When Revlon met with me and handed me this delightful drugstore bronzer I looked it over and thought “Finally, finally…a MATTE mid-range priced one and it’s the right sort of terracotta shade”.
REVLON Photoready Bronzer is on the Revlon website however the U.S. site has no info posted on it (strange), but it’s there. It comes in one colorway “100 Bronzed & Chic” It retails at about $10.00 in Walgreens, but over here there’s an obvious “hike” at Php975.00.
I still have to understand why it’s practically double the price over here, but it’s certainly the best drugstore bronzer I’ve spotted so far. I’ve exaggerated the intensity of the application so that you see the true tone of it…I’d probably wear it slightly lighter. It can basically act as contour or like a “blonzer” for oriental skin, a good all-around shader. It hugely reminds me of Guerlain’s 4 Seasons Terracotta compact bronzer. Read “more” to get the full review, see swatches and photos in non-direct light plus a before and after application shot.… To full post & COMMENTS...
Summer’s suddenly got its foot in the door, wow. All so suddenly while we were all delightfully cozy last week the climate shot up nearly 10°C from two weeks ago. I’m reacting based on the temperature here in Laguna which back then was hanging at 20°C most nights and is now nearly 30°C in the daytime. This post was supposed to be for the middle of the month but given the sudden temp jump it looks like some people might be planning beach trips earlier. Anyway, it would be great for you guys to grab your summer stuff during the current string of sales out there. I’ll be doing kind of a short series of collective edits because I know not everyone will be heading to the beach, so there will be an Urban City Summer Edit waiting in the wings shortly after this. By the way this edit won’t include pricing sorry a few of the items I don’t have the price for, but I will mention why I like them. I was in Palawan for an event recently and have decided to show you what I had with me. Consider these for your next beach trip, they served me well. “Yoohoo! Big summer Blowout!”
NIVEA Moisturising Immediate Sun Protection for Face SPF50 PA++ – While most of NIVEA’s sunscreens can be for both face and body they’ve specially formulated a more hydrating one for the face to combat dryness and provide some sun relief. I love that NIVEA sunscreens never break me out and make the skin feel more nice than sticky.
REVLON Photoready Bronzer Compact (Matte)– If you’ve been yearning for a Guerlain Terracotta compact but just can’t allow it to kill your budget the only way to get that for a way more reasonable price is to be invited to a warehouse sale OR you can opt for this drugstore dupe by Revlon which I think seriously comes pretty close sans the luxe fragrance and some luminosity. This matte bronzer ticks the boxes that matter. It’s got a cute embossed coral design and it’s an encircled quad of appropriately warm matte browns which you can swirl together to bronze or contour as you see fit. As I like to use it, use the upper half or lower half depending on how light or dark you’d like to go, especially for evenings at the beach. Plus it’s got a mirror and is affordable with no obvious fall out…did I mention you can use them as eyeshadows? Win.
BENEFIT COSMETICS Cha Cha Tint Lip & Cheek stain – Honestly when I’m at the beach and I want a headstart on rosy cheeks cheek stains will last longer and you can use fingers. If you want to blend it in better without staining your cheeks with dots (Cha Cha tint sometimes dries way too quickly, even before you can say “blend”) mix a couple drops of your cheek tint with a couple drops of your sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, or whatever base is already on your face. Then apply the mix on the apples of your cheeks in a circle motion. You won’t have to worry about rushing to blend it before it stains if you mix the tint with your base between your fingers.
NIVEA Immediate Sun Protection for Body SPF50PA++ – Straightforward reliable sun protection that’s good for the skin, also suitable for face. My brother relies on this variant as an active football player. I forgot to include Nivea’s After Sun spray with Aloe vera in the photo, but just know that I had it with me.
K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow Pen – Water and sweat resistant, enhances brows naturally and the pen applicator means you don’t need a separate brush as you would with brow powder, plus it’s pretty much the drugstore dupe for the SUQQU pen Lisa Eldridge loves. Makeup artist Xeng Zulueta uses this as well. Sold.
Nature Republic Botanical Mandarin BB Cream– Basically my dupe for Bourjois Healthy Mix but with a moderate level of SPF35 PA++. Just love this, even the light fruity scent, also even if it is in only one shade, my shade (#23, match for MAC NC30) Review here.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey – This gives that “bit-my-lip” effect even before you’ve pulled an all-day one on shore. Hundreds of models have this in their handbags as that off-duty lip shade for all seasons.
