Reader question: Are facial wipes enough to cleanse our face?

Hi Liz! I just took on a new job but the last few weeks have been very tiring for me. Sometimes I forget to wash my face before going to sleep. I think I have a lot of new pimples because of this! I've seen your reviews of micellar water and facial wipes. Will these be enough to cleanse my face in lieu of facial wash? - Joyce T.

Hi Joyce! You know, one of the worst beauty sins we can commit is sleeping at night with makeup on. That being said, yes, it's easy to preach but difficult to put in action when so many other important things are going on in our lives. Like, sleep. Sometimes I do sleep with my makeup on but thankfully I wake up a couple of hours later totally icked out by what I had just done!

Going back to the question: can we rely on a facial or makeup remover wipe to completely remove our face products at the end of the day? A wipe is a quick way to cleanse and go have that date with our bed, but is it enough? 

The answer depends on how much makeup you wear and how long-wearing they are.

If you only go with very little to no makeup then I assure you that wipes are enough to clean your skin thoroughly. Just remember to follow my tip about using a clean side for every pass! The Nivea Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes for instance are water-based, clean well without stinging, and have ingredients like Almond Oil to keep your face feeling smooth. You may rinse with water after using the wipe if you're sigurista but as long as nothing comes off on the wipe your face is already good to hit the sack. 

I love toting wipes when I'm traveling as I'm usually exhausted by the time I get back to the hotel. I also avoid wearing too many products while I'm out and about exploring.

Now, if you wear a lot of cosmetics - meaning several layers of foundation, primed eyeshadow, long-wearing eyeliners and mascara - then you will need to follow the double cleansing method. Basically you use a wipe (or any makeup remover, but wipes are still quickest and most economical especially if they're only P140 a pack like Nivea *wnk*) and then rinse your face with a cleanser after. One two. This is how I normally cleanse my face since I do wear quite a bit of makeup 70% of the time.

To summarize: you can get away with using just cleansing wipes if you wear little to no makeup. If you wear a lot, then make sure to double cleanse to remove any water-resistant residue.

Hope this answers your question Joyce!

This post is brought to you by Nivea.

For the dry, dull, and flaky: Lancome La Base Pro Hydra Glow

This is me again falling for anything with "glow", "illuminating", "brightening", and/or "radiance" on the packaging. I would really rather have blemished skin than dull skin, if I had to choose. Blemishes can be stomped away by concealers but skin that looks gray and stressed is a bit harder to correct!

So today we come to the Lancome La Base Pro Hydra Glow (~P1,900). This is a primer slash moisturizer slash glow faker for those who have complexions that have seen better days. This is best for dry to normal skin but I find that my combi skin still enjoys the hydrating and brightening finish it gives. Beware if you're truly oily though; this might make your makeup slide off earlier than usual.

The texture of the La Base Pro Hydra Glow is very thin with a slight slip to it. I don't know how it manages to hydrate my skin but it does; after taking off my makeup at the end of the day, my skin feels plump and supple. Without this primer my face is normally a bit brittle and drained after wearing makeup all day.

That being said I love how this makes my foundation - already awesome in its own right - even more awesome-looking. I keep staring at my face whenever I wear this because I can't believe my skin is as nice as it appears! I mean of course I know it's a crafty combination of the Lancome primer, a heavy duty concealer, and a perfecting foundation. But still, I get so many compliments!

I mean, seriously. 

I'm not wearing any liquid foundation here ha, just the primer, a MAC concealer, and a Shiseido powder foundation. Didn't edit my skin except to brighten the photo. Crazy! 

The downside is that if I don't let the primer dry completely before applying makeup, my base cakes. Also in really humid weather I get shinier than usual. The Hydra Glow is really best for dry/normal skin, and in cooler weather. Not to say it sucks. It just has limitations and ideal conditions for use like any other product.

Overall, I quite like the Lancome La Base Pro Hydra Glow because it makes my skin look super natural and hydrates it well. I will continue to use this but perhaps only around my cheek area to fake the effect of brighter skin. Try it if you're dry, dull, and flaky!

