A treat worth having: The Kerastase Initialiste Gift Box

Morning folks! Today will be all about hair. I recently got a cut and color at my favorite salon EVER, but that's coming in the next post haha. For now I just want to share some good news from Kerastase! Check out this gorgeous gift box, which is free when you avail of P4,500 worth of services and products from Kerastase within the month of September.

 

The gift box contains Initialiste—a leave-in serum applied directly to the scalp, designed to instantly make hair strong, shiny, and soft. The native plant stem cells contained in Initialiste promise the optimised production of hair thereby improving its quality and strengthening the hair's fibres. 

I'm quite excited to try Initialiste since I've been hearing only good things about it. Lord knows my scalp needs the boost! Anyway, the box also contains a luxe hair brush. This is a pretty sweet deal since Initialiste is almost P3,000 for a 60ml bottle - 2/3s of the cost to acquire it. That's generous of Kerastase ha.

If you're at a loss on what to blow your P4,500 on, I highly recommend the Kerastase Elixir Ultime, my Holy Grail hair serum. ^_^ The Cristalliste Shampoo and Serum is also good to start with if you have super fine hair like mine! I personally haven't tried any Kerastase services yet but I'm sure the experts at participating salons can recommend something. Best to give your preferred branch a call to check if they have stocks of the Initialiste Gift Box. ^_^

FYI!

The Physiogel Free In My Skin Movement

Women, in my opinion, receive a lot more pressure compared to men. The pressure exists in various aspects of our lives - in how we look, how we perform at work, how we take care of our family and our household. It's always there, an invisible force silently bearing down on our heads. It can be exhausting. However, we are made of tougher stuff. Remember that quote about women being like tea bags? We don't know how strong we are until we're in hot water!

In the last few years when I've discovered just how capable I am of running my own life and pursuing my dreams. But these things...you don't learn them by winning. You learn them by falling flat on your face, failing not once but innumerable times. That's just how life is. You gotta get up and show up, even when if it's the last thing you feel like doing.

For me, the best way to deal with pressure is to fake it until I get it right. This is important in the industry I work in, where appearances matter so much - sometimes, too much! I have to look my best even when I don't feel like it because the world isn't going to stop for me. It's always going to be now or later when it doesn't matter anymore.

That's why I like the Physiogel #FreeInMySkin Movement. It encourages women to seek the freedom to control their own life, taking on the pressure to be perfect without being afraid to be vulnerable. Physiogel's new campaign and endorser was launched the other week in Makati Shangri-La. The face for the Free In My Skin Movement is none other than Patti Grandidge, who is one of the freshest, most sought-after models and TV hosts in the country. 

Patti loves Physiogel because it's the perfect solution to her dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. Physiogel is actually the number-one most prescribed moisturizer by dermatologists since it's formulated specifically for sensitive skin. I've tried their best-sellers (here's a review of the Intensive Cream) before and I can attest to how gentle and hydrating they are! They're pretty good even though they're inexpensive. ^_^

Back to Patti. She shares, "With Physiogel, I became free from dry and sensitive skin – to get going, to get out there and just be who I really am. So, now I truly believe in the power of having good skin. It gave me the power to feel empowered, to feel free. I became free in my skin. And this is why I have been rallying for this movement to reach out to so many women out there."

Watch Patti's story here!

That's a great message, don't you think? I definitely agree that having good skin can make us feel more confident and ready to face the world. ^_^ I know this from experience. So, if you have troubled skin and just want to let it recover, try Physiogel products - they just might help you to be free in your skin!

Let me leave you a couple of pics from the event the other week. ;)

Martha, myself, and Raisa Mislang, who is an executive at GlaxoSmithKline (the makers of Physiogel). Raisa is always so chic and outspoken, I love her posts on Facebook and Instagram!

Martha, myself, and Raisa Mislang, who is an executive at GlaxoSmithKline (the makers of Physiogel). Raisa is always so chic and outspoken, I love her posts on Facebook and Instagram!