Bobbi Brown Lipgloss in #9 “Pink Sugar” – I’ve rekindled my love for lipgloss thanks to this. I was seriously not a lipgloss person for awhile. It has a certain level of stickiness that isn’t a hassle, plus after a meal my lips still have that sheen and the understated shimmer doesn’t migrate across my face. It’s nice when lips catch the light on beach nights.
Huiles & Baumes SOS Balm – Being at the beach always requires some sort of all-purpose salve for sudden abrasions, nicks, scrapes or first degree burns. I brought along my 95% organic SOS balm which reportedly is an ever-ready Mommy Angelina Jolie handbag staple (was given this by the Taste Central team, but unfortunately it isn’t on their site anymore).
Ellana Minerals was one of the first Filipino makeup brands ever to impress me in terms of value for money and not at the expense of quality either. I don’t even use powder all the time but their powder formulas never fail to impress me in terms of coverage and smoothness. They rose in popularity for the wide range of mineral makeup shades they offered that suited varied Asian complexions (especially for powder foundation). I just made a friend last Christmas (a fellow “Inglesera” painter friend who studied in I.S.) and she got surprised that I had Ellana loose foundation in my “kikay kit” during dinner. She said “You have it, too! You know that’s the only one I’ve found locally that works for me. I don’t even know much about makeup but I put it on and I like it.”
Ellana Minerals’ beautiful new packaging illustrations are by talented artist, Soleil Ignacio
ELLANA MINERAL POWDER FOUNDATION Php460.00 – This powder product put Ellana Minerals on the map. I still prefer the loose foundation over their new pressed versions, but I feel that their pressed powder compacts serve a new vital purpose for me. You can apply your loose Ellana mineral powder at home using a kabuki or dense buffing brush at a level of coverage that you can control, then bring the matching pressed powder along with you for easy day-to-night touch ups and less mess on the go. My MAC cosmetic shade is NC30 (a yellow medium/fair). My spot on shade in Ellana’s range would be right in-between Hazelnut Latte and its lighter step-up French Vanilla Latte.
Hazelnut Latte is the closest to my skintone but just a bit too dark, it’s actually my summer shade. French Vanilla is a tad bit too light naman but still okay for evening looks and can suit NC25-NC30 girls (mac shades). There’s a bit of a jump between shades but what’s awesome about Ellana’s range is there’s a warm range and also a cool range of light to deep tones we can choose from, which is mainly why I love them. I’m considering getting Chai Latte to see because its tone looks like it could sit between Hazelnut and French Vanilla even if it’s slightly cooler.
Ellana mineral powder foundations provide moderate to heavy coverage, are fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and provide intensive oil control. The powders also, apart from covering a multitude of flaws, really photograph immaculately well with no flashback. I actually blogged about the brand a couple of years ago here. I felt Ellana ease out of the limelight for just awhile, but I figured they would never totally leave the beauty biz since such a huge market (myself included) loved their range (comparable to Bare Minerals in the U.S.).
The brand got a pretty makeover and while they still have their loose powder available they’ve finally bravely put out pressed compact versions of their well loved mineral powder foundation, it provides the same product but in an easier to apply compact that allows you to control sheer to moderate coverage, primarily for touchups. BUT WAIT (that tone), there’s more! They came out with eyeshadow and blush compacts, too. Read “more” to get the full post, more photos (with and without flash) and see me wearing Ellana Mineral loose powder makeup in a more or less complete look.… To full post & COMMENTS...
As you probably already know from Instagram (@blessmybag) I’ve just returned from a press junket at Palawan where NIVEA PH revealed the new product that’s bound to rock our summer boat. NIVEA is a world market leader in affordable sun protection formulas that are good for the skin. They’ve also been around 120 years so there are no buts about how established these guys are. Another thing that I didn’t happen to know is that NIVEA actually invented the SPF system standard. They do up-to-date research coupled with frequent safe testing on human volunteers (using the back of the hand) to ensure the quality of their products. Way before I ever became a beauty blogger NIVEA was in our bathroom and yes, mostly in the form of sunscreen for my baked brother who is currently one of the country’s best teenage football players. They’ve brought in a special spray lotion product for summer this year that aims to jumpstart a healthy, natural tan without “fake tanning” you and more importantly does it with sun protection. They’ve had the regular Protect & Bronze lotion before but now you can spray on this light lotion. This product is actually the solution to my dilemma as someone fair-skinned. I’d like to tan but I hate having to choose between tanning oil and sunscreen or combining them in doubt that I’ll ever get properly sunkissed. This product boosts your own tan while protecting you, plus it smells nice, not annoying. Interesting, noh?