Cheap but awesome: Nekkid Pure Eau De Parfum and Whipped Body Shea Butter

Fine I'm going to say it: I'm a scent snob. It's funny because I didn't even start wearing perfumes until I was 20 or 21. Now my nose is used to good fragrances and how they can complete your look in ways other people can't see! With the right scent, others will know in their gut that you look amazing - not just "okay" - but they won't be able to put a finger on why exactly. This is the reason I never leave the house without perfume.

Correction, good perfume. 

Now I've collected quite a lot of scents in the past few years (I just took an Instagram @lizlanuzo of my "perfume cave"). I've tried high-end, low-end, mid-range, good and bad. What I learned is that cheap perfumes smell, well, cheap. I'm sorry. They don't smell bad, they just smell like you plunked down five hundred bucks on them. That's alright if that's all you have and that's all you're looking for but if you want more, you gotta spend more. That's just how it is.

That is, until I got the Nekkid Pure Eau De Parfum (P350/30ml). Nekkid is the all-natural line of skincare products by pro makeup artist and fellow beauty blogger Sabs Hernandez. When I heard about it, I thought aw, how cute, another local natural brand. When I got the press kit I thought, aw, how cute the packaging. My expectations were low.

Then I sniffed it.

My nose was filled with the exuberant scent of a sharp citrus - think orange, lemon, and galbanum. The perfume comes down to florals with honeysuckle, jasmine, and lilly of the valley. Finally, it settles with a heady yet not heavy base of amber, musk, oak moss, and rosewood. So lovely! It smells clean, happy, and confident without being showy.

If you remember that Heaven-something cologne popular in the 90s, this is very similar but more grown-up. The minimalist packaging reminds me of CLEAN perfume which has a cult following all over the world and costs 3,000 bucks a pop. If you told me that the Nekkid EDP is expensive, I would have believed you. That's how good it is.

Nekkid also has a Whipped Body Shea Butter (P300) to go with the scent. I recommend getting this as well to prolong the lifespan of the perfume! The body moisturizer's formula is a bit thick and takes a while to absorb, but it hydrates my skin nicely and keeps it smooth. Just apply a small amount if you tend to sweat a lot during the day. If you get the body butter and the EDP it's only P600 for the set.

So there you go, if you have 600 bucks to spare, go spend it on the Nekkid Pure line. I love it! I will be using these regularly! ^_^

You can buy Nekkid in the website or order from nekkid.manila@gmail.com

Seven tips to keep your face on during the summer

Can you feel the heat and humidity dialing up every day? One of the most annoying beauty problems I have right now actually is keeping my makeup on in spite of the looming summer! I'm currently experimenting with several products to get the best, long-wearing combination - I will talk about them in a different post. For now here are some fool-proof tips on getting a face that will look fresh all day! 

1. Make sure your face is completely dry before putting any makeup on. Let your skincare absorb first, and remove any sweat you might have accumulated after. Why? Because if you apply makeup on a damp face, that wetness gets stuck between your skin and your makeup, which will then cause product to slide off or cake up quickly. 

We unfortunately live in a tropical country where we start sweating right after a shower! Hay. I always apply my makeup in an air-conditioned room to keep my face from sweating or oiling up prematurely. If this is not possible, I make sure I have facial tissues to wipe my face ASAP.

2. The less makeup you apply, the less of it comes off. Don't wear foundation if your skin is good enough to live without it. Seriously, what's wrong with you? I kid, I kid. Only apply the foundation and concealer where needed, and keep the best parts of your skin bare.

Use a sheer base if you want to enhance your complexion (i.e. brightening, color correcting). If you want to soften imperfections, apply a tiny amount of heavy coverage, long-wearing foundation/concealer where you need it. It's better to have a thin layer of the heavy stuff on instead of piling on the sheer stuff and making the texture too thick!

