USA Makeup & Skincare 2015

It’s always difficult to control myself when shopping in the States. That goes for everything, not just makeup and skincare, but it’s especially bad with beauty stuff because they tend to be small items that add up in price quickly. So this year I attacked the U.S. beauty shopping scene with a detailed list of things I knew I wanted to get. I did save a lot of money, but I also ended up with much less than I normally take home. Wether I’ll regret that or not isn’t really clear yet… but here are the (relatively) few things I am glad to have: DSC01201Let’s start with body and skincare because — why not!

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Packing For the U.S.: Skincare, Makeup, and In-Flight Essentials

If you’re seeing this post right after it goes up, I’m probably sitting in an airplane as you read it. I’ll be in the U.S. for the next three weeks to attend a wedding and also to sightsee and visit relatives. I will try to post while I’m there, but if I can’t then I have a few scheduled posts going up. You can follow me on Instagram (@ianabantug) and Snapchat (ianabantug) if you want to see what I’m up to while I’m there! :)

Packing for longer trips is crazy stressful and although I try to “pack smart” and have some sort of a system, I never actually take the same things or employ the same approach twice. For this trip, I tried to take more mini/travel-sized items when possible and also take stuff that I can leave once they are used up (thereby freeing up space to take more things home!).

I’m not going to list every single item because there’s a lot of stuff in this post, but I’ll point out the things I think warrant a bit of an explanation.

Main Toiletries Bag

P1190145This is a Rustan’s brand toiletries bag. I’ve used it for a number of trips now and I really like the size and shape of it. The rectangular shape makes it really easy to pack alongside my packing cubes (for clothes) and the handles up top allow me to hang it up on a hook when I settle into a hotel or at a relative’s place. 

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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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Singapore Haul: Too Faced, Tarte, bareMinerals, and drooling over HAKUHODO brushes

I recently went on a quick trip to Singapore with my Dad. He was there to do business and so was I (in a sense). My business mainly involved hunting down products inside Sephora and DFS. Not quite as important as my dad’s agenda, but it was definitely a serious matter (to me, at least). IMG_6871Sephora in Singapore doesn’t carry all Sephora brands and sometimes the prices can actually come out a bit higher than Sephora in the US, so I tread with caution in there. I made it a point to get things that were not available in Manila or at Duty Free shops. I didn’t have a specific list of items to pick up, but I knew I would be choosing between the Urban Decay NAKED 3 palette and the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.

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What I Packed: USA 2014

USA bag 1This was meant to be a “what I will be taking to the US” post, but I failed at getting it ready in time. It works out well enough though because now I can tell you guys what I regret taking with me and what I wish I had brought. Packing beauty items for travel has never been easy for me, unless I’m going to the beach (see my beach beauty post from a few months back). I always want to have options but I know I have to pack as light as possible because of weight and liquid limitations… plus I knew I was going to be buying new stuff there too, hehe!

After taking these photos I moved all of my makeup to a different makeup bag because (as you can see) my striped MUJI one was just too full. The black case to the right is the Real Techniques brush holder that comes with their sets. 

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Beach Beauty: Balesin 2013

BB7Hey guys! Just got back from a family beach trip and I thought I would share what I brought in terms of skincare + beauty products. I was never much of a beach person until I first went to Balesin with my family a year ago. It’s an island club with seven “themed” villages modelled after popular beach spots around the world. There’s Balesin Village (Philippines), Bali Village (Indonesia), Phuket Village (Thailand), Mykonos Village (Greece), St. Tropez (France), Costa del Sol Village (Spain), and Toscasa Village (Italy). My favourites have to be the Balesin and Bali, but Toscana looks very promising (still under construction). What I love about it is that there’s always something to do, even if you don’t want to get into the water–and I mean salt water… salt water is not my friend. Hehe!

BB6I didn’t take photos of each village but you can check out Balesin’s website to get a better feel of the place. We stayed at St. Tropez this time around (pictured above) and although it isn’t the best village in my opinion, it was still really beautiful. The whole resort was an incredibly ambitious project and it is executed very well, though service on the island seems to be struggling this year because more people are coming in. Last year, we practically had the whole place to ourselves! Still, it was beautiful and I can’t complain.