The GSK team: Justin Lladoc, Maita Monsalud, Gikki Martija, Patti Grandidge, Patty Laurel, Jeoffrey Yulo

The GSK team: Justin Lladoc, Maita Monsalud, Gikki Martija, Patti Grandidge, Patty Laurel, Jeoffrey Yulo

If you're interested, find out more about the Physiogel Free In My Skin Movement on Facebook

This post is brought to you by Physiogel.

Why you need to wash your makeup sponges regularly, and how

I get goosebumps of something akin to terror when I see someone use grotty, dirty sponges to apply their foundation. Doesn't she know? I wonder. It must be that she just doesn't know. How else can she bear using a caked-up sponge on her face like that?

In case you're a new reader at Project Vanity though, welcome, and please wash your sponges regularly if you don't. Dirty foundation sponges are the harbingers of dirt, oil, and bacteria picked up from your face after using them, plus they stay in your compact away from the sun - meaning, omg, mold. Mold can grow on a dirty sponge. I can't even.

I rarely use sponges though because I sometimes forget to wash them. If you're like me, I recommend using a brush instead since they're easier to spot clean with a brush cleaner, thus cutting down the drying time by a mile! You can also have extra sponges lying around your desk or bag for when you forget to wash the one in your compact.

There's no excuse. A dirty sponge (or tools in general) might be giving you pimples, which could be why they stay on even after all the treatments and skincare you've been trying out.

So how does one wash a makeup sponge? It's easy! Squirt some dishwashing fluid or baby shampoo (clear, not creamy) onto the little bugger, squeeze it to loosen up the makeup, then rinse it. Repeat until the water runs clear. To dry it faster, wrap the sponge in a towel and squeeze the excess water out.

You can actually use the sponge with a powder foundation after to get heavier, smoother coverage! Make sure the foundation formula can work with water though. Sometimes they're not designed for  wet application techniques.

You must wash your sponge at least once a week, twice if you use it everyday. ^_^ Just a friendly reminder, if you don't do this yet!

How often do you clean your makeup sponges and tools?

Complete swatchfest: the Ellana Mineral Loose Foundation

I hope you're safe and snug wherever you are! The rain is pretty terrible. But let's take our minds off it and discuss, well, makeup! Today I want to share swatches and my advice on choosing the perfect Ellana Minerals foundation shade. There are ten in the loose formula line, which can be intimidating if you haven't seen them in person.

The good thing about it though is that you have more leeway in finding the right shade for you. Ellana offers free samples of ALL their loose powders too, and you only have to pay P80 for shipping to get the full 22-piece set. That's pretty handy if you're the type who likes being dead sure about her shade.

Here are all ten shades, swatched lightest to darkest. There are three under tones available: Warm, which is yellowish/golden; Olive, which is a more neutral mix of yellow and beige; and Cool, which is beige with a slight hint of pink. A general guide for choosing the correct under tone is to check your veins on your inner wrist. If they're mostly blue, you're Cool. If they're mostly green, you're Warm. If it's an equal combination of both, you're likely an Olive or neutral. 

I'm talking in general terms here though! The best way to find out is to swatch everything and see what matches.

Cafe Breve is almost white. This is mainly used for highlighting or mixing with the other colors to lighten them up - it's a shade for makeup artists!

French Vanilla Latte is for porcelain fair skin. It's warm so it doesn't look fake or off. It should suit girls that use NC15 MAC foundations.

Chai Tea Latte is a step darker than French Vanilla. It has slight beige undertones. I would recommend this for NC20/NW20.

Hazelnut Latte is a light medium yellow shade, appropriate for those with NC30-35 skin tones. I'm an NC35 and this suits me perfectly, even though it's half a shade lighter. This is what I use. It "melts" on my skin after an hour so it matches.

Cafe Mocha is slightly darker than Hazelnute latte though it looks similar in the swatch. It has a neutral under tone.

And so we move to the shades for medium to dark skin! The five darkest shades are almost similar, actually, with Caramel and Machiatto being the ones that suit morenas best. Almond and Cinnamon are for medium, leaning towards dark skin (NC35-40).

