BOOK REVIEWS

Book Review: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

In the third quarter of this year, I began to feel somewhat overly satiated by self-help books. Trust me, I love the genre and I swear by all the self-help books I’ve read so far. However, I wanted to get exposed to a new genre, and for some reason, my inner bookworm compass directed me to the Young Adult category. Yes, I was a 27-year old adult who found herself craving for some Rom-Com Young Adult books. I had been reading several self-help books consecutively that I missed reading fiction and prose form. I wanted a light read that’s both romantic and funny, and I thought that Rom-Com Young Adult would be the perfect genre.

As if my favorite bookstore was aware of my situation, Fully Booked posted a marketing tweet promoting “Permanent Record” by Mary H.K. Choi. The synopsis and the artistic book coverr convinced me to grab a copy. The tweet showed up at the perfect timing.

A week later on September 14, I attended the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) and successfully bought a copy with a 20% discount. Just awesome!

And then last December 13 at around 1:38AM, I finally finished the book. Once again, I felt the familiar empty feeling one feels after finishing a good book. I enjoyed every word, every character, every page.

Plot and Themes
Pablo–our Pakistani-Korean protagonist who’s a college dropout drowning in credit card debts and student loan–met singer-actress Leanna Smart during his shift at the bodega he was working at. And it all started from there. Their relationship was full of sneaky dates, texting, and calling.

Just by looking at the plot, it’s easy for people to assume that it’s a superficial and star-crossed-lovers-type of a love story. But it’s definitely more than that. There are themes and lessons to be picked up about mental health, growing up, and dealing with family and self-esteem issues. Mary H.K. Choi did a great job of conveying these themes without it coming off too strong or severe. There’s also the practice of escapism in this story, which I’m familiar with because I also apply it in my own life (Don’t we all, though?).

Characters
The saddest thing for me about finishing this book is that I’m going to miss the characters! They are all so lovable, relatable, and hilarious. Pablo, aka Pab, is my favorite character because he’s relatable and funny. Most of his thoughts and words are identical to mine, and I found that very amusing. After him, my next favorites are his roommates: Tice, Wyn, Dara, and Miggs. Each of them, including Pablo, has their own distinct personality, and these personalities blend well and result in a family-like and fun environment. I wish I had roommates like them if I’m being honest.

Leanna Smart is cute and sweet but also sassy. The book shares her story from when she was just a child star, her family issues, up to her current state as a superstar. However, I still want to know more about her. Everything about her background seems to be only hinted at or not explained in detail. But I guess it’s alright because she’s not the focus of the story, it’s Pab. Also, perhaps Choi intended that because, in the real world, we never know the real deal about our favorite celebrities. No matter what or how much or how often they share on their Twitter or Instagram or reality show (if they have one), we’ll never see the real version of themselves.

Pab’s family members offer both serious and funny dynamics. His younger brother, Rain, is very hilarious and witty. His Korean mother is the serious and extremely hardworking type who’s also difficult to please. But of course, she’s still a loving mom. Pab’s Pakistani father is the total opposite of that, laid back and more approachable. I love their overall relationship dynamics.

Setting
The story is set in New York in the current era, with the mentions of the internet, smartphones, Google, YouTube, and Instagram.

Choi included numerous references that are specifically about New York or New York-related, and I had to Google them almost every time they popped up because I was not familiar with them. That was a bit inconvenient.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book for readers of Young Adult books or anyone who wants to try the genre. It’s funny, insightful, relatable, and paints a picture of a millennial love story set in the social media age.  

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, MAKE UP

Beauty Faves 2019: Make-up Edition

As my way of closing the year 2019, I rounded up all my beauty favorites from this year and divided the list and reviews into two editions: Skincare Edition and Make-up Edition.

I published the Skincare Edition first yesterday. Feel free to read that too if you haven’t yet 🙂

For this post, I’ll walk you through the make-up items I fell in love with this year:

blk Cosmetics Intense Color Liquid Eyeshadow in Slammin’ and Gorgeous

blk cosmetics intense color liquid eyeshadow gorgeous

2019 is the year I went ham on liquid eyeshadows. blk is a local brand founded by Anne Curtis, a successful celebrity here in the Philippines. blk’s Intense Color Liquid Eyeshadow in Slammin’ and Gorgeous are my first liquid matte eyeshadows; before that, I was focused on buying glittery ones.

Slammin’ has a peach-coral shade while Gorgeous is dark brown. I love them both because a tiny amount of product brings so much color and pigmentation on the eyelids. They can be easily applied just with fingertips too. They’re budget-friendly as well at P299 (approx. $6).

3CE Velvet Lip Tint in Private

3ce velvet lip tint private

This one is my first ever 3CE purchase. 3CE Velvet Lip Tint in Private is a matte liquid lipstick with a dual purpose: 1-2 swipes give me a subtle/gradient red lips while 3-4 swipes give me full red lips. I’m the MLBB (my lips but better) type of girl, so I love my reds and pinks, and Private has such a lovely red color with a velvety matte finish.

Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Eyeshadow in Candy Cane

Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Eyeshadow Candy Cane

My first ever liquid eyeshadow. A couple of reasons why I love this cute product: the combination of the bronze liquid and gold glitters gives off an elegant vibe and it’s easily applied with just a few dabs of my fingertips. The ratio between the bronze liquid and gold glitters is balanced as well, which I think brings the right amount of pigmentation. My full review of this product and the several reasons I love it can be found in a previous entry: Battle of the K-Beauty Bronze Gold Liquid Eyeshadows: Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane vs The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold.

Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed

Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed

My first purchase from homegrown brand, Happy Skin. I love doing monochromatic looks and this product is intended for that. It’s a 3-in-1 mousse that can be used for eyelids, cheeks, and lips. I’m starting to collect more nude colors as my make-up bag lacks it, and I think the pretty deep rose brown shade is a great nude color. My full review of this product and the several reasons I love it can be found in a previous entry: Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed – Review.

Peripera Ink Airy Velvet in Pretty Orange Pink

Peripera Ink Airy Velvet Pretty Orange Pink

Wearing blk Intense Color Liquid Eyeshadow in Gorgeous and 3CE Velvet Lip Tint in Private:

Wearing blk Intense Color Liquid Eyeshadow in Gorgeous and 3CE Velvet Lip Tint in Private

Wearing Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed:

Wearing Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed.jpg

There you go! As you can see, I have a lot of firsts this year, which is great because it was my 2019 mission to become more adventurous in trying out different colors, products, and brands. I’m also glad that I got to support local brands.

Right now, I’m loving these products but I’m also thrilled to find out what skincare and make-up goodies I’ll discover and end up loving in 2020 🙂

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, SKINCARE

Beauty Faves 2019: Skincare Edition

It’s finally the last month of the year! As 2019 draws to a close, I decided to list all the beauty products that became my favorites this year. All these items are not necessarily released in 2019, but I purchased them this year and I still use all of them.

This post is the Skincare Edition. I will be posting the Make-up Edition afterward.

Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA

krave beauty kale lalu yaha chemical exfoliator

I learned about this product directly from its creator, Krave Beauty’s CEO & Founder, Liah Yoo. I’m one of her subscribers on YouTube and I really enjoy Liah’s videos on beauty and self-help. I was stoked when I found out that she launched her own beauty brand and of all their products, I decided to cop their exfoliator first.

Kale-lalu-yAHA (read like “Hallelujah”) is my first ever chemical exfoliator. My previous one was a physical exfoliator from Nature Republic, the Super Aqua Max Soft Peeling Gel. It exfoliated well, but when I learned from one of Liah’s videos that chemical exfoliators are gentler to the skin, I switched to Krave Beauty’s Kale-lalu-yAHA.

I love the fact that it has 5.25% AHA/Glycolic Acid, which is not too much nor too little. The rest of the ingredients are Kale, Spinach, Parsley, Aloe, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin B5. That list of ingredients looks impressive to me as these components are healthy for the skin.

Overall, the 200ml exfoliator is effective in delivering its promise of “skin resurfacing.” My face and neck look cleaner and brighter after every use. It exfoliates my skin without the unwanted dryness, leaving my skin exfoliated and moisturized, unlike my previous physical exfoliator that dried up my already dry skin.

Banila Co Dear Hydration Line – Boosting Cream, Sleeping Mask, Facial Mist

banila co dear hydration boosting cream sleeping mask facial mist

Wow. I can’t even begin to express how much I love these products! They save my dry skin every time I use them.

My dry skin began to annoy me late last year. I did some research and mall canvassing and ultimately chose Banila Co’s Dear Hydration product line, from which I purchased three products: Boosting Cream, Sleeping Mask, and Facial Mist.

The Dear Hydration products have basil, mint, and neem leaf extracts, which is why theysmell fresh and minty.

Boosting Cream
I use the Boosting Cream for two instances: skin-prepping and nighttime skincare routine.

  • I apply it before putting on any make-up to prep my skin. My final make-up look is indeed better now than before, with my skin smoother and more moisturized.
  • I use it every night before sleeping and it’s super effective that the moisture and hydration it brings last up to the next day.

Sleeping Mask
I apply the sleeping mask after my skin absorbs the Boosting Cream. It has a gel-like consistency and texture, which gives my face a cooling sensation when I apply it. It’s a useful supplement to the Boosting Cream.

Facial Mist
Liah shared on one of her videos that doing a Mist Sandwich on your face can keep your make-up from getting cakey throughout the day. To do a Mist Sandwich, spray mist on your face in between applying different make-up products. I do my Mist Sandwich in this order:

I also spray my face with this when I’m outside and my skin is getting dry or when I try to cool myself amidst the heat.

There are other intensely moisturizing products from the Dear Hydration line, such as the Balancing Moisturizer and Intense Essence. I’m considering to purchase them so I can have the complete collection, but for now, I’m already contented with the three products that I already have.

