“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…” It absolutely pains me to say I found my holy grail styling product for my short pixie hair last November, it is L’Oreal Playball Wax Smoothie (Force 3) but it is soon leaving shelves for good, or so I was told. I now have one of the 50ml travel size sprays but only because a friend wasn’t using it. Before this product it was L’Oreal Elnett but the small spray sizes are inaccessible locally (in EU or UK only). I love my short hair but I still deal daily with a horrible cowlick wave on the left side of my head (it starts at the root so it needs taming) and I was also getting somewhat envious of all these bloggers getting to play with these “lift” or texture sprays. I needed and wanted a hairstyling product that worked for me, too! Something to let static and baby hair know who’s boss, haha. I didn’t manage to get a L’Oreal Wax Smoothie spray of my own at first, someone just let me test theirs at the time when I first tried it. I was like “Omigosh, where did you get this?”. I was put out after finding out from a friend and work colleague that this very wonder product (for me, not the rest of you with long hair probably) is being DISCONTINUED. If you’re style-specific and need an innovative spray that gives the texture appearance and hold of clay or wax but applies as light as hairspray that’s exactly what this is. A product this specific doesn’t come along every day. Huhu…
“L’Oréal Professionnel Play Ball Wax Smoothie Spray is a texturising spray wax that will help you to create unique and constructed styles. It creates a medium hold and leaves hair smelling of pears.” It also leaves a nice non-greasy looking sheen and I can skip hair oil for shine on the special occasion days when I use this.
Showing sympathy my friend gave me his free sample (and he may have a few more hidden away somewhere I hope) because he never uses it on all the long-haired ladies he does hairstyling for. With long hair it’s all about vavavoom volume and oomph but for my pixie hair I needed something extremely specific that did the exact opposite of all those lift and texturizing/volumizing sprays.
It had to be something which kept lift from the roots at an attractive minimum, took care of wayward baby hair, and gave smoothing hold without sacrificing my haircut’s piece-y texture. This does that all and not only that, it smells attractively of sweet pears. I strategically spray it just where I need some targeted control. I still work it through my hair with fingers after spraying but with this my hands don’t get all gummy.
It isn’t your typical wax in a pot, it’s in an aerosol spray, this isn’t the full size it’s a deluxe 50ml travel size which I love. This does the job of keeping volume at the roots down but not completely flat (so I don’t look like pomade came down on my head at 300kph), just down to just the right level while keeping the piece-y textured appearance of the haircut. Regular wax is tolerable but ugh, I hate it on my fingers. So, I wrote this review to try and feel better but now I think I’m a bit more depressed LOL. Don’t concern yourselves I’ll manage. L’Oreal, can you like not kill this…please?
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.
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.
NIVEA Protect and Bronze SPF20 Medium protection - No need to feel torn between tanning and protecting your skin, get the best natural tan and protection from Nivea’s new Protect and Bronze sun spray!
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.
Still not in the mood? Sing along here.
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.
Hurraw Cold Pressed Vegan Lip Balm in “Earl Grey” - When will this NOT be in a favorites post? Hurraw balms have really become my staple lip balm. They hydrate and comfort lips naturally and have flavors you can believe in. They’re actually on sale right now at Taste Central here, but you can also inquire at Cutieverse.com
Absynthe PH Pure Argan Oil – More or less the only hair product I brought apart from shampoo. I love that their pure argan oil nourishes hair, adds healthy shine and keeps ends well-behaved plus it comes in a portable size that’s easy to bring! You can purchase Absynthe beauty products from their FB page here.
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). Good as an after-sun salve for lips and broken skin around the nasal area after a cold as well as the random booboo (for open wounds prioritize triple antibiotic ointment like Terramycin or Neosporin).
NIVEA Invisible 48h Spray Antiperspirant & Deodorant – This product has made me a serious spray deo convert, no more bits in my pits and no stains on my clothes and that’s that, I’ve repurchased this once and am glad NIVEA supplied me with another one.
Last but definitely not the least, ALL TERRAIN Herbal Armor Deet-Free Insect Repellent (Healthy Options) - There are TONS of herbal insect repellents that claim to be DEET free and “gentle” on children and they are but at the expense of packing a punch in terms of protection. This one works for me and I’m usually attractive insect bait, it’s available from Healthy Options. This is PROVEN effective and was even recognized by National Geographic Adventure…and those guys are outside like all the time. It says tested and “100% effective for first 2 hours from application, and 95.8% effective for the next 3 hours.” Now that’s specific. I remember standing in line as entourage at a garden wedding in a cocktail dress last month. People were swatting away at their legs and I literally couldn’t be bothered.
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.
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.