Category Archives: Product Review

So My Forehead Decided to Act Ten Years Younger (Not in a Good Way)

Zits. Across my forehead. This is bad bad baaad. It’s like sophomore year in high school all over again.

After finally having a decent skin care regimen to stick to, I succeeded on clearing up my skin of major blemishes and make my complexion glow like a cherub’s for the past few months. That is, until my forehead decided to do a turnabout.

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Last selfie I took more than a month ago before my pores revolted against me. See? I was so glow-y! And with no makeup! =_=

I think it started with the flesh-colored mini bumps I got after trying out the Caviar Peptide Mask from Watson’s. They weren’t pimples, so I was like, “Meh, my exfoliant will take care of that.” But it still persisted. So I tried tea tree oil since it works on small pimples I get every now and then and some of the bumps did disappeared .

But things got REALLY worse after I tried Etude House’s Precious Mineral BB Cream. Since my summer tan already faded and my Maybelline foundation is now a shade darker so it doesn’t match my current skin tone, I was in the look out for a new tinted moisturizer. I was eyeing NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer even though it’s a bit expensive since I think if you’re going to spend a lot of money on makeup, it should be on foundation/tinted moisturizer and mascara. But mom got the BB Cream from her boss for free so I tried it instead.

preciousmineralbbcreambrightfit14000I actually liked the BB Cream. It’s light weight, I liked the pearly finish, and its SPF is as high as NARS’. The only down side I initially noticed was I got more oily than normal, needing two sheets of oil blotters by noon instead of only one. The zits started to appear a week after, one on the cheek, a small one on the jaw line, and another on the forehead. I was pretty sure that it’s the BB cream that’s causing me to break out since it’s the only new product I’ve been using. After two weeks of use, I decided to give the BB Cream back to my mom. I thought giving my skin a rest from makeup would be sufficient to make my zits would go away but nope, still have ’em.

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My forehead as of December 5, looks less awful due to lighting.

Aside from the BB Cream, I guess work-related stress (three weeks of heavy work load WITHOUT SUNDAY REST DAY) and PMS also made it worse. Even my boyfriend and co-workers noticed my zits now. Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask helps in calming the redness but only for a day and my tea tree oil does nothing to heal it now that it’s pretty bad. I’ll try Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream since I’ve read a lot of good reviews from it online, some even said it only takes 2-3 days for the pimples to completely heal. For a long term fix, I’ll be looking for skin care with BHA or retinol in the ingredient list. I’ll just post an update next week if my forehead will get better. I just wish it won’t get any worse.

rozza authorbox wideUPDATE Feb 2014: Okay after more than 2 months since this post, I’m still breaking out. Now it’s mostly along my jawline and chin so there’s a big probability that this is not caused by one product and I’m suffering from hormonal acne. So I guess Etude House’s BB Cream is off the hook(but still too oily for me). I’m currently using their AC Clinic Daily Toner and Moisturizer and Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleanser and Drying Lotion(as a weekly spot treatment, too harsh for daily use). I have fewer breakouts now, but my face is still left with dark spots from old acne. Will post updates in the future if my new regimen will clear my face up totally. Wish me luck!

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Get Pretty Waves While Drying Up Your Hair

I love having big-curls-bordering-on-wavy type of hair. I’m the only one in our family who has straight hair(got it from grandpa), so while every girl in the country was brainwashed to achieve rebond-ala-Rejoice-commercial, I dreamt of having mom’s long romantic waves. I got my first perm during my fourth year in college, my hair was in between a long bob and shoulder length so something must be done. During the first few months of my perm, I ended up looking like Carles Puyol of FC Barcelona (good thing I have Futsal for P.E., looked pretty bad-ass with my curls bouncing while playing) since the stylist used small-ish rollers and digi-perm wasn’t that much of a thing yet unlike today. I used hair mousse while my hair was damp to control the frizz. Having curls made my hair pretty low maintenance since you can’t do much to them except maybe tie them in a pony tail that looks like a puffy ball of hair. Pretty ideal if you’re going through thesis, tons of extracurricular school activities, and etc.

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Rockin’ my short permed locks back in 2010.

