A Beauty Date With Megastyle.ph

Chatted with Megastyle.ph about all things beauty. Join in on the girl talk?

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A  couple months back I had the privilege of chatting with MegaStyle.ph about my beauty rituals and must-haves. I always feel like a noob in the beauty realm so this was quite the surprise. I know, I know. Someone who wears red lipstick all the time seems to command quite the beauty know-how, right? Wrong. I mean I thought I knew a lot about makeup until I started hanging out with beauty bloggers. And, to reference my boy Jon Snow, we seem to be alike in the knowledge department (or lack thereof). Apparently, beauty is a whole different beast – with technical, scientific and procedural references that always seem to throw me off. Primers for lashes, serums for different nooks of one’s face, a barrage of anti-aging creams for twenty-year olds – the list of uncharted territories, at least in my book, is endless.

Still, read me babble about my beauty rituals, my must-haves, my travel essentials, and absolute favorite products over at this super cool feature produced and written by Cessi Treñas, directed by Alex Lara, shot by Andrea Beldua and beautified by Jorence Delimos of MAC Cosmetics and hair by Jan Edrosolan. Dream team.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a shoot with the camera this close to my face. Or squealed in depth (and, mind you, like an overexcited little girl) about my beauty regimen. I was pretty honest about my ineptitude too. But if you think there’s nothing you can learn from a non-beauty blogger talking about makeup, well, let me prove you wrong. At the very least, learn from my chronicled mistakes.

Plus, the writing and the illustrations are #lit. Read the full article here.

Produced by Cessi Treñas, Photography by Andrea Beldua. Creative Direction by Alexandra Lara. Hair by Jan Edrosolan. Makeup by Jorence Delimos of MAC Cosmetics

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Balayage At Hairshaft Podium

Got my hair diiid at Hairshaft and I’m feeling like a champ.

Hair color treatments always make me a bit fidgety. I’ve had a few dabs with color in the past and I’m rarely ever happy with the results. I’m still pretty traumatized from when my hair turned Johnny Depp-Mad Hatter-orange years ago from treatment gone wrong. My gal pal (and beauty expert!) Angela Nepomuceno has been raving about Fred Penales, a well-known hair stylist from Hairshaft Salon, for a while now and on a whim I decided to just give it a go. She said she’d come with me for moral support anyway (although I think she just wanted an excuse to get glammed up. Just kidding, girl!)

So, after a full day of events and meetings with Angela running around the metro with me driving, getting lost, having the police (yes, actual police) to help me maneuver ‘coz I made the wrong turn, and almost hitting an island with her semi-warning me and semi-laughing from the passenger seat, a trip to the salon was the best way to end the day.

“Do you have pegs?” Fred asked, when I finally met him.

“I can look,” offered the unprepared me. Who asks for a dramatic hair service without knowing what they want? Me, apparently. After quickly Googling Balayage, a color service I’ve been wanting to try, I showed Fred the photos and after a few quick glances he immediately enables me saying, “We can do that.”

The beauty noob in me didn’t actually know what Balayage was prior to the treatment so I had to ask the expert with me. According to Angela, it’s a subtler form of highlighting because it’s a freehand approach to color. I’d later find out what she meant exactly with how the color was blended on my hair and how it turned out. Instead of having harsh highlights (that people usually avoid, AND, when I was young, what people sadly made fun of), Balayage blends the different colors well. Imagine choosing a color and having multiple shades in the same color family seamlessly blend for a more natural look. Kind of like an organic looking gradient (as opposed to the drastic gradients of an ombre).

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Working it!

The process was foreign to me as I’ve never really had my hair bleached before. It began with parts of my hair foiled and bleached (see above). After leaving the bleach in for a short while, different expert mixtures of colors going by letters and numbers were applied to my hair. It was much faster than I thought it would be mostly since both coloring and drying was double time- literally double the number of people working on my head. The good news is I didn’t feel any pain from the bleach, the infamous tingling sensation that people keep talking about just wasn’t there. I think it’s because they didn’t apply bleach directly to my roots, which was great. My pain tolerance is pretty low so that would’ve been tough for me. What was a bit painful was trying to comb my hair after coating it with bleach, but I think that’s just because my hair is curly and combs never go smoothly through my hair even under normal non-bleached circumstances. But that was basically it. Those working on my mane said it right, “tiis ganda.

