When to splurge or save in cosmetics and skincare

The beauty industry has changed so much in the seven years that I've been ardently writing about it. In our malls are many new brands that we haven't been able to access before, technological and scientific advances that we didn't think were possible, and a booming economy that's more able to support non-essentials at a bigger scale. The penetration of the Internet here in the Philippines has also dramatically increased, which leads to consumers who are more informed and critical of their purchases.

Things that stood before no longer stand today - for example, in how we spend or splurge on beauty products. I feel that the quality of cosmetics and skincare has increased over the years. When something was "cheap", it usually meant "barely functional". Not anymore. Affordable brands are not just competitive in terms of pricing, they're also competitive when it comes to product quality. 

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Still, there are certain products that you just can't scrimp on. Better texture, ingredients, efficacy, cost-per-use, and packaging are in the domain of more expensive brands. In the end, it depends on how much you're willing to spend for what you want to achieve for your body. If you have the money and if you like the product then you should go ahead, get that Dior eyeliner! But if you don't (or do, even) and just want something that works well, here's my guide. ^_^

Save: Makeup remover

There are simply too many amazing ones available in the drugstore! Micellar water is so cheap to make, and to make well. Forget Bioderma when there's Bifesta, if you don't have the budget. Nivea also has these wipes that are only 140 bucks per pack.

Spend: Facial wash

Yes, what? I'm aware that everybody recommends cheap facial washes since they don't really stay on the skin for long. I was a firm believer in cheap facial washes before too - until I got to try high-end ones. More expensive facial washes leave my face softer while cleansing a lot better. They have more emulsifying, hydrating ingredients while packing in better detergents. They rinse off much better.

Cheap facial washes typically leave a film on my face while somehow simultaneously drying it out. I'm sure the experience varies across other skin types - as with all beauty products, compatibility with your skin determines how well they work. Think about this though: my P1,500 Shiseido facial wash lasts me for 7-8 months. I use it twice a day, every day. That's just about P215 a month.

Save: Toner 

Actually, you can totally skip toner if you cleanse your face properly using the double-cleansing method. As long as your toner doesn't sting or dry your skin, you can go for a cheaper one just to brighten up your face a bit more.

Spend: Moisturizer, Serum, and Eye Cream

These products stay on the skin longest, so make sure they have good active ingredients with a higher concentration. These products can transform the texture, clarity, and overall smoothness of your skin, so consider spending a bit more for considerably higher quality.

Save: Body wash and body lotion

Unless you love particularly fragrant ones that smell unique, there's absolutely no reason to splurge on body wash and lotion. They're pretty much all the same with minor variations in the formula (for example, diff formulas for dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin etc).

Save: Shampoo and conditioner

The shampoo industry is mightily competitive and leaves no hostages. As such, it's easy to find great ones in your supermarket aisle - if you have normal hair. If you've got particular needs for your hair though, you might need to spend more for it. For example, I have a serious hair fall problem, so I use a 800-peso bottle of shampoo that is only available in Rustan's.

Spend: Perfume

Cheap perfumes are like cheap shoes. You can spot them from afar! There are exceptions to this of course, but I normally recommend you err on the side of smelling expensive and fairly unique when it comes to personal scents.

Spend: Foundation, concealer, and powder

I was a bit torn about this category because drugstore bases have improved so much in the last few years! I must say that if you have less than a thousand bucks to spend, you won't be disappointed with what you'll be able to buy. In fact you'll be quite happy. But if you can push your budget you should go for high-end face bases. They just look more skin-like due to light-diffusing ingredients, feel more comfortable (lighter), and stay on better.

Save: Mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow makeup

If you spend over a thousand bucks on your mascara, eyeliner, and eyebrow makeup, you're already spending too much. The difference in the quality of drugstore versions of these products vs high-end ones is so small that it's not worth the extra moolah! Seriously. You can get amazing pigmentation, staying power, and ease of application from affordable brands; you won't be missing anything from high-end ones.

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Spend: Blush and eyeshadow

You're paying for the quality of the pigment and how fine the texture is when it comes to blush, lipstick and eyeshadow. Good ones can be had for an affordable price of course, but if you're looking for unique, on-trend or classic colors and expensive-looking texture, then you've got to shell out a little more. 

