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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fiery Dragon picture tutorial

2012 is the year of the dragon, according to the lunar calendar. The dragon is a sign of immortality and strength, which is basically why many Chinese parents hope for dragon children.

A very popular example of a person who was born in the year of the dragon was Bruce Lee, which is why National Geographic is now doing a huge series on him, entitled Bruce Lee: Curse of the Dragon, or something like that if my memory serves me correct.

Now in ancient folklore all over the world, dragons are mythical creatures who either bring about chaos, or shower the world with prosperity. This all depends on the local legends and myths, but the dragon we're focusing on here is the Chinese dragon.

The Chinese dragon is always synonymous with the Chinese phoenix, as the dragon is the "yang" (male) and the phoenix is the "yin" (female). Ancient emperors and empresses of China were dubbed the "dragon" and the "phoenix" because both symbolized power, immortality and strength, whilst both being mythical creatures.

In this look, I tried incorporating the colors of both Western and Chinese dragons. The Chinese dragons I've seen from TV dramas like Gods of Honour and Journey to the West, where the dragons were gods of the sea, one for each north, south, east and west. I wanted to capture the aura that they gave the people, which was luck, fortune, power and strength, which is symbolized by colors like red and gold.

To represent the Western dragons, such as the ones seen in Eragon, and also loosely based on the loch ness monster, I wanted to capture the steely coldness of those dragons, while still keeping the air of mystery there.

The stuff I used:

  • shu uemura Creme Eyeshadow in Beige (primer/base)
  • 120 palette
  • Abon Creme Eyeshadow Palette
  • Elianto Stay-On Pencil Eyeliner in Black
  • Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen in Black
  • MaxFactor False Lash Effect mascara in Black
  • Generic brand demi outer lashes + 1000Hour Lash Glue in Clear
  • The Body Shop Oil Free Balancing Foundation in 05 (undereye concealer)
  • Maybelline Clear Smooth Aqua Gel Foundation in 12 Natural
  • Pigeon Compact Baby Powder in Beige

Lately I've got into a habit of doing the face after the eyes, as it's actually much neater. I didn't really use blusher, because in this tutorial I was rushing (kinda) and I just slapped on some foundation to even out the entire look. As for the brows, I also forgot all about them, but I'll talk about that in a bit, let's get in with the tutorial.


I like to start off with a moisturized face, i.e. do your entire skin regime before all the makeup. Prime the entire lid and outer half of the lower lash line with a primer (this helps with stronger color pigmentation, longer lasting shadow color and anti-creasing).

Using a large flat brush, take Shade 2 from the 120 palette (shimmery pale champagne) and highlight the brow bone.

Using a flat shadow brush, take Shade 73 (shimmery fiery gold) and apply it on the inner 2/3s of the eye by patting (patting reduces fallouts and helps the color go on stronger, gentle patting can also lengthen the lifespan of your brushes). This is also help highlight the inner corner.

Using the same brush, take Shade 66 (matte bright orange) and apply it on the outer 1/3 of the eye, making sure to blend the color nicely with the gold.

With a fluffy crease brush, take Shade 47 (shimmery dark red) and apply it over the orange, letting the orange just peek through. Remember to blend out the outer edges to avoid harsh lines. All the colors we've been using represents the Chinese dragon - fiery reds, oranges and golds represent the auspiciousness and the ultimate strength of the Chinese dragon.

Use an angled brush, take Shade 83 (shimmery teal green) and apply it on the outer half of the lower lash line.

With the same angled brush, take Shade 15 (shimmery dark forest green) and layer it over the teal green. The greens represent the wildernesses in which some Western dragons reside, and also the metallic greenish scales on some dragons.

Line the upper and lower waterline, as well as the upper lashline with black pencil liner or black shadow.

Line the upper lashline with black liquid or gel liner. Keep the line simple - extend the line out only slightly, but if you want to wing it, try to keep it subtle. Remember to fill in the flesh-colored areas with your liquid or pencil liner. Make sure no skin peeks through at the upper lashline.

Curl your lashes and apply black mascara of your choice. I opted for volumizing mascara.

Of course, false lashes are optional. Here I used my generic strip lashes that I cut into demi lashes, and attached them using 1000Hour Clear Lash Glue and a pair of tweezers. For the brows, I usually would use a gel liner brush, apply Shade 7 on the entire brow, then later Shade 8 onto the arch and the outer point of the brow, then soften and blend it out with a spoolie brush.

A last minute decision made me apply some shimmery cream purple eyeshadow to the outer corners with a gel liner brush to form double wings, then I set the cream shadow with Shade 30 (matte bluish purple). I also layered some Shade 60 (dark shimmery bronze) on the gold. The purple represents royalty and the power of the dragon, while also representing the mystical powers of them. The bronze represents armor, which are the hard, impenetrable skin and scales of the dragon.

Now you apply your concealer, foundation, and powder. The reason why I left this for last is because when you're using really dark and/or shimmery powder shadows, fallout is very common. Leaving the face make-up for last will help take care of that problem, because you can just cleanup the fallout with some facial wipes or make-up remover, or even just some moisturizer, even.

This look (with different facial expressions and photo editing) can be:

Sweet and pretty


Or sultry and sexy.

For CNY I didn't put in the purple wings, but just for the added sultriness, I just felt the urge of slapping it on. I didn't pair this eye make-up with any particular lip color, but I think a sheer pink or really sheer red stick or gloss would work nicely. I just applied some Kiehl's Tinted Lip Balm in Hue 30G.

Yes, I realize the my pores are huge and my face looks basically bloated. I can't say anything about my skin condition, but that, fortunately or unfortunately, is my face shape.

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