What Is a Bridal Makeup Trial?


This post is all about the bridal makeup trial. Lately there has been an influx of emails and questions regarding this topic and I feel I should address it. A makeup trial is simply a test run of what your dream makeup is for your wedding day. In this instance, the makeup artist and client meet in person to do a run through, go over skincare (in my opinion paramount to beautiful skin on your wedding day), test foundations (I work with mainly with MUFE HD foundation, Illamasqua Skinbase or Face Atelier), AND go over any skin problems/ sensitivities.

Also, think of your makeup trial like a bridal beauty plan, where the chosen makeup artist and the bride work together to get the most radiant and best looking skin for your wedding day. In most cases, if it isn’t already in place, I will make skincare product recommendations and suggestions to all my future brides, send brides reminders weeks in advance for things like facials, eyebrow threading, hair cuts, manicures and conditioning treatments. During a makeup trial potential bridal clients get a feel for the makeup artist’s bridal-style philosophy, her personality and whether this suits or not. After the bridal portfolio, a first impression is just as important.

I should clarify this, a makeup trial is not a makeup lesson or an opportunity to score a free makeup look for the evening. During the trial, we will swatch foundation, try eyeshadow colors, blusher but this does not mean you are going home all dolled up. It is advisable to take pictures during your trial to get an idea of what your makeup might look like! Your makeup artist’s main task is to make you look your best in front of the lenses of the photographer/ videographer AND a variety of lights – natural indoors/ outdoors, day/ night. This may be a very natural subtle look or a bit more dramatic, all depends on the personal style of the bride. I hope this clarifies some questions and offers a bit more insight on what the makeup trial mystery is all about.

Photo credit Wikimedia.com.

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My Instagram Photos of the Weekend


This I-phone application is so cool (#Instragram), in a flash you can edit your I-phone images, upload them and show lovely colors with super elegant filters. Sounds crazy, I only just got an I-phone. **On Instagram find me as @norahlovesmakeup **


My Instagram snaps are from a test shoot with Ferdy Juf, a fantastic photographer from Indonesia. I also collaborated with an amazingly talented hairstylist/ MUA from Vietnam Nguyen Bui Kistler. The models are Elena and Natalia from Looque.

More New Work


Whenever I am free and there is time, I test. For those of you who don’t know what a test is, basically a test is when a photographer, makeup artist, stylist and a model come up with a theme/ idea and shoot a series of photos. This is the part where I hone skills, try different products, looks, and let the creativity flow. I am at the point where I have a few photographers I collaborate with – and luckily they let me do my thing with the makeup part. Creatively I couldn’t ask for better. If I could I’d do it everyday! In this picture the beauty that is the OCC lip tars comes alive. Loving the color quality of them.

In the words of Yisell, a New York based makeup artist whose work I love/ admire, “Practice, practice… practice on everyone! This will not happen over night so patience is key. It takes YEARS to start getting constant work (took me 7 yrs). The jobs you want WILL come, I promise you. Just test anytime you can test, assist anytime you can and never give up. Even when it seems like its impossible, never give up.”

Photo/ styling is by Clarence Tan, model is Svletana from Carrie Models in Singapore, makeup and hair by Norah.

Loving These Products


Makeup Forever All Mat Primer – What a lovely item to have for both a consumer and a pro artist. I recently got my hands on it at the MUFE Singapore Pro Store. Living in humid conditions and working with bridal clients, MUFE (short for Makeup Forever) All Mat Primer is a formula that absorbs oil and like the name says, helps the skin stay matte after foundation and blusher. The mat primer can be used on the T-zone (Forehead and nose) and if you have very oily skin. Of course, all really depends on the specific needs (redness, flaky, acne-prone are separate conditions that don’t necessarily happen at once and may not need just a primer). Highly recommend this for your makeup bag.

Maybelline Volum’ Express Magnum Ultra Comb mascara – I blogged about this new product a few weeks ago, it’s fantastic and fuss free I’ve been using it daily since it was given to me. The comb applicator glides on without the usual clump, two coats after a good lash curl, and your lashes look defined and thicker. Truth is I’ve always been a firm believer that mascara doesn’t need to cost tons to be good and Maybelline never disappoints with their mascaras. *This was a gift at the Maybelline event.



Makeup Forever HD Blush MICROFINISH CREAM BLUSH
– I didn’t intend to buy a blusher, honestly. In saying that, when I tried this paste-like formula on myself I was awed by the application and pigment, and of course I ended up buying one to change up the bronzer. Ever since cream blushes hit the market, I’ve been really into them. This particular MUFE HD blusher is matte (horray, means it has a good chance of staying on for a while and will still look good on camera). To apply it you can use a foundation brush or a stipling brush, put a tiny bit in your hand and work fast.

Little Me


A few years ago I mulled over the idea of taking up makeup artistry full time. Lots of pondering took place, thinking and more imagining what it’d be like, highly unusual for someone who often decides on impulse [Call it with heart]. Enrolled myself in a class at Makeup Forever Singapore then in London at MUSE; I decided not to tell anyone other than my husband (he, of course, was 100% a fan of this idea). A year before this, I had injured my right wrist badly, dealt with two surgeries, months of physical therapy, a broken ego and pain. Little me though, I am persistent one, just ask my family. And like most humans I may flounder but definitely never give up. Believe me when I tell the story of moving to New York city on my own, with no fixed job, savings, AND a bag full of shoes. As many say, the rest is history. I feel that the story of my makeup career is still in the making [and that is what keeps me motivated]. Nothing makes me happier than putting makeup on someone and the face of a satisfied client.

