Don't lie. You didn't just "wake up like this", flawless AF with perfect hair and perfect skin and perfect makeup. Raise your hand if it takes you I dunno, longer than 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. 🙋 Guiltyyy. Getting ready in the comfort of your own home with clean water and all of your tools is one thing, but getting ready with a limited supply of products and fast enough to zip out the door to take on the day's adventures in a new country while on vacation is a whole other can of worms. No one likes to cake on makeup only for it to melt off as soon as you step out of the air conditioned room. Don't get me wrong, Makeup Forever, you've got a wicked setting spray, but it's not magic. It doesn't keep your face on after a 2 hour hike up an active volcano in 40°C heat or after you've been snorkelling with tortoises. And no one wants to waste precious sun time in the bathroom, putting on the usual routine. You want it done quick and dirty. Maybe not so much dirty, but you catch ma drift? So here are my not-so-secret secrets on how to continue being a basic bish even while on a 3 month vacation in Southeast Asia.
My girl Van at ALT Nails in Ottawa sees me once every 3 weeks to throw on some fresh acrylic claws. But in a span of 3 months, there's no way I'm able to maintain my perfect mani, especially not without the one and only Van. She does such a prime job that not only do I swear by her, but so does my bf’s mom (to my surprise, I recently found out my mama-in-law has been a long time client of Van’s too - small world)! Basically, Van is the bee’s knees.
So I decided to take off my claws and settle for regular length nails and regular nail polish - after all, long glamorous nails weren’t made for volcano hikes and jungle treks, amirite? Now I have stubby man fingers, but at least I’m ready to take on the adventures (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
I have a confession. I have greys. I don't like people knowing buuut I'm announcing it to the world here just because I love you guys THAT much and I wanna help some sistas out. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself old per say, but I often freak out when I remind myself that I'm nearing 30 (AHHH!). I'm 28 now but I started getting them 2 years ago. They say stress causes 99% of diseases (or at least that's what my Lululemon bag says) and if grey hairs count as a disease, then YAP, the grey hairs started rolling in right on queue. Life stresses reaching an all time high = the beginning of the greys. Unless you're the retired lawyer from Robin Sharma's "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" and managed to de-stress in The Himalayas so much that your greys disappeared, you may need to bring some colour with you on a long haul trip to help un-grey those roots. Although planning to visit salons while you’re away is a totally doable thing too.
Savanna at Jet Black Hair Studio in Ottawa is the chicest of the chic and she knows what's up. I started seeing her when I transitioned away from henna (which I originally started to do because I was sensitive to Wella's regular hair dyes) about a year ago. I don't get that stinging, scalp-on-fire feeling anymore and that's because she's boss. She uses some sort of magic Wella hair dye for sensitive skin and it works wonders. No more greys and no allergic reaction - woo! I told Savanna I was heading out for a long trip and since I see her once a month, I wasn't about to go 3 months without a game plan. Her words of wisdom: "Don't put store bought shit in your hair. I'll get you stuff". And so she did.
I’m not one of those uber-skilled girls that can use their flat iron for everything. I use my straightener to straighten my hair and my curling iron to curl it, but since I'm backpacking through Asia for 3 months, I didn't want to bring aaall my appliances. So I decided to become one of those girls - went out and bought a flat iron with a nice curved edge (like my hairdresser suggested) and practiced curling with it for 2 weeks. And I did it! … HAHA JUST KIDDING. I returned it because I definitely did NOT succeed. I struggled and struggled until I gave up. So instead, I went out and got a dual-voltage curling iron and decided to ditch the flat iron while I’m away. We’ll see how that goes.
Microblading by Erica Fung. Best thing since sliced bread.
She’s a wiz when it comes to pasting on some permanent brows. She’s got an eye for shape and is a master in her trade. Microblading isn’t as permanent as a tattoo, but it typically lasts between 1-2 years depending on your skin type, or if you tan regularly, or exfoliate etc. But I haven’t had to draw on my full brows since she got her hands on ‘em and I legit “wake up like this” every morning with my brows as perfect as can be.
Ps. For all my non-Ottawa readers, she sees clients in Toronto, Vancouver, NYC, and LA too!
Although I stopped getting eyelash extensions a while ago, it's become all the rage again and every second girl I see walkin’ down the street is rockin’ what @moodies calls “cow lashes” (cows apparently have long, thick lashes).
Anyway, since I was blessed with typical Asian eyelashes - the short, thin, sparse, shoot-straight-down kind, I debated on starting up with lash extensions again. But seeing as I used to get them filled every month, it’s not something I wanted to spend time or money on while we’re gone. So I decided against them and am sticking to the good old fashioned eyelash curler and mascara. And for special occasions, you can also pack a few pairs of fakes.
Shaving? What’s shaving? Do you mean laser?
K actually though, laser hair removal has saved me. It’s painful AF, especially when you’re getting your hoo-ha zapped by burning lasers, and sure, it costs about the same as a small house (jk sort of), but it’s SO worth it. No more ingrown hairs, no more razors, no more shaving, no more waxing, no more maintenance, and helloooo smooth-as-baby-bottom skin.
Oh and also - I’ve tried weak ass lasers before too, those cheap ones that cost less than half the price of the real clinics? Stay away. They’re cheap for a reason. You want the painful ones, it means it’s strong and it’s gonna get the job done right the first time. It’ll save you money in the long run too because you’ll need fewer sessions with a stronger laser.
Advanced Laser Clinic has some all powerful lasers and they’re the most painful. Which means they’re also the best. No pain, no gain! So to all my Ottawa babes, go see my girl Roxanne - she’ll show you how it’s done and you’ll become as obsessed as I am with ALC and their laser hair removal. LIFE. CHANGING. Lemme tell ya.
*Note: If you’re a real wuss, you can get some numbing creams to put on like a half hour before. But just note that you’ll also have to saran wrap the area and seal the numbing cream in. So if you’re getting your vajay lasered, you’ll be wearing a saran wrap diaper before your appointment - just know that!
You're not going to need your entire makeup bag. Trust. Grab some concealer, some finishing powder and some mascara, that's honestly all you'll need. I mean, you can bring the whole kit if you wanna get dolled up for those fancy evenings in Singapore’s casinos, but it’s not going to be something you’ll need in your day to day.
Oh and I guess you’ll also need brow powder or a brow pencil or whatever you use, if you haven’t seen Erica yet. But girl, you’re missing out.