 

Save: Lipstick

Excellent lipsticks need not be expensive. A great formula and all the pretty colors you can think of can be had for under a thousand bucks, if you ask me. More than that and you're just paying for packaging and the marketing!

Hope this helps guys! Would love to know what your splurge and save on too!

NOTD: Anny Nail Polish in Green Ocean Trip

I was cleaning out my press pile yesterday when I noticed a forgotten bottle of nail polish inside a paper envelope. I opened that press kit last year, but I apparently failed to take out one last product inside. Well! I'm happy I unearthed such a lovely nail polish color called Green Ocean Trip from a German brand called Anny. Priced at P580 a bottle, Anny gave me a good creamy consistency, opacity in two coats, and a retro summery color straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

It'd be easy to say that this nail polish is turquoise, but it isn't. It's a deepened sea foam green shade that suits my mid-yellow skin tone. It looks very mod and chic if you ask me. It's a good choice for a summer color if you're not digging the usual brights!

The texture is very smooth although I needed to be careful about how thick it went on. Too thick and it bubbles up; too thin and it streaks. With a bit of practice, I was able to get a nice even coat. It took a while to dry by the way - 40 minutes! Wear a quick-drying top coat if you're impatient like me.

Hope you found this quick review useful! I'm sure you've seen Anny around your fave Watsons branches so consider this a push to check the brand out one of these days. ^_^ You just might find a color to fall in love with!

 

Anny is available at SM Aura Premier, SM Makati, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, SM North Edsa, SM North Edsa The Block, SM Cubao, SM Southmall and SM Davao. Follow Anny Philippines on FacebookTwitter and Instagram (@ANNYPhilippines).

Love this: Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

When cleansing brushes came out a few years back, I honestly thought they were just a fad. I thought that our skin doesn't need to be aggravated by a mechanical brush just to wash it properly. I thought these gadgets wouldn't deliver any drastic positive changes on the skin. I mean, our hands work perfectly fine to cleanse our face, right? Why do you need extra help just to wash it?

Well, I saw the light when I got to try my very first cleansing brush last year. It was amazing at exfoliating my skin (gently) and improving its clarity tremendously. Sure my hair gets tangled since it had a rotating brush head, but it worked: I haven't felt the need to pay for a facial since then!

Fast forward to today. I've got a new brush, and it's even better! The Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush just arrived in the Philippines a couple of weeks ago. I first saw it in Singapore last year and remember being super excited about trying it out. It's my first vibrating brush. In just two weeks of use, and I'm serious, my skin has improved so much! It went a long way in combatting my dullness and it weeded out most of my remaining blackheads. My blemishes are also fading away faster!

How does it work anyway? The vibrating base + the fine brush bristles effectively dislodge dead skin cells and pore blockages. It's gentle as long as you use it correctly. I made the mistake of pressing the brush down onto my skin the first few times I used it; my skin felt a tad tender afterwards. It's best to just gently massage the brush onto the skin with zero pressure. 

I love the shape of the brush head - not too big, not too small. It also slightly angles upwards which helps me to reach some areas of my face better such as around the nose and forehead. It's also a plus that this nifty machine has a timer. After one minute, it automatically shuts off! That's enough time to cleanse properly but I usually have another minute-long session to focus on my chin and nose where many blackheads are concentrated.

Oh did I say that my hair doesn't get caught up in the brush? Quite a relief! I also don't lose eyebrow hair when the brush accidentally passes over that area.

That being said, the Clinique cleansing brush works very well with my favorite facial wash. ^_^ I suggest you choose something sudsy so you can get a fluffy foam as you work through your face. It might feel a bit weird with a non-foaming facial wash.

You can use the brush twice a day, as long as you don't press it hard on your face.

You can use the brush twice a day, as long as you don't press it hard on your face.

Another cool thing: you don't need to buy batteries for this. You can charge it with a dock that comes with the package. The stand has no protruding parts so that the brush handle remains waterproof - I don't know what you call this technology, but basically you don't attach the brush onto anything; it just stands on the dock. The charging dock's wire doesn't have a plug though. You have to attach it to a USB port which is easy enough to find in any household.

