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Product Empties: Skin Care

The year is about to come to an end, and it baffles me how quickly time has passed! For 2017, I’ve managed to discover some holy grail skin care products, as well as others worth staying away from. Presenting my beloved Empties 2.0: Skin Care edition – gathering dust bunnies in an abandoned corner of my room – which I can’t wait to throw away!

Cleansing Balm

Banila Co. Clean It Zero in Purity (Shop Pibu, P890)*

I’ve raved about the K-Beauty cult-fave, Banila Co. Clean It Zero, time and time again. My introduction into the black hole of Korean skin care is the classic cleansing balm – the very first step of the essential double cleanse – with a milky, oil-like consistency perfected by brightening ingredients such as papaya extract. It removes stubborn make-up like nobody’s business without drying the skin. It’s the best cleansing balm I’ve tried from the 3 I’ve managed to empty this year, including the Heimish All-Clean Balm and Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero. This is my second tub – first, a supersize of the Classic variant I featured on my first empties entry – and loved (!) Purity, created especially for sensitive skin, for when I was having an unforgettable period of acne-prone, irritable skin.

Note: I always use an eye make-up remover (micellar water and/or cleansing oil) before following up with the double cleanse.

Heimish All-Clean Balm (Althea Korea, P577)

Heimish’s All-Clean Balm, another crowd favorite, is a good option for those who wear minimal make-up on the daily – maybe a BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizer as a base, etc. I wanted *so* badly to love this – as it’s highly praised by  Renée and Joan – but it didn’t meet my expectations. It doesn’t clean as effectively, leaving residue from my base. I also need to use so much product that I finished this so quickly. A pro, I gotta say, is it doesn’t sting my eyes unlike other cleansing balms but I’d still get Banila Co.’s Clean It Zero over this.

Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser (BeautyMNL, P995)

Among the cleansing balms I finished up this 2017, Holika Holika’s Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser – an impulse buy from a Korean pop-up store in the office because it was 70% off – is the worst because of its uncomfortable oily texture. It leaves so much residue! This didn’t work out for me at all, and I only finished it for the sake of emptying it.


Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser (BeautyMNL, P408)

Another find from the Asian beauty market is the Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser, the #1 bestselling, rich cleanser from Japan. I feel conflicted since this drugstore gem thoroughly cleaned my face – even my make-up (!) – yet it was exactly why I broke out earlier this year. It may have been *too* thick for my dry skin, and upon further research, it has a higher pH than the normal. Ah, I wanted it to work out so badly but we were just not good for each other – like any good relationship I’ve lost in my life. *hikbi*

Face Mask

Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask (Lush, P425)

I’ve stopped using manual exfoliators after my skin got really sensitive to gritty scrubs and prefer a gentle peeling gel like Cure’s Natural Aqua Gel (available in Beauty Bar and Rustans Beauty Source). I’d recommend Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty for men since they have thicker and less sensitive (?) skin. It also works as a great body scrub leaving your skin super smooth. Plus, it smells like chocolate – but after a few months will smell…rotten because of its über natural ingredients.

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (BeautyMNL, P560)*

The Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask from Innisfree needs no introduction. A staple in my collection, I’ve babbled endlessly about this and keep back-ups. I’ve been using this religiously (once a week) for about a year! For a while, I stopped upon emptying my first tub, and I noticed such a huge difference – my skin went crazy. This is like magnet for sebum and dirt (even blackheads!), and it decreases the appearance of pores after application. I look forward to my 15-minute pamper session every week and can’t stop, won’t stop obsessing over this!


SON&PARK Beauty Water (Shop Pibu, P1,200)*

A multi-purpose gem which can be used as a 1. toner, 2. a no-wash cleansing water (for make-up removal or preparation), and 3. a midday facial mist, the SON&PARK Beauty Water is a must-have! It provides mild exfoliation for more supple and bright skin. The 340ml bottle will last at least half a year upon daily use which makes it worth the splurge!

Full review here.

Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (BeautyMNL, P880)*

Perfect for layering, this cult-fave is the bestselling toner in Korea! The Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is super viscous, keeping skin smooth all day. This is so good that it actually replaced SON&PARK’s Beauty Water as my favorite toner. It balances my skin’s pH level and allows all the other products to absorb better.

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad (BeautyMNL, P900)

From my Best of 2016: Skin Care is the COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pads, pre-soaked, double-sided pads which prevent acne and calm inflammation. The textured side is for exfoliation while the flat area is to smoothen everything out. In comparison to the COSRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads, I prefer the latter because I no longer have problematic skin and use it at least once a week for moisturizing purposes. Both are great for flaky and dry skin! I still want to try the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Pads which are a tad similar but I just can’t justify the expensive purchase (P1,100 for 30 pads while this has 70 pads).


Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (BeautyMNL, P1,010)*

Ah, I believed in the power of Vitamin C after my short-lived love affair with the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. This helped fade my stubborn acne scars and hyperpigmentation – but made me about 2 foundation shades lighter – and evened out my skin tone, while also smoothening out my skin. In just 2 weeks, I recognized a huge difference. I used this for my serum step (once at night) either as a spot treatment or in combination with my moisturizer – for faster absorption.

