My Top 5 Drugstore Foundations | As of July 2013

Everyone loves a bargain and if you’re constantly on the hunt for affordable foundations that won’t break you out, have decent coverage, and have acceptable shade ranges then drugstore brands today have a lot to offer!  It’s a highly competitive market globally in the drugstore beauty industry and even if we don’t always get the full “all-you-can-eat” buffet of compelling drugstore ranges that the U.S. and EU have there are more imported makeup brand selections today locally than ever before, at least from what I observe.


CLOCKWISE: Revlon Colorstay Foundation 24-hrs (Combination-Oily skin), L’Oreal Lucent Magique Light Infusing Foundation SPF24, IN2IT Oil-Free 2-Way Powder Foundation SPF25, MaxFactor Miracle Touch Liquid Illusion (cake) Foundation, Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation

I still do wonder why only a minority super noticed when fave brands Urban Decay (not drugstore, indie) and Za cosmetics were available locally (ahhhh, social media, we needed you then), what were we thinking when we let them leave?!!  Anyway, here are my local picks from the drugstore price makeup ranges.  These are foundations that have really impressed me and I that I do use on rotation depending on the kind of finish I want.  Note to everyone L’Oreal True Match foundation almost made it to the list but I like the Maybelline Dream Liquid texture better.  If you’ve got a deeper skin tone don’t have a shade among the six available in Dream Liquid then the L’Oreal Match range will probably have your shade.  Read more to get to my specific thoughts on each one.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Hurraw! Earl Grey Tea Lip Balm | A Major Fave, Simple, Vegan & Cold Pressed

By far this has to be the best non-minty, handy lip balm I’ve ever EVER tried, as in…it’s uniquely yum and fragrant plus unlike petrolatum balms this is  actually good stuff for lips in a small, no fuss tube.  It delivers in a way that causes you to second glance it.  After putting it on I’ll bet you’ll be like “Wow, where’ve you been half my life?”.  Thanks to Rebecca and the team over at Cutieverse for bringing in the Hurraw lip balm range from the U.S. which is full of thoughtful flavors, currently not in retail but soon to be made available at Aura Athletica and Beyond Yoga branches.  On their website these retail for under $4.00 (Php170 approx.) I’m hoping the price hike isn’t too big once these pop out in local retail because my golly I’ll be repurchasing this if I can for a couple of years I already foretell.  Check out the U.S. HURRAW site showing the lots lovely flavors available here!



We all have to accept the fact that petrolatum lip balms only temporarily smooth and do not help or relieve dry chapped lips.  Like Caroline Hirons said, with petrolatum (Vaseline for example) lip balms you  keep repeatedly doing it over and over over the lips for anything to stay unchapped.  Makeup artists use Vaseline as a “lip lubricant” it’s a temporary fix for shooting purposes but it doesn’t really do anything for your lips.  This one does, and I super duper like it.


“Love tea? We do!
We added the soothing, distinctive and uplifting scent of cold pressed oil from Italian Bergamot oranges
to make our earl grey Balm heavenly. Quickly becoming a favorite amongst Hurrawers!
With green tea, chai spice, and earl grey to choose between you’ll be ‘loving tea’ all day long.


Sweet Almond Oil, Candelilla Wax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Coco Seed Butter, Castor Seed Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Bergamot Peel Oil, and Vitamin E  (premium organic, vegan, and raw ingredients). “Organic / Cold Pressed/ Wildcrafted”

This topped my favorite V&M Lip Balm a mint flavor which contained emu oil, that was lovely and chilling on the lips but I kept thinking about the emus and that one easily melted and made a mess.  Hurraw lip balms have a similar “instant comfort” effect after gliding smoothly over the lips, being super comforting and actually naturally nourishing and sinking into the skin surface with natural oils without the minty sensation (although Hurraw does have a Mint variant locally blogged by Kira of I almost requested for a handful of the fruity flavors (which I’m sure rock as well) but THIS…this Earl Grey Tea lip balm flavor infused with other teas and Italian Bergamot orange…OH MYGAWRSH…


What the Hurraw Staff Have to Say:

“Super smooth, not draggy, not sticky, not sweet, not too glossy, not too smelly, never grainy, long lasting;
plus, it had to hold up to being in a back jeans pocket all day without melting! It took us several obsessed years to formulate Hurraw! Balm and put it through all the rigors.
We love it, use it, and hope you do too. 

