Archive for October 2012

Four Local Online Beauty Services On the Rise


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2012's last quarter is definitely a milestone for most beauty enthusiasts. There are now a number of operational and up and coming local beauty services online! 


Saladbox is the first company to launch their beauty and lifestyle subscription box (September 2012). You may want to check out my unboxing postMonthly subscription cost: P500/month

BDJ Box first launched this October. I saw the boxes sent to bloggers and the contents are more likely to be loved by beauty junkies than Saladbox's. Plus, it's P20 cheaper. Monthly subscription cost: P480/month

Glamourbox will be out by November. Among the subbie boxes, this one's most costly. Let's hope the contents are more impressive than the other two! Monthly subscription cost: P595/month

Sample Room is a service I learned about from the lovely Shen. It's an up and coming sampling service that will only charge for the shipping cost. It sounds really promising and I can't wait for its launch.

Which of these services are you most excited about? The revolutionary four are sweet treats to end this controversial year. I do hope and pray that the people behind them are passionate and hardworking enough to come up with the best things in beauty delivered to our doorsteps. 





Snip, Snip --- Will I Make It Big in the Hair Industry?


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One day, my pitbull Maxx volunteered to play guinea pig to find out if there was any chance for me to make it big in the glamorous world of hair styling:


Wahl's a great clipper!


And he concluded quite mockingly (with his huge tongue sticking out of his ginormous mouth) that I will never make it. I protested he was such a pain to work with and that I'm better off with scissors and a human subject. He smirks and bets that I will never find anyone who'd want to be guinea pig to my cutting prowess.

Will any of you trust me with his/her hair?




Saladbox's September Box Review


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Here's what I think of the products inside Saladbox's September box:


Like The SaladBox on Facebook & Follow them via Twitter
Check out the SaladBox website for the latest goodies!



1. Camaru Naturals Bamboo Charcoal Clarifying Soap (P150/135g) - This, in my opinion, is the best product to try out among the four. Camaru has replaced the plastic packaging with an attractive paper wrap this time (which I love!). Check out my in-depth review of the Camaru Bamboo Charcoal Soap. I highly recommend this product as it worked well for me!


2. Hot Shop Pour Femme Perfume in Happy (P400/50mL) - You might remember that I was very eager to check this product out because of the wonderful scent it gave the entire box. This is a sweet and fresh scent best worn on casual days. I am disappointed though that it seems that this scent smells better sprayed on paper than on the skin. The scent lasted barely two hours on me. Won't recommend.

3. BC Fragrance Pillow Mist in Relaxing Mint (P150/60mL) - I loved this more than Hot Shop's perfume. When I opened the box, I really didn't think I'd love this, but the minty and refreshing scent it left my pillow and sheets was just pure love! Will recommend!

4. Natura Cosmetics Gorgeous Argan Cheek and Lip Stik (P150/10g) - It's more of a lip balm than a lip & cheek tint --- I find it's too tacky to be on the cheeks! The color is a disappointing beatdine-ish pigment, however, the creamy smoothness it leaves my lips makes up for it. I don't think I'll recommend this.



Overall, the September Saladbox Press kit did not meet my expectations. It's really a bit sad because this is the first subscription box I have received. I did like BC Fragrance's Pillow Mist in Relaxing Mint and Camaru's Bamboo Charcoal soap though. I do hope the Saladbox improves in the next few boxes to come.


I Can Be Body Beautiful at Any Age with Wacoal


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Do you ever consider support and style for your undergarments when buying them? Or do you just focus on the design, color, and appeal? There was a time when I used to not care about bra/underwear form and fit and just went after how cool and sexy it looked on me. That was before I turned 32. 

Now older and wiser, I start to rebuild my undergarments. Wacoal has an age-specific undergarment collection. My eyes are on their medium support shape pants and non-wire, thin pads cami bra which is a good pair to feeling body beautiful at thirty:


I now stay away from heavily padded bras and find a good use for tummy-tucking knickers. There are more selections from Wacoal that make undergarment shopping a breeze, thanks to the age-specific collection!



http://www.wacoal.ph


They have good pairs waiting for every women at any age. Check out what they have to offer for women in their 20's, 30's and 40's!




