Mall Makeovers: From London to Kazakhstan

In Depth

Welcome back to Mall Makeovers where we send readers to, you guessed it, the mall for, you guessed it, a makeover. This is another expat edition, so each of our subjects is a bit of a fish out of water. If you’d like to volunteer for an upcoming installment, send us an email!


Name: Tatiana

From: Chicago

Beauty Routine: Baby wipe to the face, quick splash of water, bit of coconut oil for moisture. Layer of BB cream. Fill in my eyebrows.

East London Trends: There seem to be two different types of people here: ones that wear absolutely no makeup and others that wear ALL the makeup — drawn on eyebrows, thick foundation, and bright red lips.

Process: I went to the Benefit makeup counter since most of the makeup that I currently use is from them. I was particularly excited about my makeover because the nice lady behind the counter was wearing a LOT of makeup. Since I don’t normally wear much makeup, I was thrilled to get a heavy handed makeover. She walked me through everything she was using and why my particular face needed it. Obviously, her job is to sell me products, but I did feel that the things she brought up were relevant and I found the process quite educational. She recommended specific products for my type of skin/face, and even explained what kind of skin would use the other products. She gave me a very natural look that would take FIFTEEN different products, and cost me £320, or just under $500 US Dollars (!). So, in the end, I ended up with a bucket full of makeup on my face, but in a subtle way I guess?

I learned that I am doing a lot of things wrong with my small beauty routine. First of all, baby wipes and makeup remover wipes are bad for your skin because they contain alcohol. I assumed anything good for a baby’s butt was worthy of my face.

Outcome: Overall, I was surprised that I still looked semi-human despite the fact she used so products to achieve this natural-type look. There is no way I would ever do this to myself on a daily basis, but I did learn a lot along the way, and would recommend going and learning a bit. I still think I do my makeup better than a stranger, but I’m not sure if that’s because I like a specific thing or because I actually know what suits my features better.

My husband said it looked “fine” but the thing he noticed most was that my forehead looked like I got a fake tan on it.


Name: Whitney

From: Boston

Beauty Routine: Not much. My skin is dry, so I moisturize a lot, and I’m fair-skinned so I apply 60 SPF year-round. For make-up, if I’m going to a party or to the office, I usually just line my eyes, swipe on mascara, and some chapstick. In the before picture, you may note my favorite way of applying eye make-up which is just sticking with the lingering bit of mascara from the day before that neither time nor a smear of vaseline could remove.

Montreal Trends: Full brows and bold lips. This is the look Uma Thurman’s make-up artist recently tried (and I’ve often heard I look like her), so when I saw the pics everyone freaked out about, I empathized and filed that under “Do Not Attempt.”

Process: I chatted with the make-up artist at the mall about her career and training and I learned a lot. She told me about her courses, which involved getting to know face shapes and color palettes, and she also told me about “beauty” make-up for magazine shoots, and make-up for stage and film. I also found out that she and I are the same age (almost to the day) and she looked a good eight years younger than both of us, so I knew I was in good hands.

Outcome: I appreciate this make-up artist’s talent; I think she did make me look younger and fresher, but I just didn’t feel like myself. I like how I look without make-up (or as I mentioned, the gross smear of last night’s mascara). I felt very self-conscious under so much product, and my eyebrows actually felt heavy and cakey. My daughter didn’t seem to totally recognize me, either. It was fun to experiment, though, and I felt like quite the glamour puss even bundled up to go home in the driving snow.


Name: Tina

From: East Coast, United States

Beauty Routine: Depends on the day. Sunscreen is a must. After that, it might just be a swipe of Clinique chubby stick; it might be shimmery neutral shadow, liner/mascara, and some red lipstick. Some days, it might be that I can’t be bothered.

Auckland Trends: Anything goes, which seems like a cop out. Auckland is very multicultural. If I had to narrow a trend down, it’s clean skin, simple liner/mascara, and a bold, bright lip.

Process: I told the woman at the counter I was tired of what I was doing [nothing] and needed something new. I made mention that I didn’t need smoky eyes or anything, but she made the case it would be easy.

I didn’t expect a full face of makeup to be done, but it was. I didn’t expect my brows to be filled in, but they were. I was happy to find out how to fill in brows without looking like a clown (use brow pencil darker at the sides of the face, going lighter towards the middle).

Had my nose contoured. Didn’t mind it. Won’t be a part of my repertoire.

Outcome: Pleasantly surprised. Looking in the mirror, it looks like a full face of makeup. I told the woman I liked the eye makeup, but I wouldn’t wear it to an office, maybe just a night out. But the picture made the work look better than I had imagined, and the husband reacted positively.

I bought two pencils which cost me $95 NZD. Whut. I should have waited for duty free or a trip back to the United States.


Name: Rebecca

From: Vancouver

Beauty Routine: Concealer, eyebrow pencil, blush, cat eye eyeliner, mascara, and often a very bright lipstick.

Astana Trends: Kazakh women wear minimal to no makeup and going all out entails beige shadow, winged eyeliner that starts from the inner corner of the eye, and red lipstick. Even drugstore brand makeup is quite expensive and it’s all sold in specialty stores, so I think that discourages fun impulse buys.

Process: The mall where I buy my groceries (everything is in malls here) has a makeup stand that says, “free makeup,” meaning free makeovers. My makeup artist was a very sweet young economics student who said she’d give me something light for the evening. The makeup was light in look but heavy in feel from all the BB Cream and powder and the eyeliner was scary up close but from across a dinner table, it looked totally fine.

Outcome: The end result looked so similar to my own day-to-day makeup that none of my friends noticed anything different!

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