Vv Magazine’s Associate Editor Azra Hirji will be the first to tell you that, as a woman of colour working in a predominantly ‘white’ industry where having strong beauty game garners you some serious brownie points, it’s often difficult to find a little beauty inspiration that suits her skin tone. Azra decided to take her woes to the streets of Toronto for inspiration and answers, resulting in Vv Magazine’s Ethnic Beauty Guide — beauty advice and tips from some of the most influential (and beautiful) ethnic women in Toronto. From overcoming their beauty struggles to letting us in on their must-have makeup products, Ethnic Beauty Guide profiles a new face every week, with the woman behind the gorgeous features divulging her best-kept beauty secrets, tips, issues, and advice.
This week on Vv Magazine’s Ethnic Beauty Guide, we chat with the gorgeous Candice Chan, co-founder of CANDICE&ALISON, one of Canada’s premier event planning companies, about her biggest beauty struggles and how she’s grown to love her curves.
Name: Candice Chan
Ethnicity: Cantonese (Chinese), Hong Kong
Your biggest beauty struggle:
Being of Asian descent, our eyes have a unique almond shape, which I love, but they tend to be small. Likewise, our eyelids and eye creases are not especially visible and our lashes tend to point downwards, which do not make the eye look brighter. Growing up, I found it difficult to apply any of the eye makeup tips I was seeing on runways or in magazines, such as the cat eye or coloured shadows.
How have you’ve overcome said beauty struggle:
I remember in high school, when I was probably around 16 years old, watching renowned makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin on Oprah showing the audience how to do a glamourous smoky eye. He explained to first dust a metallic nude shadow all over the lid and then line the top and only the outer part of the lower lid with a soft black eyeliner. Then, use black eye shadow over the liner, blending the black eyeliner into the nude shadow. Finish off with a light shadow in the inner areas to brighten up the eyes.
I really felt that this would be a look that could work for me as the heavy black helped to define my eyes — really accentuating them and making them stand out. Other styles like coloured shadows or an elegant cat eye would disappear with my style of eyelid. I realized that because the fold hid so much, I was actually able to get away with a more dramatic look. Over the years, I perfected my eye makeup look and I realized that if this was the part that I’m most self-concious about, then I should not try different trends; rather, I should pick one that works for me and make it my signature look. When I do want to play with beauty trends, I’ll do that with lip colour or a different hairstyle. My eyes will always stay the same.
What is something you’ve grown to love about yourself:
I’ve always been very self-conscious of the lower half of my body. Like many women, I am “pear” shaped where I am a small size on top but a medium on the bottom. For a very long time, I would only wear A-line or flowy dresses and always with high heels to elongate my legs. I am very happy to see that, over the past few years, many influential women now embrace their curves and have even made it a coveted feature [cue Kim Kardashian]. Confidence and a natural style is what makes someone attractive, not their shape. It just takes a while to realize that.
If you were to have a daughter, what is one thing you’d teach her about beauty, the way she looks, etc.
Never mess with your skin! I wish I learned this a long time ago. There is a difference between applying makeup for fun or enhancement versus applying it because you’ve become reliant on it as your daily armour. Lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara are all ones that help enhance your features and are fun because they help to express a mood. However, concealer, foundation, and powder, cover the skin and can cause permanent damage in the long run. When my daughter is old enough to start experimenting with mak up, I would teach her to cherish her skin and avoid using any cover-ups for as long as possible. It will be a lot more liberating to be as least dependent on make up for as long as possible. As much as I do love makeup and beauty products, I wish I could just wake up and walk out the door au naturel.
A beauty tip you swear by:
Healthy skin is the key to looking good. Always remove your make up when you get home and moisturize often using refreshing toners, serums, and creams with SPF. I do a mask at least once a week. My favourites are the collagen facial sheet masks out of Korea or Japan.
A beauty product you can’t live without:
Black eyeliner! I use Maybelline Master Drama in Midnight Master. I’ve never found an eyeliner as black and as smooth. It’s great for blending when doing a smokey eye.
Favourite nude + red lipstick:
Nude: Chanel Glossimer #181
Red: I prefer a dark purple, MAC Heroine with Nightmoth lip pencil
Favourite beauty brand for women of colour:
MAC. I have been wearing the same seven items from them every day for the past 10 years and I feel that their colours suit my skin tone best.
I use: Mineralize Concealer in NC30, Studio Fix in C4, Mineralize Skin Finish Medium Deep Bronzer in lieu of blush, Mineralize Skin Finish Global Glow Highlighter, Honey Lust eyeshadow, Carbon eyeshadow, and Espresso eyeshadow for my brows. My beauty ritual is down to a science and is lighter for day-to-day, then heavier and more dramatic for when I have to be camera-ready at an event.
Is there a beauty product that you love but can’t get in Canada:
Shiseido Eyebrow Razor. You run it across your eyelid and it helps to get rid of the small peach fuzz that you can’t get with tweezers.
Also, my mother always brings me stocks of Collagen facial sheet masks from Korea and Japan. They really help to intensely firm and moisturize your skin.
Body hair removal preference:
One bonus for Asians is that we generally don’t have much body hair, so I can get away with just shaving as required.
Brows, how do you like ’em and how do you groom ‘em:
I like my eyebrows defined but not too narrow and overly groomed. I need to fill in and darken my eyebrows because mine are scarce. I use MAC Espresso eye shadow with an angled brush. I fill them in so they are darker, but I make sure the strokes aren’t too defined so they look more natural. I tweeze them on my own, and I also use the Shiseido Eyebrow Razor.
I’m happy that in the past few years a number of high-profile Asian models have finally entered the fashion scene. That, combined with the growth of social media platforms like Instagram, have really allowed us to have more access to their personal fashion and beauty styles. Fashion model Sui He is currently who I follow for makeup inspiration.
If you have any beauty tips, secrets, and makeup must-haves that you’d like to add to our Ethnic Beauty Guide, be sure to chime in on the comments section below or tweet us your thoughts on this week’s “Ethnic Beauty Guide: Candice Chan” at @ViewTheVibe.