The Body Shop Crayon Concealer Review: How I Hide My Huge Zits


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I have been using the Crayon Concealer since 2009 and realizing that it's currently The Body Shop Philippines' 2nd best seller, I must say that I'm not the only one loving the product! (All-In-One Face base tops the list while the Oil-Free foundation came in third).

Product Description. Our creamy concealer cares for your skin even as it hides its imperfections. With community Trade marula oil. It effectively covers blemishes and blends easily to conceal redness. Available in a variety of shades.

  • Medium to high coverage
  • Blends easily
  • Dermatologically tested



Results. The Body Shop's Crayon Concealer's thick texture works well in making my non-peeling/non-flaky zits less visible. It fares even better in concealing redness and post-acne blemishes. During the initial several uses though, I struggled with blending and making the concealer look smooth & natural when working with huge zits. I figured that using a brush to work on the periphery of the makeup works better than using the fingertips.

Also, the very creamy concealer can appear cakey when set with powder foundations that provide great coverage (like the Shiseido Perfect Smoothing Foundation). If you plan to use the concealer under a medium to heavy coverage powder foundation, be sure to set the concealed area/s with a sheer powder  before applying foundation.

Shade Range. The Body Shop's Crayon Concealer comes in six shades, 01-06. 02 fits my NC 25-30 skin.

Product Versatility. The concealer isn't for the undereye --- the texture is too rich. But it can pass for an eyelid base for eyeshadows especially if you don't oil up a lot. I have oily lids but I was able to prime mine to make eyeshadow colors look better.

Comedogenic? It neither caused nor treated zits. It's plain makeup on my skin and does not double as skincare.


Cons.

  1. Difficult to blend with fingers without appearing cakey 
  2. Does not hold well on oily skin types (4 hours max on me)
  3. Needs a special sharpener (costs P200+) --- but you can have it sharpened at The Body Shop stores 
  4. Emphasizes skin flaking
Other Info: How much: P600+/3.2g; Shelf-life: 3 years; If you plan to have your concealer sharpened at The Body Shop stores, don't forget to sanitize right after sharpening.


Overall Impression:

True to its claim, The Body Shop's Crayon Concealer hides imperfections by providing medium to heavy coverage. Though blending it out was initially a problem for me, I strongly feel that makeup pros will find the concealer's texture very easy to work with. 

My greatest gripe is that it slides off easily exposing my plump and inflamed pimples in just a few hours. The biggest advantage on the other hand, apart from its being an effective concealer, is its shelf-life. I needed so little of the product that my 2009 purchase lasted me till first quarter of this year --- that's huge savings! I definitely dig why it's a best seller.



Colorful Cleansing Oils from Nature Republic's Forest Garden Line


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When I was researching for a good alternative to Shu Uemura cleansing oils, Nature Republic's Forest Garden Cleansing Oils caught my fancy as their line up carries a good array of makeup removing oils close to Shu's (feel free to comment below if you know of brands with such variety). Shu's got six variants, Nature Republic has five.


Price: P665 (10% off for Nature Republic cardholders)
Available at: Nature Republic boutiques at Festival Mall, SM North and SM Fairview

Their "Balancing" cleansing oil may be the best for me as I am drier on the cheeks and oily along the T-zone. The scent is quite overpowering but wasn't anything near unpleasant.


Five variants of the Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil Line:

MOISTURE (Borage Oil & Carrot Seed) - blue; moisturizing; best for dry skin

BALANCING (Rosemary & Ylang Ylang) - pink; revitalizing; perfect for stressed out skin

FRESH (Tea Tree & Lemongrass) - green; acne-busting; capable of targeting pimples and comedones

PREMIUM (Argan Oil) - white; perfect for those who want added radiance

MILD (Chamomile) - lilac; a good choice for those with sensitive skin

And I actually thought 'Balancing' was meant for unbalanced/combination skin, hee!

blue, pink, green and white bottles (lilac variant not in photo)

My only question is: why can't I have Balancing, Fresh, Premium and Mild in one bottle? The good old saying holds true in beauty products, too: "You can't have 'em all!". Ho well, the Nature Republic Forest Garden cleansing oils are worth checking out anyway --- great packaging, and from what I've been hearing from people, tough on the most stubborn gunk on the face!


