A Man’s Antics and His Moisturizer – Gary Valenciano & his Kiehl’s Recovery Skin Salve

I was thrilled to get a call-back to do Gary Valenciano’s makeup (twitter: @GaryValenciano1) for a second shoot, though the photos of him in this post are my shots from the first one.  I knew through and through that even though I was given the opportunity to do his makeup that I might not get a second chance unless I did the job noticeably well and to his liking.  We’re only talking about one of the biggest celebrity perfectionists I’ve ever known and if Gary V. doesn’t approve of something even in the slightest manner you will know it and begin muttering your full name back to yourself.  To make matters worse his newly engaged son, Paolo, my BFF cousin, scared me the night before and said “Yea, you’d better do it good, he knows how to do his own makeup and he has his own way of doing it, so he’ll really be watching how you do it.”  The day came and I tried not to think too much, the main man began having his hair done by his staple hair expert, Tony & Guy senior, Nelson.  I began swatching shades I planned to use on the big GEE VEE who was in that moment brooding over his music downloads.  I approached him to swipe a shade of foundation across his jawline and as I made contact he let out a sudden “ARAY! (ouch)…”.  As I left the planet for a nanosecond he let out a healthy snigger “HEHEHEHE!  Sorry, just keeding…”.  Totally mean and advantageous I tell you, LOL.  I faked stabbing him in the eye afterwards for revenge.  Ay, caramba!  Here he is, folks, made-up and unharmed.

To my delight I found out from his road manager that shortly after our first shoot they were being instructed by him to purchase the exact base color products I used (MUD products) so he could use the same shades when he does his own makeup on international tours.  Then I got called back  for the second shoot which is such an encouraging thing because I enjoy and love working with him.  On board the second project I took the opportunity to ask what this well-loved tube was among his things and he spilled the beans, that it was his favorite moisturizer…obviously.  You can like totally tell because it’s just…always there.

KIEHL’S Centella Recovery Skin-Salve

KEY INGREDIENTS:  Honey, Aloe, and Tiger Herb (Centella) which contains alkaloids and minerals that are beneficial in the treatment of a host of ailments. It has antibacterial, anti-psoriatic, and wound-healing properties. The Tiger Herb plant is sought out by wounded tigers in the wild who rub against it for its healing properties. (Yeahhh, Tito Gary yerr a tigerr…)

  • Alcohol Free for Sensitive Skin
  • PH balanced and lightweight
  • Leaves skin feeling comforted and gently moisturised

I actually handed him a small container of my own moisturizer first, he began applying a bit of that but then he had to have a look around his stuff for what was familiar and well-loved, which was exactly this.  Kiehl’s Derma Solutions Centella Recovery Skin Salve, with Tiger Herb and Aloe Vera.  It’s got no-frills packaging which guys certainly would prefer and that neutral simplicity just shouts “THIS WORKS”.  More than anything it’s really soothing and comforting. I asked GV about the tube and he goes “Ohh yeahh, I like this,” he says, “I actually use it BEFORE shaving not after just so it feels better, and I always have it.”  Guys normally never elaborate more than that about skincare unless it was something that raised them or their dog from the dead, so the fact that he said it actually already says a lot.  He added “You gave me your moisturizer first, I started using it, but I was really looking for mine because I like it.  You wanna what?   Take a picture of it?  Huh? (LOL)  Okay, why??”  Because, Mr. Pure Energy, that’s just how I roll. 🙂


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NIVEA Baby Skincare Now Available @ Mercury Drug – Plus Spotting the Nutri-Sensitive Milk Wash

The NIVEA Baby Range, which my fave, phenomenal facial moisturizer Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream, is part of, is now available at Mercury Drug!  I’m also eyeing something new from the range because my skin has been quite reactive due to drastic changes in the weather.  I’ve been getting random flare ups on my face which does usually happen around this time of year.  I can’t tell you how much I absolutely love Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream which I’ve already reviewed.  It calms my flare ups and also performs well as a basic moisturizer, it also doesn’t leave a greasy feeling behind, it leaves it supple which is how I like it.

