Becoming Sleek

Things have been rather hectic at work for me recently and I’ve not been able to find the time to take photos for reviews. Thankfully I’m able to squeeze this review in. I got this Happy Skin Shut Up and Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippie from the birthday haul from my MIL last month. I chose the shade The Morning After because 1) I wanted to explore more nude shades 2) It seemed pretty popular with bloggers (bad reason to buy!) and 3) It was limited edition (even worse reason to buy!). If I recall correctly, this costs Php549 and I got it from the Beauty Bar branch at Eastwood.

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First of all I would like to comment that I really like the look of this tube. It is of course of the twist-up crayon type but I am quite attracted to the pink-and-silver theme. It’s slightly longer than most lipstick tubes though, so it’s a little less portable because of that. The cap also has a slight feel of it-might-come-off-in-your-bag, although I never had that actually happen.

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Let’s talk about the shade. The Morning After is described as pink-mauve with a hint of beige, mauvey-rose, and mauvey-brown by three of my favorite bloggers. It basically points to an MLBB (my lips but better) shade, and my at-the-counter-swatch showed that it would suit me. Check out my arm swatch below.

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As you can see, it comes out as pretty reddish on my arm. I think this is because my arm is a lot fairer (and yellower, I think) than my face, and pulls out a lot of red. This is two swipes of The Morning After. It’s pretty pigmented and the finish looks satiny.

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On my lips it’s a different matter. It really comes out as being pretty much pinkish mauve, and the finish leans more matte. It does accentuate some of my dry patches (upper lip).

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Other items on face: Catrice Matt Mousse Make Up in Light Beige, In2It Eyebrow PowderEllana Minerals Mesmer-Eyes Eyeshadow Quad, Pixy Waterproof Mascara, Canmake Cheek&Cheek in 07 Orange Bouquet

The formula itself is pretty good. According to the write up on their website, SUaKM Lippies have shea butter and collagen to keep lips well hydrated. Even if it is practically matte on me, I find that it doesn’t dry out my lips or exacerbate my dry patches. It lasts pretty much until you have to drink (and definitely eat), after which you will probably need to reapply.

Pros: great MLBB shade; easily available

Neutral: price

Cons: not very long-lasting; limited edition

Happy Skin is available in Beauty Bar, Plains & Prints, and Rustan’s The Beauty Source, and at their website. I have no information on Happy Skin’s stance on animal testing.

Seeing this on the blogs of other beauty bloggers, I thought I’d give it a try. The biggest difference is that mine is collected over a long period. I am not really fast in terms of consuming items, but I’m trying to be more diligent in collecting empties, and actually emptying stuff. That said, here’s my first empties post.

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It’s not really a lot, but the one I’m kind of proud of is this set of Bifesta Cleansing Lotion empty bottles. I’ve started using Bifesta approximately at the beginning of this blog, so almost two years ago. Thus far I’ve only used up three (or four, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried the Sebum variant), and I’m currently trying out a new variant, Agecare. I really like how this makeup remover performs, and will always be my go-to for that purpose. I also really like the bottles, very well made. I will be keeping a collection of empty Bifesta bottles! (Bifesta Cleansing Lotion costs Php419 and available at Watsons.)

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Next we have this Clinique 3-Step Trial Kit #2 (for dry-combination). About half a year ago I wanted to get into a good skincare habit, and decided to try Clinique. Luckily they provide a trial kit such as this, to see if it actually works for me before I commit to (huge) full size bottles. I think this set costed me something like Php950, and lasted me for about five months. Among these I really like the facial soap, but overall I think the 3-step system works for me. Unfortunately I won’t be rebuying because Clinique is not cruelty-free.

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These next two are Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 and FCUK Pure Body Spray. As far as I know, the Neutrogena one is the best facial sunscreen I’ve used so far. I might rebuy this, because I’m having no luck in my current sunscreen trials. The body spray I got from a friend, I think. I’m really pretty indifferent to fragrance, as long as it’s not too strong. I’m probably not rebuying this either. I have no idea how much either of these cost.

