2019 Makeup Favorites

These were the products that I consistently reached for when I was getting ready this year:

By Terry hyaluronic hydra-primer – blurs imperfections and hydrates the skin

BareMinerals complexion rescue hydrating foundation stick – like colored water. this is just so hydrating

First Aid Beauty bendy avocado concealer – this is my second tube. that’s how much I like this

Glossier stretch concealer – this is what I always use when I don’t want to put foundation on and just want some really light coverage

Onomie radical setting mist – I like spraying this on my brush before applying foundation. This just makes everything look better

Trestique highlight and perfect multipurpose stick – the subtle glow it gives is my favorite. It’s also so easy to blend.

Kosas color and light creme: velvet melon – I’ve always been an 8th muse girl but this year was the year of velvet melon for me. The peach tone of this one makes my face look healthy and fun. Like I just spent the weekend by the beach.

Innisfree petal blusher – easy to use, natural-looking, and gives a subtle-looking, pinch-on-the-cheek like blush

Kosas 10-second eyeshadow – I love all the colors but supreme just really takes the throne. It’s metallic, high-impact, yet so easy to apply and blend

Ilia Beauty the necessary eyeshadow palette, cool nude – this is my everyday palette. it doesn’t contain the usual neutrals which I really like but it still works in any setting.

Em Cosmetics fine liner brow pencil-thin, sturdy, and pigmented. Everything I need in a brow pencil

Lilah B glisten and glow skin illuminator – the shade b. captivating just gives my skin a healthy glow. I also like using this on my lids for a creamy-looking shimmer

Benefit Cosmetics they’re real mascara – forever and always

Pat McGrath Labs matte trance, flesh 3 – the most pigmented and longest wearing matte lipstick I’ve tried that doesn’t cake or settle between the lines. Flesh 3 is my go-to when going out

Monthly Favorites: October 2018

These are the things I kept on reaching for the past month. Most of these are Korean Brands as k-beauty is something I’m falling back in love with.

No lip tints or glosses here. Recently, I’ve seen more and more matte lip colors from k-beauty brands and for someone who has recently experience shorter matte lip color tolerance, I’m more than excited.

Created in collaboration with celebrity makeup artist and YouTuber Gaeko, Romand launched in 2016 to offer products with on-trend makeup shades and textures. The Zero Gram Matte Lipstick claims to be a light as a feather and soft as butter lipstick that lasts long and glides on the lips without flaking, drying, or caking.

It comes in 8 colors and I got mine in the shade Awesome, a bright coral pink that doesn’t look too shocking on my skin tone. The lipstick feels like a crayon and the pigmentation is true to the skin. It applies matte but doesn’t feel like it’s sucking every moisture on your lips. It glides on smoothly and gets you full application in one swipe. It lasts all day and will only require retouching if your lips touch food or water. For someone who doesn’t like retouching, this is a great plus. The color is good for every day and helps brighten the entire look. (This product was provided by @romandyou and beautytapofficial for review.)

Cream and liquid blushes are my favorite. For me they just apply more naturally, they are easier to control, and they just look better for me. Most of my favorite blushes are in cream or liquid form and I always check what new liquid/cream blush is out there.

The Petal Blusher from Innisfree used to be part of a collection last year. It became a permanent product for the brand and this year, they added two more shades. The liquid blush is inspired by floral colors and promises to be long-lasting with its water texture that adheres to the skin. One of the 2018 shades, Dried Pink Hydrangea, contains hydrangea extract to provide a natural color to the cheeks.

It has been a hard hit or miss with me when it comes to products from Innisfree. I never run out of their cleansers and yet their lip products, as many as I had before, I didn’t seem to reach for that often. This petal blushes, however, will be filed under the former category. I chose this product on a whim but have used this almost every day since I got it.

The frosted bottle packaging looks like a nail polish, even the applicator which is a brush. It always feels cooling when applied on the skin. Dried Pink Hydrangea has a mauve pink hue that looks dark on my cheeks than on the actual bottle. I use about three strokes on each cheek before blending it with a brush.