Neutrogena Deep Clean Brightening Mulberry Ultra Foam Cleanser Review


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The Neutrogena Brightening Mulberry Ultra Foam cleanser promises to:

  • remove 99% of dullness-causing dirt, oil, impurities and dead skin cells from the skin with a velvety fine foam
  • provide skin with the proven whitening efficacy of mulberry extracts (Morus alba root extracts) that are rich in Vitamins B3 and C to help visibly brighten skin.
CLEANING ABILITY

The cleanser dispenses a fragrant and astonishingly silky ball of foam I love putting on my face. I use four pumps of the product to properly clean my face and it does the job. That is, if I do not put on foundation or bb cream. Otherwise, I use the Neutrogena Brightening Mulberry Ultra Foam cleanser as a follow-up to my Shu Uemura cleansing oil routine.


Available at: Watsons 
Price/ weight: 307.50/ 175mL


I have been alternating the cleanser with a salicylic facial wash for almost 2 months now and it never caused me to break out (compared to the Revitalizing Pink Grapefruit variant). It is consistently non-drying and does not leave my face uncomfortably taut.

WHITENING POWER

If you expect this to land you a MAC shade lighter in no time, pull your standards down a bit. In 2 months, I only see brightening wonders after each use. I don't remember waking up and gushing over a fairer complexion. It's also proper to consider that:

  • I do not use the cleanser on a daily basis
  • I've only almost used up one bottle of the Brightening Mulberry ultra foam wash 
Perhaps a more frequent usage or another bottle of this Neutrogena cleanser will do permanent wonders. Morus alba extracts are known to function as natural skin bleaching agents making it a little difficult to discount the possibility that this cleanser can improve skin clarity over time. 




Recommendation. If you're on the hunt for a mild cleanser that's tough on non-makeup dirt and impurities, this is a good product. I strongly feel that those with less problematic skin (acne-free) will find this a good cleansing staple. Plus, there's a bonus of ending up with a brighter complexion after each wash, too! 

Disclaimer: Product was sent to me for review purposes. Post content is in accordance with my personal experience while using the Neutrogena Deep Clean Brightening Mulberry Ultra Foam Cleanser.

My First Fraxel Experience: A Giant Leap In Rehabilitating My Scarred Skin


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The first few months I was with my derma, Dr. Six Foronda, she recommended that I save up for  Fraxel sessions offered by the Belo Medical Group. She explains how cost-effective and efficient the treatment was for the type of acne scarring I have on my cheeks and temples. 

However, I was reluctant to see a different doctor knowing how my skin felt to be under the best care with Dr. Foronda. And so I told her I'd rather wait till she acquires a Fraxel machine.

During the first quarter of this year, she finally gets a fractionalized CO2 laser machine, Multixel. Let me share with you what happened during my first treatment session --- a giant leap for me in getting the best treatment for my acne scars! (I will be using the term "Fraxel" as we go along as it is a more popular term for and a shorter way to type out "fractionalized CO2 laser"). For the record, the procedure I'm getting is laser resurfacing via fractional CO2 laser using Multixel.


BEFORE TREATMENT
  • Prior to the big day, Doc Six requested I stop using tretinoin at least 5 days from the treatment date.
  • Topical anesthesia, Lidocaine, was applied on areas to be treated (pretty much the whole face). My chin area was breaking out that day and so it was spared.

  • Doc Six explains what to expect from the procedure while we wait for the anesthesia to numb my skin.

DURING TREATMENT

  • At this point, I am unable to take photos. But let me show you what came in contact with my face:
Dr. Foronda explains the pattern that the laser will create on my skin. Using a paper, the laser beam is applied (red light on left photo). Right photo shows the dots that will appear on my skin
  • Doc Six customizes my Fraxel treatment: skin resurfacing on the scars and large pore treatment on the rest of the unscarred skin. Oh the wonders of having a good doctor to work on my skin!

