October 30, 2016 / 03:03 AM
Banila Co. is a prominent Korean beauty and skin care brand which interested me upon hearing rave reviews about the cult favorite cleansing balm, Clean It Zero. Many claim it’s the best make-up remover in the market. FYI, one is sold every 4.8 seconds. I’m done buying cheap foaming washes and facial cleansers that just don’t do the job for me.
The brand is available online through Beauty MNL, Althea Korea, and Zalora but I purchased the products from their (Philippine) website since they grant you 10% off on your first purchase – with free shipping for orders over P1000. On top of that, you get to be part of a rewards program wherein you can accumulate points and use it as discount later on. (Click here for 2500 points instantly!)
Aside from the balm, I purchased the So Strobing Stick – I take highlighting very seriously – and a travel-sized Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser that came with the set. I expected much from the products, and they did not disappoint!
Clean It Zero Cleansing Set (P1,250)
One way I take care of my skin – along with my tedious routine I won’t trade for the world – is to make sure to rid of all my make-up. A facial wash and toner combo is not enough! There is still so much make-up left after such a basic routine. (This may be one of the reasons you’re breaking out.)
The set includes the supersize Clean It Zero and a travel size Clean it Zero Foam Cleanser. I chose the classic version of the balm because I use a lot of make-up on a daily basis. It’s also available in Purity, Radiance, Resveratrol, which cater to specific skin types and concerns.
Scoop an ample amount using the tiny plastic spatula (included in the set) onto your hand. Massage it onto your face until all your make-up – stubborn mascara and liquid lipsticks included – melts. Wash it with water or wipe it off with a tissue; I prefer the first option. For those trying it for the first time, a warning, it will leave your eye sight blurry. It’s a temporary state that goes away when product is washed off but it’s still uncomfortable (and alarming on the first try). To avoid discomfort, I close my eyes when removing eye make-up. This is the only thing I dislike about it.
After a month of incorporating it to my regimen, I’m convinced that this is the best make-up remover around. I tried testing it by wiping my face with an immaculate white towel after the entire process, and it stays white! It is definitely more expensive than what I usually buy but I no longer have to worry about clogged pores caused by residue. My face is so much cleaner! Plus, it doesn’t strip your skin off moisture. It also lasts months because of how little is needed to take off make-up.
I use the Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser after the entire shebang. It’s a good basic facial wash suitable for all skin types because of how gentle it is. It can be regarded as the second step of the double-cleanse (part of the Korean 10-Step Routine).
So Strobing Stick (P865)
I first got attracted to the So Strobing Stick because of the hologram pink packaging. It also reminded me of my holy grail highlighter, Benefit’s Watt’s Up!, which gives the most beautiful golden glow. Upon swatching and application, this is more similar to my favorite drugstore highlighter, Essence’s Soo Glow. It has a really creamy consistency – the creamiest I’ve tried thus far. This gives a subtle glow, which shows pretty well on my morena skin but I believe this would also look amazing on women with fair skin. It makes my skin look healthy and awake! It’s also available on pen form, So Strobing Pen (P865).
All in all, I really loved the products, most especially the Clean It Zero. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last haul from the brand. *winks*
*You may also buy the items separately: Clean It Zero (100ml, P875), Clean It Zero Supersize (180ml, P1,250), Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser (150ml, P575).
I discovered Adrian Tomine last year. I have Shortcomings, Summer Blonde, and Sleepwalk in my collection. I love his illustrations but his “realistic” portrayal of love doesn’t appeal to me. His works depress me, IMHO. If that’s your type of thing, you can purchase his graphic novels online at Book Depository.
October 20, 2016 / 22:24 PM
The past few months have been a personal beauty reawakening of sorts. I do so much research on brands, products, and techniques that I find myself committed to make-up and skincare more than I’d choose to commit myself to a person – right now. (That’s a story for another entry.)
My relentless obsession started a month ago when I discovered the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine, which led me to Althea Korea. With all honesty, I realize that I’ve been such a snob when it comes to Asian brands because of my Western influences. I disagree with so much of our beauty standards that I limited my collection to brands like MAC, NARS, Maybelline, L’oreal, Rimmel, etc. Getting out of that bubble took a while but it finally happened, and it’s not only changing my skin but my life!
I’ve been trying brands I’ve never encountered before but hear so much rave about like Leaders Insolution and Holika Holika. I recently did a haul at this Korean pop-up store (I plan on writing about when they’re online), and of course, I had to share my thoughts on each product!
Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser (P995)
I purchased the cult favorite, Banila Co. Clean It Zero, a few weeks ago (a separate review will up soon). It works so well for me that I had to get the Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero, which is a very similar product. I can’t say it’s a cheaper alternative because they almost have the same price. Don’t mistake it for a facial cleanser because this just thoroughly melts off make-up – even your stubborn waterproof mascara. It cleans your face and prepares it for the next steps: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.
It comes with a tiny plastic spatula to scoop the product out of the container but you can also just use your hand. You can start off with a dry or wet face. Massage the balm until all traces of make-up disappear then wash it off with water. I tend to do a double take (with a smaller amount) just to be sure. I find that this is more comfortable than a cleansing oil or micellar water. You also don’t need to use a ton of cotton pads, which I find to be such a waste. This also has a sweet scent which I prefer over the Banila Co. cleanser. The product claims to soften skin, which I don’t necessarily see nor feel. I have other products like a good moisturizer (currently the St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer) to do that job for me.
Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara in 03 (P355)
I am finally convinced that doing my kilay changes my entire look. I talked about the P165 Nichido Eyebrow Gel on a recent Everyday Make-up entry. As much as I love the color, it doesn’t stay the entire day and it has this obnoxious shimmer, which I have to tame down using a mascara brush. It also transfers to my nails when I touch my face. It’s annoying!
On the other hand, the Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara is brilliant. It doesn’t transfer and stays on the entire day. The color on the photo is better for when I have red hair so I picked up 01 which looks amazingly natural on my present hair color (brown). Of all the items on my haul, this is definitely something I’ll keep repurchasing.
Holika Holika Magic Pole Mascara 2x (P510)
My Maybelline Lash Sensational and Fashion 21 Double Up mascaras are both drying up so I purchased the Holika Holika Magic Pole Mascara 2x. This is the waterproof version; it lasts all day and doesn’t smudge. This has such a unique wand. The circular part (magic ball) brushes and separates while the thin end (magic wand) coats and lengthens lashes. Both parts complement each other and should be used together. On my first try, I only used the ball that I found the product to simply do an okay job. When I got around to using the product correctly, my lashes looked so full and long! I love it so, so much! Just have cotton buds prepared to clean the eyelid since application can get messy because of the wand size.
Holika Holika Cover & Hiding Liquid Concealer (P345)
I’m giving my tiny tub of the Catrice Camouflage Cream a break so I’m using the Holika Holika Cover & Hiding Liquid Concealer. This sticks to dry spots but is good for highlighting, especially dark circles. I can’t say this covers my acne so I wouldn’t consider this a full coverage concealer. I’m sure there are better in the market for the job.
(I got my hands on the best-selling Aqua Petit Jelly BB from the brand, which I can’t wait to review on a separate entry!)
Etude House Bling Bling Eye Stick in Sunset Star, Sunbeam Star, and Rose Star (P190)
I have mixed emotions for the Etude House Bling Bling Eye Sticks because the colors are so unique, rich, and pigmented yet the formula is not the best. Upon swatching one on my hand, I immediately had to get three shades. Sunset Star reminds me of my favorite eyeshadow ever: Just A Rose from the Zoeva Rose Golden palette.
Never use it on its own. I tried, and it creased so much that my eye make-up looked horrible. This is best worn with a primer or an eyelid primer. The E.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer is cheap, good, and available everywhere. I personally find that it looks better with an eyeshadow base and patted on with a finger than used directly from the container.
Leaders Insolution Mediu Amino Moisture Mask (P128/piece)
I am absolutely, passionately in love with the Leaders Insolution Moisture Mask. Before I got obsessed with skincare, I’d get sheet masks as gifts from friends, and I’d use them just for the sake of finishing them. I never understood why I needed them until I actually did my research.
Leaders Insolution is such a popular brand for sheet masks in Korea that I had no doubts if I should get these. Because of how expensive they are, I only use it once a week. The recommended use is around 15-30 minutes but I personally use it until it dries up (which takes an hour or so because of how much product is on the sheet). I don’t throw away the packaging, I slather the remaining liquid on my face after. It works so well on my dry skin that it becomes so moisturized and supple. I can’t wait to get to a point in my life when I’m so financially stable that I can use a face mask every single day; I’m waiting it out.
Read: ITG’s Favorite Sheet Masks via Into the Gloss
Have you tried anything from the haul? Let me know in the comments!
*All items may be purchased on Althea Korea (except Leaders Insolution) and BeautyMNL (except Etude House). Prices and product availability may vary.
October 08, 2016 / 02:05 AM
I am finally a believer.