W. Lab Lightcare Aqua Sungel

w lab lightcare aqua sungel

I bought this to support W. Lab’s new endorser who also happens to be my favorite boy group member, Dong Sicheng aka Winwin. He’s a Chinese singer and member of Chinese pop group, Weishen V, or WayV for short.

winwin dong sicheng w. lab lightcare aqua sungel

What I mainly love about this product is that unlike other sunscreen creams and the one I used before (The Saem Eco Earth Power Tone Up Sun Cream), it doesn’t leave a white cast on my skin. It’s not drying either and easily absorbs into the skin. W. Lab Lightcare Aqua Sungel feels like a moisturizer instead of the usual thick sunscreen creams out there.

La Localita Instalift Serum

la localita instalift serum brow lash growth

Philippine brand La Localita offers Instalift Serum, a 2-in-1 bottle that has growth and thickening serum for both lashes and brows. Amazing, right? I’ve tried several remedies to make my thin brows go back to being thick, such as aloe vera, olive oil, and onion juice. But this product, which has Redensyl, is the only effective one and I’m so glad I discovered it. I noticed my lashes and brows actually grow. My first bottle is about to run out and I can’t wait to buy a new one!

That’s it for my Beauty Faves 2019: Skincare Edition. Make-up Edition will be next!

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LIFESTYLE

My 3-Step Process for Overcoming Anxiety Attack

A few nights ago, as I was lying on my bed in the dark trying to sleep, a severe force of panic and anxiety attacked me. I felt it creeping up my body steadily. I tossed and turned several times with my teary eyes. I was indecisive on whether to keep on trying to sleep or to stand up, turn on the light, and do something that would distract my mind and body. I did neither.

What I did was I calmed myself. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep with my mind and heart racing, and doing something to distract myself would only be a short-term solution. I had to face what I was feeling at that moment.

To be honest, this topic and experience are personal to me. I was even hesitating about whether to publish this or not. But I decided to do so in the hopes of helping anyone out there. I was able to overcome one of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve ever experienced so far with these three steps:

Accepting is the first step because it’s essential to genuinely and truly accept your situation. No denial or sugarcoating. Face and accept the truth, the problem, or whatever you want to call it. I do this while breathing slowly and deeply for a minute or until my heartbeat returns to normal.

After accepting, it’s vital to comfort yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for your problem or situation. You can tell yourself comforting and positive statements like:

  • “It’s alright. Everyone goes through this. It’s a normal stage of life.”
  • “I can get through this. I will get through this.”
  • “I’m strong, resilient, and courageous.”
  • “If others can overcome this, I can too.”

Don’t be one of those people who often forget to be kind to themselves.

Once you feel better after comforting yourself, it’s time to come up with the next step/s or formulate an entirely new plan that you think will solve your problem or put your mind and heart at ease.

A personal issue of mine is that I tend to overthink about the present and the distant future. I feel like my anxiety stems from that habit. My mind goes haywire considering all the possibilities that may or may not happen and I get overwhelmed and anxious. But as I got older, I’ve eventually learned how to watch out for that and save myself before it gets terrible. 

I used to plan so far ahead, thinking that it was the best and most helpful thing to do. But it wasn’t. I read in several self-help books and articles that living in the present and planning for it and for the near future are the recommended steps to take. 

I tell myself or write on my journal the steps I will take today, tomorrow, this week, or sometimes up to next week. When I plan for an entire month, my plans are not as detailed as the aforementioned shorter periods. I only make detailed plans for the next 1-14 day/s. This is what works for me, but if planning far ahead helps you, then that’s great! 🙂

This third step is optional. If you only want to accept the situation, comfort yourself, and you think you’re not ready to do some planning yet, that’s alright too. 🙂

Of course, there are times when the whole process takes hours for me to accomplish, especially the last step. Sometimes I even feel like giving up and succumbing to a breakdown session because the process doesn’t seem to work. But I choose not to give up and to keep persevering.

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, MAKE UP

Happy Skin Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed – Review

A couple of weeks ago when I opened my Instagram app, the first thing I saw was Happy Skin’s post announcing the launch of their newest product line, the Color Play Multi-use Mousse.

After waiting for a week or so for the products to be available at my preferred mall, yesterday I finally went and purchased Happy Skin’s Color Play Multi-use Mousse in Sun-kissed, a shade of deep rose brown.

I must admit, Happy Skin had me at “multi-use.”

I love playing with make-up by using them on places they’re not really intended for. One time, I used my glittery liquid eyeshadow as lip topper and my liquid lipstick as eyeshadow.

So this multi-use mousse from Happy Skin really piqued my interest because you can use it on your lips, cheeks, and eyelids. It’s easily a go-to product when you want to go for a monochromatic look.

happy skin color play multi-use mousse sun-kissed skin-caring makeup

The product was a bit messy when I opened it for the first time. When I removed the protective silver film from the mouth of the tube, the mousse kept slowly oozing out. This lasted for a good five minutes or more. It wouldn’t stop and I didn’t want to waste any product, so I just kept getting the mousse and applied it on my face 😅

But overall, I love the mousse-to-matte finish and the deep rose brown color. I’ve recently started to buy and use more nude shades because I mostly use pinks, reds, peaches, corals, and plums. This item is a great starter for getting into nude shades because you can use it on your entire face and the color literally makes your face look sun-kissed! It’s highly pigmented too, so you only need a small amount of product for each use.

Besides being a make-up product, it also has skin-caring features. Happy Skin boasts of their “skin-caring makeup” promise, so they make sure that their make-up offerings are also enriched with skin-caring ingredients. Their Color Play Multi-use Mousse contains Grapefruit Extract that’s antibacterial and Hyaluronic Acid that helps with hydration.

The product is priced at PHP599 (around $12) and has a net weight of 10ml.

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LIFESTYLE

My Morning Ritual

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve started listening to podcasts recently. One topic I love listening to is productivity. 

I’m subscribed to The Productivity Show, a podcast channel that specializes in giving tips and words of advice on how to increase and maximize your productivity.

Their episode “Productive Morning Rituals” is one of my favorites. Before I listened to this episode, I didn’t put much thought into what I did after waking up. I just woke up, checked my phone, got out of my room, and did whatever I had to do.

But the episode taught me the importance of having a healthy morning ritual as it ultimately helps with productivity. 

The hosts emphasized that a morning ritual doesn’t have to be complicated or sophisticated. Just a simple one that you deem good for you is sufficient. 

My step-by-step morning ritual:

  • Do stretches both in bed and standing up.

I do two rounds of morning stretching upon waking up: while in bed and standing up.

I found this video by Meghan Livingstone on YouTube where she demonstrates five different stretches that you can do while staying in bed. I follow it step-by-step and it instantly wakes me up and makes me feel relaxed.

Afterward, I follow another YouTube video for my standing-up stretches. I also follow this video by Bowflex for my pre- and post-exercise stretching. This is my favorite full-body stretching routine video.

  • Drink lots of water.

Right after stretching, I finish my 1-liter tumbler of water to replenish and hydrate my system after an hours-long sleep. I place my tumbler on the small desk beside my table so it’s easy to see and hard to miss.

  • I check my inbox for newsletters and promos from websites I signed up on.

I enjoy keeping myself updated about the latest news and promos for books and beauty products. Even though I don’t intend to buy anything sometimes, just seeing the latest deals makes my online shopper self happy.

There you go, the three things I do every morning to prepare my mind and body for the new day even before I step outside of my room.

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MAKE UP, SKINCARE

My 4 Favorite Podcasts About Beauty

If you enjoy listening to insightful and entertaining podcasts and you’re into anything beauty, you’ve come to the right post!

Podcasts have been the hype in recent years. We’ve been watching and reading educational content ever since the global dissemination of the internet, and then podcasts came along and made us listen. Last month, I decided to give this new media platform a try. I downloaded the Google Podcasts app onto my phone and viola! Hundreds or even thousands of podcast channels talking about various topics have been instantly made available to me. 

Personally, I subscribe and listen to podcast channels focusing on beauty, productivity, writing, books, pop culture (MCU & GOT specifically), and self-help/mental health. These are the things that matter to me the most right now. 

In this post, I’ll be listing my four favorite podcasts that tackle anything related to beauty. The common denominators that converted me into their subscriber are: they do product reviews, give tips and advice, interview professionals in the industry, answer commonly asked questions, provide updates on the latest trends, and they also share their opinions. All of these are valuable to me because I try to learn and stay updated as often as I can. 

beauty podcast goop presents beauty closet

Goop Presents: Beauty Closet

This is the official beauty podcast of Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company. My favorite episode of theirs so far is “Diary of a Lipstick Fiend.” It quickly piqued my interest just by the title alone because I am a Lipstick Fiend myself. In the podcast, the hosts interviewed Rachel Felder and she shared everything she knows about lipsticks, from its history up to application tips and tricks. Rachel also promoted her latest book, “Red Lipstick: An Ode to a Beauty Icon.” I loved listening to this episode because Rachel is a well-known and proud wearer of the red shade, and I am too. The episode was informative, relatable, and entertaining.

beauty podcast you beauty

You Beauty

My favorite episode from this channel is “What Do ‘Brightening’ Products Actually Do?” The term “brightening” has been popular in the beauty industry lately and as a user of brightening facial wash myself (my mom bought it for me from Vietnam), I listened to the episode to know more about what the term really means for my skin. I learned that brightening products don’t exactly whiten the skin, as most people usually assume once they hear “brightening.” Instead, these products make your skin complexion more even, so when you’re under the sun or lights, your face will look glowy and bright. 

Besides answering FAQs in the beauty community, the hosts, Kelly and Leigh, also have a segment called “Savey and Spendy.” Each episode, Kelly and Leigh recommend a Savey product for those on a budget and a Spendy item for those willing to spend quite a lot of money on their beauty possessions. 

beauty podcast the beauty brains

The Beauty Brains

The name of this podcast channel is fitting because the hosts don’t just talk about trends and tips, they dig deeper and discuss the science behind the products and issues in the beauty world. Their tagline says, “Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions.”

