Splurge vs Save: Our top brown lipstick recos

If you read or hear “brown lipstick” and think of King Kylie, I don’t blame you! The girl is practically to thank (or blame?) for reviving a lip trend that rocked the 90’s before bold bright reds came into the picture. The #LipKitByKylie is beautiful and it still breaks my heart a little that I can’t get my hands on them. Even before the craze broke out, I’ve always liked my pinks with brown undertones, so naturally I went gaga over these notorious lip kits!

Image via Lip Kit by Kylie

Image via Lip Kit by Kylie

I would shy away from bright pinks and orange puckers, but you can count on me to embrace the brown lip trend wholeheartedly! If you want to get on this bandwagon with me, here’s a list of bullets you can add to your arsenal. I had to find a way to nurse my heartbreak over these sold-out kits, and thought I’d be a good friend and share these with you.

MAC Whirl (Image via Temptalia) 

MAC Whirl (Image via Temptalia) 

MAC Whirl and NYX Natural (Image via allintheblush.com) 

MAC Whirl and NYX Natural (Image via allintheblush.com) 

For those who like to keep it natural: The Pink Browns

Splurge: MAC Whirl Lipstick (P1,000). Before her lip kits came into the picture, MAC Whirl was the product behind Kylie Jenner’s famous pout. If I can only own one lipstick color in my life, it would be this beautiful brown rose shade – no doubt about it. Like most matte lip products go, this can be a teeny bit drying but it’s nothing a lip balm can’t solve!

Save: NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Natural (~P100). If you can’t part with your 1k bill though, try the NYX Slim Lip Pencil for a tenth of the price! Natural is a little lighter and a tad bit more orange than Whirl, but for 100 pesos? I’ll take what I can! The formula glides on creamily and doesn’t overly dry the lips. The only major issue is the time it would take to apply due to the slimness of this lip pencil.

Estee Lauder Naked Ambition (Image via Estee Lauder)

Estee Lauder Naked Ambition (Image via Estee Lauder)

Essence In The Nude (Image via adjustingbeauty.blogspot.com)

Essence In The Nude (Image via adjustingbeauty.blogspot.com)

For those who want to keep it light: The Brown Nudes

Splurge: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Naked Ambition (P1,300). Naked Ambition is a gorgeous light brown shade that you’d love if you’re into barely there sophisticated nudes. It’s the lightest nude I can get away with that doesn’t make me look anemic, and the formula is just gosh darn amazing! I tried the Estee Lauder Liquid Lip Potions at Project Vanity’s Lip Party and it BLEW MY FREAKING MIND. I completely stand by Liz’s proclamation that this is the best liquid lipstick in the market!

Save: Essence Lip Liner In The Nude (P99). Only this much for any makeup product seems sketchy, but Essence lip liners are so creamy and buttery that a quick Google search would tell you just how well loved these cult favorites are. In The Nude is a slightly peachy brown nude that you can either use as a liner to keep your lipstick from bleeding, a base color to make your main color pop out more vividly, or as nice lipstick that can stand its own.

Ofra Americano (Image via Glamourbox) 

Ofra Americano (Image via Glamourbox) 

Wet N Wild Mocha-Licious (Image via beauty-buffet.com)

Wet N Wild Mocha-Licious (Image via beauty-buffet.com)

For the full-on brown lippie convert: True Deep Browns

Splurge: Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Americano (P850). This brown matte potion is not for the faint of heart. The Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Americano is a rich dark chocolate shade that screams chic and edgy sophistication. Ofra makes creamy and long wearing liquid lipsticks, but they do hug every bit of your puckers so make sure to exfoliate prior to application!

Save: Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Mocha-Licious (P299). Similar to Americano, Mocha-Licious is a deep brown shade that could instantly make you feel like a #GirlBoss. If you can get past the rather flimsy packaging and focus on the amazing formulation, Wet N Wild lipsticks are a real bargain at 299 considering how smoothly they glide on and how rich the pigmentation is. 

So there you have it, our brown picks! What are yours? How do you feel about the brown lipstick trend?

Happy Skin x Plains & Prints #PrintsMadePretty Collection

Happy Skin always keeps new collections top secret until they come out. Once they launch, everybody goes, "Wow, that makes sense, why hasn't anybody else done this before?" With the big fuss about strobing and contouring in the last year, it's only natural for our beloved homegrown brand to come out with their own made-for-Filipina-skin kit. Happy Skin also went beyond the typical cosmetics launch and teamed up with the local retail giant Plains & Prints to create a cheeky fashion line! They launched just yesterday and I have first impressions + video coverage for you guys.

