The Beauty Bee Awards: Best of 2014!

It’s that time of year! I’ve separated my favourite products of 2014 into three categories: Skincare, Base, Eyes & Lips. Last year’s fave list was a little bit more detailed (see here), but I just didn’t feel like doing it the same way this time around. Still, these products represent the year that was in makeup/skincare terms and I kind of love each and every one of them with a love that is disproportionate to what any inanimate object should receive. P1170310Kicking it off with SKINCARE because 2014 was all about creating a flawless base which, of course, always begins with good skin. I finally got the hang of dealing with my combo-oily skin and although I still had some breakouts, I was able to manage them without aggravating the situation or flying into a panic.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O. This has been a part of my skincare routine for a few years now, but it deserves a special mention because Bioderma only recently became available locally. I use this micellar water to remove my eye makeup every time I have eye makeup on and it’s the only product that does not irritate that area of my face.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve (review). This little tin has saved my butt more than once in 2014.

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Bee Merry & Top Off Your Christmas List With These Burt’s Bees Sets!

P1170087This awesome set of goodies arrived at my house on Friday and it made me feel super excited for both Christmas and New Year. Look at that planner! The Beauty Bee loves it (enough to make me speak in the third person apparently).

Burt’s Bees always does the BEST gift sets, both in terms of value and packaging. I mean, they have tins and little pouches and even Christmas tree baubles! The prices range from 325.00 Php for the lip balm baubles to around 1,700.00 Php for the most expensive set in a tin. They’re so pretty that they don’t need to be wrapped anymore — just add a cute tag and you’re all set!

More photos of the sets I have after the jump. :) 

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First Impressions: Alpha-H Liquid Gold

It’s always an event (for me) when a cult fave product comes into my life. There’s a whirlwind of thoughts going through my head as it arrives/as I buy it (like: omg omg I actually have it! Remember to be critical! Try not to open it just yet! Must. Photograph. So prettyyy!) and I have to remember to manage my expectations. It’s like going to see that movie everyone raved on and on about a week late (through no fault of your own) and finding that it just falls flat because your expectations were so damn high.P1160571Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold (1,938.00 Php) has definitely achieved cult favourite status in the UK and US, but it’s only become (easily) available to me through Luxola recently. If you’ve never heard of it before, its name isn’t very helpful in letting you know what it is. In a nutshell, Liquid Gold is a chemical exfoliant (as opposed to a physical exfoliant). The brand calls it a “resurfacing and firming lotion” which I think is a good way to label it. The description on Luxola reads:

Liquid Gold is a powerful overnight resurfacing and firming lotion for normal or combination skin types. Winner of the Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Hot 100 2013, this best selling “cult” skin resurfacing treatment uses a state of the art, low pH delivery system to effectively diminish wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage. Enriched with Silk Proteins and Liquorice extract, it works to jump start the skin’s metabolism, tightens enlarged pores and gives a brighter, clearer complexion. Best used for mature, sun damaged, prematurely ageing and for acne-scarred skin. Not suitable for sensitive skin.

This video is a bit long but also helped me understand the product a lot better:

There are tons and tons and tons of great reviews for this product out there and even the goddess of skincare Caroline Hirons has used it as part of her routine. The problem (yes, there is a problem) is that I have seen this before–or, I at least have products that do very similar things already. 

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Rave Review: Bioderma Sèbium Pore Refiner

There are those rare times in life when you meet someone and it’s obvious from the start that you will be great friends for a very long time. It’s a magical moment coupled with a beautiful realisation, and that hasn’t happened to me in a very long time. I can count all of my best friends in the world on just one hand and most of them have been around for a while now. Recently though, I felt that little magical moment again — when I tested the Bioderma Sèbium Pore Refiner for the first time. I know, I know… that seems kind of sad, having a “moment” with a product. But really, when you have combination skin that’s pimple-prone, happiness can come in the form of finding a treatment/pore refining skincare product that works wonders. It’s the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship, I tell ya. P1150964The Bioderma Sèbium Pore Refiner (1,430.00 Php) is primarily a skincare product that refines the skin’s texture and regulates excessive sebum production, but it can also be used as a makeup primer. There is a small amount of salicylic acid included to treat existing pimples and keep them from growing into monstrosities.

What sets this apart from other pore refiners on the market is that it does not smooth out the appearance of skin by simply plugging up the pores with fillers — that’s gross on so many levels, but it’s particularly bad because it means you are blocking sebum production completely. I know we’re used to thinking of sebum as the enemy, but it’s actually just an excess of sebum that is. You kind of need that stuff to keep your skin properly moisturised, and trapping sebum in your pores is one of the many causes of acne. 

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An Earthy FOTD (Nov. 16, 2014)

Hello my loves! Here’s a look I wore yesterday. My skin hasn’t been in the best shape; it acts up once a month like clockwork because of girly hormones and that sort of thing… it’s a pain in the butt, but that’s life. These are the times when I’m thankful for mineral makeup and high coverage concealers. Plum & OliveFor this look, all I knew to start was that I wanted to use the shade Gilded Ganache from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (review). It’s much more wearable than it looks in the pan and I was quite happy with the way it looked on my lids. I pretty much just used that one shade plus a little bit of Milk Chocolate through the crease and Crème Brulee on the center of the eyelids to add more dimension. I didn’t use any eyeliner but I did layer on the mascara heavily to add to the soft smokey effect that the shadows created. As for the lips, I initially picked up a light coral-pink (because that sort of shade goes nicely with green eyeshadow), but I wasn’t feeling it so I grabbed my MAC lipliner in Plum and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Mink instead to give me a plummy-brown look. I really like how it turned out–much more “fall/winter” appropriate. What do you think? :)

For a full list of the products I used, read on!

