THE Powder (for me): Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

I always kind of want to kick myself in the butt when I write glowing reviews of products that aren’t available in the Philippines. Lately though, it’s only the best of the best in my makeup arsenal that get me excited and wanting to write. The best of the best are also slowly but surely ousting the average, mediocre items that I only recently realised I was just putting up with. I’m not even talking “Holy Grail item” in the way I used to use the term — my HG picks were the best of the bunch, but I still kept a line-up of second-best and even third-best items in the bunch around because, well, I liked them enough to keep them around. These days, I’m nearing what you might even be able to call… a capsule collection (gasp).

I have a couple of bases I swear by, concealers that I never switch up, a brow routine that I could execute with my eyes closed, a bronzer that I slap on day after day (it also acts as my blush, highlight, and even my eyeshadow on occasion), and a single mascara that I purchase over and over again. Oh, and I have this setting powder, of course. The setting powder that sent all my other setting powders to the trash.

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The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder ($45 / £33) is a “super luxe micro-fine powder with soft-focus nano particles that blur away lines and imperfections.” It comes in three translucent shades: 1 Fair, 2 Medium, and 3 Dark. I use Medium and it’s great — and I do think that because the product is translucent that the three shades are enough to cover a wide range of skin tones, but you will hear differing opinions on that, no doubt.

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WEIL-y Good: Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins

My skin has been behaving well lately. It’s extremely rare that I get to say that (I fear jinxing it as I type this!) and even more rare that I can say so in describing long stretches of time. It’s been a long while since I had any major skin problems and while I think that is in large part because there is less stress in my life, I also think that incorporating some of the Dr.Weil for Origins skincare line into my routine has helped effect this change.dsc09545I discovered the line when I was desperately trying to remedy some nasty red, painful patches on my face caused by an over-zealous application of Elica cream on skin asthma rashes. Elica (a steroidal cream) usually cures ALL — and true enough my itchy patches were gone — but instead I was left with painful redness instead.

As I was already a fan of Origins’ other face masks, I decided that giving the Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Mask would be a safe bet. The WEIL range is quite pricey (especially outside the USA) and if not for the convenient travel-size packs Origins sells at Selfridges, I never would have paid for the full-sized tube. Now that I’ve tried it out though, I think it’s worth every penny / centavo. Every single time I use that mask, I wake up with glowing, supple, healthy skin. I don’t use the mask often — I like to save it for the night before a special day or event.

The Mega-Bright Spot Correcting Night Mask is something I decided to pick up for those nights when I want a heavier cream on my face. It has vitamin C in it, which will help lighten dark spots over time. I like it a lot, but I tend to forget that I have it (just because it’s in a heavy tub that somehow ends up hiding behind all of my taller products). On most nights, I like using something lighter to moisturise my skin, like a serum. The Dr. Weil serum is nice (had a sample, as you can see above), but I never repurchased it because it is so pricey. dsc09533Instead, I ended up buying a full size of the Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion. It’s a treatment lotion with a light consistency (just a tad thicker than water) but it packs a punch. I use it almost nightly and sometimes in the morning when my skin is feeling dull. dsc09534The treatment lotion supposedly defends skin against “silent skin agers.” My question is: what are skin agers that aren’t silent? Lol. All I know is that it makes my skin feel soft, healthy, and maintain just the right levels of moisture. From time to time I will supplement it with heavier night creams, but this is perfect for daily use.

So I obviously haven’t tried every product from the Dr. Weil for Origins range, but if these three items are any indicator, then I’m willing to bet the entire line is pretty damn impressive. It doesn’t hurt that the shades of green Origins uses for the packaging on this line are gorgeous!

Have you tried any of the other products from this line?

The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Range (Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution & 3-in-1 Wash-Scrub-Mask)

I remember a time when nearly every girl in our school carried a The Body Shop Born Lippy lip balm around. The chunky tub of sticky, sickly sweet (smelling) jelly sat comfortably in my deep Catholic school girl skirt pocket and gave me an odd sense of assurance that everything would be O.K. — my lips didn’t just taste like strawberry (my preferred scent/flavour), they emanated the smell too, such that no one could dare doubt that it was the TBS lip balm I had on. It was the “in” thing and I was “in” because I had it.

(Way) more than a decade later, I can’t imagine going back to using that lip balm (more like a lip candy gloss), but I still think that The Body Shop has some good stuff to offer if you look past their overly scented and overpriced body butters. DSC09266.jpgI’ve been a fan of Tea Tree tree oil and its many uses for a long while now, so when I saw that TBS reworked and expanded their Tea Tree range, I was very much willing to have a look at it and reconsider my previous stance on it — which was pretty much that it sucked. I don’t know what they’ve changed, but it feels like everything (yay).

From the expanded range I picked up the Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution and the 3-in-1 Wash-Scrub-Mask.

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This Is Gold: Hourglass’ Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden || Review

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is obscenely priced at £42 for 0.25oz of product. It is also unbelievably good and you only need the tiniest amount of product, so I’m going to go ahead and say that in my opinion it is worth the price tag.DSC08986Vanish boasts the “coverage of a concealer, the weightlessness of a powder, and the fluidity of a liquid,” all in a convenient stick form. Stick foundations have never really appealed to me because they tend to be thick in texture and difficult to blend, but Vanish is nothing like other stick foundations — it really does blend like a liquid. That would have been impressive in and of itself, but it also feels as light as the finest of powders when it sets, while also providing the heavy-duty coverage of a spot concealer.

I’m having a difficult time not sounding like an ad as I write about this product, but what can I say? The blurb is actually accurate. 

