Who wins: Gel vs oil body moisturizers

The question isn't as complex as it sounds, really. Gel moisturizers are fantastic for oily, extra sweaty skin since they are almost completely absorbed while providing enough hydration. Oils, on the other hand, provide a deeper level of moisture which dry skin needs. If you have combination skin then you can do it as I do - I use a gel moisturizer during the day and a heavier one at night (oil or anything creamy). 

It boils down to preference, of course, since some people might not like the oily feel or even a barely-there texture. It's up to you. I just have two recommendations though, which are both pretty awesome for not a lot of money! ^_^

Let's start with the Tony Moly Pure Eco Aloe Gel (P348). This claims to be made of 92% aloe vera gel and is designed for sensitive skin. It's meant to be used all over the body, and yes, even for the face! I haven't done that but it's an excellent moisturizer for the rest of me, as it leaves my skin smooth and grease-free all day.

I love the cooling, ultra-light texture of this gel. I also like that those with problem skin can use this since it's free of ingredients typically believed to be irritants such as triethanolamine, artificial dyes, parabens, mineral oil, and benzophenone. I personally don't believe they are (irritants, that is) but if you've got a sensitive face then you can't be too safe.

Try this out! The big tub is just P350/300ml, I mean, that's crazy. I think I will purchase this when I run out.

Next up is the Burt's Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Bath & Body Oil (P650). This smells lovely, if you like citrus scents. It's an oil with a dry texture that takes a while to get absorbed. It's best applied on damp skin to hasten the process, but since I don't like walking around with damp skin after a shower, I just massage it all over to get even coverage. 

This is 100% natural according to Burt's Bees. It's a blend of pure oils such as sweet almond oil, lemon oil, wheat germ oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. It also has tocopherol (Vitamin E) and rosemary extract to nourish skin even more. All good things! I like applying this right before sleeping. The scent is relaxing and the oil does make my skin smoother and dare I say, more youthful.

Hey, I can't take too many precautions even if I'm just 26. ;) So there you have it! I've been using both products for a few weeks now and love how nice my skin looks. I highly recommend them!

Thoughts? What's your favorite body moisurizer?

VMV Hypoallergenics Bag Caddy + Pretty Pinks

When I don't know what to blog, I write about the most recent thing that excited me. Today, it's this VMV Hypoallergenics Bag Caddy and a couple of their pink cosmetics! They just arrived on my doorstep yesterday and I immediately fell in love with the - guess - caddy. Haha. It looked like the perfect plein air painting kit and I was not mistaken. I'll show you later!

But first, some info: this limited edition VMV pouch is free for every P2,500 purchase as long as it includes a pink product. Part of the proceeds from the purchase of the pink items goes to Icanserve Foundation as VMV's contribution to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ^_^  

I love the caddy as it's slim yet it can be expanded easily. I like that I can also stuff it inside most of my bags, making it more convenient to move my things from purse to purse.  

My main use for it though would be as a painting kit, lol. It fits my sketchbooks, paints, and brushes nicely! I can't wait to bring it out. 

Aside from the caddy, VMV also kindly sent me two of their best-selling pink products - the Skin Bloom Blush in Rosebud and the Velvet Matte Lipstick in Flamingo. Off the bat I can see that these are gorgeous, flattering pinks, and again I'm not wrong! 

The swatches are below. I haven't gotten the chance to wear the blush yet, but first impressions: the texture is silky, the color pay off is good. I also like that it has a bit of a sheen so that it doesn't look flat on the face.  Rosebud is a color that I think is also universal - it'll look good on you no matter what your skin tone is.

DSC08253.jpg

I've already reviewed the VMV Velvet Matte Lipstick three years ago so I won't go into much detail, but I can say that it has a beautiful matte finish, although it's quite dry in texture. Do wear a lip balm first! Flamingo is a pretty warm pink shade that's bright but far from loud. It's a pink that we can all get behind.

So nice no? I hope you won't miss VMV Hypoallergenic's October campaign! It's until the 31st so hurry up if you're interested. You can avail of it on the VMV Online Store or in boutiques nationwide.  ^_^

Begin again

Not sure if you noticed but I'm finding it a bit hard to blog these days. My seven-year relationship, older than this blog and which I have written so glowingly about in the past, has just ended. Honestly, I'm feeling lost, exhausted, confused, and sadder than I remember ever being. It's like something living cozily inside my chest for seven years was yanked out and left on the ground to die of exposure.

