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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What’s On My Bedside Table

I was watching some home organisation videos on YouTube the other day and came across a few dedicated solely to nightstand / bedside table organisation. I was so engrossed in the videos (it’s like watching “What’s in My Bag” vids!) that I definitely lost a few of hours of my life, but it was totally worth my time, methinks. Different people keep very different things in and on their nightstands and it’s totally revealing of one’s personality and pre-sleep priorities.

I thought I’d share my own nightstand on here because most ladies keep some skincare by their beds and I am no exception. My bedside table isn’t very large and I don’t use the drawers to keep things I need at night (they get stuck easily so I just don’t bother to open them much), so everything important sits right on top. Here’s how I have it set up:
DSC02557I have a stack of books, a Wesco Peppy can peeping from behind that stack, a coaster, and a reading lamp. This corner of my room looks extra nice at night when all my lights except for the reading lamp are off. Now that I think of it, I should have taken a photo of it at night, but I’m so used to waiting for sunlight so that I can photograph makeup that I just…didn’t. Oh well.

Anyway, like I said, the drawers don’t house anything I need at night because they’re a pain to pull open. But in case you’re curious, the top drawer holds some of my notebook collection and the bottom drawer is where I store old hard drives. Everything I do need right before bed is within arm’s reach. 

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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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#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! :)

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

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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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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My Favourite Body Scrub

StIves1…is a face scrub! I think it’s pretty difficult to find a good body scrub. Many don’t actually work so much as exfoliants as they are heavily scented tubs of goop. Plus, one tub can set you back anywhere from 600 – 1000 ++ pesos. The other alternative is to use a rough loofah or a brush with your usual body wash. That’s actually what I had been doing before I started using this St. Ives Apricot Scrub (223.00 Php at PCX). Now there is a version of the product meant for use on the body. It comes in a large tube and is priced at approximately 600 Php– pricier than this face scrub, for some reason. I think the exfoliating beads in the body scrub are slightly larger than those in this product, but I dislike when they are too large anyway.

StIves2.jpgI didn’t realize how freaky finger-scrape marks looked until I had these photos in my laptop. Lol. Anyway, don’t mind that!

I exfoliate my legs every other day and I get about a month and a half of use out of one tub, which contains a good 10 oz of product. Once a week I’ll use this all over my body and I love that the granules are neither too large nor too small, and consequently the scrub is never too harsh or too mild for use on the body. That said, I would never ever use a physical exfoliant like this on my face. Way too harsh! Limited to use on the body, this is fantastic stuff. My skin is always nice and smooth afterwards and the smell of apricots is a lovely bonus as well. 
StIves3The granules up close. These are NOT little plastic beads–they’re some sort of organic bit mx of Apricot, Corn Kernel Meal, and Walnut. Plastic microbeads were all the rage in exfoliants for a while, but they actually did a lot of shit for the environment. After going down the drain, they’d make their way to riverbeds, beaches, and formed a foreign part of water sources. Organic matter as exfoliants are supposed to be more abrasive (in the bad way) on the skin, but these don’t hurt at all and I sure as hell am not willing to worsen the environmental situation on this earth for the sake of smooth skin.

Bottom line is that this face scrub makes an excellent body scrub. This is the “blemish control” one but there’s also a “fresh skin” one on the shelves. What are your fave body scrubs? :)

Nature Republic Snail Solution Line || Super Quick Look

Merry Christmas, everyone! :) I know, what an awkward time to post– but today I’ve got the Nature Republic Snail Solutions line* to share with you guys! It is, as I mentioned, the only brand from the BNT box that is available in the Philippines, so you can definitely pick this up if it sparks your interest. :)
P1120369The sample set I received includes the Skin Booster, Emulsion, and Cream. As the name of the line suggests, there’s some “snail technology” involved in this line… meaning there’s some snail secretion that should help moisturize the skin. Pretty cool, if you ask me! 

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BRTC Bright Eye Vitalizer Cream || Quick Look

BEVC2One of the four skincare items I received in my BNT beauty box was the BRTC Bright Eye Vitalizer Cream.* To me it was the most interesting product in the box simply because I had never seen an eye cream in stick form before. I was happy to receive it and start testing it out immediately because I never really replaced my Lancome eye cream samples from a few months back. I’ve been testing out the people-don’t-even-need-an-eye-creams-at-all theory and it’s been all good so far, but I did miss that extra pampering step.

This particular eye cream looks almost medicinal because of the packaging. I feel like I’m about to use some really advanced technological device when I pick it up–but it’s really just a simple twist-up stick. Still, I appreciate the very hygienic-looking packaging. I suppose it does remind me a bit of vitamins, which this product is packed with, apparently. Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 9.02.33 PMThe BRTC Bright Eye Vitalizer Cream is a “vitamin eye cream” that has both anti-wrinkle and whitening effects as well as moisturizing properties.

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