We individually pour each tube of Hurraw! Balm in our own facility.
The quality and integrity of our product is a top priority and we feel Hurraw! is the finest all natural, vegan, raw balm available…
a great product to be used by everyone regardless of lifestyle or eating habits.

By the way I shot this little lip balm at tea time in the 530pm afternoon sun just for a personal touch.  Corny much?  Just high-five me for the effort, lol.  If you’ve got an online store and would like to help spread Hurraw love locally and sell or purchase these please do and contact Rebecca Pilapil via this email: and check out the site.  These are seriously sooo good.… To full post & COMMENTS...

My Top 5 High End Foundations | As of June 2013

We’re bringing in the heavy hitters.  I’ve never done a Top 5 luxe foundations review simply because before beginning my makeup career I didn’t own any high end foundations and before last year I owned only 2 or 3.  These are foundations that I’ve used on myself and worked with and while I wouldn’t repurchase all of them constantly because of the price I truly believe in their quality.


Now, I’m happy to say I’ve made quota for a decent feature, it just happened to be about time I talked about my favorite luxury foundations in a nutshell.  They’ll be mentioned in no particular order or rank because they all function differently. Read more to get to the short and sweet individual descriptions, and I’ll also be linking the full blog reviews I’ve made on the blog to each foundation title.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eyecolor Trio in RD299 “Beach Grass”

Beach days are slowly floating away, but these rich colors are here to stay.  Some of my blogger friends wondered why I didn’t keep my previous Shiseido Eyecolor Trio “Pink Sands”…well for one, I wanted to give something special to you guys for Spring, so I gave it away, and 2 because I preferred the palette in this colorway, RD 299 Beach Grass…reminiscent of those tropical summer sunsets.




If you’ve ever found yourself giving up on shimmer in your thirties (yea, watch me embrace my big three oh! lol) or even your late twenties that’s because many shimmery eyeshadow compacts out there are haphazardly bad to work with.  They’ve often got tons of fallout and knockout chunks of sparkle that on occasion may not be sophisticated or even enhance wrinkles and fine lines.  It’s all forgivable to just sit on those shimmer shades and slap on everything matte to be safe but let me throw this curve-ball at you.  There’s actually nothing like a bit of properly placed, high quality satin shimmer to draw out a bit of youth around those weary eyes.  Lisa Eldridge hardly ever holds back on shimmer in her tutorials on herself, and she’s in her early 40s!  The key is to use an eye primer you don’t get fall out, find the sort of eyeshadow shimmer texture that will not fail you and not put it beyond a certain point, and do your base AFTER your eyes so you can clean up around the eye.  Read more to sort of (coz it’s not video…meh) see this eyecolor trio in action!… To full post & COMMENTS...

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation | My Drugstore Dream Foundie at Php599

Maybelline, seriously this time you hit one out of the park, it just sailed right over.  You’ve just made me very happy.  I’ve had holy grail /slash/ fave drugstore foundations in the past but they were not THIS GOOD.   This Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse in PARTICULAR is sooo nice and I had a hands-on meeting with it at the Maybelline Dream Perfection launch last week.  Thanks a ton, Maybelline!



Urban Outfitters top, Roxy shorts, Anteprima bag, “Dreamy” me…lol (slow solo clap).  I’m wearing Maybelline (UK) 14-hr lipstick in Stay With Me Coral, not available here.

Camera 360


Model wearing Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation

I actually made the 2nd half of the post title “My Koh Gen Doh Aqua Dupe at Php599″ (yes, it’s that good…to me) but I figured they wouldn’t appreciate another brand sharing the title if I liked the foundation this much, so it stays here in the post.  The only problem I foresee here is the product name Dream Liquid Mousse  is sort of a bummer because it’s not inherently like a mousse at all this one, the name ends up being too similar to a previous Maybelline mousse foundation which was NOT REALLY a hit, the whipped mousse-y one in the pot which lots of people disliked.  This is not that one, this one is good.

Camera 360

It comes in the standard issue glass bottle containing 30ml but to top it off (literally) you get a bottle cap you can twist clockwise and LOCK…then twist counter-clockwise to enable pumping.  Hallelujah.  Someone actually thought this through for our benefit.  Do not fear, this is not  a mousse “foam” foundation…like I said the name totally misleads, but it’s good.  Test it for yourself at Maybelline counters today, you will be surprised. The foundation glides on with medium coverage and is comfy to wear (Tip: I wear foundation from the center of my face outwards so i have hardly any foundation near the edges of my face and hairline, then I don’t feel yuck at the end of the day).  This is a water based formula and gently hydrates with glycerin, it of course it does have a cocktail of silicones in it (most foundies do anyway) but it’s formulated so well ‘coz my skin didn’t feel like it couldn’t breathe.  I was seriously quiet and staring at the mirror speechless when I first put this on at home, it was perfect.  My shade Sandy Beige (Med 1) was a spot on match for my post summer skin.