(We're that excited.)

I absolutely LOVE the lippie-themed pieces in the Plains & Prints Prints Made Pretty collection. There's a dress, a top, a shirt, and a skirt with the cute print. I got the shirt and the skirt because I love structured pieces. I imagine wearing this to meetings - it's so Project Vanity right??? I kept showing this off to everyone I saw after the event yesterday. I can't wait to wear them. The top is around P1,498 I think while the skirt is around P1,398.

Here's what happened at the event yesterday in Mango Tree, the Fort. Again, experimenting with video and seeing how it's like to cover an event live! Please please do subscribe to the Project Vanity YouTube Channel and let us know what you think.

Happy Skin launched the Glisten Up! Strobing Kit (P1,299), Glisten Up! Highlighter, Blush and Contour Cheek Sticks (P799 each). They also have new Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippies (P649 each and P1,099 for the duo). I swatched up everything in the video so I hope you saw 'em.

What I have here is the Glisten Up! Strobing Kit. It has the Blush and Highlight Sticks inside.

I just got these yesterday so I don't have a full review yet, but off the bat I can see how easy they are to blend and how flattering these shades are. As usual, Happy Skin was flawless in choosing what's best for Pinay skin. The blush is a warm pink while the highlighter is a fine shimmery champagne. 

Lovely no? I'm wearing both of them right now as I write this haha. I also made a video showing off my FOTD so stay tuned for that! In the meantime I am working on getting the Contour Stick in Taupe which I think you guys would love. Happy Skin actually made a fun video showing off how it works and blends on skin.

So there you go! Currently the Prints Made Pretty Collection is exclusively available in Zalora from February 10 ti 17. Starting February 18, you can find them in Happy Skin and Plains & Prints stores nationwide. Have fun shopping! Let us know what you think of this exciting collab!

Five practical tips to achieve your best date look

Aaah, the great Valentine's Day Rush has begun! Reservations are being made, maximum preening is in effect, and FOTDs/OOTDs are carefully being coordinated in advance. Love is in the air, of course, and so is the desire to make the day perfect for that special someone. While there’s no absolute guarantee of a magical date night, here are some practical tips to make heart day beauty easier to figure out:

Go back to your starter colors. V-Day is generally not a good time to get experimental about your eye makeup. The basic palette of earth tones, nudes, pinks, and purples emulate the sweetness of the spring blooms in your bouquet. Incidentally, these are the same colors usually found in bridal makeup because of their ability to channel the look of classic and effortless beauty. It may not be the most exciting or fun-looking palette but it’s sure to be the most flattering!

Try: Pink Sugar Eyeshadow Palette, the neutral one. This has pigmented, uber flattering colors that would look amazing on you.

Pick out a subtle scent. If cuddling is on the menu, it’s a good idea to stay away from fragrances that will overwhelm anyone who comes in close proximity. A special date with your sweetheart should be about exuding a relaxed confidence and letting your personality shine through, so save those heady exotic blends for a less intimate encounter. Besides, a light scent that gently teases the nose gives them the perfect excuse to lean in for a whiff.

TryElie Saab Le Parfum, Elizabeth Arden Cherry Blossom, Estee Lauder Modern Muse, Philosophy Amazing Grace

Decide which kind of lippie side you are on. A great Valentine date is sure to conclude with a smooch or more! So, what type of lipstick should you have on? Either pick out a lightly-tinted balm type that rubs off quickly, or reach for the polar opposite: a kiss-proof lipstick formula. Anything in between will just make a mess that may put a damper on your romance. If you're still unsure, we made a poll to help you decide.

Try: We shared our top five recos in this article!

Yes, lip gloss is actually allowed. Lip gloss has a bad rap for being sticky-icky, but not all shine-enhancing formulas are created equal. Seek out a thinner formula that has a lot of glide, and keeps your pout moisturized and prepped for that good night kiss.

Try: TheBalm Read My Lips Lip Gloss

Own that blooming glow. On this occasion, replace the usual contour kit with strobing. A soft-focus shimmer, when applied sparingly, gives off an instant happy and in-love vibe. Also, the effects of strobing fade more subtly than contouring does so you don’t run the risk of having your features look lopsided at the end of the night. Why strive to look chiseled when you could look like an angelic goddess, instead? We made a video to help you out!

Try: Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

So there you have it, go forth and have your great date on V-Day! Or not! It's up to you. Just remember to have fun with friends, alone, or have a chill day with the person you love the most. We just want you to look fabulous whatever you end up doing. ;)

Quickie: The new Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes

I used to turn my nose up at scented skincare. The fragrance would irritate your skin, they said. It would be counterproductive, they said. There might be some truth in perfumes as irritants but I've never had any bad experiences with scented skincare - at least, the right ones.

