My top five BB Creams, currently

Remember when BB creams came in and nobody knew what they were, really? Fast forward to today when you can't throw a pebble without hitting one anywhere makeup is sold. There are many double letter creams that have come after the blemish balm but it still remains as THE basic foundation-but-not product in our kits. 

BB creams are still relevant because they were the first to have skincare benefits, high SPF, and low yet perfecting coverage in one bottle. Companies still come out with new BB creams because we still battle blemishes - and in any case, it already has the spot when it comes to customer recall. 

I pick up BB creams whenever I feel the need for a good dose of SPF, instant brightening, hydration, and perhaps blemish-fighting properties. Here are the five that are currently enjoying a spot in my vanity!

The shades look so varied for my skin tone but they blend in easily enough. As long as the shade isn't too white or too pink/grey then it's fine, I find!

The shades look so varied for my skin tone but they blend in easily enough. As long as the shade isn't too white or too pink/grey then it's fine, I find!

Heroine Make Protect UV Mineral BB Cream SPF50 PA+++ (P595 in Watsons). I like this product because of the high sun protection, thin texture, medium coverage, and brightening finish. It's a bit light on me but melts onto my skin after half an hour. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream (P795). This has tea tree oil which is an ingredient valued for its antibacterial and anti-inflammation properties. The BB cream itself has heavy coverage (perfect for skin that's red, breaking out, or blemished) and has shades suitable for darker skin tones.

The Happy Skin Zit Zapper Cream SPF20 PA++ (P1,299). This says "ZZ cream" but it's literally BB cream. It has salicylic acid which should help dry out pimples and lighten existing blemishes faster. Pretty cool! The one available shade looks like initially but blends eventually. I usually top it off with a foundation that's the same shade (or one step darker) than my skin.  

BB Cream Week: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF35 PA+++ (P2,000+). This one I value most for how it makes my skin look glowy and flawless even though the coverage is light. It makes my skin look so amazing! The shade Natural is a perfect match for me even though it looks very yellow in the swatch.

Estee Lauder Double Wear BB Cream SPF30 PA++ (P2,000+). Love this for how long-wearing it is. It offers excellent oil control (for a BB cream) and coverage as well. The shade I have, Intensity 2.0, is just a tad lighter than I'd like, but again blends nicely after an hour.

So that's my updated list! What about yours? Which BB creams do you always pick up and stock up?

Yet another awesome makeup brush drying tip

I don't know why this hasn't occurred to me earlier. I usually lay down my brushes on a towel to dry, which works perfectly fine, but has the potential to damage lower quality ferrules and the glue that holds the hair together. It's actually better to hang brushes upside down to prevent trouble like that! I don't have the patience to tie brushes though or hunt down/make a brush tree or drying rack.

Then today, voila! I saw some putty adhesives lying around and though they're perfect for sticking my brushes upside down over the sink. This way the water is drawn out by gravity and the bristles don't get distorted as they air dry. 

It's ridiculously simple: take a big wad of the mounting adhesive (I use the one from Faber Castell which is just 60 bucks per pack in National Bookstore), stick it at the edge a shelf, then stick the brushes onto it. Done! It's better to do this over the sink or a tile counter top so that the dripping water can safely be left to dry.

So simple and brilliant if I must say so. ^_^ Try it too and let me know how it goes!

How do yo usually dry your brushes?

PS This was my first awesome brush drying tip, by the way - Accidental discovery: how to dry brushes in minutes!

The perfect bordeaux lip + a cheap dupe

The dark lip trend is far from being on its way out. Well, we are done with the oxblood vampy lip, but we've moved on to a similar yet totally different version: the bordeaux. The ordained color of the year as you know is marsala, an earthy wine, which means that variations of it are very much on point. 

A few weeks ago I attended a friend's wedding and decided to layer two luxe lip products to create the perfect bordeaux lip: the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in L'Adoree and the Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Midnight Violet. L'Adoree is a matte, muted orchid base on my lips that when topped with the wine-toned Midnight Violet became this surprisingly gorgeous new color.

The resulting shade isn't actually that dark, but it's certainly dramatic enough. I wore neutral brown eyeshadow, winged liner, and a light rosy blush for an elegant wedding-appropriate face.