Oh, but don't worry. I'll be alright. I'm sure that there are worse kinds of loss, of pain, and this one is something we all go through at some point. "Live through this and you won't look back," said my favorite song. I'm just taking it one day at a time until I don't have to make an effort anymore.

I've never been one to wear my heart on my sleeve online so I will leave it at that. :) I just wanted to let you know, because it's easier not to dance around the issue like it never happened. Actually, the usual emails and comments I receive from you guys are helping more than you can imagine - they remind me that I still have work to do, places to go, new people to meet. 

Thank you. 

My Makeup 101 Workshop with Ellana Minerals

Fresh off my watercolor workshop last Saturday and I have another one! I would have announced this sooner, except that there are a lot of things going on - I hope you can forgive me (please?). Sooooo. If you're into perfecting your personal makeup technique, let's spend an afternoon together learning about the basics with Ellana Minerals! I'll discuss finding the shade match, shading eyebrows, contouring, and placing/blending eyeshadows. We'll be all about applying enhancing, sophisticated day-to-day makeup!

The workshop fee is P2,500 inclusive of snacks and drinks. The P2,000 is consumable so this is the perfect chance to get advice about a customised Ellana kit. ^_^ What say you? Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday!

To register, please do follow this page. 

Discover #BeautifulScience with Pantene

A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a Project Vanity reader asking for help about her damaged hair. She said that she wanted it chemically straightened to save her time from having to blow dry and iron it everyday, but no salon wanted to touch her hair. It was too damaged, they said. I agree. If it came to that point then the only way for her to be able to fix her hair is to cut it off and let it grow anew! It might not feel good for a while but it is the only solution.

I hope you and I would never have to face that problem. That's why it's important to use a moisturizing conditioner regularly to minimize or at least manage the damage we cause it everyday. Heat styling, chemical treatments, and styling products take a toll on our tresses, so if you're heavy on those things then you must try something like Pantene's new conditioners! :)

Event host Issa Litton, celebrity hairstylist Alex Carbonell and P&G  Communications Manager Deirdre de Padua talking about Pantene's newest innovations.

Event host Issa Litton, celebrity hairstylist Alex Carbonell and P&G  Communications Manager Deirdre de Padua talking about Pantene's newest innovations.

To convince us of the science behind their products, Pantene recently launched the #BeautifulScience campaign. It's a series of videos, the first of which demonstrates how hair treated with Pantene Daily Intensive Conditioner stays down, resisting static electricity and staying virtually frizz-free - and all this without camera tricks or retouching! You better see the video to believe it.

So how is this possible? Shean Lim, Senior Technologist for P&G Hair Care, explains the science, “When hair is not damaged, the cuticle or the outer layer of the hair is in place, effectively protecting the inner structure or cortex. However, due to mechanical, environmental, thermal and chemical factors, our hair becomes damaged, which means that the cuticles are lifted and the cortex becomes exposed.”

Lim shares, “Damaged hair has a higher negative charge density than healthy hair. When the cuticle is lifted, the exposed cortex becomes more and more negatively charged.”  In the first Beautiful Science experiment, the Static Generator, which creates negative charges, is used to measure the level of damage in hair. When a person touches the metallic ball of the Static Generator, the negative charges from the generator transfers to that person. Damaged hair becomes even more negatively charged and hair strands begin to repel each other, causing damaged hair to stand up. 

Pantene model Catriona Gray

Pantene model Catriona Gray

Cool huh? There are three different Pantene products that you can try for your hair: the  Pantene Total Damage Care Daily Intensive Conditioner which is designed to address ten signs of hair damage, the Pantene Aqua Pure Daily Intensive Conditioner which helps give hair the nourishment it needs without the excess weight, making it perfect for women with fine hair, and the Pantene Color and Perm Daily Intensive Conditioner which promises keep colors vibrant and curls intact.

So there you have it! FYI. ;) Have you tried Pantene conditioners? How do you like them?

Massive swatchfest: the Happy Skin Holiday Collection

When was the last time you were delighted about something? Not just pleased, or amused, but delighted as if you want to clap your hands and smile a big smile because you were happily surprised? That's what I felt when I saw the full Happy Skin Holiday Collection. We're not even talking about the pretty tins and clever groupings of best-selling products - we're talking about completely new permanent ones that'll make your heart skip a beat. 