The more products you try, the more your skin and nose discerns what works best for you. ^_^ Me I love citrus scents. I love that citrus-derived ingredients have brightening properties and I love the energizing scent itself. That's why I'm digging the new Pink Grapefruit variant of the Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes (P495)! If you didn't like the green scent of the original wipes and prefer a zing in your cleansing routine, this is for you.

I love Burt's Bees wipes because they're thorough and the wipe itself is quite thick. I wish they were more wet but they function well enough even without an extra pump or two of micellar water. I use one wipe to take off my face, lip, and eye makeup. For waterproof products, I add some oil-based makeup remover to the wipe.

I also have the Sensitive Skin with Cotton Extract and the Cucumber & Sage For Normal To Dry Skin variants. I find they work almost the same, except the scents differ. I prefer Pink Grapefruit because of my obvious bias for citrus scents, haha.

So there you go! If you're looking for a wipe that smells great and claims to be 99.1% natural, try out the ones from Burt's Bees. ^_^ 

Beauty myths that Pinays may still believe

Have you ever blamed a zit that won’t quit on that oily burrito you had for lunch? How about meticulously drying your hair before bedtime because you don’t want to wake up a madwoman? We’ve all been there, but it doesn’t mean these wacky beauty myths should endure. The ones with crazy claims are easy enough to dismiss, but there are some that even the savvy, modern Filipina still believes in, like:

Image via Flickr user macrj

Image via Flickr user macrj

Oily skin doesn't need to moisturize. It’s been an ongoing belief that oily skin does not need moisturizer, because of a misconception it will add more shine and excess oil to their skin. Some girls even go to great lengths in an effort to “control” their skin from producing too much oil by constantly using toners and facial cleansers.

Truth is, your oil-control products might be the real culprit for your excessively oily skin! Your face overcompensates for the lack of moisture because you skip moisturizer and/or cleanse too much. So bag your fear of moisturizers, we say, and choose water-based or gel form moisturizers with non comedogenic ingredients to keep your skin hydrated. You can also check out our recommended P1,000 skincare regimen for oily/combi types.

Acne is caused by eating oily food. Okay, this may have some grain of truth but it’s not your intake that causes acne. You’re mostly likely breaking out due to the grease coming in contact with your skin and clogging your pores.

It’s still a good idea to limit your oily food intake though, and opt for a high fiber, low glycemic index diet with rich in fruits and vegetables instead.

You need to change your shampoo once in a while because shampoo familiarizes itself to your hair and no longer performs. Don’t you just hate it when your favorite shampoo just doesn’t feel as great as it used to? We admit we’ve often kept several brands in rotation, and changed shampoos periodically because using one brand continuously seems to make it lose its potency. Apparently, it’s not the shampoo’s fault. The problem lies in the build up from other hair products you use as well as your hair’s own natural oils. If this happens, clarifying shampoo is your friend. Use it once a week and then continue using your favorite shampoo.

Plucking one white hair will cause more white hair to grow. This is a myth with more believers than Justin Bieber, but it is simply not true. Melanocyte is responsible for the color of your hair, and it may malfunction due to age, stress, or genetics. Plucking one white hair will not make it multiply, but it will be replaced by another white hair if and when the hair root grows again. What may happen if you constantly pluck your hair is hair thinning, which probably makes it look like you have more white hair than usual. Instead of plucking, take advantage of the wide variety of hair coloring products available!

Pinching a newborn’s nose so it won’t be pango. If you’re not blessed with an aquiline nose, don’t resent your mom for not pinching the bridge of your nose enough when you were a kid. In fact, thank her! Experts say that this practice might actually do more harm than good, because a baby’s facial bones are still developing. Pinch her nose line (or any part of her face for that matter!) too hard, and you just might break her skin, cartilage, or bone.

Besides, a baby’s nose form is probably temporary. When babies are born, they pass through a cavity that is originally smaller than them, so their noses can get squashed and even slightly pushed to the side. The baby’s nasal bridge will develop over time, so stop with the pinching and enjoy on her cute features instead.

Crossing your legs can cause varicose veins. If there’s one thing you need to know about varicose veins, it’s that it is caused by our favorite G word: genetics. Other factors include obesity, gender, inactivity, age, and pregnancy. If you spend a lot of time in a seated position, regardless of whether you cross your legs or not, your inactivity may cause varicose veins.