3. Prime it like you mean it. Use a thin layer of face primer wherever you get oily (typically the t-zone) to hold down the foundation in those areas. If you wear eyeliners and eyeshadow, use a primer on your upper and lower lids before putting on the eye stuff. Make sure the primer is completely dry before applying anything on top of it.

4. Always blot before retouching. Otherwise, you're just basically sealing the oil and sweat onto your face with another layer of makeup (see my note on #1)! No need to splurge on expensive blotting papers, cheap ones will do. If you forget your packet you can always use tissues! Paper towels and Starbucks tissue paper are the best for blotting. ;)

5. Retouch with sheer, oil absorbent powder instead of foundation. Sheer powders don't disturb the makeup you have underneath and are light enough to prevent caking. Try to look for loose formulas instead of pressed; if you find loose powder too much of a hassle to apply, find pressed powders that are loosely packed instead. These tend to absorb oil better.

6. Staining lip and cheek products last way better in hot weather. You want to get pigments that stain your skin instead of just sitting on top! You can also look for long-wearing formulas that set completely when dry. 

7. Go for waterproof products. Waterproof anything is such a hassle to remove but it's worth the effort if you want to avoid any makeup meltdown, particularly if you're extra oily. Just get a good waterproof makeup remover and all will be well.

Hope my tips help! Do you guys have any to share? ^_^

Love: Eye of Horus Brow Define

When I was younger I would manage to read ten books within two weeks. I would gather them up from my favorite discount bookstore and just have at 'em! I'd read science fiction, fantasy, romance, thrillers, pretty much anything with a good blurb that I could afford with my allowance. Imagine a little girl holed up in her room that is actually full of warp drives, strange monsters, fantastic lands, and passions so fiery they could burn a hole in the ground. 

Now I can afford to buy all the books I want, but no time to read them. I don't resent it, I mean, I would rather have cash to see and experience the world than to just read about it. However, sometimes I miss the days when my only problem is to find out what will happen in the next page. 

Anyway, today I've got something good for you: the Eye of Horus Brow Define (P950). I've been sitting on it for a while and feeling guilty that I haven't written about it sooner - it's kinda one of my faves now! It's an automatic pencil that has a thin sliver of product on one end and a brush on the other for blending purposes. My brows looks absolutely natural when penciled in, as the shade and pigmentation are so on point.

I love how the EoH Brow Define creates un-solid lines, but at the end of the process my brows still look mighty defined. The pigmentation is perfect as it never gets too heavy nor too light that you have to pass over several times (two layers are more than enough for the two darker shade). The brush it comes with is also quite a gem, it shapes my eyebrows with a gentle force while blending out the product. 

I have all three shades with me. Husk is a light ash blonde, Dynasty is a medium cocoa brown, and Nile is a medium dark taupe. All are excellent and can suit a wide variety of hair colors but my favorites would have to be Dynasty and then Husk. I go for Husk when I want slightly lighter brows although I do need to layer a few times to get the color I require. Dynasty is my pick for everyday, quick yet neat brows. It's flattering on my skin tone and hair!

I've gotten a lot of compliments while wearing the Brow Define, swear. My brows look so maayos and professionally done without looking overdone! I am wearing Husk on the left photo and Dynasty on the right. Love how my arches look so bongga whenever I have this brow pencil on. It easily draws over gaps and doesn't come off even after being worn for 12 hours.

And now, the catch: this pencil is P950 but seems to only contain a small amount of product. I can't find how many grams this is but after about a month of regular use I'm almost out of pencil. It would've been fine if it's the kind of product where a little goes a long way but no, it doesn't. 

The Brow Define reminds me of the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Brow Lift Duo, actually. I loved that one but it also ran out quickly.

In the end, it really depends on how much you're willing to spend for the kilay of your dreams. I believe the Eye of Horus Brow Define can get you there, if you're up for the cost.

Let me know what you think!

You can purchase Eye of Horus at Glamourbox.ph and select Snoe branches.

