Biyernes, Enero 27, 2012

Review: Nature Republic Home Made Recipe Pack in Kelp

Note: I have oily skin and I deal with white heads, black heads and huge pores. The product reviewed here is based on my needs. What works for me might not necessarily work for you

When I heard that the Korean skin care brand Nature Republic will open a shop in SM Fairview, I couldn't help but be excited about it.  I went there the day after their opening because I was at work.  Anyway, it was a good thing I did because I was able to get some goods including this Home Made Recipe Pack in Kelp. (I mentioned this in my skin care routine post.)

What's up with that?

This is the pack recommended to me by their SA.

So I went there looking for possible skin care and makeup products.  I immediately asked about the products they have for people with oily skin and have to deal with blackheads and whiteheads.  She gave me several options but this Home Made Recipe Pack in Kelp caught my attention because it was less than PhP 300 (USD 7).  Affordable? Definitely.  And it's meant to be used only a few times per week so I still have this tube of product with me up to now.

How to use this product

A large version of the image so you could see what's on the tube itself.

As you can see, you need to wash your face first then gently massage your face using this gel. Keep it on your face for 15 minutes.  The SA told me I just need to use this 2-3 times a week so that's what I've been doing for the past several months. :)

Texture and stuff

Straight from the tube, it's a green gel.  Looks dark green.

Once you massage it on your skin, it becomes lighter because it is spread out.

I find it moderately sticky.  But of course, it's in gel form. I think it can't be avoided.  Anyhow, it's not uncomfortable to use even if you have to keep it on your face for 15 minutes or so.  

You might find it weird that it becomes warm when you massage it on your face. I think the SA said that it's really what happens when you use it because warming up your skin opens up the mores which makes it easier for you to wash of the dirt and stuff after.

What I love about this product
  • After a few weeks of using it regularly I saw that I was using the pore strips less. Actually, I hardly use pore strips now.  I suppose it helps that I do keep a regular skin care routine but before I used this product, I'd have to use two pore strips on my nose on some days. 
  • It's easy to use because I don't have to wait for it to harden on my face like some other masks/packs. I just wash it off after.
  • It's affordable. 
  • A tube of this product goes a long way because I only little of this product on my face for 2-3 times a week.  I bought mine last November and there's still quite a lot. I think.
What I don't love about this product
  • The packaging -- because it seems like the tube is too big. I find it wasteful and I don't quite know if there's so much more air.  Also, because the tube is quite big, it won't be easy to bring this along on trips because it will make your kit bulky.
  • It's not in stock in some branches anymore. Well, at least in SM North the Block I didn't see it anymore recently. Nuuuu~! Then again, maybe others have found it effective too, that's why.
  • There are parabens in the product.
Sadly I don't have before and after pictures.  It would be gross to show you how much whiteheads I used to have though. If you have time to check out Nature Republic, just drop by one of their branches to ask for this product.  Talk to the SA about it and do a swatch so you know if your skin will react or not.  I know that sometimes skin care products are hard to find but if you get lucky enough, it would be more than wonderful.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone! :)

Skin Food Goodies from Chic Sassy Mom :)

Thanks to Chic Sassy Mom for picking me as her commenter of the month! :) I've started reading her blog last year when I was looking for reviews of different products like the bb creams from The Skin Shop, Skin Food products, etc.  And I even asked her about Nyx matte lip creams hahaha. XDDD When I am curious about stuff, I can't help but ask around about them and I guess I am lucky to meet online friends who are willing to share their knowledge.  One other thing I love about reading Des' blog is that her posts remind me of my friend, Mama Meikah. I don't think they talk about the same things all the time, but I guess her tone of writing and her replies make me think of my friend. :)  Anyway, I am just so thankful for these wonderful Skin Food goodies she sent me recently.

