My top five lipsticks

It's a holiday, the second to the last day of the year. The day is beautiful and bright, with a cool wind blowing from the south. My mind turns to oranges. I can't wait to go to the fruit market to haggle and hoard. Who wants to spend a day like this blogging? :P That's a rhetorical question though.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my top five lipsticks with you. I already shared a list of my best lipsticks last July so you can check that for more choices. This time I want to share the ones that I ALWAYS keep on hand. In my bag. On the top most tier of my dresser. 

These are lipsticks I can't live without, mainly because their colors work perfectly in sync with my skintone!

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Gommage exfoliator: White Result Exfoliating Gel

Exfoliators are useful in removing product build-up and other accumulated junk on the skin's surface. They also clean up dead skin and pore blockages, two common causes of acne. Nonetheless, you don't actually need to use exfoliators everyday. As with everything else, use them only when you need them!

That said, many exfoliators out in the market now have a tendency to be harsh on skin. Their scrub beads can be abrasive and the formula drying so they may do more harm than good. If you feel that your current exfoliator fits that profile, then perhaps it's time to switch to something more gentle yet equally effective.

Say, the new White Result Exfoliating Gel (P300 ish), for instance. It is a gommage exfoliator that starts out as a gel and dries to form physical scrub.

This Exfoliating Gel is mostly water infused with botanical extracts like bilberry, sugar cane, and citrus fruits. It also has moisturizing ingredients and film-formers in the ingredients. Once it's massaged (a minute or two), it becomes this soft, papery film that scrubs out all the junk on your face.

Observe:

Thw White Result Exfoliating Gel starts out as a cloudy gel

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My top six foundation picks

I fancy myself as a foundation expert (humor me) because I've tried a goodly number of that stuff. I've lost count, but I've narrowed it down to six foundations which I consider are the best I've used to date. They're the ones I keep coming back to because of their superb formula and finish. That's not to say that the other ones I've raved about before are not good ha; they're just not the best.

Anyway, here's a list of my favorite foundations of all time! Do click the links to read the full review of each product. I use these regularly depending on where I'm going and what I'm doing so I'll explain that.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation. Yeah you should've seen this coming! Still one of the best there is for me. It has a satin, flawless finish that covers all my skin's sins. It's also so economical that a bottle can last you for more than a year even with regular use.

Last week I actually found out that I still have 20-25% of this stuff left in the bottle, which is mind blowing considering I bought this on September 2010.

I use this when...It's my all-around foundation, especially when my skin is terrible.

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Lancome Teint Miracle: Light and love in a bottle

Not gonna lie: the Lancome Teint Miracle foundation (P2,200+) is one of the best foundations I've tried this year. It claims to be a "natural light creator" and a "bare skin perfector". These are two hefty promises if you ask me, but by jove this foundation delivers them!

I was unsure about this at first because it broke me out the first few times I used it. Good thing my skin got used to the formula after three, four uses of this product. Whew. I wouldn't want to miss out on this illuminator + foundation combo, for reasons I will state below.

Fine shimmers can be seen from the bottle, but don't worry, they're not visible on your face except as a nice glow

What I love about the product

  • Perfect finish. Looks like glowy skin. This is the first thing I look for in any foundation!
  • Medium to heavy coverage. It's very thin and watery but a light layer of this immediately gives great coverage - it will hide lighter marks and redness without further help from concealers.

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Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder

Why do you need to "set" makeup? If you like using cream/ liquid foundation or concealers, it pays to make sure that they won't slide off when you sweat or oil up. Think of wet makeup as if it were, er, pizza dough. It's malleable and easy to form in a shape you desire. Once you're done working on it though, you need to dust it with liberal amounts of flour to keep it in that shape and prevent it from sticking everywhere.

Likewise, to protect the makeup's integrity, you need to set it with a final layer of powder that will absorb our bodily excretions as they come. Gross but it happens, so be prepared!

Currently, I love using the Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder (P1,550). It's a winner in keeping oil at bay, plus it never looks makeup-y. It has an invisible finish that smoothens and evens out skin. As it promises in the press materials, it blurs imperfections too!

What I love about the product

  • Keeps me oil-free for a good four to five hours even in humid weather, even if I'm using it on top of liquid foundation.
  • Has a light coverage that minimizes imperfections such as pores, uneven patches of skin, wrinkles and light blemishes. It can be used alone, on top of concealer, or as a finishing powder.
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The Benefit in Greenbelt 5

I had work last December 15 which is why I wasn't able to catch the 11am launch of Benefit Philippines, but that didn't stop me from dropping by later in the afternoon to check out the store. Like the brand, its local store is all pink and cheeky, with big white budoirs and rose-patterned wallpaper.