One episode tackled the issue of blue light and its detrimental effects on our skin. Some research studies claim that blue light exposure causes the skin to turn darker and that blue light can penetrate deep into the skin, which may result in the production of free radicals and cause inflammation that will ruin your collagen and skin structure. All of these will ultimately lead to premature aging of the skin. 

However, the host remains skeptical about these claims because the few researchers who conducted these studies only had around nine human volunteers who were exposed to blue light, most of their research studies used mice (animal cruelty!).

Overall, the hosts believe that UV rays are still a more important problem.

The male host also said something that really intrigued me, and to be honest, I agree with him. He noticed a pattern that has been occurring lately that involves science and the beauty business, “Scientists discover some interesting aspect of nature, and then marketers see an opportunity to talk about this as some sort of problem, and then they sell you products that are going to solve that problem.”

beauty podcast fat mascara

Fat Mascara

Their episode “How Beauty Companies Build Their Brands and Stores” caught my attention as a marketing graduate and professional. I love this episode because it emphasized the significance of fundamental marketing practices and concepts.

The hosts interviewed Christopher Skinner, the founder of School House, a marketing and consulting agency for global beauty brands such as Pat McGrath and L’Occitane. He shared heaps of marketing insights and information.

One remarkable thing he shared was that given the emergence of online shopping, beauty brands need to step up their game when it comes to managing their physical stores. Customer Service and Experience come hand-in-hand when encouraging customers to visit and come back to stores despite having the option to purchase online. 

Christopher and the hosts shared their favorite personal experiences in stores and the common thing was that they received personalized customer service from the staff. The staff who approached them were friendly and provided personalized service and advice depending on their skin condition. Not only did they feel pampered, but they also learned new tips on how to take care of their skin. This was proven effective because they ended up buying from the stores they visited.

Christopher also mentioned that brands don’t need to look outside for inspiration, they just have to look inside their own brand and remind themselves of their philosophy and identity. Inspiration for innovation will come from there.

There you go! I hope you can browse those podcast channels, find an interesting episode, and give it a listen 🙂

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LIFESTYLE

27 Lessons from My 27 Years of Existence

It’s my birthday today! And for that, I looked back on my life so far to list 27 lessons that I love, which I’ve gained from the 27 years of me walking this earth (and trying to survive). I got the inspiration for this from Karlie Kloss.

MENTAL HEALTH / INSPIRATION / HAPPINESS

  • Trust your gut. Listen to your intuition. Follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to chase your dream or take the next step to improving yourself and your life, whether it’s big or small. Do what you think will make you happy, just as long as you don’t step on other people. Remember, life is really short. Make the most out of it!
  • Don’t overthink about others’ opinions, your life is for you to live.
  • Be kind to yourself. Other people will leave throughout your life, you’re the only constant one you got. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and don’t even think twice about rewarding yourself. You deserve it! #TREATYOSELF
  • Learn as much as you can. Read books and articles, observe people and your surroundings, ask questions, watch YouTube how-to and tutorial videos, take online courses. Do these or any of these and you’ll be surprised by how much you can expand your world.
  • Writing is one of the best ways to clear the mind and express the heart.
  • A support system is essential. Let go of people who are bad for you and your emotional and mental health, even if it’s saddening.
  • Quality over quantity in terms of friends. 
  • Happiness is a choice. You can choose to stay miserable or take action to make yourself happy. Always choose the latter!
  • Clean space, clear mind.
  • Don’t sacrifice your overall health and happiness for work. 
  • Everything will be alright, even though it takes time to happen.
  • Faith is important.
  • Dogs are my happy pill.
  • Bird sounds are the most relaxing animal sound.
  • Speaking of relaxing sounds, YouTube has lots of videos featuring audios that give off relaxing vibes and ambiance such as sounds in the library, coffee shops, nature, rain, etc. These are great background music for sleeping or when doing chores, work, and meditation.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously! I used to be so embarrassed whenever there’s a mishap, but I realized that no one actually gives a shit so just laugh at your mistakes and learn from them! It makes you feel lighter too. 

BEAUTY

  • Moisturize!!!
  • Apple cider vinegar is not only good for the tummy, but also for the face. 
  • Ice helps minimize pores.
  • Aloe Vera gel + Olive oil = effective for eyebrow hair growth!
  • Toothbrush, sugar, and a little bit of water are a great lip exfoliator if you don’t want to spend.
  • The best beauty advice I’ve ever received, and it’s priceless: don’t touch your face! Really does a lot in maintaining cleanliness and keeps pimples away.

HEALTH & FOOD

  • Hummus is a gift from the gods. Healthy, delicious, easy to make. I LOVE IT.
  • Cooking makes me feel very productive. It’s therapeutic and gives me a sense of independence.
  • Moringa is as great as basil for making pesto.
  • Speaking of pesto, use it as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise.
  • Almond butter is so easy to make and it makes banana smoothie 1000x more delicious.

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, MAKE UP

Peripera Ink Airy Velvet in Pretty Orange Pink – Mini Review

I’m a member of freyja, a new and growing beauty e-commerce site in the Philippines. I placed my first purchase with them two weeks ago after I received a marketing email telling me that since it’s my birth month, I can use a particular promo code to get 20% off on an item of my choice. Thrilling. I just woke up at that time and was still a bit groggy, but I shot my body up and headed to their website to use the gift code. After a few hours of browsing, clicking, and going back and forth between product pages, I finally picked Peripera Ink Airy Velvet in Pretty Orange Pink. That shade was irresistible. The promise of “airy velvet” finish was enticing too.

The product arrived at my home last week. I was so excited. It was a gift to me from myself! But ultimately, thanks to freyja for the code! Companies who treat their customers in one way or another during their birth month/day/week are doing a great job in making their customers feel valuable. 

I opened the box and there was the liquid lipstick, two free samples, and two identical thank you cards (maybe they mistakenly put two instead of one). Just a suggestion, I wish freyja included a birthday card given that they know it’s my birthday month and that I used the code. 

freyja peripera ink airy velvet pretty orange pink benefit porefessional pearl primer make prem safe me relief moisture cream

The two freebies were chosen by me upon checkout. Yes, with freyja, every purchase comes with two free samples that you can select. It’s another great feature in my book because other online stores don’t give you a chance to choose which freebies you’d like to get. I chose Benefit’s Porefessional Pearl Primer because I love a pearly dewy look and I want my pores to be less visible. I used some of the sample and I didn’t see much pearly-ness. But I still want to give it a chance and might buy it in the future. The second freebie was a tiny Make P:rem Safe Me Relief Moisture Cream. This one I have yet to try.

make prem safe me relief moisture cream
peripera ink airy velvet pretty orange pink
peripera ink airy velvet pretty orange pink swatch

I wore the liquid lipstick for the entire day last September 14 during my visit to the Manila International Book Fair in SMX Convention Center. And I must say, Peripera Ink Airy Velvet in Pretty Orange Pink is indeed pretty. I loved the color very much! The application was very seamless as the liquid glided smoothly on my lips. It lived up to its name “airy velvet” as it felt velvety and light as air. There was no stickiness and it didn’t feel like I was wearing anything on my lips. 

peripera ink airy velvet pretty orange pink

One negative point about it is it fades as you eat or drink. But that’s expected. Also, my lips are usually dry. So I exfoliated my lips the night before September 14 and applied lip oil and left it overnight which made my lips supple and smooth. But I was disappointed because my lips still became flaky while wearing the product throughout the day and it didn’t look good anymore. I guess there’s something about the formula of the product or maybe I should just drink even more water, scrub my lips better, and apply lip oil more regularly, or just straight out get a new and better lip mask. 

Overall, I highly recommend this product for its shade and finish. Just make sure you have moisturized lips to fully enjoy the experience.

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LIFESTYLE

Coffee Project Vista Mall Antipolo: The Most Beautiful Cafe I’ve Ever Been To

Every weekend, me, my brother, and our uncle go out to eat and watch a movie. But only here in our city. Sometimes we go to a nearby town to enjoy their famous food district, but most of the time we just hang out in our city.

I decided to switch things up a little by inviting them to go to Vista Mall. All three of us have never been there until last Sunday, September 8. I passed by there once at night some months ago and it looked pretty with all its night lights. Seeing Starbucks and Rustan’s Supermarket also told me that the place was high-end. I became even more stoked to visit when I found out that they have a Coffee Project branch.

Coffee Project is a local coffee shop established in 2014. Only five years young, but they’ve been creating a buzz. They’re mainly known for offering Indonesian and Vietnamese coffee, unlike other popular cafes such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. I haven’t tried any drink or visited any of their stores, so I was thrilled to learn that they have a branch near me.

It was nighttime when we arrived and I have to say, the shop’s aesthetics and interior design exceeded all my expectations. It was modern, beautiful, and rustic. The main interior color theme was dark: dark walls, dark ceiling with grass, flowers, and birdcages, and dark wooden floors. Usually, I prefer spacious, well-lit, and minimalist interiors. But Coffee Project pulled off this dark rustic interior style. They ranked #24 in the “The 50 Most Instagrammable Cafes in the World 2019” list by Big Seven Travel.

coffee project vista mall antipolo

These are the three things that left a significant impression on me:

The pillars were UK-themed with this Union Jack Keep Calm decor and bricks.

coffee project vista mall antipolo

The grass, flowers, and birdcages hanging from the ceiling just above us. These were truly unforgettable. I’ve never seen huge amounts of suspended grass and flowers before as part of the interior decor. I’ve seen birds but not birdcages. The yellow light shining upon these three elements added more to the beauty of it.

Speaking of lights, I’m an avid fan of yellow pendulum lights. Whenever I see them, they make me want to enter the place and stay. They really bring warmth, coziness, and rustic vibes. It’s my dream to have at least two yellow pendulum lights in my future abode.