Camera 360



This is the same photo from my Shiseido blush post yesterday where I wore this foundation.  I just brightened the shot and lessened contrast to closely match how I saw this foundation.  First off, please let’s not call it a MATTE foundation, if you lightly dust it with translucent loose setting powder it might possibly be matte but otherwise it’s not, almost but not.  It’s a satiny semi-matte for normal to combination skin but this won’t be a matte finish for oily skin, it doesn’t really boast oil control so it will get dewy in the middle of the day along the T-zone unless you powder up or blot to retouch.  If you’ve got normal to dry skin  this will be fine.  It is kind of like a silkier, smoother, lighter version of L’Oreal True Match without any detectable shimmer in the mix and NO SCENT whatsoever.  I’m wondering if this might be similar to the recently phased out Jemma Kidd Light As Air foundation, which looks and sounds similar when Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup describes it…so many girls in the UK were gutted about that brand folding.


In the Dream Liquid range you get a generous selection of 6 shades locally, 3 or 4 of which have warm Asian undertones and the other 2 shades are pretty neutral. My Dream Liquid Mousse shade at the moment is Sandy Beige (Medium 1, or MAC NC35) which has a yellow enough undertone and when I become paler before the Ber months I’ll be Nude Beige (Light 3.5, or MAC NC30) which is a hint more neutral than Sandy beige and only 1/4 of a shade lighter.  Overall I like the silky, airy-light finish by a knuckle-crackin’ good liquid foundation and the texture of Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse really reminds me of my Koh Gen Doh Aqua Foundation (which is an A-lister fave…slapped on by Liv Tyler, or Rumi Neely).  I’m brave and confident enough to say that the foundation texture is similar to Koh Gen Doh Aqua (for a fraction of the price, Php599 vs. Php2750?!) and gives a completely healthy looking semi-matte finish for normal to dry skin.  I wore this for a whole day and didn’t get greasy or weird bits rubbing  off.  It set really well so late in the evening it felt a bit tight, just a bit but that just meant it was about time I got all my makeup off.  The foundation is a win, and so is the twist-lock bottle cap, no more misplaced or cracked caps.  This lovely foundation costs Php599 in retail via Maybelline kiosks or counters in Watsons pharmacies and department stores.

*products provided for review by Maybelline PhilippinesTo full post & COMMENTS...

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color | Or Blush RD103, A Basic Necessity

I’m back…life sort of got in the way of blogging but I’m back. There was no hype about this particular item I’m featuring today, nothing fancy, and no extreme claims, but after conducting my not-so-recent Shiseido workshop session I still had to pick this as one of my rewards. There is something utterly classic about their Luminizing Satin Face color shades…especially this requisite peachy-pink blush RD103 or Petal as it is known abroad.



As you’ll notice it’s been weeks since the Shiseido Workshop I mentioned…but I’m also putting this centerstage because in the last 2 weeks I’ve been reaching for it. You know that when you just can’t get your hands off something on a daily basis it doesn’t matter whether you were filled to the brim with excitement when you got it or not, the fact that you organically keep putting it on without over-thinking that you are…tagline or not…it’s a winner. It’s got the right amount of pink, if it had any more peach in it it would be similar to Benefit Coralista. It’s got sheen in it but not the sort of shimmer that gets everywhere and the sheen is understated. The blush isn’t cheap at about Php1250 but if you want a classic blush with a huge mirror and a sophisticated (not overly embellished) compact you can slip into a classy bag even for evenings out Shiseido’s blushes are the bomb.


Blushes on skin are always the most difficult to photograph for a beauty blog so this is just a hint more pink in real life. I didn’t want to pack on too much but the pigment is a medium strength…not something you can make a mistake with, but not disappointingly sheer either. The shine on the apple of my cheek is due to a dewy foundation I was testing out beneath the blush which happens to be my new holy grail drugstore foundation and a dupe for a really expensive foundation I recently bought. More on that perhaps later tonight! I owe you guys a truckload of posts (not to mention excuses that rake in a ton of nods) after being reasonably sidetracked by getting sick, celebrating my brother’s birthday, and a shoot I did yesterday. Shiseido products are available locally in leading department stores and malls with boutiques.


