March 20, 2017 / 12:51 PM
In an attempt to produce more organic entries, I’m adding a new series to regularly update you guys with beauty and skin care products I’m loving. From underrated drugstore gems to holy grail status must-haves, I’ve got you covered! Before another month discovering new products and, maybe, rekindling my love for old ones, here are some things I’ve been obsessing over all year.
Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (Althea Korea, P440)
Aside from the CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pads I use at night, I’ve been enjoying the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener I received from the Althea Korea Anti-Pollution Box. My pores (mostly around the nose area) have become significantly smaller. Again, I still prefer more viscous toners but I have no problem finishing this bottle if it means looking Photoshopped. I’ve even been skipping my mattifying primer because there’s, literally, nothing to cover – considering I already have small pores to begin with (thank God!).
Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser (Beauty MNL, P408)
My recent trip to Osaka allowed me to familiarize myself with the black hole of *kawaii* that is their drugstores. The best discovery I had was the best-selling Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser; it’s #1 for a reason. Other cleansers tend to strip off moisture post-wash, and this doesn’t. It’s super thick, creamy, and even foams up if you diligently whip it with your hands or a whip maker. This removes whatever impurities I have left after my cleansing balm, too. I’m so in love with it, I’m sure I’ll get more during my trip back next month.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (Beauty MNL, P873)
Essences are unsung heroes of skin care. My acne scars and dark spots are notorious for staying on my face for months but some (not all) faded in weeks, thanks to the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. I noticed that my smile lines are slowly fading, and my forehead is less wrinkly. How? Snail mucin repairs and heals skin. It also makes it tight and firm. The product itself can be a bit sticky but the discomfort fades within seconds. I apply it, day and night, after my toner and before my moisturizer and eye cream. My skin texture has gotten much smoother, and I love how you only need a pea-sized amount!
Read: Snail Mucin: The Superhero of Skin Care via The Klog
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (Beauty MNL, P294)
Because I’m not over snail anything, I had to get the Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream. I noticed a visible reduction of wrinkles and a brightening of my under eye area – considering how bad my sleeping schedule is – in just a month. I cringe whenever I see old selfies (let’s face it, I take a lot) and realize how important having a good eye cream is! I think this is good, especially for the price, but I’m still on the search for the best.
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (Watsons, P420)
For years, I’ve been stubborn, neglecting the most important of my day time routine: sunscreen. Now, I can’t live without it, especially after purchasing the much raved about Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence – cheaper in Japan, of course. It doesn’t give me white cast, it’s not sticky, and it’s super moisturizing. I plan on purchasing the recently launched spray form – a possible God-send for us lazy folks – after emptying this.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (The Body Shop, P495)
I’ve been suffering from really bad hormonal acne on my nose and right cheek – weeks after the best skin of my life. I was desperate for anything to treat it. I’ve been hearing about Tea Tree Oil for said dilemma and wanted to purchase it from Human Nature but it was sold out in store, so I purchased mine from The Body Shop. This is Heaven-sent. I place the smallest amount on affected areas, day and night, and it calms down redness and dries it up; it’s gone for as quick as 2 days to a week. Of course, it still leaves acne scars, which other products can treat.
Maybelline Super BB Cushion in Natural (Watsons, P749)
The entire process of putting on foundation – mixing 2 different products to perfect my shade and setting it with a loose powder – is not for the lazy girl. The Maybelline Super BB Cushion is a life-saver. It’s also travel-friendly! It provides great coverage considering how bad my skin has been because of my hormonal breakouts. Now, I wouldn’t wear this for an event. It’s best for everyday wear in the office or university. The color selection lacks variety with only 2 available colors, Light and Natural, but it matches my skin pretty well. It provides a naturally dewy look, which I’ve been loving lately. Maybelline also recently released the Super BB Cushion Fresh Matte – best for oily to combination skin – which I plan on trying out when I empty this!
Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina (Watsons, P350)
Lately, I’ve been enjoying days without the heavy full-coverage foundation-and-loose powder combo. I’ve never owned a BB Cream in my life since I’ve gotten the misconception that it only caters to my fair-skinned friends. Finding a shade match for morena skin is near to impossible but Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina is perfect! Fret not, they have 2 other colors, Oriental and Mestiza, to cater to other skin tones. I’m thoroughly impressed how flawless my skin looks every time I use this; it can even cover my blemishes. It keeps my skin matte so I’d give this a go for people with oily to combination skin. It claims to be a breakthrough product acting as a foundation, concealer, moisturizer, and sunscreen but I still recommend having separate products.
Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (Watsons, P379)
I’ve been on the search for the perfect highlighter since I threw out my expired Benefit Watt’s Up!; Essence’s Pure Nude Highlighter is pretty close. This has been on my to-buy list for months but it’s been sold out locally since every YouTuber raves about it. I finally got it in January! This swatches like nothing on my hand but applies beautifully on my face. It looks good on dark and fair skin. It can go from subtle to beaming, and it won’t accentuate any texture on the face. Because it’s a powder formula – yet still looks wet – it doesn’t appear streaky. This is definitely the best highlighter available in the drugstore.
Banila Co. So Strobing Stick (Beauty MNL, P865)
This product isn’t for everyone. It makes my face look dewy, almost wet, a look popular among Koreans. If you’re oily, I’d say stay away from anything with the word strobing in it. This is what a MAC Strobing Cream looks like but more intense – giving your face a healthy, natural glow. It can look streaky when not blended well so instead of directly applying it to my face, I use a beauty blender to distribute the product. I also use it to intensify any highlight, putting it before I top it off with a powder highlighter. This applies much better above a cushion foundation or a BB Cream than, let’s say, a full-coverage foundation. The metallic packaging is also such eye candy!
L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray (Watsons, P500)
If you have a whole day event or want a little extra something to keep your make-up intact the entire day, the L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray will be your best friend. This will make you want to rethink removing your make-up at night because it still looks so good. It’s currently on sale for P250 until April 2 so better get yourself a bottle, or two!
Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse (Watsons, P285)
For days when my hair is out of control, I apply an ample amount of Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse, and it tames it and makes it extra smooth and bouncy. I never get a bad hair day with this as my armor.
What have you been loving lately? Let me know in the comments below! ✨
P.S. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for mini beauty reviews!
February 26, 2017 / 14:26 PM
(Maybelline Color Sensational Powder Mattes in  Mauve it Up and  Make Me Blush from Watsons, P299)
Maybelline Philippines recently released the Powder Mattes. With 15 bold shades to choose from – from romantic reds and darling pinks, to flattering nudes – I was so excited to try them. We all know that the Creamy Mattes collection was, possibly, the best drugstore launch last year locally. It was part of my Best of 2016: Beauty – Clay Crush and Touch of Spice my most worn colors. Creamy texture, superior pigmentation, and wearable shades…what’s not to love?
Swatching all colors during a visit to the drugstore, I could still see faint remnants of the product on my hand even after my two-step cleanse. Suffice to say, I was impressed. I gave in a few days after, during its P100 off sale, and (only) bought 2 shades because let’s face it, I don’t need any more lipsticks.
Watch: The Powder Mattes Are Here and They Are 100% Pretty via Beauty MNL
I reached for 2 summer shades: Mauve it Up (a stunning pink) and Make Me Blush (a bright coral). The colors from the collection are gorgeous but some are identical to one another. You can forego purchasing the entire line and just pick a couple. They’re scene-stealers and look best with a full make-up look rather than just a naked face. Obviously, they’re not for the natural no make-up look days.
True to its name, it’s powdery, and it feels super lightweight – as if I really have nothing on. Application requires more than a single swipe to get its full opacity. Be wary of putting thick and/or wet lip balm beforehand like Petroleum Jelly because the product will have a difficult time clinging to your lips. I was most surprised with the fact that after a few hours, it becomes transfer-proof – like a liquid lipstick sans the drying.
