Love: Zoeva Luxe Complete Brush Set

I first heard about Zoeva from Julia of Bless My Bag. I love her blog, as you know, and was really excited to find a fairly affordable brush set that she recommends! The catch was, Zoeva is a German brand. I can order it from there, but I'm not too pumped about paying for international shipping and taxes here in the PH. Then Julia mentioned that Zoeva is available at Luxola, a Singapore-based beauty retailer. I immediately looked for the set there but sadly it was out of stock.

It was the right love at the wrong time. Zoeva and Luxola flew from my mind until last week, when Luxola's PR manager asked if they can send me some stuff! OF COURSE THEY CAN SEND ME STUFF. Two days later (!) I had my requested products on my doorstep. Shipping was incredibly fast, AND I didn't even have to pay any taxes or fees. Luxola also has an ongoing promo where they offer free shipping for orders above P1,300.

Plus, if you use the code LX-LIZ upon check out, you get 25% off storewide on your purchase. Sweet! Y'all should try this store!

Anyway, let's get back to the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set (P6,000+). I already have several brush sets and individual pieces in my collection, but what drew me to this particular set is the way the brushes are exquisitely shaped. The pointed powder brush caught my attention first as I've been wanting to own something like it since I saw Lisa Eldridge using one from Suquu (which costs a whopping ~P15,000 in Japan!). It looked like the perfect soft contour and setting brush.

I was not mistaken.

Each piece (with the exception of the Eyebrow Line) is incredibly soft and dense when it needs to be. The brushes have a heft and thickness to them which makes them feel luxurious to use; they are not flimsy at all! I also got minimal shedding (by minimal I mean only one hair fell off) during the first wash. None of the brushes bled.

The brushes with white bristles were actually easy to clean even if they seem to be animal hair. I used these heavily during the weekend and all the pigments washed off without a hitch.

This set, I think, is a makeup artist's wet dream. The shape of each brush is well thought out and crafted, especially the face brushes! They have thick handles for easy gripping and balance as you buff the products in. Let's run through each piece!

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Luxe Face Definer. This is a big, slightly pointed brush that can be used for a diffused contour effect and to set your makeup with loose powder. The tapered end means that you can get in between tight spaces of the face easier.

Luxe Cheek Finish. Meant for applying blush, this brush is flat-ish and fluffy. I love how it delivers smooth, even color on my cheeks. I reckon this can be also used to contour due to the slightly flat shape.

Silk Finish. This is a buffing brush that can be used for wet (liquid, cream, gel) and dry foundation. It's very dense, which does help achieve the "silk finish" its name promises. It blends products on my face wonderfully!

Luxe Highlight. It's for applying highlighting products on the high points of the face. It can also be used for a more concentrated contour effect.

Concealer Buffer. I LOVE THIS. It's a dense, domed brush that seamlessly puts on concealer. It can't be used for spot-concealing, but if you have large blemishes and uneven areas this is perfect.

And here are the eye brushes! They're great, too, but I think two or three are a bit redundant. The four crease brushes are different in sizes and shapes. However, most people can do with only two - like a mid-sized and a smaller version.

Then again the perfect eyeshadow application requires at least one clean brush for blending. I guess I can do with extra crease brushes since I might not always wash them.

Luxe Soft Definer. This is strikingly similar to the MAC 217, which is easily the most famous eyeshadow brush in the world. It can be used for applying and blending eyeshadows.

Luxe Soft Crease. It's a largish brush for crease makeup. It's great for getting that super blended effect.

Luxe Defined Crease. Same shape, but smaller in size than the Soft Crease. This places concentrated amounts of eyeshadow on the crease.

Luxe Smoky Shader. This is a flat, paddle-like brush that is pretty dense. It's for putting on cream or wet colors, as well as concentrated amounts of powder eyeshadow on the lids.

Luxe Petit Crease. It's a small, stiff brush with a domed tip. Quite the same function as the Defined Crease, but I'll pick this any day.

Here are the brushes for defining the eyes:

Luxe Pencil. It has a pointed tip that makes it ideal for smudging eyeliner or placing eyeshadow on the lash lines.