Today I received the great news that I’ve been nominated for Cozycot’s Tribute to 100 Inspiring Women in Singapore, in commemoration of International Women’s Day. I am so honoured/ stoked/ happy/ ecstatic, how can’t I not be? Thank you Cozycot!

Decanting and Organizing Your Makeup

This post is an organizational one for your makeup products particularly shadows and blushers. Currently, I own about 60 individual pieces of makeup from various brands/ sizes, as of a few months I no longer buy eyeshadows or blushers unless they come in a palette or individual metal pans. Why do you ask? It is so hard to remember and have everything on hand at once. As a makeup artist on the go, having your kit organized is essential. Also, when traveling powder makeup falls apart sometimes so keeping everything tightly secured is a must, makeup in Singapore costs dearly, I have to import a lot of my stuff. In the summer I will be going overseas again, and before it gets too overwhelming (this means also thinking about the liquids in foundations, OMG OMG OMG), I began the dreaded task of condensing my stuff.

For the basics – in the process of customizing the 28 refills of various brands in one palette, I used a heated hair straightener, rubbing alcohol (in case of spilled powder), stanley knife and a tea spoon. To remove the shadows from the plastic case, use heat at the bottom of the product, once it is hot with the stanley knife start pulling the edges until it peels off completely. The easiest brands to decant are Sephora, MAC, Christian Dior, Chanel, Makeup Forever (prob the easiest and it comes with a magnet, bonus). The most annoying ones were Inuovi and NARS, if you make any mistakes, the spillage of powder with these brands is epic – this is where the rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle became a savior, a few sprays of it will literally put your powder back in one place, using a tea spoon and pressing it. I learned all these wonderful tips on Youtube.

For decanting I chose two UNII palettes and organized them with the color range you will see in the photo (neutrals/ greens). I liked the design, sturdy/ airtight features and the fact that they come with a magnetic base so the pans will definitely stay on. In hindsight, I wish the palettes were bigger and less heavy! For personal use UNII is a good buy if you don’t own lots of makeup, the case comes with a mirror and will fit into a handbag. For my next batch I will get two large Z-Palettes which seem to be the most popular and talked about ones among the makeup pros. Makeup Forever makes empty magneted palettes as well, cost is £11.50 at Guru Makeup Emporium UK.

Palette of the Moment :: Make Up Forever Smoky Palette

I am a fan of  the Make Up Forever brand because from personal experience I know that their quality of pigment is top of the line and worth the price. When there was news about a smoky eye palette being released, I was ecstatic and asked my sister if it was already being sold in the USA. Turns out, it wasn’t so I waited patiently for the Singapore pro-store to stock it.

The MUFE smoky comes in 8 colours, very much following a fall theme (browns, green, navy blue, metallic copper, yellow beige, white, deep plum, and black).  The set also comes with two small brushes, wide enough to help in blending out colours (although I still prefer using a wider bristle brush to create the smoky eye effect).  I’ve also been using the black to fill in my brows for a more dramatic look or as eyeliner even.  If you use a setting spray like Skindinavia Finishing spray or Make Up Forever Mist and Fix with a tiny amount on a q-tip/ cotton bud over your lines, there will be little smudging. Trust me.

Even if you are not a professional, I still think this is a good purchase because it has enough range of colors for the average makeup consumer.  It is just as good as the Urban Decay Naked Palette, if not better because unlike the Naked palette, MUFE’s offers matte colors which work fantastically for daytime and mature skin types.

MUFE Flash Palette

It’s been only a few months since I have been experimenting and able to get a hold of the power that is the Makeup Forever Flash Color Palette.  This artist palette comes in Gold 004 (metallic gold), Coral 002 (vibrant coral), Turquoise 000 (light turquoise), Fuchsia 005 (bright fuchsia pink), Yellow 013 (vibrant yellow), Brown 023 (dark brown), Silver 003 (metallic silver), White 010 (pure white), Red 017 (bright red), Bright Blue 014 (bright royal blue), Leaf Green 008 (bright green), and Black 011 (pure black).

Recently, I blogged about the color theory wheel using Nicki Minaj as an example in this very basic concept in painting (ie. makeup).  And it so coincides that the Flash Palette has become my favorite item whenever I want to layer, mix colors and deepen a certain hue in other words give it OOMPF, its texture is creamy so you have to be very careful and play around a bit.  It is a very versatile tool, I have seen it on body paint, children’s facepainting parties and fashion makeup.  So far, I’ve used it to do very intense colors for beauty shots, long lasting red lips, deep set smokey eyes, cheeks, etc.

The image above is a test shot with Jay Nodalo and below is what the palette looks like.  The colors used on Victoria oozed for a vibrant combination to compliment her hair, skintone and wardrobe. I thought she looked amazing!