Davines Authentic Moisturizing Balm | Hair, Face, and Body Multitasker

This product seriously rocks. I like it A LOT. It’s a massive multitasker!  When December dryness hit last year I felt all scratchy hair, face, and body-wise.  Just when I thought I wouldn’t encounter a hair product that could make me feel a  difference with my short pixie-do this Authentic Moisturizing Balm (98% natural derived stuff) for hair / face / and body surprised me. For those who aren’t fond of rich herbal scents you may or may not like it. Mom and I love its smell, it smells real and naturally fragrant (reminds me a bit of rosemary). It’s got organic carthame oil, shea butter, jojoba, safflower, and sesame and Vitamin E.  I got this off Sampleroom.ph for Mom but I ended up liking it, she hasn’t tried it coz she still has other stuff to consume.  It contains NO parabens, silicones, fake colors, or PEG.



I’m naughty ‘coz  I sort of enjoy the first-come | first-get commotion when the limited edition stock goes up on Sampleroom.ph .  I shamelessly elbowed my way in to get this full size from Sampleroom for 80 SR points when there were only 2 left. It kind of reminds you of L’Occitane when you look at the tube. Don’t you just love the packaging? The label reminds me of the brand, Tokyo Milk. I didn’t expect this to actually work but it actually sort of emulsifies a bit (not too much, when water hits it! On hair as a conditioner it hydrates, softens, smoothens and enhances radiance (I have short hair and I noticed!). On face I like it as a cleansing balm that removes light makeup (not waterproof makeup) when I’m in the shower and doesn’t leave your skin dry. For the body it’s great for legs that need a moisturizing boost (shins and feet especially) but I still follow with a bit of lotion after. You don’t have to use this wet all the time. I used it on hands like a normal hand cream the first time I received it and it just completely resurrected my dry fingers in seconds and I was like omigawrsh, what a winner. It costs Php1250 for a 75ml tube and is available at salons that carry Davines products. I’ll get the branches and edit them in here.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Stila Smudge Crayon Mini Trio Set | Waterproof Shadow + Liner

Considering these Smudge Crayons are by Stila these have to be one of the best value high-street mini sets I’ve seen about town lately.  Smudge Crayons are Stila’s version of eyeshadow sticks, for color come liner you can apply more conveniently.  The full sizes are longer but this set for Php895 at Rustan’s Beauty Source comes in a trio of minis.


The trio’s three shades are, from top to bottom, Black, Smoke-a light, satin mushroom taupe, and Umber – a deep, plummy copper shade. My favorite one is Smoke.


I used smoke over the whole lid then a bit of umber in the crease and blended it to a soft wash using fingers then I took Smoke again and lined my lash line without smudging to retain the subtle metallic edge which adds some light to the eyes. I added a little bit of Umber again in the outer corners of the lashline.


These set within about a minute and a half, before that you have a little time to blend it out using a brush or fingers. For Php895 at Rustan’s Beauty Source I like that you’re getting three pretty, super wearable automatic shades in smaller sizes. That’s much better value for my little kit than having just one shade that will take ages to consume.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Beauty Spotting Jan 2013 | So new, so nice, can’t get them here, yet…

I like hearing about new items, even if I can’t get them.  There’s something pervasively thrilling about a beauty item that’s not quite within your reach.  You wonder how it might work, feel, or look on you and you start to imagine how you might come by it and there’s always a story to tell when you’re able to get something that’s not readily available.  Here are a few things I’ve spotted that are quite a delight to look upon and the idea of them is like honey to this bee.  Buzz.


ANASTASIA Bold and Beautiful Kit, for brows and eyes.

We begin with Anastasia’s quite necessary Bold and Beautiful Kit.  You have a Great Gatsby inspired box encasing 2 palette volumes.  One is for brows with 2 brow shades tweezers and a dual sized angled brush and spoolie.  The other palette is a quad of rich neutral colors for eyes also with a dual sided eyebrow brush.  This whole ensemble actually looks like something Urban Decay would do, but way classier.  You can also cheat looking like a bookworm with it.



Image from www.cybelesays.com


Bare Minerals READY Foundation SPF 20, hydrating pressed mineral foundation compact, comes in 20 shades to suit.