Lovely right? If I do say so myself haha. The catch is, the two lip products above can easily cost you P3,000 up, which is silly just to cop a lip trend. Luckily I found a cheap dupe of the color in the Wet n Wild Megaslicks Balm Stain in Lady And The Tramp. It only costs P299! It isn't exactly the same as the shade I've combined, but it's close enough. In fact it's even more wearable for everyday since the formula is thin and moisturising on the lips. It also stains rather well!

Thank goodness for drugstore dupes. ^_^ How was your weekend by the way? I'm traveling out of town tomorrow - can't wait! It will be my first time to visit that famous resort.

Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Lip & Cheek Mousse

How busy are you, on a scale of one to ten? Are you able to do everything you need and want to during the day? And the most important question: are you happy with the pace of your life? It might feel like it's impossible to slow down at this point, but sometimes you just have to stop yo' self before you wreck yo' self (as the saying goes). Find a balance between the things you care about and focus on your priorities instead of what's shoved in front of you. 

You're not going to live forever after all, but as long as you do, you might as well live for real. 

Moving along! Let's discuss the Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Lip & Cheek Mousse (P699). This line of liquid colors came out during the holidays and is a permanent part of the Happy Skin collection. It features three basic colors that are wearable and intentionally universally flattering: a pink, a nude, and a classic red.

Each shade is pigmented in a single swatch. Use them as a solid layer on your lips and as a sheered out veil over your cheeks! Finish is matte once the product dries a bit. The texture is super smooth and mousse-y (due to the silicone) so blending is a breeze, plus, it doesn't dry out lips. The wand is also nicely shaped for depositing the color and ensuring that it sticks to the skin.

The Happy Skin mousse stays on about three to four hours on my lips and around the same time on my cheeks. I've found that My Guilty Pleasure stains the most, which means that it lasts longer compared to the other two.

The colors are gorgeous as you can see! These are all warm shades so they should work with most skin tones. It's only a matter of choosing which color you fancy most and I'm pretty sure it'll look good on you. 

Swept Off My Feet is a mid-tones warm pink. It looks so lovely as a blush - it flatters my skin tone so well. This is an everyday fool-proof color that's safe for the office or school.

If you prefer looking like you barely have any makeup on, Warm and Toasty has your name on it. It's exactly as the name suggests! It's a peachy nude that evens out the color of the lips and gives a natural flush on the cheeks. Shades like this usually wash me out but this one has a brown undertone that keeps it from looking pale on skin.

My Guilty Pleasure is a bright cherry red. If you're sick of matte red lipsticks that make your lips as dry as the Sahara, this one's for you! It has a bit of shine when it's freshly applied but that quickly goes away as it dries.

Tip: if you're going to use this color on your cheeks, make sure to just use one tiny dot per side. It's really quite pigmented so you don't need much.

Another tip: this can bleed on the lips when not applied properly. Blot out the first layer with tissue first before applying the final layer! That dry base will hold the color as you smile and eat and laugh throughout the day.

Overall, I highly recommend the Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Lip & Cheek Mousse if you love multi-tasking, flattering products that stay on for a decent amount of time. Retouching is no trouble at all, so even if you're extremely oily, you don't have to worry. This is easy to apply - just dot on the cheeks then blend it out with a finger. On the lips, swipe it on like you normally use a lip gloss. 

Hope you enjoyed the review! Have you tried the Happy Skin mousse? How is it so far?

Luxe and complex: Bobbi Brown Scotch On The Rocks Warm Glow Eye Palette

I want to stare and touch the Bobbi Brown Warm Glow Eye Palette (P4,500) from their Scotch On The Rocks Collection all day, if I have the time. The brown leather case, the gold trim, and utterly lovely eyeshadow colors are just so beautiful together! This is one of the most luxurious compacts I'm lucky to have.

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This gorgeous palette has nine warm shades that are as versatile as they are pretty. There are different textures - matte, satin, and shimmer - to play with and layer together to create complex looks. Some might find the varied pigmentation off-putting since Bobbi Brown shadows aren't uniform or rather, like your typical eyeshadow from say MAC or Urban Decay. You just need to know how to use them.