 Since I can’t afford anything from Aesop as of the moment I’ve spotted something new from the NIVEA baby range that may or may not work wonders for me as a facial cleanser once I’ve consumed my current facial wash.  I personally don’t mind using baby products as personal skincare, this Nivea Baby Range is made in Hamburg, Germany and uses only the purest ingredients suitable for babies.  I’m quite interested in this Nutri-Sensitive Milk Wash which is formulated for cleansing infants from birth.


So far that smoothy cream has worked wonders for me, I’m wondering if this will do the same and I’m so glad the NIVEA Baby range has now also been made available in select Mercury Drug stores locally.

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Free Your Pores with The Body Shop’s Seaweed Pore Perfector – Also Works Great as a Natural Primer

I’ve had this with me for awhile because I wanted to see how my skin would react with it.  I’m personally not one for makeup primers and this Seaweed Pore Perfector isn’t actually a primer but it’s actually quite good underneath makeup.  It’s supposed to be a soothing, mattifying gel treatment for pores that contains ginger essential oils, wild-harvested seaweed from the French coast and is generally hailed as a natural skin care item because it contains botanical astringents that help naturally unclog pores (you still need to wash your face wise-ass, ayt?).  I tried it off the testing shelf at The Body Shop in Glorietta and asked them to put it on the counter for me right away, twas about Php800 but you only use like a tear drop size on each side of the face.

“Refine your skin with a targeted gel treatment designed to unblock pores and control excess shine.”

  • Community Trade bladderwack seaweed and seaweed harvested from the French Coast work together to balance skin tone and clarify the complexion.
  • Natural plant astringents including extracts of cinnamon, burnet and ginger help to visibly reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and blemish-damaged skin.

Now I believe this is somewhat similar to but not as silky and silicone-y as Estee Lauder Idealist.  If you’re wincing at the price of the latter this is a great mid-range dupe for it.  It’s more evident as a skin finishing product or skin primer to me.  The only cons for some of you beauty enthusiasts or purists out there is that it isn’t entirely alcohol-free and it’s scented but in a lovely way.  It didn’t break me out and I’ve got sensitive skin.  It does a good job of giving some added moisture but eliminating excess shine which in my book is great for makeup prep.  I love how soothing it is on the skin and it absorbs quite quickly.  It’s actually also got some mild pimple-fighting ingredients like cinnamon in the mix for those who have low-level breakouts.  I tested it out because I had a team of whiteheads threatening to turn themselves into zits.  I applied this Seaweed Pore Perfector one night after bathing but before sleeping and woke up the next day to see that they had subsided.  Well at least I know for that time it worked.

The Body Shop’s Seaweed for oil control family is a great facial care range.  Currently it’s the natural but not fully organic range I’m most interested in whenever I pass any Body Shop boutique.  What natural skincare items have been impressing you lately?  Let me know and share them in the comments below, I’m really curious.

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Amazed by Aesop – High-End Botanical Australian skincare, kinda’ like Jurlique…

The brand I’m discussing today visually kind of matches the weather we’re having (cool and grey) and its products remind me of one brand that disappeared from retail.  It was sad  that a high-performance botanical brand like Jurlique, for example, had to leave the local market.  I believe in the gentle power of botanical ingredients and back then Jurlique was one of the few skincare brands that didn’t break me out.  The Benefit boutique in Greenbelt 5 now stands in its stead.  I do understand when people would rather not pay more than Php1000 or even Php500 for a simple tube of facial scrub unless you’ve got temperamental facial terrain on you.  The accumulative cost upon daily use is staggering when you commit to a high end cosmetic product.  Every now and then however, there are brands that make you think twice in spite of their hefty price tag and which upon first use ultimately become tattooed on your mind.  One of these brands for me is yet another luxury botanical brand called Aesop, which I first encountered in Takashimaya Mall along Orchard Road, Singapore with my friend Noelle.