After a seemingly short while the color was rinsed out and I spent a few minutes at the shampoo station for intensive treatment. But the coloring process was done in one fell swoop.

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Treatment number 2: the famous Brazilian Blowout

My salon trip ended with another treatment, the Brazilian Blowout, to keep my newly colored hair smooth and manageable. The Brazilian Blowout involved having my hair coated with the mixture for about 20 minutes and then having it ironed straight away. They warned me that the fumes from the iron could be painful to the eyes. I was half-expecting it since I’ve had the same treatment done before at another place but surprisingly it didn’t hurt this time.

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The finished product!

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My hair ended up all sorts of ashy and I absolutely LOVE IT. I was actually planning on chopping my hair into a bob because I haven’t had my hair this long in years, but I’m definitely maximizing this color and keeping my hair long for now. I’m obsessed with my hair. Obsessed! What I especially like about how Fred did my treatment is the fact that it was designed for the roots to not be as heavily highlighted as the rest of the body for the color to blend well once my roots start growing. And so far, so good. And I say that with lots of white roots showing already. A few weeks in and my color is lighter and still looking great, even better than when I stepped out of the salon if I may say so myself.

I definitely found a hair godfather in Fred. You were right, Angela, it was about time to be #Fredified.

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Here we are rocking our new looks/locks!
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Thank you so much, Fred! Angela and I are happy to be #Fredified!

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My gorgeous salon date! Love yew!

Book your Balayage appointment now at Hairshaft  Podium, Fort, or Robinsons Ermita. If you want to book Fred Penales himself, you can reach him via 09176283906. Follow him on Instagram @HairshaftFred

Extraordinary, A Fragrance by Oscar de la Renta

Unboxing the new Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary fragrance proved to be extra sweet.

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As I was happily unboxing my new Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary perfume, my mom, who was curiously eyeing me from afar, started sharing memories of her own Oscar de la Renta fragrance run-ins. On she went with tales of her perfume of choice when she was younger. Though Extraordinary is a new Oscar de la Renta release, I understood what she was saying and could imagine (although maybe not accurately) what kind of scent she seemed to be in love with. After all, de la Renta’s fragrances have been addictive for decades on end. Extraordinary is no different- I’m obsessed. So much so that I’ve been using it for the past month straight. It’s not even part of my vanity anymore. It’s haphazardly sprawled in the living room, contrary to my mom’s daily “reminders” of keeping a clean, tidy house, just so I can spritz a few dabs right before I step out.

Oscar de la Renta has always been a magnificent designer creating gowns worthy of every woman’s fantasy. I’ve always personally looked up to Oscar too. It’s tough to thrive in this dog eat dog world where overnight success is all but demanded, and I appreciate those rare stories of starting from the bottom and finally reaching the pinnacle of success. De la Renta had one of those stories. I remember reading that one of Oscar’s first fashion jobs involved him picking pins off the floor of a fashion house. Look at what he has built since. A lot of people in this day and age will stick their noses up at a job they think is beneath them so I am especially drawn to that story of his. Unfortunately, greats come and go and the passing of Oscar was a sad day in fashion. He was truly a visionary.

Oscar once said that “A fragrance is an integral part of a person, it is the most intimate way of telling people who you are.” So it should come as no surprise that the fashion house was able to translate the idea of the Oscar woman into bottled essences. This particular scent, which was released just a year ago, was Oscar’s vision of the woman of today and the power that she wields- a confident, self-assured woman, who dresses for herself, and is in charge of her own life.

Maybe that’s why I relate so much to this scent, not because I think of myself as all of those things, but because I desire to be all of those things. Those are traits I want to embody as a woman and a human being in general. It’s about pursuing passions, acing a career, and holding your own.