For example, the white gold shade in the 3rd column, 2nd row is never going to be opaque no matter how you layer it. It's meant as a topper for any color to add that super fine twinkle, an extra dimension if you please. It's prettiest when the light hits it! That yellow gold color in the 3rd column, 1st row looks a lot like the one in the 1st column/1st row but it packs a lot of glitter flakes, again for adding more interest and glimmer to whatever is underneath it.

Do you know what makes an eyeshadow look and feel expensive? It's not just about how smooth or pigmented the color is. It's how it adheres like second skin, with barely any obvious seams even when you swatch heavily. It should be easy to blend to almost nothing. It should combine with the next color with little effort. These things are what Bobbi Brown shadows do best!

Here are the swatches for your reference:

Below is a look I wore to a friend's wedding. I applied the sandy champagne shade on my lids, the satiny bronze on my crease, then smoked it a bit on the outer-v using the charcoal shade. I patted on the twinkly gold right in the middle of the lids to create a natural point of interest.

I made sure to blend the crease color with the matte tan and to highlight my brows with the matte cream (1st column/1st row and 1st column/2nd row respectively). Loved wearing this!

Here's another, simpler look but still with a lot of impact. I applied the charcoal shade on my lids - a heavy layer - then blended it upwards with the matte tan. That's it. I love how this smoky look makes my eyes look bigger, almost anime-like. This is actually my default setting whenever I wear eyeshadow since it's so quick n' intentionally dirty.

Overall, I highly recommend the Bobbi Brown Scotch On the Rocks Warm Glow Eye Palette if you adore complex neutrals and luxe packaging. This is something that'll definitely see a lot of usage, at least for me. ^_^

Would love to know what you think!

Why I love my #SmartiPhone6

I've been an Apple user since 2007. At first I was hesitant to make the switch, but since then I have never in my darkest hour even thought of switching back. There's just something so sexy about Apple products - the sleek design, the simplified interface - that makes them such a joy to use. I've had a Macbook, a Macbook Air (what I'm currently using), an iPod Nano, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini, and the previews two iPhones and the experience of using Apple has always been amazing.

Call me an Apple fanboi if you want, I just love beautiful things!

Recently, Smart generously gave me an iPhone 6 to test and review. If you're interested, the country's most reliable telco offers accessible plans for both the 6 and the 6 Plus. For example, with just a P2,499 data plan a month, the iPhone 6 is free. At a P2,499 data plan, the iPhone 6 Plus is just at a P4,800 cash out. That's not too bad! My monthly phone bill is actually P2,000-2,500 a month so I could've gotten any of the phones at a fairly low cost.

I've been using the new iPhone for over a month and I've been loving it! Here's why:

  • The battery life is a lot better compared to the iPhone 5s which is good for five hours on a normal day. The 6, on a full charge, could last me for up to 10-12 hours depending on my usage. It charges a lot faster too. I can get a full charge in under 45 minutes.
  • The 6 takes amazing photos and videos. Every image is sharp and rich in color.
  • I'm enjoying the bigger screen! At first I was worried that the larger size won't fit comfortably in my tiny hand, but it does. Watching videos, reading books, and playing games is so much more fun with a bigger (but not too big) screen.
  • Call quality is considerably better. The audio is crisp and clear with the Smart network.
  • The matte gold color is so stylish! I treat my phone as an accessory too, since I whip it out so often. It's part of my personal style statement.

I got a slim gold case from iStudio to match the gold of the iPhone 6. It's almost the same color, just slightly darker in tone. The brand is Elago and it cost P1,100 if I remember correctly. I do want to check out Incase next time though as I love their classy designs.

I love that my case doesn't look like a case! It's almost seamless.

I love that my case doesn't look like a case! It's almost seamless.

So there you have it! ^_^ Hope you enjoyed my little gadget review. Do visit the Smart website for more information on Apple plans and pricing!

This post is brought to you by Smart.

Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow Pencil

I never leave the house without my eyebrows on. These days I can even skip the foundation and the lip color, as long as my brows are in place. It's not that I have crazy ones that are thin and stick every which way, no, I just feel that my face is bare without solid arches holding it up. Eyebrows make all the difference - you can write that on my tombstone!

Anyway. My usual eyebrow routine can be quite laborious if I have the time. I draw some hair on with a fine-tip liquid pen, soften that up with powder, and then break any solid lines down with a spoolie brush. When I don't have the time, I pick up a fuss-free pencil like the Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow (P345 at Watsons) and be done in less than a minute.

This tiny twist-up pencil looks so unassuming but I tell you, this shades brows beautifully. The product is narrow and very hard that it won't color much if you swatch it on the back of your hand. However, when you use it to shade your brows, you'll get a very soft yet defined finish. 

This Heroine Make pencil is similar to my HG before from Shu Uemura, minus the sword-shaped tip and the expensive price tag. The shade I have here is 03. It's a light brown with a blonde undertone. I didn't think it would work for my dark hair color but it does, as you can see in my EOTD below.

This is perfect for those who like soft, natural-looking eyebrows although you can definitely layer more if you need to. If you have oily skin, this is most likely going to stay on short of you rubbing it off. 

Here's the catch though: the point is so hard that you can lose a couple of brow hairs if you color too hard. Just remember to use a light hand!

Overall, the Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow Pencil works well and is fairly affordable. It's something I pick up in a hurry or whenever I'm traveling since it's so convenient. It's also ideal for that natural eyebrow trend going on this 2015. ^_^ So there you go! Let me know if you've tried this and what you think.

Heroine Make is available in Watsons.

Quick Giveaway: Nivea Cleansing Wipes + a canvas cosmetics bag

I've already finished two packs of the Nivea Facial Cleansing Wipes and I need mooooore. It's just so convenient, especially when I'm super tired and lazy to do the whole makeup removal circus. Sometimes I just really want to go to sleep after a long day! It's also great that each pack of wipes is crazy affordable at only P140. 

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If you haven't tried 'em yet, here's your chance! I'm giving away a two sets of Nivea Wipes plus a canvas bag that's perfect for storing your cosmetics. As usual, mechanics are super simple and straightforward. There will be two winners who will receive two Nivea Wipes and the wristlet. Just follow the steps below!

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It's that easy. I'll announce the winners after seven days in this post as well as on Instagram. Good luck!

My top five Ellana Mineral Makeup must-haves

Smart people are often stupid when it comes to love. They have this hubris borne out of past victories, so they feel that they're intelligent enough to get out of an unfortunate situation unscathed, should they wish. They feel confident that they can solve the problem or change the other person or even know something as basic as what they want - but they can't and they don't. Love, as cliche as it sounds, makes a fool of us all. Smart people have it worse because they think they're immune to the consequences.

Just a passing thought as we all go back to work after that long-ass Pope weekend! I want to start the day off with a list of must-have products from my favorite local cosmetics brand, Ellana Minerals. People always ask me what to try if it's their first time to encounter this mineral makeup line. There are so many products that it can get overwhelming at first sight, so I've made this simple list of my personal recos. ^_^

Ellana Pressed Mineral Foundation (P650 at the store). If there's only one product that you wish to get from the brand (IDK why you'd do that though haha), make it this pressed foundie. I've been using it for over a year now and I still rotate it with my high-end foundations. Such a gorgeous flawless finish, and I have a perfect shade match (Hazelnut Latte or Almond Latte, depends on the season)!

If you prefer the loose formula though that's awesome too. I've made a swatch + description post of all the shades here for your reference.

Ellana Mineral Blush Duo (P460 at the store). These blushes can be loose in the pan but aside from that, the pigmentation and finish is comparable to brands like Benefit and NARS. The pigments look so complex and expensive! My favorite is the Kitten/Peach Passion duo followed closely by Obsession and Fulfillment (which is a dead ringer for NARS Orgasm, only more pigmented).

Ellana Mineral Eyebrow/ Eyeshadow Quad (P400 at the store). This quad contains all the basic matte shades you need for your eyebrows and eyes. You can combine them to match whatever you hair color is at the moment, or use them as building blocks for more complex eyeshadow looks. 