 … To full post & COMMENTS...

A Few Life Updates in a Non-Posty Post | Career Chat

Hi! It’s me and I thought I’d put in a normal, blabby, non-beauty bloggery post just to give you guys a primer on what’s been going on with me.  At the moment a huge career opportunity has come up and I’ve never been so excited and pensive.  It’s a role that is still in makeup and the beauty industry but it would mean a temporary side-step from a fulltime freelance career and a stepping stone leap into the corporate scene.  I am still pursuing the path of makeup it’s just that a possible position has opened up that involves a bigger responsibility which involves the makeup professional in me.



By the way the top in no way suggests I might be working for someone scary okay? LOL,  they’re just random visuals to support the relevance of a cosmetic job opportunity.  Should things push through, my lovely blog readers, don’t worry the blog of course is here to stay!  In fact, should this thing land smoothly (I pray it does) I’d definitely have even more insider-y things to post for you because this involves a lot of traveling, skincare, and makeup, however because it’s a more regular job I might have less time so daily posts (which actually aren’t very daily right now) might not be sooo daily, more like 3-4x a week, but I assure you guys this blog will go on as usual giving you, as best as I can, wonderful content.  The manner in which it will most likely change, if the position goes my way, is the number of brands I’ll be able to publicly review for all of you may lessen, however, it’s great that I review a mix of both foreign and local stuff so not everything will be in conflict of lockout since some brands I review anyway aren’t available here and that also means more tips, how-tos, travel, and editorial posts.  The opportunity that has come my way involves a huge beauty brand so there will be a reasonable handful of limitations on what I can review if I do land the job (God-willingly), but they also completely respect that I’d still like some freedom to feature various brands or products that aren’t direct competitors or even more style, and lifestyle brands once in awhile.  So in effect I won’t completely have my hands tied and that’s fine with me.


The reason why I’m hopeful for this opportunity and went gung-ho for it is not because I don’t enjoy being a makeup freelancer, but it’s because honestly this year business for me was not as good as last year…it was a sudden drop and it was quite spotty.  The Philippine market is quite saturated with freelance hair and makeup suppliers at the moment.  Every major entry point you want to take means the possibility of maybe “supplanting” already very well-loved regulars on jobs they do.  Every-other-other person I know has taken a class and though I know I have quite good skills everyone’s got their “manok” as we say here, those who have started several years before our batch.  It takes a minimum of 3-5 years to make a name for yourself amongst A-listers because the positions are all currently filled.  I’d love to apprentice with someone as well but the people I’d like to apprentice for to my knowledge don’t take apprentices.  I felt that because of my goals I didn’t have time to wait and work that long to put my name on the map and I certainly needed to establish myself professionally by working with top people, teaching, working on more faces on a regular basis, and being able to travel more with a stable income, too.  I was told that random freelance jobs that come along if ever need not always be turned down as long as it’s a day I can file leave for in advance, so it’s nice to hear they’re quite understanding about clients I’ve already touched base with.  I also read this article via Caroline Hiron’s blog about a freelance makeup artist named Katy Messer who took a sidestep of several years with another brand, Laura Mercier  and ended up working with the biggest names in the biz, alongside Laura Mercier herself.

CH: When did you get your ‘big break’? 

“After working in make-up for 7 years I left freelancing to work for Laura Mercier and quickly worked my way up to the position of International Make-up Artist. That put me in the position to travel the world and I got to work directly alongside Laura herself on some fabulous projects. This opened up so many amazing opportunities and I got to see parts of the world I’d not have got the chance to otherwise.” – KATY MESSER, Pro MUA

CH: What advice do you have for aspiring MUA’s trying to get into the industry? 

Nothing beats experience. You can train as much as the next person but assisting, practise, passion for the art of make-up will hold you in better stead than any certificate. It’s a dog eat dog world and people will climb over you in a heartbeat to get to the top but if you’re truly passionate about the work you do, that will hold you in good stead. For experience, don’t overlook working at least part time for a cosmetics brand. In the right company they will nurture your artistry and it’s also a great way to build your kit.” – KATY MESSER, Pro MUA

So I do believe that, given the right job description, corporate opportunities in the cosmetic industry do not take away from the possibility of becoming an established  freelance makeup artist in the far future.  My dream job that comes with that, is to be Creative Director for a world renowned beauty brand, or at least an internationally on the map brand, the way Lisa Eldridge does it for No.7 cosmetics, the way Tom Pecheaux does it for Estee Lauder, or the way Pat McGrath is Global Creative Director for P&G Beauty. … To full post & COMMENTS...

