Archive for 2013

Skintastic Treats from Paula's Choice and Camaru Naturals

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I haven't used anything new for my skin lately except for the Shiseido Ibuki duo that broke me out badly. Now that my skin cleared up and has recovered from the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from fractional CO2 laser therapy, I'm ready for new skintastic treats before the month ends.

  1. Camaru Naturals Amazonian Clay Face Mask - cleanses, detoxifies and purifies the skin for visibly clearer complexion
  2. Paula's Choice RESIST Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment - imparts instant radiance, reduces dark spots and diminishes wrinkles
  3. Paula's Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish - controls oil, minimizes pore appearance and smooths-out imperfections
  4. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid - creates radiant and even-toned skin and unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores
  5. Paula's Choice RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator - silky gel-cream that hydrates and firms the skin

I'm thrilled to learn that Proudly Filipino brand Camaru Naturals' has come up with a face mask that contains the very ingredient that makes my fave bar soap from the brand tick, activated bamboo charcoal! Their soap brightens the skin on my body and I can't wait to see how it fares for the face.

And it still feels surreal I'm looking at skincare from Paula's Choice. I'm very excited to find out which of these four my skin will love best!

Disclaimer: This non-paid post contains products sent to me for review purposes

Paula's Choice Philippines Brand Launch & My Special Skincare Prescription

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Last October 2, 2013, Paula's Choice Philippines celebrated their formal brand launch at the Manila Marriott's The Den. You can say I was more than excited to finally catch their top acne-clearing products as I once wanted to get hold of their Skin Perfecting line. It was also difficult back then not to get curious about their RESIST Skin Resurfacing System when Trang blogged about how effective it was.

What is Paula's Choice?

Lifestyle & Beauty bloggers were all ears as Paula's Choice Pte Ltd. Southeast Asia Managing Director, Naree Mongkol,  introduced everyone to the brand's role in catering to individual skin concerns. One of the highlights include an apple experiment showcasing the Vitamin C serum, RESIST C15 Super Booster (for brown spots and wrinkles, to be made available in the coming months), as it effectively reverses the rusting of an apple.



Paula's Choice's wide range of effective skincare products originates from its founder, Paula Begoun's, discriminating habit of choosing what she puts on her skin-- a habit formed from a past trauma when she realized acetone was in her skincare staple.

The brand banks and puts emphasis on the science of skincare in coming up with each product, making sure they contain well-researched and proven effective ingredients. Since its creation, consumers worldwide have been drawn to their serums, exfoliants, sunblocks and anti-acne & redness line.


Paula's Choice Bestsellers

The brand's crème de la crème include:
I've had my eye on the BHA and AHA bottles for the longest time as I've read countless great reviews for both. What I appreciate more is that the brand cared enough to get these two powerful exfoliators in separate bottles. Most brands would have AHAs and BHA in one bottle when there are skin types that are highly sensitive to salicylic acid (BHA).

What's exciting is that these two exfoliators are modestly priced at P1,120! I'm definitely getting the BHA Liquid ASAP before others beat me to it. 

Paula's Choice Philippines

Paula's Choice products can be purchased via placing an order on:

Soon, they will also be available via Zalora and Lazada shopping sites.

Special Prescription

After the event, I grabbed the chance to talk to Ms. Naree Mongkol, who I learned was also the Advisor to the World Anti-Aging Academy of Medicine. She coyly confesses she's 41 when I asked how old she was. Naturally, I shot her the how-can-i-get-that-skin? question and she started to examine my face and asked for my skin type.


She noticed some obvious redness (from my previous fractional CO2 laser treatment) and jotted down a two-phased recommendation:

Part I- Anti-Redness:
Part II- Youthful, Lustrous and Zit-Free Skin (after completely addressing redness):
She advises I stick with the products that already work for me and pick out the "new stuff" I'd like to try out in strengthening my skin care. We decided I should go for all those listed in phase 2 minus the Hydralight cleanser.

Before leaving, I had to ask what her top three favorite Paula's Choice products are. And she starts gushing about how she cannot live a day without her three favorites and we find ourselves chatting for another 30minutes!
I am too excited for words about Paula's Choice coming to Philippine shores! Its unexpected popularity in Thailand and Korea is a good sign that there's something about these tubes and bottles worth trying out. I am now too addicted surfing their website as it offers so much information for each product. If you have any recommendations from the brand, drop me a note so I can finalize my to-buy list!

Fractional CO2 Laser for Acne Scars - Results, Photos, and the Rough Conclusion

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I started having fractional CO2 laser (fCO2) treatments, via Multixel, for my acne scars and in totality, I've already had four. (It's technically 5 but the 3rd one had to be redone). The very first session happened February 2012 while the last, just three weeks ago. Sadly, I haven't been a good patient to follow up according to my doctor's prescribed interval because of the discouraging downtime.

