What's inside the exclusive Bioderma x BDJ Box

Bioderma, the French pharmacie brand, is most famous for its micellar water cleansers, but did you know that it also has an extensive skincare line? Bioderma believes that the skin carries inside it the capacity to heal itself - therefore, the brand only uses ingredients that activate that power and mimics the resources naturally found in the skin. "Biology in the service of dermatology" is not just an empty motto. It's what Bioderma has been living by for 45 years now.

I've actually been recently trying out a tube of the Pore Refiner and I'm loving it! It's such good timing that I received the exclusive Bioderma BDJ Box for July just yesterday. I'm very curious about the rest of the brand's products and there's no better way to try them out than with a boxful of samples.

Yes, almost everything is sample sized except for the full The BodyShop Lip & Cheek Tint tube and P200 GC. It's quite out of place, but I understand that subscribers want full-sized cosmetics. I suppose BDJ included the TBS stuff to keep everybody happy! It does make the box more appealing especially to those who aren't really looking to try new skincare.

Here is the list of the Bioderma samples inside:

Sensibio Tonique (P1,658), Atoderm Cream (P1,598), Sensible Eye Contour Gel (P1,248), Sensibio AR Cream (P1,668), Atoderm Preventive (P1,998), Sebium Global Cream (P1,318), Atoderm Intensive (P1,418), and Cicabio Cream (P998).

The prices aren't too bad for such an internationally respected brand, no? I remember Julia raving about the Cicabio Cream so that's on my list to try. It's also always nice to have a travel-sized eye cream for, well, traveling. 

You can find Bioderma in select Watsons stores (I know of one in the SM Aura department store) but most of the skincare products can only be had from dermatological clinics. Some are supposed to be prescribed and are not available over-the-counter. Here is the list of clinics carrying Bioderma. You can open the image in a new tab so you can zoom in.

Hope you found this informative! Did anyone get the Bioderma BDJ Box this month? How do you like it?

Browzinga! The Eye of Horus Dual Brow Perfect gets you your dream arches

Honestly, there are way too many eyebrow products out there. It's so tough to decide especially when you only have a limited budget and don't have time to go to stores just to swatch up a storm. But have no fear, for Ate Liz is here! I've found a new product that should simplify and level up your eyebrow routine. 

The Eye of Horus Dual Brow Perfect (P990 at Glamourbox) is a double-ended pen with a waxy, slanted tip for shading and tinted brow mascara at the other end. It's pretty much my brow routine but in one product - it's got something to sculpt my brows, and something else to set and hold 'em down. So convenient! I also love the color selection. In fact, these are the exact same colors as the original Brow Define (a stalwart fave!).

The Dual Brow Perfect differs from the Brow Define in several ways, however. It's softer, waxier, and therefore not as scratchy as it's being applied. It covers more ground more quickly due to the wide slanted tip of the shader. The downside to that though is that you get less control when it comes to drawing precise hairs.

The spoolie end of the DBP is the same as the BD - it's an excellent brow makeup blender and I'm glad they kept it! - but the DBP dips into a brow mascara. The brow mascara is thin, watery, and feels light on the eyebrows. It tames the hairs nicely but I wish it has more color to it. It's practically sheer! It can't shade by itself, which I suppose makes sense as you get a coloring tip anyway.

So which one should you go for? Go for Dual Brow Perfect if you have hard to tame brows and want a softer pencil. Brow Define is ideal for those who want precise yet soft brows. If you've got gaps and a lot of unevenness, you would want to get the BD as it covers up bald areas better due to the harder texture.

Above are swatches of the three shades, plus the barely tinted mascara. Husk is a light ashy blonde, perf for natural-looking brows, while Dynasty is browner, warmer. Nile is an ashy charcoal which I find too dark for my hair color. I recommend Husk if you have light dyed hair and Dynasty if you're a typical warm Filipina brunette.

