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My Skin But Better: The Best Drugstore Bases for Good Skin Days

Good skin is in!

For the past 3 months, I’ve stopped using foundation and let me tell you, it’s the best decision I’ve made for my skin! I’ve ceased getting pimples and small bumps on my face. Surely, I can’t attribute this solely to my foundation-free routine since foundation can even serve as a protective barrier (against UV rays) – unless you use an inappropriate formula for your skin type – but it’s doing wonders for me! Still, if you use it excessively, it can dry skin and clog pores, which in turn cause irritated skin and acne.

Of course, devoting the extra time, energy, and *cough* resources to a daily skin care routine is still a must! It may not grant results overnight but having the discipline to follow through daily is a fruitful pursuit. In time, you’ll find yourself shying away from full-coverage formulas and using these tried and tested options from the drugstore. It will look like your skin…but better!

BB Cream

L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream HD in Neutral (Watsons/SM Beauty Section, P399)

Shade: 4

Claims: All-in one skin beautifier that primes, moisturizes, and enhances skin tone

Over-all Experience: A Beauty or Blemish Balm is lighter than a foundation but thicker than a tinted moisturizer. It provides skin care benefits while also concealing imperfections. A mainstay on my top shelf is the über affordable L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream HD, which I’ve seen a number of beauty vloggers review in passing. It dries soft matte – a suitable lightweight finish for both dry and oily skin. It minimizes the appearance of pores and covers skin great but still applies sheer enough for skin to peek through. It’s buildable and even performs like a medium coverage foundation for those with acne scars and/or pigmentation – me!

The color Neutral is perfect for my skin given that lately, I’ve had such trouble shade matching since I’ve gotten visibly lighter because of my skin care routine. Truth be told, I don’t find myself reaching for anything else but this – even on days when I need my make-up to stay put all day. This is the best I’ve tried from the drugstore, and I’m certain I’ll keep repurchasing it!

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery BB Cream 3D Effect (BeautyMNL/Watsons, P450)

Shade Range: 1

Claims: A sun-protected beauty balm with a 3D brightening effect

Over-all Experience: You’ve probably heard of everybody’s holy grail drugstore sunscreen from Japan: the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence. The lightweight, non-greasy formula leaves your skin moisturized without the unbearable white cast.

Now, if you have the (very unhealthy) habit of foregoing sunscreen – the fastest way to age your skin – the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery BB Cream is for you! It applies like a light moisturizer – infused with moisture-locking hyaluronic acid – and illuminates skin, making it look youthful. It diminishes the appearance of pores and dries to a comfortable matte-but-not-flat finish. It makes my skin look flawless! It wears great throughout the day and doesn’t leave the face cakey (on the nose, chin, etc.); I experience otherwise with various BB Creams.

A big downside is the almost non-existent shade range. It does adjust to your skin color but personally, it appears unnaturally light on my morena skin – nothing a good contour powder can’t remedy. If you’re darker than me, I’d say stay away from this product. Again, any base infused with sun protection is not a substitute for sunscreen, I still prefer putting on a sunscreen before and you should, too!

Tinted Moisturizer


City Color Glowing Complexion Tinted Moisturizer in Beige (SM Beauty Section, P229)

Shade Range: 2

Claims: Paraben-free, hydrating tinted moisturizer infused with Vitamin E

Over-all Experience: A more “foreign” concept is the tinted moisturizer – just the right mix of skin care and make-up. It barely gives any coverage, just a slight tint – evening out skin tone – and when layered multiple times can lightly conceal blemishes. It also contains humectants, which is best for hydrating skin. This is best for lazy days when you don’t want a bare face but barely have time to do your make-up. Slap this on before hitting the gym, on a quick grocery run, or even on the daily!

The City Color Glowing Complexion Tinted Moisturizer is my biggest secret from the drugstore! Now, this product isn’t for everyone. It’s designed for dry skin (hands up!). This makes me exceptionally dewy, bordering on “greasy” – depending on the environment I’m in. You can also use this as a base before your foundation/BB Cream if you want that extra healthy-looking radiance. I’m still on the look out for other affordable tinted moisturizers, which is a bit scarce in the market. If you have recommendations, let me know in the comments below!


Pink Sugar Our Lil’ Secret Concealer in Medium (Beauty MNL/SM Beauty Section, P349)

Shade Range: 4

Claims: A creamy concealer that covers blemishes and other imperfections with ease

Over-all Experience: A concealer for daily wear? Now, hear me out! With the onslaught of the “skin first, make-up second” movement, I’ve been seeing more beauty professionals use less and less – yes, even just concealer!