It blends so seamlessly, especially over liquid foundation. It creates that subdued flushed look that I always go for and lasts the whole day. I can also build this up by applying on top of my usual application, to get a more defined look. The blush applies matte so I never have to worry about this emphasizing my skin’s imperfections. The color also lasts for more than half a day so I don’t need to worry about retouching. It has become my everyday blush and I love it truly. I want to get more colors. (This product was provided by @innisfree and @stylekoreanglobal for review. Available for $9.72 or PHP574 at stylekorean.com)

My skin is extremely dry; so dry that I can easily get bumps on my arms and scales on my legs if I skip moisturizing for a day. The Resist Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA from Paula’s Choice claims to be unlike other body lotions so, I was excited to give this a try.

This #bodylotion has skin-smoothing benefits that shed built-up layers of dead skin. It has a pH range of 3.5–3.9 and contains salicylic acid (BHA) formulated at a pH range (3.2-3.6) to soften rough, bumpy areas, ease dryness, help clear breakouts from the neck down, stimulate collagen production, and banish dullness for improved skin tone.

To be perfectly honest, I may have trained my self to apply skincare and SPF every day but I have not consistently used body moisturizers. I easily sweat and I don’t like a tacky feeling from a melting moisturizer so I skip it on warmer days. When I got this, I use it in the morning, or if I forget, at night. I put special focus on my bumpy arms, scaly legs, and other rough and dry patches like my knees and elbows.

I like this because if it had a faint medicinal smell, it fades quickly but not as quickly as it sinks into the skin. This feels so lightweight and one of the most easily absorbed moisturizers I’ve ever experienced. On first application, I have noticed instant softness on my skin. After a couple of months of semi-consistent use, it has lessened the bumps on my skin, lightened some of the scars from dried bumps. It has also softened and smoothened my skin, especially the dry patches. I cannot wait to use this more to completely eliminate the bumps. (This product was provided by @paulaschoice and the hut group. Available for $26 at skinstore.com)

Founded in 1945, Amore Pacific offers luxury skincare using Asian botanicals. One of the main ingredients they use, green tea, is grown and harvested in the brand’s own green tea field of 35.6 million square feet on Jeju Island. They believe that the first sprouted green tea leaves handpicked before 10 am within the 15 days prior to Grain Rain in early Spring are most potent in color, scent, and vitality, containing an antioxidant 200 times stronger than vitamin E.

Launched just last year, The Essential Creme Fluid is a moisturizer that contains 150 baby green tea leaves to capture green tea polysaccharides, green tea seed oil, and green tea vitamins to fortify and hydrate the skin, improve the skin’s moisture level, and enhance the anti-oxidizing capability of the skin.

The moisturizer has a strong powder smell that doesn’t linger. The fluid is runny and it feels extremely lightweight. It sinks into the skin quickly, leaving it matte with a slight powder finish. It attests to the “fluid” claims, which of course my oily skin likes. This is so light that it’s a good base for a sleeping mask at night. For the morning, I like using this right after a toner and a vitamin c serum. It doesn’t have mattifying capabilities but it helps manage the oil on my skin. Whenever I use this, it leaves the skin soft and supple. Considering the amount (90ml) you get for the price ($98), I’d say this moisturizer would last longer than other moisturizers but, yes, it is definitely an investment. However, people would oily skin would definitely understand how difficult it is to find a morning moisturizer that doesn’t aggravate the oiliness of the skin. (This product was provided by @amorepacific and @tractenberg for review. Available at amorepacific.com)

Why your AM and PM routines should be different

When I first found out that skincare goes beyond cleansers and toners, I got to know the benefits of serums, essences, masks, and moisturizers. Then I read about the 10-step routine and it’s just information overload. There is so much to do, and for someone who has oily skin with pigmentation, there’s a lot to treat. I bought so many products making me paralyzed with fear when I sat on my vanity. I’m going to put all this twice a day? When? How?

Using many products at night is okay with me. I’ve gotten used to it and even take pleasure on having a few minutes to myself –between my thoughts, my skincare, and I. It’s a time for me to really look at my face and check what exactly I would need that day.

At night, I usually remove my makeup with a cleansing balm like Banila Co’s CleanIt Zero Purity or Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm before anything else. They both remove my makeup so quickly and so efficiently. This step also serves as the time to relax; I turn on the music, close my eyes, and massage my face until the song is over. I know it’s too long but I like the feeling of balm on my face.