Recently I've had bad vibes about blogging but there's nothing like a surprise announcement about winning a giveaway to drive away bad vibes!  And of course, blogging friends have been so kind to me too so I am back in shape to write.  This is mainly a picture heavy post because I was happy to receive my package this morning -- as in the first thing I saw on my desk hahaha!

The photo above is the complete set of goods. All Skin Food! Hooray! :)

Rose Essence Lip Balm. I've seen such cute packaging of lip balm in Japanese magazines. And now I have my own :3  And it's in a pink case too. How convenient!

Samples of Skin Food's Black Sugar Mask and Rice Mask.  These are two things I've been wanting to try. And I will! Thanks to Des <3

Samples of Skin Food's Gold Kiwi line. I hope they would really brighten up my face!

Samples of Skin Food's Gold Caviar line as well as sachets of their Platinum Grape Cell Essential BB Cream. :) I have enough BB cream tubes and samples to last me a year? Or maybe not hahaha. This would be an interesting product to read about.

And she even sent a note with the package. Sweet! :)

I should probably do a haul post from the last two months. I think I amassed a huge amount of skin care and makeup. O_O Hoarding? Not really. Just so happened that last December, I attended a wedding so I bought some more stuff. There was also Benefit's opening. And this January, Laneige's promo for the lipsticks and Human Heart Nature's new products got me buying.   And one more special thing from December was the prize I got from Kikay Trekkie/Marge! Right now I am using the Clinique Dermablock and I am quite happy with it.  (Review will follow soon enough!)

Good vibes for everyone. :) I just wanted to share the goodies and I hope that you will also experience the same kind of happiness upon getting a wonderful surprise. 

Lunes, Enero 23, 2012

What's Your Daily Skin Care Routine? Here is Mine

I suppose everyone of us has a skin care routine that we follow everyday.  I've become conscious of how harassed and haggard I looked some time last year and I think that the daily commute and all the grime in Manila were factors.  My friend Renee got me started with Etude House's Mini Size U kit but I have run out of that so I am now on a different routine.  Erika Jjang posted her routine and here's mine.  This is my updated routine.

Morning Routine (pre-makeup stuff that I do):

  1. Wash off the sleeping pack from the night before with plain water.
  2. Wash my face with oatmeal soap.
  3. Tone with Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener.
  4. Apply eye cream around my eyes.
  5. Apply Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion to moisturize my face. (My review of this product is here.)
  6. Apply Clinique Derma White sunblock. I only got mine in a trial size thanks to the wonderful Kikay Trekkie/Marge Tan.  (You could also read about this via Liz of Project Vanity. She has a review of this product on her blog.)
  7. Apply Human Heart Nature lip balm in Watermelon on my lips to prevent them from drying.
Sometimes I change things up a bit by using Human Nature 100% Natural Purifying Scrub or Human Nature   Super-Fruits & Black Rice Facial Scrub after washing my face. But I don't always do this. At most, it will be done twice a week or maybe thrice.

As for the emulsion and sunblock -- both products are just great on me! I don't get very oily with them.  I only use a pea-sized amount of the emulsion.  One of my friends says that it's still a bit heavy on the skin for her but I think it's less sticky compared to other moisturizers out there.  And it's been more than a month of continuous use and no breakouts for me. (Yay!) And the sunblock -- I wish I could really afford to buy an entire tube of this!  But in case I really think it's too pricey, there's always Biore's sun cream to try one day.