It's recommended that you charge the brush for a straight 24 hours before using it. This should be good enough for one month!

The catch? Well, one unit is P5,600 locally. The brush is supposed to be used for only three months (like a toothbrush actually) after which you must get a new one to the tune of P1,450 a pop. Yikes. But if you've got the budget and an indomitable will to get rid of your blackheads and dead skin without having to go to a derma, you've got to get the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush. It's awesome. It works. It's now a solid part of my routine.

What do you think? If you had the dough, would you get this brush?

Catch the Great L'Oreal Sale!

How's your vacation going so far? Mine is going pretty well! My mom came to visit my condo to swim in the clubhouse pool. I also got to visit Maginhawa yesterday to rummage for books at Bookayukay and to eat excellent chicken katsu at Crazy Katsu right across. Seriously guys I didn't know food that costs only 155 bucks can taste that good in Manila!

My friend wisely said though that I'm only making that comment because I live in Fort, where most restaurants are so freakin' pricey. That's true. Even groceries are pricey. I usually shop in SM Aura, Rustan's, or S&R -  bottomline is I love, love cheap food. My wallet loves cheap food. (And books.)

Anyhow today I want to quickly announce a huge, huge L'Oreal Sale. It started yesterday May 1 and will last all month long until the 31st. Shoppers can get up to 45% off on L'Oreal products - yes, even new ones like the Electric lipsticks and the Miss Manga mascara! Almost everything is on sale except for the nail polish, said the L'Oreal people. 

Here are just ~some~ of the sale prices to give you an idea:

TRUE MATCH FOUNDATIONS – from P899 to only P600
COLOR RICHE LIPSTICKS – from P625 to only P400
ALL MASCARAS – now only P500
ALL EYELINERS – now only P400
REVITALIFT LASER DAY/NIGHT CREAM – from P1499 to only P800
EXCELLENCE CRÈME HAIR COLOR – from P495 to only P400

Is that exciting or what? Go now to your favorite L'Oreal counter to get first pick, before stocks run out. ^_^ Have fun shopping!

Love: Shiseido Baby Powder

The Shiseido Baby Powder (JPY 280 or PHP 103 converted) is one of those products that have always floated around online beauty stores and forums. It's a translucent, initially white powder that's designed to avoid diaper rashes and excessive sweating in babies. Enterprising beauty fiends however have early on discovered that it's great for controlling oil and setting makeup. I didn't believe that, until I tried it myself.

This was actually an impulse buy. It was my last night in Tokyo and I was checking out the HAC store in Ikebukuro for last minute finds and pasalubong. I spotted this big basket full of the Shiseido Baby Powder and I just had to get it since it was only 280 yen. I mean, it's just a little over a hundred pesos! I might as well grab one at least. Online stores are selling it for P400 up!

So glad I got one. This powder is reminiscent of those HD powders but just not as finely milled. I was thinking that it would give me a white cast - nyet! It melts onto the skin almost as soon as I buff it in. It keeps me shine-free for a good four hours, something that's a joy to have in this weather.

I use it either before my powder foundation or after as a finishing powder. I immediately set my wet base with it before putting on a tinted powder for heavier coverage. Sometimes it goes after my powder foundation if I want a smoother look.

Swatch of the Shiseido Baby Powder

Swatch of the Shiseido Baby Powder

Wearing the Shiseido Baby Powder to set my makeup here.

Wearing the Shiseido Baby Powder to set my makeup here.

The packaging is kinda hassle since the top screws in and out, and there's no mirror, but you do get a LOT of powder - 50 grams! That's very generous. ^_^ I don't use the puff to apply the powder btw. A proper powder brush, preferably something not overly dense, should get you the best finish.

Overall, I highly recommend the Shiseido Baby Powder to anyone who's looking for a cheap, translucent powder that meshes well with oily skin. Grab it if you see it in Japan or even locally (if it's at a reasonable price)! And yes this is definitely made by Shiseido. It's not fake at all but part of the brand's drugstore lineup. Confusing no? Don't be surprised when you see other Shiseido stuff such as the curler at a cheap price. It's not the same as the high-end one but it does the job.