Now this new READY foundation product by Bare Minerals (it is about time they got pressed I believe), apart from its heavyweight price, could readily be (pun intended) an instant sellout amongst women 30 upwards in a humid country like ours.  I’m sure a lot of you have asked for Bare Minerals as “pasalubongs” before, like a couple of years back?  And probably still  have pots of the stuff sitting unfinished here and there.  Mineral makeup was a fun trend, but it was awfully messy wasn’t it?  Over here I’d confidently say more than half of the populace prefers to apply powder bases on to fight sweat and shine all day, all night.  They claim it isn’t drying even if it is a pressed mineral formula but what I’m wondering is why they pressed their eyeshadows before their foundation… anyway, I’m inclined to believe that their formula is a knockout considering the age of technology the world is now in.  These mineral compacts are already doing well, but they forgot to do one thing…they forgot to come here.


Now, after all that makeup talk we need something to take it off, oh, excuse me keep it on…or both?!  Shiseido brings to the world an innovative primer called the Fullmake Washable Base that works as a primer but emulsifies when it comes in full contact ONLY WITH WARM WATER.  It does the double purpose of helping your makeup stay well on but it also does the job of carrying your makeup off from beneath when you cleanse your face.  Its sudden emulsifying action reportedly won’t trigger with cold water, only with warm water, so no need to worry about sudden weather changes ruining your face.  Now the thing is…not everyone has heated sinks here, but will that stop me from wanting to try this?  Let me think…uhm, no, haha.  It’s currently pre-selling in Japan, British Beauty Blogger says, but I’m not sure if it’s also scheduled to arrive here in March when it launches globally.

 … To full post & COMMENTS...

Summer Teaser | Sunscreen On Board

It’s nowhere near hot here in Laguna yet, especially at night, but I’ve got my sunscreen regime on standby for summer.  Yes, it’ll be here to melt your lipsticks before you know it. If you’ve been wondering how on earth you might still avail of all these January sales after the vast holiday sale season…here it is, get good sunscreen, skincare, and your tan base shade now. Check out those luxury counters where they might be selling some travel gift sets with some miniatures.  Here are a few sunscreens I own and use (that aren’t expired LOL).  Some know-it-alls have been debating the use of sunscreen etc., I, too, have had those thoughts swimming in my brain.  I don’t believe in “avoiding the sun at all costs” geez, hello, I live on this beautiful planet called earth!  What sort of fanatic vanity would cause me to completely hide from the sun?  I don’t mind tanning but seriously I just don’t want to burn.  Let’s not be pretentious, not everyone on earth has access to advanced sun protection by the likes of Institut Esthederm.  For now I’ll be fine with these.


It just occured to me that I was blessed with all of these sunscreens* one by one.  Pevonia Botanica’s SPF30 facial sunscreen smells divinely clean and isn’t sticky and it feels intimately formulated when you put it on. These guys were also lovely enough to send me a holiday gift (you guys rock).  Since Pevonia’s SPF is not so high it’s good for days when you go in and out of doors running errands rather than being out in the sun all day. The Banana Boat Ultra Protect SPF80 with aloe I use on my body…sometimes my face, too, if I’d rather bring just one sunscreen with me, it’s got high SPF so more than likely i’ll have it with me for a full day of outdoor activities.  It is also not sticky, dries semi-matte to matte, and if I recall correctly it doesn’t run down your face into your eyes if you sweat.  The Belo Sun Expert (Face) SPF 40 is fragrance-free also not that sticky and its handy size is super convenient for dunking into your handbag. Cristalle Belo, Vicki’s daughter, personally handed this bottle of Sun Expert to me and gave one to Mom as well when we were at a football game last year. I use it usually when I need medium sun protection on both my face and shoulders. Both the Banana Boat and Belo Sun Expert sunscreen lotions are available at leading groceries and department stores nationwide, I believe they’re both just under the Php200 mark (correct me if I’m wrong). Pevonia products are available at their partner spa branches.

*complimentary press samples provided by brands.To full post & COMMENTS...