Evening Routine:
  1. Remove makeup with Human Nature Sunflower Cleansing Oil. (Used to be done with Human Nature Sunflower Beauty Oil.)
  2. Cleanse my face with oatmeal soap.
  3. * Massage Nature Republic Homemade Recipe Pack in Kelp.  Wash it off with lukewarm water after 15 minutes.
  4. ** Apply Skin Food Peppermint Pore Diet mask on my face. Peel it off after 15 minutes.
  5. Tone my face with Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener. (Such a wonderful product! Will review this later on.)
  6. *** Massage my face with Tony Moly Clean Dew Lemon Seed Massage Cream and wipe off the cream afterwards.  Why bother massaging your face? Watch what Bubz has to say about skin care routines.
  7. Apply eye cream around my eyes.
  8. Apply The Face Shop's Lovelyme:Ex Lip Care Cream in Vitamin.  Got the tip from Geek Girl Manila. Same principle, different product line.
  9. Apply Nature Republic Lavender Sleeping Pack.
That's a whole lot of stuff, right? Well, #s 3, 4 and 5 are not done everyday.  #3 and #4 are done twice a week, one after the other. Or if I am lazy, I do #3 one night and #4 the following night. #6 is done once a week, preferably when I am not doing #3 and #4.  But sometimes when I do #6, I don't use the sleeping pack anymore because I find the massage cream quite moisturizing as it is.

All these products are available locally.  It's just that I lost the packaging of my oatmeal soap. ~_~ I will ask my friend about that because she gave it to me.  My skin care routine basically consists of stuff that help me deal with my oily face, large pores and dry lips.   If you're wondering why I use two different lip care products at night and during the day, it's because The Face Shop's Lip Cream is a little sticky but sometimes even if I forget to use lip balm during the day, my lips don't crack. That's something that I really like.

If you will notice, I didn't write anything about using pore strips for my nose anymore. It's because the Kelp Pack does help if you use it regularly. ^_^ A review will also come later. I am just so glad I bought this product when Nature Republic opened their SM Fairview boutique last year.

Out of all the products in this post, only the following were not bought with my own money:
  1. oatmeal soap (this was a Christmas present from my friend)
  2. Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion (courtesy of Aubrey of Benefit Cosmetics Philippines)
  3. eye cream (something I am currently testing for one of my favorite brands)
Nature Republic, Etude House,  Skin Food, Tony Moly and The Face Shop are all Korean brands and you could find all of them in SM North.  Benefit is an American brand and they currently have one boutique in Greenbelt 5, but I think they're going to open shops/counters in other malls soon enough.  Human Nature is a local brand which you could buy online, in Beauty Bar or Rustan's supermarkets.

Some of these brands have Facebook pages or accounts, so feel free to add them so you could learn more about their products.
If you've got questions about these products I mentioned, feel free to comment.  You may also ask other fans of these brands on Facebook.  At least you will get different opinions and others could also share their personal testimonies about these products.  After all, what works for me, might not work for you.

What's your skin care routine? ^_^ I'd love to hear your tips too.

NOTW: Etude House PetiteDarling Nails Matte in Purple Milky Way

This has got to be my favorite Etude House nail polish of all time.  This is not the first Etude House nail polish I bought. I think that this is the second. The first one I got was a beige-brown shade.  (Will check the number later but I am pretty sure that the lovely Erika Jjang has it too!)

This is Petite Darling Nails Matte in Purple Milky Way, a purplish brown matte nail polish.  I bought this from SM Makati last September. The price is PhP 98, or roughly USD 2.00 or so.

I've always been fascinated with matte finish on book covers and such. So why not nail polish in matte, right? I couldn't resist it.  And I love brownish shades so this one was definitely a must-have for me! ^_^

What do I love about this nail polish?

