Becoming Sleek

One of my favorite booths at the recently concluded Blogapalooza 2014 was the one by Flawless. Their booth people are friendly, and the activity was short but fun. After registering at the booth, participants are given three standard darts to try and pop “zits” (balloons). I think each successful pop will net you a loot bag. Something better will probably happen if you were able to pop balloons with all three of your darts. I got two, so I got two loot bags. Each loot bag contained full sizes of the Flawless Stem Cell line’s Day Cream and Night Serum.

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Let’s first take a look at the Day Cream. It comes in a white-and-silver theme as with the whole Stem Cell line I think.

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The list of ingredients as well as manufacturer information are printed at the back. It also indicates here that the tub contains 15 grams of product. It is made in the Philippines, which is always a good thing in my book. The expiry information is found at the bottom of the tub (not pictured).

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When you open it up there is a plastic protecting inner lid before you see the actual product. This keeps things hygienic, although of course it always helps if your hands are clean before applying this.

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After removing the inner lid you’ll see the actual day cream. This is one of the densest and firmest creams I’ve ever tried. Both of my tubs of day cream have this consistency. It makes it a little hard to apply onto the face, but it warms and softens up when applied with fingers. I have only used it for maybe a week so I haven’t seen any big improvements yet, but it does keep my face moisturized.

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Now we come to the Night Serum. Again it comes in that same packaging theme of white-and-silver. This is actually just a plastic bottle but it looks more luxe than it feels.

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Ingredients and manufacturing information are at the back. This contains 15ml of product.

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What I like about this bottle is the pump mechanism. The pump itself is depressed into the tube, and you can reveal it by twisting the upper portion until the pump emerges. At that point you can use it the usual way that pumps are used. It does have a tendency to twist back down, so one has to be careful with that.

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Here is a tiny amount of serum. It has a good consistency, not very watery nor too thick either. I use this with my night routine, after the Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence, but before the ZA Perfect Solution Restoring Collagen Cream. I like how this feels on my skin, but it takes a bit of time absorbing compared to Japanese/Korean products.

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Here is the same serum, blended. This is the stage where it’s newly smoothened out on the skin and not yet absorbed.

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These products is available at Flawless beauty centers and at their website.

I’m definitely obsessed with eyebrows recently, and I’m trying very hard not to accumulate too many eyebrow products as I only have two brows! One of my recent acquisitions in one of my moments of weakness is this Daiso Japan Eyebrow Pencil. Actually, I’m not quite sure if that is the brand of this pencil, as for some reason I threw away its packaging. Absent-minded blogger moment there.

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It’s a very simple product really. It’s an eyebrow pencil in a brown shade basically. The pencil is pink with brown dots, and it has a silver cap. I really like the tiny rose detail. It reflects what I usually associate with Japanese products, the cuteness.

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At the back is some stuff written in Japanese. The interesting part here is that this pencil has 1.7 grams of product (which may or may not include the actual wood of the pencil itself), and that it’s made in Korea.

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The pencil tip itself looks like any regular writing pencil. It has a hard “lead” that works pretty well with brows. It’s not an automatic pencil, which means it has to be sharpened with a sharpener when it loses that nice pointy tip.

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This arm swatch doesn’t give it justice, I think. Here it looks like it’s yet another light brown shade, which will probably not suit the brows of someone with undyed hair.

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On my brows though it’s another matter. It looks pretty dark and actually matches my hair color. It’s quite easy to use as well, and scratches the lazy girl itch handily. Good eyebrow pencils can draw and complete the brow the fastest (compared to eyebrow powders and mascaras). On a lazy day I’ll just draw a hasty brow and put on a lip balm and I’m out the door in five minutes! Quite convenient really.

This pencil set me back by just Php85.

Pros: convenient; very affordable; matches my hair color

Cons: needs to be sharpened; unknown brand

Daiso Japan has many branches! The one I’m most familiar with are Glorietta 3, Robinson’s Galleria, and Trinoma. Connect with them at their Facebook page and Twitter.

A short and sweet giveaway brought to us by the wonderful folk at Jergens (Vibelle)!