Wing Line. This is awesome for creating the perfect cat eye. The steep angle of the tip fits my eyes more comfortably than the typical angled liner brush.

Brow Line. Other than the Concealer Buffer, this is easily the most unique brush I've come across. It's razor-thin and has short, stiff bristles. Why? To "stamp" individual hairs on your brows! That's usually the domain of pen-tip brushes, right, but this one does the job beautifully. I love it. It's ideal with powder products. I mist it with water first before dipping it on the powder.

Fine Liner. A normal bent eyeliner brush. It creates thinner lines versus the winged line.

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It bears mentioning that the brush handles are shorter than usual. It's totally fine by me! I didn't notice any difference in application. The brushes also come in a gorgeous pleather pouch - it might be disappointing not to get a brush roll, but seriously, who uses brush rolls nowadays? It's only for transporting and storing brushes. Otherwise, you'll just be placing these brushes in a jar at home or even during a makeup job if you intend to use them a lot.

I think I'll be using a pouch more often than a brush roll, so I get a better deal this way IMHO.

Now, I forget the exact price, but the 15-piece set + the pouch is around P6,000. Yeah, that's not exactly cheap, but in the brush world that's a steal already! The Zoeva brushes have professional-level quality at a fraction of the price. For example, a MAC face brush would cost you around P2,000- 2,700. The Zoeva Luxe Face Definer is only P1,187 at what I feel is the same level of quality as MAC brushes.

The Silk Finish is just P733, while the Luxe Cheek Finish is P838. You get the idea. If you're a makeup artist looking for her first set, or even a supplemental set to an existing collection, I highly recommend the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set. If, like me, you just love makeup and amazing products that make your routine quicker and more fun, this is also a great set to try. ^_^

This set is currently out of stock at Luxola, but you can buy most of the brushes individually here. Don't forget to use the LX-LIZ code upon check out to get your 25% off storewide, alright? Let me know how it goes!

What do you think of this set?

 

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Delightfully delicious: Avon Naturals Body and Hair Care

So I have a big launch for a client next week and my associate is out this week. She's getting married to her long-time partner - I'm deliriously happy for her! - but yeah this leaves me in a bit of a bind. This morning I had to decide whether I will take a blog hiatus this week. I know, if I don't post for seven days the world would still turn. But I can't just stop. It's a fully-formed habit, this blog, and besides I've been doing this for so long I can run it on auto-pilot, if I have to.

Please forgive me if my posts are a lot shorter than usual. I hope you'd still find time to read them though, because I have a lot of interesting products for you this week!

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One of them is the Avon Naturals Body and Hair Care Line (P200-300). This has been around for AGES! I remember using this in high school since my mom always bought several from the Avon catalog. I don't remember the exact variants anymore but I remember loving the 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner as well as the lotions.

Thirteen years later, Avon Naturals products are still as popular as ever. You can find matching body washes, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and the 2-in-1s. It's crazy that Avon sent me almost everything from the line, but hey, at least I was able to definitely pick out the most promising ones for you guys!

Everything smells good, I think, but these ones have the most sophisticated, delicate scents. The formula of the body gels and lotions isn't what you'd call fancy, but they do what they are supposed to do. The gels lather up wonderfully while the lotions aren't sticky at all.

Here are my faves: the Pomegranate & Mango Shower Gel and Hand & Body Lotion (this is the best scent IMHO!), Apple & Grape Hand & Body Lotion, and Papaya & Milk Shower Gel. I like fruity, sparkly scents in my body care, which is why I gravitated to these.

I'm not adventurous when it comes to hair care (I break out easily from hair products), but for old time's sake I will test out the Strand Strength Shampoo and Conditioner, and the Maximum Moisture Conditioner. Sounds like something I would need as I have thin, dry hair. Crossing my fingers these work well for me!

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So there you go. ^_^ Do you use Avon Naturals products? What are your personal picks?

Bobbi Brown Week: Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Popsicle

My mama always told me that wearing too much lipstick will turn my lips dark. Guess what, eight years and hundreds of lipsticks later my smackers are actually lighter! I've worn loads of different brands and formulas in the last eight years but they seem to have weirdly bleached my lips. I remember them being darker in high school, and I even have a slight rim on my top lip. Now, my lips are so pale I can't bear going out without at least some tint! I look bloodless otherwise.