My Bro’s Anti-Acne Saviors, Inside & Out | AcneCare & Garnier Multi-Action Scrub

Okay, so my brother reports that some LOCAL items I’ve passed onto him in the skincare division have actually been working.  That’s worth a post ain’t it?  He has the most reactive oily skin and has suffered from breakouts for years now as a teenager.  His proclaimed current saviors are AcneCare Lactoferrin supplement capsules (day and night dosage which I nag him about) that are available still, I hope, at Mercury Drug and Watsons, and the Garnier Pure Active Multi-Action Scrub from my BDJ Box loot!



If you want to see what my brother’s skin looked like before, click here and check out the close-up photo.  His skin isn’t 100% clear yet but the center of his face outwards is a dream compared to how besieged by spots it once was.  What my 16 yr-old brother generally likes about a scrub or facial cleanser is pretty straightforward, something that cleans deeply, helps prevent or heal acne, doesn’t smell weird, and won’t dry out his skin.  He seems to be quite a happy camper at the moment with this Garnier Pure Active Multi-Action Scrub ( and Garnier is available like almost everywhere) which he says works really well.  He’s had nothing to say about other cleansers I bought him in the past.  You see, as his annoying, fussy, much older (13-yrs) beauty blogger sister I hold the banner high in the conscious revolt against his acne.  He just plays football with the Kaya league while the sunblock nag sits in the sidelines.  Oh, what would his face do without me?  I actually got him the “oh so acclaimed” La Roche Posay Effaclar Cleansing Gel when we were in Hong Kong and he hated it, he kept putting it back on my sink and I’d put it back on his (repeat 5x) ’til finally he claimed he was peeling so bad from dryness after using it.  So he prefers the significantly cheaper Garnier one now.


Okay now onto the stuff that works from the inside out.  Before we were given these local AcneCare Lactoferrin capsules, last year UK Company Works With Water emailed me and sent me boxes of sachets of their soluble fiber form Lactoferrin called Help Clear Skin.  Lactoferrin is not medication, it is a natural milk protein that inhibits the body’s development of a certain bacteria that causes zits.  That was a once-a-day dosage taken mixed with water, it was tasteless my brother said, and it really cleared up his skin after a month.  You can read the introductory post of Help Clear Skin Lactoferrin here which explains how Lactoferrin works, it’s the same thing that AcneCare contains, and the conclusive review here.  Of course, Works With Water UK only gave me a limited supply.  I was actually thinking what was I to do once we ran out of Help Clear Skin sachets?  Then AcneCare (bless you guys, sorry this has taken so long) in mid-September sent me 3 bottles of their AcneCare Lactoferrin capsules, 30 capsules per bottle, which my brother now takes day and night.  AcneCare Lactoferrin is combined with Linumlife and Zinc to work even better against acne.  What’s wonderful is AcneCare is available locally at Mercury Drug and Watsons for the reasonable price of Php885.00 per bottle and it’s reassuring to know it’s something that actually works for my brother at least.  I figured I’d put this up for the number of guys reading this blog (which I can count on one hand) or the doting moms in the house who have oily spotty teenagers.  Hope this helps :)  For more information AcneCare has a Facebook page here.  If you feel the least bit uncomfortable about trying it over the counter consult your dermatologist first!… To full post & COMMENTS...

Know the Difference | La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, Europe vs. US

Many people in the beauty blogosphere abroad, at least all over Europe for now, are talking about an acne-preventive treatment that’s actually been working for many of them for acne prevention and clear skin maintenance.  The word of mouth skin renaissance that’s taking a lot of Europe by storm is brought to you by the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo.  Ever since both Tanya Burr, Ruth Crilly, and several other bloggers shared their love for the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Skin Duo treatment this reportedly has has been flying off shelves by the thousands.  The European formulation of this works as an acne-preventive all-over moisturizer.  The thing is it’s great for treating acne that exists and preventing future acne while it does the good enough job of moisturizing for daytime they say.  However STOP!  I mean stop right now, if you are in the U.S. or about to ask someone in the U.S. to get it for you because you need to know the difference in formulations between the Effaclar duo made in France and the one made in the U.S., they’re just not the same.  The one that all these girls are raving about is the one made in Europe.  Please disregard the allure stamp of approval on the U.S. image on the right, I was just too lazy to remove it even though it was distracting.  I explain to you the difference in a few seconds…just as Ruth Crilly did in this video of her monthly favorites with her mom.


