Posts in Reader Question
Reader Question: Foundation for commuters

Hey Ms. Liz! I commute a lot and I just can't find the right foundation that will make me look fresh even after a long jeepney ride. My face gets shiny and oily so then I'd have to retouch my make up right away when my day is just starting. So is there a foundaion, maybe that will prevent my face from getting too oily after a commute? Thanks in advance! - Ira Samonte

Hi Ira! You're right, commuting is such a pain here - doesn't matter if it's hot or rainy, the humidity will often get the best of us. Thankfully there are a few foundations that can withstand intense oil and sweat. 

Before I list them down though, here are a few tips to keep your makeup looking fresh during and after commuting!

  • Keep oil blotting sheets with you at all times! Use a sheet or two every half hour if you must. I know it's a hassle, but oil will come out no matter what product you use. It's better to stop it while it's just seeping out, before it turns your makeup into a hot mess.

  • Equally important are facial tissues. When you get sweaty, pull out a sheet, let it rest on top of the sweaty area like a blanket, apply gentle pressure on it, then peel it off. Don't rub the tissue on the skin since it'll mess with your makeup.
  • Facial mists are a life saver. Apply them to keep your face feeling fresh, and your makeup not so hulas. If you're just wearing a light foundation you can skip this, but if you have something heavy and thick on (typical of long-wearing foundations), mists can make the makeup feel less of a mask.

Here are some foundations I would recommend for those who go on long commutes. For better oil absorption and staying power, top them off with the Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder

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Reader Question: Makeup pet peeves

Hello beautiful ladies! The weather has been crazy and I am at forced cabin arrest. I have a serious issue with makeup mistakes, esp when people wear 'em with pride ;) I am no pro in makeup but I know a lot more than the basics. (Yes, I am claiming it) I cant stand unblended/cake-y or too white foundations, bright and unblended blush and spidery lashes and racoon eyes. Fourth is lipstick on teeth or anywhere but the lips. So, Id like to know, what top 3 makeup mistakes do you hate? - ManilaJen

Hi Jen! Same here, I'm just stuck at home working. Hope all is well on your end. :) So, about your question. Makeup is a fun way to express ourselves and I'd like to believe that we can wear whatever the hell we want, when we want - as long as we're ready for the consequences, that is. There is a wrong way of doing things, like when our makeup is rude or makes us look the opposite of good. 

My makeup pet peeves are ones that go against my makeup personal philosophy. These are also lessons I learned the hard way!

Watch this video, it's funny!

Pet Peeve #1: Too much makeup. Makeup looks best when it's used as a way to enhance our best assets and downplay our less desirable features. Personal, everyday makeup should be a way to show that you're healthy, successful, confident - not the other way around!

Too many layers of foundation, overdone eyebrows, goopy lip gloss and over five eyeshadow shades on a normal day out counts as "too much".

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Reader question: How to conceal dark blemishes

Hi Miss Liz! I have a birthmark on the face and while I know that sometimes, confidence is the key, people looking all the time can get to you. And I want to try going birthmark free for the first time! How do I cover it? What do I buy? Heavy concealer? Heavy foundation? I'm pretty much willing to go until the MAC budget, but no high-ends such as Chanel, etc. Thank you! :) - Hannah

Hi Hannah! Thanks for your question. I know how debilitating it is to walk around with marks on the face. We want to tell ourselves that it shouldn't affect our self-esteem, but they still exist and people look at them. I've been struggling with blemishes most of my life. They're not quite the same thing as a birth mark, but the principle of concealing them should apply.

The trick is concealing only the problem spot/s instead of your whole face. The finished look would be more natural, showing more skin than makeup! You also have to be careful about the concealers you use. They should be able to stick for hours, even after a lot of oil and swear - maybe even water if you're out for a swim. 

In this tutorial, I used a light foundation (actually, it's just a cc cream) as a base, applied a thick, opaque concealer to completely cover the blemishes, and then applied a thinner concealer to blend in the thick concealer. Then, I set the whole thing with powder to seal the makeup in place.

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Reader question: Should I invest on a cleanser or a moisturizer?

Should I invest more on a cleanser or moisturizer? :) - Amor

Hi Amor! Ideally you'd spend for both since these are the two most important beauty products for your face, but if you only have a limited budget yet still want the best - I say splurge on a moisturizer! Facial washes aren't really meant to stay on skin, so any active ingredients they may have won't get the chance to work properly. Those Vitamin E, green tea, chamomile oil and other similar chorva? They won't make a difference on your face if delivered via facial wash.