If this still confuses you, I personally only use five shades on people I've applied Ellana makeup on (that's quite a lot of people as I did makeup on passing guests for two Ellana mall events). They are, from lightest to darkest:

French Vanilla Latte (fair skin) - Chai Tea Latte (light) - Hazelnut Latte (light medium) - Almond Latte (medium) - Toffee Mocha (medium dark) - Macchiato (morena dark)

Hope this is useful y'all! Do share your Ellana foundation shades here as well, and your description of your skin, to help others hone in on their picks. ^_^

 

You can purchase your Ellana Loose Mineral Foundation through my affiliate link. I earn a small commission for every purchase, btw, which always makes me feel kilig because you got something because of my recommendation. If it's your first time to buy from this link, you get 15% off.

Travel to the Masskara Festival in Bacolod for free with Smart Deezer

It's funny how different people like to travel differently. For example, my mom wants to experience everything - and I mean everything. She wants to explore all that the new place has to offer because she has this fear of missing out (FOMO!). My dad on the other hand is more relaxed. He prefers to be on a tour, happy just to see the bare minimum, and then hole up in the hotel again.

A quaint hippie store in Haji Lane, Singapore

A quaint hippie store in Haji Lane, Singapore

On my end, I google extensively before I leave. I list down my places of interest and that's exactly where I'll go. I'll walk around the area for as long as I can, maybe discover an interesting cafe or spot. Then I'll just sit down and think (or draw if I wasn't too lazy to lug my kit!). I'm boring to travel with. I have a goal yet I'm aimless and random afterwards.

It's amazing how my parents and I were able to survive each other's different tastes haha, but I think we all enjoyed our trip to Singapore! Traveling with people you love is all sorts of fun. It makes for memories you'll cherish for life. ^_^

Soooooo segue time. If you want to travel for free with your friends to the Masskara Festival in Bacolod, do join this Smart Deezer Promo!

DEEZER MASSKARA Daily Prizes.jpg

Basically, all you need to do is subscribe to Deezer with Smart, and you're part of the raffle to win an all-expense paid trip to Bacolod for Masskara. Simple right? You can nab a trip for four, a trip for two, or tickets to the Masskara Love Dance 2014 just by enjoying Deezer. The promo period is until September 30, 2014 so you better git on it. ;)

To see the full mechanics, just visit this page. Good luck! 

My travel beauty essentials

Traveling is beautiful because, as you explore a new exciting locale, you discover things you didn't know about yourself. One thing that you're bound to realize is what you can't live without when you go to places unknown. You try to conserve as much space as possible, so you only bring your best best picks with you. Often, you don't know what they are exactly until you pack!

Thought I'd show you what I brought with me to Singapore. ^_^ When I travel, I find that I need three kits with me: my retouch kit which I bring in my handbag to the plane, my skincare kit, and my makeup kit. 

Let's take a look at my retouch kit first. This is a Happy Skin pouch, which is free for every P2,500 purchase if you're interested. ;) It's small and light and fits the minimal products I need to touch up my face. I don't wear eyeliner or mascara to and on the plane if the flight is more than two hours - I tend to get teary-eyed, then I rub my eyes because of the dry cabin air. So I apply my eye makeup about 15 minutes before the plane descends.

So what do I have on during transit? Just foundation, eyebrow makeup, and a lip balm. I love the Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose, it smells so good and keeps my lips hydrated throughout the flight!

Come retouch time - I didn't wear mascara because I have glasses on. I just applied my Heavy Rotation pencil eyeliner, a Korres lip butter, a Clinique blush, and dabbed foundation with a mini Ecotools powder brush. I bring two lipsticks, a loud one like the Tory Burch Smack Dab, and a subdued MLBB like the Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Honeymoon Glow.

Ahhhh, the makeup kit. Inside are all extra-longwearing products since Singapore is quite hot and humid.

