Mall Makeovers: One Bagel, Please?

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: Frances Eliza

From: New Zealand

Beauty Routine: I don’t usually wear makeup at all, due to a combination of laziness and sporadic concern for animal testing. About once a year I spend $200 at MAC, then I devote the evening to failing at YouTube tutorials until my face hurts from scrubbing off wonky eyeliner and I shove it all in a drawer and block it out. So I moisturize and wear a lot of sunscreen, and that’s pretty much it.

Korean Trends: The reigning look in Korea right now is baby doll- porcelain skin with pink cheeks, small pink lips, and wide, bright eyes. The eyes are a very big deal. I teach high schoolers, and a lot of my students wear circle lenses to make their irises bigger and eyelid tape to create a crease. The tape doesn’t work very well and so sometimes their eyelids pop back into shape when you’re talking to them, which is a bit disconcerting.

I told my students about this project and they said to ask the makeup counter for ‘bagel’ — a portmanteau for ‘glamorous baby’. The name reminds me of that one episode of 30 Rock, which I love, so I decided to take their advice.

Process: The makeup artist didn’t speak much English and seemed a bit wary of me until I asked for ‘bagel’, at which point she was delighted. She spent most of the time working on my eyes- first, getting rid of my under eye shadows with several different concealers, illuminators and powders. She had a bit of trouble with my eyelids — I have hooded eyes, and I could tell she was getting annoyed that the sparkly pink eyeshadow kept rubbing off on my brow bone. She used a pink eyeshadow cream stick thing under my eyes, which instantly made them look bigger, and I really liked that. I ended up buying the pink stick thing. I was a bit surprised when she put black eyeliner on the bottom of my eyes since I never really see Korean girls wearing that.

When she was finished she put her hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said, “Now you are a beautiful Korean girl.” I felt like I was receiving a knighthood.

Outcome: I was a bit shocked when I saw my face and my immediate reaction was GET IT OFF. However, I think that’s just because I’m not used to seeing myself in makeup. After lunch when the Barbie pink lipstick had worn off I actually really liked it.

My students loved it. They said I need to do my makeup every day, and told me that I looked like Keira Knightley and also a princess. They may have just been trying to avoid a vocab test (it worked).

My boyfriend’s response was that he liked the eyes and it made me look “less sleepy and disapproving”. However, he also thought there wasn’t enough shading, ‘It looks like your face it is bit… fatter… NOT FATTER. NOT FAT. Flatter. Like, two dimensional.”

He did agree that I looked like a glamorous baby who was ready to go to a party with other glamorous babies.


Name: Eve

From: Brighton, UK

Beauty routine: My ‘routine’ is minimal – a bit of concealer, a bit of eyeliner and mascara, sometimes blusher if I’m feeling fancy. The average temperature in Phnom Penh right now is 37 degrees Celsius, so my main aim is not looking red and sweaty. Also, I never wear SPF, which is terrible.

Trends in Cambodia: The bigger the better. Foundation, fake eyelashes, contouring. Skin bleaching is definitely a thing: in most saunas you will find a group of young Khmer women rubbing bleach into their (screaming) open pores. There’s a trend among some women of having huge dark brows, whiter-than-white face powder and orange lipstick. Wearing lots of makeup is still somewhat frowned upon by some conservative factions of Cambodian society; ‘nice’ Khmer girls go almost makeup free.

Process: I went to one of the more Westernized malls in Phnom Penh, so I thought they might go easy on me. My makeup artist had really good makeup, which also reassured me.

She began by removing my makeup with a dry tissue. “Your face has moisture already”, she explained, which obviously means my usual beauty routine was failing at its one, single task. There was no mirror anywhere and she didn’t speak much English, so I wasn’t really sure what was going on during much of the process. I had to rely on the facial expressions my friend that I had dragged along to take pictures, who looked uncomfortable throughout.

She applied some foundation first, then lots of liquid eyeliner. Then she put on some very pink eyeshadow, which reminded me of my last makeover in the early ’00s, where my friend’s older sister put blue eyeshadow up to my eyebrows until I begged her to stop. She followed up with some brown eyeshadow towards the outer edges of my eyelid, and some black eyeshadow beneath my eyes. Next, she curled my lashes with a curler, which seemed strange as she hadn’t taken off the mascara I was already wearing – I was kind of scared that my eyelashes would all snap off. After a few swoops of contouring darker foundation, blusher and some Barbie pink lipgloss I was good to go.

Outcome: “You look like you’ve been airbrushed,” said my friend. “The lipgloss is intense, but you look pretty.” When I finally saw myself, I felt a lot less positive about it– my skin looked all good, but the eyeshadow and lipgloss looked a bit too clownish for my taste. Walking outside, I asked a moto driver what he thought, pointing at my face and enthusiastically saying, “Sa’at ?!” Pretty? “Sa….at?” he replied, uncertainly. I had an intense feeling of relief when the photos were done and I scrubbed off the lipgloss.

My Western friends were pragmatic (“it could have been worse”), while three of my young Khmer friends went absolutely apeshit. “I didn’t recognize you!” they said, “Before, you only looked like Taylor Swift in your Facebook profile pictures! Now you look like Taylor Swift in real life!” I don’t, and never have, resembled Taylor Swift, but it was nice to hear anyway.

Above photos by Jeremiah Overman.


