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Product Empties: Beauty and Skin Care

It’s been a good year diligently collecting emptiesgathering products I love –  and found myself grieving over, upon its material death – and others, which I finished for the sake of a clear conscience. The paper bag was accumulating filth that I really had to complete this entry. Lo and behold, my trash!

Skin Care

Micellar Water 

*L’Oréal Micellar Water in Moisturizing (Watsons, P225)

Times have changed, more drugstore brands are finally carrying micellar water. If you’re on a budget, L’Oréal’s 2016 launch is a good alternative for cleansing oils and balms. It gently removes make-up effectively. I personally use it to remove my lip product and eye make-up then follow up with my (crazy skin care lady) double cleanse: a cleansing balm and a water-based cleanser.

Cleansing Balm

*Banila Co. Clean It Zero Super Size in Classic (Beauty MNL, P1,270)

I grieved over emptying my Banila Co. Clean It Zero a month ago. So far, I’ve discovered it’s the best way to completely rid my face of make-up for a clean and hydrated face. It’s an international best-seller for a reason. It’s a solid balm that dissolves into a milky, oil-like substance. This extra step makes all the difference in my regimen. The Super Size lasted me for 4 months – considering I use make-up every day – which makes the item worth the splurge. Again, the only con I have for this is the blurry sensation I have when it’s close my eye area.

Full review here.

Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm (Althea Korea, P910)

I finished Hope Girl’s Jamong Cleansing Balm so fast that I don’t think it’s worth the price. It does the job but I have to apply it on my face twice. It’s a sherbet-type cleanser thinner and more slippery in consistency than the Clean It Zero. I’m on the search for the next cleansing balm…Heimish’s All Clean Balm, perhaps? Or even a cleansing oil! If you have recommendations, do let me know!


Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash (Watsons, P299)

Upon discovering the cult favorite, Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser, nothing else compares. Simple’s Moisturizing Facial Wash is pretty, wait for it, basic. I’m not undermining its effectivity as a cleanser but it does exactly what other drugstore generic facial washes do, and I need something more.


*CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pad (Watsons, P665)

I’ve never loved a skin care product more than CosRX’s One-Step Pimple Clear Pad; I can’t live without it. I’m on my second, and it’s been a part of my daily routine ever since I discovered it. I use it at night to gently exfoliate my skin after a long day under hostile environmental elements. Not only does it prevent breakouts, it also calms redness at the onset of hormonal acne. Use the textured area of the pad to mildly exfoliate and the flat area for a gentle cleanse. And, who wouldn’t love that super cute packaging?!


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

It still baffles me how this huge jar of moisturizer (10oz) is so affordable. For the price of P249, this nourishes deep into skin. I even feel my face tighten after application! It also isn’t sticky so this is good even for day wear, especially during summer. I want to try new products for reviews but I can’t seem to detach myself from it – I’m actually on my second jar! If 10-ish steps is too overwhelming for you, I recommend at least incorporating this product to your minimal routine.

*The Face Shop Jeju Aloe Fresh Soothing Gel (The Face Shop, P195)

Aloe Gel is a miracle multi-tasker to treat stubborn acne and insect bites, soothe sunburn, and many other things. I personally use it every night as a sleeping gel as the last step of my routine. It seeps into my skin and hydrates it. In just one week of religious use, I noticed that tiny bumps on my face, especially on my forehead, started disappearing.



QuickFX No-Shine Mattifier (Watsons, P99)

To fill in pores and to mattify (oily to combination) skin, the QuickFX No-Shine Mattifier is an underrated gem from the drugstore! It’s a fantastic product to control sebum, and it even makes skin look Photoshopped. This silicon-based primer is pretty similar to ELF’s Mineral Infused Face Primer and Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer but way more affordable. I suggest to use a setting spray to lengthen make-up wear time since this doesn’t do that. I won’t purchase it again just for the reason that I have normal skin so I don’t really need much mattifying.


*L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation in Nude Beige (Watsons, P600)

I’ve forgotten how much I love L’Oréal’s True Match Liquid Foundation after obsessing over Cushion Compacts and BB Creams for a while. I set it with my Nichido Final Powder in So Natural, and I’m all set for a full day – I even wear this for events! It covers my blemishes so well, I don’t even have to wear concealer. This also lasted me half a year. This is such a holy grail from the drugstore!

*Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation in Natural Beige (Watsons, P499)

I love, love, love Maybelline’s Dream Velvet Matte Foundation for everyday wear. This gives me flawless skin. Because of its velvet matte finish, this is super hydrating for normal/dry skin. From reviews online, this isn’t the best product for oily skin. Don’t forget to use a beauty blender or a sponge because this particular formula doesn’t cling well to normal make-up brushes.


COVERGIRL The Super Sizer By Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black (Watsons, P395)

I purchased COVERGIRL’s Super Sizer on one of its sales because it’s Tati-approved, but it left me disappointed since it applies really messy. It does lengthen and volumize lashes like no one’s business but it took a month of constant use before I actually liked it.


Sleek MakeUp Matte Me Lip Cream in Birthday Suit (P450, Zalora)

I have a complicated love-hate relationship with Sleek MakeUP’s Matte Me Liquid Lipstick in Birthday Suit. I’m on my second tube, and it remains the best (pinkish) nude I have in my collection. No wonder it’s always sold out. This dries completely matte, which means it can be difficult to reapply in the middle of the day. The more you apply, the more chapped your lips will get. This is super drying, and it feels heavy but I look past its flaws for the stunning shade.

*Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams in Cannes, Prague, Copenhagen, and Transylvania (Stuff in Style, P270)

If you’re not a fan of uber drying liquid lipsticks, the classic Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams may be your cup of tea. They deliver superior pigmentation and come in a ton of vibrant shades – without leaving your lips a chapped mess! It remains one of the best formulas in the market, even beating luxurious brands. Cannes (a pinkish nude), Prague (a deep fuschia), and Copenhagen (a vampy red) are my top picks; they’re universally flattering, too!

*Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 08 and 104 (P350, Your Make-up Store PH)

The Kate by Rimmel lipsticks are the creamiest lipsticks I’ve tried. 08 and 104 are some of my favorite pinks from the drugstore. Because of how buttery it is, just be wary of the product moving around.

Lip Balm

Classic Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm (P139, Watsons)

I actually finished a lip balm…wait, what? This moisturizes my lips as well as Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. The smell is just a bit strange, a mixture of vanilla and Omega Pain Killer?

*This product is definitely worth repurchasing!

What have you emptied lately? Any products you’ve tried from the list? Let me know in the comments below! ✨

Portraits: Alyssa

Make-up, Photography: Elisa Aquino / Modeling, Styling: Alyssa Lapid

When I have the opportunity to mentor younger people through talks and workshops, I always tell them, “Actively pursue your craft, perfect your style – but do not limit yourself.” I learned how to shoot portraits at 18, to write about beauty and do make-up at 22, and at 24, I’m (finally!) learning how to shoot with artificial light – my biggest insecurity as a photographer. The more I learn, the more I’m amazed to see how God put these desires in me I’m discovering really complement each other.

On Alyssa: (Base) Flormar Mat Touch Foundation, Nichido Final Powder in So Natural (Eyes) Zoeva Rose Golden Eyeshadow Palette, Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in Mind,  (Cheeks) Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (Lips) MAC Lipstick in Diva (Others) Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, Banila Co. So Strobing Stick, NARS Blush in Madly as bronzer, MAC Fix Plus, L’Oréal Infallible Make-up Extender Setting Spray

Hire me/Collaborate with me:

Favorites, Lately

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.

Skin Care


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!).

Facial Cleanser

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

Eye Cream

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!

Make-up Spray

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!


Hair Care 

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!

Affordable Beauty: Maybelline Powder Mattes vs. Creamy Mattes

(Maybelline Color Sensational Powder Mattes in [1] Mauve it Up and [2] 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! ✨

Unboxing: Althea Korea Anti-Pollution Box

Althea Korea’s Anti-Pollution Box (P1,450 – originally worth P5,020)

Living in Manila takes a toll on me, especially as a regular commuter. An environment so hostile to skin needs its recuperation at the end of the day that’s why I was ecstatic – an understatement – when the wonderful Althea pixies mailed me their Anti-Pollution Box to try!