Oh, for it will. As with all past Happy Skin releases, co-founders Rissa Mananquil-Trillo and Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez made sure to address some of the concerns of makeup newbies. Even if your cosmetic skills are already honed, I think you'll love how the products are formulated to flatter Filipina colouring while staying on all day.

Okay I'm going to stop talking now and show you the goods! These photos took me a full four hours to shoot and post-process haha, FYI.

I'll start with the new Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippies. The Holiday colors are permanent and retail for P549. There's Mistletoe Kiss, which is a deep, juicy red; Under the Sheets, a browny nude; and Naughty and Nice, a mauve-y berry color. All three shades should suit most skin tones, except maybe Under The Sheets, which might look too brown and dark on fair skin. Of course, it's up to your preference! It just might be the autumnal brown you're looking for.

I think that the Happy Skin Lip & Cheek Mousse (P699) is what everyone's super excited about though! This is a pigmented yet totally blendable creamy mousse that you can use as a lip color and blush. I've used it once so far and I really like how it doesn't dry up on the lips, remaining creamy and moisturising until it fades away. It's a lot like NYX Lip Creams if you've tried those.

The texture is also easy to blend, but of course, use only a dot per cheek as the product is quite intense! I'll review it in full one of these days.

What I'm thrilled about the most though is the All Eyes On Hue Eyeshadow Palette (P1,299). I realized that I've been neglecting my eyeshadow lyf lately and I NEED something new! (I ordered the LORAC Mega Pro, which is another story entirely). Anyway. The Happy Skin eyeshadow quad is silky, richly pigmented, and comes in colors you will use everyday. Love it! Espresso is gorgeous.

Ahh, the Eye Candy 24H Gel Pencil Eyeliner Set (P1,299) comes in such a pretty tin box! I'll definitely re-use it. Real talk though: I'm lukewarm about the Happy Skin gel eyeliners. They're pigmented and they don't smudge, but I would love for them to be creamier. I just don't like dragging them across my eyes, you know? Nonetheless, these new colors are beautiful! Watermelon is calling my name.

Last but not the least, I've got the Eye Need A Miracle Corrector (P799). It's a salmon-hued color corrector that should diminish the appearance of bluish or purplish areas on your face. Salmon is said to cancel out blue/purple discoloration! Although I can't spot the salmon tint here. It looks mostly yellow with a hint of beige to me; it was indeed effective in lightening up my eye bags without being heavy. But yeah, maybe I need to put more product to spot the salmon hue?

And that is that! I hope you enjoyed the swatches! I'd love to know what you're looking to try from this new Happy Skin collection. By the way, you can also now purchase from their online store at Happy Skin Cosmetics - they ship door-to-door in the Philippines, as well as to over 250 countries. Sweet. Your holiday shopping is now a cinch! Don't forget to check out the sets! ;)

Have a great weekend y'all!

New shades of the K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow Pens

This is going to be quick as I've talked about the K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow (P950) more times than I can count in the past two years. It still remains as one of my favorite eyebrow products! I've tried dozens of great stuff for my brows, but this K-Palette best-seller is one of the very few that I use consistently. It's still the only one that can make even my worst eyebrow days look as good as the days when I have just had them threaded. ^_^ Nothing can beat the precision I get with this pen!

Now, K-Palette recently came out with three revamped shades for their eyebrow duos. These are friendlier to Filipinas as two of the shades have been tweaked to match darker hair. I didn't observe any change in the formula, which means that I still enjoy the long-lasting, buildable yet natural pigmentation that I've come to love in these.

This pen comes with a fine-point brush tip on one end, which you can use to draw hair-like lines to cover up gaps or uneven corners in your eyebrows. You can then set it all with the powdered sponge tip to take away any shine, thus making your brow work look naturally lush.

Do read my tutorial on how to use it! This pen can look a bit daunting at first but promise, it's really easy to master. 

So which shade is for you? It depends on the hair color that you're sporting at the moment. If you're blonde, or have very light hair, Light Brown is ideal. Natural Brown is for brunettes with a reddish tint to their hair; it's very warm and soft which I think should suit most Filipinas. It's what I use! Grayish Brown is for those with dark, almost black hair with ashy undertones. I can use it but even when my hair wasn't dyed, it still looked a bit harsh. I needed to tone it down with a tinted brow mascara.

And that's it. ^_^ Do try the K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow Pen, it won't disappoint! At least, it hasn't let me down so far. One pen lasts me about 6-7 months if I use it everyday but typically I keep one pen for a year since I test a lot of other products in between. Either way, it's fairly reasonable at P950 a pop in Beauty Bar.