BB1So, what does a non-beach-person bring to the beach? Have a look: 

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If you find yourself in Bangkok…

without a mascara in your makeup bag *gasp*… no worries! 7/11 has got you covered!

Yup, 7/11 in Bangkok sells good mascara! While I didn’t exactly forget to bring my own, I couldn’t resist picking this up because (1) I was surprised that 7/11 had cosmetics like bb creams, powders, and mascara, and (2) it was cheap at just over 120.00 php. I wasn’t going to cry over wasted money in case it turned out to be crappy but as I said, this Be Witch volumizing mascara is GOOD. It’s got “natural” hair bristles and fibres in the mascara itself to add volume and length. I believe it is also water resistant.

Checking convenience stores in other countries is always interesting. I’ve been using this every day since I bought it and I’m regretting that I didn’t go back for more. It’s even cheaper than my fave Avon mascara! Amazing.

Bangkok Beauty Buys!

Flew to Bangkok over the long weekend to spend time with family and do a bit of shopping. I hadn’t been to Bangkok in 12 years so I was clueless on what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good the shopping was! I didn’t get to take full advantage of the cheap-ness because I was so damn clueless but now I know what to prepare for the next time I go back. ;)Since this is largely a beauty blog, here’s a sneak peek of the beauty products I was able to buy! Bangkok has BOOTS! As in the British beauty store, which is why there are a couple of No. 7 products in my little haul. They also had Bioderma at a price that wasn’t exorbitant (you can order this locally for 1000++) so I snatched that up in a heartbeat. I am most excited about that little black box in the lower right corner of the photo though. Ahh. ♥

Anything here that you’d like me to review/talk about first? :D I think I will do a post on my trip as well even though I didn’t get to do any tourist-y things at all. I definitely want to go back!

REVEL Is Calling For Contributors!

REVEL, the online magazine that I co-manage with my friends is calling for contributors! Details below:

Do YOU have something to say?

Want to share your music, art, or photography?
Talk to us through to tell us you want in!

Submission Guidelines:
1. You can write about ANYTHING as long as it falls under the following columns: Art, Beauty, Causes, Fashion, Inspiration, Music, Pop Culture, Science, Travel & Lifestyle
2. Articles must not be longer than 800 words
3. Photos, Illustrations, and other visual artwork should NOT contain offensive material and discrimination of any kind. If you are submitting a photo that you do not own, be sure to properly cite it!
4. Content is subject to review and approval by the REVEL team. Should there be a need for revision, the REVEL team will contact you via email

Let us know if you’re interested by August 17 (Friday)!

Article submission deadline is August 24 (Friday)!

*Photo by Matthew Lee!

I manage the beauty column for REVEL, but there are other columns as well, all open to submissions! :) I suggest you check out the site to see it for yourselves! And of course I sincerely hope you like it. :)
REVEL main website:



REVEL is an online magazine that I co-manage with some of my good friends from way back in high school! :) We write/produce this just for fun, with the intention of sharing our (incredibly) varied interests with the world. I handle the beauty column, but the other columns include travel, arts, the sciences, and fashion too of course! We also feature an advocacy each month in an effort to raise awareness about causes that are close to our hearts. We are a young magazine and we’re still figuring a lot of things out, but we hope to grow into a community with actively involved readers. :)

Originally the idea was to do a quarterly magazine, but we have decided to go MONTHLY! It will involve a lot more work on our part but it will most definitely be worth it!

ISSUE #2 COMES OUT THIS COMING SUNDAY, AUGUST 5! In the meantime do check out our first issue, which is still up at! :)

[FB promo text:] WARNING! WARNING! IT’S SIGNAL NO. 2— I mean, ISSUE NO. 2 because REVEL Magazine is brewing up a storm of new reads THIS AUGUST. Yeah, you read it right, THIS AUGUST. We’re going MONTHLY! 

So, let’s all do the rain dance this Sunday, AUGUST 5, and we’ll take you to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. :)

Just log on to and let the rain pour down!

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