My curls eventually grew out and when they were about 5 inches below my shoulders, they turned into waves that could be twisted into a group of curls like Goldilocks’. And the awesome thing about having an old perm? It now responds to curling iron! MAJOR YEY! When my hair was still straight, no rollers or curling iron could give my hair curls that last more than 3 hours, even with hardcore hairspray.

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My curls about 20 months after I had a perm, with my friend Sanchi in our thesis exhibit.

When I want my hair to be extra fabulously gorg, I curl my hair 1-inch square section at a time using 1.5 inch barrel curling iron. Then I flip my hair over to the front by bending down forward, finger comb my hair to loosen the curls a bit then spray it with Vo5 Strong Hold Weather Resistant Hair Spray.

Whatever’s left from my first perm got chopped off after I colored my hair ombre last year so I got a digi-perm last January from Tony and Jackey’s Bangs Hair Salon. This time, my curls were more of a cross breed between Kpop curls and beachy waves instead of cherubim-ish curls I got during my first perm. When I want my hair to look more put-together instead of just random waves, I follow the tip my stylist taught me  to enhance my curls’ look while he was drying my hair. No curling tools needed!

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Curling magic.

We’ll only use one product which is Stylist Wonder Curling Wax from The Face Shop. I discovered this product from an office mate of mine. She gave her unfinished tub to me since she went back to having straight hair and I really like how well it holds my curls while keeping your hair soft to touch. Now for the tutorial! I’ll be teaching you the simple steps that were taught to me by the stylist from Tony and Jackey. He used a different hair product but our Wonder Curling Wax will do just fine.

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You’ll just have to excuse the awful photo quality, I was rushing to do my hair since it’s ALMOST 8AM and my boss is about to arrive!

1. Start with damp hair sectioned into two. Using your fore finger, scoop up a some curling wax as you would on an icing on a cake. Put it in your palm and rub it to heat the product a bit.

2. Section one side of your hair again into two and spread the wax using both hands to the two new partitions you just did.

3. Twist the two smaller partitions on one side inward their divide, so they are twisted in opposite directions. It’s important for them to be twisted in different directions so the twists won’t get joined together when it dries.

4. Do step 3 on the two smaller partitions on the other side. You could add more wax to the tips to lock the curls better. Now let it dry.

Yes I know, I have MAJOR dark roots and I’m just letting it get longer and longer with impunity. My ombre color let’s me off the hook.

5. Flip your hair over to your front and finger comb your hair to multiply your curls. Aaaaand…

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Quick selfie for this post.

Tadaa! Awesome curls sans rollers or curling iron. I think this will work just fine for those who have naturally wavy hair, since my perm is already 8 months old now and when it’s not styled like this, it’s just loosely wavy.

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Here’s a close-up of my hair for good measure.

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A Study on Nudes

I just love nude nail polish. Putting nude shades on your nails makes you hand really neat. I also love their versatility. They go with anything – no matter what you are wearing, nude nail polish will surely complement it. The tone maybe on the safe side, but it’s never boring. And, their inherent elegance makes them perfect for formal occasions.

At my age, there are always a wedding to go to and that is where nude nail polishes shine the most. So for my friend’s upcoming wedding, I already know I’m going to wear a nude nail polish even before I’ve decided which dress to wear. But, which nude nail polish to use? To answer that question, Rozza and I did a study on nudes.

A Study on Nude Nail PolishesWe gathered five different brands of nail polish that are in Php 100 range. The brands are Cutex in Just Natural, Essence Nude Glam, Etude House Look At, L.A. Colors Nail Lacquer  in Suede,  & Sassy Colors in Carolina Peace . We put two coats of each nail polish then top it off with a Sassy Clear Top Coat.

Sassy Colors in Carolina PeaceSassy Colors Carolina Peace (Php 19)

As the cheapest nail polish in the bunch, Sassy Colors are great for those who are in the tight budget. The shade is a bit too pinkish, but it can still pass of as a nude tone. It has a good consistency, considering that we bought it months ago. On the other hand, it has that awful nail polish smell that is just too strong.