Powder Mattes or Creamy Mattes?
Over all, I prefer the Creamy Mattes; they will always have a special place in my top shelf. Given the price point and shade range of the Powder Mattes, they’re good but frankly, I don’t think I’ll be rushing to the store to get more anytime soon. They last a long time and don’t require frequent retouching but my lips get chapped in the middle of the day. Formula wise, they’re the most lightweight I’ve tried but I prefer the buttery creaminess only the Creamy Mattes can offer.
What about you, are you #TeamPowderMattes or #TeamCreamyMattes? Let me know in the comments below! ✨
February 02, 2017 / 15:07 PM
I just came from a short trip to 2-7° Osaka and before all the ruckus – including daily responsibilities, occasional (almost) quarter-life crises, and mild anxiety attacks – I’m dedicating a few entries to Japan, beginning with a guide to beauty and skin care shopping!
Japanese drugstores are everywhere, and they’re overwhelming – to say the least. They’re bright, colorful, and carry thousands of beauty and skin care products from both local and international brands. You may get lost in the array of cutesy packaging – Sailor Moon liquid eyeliners and Hello Kitty sheet masks, anyone? Catered to the Japanese, packaging includes indecipherable language for the ordinary English-speaking fellow. How can you wisely spend your hard-earned money on your next trip? Let me help you with that!
First, where can you buy skin care and make-up? Fortunately, you can easily spot a drugstore. They’re outside your Airbnb, inside the subway, jumbled within shopping districts, and even the airport. Drugstore chain, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, can be found outside, and you’ll see it immediately by its mustard yellow and royal blue logo. They carry international drugstore brands (Maybelline New York, L’Oréal Paris, Rimmel London, etc.) plus local brands (Canmake, Shiseido, Excel, etc.). @Cosme, on the other hand, is a special beauty store that I found in Tsutaya located in Namba (near the crowded Dōtonbori area – beside Forever 21). There are locations both in Tokyo and Osaka. From an online platform – rating and reviewing the best in Japanese beauty – to a physical store, they carry a mix of Japanese drugstore and high-end. If you feel like splurging and you’re on the look-out for international high-end brands (Dior, Chanel, bareMinerals, etc.), Takashimaya is a good place to be.
How to make the best out of your shopping? Here are some tips!
Spot the cherry blossom logo! Overseas visitors staying in Japan for less than 6 months can have their taxes returned – the higher the purchase, the greater the discount! Bring along your passport with you. My biggest mistake was buying a single item in different stores thus not qualifying for tax-free shopping. I could have saved so much money!
More on Japan’s tax-exempt shopping here.
Peruse Japanese beauty blogs and websites like Tokyo Beauty Book, Savvy Tokyo, The Beauty Maniac in Tokyo, Ratzilla, and Cosme plus watch YouTube vlogs from Kim Dao. Be on the lookout for best-sellers which have #1 on the packaging.
- Keep photos of your to-buy list.
I hardly met people who knew how to speak English. If you’re looking for specific products, it may be difficult to converse with the salesladies, no matter how willing they are to help. Hand gestures are not enough! Keep photos of items you want to buy, and if you can’t find it on your own, just show your phone.
- Buy items available in Manila but are cheaper in Japan.
Stock up on Bioré’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, Shiseido’s Perfect Whip Foam, and Canmake’s Shading Powder, which are significantly cheaper abroad. If you’re also packaging-conscious, you can buy your favorites with a Japan-exclusive packaging. I went loca upon seeing my favorite Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in a pink metallic packaging that I had to get it (although it was twice the price, oops). Brands that are also available in Manila carry Japan-exclusive items so check that out! L’Oreal’s Lucent Magique Cushion and Cushion Glow Blushes are divine!