A disadvantage is it’s super high-maintenance! It has a fast shelf life (for that tag price) because of its sensitivity to the sun even when placed on a cooler part of my desk or inside its container. In just a month or two, it turns yellow (see unsettling proof in photo). Also, if you plan to use this in the morning as part of your day routine, don’t forget to use a sunscreen because your skin will be more prone to sun rays.

Full review here.


Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream (Shop Pibu, P680)*

My holy grail moisturizer is the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream. It keeps my skin hydrated but matte so it’s perfect for both dry and oily skin types. The super lightweight formula, which goes well under make-up, helped transform the texture of my skin. This is also available in 2 other variants: moisture and combination. Did I mention that it smells amazing?!

St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer (Watsons, P249)*

A drugstore alternative for a good, effective moisturizer is the St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer which is no stranger to the blog! I’ve raved endlessly about this life-saver for dry skin and even convinced a number of friends to purchase it. It’s so good that I can feel my face *tightening* – hello, collagen! – after every use. The tub is also huge (100z) that you won’t find yourself emptying this anytime soon!

Facial Spray

Pixi Glow Mist (BeautyMNL/SM Beauty Section, P975)*

Rejuvenating make-up sprays are non-negotiables in my skin care and make-up routine (most especially). They’re great before and after make-up application and as a midday pick-me-upper, especially if you’re like me and (mostly) in a cool environment for that 9-5 corporate job.

The Pixi Glow Mist is a Godsend for dry skin in need of hydrating. It leaves skin looking extra dewy and healthy; I live for that chok-chok life! If you have oily skin, I’d say stay away from this product as it can make you look greasy, and we don’t want that! If you have the extra $$$, I’d say splurge and get this but if you want a more affordable option, Mario Badescu’s cult-classic facial spray is the way to go.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater (Rustans Beauty Source, P550)*

I’m on my second bottle of the *life-changing* Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater, which I started using after emptying my MAC Fix + – it ain’t cheap! I travel with this – a llifesaver for 3º Japan weather – and bring it with me everywhere I go. A more inexpensive yet comparable dupe, which I’m hoping to try after I finish my current bottle, is Beauty Bakery’s Rose Gel Dewy Mist (P229), exclusive to BeautyMNL. Has anyone used it? I’d love to know what you think about it!

P.S. It’s P100 cheaper in Rustans than in Sephora PH!

*This product is definitely worth repurchasing!

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.

My Personal Skin Care Routine (+ Tips to Make Your Own)

Skin first, make-up second.

A year after my life-changing education on skin care, I’ve skipped the daily medium to full coverage foundation and opt for a light tinted moisturizer or BB Cream – except on the occasional whole day event. I forego the thick cream concealer, sans the acne, and use a brightening liquid concealer to highlight my under eyes and the bridge of my nose. Bumps on my forehead are gone – thanks to my Aloe Vera Gel – and my dry skin looks healthy, radiating with a natural glow. My skin’s never been at a better state (no jinxing please), and I have to thank the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine.

Before anyone else, especially if you’re a beginner, attempts to create her own regimen, know that you don’t need 10 steps to achieve good skin. Layer if you must, but know that skin may be sensitive and can get agitated. Certain products can counteract one another, and the list goes on. If you break out from new products, stop using it immediately, and give it away! I suggest for you to read The Little Book of Skin Care by Charlotte Cho, and do your own research by religiously following The KlogWishtrend TVLiah YooGothamista, and The Beauty Breakdown.

If you want a personal regimen designed for you, I suggest to:

  • Identify your skin type, first and foremost.

What works for my dry skin may not work for your oily/combination skin. When shopping for products, you’ll discover that brands produce lines to cater to every skin type. Choosing the right products for you becomes less overwhelming when you acquaint yourself with the state of your skin. Choose well, and save your money, energy, and time.

  • Know which skin issues need to be treated.

Stubborn acne, pigmentation, premature aging, rough texture, dullness? Evaluate which needs to be treated, and keep building your routine with that in mind. A good serum and/or essence is your best bet!

  • Most of all, be patient. 

As with all things, good skin takes time. You won’t see instant results, and it can get frustrating. Be consistent with your routine, hydrate, eat good food, and cut back on the full-coverage foundation. Enjoy the process! Keep listening to what your skin is telling you, and you’ll see a great change overtime.

I’ve patterned *some* steps from the intimidating but highly effective international phenomenon. Given the state of my skin at present, I’ve simplified a bit and let go of essence, serum, and sheet masks. My daily routine consists of all-natural products – mostly Korean – through constant research and trial and error. Shall we get to the products?

Make-up Remover

Micellar Water

Garnier Skin Natural Micellar Cleansing Water in Pink (Watsons, P249; Night)

Because my crazy skin care lady double cleanse (cleansing balm and cleanser) isn’t enough, the first step of my (nightly) routine is to remove my eye and lip make-up with cotton pads soaked in my holy grail Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. It’s the best and most gentle drugstore option I’ve tried! This is no match for my smudge-proof liquid lipsticks and waterproof mascara. I still can’t believe that the 400ml bottle is this affordable. Get the travel-size (125ml) for P149 if you want to test it or bring it for travel.

