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Monsoon makeup


As any woman in Cambodia at this time of year knows, looking good in tropical heat is no easy task. The challenges are manifold: within an hour of application, any make-up is sluiced from my face by the sweat produced by simple exertions such as sipping a glass of water; the dust and pollution in the city’s air often causes unsightly skin blemishes; the jet engine wind blowing through the streets turns my tresses into a bird’s nest of tangles within a short moto ride.

Luckily, as the full force of the rainy season approaches, Brooke Scobie from the Dollhouse salon on Street 322, was on hand this week with a bulging box of brushes and plenty of tips for all of us on looking cool in hot and humid Cambodia. As she gave me my monsoon make-over I kept careful notes.


  • DO wash you face as much as possible with cold water. As your pores open up to help you cool down, dust and dirt has plenty of opportunity to clog them up and cause spots and blemishes.
  • DON’T use soap to wash your face more than twice a day, too much can cause irritation


  • DON’T use a heavy foundation. It won’t stay in place and will actually block your pores and make you sweat more.
  • DO use a tinted moisturiser or mix your regular foundation with normal moisturiser for light coverage. Use some concealer to disguise any blemishes.
  • DO use a powder to seal your foundation in place.
  • DON’T repeatedly apply powder throughout the day; it will become caked and very visible.
  • DO use blotting papers to remove excess sweat and sebum. If you don’t have any in your handbag, separate the two sheets of a tissue and use one to dab your t-zone.


  • DO pay attention to your eyebrows. In humid climates, when you can’t wear much eye make-up, framing your face with a well defined brow is essential. Use a waxy eyebrow pencil and an eyebrow brush to shape yours.
  • DON’T moisturise your eyelids. They’re one of the oiliest parts of your body and if they’re too greasy, make-up won’t stay put.
  • DO prime your eyelids with a neutral, matt eye shadow.
  • DO seal your eyeliner with black eye shadow to avoid panda eyes.


  • DO use a little bronzer to contour your face.
  • DON’T overdo it! Too much bronzer as well as a natural tropical sheen can be too much.


  • DO use a lip balm with protective SPF.
  • DON’T use too much lip gloss. It can melt on to your chin and risks leaving you looking like you’re dribbling.


  • DO use a light spritz of hairspray to fix your finished make-up in place, particularly if you’re heading for a big night out and plenty of dancing.
  • DO stick to neutral shades. As brights fade, they can end up looking blotchy on your skin, natural tones blend more easily.
  • DON’T use waterproof mascara unless you really need too. It’s difficult to remove and can damage your eyelashes.
  • DON’T dip your brushes in your make-up pots. Lots of bugs thrive in hot, wet places. Use the end of your brush to scoop up enough product and use the back of your hand as a palate before you apply.


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