Becoming Sleek

Archive for January 2013

One of my most anticipated products that I received in my Dec-Jan BDJ Box is the Flormar Supershine Nail Enamel (Php99). The shade I received is 320. I was finally able to find the time to swatch it. Here’s the bottle. I like that it has a grooved shape to make it easier to unscrew.

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The brush is not bad.

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Shade 320 is a lovely dark rose and can be considered office appropriate.

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Here’s the swatch for the first layer:

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Second layer:

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Finally, this is the final appearance when the top coat is added:

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Pros: inexpensive; office-appropriate; non-cylindrical cap makes it easy to unscrew; scent is not overwhelming

Cons: shade might not be considered “youthful”

Sample Room recently released a whole slew of organic products. I immediately went and got myself a bunch of stuff. This is my third time ordering from Sample Room, but my first one getting multiple products. The first two times were Benefit Porefessional and Laneige Water Sleeping Pack.

Since I was able to fit three products into this shipment (SR allows a maximum of three items per order), I received this tall paper bag.

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The single-item packages usually came in a paper bag half the size of this one. What’s inside? Take a look:

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From left to right: Venus and Mars Smooch Lip Detox Lip Butter Balm with SPF15, Venus and Mars Mineral Eyeshadow in Halo, and Moringa O2 Malunggay Herbal Moisturizing Lotion

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Here’s the Lip Balm. It comes in a tiny screwtop plastic tub (about the size of a peso coin). The balm smells kind of minty.

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Here’s the Mineral Eyeshadow. The shade Halo is a bright emerald green with shimmers.

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Finally here’s the Malunggay Lotion. It’s actually full sized, which is why the package was rather heavy. It came sealed in plastic, so I was not able to take an experimental sniff.

Reviews of each item will be posted once I have used them sufficiently to form an opinion.

What is a KeepCup? It’s basically a reusable coffee cup, but what distinguishes it from the rest is that it is barista-standard. This means that you can give this to your regular coffeeshop barista, and he/she would be able to fit it under the standard espresso spouts. It also fits in standard cup holders. As a bonus, it comes in exciting colors!

I won my KeepCup from House of Flair‘s holiday contest in Facebook. I could not believe my luck! This is such a perfect item for the coffee addict that I am. It comes in an eye-catching purple-and-red color scheme. Check it out:

KeepCup in box

KeepCup in box

Check out these colors!

Check out these colors!

Close up of lid

Close up of lid

House of Flair is KeepCup’s official distributor here in the Philippines. This is a medium size cup (12oz/340ml) and goes for $14 in KeepCup’s store. For HoF’s pricing, check here. [EDIT: HoF’s KeepCups repriced to Php850! Check out their on hand stock here.] It can fit a Tall-sized Starbucks drink.

And to Starbucks I did go for my buena mano drink, just a regular latte. It looks really good with my Cup!

First cuppa!

First cuppa! (And yes that’s Chocnut in the background..)

Pros: very chic and unique; environment-friendly; barista-standard and fits standard cup holders; lightweight

Cons: a little expensive

As you may have gathered by now, I’m now a nail polish addict. I can’t wait for the next bloc of time I can use to change my nail color, and I look forward to finally trying out nail art. I decided that since I’m going to be doing this for some time, and while I am keeping to the cheaper polishes for now, I need to invest in good tools to maintain my nails. I’ve been hearing raves on this product, and since Digital Traincase is so conveniently selling them, I decided to splurge on it. It costs Php300 for one glass file of your chosen color (green for me!).

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Swissco Glass File in packing container

It comes in a nice plastic tube to protect it. And for added protection, Digital Traincase wrapped the bundle tightly with bubble wrap to ensure that the glass file will not break in transit. It IS glass, after all. It arrived whole and undamaged. The file is one-sided only, with just smooth glass on the side with the Swissco brand.

