How I Like To Use My Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Dr. B BottlesIf you’re into browsing the aisles of drugstores and groceries just for the heck of it, you’ve probably seen Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure-Castille Soaps before. They’re hard to miss — the bottle might be standard in shape, but the coloured labels are some of the busiest, most packed-with-text that you’ll ever see. In Manila they are available at Healthy Options (sad edit: Healthy Options no longer carries them! HUHU) and I definitely took a few minutes to just stand there and read a label one day. It was quite interesting.

There is a lot to say about the Magic Soaps (read about Dr. Bronner’s legacy, quality soaps, and ethical sourcing), but what most people know and see on the label is that they are multi-use (18-in-1!) liquid soaps that are highly concentrated and also biodegradable and nature-friendly. They are so highly concentrated that they are only a few percent away from being a solid. That makes them highly economical as one bottle can be divided, diluted with water, and used for different purposes.

The Magic Soaps do have a presence in the world of beauty, but mostly as a brush cleaner. I don’t particularly like using them to wash my brushes because I feel like they leave the bristles way too dried out, but I do love my Magic Soaps. Here are some of the ways I like to use them:

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1. As a foaming hand wash. I bought some foaming soap pumps from Muji, but I’m sure you can get them at other home stores too. I then took my Peppermint Magic Soap and diluted it with some mineral drinking water

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Quick Trip To Macau — What I Packed

This post was supposed to go up when we flew out on Wednesday, but things came up the day before we had to leave so I didn’t have time to actually write the post. Anyway, it all works out because now I can tell you if I actually ended up using the stuff I brought. I find that no matter how long or short a trip is, packing makeup and skincare is always such a tricky job. BrushesLet’s start with the successful part of my packing: brushes! I love using the travel case that comes with the Real Techniques sets (Starter, Core, and Travel). You’ll notice that I don’t have a single RT brush in there. Sometimes I do end up bringing a couple, but mostly I take whatever brushes I want to. The best thing about it is that it folds into a stand that you can set out anywhere.P1180526To house my makeup I used the pretty Revlon bag that came with the Ultra HD Lipsticks I received last week. It’s a thin bag so I was forced to pack as little as possible. Not a major problem because we were only out for 3 days. Inside it I had:

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New This Summer: Vaseline’s Water-Based Serum Sunblock SPF 30 PA+++

Have you stepped outside recently? It’s scorching hot. And I am loving it. I was totally born to live in a tropical country so I welcome the summer with open arms. There are days when it gets to be a bit much, but I’d much rather be battling the heat in a pair of shorts and a loose top than wearing layers in a colder country. If I can hit the beach and wear just a bathing suit and cover up, that’s even better.

With all that skin exposed, I do have to use a lot of sunblock, which can be uncomfortable and sticky. This summer there seems to be a new trend that addresses that discomfort: serum sunblocks. They’re a lot thinner in consistency that your usual lotions and they settle into the skin much quicker as a consequence. Just last week (absolute perfect timing) I was introduced to my very first one, by Vaseline.
P1180224The Vaseline Water-Based Whitening Serum* (Php 249.00 for 180mL) might have just an SPF of 30 PA +++, but that’s actually enough to block out 96% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. That’s a scientific fact (not just marketing bullshit), but you will have to reapply your sunblock more often if the SPF is lower. I’d say once every 2 hours is ok, but already stretching it. It stands to be a bit of a hassle, but the formula really isn’t sticky so you won’t be making yourself more uncomfortable.

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#FreeInMySkin with Physiogel

A few weeks ago, just after Christmas, an unexpected present arrived at my house: IMG_8056The top of the card made it obvious what was inside: Physiogel goodies! On the inner part of the flap I discovered that it was a thoughtful surprise from my friend and one of my fave beauty bloggers, Liz Lanuzo. She sent it over to share the goodness that is Physiogel.

I’m far from being unfamiliar with the brand as I used to have dry skin and continue to have sensitive skin and bouts of skin asthma. Still, I was so very happy to receive some of a brand that I love. It might seem a little funny to get excited over a box of lotions, but if you’ve struggled with your skin in the past then you’ll understand.
IMG_8058I now have a healthy supply of the Cleanser, Lotion, and Cream (two tubes, yay!). It was still unnaturally cold when these came to me, so it was just perfect timing all around. The Lotion helped relieve rashes on my back and the Cream soothed my face which was starting to crack a bit on the cheek area (something that has not happened to me in a long time).

