Simone, has these angelic eyelashes (I’m sorry but there really is no other adjective to describe her eyelashes) and she swears by that mascara. Unfortunately, it’s about AUD$30 here last I checked so imma be cheap and stick with my freebie.

You’re probably familiar with the tea noir heavyweights: my go-to eyebrow gel, MAC’s Brow Set in Girl Boy, and setting powder, the everlasting but forking expensive, MUFE HD Powder. Also, I like a light buffing of Rock and Republic’s Contrived Blush onto the cheeks with a kabuki – it adds some life into the skin and balances out the red on the lips. The blush was a birthday present from Cat and you can see more pictures of its amaze packaging here. It also happens to be her birthday today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY!!!


Giant image for further emphasis on how FECKING AMAZING this baby is. The L’Oreal Shine Caresses are dupes for the YSL Glossy Stains, that ridiculously expensive but cool hybrid lipstain/colour/gloss everyone’s been whispering about at cocktail parties. Well, thank you L’Oreal Group (they also own YSL Beaute) for extending the invitation to try these Glossy Stains, in the form of the Shine Caresses, to broke ass students such as myself who can’t drop $40 on a lip product without hyperventilating straight after. I’m wearing Shade 702 in Juliette – it’s a rich coral red that works similarly to having a lover’s bite on the lips i.e. it lasts forever and may be tough to remove ;p

Having never tried the Glossy Stains myself, I can’t make any comparisons between the two but I will trust what others have said: the two products are almost the same, with the exception of a few ingredients and YSL’s luxurious packaging. Texture-wise, the Shine Caresses have a strange polymer-like feel to them – they feel tacky at first and they’ll set into a non-sticky gloss after a few seconds. That description probably didn’t help very much but you’ll have to forgive me, it’s one of those weird beauty innovations you’d have to try and see for yourself.

This has been one heck of an entry but I hope it’s meaty enough to make up for my absence the last two weeks? My thesis supervisor pushes me hard and expects work to be completed three weeks before its due date, yikes. She sees right through me; there is no room for procrastination when I’m with her but I’m not complaining, I’m already well ahead of my peers in terms of pace and I’m thankful, even if it means having no time for myself or this blog.

And since we are dipping into matters of the personal…


It’s my best friend’s non-birthday today! Aaron’s a Jehovah’s Witness so he doesn’t do birthdays (yes, there are people who don’t celebrate birthdays gasp!) I’ve been trying to keep it cool and pretending it’s just another ~ordinary~ day but obviously that’s not happening. We’ve known each other for so long you’d think I’d be better at this but NO. I CAN’T. 23 years ago today, my best friend was born into this world and through some odd bits of WTF, we, a Jehovah’s Witness and a Muslim, got stuck together. HAPPY EXPULSION DAY BB! I love you more than Hedi Slimane loves his job at Saint Laurent Paris O SNAP.

P.S I take half credit for making you look haute in this photo I took of you.

Share this:

12 Responses to “The 5 Minute Face”
  1. Sim says:

    OMG you mentioned my eyelashes!! <3 I actually feel so special right now!
    But you also called me a jaffy in the first paragraph D:< I still spend like 25 minutes on my makeup every day which I guess isn't as bad as 40 but is still…pretty bad. And I use two foundation brushes just for uni, someone should kill me already.

    I am recently getting into BB creams and the one I have is a little oily so I am extremely glad you have pointed out this non-oily (and cheap) one to me as I will be rushing to buy it pronto. However it might be a little dark for me based on what you're saying! My skin tends to be the lightest shade possible of every foundation ever ): In America the lightest shade of my cheap go-to foundation is one shade darker than it is in Australia and I didn't realise when I went to buy it. Needless to say I ended up looking ultra-orange for a few days before I was like 'hang on this just doesn't make sense…'


    ilyana's reply:

    Of course I had to Simmy!! Your eyelashes are perfect, they can’t be real but they are! And hahahaha nah I think it’s commendable you still make an effort for uni – I gave up my second month in my first year D:

    Ooh what sort of bb creams have you tried? I really, really love the Garnier one though – it’s the first bb cream made by a Western beauty brand that I’m impressed with. Go check out the testers at Priceline and see if Light might work for you? Also woman, I think you’re lucky enough to find foundation shades that matches your skin. I have a friend who’s super pale and she just can’t find something that goes with her skin!


  2. Sher Reen says:

    Ilyana, I await every tea noir entry with bated breath – and this is exactly why. Your photos, your writing … both mature with every piece, and I feel like a proud mother whose kid just won the English prize (wtf) whenever I dig into your work! I cannot see where life takes you post-graduation because you are built for amazing things xx


    ilyana's reply:

    God Sher Reen, STOPPP YOU’RE MAKING ME BLUSH! ;p I am actually a little scared to graduate because I don’t know if there’s a place in the working world for me :( It’s a legit sitch hahaha, I wish I was rich enough to make up the perfect job for myself but that would really just involve me flying all over the world to find and eat the craziest ice cream flavours (I think my journey might end in Japan though lol)

    I digress. Thank you so much for reading every single damn entry and for bearing with my absences <3


    Sher Reen's reply:

    Digress away! When you next come to KL I have a new ice cream obsession I have to introduce you to, but until then I thought I should actually leave a response to your post and say this: I actually don’t mind Garnier’s original BB cream, so I’m quite keen to check this version out. Together with the MAC concealer and MUFE powder you mentioned although I have no patience for concealer. Enjoy the rest of this weekend!

    PS Your absences are sometimes unbearable but then you post something like this and I am reminded why I got – and stayed – hooked on your blog in the first place x


  3. Amanda says:

    Ilyana, you have been sorely missed! Love love the first picture you took, I can imagine it appearing in an ad for make-up!

    Ugh I’m 21 and I have no more patience for make-up. I keep putting it off! Can’t imagine myself wearing a red lip to school as well, so there goes looking polished. I can’t wait to go back to studying so I can use my eyeshadow palettes!

    By the way, you should try dejavu Fiberwig mascara! It’s a cult favorite in Japan and the Japanese can do no wrong about eyes in my book :)


    ilyana's reply:

    Hi Amanda! You’re awfully nice omg, that is certainly not a beauty ad-material because if you squint your eyes you can see a tiny zit forming near my jawbone (why am I telling you this?) But yeah I see no point in photoshopping it out because I’m no perfect – I get zits all the time it is ridickkk.

    And GOD TO BE 21 AGAIN! No, really you’re at a good age. It’s okay if you don’t want to play around with make-up or use a red lip – I wasn’t much of a red lipstick fan myself when I was 21. Perhaps you could try a darker nude colour? It’s definitely work-safe but still has a slight edge over a neutral lip colour ;)

    You know, I’ve never actually tried Fiberwig despite seeing their ads in all the Japanese magazines I used to read. They have many variations right? I’m guessing you like the one in the red tube?


  4. Aaron says:

    AWWW thank you bb, I love you more than Hedi Slimane loves himself. <3


    ilyana's reply:

    And I won’t treat you like you’re oh so TYPICAL


  5. shafah says:

    BABE, with lips so red, skin so fair, someone might just hand you a red apple. Beware, don’t get tempted.

    Anyway, I have the YSL stain (the tone that the main face model is wearing), it’s lovely but takes a while to dry. I still prefer Makeup Forever Waterproof liquid color. They just need to expand on the color choices!!


  6. Catharine says:

    Aaaahhh that first photo is PERFECT. Love this post. xoxo


  7. Jen W says:

    I am so in love with your photography Ilyana- there is something a little bit Man Ray about your images.


Leave A Comment

CommentLuv badge