The Heat Is On

It’s Summer and I’m melting faster than the Wicked Witch of The West.


You’d think the heat in Manila is helping make my dry skin a little less so. Unfortunately, it isn’t. My skin remains dry and appears to peel from time to time even if I’m sweating 24/7 especially the moment I step out the door. I’m telling you – putting make up on in this weather is futile and I don’t know why I even bother still.

Then again, I am not the best at figuring out the optimal layering of clothes (or strategic area coverage) to keep me breezy enough when out under the sun or covered enough for full blast air conditioners I’m bound to come across. Between the heat and the AC, I’m developing thermostat-bipolar-disorder. It’s not a thing yet but it might as well be.

I did discover a bunch of body wash variants to help me get through the day. Thanks to Olay Fresh Outlast, I have the option – 3 to be exact – of showering to my choice of scent and level of invigoration. For extra sweltering days, I use the Cooling variant with Strawberry & Mint (my favorite scent). For mornings when I need a bigger boost than just caffeine, I use Olay Refreshing body wash with Cucumber and Green Tea. And for those days when I’m feeling and looking a little flaky (TMI, I know, but the body does what it wants), I use Deep Moisture with the saccharine remnants of Honey.

Really, just thinking of taking a shower is making me want to have another one in the wee hours of the night. Is that really such a bad idea? Thank you, Olay, for making bath time – especially in the midst of global warming severed summers – especially fun.

Who cares if I sweat a lot post bath? I can always jump back in.


This post is in collaboration with Olay Philippines

Who’s Aging Now?

Let’s talk about the inevitable process of aging and the miracle of anti-aging products.

I just turned 25 and already I feel like my metabolism is slowly declining and my laugh lines starting to appear. My ascent into my late 20s may be causing some age-induced paranoia but I found that it’s better to be safe than #sorry.

Fortunately, I was gifted with age-defying products just in the nick of time. I won’t be pretentious and say that I’m knowledgeable about skin care because I’m really not. But I did ask a beauty blogger friend if I could start using age defying products in my 20s and the answer was a resounding yes. Not that I needed approval, I was rather keen to start.


Enter Olay Regenerist’s Miracle Boost Youth Essence and Advanced Anti Aging Micro-sculpting Cream Moisturizer known as the #MiracleDuo. The products are the newest from Olay Regenerist and impressively have already been gaining traction in the beauty community. Best used together for maximum youthful effect, these products are the freshest additions in my otherwise easy skincare regimen.

The Miracle Youth Essence is a serum best used twice a day after toners and before creams. It’s sheer, light and is easily absorbed by the skin unlike most serums that leave your face a little oily. Its promise is to help the skin look energized and I think my skin definitely got a gentle glow.



The Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream on the other hand is a really effective moisturizer. My face is so dry most of the time and this is exactly what I needed to make my skin look healthier and dewy. A friend of mine taught me to always use moisturizer on the neck as well as the face so this cream is being spread throughout.

I personally think that it’s great that these two products can be used both during the day and at night so I don’t have to keep changing products or remembering a whole different product line up. My handy Miracle Duo will be kept within reach.

I am aging after all. When I get feedback on how old I look, I’ll get back to you. But I’m willing to bet that with this Miracle Duo it wouldn’t be 25.


originally posted for 

MAC Is Beauty

Let’s talk makeup.

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Fashionphiles in the country are more beauty conscious than ever. While fashion trends are easy to commit to, sometimes purchasing makeup requires a little more justification. Clothes are affordable, used for a measly number of hours in a day and can be layered under mounds of fabric the moment you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable like bumping into someone with the exact same look. Loud trends and statement pieces are actually easily justified – an investment for going out, for parties or special dates. As rare as those occasions may be, there’s always that option of pushing garments to the back of your closet and dusting them off when needed.

Makeup on the other hand is a little trickier. It’s not everyday you get to wear orange lipstick or copper eyeliner (although I don’t see why not). Aside from the shelf life being pretty short, I think makeup can make girls as conscious as much as it can make them confident. An inappropriate beauty comment by an uninformed dude (it usually comes from them, no?) and a woman can spend the rest of the day in shame burying the made-up face she left the house feeling 100% confident in.