Hope this helped, and I can’t wait to show you my Japanese beauty and skin care haul next!
January 17, 2017 / 01:00 AM
My glorious education with everything beauty has grown the past few years but 2016 is something else; proof is the staggering collection of acrylic organizers overflowing with products on my top shelf. I’ve been producing more beauty and skin care content, and there is an unbelievable warmth in my heart! I’ve only been confident writing about something as foreign as beauty recently. I’ve tried many other topics in the past – fashion, food, and even technology – but I’ve never felt emotionally attached to any of them. It’s even more encouraging when people send me mail telling me how my reviews help them choose products!
From the riveting world of cushion compacts to liquid lipsticks and make-up sprays, I’ve tried much. I’ve searched far and wide – from our neighborhood Watsons to online beauty retailers and sketchy kiosks – for the best make-up from both the local and international scene (mostly drugstore!). I have nothing but high praises for these knockout products from these cosmetic powerhouses. Here are my personal picks for beauty’s finest in 2016!
L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation in Nude Beige (Watsons, P600)
I started the year falling in love with Bourjois Paris’s Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation – easily the most full coverage drugstore foundation I’ve tried. I emptied it a few months after, and I ended up getting a discounted (score!) L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation. It easily covers pigmentation and acne scars that I tend to forego concealer most days. Compared to other brands, this has a wider range of colors (18 shades) which adds to its appeal! It applies beautifully with a beauty blender or any fluffy foundation brush. Of course, it’s important to start off with a good toner-moisturizer combo that will transform how foundation glides on skin – trust me.
Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation in Natural Beige (Watsons, P499)
For a more affordable option from the drugstore, the Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation is a recent discovery. I initially had a difficult time liking this because I used it with a foundation brush. I learned that the formula works best with a damp beauty blender; it makes a tremendous difference! It’s available in 5 shades and wears great throughout the day. It feels so comfortable that I’d recommend it to anybody who prefers to be foundation-free but may need some coverage.
For both foundation choices, I don’t actually have the perfect shade match so I mix both with the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal in Fawn, a steal from the Dollar Store at P169.
Catrice Camouflage Cream in Light Beige (Watsons, P329)
I overlooked the power of a good concealer for years but my hormonal breakouts have led me to the Catrice Camouflage Cream. It’s creamy, buildable, and covers blemishes with one swipe. This is magic in a pot!
Nichido Final Powder in So Natural (Watsons, P150)
Setting my face with loose powder after my foundation routine mattifies my face and helps prolong its staying power. I wear the Nichido Final Powder every single day, I kid you not. It makes my pores less visible – sans primer – and leaves my skin feeling velvet smooth. This is available in other shades but the color, So Natural, is translucent on me. The only thing I don’t like about it is the strong fragrance but I overlook it because of all its A+ streaks. It’s unbelievably cheap and can last anyone several months, or a year!
For those with oily skin, Korean skin care brand, Innisfree, nailed it with the No-Sebum Mineral Powder (P260). I’ve recommended it to friends, and they love it as much as I do! It keeps my face dry the entire day without sacrificing moisture. I’d say this is better at doing the job than the Nichido Final Powder. For those who find a loose powder really messy, it’s also available in compact form (P480).
*Sleek MakeUp Blush in Suede (Zalora, P425)
2016 is the year I learned about the magic of contouring. It slims down features – defines the cheekbones, nose, and jawline – presenting a more chiseled face. PSA: Any matte powder a shade darker than your skin tone can act as a bronzer.
I picked up Sleek MakeUp’s Blush in Suede as recommended by a favorite YouTuber. Swatches don’t do it justice because it hardly shows up until applied on the face. It looks natural for both the Filipina morena and mestiza. This is best for those who just want that extra warmth and don’t really plan to contour. I emptied this after a few months of constant wear!