L.A. Colors Nail Lacquer  in SuedeL.A. Colors Nail Lacquer Suede (Php 89)

L.A. Colors has a dark nude tone. It does a great job in making your skin look fairier. The consistency isn’t too thick, making the color easy to control as you put it on. Even with just one coat, the color already looks good, especially if you don’t want a darker shade. When it dries, it looks even and smooth. You don’t have to be an expert painter to achieve that perfect result. L.A. Colors comes with a hardener so it dries quickly and its one of the last to chip off even after 5 days. But the lid/handle is a bit fat so your fingers need to do a bit of adjustment when applying the nail polish.

Essence Nude GlamEssence Nude Glam (Php 99)

Essence actually has a lot of nude shades. We picked a light nude shade that has some gold flecks. I like this shade the best in all our nude polishes because it just looks downright classy. But sadly, the consistency sucks. It is hard to gauge how much polish is in the brush. It seems like you have to depend on luck. Plus, its flat brush also does not make the application easy. It was also the first one to chipped off. But if you have a lot of patience, you will want to try it out. After all, it looks really pretty if done right.

Etude House Look AtEtude House Look At (Php 75)

The Etude House Look At is also glittery just like Essence, but its shade is a bit more vibrant. The consistency is on the watery side so you have to be careful not to put too much polish on the brush. It also dries evenly, making the finished product look like velvety blend of chai tea. I like its delicate look and among the five, this one looked the most elegant.

Cutex in Just NaturalCutex Just Natural (Php 109)

Cutex Just Natural has a semi-matte yellowish tone. It has a good consistency just like Sassy and L.A.Colors, but when applied to the nail, it leave on some lines that can ruin the look. I think you need to have good painting skills for one, because when Rozza applied it, it came out well. So I guess, the outcome depends on how good you are in painting nails. Cutex has keratin which makes your nails stronger that helps a lot keeping it chipped-free and it is one of the nail polishes that remained perfect even after 5 days.

Nude Nail Polishes

From pinky to thumb: Sassy Colors in Carolina Peach, L.A. Nail Colors in Suede, Essence Nude Glam, Etude House Look At, and Cutex in Just Natural.

It is a bit hard to judge which is the winner especially if we have different demands from a nail polish. A lot of my friends, including our mom liked the Sassy Colors the best. And honestly, for its price, it is definitely a good buy. I like the L.A. Colors because it is easy to put on which is great for amateur nail painters like me, Rozza likes its fool proof consistency too. But my heart also goes out to Etude House because I really like its finish and it just looks really chic which makes it perfect for glam events like weddings. So for now, I have decided to use the Etude House nail polish for the wedding, but if L.A. Colors or Sassy has a similar shade, then I will definitely go for it.

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Empties are sad, and so is Mr. Cat

Mr. Cat is devastated you guys, he witnessed it first hand. Yesterday, after months of loving my skin, my Olay moisturizer ran empty.

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That’s a gentlecat with a broken heart who knows nothing but sorrow.

I was doing my usual quick morning beauty routine on my desk(the CTP machines on our department was still warming up so I wasn’t slacking early in the morning, ‘ayt?) while Mr. Cat was chillin’ in front of my monitor. I just finished toning, and ready to quench my face’s thirst for moisturization when all of a sudden, my Olay Total Effects Advanced Daily Moisturizer with Cooling Essence made a loud squirting noise and pumped out(more like splattered out) only a quarter of its usual pump. I tried again, and three more pumps later, it’s officially empty. Time of death –  8:10 AM.

To honor my beauty kit’s fallen member, she will receive an honorary review. Yes, she definitely deserves such accolade. She has successfully taken care of my skin since college(I consumed 4-5 bottles aside from this one), nurtured my face and kept it dewy even through sleepless thesis nights, and did damage control when I had too much fun under the sun during my beach adventures.

It’s light weight, non sticky, and feels cool to the skin, perfect for Manila’s hot weather. Its price of Php690.00 is very reasonable since a 50g bottle lasts me for about 4-6 months so. This is the skin care product I’ve been most loyal to because it didn’t make my face breakout into zitloads. 

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Goodbye ol’ friend, we had good times together. You’ll be missed!