However, some facial washes have certain ingredients that absorb oil (commonly kaolin clay or any type of clay) and possibly dry up pimples (salicylic acid). These ingredients can have an immediate effect on skin! Good cleansers with these potent ingredients that work WITHOUT drying up skin can cost a pretty penny. It's a thin line. That's why I don't mind coughing up for my  Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser.

Expensive moisturizers do make a huge difference on skin, in my experience. They have all sorts of cool ingredients that can give you what your skin needs.

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Reader question: Holy Grail Hit List

In your previous posts, you have discussed about your top picks regarding BB creams, foundations, etc. I have tried some of them, and I'm planning on trying others as well. Raves are something when it comes to beauty bloggers and YouTube gurus, but having something as their HG is another. I must admit, there's something about HG status that thrills us readers and viewers and makes us want to buy a particular product.

Being an avid reader of your blog, I can easily state some of your HG's. But can I make a request from you to list down your ultimate HG products? I just want to read about them in a single post and I think I will eventually buy them for myself. I trust your judgement a lot, I guess you could tell. :) Thank you so much! - Marie

Hi Marie! Thank you, this has got to be my favorite question so far. That's true, I write about all the things I love here, but then some are extra special than others. Of course, it depends on my specific set of preferences so I can't guarantee that everything here will be as ideal for you as they are for me. Still, you might just hit the jackpot! It's so difficult to find something that works. I hope you find them at Project Vanity.

But wait, what constitutes a Holy Grail product for me? It's really the best possible mix of value (cost-per-wear), convenience, and efficacy. Here's my list, in different categories! 

Face Bases

Primer. I'm a big believer in using only things I need, and I don't feel primer is one of them. I have oily combination skin. I do oil up, but it's manageable! I prefer to use a good foundation and blotting powder/paper to keep the oil at a reasonable level. The truth is that no product can make you stop oiling up, it can only absorb the oil for as long as it is able to.

BB Cream. My ideal BB cream is the Fairydrops Candy Bar BB Cream. This looks like skin, is extremely photogenic, and lasts pretty well. Great for the day, great for night events. I don't mind using an SPF product underneath.

Liquid Foundation. I love light textures and natural coverage, so I'm going with the Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup. It doesn't have a lasting power I can swear by, but it does make my skin look bright in the dullest of days. Second place would be the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation.

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Reader question: Is mineral oil bad for your skin?

Hi, Liz! I've been hearing and reading that mineral oil is not good for your skin. How true is this? Because a lot of beauty products, especially makeup removers, contain mineral oil and they work well for me. Even baby oil and the classic cold cream are made with mineral oil. But if they're not good for my skin, I'd like to look for alternatives. Would you know of any good eye makeup removers that don't contain mineral oil? Thanks! -Jix

Hi Jix! Thanks for the question. The answer is no. Mineral oil - the kind that has been refined for cosmetics use according to FDA standards - is safe. While this ingredient is indeed derived from crude oil, it is in no way anything like its original form after it has undergone the refining process. It's said to be one of the best skincare ingredients out there is since it's completely natural (literally, from the earth), doesn't cost much, and is considered non-comedogenic.

Before sharing rumors about beauty ingredients we must always do some basic research to find out if any of them are true! There has been a lot of misconceptions about mineral oil in the past, but I hope to clear these up briefly. Do note that I'm not a chemist or dermatologist, okay. This is just what trust-worthy websites like The Beauty Brains and FutureDerm have been saying all along.

Now, we have been scared into thinking that mineral oil can block pores and cause pimples. The truth is that it doesn't, not by itself. Mineral oil is an occlusive agent. It strengthens the skin's moisture barrier by filling in the tiny cracks and holes in our skin to prevent moisture from evaporating from it, which is why some people think that it harms the skin by "suffocating" it.

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Reader question: Should I get a peel or microdermabrasion?

Hey there Ms. Liz. I always see advertisements of Diamond Peel/ Chemical Peel, Microdermabrasion, etc. around the mall. I haven't tried any of those except for a basic facial that extracts comedones. I don't have pimples, just the occasional ones during my time of the month or if I forgot to wash my face. I just have bumps scattered on my forehead, visible pores around the nose area and a few bumps as well.