 I have here the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Browset in Quiet Brunette, Fairydrops Platinum Mascara, MAC Studio Finish Concealer, Zeova brushes, Make Up For Ever Liquid Lip Color in Light Rosewood, Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain, Heavy Rotation Liquid Eyeliner, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Diamond Grey, Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation, Maybelline Bad To The Bronze Cream Eyeshadow, Benefit Majorette Blush, and Happy Skin Feeling Sculptacular Contour Kit.

 I have here the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Browset in Quiet Brunette, Fairydrops Platinum Mascara, MAC Studio Finish Concealer, Zeova brushes, Make Up For Ever Liquid Lip Color in Light Rosewood, Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain, Heavy Rotation Liquid Eyeliner, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Diamond Grey, Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation, Maybelline Bad To The Bronze Cream Eyeshadow, Benefit Majorette Blush, and Happy Skin Feeling Sculptacular Contour Kit.

Whew, that's a lot. In reality, my daily face just involved a sunscreen (Clinique Even Dark Spot Defense) foundation (Shiseido White Lucent Foundation, not in photos), eyebrow makeup (MAC Browset in Quiet Brunette), liquid eyeliner (Heavy Rotation), blush (Benefit Majorette), and lipstick of the day.

Well it's good to have extra stuff in case I need to go somewhere dressier, right? It's nice to be prepared for any eventuality. I packed both day and night-appropriate makeup, something that can suit any unexpected occasion.

Last but not least - my skin and body care stuff! I placed this in a Beabi travel kit since they fit perfectly. So, I guess you can say these are my HGs save for the L'Oreal Mythic Oil and Bioderma Sebium which I'm testing out.

Inside the ziplock bag: Bioderma Sebium Micellar Solution (it's so awesome), L'Oreal Mythic Oil, Head & Shoulders shampoo (yessss, well, it doesn't break me out), Burt's Bees Daisy White Toner, Shiseido Ibuki facial wash in the jar.

I ran out of travel jars/bottles so I had to bring full-sized bottles. I currently can not live without the Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF45 PA+++ - it's soooo good as a sunscreen and illuminator. I'll review it in a separate post. Then here's the Clinique Moisture Surge. I wanted to bring my Even Better moisturizer jar but it's simply too large. Lastly, I've got the Estee Lauder Clear Difference Serum. It's my fave serum since it helps clear up blemishes, stat!

I forgot to take a pic, but I also brought a Belo SPF60 sunscreen. I love it, it's not sticky when I get sweaty.

So there you have it, my travel essentials. When it comes to makeup you don't really need to be particular with brands. You just need a check list of your favourites and you're good to go! As long as you've got the basics you're ok. Just don't forget the red lipstick, please. ;)

 

PS Flying out later tonight, can't wait to be home! I miss Snaps! Today's plan involves last minute shopping, I hope I find doggy toys hehe.

Have fun drawing: the Etude House Play 101 Pencil

When I got these boxes of fun, I wasn't entirely sure what they were. I mean they looked like eyeliners but the colors were too lipstick-y to be just for the eyes. The packaging didn't do much to explain, either, although google quickly solved that problem for me. Apparently, the Etude House Play 101 Pencil (P348) is meant to be used for pretty much anything you can think of!

Let's sit down for a moment and consider that fully. How cool is it to use only a few sticks for your face, lips, and eyes? That is difficult to pull off but the formula of the Etude Play pencils allow it to be blended properly on any area, and to set when you're done, making them longer-wearing than your usual pencil. The colourful ones stain, too.

I have the shade in 0, which is a skin-toned color that can be used as spot concealer, waterline eyeliner, eyeshadow primer, nude lipstick, or lip primer. This stays on fairly well in the waterline at around 3-4 hours before it's completely gone. It stays on much longer as an eyeliner and primer since that area is not wet.

19 (purplish pink) and 20 (hot pink) can be used as eyeliner, blush, and lipstick. There's a beauty editor that I know who loves wearing pink eyeliner with a high flick at the end - it's so cute and Korean! You should try it one time for an unconventional pop of color.