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Ellana Sheer Velvet Powder Primer (P460 at the store). If you like making your face look extra matte and inhumanly smooth, this is something you've got to try! A tiny bit goes a long way. I love using this in photoshoots or wherever I know I'll be photographed.

Ellana Cucumber Melon Makeup Brush Cleaner (P400 at the store). I always keep this in my sight as I like keeping my brushes clean. Lovely smell and removes gunk from my tools, shoes, and other surfaces with ease. 

So those are my top five Ellana products. Give them a try if you haven't yet!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission from purchases originating from these links. If it's your first time to get anything from Ellana, you get 15% off. FYI!

Ask Liz: What's your favorite part of your makeup routine?

Well I don't know if this question has been asked before but I'm curious - what's your favorite part of your makeup routine?

I know some girls love their lipsticks, some are blush fiends, but personally I love doing the base - or more appropriately, watching people do it in videos! I've been a follower of beauty gurus for years now that you'd think by now I should have gotten bored with makeup videos. I'm still a newbie when it comes to it though, having only used different BB Creams as it's just easier for makeup-on-the-go, but there's just something gratifying in seeing those "flaws" covered magically with makeup! How about you and the other girls here? - B.

My fave part has got to be eyeshadow! It tickles me to think up of combinations not only in terms of color but texture, as well. There are so many exciting formulas out there! Matte, satin, glitter, metallic, holo, duo chrome...the list goes on. If I'm going out to somewhere special, I make sure to have time to dress up my eyes with my palettes or single colors. It doesn't really take as long as it seems!

Next to that, I love choosing the lipstick I'll be wearing for the day. It's the final step in my makeup routine so it should seal in the mood I'm going for. It should match my whole outfit and complement my skin tone. ^_^ 

Makeup for me is just like painting - it should be fun and should reflect what I'm thinking or feeling that day. How about you, what's your fave part in your own routine?

Oily, blemished skin will love this: Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup

When I was younger I can not leave the house without liquid foundation. It used to be a necessity since i had such troubled skin; only liquid makeup can hide the redness, blemishes, and general unevenness of my face before. Now that I have fairly good skin though, I've been eschewing liquid foundation in favor of luminizers as my base under powder makeup. They just appear more natural and flattering! 

Sometimes though I like looking inhumanly flawless with little retouching involved. A bit of liquid foundation here and there can really give that perfect complexion rarely achieved by any other formula! Lately, I've been loving the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup (P1,850) for its matte finish and mid to heavy coverage.

Here's a quick rundown about what's great about this new foundation from Clinique!

  • It delivers medium to heavy coverage without feeling heavy or mask-like on skin. It will cover up redness and light blemishes without a need for concealer! Even better, It's water-based, thus the light texture.
  • The finish is beautifully matte and creamy smooth. It should help fill in fine lines and reasonably-sized pores.
  • Staying power is amazing. I've worn this for eight hours and it barely fades. I get oily only after four hours! This is made for oily skin, I feel.
  • The bottle is simple and compact. The narrow spout puts out the right amount of product every time.

What I don't like about the product

  • It sets quickly which means that I need to work quickly to spread it out to avoid streaks. I use my fingers to work the liquid onto my skin, but you can use a stippling brush or a dense domed foundation brush to buff it in if you prefer.
  • I wish it has some SPF. Then again, at least it can be used during photoshoots or events.
  • This isn't really a problem since I just got a press sample, haha. The shade I have, 64 Cream Beige (M) is a step lighter than I'd like on my medium yellow skin. It works okay though, when set with my right shade of powder foundation.

Recommendations

The Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup is perfect for oily and blemished skin. It gives the right amount of coverage and defies oil as the day wears on. Shade matching could be a problem though as Clinique tends to select beige-toned colors; it's best to find your shade in person.

Verdict

Love it! Like I said above Cream Beige is a bit light on me but it works as long as I set it with a powder that matches my actual skin tone. It does adjust during the day as it settles on my skin so no biggie! It stays on beautifully and evens out the tricky areas around my nose and mouth. ^_^ That's all I need in a liquid foundation!

What do you think? Does this look like the ideal foundation for you?