I ordered Azuki Rock Salt and Cheese Frappe. I never thought a red bean frappe with rock salt and cheese cream would be a great combination. It’s the best rock salt-and-cheese cream I’ve tasted so far.

coffee project vista mall antipolo azuki rocksalt cheese frappe

I’ll definitely go back and enjoy the place in the daytime while having their all-day Continental Breakfast.

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MAKE UP

Trying the Glossy Eyeshadow Trend

After reading an Allure interview featuring my favorite K-pop girl group Red Velvet and watching a YouTube video of Tina Yong on 2019 make-up trends, I noticed one common trend that piqued my interest, ultimately pushing me to give it a try: glossy eyeshadow. 

In the article, Seulgi, my favorite Red Velvet member, mentioned it as her favorite make-up look from their late 2018 album, “Really Bad Boy”. She’s seen wearing it below:

Even before I had found and read the article, the glossy black eyeshadow already stood out to me when I saw the photo for the first time during its release. I love it because it’s edgy and unique, and I’m glad Seulgi feels the same. She chose the look as one that she would love to try again in future albums and music promotions.

Afterward, I watched Tina Yong’s “Trying Beauty Trends of 2019” video. As usual, I was entertained by Tina’s personality and way of doing anything beauty. In the video, she talked about and tried glossy eyeshadow. 

Just a short history lesson about the trend: it actually started in early-mid 2017 when several YouTube beauty gurus uploaded their own tutorials. But models both on the runway and editorial fashion magazines were the ones who popularized the look in late 2017 all the way up to 2018. Even K-pop caught up with the trend, as we can see with Seulgi’s photo above which was released on November 2018. Now in 2019, Instagram posts with “#glossyeyes” increase by the day. It looks like the trend isn’t leaving anytime soon.

Back to Tina’s video, she applied orange coral matte eyeshadow first, then applied Becca Glow Gloss in Metamorphic Gold on top of it. She looked gorgeous when she tried the glossy eyeshadow look.

Before:

glossy eyeshadow

After:

glossy eyeshadow

It happens that I have a similar shade to the one Tina used, my blk cosmetics’ molten matte liquid eyeshadow in Slammin’. Tina had a bit of discomfort though because she used lip gloss to make the eyeshadow look glossy, resulting in some sticky sensation and formed creases. Learning from this, I used Missha Glow Balm instead of lip gloss. This balm doesn’t have a sticky formula, making it easy to blend with the liquid eyeshadow.

blk cosmetics liquid eyeshadow slammin missha glow balm
glossy eyeshadow blk cosmetics liquid eyeliner slammin

I love the result! It’s taking dewy-look to a whole new level as it gives off a fresh and youthful look, just like what Tina said in the video. 

Although, I think I need to come up with a new product to bring on the gloss. I realized that Missha Glow Balm’s formula was too light as I was wearing the glossy eyeshadow for the evening. Most of the gloss gradually faded away, only leaving a slightly dewy look. I was fairly disappointed. Maybe I should’ve added more of the Glow Balm, but I think I already applied a bit too much. I need to look for a product with just the right amount of stickiness so it would stay on but not too sticky that it would make me feel uncomfortable.

Overall, I really like it because it’s a unique twist to eye make-up. Eyeshadows are usually either matte or glittery. Glossy is between those two: matte underneath the gloss but not too sparkly like glitters. So if you want more oomph for your eyeshadow but don’t want it to be too eye-catching or extravagant, then you’ll probably enjoy and love the glossy eyeshadow look.

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LIFESTYLE

How I Maintain and Improve My Mental Health

It’s important to remind everyone and emphasize that beauty is not just about skincare products and make-up items that serve to beautify your outer appearance, beauty also involves wellness, which also includes mental health and inner beauty. When you take care of your mind and soul, it will be evident and people will see the natural beauty from within yourself.

I’ve been on a slump for a few weeks now, which I also call as quarter-life crisis. Being in this situation made me think about all the things I do to feel better and improve my mental state. In this post, I’ll be listing down and explaining these helpful activities, in no particular order.

Reading Self-Help Books

I love reading books from different genres, but I really invest in self-help pieces. I enjoy looking at perspectives from different angles provided by different people. My three favorite self-help and inspiring books are:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Almost Adulting by Arden Rose
Thrive by Arianna Huffington

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Almost Adulting by Arden Rose
Thrive by Arianna Huffington

The Happiness Project is my most favorite. Gretchen Rubin tested and challenged various happiness theories and philosophies from ancient times up to the modern era. Each chapter tackles an aspect of life, such as Family, Designing Your Home and Work Space, Managing Your Money, and Achieving Mindfulness, among others. A cute anecdote on how I got this book: I didn’t buy it. I got it from a college friend whom I always talked to about my depression. She “lent” the book to me and I accepted. But when I opened the first few pages, I saw a dedication letter handwritten by her, saying that she hopes the book would be able to help me. She bought it for me and acted like she was just lending it to me for a while.

Almost Adulting is the one that I read the most recently, just this year. Obviously, it’s about “Adulting”, an informal term created and popularized by millennials online which, according to Google, means: “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” I found myself laughing while reading the book because Arden Rose has relatable and funny language and experiences that speak to me as an “adulting millennial”. I honestly don’t think I’m doing terribly in this entire life stage, but reading a book about it and learning the insights and experiences of another person going through the same situation is fun and fruitful for me.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington is more serious in tone compared to the other two as it focuses more on career and not just life. She shared a handful of her career moments and lessons she learned from them. I read it while I was still working my first job four years ago. The most memorable parts were where she gave pieces of advice on how to draw the line between work life and personal life and how to achieve wellness and a good state of mental health even when work is overwhelming.

An important note when reading self-help books: you don’t have to do everything they suggest! It’s also a good exercise to challenge their advice and opinions, doing this teaches you more about yourself and your own beliefs.

Watching YouTube Cooking Videos and Trying them Myself

Cooking is therapeutic for me and I am most proud of myself whenever I cook, especially when it’s a recipe I’ve tried for the first time, and even more so when my family loves it (which they do 99% of the time!) YouTube is my favorite source of new and easy recipes. Of course, there are times when I fail in replicating the dish, but I just laugh at myself when that happens and simply try and try again until I’m satisfied with the end result. Even failing is fun sometimes. I also read somewhere that we shouldn’t take ourselves and our mistakes too seriously.

My current favorite cooking channel is 꿀키honeykki. Her dishes are delicious but easy to make and her videos are so aesthetically pleasing and relaxing because of her simple home, cute puppy, background music, great camera angles, and just the overall editing. Check her out, you won’t regret it.

Some recipes I found online that I’ve tried for the first time:

malunggay moringa pesto with grilled chicken
Moringa Pesto with Grilled Chicken
I used Moringa (Malunggay in Tagalog) instead of the traditional Basil. Tastes good!
Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Spinach
Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Spinach
melted muscavado brown sugar iced coffee
Iced Coffee with Melted Muscovado Brown Sugar

Listening to Nature Sounds via YouTube

Bird sounds are my favorite animal sound. Listening to it alone is already heavenly but sometimes I like listening to it with water sounds too. YouTube has hour-long videos of just nature sounds so you can play them the entire day as you sleep, read, or do chores and work. What I do is I cast my smartphone on the smart-tv so the videos will be louder and so I can use my phone for other things as well.

My go-to videos:

Cleaning My Room Regularly

In all the self-help books and articles I’ve read so far, they always mention the importance and benefits of a clean space for mental health. Clean space, clear mind. It’s a fairly tedious task but the result is rewarding.

Talking to Friends, Both From the Twittersphere and from my Offline Life 

Of course, everyone talks to their friends when feeling down. This is a common thing to do for humans. But I would just like to take this opportunity to give a shoutout to my friends who always listen to me, give me advice, and do their best to cheer me up. It depends on the dynamics that you and your friends have, maybe you don’t like saying cheesy stuff to each other, but it’s healthy to express gratitude from time to time in your own cute little ways. 

In my case, aside from the usual “Thank you!” and “You’re so sweet.” messages, when my newly-bought calligraphy brush pens were delivered to my home a few months ago, I surprised my friends with calligraphy of their names. I took a picture of each name and sent it to them online. I was no professional calligrapher but they appreciated my little gift.

I am an introvert and have a small circle of friends, but I choose my friends wisely. I have a couple of Twitter friends and another couple of friends from my offline life whom I share my worries and struggles with. Some of them have the same problems with me so it’s healthy for all of us that we get to unload our burdens even for a little bit by talking to each other. 

Keeping Up with My Fandoms Through the Beloved Internet

Alright. I’m gonna geek out for this part. I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Game of Thrones, and some Chinese and Korean pop acts (Lay Zhang, WayV, NCT). Yes, they’re quite a handful to keep up with but I manage to do so… every day… for years now… I’m also a fan of The 1975, LANY, and HONNE. Their music is so damn good and I just simply can’t live wthout music. Anyway, my point is that these people, characters, stories, and songs all make me happy and beyond. Being a fangirl is like riding a roller coaster of feelings!

Things that I have yet to try but am planning to:

  • Aromatherapy 
  • Slow dance alone to The 1975/LANY/HONNE in my room with only the lampshade on while drinking wine.
  • Start using a self-care app for mental health. I’m considering an app called InnerHour Self-Help & Therapy. It’s available on Play Store, you can see it for yourself if you’re interested.

Writing this post and listing out all the things I do to take care of my mental state helped me feel better. I hope you can share your own activities and practices too! I would love to try them.

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, MAKE UP

Battle of the K-Beauty Bronze Gold Liquid Eyeshadows: Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane vs The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold

Hello, hello! I know, I haven’t posted for over a month. I feel so guilty but I was determined to focus the past month and a half on studying Digital Marketing, particularly Google Analytics and Google Ads. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Google offers free online courses with certifications on different Digital Marketing topics. I’m glad I took some of them up, and now I have 7 Google Certificates!