To use them as lipstick, apply a light layer of lip balm on your lips first before drawing on them with the pencil. Even out the color with your finger or lip brush. To use them as blush, apply dots all over your cheeks then blend them together with a finger or dense brush quickly. QUICKLY, or they will set and you will have bright pink dots on your cheeks. :P This is best to try on bare skin or if you've only just applied your liquid base. Set it with translucent powder to still allow the color to show through.

Long-wearing, pigmented, multi-functional, and super affordable, the Etude House Play 101 Pencils are definitely worth checking out. I recommend the 0 pencil and then at least one of the bright colors!

What do you think? Are these worth the buy?

Hello from Singapore!

It's my first time to visit Singapore and I'm loving it so far. It's a shopping paradise not only for beauty and fashion enthusiasts but for those who love books, stationery, and art supplies as well. We've only been to Orchard Road and in the Bras Basah area so far (art materials ftw), so if you've got suggestions on places to eat and go, would love to know! 

I brought my favorite beauty products along for the ride, but I'll post my travel essentials separately. I brought three kits - one for makeup, another for skincare, and then for retouching on the plane. I guess I've finally hit on a "formula" when it comes to traveling out, shedding much of what I don't need and adding more of what I do. Took a while, haha.

Anyway, I wanna quickly talk about our hotel because I think it's a great place and people should know more about it. It's called Goodwood Park Hotel located in Scotts Road, just off Orchard Road. It's super convenient at not more than 10 mins from the Orchard Station. It's near everything!

The room we got was large but the price wasn't unreasonable. It's so nice, I just want to veg out here and watch TV all day. The weather is muggy in Singapore right now which makes walking for hours a challenging thing.

Say hi to my mom and dad! Anyway, I need to be off. We plan to visit the Botanic Gardens, Jurong Bird Park, and then Marina Bay later. Stay updated on my Instagram @lizlanuzo if you're interested. ;) 

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Cheap n' good: the Pixy Perfect Matte Two-Way Cake

You guys, this is the cheapest powder foundation I've ever reviewed to date. I was seesawing between dedicating just one post to this or including it in a list of compacts, but I decided that it deserves its own spot in the sun. Seriously, when was the last time you used a 275-peso foundation that's actually good?  

The Pixy UV Whitening Perfect Matte Two-Way Cake (P275 for the regular compact, P145 for the refill) is one of three Pixy foundation types available in the Philippines. As you may recall, Pixy is a newly arrived Japanese-Indonesian brand that prides itself with affordable cosmetics that is designed for everyday wear. Think flattering, demure colors and long-wearing products, at no more than 400 bucks!

I'll be honest with you. I thought I wouldn't like this foundation because it has a strong drugstore powder smell (you know what I mean!). I thought it would give me pimples or look off after just a couple of hours. My expectations were really low - I probably didn't have any, to start with. But the Perfect Matte is surprisingly pretty nice! It's no Shiseido or Lancome but it delivers in terms of coverage, finish, and staying power.

Let's do a quick rundown of the pros and cons!

What I like about this product

  • It's mid to heavy coverage, with a smooth matte finish. It doesn't look powdery or cakey when brushed on! I use the sponge for retouching but for application, I use a dense powder/kabuki brush.
  • I found a perfect shade match in Golden Beige. For your reference, I'm an NC35 (mid-toned yellow skin). I believe there are three shades available .
  • Stays on well during the day, at around 5-7 hours of wear depending on how oily you are. I get shiny after three hours (as with most foundations) but it's easy enough to blot and retouch.
  • I love the packaging! It doesn't feel like it's just P275 when you see it and hold it in person. It's not made of flimsy, throwaway plastic. 
  • No breakouts. I thought I would because it has a smell. Didn't happen. I use this regularly.
  • Did I mention the price? The refill is crazy cheap at P145 and guess what, it comes in a nice mini-compact too.  
Worn here on top of just concealer. Lovely finish no? It's extra photogenic.