  • Despite my low pain threshold, I was able to tolerate the very uncomfortable heat form the machine. It just got painful when the light passed through my forehead, nose and temples. 
  • At the end of Fraxel, it was already very painful. I felt like fluids were oozing all throughout my face.
  • It is also noteworthy to include how it smelled burnt skin all throughout the procedure.
AFTER THE TREATMENT

  • I silently prayed for strength from God to cope with the progressing pain. 
  • Doc Six handed me an ice roller to help subdue the pain. Answered prayer! (I pay attention to the littlest things like that)

  • I was instructed the following: (1) keep face off water until the evening of the next day, (2) resume tretinoin the next day (evening) to prevent any possible PIH, (3) cold compress & analgesics to soothe pain (4) protect skin form the sun at all times.
  • Immediately after Fraxel, I was so red. A day after treatment, the redness decreased a bit but my face looked so swollen.

Immediately after Fraxel as the pain continues to build up

I was less conscious of how my face looked like on the fifth day after treatment; it took six days for my skin to completely heal. A month after the treatment, I noticed that my skin further improved versus Day 7 post-treatment. I wrote a more detailed post about my Fraxel timeline, btw.

(N.B. Day 0- treatment day, Day 1 - day after treatment)
You may click to enlarge



Here's an old photo of my skin before laser skin resurfacing taken from this post

There was very little improvement after this first Fraxel experience. It made me think twice about going back for another painful round of skin cooking but waking up to less scarred cheeks (no matter how minute) has motivated me to be patient with my doctor's treatment plan.  I have had three treatments to date and I will post more about my adventures in fractional CO2 laser treatment in the next few weeks!


Sentro 1771's Keso Flan Is My Current Favorite Dessert


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Some few weeks ago, the sibs and I decided to spend one rainy Sunday afternoon eating merienda at Sentro 1771. I loved everything we ordered especially the Keso Flan. It's cheesecake, bibingka and leche flan rolled into one! Oh, Keso Flan!



I would not have guessed that the slices of salted duck egg mixed with a spoonful of the sweet & creamy keso flan created a wonderful burst of flavor! I loved Sentro 1771's version of leche flan down to the last bite. I didn't eat the queso de bola though. I never liked it.

P220 is quite a big price to pay for a dessert I chowed down in a little over a minute. Parang taga bundok lang, naexcite sa bagong pagkain na pagkasarap-sarap! The serving, in my opinion, is quite small especially for something so amazingly palatable.

It wasn't just this dessert that I loved at Sentro. I'll tell you about the others soon after I get the photos fixed. For now, I'll leave you with this so you can help me figure out why this dog kept barking crazily at me when I tried to pose beside him.


Get fresh updates via the Sentro Facebook page and their Twitter
Sentro 1771 is located at the Serendra Piazza (across Cupcakes by Sonja) and Level 2, Greenbelt 3


Sentro 1771's Keso Flan has raised the bar in leche flan. That's at least for my simple and easy-to-please palate. But if you want come up with a verdict and and try out a delectable treat where leche flan, cheesecake, bibingka, and itlog na maalat tag teams to knock your tastebuds out, go and try the Keso Flan any time soon!


What's Inside My First SaladBox?


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Last week, the kind people from The SaladBox sent me a sample of their beauty & lifestyle subscription box. If you're wondering what's inside, take a peek:



The Press box is themed "Filipino Pride" and contains four homegrown products. Except for the Camaru Naturals bamboo charcoal soap (whose new packaging got me so excited), I am unfamiliar with the rest of the brands.

  • Full-size Natura Cosmetics Argan Cheek and Lip Stik (P150/10g) - beauty
  • Full-size Camaru Naturals Bamboo Charcoal Soap (P150/135g) - beauty
  • Full-size Hot Shop Perfume in Happy (P400/50mL) - beauty
  • Travel-size BC Fragrance Pillow Mist (P150/60mL) - lifestyle



Among these products, I'm least excited to try out the lippie. I can't wait to test out the perfume though while the Pillow Mist intrigues me as it claims to "clear the mind" --- definitely not something you'll sleep in before a big exam, hehe.