Have you tried this powder before? Where did you get it and how do you like it?

Hot right now: The Happy Skin Beauty in Bloom Collection

I've already sung many praises for this amazing beauty brand, but let me just say that Happy Skin outdid itself yet again with a gorgeous new summer release! The Beauty In Bloom Collection features two new Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie Shades, a Get Cheeky With Me 2-in-1 Blush, new shades of the Lip & Cheek Mousse, and a mascara (finally) called Eye Am The One.

Everything is limited edition save for the mascara. When Happy Skin says limited edition, oh, don't expect it to come back in the exact same formula, so you have to think quick about what you want from this collection! You're gonna want a lot.

Here are my swatches and review of the new shades!

The Lip & Cheek Mousse (P1,199 for the set of two) is a product that came out as part of Happy Skin's Holiday 2014 collection. I've already reviewed it in detail so please do check that post for my notes on how the formula performs and how best to apply it. Now, there are two "new" colors: Summer Crush, a bright cherry pink, and The Morning After, a mauve-y nude. These names sound familiar no? That's because these two were part of last year's summer collection, but in lippie form. This time they're in mousse form and can now be applied on both cheeks and lips.

So is there a difference between the lippie shades vs the mousse? The Morning After mousse is pretty much the same as the original - it's a tad darker, browner than the lippie but this is not noticeable unless you're nitpicking. Summer Crush is practically a new shade though. It's a lot more red and less pink compared to the original Summer Crush. In person, it's almost but not quite red. A cherry pink, if you may. I actually like it more than the first incarnation of the color. 

As with the past mousses, these shades are very pigmented and stains skin quite well. They're a great choice for summer if you need long-wearing products on both your cheeks and lips! 

Happy Skin Beauty In Bloom Summer 2015 Lip and Cheek Mousse
Happy Skin Beauty In Bloom Summer 2015 Lip and Cheek Mousse

The Get Cheeky With Me 2-In-2 Blush (P799) is a pleasant surprise. I'm not the biggest fan of the first Get Cheeky With Mes - they're okay enough to get your cheeks pinked up, but the pigmentation and the staying power are both unremarkable. This new blush duo is nicely pigmented though! One sweep is enough to get my cheeks flushing like a flirting damsel. Haha. Well. It also stays on for about 3-4 hours too!

Just Peachy is quite pale so I just usually mix it with Bride-To-Be. In any case the pan is too small to pick up the individual colors, unless you use a really small brush. I'm wearing a combination of the two shades in these FOTDs.

On the lips: Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Bride-To-Be / Cheeks: Get Cheeky With Me 2-in-1 Blush

On the lips: Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Bride-To-Be / Cheeks: Get Cheeky With Me 2-in-1 Blush

I'm wearing the new Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Bride-To-Be (P599) above. It's a flattering rosy pink that does wonders for my complexion. I don't look this bright and happy in real life, haha. It's the lipstick and the blush! And a new BB cream and foundation I'm trying out now that we're talking about it..

On the lips: Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Hold My Hand / Cheeks: Get Cheeky With Me 2-in-1 Blush

On the lips: Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Hold My Hand / Cheeks: Get Cheeky With Me 2-in-1 Blush

Above is the other new color on my lips, the Shut Up & Kiss Me Lippie in Hold My Hand (P599)It might look a little similar to Bride-to-Be in my photos but in person it's more honey-toned, warmer, and slightly deeper. I can't decide which I like more really. I suggest you save yourself the stress and get both, as they're only selling for P999 a set versus P599 individually.

These two lippie colors have no exact dupes in the past collections, though I'd say that Honeymoon Glow is close to Hold My Hand. HG is a lot more earthy in tone though. Bride-To-Be is Just Say Yes's warmer, more wearable sister. Swatches of those shades + swatches of almost all of the Happy Skin lippies in this post.

So there you go, hope this was useful in helping you decide! I highly recommend the lippies - they're the sort of shades you would use up till they run out. The Morning After Lip & Cheek Mousse is also a must-have. This is a sold-out shade, for a reason! I will review the mascara at another time as I need to road-test it some more.