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Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks: Nighthawk, Twitch, & Liar (Cream Formula) Review

Before it’s stale news, let’s talk about Urban Decay’s new line of lipsticks: Vice. There are 100 shades that come in 6 different finishes, plus there are 50 lip liners available to match certain shades. That’s a lot of colours.

Of course, Christine of Temptalia has posted swatches of all 100 shades, plus 20 more shades that will be available only at Sephora (bless her). DSC08322It’s more than a little bit overwhelming to browse all of the shades online, so I went to the UD store at Covent Garden to have a look instead. It was still overwhelming to see 100 shades spread out in front of me, but I let the excitement take hold and my instincts directed me to a few shades to begin. Those were: 1993, Nighthawk, Violate, Liquid, Twitch, and Uptight.

For the sake of my wallet, I decided that I would allow myself two shades to take home initially and if I really liked the formula, only then would I allow myself to go back for more. DSC08326Nighthawk (a brown-red) and Twitch ( a soft purple with a blue undertone) are the shades that made the cut. 

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Summer Daily Base (Light, Protective, and Easy!)

The sun has actually been making an appearance in London over the past few weeks (the British do have a summer – hooray!) and so my daily base routine has changed to adjust to that. If the sun is out, I am out and facing it. You can count on that. DSC08487.jpgThe very base of my base is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid (approx. £17 but always on some kind of offer). It has an SPF of 50+ and protects against UVA and UVB rays. This “ultra-light” variant works fine on my combination skin while I’m here in the UK, but the Dry Touch Gel Cream would probably be better for me back home in the Philippines. It’s important to use sunscreen throughout the year, but when summer comes around I really bring out the big guns.

Everything else that goes into my base for the summer revolves around the good old less is more philosophy.
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Happy Skin Glisten Up Strobing Kit Review (Highlighter & Contour Duo)

So… I knew from the start that I wanted this so, so, so badly but, being miles away, I had to resort to stalking the launch through Instagram and Facebook and drooling over pictures. Lol. The entire Happy Skin x Plains and Prints collection looked lovely, but ohmygoodness seeing swatches of the contour stick drove me wild!DSC08022 Thankfully, my best friend and I were due to see each other in NYC in May and she was able to pick up the Glisten Up! Strobing Kit Highlighter and Contour Duo (Php 1,299.00) for me. I don’t know who I was more excited to see… her or the strobing kit — juuust kidding! It was the strobing kit, naturally. ;) 

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At The Beach With Bobbi Brown Beach (EDP Review)

I come from a country with some kick-ass, world class beaches. It’s only to be expected, really; the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands (yes, there are three zeros following that seven), and while I myself grew up in the painfully urban capital city, a good beach is as little as a couple of hours away by car.Needless to say, my entire life is filled with memories of the beach: of sun and sand and salty sea air and sunblock slathered all over my body. It isn’t just a childhood or summer memory to me — it’s part of my life as a happy inhabitant of the tropics.

And so when a fragrance not only purports to capture the essence of the beach but is also named precisely that — “Beach” —  I am more than interested in being the judge of that.DSC08318Bobbi Brown’s Beach eau de parfum (£50 for 50ml) caught my attention during its most recent re-promote for summer 2016 (originally launched in 2009). The 50ml bottle is very simple, which I love, and there is also a 6ml rollerball version avialable. The fragrance itself is permanent, but for summer there are a limited edition body oil, shower gel, and lotion on offer as well.

The scent is described as a “blend of sand jasmine, sea spray, and mandarin.”

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REPLICA Rollerballs

I know what you’re thinking — WOW, Mariana remembered she has a blog! HEHE. Sorry. Hello. Let’s talk about perfumes now…

I’m a huge fan of perfume rollerballs. They’re a great way to test out a scent without having to spend a crazy amount on a full-sized bottle just yet. Sephora carries a ton of them, priced anywhere from 12ish USD – 25ish USD depending on the brand. Still a bit pricey, but it beats having to pay 100+ USD right off the bat. On my recent trip to NYC, I picked up two from REPLICA by Maison Margiela scents.

The REPLICA line is a set of fragrances “designed to evoke images, impressions and positive emotions that reflect our personal memories.” Love the idea behind the range and I really liked two of the scents: Jazz Club and Beach Walk. The full size bottles look like this: IMG_0004.jpgGorgeous, no? I wanted one badly, but the 100mL bottles are about 85 GBP/ 125 USD and I just wasn’t totally sure about either scent that I liked. Picking up the rollerball size was just the obvious thing to do. DSC08065

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Genius New Product or Total Gimmick: The Origins Maskimizer

If you like face masks, Origins has a range of some twelve or thirteen to choose from. The most popular ones are the Clear Improvement charcoal mask, the Drink Up Intensive mask, and the Out of Trouble mask. I own all three of those, plus the new Original Skin retexturising mask, and they are all really great. I have my eyes on the Ginzing refreshing mask to try next because I love the moisturiser from that range, but I was popping into Boots to restock my charcoal mask when I caught sight of a new product: the Maskimizer (£ 18.50), which is a “skin-optimising mask primer.”

Origins says that the Maskimizer is a “(p)riming mist with Marine Algae Complex (that) helps hydrate, soften and optimise the appearance of skin so it’s fully prepped to enhance your mask experience.” DSC06413Sounds a bit gimmicky, eh? It’s either gimmicky or absolutely brilliant — and I wouldn’t have picked it up if not for the special offer that brought its price down to just about £7 if I bought it together with my fave Origins mask. Like I said, I was in need of a new charcoal mask, so I thought: why not! I could test it out with all of my other Origins masks as well. 

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