Le Couvent Des Minime Gentle Cleansing Milk | Mineral Oil-free, Made in France, Available Here

After my recent counter with the UK’s acclaimed Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm I’ve come to the conclusion that it is lovely and luxurious in itself and does what Caroline Hirons says but it’s a pain in the ass to put up with locally in a tropical climate, simply because you have to keep it refrigerated so it doesn’t melt and you have to twist open a pot to scoop it out with a spatula or fingers to get cleansing.  Once you’ve come home real sleepy, that’s not gonna happen.  I will be finishing it up then I think I’ll be finished with it.  The product itself is completely lovely on the skin but not made to survive warm climates so I knew I most likely would not be repurchasing it due to the fiddle-faddle inconvenience it brings, apart from local inavailability.  We all know that skincare guru Caroline Hirons approves of non-foaming cleansers and although non-mineral oil cleansing balms are her top choice she has approved and said “Cleansing Milks are okay”.  She also approves of Cetaphil since it’s basic and doesn’t foam but the lady in me still wanted something souped up with more natural ingredients, non-greasy hydration, and feminine flair.  I currently stumbled upon this relatively new brand at Watsons Megamall, Le Couvent Des Minime (“Lurhh KooVahn Dei Mineemh” hear & learn pronunciation here at this link) which is a more affordable French brand absorbed by L’Occitane as a sister/daughter brand.  I got this out of curiosity and the operating word “Mineral Oil-Free”…and I didn’t expect this but because it was so convenient since you just squeeze it out of a bottle I ended up using it more than my Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm since I didn’t need to make trips to the refrigerator any more.




“Gently removes makeup…face, lips, and eyes…formula without Mineral Oil”

Key Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Grape Seed Oil, beneficial kinds of Rose Water, Rose Seed Oils, and Rose Flower Extracts, and Vitamin E.   Mineral Oil-Free and Paraben Free. Made in France.


They’ve also got a “Rinse Off Cleansing Cream”, I got both but this Gentle Cleansing Milk won over that one.  The Rinse Off  Rose Cleansing Cream made me gag from the scent that was too strong for my liking, the Gentle Cleansing Milk has a WAY MILDER rose scent.  This Cleansing Milk is really exciting for me to cleanse with because it takes off the makeup and leaves a soft fresh, not heavy, hydrated feeling behind.


I also like that the Cleansing Milk in real life is not pure white in color (which is such an artificial thing) the cleansing milk is the lightly creamy color of condensed milk which makes me believe it isn’t artificially colored.  My camera could only catch the cream color in the bottle.


I found that this Gentle Cleansing Milk of theirs not only smelt mildly enough of roses but happens to be Mineral Oil and Paraben Free.  The brand promotes “natural,original recipes” concocted by Franciscan Monks, proceeds of which originally went to charity.  While I’m all for a bit of history I just simply like that this takes off makeup (except waterproof mascara), it’s mineral-oil free, when you mix water onto it it turns into a milk wash over the face that short of emulsifies and gives a similar supple finish as the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm.  While it’s got more of a high-street price at Php800.00 for 200ml you get a lot of product for that cost.  I use a 5 peso coin size dollop of this on my face, massage with fingers on skin, and then another dollop on a cotton pad to help move and unseat all the makeup first (if I don’t choose to use Bioderma)  then I repeat for a thorough cleanse…you can wipe it all off with a wet face towel (to keep more hydration on) or if you still want to rinse with water you obviously can since this seems to slightly emulsify.  I follow with my Moringa O2 Malunggay Toner to make sure my face is completely clean.  If you’re not a fan of rose scents don’t get this…stick with Cetaphil (but that doesn’t remove makeup well apart from cleansing).  Le Couvent Des Minime have lots of other products available in the range packaged in “L’Occitanesque” fashion.  In my opinion they’re a bit hard to market locally here in the Philippines simply because the labels are not just cluttered, they’re cluttered with French…but the packaging is still very classy and nice to look at.  This Gentle rose Cleansing Milk costs Php799.00 exactly at select SM Watsons stores (the bigger ones, Makati, MOA, Megamall should surely have brand kiosks…Southmall maybe).

 … To full post & COMMENTS...

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