The scent itself is much more visceral than just the idea of a modern day woman, don’t worry. The scent is a sparkling floral woody that has notes of Vanilla Orchid, Cherry Blossom, Hydroponic Long-stem Rose, Magnolia Flower, Blonde Woods and Amber Resin. But the true star ingredient of this pink mix is the peony- also the star of every social media star’s Instagram feed.

And as my mom wrapped up her nth Oscar story, I realized that favorite perfumes will always bring back certain memories and certain feelings, even decades after the fact. And my own memories with Oscar de la Renta are just about to start.

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Photography by Tippi Sy

Hair and Makeup by Rachel Torres 

Purchase your own bottle from Fresh Ph 

Introducing Pink Sugar Cosmetics

Ever wanted quality local beauty products? Here’s the cosmetic answer that’s saccharine sweet.

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The Filipino makeup landscape is taking an exciting turn for the better. The harsh reality is that very few local brands sell good, pigmented cosmetics. I’m all for supporting local, especially when it comes to fashion, but I personally think that the local beauty industry needs more local heavyweights that could rival international brands. We pay a premium (thanks to absurd shipping costs) because we have very limited local options. So, admittedly, when I found out a local makeup brand was being launched I was initially skeptical.

Pink Sugar Cosmetics launched last October and since their colorful launch, they’ve been proving me wrong. For starters, the brand is owned by two men. I reiterate, two straight men. Laveen and Rohit Mirpuri, Indian-Filipino entrepreneurs, decided to launch their own cosmetics brand after being plunged into the beauty world by chance. “Growing up and living with a lot of women, people kept asking me to buy cosmetics. So even if you don’t use makeup, you’re still buying,” Laveen fondly shares. He was also a go-to beauty adviser of sorts saying that he voiced out opinions on his family’s makeup looks “all the time.” He adds, “I would be the young cousin to bring along for shopping. My cousins always get unwanted advice.”

Living in Brazil for a few years only further ignited an entrepreneurial spark to put up a brand with his brother Rohit. “Living in brazil, the beauty trends are way ahead over there,” he muses. A year later, Pink Sugar Cosmetics was born with its multitude of products, colorful packaging and catchy names.

The process zoned in on the Filipina with the Philippine climate given careful consideration. “What is the Filipina skin? It’s ever evolving. People have a notion that it’s just yellow skin. We cater to the Filipino market by having a variety of shades to cater to different skin tones. The difference is in the formulation; it suits our climate,” Laveen boasts.

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With a product line as wonderfully diverse as this, it’s only right to tackle some favorites. Let’s start with the base. The BB Cream is an easy favorite because the coverage is light and looks natural. Pro-tip: mix shades if you can’t find your perfect tone. Another favorite is the selection of blushes. All 8 shades of the Sweet Cheeks HD Cheek Color (P499) are pretty pigmented and my absolute favorite is Miss Independent, a shimmery pink that gives a perfect flush. Sin City is a highlighter that I also use for a dewy glow.

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The brand offers two Eye Candy Eyeshadow Palettes (P699) and both are equally gorgeous. One is a nude/smokey palette that every girl should own while the other, which I like more, offers shades of cool blues for a more playful look.

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The selection of Creamy Matte tubes
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HD Lipsticks

For both cheeks and lips, there’s a selection of Sugar Tint Lip & Cheek Tint (P349). The tints are highly pigmented and range from a bright orange to a deep purple. Of course, actual lipsticks are also available and there are 24 of them. 14 shades are in the HD Collection (P299) and 10 are in the Creamy Mattes (P349). I am personally obsessed with the deep matte ones. Rumor (a blush pink), Royals (a deep purple) and Bang Bang (a brownish red) are my favorites.

Also try out their eye liner duos, HD powder and concealer. There are so many more colors and permutations to try and I’m just enjoying doing so. I’m really happy Pink Sugar entered the scene. Way to go, local. Way to go.