“Protect & Bronze sun spray combines immediate protection with a natural looking tan. *The formula contains a natural plant extract which helps support skin’s own melanin production (in-vitro). Use regularly for an even and natural looking tan. Contains no self tan.” PRICE: Php599.00 for 200ml, available in leading groceries, department stores, or pharmacies that sell Nivea skincare. NIVEA PH site shows they also have the SPF10, 20, 30 and spf 50 but that’s depending on availability I guess.
(At the press launch we were given SPF 20 which is still safe even if it isn’t as high as 50 as long as you frequently reapply and layer it on like I did, I didn’t burn but just take note it isn’t summer yet. )
LAGEN ISLAND, PALAWAN <Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Direct Landline: (632) 7503957>
Truthfully, two days in Palawan is not enough time for someone as fair as me to get a full on medium-well tan that will last (someone like me needs over a week at the beach). What I liked about NIVEA Protect & Bronze is without using tint I managed to generate a healthy sunkissed glow within the first few hours. I also applied every 2-3 hours to stay protected and to help build my tone. What it does initially if you don’t have as many days at the beach is it takes the edge off pale skin and encourages your skin with a botanical extract to develop a well-rounded natural tan, no tints or harsh chemicals. I actually somehow saw a subtle difference within minutes from applying it indoors even before heading out into the sun. I’m nowhere near tan at the moment, but I’m not a sickly pale shade anymore either (bathing suit provided by Roxy PH).
Disclosure: I had to adjust this photo’s brightness and hue from the camera shot to properly match the actual sunkissed me in real life, mobile phone photos tend to need some help in capturing real life color sometimes. Please be assured that my skintone in the photo is properly exhibited, also don’t mind the shadows from the coconut trees overhead.
The lower SPF variants of Nivea Protect & Bronze like 20 and 10 are actually great for outdoor brides who don’t want to look pasty on their wedding day and want an overall healthy glow. P.S. I do NOT have a tummy ache lol, I just really don’t know how to pose.
By the way, I personally asked one of NIVEA’s global bosses if it is safe enough for the face because the instructions that say “Don’t spray on face” might confuse you. The formula IS SAFE for the face, you’re just not supposed to spray the product directly from the bottle onto your face to avoid getting it into your eyes. Spritzing it onto your hands and applying on the face is the correct way to do it. You can develop a deeper tan with this given you’ve got more time under the sun. NIVEA Protect & Bronze Sun Spray is available for Php599.00 in leading local department stores, groceries, and selected pharmacies/beauty floors.… To full post & COMMENTS...
In the past I’ve never found a mid-range BB cream that I was really comfortable with that perfectly matched me in terms of shade and formula. The proof is in the pudding, only one or two BB creams in the past were ever mentioned on this blog. To me BB creams can sometimes tend to be scary ingredient cocktails topped off with higher SPF, the veritable cherry on top. One or two BBs in the past have broken me out into rashes within minutes which is why I often keep away from BB land and stay close to my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer for normal days. They’re not particularly popular among people with sensitive skin but many active individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors commuting or doing other activities have made BB creams a daily staple. BB creams are most popular in Korea and Japan respectively. Many branded BB creams hailing from those countries sport anti-aging ingredients in conjunction with UV protection. They’re basically souped up tinted moisturizers, or in terms of coverage they fill the Asian-pop niche between sheer tinted bases and classic liquid foundations. BB Coverage is generally expected to be sheer to moderate but the level does vary from brand to brand. In Korea and Japan even a good handful of men don’t shy away from the regular use of BB creams. Korean brand Nature Republic have been around a couple of years locally. While Nature Republic is not quite as big as FACE shop or Etude House here and are somewhat under the radar I still quite like the look and textures of their cosmetic range. I happened to be in Landmark, Makati and while waiting for an appointment I came across Nature Republic’s mod but also classic looking botanical BB Cream with SPF35 PA++. Immediately after I swatched it I got it. It’s that good, plus it’s mineral oil and paraben free.