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Two Celeteque items are next: Celeteque Advanced Anti-aging Cleansing Oil (the old formulation) and Celeteque Hydrolyzed Moisturizing Mist. I’ve always liked the cleansing oil for removing waterproof makeup. I’m not really sad that this is phased out, as the new formulation is at least just as good if not better. The moisturizing mist is of course one of my most favorite moisturizers, especially since it’s a spray-on. It’s a tamad blogger’s best friend! It also comes in quite handy during summer. The mist costs Php350 and is available practically everywhere. I need to rebuy this, stat!

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Lastly we have another batch of samples: Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream, Shiseido Benefiance Balancing Softener, and Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream. I think I got these in various BDJ boxes last year. The eye creams were not really remarkable, which means again I’m still on the hunt for an eye cream that works for me. The softener is amazing, though, especially when applied using a sheet mask. Very luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling ultra pampered! I’m might buy full sized as soon as I determine Shiseido’s stance on animal cruelty.

There we have it! I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at discussing my empties. I’m not really sure how often I’ll get to write something like this, but I will be diligent in saving up my empties.

Here’s a bit of a personal background: I never had a pet growing up. I have vague memories of a big fluffy white dog around the backyard of my parents’ house, but I also remember that it ran away. My next “pet” was a (slightly deranged) shihtzu given to me by a “friend”, but it basically became my mom’s because I was busy studying and didn’t really spend any time with the dog. However, I’ve always believed I am a dog person. Once we decided that my daughter is ready for a pet, my husband and I bought (!) and adopted a puppy off the old sulit site. I know, I know, I should’ve just gotten a rescue, but I didn’t know better back then.

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This is Zelda, supposedly a dachsund-shihtzu hybrid. She’s been with my family for about 2.5 years now and is well integrated and well loved. I’ve been dreaming of getting more dogs, preferably the bigger breeds like labs because I love big dogs.

About three weeks ago, a stray kitten wandered into my in-laws’ house (in the same neighborhood) and decided to stay. It would have been a good arrangement, except my sister-in-law has a puppy that thinks that the kitten is a toy. The puppy would bite and maul the poor kitty like it would one of its toys. They were about the same size, so at least the kitten wasn’t too hurt. It was not going to end well though, if the kitty were to stay there, as the puppy would never take it as anything other than something to play with.

Soooooo yeah. That’s how we ended up taking the kitten and basically adopting it. We couldn’t bear the thought of just abandoning it somewhere and letting it..well, die, essentially. The difficult part is that basically none of us know how to take care of a kitten, so the internet will be my best friend for a while. I’m the primary caretaker of it, so I see it as my new baby. After several attempts of naming it, we settled on the quite unimaginative name Katkat.

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Katkat on her first night with us

As you can see, one of her eyes is unusually large. We took it to our usual vet, and learned that Katkat has several health issues. The eye is basically infected, so she is now on an antibiotic course for a week. She also has worm issues so she got a shot for that. She is also underweight, probably because she’s been a stray for a while. The positive thing is that the vet estimated her age at around 2.5 months, so she’s no longer that delicate and is definitely weaned. She’s now also on a multivitamin course, and I am instructed to increase her diet to get her weight back on track. So far so good, although it’s a daily battle whenever I have to administer her antibiotic and multivitamin.

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This is my best current photo of Katkat. Most of my other photos just feature a streak of black and white.

I thought I’m a dog person, I really did! But I can’t take my mind off my kitty, oftentimes daydreaming about her and her funny antics. And I even dreamt that I stumbled upon another stray, and consequently adopting that too! The vet was not any help either, saying that this is how it all starts, and related her own story of adopting strays that now amounted to a total of 16 cats! Frankly I’m still in denial that I actually have a cat. What I don’t deny is that I’ve fallen in love with her! <3

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Today I want to talk to you about skincare, specifically my current night routine. I changed it up a bit to try some new items/steps that I haven’t done before or haven’t been doing regularly.