Disclaimer: I’ve heard stories about this particular product carrying the substance Polyaminopropyl Biguanide (PHMB) which should, apparently, be banned because it’s believed to be carcinogenic but still appears in make-up removers, lotions, and creams. Please do your own research as a consumer to see what you feel about it!

Cleansing Balm 

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser in Purity (Shop Pibu, P890; Night)

To start off my double cleanse, a non-negotiable in my routine, I use the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser which I find to remove make-up more effectively than the Heimish All-Clean Balm. A cult favorite from Korea, the oil cleansing balm hardly needs any introduction! It goes on a solid balm then melts into a milky consistency, dissolving impurities and excess make-up. I finished a big tub of the Classic version at the beginning of the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. At present, I use Purity (for sensitive skin) after suffering from stubborn acne for a few months. It could *almost* be perfect if it were not for the blurry sensation it leaves when near the eyes.


Banila Co. Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser (Banila Co. or BeautyMNL, P595; Day and Night)

After emptying 2 bottles of the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, a basic yet non-drying cleanser from the drugstore, I’ve loved using the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser. As the last step of the double cleanse, this thick cleanser removes oil residue left from the cleansing balm. The price tag may seem unreasonable for such product but you only need so little that it can last for months!

Make sure to always cleanse your face properly, especially if you apply a lot of make-up and sunscreen, to avoid clogged pores and irritation. A clean face is the best foundation for all the other products to work. Make that extra effort, and you’ll see (and feel!) fantastic results overtime.

Exfoliator/Face Masks

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (BeautyMNL/Althea Korea, P560; 1-2x a week)

I have repurchased this after my skin went crazy upon emptying it. The Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask detoxifies and pulls out impurities from skin. It also rids it of excess sebum and minimizes the appearance of pores – because you can never really make it disappear. Unlike other face masks, this leaves skin feeling cool and hydrated. This is perfect for your next pamper sesh!

Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask (Lush, P425; Once a week)

This isn’t only for your face but also your body! Primrose seeds and Aduki beans both act as natural exfoliants, scrubbing away dead skin cells to increase cell turnover. It’s luscious and smells sweetly of chocolate! My favorite thing about this is how fast it dries – less than 5 minutes – best for days when I don’t have all the time in the world. I personally wouldn’t recommend this if you’re dealing with any stubborn breakouts, as with other harsh scrubs that can agitate acne even more rather than healing it. Again, don’t over-exfoliate and only use 1-2x a week.

Watch: Lush How It’s Made: Mask of Magnaminty via LUSH Cosmetics


Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (BeautyMNL/Althea Korea, P880; Day and Night)

My love affair with the K-Beauty multi-tasker, Son&Park Beauty Water, has officially ended after months of bliss, and I’ve gotten to know the equally raved about Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner. I’m a fan of viscous toners so this is such a treat to use! Not only does it balance skin’s natural pH levels but it prepares it to absorb the products to follow. This deeply moisturizes and leaves face squeaky clean!

Useful tip: Soak up your cotton pads with product and apply on face then use your hands to apply another layer for extra plump and hydrated skin.

CosRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads (BeautyMNL/Shop Pibu, P900; As needed)

For a gentler exfoliator, I use the One-Step Moisture Up Pads, a recent release from CosRX after the much raved about Acne One-Step Pimple Clear Pads. The pre-soaked pads are perfect for days when you have extra dry and flaky skin – either before applying make-up or after removing it! Cut it in half with a pair of sterilized scissors to save your money! This is good for everyday use but because of its price tag, I only use this 1-2x a week.

Eye Cream

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (BeautyMNL, P294; Day and Night)

Our under eyes are the most delicate part of our face so it needs extra TLC! This is the first eye cream I’ve ever tried so I’m honestly still on the search for a better product. This has effectively lessened my lines because of the snail mucin and gives it that extra moisture but hasn’t really lessened discoloration. This is also great for wrinkles so I use this on my smile lines.

Buy the 25ml tub (P750) from Shop Pibu.


Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream (Shop Pibu, P680; Day and Night)

I can heavily attribute the change of texture of my dry skin to Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream. This is fantastic for the weather in the Philippines because it seeps into skin, and it won’t leave you sticky or oily. Packed with humectants, this restores and seals hydration. I also still stand by my love for the St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer, which is a great option from the drugstore for those on a budget.


Nivea Sun Protect Aqua Gel SPF 50 PA+++ (Japanese Drugstore; Day)

For daily sun protection, I never leave the house without slathering my face and neck with the Nivea Sun Protect Aqua Gel, my favorite drugstore find from Japan. If you ever find yourself in the area, don’t leave without hoarding a few! Never take this step for granted because sun rays age your skin. A locally available alternative is the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, a lightweight, non-greasy water-based sunscreen. It’s just like you’re applying moisturizer on your face!

What’s your personal skin care routine like? Any tips for beginners? Leave them in the comments below. 💙

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! ✨