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Swissco Glass File – unpacked

Swissco Glass File - filing tip

Swissco Glass File – filing tip

Swissco Glass File - handle end and branding

Swissco Glass File – handle end and branding

Tips for use: File only in one direction; do not file in a back-and-forth saw-like motion. Give a quick clean using running water. For added measure, give it a swipe of alcohol. Dry with a clean cloth.

Swissco Glass File - glass back

Swissco Glass File – glass back

Conclusion: I think this is a very good investment. As long as I don’t drop and break this, I would not ever need to buy a nail file anymore. It’s very easy to clean, and it comes with its own protective container.

My first haul post! I am so excited! I was finally able to get my shopping done this week, and I got the following:

Three San San nail polishes from HBC, Php37 each. Shades: Amethyst, Arctic Green, and Lavender Blush. I needed a purple polish to go with my cocktail dress that I wore to a wedding. I bought two shades of purple just to be safe. I’ll be putting up the swatches soon.

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Lemony Flutter Cuticle Cream from Lush, Php450; Lander Nail Polish Remover from Landmark, Php129.75; Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream from Landmark, Php164.75. As I have developed a rather serious hobby in nail painting, I decided I should be willing to invest in products that will help protect my nails. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations from other lacqueristas for Lemony Flutter, and I’m glad to have found some tubs in the Trinoma branch of Lush. I am also about to run out of my Caronia nail polish remover, so I grabbed this bottle of of Lander. I’ve also gotten raves about the Smoothy Cream, used as a moisturizer. I can’t wait to try this out.

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Elf Brightening Eyeshadows, Php129.75; Fanny Serrano Dark Brown Eyebrow Pencil, Php65; Artist Studio Concealer Brush, Php49.75; all from Landmark Trinoma. I wanted more neutral eyeshadow colors to play with, so I grabbed this neutral palette from the Elf counter. I also broke my Nichido eye pencil, so I decided to try out a new brand. Lastly, I’m trying to complete a set of makeup brushes, and I decided to get a concealer brush for now.

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White plastic trays from Landmark Trinoma, 3 for Php49.75. I needed something to organize the small mess that is my makeup collection. These trays are cheap enough, and small enough to fit my dresser/shelf.

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I can’t wait to try them all out! Hopefully I can get things properly documented so you can see some of these reviewed here.

In my last post I featured the nude shade of Color Trends. I would like to show you the swatches of the other two shades I bought. All of these are the same price of Php20, and can be bought at Shopwise.

This is Color Trends 112:

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The 112 is a very light red (or perhaps a deep pink). I only have two shots of the 112 as I was in a hurry that day. It still has the same creamy consistency and an unremarkable brush.

This other one is Color Trends 133:

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The 133 is a darker red shade. Again, it has the same consistency and brush as the other two.

What do you think of Color Trends?

One of the most needed tools of someone who uses nail polish is a good and reliable neutral shade – something that’s not loud, something that’s office-appropriate, and something that works. As I am just starting out in the lacquer world, I tried out two inexpensive brands for my neutral candidates.

First up: Caronia’s Touch of Tan. I found this in Shopwise for Php47.

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Caronia is a pretty solid polish brand, and I have no doubts that this will perform well. The brush and formula are both good and serviceable. Let’s move on to the swatch.

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It’s not a bad shade, and it seems to match my skin tone well. Topped with Caronia’s Top Coat, it was initially glossy but after it dried it turned semi-matte for some reason. I have no problems with that, except I would prefer either a full matte or a full glossy.

The second brand I tried is a rather unknown brand, Colour Trends. I found this also in Shopwise, for an almost unbelievable price of just Php20! It’s not as small as the other Php20 brand I previously featured (Sassy) and I deemed it cheap enough to buy three or four bottles of it (different shades). Unfortunately the brand seems to have only numbers to denote their shades. The one I used for this neutral test is 117.

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I love the formula of the 117 Colour Trends! It comes on creamy and glides on smoothly. The brush wasn’t remarkable. Here is the swatch:

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Compared to Touch of Tan, 117 is a bit less brown and more yellowish. Topped with the same top coat, it came out glossy. I like this shade more than Touch of Tan, mostly because it stands out a bit more out of my fingers. The fact that it’s fully glossy also adds to this preference. The price is the cream on top. I intend to find more bottles of this!