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Makeup removers

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This is actually where I’m rotating several things to try them out, but Bifesta has been my mainstay for some time. I am about to try out the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion Agecare variant because I want to focus on anti-aging. The other items I’m trying are Nippon Makeup Remover Lotion, Celeteque Advanced Anti-Aging Cleansing Oil, and Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover. I’m pretty excited about that last one since I’ve been waiting forever for a good (yet affordable) bi-phase remover for those stubborn waterproof eye makeup.

Cleanser

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My new cleanser is ZA Perfect Solution Cleansing Foam (from The Beauty Junkee giveaway loot). It’s my first time using a cleansing foam and I’m having so much fun with it! I love lather and it only requires the tiniest of the product to make enough lather for my whole face. I feel really clean and actually moisturized after washing my face with this.

Toner

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This is the only one that I haven’t changed. I’ve been using Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner for quite some time and it’s still my favorite toner by far. I don’t really use it every night, only on nights when I’m feeling extra clogged. I bought this big bottle way back last year (!!) and I’m not really even halfway through it!

Essence/Serum

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This is the new step I’ve introduced to my routine. I’ve decided to really focus on a consistent and complete night routine so I’ve added the essence/serum step (from the Korean and Japanese multistep skincare routines). I chose Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence because collagen is something I associate with anti-aging. I’m so far liking it, and the packaging feels pretty luxe with that glass bottle. I plan to write a full review of this once I’ve used it for a few months.

Eye Cream

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This is where I’m the most inconsistent. I only put on eye cream when I happen to remember it! Right now my eye cream on rotation is a sample tub of Clinique All About Eyes. It’s not particularly remarkable, and I guess I’m still on the hunt for a good eye cream that I’ll feel connected to.

Cream

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The cream I have started trying is the partner of my cleanser. It’s ZA Perfect Solution Restoring Collagen Cream (also from TBJ gift pack). I love how it ties in with the Etude House collagen line. The bright metallic pink cap is also quite unique. The cream itself is pretty thick and heavy, which makes me be thankful that it comes at the end (usually) of my routine. It basically seals in everything I just piled on. It can be a bit stifling in hot weather but at least recently it’s been getting colder.

Sleeping Pack

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I’ve tried one other sleeping pack (Laneige) and loved it, which is why I decided to get the essence’s partner in the same line. Etude House Moistfull Collagen Sleeping Pack is just that: the sleeping pack part of the routine. It’s pretty gel-like in consistency, and doesn’t really feel bad atop the cream as it’s almost weightless. It’s also not meant to be used nightly; maybe twice a week at most. The main difference between this and the Laneige Sleeping Pack is that the EH one needs to be rinsed off the following morning. I haven’t even used any in the tub yet as I’m using up the product stuck on the lid! This is going to last me a loooong time!

Miscellaneous

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These are just for specific items that I use for specific issues (which isn’t nightly, thank goodness!). Belo AcnePro Pimple Gel for the occasional flare ups; VMV Id Monolaurin Gel for the more serious acne; and VMV Grandma Minnie’s Booboo Balm for, well, booboos! These are used only on an as-needed basis.

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There we have it! It may seem like a pretty tedious process, and it is, but I want to really dedicate some time in my evenings for skin care. I’m already in my 30s and it’s about time I start on a serious anti-aging regimen. Did you try any of these products? I would love to hear your thoughts!

First, an aside on hauls: I don’t really post my hauls anymore, mostly for two reasons. One is that I don’t really haul new things lately (I’m on a spend “ban”!), and two, sometimes I think that maybe my haul posts are pretty boring. I would just review the items I bought that I think is worth reviewing. What do you think?