Worn here on top of just concealer. Lovely finish no? It's extra photogenic.

What I don't like about the product

  • The smell. Some girls like it - I asked - but I'm used to foundations that have little to no scent. The Perfect Matte has a strong powdery fragrance that bothers me a bit as I apply it. It does fade. But yeah, it's there.

Neutral

  • It has only SPF15. I'd appreciate a higher SPF but I can always apply sunscreen naman.
How cute is the refill? You can actually just buy this if you're looking for something really travel-friendly. You'll just need to store your sponge somewhere else but the mini-compact is sturdy as is.

How cute is the refill? You can actually just buy this if you're looking for something really travel-friendly. You'll just need to store your sponge somewhere else but the mini-compact is sturdy as is.

Recommendations

If you have dry to combi skin with a taste for champagne but budget for only beer, I think you'll like the Pixy UV Whitening Perfect Matte Two-Way Cake. It's a good, hardworking foundation that will give you a bang for your buck!

The catch is that it has that scent, but if you can live with it then this is for you.

Verdict

Love everything about this foundation except for the smell. Obvs! I still keep it in rotation though because it has a winning finish + skin match for me. Oh, the coverage is also quite nice. Two layers and I won't even need concealer.

What do you think? Are you on the lookout for an affordable foundation, and if so, what are your bare requirements?

Pixy Cosmetics is available in select Watsons and SM Beauty stores 

Living the life

This is what my makeup area looks like right now. It's A Major Mess, but gosh you should see the living room. There are so many press kits and I haven't even opened most of them. People tell me to give them away and I do - to my friends, family, and some Project Vanity commenters whom I want to thank. However I can't do that unless I at least take photos of them first. After that I need to try them out to see if I can come up with a review.

In other words, some products sit in my condo for at least a month or two before I can share them with anyone.

It's overwhelming. Some days, I don't know where to begin. I want to improve my turnover rate but work simply gets in the way! It's not like before when I can make two posts every day - I want to, but it's nearly impossible since I work with four companies and ten brands between them.

Everyone who says beauty blogging is a breeze ain't doing it right, or doing it in the first place. Please don't think I'm whining about my ~difficult~ life though. I'm ridiculously lucky to be doing this and getting support from you guys and brands, too. I guess I just want to let out my frustration about my blogging system.

What do you do when you're feeling frustrated and/or overwhelmed?

Commenter of the Month for August and September gift

Honestly, it's getting harder and harder to choose the Commenter of the Month. One of my friends said that the comments on this site is on another level - she loves reading them since she learns so much daw! I proudly boasted that women here are intelligent and accomplished, some being scientists, doctors, lawyers, and designers. Thanks to you guys, comments here are something to look forward to aside from the actual blog posts. ^_^

It's time to announce the CoM. It was a tough choice, but last month's Happy Skin loot goes to Mia! Kindly email me your full name, address, and mobile. I still haven't shipped last month's prizes due to my crazy sched (I am SO sorry!) but I promise to do it all before I leave for my vacation next week.

Moving forward, this September, I will be awarding two Commenters of the Month! Since it's hard to pick just one, I might as well get two right? They will be getting a set each of K-Palette's latest collection, the 1 Day Magic Series. I reviewed it recently and I love the eyeliner and mascara - perfect for our hot weather! The eyeliner in particular draws the perfect cat eye really well.

Thanks for sponsoring the prizes, K-Palette! I invite you all to like K-Palette on Facebook and Instagram if you have a couple of minutes to spare and want to keep yourself updated with the latest in Japanese beauty. ^_^

It's same mechanics as before! Every month, I'll pick a commenter on my blog. She must be able to leave useful comments, such as sharing feedback about a product I reviewed. It can be a "thank you" comment, or maybe a really good question (I love good questions). A big factor would be the frequency of the reader's comments. Does she always visit? Does she read through the site? At the end of the day though, I always value quality more than quantity. Consistency is key.

Comment away! Am hoping to hear from you. ;) I'll pick the winner by end of September. Good luck!