  1. It is matte!  It doesn't have a glossy finish so it's not too eye-catching, I think. XD I could go to a client meeting and not be conscious about my nails.
  2. The color is just so cute. ;)  Of course, it's a nail polish so it's best to buy something that appeals to you.
  3. It is affordable.  Considering this is matte nail polish, PhP 98 is a good price.
  4. It is locally available.  There are so many Etude House counters and boutiques.  Just go out and buy a bottle of this if you think it has a nice color too.
  5. It dries quickly. Sorry I didn't time it but it's fairly quick to me. ^^; Less than 15 minutes, I think.
What do I think are downsides of this nail polish?
  1. This doesn't last so much on my nails.  I suppose I should get the matte top coat to make it last more than 3 days.  Then again, such wear and tear depends on your activities.  If you do stuff that make it easy for nail polish to chip off, well, you better find a good top coat. ^_~
  2. The color on the bottle doesn't really show it's true color when it dries.  I suppose the picture doesn't help much.  But really, it's much more purple in real life.  In the bottle it looks more like a dark beige or mocha though.  I am not sure if it's because of the frosted glass of the bottle.
  3. The nail polish becomes too thick or something.  Would the proper term be viscous?  I have to use a solvent and mix it up so I could apply it on my nails.
  4. The bottle is small!  I wouldn't mind paying a higher price but I wish Etude House would make this color and sell it in a bigger bottle.
Have you tried using this nail polish too? What are your thoughts about it?  Or maybe you have other nail polish that you'd like to recommend. Please feel free to post a comment. I'd appreciate it. ^_^ Have a great week ahead!

Sabado, Enero 14, 2012

NOTW: Nature Republic BR901

This happens to be my favorite nail polish among everything I have.  I thought I'd like matte nail polishes more but really, this is just so special to me. To think that I just got it from Nature Republic on a whim, it was a lucky find and a great decision to get it. ;)

The pictures show you how nice and metallic this  nail polish is.  It has some shimmery stuff but nothing too big.  It's like heavy/thick caramel syrup with golden pixie dust to me XD  If you put just a layer of it, it doesn't look so brown.  It's pretty light, like maple syrup with some shimmers.

What I love about this nail polish:
  1. In terms of texture, it isn't too thick nor very watery.  Just like the other Nature Republic nail polish I have, it's consistently like that.  That's why it's not so difficult to use it.
  2. The color of BR901 is really pretty if you like browns or golds.  It's something that gives you a little of both.
  3. The shimmers of this nail polish are small. They are so small that they're not that obvious.  If you're not into big chunks of glitter, or if you want to wear something shimmery on your nails without looking too casual or party-like when you're in the office, I think that this nail color will do.
  4. For PhP 65 (or roughly USD 1.5), this nail polish is affordable considering the bottle isn't so small.  
  5. It is available in the local market.  You don't need to order this online. ;)  Just head to the nearest Nature Republic branches in SM Fairview, SM North the Block, Festival Mall in Alabang.
What I dislike about this nail polish:
  1. It chips off after 3-4 days.  It's pretty average in terms of chipping off from one's nails.  Most nail polish I have has that issue.  I wonder if getting from the more expensive nail polish set will yield longer-lasting nail polish.  Nature Republic has a more expensive set of nail polish and I have none from that set. Hmmm. That's something to try, I guess? :)
  2. All glittery nail polish from Nature Republic are a little more difficult to remove. I guess it's the stickiness of the shimmers that is affecting it?  I suppose that if you're a little more careful with your nails this nail polish will last longer without chipping off.  At least that's my conclusion based on how difficult it is to remove.  It takes me much more effort compared to the plain nail polish. Maybe 3-4 swipes of cotton with nail polish remover compared to the 1-2 swipes to remove the plain/non-shimmery ones.
Unobserved point:
Drying time.  I haven't really observed how long it takes to dry. I just know that when I use the top coat with it, it takes much longer to completely dry.  Without the top coat, maybe it completely dries in 40 mins max?

In the end...
I really love this nail polish and would probably look for a silver version of this. :)  And if they have a black version too, that's another to check out. I am going out today so I am definitely going to see if they have other similar nail polish in stock.  In general, I think I've come to love Nature Republic's nail polish and most of the ones I have at home are from their shop. If there are two things I recommend from their shop, it's the nail polish and their kelp mask which I have yet to review.

Wish Trend Blind Test: BB creams special!

Hi everyone! Are you a fan of bb creams? I am! And I was so glad to have been part of WishTrend's blind test of products.