First look + giveaway: The Happy Skin Insta Beauty Blur Cream

This just literally arrived in my doorstep and I thought it's something you might want to know about right away! Hence the super quick post, lol. Happy Skin, our favorite homegrown beauty brand, is about to sneak in a new product: the Insta Beauty Blur Cream (P1,299). This is a light foundation and primer in one tube that is supposed to correct and blur out skin imperfections. 

The Happy Skin Blur cream will officially come out on April in the brand's retail locations, but you can get dibs by buying it at HappySkinCosmetics.com from March 1 to 31. It won't be sold anywhere else during that period!

Anyway, I have yet to put it on my face, but I have a few first impressions to share. ^_^ This isn't my first blur cream truth be told, but it's the first one that's actually tinted enough to even out and visually brighten the skin. It's heavy with silicone as all blur creams are - this ingredient is the one that fills in pores and fine lines, thus blurring them. I like that it doesn't feel thick or oily and that the one available shade melts onto my skin without effort. 

I don't want to think of this as a foundation yet as it seems to be quite sheer, more like tinted primer. But perhaps this has a different effect on the face! I'll use it for a couple of weeks and will let you know if it indeed increases the staying power of my makeup while blurring out the booboos.

In the meantime, here's a close up swatch to give you an idea of what this actually looks like:

Promising right? I think this would work quite well with fair to dark medium skin tones. Actually one lucky Project Vanity reader will find out just how nice it is as I'm giving away an extra tube Happy Skin sent! Hmmm what should I make you do. Just share this blog post on your Instagram and tell me why you wanna try this new product! Tag me @lizlanuzo and hashtag #ProjectVanity #HappySkinInstaBeautyBlurCream so I can see who joined. This contest is open until March 2 and I will randomly draw the winners. Good luck!

Thoughts on this new Happy Skin release?

That thing called happiness

Yesterday I finally watched That Thing Called Tadhana. It's apparently the #hugot film of the year - boy leaves girl after eight years together, girl brings her broken heart to Baguio and Sagada to search for a cure. Or at least a balm for the pain. To be clear, I found the film corny, simplistic, and predictable, but I did love Angelica Panganiban's monologue in the first part of the movie. I find that it captures exactly what it felt like for a long-term relationship to just unceremoniously end.

You know what happened right? Late last year the person who I have been with for seven years left me. There are many reasons and many words said in the process, but like Mace in Tadhana said:

“Alam mo ‘yung love na 8 years na kayo? Sa ganong love ka pa ba magdududa? Pero wala pala sa tagal ng relasyon yun...Pag hindi ka na niya mahal, hindi ka na niya mahal.”

This movie made me remember the pain I had to go through to get past something that I thought was permanent. That was really the toughest bit: to let go of a future that I already had in my head, the surname that I thought I would carry, the texture of life I would have had with the person. It wasn't easy but I succeeded because I believed that the hurt will be over someday and something better will come along - I was right. "There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice," Anthony in Tadhana quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I tell this to all my friends with broken hearts. Somewhere in creation, there is someone who will make you happy and love you the way you deserve; you will find this person one day. In the meantime you have to do everything that you need to do to be happy and not to pine for the past, for things that will never be. 

Mushrooms and lighthouses

Mushrooms and lighthouses

After watching That Thing Called Tadhana, I saw Hector and the Search For Happiness where an unhappy psychiatrist travels around the world to find what it is exactly that makes people happy. He goes on a journey to China, Tibet, Africa, and Los Angeles to ask people how they define that elusive thing. He discovers a few things (in random order) like:

  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
  2. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
  3. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are
  4. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
  5. Many people only see happiness in their future

A character there says, "We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but rather with the happiness of pursuit." I agree with this completely, because I've observed that I am happiest when I'm learning something new and creating something new. Of course there's a joy to seeing the results of the process, but getting there matters to me most. I am a sum of all my parts, but I am not greater just because I am whole.

This film made me realize that happiness is a skill that has to be learned. It doesn't randomly come from other people, a place, or an event. It comes from consciously surveying our life and seeing what it is that makes it good and right. You don't just step on happiness like a land mine. You search for it with a metal detector. You dig for it with a spade.