Moving on to more exciting things! Ever since I saw V’s post about Catrice being available here in the Philippines, I’ve always wanted to try finding it. I spent a miserable two months stalking SM Makati and Watsons Greenbelt 1 but no signs of Catrice. About a week ago I happened to be in SM North The Block and of course I dropped by Watsons there (mostly to buy other things tbh; my Bifesta needed replenishment). Lo and behold, I finally found a Catrice counter!! Given that I was on a strict budget and I wasn’t really planning on finding Catrice there, I limited myself to one item. Believe me, that was pretty hard, I wanted to buy things like eyeshadows and nail polish!

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With the help of the Catrice SA, I selected this pretty interesting base called Matt Mousse Make Up. It’s supposed to be a sort of cream foundation that sets into a powder finish. Quite an interesting idea! I swatched it on my arm and personally witnessed this transformation. The SA insisted that the lightest shade was the one that fit me best; the next one seemed indeed a little too dark. The price sealed the deal: it was only Php379 (or something like that; basta below 400)! I got the shade 011 Light Beige.

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My sister-in-law was with me at the time, and said that it looked quite similar to Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, which I never tried. Catrice Matt Mousse Make Up claims to result to even finish and invisible pores and lines. I immediately tested it out as soon as I got home. And several more times in the next few days!

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I really love how this feels on the face! It’s very cushy, and quite pleasurable to apply because of the cream-to-powder aspect. There’s a sort of play factor going on that makes putting foundation on quite fun. The biggest downside I can see is of course the glass tub. I just make sure that I use clean fingers when applying this. I have not tried using a brush (because I have no idea what kind of brush to use) or sponge.

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Above is the arm swatch, first just a swipe. It’s very thick but airy.

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Then the blended. It looks a bit too pink and dark here on my arm, which means either my arms are too fair or I put on too much product. Let’s see how it looks on my face.

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Here’s my bare face.

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And here’s one layer of Catrice Matt Mousse Make Up. Ok now it seems too light? I don’t know what’s going on anymore. I can work with this though, and again I really like how it feels on the skin. I also used it here on my lids as a primer; you can see the yellowish tint on my bare lids practically disappear.

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Here’s my face with the rest of my makeup on. Maybe it needed a bit of setting in, but I think here it looks much closer to my original skin tone. How did it perform on the pores and lines? It did do some blurring action but did not completely cover them.  Perhaps if I put on another layer it would cover them some more.

Other items on face: Ellana Minerals Eyebrow/Eyeshadow Quad (brows), Ellefar Princess Eyeshadow Quad (lids), Pixy Waterproof Mascara (lashes), Daiso Special! Mix Cheek Powder in Magic Color (cheeks), Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Laguna Beach (lips)

Catrice is happily cruelty-free! At their price I think this is going to be my go-to drugstore makeup brand! The Matt Mousse Make Up is Php379 (I think) for 16 grams of product.

Pros: cruelty-free; very affordable; matte foundation; relatively long lasting

Cons: glass tub; limited availability for now

It will be my second Blogapalooza in a row! This year is going to be bigger and with different brands reaching out to bloggers. I’ll be dropping by probably sometime in the afternoon, hopefully just in time for a couple of the featured talks. Are you going? Let me know!

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See what went down at Blogapalooza 2013 here.

Quite an almost-alliteration! Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Laguna Beach is unabashedly my favorite in the Flawless Beauty Glamourbox that was recently released. I love Ofra lipsticks and have always lemmed for the liquid lipsticks available at Glamourbox Boutique. You won’t believe just how excited I was when I saw this inside the subbie box (there was some squealing involved)!

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The lipstick came in a black box with a little window to show you the shade, and the actual tube is a transparent one with a black cap. The shade name is clearly written on the tube.

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The wand itself is just a doe foot applicator. It’s adequate enough to apply the lipstick onto the lips, but is not a very good one for defining the cupid’s bow. For better application, I would recommend using a lip brush. [Pardon this shot. For some reason the macro setting focused on the tube instead of the wand.]