I then cleanse with a foaming cleanser like Earth Tu Face’s Palmarosa + Aloe FaceWash before I put on my masks. I choose my mask depending on what I need that day – Georgette Klinger’s Vitamin C Mask if I need some brightening, Dior’s Hydra Life Pink Clay Mask for when my skin needs an extra glow, or Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask if my skin is a bit congested. I put on my mask and watch a rerun of The Office while waiting for it to dry.

Once that’s off, I go to my vanity and watch makeup tutorials until I finish my routine. I start with a hydrating toner, like Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner in Refresh or By Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. I then pat SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, the cult fave fermented essence, which helps refine pores and even skin tones. After that, I put on an acid, like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, which is both clarifying and anti-aging. Then I use an exfoliating toner, Biologique Recherche’s P50, which is literally a miracle in a bottle. My skin is always clear and glowing the morning after whenever I use this.

I follow this with serums to treat whatever my skin is feeling that day. If my skin is feeling extra oily, I will use the Bare Alchemy Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. If I have a budding zit, I will use Glossier Super Pure and use this continuously until the zit subsides. If it’s a good day, I will pull out Sahajan’s Ayurvedic Radiance Blend Face Serum or Bare Alchemy’s Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. With this, I always use a hydrating serum, like Jordan Samuel’s Hydrate Facial Serum, because it’s like a tall drink of water and an anti-aging serum like The Ordinary’s Buffet because I need to. I’m already in my 30s so I desperately need to keep those wrinkles at bay.

I cap my nighttime routine off with a moisturizer. This was a tricky part since it took me a long time to find a moisturizer that will not make my skin oilier. I found Blended Boost’s Face Cream, which can be customized to fit your skin needs, and J.One Cosmetics Black Jelly Pack. They are both hydrating and moisturizing but I don’t wake up with a greasy face after. I sometimes mix Butter Elixir’s Face Oil with my moisturizer if I feel like I need more nourishment.

Having these many products in my stash was a huge adjustment in the morning. You see, I love to sleep a bit too much. I tried doing all the steps above in the morning but it just didn’t work. My skin got greasy even before lunchtime and it was difficult to apply makeup. I also experienced breakouts. This is when I realized that I don’t have to follow a specific routine, I can adjust it based on what my skin needs and how my skin works.

I use a different type of cleanser in the morning – something gentler like Goodal’s Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam or Alder New York’s Everyday Face Cleanser. They don’t strip my skin but they do the cleansing part well. For toners, I use something lighter like mists. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator or Enature’s Vita 8 Nutritive Mist is so light and yet so hydrating. Mists are also great for waking up the skin and for reducing the puffiness a bit.

In the morning is when I will use my Vitamin C serums, like Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum or Skindeva’s Vitamin C+E Serum to brighten dull spots. These two products have a very light oily texture and sink in the skin quickly so it goes great with makeup. I do this because Vitamin C is very fussy with products used with it. After this, I use Onomie’s Priming Serum to even the tone of my skin.

After the serums, I use a different moisturizer, something lighter than what I use a night – Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion or Yasou’s Cellular Day Cream. They both work great with makeup and don’t make my skin oily. Up next is sunscreen, which is, again, a difficult search for me. Most of the sunscreens in the market are too greasy or too thick for my skin. Some have even broken me out. I use either Benefit Cosmetic’s Dream Screen or La Roche Posay’s Antihelios XL Ultra Light.

As you can see, my morning routine is much shorter. I have toned it down because what I need during the day is very different from what I need at night. During the day, my main goal is to mattify and protect my skin. I spend my days either stuck in the office surrounded by air-conditioning or outdoors surrounded by dust or under the sun so protection is important. Also, if you apply makeup finding products that will blend well with your foundation is necessary.

My goal for my nighttime routine is to cleanse, treat, and moisturize to prepare for the next day. Double cleansing is very important because it removes everything that my face has encountered during the day. This is the time to check what my skin needs and what I can do for it be it a serum or a mask.

It would, of course, be a different thing for people who have normal or dry skin types as they are looking for different things. Note that the routine I mentioned took a lot of trial and error on my part in order to find the most suitable products for my skin. However, my experience just proves to me that yes, layering products can be effective but it can also be customized depending on what your skin needs. Happy Discovering!

