SINGAPORE - If there are two things we've learnt about Kevin Chou, it is 1. the "lao shi" loathes liner, and; 2. he thinks of faces in terms of food.
Not in a Hannibal Lecter way, of course, and not all eyeliners. The Taiwanese makeup maestro, who was in Singapore for Etude House's Pink Play Party along with an A-team of K-Pop performers - the beautiful boys of SHINee and sultry Sulli from f(x) - tells herworldPLUS that thick eyeliner is terribly aging for Asian eyes with smaller eyelid folds.
"Chunky liner will inevitably smudge onto your narrow crease. I also find that from a distance, the dark tracing around your lids can make your eyes look mean-spirited," explains Kevin.
The celebrity grooming guru, whose deft fingers have gilded the faces of superstars like Zhang Ziyi and Maggie Q, was clearly in his element during our interview, personally swiping swatches of an Etude House lip stain on our hands to demonstrate its non-sticky finish.
Kevin was also strikingly and deliciously evocative, dispensing makeup tips with metaphors so vivid, they made us pang for pudding.
To wit, here is Kevin's description of the colours we should try this season: "Go for chocolate shadow! Or pretty up your puckers with a milky pink shade - think strawberry liqueur swirled into clotted cream." Talk about guilt-free dessert on our lips!
Here are some other beauty bon mots he shared with us. Enjoy:
K-Pop eyebrows are good for fat faces
Kevin approves of the bushy brow trend in South Korea, especially for square-jawed ladies: "I think women with larger, boxy faces suit this trend very well - the thicker brows direct attention towards your features and away from the width of your jaw."
For the uninitiated, he recommends growing your brows out, then going to an eyebrow specialist to ask them to give you a blunt, slightly tapered shape. Maintain your K-Pop brows by filling them in with a good eyebrow pencil and setting powder.
Don't be "cut" like a bodybuilder
Drink up, Kevin says. "I can always tell when someone hasn't been drinking enough - their faces begin to sink in." In other words, they begin to resemble the way bodybuilders look when they limit their liquid intake before a competition.
Some women think they can circumvent this by smothering their skin with gobs of moisturiser, but Kevin says we have to quench our thirst from within: "Downing lots of fluids is incredibly important, especially when you're in a confined dry space like an office cubicle."
Being adequately hydrated keeps your skin plump and pliable. A full face used to be framed in terms of unflattering terms like "moonface", but Kevin says that it is a face's fullness which lends it its youth.
Full coverage foundation is so 90s. Use specific formulas for specific parts of your face
Kevin recommends selectively blending in BB cream on areas you need extra help with, or - if you have 10/10 skin - just an all-over tinted moisturiser. He is particularly fond of Etude House's latest hero product, the Precious Mineral Any Cushion: "The SPF50+/PA+++ formulation doubles up as a heavy-duty sunscreen, while finely milled pearl minerals impart a really sexy sheen."
If you have combination skin, Kevin says you should use a mattifying compact on your oilier areas and jawline, but dab on a luminising lotion on the highest point of your cheeks for a three-dimensional look. The aim is to achieve a subtle contouring effect with none of the drag queen excess.
Matte is bad for Instagram
Matte-finish makeup doesn't photograph well - it makes the planes of your face appear flat and dull. Kevin says he finds that a dewy look shows up better in cell phone shots, because the light-reflecting micro-particles in most of these formulations act like a lens filter. "I recommend Etude House's Any Cushion, which lends light to your face without the use of garish, physically noticeable bits of glitter in other BB creams," Kevin says.
Eye don't like liner
Kevin recommends that you be conservative in applying eyeliner: "Stick with a slender winged tip if you absolutely insist, but an overly smoky cat eye isn't in vogue now." He denies our joking allegation that he has an anti-eyeliner agenda, saying: "Look, it seems like I hate liner, but I prefer it applied very sparingly, in a thin line."
Instead, play up your lashes, but check and check again to make sure they aren't clumpy. For Asian women with smaller eye creases, Kevin says that mascara is more important than liner, and much easier to apply correctly. Don't be afraid to use your wand on both your upper and lower lashes: "Luxuriously long lashes on single-lidded girls always remind me of almond-shaped flowers with many petals - very beautiful."
Your skin is quite literally the foundation of any look
Kevin says that a flawless complexion is the ultimate makeup trick: "Once you've nailed a smooth canvas, there's absolutely no need for theatrical warpaint." He recommends lots of pre-makeup prep in the form of hydrating serums and masks.
The same goes for lips: "Conditioning is key. Use a sugar scrub regularly, so you have plump puckers you can play up with just a swipe of clear balm." (Smith's Rosebud Salve is Kevin's go-to brand for lip balm.) If you must use lip colour, Kevin adds that he is particularly fond of watery-type lippies: "Etude House has an excellent range of tints that make your lips look healthy without being too glossy."
He singles out the dual-purpose Fresh Cherry Tint from Etude House, "which is so lovely and light on both your lips and cheeks." For a healthy schoolgirl flush, swipe across your cheeks using the doe-foot applicator, then buff in gently with warm fingertips.
Finally, love thyself - but only if you have good skin
Kevin says that the condition of your skin is of the essence. A clear complexion is really all you need - the rest of your perceived flaws, like small eyes, can be truly beautiful if you project a confident aura.
"I find that girls are their worst enemies, always saying things like, my face is so big, my nose is so flat, my lips are so thick…What you loathe about yourself is frequently the envy of others."
For more information on the location of Etude House boutiques, visit www.etude.sg. You can follow the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/etude.sing and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/etudeblog.
You can follow Kevin Chou on his website at www.wretch.cc/blog/kevinzhou, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Mr.Kevin.0907, on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/kevinzhoutw and on Weibo at www.weibo.com/kevinchouwb.