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Growing Obsession: Laura Mercier’s Caviar Sticks

I try so many products that I often catch myself getting “obsessed” with the new things, then sort of just forgetting about them after a while. That’s why I rarely do favorites of the month posts. They’re not truly faves in my mind until they’ve withstood the test of time, so to say. My 2014 faves are coming up, but for next year I’ll probably start doing more “loving lately” type of posts so I can talk about the new and interesting “seasonal” obsessions. Of course there are products that really do become obsessions over time and evolve into favorites. The Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks definitely belong in that category. So this is a bit of a spoiler, but you will be seeing these again in the yearly faves posts in about a month. Still, I thought a post dedicated especially to them was in order. P1160540The Caviar Sticks have actually been around for well over a year now, but they recently released new shades so if you visit a Laura counter in the near future, you will see a rather prominent display. The newest shade in my collection is Moonlight, a beautiful high-shimmer silver with a taupe base.

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BDJ Box* October 2014 – Unboxing!

Got this late this afternoon and wanted to do a quick unboxing for you guys! Have a lookie:
P1160381BDJ* went jumbo-sized with their boxes this month! While size definitely isn’t everything, I was still excited to receive a larger-than-usual parcel in the mail. The theme for this month is “Skin Savers” and the boxes are filled with products that will help you achieve fresh, glowing skin in preparation for the holiday season. P1160388You can see that Dial had its own products placed in a separate box (and I could smell the coconut-y goodness from inside of it even before opening it up!) but the “main box” was still filled to the brim. BDJ very rarely disappoints when it comes to value for money. Each subscription box will set you back 580.00 Php, but in this box alone for example, the full-sized products are worth 1,775.00 Php. I didn’t even bother to include the sample tubes and sachets. 

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My Ellana Blush Collection

EBA1It was really only right that I title this post the way I have… of the five available blush duos from Ellana, I have four. I don’t plan on picking up the last one (Flirtation/Fetish) in the near future because it looks a little too light for my skin tone, but I might be tempted to complete the collection one day. For now though, I’m quite happy with these four. You’ve already seen my review of Obsession/Fulfilment, and now I have Bunny/Ecstasy, Kitten/Peach Passion, and Light Roast/Butter Rum Coffee to add to the mix. Got them in Ellana’s awesome new packaging, too! EBA2Ok, so each of these will set you back just 460.00 Php and you essentially get two blushes in one so that’s an awesome deal, in case I need to spell it out for you. They are all extremely soft and pigmented, which is good in a lot of ways but it can also be a bit of a challenge to work with at times. Still, I love the shades Ellana put together and as you’ll see in a bit, these are definitely worth picking up. 

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Bad Skin Days

We all have them. And I have them much too often thanks to stress from school — but hey, life goes on and the world isn’t going to stop because of your bad skin day, no matter how much you wish it would.

There are a number of different ways you can deal with bad skin days:

  1. Put some extra effort into making your hair look good (pretty hair can work wonders);
  2. Bring out the heavy-duty concealers and foundations (least recommended option);
  3. Treat the skin as best you can by using light makeup and treatment-infused products; or
  4. Don’t leave the house. Period.

I don’t stick to any one method and I have tried each at least once in my life– #2 being the most frequently resorted to, even though it is terrible for already-stressed-out skin. I like option #1 a lot because fab hair is always a mood-booster. Not leaving the house is just not an option when you have to (duh), and option #3 is the most sensible. Here’s my attempt at being kind to my skin on a bad day: 

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Just In & Technical Difficulties

Hi guys! Before I show you what I picked up yesterday, I have to let you know that I’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties. I’m posting this from my iPad because my laptop has decided to be difficult. And just as I’m about to write a very important paper, too! It also means I don’t have anything to process photos from my camera on at the moment, so the photos below are from my phone. We’ll see if it can be fixed or if I have to get a new one, but in the meantime, if you see less from me, you know why.
Moving on to this awesome Burt’s Bees thinger I picked up yesterday:
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I was in Beauty Bar to pick up a new Burt’s lip balm, but of course my eyes had to go over the rest of the display as well. I saw this super cute bag/pouch that looked like a bag organizer and before I knew it my hands were wrapped around it. It had a price tag hanging off of it that read 750.00 Php so I thought–that better have stuff in it too! And it does! :)
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Inside are mini sizes of the Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. I already own the full-sized Hand Repair Cream (950.00 Php on its own), but it is quite large so this smaller one takes up a lot less space in my bag. I’ve been trying to kick the habit of biting the skin around my nails, so I use hand cream pretty often. It makes sense that I should have the Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream too, then! The one in this set is tiny, but again it’s perfect to chuck in your bag. The full size is not too large either, but it costs around 450 Php alone I think. 750 is not too bad of a deal for those two things plus the bag, in my opinion. I will definitely be using all three!

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A bee hive and a honey bee charm on each end of the pulls. I honestly don’t know if this is a new release, but I am sure it isn’t a permanent offer. Burt’s offers a number of trial sets, but not all of them come with a pretty pouch like this one. So check it out ASAP if you want it! :)

Again, I’m struggling with technology at the moment (what’s new), but I’ll try to keep posting stuff, albeit a little more on the informal end. You can also follow me on Instagram: @ianabantug. :)

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