What are your frontrunners? Have you gotten anything from this collection already? 

Shop this collection at happyskincosmetics.com.

Opaque, bright, and matte: The L'Oreal Color Riche Electric Lipstick (and a giveaway!)

Lipsticks are like accessories. You don't buy them because you need them, really - you just want to feel new and pretty with every new color you swipe on! The packaging has something to do with it too. It has to add to the narrative of you being chic and sexy or whatever the brand story is.

Is this a bad thing? I don't think so! I think that there are many things in the world that make us feel like crap, like we're worth very little. Lipstick is not one of them. Lipstick (and cosmetics in general) give us power over how we project ourselves to the world. We don't wear them for other people to appreciate and understand and coo over. Makeup is so that we can feel like the person we want to be, and eventually become that person after all that practice.

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Anyway, on to today's lipstick review! I've got the L'Oreal Color Riche Electric Lipstick (P525) for you. This is a capsule collection of five brightly-hued lippies with a matte finish. It's packaged in the usual Color Riche tube, but there are three in a sort of rosy metallic container. Not sure what the logic is but ok, they look good in any case.

L'Oreal Color Riche Electric Lipstick

There are five shades: Pop Up Pink, Touch of Amaranth, Glamour Fuchsia, Orange Power, and Lincoln Rose. I forgot to add Lincoln Rose in the product photos but I have a lip swatch below.

The formula of these lipsticks is smooth and moisturising enough that I don't need to use lip balm. The colors last a good amount of time, at 4-5 hours. It really sticks! It leaves an even stain the whole day, too. The pigmentation can turn out a bit streaky in the first layer but that's easily remedied by one or two more layers to get complete opacity.

Some colors like Pop Up Pink and Orange Power highlights my lip lines more than the other shades. I've noticed they're not as creamy in comparison.

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Pop Up Pink is a classic bubblegum pink. It's not too cool so even darker-skinned girls can pull it off!

Touch of Amaranth is a heart-stopping mid-toned pink. I love it! I wore it to an event last week and I got compliments from like four people.

Glamour Fuchsia is a bright, semi-deep orchid shade. Very lovely. It's a memorable, chic color!

Orange Power is probs my least favorite out of the five. I'm just not feeling orange for my hair, but hey if you love orange lipstick then this one is a good pick. It's unmistakably orange but the red underdone makes it wearable.

Lincoln Rose is such a gorgeous red. I love its deep rose shade and how it perks up my complexion instantly. 

L'Oreal Color Riche Electric Lipstick

Overall, I highly recommend the L'Oreal Color Riche Electric Lipsticks to anyone who loves bright, matte shades in a long-wearing formula. You gotta try out Touch of Amaranth, Lincoln Rose, and Glamour Fuchsia  as I feel that they punch up your lipstick wardrobe by a mile. ^_^ 

But wait, I've got a quick giveaway! Just share this post on your Instagram and tell me what your fave shade is. Use the hashtag #ProjectVanity and #GoElectric to get a chance to win ALL five colors. Don't forget to follow me @lizlanuzo and tag me as well! The giveaway is until May 8. Good luck!

Why the Cream Silk #WorldClassFilipina campaign is so inspiring

When I was six or seven my mom had me take voice lessons in Manila. Every session would involve drills - mi oh mi oh mi oh mi oh mi! - and then we would study a song in the end. My voice coach made me memorize a Lea Salonga album that summer. I had a small, brightly-colored Sony cassette player with a matching mic and I would perform those songs for my relatives under a big mango tree.

That was the summer I learned that I can be anything I wanted, if I just put in the time and effort to learn how. It strengthened my confidence in myself and in my abilities - thanks to my ever-supportive mother, and of course, Lea Salonga! She has inspired me since I was a little girl, as she did all those amazing things in the world stage. This legendary woman is the proof that Filipinas are beautiful and talented enough to be successful internationally. To be world class.

Now I am constantly bombarded by ad campaigns from beauty brands (as are you!). Honestly? I feel desensitized towards them at this point. Be confident to be beautiful. Be beautiful to be happy (and vise versa). Believe in yourself to be beautiful. Accept yourself for who you are. These are all amazing positive messages, surely, but do you know what's wrong with them? They encourage women to look too far inward. You can't expand beyond yourself if you don't look out and look up to others who have done better than you.