Anyway, I’m here to talk about two of my k-beauty bronze gold liquid eyeshadows: Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane & The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold. I’ve already posted a short piece about my experience with Candy Cane, but after using The Saem’s Bronze Gold, I decided to write an in-depth comparison and review featuring the two given that they have the same color, format, and both are offered by popular k-beauty brands.

Price & Weight
Peripera Candy Cane – 3 grams @ PHP600 (around $12)
The Saem Bronze Gold – 2.7 grams @ PHP490 (around $10)

Peripera Candy Cane weighs only 0.3 grams heavier but is higher by PHP110 ($2), which is a fairly huge difference for me. I find Candy Cane pricey but I bought it anyway because I wanted to try it so badly.

Are the prices justified? You’ll know by the end of this post!

Applicator
Peripera Candy Cane’s applicator is bigger and has a slanted flat surface that gets the product and is intended to be directly applied on the lids. The Saem’s Bronze Gold applicator on the other hand is slimmer and ultra-light, it doesn’t even feel that I’m holding anything. Though unlike Candy Cane, its applicator doesn’t have a slanted flat surface and is just cylindrical in shape. The lack of slanted flat surface makes it hard for me to get a lot of product from the bottle, which then leads to me having a hard time applying it because I have to insert the applicator back into the bottle again and again just to have enough pigmentation on my lids. The good thing about the slim applicator is that it’s easier to control, especially when I have to fix some application mistakes. I love Candy Cane’s applicator because I don’t even have to dip back into the bottle as it provides enough–or sometimes even more than enough–product.

Side by side comparison

Pigment & Formula 
In terms of glittery-ness, both bring the sparkle equally well! The glitters themselves just differ in size, Bronze Gold’s glitters are a bit bigger while Candy Cane’s are more refined. But the products also have the ‘liquid’ component and not just the glitter. Candy Cane surpasses this aspect because its bronze liquid is more pigmented than Bronze Gold’s. The Saem Bronze Gold’s liquid formula is thin and has a watery consistency, which makes it easily less pigmented and to be honest, a bit irritating to use. It’s like I bought a pricey tiny bottle of gold glitters, when in fact it should have bronze liquid as well. I could see the pigment of the bronze liquid upon applying and a couple of minutes after, but then it slowly oxidizes for the rest of the time I’m wearing it. So as time goes by, I end up looking like I just have gold glitters on my eyes. Still looks pretty but of course, I expected more. I used it for around 6 hours and only the gold glitters were apparent, with the bronze liquid mostly faded, leaving a light brown color.

Candy Cane has more refined glitters and a more pigmented bronze liquid, which makes the final look more shimmery than when I use Bronze Gold. I used it for around 6 hours as well and I can say that it lasted pretty well.

As for the glitter-liquid ratio, I think The Saem Bronze Gold will benefit if they add more of the liquid bronze. This might make it more pigmented and have a better formula overall. I like Candy Cane’s current ratio and formula, so I have no complaints or suggestions.

Swatches
For Bronze Gold, the applicator ran out of product after a couple of swipes so I had to dip the applicator 3-5 times just to finish completing the swatch below, that’s why it looks messy. 

For Candy Cane, I didn’t have to dip the applicator again after I took it from the bottle, the rich and pigmented swatch below came from a single application. The rich formula and wide applicator give a smooth application.

Packaging 
Both have lovely packaging! The products itself are both contained in transparent cylindrical glass bottles which I love because the combination of liquid bronze and gold glitters are already aesthetically pleasing to look at, so there’s no more need for elaborate or fancy designs. 

Final Verdict: Which one’s better?
It’s pretty obvious that I prefer Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane over The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold. It’s pricier but it really delivered great quality in terms of weight, pigment, formula, packaging, and the overall experience: easy to use and long-lasting. I don’t regret buying The Saem’s Bronze Gold but given my experience with it, the price should definitely be lower, around PHP300-380 ($6-$8). Of course, I’m aware that I’m also paying for the ‘The Saem’ brand, given that they’re one of the popular K-Beauty brands now.

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SKINCARE

Find Out What Those Natural Ingredients You See on Labels Actually Mean for Your Skin

Lately, I’ve been trying to further incorporate products that have natural ingredients into my beauty routine. Simply because of the common belief that if it’s from Mother Nature, then there’s a high chance that it’s good for you. Now, I don’t have anything against mass-produced and synthetic products. I still use those but I figured that I want to give my skin more TLC through natural ingredients-based products. 

So, to aid myself in this new venture of mine, I bought a beauty book entitled PLANT-POWERED BEAUTY, written by Amy Galper and Christina Daigneault, published in 2018. These two women are professional aromatherapists and have written the book to share their knowledge, help readers have a better understanding about natural ingredients, and teach them how to make their own beauty concoctions (starting from the right tools to the right process).

My favorite section of the book was the easy-to-understand charts indicating the following:

  1. list of various natural ingredients 
  2. where in the world they can be found
  3. a specific process to properly prepare the ingredients (in case you’d follow a recipe in the book)
  4. highlighted features of each ingredient
  5. therapeutic actions of each ingredient

I decided to share with you a simplified version of the charts which only contains 1, 4, and 5. Hopefully this guide can help you look for the right product for your skin needs & wants the next time you visit your favorite beauty stores!

Illustrations in the charts are not mine.

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MAKE UP

6 of My Beauty Items with Super Cute Packaging

Not only do I love using my make up and skincare items, I love looking at them too. Packaging appearance isn’t a very important consideration for me when deciding whether to purchase a product or not, but it’s a great additional point. Not a must-have but a nice-to-have. I find myself being pulled by products with eye-catching packaging whenever I enter a beauty store.

This is a roundup of all my cosmetic possessions with packaging that’s pleasing to the eyes. Enjoy and be ready to be amazed!

The Saem Lip Paint

This product took the “paint” part quite literally and that’s what I love about it. The liquid lipstick is contained in a tiny bottle that’s inspired by how paint cans usually look like, from the shiny silver that resembles a metal up to the handle that we see on paint cans. One of the cutest packaging I’ve ever seen! Unrelated to packaging but I just have to say, the fruity scent makes it smell really good.

The Saem Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick

The Saem has a skincare line whose main ingredient is pure mineral glacial water from Iceland. This eye stick is not only hydrating but has a cooling effect as well, keeping with the name and origin of the ingredient. The eye stick’s cap is a cute polar bear, with the animal being most often associated with glaciers. 

It’s Skin Macaron Cream Filling Cream Blush

This one was a gift to me. I love macarons and every time I see this cream blush, my mouth waters! The cap is the color of the blush. I love how detailed the edges are with the ruffles (or “macaron feet” in culinary terms), they really ensured that it would closely resemble a real macaron. It has a peachy scent too!

Missha Glow Balm and Glow BB Cushion

There are several things that I love about the packaging of these two products from Missha’s Glow line. Firstly, the color. I’m a sucker for anything Rose Gold. The “glow” labels are not only in elegant cursive but are even holographic, which I really like as it increases the aesthetic appeal. The Glow Balm is in a horizontal rhombus shape with softer edges, I find this unique as creams are usually in cylindrical jars.

Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Eyeshadow

For some, this might just be a normal packaging, but I find it really cute. The baby pink cap has tiny holographic stars and the light pink color complements the glittery bronze liquid eyeshadow as well.

All of these products are from Korean beauty brands. Not surprising given that Koreans love cute aesthetics, which is evident not only in their beauty products but also in the whole K-pop scene (cute outfits, cute songs, cute music videos). 

I can’t wait to discover more products with cute and unique packaging and add them to my collection!

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MAKE UP

Switching Things Up: Lipstick as Eyeshadow and Eyeshadow as Lip Topper — The Result!

 
We had a couple of rainy days early this week and I was stuck at home. What’s a better way to entertain myself and at the same time practice my creativity? Be a little more playful than usual with my make-up! I love maximizing the purpose of my make-up items to the point that I use them for parts of the face they’re not intended for. For this look, I used my liquid lipstick for my eyes and my liquid eyeshadow for my lips.

 

Below are the products I used along with short descriptions:

 
19-05-08-18-26-57-926_deco.jpg

 

FACE:

 
  1. Missha Glow Balm – As stated in the name, this balm make-up base instantly gives your skin a glowy and dewy finish. It has thick texture similar to a moisturizer. What I love about it is that it can make my dry skin look moisturized, healthy, and luminous in an instant, which is great when I’m in a hurry!
  2. Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser Primer – I only applied this on my cheeks because that’s where I have visible pores.
  3. Missha Glow BB Cushion Pact – The BB cream that complements the Glow Balm. It has light to medium coverage.
  4. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz – This one is a bit new as I just bought it last month. Out of all my options, I chose this pearlescent highlighter because of its natural dewy finish. The outer scope is the highlighter with crystallized gems while the inner scope is a stick with oil and vitamins. I applied it on my brow bones, cheekbones, inner corner of my eyes, nose, philtrum, and chin.

EYES:

  1. The Saem Lip Paint in Ash Rose – I used one of my favorite liquid lipsticks for my eyes. I find the paleness of the pink color suitable with the dark liquid lipstick that I used for this look. I used my fingers to apply it on my lids.
 
LIPS:
  1. MAC Lip Liner in Cyber World – This lip liner has the exact same color with the liquid lipstick and it’s really helpful in preventing the liquid lipstick from bleeding beyond the outlines of my lips. It draws easily too!
  2. ColourPop Ultra Satin in Hutch – A deep dark plum liquid lipstick that is supposedly satin, but feels more like matte. But overall, I really love the color. It’s very pigmented.
  3. Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Eyeshadow in Candy Cane – This liquid eyeshadow has bronze liquid with gold glitters. So when I used it as a lip topper, the result was metallic dark plum lips!

Here’s the final look. I love the combination of ash rose and metallic dark plum and I’m pretty satisfied with the result. Will definitely create this look again!