I think that removing colors properly prevented my lips from darkening prematurely. As with any makeup, it's not wise to sleep with lipstick or stain on, regularly, as the color might settle deep inside the skin. Just take it off when you're done!

Anyway, to finish up Bobbi Brown Week here on Project Vanity, I have here the Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Popsicle. It's a handy balm for the ultimate nude lip - it has juuust the right amount of apricot pink color to even out my lips but not add on too much pigmentation. Obvs, if you're not into the truly nude lip look, this is way too bare. As for myself, I find it a great way to wear lip balm that enhances my lips in a subtle manner.

Just look at the difference! If I didn't show the "before" photo, you wouldn't have guessed that I have something on, right? In a full face shot (I'm wearing the balm in this look) it looks like I just have transparent lip balm on. I think so anyway.

The formula is quite hydrating and doesn't feel heavy on the lips. It lasts for about three hours on me. The tube is pretty basic, but it doesn't feel like your typical light plastic packaging for balms. It's classy as befits Bobbi Brown products.

There are certainly other more affordable tinted lip balms out there, however, if you love Bobbi Brown and love this particular color, then there's no reason not to check it out. ^_^

Hope you enjoyed this themed week! Feel free to suggest more themes and I'll see what I can do!

See you tomorrow at the Watsons Doll Glam event!

Hey all, just wanted to shoot you an invite to a Watsons event that begins today! It's called Doll Glam, a gyaru-themed beauty fair where top drugstore brands will showcase their best kawaii looks. Tricia Gosingtian and Alodia Gosengfiao will have an activity tomorrow too, so don't miss it if you love these girls!

I will be there as well! I'll be hanging out at the Pixy/ Heroine Make counter (it will be set up at the activity area of SM North EDSA The Block) around lunch time, tomorrow July 26. By 12:30-ish, I'll be doing a quick workshop to demonstrate a Tokyo-inspired look using eye makeup from Heroine Make and colors from Pixy. Let's meet up if you're in the area! I can help you with my usual awesome tips (lol play along) and finding the right shades for your skin tone.

It's an excellent opportunity to explore the two latest Japanese brands to hit the Philippine market. ^_" Shall I see you there?

Bobbi Brown Week: Shimmer Nail Polish in Golden Beige

There are three typical problems when it comes to nude nail polish: the opacity, level of streakiness, and the color that actually suits your fingers. The Bobbi Brown Shimmer Nail Polish  (P900) completely blows those issues out of the water for me - it's just so, what's the word, perfect!

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Golden Beige a yellowish beige that looks like it has a creamy finish from afar, but a closer look would reveal elegant golden shimmer suspended within the layer of color. It's fairly opaque on me with just two layers, but I do three to get the shimmer to show up more. It doesn't streak AT ALL and dries within 20-30 minutes.

I love the color, as it brightens up my nail bed. It's so posh-looking too! Do you agree? Staying power is good as well - it stays on me for about 4-5 days with minimal chipping. 

Overall, I have absolutely no complaints about the formula and color of the Shimmer Nail Polish in Golden Beige. Well, it could be less expensive I guess, but the quality justifies the price as far as I'm concerned. ^_^ Look this up next time you're at a Bobbi Brown counter!

What do you think of this color? Would it suit you too?

Ice cream-inspired eyeshadows on your lids? Why not!

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Mine would be salted caramel! I also love that Bono Gelato flavor with garlic-flavored potato chips in it. Droooool. It's so weird when you think about it but I swear, it works! I shouldn't but I am definitely overdue for a cup of that. You should try it out if you haven't yet. ^_^

Ehem. Anyway. Let's remember that we're on a proper beauty blog haha. I got to thinking about ice cream because one of Stila's latest collections is inspired by the world's favorite dessert. The brand is commemorating its 20th anniversary by bringing back their vintage paper-wrapped palettes and putting in some delectable eye colors for us to wear!

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Here's the Stila Rocky Road Eye Shadow Trio (~P600) to ogle at. The packaging is just too cute, while the actual eyeshadows are a treat to wear. I've reviewed a couple of palettes in the past so I won't go into a lot of detail. It would suffice to say that the quality of the eyeshadows are superb, as usual.