Hope this helps! Lemme know if you've got questions!

Cheap finds: Tony Moly Crystal Blush

It took me years to get to this conclusion, but you know what, I don't like matte blushes. I'm not talking about matte-yet-satin-in-reality blushes, I'm talking about zero shimmer ones that sit on your face looking like makeup. Yes they eventually melt on your skin and look loads better as you oil up. I just really don't like how they look when freshly applied!

Matte blushes are indispensable if you're particularly oily, of course. If your cheeks get greasy during the day then they would just amplify the shine of shimmery blushes. I can get away with dewy/satin/shimmer products though because I have combination skin, meaning I have an oily t-zone but fairly normal to dry cheeks and sides of the face. If you have the same or drier skin type then I would definitely recommend you choose a blush with some fine shimmer in it. It'll make your skin glow like you wouldn't believe.

Anyway. Today I want to quickly talk about the Tony Moly Crystal Blush (P328) in 07 Bronze Brown, a matte nutty brown contour shade, and 13 Something Coral, a matte peachy pink. I've been testing them out these past couple of weeks and I quite like them.

 

These Tony Moly face colors have a light to medium coverage but can certainly be buildable if you want photoshoot-level contour. They stay on for about 4-5 hours on a hot day, which isn't too bad. That's the average staying power for most blushes anyway.

I did notice that they are a bit chalky and the texture can be silkier; the packaging also feels flimsy. Not too shabby for P328 though! Both the colors I have perform well and look great - that's all I ask for.

07 Bronze Brown really surprised me. It's a gorgeous contour shade, not too dark or orange or too light to show up. It contours quite naturally, even on the jawline and nose. The 13 Something Coral is just okay. It's a pretty coral pink but it's matte which, as I explained earlier, is tricky for me. If you prefer matte blushes though then this should be perfect!

Aaaand that's me wearing the Bronze Brown as cheek + jawline contour and the Something Coral as blush. Nice no? Remind me never to turn up my nose on 300-peso range blushes, haha! Try out the Bronze Brown if you haven't found a good affordable contour powder yet!

Thoughts? Have you tried the Tony Moly Crystal Blush already?

Love: Daylong Sunscreens

Sunscreens are possibly the most boring, unsexy beauty products out there, but they are also the best things you can do for your skin. I know it's not as exciting to look for new sunscreen the way we look for a new lipstick, foundation, or moisturizer. I know it's such a hassle to apply sun protection every single day - oh I know, I was so lazy! But whether we like it or not, we need to. 

I once got to talk to the global PR manager of a prestigious luxury skincare brand, and I asked if she has any beauty advice she regrets not taking when she was younger. Her answer? She wished she wore sunscreen regularly! She's a gorgeous woman but she has obvious freckles (which she says she didn't use to have) and her skin could be less finely-wrinkled. Not saying that you should be unhappy if you don't have ideal skin - because it's just, well, a matter of vanity - but if you can avoid it just by using a few products then why not? It ain't gonna take a lot of effort nor a lot of money.

Right now you might not feel like sunscreen is necessary, especially if you're in your teens or early twenties. But when you reach your mid-twenties or early thirties, nako, I swear to you, you will notice that your skin has already aged. I've noticed it and I'm only 26! That's why I wear sunscreen every single time I'm out now. True enough, after about three months, I noticed that my skin looks a lot better + even a bit less dark with regular use of sunscreen.

So let's all up our sunscreen game with the newest player to hit drugstores in the Philippines: Daylong. This brand is created by makers of Cetaphil, and manufactured in Switzerland. Its products are especially formulated for sensitive, oily skin, and are designed to stay on comfortably all day.

What I love about it is how extremely light-textured and easily absorbed everything is. I've tried non-greasy sun protection products before, but nothing close to the texture of Daylong. The Daylong Light Gel SPF50 PA++++ (P660/50ml) boasts of high UVA and UVB protection but it practically feels and looks like nothing. It's white and lotion-y when you squeeze it out, but it has no white cast and blends out with no effort at all. It's a gel indeed!

It's non-greasy and sticky. When I sweat, it doesn't feel like I'm encased in a shell of sunscreen. You know the feeling? It's really weird. I think that's why a lot of people don't wear sunscreen regularly!