 

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, SKINCARE

I Used Human Nature Sunflower Lip Miracle for 3 Overnights and This is What Happened

Having smooth and moisturized lips is essential when it comes to wearing lip make up, regardless if it’s in solid lipstick format or liquid formula. If you want your lip color products to swipe smoothly across your lips and leave a flawless finish, chappy lips are a big no-no! Sadly for me, I constantly have dry lips with tiny skins sticking out, asking to be peeled off. Because of this, there are times where I can’t fully enjoy my lip products. My current lip balm, Strawberry Lip Smacker, is moisturizing but not long-lasting, that’s why I’ve been looking for a new lip balm to solve my problem.

A friend recommended Human❤Nature to me. It’s a Philippine beauty brand that prides itself for being “pro-poor, pro-environment, pro-Philippines”. I checked their website and saw that they offer products that are budget-friendly to an average Filipina. Not only do they have make up items, but also personal, family, and home care products. They even have food and drinks! All of these products are locally made.

While on their website, I stumbled upon their Sunflower Lip Miracle, a 10g tube filled with 100% natural Sunflower lip oil that is priced at P199.75 or approximately $4.

19-04-26-00-16-00-249_deco.jpg

According to their page, the product has the following benefits and features:

Image.png

After learning about all the good stuff it promises to deliver, I went to the branch nearest to my home and purchased the Peach-scented variant Sunflower Lip Miracle because that’s what I need, a lip miracle for my dry lips! Same to what they said on their website, the sales lady told me that it’s more of a lip mask. The product itself is not in balm or jelly form like what we’re used to, it’s in oil form and it’s best to be applied as a lip mask overnight.

I tested the product for 3 overnights (April 11-12, 12-13, 13-14). See below for an in-depth review through the 3-day test!

April 11, night (before using the lip oil for the first time)
  • Very dry with a huge dry patch and some smaller ones around it on my lower lip.
IMG_20190412_013055.jpg

April 12 morning, after 9 hours of sleep

  • Dry patches are less visible and my lips feel so much smoother, I could almost no longer feel the dry patches.

IMG_20190412_105402.jpg

April 12, night (before using the lip oil)

  • Throughout the day, I was starting to feel the the outlines of the dry patches again. But not as bad as before. They were bugging me so I peeled them off, causing the red spots below. But they’re not painful at all and even before I applied the lip oil tonight, my lips feel smooth already.

IMG_20190413_033434.jpg

April 13 morning, after 7 hours of sleep

  • Totally could no longer feel the dry patches! As you can see in the photo below, the dry patches are not visible anymore, even its outlines. But the red spots remain.

IMG_20190413_113146.jpg

April 13 night (before using the lip oil) 

  • Only 1 red spot remain and my lips feel smooth all over.

IMG_20190414_021820.jpg

April 14 morning, after 8 hours of sleep

  • No major difference from last night. Although I could feel a very thin layer of dry skin forming again. But the good thing is the red spots are becoming less and less visible.

IMG_20190414_153540.jpg

April 14 night (last day of testing) 

  • The red spots have completely faded through out the day! There’s just a very tiny skin begging to be peeled off but I just left it as it was. Overall, my lips feel very smooth.

img_20190415_010710.jpg

Before and After comparison of the 3-day test:

InkedIMG_20190412_013055_LI.jpg   Inkedimg_20190415_010710_LI.jpg

Verdict:

Human Nature’s Sunflower Lip Miracle does what it promises to do: moisturize and nourish the lips. The product leaves a glossy finish exactly like that of a lip gloss and has a slippery sensation because of the oil formula. The dryness greatly subsides right after application and stays that way overnight for around 7-9 hours. However, the dry patches start to go back throughout the next day at around noon time to afternoon, though it’s not as severe as before. This shows that religious or regular application is vital to see desired results in just a few days.

Personally, I really liked the end result of the 3-day test. It was just 3 days but there’s a stark contrast between the Before and After. I also like the scent because it’s fruity but not too strong and lingers for around ten seconds after application. I like the slanted surface of the applicator as well as it makes the application very easy.

19-04-26-00-43-08-587_deco.jpg

There are a couple of things I don’t like, though. It has a lightweight feeling on the lips which is a positive thing, but I think it’s too light. It’s supposed to be a lip mask but around 5 minutes upon application, my lips have completely absorbed the product and the slippery sensation I mentioned before is completely gone, I totally don’t feel any product on my lips anymore. I wonder if my lips becoming dry again the next day is due to the product being too light. Maybe my understanding and expectation of a lip mask are wrong, but I wish the product will stay on my lips longer without losing the lightweight-ness.

In addition, I wish there’s a bigger size because I find 10g small or not enough, especially if you’re meant to use it religiously to achieve desired results.

Overall, I’m glad I purchased this because it helps me with my lip care. I will continue using the product and might buy again in the future.

 

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TOOLS

How I Made My Beauty Routine Eco-Friendly With Just a Single Step

Hello, hello! I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks because personal life got me busy lately with family events, get-together with friends, and some important errands that I had to take care of immediately. But I’m back now!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I love getting to know models’ beauty routines, even more so by watching them demonstrate the routines by themselves. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching Kelsey Merritt’s Go To Bed With Me video on Harper’s BAZAAR YouTube channel. I enjoyed her whole routine but what stood out to me the most was her reusable cotton pads! She said that using the product is important for her because it’s eco-friendly and helps her avoid producing wastes by using disposable cotton pads. It was a bulb-lighting moment for me. Before this, I never thought of using reusable cotton pads or even knew of their existence. 

After finishing the video, I quickly searched for both physical and online stores to find out where I can buy the eco-friendly product. I preferred buying from a physical store so I could already go and purchase it the next day. Unfortunately, no physical stores were selling the item. But I guess things were still going well for me because a few more searches and clicks later, I found an online store selling the cute little cotton rounds! The online store’s name is Mimi and Me Greentools and they are a local company who strongly advocates the importance of having a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. They deliver this message by creating and selling eco-friendly products at affordable prices like reusable cotton pads, bamboo toothbrush, bamboo spoon and fork, bamboo straws, collapsible cups and food containers, and foldable metal sporks. 

Their official social media accounts/shops are linked below:

  • Facebook
  • Shopee
  • Instagram
  • BeautyMNL (All of their items are currently sold out here but will be available after paper work is done, according to Mimi and Me when I asked about it via FB Messenger. BTW, they responded to my inquiries in a very timely manner, which for me is very important for a brand. Kudos to Mimi and Me!)

A set has 12 reusable cotton pads that come with a pouch, all these are priced at P200 or approximately $4. It’s incredibly affordable for the quantity and quality you get in return.

There are only 10 pads in the photo because I already used 2, making them dirty.

Speaking of quality, let’s dive in to a more detailed review of the product.

Each cotton pad has different textures for both sides: one side is smooth, one is a bit rough. The smooth side is for products that are applied gently such as toner and make-up remover. The rough side is for exfoliating and scrubbing. 

I have tried using both sides for their intended purpose and it worked pretty well. It’s as good as the normal cotton pads when I used it to apply toner. As for the rough side, I’ve never used a cloth to aid my exfoliator before, I just used my fingers. But the rough texture of the cotton pad actually exfoliated my skin more effectively than my fingers ever did. 

The only reminder that Mimi and Me Greentools has to say about this product is to wash them by hands, not by washing machine. 

In the recent years, I’ve been slowly shifting my lifestyle to an eco-friendly one. I have a set of metal straws with various sizes that I also gifted to my ex-colleagues and family as an attempt to stop them from using plastic straws altogether. I also avoid using plastic utensils as often as I can. With this reusable version of cotton pads, I now have an additional way to lessen the trash I produce and help take care of my skin at the same time. This is only the beginning of my search for more eco-friendly beauty tools. How about you? Do you have any eco-friendly product favorites? I’d love to know about them! 🙂 

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MAKE UP, SKINCARE

Banila Co Dear Hydration Facial Mist & Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Shadow – K-Beauty Mini Haul and Review!

Over the weekend, I bought a couple of skincare and make up items: Banila Co Dear Hydration Facial Mist & Peripera Sugar Twinkle Liquid Shadow, and I’m here to talk about them in a mini review!

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Banila Co Dear Hydration Facial Mist
Price: P425 (60ml-travel size; 120ml is at P525)
Bought in: SM Megamall Department Store Beauty Section

 

This product is part of the moisturize-focused skincare line of Banila Co. It boasts about having the Urban Water Guard System which contains basil, mint, and neem leaf extracts that are here to protect skin from stress and pollution and keep it moisturized all day long. I love the pink packaging and it certainly does what it’s supposed to do: moisturize your face anywhere anytime and giving your skin a dewy look is also a plus. It’s really handy, smells good, the particles are super fine, and my skin really feels refreshed after spraying it. It can also be used before and after applying make up.

The only thing I don’t like about it is how soft the cap is, it’s not sturdy so it bends easily whenever I remove it and this gives the impression that the it was cheaply made. I wish it was sturdy but it’s not a major issue for me. I highly recommend it to anyone but especially those with dry and rough skin. It’s also good to use during hot season, which is why I bought it at this particular time, it’s currently summer here in the Philippines!

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The non-sturdy cap

Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane
Price: P600 (3 grams)
Bought in: Robinsons Galleria Club Clio

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This cute stuff has become an instant favorite and it’s only my first ever liquid eye shadow!

According to this article by Soompi, a Korean entertainment news portal, anything glitter or sparkly is in trend in Korea now that it’s Spring season there. When I was looking for a Korean-branded sparkly eyeshadow to try, I discovered that some brands such as The Saem, Tony Moly, and Peripera offer liquid eyeshadows filled with glitter of various colors. I had to get my hands on at least one of those so I immediately texted Club Clio branch in Galleria to ask if they have Peripera Sugar Twinkle in Candy Cane, fortunately they do! I reserved one bottle and purchased it the day itself because I wanted to try it as soon as possible. After purchasing, I asked the sales lady/make up specialist to put on the liquid glitter on my eyes. I watched her do it and saw that it was so easy to apply. She dabbed the applicator on the center of my eyelids and blended it with her fingers up to right below my brows. It looked pretty and lasted well for the 6-7 hours that I wore it.