I'm only 20 and I'm scared those services might harm my facial skin and would turn out worse. So my question is when do we consider getting a diamond peel? Or is it required to get a diamond peel once in your life? Should I get one? - Nerys

Hey Nerys! I've tried quite a lot of facial treatments in my beauty blogging "career", and the truth is I have regretted most (not all) of them. Let me describe my skin condition back then: I had serious acne, from white heads to cystic ones, and they left very serious blemishes that would take months to fade away (still, luckily). I would get some sort of elaborate facial and my skin would look great for a few days, and then I would break out heavily for the next week or so. What a vicious cycle!

The worst thing that I think I did to my skin is the chemical peel (blue peel). The 7-day peeling process was traumatic, and on top of that I now have very fine wrinkles on my forehead due to the peel. I am 25, and I have wrinkles on my forehead. Wtf, right?

Physical and chemical peels work by scrubbing and burning the top layer of skin away to force a new, younger layer to emerge. Diamond peels involve a diamond-tipped, rotating drill that clears off the skin's top layer. Diamond peels are a form of microdermabrasion, which is basically a process that involves some sort of machine to scrub the skin. Chemical peels usually involve mild acid to burn the skin, and can thus penetrate deeper than physical peels.

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Reader question: How do I choose a flattering eyeshadow palette?

Hi Ms. Liz and fellow fans of Prject Vanity. I have a problem with eyeshadow colors. I wear glasses and I recently bought the Urban Decay Basics palette thinking It was noob-proof and safe. However I ended up looking bruised or ashen. I know I applied the colors right because Ive been watching Youtube tutorials using the palette. I guess I cant pull off the colors like gray or taupe. Maybe because of my skin's undertones or the glasses? I really dont know.

Can you recommend a good eye brightening e/s palette for beginners? Probably those which already have complementary colors. Would you recommend peach-y and pink e/s for everyday wear? Thank you in advance and looking forward to your answers! - Aubrey

Hey Aubrey! This is an excellent question. Like you, I have noticed that cool eyeshadows do not flatter my warm Asian skin. Instead of looking wistful and slightly smoky, my eyes end up looking like they were punched. Not quite the effect I set out to achieve but over time I've learned to work around it (will talk more about that later). Allow me to discuss cool and warm eyeshadows, and how to pick according to your skintone.

Warm what? When it comes to cosmetics, "warm" means colors with yellow, red, or golden tones. If your skin looks yellowish or reddish against a white shirt then you're warm. If gold jewelry looks better on you than silver, yup, you're warm. 

Martha of The Beauty Junkee is warm

There's a host of eyeshadow colors from black, green, blue, pink to beige, so how do you know when a color is actually warm?

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Reader question: What does "authentic" mean in online shopping?

I have been online shopping at shops like digitaltraincase, stuffinstyle, makeuphub, redgirlshop and others. I keep seeing those words "authentic" on some brands. For example, Authentic BenNye Banana, authentic Mac.. Etc. what does authentic actually mean in terms of makeup products? I researched definitions of authentic, its like a veryclose replica of the original. Another definition is, it is made the same way. So what is it with shops adding "authentic" to their products, because sometimes I doubt if its oroginal or its whatever. So what is it really? Is it fake products if theres "authentic" in it? - Maggie

Sounds like a straightforward question, but not really! Authentic means "genuine" or "original". If an online store claims that its products are authentic then hold them to the fact that their wares are the exact same ones sold in retail locations. If they say their Benefit Hervana Blush is authentic, then it should be exactly what Benefit sells in its Greenbelt store.

Digital Traincase is a store I trust 100%! Stuff in Style too.

But it gets confusing once a store claims that its products are "Singapore authentic", for example. Perfumes, cosmetics, and bags are usually tagged as such. The sellers would even post elaborate descriptions and photos to prove that their products are not bootlegged from China or something. (Even though most things are made in China these days anyway.)

So are they fake or not? They're fake. :) They might even be a class A or B replica, which means that the products almost look like the real thing, but make no mistake - they are not authentic.

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Reader Question: Bleached or made up brows?

Good day Miss Liz! I have been contemplating for a few months now on whether to have my brows bleached or not since I found out about a brow salon that caters to such services. What's your take regarding this?

Would you recommend a made up or bleached brows? Thank you so much. :) - KD

Hi KD! Bleached eyebrows are only flattering on two occasions: if your hair is naturally/ dyed very light or if you have thick, black, and masculine eyebrows. Bleaching brows is a great way to soften them without any extra product, but believe me - a lot of girls don't actually need to do it!

If you have thin to normal brows then it's best to just have them groomed regularly at a brow salon. Some salons, like Browhaus, even offer temporary dyeing. It's a service called Browgraphy. After sculpting the brows, the aesthetician would shade them with a dark dye that's matched to your hair. The color will stay on for a week! It's an expensive service but if you're going on a holiday and you don't want to bother with makeup, then this is nice to try.

