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Winnie Wong, aka Penelope Pop, On Starting Your Own Beauty Routine: 'Don't fall for the hype'

'It helps to really understand the type of skin you have, so you'll buy products that will work for YOU.'
PHOTO: Charisma Lico via Instagram/penelopepopart

Winnie Wong, popularly known as Penelope Pop on YouTube, is known for her ~basic but elevated~ lifestyle: She curates her stuff—from clothes to beauty products—to avoid unnecessary waste. This way, she gets to use up everything before she buys new items.

We've always been curious about how she keeps her hair, skincare, and makeup routines streamlined, so we spoke with her to find out. Keep scrolling to read everything we learned from our chat with Winnie!

Eds' Note: If you have questions for Winnie, you can ask them IRL! Catch her at Cosmopolitan BEAUTYCON Day 2. On September 1, Winnie will be there to give a talk on how one can simplify their beauty routine.

Before we dive into your current routine, what was your makeup regimen like when you were younger? How would you compare it to your present-day habits?

Winnie: My makeup routine has [actually] gotten a lot more complicated now! I've learned more [tricks] along the way. Things I didn't used to have in my routine include primer, setting spray, multiple eye brushes, and adding eyeshadow [under my waterline] to open up the eyes. 

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I remember wearing makeup for dance recitals—I used my mom's makeup. My mom made my face look super white because the foundation obviously didn’t match my skin tone. I wish [there were] YouTube videos back then, I would have avoided a lot of really bad makeup experiences, haha!

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Through the years, what beauty lessons have you learned?

Winnie: For makeup, here are things I've learned:

  • Using a primer and setting spray really makes your makeup stay on longer.
  • Putting on eyeshadow isn't just [about] using one color—a nice base and a complementary medium shade can define your eyelids. Blending is key, so investing in a nice crease brush will really help.
  • Not all eyeshadows are good. If it doesn't apply smoothly onto your eyelids and if it creates a patchy finish, don't buy it!
  • When picking lipstick colors, always remember: Just because it looks nice on someone doesn't mean it will look nice on you. It's best if you try it first.

For skincare:

  • Make sure you do the routine every day! Be consistent or it won't work.
  • Skincare is meant to maintain and slightly improve the complexion. It’s not supposed to change you.
  • Make sure you do your research and know what is best for your skin.
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Tell us about your current skincare and hair care routines.

Winnie: I used Drunk Elephant skincare for a year and loved all their products! Now that I just got back from the States and finished [them all], I wanted to try a new routine. Here are the items I'm currently using:

  • Micellar water: Koh Gen Doh Spa Water Cleanser
  • Face Wash: Morning - Dr. Sturm Foaming Face Cleanser; Night - Youth The People Kale Cleanser
  • Toner: Indie Lee Toner
  • Serum: Morning - Volition Mushrooms Serum; Night - Vintersn Daughter Active Botanicals serum; Sometimes - Volition Strawberry Serum
  • Moisturizer: Morning - Augustinus Bader The Cream; Night - Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
  • Eye Cream: Drunk Elephant (since it's the last one I haven't finished)

Once a month, I get The Jet Lite Treatment facial from Glow Skin Clinic.

I explained my detailed hair care routine in one of my vlogs, but currently, I am using the
shampoo and conditioner of the coconut variant from Love Beauty and Planet. I get scalp conditioning treatments and trims from Basement Salon. My go-to stylist is Jacob.

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I also do monthly mani-pedis from Maison By Nail Spa at Rockwell. For eyelash extensions, I trust Kiyosa Japanese Total Beauty.

Your winged eyeliner has become your signature makeup look. When did you start doing it? Why did you choose that specific look? 

Winnie: My winged liner is what people ask me about a lot. I started out experimenting in college. I saw it on models and I really liked it. So, I started practicing. It was horrible the first few times. It took A LOT of tries before it became effortless to put on. (But of course, there are still bad days.) 

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The key is to NOT USE a pencil liner—get a [liquid] eyeliner. I remember using a pencil before and I ended up looking like a raccoon by the end of the day. My fave is the Stila Liner but the Benefit Roller Liner recently ended my long-time relationship with Stila.


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What's your advice to people who are just beginning to experiment with makeup? 

Winnie: You need to practice, and do your research. Don't fall for the hype, the only thing you will lose is your wallet. It helps to really understand the type of skin you have, so you'll buy products that will work for YOU—especially those that will stay on your face for a longer period.

*Answers have been edited for clarity.

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Don't miss the chance to attend the biggest beauty and wellness festival in the Philippines! Buy tickets to the Cosmopolitan BEAUTYCON on August 31 AND September 1, where you'll find the widest selection of makeup, skincare, hair, and wellness brands with exclusive freebies, offers, and discounts. There will also be sessions with beauty experts, creatives, and celebrity speakers. It's gonna be epic! Get your tix here.