Using menarche (first menstrual blood) as a face mask will prevent acne. Sorry, girls, just NO. You may have fallen prey to this unsanitary practice when you first got your period, you can keep other young girls from having to undergo the same ordeal. Gently explain that instead of preventing acne, the blood attracts bacteria and increases the likelihood of getting pimples and allergies. Skip the bloody face masks, please!

Got any beauty myths to debunk? Do share in the comments and let us know!

Sources: Baby Center, Eco Beauty Secrets, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Inquirer.net

How to prep your skin for a big event

Getting ready for that BIG EVENT is exciting - whether it’s for prom, graduation, debut, or the biggest of big days: your wedding! However, all that prep and excitement can also cause stress, which is one of the factors that mess up our skin. Now we certainly don’t want breakouts or a tired, dull complexion on our special day. To help ensure clear skin and a healthy glow, try this skin prep tips on top of your usual regimen.

What special occasions are you preparing for this year? Got any more tips on how to give your skin some extra TLC? Share them below!

Unboxing: My first order from Althea Philippines

We all freaked out over Sephora and rightly so, but I hope you guys are keeping an eye out for the launch of Althea Korea here in the Philippines on February 15. Its beginnings are actually a lot like Luxola before it got acquired by LVMH/Sephora; it's a company that just recently received funding from a Silicon Valley venture capital firm called 500 Startups. The amount was undisclosed, but it is enough to give Althea confidence to push outwards Korea to the Southeast Asian Market. Currently they are in territories like Singapore and Malaysia; the Philippines is their third stop.

If Luxola then focused on hard-to-find beauty products from the West, Althea is mining South Korea's treasure trove of makeup and skincare. They have trendy things from popular brands like Innisfree, Laneige, 3CE, Etude House, and Banila Co (to name a few) and items from little-known brands like Piolang, B&Soap, and W-Lab. Althea promises that the prices are as low as possible, but there are more attractive features that will make you want to shop your heart out at this new e-commerce player.

For one thing, they offer free shipping direct from Korea for orders over P1,500. When I received my box right on my doorstep, I didn't have to pay any tariffs and it only took four business days from the receipt of my order (that took one business day). So five days in total, not bad! Althea also has a 30-day refund and unconditional returns. This means that you can ask for a refund and return the product if you didn't like it - no questions asked. The return address I believe is a Philippine one.

I received my package in good condition. The box itself is covered by a tough plastic sleeve, and the products are individually wrapped in bubble plastic.

I got the following from Althea's Philippine portal ph.althea.kr (not to be mistaken with my.althea.kr which for some reason automatically comes up):

Innisfree Creammellow Lipstick (P520), Saemmul Browcara (P360), VDL Expert Color Eye Book 6.4 No.4 (P2,380), 3D Face Stick (P600), Skinfood Eyebrow Powder Cake (P180), 3CE Pink Rumour Dangerous Matte Lip Color (P850), Teatree Care Solution Essential Mask (P90).

I love everything I got, especially the VDL Pantone palette! The colors are lovely and rich! It's a bit pricey but the plastic case with the dramatic red cover is so fancy. The Skinfood Eyebrow duo is so sulit at only P180. The Innisfree Lipstick is a winner! I might get more shades of that the next time I order from Althea.

And the contour stick!!! It makes my life easier. I don't know what I've been doing without cream contour, honestly.

I'll review some of the items in the very near future so stay tuned for that! For now, come check out Althea's grand opening promotions on February 15. They're having a big giveaway! They are giving free 300 credits to shop on ph.althea.kr for every new sign up. Free shipping will be given for every P1,000 spent during the launching month. Besides the low prices, there will be Daebak Deals 1+1 and Zero Peso Deals too! You can find more info on their Facebook page.

So there you go. ^_^ I would love to know what's in your Althea wishlist!

Staff Picks: Concealers you have to pry from our cold dead hands

Last month, we turned you on to our favorite foundations. This month, we will be sharing with you our picks for what usually goes together with foundation: concealer! There are many types of concealers in the market meant to address different problems, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find one for us, right? Well, not really! Finding the perfect concealer is tricky - not only does the texture have to be spot-on for our skin type, it also has to match us well! While some of us have not found our HGs yet, here are our favorites for the moment.

Liz: I have so many concealer faves! The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is the best for spot concealing, while the Shiseido Perfecting Stick Concealer is what I use for when I need a quick fixer upper. It's the kind of thing I can just swipe and go! For my eye bags, the Happy Skin Eye Need A Miracle Corrector is the bomb since it brightens and lifts that area.

Katsy: I have one go-to concealer for years now - MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer. Before that I used Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage but never got around to repurchasing.