In the left picture I'm wearing Husk and on the right I have Dynasty on. I normally wear Husk for my day-to-day engagements, but I go for Dynasty when I want more bongga brows. I like thicker brows for events since they show up better in the light and on cam!

Overal, I highly recommend the Eye of Horus Dual Brow Perfect if you're looking for brows that appear effortless yet clean. It's hard to mess up with this product as the colors, level of pigmentation, angle of the tip, and even the mascara will conspire to help you achieve the eyebrows you want, noob or not. ^_^ Really neat. Try it soon from Glamourbox

Have a great weekend guys! Lemme know what you think of these EoH stuff, as always.

Brush up in style: Charm Travel Pro Set (Suzie Edition)

My next out of the country trip is less than a month away and I'm already planning what to bring. It's going to be in humid Singapore and I'll be bringing lots of art materials with me...which means that I won't have a lot of space for kikay stuff. Still, I need to be presentable. Agh! If only girls can look fabulous (not naturally beautiful ha) with like three products max. As it is, primping requires many, many steps. Still fun though.

Anyway, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be finding space for the Charm Travel Pro Set Suzie Edition (P2,750) in my luggage. It's wide but thin and the brushes are properly protected, so it won't be such a hassle. You know that I've always loved the brush selection in every Charm Travel Pro set. I can be assured that I'll have all the brushes I need in this one set - I always forget a few every time I pack.

The brushes are stored in a lovely rose gold case. It has a wrist strap or sorts in the back so you can hold it comfortably as you work. No need to remove the brushes from the protective case! It also has pockets behind those inner flaps. You can store some compacts and pencils in the case for convenience.

The Suzie Edition has 14 brushes, five for the face and nine for the eyes and lips. Here's a rundown of the function and review of each, from left to right.

Stippling Brush. This is for applying liquid bases to create a soft focus, barely there finish. Dot and then sweep the product all over your face. Charm stippling brushes have been much raved about, for good reason! It's the perfect density and type of material for the function.

Powder Brush. This is for applying powder to set your foundation. It's fluffy and can be used for both loose and pressed powder. I wish it was larger though, but I just personally prefer big powder brushes.

Angled Blush Brush. This is your blushing and contouring best-friend. I would prefer it to be denser but the size is juuuuust right.

Foundation Brush. This paddle-shaped brush is meant to be used with liquid and cream foundation for maximum coverage. I love how dense and finely shaped it is.

Concealer Brush. For concealing those stubborn spots and eyebags, you'd want something small and dense like this brush.

Pencil Point Brush. This eyeshadow brush is for depositing concentrated amounts of color on small areas. A must have for smoky eyes!

Blending Brush. This fluffy loosely packed brush is excellent for blending out any sharp edges you've made before.

Angled Eyeshadow Brush. This is valuable for precision and for playing hazy layers of color on the eyes.

Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush. Want your lid color to really pop? Mist this brush with a bit of water and apply the shadow with it. It'll come out vivid! This is also a great brush for small eyes.

Flat Liner Brush. If you're having difficulty with the typical eyeliner brush, you'd like this. You can carefully stamp the eyeliner instead of swiping it around, therefore getting more control with your application.

Eyebrow Shading Brush. This stiff, angled brush can be used with cream, liquid, and powder brush products. Very handy!

Brow Spoolie. This is for softening brows and brushing 'em up neatly.

Lip Brush. It comes with a cap to keep it clean. I don't often need lip brushes but I pick it up when I want more defined lips.

Overall, I love the Charm Travel Pro Set (Suzie Edition) and will definitely keep it around for both everyday and travel makeup. It's expensive, true, but I've had my other travel pros for years and they keep very well. As long as they are washed regularly and stored in the case they will be fine. ^_^ Not a bad investment IMHO. You can get one now at the Beauty and Minerals online store.