Photo shown does not indicate the actual prize pack

Photo shown does not indicate the actual prize pack

Mechanics are simple:

1. Tweet the following with the included hashtag. You can tweet as many times as you like.

@becomingsleek and @jergens_vibelle are giving away a Jergens Gift Pack! http://becomingsleek.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/win-a-jergens-gift-pack/ #BecomingSleekxJergensPH

2. Comment below your name, email address, and twitter handle.

Rules:

Contest runs from today until October 20 midnight Manila time. The winner will be randomly drawn. I will be announcing the winner on this blog as well as on the Becoming Sleek facebook and twitter pages once I evaluate the entries, and will be notified through the provided email address. She/he will be given 24 hours to respond after which I will draw another winner. Readers 18 years old and above are allowed to join. Jergens/Vibelle will ship the prize to the winner. Philippine addresses only!

This year I got the chance to once again attend Blogapalooza. This year was bigger, with a lot of participating brands, and a mind boggling 700 participating bloggers and social media experts. Blogapalooza is a Business-to-Blogger event that aims to provide brands with direct access to bloggers and their readers. It happened last October 11 at the SMX Convention Center at SM Aura.

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Read on to find out more about what went down at Blogapalooza 2014!

Read the rest of this entry »

Are you familiar with Jergens lotion? If you’re like me, you probably grew up with some variant of Jergens lying around your house. My mom is a huge fan of this brand as it’s very mild and yet quite moisturizing. I took after her and started using Jergens starting from my teens. I’ve tried other brands of course, but there’s nothing like the “basics” to get my skin back to its youthful glow without getting my sensitive skin worked up.

This is why I didn’t hesitate to take up the 7-Day Challenge that Vibelle set up! It was a very intriguing activity and I was even more pumped when I received my challenge kit (below). I will be updating this post with the challenge for the day and what I did. Keep your eyes peeled!

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Mission 1: Radiate beauty from within

I am so tickled with the “Mission” part! It really feels like I’m some sort of secret agent! Anyway, this mission is to radiate beauty from within by sharing the bottle of Jergens lotion from the challenge kit with a complete stranger. I will be completely honest: this is probably one of the hardest things I can be challenged with. I have big stranger anxiety and I couldn’t find a good way to approach a stranger for this challenge. I did the next best thing: I gave my bottle of Jergens lotion to the person in the office I feel the least connection to.

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Meet Sheila. She is the company cleaning lady. I chose her because 1) I feel that I don’t know her that much and 2) this is a great way to appreciate her work, with a gift. I shyly asked if she would be okay accepting the gift and posing for a picture. As you can see, she was quite ecstatic to receive it, and was a quite tickled with having her picture taken. I’m happy I chose her; it seemed to have made her day!

Mission 2: LEFT vs RIGHT

Today’s mission is to compare skin that has Jergens applied on versus skin that is bare. I used the Jergens Ultra Healing lotion provided in the challenge kit. This lotion has an illuminating Hydralucence blend and Vitamins C, E, and B5 to address extra dry skin. This is actually my go-to Jergens variant, and I felt quite nostalgic when I took in that familiar clean scent.

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As you can see here (click the photo for a larger version!), my left arm (where I applied the Jergens Ultra Healing) is very luminous, alive, and smooth-looking. In contrast my bare right arm looks really tired and absolutely dry. I really love how immediately obvious the effects of the lotion is by making my skin look more alive.

Mission 3: Keep Hydrated

This mission sounds pretty straightforward: using the tumbler included in the challenge kit, drink water and take a photo of the tumbler every time it gets refilled. Hydration is the name of the game! Keeping hydrated is a great way to hydrate the skin which will then result into healthier and more glowing skin. I, however, found it quite the challenge! Firstly I couldn’t figure out how to put timestamping on my camera, so I just.. put my watch next to my tumbler. The second and more difficult challenge is not drinking anything else for this day! I’m not a soda drinker by any means, but I am an avid coffee drinker. I could not properly function without a cup, but I took the challenge and drank only water! Here are my photos.

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I didn’t really think it was difficult to drink water, since I drink a lot of water everyday. The challenge of not drinking anything else (coffee in particular!) had me stumped, and to be honest it did affect my mood for most of the afternoon. I felt lethargic and irritable at the same time, which made me realize just how dependent I am to that drink. My skin, on the other hand, never felt so nice with all the extra water I’ve been drinking. I am loving how many insights I am getting with these challenges!

Mission 4: Nurture Relationships

This mission took a while to execute because of some logistics issues. I am tasked to take out my mom or my best girl pal on a surprise dinner at Cabalen care of Jergens. Unfortunately my mom is out of the country at the moment, and my gal pals are not available. I took my best friend out instead.