(Does NOT contain/Free of: Parabens, Tar, Mineral Oil, Benzophenone, Talc, and Triethanolamine) Made in Korea (2 shades: #21 & #23–only #23 sold here)
KEY INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycerin, a combo of silicones, Niacinamide (one of Ruth Crilly’s aka AModelRecommends’ fave good ingredients for skincare bases), with fruit extracts of Satsuma Orange (Jeju Mandarin), Guava, Mango, Grapefruit, Coconut, Kiwi, and Papaya.
STORE BRANCHES: SM Megamall, SM North Edsa The Block, SM Fairview, Festival Supermall, Landmark Trinoma, Landmark Makati and Sta Lucia East Grandmall.
The product bottle with a pump appealed to me instantly. I noticed its packaging similarity to Benefit’s Hello Flawless liquid foundation.
Considering they only sell one shade locally I think I’m pretty blessed that it’s such a great shade match for me, don’t you think? I swatched Nature Republic’s Botanical Mandarin BB Cream on my hand and the thin formula with medium coverage and a soft, fresh, radiant finish instantly reminded me of Bourjois Healthy Mix’s Gel Serum foundation (UK) but this contains SPF35 and Healthy Mix Gel has no SPF. Read “more” to get the full post, more information and see some “before and after” shots with this BB Cream on, plus testing it with and without flash photography.… To full post & COMMENTS...
This Valentine’s I want you to smell great, look great, and plan a lifetime of love everyday you wake up alive. To SAD (Single Awareness Day) Club members don’t be moping about waiting for the sun to rise, this giveaway ESPECIALLY goes out to you guys. Remember the “Relaks Pag-Ibig Lang Yan…” planner I blogged about here a few weeks ago? It’s here in all its swoon-y looney delight!
I personally think that this giveaway is the most quirky love shove yet. One mushy winner takes all after this NATIONWIDE giveaway closes on Feb. 6. <3 Click “more” to jump to the full post with close-up photos of the prizes and to join via Rafflecopter.… To full post & COMMENTS...
The month of January is drawing to a close and while it may have been an already hectic month for some of you for many others it may just be the last mellow month before the year truly kicks into high gear. I wanted to share 5 simple ways to relax before truly swerving into the “rat race”. It’s okay to prepare to speed up, but there always is a calm before the storm and I think before you make speedy decisions it’s important to clear out that mind.
1.) TURN OFF/LIMIT TECHNOLOGY– I’m sure this image already suggests that with flying colors. I am so obviously not helping in this department at the moment LOL, but right after this you should get out of here. I myself did this last week. If this isn’t possible for some of you because of your jobs (especially if you’re in the internet industry this needn’t apply) at least restrict yourself to PMs, DMs, email, and SMS messages for work, or set a time of day when it’s time to switch off once work is done. Better yet charge your laptop and tablets outside of your bedroom. Also stall the selfies for awhile. One of my uncles has actually prohibited his daughter from taking selfies of herself until she’s 18 and no, she’s not even one of my celebrity cousins. She’s allowed to take pictures of herself WITH other people. To some it may sound absurd but I believe that limiting self-consciousness in children and adolescents is wise…it expands compassion and encourages a consciousness towards others. I wouldn’t expose my future children to interactive technology until they’re after the age of 5 or in Grade 1. I know it’s easier said than done but the experts have found many problems with toddlers addicted to gadgets. New studies from the world’s top experts have shown that premature exposure to touch and video technology in toddlers is inhibiting their proper mental development and exercise of their motor skills. The rampant use of technology to amuse children is also fueling rage and impatience at an early age. They grow up believing there is a shortcut or button for everything. Some experts are even calling exposure to videos and apps “baby crack” which dopes them and entertains them to make them stay put, but it is highly unhealthy. In the end, for us adults, life’s not all about your best profile photo.
Stay away from YouTube, 9GAG, Vine and the usual places you go to try and be amused or entertained by sometimes irrelevant information, yes even blogs. I was only on YouTube last week to look at some possible recipes and also to follow workout sessions. The mind isn’t a bottomless pit and it can get crowded and the excess won’t help especially during times when you need to be able to think clearly for work…the net junk will reduce decision-making quality. There, there, don’t sob now, LOL, it’s not forever…I’m only saying that temporary abstinence flushes the mind.