A holy grail in the local beauty scene is the full-coverage Pink Sugar’s Our Lil’ Secret Concealer, available in 4 Filipina friendly make-up shades. It’s best for spot concealing blemishes for a more natural, seamless coverage. Infused with Aloe Vera – the multi-purpose miracle ingredient – it’s extra good for skin! It’s budge-free and long-wearing that I don’t even have to set this with powder!

K-Beauty Corner: Exclusive Althea Korea “Kissed by the Sun” Box

Althea Korea “Kissed by the Sun” Limited Edition Box (P1,340 – originally worth P4,980)

K-Beauty, in all its darling eccentricities, is *quite* foreign to me. I’ve always wrestled with Korean standards and/or style(s) of beauty. I have v. prominent Filipina features – morena skin, big eyes, full lips – and my style of make-up has always leaned on the more Western side. But lately, I’ve been experimenting with various make-up styles for every day – über dewy “glass skin,” gradient lips, and sheer eyeshadow – and it’s so exciting! I consider getting out of my comfort zone and seeing what I can come up with a personal victory.

Althea Box

The Althea Box from my ultimate K-Beauty destination is such a fantastic way to try new products for both make-up and skin care! Curated to *kawaii* perfection, the limited edition themed boxes (2-3 every month) are designed for beginners and professionals alike. You save thousands of PPP and discover your next holy grail! The past few weeks may have been gloomy in Manila but the exclusive “Kissed by the Sun” Box contains so many great products that have already become staples in my collection – whatever the weather may be. They really surpassed my expectations!


Bareblanc Super Fit Cushion in Natural Beige (Solo, P850)

I’ve had my fair share of cushion foundations, mostly from Western brands because of their fairly wider shade range. The biggest surprise from the collection is the Bareblanc Super Fit Cushion. I honestly had no expectations from it since I’ve never heard of the brand nor the product. It is a little lighter than my skin complexion – nothing a good contour powder can’t remedy – but it delivers a perfectly matte-but-not-flat coverage that lasts the entire day. It even covers my stubborn acne scars that I don’t find the need to reach for my trustworthy concealer before application – it’s that good!

A possible downfall for having any base product in the Althea Box is the uncertainty of the color shade so I would suggest to have a lighter and/or darker liquid foundation/BB Cream in hand to concoct a flattering shade for you.

Etude House Look At My Eyes in BR425 

This has been a staple in my collection ever since I received it. I have not stopped wearing it – on top of any matte shadow – and it just works so well! I still like putting an eyeshadow primer (Etude House Proof 10) beforehand for better longevity. I get compliments about my eye look all the time.

To be honest, I’ve always had a huge bias towards Korean eyeshadows because, when you’re used to Western quality, you’ll find them to be more sheer and less pigmented. I was wrong! The Etude House Look At My Eyes in BR425 is fantastic for day to day, and does not pale in comparison to others with a heftier price tag! I’ll be sure to look for more shades from the line on my next Etude House visit!

Laneige Ideal Blush Duo in Juicy Rose (Solo, P1,230)

A beautiful addition to the roster is the Laneige Ideal Blush Duo in Juicy Rose (or California Rose) – my very first product from the brand! I was ecstatic to see this during my unboxing. With 2 flattering matte shades, it delivers the perfect healthy flush on the cheeks. You can keep building it up to your liking; no shock factor involved because of too much pigmentation! The staying power is also fantastic, and I find it to still be visible until the end of the day.

Read: Affordable Beauty: Top 4 Peach Drugstore Blushes

Rire Luxe Matte Lipstick in Nudy Beige (Solo, P500)

With a very comfortable feel on the lips, the Rire Luxe Matte Lipstick in Nudy Beige is perfect to finish up any beauty look! I just observed that this particular formula needs multiple swipes to get its full opacity. The nude orange is a beautifully unique everyday shade. I also enjoy adding a gloss on top for extra luscious, scene-stealer lips!

Skin Care 

ABIB Hydration Creme Water Tube (Solo, P1,720)

The sample size of the ABIB Hydration Creme Water Tube is something else. You get around 5 uses from the small sachet but every time I apply the cream on my face – instructed as an essence step, so after toner and before moisturizer – I have such supple, hydrated skin, which lasts all day! I can even forego my moisturizer because it’s that good! With such an A+ experience, I’m really considering cashing out for (a possible) splurge.

Calmia UV Protection Sun Stick in Moist (Solo, P490)

For girls-on-the-go, the Calmia UV Protection Sun Stick is a super hassle-free way of applying sun protection. It adds a fresh, dewy look – without looking oily – while protecting the skin from UV rays, which is the fastest way for skin to age. I love how it isn’t sticky and adds a subtle glow to the skin.

Secriss Pure Nature Mask in White Pearl (Solo, P52)

The Secriss Pure Nature Mask in White Pearl is great for a special pamper day. Sheet applied perfectly on my face, and it left my skin moisturized – smells amazing, too. It lasted a while before it dried up, which only means that there is a ton of essence inside. It also contains pearl extracts for a whitening effect but, again, I only used this once so I can’t really tell if it was effective.