When it was time to remove it, I spread some Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm on a tissue and stuck it on my eyes for around ten seconds before gently swiping it from side to side to remove the make up, especially the glitters. I was expecting to have a hard time removing the glitters but just a few more swipes and they were gone! Removing it was as easy as applying it.

As for the shade, I chose Candy Cane because I love the combination of bronze liquid and gold glitter. The colors are elegant but also subtle in a way which makes it suitable for various looks and occasions.

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I love the product but this single bottle is not enough. I will start collecting liquid eyeshadows and in fact, I already got my (sparkly) eyes on the next liquid glitter eyeshadow I’ll be purchasing: The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold. The color is similar to Candy Cane but has more of a rose gold finish, which is my favorite color right now. So it’s without a doubt a must-have for me!

The Saem Eco Soul Sparkling Eye in Bronze Gold

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MAKE UP, SKINCARE

Beauty Tips From 5 Victoria’s Secret Angels

The bodies and faces of models are like their business cards, it’s what they use to book jobs and clients and they have to take care of it. Their profession highly demands self-care and effective beauty regimen. That’s why I’ve always been curious about how models personally take care of their face, which brought me to Vogue’s YouTube channel where I found videos featuring several Victoria’s Secret Angels sharing their beauty rituals for different seasons and occasions, from daily life to runway show, from fall to summer, and even pregnancy. I compiled in this post tips and practices that I find helpful from five Victoria’s Secret Angels themselves. I hope you’ll find something you like!

Behati Prinsloo

Behati Prinsloo shares her fresh-faced everyday make up look, which for her is about looking natural by using shades close to her skin tone.

  • Uses facial spray before applying make up to hydrate and refresh her face
  • Mixes her foundation and sunblock to make the foundation have thin consistency
  • Uses her fingers to put her foundation because its warmth helps the skin absorb the product more evenly
  • Prefers cream make up because it’s easy to blend and has a dewy finish
  • Curls her eyelashes twice: before AND after applying mascara. This helps eyelashes hold their curled position better and for a longer time.

Lily Aldridge

Lily Aldridge’s focus on her video is how she does self-care and relaxation at the same time, as this was released during her pregnancy last November 2018. Some of her tips and products used in the video are specifically catered to pregnant women.

  • The very first step does not involve a make up product but helps her relax: scented candle!
  • Advises that we should also take care of our necks by applying on it the skincare we use on our face
  • Her pregnant belly also had a mask! It’s primarily to prevent stretch marks and pregnant women out there can use it as well to take care of their tummy.
  • Uses cleansing balm as it removes make up easier and helps alleviate her pregnancy acne
  • Facial roller was really helpful in depuffing her face especially during her pregnancy
  • Another product for pregnant women that she used was Kate MacLeod Mama Stone, a moisturizer in stone form to be rubbed on the body for soothing purposes.
  • Braids her hair before putting on make up and removes it after she’s done to have natural-looking wavy hair
  • Doesn’t put concealer/foundation on areas where her skin is nice and shiny because she loves looking natural
  • Her tip for having more coverage but still looking natural: mix your concealer/foundation with face oil to help the former spread easier. The resulting mixture is like a tinted moisturizer.
  • Does eye contour using taupe or any contour shade on her brow bone and under eye to help her eyes look less puffy
  • Dual purpose for her mascara: she doesn’t only apply mascara on her lashes, she purposely applies mascara on her lash lines too to make it look like she applied eyeliner

Candice Swanepoel

Candice Swanepoel’s video is all about having natural and sun-kissed youthful look.

  • She shares some practices with Behati and Lily, such as using the warmth of her fingers to put on make up, mixing her concealer with face oil for a smoother and glowy finish, and tying up her hair in a twisty bun for natural-looking beachy waves
  • Uses face oil as moisturizer
  • Puts blush on her eyelids and nose for a sun-kissed look
  • Uses mauve eyeshadow to contour her face and eyes, the color helps the blue of her eyes pop even more
  • Uses eyeliner to apply fake freckles for a younger and sun-kissed look

Taylor Hill

Taylor Hill shows us how she does her everyday look during Fall season and her trick on how to cover up her genetic dark under eyes.

  • Since she has dry skin, she makes sure to properly prep and hydrate her skin before putting on make up to make it last longer. She uses thee skincare products for the prepping stage: face serum, moisturizer, eye cream.
  • Uses skin tint with SPF instead of foundation
  • Uses two shades of concealer on her under eyes: one peachy shade and one yellowy shade. This technique is very effective in concealing her dark under eyes.
  • Blends the concealer using her fingertips if it’s for her everyday look because the finish looks better that way but if she’s attending events, she/her make up artist uses brushes to achieve a perfect finish
  • Matches her make up look with the weather of the day: dark eye make up for winter or rainy days and bronze look for a sunny day
  • Contours her jawline for more definition but also to blend the part where the foundation ends with the rest of her face
  • Applies bronze and gold highlighters to match the fall season
  • Cuts down everything dairy a month before Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and her skin looks better in just 2 weeks
  • Taylor loves to make her make up items into dual purpose. She uses the same 3-in-1 blush-contour-highlighter palette and the same gold highlighter to finish her eye look.
  • Starts her cat eyeliner look from the outer corner of her eyes and then draws the line inwards
  • She doesn’t only draw it on her lash line, she also draws it on her upper  waterline right under her top lashes. This gives a fuller and defined look.
  • Prefers brown eyeliner for when she’s going for a subtle look

Elsa Hosk

Elsa Hosk reveals how she did her own make up look as the Angel who wore the 2018 VSFS Fantasy Bra. Her look is heavily influenced by the diamond-studded bra but she still shares beauty tips for non-models like us!

  • First step was eye drops to accentuate her eyes and help them sparkle along with the diamonds of her Dream Angels Fantasy Bra
  • Uses two concealer shades: lighter shade for the inner parts of her face (under eyes, sides of her nose, right below her lips) and darker shade for the outer parts (cheekbones, forehead).
  • Elsa said that she suffers from bad skin. So just like Taylor, she avoids consuming dairy when there’s an upcoming shoot as this helps her skin become better.
  • Applies highlighter on her collarbones
  • Contours the spot right below her lips to give herself a pout without actually doing a pout
  • Her tip for a doe-eye effect: apply yellowish gold highlighter/shadow on the inner corner of your eyes
  • Since she has fair skin, make up tends to look heavy or too much on her face quite easily. To avoid this, she chooses where to put heavy make up: eyes or lips. If she has a heavy or dark-colored lipstick, she’ll go for a naked eye. If she has a glam eye make up, she’ll go for a nude or light shade for her lips.

There you go! I know the list was almost endless but I hope you found something that is applicable to you and can help you.

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MAKE UP

My 2 Favorite YouTube Beauty Gurus

2017 was the year I started watching videos of beauty gurus on YouTube. I’ll be honest and say that at first, I tried to avoid the videos when I saw them on my Recommended For You section because from what I heard back then, the beauty community on the video-sharing platform was full of drama, and I was already dealing with lots of that in my K- and C-pop fandoms. But eventually, I clicked a video uploaded by Tina Yong and after finishing it, I instantly knew I was going to be a fan, not just her but of the community as a whole. So I will be listing here my Top 2 YouTube Beauty Gurus.

Tina Yong
Nationality: Vietnamese living in Australia
Loves to post: Reviews of products that are both from Asia (especially K-beauty) and the West
Known for: Her “Tina Tries It” series
Subscribers:  2.6M
Her latest video as of this writing:

As I mentioned above, Tina Yong is basically the one who introduced the community to me. She’s the first beauty vlogger whom I liked very much from the start. As a fellow Asian, her skin tone is the same as mine that’s why her reviews are the ones that matter to me the most. Seeing how certain products like blush, BB creams, and lipsticks look on her helps me decide which ones will be the best for me or at least helps me narrow down my considerations.

Also, I love her personality. She’s sweet and funny with a bit of sass. And of course, she’s very honest when she doesn’t like a product she’s testing, which is important for a beauty vlogger. She’s my favorite Asian YouTube Beauty Guru.

Some of my favorite videos:

NikkieTutorials
Nationality: Dutch
Loves to post: tutorials on glam and creative make up
Known for: Her super creative tutorials and full-on glam make up, trendy make up challenges, and seasonal series (Halloweek, Winter Wonder Week)
Subscribers: 11.6M
Her latest video as of this writing:

Nikkie might just be the most creative make up artist on the platform. She takes the art of make up to another level and it’s a pleasure to watch her transform into different looks and literally make art on her face. My favorite videos of hers that I think really showed her high level of creativity were when she recreated a Bob Ross painting on her face and when she made a Phantom of the Opera-inspired make up look for her Halloweek Series.

Truthfully, our make up styles and philosophies are on polarizing ends. I prefer to have simple make up that is closer to a natural finish with my lipstick colors mainly spicing up my look, while Nikkie loves full coverage and full-on glam. I don’t actually follow and do her tutorials but she is such a joy to watch. She’s funny and she doesn’t take it too seriously when she’s having a hard time with some challenges. I am aware that people have some issues with her but I decide to see past that and focus on the things I enjoy about her.

So, there you go! Those two creative women are my favorite YouTube Beauty Gurus. Who’s yours?

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, MAKE UP

This Lipstick is a Great Match for Pantone’s Color of the Year

Lipsticks were my gateway into this whole “I love make up” stage of my life because it opened a whole new world and passion for me. I love hunting out for new colors that will make me feel prettier and collecting it in both of its forms: bullet and liquid. That’s why when I learned that my favorite singer, Lay Zhang (yes, I’m a K- and C-pop fan and yes, celebrity endorsements really work on me!), recommended MAC See Sheer Lipstick for women and saw that it was colored in lovely coral with some pink hues, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

I immediately searched for it in the MAC stores near my office and found that it was retailed at P1,100. I purchased it at the second store I visited a few weeks before Pantone announced that Living Coral will be 2019’s Color Of The Year.