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Here again is the arm swatch. From this and the product color on the wand we can see that Laguna Beach is some sort of peachy pink/plum sort of shade.

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Let’s move on to the lip swatches! Here is a comparison of bare lips and one with Laguna Beach.

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It looks a lot muted here than what the arm swatch suggests. Here’s a closer look at the lips.

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Upon closer inspection, Laguna Beach is actually a pretty pale pink. As it is a liquid lipstick, there needs to be a little bit of wait time for the lipstick to dry and settle. It dries matte, but unfortunately has a tendency to emphasize the lip lines. To test the longevity of it, I took another photo after four hours and a meal (Brightest Bulb in a Box‘s lipstick longevity test).

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It’s still somewhat there but a little faded, and is a lot more evident on the outer edges of my lips. I would say that this is fairly long lasting, as long as you don’t eat or drink so much. It is still a pretty interesting lipstick for me (my second liquid one, but my most used so far!). Did I mention it smells so good? It has a very appealing vanilla pastry scent that makes me want to buy cupcakes. This costs a pretty steep Php950, but it has 8 grams of product (usual lipstick tubes contain 3.5-4 grams). Ofra Cosmetics is a cruelty-free company.

Disclaimer: I buy Glamourboxes with my own money. I am not required to write this post.

 

Welcome to my very first mascara review! I really wasn’t sure if my current camera can handle such close up details as lashes, but I gave it a go and see if it’s acceptable. The one I’m choosing to review is my current favorite mascara: Clinique Lash Power Mascara.

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As you may have noticed this looks like a pretty short tube for a mascara. This is a sample-sized mascara that I received in the Clinique workshop loot bag (which is basically a bonus time tin) I attended a few months ago. This only has 2.5ml of product, compared to the 5.5ml of the full-sized tube. The shade that I got is Black Onyx.

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The brush is one of the things I really like about this mascara. It’s thinner than most mascara wands I’ve encountered, and the bristles are short. I prefer this kind of brush because it’s less likely for me to poke my eye while applying mascara. The formula, on the other hand, is rather thick and goopy. I would usually scrape off the extra product back into the tube before applying it to my lashes.

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The other thing I really like about this mascara is the fact that it really lengthens the lashes, although just slightly. I think that was kind of the point since the tag line of the product is “mascara extension visible”. It lengthens my lashes and brings enough volume to make my lashes look visible, but does not make it look like I’m all tricked out with mascara. Subtle is nice especially for everyday use. It also seems to aid in curling the lashes, looking at the photo below. I didn’t use any lash curlers here.

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It’s also pretty long wearing and almost waterproof. I rarely get mascara runs even when I accidentally get rained on, or if I get teary-eyed. On the other hand it’s pretty easy to remove with either Bifesta or a cleansing oil.

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I’m not really sure how much the full size of Clinique Lash Power Mascara costs. I was planning on getting a full sized tube of this when I run out of the sample, but unfortunately Clinique is sold in China which means they are probably not cruelty-free.

Pros: short-bristled thin brush; long wearing and almost waterproof; easy to remove; results in subtly-enhanced lashes

Cons: thick and goopy consistency; not cruelty-free

 

Hot on the heels of the Beauties and Babies box, Glamourbox releases a new box with the theme Flawless Beauty! I am pretty excited to receive that box honestly because I was expecting a particular brand to be featured due to the theme. Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?

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As mentioned, the theme is Flawless Beauty. This box aims to provide us with flaw-fixers and restore us to our natural beauty.

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Read on to find out what’s inside!

Read the rest of this entry »

One (well, three) of the things I received during the Pixy launch is a set of three lipsticks, one each of their three lipstick lines. Today I’m here to show you the products and the swatches.

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This is going to be very image-heavy, so be warned. Read on for the swatches!

Read the rest of this entry »

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