First up: What are bb creams?
Basically they are creams that have many different purposes more often than not. I use them because of the following:

  • coverage - it's kinda like foundation but with a lighter texture
  • spf - some of my bb creams have spf so that's some form of sun protection
  • oil control - well, more like some creams don't seem to have much oil in the first place so it's kinda like something that makes you look less oily for one reason or another
  • moisture for my skin
  • some have whitening properties too and I do use it for such ;)
What is WishTrend?
They're a Korean company that specializes in sharing to the world the wonderful Korean products such as skin care, makeup and also accessories.  They even have a blog where you could find all sorts of tips and reviews.  They conduct blind tests where they gather information about some products based on the reactions of real people.  Last month's blind test was all about bb creams!  Blind tests, btw, are basically researches done with real people.  They don't know the brands they are testing and they will give feedback about them.

The blind test proper
They sent 5 containers which had labels A, B, C, D, E.  I swear I had no idea as to what the contents were in terms of texture etc.  In any case, here are swatches:
BB creams galore! Not yet blended.

BB creams blended out! But the ink I used for dots kinda got erased ~_~

Each bb cream had different textures and colors. Most of them paler than my skin tone but it was fine.  The moment they're blended out everything is more or less fine and dandy.  I think that each of the samples were  probably good for one specific thing each.

My favorite bb cream: B
Why? I like the texture a lot and even though I was sweating, the bb cream didn't slip off my face.

My least favorite bb cream: D
Why? The smell was really strong and it made me dizzy for quite a while. ~_~ Seriously, it did. I think that was a big turn off for me.  Another thing was that it really didn't match my skin tone :(

Other notes:
BB cream A was pretty good in terms of coverage.  I think the shade of the sample I got was a bit lighter on me but still wearable because it was nice when it blended on my skin.  However, it was so awkward using my phone during lunch time when I was out because my bb cream was slipping off and transfered to my phone's screen. Ugh.

BB cream C was quite good too.  Quite like bb cream B to me but the main difference was color.  I think that once blended, B was the one I liked best on my skin.

BB cream E was ok too.  It just so happened that the other bb creams seem to be better in terms of coverage.

And the WishTrend report on the results of the bb cream blind test is already available in case you want to see what other bloggers said about the bb creams. :)

Martes, Enero 3, 2012

NOTW: Glittery Pink Party Princess

See what I did there? Lol. I got inspired by Erikajjang's post: Etude House Party Queen Gradiation No. 2. It's not quite Party Queen-like because I don't have glittery nail polish like that. But this is the closest I could get. :) And I really think it's a cute combination. <3

I used three nail polish products from Nature Republic. :)
From left to right: PK202, clear top coat, PK203

How did I paint my nails?
1. I used PK202 first. It kinda looks like a really pale lilac in the bottle but once on the nails, it looks more like white with a hint of pink to me. I used two coats because the first one was quite streaky. At least with 2 coats, it looks decent.
2. PK203 is the transparent one with little pink shimmery stuff. After the first color has dried, I applied this to the tips of my nails.  It doesn't have to be perfect like French tips because it will look like some cute gradient effect. The shimmers are so small and dainty. I think it's a bit harder to make the glittery goodness obvious unless you apply around 3 coats -- which I did.
3. Apply the clear top coat so it would be neater for much longer. Well, at least that's true in my experience. :)

It's my first post on nails of the week. I hope this would last long enough on my nails.  Longer nails are tougher to maintain because I type everyday and I am such a clumsy person.   The top coat has been helpful to me more often than not so maybe this would be fine.  Anyway, the nail polish from Nature Republic come in bigger bottles so it's a good thing because this newbie here has difficulty painting nails and I did start over on certain nails. Ahahaha. XDDD

I might post other nail related blog posts someday soon. Looking at great nail art by Thiamere and Erikajjang's posts are making me want to do my nails more often.

Lunes, Enero 2, 2012

Review: Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion

Disclaimer: I got this from the Benefit Bloggers' Sneak Peek. I wasn't paid to do a review but I just want to share my experience with this product.