Name: Connie

From: California

Beauty Routine: I’m a native Northern Californian and work in a pretty conservative field, banking, so I usually wear a lot of makeup to make it look like I am not wearing makeup. I start by slapping on some Mountain Ocean Coconut moisturizer (it’s amazing) if I have some left from my last trip to the States. I am befreckled so I use a BB cream for light coverage then a nude eyeshadow, black eyeliner, loads of mascara and I top it off with filling in my brows with Anastasia Brow Cream, which is the best brow product I have ever tried.

Stockholm Trends: Strong filled in or painted on brows is a huge trend in Stockholm. You can get your brows and your eyelashes dyed here at nearly all salons and most counters and as such a large segment of the population has light hair and not very visible brows it’s very popular. Make up in general as well as clothing tends to be plain and understated. Stockholm is very much about conforming, so you see loads of similar black and grey on the ladies. I think it’s incredibly boring — all black and grey and four hours of daylight in the middle of winter. Leyla, who did my makeover, says that spring is all about color and that now it seems that Swedish women are daring to try a lot more brightly colored makeup. Red lips are especially hot and have been in the recent past but now brightly colored shadows are starting to sell.

Process: After unsuccessfully trying to get my input on what I’d like for a makeover (“Give me the usual,” I said) Leyla decided on a look from Face Stockholm’s 2015 spring campaign: bright purple eyeshadow to bring out the green in my hazel eyes and an equally bright red lip. My first reaction was that she had lost her damn mind, but I went with it.

She applied a primer for their BB cream which I would never have thought to do myself, then BB cream, a base for the eyeshadow and then eyeshadow. That base must have really worked because it still looked fresh at
1 a.m .when I washed it off. As a lifelong eyeliner junky I was a little disappointed when she said I looked better without it and that leaving it off opens my eyes. She did use a liquid cream eyeliner on the inside of my eye and lined the inner top waterline with black to make my eyelashes look fuller and darker. She filled in my brows with a pencil and did some light conturing with bronzer. Conturing is also a big trend at the moment but the majority of girls that have visible conturing have gone about it all wrong and look bizarre in daylight. I suppose it’s like plastic surgery; if it’s done right you don’t know that you’re seeing it.

Outcome: In the end I had a look that I really liked and I would possibly wear to a party, but for everyday I think I would choose either lips or eyeshadow. I bought the shadow and think I could pull it off for the office. I work a little extra at a bar for pocket money, it is veeerrryyy expensive here, and when I went in for my shift one of the cooks looked at me with a surprised expression. I explained that I had a new makeover for spring and he said he could tell because I ‘looked like a crocus’ which I decided to take as a compliment.


Name: Elaine

From: The UK

Beauty Routine: Day-to-day I don’t wear any makeup, just a matte moisturizer because I’ve got acne, it’s far too hot for makeup in the summer and I’m too lazy to get up earlier before work. I do wear some foundation, blusher and mascara if I’m going to the pub or to see friends in the evening, though.

Canary Island Trends: Fuerteventura is a tourist destination for relaxed family holidays — mostly English, German, Italian and French — and also for surfers, none of whom tend to wear a lot of makeup. However the Spanish speakers (who are mostly native Spanish or from South and Central America) tend to be well turned out with perfectly made up faces, if a little overdone at times.

Process: The lady who did my face was really nice; we ended up discussing scars on faces and where they came from (mine is from hitting myself in the face with a surfboard!). As I don’t wear a lot of makeup I think she was slightly unsure what I wanted so when I told her that I was going to a party tonight we decided to make my make-up a bit more exciting than normal daywear. I also think she matched my eyes to my top.

Outcome: I’m a bit browner now than I was earlier (you can compare the bottom of my neck with my face) but she blended it in well and I was really impressed with how well the CC cream covered up my acne, so much so that I bought some. At home I’ve realized that my eyes look a bit crazy and my face shape has changed slightly because she was trying to balance out my small mouth and large eyes (I didn’t realize this was a problem). I wouldn’t wear this look normally but I did learn how to cover my acne better, so that was helpful.


Name: Katie

From: New Zealand

Beauty Routine: I go for the “effortless” look: tinted moisturizer, concealer, filled in brows, bit of eyeshadow, mascara, blush and usually lip balm.

Frankfurt Trends: Every girl my age seems to be excellent with eyeliner — there’s a lot of simple cat eye liner going on, paired with a bright lip & a lot of blush.

Process: I headed to the Urban Decay counter as it’s not easily accessible in New Zealand, so is a novelty for me. The girl who did my makeup asked me to keep talking to her because she loves my accent. Apparently, I sounded like a hobbit to her. (Is this a compliment?! I’m still deciding…) She used a lot of products I’ve heard about on YouTube, such as the Naked foundation (which I’m now obsessed with!) and was really good with talking me through which brush she was using for what & things like that. She also taught me a tip for filling my brows in: that you have to hold your brush at different angles for different parts of the brow. Seems really obvious, but really made sense when she said it and is a tip I’ll be using from now on. Other than that, she told me she was going to make me look like Taylor Swift – who is her idol.

Outcome: I think she did an excellent job. She filled in my brows better than I ever could. She used a lip liner on me and I now want the same lip color everyday. She also used brown eyeliner, which is new to me, but she said black is too dark for my skin tone. I totally agree with her now, brown looks more natural & simple than stark black eyeliner. All in all, I love this look!

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