Anything you want to try from the box? Let me know in the comments below! ✨

Disclaimer: The Kissed by the Sun Box was provided by Althea Korea for review. As always, these are my honest opinions on said products.

How to Save Money in 8 Ways: Beauty Edition

Whether you’re “adulting” and employed or still completing university, we all want to be smart consumers when it comes to our *occasional* beauty shopping! Admit it, it’s pretty common to treat ourselves simply because we feel entitled to “enjoy” the fruits of our labor – am I right, ladies? But, did you know that there are many ways to save money? These are things I personally comply to and resources you may not know about to do just that!

  • Create a beauty inventory. 

A beauty inventory is a great way to catalog and keep track of your beauty buys. It also helps you take note of what products are already expired! Whether you put it on your laptop’s notepad, your iPhone’s notes, or go old school with a notebook, you get to survey your spending habits. Bonus: you have a better idea what product is breaking you out because of time stamps! Aside from this, I write down what I’m allowed to buy in a month on my planner. Instead of spending every pay day, this allows me to be stricter with my budget!

  • Wait for coveted sales. 

If you follow cosmetic brands on their social media platforms and subscribe to e-mail lists of beauty portals, you’ll know that new cosmetic releases regularly go on sale, and it’s not just seasonal – unlike clothing powerhouses. I know, mainit sa mata, and if you’re beauty obsessed, you just have to have it ASAP but trust me, give it a few weeks or a month. Case in point, the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation  and  L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation which have earned a spot in my top shelf.

If you’re into Korean beauty and skin care, The Face Shop has regular promos (Buy 1+1, etc). Coupons from online stores (Althea Korea, Beauty MNL) and beauty b/vloggers are also available for your perusal from time to time. P.S. You may get first dibs on sales but you’re also more likely to be tempted to spend aimlessly.

  • Compare prices offline and online. 

Compare prices on different shopping platforms. For Mario Badescu, a renowned American skin care brand, my favorite Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater from the brand is P550 in Rustans while it’s P665 in Sephora PH. Pang-Starbucks ko na rin ‘yun! For everything Korean, I find that Althea Korea and Shop Pibu offer the most competitive prices as compared to BeautyMNL, Zalora, or even in-store; this may not always be the case.

  • Use Shopback when shopping online. 

If you’re a serial online shopper, Shopback will change your life. It’s pretty much like a local Ebates. Shop on portals like Sephora PH, Althea Korea, Zalora, Lazada, and get back a percentage of your purchase! The moment you accumulate enough PPP, you get to withdraw it. You can also refer friends to the program and gain more. It’s that easy!

Learn about it here. Sign up for Shopback by using my link and get P200 bonus!

  • Use your SM Advantage Card.

Shopping online is super convenient but I still prefer to shop in-store especially since I can do swatches thus have a more reliable shade match. If you can buy your products in SM Department Stores and Watsons branches, please do, if that means accumulating points for your SM Advantage Card. I only gave in at the end of 2016 and realized how points can actually be used as money. I bought the L’Oreal Lumi Cushion a few months ago, which was already on sale for P675 (from P900) and deducted my points (79) – not bad at all!   

  • Be an affiliate or sign up for a loyalty program.

Althea Korea has an updated (May 2017) referral program that gives you P200 credit for every successful referral – give a friend P200 discount on the first purchase (for a minimum purchase of P1,500). Upon registration, you get a unique personal code you can keep sharing! I’ve referred so many readers and beauty friends, I’ve probably gotten P3000 credit, which allowed me to pay less for my favorite Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop and SON&Park Beauty Water.

BeautyMNL gives you P300 credit once you complete 30 reviews! Be a Certified Buyer by reviewing an item you purchased on the platform. Unfortunately, credit expires after 30 days so better make up your mind ASAP!

Use my Althea code on your first purchase!

  • Check out the Dollar Store.

A year ago, I published an entry on my Dollar Store haul. I found some really good products including lipsticks, compact powders, and concealers from American sister companies L.A. Girl and L.A. Colors. Don’t purchase a cheap base (e.g. foundation) – better to splurge or just pay a reasonable price for your canvas since you never know what it can do to your skin.

  • Research for dupes. 

From researching (watching vlogs and reading blogs) and using make-up, I find that drugstore products perform as well or even better than luxury brands. YouTube is a blackhole of endless (useful) information re: dupes so if you have your eye on a specific product and don’t exactly have the fund$ for it, YouTube is your friend!