What do you think? Hope you're having a fantastic week so far! I am. I'm liking the cooler weather and have been reading again. ^_^

I'm your newest columnist at BeautyMNL

BeautyMNL first appeared in my radar even before it officially launched. My favorite beauty gurus kept teasing about it and I would see lots of ads on social media! I've always thought of it as more than your average online beauty store; it has carefully curated items, many you can't find anywhere else in the country. It's a haven for pretty junkies like us! That's why I am so honoured to be invited to part of their editorial team.

You can look forward to my exlusive content at the BeautyMNL Magazine, starting with these two that are already up. My first article talked about some common makeup mistakes we unkowingly make, and how to fix them. Click the pic for the link!

I also have a piece on just what the h CC creams are and if we really need one. Curious? I also talked about five CC creams to try now.

I hope you enjoyed reading those articles! Please don't forget to check out the BeautyMNL store for brands like Chanel, NARS, Shiseido Tsubaki, Bumble and Bumble, Mizon, The Yeon, and so many others that are promising but not yet as popular locally. Have fun shopping!

A moisturizer that feels like water: Kracie Natululu Skin Conditioner

 "Do I REALLY have to?" is a question I ask myself whenever it's time to put lotion on my body after a bath. I never look forward to the initial sticky and goopy feeling, and the time I have to spend applying the product evenly. However, it's a must-do in any half-decent beauty routine. Soft and smooth skin is almost impossible without good ol' body lotion to keep it supple!

However, what if there's a product that you can just literally splash on? What if the it feels as fresh and light as water? We are lucky we live in the future, for things like the Kracie Natulu Skin Conditioner (P495) now exist for us lazy beasts. This is a water and glycerin mix that draws and keeps moisture in our skin without the heavy feel. It is quite runny and dries quickly; it feels cool when it does.

I doubted its moisturizing properties at first, but it does keep my skin smooth and not dry like a prune. I love using it during the day when it's very hot and I just can not with normal lotion. The Skin Conditioner isn't going to be quite as powerful as your normal cream or even gel formula - but during a humid, impossibly hot day, it's a welcome substitute!

I just squeeze a bit of it on my skin and spread it out with my hands. However, a better way to use it would be to pour some on a spray bottle and just spritz away. You can moisturize comfortably during the day this way. ^_^ You can even use it as a face mist or toner, to refresh your skin.

I haven't really observed much of a difference between the Tomato and Yuzu variants, so I can't recommend one over the other. There is no scent as the formula is fragrance-free. One bottle is P495. It sounds pricey, but you get half a liter of the stuff.

Overall, I highly recommend the Kracie Natululu Skin Conditioner to anyone who's been searching for the lightest body moisturizer ever. This is fantastic for oily, overly sweaty skin, as you are guaranteed a totally non-greasy feel. Very convenient! I'm sure I will empty both of the bottles I have!

Thoughts? Are you ready for watery moisturizers like this?

Gracie products are available inside Beauty Bar stores.

Out and about: What happened at the first ever Beauty Rush

I've heard this both from brand managers and traditional media: local beauty bloggers are the most fun to work with. Not even because of things like our stats, following, and content - people seem to enjoy hanging out with us because we're a chill crew. We barely fight about anything and everyone is always so supportive and genuinely nice. We don't believe in stepping on each other to get more sponsorships, readers, or whatever it is other bloggers fight about. I am so proud to be part of this community and to have these women in my life!

So when I got the invite to spend an afternoon with my friends at Lucky Chinatown Mall, I said yes! Three Korean brands just set up shop there: Tony Moly, Etude House, and Leaders. Our adventure started with lunch at Yoree Korean Barbecue in BGC, then we trooped to Binondo for the Beauty Rush games ahead. The event was hosted by the bubbly duo Marj and Nicole

We stopped by Tony Moly to have a mini-quiz and then do a challenge where a partner (mine is Julia) applied makeup on us with her less dominant hand. It made me nervous, but Julia did a good job! We actually won the challenge yay.