Pink Sugar Cosmetics is available in Watsons in the ff SM branches:  Aura, Makati, Manila, Fairview, Marilao, Clark, Lanang Premier Davao, Mall of Asia and Watsons Ayala Center Cebu. 

A Trip To JURO Salon Exclusif

It’s not everyday I get complimented on my head shape, by hair masters, no less.

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Documenting hair stylist Jude Hipolito chopping my hair off!
Documenting hair stylist Jude Hipolito chopping my hair off!
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Spotted Krissy Cruz getting her chop updated.

my-juro-salon-experience9 I’ve been waiting to be in the deft hands of hair experts Jude and Rose Hipolito for quite some time now.

Husband and wife hair stylist and hair colorist Jude and Rose of JURO Salon Exclusif have been making waves in the industry for decades. I first came across them when I handled the third installation of an event called Platform Show Manila where hair care brand Vidal Sassoon had a pop-up booth where the couple gave impromptu edgy new looks to willing participants. They all left highly satisfied. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones given a makeover because running an event leaves little time for pampering.

Two years later, I wrote about both of them for the October issue of MEGA Magazine as ambassadors of the brand Elgon. Knowing a little more about their methods and philosophies, I knew I had to book an appointment with them. My hair did need pampering.

By some twist of fate, I was invited a couple weeks ago to try out their services and I jumped at the opportunity. I had no idea what I wanted to have done. All I knew was that they were good at what they did according to several testimonies and declarations of love by people whose opinions I hold dear.

I think everyone panics a little when getting a new haircut – or is that just me? I chopped off the longest locks for a bob once and then got an even shorter bob on a whim a couple years ago so I’ve always felt like I was doing drastic changes that were high risk. We all just kind of took a leap of faith (mostly me, ‘coz it is, after all, my head). Fast forward to my appointment at JuRo Salon and my head shape was immediately complimented by Mr. Jude. I did not know that head shapes could be complimented but what I did know was that I was off to a good start.

The cut was an easy decision – a very subtle asymmetrical bob that’s short at the back and longer in front.  I was immediately on board. Talking to him proved insightful too. A hairdresser back in Califronia, Mr. Jude came back home to the Philippines after years of being a crowd favorite stateside. Having trained under some of the biggest names (like the Vidal Sassoon Academy), he decided to pursue the craft in Manila where he eventually met his wife, color expert, Ms. Rose, who instinctively knows which colors suit clients best and how to achieve certain hues that are impossible to recreate. Don’t even get me started on my previous color treatments that have gone a few shades in the wrong direction. I had Johnny Depp Mad-Hatter-Orange hair at one point – not by choice. I’d love to date Johnny Depp not look like a Tim Burton version of him.

Going back to the story, the two immediately hit it off romantically and professionally and put up a salon that later turned into JURO Salon Exclusif. Loyal clients know them as hair couturiers because the two do all cuts and color treatments themselves and pride themselves in doing so. Now, the two travel Asia doing hair workshops for Italian hair brand Elgon and have partnered with local foundations to help orphaned Filipino kids build skills to pursue a hairstyling career.

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My hair post haircut. The curls look so much better already.

Post-cut, when it was Ms. Rose’s turn to perform some pantone magic, she proposed red highlights. Being the coward that I am, in a moment of panic I shied away from the opportunity. In hindsight, which happened mere moments later when chocolate brown dye was being applied on my hair, I realized I should’ve done red. Full disclosure: I have a lot of gray hair. More than any 25-year old should so I was a little apprehensive about having to retouch red roots. I also chickened out from the bold color, if I’m being honest. So instead, I got subtle chocolate highlights that seem natural against my curls.

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Spotted my friend Sarah Tirona in the salon with color expert Rose Hipolito using Elgon products. Sarah has apparently been a loyal client for years.
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Ta-da!