I know I shouldn't be expecting outstanding results for my ill-compliance but I'm relieved to see that there are improvements both in the scars and in my skin's overall texture.

Fractional CO2 laser Treatment 2 (taken March last year) versus the recent Treatment 4, show improvement even for the more problematic side of my face. The edges of my acne scars have greatly softened and they look a lot more shallow now. Photo-wise and in real life, the results are commendable.

I don't know if you see the improvement but most of my bukbok (acne scars)-there's just no better way to say it- have resurfaced, most notably those on the upper area of my right cheek. The improvements are still below perfect but I'm really not complaining.

Inefficiency Issues

There's a claim that fractional CO2 laser is ineffective as the scars revert to its original depth a couple of months after. However, this doesn't hold true for me. I have carried over the good results to this very day.

The resurfacing of scars is naturally heightened throughout the course my skin is inflamed but I can say that after all the residual swelling has gone, the depressed areas are a lot more shallow.

Rough Conclusion

  • Doctors Know Best. I've had two major faults during my experience which I hope my readers would learn from: not following up within the prescribed treatment interval and asking for low-powered & less dense fractional CO2 laser settings to evade the pain & shorten the downtime. These two have cost me the unmet treatment goals I and my derma, Dr. Six Foronda, have set prior to the first laser encounter. 
  • Pore Problem Unaddressed. My pores still look like an orange peel perhaps because I "controlled" the treatment settings-- I wanted less obvious scabs and faster healing! If you plan to have this treatment, be a doll and let your doctor cover ALL your targetable skin concerns.
  • Lookin' Better in Makeup.  I find that I am able to make foundation work without slapping on a lot of product just to cover up the scars on my cheeks. I truly appreciate this the most!
  • Anticipate the Cost. I have to say that this skin rehab treatment is not for the budget-conscious. Have the treatment only if you have already saved up for the recommended number of sessions. It is also wise to be ready with back-up funds in case you'll be needing an additional one or two more. 
  • Resurfaces the Skin. I can firmly conclude that I have improved. I can see more skin now than depressed parts which I am truly happy about.
Before subjecting myself to the treatment, I hoped for a perfect skin after only a couple of  fractional CO2 laser sessions. I honestly ruminate about the "if only's" more than enjoying my skin's current state, which is of course, sad. I encourage those wanting to get rid of acne scars via fCO2 laser therapy to: (1) follow up treatment regularly; (2) be ready for the long downtime and embarrassment; and (3) go for the favored settings. If you're not ready for all three, don't go for it yet. It pays to be compliant with the treatment program as results may turn out to be more phenomenal than what I enjoy now. 

Shiseido Ibuki From Sample Room

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I received four sachets of samples from Shiseido's new Ibuki line (2 sachets of the Softening Concentrate and 2 of the Refining Moisturizer) from Sample Room yesterday. I'm testing these today!

When Liz blogged about the Ibuki line, I knew I had to try out the softener and the refining moisturizer. I would have really wanted to try the protective moisturizer but out of practicality, I veer from SPF-ed moisturizers so that I can use them at night if they prove to be too oily for my skin at daytime.

These samples are probably going to last me 4-6 days' use (softener: 2x/day, moisturizer: 1x/day). I hope I don't break out as they smell and feel so luxuriously good!

Samples from the Ibuki line are still available at Sample Room.

Can Multixel Do Fraxel Restore or Repair?

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A good reader emailed me to ask about the machine my derma, Dr. Sixta Foronda, uses for my fractional CO2 laser treatment, and it goes:

I know that you mentioned that it was a MULTIXEL. How different it is from FRAXEL RESTORE and FRAXEL REPAIR, did your doctor tell you? I believe that the one being offered in BELO is FRAXEL RESTORE, and they don't have the FRAXEL REPAIR. Now my question is, did you actually have a FRAXEL REPAIR through MULTIXEL? Is MULTIXEL the equivalent of FRAXEL REPAIR?
If you are unaware, Repair and Restore are two different modes of the treatment along with Refine (not mentioned above). Refine is non-invasive and is the mildest mode; Repair is more ablative than Restore. In the fraxel mode spectrum, it's Refine, Restore and Repair.