Then we went to Etude House to have another mini quiz and a go at the spinning wheel for points. Our luck failed us this time, and Rowena and Jackie won this round (congrats!). The last stage of the Beauty Rush was at the Leaders store. We did another quiz and a timed jigsaw puzzle challenge. I believe Nikki, Donna, and Shen won this!

After tallying the points, winners of the Beauty Rush are Rowena and Jackie. They totally deserve it because they're such go getters. <3 Congratulations guys! We went to UCC to rest a bit before the long journey home. It was an exhausting day, but I enjoyed the event. I got to spend it with some of my favorite bloggers and brands, so I was a happy loser haha. Till the next Beauty Rush!

The difference between Korean and Japanese skincare

Korean skincare has made a huge name for itself because of the literally glowing endorsement of pop idols, while Japanese skincare is famous for the science, technology, and fine detail behind every product. That's not to say that Japanese skincare is better than Korean ones - in fact, my personal experience with the latter has been quite positive. I'm just saying that these categories became popular around the world through different means.

The question: is there actually any difference between the two? Yes, as a matter of fact. First observe what the two countries consider as ideal beauty. Japanese love soft-looking, petal-like skin - matte yet plump and healthy as a baby's bottom. The Koreans love glowing, truly radiant skin that looks so young you can mistake it for a little girl's. 

I've tried lots and lots of skincare products from both countries and I have observed that no matter what the skincare line is, the effect is consistent with each country's definition of pretty. Japanese skincare gives me soft, matte, translucent, and plumped up skin. Korean skincare on the other hand gives me glowing, creamy skin that looks like it's lit from within. Korean skincare also has more steps - some reaching up to 7-8 products in the sequence including masks - while Japanese products cover a simpler daily routine. Convenience is key!

Instead of having several steps, J skincare caters to specific needs even within one skincare line. For example, you can find two different moisturizers or even facial washes in one collection. The active ingredients and function are generally the same as the rest of the line but with a more targeted response to certain skin concerns.

So, which is better: Korean or Japanese products? I think they're both excellent, generally! They're made for us Asians and our climate, so it's pretty hard to go wrong. Use whatever works best for your skin and the look you prefer. However, if you want to get the best possible effect, I do recommend using only products from the same line/collection instead of mixing it with your other skincare brands. The result is more consistent, I've found! 

Hope this helps. Do you have a preference between Korean and Japanese skincare?

 

Recap: The first Project Vanity Beauty Workshop

I only realized this when I saw eight pretty faces smiling back at me: apparently there is a "Project Vanity Look". It's all about healthy, glowing skin, defined yet soft eyebrows, enhanced neutral eyes, subtle blush, and an MLBB lipstick. It's your face but better, but others won't be able to tell that a lot of work went into it. Do you agree? ^_^

That being said, the first ever Project Vanity Beauty Workshop was so fun! Eight wonderful ladies came by to visit me at home and shared their mutual love for makeup. We talked about everything from skincare to lipstick! Here are some photos of the event!

The Set Up. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to arrange my place to accommodate the attendees. I also spent a couple of weeks going back and forth the home section of different malls just to get what I need! Pretty pleased with the results, as the place looked homey yet geared up for some serious makeup business.

The Ladies Who Make Up. Christine, Ann, Jana, Pepper, Karla, Bea, Lis, and Eula were such awesome students. I can feel that they're really into learning and discovering how best to use the products they have. <3 I'm happy to have met them, and to be inspired by them as well! 

Spot the Snappy!

Spot the Snappy!

The Loot. I've got generous friends who always support Project Vanity - May Samson of Burt's Bees, Cheryl Tan-Chua of K-Palette, and Donna Argana-Shaw of Benefit Cosmetics. They provided the goodies for everybody who signed up for the June series! I can't thank them enough!

The Tools. Sophie Uy, the woman behind Charm Brushes, also sent me her latest Travel Pro Brushes so that everyone could study how to use a proper set. Really love how complete and compact it is!