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I am honestly extremely happy with my new look and impressed with the approach that they take in dealing with their clients (it wasn’t just me I bumped into Sarah Tirona and Krissy Cruz too.) Mr. Jude talked about how curly hair requires a specific approach and I know from experience that very few hairdressers in the Philippines are actually equipped with the knowledge to style and cut curls. I’ve often entered a salon with a rebond promo offer as a greeting. Now, while I do like the straight look on occasion, I would like to be able to get a haircut that lets me walk out of the house without spending an hour to blow dry and straighten my hair. And with Mr. Jude, true enough, the haircut perfectly suits my wash-and-go philosophy. I only spritz a few pumps of my Beach Born Sea Salt Spray and my curls are the way I’ve always wanted them to be. No bull. I’ve never been able to achieve locks like this with such ease before. They both obviously know what they’re talking about.

Obviously, I recommend that you try them out at JURO Salon Exclusif for yourself because aside from having deft hands and nimble fingers, they have such a passion for their craft and a respect for building trust that I admire. When I was apprehensive about getting red highlights, I specifically remember Ms. Rose telling me that it was perfectly fine that I wanted something else, and what stuck was that she kept saying she would build trust first. And as a first time customer, I really valued that they don’t impose their widely-known expertise on clients but rather want to develop a relationship built on trust and customer satisfaction on a personal level. We took it slow when I should’ve gone the whole nine yards. Or in my case, inches.

On that note, I need to go back for my red highlights. Oh, and maybe keep this haircut for the next x amount of years of my life.

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Days after: my curls after spritzes of Beach Born Sea Salt Spray. I spritz 8-10 pumps on wet hair and walk out the door. Photo by Emile Bagtas
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Here’s what my hair looks when parts of it are straightened (didn’t have time to do the full head). The asymmetrical chop is so much more defined when straight. Photos by Paul Mendoza

JURO Salon Exclusif is located at Kensington Place, Unit 2D, 1st Ave, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines. Contact them at (02) 822 5673 to book appointments or visit http://jurosalon.com/ for more information. 

Bulgari Omnia Paraiba: The Smell Of Brazil

Smell the tropical eden that is Brazil in a gorgeous new tourmaline bottle.

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Scents can definitely transport you places – both from memory and figments of imagination.

It’s a proven fact that the olfactory sense can trigger some of the most powerful reactions which is amazing because I think that’s the most overlooked sense.

For instance, the smell of freshly cut lawn transports me right back to my childhood and those days I thought driving a tractor was a “big girl” step up that would soon transition to a car. The smell of certain Mediterranean dishes take me back to a special trip in Israel and the smell of certain perfumes, even on passing strangers, reminds me of old friends and acquaintances.

Bulgari recently launched its newest fragrance, the Omnia Paraiba, inspired by the forests of Brazil and its tropical fauna. The new fragrance is part of the World Tour collection that merges legendary flowers and colorful stones more popularly known as these concoctions: the Omnia Crystalline, Amethyste and Indian Garnet. This time around, Bulgari took homage to the tropical eden of Brazil with the add-on of a blue-green gem, the tourmaline.

The scent’s notes are an unexpected mix of three main ingredients – the Maracuja passion fruit that renders a tangy, citrus tone, the fruity floral Gardenia Passion Flower and the Cocoa Bean rendering  a touch of woody sensuality.

I’ve never been to Brazil although a South American trek is something I’ve always wanted to do. I  distinctly remember when I was in high school (already 10 years ago), we performed several Brazilian songs in the glee club. Fittingly, in theme of yanking special memories, the Bulgari launch also had a few artists render several Brazilian songs for the guests taking me right back to our ruffled costumes singing and dancing in our campus halls.

The truth is, this is my first time to try a Bulgari scent so my experience prior was a pretty blank canvas but already the scent has triggered something special and I can’t wait to make new memories with the new Omnia Paraiba.

Who knows, maybe when I do go to Brazil, it will remind me of the perfume and finally come a full olfactory circle.