                                    The R2D2 of beauty - the MULTIXEL machine that my doctor uses

Reader L asked a good question to which I responded to:
Multixel and Fraxel are brand names for machines that utilize Fractional CO2 Laser in treating skin concerns. It's really FCO2 that we talk about here; Restore & Repair (popularized by Fraxel brand i believe) denote variations in the setting of the realease of FCO2. Multixel can do both restore and repair. I've had restore and repair done for my skin in one session; my doctor pretty much targets most, if not all, of my skin concerns without having to switch machines.
Multixel is indeed multifunctional and I'm happy to receive two modes of fractionalized CO2 laser therapy for my skin in one go, without having to pay extra. Speaking of extra payments, did you know that in the U.K., the different modes of Fraxel charge differently? Refine ranges from £500-£800; Restore at £600 to £1000; and Repair costs a whopping £1800 and £3000 (source)!. If there's a good thing about living in a developing country, beauty-wise, it's having access to beauty treatments like these at a way lower price!

Shu Uemura 2013 Holiday Collection Features Takashi Murakami's Art

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I should be very reluctant about admitting this but I will not lie about almost drooling on my keyboard when I saw the upcoming Holiday Collection from Shu Uemura! Shu collaborates with Takashi Murakami in coming up with a 19-piece collection (14-piece outside Japan, I believe) that's sure to sweep every girl off her feet!

The designs are inspired by Murakami's upcoming anime series called 6HP (Six Heart Princess) and in the pieces are mainly his pink and black princesses. I love how the basic gold colour in each product allows the artist's eye-catching girly designs to stand out. 

You will not just love the design, the palettes are gorgeous too:

                 Heart-Full Pink Parallel Palette aka Pink Princess Palette (Photo credits: TOP, BOTTOM)

                     Enchanted Black Parallel Palette aka Black Princess Palette (Photo Credits: TOP, BOTTOM)

Aside from palettes, these are in the collection, too:

                           The Shu Uemura S-Curler's included. This must have been the easiest for Murakami, lol

Check out actual photos from the Tokyo Launch via Livedoor!

         Murakami for Shu Uemura 2013 Holiday: Lip-and-cheek Fun-tasy, 5 shades

    Domo Arigato Gozaimasu! (Takashi Murakami)

The collection will be available in November and will be sold earlier (October 10) at Selfridges.

Unlearning the Horrors of Bad Bronzers with the Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzing Powder

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Before discovering the Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzing Powder, bronzers are my least favorite makeup because I have had horrific experiences with it turning either too orange, unflatteringly ruddy, or dirty brick brown on me as my skin gravely oxidizes makeup. Add to that, since bronzers are more popularly used for contouring and I don't see myself developing a substantial amount of skill in it anytime soon, I cared less about them.

Luckily, I learned about the Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzing Powder and I finally realized that bronzers are not monsters but friends. Shiseido describes this product as an oil-free bronzing powder that provides an all-day, air-brushed finish to create a natural, radiant & sun-kissed look.

   Comes in 3 shades: Light 01, Medium 02, and Dark 03. P1998 for 0.42 oz compact, $35 at Sephora

   "With flash" photo of the bronzer on the pan is color-accurate. See last photo below for a zoomed-in pic

The Shiseido Bronzing Powder in Medium/02 is a flattering true brown for my skin. On the pan, it has microglitters but isn't shimmery at all when brushed against the skin. You must know that I shy away from anything glittery as shimmers almost always provide my acne scars an unsolicited emphasis, but this powder's an exception.

It's nice to find a bronzer that's not heavily pigmented at first swipe. I can lazily wear Medium/02 as a blush without minding if I'm using a heavy hand. This is a  feature which bronzer noobs such as myself can immensely benefit from. I sweep the brush thrice to get some pigment, tap it out once to take out the excess, and then brush under the apples of my cheeks. After, I take a big powder brush to blend the bronzer upwards to further diffuse it up to the apples of my cheeks. Note that the Shiseido bronzer fairly wears long as I see minimal fading on my oily cheeks only after 4-5 hours.

    Shiseido Bronzing Powder used simply as a blush to add warmth & colour to cheeks (no other cheek prods used)

Products used in the FOTD above are: Nature Republic The First Clarifying Toner, ZA True White Liquid Foundation (OC30), Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited (RD 160), Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzer (Medium). It's a quick way to look somewhat made up. The bronzer made a huuuuuuuge difference I tell ya!

It wouldn't be fair not to make a special mention that the compact comes with a soft and densely packed kabuki-style brush. I have not used any other brush other than this as it works extremely well. I only wish it was sold separately so I can get back-ups (not that this brush can't handle the whole 0.42oz of bronzing brilliance; it is actually quite sturdy and has not lost its earlier softness even after several washes).

I have already used this product severaaaal times and I can't believe hetchmarks are still visible near the edges

If only this bronzing powder was tagged several hundreds of pesos lower, I would recommend it to makeup newbies in a heartbeat to avoid the bronzing horrors I went through. I know that NARS Bronzing powders are cheaper-- locally, so they may want to check that out first. Weirdly enough, NARS bronzers are a dollar more expensive than Shiseido's at Sephora but contain lesser product in the pan ($36 for 0.28oz vs $35 for 0.42oz), meaning Shiseido is definitely a bang for the buck if you're purchasing in the U.S.!

