Can’t Say No To Pretty Things — Shiseido Ltd. Ed. Compact & UV Protective Foundation

I can’t remember the last time I bought something from Shiseido, but I feel like it’s always been a part of my life. My mom used both their liquid and powder foundations when I was younger and I remember the blue green and orange packaging distinctly. I also remember the smell, which is very … sublock-y, but not in an unpleasant way.  Still, I never really bothered with their base products. In part because I associated them with my mom (this is becoming less and less of a bad thing as I age), but predominantly because as a Japanese brand, their shade selection doesn’t extend into dark skin territory.

Recently though, while walking around the mall, this pretty compact sitting in the store’s window display caught my eye:

PSC1Definitely not the usual Shiseido blue green and orange. I couldn’t help but make a turn into the store to investigate. It’s shaped very much (if not exactly) like Shiseido’s usual compact cases, but the design is limited edition, inspired by the 70s, “Shiseido’s heritage, the summer ocean, traditional kimonos, peace, and eternity.” There was a second similar design but this one was calling my name. Strange, too, as I don’t usually gravitate toward blue hues. 
PSC2The compact foundation case is sold separately from the foundation and I had several to choose from (although not all of Shiseido’s foundations will fit in this case — just the round ones). I went with the UV Protective Foundation SPF 35 PA +++ (1,900 Php) because it’s supposed to be “very water resistant” and it came in the widest range of shades. 

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New, Juicy Shades! Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipsticks *

MKL1The Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipsticks (860.00 Php) are perfect for people who like moisturizing lipstick formulas. Infused with Vitamin E, Sunflower Seed oil, Jojoba, and Mango Butter, these feel more like a lipbalm than an actual lipstick — except they are lipsticks and they come in a nicely-sized range of 11 colours. Mary Kay recently added four shades to the range recently, and here I have two of them: 

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Avon’s Sweet Honesty: The Relaunch of A Classic

ASH1I have memories of Sweet Honesty* from when I was a pre-teen. Looking through Avon catalogues (for training bras, which I might as well still be wearing today because I unfortunately didn’t develop much in that area, lol), I was always interested in all the pretty looking things. I was — and still am, to some extent — a girly girl. I remember one of my helpers actually bought me a scent for Christmas one year and I had forgotten what it was until Avon sent me this package recently. When I took a sniff of Sweet Honesty, memories from that time in my life came rushing back. Funny how scents have that effect, huh? It’s always nice to be reminded of happy times. :) 

Avon has since repackaged the fragrance and they’ve expanded the line to include Sweet Honesty Moments and Sweet Honesty Forever

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Battle of the Micellar Waters: Bioderma vs. Happy Skin

Presenting the only two micellar water makeup removers available in Manila. Yup, Bioderma has finally washed up on our shores and should be available in Watsons branches by later this month. Now when I bought the Happy Skin Make A Clean Sweep makeup remover, I wasn’t yet aware of that and so I thought it would have the advantage of being the only micellar water formula in the Philippines. That is no longer the case. The playing field has been leveled and now I can compare these formulas without feeling guilty about giving it to Bioderma, hands down. Here’s why:  
BMWWhat these two obviously have in common is that they are micellar waters. With enough cotton pads and micellar water, one can remove makeup without having to work over a sink. That’s because micelle molecules are a whole bunch of surfactant molecules clustered together that make the mild-but-powerful awesomeness that remove oil, dirt, and makeup from the skin. Surfactants, if you remember from your grade school science class, are those nifty molecules that make soap work. In micellar water, these dense packs of surfactants (the micelles) are like soap but are different in that they are activated by cotton pads instead of water. What do cotton pads and water have in common? They’re both hydrophilic. It’s pretty interesting and relatively simple (check this out for a more comprehensive but still simple explanation) but most people just want to know: relative to makeup removal, does it work? Yes. Yes, it does. 

It works so well that one bottle of Bioderma Crealine H20 sells every 6 seconds. Models especially love the stuff for the obvious reason that it’s incredibly convenient for use between shows/shoots. Celebrities and regular people like myself (because yes, we can lump those two together if we wanna lol) love it because it feels just like water but does the job of removing makeup so easily. Plus Bioderma abroad is cheap as chips. No word on the local pricing as of yet, but I’m hopeful the patong won’t be too high. Another great thing about Bioderma is that I don’t feel any residue after using it, which is awesome, but it’s still not the best way to cleanse your full face every day so I do tend to just use it to remove eye makeup. I soak a cotton pad, press it to my eye for about 15 seconds, and gently sweep everything off. No irritation from the formula, no need for excessive tugging, and no oily residue. 