For everyday brow shaping though, there's a slew of excellent products out there. They can go as light or as dark as you wish - without the commitment. :) Here are some recommendations!

You don't need to suffer through bleached brows when there are products like the MAC Brow Set in Girl Boy. This instantly lightens brows due to its golden blonde shade.

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Rapid fire reader questions: eyeliner for the beach, makeup for a 36-hour duty, and everyday pressed powder

Hi Miss Liz! :) My friends and I will be having our annual beach getaway this Saturday. Can you suggest an eyeliner (either gel,pencil or liquid) that won't smudge even if I get into the water? Big thanks! :D  - Kristin

Hi Kristin! No makeup, when it comes in contact with salt water, will survive for very long. The salt will erode whatever you have on your face and the water will take care of the rest. However, there are certain products that will stay on a wee bit longer!

I would recommend you try the K-Palette Real Lasting Eye Pencil as the formula is very solid and fairly waterproof. Just make sure it has set completely before you get into the water, don't rub it at any cost, and make sure you check when it starts to fade away. Remove immediately when it starts to smear.

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Reader Question: Serums? Moisturizers? Which comes first?

There are so many facial care brands out there that encourage us to buy their complete line of products so as to maximize/build up on their promised effects. I get a little confused with the order in which I should apply each product. What should come first, so that my skin can absorb them all more effectively?

I know it starts with toner, but what's next? Serum? Spot Corrector? Eye cream? Cream? How confusing.

Oh, and if there are primers (for the face or for the eye area) involved, do I just add it on top of everything or is there a product I can skip and replace with primer instead? - Matromao

Hi Matromao! Thanks for the question. As a general rule (as one of the commenters said in your forum thread), it's best to apply the lightest/runniest-textured product first before sealing everything in with a heavy moisturizer.  I apply my skincare in the following order after toner: serum, moisturizer, and then eye cream. Eye cream is last because I don't want to get any residue of it on the rest of my face.

If I'm using acne-drying products or a separate spot corrector, I just apply that directly on top of skin after the toner, and don't apply anything else on that area afterwards.

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Reader question: How to find the perfect pink lipstick

Hi! I've read so much about finding the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone, and thanks to this blog I now have 3 :) Anyway, I wanted to ask how to find the perfect shade of pink for your lips. You see, I was never really a pink girl and I feel funny wearing pink, especially the baby-pink clothes that make me feel like a walking ball of cotton candy, BUT I like the way it looks on other people's lips. I like the understated pink that kind of brightens your face and makes you look fresh, but the last few tubes of pink lipstick that I've bought tend to make me look uh... anemic and I feel more awkward wearing fuchsia/ hot pink shades more than I do wearing red... So, uh, any tips? I would greatly appreciate it :D

My skin's fair, with warm undertones. :) and the red that looks best on me would be the tomato-red kind of shade, if that helps. Thanks! - April

Hi April! Thanks for the question! Now not to brag, but I have enough lipsticks to know that finding the perfect shade isn't about our skintones. It's not a rigid "baby pink is only good with beige skin" formula. More than anything, the right lipstick is about our personality, preferences - our style. Look at Nikki Minaj. Anyone would have told her that a pale neon pink won't work for her skintone, but now it's her signature color!

That said, I do have a few tips to make it easier for you to find your flattering pink shade. I will also include recommendations of some of my favorite pinks.

Fair but yellowish skin typically look good with peachy, cotton candy, and baby pinks. The warmer you are, the more brown your pink has, the better. Medium skin looks better with bright pink that has a brown base, plummy pink, or a straight up true pink, while darker morenas would benefit from reddish, purply, or deep pinks. Again, this isn't a strict guideline, but it can quickly narrow down your choices.

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Reader question: Favorite drugstore brand

Hi everyone! What would be the BEST drugstore brand for you? :) - Paulina

Feel free to pitch in your own answer as well! I'll begin. My favorite drugstore brand, top of mind, is Revlon. I love that they come out with new products every other month, and that they try to improve on the technology they've rolled out in the past. I remember that some releases have been dire failures (remember those crappy "long-wearing" eyeshadow?) but the new Colorstay ones are pretty amazing in my book.

Revlon's Colorstay and Photoready lines are pretty extensive, and they are still expanding up to this day. Colorstay is indeed long-wearing while Photoready looks good on camera as promised. True, Revlon is quite expensive here in the Philippines but if you don't mind paying (dearly) for the convenience of finding it in most drugstores then I suppose the price is not too bad.

Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme Makeup

Revlon PhotoReady Two-Way Powder Foundation

One other thing I LOVE about Revlon is that it's an 81-year old name that has made a mark in makeup history. It was founded in 1932 and sold only nail polish and then lipstick in the beginning. Up to this day, Revlon's polishes and lipsticks still remain some of the best out there!

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Reader question: What's the difference between body oil, butter, and lotion?

Hi Ms. Liz! I've been an avid reader since last year & I would like to commend you for inspiring many girls. I especially love your makeup tutorials! I always have a blast when I try them out myself! Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the difference between body oils, butters and lotions? I have dry skin & religiously use hydrating lotion to no avail. I'm thinking of switching but I always get confused because the market right now is bombarded with many products claiming to be effective, you dont really know what to get. Thank you in advance! - Class

Hi Class! Thanks for reading my blog. I would definitely love to do more tutorials once my schedule eases up a little. It's just been hectic but the next one I plan to do is a summer look. ;) Anyway, let's get crackin' on your question!

Body oils are literally oils with very little to no preservatives. These naturally-derived moisturizers can lubricate and maintain your skin's moisture barrier. It doesn't really penetrate deep into the skin, instead coating it with a layer of oil that prevents moisture from escaping the surface (that's why it's called an occlusive agent). Oils also serve to condition and maintain the suppleness of the skin.

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Reader question: Do you ever go out without any make up?

I'm just wondering if you still go out without any make up besides skin care? Any of you feel 'incomplete' without any color on? I know it's pretty personal, just wondering how the rest of you would react. - Tin

This sounds like a simple yes or no question but it's more complicated than that, for me. Women who rely on makeup to feel polished are often looked down on. "Wow she needs all that makeup to be pretty?" "Kapal ng makeup niya!" Everyone's all "natural beauty is the best!" but how many people do you personally know wake up looking "perfect" (as defined by society) in the morning?

Humans are built to appreciate physical beauty in others; it is theorized to be linked to evolutionary instinct, where a beautiful person is considered to have a lesser chance of having genetic or acquired defects. The concept of beauty has changed over time, but each culture has always had one - an ideal, an image of perfection that we hold up for worship.

Women and men are pressured now (more than ever) to look perfect because (1) someone is always watching what with the prevalence of social media (2) wider, instant, and insistent distribution of materials that proclaim what is beautiful and (3) better and more affordable access to information/ products to beautify oneself.

So, with that pressure to look beautiful, how can average women like us possibly be celebrated in a society that expects us to be perfect? Quick answer: makeup.

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Reader question: Difference between lipsticks, lip butter, tinted balm, and stains

What is the difference between lip sticks, lip butter and lip tint? Do they actually have distinctive characteristics or is it a matter of labels? - Kris

Hi Kris! Thank you for your question. :) Ten years ago, it wouldn't have even existed! All women had were lipsticks and glosses. However, thanks to technological innovations and new ingredients we now have more formulas to play our lips up with. They may look or even swatch the same but other than a few "confused" lip products I can say that there is a difference in the formula.

Here's the dish on what makes lipsticks, butters, tints, and stains unique!

Lipstick. Mostly wax-based and saturated with pigment, lipsticks can offer you maximum opacity and good staying power. They come in all sorts of finishes from matte, creme, satin, high-shine, to frost. Lipstick colors and finishes are the most complex among all the lip formulas.

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Reader question: What are the beauty products you can't live without?

Hi Ms. Liz! Just curious, are there any beauty products and/or tools that you can't live without? :) - Yana

Hey Yana! This is a difficult question. I am utterly useless when people ask me "what products will you bring to a deserted island?" or "what will be in your zombie apocalypse survival beauty kit?" I intensely like a lot of things and making me choose destroys me.

Seriously though, this is easy to answer once I start thinking about the products I use all the time. You know what I'm talking about. There are things that you immediately reach out for, without any thought process involved. Now it would be too easy to just list down skincare. Hence, I won't include any skincare in this list because that would be facial wash/toner/moisturizer and you already know what my favorites are.

I also decided against body products since I'm very low maintenance in that department. So, here are my five absolute favorite beauty aids for the face!

Artdeco Camouflage Cream Concealer. This concealer is opaque and stays on all day - considering it's less than P500, that's quite an achievement. It's a concealer that I finish down to the last swipe; it's what I've been using consistently since Artdeco came back to Manila last year.

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