But if you want something even lighter in texture, you can go for the Daylong Liposomal Spray SPF30 PA+++ (P1,295/150ml). It has a medium protection factor but it's definitely good enough for day to day, plus, you can retouch anytime. This feels just like water as you spread it out. I also like that the spray mechanism isn't hard to operate once the product starts gathering in the nozzle. It's also easy to control where the product spews out.

Did I mention that there is no sunscreen smell to both these products AT ALL? They are scentless. If you put your nose close to the stuff though you'll get a whiff of alcohol - the base is water and alcohol, after all.

I would still recommend using a body lotion before you use these Daylong sunscreens since they are not hydrating enough by themselves. That's the catch - the sacrifice that had to be made to get their light textures. If you have oily or greasy skin though, I think they'll be alright to use alone!

I haven't tried using them on my face yet since I already have found an HG for it, but I will definitely continue to use Daylong regularly.  I was invited to the Daylong launch but wasn't able to make it. I honestly thought it wasn't interesting. Glad I'm wrong. I'll definitely buy the gel and spray when I run out! So happy that Sample Room sent me these! Lucky you if you got to avail them when they did a sampling round. ;) 

What is your HG sunscreen for the face and/or body?

Ingredients list. Left is the Daylong Gel, right is the Daylong Spray.

Ingredients list. Left is the Daylong Gel, right is the Daylong Spray.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream

If you grew up in the nineties, it's safe to assume that the scent of the Body Shop's tea tree oil is forever marked in your memory along with cute stationery, cassette tapes of boy bands, and awkward crushes. I remember buying that little green bottle every month, hoping against hope that it will finally get rid of my post-pubescent acne. It was pretty effective too! 

However, like all things, I outgrew it. I do appreciate a good comeback in my life though, in the form of The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream (P795)! This was released just a couple of months ago. It promises to provide "flawless coverage whilst tackling the appearance of blemishes." So how was it, really?

Here's a run down!

What I love about the product

  • This BB cream has medium to heavy coverage. It can hide minor blemishes and effectively take down redness from angry zits. As I've been having a couple of them recently, this really came in handy!
  • The finish is a demi-matte. Not like a flat matte cake, but it isn't dewy either. It's skin-like and natural-looking even with the heavy coverage.
  • I found a good shade match in #2. It's actually dark on me and a bit orangey on my skin, but it works well enough as I have a slightly darker neck. I just set it with either translucent powder or any powder foundation in my shade.
  • I like the watery, easy-to-spread texture. A little goes a long way, two pea-sized globs should be enough for the whole face.
  • It doesn't feel sticky or heavy on my face after a few hours; it didn't compound to my oil on the t-zone. It stays on for a good seven to eight hours before it starts to fade.
  • It's hydrating enough that I don't need a moisturizer. It has a bunch of emollients and skin hydrating ingredients and they work really well together.
  • Didn't break out from this!
Swatch of the #2 shade. You'll notice it's darker and a bit orange on my skin.

Swatch of the #2 shade. You'll notice it's darker and a bit orange on my skin.

It does look fine when worn though! It has really good coverage, for a BB cream.

It does look fine when worn though! It has really good coverage, for a BB cream.

What I don't like about the product

  • The tube has too large a hole so the product just glomps out when you squeeze it. So just be careful or you'll end up wasting the cream.
  • There are only three shades available. Granted they are designed to suit and adjust to a wide range of skin tones, but this can be limiting for some people.

Neutral

  • I had a few zits while I was trying this out (about two weeks) and I didn't really notice that they healed faster. They didn't get worse either. I'm not disappointed about it as this BB cream doesn't promise to get rid of your zits anyway, if you read the fine print. It was very vague so I had no expectations. 

Recommendations

I find the The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream to be a good daily foundation that has hydrating and anti-bacterial properties. It won't kill your zits, but at least they won't grow worse or multiply. It will help manage them at the very least - something that not a lot of foundations can promise you.

I particularly like the coverage and staying power of this one as these features are what oily, troubled skin immediately needs. I just hope you find a good match!

Verdict

I like it! My skin looks good with it on, I think. ^_^ Will keep on using this regularly.

What do you think? Is this product for you?

