Bless My Bag

beauty bagged by a cheeky Filipina

A Bare it All Beauty Book: “No More Dirty Looks” – The Ultimate Guide to Safe & Clean Cosmetics

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack from Hong Kong!!  Did ya miss me?  *Crickets* Anyway, I’ll be teasing you a bit with something that’s NOT from Hong Kong for now because this book I got off Ebay for about $US 16 (Php650+) is the first book I’ve ever bought online for myself (and obviously not the last) and it got me super duper excited when I saw it arrived for me in the mail before I got back.  It’s only proper that this is the first actual book to be featured on the blog.  Two lovely journalists based in New York decided that they had had enough of “ignorance is bliss” when it came to beauty.  Siobhan O’ Connor and Alexandra Spunt decided to research and test the most common, within reach, frequently used beauty products on the market and put them under a simply worded microscope for us to really know the truth behind what we put on ourselves…almost everyday.  The No More Dirty Looks book gives us a 1000x zoom in on the chemical “DNA” of our most favored beauty products.  It’s a pretty paperback that’s about an inch thick and the conversation within (that’s how it feels, like a well-informed friend came over) is engaging as well as super informative.  I’ve only skimmed over the first few chapters but I’m already excited to read it all the way to the end.

“You probably bathe daily.  Every other day, sometimes?  Fair enough; us, too.  But every time we decide we want to wash, plump, moisturize, nourish, shine, buff, soften, bronze, and otherwise play around with how we look and feel, we are reaching for a bottle whose contents are largely a mystery.  That’s not because we’re all idiots; that’s the way the cosmetics industry has set it up.  They will boast about one or two ingredients in their ads –usually the natural ones– while obscuring the bulk of the ingredients in four-point font in a barely contrasting color on the edge of the bottle.  And yet ingredients lists are the most transparent thing these companies provide us.” p. 4,  No More Dirty Looks.

I know right?  They sooooo understand beauty enthusiasts like you and me because they love beauty as well.  You needn’t go and give yourself a ban on several beauty products afterwards, that’s everyone’s own personal choice to make but for make-up professionals like me it’s good to be informed.  I’m so excited to read the entire book.  I learned about the No More Dirty Looks book from an online video conversation I had last September with Soapwalla brand founder, Rachel Winard who likes calling herself a “chef” in a kitchen of organic beauty.  She was in Manhattan and I was up late to join in the class conversation.  I was issued an online VIP invitation for the  fashion week project spun together by PowHow, Colette beauty boutique in Paris, and French VOGUE :).

“My name is Rachel and I’m a Brooklyn girl who is the creator and chef of Soapwalla. I started making luxury organic face and body products in my apartment kitchen to alleviate my painful sensitive skin rashes caused by lupus, a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune illness.  Soapwalla products are comprised of the highest quality products available, made with organic, vegan, food-grade ingredients, and never harmful or synthetic additives such as petrochemicals, parabens, pthalates, or sodium lauryl sulfate.”

Rachel Winard’s skincare brand, Soapwalla, has reached European shores and is currently being “curated” in Paris by Colette and in the UK as well.  I was invited to participate in a complimentary online class  by PowHow and I met some indie beauty brand owners who were being streamed live from Manhattan New York.  Rachel was one of the people I met, her organic skincare brand, SoapWalla has been recognized as one of the most admirable quality luxury organic brands in the indie beauty market.  She recommended that I have a look at the No More Dirty Looks book and I’m so glad I took her advice and made the purchase on Ebay.  If you’re in the States you can try Amazon.  I haven’t tried Fully Booked locally so I’m not sure if this is available in retail.

The Stowaways – Last Minute HK Stuff I Brought Along

Okay, so I showed you what I packed before coming to HK, but it can’t be helped.  Last minute before heading out the door for a trip abroad you do tend to grab one or two more things.  Sometimes the bag you’ve decided to use already has items you realize can’t do without.