Things you must do while inside: swatch everything, get a makeover from their well-trained counter assistants, and try the Brow Bar! Read my sneak peek post for product photos + complete price list.

So, without further ado, here's a tour of the place!

All the makeup is neatly laid out for you to try

 

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Etude House Party Queen Gradation Nails

I loved the concept of the Etude House Party Queen Gradation Nails from the minute I saw it. Frosts and silver glitter, oh, count me in! It's a gorgeous set of matching polishes that'll really draw attention to your hands in any party.

I've had Etude House nail polishes before and really enjoyed using them. They're easy to work with and dry quickly which makes them such a steal at only around P50 each. Please do read the review for a few more details, but the short of it is that these polishes are pretty good considering the price. 

To use this gradation nail set, all you have to do is apply them in three layers, from the lightest to the darkest.

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VMV Hypoallergenics' Holiday Sets

Christmas celebrations will start tomorrow, so you should be done with your gift shopping by now. In case you aren't though, troop to VMV Hypoallergenics to get rescued! They have gorgeous holiday sets available, like this one:  

There are tons of sets out there but I think VMV trumps them all. The packaging is gorgeous - boxes come with tissue and some fluff inside, neatly tied with a grosgrain ribbon accented with mistletoe - plus you get products that your recipient will probably love. It looks expensive (but it's not since one set is on averge P1,500). It's already wrapped. The products of VMV are amazing. 

Everybody wins!

The set I have here is called Merry Goin' Round.

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Local beauty and fashion blogs I love to read

I'm a voracious blog reader. Personally, I enjoy reading honest-to-goodness writing and lovely photos. Professionally, I need to listen to the pulse of the industry. That's why I'm happy that there are so many new beauty and fashion blogs that cropped up this year! They introduced me to more individuals with interesting styles and points of view.

Photo from Paul

Aside from following popular beauty and fashion bloggers (like Nikki, Sophie, Shen, Jill, Laureen, Camille, and such), I also like to browse through every blog in the niche that I can find. There are other bloggers, however, whose updates I really look forward to reading. I like how they talk, mostly. :)

Bless My Bag. Gorgeous photos, writing, and blogger. Julia is now working as a professional makeup artist, which I really admire! If you don't follow her blog yet, you MUST.

Anartechoke. Ae looks like a model, but she's actually an architect. Her makeup musings and looks are practical and straight-to-the-point, but she has a quiet glamour about her. I know because I met her once. Love.

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Capture your life with a Canon EOS 600D Kit from East West Bank

I’m thinking of getting a new camera lately. The one I’m using now is an oooooold, old model that’s about five years old! It does take good photos though, no? My beauty blog wouldn’t be anything without such a trusty and amazing gadget.

It has served me well in the past half decade by taking memorable snapshots that would have otherwise been forgotten. What with everything in our lives happening so fast these days, it’s really important to document each and every special moment as they come!

On my way to Baguio, chillin’ in the back of a car

It’s even more rewarding now that you get to share your life to your loved ones with the click of a button. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are just some of the means to instantly let everyone in your circle know about your day-to-day experiences. 

So, what better way is there to share your moments than with a Canon EOS 600D Kit which East West Bank will raffle off for the month of December?

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What beauty products should you splurge or save on?

If you're a girl with a budget to mind, it pays to know where you can penny pinch or spend big on beauty goodies. It should keep you from buying expensive items that have more affordable substitutes.

However, if you have a bit of windfall once in a while, it wouldn't hurt to buy big-ticket beauty items simply because they feel luxurious to use (in terms of packaging and texture), plus they're simply more reliable (in terms of overall efficacy or staying power). Most expensive products are pricey for a reason.

Ok let's go!

Beauty products to splurge on:

  • Moisturizer. Moisturizers are the kind of things you can't take a chance on. Use the wrong one and you break out. Simple. Use the right one and you have moisturized skin. Period. Use a great one and you have glowing skin! These are usually expensive, but that's for a reason.

  • Serum. If you like giving your skin an extra boost, serums are your best bets. They offer to alleviate problems like wrinkles, oily skin, blemishes, roughness, and so on. And whoop tee do, the really good ones actually do. For a price.
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Gift from Etude House

Yesterday, I dropped by Market! Market! to pick up a lovely gift from Etude House. We agreed that I was to pick it up today, but since I was in the area yesterday, I thought I'd take a chance and just see if the package was already available. And it was! I know that sounds like a small thing but it was a very pleasant surprise for busy bee me.

I got the Wanna Be Collection as illustrated by Annika Wester. The packaging is, to put it mildly, absolutely gorgeous! The illustrations are ace but the matte, thick cartons really add to that expensive feeling. I can't bear to throw the boxes away!