Beyond being beautiful, beyond believing in yourself, you need role models to guide you. You need mentors, if you can find them. It pays to learn from those who have gone through monumental challenges so that you can get past your own with less friction.

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being invited to an event by Cream Silk at Solaire Theater. I did not expect anything more than good food and a nice time, as these events go, but I came home so inspired. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, prima ballerina, gave a powerful speech about her climb to the top of her field. She spoke about being 18 and alone in a Russian winter, training day in and day out. She said that while her work seems glamorous, it required a lot of sacrifices, focus, and a determination to make your family and country proud.

She was such an eloquent lady. Being seated just a few steps from her, I can feel her emotion as she talked about her challenges and triumphs on the road to becoming one of the most distinguished prima ballerinas in the world.

After Lisa's speech, Cream Silk premiered a short film called "Portraits" about the lives of their four endorsers, Anne Curtis, Toni Gonzaga, Lea Salonga, and Heart Evangelista-Escudero. It explored Anne's experience working on the Hollywood indie film Blood Ransom, Toni's first concert in Dubai, Lea's life during her Miss Saigon days, and Heart's first art exhibit in Singapore. 

Cream Silk Portraits: A Celebration of the #WorldClassFilipina will premiere on ABS-CBN on April 25 at 10pm and on GMA on April 26, 9:30pm. It's pretty nice! What really blew my mind away though was Lea Salonga performing "On My Own" from Les Miserables and "Gravity" from Wicked. She is so amazing! Here's a clip I posted on Instagram:

A video posted by Liz Lanuzo (@lizlanuzo) on

Truly, Filipinas are world class with our beauty, talent, and grit. Kudos to Cream Silk for such a great campaign, and for bringing these inspiring women together for one night to remind us that we can be more, if we can dream it. Beyond being beautiful, we must be ready to put in the work to achieve even the most impossible things.

PS - This is not a sponsored post, if you're curious. I just really super enjoyed the event which, to be honest, is not often. Photos are all taken by myself too. ^_^

The summer uniform

Every two or three months I pick a uniform to wear. I love clothes and the process of dressing up, but I just don't have a lot of time to shop and think about what I'm going to put on a daily basis. I want to be able to get dressed in 20 minutes, 30 tops, if I'm just going to my usual stuff! By "usual" I mean meetings and quick daytime media events.

This summer I've decided to stick to a white shirt and/or floral something topped off with a denim jacket. It's simple, in season, and most importantly - cool. Literally. I don't feel that much warmer with a denim jacket on in this weather.

Denim jacket from Mango / White shirt from Zara / Tan wedges from Ferretti Shoes

Denim jacket from Mango / White shirt from Zara / Tan wedges from Ferretti Shoes

So yeah, don't be surprised if you see me wearing this look all the time! :P Many thanks to Shari of Themistymom.com for the candid photos. I was calling my Uber ride here and didn't know she was taking shots haha. I'm not a very photogenic person, honestly, so I'm surprised I look okay here! Wouldn't it be awesome to have a photographer tailing you for outfit shots? Lol.

liz lanuzo

On another note, it's always awesome to run into my beauty blogger crew at events. The experience is just better and more fun versus being in one full of strangers! The other day I was in this formal thing and I did not feel comfortable. I mean, I knew a lot of people there, but we were not close, so a quick hi was all we can muster. It's nice but sorta pointless I guess.

Say hello to Tellie of Beautybytellie.com!

Say hello to Tellie of Beautybytellie.com!

Sooooo do you also have a summer uniform? What's your default look for this season?

Light like water: The Burt's Bees Radiance Serum

Hotter days call for lighter products to swap into our routine. I've recommended many light moisturizers and serums before but I've got the lightest one for you yet: the Burt's Bees Radiance Serum (P1,160). This is a water-based serum with royal jelly, a host of vitamins (B1, B2, B5, B6, C and E to be exact), biotin, niacin, and folic acids. It's touted to be 99.9% natural too! I'm sure organic buffs would appreciate that.