It is a great product, but I feel I need to step up my skincare regimen. My skin is starting to show signs of aging(SPOTS for chrissakes! And ginormous pores!), and aside from moisturizing my face, I need something to keep my face’s oil production in check. I already bought a new mattyfing day cream(bought two actually, to avail the shop’s discount card since I’ll be buying regularly from them), and I’m planning to buy a separate night cream that moisturizes more intensively. When my new skincare regimen is complete, and I have used it for more than a month, I’ll review the new products. To comfort Mr. Cat, I’ll let him hug my J. Couture lotion bottle.

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Now I know I Do Need You Royal Jelly!

Last Sunday, Yna and I went out for a movie and shopped at Ayala Center since I had unexpected cash to burn(received a generous honorarium for a lecturing stint about layouting, aw yiss MFing crumbs!) . While traversing from Glorietta to Greenbelt in search of the most decent seats available for the next time slot of Despicable Me 2, I saw the newly opened Etude House at Greenbelt 4 (near the bridgeway from Landmark, across The Body Shop).

Koreans have crazy good skin, and skincare is very important to them(they prefer less makeup, more skincare) so I checked out their skin care products and I found their cheap-ass face masks. Php58.00 is just crazy cheap, so treating yourself to a bit of pampering every week won’t make your wallets cry.

I tried out I Need You, Royal Jelly! Mask Sheet since it’s supposed to “restore skin health and soothe the skin after being damaged by pollution, debris and weather and help skin to maintain smoothness, softness and luminosity”. Just reading that description at the back side of the packaging sold me out. Anyone who has lived long enough in a city knows that dirt, pollution, and stress makes your skin fugly.

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Forgot to take a photo when it was still unopened, oopsies.

I was pretty swamped with work for the past few days, and the heavy rains yesterday made me want to chill out and relax, so I used it last night while I was sleeping over at our office dormitory.

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Looks like a creepy mask of a serial killer, noh?

The instructions were pretty simple,  just prep your skin with toner after cleansing then apply the facial mask onto your face. Avoid the skin area surrounding eyes and lips and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. After taking the mask off, let the leftover essence absorb into the skin with gentle patting.

Its main active ingredient is Royal Jelly(or bee’s milk). It’s a white, milky substance that worker honey bees produce to feed the queen bee while the pleb worker bees’ diet on pollen and honey only. It’s considered to be one of the world’s most nutrient-rich substances, packed with 134(!) nutrients like Vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, C, E, and Folic Acid. Royal Jelly is what makes the queen grow to 40 times the size of worker bees and live 50 times longer. The amino acids in Royal Jelly also increases collagen production, maintaining the skin’s firmness, and also has anti-aging benefits, helps in eliminating pigmentation as well as wrinkles, and enhances your skin’s texture and smoothness. Whew, that’s a lot of benefits!

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Is looking like Rey Mysterio with a spring roll wrapper for a mask counted as a benefit?

Aside from Royal Jelly, it also has grapefruit extract that have anti-aging benefits like evening skin tone and fighting off free radicals, honeysuckle flower extract and scutellaria baicalensis root extract that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for skin(honeysuckle also has excellent anti-aging and regenerative properties).

I wiped the extra essence towards my neck since it was dripping. The sheet mask feels soooooo good, I extended the alloted time to 25 minutes. It felt cool against my skin, and after removing the mask my face felt bouncy and plump. Sorry I wasn’t able to take a picture of the morning after, my phone battery died on me overnight so I can’t use its camera, but my face certainly looked dewy and well hydrated. Will I use this again? Most def, Etude House’s face mask will be a weekly staple, maybe I’ll try out their other I Need You! masks.

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Golden Island Senorita

Gradually built up golden tan during three summer getaways: 2 days surfing in La Union, 2 days in Zambales, and a four-day Boracay adventure.

Gradually built up golden tan during three summer getaways: 2 days surfing in La Union, 2 days in Zambales, and a four-day Boracay adventure.

I was a bronze goddess last summer, and I love it. Fair skin doesn’t suit me that much since I have strong yellow undertone. I look sickly with pale yellow-ish skin. Yeah I know the sun is very damaging to the skin, but I just love the sea. I got my tan from three once-a-month beach getaways (when you’re a yuppie like me who works 6 days a week, vacation leaves save you from turning into a soulless robot). But for protection, I  used Nivea Deep Tanning Oil Spray to keep my skin safe from harmful UV rays while getting an even tan.