**published in puropulence.com last December 2017

Skincare in your 30s

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the many tubs of skincare

Along with the crippling fear and doubt about how your life is going when you reach your late 20s, for most of us, our skin will also be a big concern. As if things aren’t already getting more and more complicated.

I work in PR and getting product samples are as easy as clocking in but I chose makeup over skincare. I was 25; I thought I was done with my hormonal acne battle. My skincare routine (if you can call it that) is a routine I’ve had since I was 13, a routine suggested by my mother to pacify my oily, filled with teenage acne face – Liquid Neutrogena. I rarely washed my face at night, I also do not remove my makeup after a night out, and I do not wear sunscreen. Luckily, I almost never bother to wear makeup and I was never the outdoorsy type. Still, I was doing badly in life – skincare and other stuff (but that’s for another story.) It was a time where I had more scarves than skincare products and I was happy with it.

I did not know how awful I was being to my skin. Well, I did but I thought I could get by with just sheer luck from my genetics. I was too lazy to care, too proud to ask for advice, and too busy doing other things. Like texting and updating my social media profiles.

That is until I started getting pimples and post-acne spots were everywhere on my face. I was scared but apparently not scared enough. I still stuck with my trusted cleanser and just tried to solve my problems by cleansing twice every day. Obviously, it didn’t work. My skin was looking sallow and my once-rosy cheeks are not so rosy anymore. I was literally looking and feeling rough. I was 28 and I didn’t know what was happening to my skin. So, I turned to my long-time friend – Google.

Apparently, my skin cell turnover and skin metabolism are slowing down. My skin is going through a drastic change and my routine should too. It was time to use the help of skincare products, effective skincare products that are right for more skin. I researched and researched – read through countless websites and blog posts because taking the plunge and buying. Some products worked, some didn’t. I tried the 10-step method and modified it to whatever my skin liked later on. It took months of trial and error before I got into a routine. Let my mistakes serve as a warning and my solution an example.

Cleanse. Then cleanse some more. I never knew how effective double cleansing was until I tried it. Banila Co’s Clean It Zero removed makeup and dirt from my skin. It still amazes me to this day how quickly it can remove liners and foundation. As a second cleanse, Innisfree’s Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam was one of the first cleansers I bought. It’s gentle but it thoroughly cleanses my face. After all these years, I still use this as my night cleanser.

Prep. I had no idea what essences were until I read about it. This was my most hesitant purchase but now, I can’t go to my routine without it. My face immediately fell in love with SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence that I have gone through bottles. For me, it helped control oil and it prepared my skin for the next steps in my routine.

Exfoliate. When I was in my late 20s, I have already noticed signs of aging doubled with hormonal zits and putting on a mask twice a week, helped keep dead skin cells away. I use Glamglow’s Supermud  ClearingTreatment to rejuvenate my skin and spot treat some of the blemishes I still have because of those lovely hormones. I have also incorporated Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment in my routine and it helped dissolve hyperpigmentation and refined my pores. These days, I have a couple of masks and acids in the rotation.

Treat. The first one I got was OST Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum (now called Ti’am My Signature C Source) to get rid of those annoying post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The results were slow but it was worth it. After six months, my skin cleared up and brightened. With the help of other serums, like Jordan Samuel Skin’s Hydrate Facial Serum and Glossier’s Super Pure, my skin was also hydrated and healthy. I alternate serums and use different products in the morning and evening.

Moisturize. This was the trickiest part for me as I thought that moisturizers are only for those with dry skin. I never knew that my oily skin gets oilier because I was dehydrated and because I wasn’t moisturizing enough. It was a long and hard journey to find that perfect moisturizer. I kept on looking for that one moisturizer that will hydrate my skin without making me look like a grease ball. After so many tries, I found Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion. I have also stuck with the very much-hyped (but rightfully so) Laneige Water Sleeping Pack. Nothing has made my skin as soft and as moisturized as it did.

Protect. Me, who rarely used sunscreen before, came to love them. All the sunscreen I had before were thick, sticky, and tacky until I found Shiseido’s Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion. I never appreciated sun protection until I got older and the lines showed up on the corners of my eyes. Premature aging of the skin is not a myth, guys.

**as published in puropulence last September 2017