The Etude Girl illustrations by Annika Wester

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KATE Mineral Liquid Foundation

Morning, guys. Today we have a pretty guest blogger to review an interesting liquid foundation. Say hi to Tracie, and don't forget to read her blog, Tracie the Diva

We all know that mineral foundation is healthier for our skin, especially for problematic skin. Without the harsh chemicals, the skin could benefit from fewer breakouts. But the annoying thing about mineral make-up is the mess since it’s usually in loose powder form. It takes more effort in applying the make-up and cleaning up your dresser. 

I think Kanebo has heard the woes of MMU users and created the KATE Mineral Liquid Foundation (P900). Though they are not the first to release mineral foundation in liquid form, so far it is one of the best I’ve tried!

Texture. As most liquid foundations are applied with either a sponge or a brush because most are thick and getting it even on the skin is a challenge, the texture of this liquid foundation is light but not runny so you can use your fingers to blend it out when you’re in a hurry.

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Venus & Mars Lip Butter Tints

This is the first time I've been acquainted with the organic brand, Venus & Mars. Yes I know, I know, but I'm not big on organic stuff to begin with. In any case, I can say that we're off to a good start! I'm currently loving the Venus & Mars Lip Butter Tints. I have the one in Cherry Berry and it's pretty good.

It gives a pigmented, lipstick-like wash of color that looks lovely with a couple of swipes. I love that the colors leaves a nice stain even after eating or drinking. Plus, the product is moisturizing and doesn't feel greasy or waxy at all.

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Now I'm a believer: Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil

The first thing you'll notice about the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils is the price tag. They're quite expensive, there's no way to get around it! I used to think that there are equally good alternatives and for a while I've even used some like the ones from Muji and Pure Beauty, which are less than P500 for a big 200ml bottle.

However, when I got sample bottles of the Shu oil, I found out why it was so expensive. It is the best makeup remover + skincare product I've ever tried! And you know I've tried quite a number of them. Thus, I committed to a 450ml bottle of the Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil (P4,000).

What I love about it:

  • Removes all makeup (except long-wearing, waterproof mascara) in a jiffy. I use less than one pump for my whole face and just massage gently to dissolve the makeup. It gets rid of waterproof eyeliner and liquid foundation, primers, lipstick, and powder makeup. They all wash off.

  • It's skincare. Ever since I started using it, my skin looked better.
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Jewelled Bags: Handcrafted, heavily embellished bags that are proudly Pinoy made

Working for Filipino retailers has made me appreciate the hard work and talent that goes into each garment, shoe, bag, or accessory. It's really different when it's Pinoy made. Lacking heavy machinery that mass-producing countries like China have, our workers have resorted to more or less creating things by hand.

At least, when it comes to homegrown, small brands. It's the same for locally produced cosmetics brands like Leyende and Venus & Mars.

Anyway, I was surfing blogs a couple of weeks back when I first read about Jewelled Bags. It's a Pinoy brand that makes these beautiful bags that are heavy with beads, semi-precious gems, glass, and other appliques. They also come in indigenous fabrics and luxe skins like snake and leather. 

Each bag is elaborate and obviously carefully made. From what I understand, there is only a limited number made for each style, so you're assured that what you have is more or less unique.

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How to look fresh and stress-free this season

Christmas and New Year are two of the most stressful holidays of the year. It’s even worse because they’re just a week apart! We need to buy gifts and food for the festivities, squeezing between throngs of people to get things done. Then we have to attend parties with a healthy dose of crazy traffic in between - and by crazy I mean spending hours on the road when it used to take only minutes. 

It’s no surprise that our skin looks dull, puffy, and dark around the eyes. That’s because of the stress and over-eating. You may have also probably observed some dryness around the mouth, nose, and eyebrows too, which is usually caused by the cooler December weather. 

So, given all that, how do we look fresh during the holidays? Short of going on a long beach vacation, that is. I’ve got tips!

Adjust your skincare routine. Retire your heavy duty anti-oil, mattifying products in favor of gentler, creamier ones that do not strip your skin of moisture. When my skin is feeling dry, I like using the Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash and the Clinique Derma White moisturizer. I also use serum more regularly. More affordable gentle alternatives can be found from Cetaphil, Myra, and Neutrogena.

Exfoliate. Once skin is peeling, there’s nothing you can do to revive it. Just slough it off! Use a holey sea sponge with your facial wash for a natural exfoliation routine (Beauty Bar has those). You can also try using microfiber cloth with warm water; it works wonders! I like the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt but I am sure that normal microfiber will do.

If you must use a product, try the newly-released White Result Exfoliating Gel (available from Tupperware sellers). It does the job but it’s probably the gentlest of them all.

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