Say “Aaaahhhh…”

The way Aesop as a brand is visually conceptualized blew me away.  Think of a minimalist, no-nonsense, classy and modern apothecary sort, and I think this neutral  design scheme also widens their appeal.  Both men and women are visually invited to partake of world-class skincare.  The brand does a lot of formulations with parsley, rosehip, pomegranate, and rosemary, just to name a few of a whole slew of botanicals they include.  I half expected a bloke in a white lab coat to come out with a mortar and pestle and prescription pad.  Certain products almost looked medicinal in their bottles…nothing too pink, dainty or flowery on any side of the Aesop “lab” (just the way mom would like it, actually).  I nearly walked out only with sample sachets from the salesperson in hand due to the staggering prices (think SGD$40-55 for medium bottles of good facial stuff).  I then noticed the Rosehip Seed Lip Cream which was tiny enough (the size of a Terramycin Triple antibiotic tube)  to feel barely affordable for me at SGD$21 (Php700).  Upon sampling, this turned out to be fan-bloody-tastic even with the tiniest amount.  This was recommended via Twitter when I asked my friend, Charlotte.

Key Ingredients

  • Rosa Canina Fruit Oil– An excellent source of Oleic, Linoleic and Linolenic acids. Renowned for its skin regenerative properties.
  • Tocopherol– The active constituent is Vitamin E, which primarily acts as an anti-oxidant.
  • Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil– Complete steam-distilled essential oil, hydrates and balances skin.

The cream is an off-white yellowish type and it very QUICKLY absorbs into the lips colorless.  It provides hydration WITHOUT shine and is not at all oily or greasy.  It has the same hydrating effectiveness as Elizabeth Arden 8-hour Cream but leaves the opposite finish, non-glossy, matte hydration.  Some of you would prefer that texture beneath your favorite lipstick.  It’s also suitable as a moisturizer around the mouth not just on the lips.  I tried it on my mother because I had left my moisturizer in another bag.  There is somewhat of an herbal scent and the herbal taste can be a bit distracting at first but it shouldn’t make you gag, at least I don’t think so, and it goes away very quickly once the cream disappears into your lips.  Read more to get the full post and a few more opinions on some Aesop samples I tried.

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Caudalie Beauty Elixir “Eau de Beaute” – Not Your Average Facial Mist

Hearing about this Caudalie Beauty Elixir get heaps of praise from the respectable pro UK makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, from UK vlogger Fleur, and my current fave Brit vlogger, Vivianna was enough to convince me to pick up a small bottle from Sephora here in Singapore.  It’s super lovely and smells amazing.  It’s not at all your regular sort of face spray, it’s not just “water” it has ingredients that do more than just wet your face.  I actually feel aggravated pores relax when I spray this on and flaky parts become hydrated and this provides an invigorating burst of stress-busting aromatherapy that’s herbal but doesn’t make you smell old or like a salad.  I even lightly spray this on top of my makeup as Lisa does after a long day and press in with my palms and it sort refreshes whatever makeup you’ve applied as long as you didn’t over-apply your base.


“Inspired by the “elixir of youth” used by Queen Isabelle of Hungary, this treatment smoothes features, tightens pores, and gives the complexion a burst of radiance. an excellent base for make-up, this water awakens the skin in the morning and livens it up before a night out. Part-toner, part-serum mist of essential oils and plant active ingredients.  For all skin lacking radiance. Beauty Elixir is an exceptional anti-dull complexion treatment and a wonderful after-shave for men.

USE: Shake well before use.  Close your eyes and mist onto the face before applying your moisturizer and at any time of the day.  0% Parabens, Absolutely NO Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes, Petro-Chemicals Phthalates, GMOs, Triclosan.  Against animal testing.  100% Natural Fragrance. Active ingredients: Grape, orange blossom, rose, organic balm mint, rosemary… 

Caudalie is a French brand that champions the use of loads of natural ingredients that are expertly processed together to create gentle skincare for specific skin needs.  This beauty elixir is not just good for your skin, what’s also nice to do is, as Lisa recommended, spray it twice onto your hands and rub your palms together if you’re absolutely stressed or nauseous then cup your hands over your nose and inhale the natural fragrance this provides…instant relaxation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this would be a lovely after-sun spray as well.  I got the smaller 30ml bottle from Sephora, Marina Bay Sands for SGD$23.00 but all Sephora outlets that carry Caudalie skincare should have it (about Php600+, that’s cheaper than in U.S.).  There’s a bigger 100ml size bottle as well but I forgot how much that one was, twas about over $30 SGD I think.… To full post & COMMENTS...