To conclude this post, I think I found two serviceable neutrals. I do like 117 better, but Touch of Tan still has a place in my collection.

It’s been a long time coming, but finally the December-January BDJBox is here! According to their twitter account, there has been some delay in the processing of their boxes that is not of their doing. As they have been very forthcoming with information about the delay, I don’t really mind it. It’s just been hard to keep the excitement in check! They decided to call this the Dec-Jan box, because I assume this is supposed to have been sent as the December box, but was shipped out in January.

Now on to the unboxing!

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The box of course is the same as my November BDJ box. The nice surprise of this package is the included BDJ Forget-Me-Not Ideas Journal, which is a good-quality notepad with dotted lines instead of the usual solid lines. This notepad is the BDJ team’s way of apologizing for the delay of the December box, which was a pretty nice touch and much appreciated. I would definitely be able to use this for work.

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Upon opening the box, the usual welcome card will greet you. This box’s theme is “Beauty for the Better”. A set of five stickers is also included, each saying “I am beautiful in my own way.” It’s a pretty nice and empowering reminder, and I am definitely putting this next to my november sticker. The box itself holds an enticing bunch of products that I can’t wait to try. As a quick aside, this box feels a little less packed than the november box.

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Full size – 250ml – Php259 (erratum on welcome card)

The first product that will leap out at you is this big bottle of Pantene Pro-V All Day Smooth Miracle Water. It’s obviously full sized. It’s supposed to be similar to a leave-on conditioner wherein you apply this after your bath, and you leave the product on afterwards. I took a quick sniff and was pleased to find a nice scent. I am definitely looking forward to giving this a shot.

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Full size – Php349

The next two items had me tickled. They are both from a brand called Flormar, which the welcome card says is a Turkish brand. This first one is Flormar Longwearing Lipstick, and it’s in a nice shade of delicious pink! I’m very glad they gave me a pink shade, as I’m more likely to go around with pink lips than with red ones. One of the bloggers I follow, Yette, received a red shade.

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Full size – Php99

The second product from Flormar is this Supershine Nail Enamel. A nail polish! I get a nice lipstick, and a nail polish from the same brand! It looks like an appropriate shade of pinkish-red polish that I can wear to the office too. I am already liking this box a lot. Just a side note again, Yette received a blue polish.

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Full size – Php149

I got a second lip product in this box in the form of Snoe Beauty Beso Balm. I’ve always wanted to try out the Snoe brand since I seem to see a lot of raves for it. What perfect timing! It also has very humorous warning for use: “Prolonged use may attract opposite gender and cause intense flirting.” I took an experimental sniff, and immediately liked the scent – a sort of pepperminty smell. Both this and the Flormar lipstick immediately found their way into my purse.

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Sample size – 150ml – Php628 each in full size

After Php750 worth of full-sized products, we now come to the sample-sized ones. The first one to catch my attention is this Etude House Moistfull Collagen Trial Kit (Emulsion and Freshner). I was quite taken with the review of the Wonder Pore line from Liz of Project Vanity, but was never able to find the opportunity to see for myself. This seems to be a great way to try out a similar product, which also helps tighten pores according to the welcome card. I know it looks like a single pack, but it has two tubes inside it.

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Sample size – 5ml – Php3640 for full size 200ml

Next is a Pevonia Botanica Phyto Gel Cleanser. I’ve heard good things about Pevonia, which is a premium brand judging from the price of the full sized product. Unfortunately I am still in the process of trying out the Shiseido facial cleanser from the november box, so it will probably take some time before I can test out this Pevonia cleanser.

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Sample size – 1.2ml – Php3398 for full size 50ml

Lastly we have a sampler of Britney Spears Radiance Fragrance. To be honest I’m not really a fan of celebrity scents; I couldn’t see the point of it. This is in addition to not being a fan of perfume to start with, so I wasn’t really very thrilled to see this included in the box. The smell coming from the sample tube isn’t that bad though, so I should probably give it a chance.