I subscribe to the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine I rave about endlessly, and choosing the right products for my skin type is easier with a beauty platform like Althea. It’s my go-to for everything skin care because of the unbelievably low prices – with regular sales and discounts! – and the array of homegrown brands to choose from.

The monthly Althea Beauty Boxes are great for those who want to discover new products – both for skin care and make-up – without breaking the bank. You just might find your true love within these boxes!

Make-up Remover

Cleansing Water

Calmia Rooibosh No Wash Cleansing Water (Solo, P260)

I changed my nightly skin care routine and added the Calmia Rooibosh No Wash Cleansing Water to remove my eye make-up before a thorough double cleanse. It makes the next steps easier, and it doesn’t tug on my eyes – the most sensitive part of the face and the most susceptible to aging. Make-up comes right off without stinging my eyes; it’s super gentle!

It’s marketed as a no-wash product for incredibly lazy (hands up!) nights when you just want to go straight to bed. Of course, I still recommend a good cleansing balm/oil and a water-based cleanser (see next 2 items) to effectively remove pollutants you carried from your commute home. This is also extra helpful for moments when you’ve done a make-up boo-boo and want to fix it without ruining an entire look.

Cleansing Balm

Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm (Solo, P910)

The Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm competes with my love for the holy grail status Banila Co. Clean It Zero. I find that it’s the easiest and fastest way to wash off make-up without wasting any product. It works better than the Holika Holika Pig Clear Make-up Zero which leaves my face greasy.

The sherbet-type cleanser is mild yet powerful – plus that packaging is extra cute! When I go all out with a full face for an event, I do this step twice and find all traces of my make-up gone. It’s such a miracle worker!


Water-Based Cleanser 

Missha Deep Cleansing Foam 

This is easily my favorite from the bunch! I’m disappointed since it’s not yet available (solo) in Althea! Let me update this entry when it is. This smells so nostalgic – just like a regular Pond’s Facial Wash. It’s thick in consistency and removes remaining impurities while retaining moisture.


Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (Solo, P440)

I’ve had this item in my Althea bag for months, and every time I find the courage to purchase it, it’s sold out! Surely, good things come to those who wait. I personally prefer a more viscous consistency when it comes to toners – almost like an essence but not quite – but the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener is hydrating and delivers results! It cleanses and tightens pores, controls sebum, and balances skin’s pH levels – everything a toner needs to do and more! Instead of just using the product with a cotton pad, I also add an extra layer with my hand and pat it on my face for double the moisture.


Skinfood Bitter Green Clay Soothing Mask

For a special pamper day, I love doing a face mask once a week. I leave the Skinfood Bitter Green Clay Soothing Mask on my face for around 15-20 minutes until I feel a tightening and rinse it with warm water. It leaves my skin clean, smooth, and ready for my beauty sleep.

I don’t recommend this to people with sensitive skin or anyone suffering from breakouts because there are solid particles that can scratch your face. This is best applied with a small spatula rather than your fingers.


ONSAEMEEIN Perfect Moisture Cream (Solo, P340)

The ONSAEMEEIN Perfect Moisture Cream applies wet but immediately absorbs into skin. This type of consistency is extra hydrating so it’s good for dry skin! The Trehalose extract is the star of the show, preventing aging and improving wrinkles through time.


It’s My Daily Sun Cream SPF45+ PA+++ (Solo, P240)

I’ve been more diligent when applying sunscreen – even when I’m just inside an office the entire day. This isn’t for everyone because it’s thick and can feel greasy when not blended well. Personally, I don’t mind because it leaves my skin really moisturized and prepped for a full face of make-up. It doesn’t smell like chemicals, which more generic sunscreens do. This is also pretty cheap considering sunscreens in the market start at around P400+.

Thank you for the love, Althea!

More on the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine on my next entry about The Little Book of Skin Care by Soko Glam founder, Charlotte Cho.

Don’t forget to use my (P350) discount code on your first purchase. 💗

Disclaimer: The Anti-Pollution Box is actually sold out – upon publishing this entry – so I provided links for the individual products in case you want to purchase them.