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Here are the swatches. The cream one is a bit on the translucent side at first swatch, but I don't think it's meant to be your typical lid wash - it's quite sparkly and twinkly with it's fine shimmer. I think it's designed to be patted on top of whatever eyshadow you're wearing to add dimension! The taupe and chocolate brown have excellent pay-off and this wonderful smooth texture that leaves minimal fall out.

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In this look, I wore the NARS Pro Prime under the colors to further intensify them. The beige went into the inner third of my lids and brow bone, the taupe on the outer third and crease, while the chocolate brown intensified the outer corner of my eyes. Love the dramz!

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These colors are a bit too shimmery than I would like for a typical day time look, but you can definitely mix them with your other matte or satin eyeshadows so as not to look too sparkly. I'm all for sparkle at night, but during the day it's better to have it in measured doses.

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Nonetheless, I quite like the Stila Rocky Road Eye Shadow Trio and had fun doing a few looks with it. I'll keep it around, if only because of the cute packaging! <3 You can check out the other available trios + blush duos at Stila counters inside Rustan's Essences.

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That elusive doll pink lipstick

This'll be quick as I need to get ready for work! I wasn't actually planning on writing about this but as I was editing my FOTD picture in my last post, I can't help falling in love (again) with the lipstick I was wearing! It's a Pixy Lasting Matte Lipstick in Be In Love (P300). If you collect lippies, then you know how hard it is to find a delicate doll pink color in a version that actually suits medium to dark Filipina skin tones.

By jove I have found it!

You may have heard of Pixy already. It's a Japanese brand that has an affordable line of products for everyday wear. I think I have all their lipstick formulas and shades, but I honestly have yet to try all of them. Good thing I was randomly swatching a few the other week. That's how I came across Be In Love.

I've tried the MAC Pink Nouveau, the Happy Skin Valentine Kiss, Revlon Stormy Pink, and Shu Uemura Matte Lipstick in M PK335, but these are too cool and pale on my medium yellow skin.  I love the idea of a feminine pink like this but I have almost given up on finding one that suits me.

But Be In Love is the one. <3

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Seeee? I'll be talking about the formula and the other shades from the Lasting Matte line next time, but if you're interested in checking Pixy out, you can find the counters inside Watsons (SM Aura, Mall of Asia, SM Sucat, Festivall Mall, SM Sucat, and SM Bacoor). ^_^

Okay I'm off! Lemme know what you think!

Bobbi Brown Week: Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner

I want to love this, I really do, but the Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner (P1,000+) is just so-so. I love the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in the pot which is why it's interesting for me to try this pencil. However, it's just not as good.

That's not to say it's bad. The creamy, buttery texture glides on my lids without tugging, and Pitch Black is buildable when I want a super dark line. I enjoy the convenience of twist-up pencils like this, too, since they're easy to apply when I'm in a rush.

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I don't get a sharp line with this, which I actually like for this particular product! It leaves a soft line on my eyes which can be easily smudged with a cotton tip. It's a great pencil for creating quick n' messy smoky eyes without having to use any brushes or eyeshadow. Due to the emollient texture, the Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner diffuses on the lids beautifully.

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There's something to be said for soft-looking eyeliners!

Staying power is ok - it stays solid for about four hours, but starts to smear on the corners a bit after that (if you applied it in a solid black line as opposed to a smudged one). It also has a tendency to transfer on the upper lids if they are not primed or powdered. I don't get panda eyes with this liner but the smudging does show. This eyeliner is not for oily lids, unfortunately.

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If you're looking for eyeliner that can create sharper shapes and has a reliable staying power, I highly recommend the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink. It's my fave liner from Bobbi Brown!

If you're after a softer line that you can smudge easily or use as a base for smoky eyes, the Perfectly Defined Eyeliner is perfect for the job. You can certainly use it by itself to create the usual line, but I would suggest using a primer first.

Do you like deliberately smudging your eyeliner? I do, when I don't have time to wear eyeshadows!