It's good to have goals that will direct the way you live your life, don't get me wrong. Perhaps you want to be CEO, travel for leisure, find someone to love forever. It's great that you have identified the things that can and will make you happy. But you also have to understand that achieving your goals does not exclude other sources of happiness. You can find it in smaller victories everyday if you could only recognize them for what they are. 

So am I a happy person?

I sometimes complain about my life and feel empty inside and worry that I am not perfect or even enough and fear that I will lose everything that I love some day - but yes, I am happy. I get to do what I love most if not all of the time. I have many things to be grateful for. I create beauty with my paint and see it, really see it, when I walk past it.

I am certain that I have the skill and a large capacity for happiness. Do you?

Get invites to the Project Vanity 7th Anniversary Event

When I started Project Vanity seven years ago, I didn’t know that my life’s work so far would revolve around it. I didn't know it would inspire women to realize in their own beauty and be more confident in pursuing their dreams. Through this blog I have met many amazing people - mentors, friends, and loyal readers who have supported me from the very beginning. There are no words to express how grateful I am for this. All of this.

Okay that made me tear up a little bit haha. How about let’s celebrate the Project Vanity 7th Anniversary with a bang! Beauty Bar, the home of amazing beauty finds, will be sponsoring a party for us. Remember the 5th year anniversary, which I also held at Beauty Bar? This time it’ll be even bigger and better at the store’s latest, most posh location in Central Square, BGC. No place could be more perfect for a gathering of beauty enthusiasts.

Three of my favorite brands will also be joining us at the event: Happy Skin, K-Palette, and Burt’s Bees! As you know I have quite a few HGs from all of them so I’m happy for the love. Hint: goodies for all! Please don’t forget to visit their websites to check out what’s new.

So what’s going to happen? I’m going to do a demo of all my best tips and tricks, of course, and will have some amazing women give inspiring talks about life and careers. I’m also giving away loot bags of full-sized products from our sponsors. I wish I can do this for all of you, but I only have 50 invites to send out, hence a giveaway.

Here are the mechanics:

I would love to know what you favorite post is from Project Vanity. Hopefully, long-time readers would come out (again) haha. Would love to meet you guys! I will announce the 50 winners by March 2. Please do make sure that you can come to the event as I will not be sending out the loot bags, to prioritise those who will come celebrate with us.

See you! I’m excited!

This is sorcery! The Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

A few weeks ago Benefit Cosmetics sent a mystery tube of mascara to the press. Silly me didn't try it then, but my friends were whispering about how good it is at curling lashes without using an iron curler. I didn't pay it any mind. I'm sure that the mascara could hold a curl, but to get pushed up lashes without a tool? Oh please. I have stubborn stick straight lashes. This can't be a real thing that works. 

I was so wrong. 

I'm sorry for doubting you, Benefit.

The Benefit Roller Lash Mascara (P1,300), which was officially launched just the other day, is pure sorcery. It has a patent-pending brush that hooks and rolls your lashes up, and a formula that locks that curl in all day. I know I am just saying words to you now but wait till you see what my lashes look like with it on!

In their natural state, my lashes are straight and point downwards like they never want to lose sight of the earth. Hmp. I use a curler each and every time to get them up; I have a mascara that soooortaaa curls them, but certainly not as well as if I used a curler. With the Benefit Roller Lash, my lashes are coaxed upwards by the brush and then are cemented in that position by the special goop that dries quickly in thin layers.

Observe:

Benefit Roller Lash On Eyes.jpg

Amazing right? I used two layers of the new Benefit Mascara to achieve this! It does take a little patience to keep on brushing up up up if you have particularly straight lashes, but the results are totally worth it. With this mascara I will possibly never need to use a lash curler ever again!

One other thing I love about it is that it's only water resistant, not water proof. It's very easy to remove with just a few swipes of micellar water which means that I can actually use this everyday. Even so it doesn't smudge on me as I'm wearing it.