Sadly, summer’s over and the monsoon season is officially here. But it doesn’t mean I have to give up my golden island senorita look. So Im’ma pull it off with an office-friendly twist. My tan has faded and its no longer as intense as it was last May, but my skin tone is still two shades darker than before. This look is now a daily staple. I won’t be doing a video tutorial of this look since it’s pretty easy and doesn’t require any makeup technique that needs instructions.

Here is the before look, just cleaned, toned and moisturized.

Here is the before look, just cleaned, toned and moisturized.

After my usual routine of toning and moisturizing, I spray on some Etude House Dr. Oil Solution Anti-shine Mist. My face is oily/combination and I tend to have a bit of oil slick in between my brows and on my temples to my cheek bones so this helps to keep the oil at bay. Four spritzes is enough, I just pat my fingers to my face to spread it more.

I was really interested in buying an Etude House Aloha Bronze Maker  after getting tanner but apparently it’s not available in our country anymore. Good thing I remembered buying Maybelline Pure Liquid Mineral Healthy Natural Liquid Foundation last year that I used for a wedding makeup gig. Its shade matches the bridesmaids’ skin tones that range from medium to morena so it should work on me. It has SPF 18, which is great since my old BB stick used to have SPF 21. I only pump out a pea size amount to my index finger, just enough to even out my skin since I don’t want a heavy looking full coverage. I press it in between both my index fingers and simultaneously dotted the foundation on both sides of my face and neck then spread it for an even yet light coverage. For my concealer,  I just roll my Garnier BB Eye Roll-on under my eyes and blend it around my eyes with my fingers.

I set my face with Essence Mattifying Compact Powder in Soft Tan. Essence is actually a pretty good brand, very affordable since it is targeted to teenagers in Europe(the brand is like the Careline of Germany, but with a more diverse makeup line and better quality). I love this powder, it’s paraben free and it matches my new tan perfectly. I was comparing different bronzers from Wet n Wild, Elf, and Essense in SM Makati and I found this besides Essense’s Matte Bronzer.

To add color to my cheeks, I use Careline Oil Control Blush On which surprised me with its quality. It’s such a good product for its price of Php80.00(approx $2). It contains Vitamin E for healthy, moisturized skin. I have one in Rosy Cheek and I didn’t experience any breakouts and the pigmentation is just right (TIP: if you want to find a blush that will give you a natural looking flush, try lightly pinching the tip of your finger and its shade of pink will compliment your skin tone). I brush this at the apples of my cheeks, then I follow it up with Elf Glow Bronzing Powder in Sun Kissed. This bronzer is amazeballs, y’all. I dust this on my cheekbones,  on my chin, and very lightly on my nose, then I brush it all over my arms, shoulders and collar bone. I go full-on cray with this one, it’s so addictive! I also use this as an eyeshadow, I brush it full on my lids, up to the inner corners of my eyes.

Who cares if it's the monsoon season if you're looking this hot?

Who cares if it’s the monsoon season if you look like little miss sunshine?

If I want my eyes to look more done, I turn it into a cat eye look using Maybelline Hyper Sharp Liner. When they said it’s hyper sharp, they’re not kidding. A 0.5mm brush tip is just ridiculously fine. I finish my eye makeup with Majolica Majorca Lash King which I bought on sale for only Php499.00. This mascara make me look like I’m wearing falsies, my lashes definitely look longer and thicker. The only down side is it’s such a bitch to remove, so you better have a decent oil based makeup remover.

To wrap things up, I finish the whole look with my MAC lipstick. This purchase was such a steal, I bought it from an officemate of mine. She got a small box of MAC lipsticks from a friend, they were all mislabeled and were considered rejects so they were sold for only Php300.00($7)! I bought two from her, and for my golden senorita look I use the one labeled “New York Apple” which I’m guessing is actually MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crosswires. It has a lovely shade of coral-pink that is perfect for everyday wear. For an additional gloss, I top it with Covergirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor‘s moisturizing topcoat.

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