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Sample size – Php548 for full size 80g

But wait! There’s more! BDJ included bonus samplers (which they also did in the november box actually, but I wasn’t able to mention it in my unboxing). In this case both samplers are from Tony Moly, another Korean beauty brand. This first one is a couple of samples of Tomatox Magic White Massage Pack. I had wanted to see what a “massage pack” is, but the writing at the back of the samplers are in Hangul.

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Sample size – 3g – Php478 for full size 200ml

The second Tony Moly sampler is Broccoli Sprout Cleansing Cream. Unfortunately it’s another facial cleansing cream, and I already have a long line of things to try. It looks pretty interesting though, being broccoli-based. I hope to find time to try this out.

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A BDJ box is incomplete without the generous inclusion of vouchers: 1. L’Oreal X-tenso Moisturist (Php2000 off) and Inoa Hair Color Services (Php1000 off) redeemable at Azta Urban Salons, expires end of Feb; 2. Browhaus Php500 cash voucher; 3. Tony Moly 10% off Skin Care Voucher, expires end of Jan; 4. Etude House 10% off Skin Care Voucher, expires end of Jan. I can see myself using either the Tony Moly or the Etude House vouchers, since I really like playing with Korean beauty products.

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My impressions of the Dec-Jan box: I am happy to see that even though they are running late, BDJ is still able to deliver a kick-ass box. There are no signs of decline in quality of products and brand choice. I’m hoping that this is just a snag caused by the holiday rush, and it’s not going to turn into a habit.

I’m also pleased to feel the degree of personalization in each box, which I am supposing came from the choices I picked in the BDJ quiz. Last month only the Yuka nail polish removers had variations, while this month the Flormar lipstick and nail polish shades vary depending on your choices.

I will definitely buy the succeeding boxes. I am impressed with the team’s choices of products, making me feel that they really put care and thought into the boxes.

It’s said that Emerald Green is the Pantone color of 2013. I thought that putting it on my nails is a great way to celebrate it. I found this new brand of polish in Watsons for only Php20, by far the cheapest polish I’ve seen. Let’s see if it’s any good.

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It didn’t exactly have a color name, so I’ll just say it’s emerald green. I used again my Caronia base and top coats.

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I used two coats here. It’s a little streaky, but putting two coats seem to have fixed it. Adding the top coat made it a bit glossier.

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Here’s another view. Not a bad shade of green, I think. As to the Sassy brand of polish, the quality of polish mostly reflects its price. It’s very streaky, and the consistency is a bit runny. The brush is acceptable. The bottle is small. It chipped pretty fast though, even with the Caronia top coat. After only a day it showed signs of wear.

Will I buy Sassy again? Possibly. The price is hard to beat, and I don’t really mind buying cheap stuff especially as I am still on the learning phase.

I received a 5-ml sample of Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream (what a mouthful!) in my November BDJ Box. Here’s the product from my unboxing article:

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Here’s a shot of the sample tube only:

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The price of the full-sized 50-ml product is Php3100. It’s definitely a premium product (it’s Shiseido!), so I’m quite happy to be able to try out this product.

This is a day cream. I usually put this on after my Celeteque moisturizer (yes I have a separate dedicated moisturizer; can’t have too much moisturizer at my age), which effectively makes it a redundant product except for the happy fact that it has SPF15.

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As you can see, I squirted out a little too much product in this shot. It looks like any day cream, and has a pleasant mild scent. I concentrate applying this product in the areas where I would most likely develop wrinkles: temples and forehead. I also put  more on my cheeks for the SPF effect.

After roughly only three weeks of use, I have to admit I don’t see any big difference with using just the moisturizer. It’s hard to tell, since I’m probably a little too young to use an anti-wrinkle product. On the other hand, maybe in the long run it does resist the development of wrinkles and I just had too short a time to see the effects.

Will I buy? Probably not yet. I plan to start seriously considering anti-aging products when I hit 40.


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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