In a twist of fate, the product I used to hate is now something I find myself using a lot. Thanks to the Shiseido Oil-Free Bronzing Powder in 02, I struck gold discovering an air-brushed finish bronzer that shows up nicely on my skin without failing to give me a healthy, natural, sun-kissed look. It's an added bonus that it photographs really well and has never broken me out!

Inexpensive, Pigmented Lip Colours from G-lish

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The G-lish Lip & Cheek Tints (which I discovered when a good friend gifted me a pot a few years back) are great lip products for those who are reluctant putting lipstick on on a daily basis. I find them tacky on the cheeks so I never use them as a blush. My forever fave is Nude Rush, a deep coral-brown shade, which I think will suit most skintones and different lip pigmentation.

nude rush pink crush

At P100, these pots are very affordable. It's worth every peso as it is creamy, highly pigmented, and non-drying. The downside is that it doesn't really tint the lips (and the cheeks, I assume), hence, isn't long-wearing. There are three shades available; G-lish Nude Rush and Berry Blush will fit lightly and heavily pigmented lips while only those with pale lips will enjoy barbie-pink lips from Pink Crush.

Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder Review: Why It Didn't Work For Me

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My week-long love affair with the Ben Nye Banana Luxury setting powder ended when I realized I wasn't really getting what I hoped it would give me. I expected the loose powder to give me a healthy-looking skin but I ended up looking aged and unpretty as it mattified my skin way too much.

    I'd say the Ben Nye Banana Luxury powder works best for oily, light skin

The good stuff in that transparent plastic tub is that it:

  • contains finely-milled powder that did not break me out
  • provides the skin a good amount of warmth it needs
  • made my huge pores invisible
  • was priced at P450.00 at the time I bough it (latter part of Feb 2013) which is already sulit for 42g of loose powder especially when all you need is a very small amount per application.

Because the Ben Nye Banana setting powder proved to be a magical pore eraser as soon as I apply it, I gave it more days for testing even though I frowned at the way it made my skin look flatly matte. Now, the horror begins two hours after application: its oil controlling power nosedives from excellent to poor; my poreless cheeks turn very dry; my skin generally turns from matte to dehydrated. The highly reviewed setting powder did not work well for my combination skin. (Check out reviews from Liz, Donna, and Nikki).

The reviews I've read complained about the packaging. I would've too but because I taped up most of the dispensing holes, I din't have powder flying out every time I used it. Everyone hates product wastage.

    You can depot the powder to a sifting jar or tape it the way I did to prevent product wastage

This is an international brand but we have local resellers. I trooped to PureBeauty Serendra (they also have a Trinoma branch) but this is always out of stock. I finally purchased at an online store, Style Quarter (back when multiply was still around).

The Ben Nye Banana Luxury powder is a medium to heavy coverage loose powder that gives liquid foundation a longer wear time by setting it matte. Oil control is fair and while it does not give ample coverage for heavily blemished skin, it is a powder that has a low risk for breakouts. If you can buy the 42g tub at P450-500 and you are on the lookout for powders that give off a highly matte finish, then this product may just make it in your HG list.

The Shu Uemura S Curler vs the Original/Classic Curler: Do You Really Need the New One?

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When I first learned about the Shu Uemura S curler back in June, I went, "what for, Shu? You've got a great curler already!", and then I suddenly remembered the SOLE gripe about their iconic, classic, silver lash curler: it can pinch badly if your eyes are not wide enough. Brilliantly, the people from Shu decided to create a sidebar-free mini lash curler to cater to all eye sizes and shapes thus eliminating skin pinching and ensuring all lash strands are primped to a perfect curl.

difference between S curler and classic Shu Uemura curler
   The S curler vs Original curler: section-by-section versus curl-all-at-once. Both result to a flattering, long-lasting curl

I finally met the new curler who seemed to say, "mover over!", when I placed it alongside the original one. Weirdly enough, after toying with and trying both tools, I have to say it's hands down to the classic curler.

Huge Problem: it may not pinch but it pokes

I find the S-curler very hard to use. It has this supposedly helpful white pad you put against the eyelid (versus the very similar Urban Decay Revolution curler which has no pad at all) to serve as a feedback signalling that the curling pad is already at the perfect position-- near the base of the lashes. But I find it didn't help me at all. Worse, there were instances I had part of the curler poking my eyes! I know it shouldn't be that bad; it was obviously my amateurism getting in the way of properly experiencing a well-meaning product.