I personally love makeup. The feeling of popping open a new tube of lipstick is unparalleled. I spend late nights trying on new purchases and figuring out how best to use them. Aside from the shallow rush, I especially enjoy having an arsenal of hues and tools to use at my disposal when I need to impress, convince, play nice and sometimes even intimidate. Given that I wear black about 82% of the time, makeup is my first line of defense in self-expression and stepping out into this harsh, harsh world.

Makeup has been part of my life early on with me sneaking my nose in the contents of my mom’s kit. My curiosity was sated as I was allowed clear lipgloss and balms, and sometimes, a pop of blush growing up. Inevitably, after years of barely-there products, I fell in love with the boldest of colors post-puberty. Green eyeliner was my absolute favorite using it everyday in my last couple years in college.

Unfortunately, the line I liked was discontinued and I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect emeralds, teals and amethysts since. Finally, after years of beauty trials and, consequently, errors, I finally came across the perfect eyeliner selection.

MAC Philippines launched its MAC IS BEAUTY line yesterday at the Glorietta Activity Center and I kid you not when I say I’ve finally found my match – about 16 of them actually. The collection is a full range of cosmetics from 12 lipstick shades, 4 lip glass hues, powders, mascara, nail polish, pencil liners and my absolute new favorites the set of 16 fluid liners – colored gel liners in the rainbow hue of your dreams from teal all the way to glittery copper (see below). The event set design in a bubble gum shade of pink was but an Instagrammable bonus.

The collection does not shy away from color and offers a quick step to glamorize anyone who needs a little pick-me-up or a confidence boost. Power swipes are just as effective as power stances and a bold red lip is as captivating as a well-fitting pantsuit. Let’s stave off the nudes for now and embrace the bold and the beautiful within us. And if some jerk says otherwise, laugh it off and keep at it.

Remember: #MacIsBeauty and so are you.
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Happy Skin Gets StyLIZed

These new Happy Skin StyLIZed lipstick shades are best kept on rotation.

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It has to be said, I am a lipstick addict. “Nevermind brows,” my motto states, much to the dismay and unmistakeable disapproval of my brow-obsessed peers. It’s not that I don’t necessarily care about brows, contours or the rest of the trillion steps one is supposed to go through when painting one’s face, it’s more of I’m no expert at its application. So minimal strokes (and attention) suffice.  

What I am good at though is applying lipstick. I take that back. I would like to think I’m just a notch below Kylie Jenner’s make up artist’s infamous lip-lining techniques so I am pretty good (let’s assume, for the sake of this argument, that her lips are in fact rendered in liner alone – minus alleged collagen shots.) It doesn’t matter what texture or whether it comes in a tube, glass or a pencil. If it changes the hue of my puckers, they are mine to be owned and conquered. 

Fittingly, my lips have tasted and tested so many shades. From browns, to violets, Ive been obsessed with them all. Over the years with a rapidly growing collection, I have learned that I only really need one stick of each: a red, a pink and a nude. The oranges and the plums, though they render a different and sometimes necessary personality shift altogether, are too ostentatious in nature and, regrettably, can’t be worn everyday. That is unless you’re Rihanna and work embraces your eccentricity. Otherwise, all normal people with regular jobs must keep these for “special” occasions (a term I use loosely of course – Saturday nights most definitely included.) 

Enter Happy Skin’s most recent collection of three special shades in collaboration with celebrity stylist Liz Uy: Style Icon (nude), 24 Carats (pink) and Red Carpet (red). A stylist first and foremost, Liz knows exactly what staples each woman needs. The three shades alone are good thinking enough on her end – a solid red, pink and nude are best kept on regular rotation. But, of course, a partnership with a stylist entails a more meaningful marriage with fashion. Hence, the lipsticks also come in your choice of case – a leather pouch or an acrylic clutch especially requested by Liz herself.