Check out my review of the products inside the September Saladbox.

Is It Worth Subscribing To?  At this point, it is unsound to come up with a conclusion. I was sent a Media edition of the beauty box which is in no way intended to mirror what paid ones contain. SaladBoxes are supposed to be a customized set of products based on the subscriber's beauty profile during sign-up. 

Also, SaladBox subscribers are promised---

  • Beauty, grooming and lifestyle products you will definitely love
  • Experience new, up-and-coming brands & timeless classics 
  • Get four or more deluxe miniatures from the best beauty and lifestyle brands worldwide
  • Try new products without breaking the bank and filling your dresser with all that unwanted clutter
These are huge promises and getting all these for P500/month is a very good deal if you ask me.


In all honesty, I feel that the SaladBox Press boxes may have been a less fruitful attempt in encouraging beauty enthusiasts to sign-up. Some conclude that the Press boxes ARE the actual boxes and so they shy away from hitting that 'Join Now' button. Again, Press Boxes  Subscription Boxes.

If you're on the fence about getting this wonderful aquamarine box, you may initially want to try their monthly recurring plan and cancel before your credit card is charged for the following month's subscription. OR, hypnotize a good friend into sending the subscription to you as a gift! *winks*


Like The SaladBox on Facebook & Follow them via Twitter
Check out the SaladBox website for the latest goodies!


Did you subscribe for the September/October SaladBox? Do share with us what's inside your box when you get hold of it!












My First Beauty Field Trip Experience


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Do you still remember how you get all giddy and sunny whenever school field trips come up? Last August (late post, I know!), I was reminded of that good old feeling as I counted the days to hopping on a big bus that will take me to Avon Philippines' Plant in Laguna --- my first beauty field trip experience!

Along with other bloggers, I had the chance to tour Avon's cosmetic and skincare plant. I knew all that excitement showed up when Shen uttered how much I look so geared up for the usual school field trip!


Some of my seatmates on that day --- Shen, Krissy and Kira



Clockwise: Huge mixers, digital message board welcoming bloggers (and shouts out the team's daily production goals), and the tidy production unit



Lipstick maker --- I wish I had the guts to break the rules and move a bit closer to take super proximal shots of how the lip products are injected into the metallic pink casing. It felt surreal that I witnessed how it's done.




Watching from a distance: pressed powder and cologne processing units must be germ-free at all times!

Among the field trip's highlights was the launch of the brand's Skin So Soft improved products. Apart from the new packaging, Avon now has marula, argan and babassu oils as ingredients in their popular body care line! More about these wonderful bottles in future posts.


Marula oil- for whitening
Argan oil- for added moisture
Babassu oil- for tightening the skin

What struck me most about that day was Avon's way of empowering its employees (and I can hear the kikay in me dying as I should be most excited about the cosmetics being produced & assembled!). Apart from the big bosses being truly inspirational when directing their people, empowering signs and posters were plastered everywhere to remind everyone about the greatness of committing oneself to a noble vision.



The environmentalist in me was so happy to see these posted inside the comfort room

The men and women of Avon are Good Morning thinkers. Whatever the time of the day, they greet each other with "Good Morning!" aiming to boost mood, morale and camaraderie. I secretly guessed it's their least effective way of empowerment but boy did I feel good after several good mornings & warm smiles! I now think that the good morning principle may be a perfect plan to revamp most of our local government offices' aura.

My first ever beauty field trip made me wish it wasn't the last. I can never look at compacts, lipsticks, lotions and beauty whatnots the same way again knowing the kind of devotion and hard work people put into a product.

photo from Hazel of http://dressmeupbuttercup.tumblr.com
(I'm the one wearing a gray statement tshirt, jeans and white flats. With my BIG backpack on me, you can definitely tell that I'm all geared up for this field trip)

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