Since I was already tearing up from getting part of the curler in my eyes, I was no longer pressing the white pad on my lids. Think my lashes still had the curl of their hairy lives? Noooope. I've never seen something as silly as irregular curling-- some section curled near the base, others in the middle of the lash length. Not flattering at all!

Pros and Cons of The S Curler

I'm presently  loving the classic curler more than new one only because I'm such a noob dealing with non-sidebar curlers. It might take a while before I learn the ropes but I can already confirm the new curler's pros :

  • gives a rounder curl versus the classic curler 
  • allows you to curl the shorter inner and outer lashes
  • perfect for curling falsies including the fancily wide ones 
  • a good tool for makeup artists because it works universally
  • more compact than the original curler
  • a few pesos more affordable than the original curler (P1000 vs P1095)

Cons include:

  • practice needed; in my case, LOTS of practice needed
  • time-consuming
  • not for the impatient
  • white pad gets easily displaced when cleaning the tool (you can always put it back though. just be wary of permanently losing it!)

The S curler is among Shu Uemura's newest products along with the Tokyo Lash Mascara (both will be available in the U.S. website by September 3). It's a great tool if you want to be OC about having to curl every bit and strand of your lashes but can be a pain if you've never ever used something like it before. (A makeup artist I met had a hard time using it on herself but she swears by the design idea being outstanding. She's used something like it, only it wasn't angled but was tweezer-like). If you're already in love with the classic, original curler and you don't really plan to do other people's makeup, trust me when I tell you you don't need the S curler.

3 Reasons Why I'm Back To Black Brows

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As I got accustomed to getting my hair colored, I made sure that my stark black brows undergo regular lightening too as I feel I wouldn't be able to get away from a potential beauty faux pas.  But recently, I started sporting my old black brows again.

       Raising both brows for subject emphasis lest my syringoma and pores take all the attention

It isn't because I got too lazy bleaching them nor have I had a change of heart (I still cringe at the thought of my contrasting brow-hair color!), but because of three inevitable situations that keep me from dyeing them again:

1. The Sally Hansen activator dries up quickly.

Waaay too quickly if I may be precise. I have purchased two Sally Hansen Bleaching Kits in a row and both activators gave me a maximum of three uses instead of the usual seven.

The Sally Hansen bleaching kit contains an activator, a dry bunch of granules you mix with a bleaching agent, a moistened, creamy mixture.

I normally finish up the set after 6-7 brow dyeing sessions but this time, I felt I was totally ripped off with just 3 uses. I decided to give it the "2013 rip-off award" since it happened two kits in a row.

So yes, I'm currently wearing black brows.

2. Andrea Gentle Creme Bleach has been out of stock for months now.

I bumped into the Andrea Gentle Creme Bleach (prior the 'just-3-uses' nightmare) when Sally Hansen kits started to run out of stock. I love this product as it is relatively cheaper, yields more dyeing sessions than Sally Hansen's, and does a good job in giving my face an overall softer look.

But two months ago, I walked out of Beauty Bar (where I purchase it from) without the product and only a scribbled promise in my hand:

Andrea Gentle Creme Bleach was out of stock! SA's gave me the branch contact number suggesting I check with them in a few weeks' time. Months have passed now, no new stocks have arrived.

So yes, I'm currently wearing black brows.

3. I recently discovered the Majolica Majorca Brow and Lash Colorist.

For someone who hates black on brown, it's surprising that I'm still not looking for new ways to lighten my brows. Thanks to an awesome brow coloring makeup, I am currently surviving.

I should already come up with a review on the Majolica Majorca lash and brow colorist as I've been using it the entire time I boycotted the Sally Hansen bleaching kit and while waiting on the return of the Andrea Gentle Creme Bleach. I use the lighter shade, BR333, and while it does not result to looking like my bleached brows, it keeps my face framers from looking very black and that's all that matters for now.

I take off all traces of makeup at the end of the day so the fact remains I'm still wearing black brows.

While writing this post, I couldn't help but congratulate myself for being able to deal with black brows against brown hair for months! I also should give the Majolica Majorca Brow Colorist a pat on the cap for providing a temporary fix. But, I'd be lying if I told you I'm okay with how my brows are today because I'm seriously missing brownish brows. I'm a few nudges away from retrying Sally Hansen so do pray that Andrea restocks their bleaching kits soon!

Operation Smoother Feet: The Jergens Overnight Repair and Ultra Healing Lotions Experiment

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When I turned 33 this year, I noticed that my feet looked a lot drier than before making wearing fitflops and any open-toed shoes a bit of a nightmare for me. I was already carting a heavy moisturizer I found on the internet when the kind people from Vibelle sent me two highly moisturizing Jergens lotions- the Overnight Repair and Ultra Healing. Yes, how convenient!