To be fair, Happy Skin’s Make A Clean Sweep Revitalizing Micellar Makeup Remover (599 Php for 100mL) is up against the best of the best. Still, I was just disappointed by the product in more ways than I thought to expect. Starting on a happy note, the packaging is top quality and the design is beautiful. I appreciate the pump and that the plastic used is thick and sturdy. The bottle, while pretty and well-designed, contains only 100mL of product. That’s the first negative thing I have to say. The Bioderma bottle beside it might not have a pump or feature cute coloured plastic, but it holds a full 150 mL more for a total of 250 mL. And that’s Bioderma’s small bottle (there is a tiny one for travel). This is important because you need quite a bit of micellar water per use — and even on that level, Happy Skin didn’t live up to Bioderma’s standards. I needed more of the Happy Skin formula to get it to work. That coupled with the smaller bottle meant that I was halfway through the Make A Clean Sweep Revitalizing Micellar Makeup Remover after just a week and a half of use. That’s crazy.

Formula-wise, Happy Skin added some Japanese Tea and Lotus Seed extracts to soothe and plump up skin. I don’t think I noticed either of those effects. In fact, I felt the mildest bit of irritation after use. It’s nothing major, but compared to Bioderma… I also felt that there was residue left on the skin after using the product, so I always had to rinse the area again afterwards. So yes, it worked. But… meh. Bioderma all the way.


Will keep you guys up to date on the availability and pricing of Bioderma products locally! Follow me on instagram for more frequent updates. :)

Burt’s Bees Birthday Bash! Happy 30th! Love, The Beauty Bee

Two weeks ago I attended Burt’s Bees’ 30th Birthday celebration at the Seda hotel in BGC. I was ecstatic to have been invited because the brand has been a part of my life since I was just 12 years old. I had my tin of their classic lip balm with me everywhere I went and I was obsessed with it. I still use the same lip balm up until this day, albeit in the twist-up stick form. There’s nothing quite like that minty feeling coupled with the perfect texture for a lip balm. Not too soft nor too hard. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAnother thing I love about Burt’s Bees is their use of natural ingredients. They are one of the few brands who can use the “natural bar” on their products. None of the products are less than a certain percentage natural (as prescribed by the US FDA), and should they be around the 95% mark, it will be marked clearly on the packaging. The birthday sign you see above is actually made out of live, natural ingredients, much like what goes into Burt’s Bees products. It’s true that nature made us who we are, and very often the remedies to our problems are provided by mother nature herself. 

HBDBB6Upon arriving at the venue, guests were given mason jars that we could fill with iced water and sliced fruit. Keeping hydrated is one of the best things you can do for you skin and any additional incentive for drinking more water is a good thing–cute straws and hipster-y mason jars included! If you’d like to see what else went down at the birthday bash, read on! :) 

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Review: The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

I love the idea of cleansing balms. If you haven’t heard of them or seen them around much, then you’re probably from a country with a warmer climate, like me. Cleansing balms are essentially oil-based cleansers that remain solid at room temperature. Fellow Pinays, think cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil when placed in the refrigerator. It transforms into a translucent white solid, right? Well apparently, EVCO looks like that 90% of the time abroad. Lol. “Room temperature” differs depending on where you live, and that explains why cleansing balms don’t sit on Philippine retail shelves. They just melt away. 

But it can be done — cleansing balms can exist in their solid form in this weather without totally liquefying. I first saw it in the Veriikos Deep Cleansing Oil Balm that I got in a BNT box a few months back. Verikos is of course an Asian brand and they definitely took our weather into consideration when formulating it and it worked perfectly (I used that cleansing balm down the the very last and loved every bit of it. I wish it were more easily available). This Body Shop cleansing balm is only the second I’ve come across locally (please inform me if there are others) because Clinique does not carry their Take the Day Off Balm locally. Boo. So anyway, let’s have a look at this tin of balmy goodness which, according to THE Caroline Hirons, is a dupe for Clinique TTDO: TBC1The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (price to be updated) is primarily a makeup remover and cleanser, but it is also meant to soothe and treat sensitive skin. That’s what the camomile is in there for, and I have to say that that’s my favourite thing about this product — it really does seem to soothe the skin as the residue sits on your face. It’s sumptuous, as its name suggests. The residue it leaves, however, makes this something I definitely cannot use daily because of my combo-oily skin type.TBC3If you’ve never used a cleansing balm before, the photo above pretty much says all you need to know.

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Lipsticks Lately

There are four lipsticks that I pretty much use all-year round. They’re the MLBB shades that I can’t live without, but I definitely do wear shades according to the seasons as well. And while we may have only two seasons in the Philippines (summer and rainy season), the Western idea of seasonal beauty kind of translates to this part of the world as well. That said, here are my “Fall” picks for lipstick:

The Dior Addict Fluid Lipstick formula is a dream combo of pigment and just the right amount of shine. I owe you guys a full review of this product, but the shade Trompe L’Oleildeserves a moment in the spotlight for this season. It comes off more like a bright plum on my lips than it looks in the tube, but it’s not too bright.