I was at the Benefit Cosmetics Philippines Bloggers' Sneak Peek last November 2011 and I was able to swatch this product. Mamita and Aubrey were sharing their experience with this product so I wanted to try it myself. Thankfully, they gave me one that day. :) It was so good on my hand and I know it will feel right on my face.

Packaging: 4/5 
I love the shape of the bottle because it's just so cute. And it has a pump too! No need to dip my hand in a jar or use a spatula. It's so easy to use.  I give it only a 4 because I am afraid of breaking it. And well, it's not travel-friendly that way.  Otherwise, it's fine.

Texture: 5/5
I like how lotion-like it feels instead of the usual day cream. :)  I don't like sticky creams and lotions. This is just right for me, especially when I use only two pumps worth of product for my face and neck. It spreads easily enough. And it's not sticky.

How Easily It Is Absorbed: 4/5
If you put a thin layer, it will be absorbed after a couple of minutes. But if you make a mistake, it will take quite a while.

Moisturizing Effect: 5/5
I've been using the Garnier Oil Clear Brightening Scrub more often these days and to deal with how dry my skin feels sometimes, I've been more diligent in applying this emulsion. It just works for me. And no pimples too!

Oiliness/Greasiness factor: 4/5
I have yet to observe it a bit more but more often than not, I don't feel greasiness on my face.  That's a good thing.  But there are days when I do. It might be related to hormones though.

Scent: 5/5
I like the scent of this product. So clean and refreshing. I can't properly describe it though.

Price: 3/5
I guess it's a bit pricey for a product.  But it does work for me.  I might consider purchasing it if I really can't find a good emulsion for me.

Average: 4.2/5

Fairly good, right? Well, considering all those things mentioned earlier, yeah.

Other Notes:

My friend mentioned to me that she has this too but apparently it's a stickier form of the product. Plus the bottle didn't have a pump so it was harder for her to take the product out of the bottle. I guess that Benefit did improve their packaging.

During the time I started using this, there were days when I'd get pimples and itchiness and I was afraid that it was the product that was causing it. But I think I was getting the pimples and itchiness because of Physiogel, a cleanser from Stiefel.  (I really don't like using it nowadays because it reacts weirdly on my skin!)  Every time I'd stop using Physiogel, the itchiness and pimples don't come out. So yeah, it's not the emulsion.

My skin is oily so I was really concerned about my face turning greasy with this.  The swatch on my arm was good. And I got convinced that afternoon that it's one of the must-have's from Benefit.  I think I am right. Lol. I can't help but love using this product on my face!

There are days when I skip this in the mornings. Why? Because I find some bb creams to be very moisturizing. Sometimes I get pimples because of the other products.

Linggo, Enero 1, 2012

Starting Over

I have started blogging last year because I wanted to keep track of the things I am learning in the process of improving myself. It was quite interesting to meet new people because of skin care and makeup.  Along the way, I've met people who are willing to listen and help me when I ask questions.  I guess some of my questions are really just so basic.  But being the very late bloomer that I am, I don't know about them at all.

So along the way I've been meeting encouragement from different people: friends, colleagues, bloggers. Some of them I know personally, some of them I just met. A lot of them are quite decent people and I really think that under different circumstances, I'd still enjoy talking to them, etc.

However, there are times when I feel discouraged about writing down what I think. And in the last week or so, certain things triggered something in me that I wanted to disappear and just stop blogging. And up to a certain point, I thought about stopping the process that I've begun.  But I also realized that no matter how discouraged I am, I cannot stop learning how to be better and that includes learning to take care of my skin, wearing makeup and dressing up.

Here I am with a new blog. I can't help but try to be a little more private about what I look like just to avoid certain criticisms. My ego (admittedly) cannot handle such a thing right now.  But I am hoping that somehow, I'd figure out how to properly deal with it.  So thanks to everyone else who encouraged me to keep blogging, here it is. And please feel free to comment or share your thoughts.  Here's a new year, and hopefully a new me :))