There, I said it. I am a believer in Korean beauty and skincare.
My past skincare routine was (almost) non-existent. I survived the Johnson’s Baby Soap (for my body and face *gasp*) treatment until graduating from university. Mind you, college – fuelled by caffeine while running on 3-6 hours of sleep – is anything but conducive for good skin. On my senior year, I broke out severely, and I had nothing but my Ever Bilena concealer stick to cover my unrelenting acne and dark circles. I neglected my skin until somewhere in my 20s, I discovered that there’s no point in hoarding so much make-up if my canvas isn’t well taken care of.
Being introduced to the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine by Soko Glam and Into the Gloss – even trying to memorize it like a creed – completely changed my understanding of beauty. Rachel Nguyen of That’s Chic made a really fun video about this seemingly mad (I mean, who has time for that?) regime. I follow a number of Western beauty gurus on YouTube who are big on bronzing, tanning, and the whole shebang, which I find to suit my look better. I disagree with a lot of Asian beauty standards and practices – porcelain skin, dewy complexion, ombre lips, etc. – until I found something worth emulating: crazy good skincare.
Read: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Korean Skincare via Man Repeller
I’m entering this uncharted realm which is incredibly exciting. (I want to shout to the world that I get it, I finally get the hype!) Upon recommendations from my amazing readers, I found myself navigating towards Althea Korea which sells unbelievably cheap beauty and skincare products – directly from Korea. The discounts are ridiculous! I especially love how detailed the description is on each product – packaging, skin type, size, purpose, and usage – talk about good information design! Althea also delivers straight to your doorstep with free shipping (for orders P999 or more the entire month of October) after a week (!) of purchasing, and they offer 30-day returns.
Upon further research on b/vlogs – and after two hours eagerly scrolling through the website – I picked products from the popular brand Innisfree. They’re pretty affordable too! I’ve been using the products religiously, and I can feel a complete difference in my skin. Here are my individual reviews of each!
Jumbo No Sebum Mineral Powder, Limited Edition (P570)
This, by far, is the best loose powder I’ve tried. (I have yet to purchase the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder to, maybe, change my mind.) Don’t let the white powder fool you, it actually warms up my complexion – this has voodoo or something. You can apply it for a number of times, and it still won’t look heavy or cakey. It leaves skin feeling silky smooth.
I’m not one to use a powder puff or a compact sponge when applying loose powders since I prefer using a powder or stippling brush, but I don’t mind at all with this one. It spreads out the product evenly, and it targets parts which are hard to reach. I keep touching my face in the middle of the day to see if I’ve already gone oily on my T-Zone since other powders (Nichido Final Powder and Bourjois Loose Powder) do that but by some miracle, I am completely matte. (Disclaimer: Please know I’m inside an air-conditioned office all day, but I do commute.)
Unfortunately, they no longer carry the limited jumbo edition (15g) but the smaller version (5g, P260) is still available on Althea; it’s just currently sold out. I mean, that’s how good it is! Wait for them to restock – as if your life depended on it. Both are travel-friendly, which I love. On the other hand, if you prefer pressed powders, you can try the Sebum Mineral Pact (P480).
Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (P560)
The Jeju Volcanic line is perfect for anyone who wants to minimize pores and remove blackheads. The award-winning Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is targeted towards combination skin. The original Jeju Volcanic Clay Mask (P520) is best for those with smaller pores and more sensitive skin. It refreshes the skin, removes sebum, and exfoliates dead skin cells.
After removing my make-up and using my toner, I apply it then remove it with lukewarm water after 10 minutes – with a recommended usage of 1-2 times a week. It doesn’t dry up to the point that it gets uncomfortable unlike my experience with other masks. It has a cooling effect which I really enjoy. It unclogs my pores, softens the skin, and rids it of impurities. I’ve seen such an improvement in my skin; it really stays true to its claims!
Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam (P450)
There was a time when I was completely clueless about skincare – I still, sort of, kinda am. I had the cult favorite, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and I used it twice a day, every day of the week. My poor face was so rough that I never wanted to use facial scrubs again – until I discovered the Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam. It’s so much gentler than others but still does an incredible job of removing dirt. It’s targeted towards combination skin unlike the Jeju Volcanic Pore Foam which is better for oily skin. I use it twice a week, and it leaves my skin clean and moisturized.
Volcanic Black Head Out Balm (P280)
I had greater expectations for the Volcanic Black Head Out Balm but it’s just okay. From the entire haul, I’m least impressed by this. Before using the Clay Mask and the Pore Scrub Foam, I apply this on my nose to loosen my black heads. It doesn’t give instant results, maybe the Jeju Volcanic Nose Pack and Jeju Volcanic Blackhead 3-Step Program are better for said endeavor.