Dermatologists love to recommend Physiogel products to treat a number of ailments, but you don’t need a prescription to pick them up. They’re easily available at drugstores and set at a very reasonable price, so there’s no excuse for settling for heavily scented, cheap lotions that just don’t do the job. I definitely feel #FreeInMySkin when my rashes aren’t flared up and my dry patches are done away with, so if you’ve any of the same problems, you already know what to try!

I love practical gifts. Thanks a bunch, Liz! :)

Review: Bioderma Photoderm Ultra-Fluid SPF 50+

P1150946My go-to face sunscreen for outdoor activities is VMV Hypoallergenics’ Armada Sport 70, but my huge bottle (which has seen me through many beach trips) expired recently and so I finally got to put the Bioderma Photoderm Ultra-Fluid SPF 50+ (1,316.00 Php) to the test.

I took it with me on a recent trip to Mt. Batulao in Batangas, where my view looked a little something like this:IMG_8270Photos really don’t do it justice (plus this one is overexposed), but you can tell just how much we were exposed to the sun as we walked along the ridge of the mountain for the majority of the climb. This was our view on the way up…IMG_8309… and this was the view from the top. It was my first mountain climbing experience and I loved every minute of it. I had planned on taking photos of the tube of sunblock while up there, but it completely slipped my mind. Blogger fail! I don’t know how others manage to do it. I was just trying not to fall off the mountain, haha. But anyway, I can still report about how the sunscreen performed. 

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More & More Moisture

P1170359You’ll remember that I received several items from the Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration* line this past Christmas. As someone who has combo-oily skin I didn’t think I would actually get to use the products long-term, but I gave them a go anyway because I wanted to share my thoughts on them. Now I don’t know if it’s just because of the cold-ish weather we’ve had lately or if my skin is changing yet again, but my skin loves this stuff.

I first used the Intense Hydration Night Cream on a Sunday night to finish off my weekly pamper session. Applying it reminded me of the days when my skin was still very dry; I felt the thick cream soothe my skin and quench its thirst. I almost expected that I would be a little too oily the next day, but I was not. Instead, my skin looked slightly more plump and full. So I upped the application frequency to about 3-4 times a week and I still don’t have problems with excessive oiliness. Weird. Maybe my skin was/is dehydrated?

I also use the cleanser now since I ran out of my usual VMV cleanser. The formula is also very thick and highly moisturising. I like it (and I like that it can be used with my Foreo Luna Mini), but I’m not sure if I will repurchase it just because I prefer cleansers that clean quite thoroughly. The day lotion is standard, and is also something I don’t think I would repurchase just because it doesn’t have SPF built in. It’s the slightly lighter version of the night cream.

The whole line smells divine and after the fact that they all really do moisturise my skin well, the scent is my favourite part. I’m not sure if that smell is what the featured ingredient, Clary Sage, actually smells like, but Burt’s Bees claims that the fragrance of the products is natural, so it is probably influenced by it at least.

*PR Sample

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer: It’s A Good Thing

We all know that Martha Stewart is one crazy ass lady. But you can’t deny that the woman knows her shit. I loved watching her show when it aired on the Lifestyle network and I always, always waited for her to say “it’s a good thing” with that creepy smile on her face as she told the audience about some fancy gardening pot or her latest line of bed sheets for Target. Half of me wanted to slap her for being a pretentious rich rich lady, but the other half of me totally wanted to run out to Target to buy those bed sheets, stat! Talk about creepily effective branding. P1170082 Anyway, I’m no Martha. There’s only one Martha (just as there is only one Britney), but I totally look into the mirror, pretend that I am her, and say “it’s a good thing” whenever I use the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer. Its goodness is undeniable.