Aqua/Water/Eau (Solvent), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (Emollient), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cetearyl Olivate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 (Emollient), Dimethicone (Skin Conditioning Agent), Sorbitan Olivate (Emulsifying Agent), Myristyl Myristate (Emollient), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (Skin Conditioning Agent - Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Glycine Soja Oil/Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Polysorbate 60 (Surfactant), Cetyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (Skin Conditioning Agent), Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil/Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil (Natural Additive), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Sodium Glycerophosphate (Oral Care Agent), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Myristyl Alcohol (Emulsifier/Emollient), Stearyl Alcohol (Emollient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Leptospermum Petersonii Oil (Fragrance Ingredient), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide (Colorant), CI 77492/Iron Oxides (Colorant), CI 77499/Iron Oxides (Colour), CI 77491/Iron Oxides (Colorant).

Aqua/Water/Eau (Solvent), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (Emollient), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cetearyl Olivate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 (Emollient), Dimethicone (Skin Conditioning Agent), Sorbitan Olivate (Emulsifying Agent), Myristyl Myristate (Emollient), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (Skin Conditioning Agent - Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Glycine Soja Oil/Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Polysorbate 60 (Surfactant), Cetyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (Skin Conditioning Agent), Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil/Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil (Natural Additive), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Sodium Glycerophosphate (Oral Care Agent), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Myristyl Alcohol (Emulsifier/Emollient), Stearyl Alcohol (Emollient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Leptospermum Petersonii Oil (Fragrance Ingredient), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide (Colorant), CI 77492/Iron Oxides (Colorant), CI 77499/Iron Oxides (Colour), CI 77491/Iron Oxides (Colorant).

Reader question: Is it okay to ask high-end brands for samples?

Hi Liz! Is it normal or okay to just ask for sample products from high end brands? Because before, when I did my shopping at Rustans and bought some Murad skincare products, and while I was paying, the sales clerk asked me if I wanted to try other Murad products since she noticed my skin wasn't looking well. So I said I would like to try some acne treatment products and she gave me samples, and a lot of it!

And again it happened when I bought a smashbox foundation and bronzer at Beauty Bar, the sales clerk gave me a sample of the photofinish primer.

Is it okay if sometimes I would just ask the SA for the sample without buying anything? Especially when I want an expensive foundation, like MAC, MUFE etc. I want to test the foundation first before buying the full size.  

Sample products are also really handy with me when I'm traveling. And of course when i want to try foundation or skincare, I want to try them first before I pay a huge amount for it. - Maggie

Hey Maggie! Thanks for the question! ^_^ I've actually answered this in my Where to get product samples in Manila post but I just want to elaborate on it a bit more. As a marketing consultant who works with beauty brands, I'm aware that it's when the customer is at the counter that the probability of making a sale is higher. Reading reviews online, seeing ads/features in magazines, these are just introductions to the products. Ultimately, what the brands want you to do is to be there at the counter and to try what they have. If you've already invested your time and/or money to go there then it should be a bit easier to convince you to spend, or at the very least, come back!

That is the point of giving away samples. Samples are easier to come by in the US because the company headquarters are there and they have huge warehouses to store their stocks. Here in the Philippines, samples have to be shipped, get taxed, and of course it costs to store them here properly (warehouses often have to be air-conditioned). That's why samples aren't technically free here unless they are gifts with purchase - you only get them when you buy something, because they've already made a profit and can therefore afford to give a tiny bit of it back to you. As a sign of goodwill. As a potential future sale.

I do encourage everyone to be a smart customer and ask sales assistants about GWPs whenever you buy from high-end brands. If they have any on stock, it shouldn't be a problem for them to give at least one to you. It depends on their policy as some require a minimum purchase but it still doesn't hurt to ask. It's normal and totally okay to do so!

Make sure that you have a good relationship with the SA so that she'll help you out. Be nice, smile a lot, and look her in the eye as you're checking out the counter. They know when you're just wasting their time. If they're wrong about you, well, make sure you ask smart questions and engage them in conversation instead of looking at things sullenly and feeling judged.

I think it's still okay to ask for samples even if you don't intend to buy anything that day. I mean, if they have extras or if their store policy allows them, they should give to you. It's in their best interest to hook up a possible customer! But what if they don't have any? That's what testers are for!

Bring a jar and ask for a couple of pumps of that foundation you want to try. Ask for a cotton bud to pick up some moisturizer to transfer in your sample jar. If you're honest about trying the product for a future purchase then this shouldn't be embarrassing. I mean, don't ask samples of everything, but just get two or three products you super want to try.

Don't abuse the testers and you'll be fine. Ask the SA politely, or if you're feeling awkward, ask her to be the one to dispense the product in your jar. Be nice and be sincere, and you're on the way to getting samples from high-end brands at no cost. :)

What do you think? Do you have any GWP or sampling experiences to share?