What are your favorite ways to save money when shopping for beauty? Share them on the comments below! ✨

This P185 Drugstore Liquid Lipstick is Your New Everyday Fave

(From L-R: Ever Bilena Matte Liquid Lipsticks in Dusk, Toast of New York, Siennas, and Sexy Nude  from Watsons, P185)

I remember my first tube of Ever Bilena lipstick. It was stored in the infamous plastic black bullet with a sneak peek of the color on top. I was a junior in college, completely oblivious to anything related to beauty and on rare occasions, a mere recipient of products from relatives abroad and my beautiful mother. The classic vampy red (Storm) became my everyday weapon of choice – way before discovering the life-changing reds, Russian Red and Ruby Woo, from MAC.

Affordable liquid lipsticks in the market are pretty rare but lately, I’ve noticed that local and international brands are finally making them available in the drugstore! It was exciting to know that the ultimate beauty brand for the modern Filipina released Matte Liquid Lipsticks of some of their bestselling Matte Lipsticks. I’ve tried so many (a collective review will be up in a few weeks!), and I can definitely say this is one of the best formulas out there. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s only P185!

Watch: Ever Bilena Matte Liquid Lipstick Review and Swatches via Kenny Manalad

Formula and Wear Time

From the 12 shades, I picked up 4 gorgeous, everyday colors from the array of luxurious nudes, browns, and reds. They may look similar but once on the lips, I can see a big difference. Before anything else, not all are created the same. The nude (Sexy Nude) appears to be streakier and will need more than a single swipe to get its full opacity. It stays less longer and cracks on the lips are more prominent after a few hours. Nonetheless, the colors are supreme and so flattering for Pinays that I can overlook the staying power. The browns and reds (Siennas, Toast of New York, and Dusk) are so intensely pigmented, reminiscent of some bestselling Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick shades like Miami Fever. They’re so unique that I can’t find anything similar in my collection!

Upon application, you’ll find it to be lightweight and non-drying. It’s so comfortable on the lips! Let it dry before applying another coat because it can get tacky. From experience, this can last up to 7 hours (still perfectly dry even after my Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Americano) without touch-ups, which is unbelievable. Saan ka pa? Use an oil-based make-up remover or your trustworthy micellar water to remove at the end of the day!

Final Verdict

From the collection, my favorite would have to be Toast of New York (an orangey brown) which is such a unique everyday color. Still, I’d keep wearing the 0thers, even choosing them over my more expensive lip products – it’s that good. Whether you’re in university and have a student budget or just on a search for a really good, budge-free lip product, these fantastic (true) matte liquid lipsticks are totally worth the trip to your local Watsons! ✨

Any thoughts on the new Ever Bilena release? What are your favorite shades? Leave them in the comments below! 🌹

K-Beauty Corner: #AltheaTurns2 Birthday Haul

Althea Korea is my obsession.

It is undoubtedly my ultimate online destination for everything Korean beauty and skin care! I’ve discovered so many holy grail products from this black hole! All products are new, authentic, and delivered from Korea so prices are extra competitive (much cheaper!). Your package arrives straight to your doorstep so no worrying about customs – super fuss-free. They feature road shop brands like Etude House, The Face Shop, Banila Co. and innovative, trendy brands like CosRX, Heimish, and Dear, Klairs. PSA: They’re going all-out this July for their 2nd birthday!

Althea is having an exciting Birthday Sale and on top of that, the 20 Days of Beauty Giveaway. For every purchase you make, you’ll receive the Limited Edition Birthday Box, which includes the DIY Birthday Kit and Sample Pack. Post your customized Birthday Box creations on Instagram, and you might just win an entire year’s worth of shopping in Althea, major shopping credits (up to P10,000), and even a flight to Korea for 2!

What’s in My Birthday Box?

I went a little crazy over the skin care. I finally repurchased my favorite Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser in Purity (P1,040) since the Heimish All Clean Balm doesn’t remove my make-up as effectively. I recently emptied the Son&Park Beauty Water so I’m incorporating the Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (P880) in my skin care routine – so far, so good! I’m trying out the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Cream in Fresh Watery (P530) as my moisturizer for extra hydration because my skin’s been so dry lately. And, I finally have the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (P560) again, and it feels like I’m meeting an old friend!

For make-up purchases, I picked up the Etude House Double Lasting Foundation in Sand (P870) and Secret Key Tattoo Cover Cushion [Pink Edition] (P650) for bases and the Missha B.B Boomer (P450) to, hopefully, prolong my base wear time. Everybody knows I’ve been raving about the long-lasting Peripera Ink Velvet Lip Tint in Celeb Deep Rose (P370) that I just had to purchase 3 more colors!

I can’t wait to test out all these products. Let me know if you want a full review on any of them! Happy, happy birthday, Althea! 🎉

Disclaimer: I was given credits by Althea Korea to purchase these products.

Read more on Althea’s blog for more information.