Jergens Overnight Repair and Ultra Healing lotions, 100mL, P100.

I know there are specific creams and lotions for the feet but I've always experienced that regular body lotions worked well enough anyway. Although I must admit, I may have to follow a completely different school of thought when I turn 40.

The Experiment:

In an experiment, I tested both water-based moisturizers for their ability to:
(1) smoothen the skin on my toes, and
(2) eliminate the cracks on my heels

Every night for 30 days, I smoothed Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin on the left foot and Jergens Overnight Repair on the right, massaging a lot more product on all toes and both heels. I also covered both feet with socks; it's not a quick ritual but hey, when is curing a disease (omg, a disease!) ever an easy task?

Care to guess which lotion worked better for my feet?

Jergens Ultra Healing vs. Jergens Overnight Repair

Jergens Ultra Healing - Heal & Soften
Jergens Overnight Repair - Repair & Restore
Product Info
this fast absorbing body lotion goes deep beneath skin's surface to lock in moisture for 24 hours of relief. With continued use, it actually triples skin's moisture content, healing dryness at the source to prevent its unwelcome return. Use daily, giving special attention to elbows, knees, hands and other dry area
repairs and rejuvenates overnight so you can sleep beautifully and wake up to revived skin. With it's effective formula of antioxidant vitamins and healing hydrators, this body lotion replenishes skin's moisture reserves and quenches dry skin as you sleep. It softens and smooths to repair a week's worth of damage in just one night.

Key Ingredients
Vitamins A, C, and Pro-Vitamin B5
evening primrose, shea butter, jasmine, acerola
classic Jergens
faint floral, very pleasant
Texture & Feel
very creamy, takes more time to get absorbed by skin
creamy, absorbs quickly
Yes + very shiny nails
No. very cool and satin-y afterfeel
MUA rating

While the ugly cracks on my heels weren't completely eliminated by Day 30, they are less noticeable now and more visibly so on the right heel. The very dry skin covering the phallanges of my right foot have been significantly improved, too. Clearly, Jergens Overnight Repair fared better than the Ultra Healing variant in this experiment.

I spend the least over body moisturizers as I have a generally problem-free skin from the neck down. However, when my feet started to look very dehydrated this year, I convinced myself to invest in pricier heavy moisturizers. Even toyed with the idea of getting an expensive foot care set. But then, with the discovery of what the 100-peso Jergens Overnight Repair lotion (and socks!) can do for me, I just saved myself from  a couple of unnecessary spending!

Disclaimer: Products were sent to me for review purposes. Post content is in accordance with my personal experience while using the Jergens Ultra Healing and Overnight Repair lotions. I tested these products on my own two feet and never on kitty nor wabbit paws.

Going Out, Bare-Faced

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Two days ago, I started testing two new skincare products from Nature Republic, the Original Power Whitening and Lineless Ampoule and the The First Number One Essence (a GWP trial size I received). I normally don't do a post about products I currently screen, especially if it has only been a few days of use, but these two deserve to be exceptions.

The morning after the first night I used the tandem,  I woke up so late I barely had time to do my face. I risked public scrutiny (of my dry and scarred cheeks & my oily t-zone) by leaving home with only some tinted balm on my lips. And guess what---

I just accidentally discovered how much I can go bare-faced the entire day without feeling too embarrassed. Although it's not the first time I braved the streets without powder on as I've been bare-faced doing car-less errands ever since my skin got better (I used to pack powder foundation even if it's just an errand right across the street! it used to be that bad), but this is the first time I survived a day without makeup. I only had to wash my face 3-4 times (soapless) within the day to get rid of the extra oilies.

        Summary of Nature Republic's The First skincare line. Click out to improve readability; photo from Nature Republic           website

      Click out to improve readability; photo from Nature Republic website

Prior to the no-makeup epiphany, I have been using the Original Power whitening & lineless ampoule alone and it didn't do much for me. I should've road-tested the essence minus the ampoule but for reasons I don't know, I used the two at the same time. I will definitely isolate the essence's results after a few weeks.

I'm still a little skeptic over the improvement it gave my skin at a very short time that I bury myself thinking of the other factors that may have contributed to making my skin look better. Have you had skincare products that worked so quick, too? Did you ever end up stocking up on them? Would love to know!

Stop Saying You Can't

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I found an interesting flow chart that helped a lot in flushing most of my exercise excuses down the drain. It gives the best reasons why one should stop saying they can't by highlighting the benefits of being able to move around while brilliantly ridiculing the most popular excuses for putting exercise off.

Should I Workout Today?

        Flow Chart design by Sparxoo 

It's a quick and worthwhile read to boost your fitness willpower and I hope by the time you get to all points in the chart, you're as ready as I am to start moving more. Let's start the week right by busting all that unwanted fat, ladies!

Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil Review

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Dubbed as the creme de la creme of Shu Uemura's beauty cleansing oils, the Ultime8 Sublime promises to target eight skin concerns by combining eight exquisite oils of botanic origins. Eight... botanic! And so I jumped off the edge of my seat to get my hands on this miracle despite the fact that I'm already impressed and satisfied with the Sakura Fresh variant. Oh girrrrrls, *SMH*.

                  Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil, 150mL

The Exquisite Eight

  • Jojoba Oil: high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids to activate collagen and provide hydration plus improve skin suppleness
  • Safflower Oil: rich in Omegas-6 and -9 which help maintain the skin barrier
  • Camelia Oil: is regarded as a precious beauty oil in Japan; has restorative and rejuvenating properties due to oleic acids, Omega-3,-6,-9 and Sasanquasaponin, which has anti-oxidative properties
  • Soy Oil: a natural emollient that moisturizes and protects the skin
  • Olive Squalene: a natural emollient that mimics human sebum and leaves skin soft and moisturized plus provides anti-oxidant effects
  • Shea Butter: abundant in triglycerides and fatty acids offering protection from photodamage; reinforces the skin’s barrier function and helps protect it from stressors
  • Ginger Root Oil: a medicinal oil in Asian countries which reduces inflammatory and oxidative reactions; helps prevent skin damage, reduces wrinkles, brightens and smooths skin.
  • Corn Oil: contains a variety of fatty acids and forms an ultra thin oil layer on the skin surface to protect it from dryness.

Shu Uemura Ultime8 's Physical Properties

The packaging and pump bottle are both impressive and its unique black twist-to-open nozzle (the rest are white) seems to scream "I AM SPECIAL". It smells luxuriously herbal and has a slightly heavier consistency & feel compared to the Shu cleansing oil Fresh variant.

I find that the recommended amount to be used, 3-4 pumps, is too much for my entire face. I use a pump and half (amazing pump system that allows flow control, as with the older variants) and yet I don't feel I skimped on it. I knew the 150mL will last me till the end of its shelf-life (6 months). And it did!

          Opened mid-February 2013. This photo was taken 2 days ago (posted at Instagram too, @the_beautybin)

Claims, Thoughts, Reviewed!

Shu Uemura reports that it tested the Ultime8 Sublime on 49 Asian women who used the cleansing oil twice a day. The test yielded the following results:

94% says skin feels smoother 
92% says skin feels moisturised 
90% says skin looks more radiant 
92% says skin looks refined 
85% says skin looks revitalized 
90% says skin appears more translucent 
92% says skin looks more supple 
90% says skin feels nourished 

I assume these are the eight skin benefits that the product claims to provide the skin. Out of these benefits, I'm surprised to see that:

(1) the least experienced benefit is skin revitalization, which I felt almost instantly after the first few uses; and

(2) the mother of all benefits, skin purification / cleansing, isn't reported. Personally, I'd consider "moisturised" and "nourished" one and the same, making room for "X% cleaner skin" in that report.

Price: P2650 for 150mL
          P6250 for 450mL
Where to buy: Shu Uemura counters
Shelf-Life: 6 months for the 150mL bottle

If I were to enumerate the benefits the Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime cleansing oil gave my skin, it has to be: skin purification, revitalization, radiance, and moisturization. That's 50% of the promised results. But hey, I wasn't using it twice a day like the test subjects did.

"Use Ultime8 Sublime once a day and you get half of the entire benefits". Well played Ultime8, well played.


While it never caused me pimples nor negative skin reactions, I won't be. I get clean, revitalized, radiant and moisturized skin from the Fresh variant which costs so much cheaper than this! I was also hoping this cleansing oil could help reduce pore size but it didn't. 

Looking at the benefits above, this product seems to have been created for aging (but I am aging!) progressively aging skin, those with age-spots and/or sun-spots, and dehydrated skin. I'm very sure these people would've written a very different review but with a similar recommendation.

If you don't have sun-spots, age-spots, freckles, and dry skin, I encourage you to try Shu Uemura's other (hello, cheaper) cleansing oil variants first. The Ultime8 Sublime may sound like it is and was formulated to be the best cleansing oil among the rest, but it's apparently not so in my case.

July in Review

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I was planning to create my first August post by looking at my July reviews and discoveries in restrospect but horrifically, I have not posted as much as I should. I failed to put up several new products I've road-tested and loved but will make a mention of them now, antecedent to a more consistent blog posting this month.

As far as the blog goes, I've:

(1) told you how much Relumins Advance White oral glutathione worked for my skin without breaking me out nor making me chunkier than I already am.