On the far right of the collage is the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Mink, which is a beautiful minky brown (duh) with a crime finish. This is my nude pick for the season. Worn alone it is soooo 90s, which I am totally feeling lately. I wear it both alone and with a clear gloss over top to make it even more 90s.

Another thing i do with Mink, as I mentioned on my Instagram page a few days ago, is layer it with MAC’s Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Good to be Bad. It makes for the perfect muted burgundy shade that I just cannot get over. Thank goodness both of the shades are permanent.

Finally there’s the Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Wine, which you have seen on the blog before, but not on my lips. I wear this one the least often of the four because it’s not the best formula. It is, however, kinda nice and grungy looking. It’s also the closest to a red that I will wear during the Fall.

Fall beauty trends are definitely my fave. I literally wait for time of year when wearing a vampy lip is appropriate again. Of course, you can wear whatever you want whenever you want when it comes to makeup, but you can’t deny that bright pinks and corals look better on tanned skin, while deeper lippies suit paler skin very nicely.

Do you guys go along with seasonal makeup trends? :) What are your fave “fall colours?” :)

Gimme, gimme! NARS Audacious Lipsticks

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, NARS is launching a new line of lipsticks. The Audacious Lipsticks (for lips so shamelessly seductive in touch and texture, the the sensation is absolutely audacious!) will come in 40 (!) shades of mind-blowing perfection. These aren’t available yet, but if you know NARS, you know that the one thing they do absolutely perfectly is lipstick.
NARS1All of these photos are from Temptalia. I really do wonder how she finds the time to photograph, swatch, and review every single product she receives… it’s a problem I’d be happy to have, tbh! Haha. The reviews of these babies aren’t complete yet, but thus far I don’t think she’s graded a single shade lower than an ANARS3Now I have a very love-hate kind of relationship with NARS. From reading reviews, nearly everyone out there does. If you want to play it safe, do stick to the lipsticks and blushes. Eyeshadow, liner, and nail products are hit-and-miss. As for their complexion products, I just don’t think it’s meant to be between me and NARS. That’s a story for another post though.

NARS2As you’re reading, I hope you’re enjoying these photos as much as I am. I mean, wow. 40 shades and each of them looks incredibly well thought out. I am also loving the shape of the lipstick bullet itself; the one flattened face with “NARS” carved into it is going to make it almost as difficult to start using the product as it is to refrain from using the product. What a beautiful conflict. 
NARS4Packaging on these also looks promising–they don’t look to be in the rubberized crap that NARS usually puts out! I could be wrong, but let’s cross our fingers for it. Hehe. Anyway, these will be out some time in September (hopefully deliveries to our local counters won’t be too delayed). Check out Temptalia’s sneak peek posts (here and here) to see some lip swatches, and keep checking her page for the full reviews.

Here are my personal picks from the line (again, all photos from Temptalia):

AudaciousPicks.Liv and Vivien are probably my top two picks, but these all look pretty damn awesome to me!

Which shades do you guys have your eyes on? :)

Edit: I eventually picked up Deborah and Vivien. To see my review, click here. :) 

The Definition of Pretty: Ellana’s Mesmer-eyes Eyeshadow Quad

I know nobody asked, but my biggest fear in life is coming off stupid — worse, actually being stupid. I never was the brightest kid/teen/ human being in any bunch… in large part because I never exerted enough effort. So what’s a lazy idiot like myself doing in graduate school (law school at that)? Sometimes I don’t even know. Other times I think I’m just trying to prove a point to myself. And when I’m actually thinking clearly I remind myself that I made the decision to become a lawyer with a bigger picture in mind; the cheesy picture of a future where I help others and make a difference in the world. It’s cliché, I know. Cheesy, indeed. But then it’s clear and I have something to hold on to. Something to make a big fear look small — silly, even. And hard work coupled with focus? That makes fear vanish all together. Hard work is half the battle, folks. Don’t you forget it.

So how does one segue from that into a makeup review? I’m not quite sure, so here I am calling attention to the fact before I proceed anyway…

EME1There are some products that I can hardly wait to review for you guys because I already know it’s going to be love even before I’ve tested them out. The Ellana Mesmer-eyes Eyeshadow Quad (400.00 php)* is one of those products. Of course writing about it without testing it wouldn’t be very responsible of me, and it wouldn’t even technically be a “review,” so I wore this baby out nearly every day for one week and at least four times in the week after that. Now I can definitively tell you that I was a poo-poo head for waiting so long to buy this quad. The one good thing that came out of the delay is that I have the product in Ellana’s new packaging, which you are now feasting your eyes on.

To continue the feast and to learn more about the shades in this quad, click through!

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