Perfecting Your Base Workshop by Nikki Tiu (AskMeWhats)

I signed up for Nikki Tiu of‘s workshop entitled “Perfecting Your Base” last Saturday, July 25, 2016 at San Francisco Coffee Shop (SanCoCo). I’m no makeup pro, but I thought I knew more about creating a good makeup base than the average woman. To be honest, I signed up because I read her post on the first workshop and I drooled after the loot bag. I’m also a regular reader of her blog. I don’t usually comment, so technically I’m a lurker; but of course I’d grab at the chance to meet her.

But I couldn’t be more wrong! All these years, I’ve been using unnecessary products, unsuitable tools, and wrong application techniques. As it turns out, I’ve also been using too little of products I should be using, and putting on too much of products I don’t really need. Let me break it down for ya:

First Impressions

Workshop setup

Workshop setup

I got to the venue about 45 minutes early, but a handful of participants were already there. I was given a name tag, a loot bag with my name on it (a nice touch), a free drink coupon, and a cute thought bubble for my message to Nikki. Above is a photo of the setup I sat down to–a good-sized mirror, a pack from Nippon Esthetic, and a bottle of Biogenic Isopropyl Alcohol.

LootBagI got my snack on with some food Nikki brought, and got a hot mocha with my drink coupon. I snuck glances at the giveaways in front (I was seated farthest in the back corner, so it was a challenge). We started on time at 2:00 PM even though some participants weren’t there yet.

We were asked to go to the workshop with a bare face, and to bring some makeup we would like to use. But because I had errands to run in the morning with the husband and my daughter, I wore primer and loose powder–enough just to make me look presentable. So it was easy to wipe off the scant makeup I wore, and immediately apply what I learned from the workshop.

Workshop Proper

I learned a lot from the two and a half hour-workshop. I can’t possibly write everything I learned here, but I will share with you some crucial tips. Below are my key takeaways from the workshop. Grab a snack, ‘coz this is a lengthy (but trust me, so worth your time) read:

  • Remove your makeup properly. Use liquid makeup remover for face and lips, and cream makeup remover for the eyes. Facial wipes also remove makeup well, but remember to still wash your face with cleanser after use.
  • Take care of your skin! Yes, it was a makeup workshop, but proper skin care is a stepping stone to achieving the perfect base. It’s vital to use skin treatments only on areas with blemishes/flaws. Tone, exfoliate, hydrate, moisturize, eat right, avoid the sun–the usual.
  • Know your skin type. This is basic, but some of us don’t know or aren’t sure what skin type they have. From personal experience, this also changes from time to time, so always be on guard for any changes. I used to have combination skin but after my latest pregnancy, it shifted to all-over oily, but less intense than my usual t-zone oil. Weird.
  • Each of us has an ideal makeup base goal. Dewy, baby-looking, or high-coverage? It all depends on your skin type. Hint: if you have oily skin, don’t go for that Korean glow; you’ll look like a greaseball.
  • A great concealer trumps foundation. I was literally taken aback by this. I usually go for a natural look. Most days, I don’t really use concealer. But Nikki shares that she usually only puts on concealer and powder–no foundation! Inspired, I tried if that method would work for me. In the photo below, I used 0 Kuma concealer under my eyes and on my blemishes, and dusted my usual face powder over it (L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte in 300 Nude Beige). And that was that for my base! At first, I was worried I’d put on too much concealer, but Nikki told me it wasn’t really enough. Don’t worry about using too much concealer because it can always be fixed. Set with powder ONLY when you’re satisfied with the concealer because once it sets, you can’t go back on it with liquid or cream. True enough, I can still see my eyebags in the photo below. Still, this looks MUCH better than my usual makeup base!


  • Bronzers are underrated. Bronzers bring a healthy glow to the face. It can make unnaturally light foundation shades look all right on your skin. It can also be used as a natural-looking blush. DO NOT USE BRONZERS TO CONTOUR! I think bronzers are vastly underappreciated here because most locals want to have lighter skin.
  • Natural brush, synthetic brush, or sponge? Natural brushes pick up more product than synthetic ones. Dry sponges apply product while absorbing excess oil. Dab, dab, dab lightly with the sponge to blend evenly and not disturb the previous layer of makeup.


I present a gallery of everything I got at the workshop. Enjoy!

NOT IN PHOTO GALLERY: Solique Gel Polish – Love the idea that you can get a gel polish mani/pedi right at home without special lamps. Gave this to a friend on her birthday though, as I don’t use nail polish. 😀

My top picks of the lot would have to be:

  • Burt’s Bees set – skin care + lip glosses all in a cute clutch! Winner!
  • Sleek MakeUP Face Contour Kit (Medium) – I have their Face Form in Light but I think the Medium shades suit me better. Also love their packaging (black on black, super compact and well, sleek).
  • Biogenic Isopropyl Alcohol – I have a 6-week old son and a 3-year old daughter, so we always have to disinfect a lot of stuff. I can’t have too much alcohol (the disinfecting kind of course :P)!
  • K-Palette 0 Kuma Concealer (Type 2) – I’ve been planning on buying this. Good thing I didn’t! This one item is P799 (I think).
  • Archaic Era personalized perfume – love the scent! Will definitely look into this for gifts.
  • Cathy Doll and products – I want to try the new brand Cathy Doll, and try this all-natural local brand
AMW Workshop 2: Perfecting Your Base Group Photo - courtesy of Nikki Tiu's Instagram @askmewhats

AMW Workshop 2: Perfecting Your Base Group Photo – courtesy of Nikki Tiu’s Instagram @askmewhats

Whew! That was an overload of tips and products! Obviously I had a lot of fun with these ladies that Saturday afternoon. Visit Nikki’s blog at for more details on her workshops. Believe me, it’s so worth it! Let me know if you plan on attending her future workshops, I just might run into you there! Which makeup tip did you like most, and is there a product from the loot bag you’d like me to review? 😉

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