My Facial Skincare, June 2012 – Less is More

I often get questions about skincare, but I personally can’t credit AWESOME skincare or anything like that when it comes to my skin.  I just genetically have good skin thanks to my Japanese ancestry on my mother’s side.  I do know what works well for me though and what doesn’t irritate my face.  Oh, if you’re missing a sunscreen product and makeup remover it’s because a few of my favorite makeup bases already contain SPF20 and above and I don’t wear makeup everyday, so my current makeup remover can have a standalone post of its own soon.

Clockwise (products linked to blog reviews): 1. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam, 2. Dickinson’s Pore Perfecting Toner, 3. Obagi Medical Elastiderm Eye Cream, 4. Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream moisturizer

I look for products that maintain the good skin I have and that don’t have a lengthy list of unnecessary ingredients in them.  They don’t have to be purely organic I just prefer the list of ingredients to be shorter rather than longer.  I sometimes throw in one or two random “steps” or skin products I want to try on certain days, but these four items are the ones I really stick to.  I don’t use Dickinson’s Witch Hazel toner on a daily basis since it’s not alcohol free, but I use it alternately on days where I feel more oily after using makeup, plus also to slowly kill off whiteheads that are forming.  My belief is less is more so if your skin isn’t in dire need of a certain product why add it to the conga line?  How many skincare products are part of your daily routine?… To full post & COMMENTS...

Crabtree & Evelyn Summer Hill Hand Therapy Cream – Remembering Lola and “Lindas Manitas”

This is my mother’s hand cream not mine.  Mom has always liked Crabtree & Evelyn and a former boss of hers recently gave this 100ml tube of their award-winning hand therapy cream to her which converting from the site should cost about Php850.00.  I wouldn’t call it your run-of-the-mill type of hand cream, its consistency is like a hand butter without the greasiness and it absorbs very quickly into the skin.  Hand creams remind me of a Spanish blessing my Lola used to sing over my hands while she’d cradle them in hers then let go and we’d rotate our palms together in the air.  My paternal grandmother spoke Spanish a lot but the blessing itself also has an Argentinean origin.  I do remember these words…they bring back memories and Mom seriously believes Lola’s recited blessing helped my hands grow beautifully (I seriously don’t like my nail shapes though).  Actually, some people have asked in the past if they could audition my hands for commercials or photograph them.

“Qué lindas manitas que tengo yo. Linda y bonita que Dios me la dio.”

ENG: Look what pretty hands I have, Pretty and beautiful that God gave to me.

INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycerin, emulsifying wax, isopropyl myristate, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), stearic acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sucrose distearate, cyclomethicone, triethanolamine, dimethicone, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, bisabolol, sucrose stearate, allantoin, fragrance, sorbitol, sodium pca, sodium lactate, proline, benzyl salicylate, disodium edta, hydroxyisohexyl, 3-cyclohexene, carboxaldehyde, hydroxycitronellal, linalool, butylphenyl, methylpropional, hexyl cinnamal, citronellol, eugenol, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben.