A big thanks to artist extraordinaire, Soleil Ignacio, for painting on my bottle. 
The Bulgari Omnia Paraiba is available at The SM Store Beauty Section, Rustans Department Stores and other leading department stores nationwide.  Bottle prices below:  
25ml Eau De Toilette Jewel Charm P2,898
40ml Eau De Toilette Bottle P3,950
65ml Eau De Toilette Bottle P5,080

My Beauty Ritual

It’s about time we got skin-deep.

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It has taken multiple rude awakenings in the form of flaky skin and breakouts and a lot of disappointed lectures by beauty blogger friends for me to finally edit my beauty arsenal. If you asked me a year ago if I had a beauty ritual I probably would’ve blurted a bunch of products I have but don’t use. I do like buying products but back then I didn’t even regularly wash my face to remove my makeup after a long day. Disgusting, I know.

Luckily, the blogosphere is dynamic. I’ve made a couple of beauty expert friends along the way and have been constantly bugging them about what products to use. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be invited to a few events here and there that have taught me a lot more about the beauty industry which is huge and apparently very technical. The clincher, I learned, is that there is no one route or single go-to solution for everyone’s problems. I guess you can compare it to dressing for your body type- you have to find the right products to address your very specific skin concerns. See, the first rule is to know your skin. Observe how your skin fares throughout the day – does it become oily early? does it flake easily? Also observe how you absorb makeup – does it stay throughout or does the makeup lighten easily? Do you break out when you use a certain product? Always be observant of how your face reacts to what you put on it.

I used to make the most basic beauty mistakes like thinking rubbery skin after cleaning was good and using whatever was sent to me or whatever I saw on compelling ads completely disregarding the products’ specific uses and formulations. Don’t worry, I’m still not an expert. I don’t know what percentage of peroxide would work best, or what acids to avoid. (I’m not even sure if peroxide is used in beauty products – I think it’s just for hair?) Anyway, point is, I still don’t know much but I’ve started to care more about how products affect my face. So without further ado, here are the products that I use and swear by which you can test for yourself especially if we have the same skin type: dry, through and through.

1. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – On a regular day I use this gentle cleanser. It doesn’t foam that much and has no beads (which I know some people specifically look for) but it’s so gentle on your skin. I’ve been using it for years since I discovered it from Sephora and I haven’t looked back since.

2. Bobbi Brown Beads – Because my skin is dry, I try to avoid using this too often but I do make it a point to exfoliate once a week. I use the beads with just water or with my cleanser. I love how I feel like I’m removing layers of dirt. This is also especially good when it’s cold and your skin starts to flake. My forehead usually flakes when I travel or when it’s cold. So this is my travel must.

3. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask – This one actually got me into trouble: scolding via whatsapp as it merited a “Why did you buy that, isn’t your skin dry?” question. I know I should’ve gotten Origins’ moisturizing mask instead but I personally zone in on blackheads a lot. I could literally pluck blackheads for an hour armed with a magnifying mirror, a flashlight and the right tweezers. So, knowing that this mask clears pores I try to use this it even just once in two weeks to minimize pesky blackheads. Plus, masks make me feel so glamorous. Despite ironically  looking like there’s mud on my face.

4. Bobbi Brown Extra Brightening Toner – To be honest, I have no idea what toner really does. I think it evens out skin tones? Anyway, I use it after washing and before sunscreen and this is what I use. #beautybloggerinprogress.

5. Neutrogena Ultra Clear UV Lotion – I bought this a couple weeks ago because I finally gave in to the fact that I need sunscreen. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I easily get dark spots on my face and that is not a good look- on anyone. Plus, it’s always smart to protect yourself from sun damage. It’s light and has no fragrance and I put it right before I start piling on makeup. Next thing I need to religiously do is put sunblock on my body.

6. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion – I don’t use this daily although I should but I use it on days when I’m feeling extra scaly. Sometimes the skin on my nose just breaks from dryness and this is the fastest way I know how to hide it without leaving too much unnecessary oil on my face. It’s also a favorite when I travel or when it’s cold and I make sure to transfer a small amount in a hand-carry-approved container.

7. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – I’ve had this product for more than a year now but haven’t really had the chance to use it until recently. It’s now my absolute favorite and a product I swear by. Every time I use it (I use just two drops at night), I feel like my face is rejuvenated by the time I wake up. This oil does wonders and it definitely stays true to its name. I even make my mom use it.

8. L’Oreal Revitalift Laser X3 Night Cream Mask – I have to admit, I didn’t know whether I was worried or offended when this product was sent to me. I just turned 25 when I got this and I didn’t think I needed anti-aging products as soon as I hit my quarter life. It turned out to be a perfect gift because, as mentioned, my skin is unbelievably dry. So when I use this night cream my face is really moisturized by morning to the point that a certain makeup artist thought my skin is actually oily. #truestory. It’s that effective.

9. Bioderma Sensibio H2O – This was given to me by a beauty blogger friend I usually bug for beauty advice, Angela. She knows that I get lazy to wash my face so her expert solution was to give me a product that removes makeup effectively minus the hassle of washing. I love it – and not just because it enables my sloth. It’s able to remove the clammiest of lipsticks and the clingiest of liners. Even my mascara is easily swiped off. I get styes often because of mascara or the rare glue for falsies so having a product that effectively removes oil and the staining black pigments is a chemical miracle.

Sound off below if you have beauty advice or if we’re twinning on products. Beauty conversations engage me. Am currently working a post on Beauty Tricks For The Beauty Noob so watch out for that special compilation of mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to commit the same beauty faux pas.

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Introducing Atkinsons

Meet the British perfume house that recently made its way to Philippine shores.

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When a brand boasts of having Napoleon Bonaparte, the Tsar of Russia, the King of Italy and more notable and, sometimes, fear-inducing-titles as clients, one has to at least check the brand out. British perfume house Atkinsons finally made its way this side of Asia and the recent launch, though far, was worth trekking to.

I am a sucker for perfumes. Testing different scents is therapeutic (although at times dizzying) and discovering surprising biases is always fun. As a person, I’m also a loyalist and tend to stick to favorites replenishing bottles as needed. I recently hoarded two new ones for stock because they were my top two on rotation and on sale.

Naturally, I attended the launch of the newest perfume brand to infiltrate the Filipino market and, very soon I forecast-their wardrobes. Of course, being a Brit brand, the event at Pangaea, City of Dreams was capped off with tea and both saccharine and savory pastries for good British measure.

It’s interesting to note that the brand is a legacy—scents have been formulated since the early 1900s withstanding the test of time. Some of the heritage scents were created during the war while some of the other fragrances were requests by the most notable names in history such as Prince Mohammed Ali of Egypt. I mean, I guess if you’re royalty you could definitely be a diva and demand whatever it is that you want. Kidding, if I had a retail brand and the Duchess of Cambridge wanted to wear my designs I’d definitely give her all the pieces I’ve ever made.

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From The Emblematic Collection stars the scent 24 Old Bond Street, which according to the press release is “a cocktail of juniper, rose and black tea, and smoky, oak-casked whisky accord.” In very reductive layman’s terms, it’s a pretty masculine scent. Dapper and purportedly unisex, the fragrance is a little too masculine for a petite girl’s daily spritzes (read: mine). I wouldn’t mind smelling it on a significant other though or rubbing a spritz or two on myself on days when I’m feeling the testosterone (or arrogance, the two are interchangeable). Again, I kid.

I would suggest it though for those who do enjoy a masculine flair, or those who aren’t as feminine and partial to sweet scents. For those like myself who basically live in dresses and pinks, I would suggest trying Atkinsons’ floral variants. They have an array of floral inspirations and fragrances from lavender to jasmine, rose and more. My personal favorites are The Nuptial Bouquet and Jasmine in Tangerine, must-tries for olfactory girly-girls.

To test and get your own Atkinsons bottles, do make your way to Art of Scent, a luxury fragrance boutique at the East Wing of Shangri-la Plaza for a curated array of luxurious scents. Everybody needs an olfactory ride from time to time.

Atkinsons is also available in Art of Scent in shops at City of Dreams and Resorts World Manila.