I grabbed my Crabtree & Evelyn Summer Hill hand cream, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in addis Ababa. My Shiseido Sun Protection Foundation and Venus & Mars Smooth Lip detox were already in the side pocket of my bag. The random last minute “selection” of “stowaways” makes a point.

L’occitane Almond Shower Oil | My First HK Purchase

I first learned about this emulsifying product from the serene yet bubbly Brit beauty vlogger Vivianna and I first saw a bottle in this size in Rockwell about 5 months ago, but I hesitated because of the marked up price in Manila at about Php1200/1300 at that time.  I zeroed in on this here in Hong Kong at L’occitane’s IFC mall boutique and with my Mastercard got it for Php1024.


This is a dreamy bath product just based on the fact that it emulsifies in the exact way I had hoped a shower oil would, this being my first one.


You don’t need to worry about the idea that you might step out of the shower feeling greasy instead of clean, it’s not like that at all. Once you’ve showered on some water, make sure your body is wet and pour about a teaspoon of this into your palm to start with, then begin massaging this on and watch it melt into your skin feeling like an oil then generously and almost instantly emulsifying into a luxurious, creamy foam that acts like a body cleanser or moisturizing bath gel. I hate cleansing oil products that fail to emulsify and end up becoming white and watery. This Almond Shower Oil does not disappoint, if I did have any cons on board about it it would just be that the scent doesn’t come across as completely natural but it does contain real almond oil.


I wish L’occitane would do more of these Shower Oils in different scented oil varieties like Olive, Lemon, or Lavender, all united by the winning emulsifying formula. That would be great wouldn’t it?

Beansprout Illustrated Canvas Pouches | Travel Make-Up Picks, Hong Kong OCT.2012

In just a few hours I’ll be boarding a plane to Hong Kong and about 2 months ago I discovered some really helpful illustrated organizing pouches at Aura Athletica in Rockwell (of all places).  The standout of the set of 6 pouches I got was of course this cosmetic candidate, the “Prettify” pouch which had me going “Aww” to myself like a nut in the store. 

The drawings are done cutely with nice strokes on canvas textile and are obviously well rendered, the pouch also has a brown leatherette zipper strap.  I like having pouches like these in my bag better than “bag organizers because even if you can’t see everything your bag looks so neat and unlike the bag organizer when these come out of the bag they still help you out by being indicative and are easier to transfer to different bags.  A good bonus is these are washable, just don’t bleach them (if you do the illustrations will fade and so will the nice natural canvas shade).  I have just used this to keep together the main cosmetic items I’ve chosen to bring with me on my trip.

TRAVEL PICKS – BASE: IN2IT Oil-Free 2-Way Powder foundation, K-Palette Okuma Concealer, Urban Decay synthetic brush, CHEEKS: Ecotools Retractable Brush, MAC Harmony, MAC Trace Gold, EYES: K-Palette 1Day Tattoo Black Eyeliner, Maybelline Full & Soft Mascara Waterproof, BROWS: K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow pen, Kai Beauty-M Brow Razor, tweezers, LIPS: Elizabeth Arden 8Hr Cream Stick, NARS Pure Matte “Bangkok”, Jordana “Beige Glow”, SCENTS: Travalo atomizer with VS “Bombshell”, Stella by Stella McCartney Rollerball, NAILS: Bobbie Premium Nail Creme in “Mudslide”

I did mention that I got a set of 6 pouches and they’re all…what’s that non-word “Adorbs” *narrows eyes, flares nostrils*.  What I didn’t mention yet was that all 6 of these together only cost Php450.  Yes, Php450 for all 6: Go Places, Prettify, My Gadgets, Survival Kit, Forget Me Nots, and My Tools.  What do you think?  I know see-through plastic functionality usually is King but I can’t help but like the look of these.  They also give me fond memories of the drawings of one of my best friends  in college, Marielle, aka “Yelle” who until now can’t help but keep her hands busy with crafty illustrative projects.

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