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It just so happens that I married my best friend! My husband and I have been together for 14 years (gasp!) and married for 9. One of our favorite things to bond over is food, so this mission just seemed so apt. We had a great time at dinner as usual, and I definitely appreciate this chance to try out Cabalen. Thank you Jergens!

Mission 5: Make Someone Smile

Jergens would like you to smile! They are graciously giving away a Jergens gift pack through Becoming Sleek. Click here for the actual giveaway and you might win yourself a Jergens gift pack!

Win a Jergens gift pack!

Mission 6: Healthy Habits

This mission gives me the opportunity to share with you one of my favorite healthy recipes that includes an ingredient good for the skin. I’m supposed to share a family recipe but I don’t have many of those (my mom isn’t the cooking type unfortunately). I learned this recipe on my own, as with most of the recipes I know. I got this from a book called Just Bento, and I even published a blog post way back when I was still doing food blogging. This recipe of Stewed Chicken and Carrots contain, well, carrots! Carrots have beta carotene, which gives us Vitamin A and is also an antioxidant, both are good for the skin. Without further ado, here is the recipe! PS: This was copied word for word from my food blog, Baon Ko Bento.

Stewed Chicken and Carrots

Basic tsukune, modified

  • 600 grams ground chicken
  • 1 finely grated medium carrrot
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg minus a bit of egg white
  • 3-4 tbs cornstarch

I just dumped everything into a bowl and mixed them all up until they resemble a very smooth but slightly wet paste. I didn’t have any ginger on hand (the original recipe calls for about half a tablespoon of it) so I simply omitted it.  I don’t know what was wrong with my ground chicken, but it does look like it’s too wet to hold solid when dropped into the broth. Anyway, once I had the chicken mixture ready, I mixed up the broth.

Broth

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbs sake
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2 1/2 tbs dark soy sauce
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into small pieces

I just put the broth ingredients into a large sauce pan, brought it to a boil, and dropped teaspoonfuls of the chicken mixture into the hot broth. I was expecting it to all fall apart once it hit the liquid, but to my surprise it stuck together. I left it to boil for around 15 minutes, and turned off the heat.

Here is how it looks like when done. I really love this because it’s quite easy to make, and you can put as much carrots as you want in it. It also keeps well in a baon container and reheats nicely in a microwave. Back when I was still bringing baon to work this was one of my favorite things to make.

Mission 7: The Finish Line

I can’t believe I’m at the finish line of this very interesting challenge! Today I am supposed to take a similar full-body photo of me three months ago, and compare it to a similar one today. Here’s my comparison photo.

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It wasn’t really my intention but it turns out I wore the same shirt even. I really like how my skin looks more radiant and feels more smooth with the constant use of Jergens Ultra Healing Lotion. I also feel more confident after completing this challenge. Thank you Jergens and Vibelle for letting me participate!

Connect with Jergens on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by simply clicking on the links I’ve provided.

One of the recent things I’ve been testing is K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow Mascara in Natural Brown. I got this in reaction to Maybelline Fashion Brow Brow Mascara – I thought its brush was too big for my brows. I got interested in this product by reading fellow bloggers’ reviews, and the reviews were mainly positive. This costs Php595 and is available at Beauty Bar.

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The tube is short and squat and clear, showing the actual shade of the product. The cap is a nondescript black that holds the wand. The name of the product is clearly printed in gold.

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The shade number is printed on the opposite side. 102 here refers to the darker of the two available shades: Natural Brown.

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Here’s a close up of the wand. This is the main reason I got this. It has a very small oval brush.

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Here’s a profile shot of the wand tip. You can see that the bristles are pretty short. They are also quite stiff, and is perfect to apply the mascara onto the brows.

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Here’s an arm swatch. The left is a single swipe while the right is kind of smudged, the kind I imagine it would look like on the brows.

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And here it is on my brows. As you can see it seems to keep my brow hairs firmly in place and look really well groomed. I am wearing the K-Palette Brow Mascara over In2It Eyebrow Powder.

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Upon closer inspection, Natural Brown actually still is quite too light for me.

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In conclusion: I really like this product, even if it’s a bit too light on me. I am hoping that K-Palette releases a darker shade soon!

Pros: keeps brow hairs in place; correctly-sized brush; cruelty-free

Cons: shade still too light

K-Palette is cruelty-free, and is available at Beauty Bar.

 

 

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!

Who is Becoming Sleek?

A Filipino blogger interested in all things makeup, skincare, and nail polish. She may or may not also be interested in crafting, cats, and food.

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