To clarify, I am not that into organic/natural products, but I do love a good light formula. That's the main selling point of this serum for me: it feels just like water!

This is a lightly-scented serum that promises brighter skin. The ingredients are actually pretty basic (listed them below) so don't expect any drastic changes to your skin. I mean, natural is nice, but this level of natural isn't going to make that much of a difference. What you can expect is a lesser chance of getting irritation. This is great for sensitive skin that needs gentle maintenance and nothing more.

I would also recommend it to those who have very oily skin who can't even use a gel moisturizer without getting even oilier. The texture of this serum feels exactly like water, yet it hydrates well enough on its own. It also dries completely with no feeling of residue; it sinks onto the skin quickly.

Ingredients: Water, glycerin, alcohol denat., royal jelly, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, glucose, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, caramel

Ingredients: Water, glycerin, alcohol denat., royal jelly, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, glucose, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, caramel

A 13ml bottle sounds quite pricey at P1,160 per, but you only need about 3-4 drops for every use. Not too bad! Try the Burt's Bees Radiance Serum out if you love natural products, have sensitive and very oily skin. This is perfect for summer if you're on the hunt for something that won't leave your skin feeling like it's about to melt off under the sun. ^_^

You can find Burt's Bees in Beauty Bar, but the brand actually has an online store now. Do visit it and browse the full line!

Five of my fave hair products, currently

If you've got fine hair like mine that's prone to hair fall, frizz, and dryness, then have I got some recommendations for you! I don't often talk about hair finds because it's so freakin' hard to find something that works for my wavy, thin hair. I need volume and moisture. I need products that won't cause any more hair fall. Fortunately, I've found five new faves that fit the job description.

Phyto Paris Phytocyane Densifying Treatment Shampoo (P795 in Rustan's). This was recommended to me by my favorite hair stylist, Jude Hipolito of JuRo salon. I've been complaining about my thinning hair since forever and he told me to try this since a lot of people swear by it. True enough, after using it for three months, I've experienced a lot less hair fall and breakage. I've also regained some volume in my problem spots!

This shampoo works, but it has to be used regularly - like, everyday - to get results. When you stop, the positive effects stop too. It's rather expensive but if your hair is seriously falling dead like fireflies before dawn then I feel it's worth the investment. Very little goes a long way! And it has a nice herbal scent.

A note on packaging: I wish it was a squeeze bottle instead of a metal bottle. The shampoo tends to pour out since it's so runny; I'm always careful not to tilt the bottle the whole way. 

Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Color & Perm Lasting Care Conditioner (P159/180ml). I hope you've realized by now that all the raves about this conditioner are not just sponsored and empty - it's a devilishly good product that does exactly what it promises. I've been using this consistently since I reviewed it in February, and I don't even use conditioner normally! I got to try the one for colored/treated hair and I love how i makes my dye job more brilliant after every use. I use it once or twice a week to keep my hair from being too dry and frizzy.

Don't know what's in this stuff but totally worth the purchase - and subsequent re-purchase!

Prostyle Fuwarie Styling Mist (P450 in Beauty Bar). This is an old yet recently rediscovered styling fave of mine. I find normal hairspray to be too stiff and irritating so I use something like Fuwarie. It's waterbased so it doesn't harden; it also provides a flowy shape to hair especially when applied before a blow dry. It smells nice too!

The Wet Brush Pro Select (available in Beauty Bar). I know it's bad, but I comb my hair after showering. My excuse is that it becomes a tangled mess if I don't do it. Now that I've got the Wet Brush though I don't have to worry about unintentionally pulling out my hair every time I comb it - damp or dry. The bristles are super bendy  and soft, but they detangle my hair smoothly. Love this!

Scunci No-Slip Grip bands (available in Beauty Bar). This is more of a styling-slash-comfort aid for my hair while I'm working. I don't like having hair on my face, however, I also don't like using headbands that squeeze my glasses and make my scalp warm. I like the Scunci slim hair elastic because it keeps my hair away while also keeping my scalp cool! You can use just one piece or use all of them in one go. They don't pull or pinch the hair.

So there you have it. ^_^ What are you current hair faves? Would love to know what girls with different hair types use for themselves!