The reason why the US formulation of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo is different from the European one is is it contains 5.5 benzoyl peroxide, an intense, zit-zapping target medication for existing pimples so it certainly shouldn’t be used all over the face the way the other one can be.  The U.S. formulation is an Allure award-winning targeted spot treatment so you only put it directly on problem spots and areas, not on your entire face and I’m sure it works great that way, too.  The European Effaclar Duo formulation is a reported favorite because it’s paraben-free and they say even if you haven’t got a lot of acne all the time or if you hardly ever get zits it still works at helping unclog pores of overstaying blackheads and whiteheads (I’ve got lots) which can eventually become zits if infected.  The European Effaclar Duo fights skin congestion across the face, helps and soothes with hydration, and if you’ve got zits Ruth and/or Tanya says it supposedly eases them out properly with less damage to the skin.  I’ve actually just bought myself a tube of the European formulation off ebay from a Greek seller link here, it was 50% off and she also sells lots of other great skincare brands like Korres and Vichy Dermablend.  Hoping it arrives sooner than later.  I also gota Korres Thyme & Honey Exfoliating cleanser from the same seller which had free shipping so I bought it and made it ride along with my Effaclar duo.  They should both get here in ’bout 3 weeks.… To full post & COMMENTS...

MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer | More Longevity than Studio Finish

What you are looking at is not a paint pot!  Where has MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer been all my life?  Right under our noses at the MAC boutiques overshadowed by the popularity of its more slippy “sister” MAC Studio Finish concealer which I have reviewed in the past.  I think it’s also possible that because of the packaging that’s exactly the same as the MAC Paint Pots people may not have recognized this in-store as a concealer.  I’m sure a number of you have already discovered Studio Sculpt for yourselves noh?  Well, possibly not because a lot of us go by recommendation.  Let’s talk about the other one first.  MAC Studio Finish, was made a massive sellout majorly because of  recommendation by the UK’s Pixiwoo sisters and many other influential individuals online.  I don’t doubt that its more moist texture is probably great in dry countries but the thing is here…in this tropical country, in the summer, nah.  Don’t get me wrong, MAC Studio Finish is a great concealer in a dry air-conditioned room or studio (for fast photo shoots) but outdoors Studio Finish doesn’t stand a chance on your face unless you have extremely dry skin or powder it silly every half hour.  At room temperature Studio Finish sits in my kit, greasy shine collecting on top.  MAC Studio Sculpt on the other hand surprised me at the testing counter with stronger cling to the skin in a humid climate and a more solid make of cake.  It’s got awesome pigmented coverage, is not as greasy as Studio Finish, and for storage glory points hey look, it comes in a glass pot you can twist really tight to keep it fresh.

MAC_studiosculpt_02 MAC_studiosculpt_04


It’s nice for a change to see a product that says “Made in Italy” that doesn’t occur too often.  MAC Studio Sculpt concealer has a comparable finish to Bobbi Brown’s creamy concealer, it’s  just ever so slightly…as in slightly  thicker and is reasonably less expensive at Php1000 a pot, you get relatively the same amount of product as a Studio Finish pot.  Read more to see this product swatched and applied on me.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Bless Their Bags | Help For Betty & Donnarence

Hi, my beloved readers.  We all need to help each other and today I would just like to take a few moments of your time to extend a message of help for 2 girls I know by sharing their situation with you.  This is not a scam and I know some of you have been reading the blog for 2 years now.  I know both Betty and Donnarence personally and their situations are separate.  At the bottom of this post I will be including their bank account details accordingly and will be helping by making international donations easier with the ease of my Paypal Email ID  for donations, all those details will be at the bottom.  If you trust me enough and are personally moved to help please do.  Let’s begin with my super, super dear friend Catherine “Betty” Sanchez who was born with a unique blood disease, I’ll make all this as concise as I can.  I super as in duper love this girl even though we don’t get to see as much of each other as we should.




