Becoming Sleek

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

One of my recent makeup kit mainstays is Ofra Lipstick #205. This is the other option to receive from the Beauty SOS Glamourbox last year. I got my #202 (red) from that, and this #205 I bought from Shayne.

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It is what I would describe as orchid pink, although it leans a lot more violet on the tube. There is a small window on the bottom that lets you see the shade.

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As I said, on the tube it looks a lot like purplish pink.

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Here is the arm swatch. See what I mean about orchid pink? It’s actually quite dainty and lighter than what the color in the tube looks like.

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One of the things I really like about this lipstick is that it looks different depending on whether you blotted the lipstick or not. Check out the lip swatches here.

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Here’s a face shot with the non-blotted version. You can really see the sheen of the lipstick here.

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And here is another shot, this time blotted. The sheen is now much more muted, and it looks almost matte.

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I really like that I can choose to go either matte or shiny with this lipstick. It also smells like vanilla, which I really like. It lasts relatively long, about 4 hours, without drinking or eating. Unfortunately it has a tendency to transfer, so be careful about that. This looks like a standard 4g or 3.5g lipstick, and costs Php650.

Ofra is cruelty-free.

Pros: beautiful orchid pink shade; relatively long lasting; cruelty-free

Cons: price; transfers

Ofra Lipstick #205 is available through the Glamourbox Boutique, as well as selected Snoe outlets and Glamourbox stalls.

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.

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.

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

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

 

At long last, I finally found the time to review my current HG eye primer. I first heard of Artdeco Eyeshadow Base from Liz of Project Vanity, where she praised its performance. It’s readily available at Beauty Bar branches around the metro, and is quite affordable at Php450.

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I bought it way back in early April this year, and it’s been through a lot. Unfortunately I misplaced my photos back then, and am only left with the above through my instagram. I don’t have a photo of how the product itself looks when it was still new.

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After five months, this is how the tub looks. Most of the white print is erased. This is how often I’ve used Artdeco Eyeshadow Base (almost everyday!) and is possibly the most used and abused item in my arsenal.

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Inside you can see that the product is almost gone. I use my fingers to apply it on my lids; a little unhygenic, yes, but I make sure that my hands are clean before every use. One of the things I really like is the scent. It’s a nice floral scent that disappears once applied on the lids.

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Here are some swatches. The leftmost one is the eyeshadow base alone. As you can see it’s barely visible so it blends quite well into the lids. I used two light eyeshadow shades to show how this primer performs.

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Sidenote: I swear I didn’t do this on purpose. I just realized what I had done when I was labeling this image! Anyway I used a pink Pixy eyeshadow and a bronzey-yellow Pixi eyeshadow to show that the Artdeco primer really does bring out the pigments. It does not alter the shade, but rather intensifies it. The pink shadow still appears pink, but it’s now more visible against my skin. Same with the yellow one. Here are some more examples of the Artdeco Eyeshadow Base in use.

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Pros: very effective eye primer; scent; easily accessible; inexpensive

Cons: nothing!

Artdeco is cruelty-free. The Eyeshadow Base is available at Beauty Bar for Php450. There seems to be a new version that goes for Php550. I haven’t gone to a Beauty Bar lately so I don’t know which one (or if both) is available in-store.

One of my guilty pleasures are crystal accessories, and one of my recent discoveries is a site selling one of the most beautiful crystal jewelry I’ve seen. Stoneriver sells a wide variety of handmade crystal jewelry that are quite affordable. What amazes me is that everything is designed and created by a single (super) lady: Kim Sabala.

Here are some recent collections that she released.

Photo credit: Stoneriver

Photo credit: Stoneriver

I fully admit that I have a pretty long wishlist for Stoneriver pieces, but I am quite happy with my first purchases. Unfortunately both of them are currently sold out! Let me show you them!

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Charmed Moonstone Crystal Point

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I really like the color and heft of the moonstone, and that pretty little moon charm adds dimension to the whole look. I upgraded to the stainless silver chain (add Php100 to price) because my skin is sensitive to metals. This necklace costs Php495. Here I am wearing it.

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Caged Smokey Quartz

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I wanted one of the “caged” crystals and the smokey quartz appealed to me the most. Unfortunately it kinda looks like a plain rock from afar, but I don’t regret getting this at all. This necklace costs Php325, but I added some extra length to the chain to make it dangle more down my chest. I’m not sure if there’s an option to upgrade the chain to a stainless version. Here I am wearing it.

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Future pieces

Kim continuously comes up with new designs, and her pieces sell out fast! I’m eyeing a lot of her old designs, hopefully it gets stocked again sometime. Particularly, I would like to get something aventurine, tiger eye, and a colored quartz.

You can order Stoneriver pieces from a lot of avenues at this point. Kim of course has her own store, but you can also find her pieces at Zalora Marketplace c/o WastelandMNL. She also has some pieces on sale in physical stores such as Greenlane Shop and Fudgerock. I myself have ordered through her own store, got an SMS instruction for depositing through Metrobank, and received the package at my shipping address.

As this is a review, here are my final thoughts on Stoneriver:

Pros: beautiful and unique crystal jewelry designs; quality materials used; smooth transaction and delivery

Cons: pieces get sold out fast

Disclaimer: I bought both of these with my own money. I am pleased with both the products and the way the transaction went, which is why I wrote this post.


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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