I think I mentioned recently that my skin are routine hasn’t been very consistent. I’ve taken to treating the problems as they arise and trying to create a balance by listening to my skin. I have combination skin so I do not use a moisturiser everyday and rarely all over the face. I like moisturising specific areas that need it. I pick up the GinZing moisturiser maybe every other day, but it’s especially great for when my skin is feeling dull.
P1170085 The entire GinZing line boosts skin radiance with ingredients like Ginseng and coffee bean. The moisturiser boats an oil-fee, lightweight formula that is absorbed into the skin very quickly but does not feel absolutely useless. If you have dry skin, this may not be heavy enough for your needs, but my combo skin loves it. I love that I can feel the ingredients giving my skin a boost and that it smells like oranges (and not the artificial kind).

What sucks is that Origins is not a locally available brand. I always pick up my fave masks from the brand at airports when I travel, but I wish they would open up shop here so that I could try even more of their stuff. They use natural ingredients and all of their products are formulated free of parabens and other harmful chemicals. This isn’t so much a review as it is an opportunity for me to say (publicly):

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer. It’s a good thing. ;)

Review: Bioderma Cicabio Soothing Repairing Cream

Here’s a(nother) Bioderma product that I can totally get behind: the Cicabio Soothing Repairing Cream (915.20 Php). Cicabio is Bioderma’s range geared toward damaged and irritated skin. Now while not everyone has perennially sensitive skin, having irritated, stressed, or wounded skin from time to time is inevitable. The skin is the body’s first barrier against the outside world, after all. External stressors can leave skin more sensitive and permeable, and the Cicabio range is Bioderma’s answer to that. The products in the range relieve discomfort and repair epidermal problems quickly.

There are four products in the Cicabio range: the Soothing Repairing Cream (the “Crème” for short), the Pommade, the SPF 50+, and the Arnica+. For today I’ll just be talking about the Crème, which is meant for use on minor skin damage (ex. rashes, mild burns, mosquito bites).

P1150975This was the one product in my Bioderma press bag that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use. I guess my skin gets irritated a lot more often than I thought, because I reach for this quite often now. It started when I had redness and peeling on my face from an over-dried pimple that I attacked with my full arsenal of pimple-drying remedies. My skin was just so irritated that it almost felt warmer in that area.

Annoyed with myself for letting it come to that, I was looking through my stash of lotions and potions for something to soothe my skin. I spotted the Cicabio Crème sitting patiently on my “things to try” shelf and I thought: perfect! And perfect it was indeed. I spread a small amount of the cream onto the affected area and felt immediate relief. After two days of using it, 90% of the redness had gone and the dryness problem was no more! 

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Review: Bioderma Atoderm Restorative Lip Balm

P1150984It’s finally time for the first of my Bioderma reviews since the brand launched in the Philippines! I’m kicking it off with the Restorative Lip Balm (910.00 Php), which is part of Bioderma’s range designed for dry skin: Atoderm. You don’t exactly have to have dry skin to use this though, as even girls with oily skin can have dry lips. This lip balm in particular will probably please a wide range of different people as it’s unscented, not greasy, and hypoallergenic. P1150991The very fact that this is a basic lip balm is what makes it so great. There are no frills — it just works. If you’ve ever used Khiels’ lip balm in the original formula, this Bioderma option is the less greasy, more quickly absorbed version of it. 

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Bioderma’s Long-Awaited Philippine Debut

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 6.00.42 PMTwo weeks ago (as my instagram post can tell you, hehe) I attended the official launch of Bioderma into the Philippine market. That’s right–it’s offish! You can now pick up the world-famous micellar water from the brand at Watson’s branches nationwide. It’s not just the Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution that’s come in, though. You can now enjoy Bioderma’s entire range of skincare. The brand launch was the perfect opportunity for me (and, consequently, you guys too) to get to know the brand better as a whole. After everything was said and done, I was beyond ecstatic to be able to say that this French brand has washed up on our shores.  P1150935The night before the press launch, Bioderma also held an event for dermatologists around the Philippines. The brand really focuses on helping the skin repair itself and remain healthy with the help of natural biological ingredients. Our host for the afternoon, Bianca Valerio, filled us in on the brand’s innovative approach to the world of skincare: with a model of healthy skin in mind, the concept of biological mimetism to guide, and a driven mission towards dermatological safety. Ok so now you are wondering: what is this “biological mimetism” hullaballoo?

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