Crabtree & Evelyn’s Hand Therapy cream contains shea butter to gently moisturize hands, a quick note to purists out there it isn’t at all paraben-free but I honestly can’t get over how it makes my hands feel and smell though.  I’m sure the process of formulation is of the highest quality and I love the dainty, feminine product design.  The Summer Hill scent is a light, pure and simple peppery, soapy floral which is exactly what you’d like your hands to smell like, clean.  I’m glad that it rehydrates hands without that annoyingly thick filmy feeling afterwards that some lotions give, like a suffocating, unseen pair of gloves.  My hands feel claustrophobic with that sensation from other hand creams, we’re not a dry country but working hands still need some TLC.  The product comes in an a collapsible aluminum tube like the Embryolisse moisturizer I had, and what’s lovely about tubes like this even though they’re a bit heavy is they keep the cream cool (especially nice to refrigerate), you get every bit of the product out down to the last squidge and it’s more environment friendly.  I’m on the lookout for a smaller tube of this, I’m hoping there’s a tinier 50ml one…ahh and minutes later, the Crabtree & Evelyn website reveals that there is and it would cost about Php550-600.  Crabtree & Evelyn have local boutiques at Greenbelt, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place, and SM Megamall.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream – Great for Rebalancing and Soothing Irritated Skin

This Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream is actually Nicola Chapman’s (Pixiwoo) drugstore moisturizer of choice and that’s how I first heard about it.  I tend to have sensitive, reactive skin because of past hit-and-miss ordeals with skincare, weather changes, exposure, and certain allergens around the house.  I also have a patch of mild eczema that resurfaces once in awhile on my inner arm crook.  When I heard Nic rave about this cream for the first time over a year ago on their Pixiwoo YouTube channel it sounded like the kind of cream I needed to have on hand for reactive flare-ups.  The brand, Oilatum by Stiefel, does not go unrecognized in my book since a cousin of mine who dealt with skin asthma always had the other regular local Oilatum cream and soap in his bathroom years ago.  Nic almost never fails to use this as her moisturizing primer before her makeup tutorials on their makeup channel.  As with most brands today, Oilatum put out this variant with more natural ingredients to appease sensitive consumers who are trying more and more to veer away from products with harsh chemical formulations.

“Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream is an annivative new therapy specially formulated to intensively nourish and help repair your skin’s natural barrier.  It penetrates deeply to rehydrate facial skin relieving tightnesss and irritation and leaving it feeling smooth.  Suitable for dry and sensitive skin.  Free from fragrances, preservatives, and emulsifiers.  Light enough to be used under makeup. Ideal for everyday use.

Sorry to those interested in getting this it isn’t available locally, it’s sold in Boots in the UK, I put out a search on Ebay for it last year and was blessed to have found a reliable seller at the time plus the expiration date was nearly 2 years away so it was certainly new stock.  Truth is, because I do have random bouts with my skin I am sort of a face cream junkie (bitter memory of a thrown out unfinished tub of MooGoo floats by, it turned out to be too rich for a tropical zone) and at first when I got this Oilatum one I didn’t like it the first time around, because at first I thought it was also just a bit too rich, though not as rich as Embryolisse which I like.  I thought it was making my skin react at first but I was not sure because I was switching products around  at the time.  Now I’ve rediscovered it and found out its use for other skin conditions, and am so glad I got it.  Read more for the full post with ingredients and what got this back in my bag.… To full post & COMMENTS...

OLAY Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing Cream – Mom gives it a go for 4 days

I never planned to road test any anti-aging products on myself.  Essentially I still haven’t at all except for the eye cream I use, but I had a willing candidate for this Olay review, my mother who used Olay nourishing face lotions for many years in the past.  Olay kindly sent me a bottle of their Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing cream, a breakthrough anti-aging moisturizer which is supposed to hydrate, nourish, soothe the skin and reduce the blatant appearance of lines and wrinkles and show results within a window of 10 minutes from the first application, I’ve got you now, huh?

“Regenerist’s revolutionary wrinkle fighter combines Olay moisture with advanced micro fillers to smooth skin’s surface, relaxing the appearance of wrinkles while the formula with biopeptides + a B3 complex hydrates to reduce the appearance of even deep lines in 14 days **, *vs other Olay Anti-aging products  **with continuous use “

I made my mom try this from the morning of April 16.  We began by taking a photo of her without the product at all and with the product applied after 5-10mins.  Read more to get the full post and review.… To full post & COMMENTS...