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Posing with the bottle at the recent launch

MAC Haute Dogs

Haute as in couture. Not NYC sausages.

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I first heard of the newest MAC collection when I was strolling one of the many malls in Bangkok. Imagine my surprise when I saw models at the counters with ridiculous show-dog hair even bigger than my puppies’. Two weeks later I got to attend the event in the PI to finally find out what the dog ‘dos were all about.

The newest collection called Haute Dogs takes inspiration from, as you may have already guessed, show dogs. It’s high time we made a tribute to man’s best friend although I never thought it’d be in the form of makeup. Still, it makes perfect sense. Owners tend to start looking like their puppies sometimes and, let’s face it, well-groomed pups have shinier, softer hair, the most defined eye liners and unbelievable lash lengths. The new collection, similarly, boasts of “buttery fur tones, gold-spun sculpting powders and regal berries for lips.”

It’s interesting to note that the collection has a lot of shimmer. Gone are the days of summer mattes and blocked pigments. As we usher in the BER months (it’s 97 days ’til Christmas, you guys), the holidays deserve something a lot more festive and one’s makeup has to reflect that.

Haute Dogs includes an array of what should be your new holiday makeup arsenal: 3 eyeshadow palettes, highlighters, 5 shades of lip-stick and 3 -glass aptly named after our canine obsessions, lip pencils, gel liners, brow liners and even nail lacquer. Consider them a timely seasonal upgrade to your essentials.

My personal favorites are the everyday add-ons to any beauty routine – the Deep Brunette brow pencil (I need to get one of those!), Currant lip liner (an intense reddish purple), and the different eyeshadow palettes. Even PR Manager Vanessa Vergara shares the same sentiment boasting of how easy the eyeshadow palettes fit the busy woman’s lifestyle allowing for a seamless transition from day to night. It’s true though, the palettes have a whole range of hues each from light to dark to suit whatever beauty mood you may be in.

I personally can’t wait to try out the different looks I can do with the palettes. Maybe holiday makeup can be my Christmas gift to myself.

Then again, do we really need an occasion to love ourselves? I think not.

Visit MAC stores for the newest products; Mineralize Rich Lipstick, Php1500; Mineralize Glass, Php1500; Lip Pencil, Php1000; Mneralize Eye Shadow, Php2750, Fluidline, 1100; Veluxe Brow Liner, Php1280; Mineralize Skinfinish, Php2750; Sculpting Powder, Php1400;MAC Nail Lacquer, Php750

To Sin, MAC Toledo

Tested my MAC Toledo via an outfit because what else would I do? I am a fashion blogger.

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Some people tend to have a misconception that bloggers get everything for free. If that were true, my life would be much easier and my bank account much better, not to mention my meals much more constant and gourmet. Though we admittedly get some items as gifts, new product releases get us excited just as much as the next person, maybe even more, so we still need to save to get the things we eye. We just tend to be a lot more digitally vocal about their acquisition.

When MAC Cosmetics partnered with artists Isabel and Ruben Toledo a couple months back, my list got longer. (And trust me, my beauty want list is long enough.) The couple’s famous vibrant style was translated into eye-catching hues and highly pigmented shades. Think: eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara in electric greens and vivid purples and lipstick and lip glass options in degrees of red, not to mention polygonal compacts. I was personally torn between the green eye products (both shadow and liner) and the darkest lip shade close to a deep violet, Sin. In the end, the voice of reason (aka my budget) had its way as lip products are cheaper than their eye counterparts and I bought Sin in its glossy form.

Lesson learned: gloss is not as tightly pigmented as a stick. In layman’s terms, gloss is more translucent and won’t give you full color coverage like a normal MAC lipstick would. Still, my lips are very chapped and a dark matte would only highlight the dryness. My solution for a color-packed punch: a coat of any dark lipstick and an aftercoat of the lip glass.

Shot the look in a background of trailing pink bougainvilleas. Couldn’t have chosen a better spot.

Photos by Elisa Aquino

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