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (Your Make-up Store, P450)
I often skip blush because I’m content with a bronzer but for a wash of color, Luminoso is my go-to. It’s every YouTuber’s holy grail blush – mine, too! This peach baked blush transforms cheeks giving it a subtle sheen that won’t accentuate pores or scars. It makes me look naturally radiant, and I can’t imagine loving any other blush as much as I love this!
Benefit Watt’s Up! (Benefit, P1,700)
Highlighter can immediately change an entire look! Discovering its magic has changed my routine immensely. Benefit’s Watt’s Up! is, without a doubt, the best I’ve tried. This cream to powder highlighter provides a stunning, luminous glow – that’s even better with a tan. Others draw attention to texture on skin but I find this doesn’t. This is especially perfect for morena skin. I try so much product and end up coming back to this! PSA: Kim Kardashian swears by this!
Essence Soo Glow! Highlighter in Bright Up Your Life (Watsons, P169)
Catrice’s sister company, Essence, is such a good (European) drugstore brand which is overlooked by many. Their products are at par with more well-known brands like Maybelline and Revlon; they’re even more affordable!
The Soo Glow! Highlighter is my favorite product from the brand! It has an iredescent finish which is suitable for fair skin; it can appear streaky on darker complexion. I diffuse the product with a beauty blender, and it stays all day!
Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara in 01 and 03 (Beauty MNL, P355)
I’m not big on kilay products given how naturally bushy mine are; excuse the lack of recommendations! Holika Holika’s Wonder Drawing Browcara is the only product I put on my brows: 01 for my brown hair and 03, now that I have red hair. It’s smudge-free and looks so natural.
Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in Mind (Sephora)
Gone are the days when I’m content with a simple curler-and-mascara eye make-up routine. After months of learning how to apply eyeshadow, I rue the day I find myself with a naked eye! If you’re a beauty rookie, like me, Stila’s Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette or really, any all-matte palette, will change your life! Starting with matte rather than shimmer shades will train you to blend and mix colors for both a daytime and night look.
Mind contains a mixture of beautiful, versatile hues that you can use by itself or combine. I wear the lower two rows the most plus the white on top to highlight my brow bone. I recommend using this for travel since it’s small. This is also a multi-purpose product, which you can use for a nose contour and a brow powder (darkest brown).
Zoeva Rose Golden Eyeshadow Palette (Sephora PH, P1,106)
A simple swatch on the hand, and you’ll fall deep in love with any Zoeva Eyeshadow Palette. Rose Golden happens to be my favorite. The array of rose gold and champagne colors are divine. Just A Rose is definitely the most unique shadow I own. It’s buttery, has zero fallout, and stays on all day. This is also friendly for beginners since you can just apply the product using a finger on your entire lid, and voilà, you’re done!
*Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (Watsons, P429)
The Lash Sensational Mascara from Maybelline is hands down, the best I’ve tried! It gives great definition without leaving any clumps. The mascara wand is designed to separate and volumize lashes. Of course, the pink metallic tube also looks so pretty in my kit!
*Fashion21 Double Up Mascara (Watsons, P225)
I can’t stop raving about Fashion21’s Double Up Mascara! If you want elongated, natural-looking lashes without breaking the bank, pick this up on your next Watsons run. I’ve emptied 2 tubes in 2016 and will probably empty more this year!
Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippie in The Morning After (Happy Skin, P649)
I’ve religiously worn vampy shades in the past but I took a much needed break from my bold(er) choices. 2016 was personally the year of pink lipsticks!
Happy Skin’s Moisturizing Matte Lippies have the best lipstick formula for me; the formulation is so dreamy! It’s richly pigmented and super hydrating. There’s nothing quite like it! The Morning After is a cool-toned mauvy pink that is so low-maintenance, it goes well with so many looks. I can’t wait to try more products from the brand!
MAC Lipstick in Faux (MAC, P1,050)
From a random trip to the MAC counter with my Mama, I got Faux after hearing much rave about it. It took me weeks to try it because I felt no emotional attachment to it – but boy, was I wrong! I committed myself to the shade instantly. This flattering muted mauve-pink looks gorgeous with an all pink make-up look. As with other light shades, this makes lips look extra plump!
Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Clay Crush, Nude Nuance, and Touch of Spice (Watsons, P299)
I’m trading my ultra matte lipsticks for the Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks! This line is the best launch of the year for so many Filipinas. It moisturizes lips, and the color payoff is terrific. Its staying power is unbelievable – it can last me a day! Wait for the occasional sales, and you might just get this for P100 less!
Full review here.
Happy Skin Glam Squad Liquid Matte Lipstick by Mickey See (Beauty Bar, P699)
I’ve tried a number of affordable liquid lipsticks but this definitely wins in formulation. This limited edition collaboration between Happy Skin and make-up artist, Mickey See, is everything I hoped for in a long-lasting liquid lipstick. It doesn’t make my lips feel like sandpaper and survives even the messiest of meals. The shade is also reminiscent of ColourPop’s Lumière – another favorite. Crossing my fingers I can still get the other colors from the Glam Squad line (Juan Sarte, Denise Go-Ochoa, and Jigs Mayuga)!
The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Loyal (Beauty Bar, P795)
Finding the perfect red lipstick is an initiation to womanhood. I never thought I’d love another like MAC’s Ruby Woo until I discovered The Balm’s Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Loyal. Gliding it on will make you feel like you can conquer anything. Other formulas make my lips scream from dehydration but not this one – it’s so lightweight. It also lasts all day!
Full review here.
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Happy Nude Year (Watsons KK)
I wore Bourjois’s Rouge Edition Velvet in Happy Nude Year and So Hap’pink all summer because of the vibrant hues. It wasn’t exactly love at first swipe given the unique mousse formula but my affections grew overtime.
What were your Best of 2016 products? I’d love to know! Comment below. 💕
Read: Best of 2016: Skin Care
*Emptied in 2016
December 26, 2016 / 17:24 PM
(The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks in Charming, Sincere, Committed, Doting, Dedicated, and Loyal from Beauty Bar, P1,195)
Do you ever feel guilty for owning too many lipsticks? Well, a tiny part of me can be when I see my growing collection. I know I’ll never get around to emptying them so I justify every purchase with a blog review. Thus, a set of travel-sized liquid lipsticks from The Balm seemed to be a…valid buy. You get 6 beautiful, wearable shades, and there’s only 1.2ml of product to consume! If you fall in love with a particular shade, you can purchase the regular size for P795 a piece.
From my experience, drugstore liquid lipsticks (e.g. Sleek MakeUP’s Matte Me and Makeup Revolution’s Lip Lacquers) have questionable formulas. The simple act of drinking water removes it. It’s rare to find affordable ones that last a good amount of time and are non-drying. The Balm’s Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipsticks are terrific!
The colors are so universally flattering, especially the warm red (Loyal) – a possible dupe for the beloved MAC Russian Red. This lasts forever on my lips! The bold fuchsia (Dedicated) is such a unique shade that looks stunning on dark skin. The mauves (Sincere, Committed, and Charming) honestly look pretty identical to one another but actually differ in saturation; they’re great for everyday wear. Committed is my favorite among the 3! The warm coral (Doting) stands out in a sea of pinks.
The product comes out in a velvety texture but dries down to a matte finish. It goes on opaque in a single swipe. It’s transfer-proof, which is Heaven-sent for people who don’t like touching up – a staple for events! I need a good micellar water to actually remove it at the end of the day. I find that the deeper shades last a longer amount of time (5 hours or so). The formula is so lightweight, and it doesn’t dry my lips. It even leaves a cooling sensation! Also, it’s really easy to mess up (big time) when applying liquid lipsticks because precision is everything but not with this particular doe foot applicator.
Anyway, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones! In case you missed it, I already posted my Best of 2016: Skin Care and plan on publishing my Beauty and Literature entries on January!