Bobbi Brown Week: Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF15

I told my friend yesterday, "After checking my calendar, I realized that this week is gloriously free!" Now I feel like I jinxed myself because by the end of yesterday I have several meetings to be at and a few preps for a big event on Saturday. Not complaining though! This is the right kind of busy - lots of exciting things to do, but they are not in any way overwhelming.

So! Let's continue Bobbi Brown Week with the Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 (P2,350). This is a sheer base, with the lightest hint of brightening yellow tint to lift up a sallow complexion and slightly uneven areas of the face. It has a satiny finish - not dewy, but not matte either. It just makes skin look a bit more polished. Unless you know it's there, you won't be able to put a finger on it.

Hydration situation. This is a truly hydrating product, so much so I don't even need to use moisturizer before it. I love how my skin feels supple after wiping this product off - as if I did use a really good moisturizer! I'm happy to report that I have had no break outs from this so far after a month of usage.

Texture. The texture is watery as you spread it out, but it sets quickly in a dry finish. I think oily girls will like that this is particularly oil-free. It just means that it wouldn't feel too rich or emollient once you start shining up.

Staying power. I've worn this for over eight hours and it didn't look too banged up. It's hard to say if it faded since it's so sheer, but I did notice that my face still looks even and smooth, albeit oily since I didn't retouch at all.

I got a great shade match with the Light To Medium Tint.

I got a great shade match with the Light To Medium Tint.

Coverage. This is the sheerest Bobbi Brown tinted product that I've tried so far. Still, I like it because my skin is behaving well lately, so I can actually get away with just this tinted moisturizer + a powder. But if you have blemished skin, you might want a bit more coverage, which is where the Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF35 PA+++ comes in. The BB Cream has light coverage but it does blur out blemishes and lines better compared to the Tinted Moisturizer. Oh, and it has SPF35 PA+++!

Sun protection. The TM only has SPF15 which may be too low for day-time use. You'll need to wear an SPF15 (or higher) powder to set this if you want to get basic sun protection.

Wore the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer here set with a translucent powder. Looks just like my skin, just sliiiiightly better!

Wore the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer here set with a translucent powder. Looks just like my skin, just sliiiiightly better!

So who is this product for? I would confidently recommend this to people who have fairly good skin and just need something to brighten it up, hydrate it without the oily feel, and provide minimum sun protection (perhaps if they stay indoors most of the time). That sounds like me! But if you need coverage, this is not for you.

This is perfect for the "no makeup" makeup look, if that's what you're going for!

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Overall, the Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 is exactly what it says it is: a tinted moisturizer that hydrates skin effectively. It offers this sheer, subtly brightening finish without any shimmer. I do like these types of products since I run a lot of quick errands out of the house! It's just something I can pick up and apply with minimal fuss. ^_^ 

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Do you need the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush in your life?

I've always thought of mechanical cleansing brushes as overkill. Why spend so much money on something that is ultimately redundant? There are excellent (and less expensive) exfoliating products out there that doesn't require the care and maintenance you would need to put in a battery-powered brush. I just didn't get it...but now I do, thanks to the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush (P2,190).

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I got this a few weeks back and have been using it twice week. So far, I am liking the extra boost in my exfoliating routine! I find that the stubborn rough patches on the bottom of my chin and black heads around my nose are clearer than usual. Those are usually spots where I have trouble even with regular use of the Cure Aqua Gel. They're not visible, but I can feel them before.

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So, here's a more detailed run-down of my thoughts on the Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush!

  • The brushes in the kit are super soft and far from being abrasive once they get rotatin'. They're made of thin nylon filaments that won't cause micro-holes or irritate your skin.
  • Mary Kay recommend 15 seconds of the brush on each cheek, chin, nose, and forehead. It's ample time to cleanse and exfoliate those areas thoroughly.
  • The brush is battery-powered and fits into my hand nicely. And yes, it's also water-resistant! You can't dunk it in your bath tub or use it under a running shower (perhaps you can but not too long). However you can get it wet within reasonable means such as using wet hands or quickly rinsing the brush without detaching it from the handle.
  • The kit comes with two brushes. I don't know if there's a difference between the two other than the color, hmm. MK suggests replacing the brush head every three months for sanitary reasons and to make sure they're still working as they should. (Just like tooth brushes!) Make sure to wash the brush thoroughly after every use.
  • There are two speed settings that you can choose with the button on top of the power button: slow and slightly faster.
  • The price tag at P2,190 is quite affordable compared to the Clarisonic, which sells for around P7,000-8,000. I haven't tried that one yet. 