CATHERINE “BETTY” SANCHEZ, Age 33.  In 2nd photo above is a group of my friends and myself.  We all sincerely wanted to pull together to do a kidney fund drive for Betty, shortly after that first meeting my grandfather was confined and I was asked by the family to focus on raising funds for him ‘coz it was also quite urgent.  Meeting with the same group again for Betty wasn’t easy to facilitate as everyone had previous commitments after that happened.  Betty had an ongoing T-Shirt drive bringing in supporting funds.

Betty’s medical condition has been battling a disease for half of her life and I’ll make this as concise as I can.  She needs a new kidney.  The situation began when she was 15 when she was diagnosed with henoch shonlein purpura a rare condition which is an inflammation of the blood vessels.  She grew up not being able to attend js proms, retreats, and high school graduations.  She underwent dialysis (an uncomfortable process where you go in to get your blood filtered) when she was 17, but at that age her kidney still recovered quickly, within 2 months, with much maintenance medication.  After recovering she went back to school.  At 18 it was recommended that she have a kidney transplant since dialysis doesn’t really cure, it just temporarily flushes toxins from the bloodstream. She then had her transplant in 2000, the kidney was a perfect match donated by her brother.  For 12 years Betty has been on immunosuppressant drugs, the side effects of which include a drastic weakening of the immune system.  I met Betty 3 years after her transplant in 2003 where she first began her job alongside me as a freelance digital artist at Unitel Productions, here she never had any serious symptoms, just the occasional cough or cold and we became friends/sisters in Christ for life.  In 2010 she worked as an in-house artist for Optima Digital, she resigned after 1 year and 1 month due to the workload and health concerns.  She went back to freelancing but just last March 2012 Betty fell ill and was hospitalized for elevated creatinine in her blood.  Creatinine is a toxin that is supposed to be flushed out by the body but with a dysfunctional kidney its levels escalate in the blood.  Frequent dialysis is costly and traumatic.  The doctor administered a huge dose of a strong immunosuppressant to Betty.  Her bill for that 1 week at the National Kidney Center was Php300,000.  Last April 15 Betty’s creatinine levels are recorded still way above normal and she was finally told that she needs a second transplant.  Betty’s hope has always been to alleviate the burden of the financial costs from treatment through the years that have begun to way heavily on her aging parents.  We’re well aware of the bigger picture which is that Betty needs a new kidney transplant which counts as her 2nd. From her previous transplant, during the first operation she almost lost her life, but didn’t.  She even had one of those “light at the end of the tunnel” experiences.  Right now they were hopeful with the opportunity of 2 live donors but the donors were rejected due to the heart condition of one and early signs of diabetes with the other.

If you are moved to help Betty with any monetary amount even if it’s just to alleviate the cost of her medical maintenance here are her bank details.

CATHERINE L. SANCHEZ  (Name for Both Bank Accounts),

BDO:  – #4550160120, UNIONBANK:  #109452288873

You may also send your donation via Paypal thru Paypal email ID “julia.arenas@gmail.com” and email me using that address stating your name and how much you donated so I can  give the exact amount to Betty.  If you donated you may also leave Betty a comment of encouragement or prayer below this blog post.  Next, I’d like to introduce Donnarence who suffered a family Christmas tragedy just last December.




My fellow Beauty Blogger, Donnarence’s story (My Lucid Intervals, left in 1st photo, center in 2nd) , is shorter and straightforward because I don’t know the details from beginning to end but it’s no less urgent.  You see, last Christmas Day, Donnarence’s house burned to the ground and she quickly put up a post about it here.  Martha, The Beauty Junkee, was the first to post details on this if I’m not mistaken and although Donnarence has replied to me saying she’s okay I’m sure they are still in need of much support.  She’s one of those bloggers who’s genuinely sweet to everyone around her in a simple way.  Her family  escaped the flames with the clothes on their back, her camera, 2 TVs, their diplomas and photos.  If you feel moved to help Donnarence face the New Year with any amount of monetary support here are her details:

Donnarence M. Masilungan, BPI N. Domingo Branch
Account no: 3889 1200 52
If you’re an international reader and feel like helping either Betty or Donnarence feel free to send a donation via Paypal using email ID:  julia.arenas@gmail.com and just remember to send me an email indicating how much you donated and for whom, thank you! … To full post & COMMENTS...

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