Reader Question (and my Biggest Makeup Secret): Makeup for Hot Climates and Air-Conditioned Indoors

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Now normally I don't import questions from my Formspring page onto my blog, but I thought this was a good question faced by a lot of readers, so I thought it deserved some cross-posting love! Also, I realized after I responded on Formspring that I still had a few things to add to the question, so I thought I'd add them here.

Just wanted to ask, what make up products do your normally use on a working day? (or which products do you rotate around with) I'm in a perpetual dilemma between the moisture sucking air-con and humid sunny Singapore weather:(

Hi there, first off, I totally sympathize, as you're in the exact situation as me! Often we Singaporeans spend our days in air-conditioned offices, but still have to travel quite a bit in humid, sunny weather! It does make it trickier to find skincare and makeup products!

First off, I'll tackle the bit about humid sunny weather. Oil control is important over here, especially if you have oily skin. My favourite product for this is plain ol' silica powder spheres. It's just generic cosmetic grade silica powder, and it helps in oil control very well. The best thing about this is that it’s cheap and easily available – I got mine from Coastal Scents (you can probably get it from other cosmetics etailers and wholesalers as well), and a big bag cost me a few USD. If not, you can also get MUFE Microfinish HD Powder, since its just silica spheres as well, except that you'd be paying a lot more for a tinier amount (essentially you're paying retail price for a wholesale product). There are a few ways to wear this - some like to wear it as a finishing powder over makeup, and some (like me) mix it with a transparent powder for setting your makeup. I personally find it easier to use if I mix it with another powder, and buff in well. You'll have to play around a little to find out what works for you, application-wise, if you try this out.

I can't post pictures on my Formspring page, so I thought it would be cute if I interjected my Formspring response with a photo to show you just how much silica powder you can get in a bag. The last time I ordered silica powder spheres from Coastal Scents, I got 1 oz of powder, and it came in a huge bag! I had no idea that 1 oz of powder was THAT much! (The photo below is mine, but it came from my pre-blogging days so it isn't watermarked.) Best part was, I had to travel on an international flight soon, and I was worried that a customs official might open the bag and think I was trading crack or something, LOL. Fortunately all turned out well, and I brought my bag of powder back safely across continents.

So how long will that huge bag of powder last you? Well, it's been 3 years since I bought that bag of powder, and with daily use (and I do mean every single day - it's now a staple I can't do without), I've only used half of that bag. So there you go. That's my biggest makeup secret, and honestly the one thing that I think really helped my makeup stay on all day instead of melting off. It's not really a "secret" since silica powder has been around for awhile, but for me, it's really been a lifesaver. Before the advent of silica powder I had to touch up my makeup after lunch everyday, and at the end of the day. Now, I just put on my makeup once in the morning, and it lasts pretty much the way I did it until at night. It may not be for everyone, but for me it has worked wonders. But anyway. The fact I got that huge bag for like US$5 should make you enraged that MUFE is charging us so much more for so little powder...

Okay. But enough digressing. Back to the Formspring question.

Secondly, I still wear moisturizer. I know it sounds odd in Singapore, but just because your skin is sweating doesn't mean it's not dry, especially if you spend long hours indoors with air-con. So I still wear moisturizer everyday

My daily working routine consists of:
1. Pimple cream (cause you know, I still have spots although I'm working!)
2. Moisturizer (I use something light, The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream and Biotherm’s Aquasource Moisturizer for Oily Skin)
3. Sunscreen (I use Avene Very High Protection Spray with SPF 50+) (you guys will probably have read my Sunscreen Tips post)
4. Concealer ONLY where I need it (not too picky if it's just under eye, I use Laura Mercier, MAC or Kevyn Aucoin, but if I have spots I usually use Prescriptives or a brand that won't aggravate my skin further)
5. My finishing powder (silica powder + random loose face powder that is transluscent).

That's my "base" - after that I go on to apply blusher, lipgloss, eyeshadow etc if I feel like it. I don't know if this routine will work for you, but for me it works, because although the moisturizer and sunscreen can feel like a lot, once I add my finishing/silica powder it mattifies the skin while still feeling natural. Maybe you'll need to play around with a few products to see what works for you. I wish you good luck!


  1. I will have to try silica powder! great tip! Thanks!

  2. Informative. Where can I buy silica powder? How much will it cost me? I want to give this a try.

    1. @Reena: I got mine from Coastal Scents, but you can probably get them from any cosmetics wholesaler. When I bought mine, 1 oz cost me around ~$5 and some shipping. Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks for the details. Have a great day!

  3. I have to try this! Are there side effects? Like pimple breakouts? Can I also request for the link of this item on coastal scents? Thanks much!

    1. @Amakura Reika: It didn't have any side effects on me. Since the powder is all silicones, it should be fine unless you are sensitive to silicones. You can google, but the link is this:

  4. I know this is an old post; I'm jumping around from post to post! lol But I just wanted to add that ELF has a silica powder. I do not know if ELF is available in Singapore (or any other Asian country for that matter). But if it is, there is another option for $6 USD, I think? I don't use it, but I know many US women are like, "Hey why pay MUFE prices when ELF sells the exact same thing for so much less!?!"

  5. Hi, I am a avid fan of your blog! So many good tips (especially the sunscreen) and I love Kiehl's so much. But I do agree that Kiehl's a bit expensive especially for sunscreen. Can I ask for favor to review the Hada Labo UV Moist Emulsion SPF 50+ PA+++? Thanks a lot and keep up the good and informative reviews! :)


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