It has a sweet smell that resembles a dessert and it effortlessly glides onto my lips. As indicated in its name, it has a sheer and glossy coral finish but is certainly buildable. It’s my everyday go-to lipstick and a staple in my make up kit because the color is simple yet it suits well with a lot of outfit colors.

So if you’re in the hunt of a good coral lipstick that matches the Color Of The Year, I highly recommend MAC See Sheer. 

Or if you have other favorite coral lipsticks, kindly let me know and comment down below! 🙂

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, SKINCARE

in.GREDIENTS Cream Mask Review: French Toast On My Face?

My sister lives in the other side of the world, particularly in Vancouver, Canada. And so I formed a habit of asking her to send me beauty products. She sends me lipsticks, mascara, eyeliner, and concealer. But the last time she sent goodies, something very unique caught my eye: the in.GREDIENTS Cream Masks by Masque Bar in Coffee, Turmeric, and French Toast.

I was intrigued so I quickly made my way to their website to read more on the in.GREDIENTS collection. I found that not only do they use natural ingredients, they also offer Cream Masks in unique and mouthwatering flavors! They have Coffee (exfoliates), Turmeric (rejuvenates), Greek Yogurt (hydrates), Chocolate Éclair (pore minimizing), Coconut Water (removes excess oil), Kale (purifies and hydrates), Seaweed (moisturizes), Sea Salt (cleanses and detoxifies), Eggnog (refines), Candy Cane (purifies) and Pumpkin Spice Latte (cleanses). This gives me the impression that the company, Masque Bar, goes the extra mile in researching and developing their masks in order to offer not only uniqueness but also a wide range of benefits.

As for the French Toast variant, it’s no longer posted on their website, but according to the packaging in my hand, it’s for anti-aging and refining pores and has extracts of Cinnamon and Egg Yolk. Out of the three masks my sister sent me, it’s the one I tried first because French Toast as a face mask? It’s a never-heard and never-seen-before, at least for me. Highly intriguing, I must say. Also, take note that this is my first time using a Cream Mask. All I’ve used until now are Sheet Masks so this was very thrilling for me!

Instructions on the packaging:

  • Thoroughly cleanse face with warm water. Leave the face wet.
  • Open sachet and apply mask over face and neck, avoiding eyes and lips.
  • After 15-20 minutes, remove mask and rinse with water.

Upon opening the pack, wafts of French Toast filled my nose, it smelled so good! But eventually, I started to notice tinges of chemical scents. Not a big deal though.

First impression upon squeezing the product out of the pouch: it looked like a pink-toned foundation but with a way thicker consistency. The Warning section of the packaging stated that it must be used right away upon opening the pouch to avoid drying up, so I instantly smothered the cream onto my face. There was so much product that I made 3-4 layers, including my neck. 

The first few seconds up to the first 3 minutes, the stinging sensation on my face was a bit too much. I honestly got a bit worried but it’s a common occurrence for me when using a product for the first time, so I decided to keep it on my face. Fortunately, the stinging faded away.

The rosy color diminished eventually as well and I simply looked like I had super thick foundation. 

As for the texture, it dried up around 10 minutes into using it and the longer I used it, the drier and tighter the mask felt on my skin. It even started to form cracking lines in the last 3 minutes.

I maximized the usage duration and used it for 20 minutes. I washed it off with lukewarm water and I must say, it was a bit difficult to remove. But I already expected that from a thick cream mask, so it’s understandable.

I examined my face to see any effects or differences, and I’m happy to say that the large pores on a small patch on my right cheek shrunk and are now less visible. My face isn’t exactly smoother or softer but the effectiveness of the product in delivering its “pore refining” benefit totally makes up for it.

Overall, the creamy texture gives the feeling of having an all-natural cream mask at the spa but actually doing it at home by yourself. This is a good way to spice things up in pampering yourself!

Just a bit of bad news though (to any Filipina reading this), Masque Bar is a Toronto-based company and is currently not available here in the Philippines, even on the popular online shopping websites such as  BeautyMNL, Shopee, Lazada, Sephora, and Zalora. In terms of alternatives, the closest type of mask to the in.GREDIENTS Cream Masks are Clay Masks. These masks are of the wash-off type as well, though consistency is heavier and its overall benefits and performance are more intense. Also, according to this article on the different types of masks, cream masks are ideal for normal to dry skin while clay masks are ideal for normal to oily skin.

Let’s just hope that Masque Bar or Cream Masks in general will soon make their way here in the Philippines! It’s a breath-of-fresh-air and an affordable way to give your face that all-natural goodness and flavor.

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SKINCARE

Pore Minimizer Remedies That You Can Make at Home

My #2 skin problem is the open pores on my cheeks (right next to having dry skin but I pretty much have come to terms with that). Every day when I look at the condition of my face, I feel fairly satisfied until I see my open pores who look like they’re saying, “Hey! Don’t forget! We’re here and we’re never gonna leave!” And with that, my quest to seek solutions to shut these pores up has begun.


When I’m searching for a remedy for any skin problem, I always try to prioritize finding DIY/all-natural beauty solutions because 1) I try to be budget-friendly to myself as often as I can and 2) going natural never goes wrong. Here are the two remedies I use which can are natural and can be made at home. 


The first DIY solution I found is something all of us already have at home: ice cubes. It’s simple science: hot water opens up our pores and so the opposite of hot, which is cold, will have the opposite effect, closing the pores. Anything cold, may it be water/ice cubes/even the weather, causes our blood vessels to compress themselves which makes our skin appear smoother. 
Steps:

  • Wrap 2 ice cubes in a fine cloth (this is to protect your skin from direct contact with the ice cubes as too much coldness can damage the skin)
  • Massage your face with it, especially the area/s with open pores
  • Do this until the ice cubes melt
  • Follow up with moisturizer to maintain the moisture on your face 

The second remedy requires two ingredients: water and apple cider vinegar (ACV). Combine these two and you will instantly have an all-natural and pore-minimizing toner!

Steps:

  • Buy a brand new cosmetic container (size is up to you, I bought mine in Watsons) or re-use an old one
  • Buy Apple Cider Vinegar, preferably organic and with the Mother. It’s available in grocery stores, priced around P300.
  • Get a cup of water
  • Depending on the size of the container, ratio of this concoction is 50%-50%

I use 50%-50% ratio but you can decide on your own as well. Just some important cautions to keep in mind when deciding the ratio:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar has a strong foul smell, some say it even smells like feet. 
  • It also leaves a stinging sensation on your face because of the vinegar.
  • Given those above, the strength of the smell and the sting will greatly depend on how much of the substance you will use to make the toner. The 50%-50% ratio is ideal and I recommend that the ACV will not go lower than 50% because the whole point of this toner is to help minimize the pores. If you think you can handle 60% ACV-40% water, then that’s good as well.

I’ve made these two pore-minimizing remedies a part of my beauty routine for around 2-3 months now and there’s decent amount of improvement. But I’ll be honest, it takes a bit too much time to do the two methods separately, especially when I’m exhausted after a long day of work. So I had this bulb-lighting moment to combine the two: freeze the ACV-water toner into ice cubes! Doing this saves time, somehow lessens the foul smell of the ACV, and overall combines the benefits of cold ice and ACV.

Just a heads-up that these two remedies are not permanent solutions for closing/minimizing pores. But practicing these methods religiously (every day for the toner and at least 5x a week for the ice cubes) will be good for at least making them appear smaller through time.

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BEAUTY REVIEWS, SKINCARE

Why Banila Co’s Clean It Zero is More Than a Make-up Remover

I’m a  big fan of K-beauty and one of my favorite things it introduced me is the great practice of double cleansing. Before I became aware of it, I simply washed my face with a single product, the widely common facial wash. I thought that was enough until I started to wear more make-up and noticed that facial wash alone isn’t sufficient to thoroughly clean my face. 


So I started scavenging the internet to find the best make-up remover and I found one of my current holy grail products: Banila Co’s Clean it Zero (Original) in Super Size. Banila Co is a Korean beauty brand whose philosophy is that for one to achieve great make up, one must have great skin and base first. They take pride in their creation of leading Korean base make up products including their Clean It Zero line, which comes in travel size and super size. Banila Co talks more about the K-Base Formula on their official website and how their products manifest their philosophy.


Clean It Zero is very popular among YouTubers and bloggers, everyone is saying how very effective it is and so I did not hesitate to get my hands on it. I ordered it from Banila Co’s official Shopee store during 11.11, the online sale craze. Fate was really on my side that time, I successfully purchased a premium and effective make up remover at a discounted price (from P1,395 to P1,186)!


It’s a soft, thick, and translucent cleansing balm that melts once you massage it on your skin. It has a refreshing mild fruity scent too, coming from the Papaya and Acerola Cherry extracts. I tried it for the first time just mere seconds since the item was delivered to my home. Yes, the reviews I read were definitely right as it quickly removed all my make up with just 2 rounds of massaging it on my face.


After drying my face, I studied the box and what’s written on it. I was even more pleasantly surprised by what I read: (1) it mildly exfoliates (2) it can be used alone or you can add water to your face while using it to emulsify and turn it into facial wash. Banila Co’s Clean It Zero isn’t just an effective make up remover, it does more than that. While most of the other cleansing balms and oils need to be followed up or supplemented by facial wash or scrubs, this product is already a make up remover AND a mild exfoliator/facial wash that thoroughly digs deep to remove dirt and grime, just add some water while using it. I was honestly puzzled why none of the reviews about this product mentioned its duality, they mainly focused on its great ability to remove make up.


This is one of my greatest purchases ever and being the first product I bought from Banila Co, it gave me a strongly positive impression of the brand and K-beauty reminded me once again why I’m a huge fan. I’ll definitely buy another one after I empty this jar!

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