I’m honestly so happy with my entire Althea Korea experience. I’m eyeing so many goodies for my next haul including the Innisfree Tinted Dual Brow, No-Sebum Blur Primer, Green Tea Pure Cleansing Foam, Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner, and Soybean Energy Essence.
If you’re convinced to shop all things Althea, on top of the P150 discount and P150 rebate on your first purchase, click this link for an extra P50. Also, amazing life hack, try Shopback to get a percentage back from your online shopping (including Althea Korea, Zalora, Sephora Philippines, and Lazada). You’re welcome!
What’s on your Althea Korea to-buy list? Anything you’ve tried from Innisfree you want to recommend?
September 26, 2016 / 12:49 PM
Doing my make-up on the daily is a routine that keeps dull days worth living out. I spend extra time perfecting my face, and it makes me feel confidently beautiful…and sometimes, late. When I’m not trying out new make-up for the blog, these are my go-to products!
Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm (P549, Your Make-up Store)
YouTube is abuzz with NikkieTutorial’s spontaneous discovery of Nivea Men’s Shave Balm; it happens to be a brilliant alternative to a primer! I got mine as a little pasalubong from my best friend from her US trip. It works absolute wonders! It blurs out pores, smoothes out my skin, and makes my make-up last the entire day. I can sweat, commute, and still look good after a long work day. The smell is very strong (think men’s cologne) once applied but it fades after a few minutes.
Catrice Camouflage Cream in Light Beige (P329, Watsons)
I tried the Catrice Camouflage Cream as recommended by Liz of Project Vanity. It’s not exactly life-changing but it does cover my acne and dark circles plus it’s good to highlight certain features. It’s already very pigmented with just one swipe. It also doesn’t dry up fast unlike my L.A. Girl PRO Conceal.
L’oreal True Match Liquid Foundation in Nude Beige (P600, Watsons)
I finished my bottle of the much raved about Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation after three months which led me to try the L’oreal True Match Liquid Foundation. (I bought it for P450 during one of their month-long sales.) It does a great job of covering my blemishes and dark spots. It feels weightless, and it leaves my skin with a beautiful satin finish. It carries 18 shades which makes it easy to find the perfect shade for your skin. It does have some hints of shimmer – nothing too noticeable – so that’s something to consider.
Bourjois Paris Loose Powder in Peach (Watsons KK)
To set my face after applying my foundation, I use the Bourjois Loose Powder which makes my skin feel velvet smooth and matte. It’s a life-saver especially during long day shoots but I just hate how loose powders, in general, are so messy; it gets everywhere.
Fashion21 Eyebrow Gel in Light Brown (P165, Watsons)
I’ve never been one to do my kilay…surprise! My brows have always been thick since time immemorial (just look at my baby pictures). I never really bothered doing mine but so many of my friends told me I’m missing out. I grabbed the Fashion 21 Eyebrow Gel on a trip to Watsons out of curiosity. I love how it matches my (artificially colored) brown hair. The gel has some shimmer so I tame it with my Nichido Mascara Brush. The gel fills out my sparse areas but I think I can still make do with days devoid of the product.
Fashion 21 Double Up Mascara (P225), Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara (P429, Watsons)
I alternate between the two mascaras. Fashion 21’s Double Up Mascara – a favorite among local beauty gurus – is the best local drugstore mascara I’ve tried. It lengthens my lashes very well. I’m on my second tube already, and I know I’ll keep repurchasing it. A number of people compliment my eyes when I wear it! It’s so easy to remove, I find that facial wash does the trick. Maybelline’s Lash Sensational is another favorite. I love how it volumizes my lashes but because of how big the mascara wand is, application can get messy. I’m also such a fan of the pink packaging! Because of how waterproof it is, I use micellar water or cleansing oil to remove it.
Stila Eyes Are the Window Shadow Palette in Mind (Sephora KK)
A recent matte eyeshadow convert, I just had to get this Stila palette during my trip to Sephora in Malaysia last summer. It has a wide selection of neutrals and bright colors that are great to build up and mix together. Also, as an eyeshadow rookie, I don’t find the colors intimidating at all. Wit and Creativity (browns) are great as a duo. Perception (orange) is amazing on its own. I can probably live life with just this palette in tow – but that would be depressing.