There are some limitations to the formula. It dries quickly, so you must work quickly to avoid it from clumping. It's good at lengthening lashes but does not deliver much volume. If you want fatter lashes, you might need to layer another mascara on top of it.

I have only used the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara but I am already nuts over it. You have to, HAVE to try it out if you want to say adios to your lash curler already. I mean it is the 21st century. Lash curlers still look like medieval torture implements.

Thoughts! Reactions! Comment!

Cute and creamy: Etude House Dear My Wish Lips Talk

If I had to choose between having an amazing formula or an ultra-flattering shade of lipstick, I would go for having the perfect color any day. It's more difficult to find since even just small variations in our colouring could render a lipstick looking so-so on our skin. I mean, it won't look bad, in fact it'd probably look good, it just won't look smashing. Who doesn't want to find the most flattering color anyway?

I suppose that others would prefer a long-wearing and more comfortable formula. It really just depends on what's important to you. Of course, the best kinds of lipsticks offer both the shade and formula you deserve. They're just a challenge to find which is maybe why women buy so many in their lifetime! :P

Today I have yet another lipstick for you guys to check out. It's a new one from Etude House called Dear My Wish Lips Talk (P578). This has a more sophisticated packaging compared to an older collection (Dear My Blooming Lips) and a better hydrating, pigmented formula. I find it's still kinda slippery but what I do is I blot off the first layer and then apply a new one to get an improved staying power.

Dear My Wish is poor in terms of wear at only two to two and a half hours, but I do like that it's hydrating; it doesn't flake or pill on my lips, which makes retouching much easier. I have two of the ten colors available in this like: BE101, a cute peachy nude, and RD302, a daring plummy red.

Here's what they look like!

BE101 makes me look washed out in the picture but I swear that it's a lot peachier and warmer in person. It's rather streaky so I suggest doing the blotting technique or layering it on top of lip liner/primer. This shade is nice for an everyday look and works best with fair to light medium skin! It's quite pretty on my medium skin, though not the best nude in my collection.

RD302 is my kind of unforgettable red. It's bold and it's updated - deep red like blood with touches of plum. Its not dull-looking though which keeps you from looking aged, as these colors tend to do. It's a good choice for a more wearable dark lip!

And that is that. ^_^ Which of these colors do you like the most? Have you tried Etude House's newest lippies?

What's inside the Eye of Horus Glamourbox

I'm in one of those in-between periods when I'm just testing out new products and have no solid opinion on anything yet. At this point it's difficult for me to truly run out of content for Project Vanity - you should see my office, a third of it is just occupied by press kits - but I run out of time. I still do client work and I still need to show up to social functions. Unfortunately. Sometimes I wish I can just write here and not think about anything else.

Anyway! Today I want to talk about the latest Glamourbox. This is still for sale by the way so you should try to get it if you can as the value is pretty good. It's an exclusive collab with Eye of Horus, the Australian eye makeup brand. It contains products that are worth a total of P3335 and only sold for P695.

Here's whats inside!

You'll get an Eye of Horus Teal Malachite Goddess Pencil (P990), Goddess Mascara (P990), both full-sized. The EoH Sharpener (P295), Ankh Necklace (P580), and Facial Bamboo Mitt (P480) are also included. I think the most exciting bits are the makeup. All the extra stuff aside, both are already worth P1,980 so they're already a good deal considering the price of the box.

I quite love the EoH pencils since they smudge beautifully and stay on fairly well during the day. The Goddess Mascara I find just okay, if you're looking for some natural definition and volume on your lashes. It's also super easy to wash off even though it only smudges minimally.

I could always use another sharpener with a cover - I have so many pencils and it's a hassle to clean my sharpener every time I use them. So extras are much appreciated! The Bamboo Mitt is cute although perhaps not something I would normally use.

Overall, the Eye of Horus Glamourox is worth the buy, if you're looking into purchasing a new eyeliner and mascara. ^_^ You can get it at Glamourbox's website!