Of course, as a person who regularly has a hard time going through the contents of my own purse, I chose the cold, hard, shiny, see-through case. It wasn’t just for comfort though, it was mostly for show. Lipsticks meant to impress are best kept visible – on your person by way of your newly tinted mouth and by way of promotion, lugged around as an essential with other seemingly important stuff. My new Happy Skin shades take on higher importance when leveled with keys, phones and wallets. And rightly so.

And with a lipstick collection named “Shut Up & Kiss me,” a gentle nudge (or a more aggressive prompt – whichever you need at the time) is not just undoubtedly welcome. It’s also absolutely necessary.

Each new Happy Skin StyLIZed lipstick costs P599 each. The acrylic clutch 3-piece set, P1799, and the leather pouch 3-piece set, P1499.  

A portion of proceeds from each stick sold goes to Gawad Kalinga. Purchase your own shade (and help) at Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-la, Beauty Bar and Plains & Prints stores nationwide.

A Lush Christmas

Made my own little Olaf (and more) at the Lush event.

Since I was young, the scent of a Lush boutique has been recognizable. Maybe as a child I was more accustomed to the scents of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate (I know, all ice cream flavors) so every time my mom would bring me to a boutique it felt like foreign terrain.

Overwhelming at times, tempting the rest, everything looked so misleadingly edible and delicious so to find out those candy bars were actually soaps was a complete disappointment to 7-year-old Alyssa.

Fast forward decades later and that unfamiliar territory has morphed into one looked for. The aromas seductive, the products exciting and their corresponding benefits, compelling. Bath bombs? Yes, please. Perfumes that come in stick forms? Yes, please. Each visit now feels like a trip to a grown up candy shop complete with the premise of pampering oneself. Even the packaging feels like a present begging to be unwrapped.

Speaking of presents, it’s only natural for Lush to come up with actual gift-able products perfect for the Christmas season. The brand recently released their newest holiday inspired collection complete with snowmen soaps, santa bars and reindeer products perfect to gift your loved ones. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of the Christmas collection where I had the chance to try and make my own soaps and bubble bars. Every item in the store is hand-made so it made perfect sense for us to get our hands dirty ourselves. Take a peek at the photos below and head to the nearest store to get your own.

I’m telling you, it’s olfactory heaven.

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Photos taken using my #SmartiPhone6

Treat Yo Hair

Once in a while my hair gets treated. Today was one of those days.

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My hair’s been damaged for a while now from over-abuse and very little attention. I usually leave it to conditioner and treatment jars to help my hair out but it’s gotten to the point that I can’t even comb my fingers through my shampoo-ed hair anymore. So I headed to Piandre Salon in BGC to try the Keratin Complex treatments – two, because #necessary.

The first one was the Intense Rx repair that, true to name, is supposed to heavily repair one’s damaged hair. Then I got the Infusion Blowout that basically locks the Keratin in for a couple of weeks, a treatment best for Keratin first-timers. The whole treatment lasted about two hours max – give and take a shampoo session and a few bites of cupcakes and cookies in between. We also got the privilege of being diagnosed by the owners of Piandre salon and the Vice President of Keratin Complex who visited all the way from Florida. She basically explained how Keratin works and why it’s a good treatment to regularly have. The great thing about the brand (and this experience) is that they have a range of products and services to choose from based on one’s hair diagnosis because everybody’s hair is different and, consequently, the needs are different as well. So expect treatments that are customized for optimal results.

I really wasn’t exaggerating when I said my hair is damaged. Post-treatment, I can see the difference. My hair still has a long way to go in its rehabilitation but I’m very happy with the treatment’s results – how it feels, how it looks, how it falls. I really do wish my hair looked like this on a daily basis. It doesn’t. So the time I have left with my hair will be thoroughly enjoyed, flaunted, and, obviously, photographed.


Outfit Photos by Monika Cagalingan

MAC Instant Artistry

Want instant tips on make up? So do I.

I’ve always been a make up and a MAC aficionado but I think I’ve always accepted that a make up artist’s touch is different and so much better than my own. My own strokes don’t even come close.