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (P450, Your Make-up Store)
My most used and abused blush is Milani’s Luminoso. It gives my cheeks color and a noticeable glow! This blush is just one of a kind.
Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippie in The Morning After (P649, Zalora), MAC Lipstick in Velvet Teddy (P1,050, MAC)
Aside from the Maybelline Brown Nudes, nowadays, my everyday lipsticks happen to be Happy Skin’s The Morning After, which is a beautiful mauvy pink, and MAC’s iconic Velvet Teddy, a universally flattering nude. The Morning After feels so weightless, like there’s nothing on my lips to begin with. The formula is so unique, I haven’t chanced on any lip product quite like it. I plan on getting all the other Moisturizing Matte Lippies! Velvet Teddy is so pigmented and wears great with all make-up looks. I’m so close to finishing it – a miracle in itself – which reminds me to get a new tube soon.
Essence Soo Glow Cream to Powder Highlighter in Bright Up Your Life (Watsons KK)
Essence’s Soo Glow is the most beautiful and subtle highlighter I’ve tried from the drugstore. It looks great on my morena skin and lasts on the high points of my cheek all day (it doesn’t on my nose bridge and Cupid’s bow). Sadly, it isn’t available in Essence counters locally. I’m such a fan of the German-based brand, in general, after several product tries. They deserve more rave!
Nars Blush in Madly (P1,450, Nars)
Madly is the perfect bronzer for my color! Because it’s so expensive, I only use it on weekends and special occasions. I use my Zoeva Nude Spectrum Blush Palette on the daily. It gives the perfect tan color on my skin without looking overdone. It’s also great as an eyeshadow base for days when I forget to bring my palettes.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler (P1,400, Shu Uemura)
I’ve been a believer of the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ever since my Japan trip two years ago. (Tip: it’s P900 in Narita Airport.) This will be a beauty essential ’til my last breath.
Features&Shades Loose Powder Brush (P299), Foundation Brush (P325), Slanted Concealer Brush (P299), Large Eyeshadow Brush (P150), Pointed Crease Brush (P150, Watsons)
As a beauty beginner, I don’t think I’m in any position to invest in Zoeva or Sigma brush sets so after scouring the drugstore for good local beauty brushes, I finally found them! The F&S (Features&Shades) brushes are all spectacular but my absolute must-haves are the Foundation Brush, the Slanted Concealer Brush, and the Large Eyeshadow Brush. The bristles are so soft that I’m actually trading these for my Real Techniques!
Any beauty products you’ve tried from the list? Let me know in the comments!
September 20, 2016 / 12:59 PM
(Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes in  Daringly Nude,  Clay Crush, and  Touch of Spice)
I missed the launch of the Maybelline Brown Nudes a month ago on Beauty MNL so when I found out that they were on sale again (P199 in counters nationwide – originally P299 – until October 2), I rushed to the mall(s) to get these three shades. I wanted to get Nude Nuance too but it’s sold out where I went (Watsons Megamall and SM Department Store, Watsons Podium). I didn’t feel the need to get Burgundy Blush (the darkest shade) because I already have Divine Wine, which is an amazing dupe for MAC Diva, by the way. Nude Embrace (the lightest shade) felt a little too similar to Daringly Nude.
The products don’t disappoint at all. These are seriously the best drugstore lipsticks I’ve tried. The colors are extra pigmented considering drugstore nude lipsticks I’ve tried usually aren’t. From a single swipe, the full opacity of the color’s displayed. It’s excellent for Filipina skin, both for morenas and mestizas. Personally, I tend to navigate towards nudes and pinks, which is why I have so much appreciation for the range. It applies really creamy but is still very much matte. It reminds me of ColourPop’s Lippie Stix, another favorite. It’s crazy long-lasting, Touch of Spice survived an entire work day (9 hours) on me. It’s great for everyday wear (school and work) as well as events – especially with a bold eye look. It feels expensive on the lips, maybe even comparable to the NARS Audacious lipsticks. The sweet, vanilla scent is also endearing!
Colorwise, Clay Crush is my favorite. It’s an amazing MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade. It’s a close match to MAC’s Velvet Teddy but more peach. Formula-wise, Touch of Spice is the best. It’s a wonderful dupe for MAC Twig. Daringly Nude is great when trying to mute down or desaturating a bold lip color but it’s also good worn on its own. Tip: It’s better worn with a lip liner. The lighter colors tend to accentuate the lines on the lips but not so visible that it becomes daunting. Also, it fades a little in the innermost part of my lips after a few hours.
Have you tried anything from the collection? What’s your favorite color? I’d love to know what you think!