2.) TRY COOKING OR MAKING A SIMPLE MEAL FROM SCRATCH – If you can read, you can cook, if cooking’s complicated try baking. If none of that is simple enough, make a sandwich, salad, multiple dips (guacamole for example), or soup. Don’t use a mix that’s jampacked with fillers and MSG, really COOK something. Some may have natural talent but with practice others who don’t can still feed themselves and other people…seriously. If you have any doubts check out Jamie Oliver’s apps, YouTube channel, and books. If you want local kitchen tested recipes look no further than Nora Daza’s easy to follow books. There’s also an economic relevance that will boost your health when you cook it yourself, because the unhealthy stuff (rich dishes, deep fried dishes) are more difficult to make and clean up after than healthy stuff (salads, soups, steamed, grilled, and boiled stuff). Watch this video here.
I’m late in the game but finally discovering that I enjoy being in the kitchen and have a palate (sense of taste) that impresses my family…now I need to develop the regular habit of planning meals and buying the ingredients. I baked a lot a few years back but it’s been way too much of a hiatus. This culinary motivation might also be related to the book I’m reading by Banana Yoshimoto called “Kitchen”. Which leads me to my next tip.
3.) READ A BOOK, A BOOK WITH REAL PAGES – Gadgets put strain on the mind because they offer too many options for you to change your mind. Press this to go here, tap this to do that, jump here…jump there. Our minds have become like Mexican jumping beans because of too many options presented. Pick up a real book and there’s nowhere else to go but to the next page…and sometimes that’s exactly what we need. One story, one path, one direction, one thing…what makes you beautiful…*cough*. Read it in bed, in your favorite chair, or in a tub…it’s nice to know if the book falls into the water all you need to do is hang it out to dry…you break nothing. Also…don’t read it with music on I suggest, we’re trying to train the mind to do one thing undividedly.
4.) GO OUT AND SEE @SOMEONE IN THE FLESH– This might be my favorite one yet. There’s nothing like two or more souls meeting up and having a good time outside of Viber, Snapchat, iMessage or whatever else we use from day to day to connect. Nothing compares with a real, personal connection with someone whose face you can squeeze. Surprise someone by actually calling them up and rallying the flash mob. SEE A HUMAN BEING, STOP STARING AT AVATARS.
5.) REALLY WRITE, DRAW, OR SOMETHING – You needn’t laugh, some kids today don’t even know how to draw or write anymore sadly. Even if you’re not an artist you should know that committing something to paper physically actually unwinds the mind. … To full post & COMMENTS...
It’s a bit tricky to find a hand cream you like in a tropical country, and the least thing you expect is to find it in a clothing store. Day in and day out for most of the year anyway we “sweat it out” and the weather is generally quite sticky at planet earth’s waist. Hand lotions from abroad usually end up making hands feel like they’ve got a greasy layer over them when worn locally, especially if some of the richer formulas were developed for the international markets that get winter. During the first few days of January I did a bit of post Christmas sales shopping for upcoming bridal showers and birthdays and I, quite typically, ignored the clothes at Aeropostale and floated over to the fragrance counter to test the Live Love Dream scented stuff with no expectations. The packaging was, to be expected, teeny-bopper-y (mild gag) but when I looked again…it wasn’t too bad, but what surprised me most of all in the range was the hand cream/lotion itself.
Individually, the 50ml hand lotion sells for Php285.00, they don’t carry a bigger size but a little more than pea size amount of this cream is enough for both hands . I stalled with the tester in my hand after first application and had to apply a bit more…it felt akin to the Victoria’s Secret Body Lotions which in my 90s teen era experience smell great but also delivered back then in terms of skin softness. I wasn’t imagining things, the LIVE LOVE DREAM cream moisturized my hands just enough but I didn’t feel like I was left with a “glove” of ingredients sitting on top of my fingers. The scent…oh my golly gosh, that slightly universal but bright, non-annoying fresh scent didn’t leave my hands for hours. Note though, if you’re not open to tart fresh scents you won’t like this. Later on in the day while walking about the city if I smelt something I didn’t like nearby I’d put my hands up to my face to smell them instead. Read more (click “more”) for the full review (yes, told you I liked this hand cream) and a sneak peek at one of my upcoming Valentine giveaway prizes!… To full post & COMMENTS...