I really enjoyed myself, and I hope everybody did as well. ^_^ I'm going to have more workshops soon, so stay tuned for the announcement at the end of the month! Thank you again to everybody who signed up for June. See you all this Saturday!

On being a failure

I'm modestly good at most things I decide to accomplish, but I am not good at failing. This inability to accept failure or even the mere possibility of it has brought me a long way - I am able to build the life I've always wanted for myself. I am self-sufficient and quite happy with what I have.

However, failing to fail is not always a good thing. I tend to hold on far longer than I should, prolonging the discontent for as long as the other person will have me, because I can't lose. I can't be the one who lets go first. I've put in so much work already and I feel that if I just endure a little longer, it will all be over and everything will be all right.

Losing.jpg

Life doesn't work that way, I've found. Relationships (career-wise or personal) often fall apart for reasons not always within our control. To be happy, we should know when to fail. We should know when to stop as much as we should know when to begin, again if necessary. This kind of wisdom isn't something we're born with - it takes time to learn. It takes a lot of pain too, but we will all get there.

Where is this coming from? Exactly eight months ago I wrote about one of the biggest failures I've encountered in my personal life. Little did I know that four days later, I would meet someone who would make me incredibly happy. It's amazing, how beautiful things can grow out of ugly situations. I am grateful for the irony.

Almost empty: Products I loved to death

It's a pain in the wallet whenever we run out of our Holy Grail beauty products all at the same time, no? Some things are just to good to switch from even if there are countless options out there. I get new products almost every day, but still, nothing could beat a few of my favorites. Here are the ones I never fail to pick up, and why I love them so much!

1. Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Spot-Control Foundation (P1998 for the refill). This is my favorite powder foundation. It offers the perfect amount of coverage for me - not too heavy as to look mask-like, but not too light to bare my blemishes for all the world to see. It has SPF25 as well! This is THE grab-n-go base for me and comes in handy when I'm in a hurry. I believe that this is already my third pan of the stuff. Super worth the price.

2. Happy Skin Don't Get Mad, Get Even Powder Foundation (P1,399). Before I know it, I've finished this! It has a nice demi-matte finish and is surprisingly light in texture. The shade Deep Beige is a tad dark on me but I've got a darker neck so it works out anyway. This is also my default powder foundie for setting a light liquid foundation. Love the staying power of this one! It's also great with controlling shine.

3. Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Cream Plus (~P2,500). This is the best brightening moisturizer I've tried. It hydrates without being sticky and heavy, and makes my skin glow from within. Will repurchase!

4. Estee Lauder Clear Difference Blemish Serum (~P5,000). I'll never get tired of raving about this! This serum dries my pimples and lightens my blemishes the fastest. A pump of two of this stuff every night can help me achieve skin clarity in two weeks. This is one of my best finds last year!

5. MAC Studio Finish Concealer (P1,000). This is my favorite concealer, still, after so many years. I've tried so many but I always keep coming back to this because of its excellent coverage, shade match, and staying power.

6. The Face Shop Color My Eye Brow in 02 Light Brown (P395). This has a red tint and a light enough color for taking down overly dark eyebrows. I usually have my hair dyed red(dish) so it's important for me to have something to help my brows match with my hair. This browcara has lovely applicator and staying power!

7.NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (P1,450). Don't even bother exploring other eye primers at this point. This is the best, IMHO. It really makes my eyeshadows last all day!

8. Eye of Horus Brow Define in Husk (P950). The color! The formula! The brush! These are the three things that make Brow Define amazing. It sucks that there's so little product in the tube, but still - it was a great ride. This creates the most effortless-looking brows literally and figuratively!

9. Burt's Bees Citrus and Ginger Body Wash (P650). I love the energizing smell of this body wash. It so happens that citrus and ginger are two of my fave notes.

And that is that. ^_^ Hope you enjoyed checking out my almost empties! Which ones are yours?