Marielle: My dark circles have always been tricky to conceal, so I like to use a full-coverage concealer on them. After trying K-Palette Zero Kuma Concealer, I’ve decided to repurchase. It brightens up the problem area instantly. Plus, the consistency is actually great for baking with powder.

Nikki: During my young, acne-prone college years, I heavily depended on ArtDeco’s pan concealer. It’s heavy and opaque enough to cover dark blemishes, and I remember not being able to go out of the house without wearing it!

Image via atfirstwink.com

Image via atfirstwink.com

Stacie: I want to talk about my favorite lip concealer - the AritaumWannaBe Cushion Lip Concealer in Clair. It is a must for people who love gradient lips, like me! It conceals my lips well and gives my tints a beautiful blank canvas. Bonus: it smells like chocolates!

Kathleen: I have two favorite concealers. The first one is Covergirl + Olay Eye Rehab. It is wonderfully moisturizing for the under eye area, but it is too sheer and emollient for my blemishes. The second one (that is my all-around) is the Missha Signature Extreme Cover. I love how pigmented, blendable and buildable it is. It can be applied thin or slightly thick depending on my needs. Blended properly, it doesn’t cake up. The only thing I dislike about it is the super limited shade selection

Den: My number one problem has always been my dark undereye circles, which are aggravated by allergies and late nights. I apply Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer with a fluffy foundation brush to brighten the area, lightly buff it in, then set it with my current powder foundation.

So there you guys! It's time to share yours too!

Monday Musings: What it means when I skip the eyebrow makeup

"You know we're true friends if you've seen me without kilay." I say this as a punchline in any random conversation, but I am deadly serious. Only my closest friends have seen me without eyebrows in person (bare eyebrows on the blog doesn't count! Because before/afters must be legit!). It means that I trust them not to give a shit about my face because they know me so well that how I look is ultimately inconsequential to our relationship.

We all wear masks. Some masks are thinner and more real in front of other people; some masks are so opaque that you can't tell who is underneath. Some masks become our core, overtime, and become part of our identity. I don't think that's a bad thing. I believe that it's necessary to wear different faces to cope with different types of situations and people. It's not being fake to show one facet of your personality at a time, it's just practical. And it's still you. Just not necessarily all of you in one go.

Dissolution / Watercolor on paper by Liz Lanuzo

Dissolution / Watercolor on paper by Liz Lanuzo

So really, don't worry about the times you feel like you're not being "true" to yourself. There's a difference between lying about who you are and merely showing a part of who you are. 

I just read this to James and he pointed out that this keeps us from forming deep relationships with other people. My answer is that yes, my love, that is why I take my eyebrows off in front of those who matter to me.

And don't draw them back on.

Five kiss-proof picks for your Valentine date

There's no better time to make ourselves "battle-ready" for that inevitable kiss that, really, both of you should be fervently looking forward to. Here is a list of candidates that would make for a smacking good time (pun intended) without unnecessary clean up post-lip lock, in order of pigmentation (no, seriously)!

Tinted lip balms like Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Honeysuckle make for a great primary choice. It can be applied without much fuss while providing just enough coverage, and would be a great complement to a dramatic eye evening look.

Powder lipsticks like L'oreal Tint Caresse are relatively new, and if you haven't tried them yet, you most definitely should consider doing so! It applies with a small sponge that captures powder from the cap, and the pointy tip allows accurate dabs on one’s lips for just the right flush of color.

Matte lipsticks, like those of MAC and Happy Skin, come in plenty of shades and would make for an almost impervious layer of color. By their very nature and lack of shine, an even shade is poised to be the focal point of your Valentine's ensemble.

Lip stains, similar to The Body Shop's Lip and Cheek Stain, would give you versatility. So much so that, with just that and a reliable powder compact, it shouldn't take over three minutes prep time for instantaneous engagements. Quite perfect for that “I Woke Up Like This” look that enhances your natural beauty.

Rounding down the list, we have liquid lipsticks which are all the rage right now. You can find lovely ones from Ofra Cosmetics. They come in last as they have the heaviest pigmentation of the lot. While they seem to be absolutely transferable, once these have dried and achieved their true color, they become practically immovable - as if your lips magically transformed into another color! Ofra’s Laguna Beach is rumored to be Toni Gonzaga-Soriano’s wedding lipstick of choice, so here’s to hoping it'll see you on your way to your very own happy ever after.

While none of these lip picks claim to be absolutely kiss-proof, they have the endurance and quality that would let you enjoy the night without constantly worrying about your lipstick. Do you have any recommendations for that fateful date? Let's talk about it below.