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The results so far

First time I got this brush, I used it for two straight days, twice a day. That wasn't a good idea. Some old pimples surfaced - I know they're old because I could feel slight bumps where they were, even before I used the brush. There were a couple of new pimples too. Too much too soon, yes, but at least they are out of my face now.

PS My face looks more yellow in the left photo because the white foam + white brush made my yellow tones stand out more. It happens with all my cameras ugh.

PS My face looks more yellow in the left photo because the white foam + white brush made my yellow tones stand out more. It happens with all my cameras ugh.

Then I scaled back and just used this twice a week along with my Cure Aqual Gel (which I use once a week instead of thrice). It's likely too much exfoliation but my skin hasn't been this clear in a while! Besides my skin doesn't feel dry at all. This is a great combination, I think, and my face feels silkier and much less rough because of it. Now black heads are almost non-existent while rough spots are smoothed out.

The downside to all this clarity, however, is that I'm a bit oilier than usual. That's the price to pay for clearer pores, I suppose! I don't mind naman.

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But do you absolutely need this brush in your life?

Ahhh, the crucial question. The answer is, well, conditional. IF you have fairly clear skin, with minimal black heads and dry patches of skin, this will disrupt your routine. Just do what you're doing - you definitely don't need this brush.

I believe it will be a great addition to your cleansing routine especially IF you have a lot of gunk in your pores that you can't seem to get out no matter what you do. Your skin would have occasional pimples only in this scenario.

IF you have quite a bit of acne at the moment, I don't recommend you use this cleansing brush until you clear up most (if not all) of it. Your priority is acne treatment, not exfoliation. I'm afraid that this brush will just make your skin issue worse, and even leave scars if it accidentally pops deep pimples while you're cleansing.

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So that's what I think of the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush. :) Oh, I used the Mary Kay Foaming Cleanser with this and I like the results. No breakouts and my face never gets dry with this cleanser. You might wanna get them together if you're in the market for a new facial wash too!

Do you use cleansing brushes already, or are you looking to get into the bandwagon?

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I'm a drugstore diva: My nth Watsons haul!

I love nice things, but there is something else I love more: a good deal. Seriously. If I can save on something without sacrificing the quality that I have come to expect of the things I use, I would! That's why Watsons is one of my favorite places to go for personal care necessities. They have the best deals and honestly, the Watsons brand products are pretty good even if you take their affordability out of the equation. I always have their tissues or wipes in my bag at any given time!

Watsons has a Switch & Save initiative where you can save more just by switching to a less pricey of your necessities, i.e., the Watsons brand items. They have buy 1 take 1 promos and discounts year-round, I believe, but every so often they have a concentrated campaign featuring more of those deals. Right now is one of those times. Until July23, you can avail of loads of body care essentials at a Buy 1 Take 1! You also get a free tote bag for every P500 purchase of Watsons-brand products.

Here are some of the items I saw while visiting the Watsons in SM Aura the other day. ^_^ Check the gallery for my comments + prices!

Aaaaaaand here's my haul! As usual, I got the Watsons Round Puffs, the pocket tissues, Gel Hand Soap, Hand Sanitizer, mini Wet Wipes, and Transparent Plasters. These are all staples in the house, in my vanity, in my bag. ^_^ I also grabbed a loofah, elastic head bands, Clean & Safe Antibacterial Wipes, A Bonne Scrub, and Biogenic alcohol.

As you can see, I hoarded on wipes. I will not apologize!

Been waiting for an opportunity to mention this: I hoard the Watsons Transparent Plasters because they stick like crazy. New shoes that chafe? I use the big band aid/plaster in this set (it has diff sizes). Wound on my hand? I use the smaller ones - they don't go off easily. Really useful and cheap at like 30-ish bucks per box.

So there. Visit your fave Watsons soon! What are your essentials from there?

 

This post is brought to you by Watsons.