Contrary to popular teaching, in my school we were taught to wear make up in 5th grade – a fact that always comes as a shock to those who grew up in Catholic schools and stricter premises. So I thought I’ve always had the upper hand in terms of application and knowing my face – what works, what doesn’t, which shades flatter, which ones scare, and so on. But the more I’ve gotten to work with make up artists, the more I realized my knowledge is pretty basic and my technique almost non-existent.

The number escapes me but I know only a very small percentage of Filipinas actually wear make up and a good chunk of it touch lipstick alone. The good news is MAC, a favorite make up brand, has taken notice and has come up with MAC Instant Artistry – a series of short and easy video tutorials to teach us, the not-so-beauty-adept, about professional tricks and tips that we can do ourselves. The videos are really quick, about a minute or two each, and are divided into categories – eyes, lips, face, etc. They tackle day-to-night eye make up, blush with depth and dimension, sculpted lips, lived-in eyeliner and more. I was taught the day to night eyeshadow look by artist Raf. He dabbed a generous amount of eyeliner, blended it towards the middle of the lid, added a shade of powder eyeshadow in the middle and a dab of a lighter, more glittery one on top for shiny specks. You can view the tutorial video below.


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MAC is taking it a step further though with a pop-up installation in SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall Atrium where guests can browse the videos via iPad, ask the make up artists themselves for tips and have those tips done on them. There are also demos with a model so if you’re a bit shy – though there really is no reason to be – you can watch and take note instead. Make up chairs are abound, tools and tricks of the trade are up for grabs so I suggest you drop by. The booth is only until Tuesday, November 18. Learn as much as you can and render the professional’s touch on a daily basis.

I know I will.

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Will be trying the Sculpted Lips technique soon with these tools below – Boldly Bare Lip Pencil, Captive Lipstick and a lip brush. As a lipstick girl, I’m so excited. mac-instant-artistry-10

The New Shu Uemura

Taking you on a visual tour of the new Shu Uemura in Powerplant, its sleek new design and my Shu make up favorites.

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I had the privilege of touring the new Shu Uemura boutique in Powerplant, Rockwell a couple days ago at their walk-through and again attend their grand launch yesterday. I never really say no to make-up brands that I love so a 2-day event with Japanese brand Shu was a shoe in. (Forgive the pun.)

The new look, not that the old one was in bad shape – far from it, is great. Inspired by Tokyo, the new boutique boasts of subtle yet distinct Japanese references with its neon lights a la Ginza, Qee Bears wearing their famous eyelashes, and color coded displays for maximum impact. The store is also divided into sections from a skincare wall, to a best-sellers table, an eyelash station, opposite walls showcasing all the make-up products, a gift station and a mid-section dedicated to consultations and makeovers by the Shu Masters themselves.

Speaking of Shu Masters, I got a quick retouch by Riza de Guzman who gave me tips on which products best suit my skin tone – which by the way is dry and apparently the most expensive to take care of. Not so happy to find out about my high maintenance face but very happy that I discovered best sellers and products I could easily incorporate in my daily routine.

During the grand launch Shu Masters Angie Cruz, Patrick Alcober, Riza de Guzman, Cats del Rosario, Omar Ermita, EJ Mallorca, Hanna Pechon, John Pagaduan and Joyce Platon made up their muses with enviable looks and, even from afar, enviable lashes. Here’s a quick rundown of the store and some Shu products that I personally am using that you should probably also insert in your make up kits, stat.

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The Shu best-sellers list
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The Shu muses with Managing Director Rowell Vijandre
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Qee Bears and their lashes
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Made up by ShuMaster Riza de Guzman
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Muse Jasmine Maierhofer made up by ShuMaster Patrick Alcober

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And here are the products I’m falling in love with. That Ultime8 Cleansing Oil is their number 1 best seller and it’s at the top of the list for a reason. If there’s any Shu product you should buy right off the bat it’s this.

Just a friendly reminder from your fashion blogger (who really likes make up.)