(2) discovered that ZA cosmetics is back in the Philippines and have shared with you a cheap but sleek-looking foundation case that may also fit powder foundie refills from Shiseido and Majolica Majorca.

(3) shared a drool-worthy post on Dulcelin's Mango Torte that I keep lusting about. I fight off the urge to get another box by reminding myself about my fitness goals, which is of course a huge conscious effort.

I should've also told you about:

(1) the Oxy Jet Peel treatment I had two weeks ago which I would recommend to those who'd like to look extra primped on a big day without having to suffer excruciating treatment downtimes.

(2) my little experiment on how effective Jergens Overnight Repair and Ultra Healing lotions are.

(3) Tony Moly's Acerola Sheet Masks - which i stocked up on before it goes OOS... again!

(4) Clarisonic Mia, Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen, and the rest of the products I told you about last May. May? May! Goodness, I ought to be ashamed!

                           Image from Moto Message

I'd like to share that I've also started to become active in other social networking platforms. The Beauty Bin is now on Facebook (created sometime ago but remained inactive), Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. I'm eons away from getting the hang of having to go to one app to the other, but I'm trying.

Silver, White and Pink -- the ZA foundation case + SALE News

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ZA Header-a
My first three purchases from ZA Cosmetics are the True White Liquid Foundation, Perfect Fit Concealer, and the True White two-way foundation case. I kick off a series of posts from the brand by featuring my cheapest but invaluable purchase from them -- the silver, white and pink foundation case!

Short Story:

When I broke the hinge on my Majolica Majorca Skin Remaker powder foundation's princessy gold case, I swore I wasn't spending P450 again on something I might end up breaking one more time. Thankfully, I saw ZA Cosmetics (which was beside the Majolica booth) and discovered that the Skin Remaker powder refill fits a cheaper case, the ZA true white foundation case.

ZA True White two-way foundation case FAQ:

Price: P325 (P100+ cheaper than the MM gold case). Alternatively, you can get the all-pink foundation case at the same price (I keep pinks at a minimum, hence, the silver and white one seemed perfect)

Where to buy: ZA cosmetics counters in: Landmark Trinoma, Landmark Makati, SM Aura Dep Store, and SM Aura Watsons

Refill size to fit case: make sure your refill is somewhere around 5.2cm x 4.4cm x 0.8cm 

So far, it fits: Majolica Majorca Skin Remaker and Shiseido Perfect Smoothing powder foundies; after all, Majolica Majorca and ZA are both spearheaded by Shiseido Co.

Notes: (A) Plaster a double tape neath the refill and slap it on the case! (B) The case's cover is a shiny, silvery one that becomes less splendid when finger prints and other grimy whatnot stick to it. Wipe as often as you can; if there's one good thing about it, you know your case is always clean!

Grrrreat News:

Starting tomorrow till Sunday, 4th of August, ZA Trinoma (as far as I know) will be holding a 20% off sale on ALL items. The ZA true white foundation case will be marked down at P260 (now the deal-hunter in me sighs out for not holding off my purchases, lol)! Shiseido and MM in Trinoma are on sale, too.

At P325, with my current, most-used up powder foundie sitting pretty snug inside this refill case, I feel victorious. I saved some few hundred pesos and discovered yet another Japanese brand that carries efficient and affordable items!

It's This Torte That Counts! | Dulcelin's Mango Torte



This weekend, I'm unboxing tummy goodies instead of makeup or gizmos. Dulcelin Gourmet's Mango Torte came out of the box and I was like, "ang nipis!", but that little negativity dug its own grave when I sank my teeth into the delightful treat. Ang sarap lang. And I realized it's a low cake for a reason.

    The definitive house specialty – Crispy-chewy nougatine, golden mangoes and cream

The torte is suggested to be served after slight thawing. To objectively quantify 'slight', I'd say it's about thirty seconds. Really. We let it stand out of the freezer for more than 5mins and the multitude of frosting plus some other parts of the cake weren't as palatable. It's still yummy but it tastes so much better when eaten shortly after getting it off the ice.

36 Times Street, West Triangle, Q.C. Tel. 374-2165

(more branches: in Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, etc.)

Mango Torte, 9"- P680; 12"- P1,000

The best part about Dulcelin's mango torte is that it doesn't taste sinful. I hate it when I spend hundreds of pesos on a supposed treat that eventually makes me feel like I'm the most awful person for buying too much carbs. Nope, I'm far from feeling awful coz this torte's treating me just right.

If you love sweet mangoes and nuts, you'll enjoy this cake. The torte's manipis because it doesn't want to make you feel you've overindulged. Great job, Dulcelin! This would've gotten ten stars if not for the frosting-- I wish it had a subtler hint of sweetness.

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