Category Archives: beauty

Review: Hello Gorgeous’ Unicorn Elixir and Cat Stamp Eyeliner

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I have always been doubtful of facial oils, maybe because my first experience with it was with Human Heart Nature’s sunflower oil which really didn’t work for me. But recently all these blog reviews on facial oils made me wanna give it a go again. After much research, my top choices were Nuxe and Kiehl’s oils. I even tried them in small doses (I preferred Nuxe for the smell) and plan on buying the full sized bottle of Nuxe when I travel next, since I now find my usual Olay night cream too heavy. But I need an between product so in comes Hello Gorgeous’ Unicorn Elixir which has been receiving good reviews. Bought it with their Cat Stamp Eyeliner for combined shipping via Beauty MNL.


For the elixir, I use about 6 drops and found it very light and easy to apply on my face. No heavy feeling! My skin also easily absorbs it quite well. No strong allergic reaction happened though I found the smell too strong – like those too fragrant soaps. See the gold flakes in the elixir? Pretty.


I was really excited for the cat stamp because I’ve always wanted the cat eye make-up but am not really good with it. Look how pretty the swatch is! So pigmented! 


But how about on the eyes? The verdict? This is perfect for first-timer, non-professional, lazy girls like me. Photos show my first stamp (without filling in the cat eye liner) then the two photos are already filled in (ignore the unfinished undereye make up). I super highly recommend this for an easy to apply cat eye make up! I also think that once there’s no more ink in the pen, you can use the stamp and dip in another ink.


I recommend both these products for anyone who  wants to “try” facial oils and cat eye liners first without investing in super expensive products. Check out my other reviews on Hello Gorgeous products I’ve tried so far. 

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Review: Hello Gorgeous’ Facial Mist, Make-Up Setting Spray and Unicorn Brush Wash

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I am a supporter of local brands, especially if they claim to be all-natural or at the very least, free from most harmful chemicals. I chanced upon this brand called Hello Gorgeous, which branched out from the Skinline Essentials brand. I’ve read great reviews about the Skinline Essentials products so I figured, the Hello Gorgeous line would be great too.
 


What sealed the deal, aside from being a Filipino, all-natural brand was the super cute packaging (I’m so shallow, I know). I’ve been lurking their website and placing items in my shopping cart, just to get their super cute hologram toiletry pouch which is free if you buy P1,000 worth of items either online or in their physical stores. But really, I just wanted to try three of their products which I also happen to need, so I never really checked-out. I then planned on going to their physical store in Greenhills Shopping Center, the closest one to me, but still I couldn’t bring myself to travel to San Juan just to check out the brand. Fortunately, one weekend, me and my siblings dropped by Total gas station in SLEX, where there are a bunch of tiangges. One of the booths was selling the Hello Gorgeous line! Without hesitating, I bought the three items I really wanted – the facial mist (P180), the make-up setting spray (P250) and the unicorn brush wash (P200).

 

Let’s start with the bad. I wanted their facial mist because my good ol’ Nature Republic Aloe Facial Mist was running low. I actually decided to go back to my Mario Badescu Facial Mist but I ordered this from Amazon and would only be getting it once my sister arrives in Manila. So I needed something in between. Here enters the facial mist. Unfortunately, I hated the way it smelled, like rotten coffee or leaves. I can’t say if it makes my skin more hydrated but I still use it as it also seals my make-up after re-touch. It might not smell as amazing as the Mario Badescu mist but it’s not as bad as the Human Nature one so while waiting for my fave mist, I’ll have to make do with this. Not recommended though but feel free to try. What doesn’t work for me might work for you.

 

Fortunately, the make-up setting spray did not have any funky smell. It smelled ok, very nature-like, but also not too good smelling. Just generic. It does the job of making my make-up matte so it was worth using. I recommend this if you’d like a natural make-up setting spray that does a decent job and keeps your make-up in place. I was however planning on buying Mac’s best seller facial spray because they had a special design (the floral one) but it was out of stock when I had a transit in Istanbul (where it was cheaper compared to in Manila). If I happen to buy it when I travel soon, I’ll probably ditch this setting spray.

 

Lastly and frankly my favorite, is the unicorn brush wash. This is so good! And it’s not my favorite solely because the unicorn looks so cute. I wasn’t able to take before and after photos of my make-up brushes (too excited to use the unicorn) but this definitely does the job. Instructions are simple: wet the soap, swirl your brushes until a lather builds up, rinse then dry your brushes. What I added for my big brushes is after swirling it on the soap and gathering some lather, I used my usual brush cleaner to really clean the bristles thoroughly. I absolutely loved the smell! It smelled so clean and fresh and not overwhelming at all, unlike my Parian Spirit’s citrus scent. It does the job as all my brushes were clean and dare I say, it seemed like the bristles became softer. I think this is because of the almond oil. I love how it cuts my cleaning time in half since instead of using a separate baby shampoo and disinfectant, this soap is enough! Super highly recommended! I haven’t seen any other make-up brush soap in the market that is as affordable and as effective as this so I’ll definitely repurchase!

 

I’m also curious with their other products like the matte lipsticks, lavender hair conditioner, coffee eye serum, face masks, unicorn elixir (fancy name for face serum) and eye liner stamp but I’ll have to finish my current stocks first before going on another shopping spree. Do note that their prices are way lower when they join different local bazaars so try to catch them there too.

Ask Me Whats (AMW) Workshop Series V: Corporate Girl (by Nikki Tiu)

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I was quite surprised when I did a search for blog reviews on Nikki Tiu’s past make-up workshops and only found a handful. I would think that a lot of the participants would have shared their experience with Nikki’s workshop. Then again, maybe I’m a bad researcher. I just wanted to know what to expect (and what kind of loot bag I’d get, haha).
Anyway, me and my high school barkada had been planning on going to a make-up workshop since last year. I was the one who suggested either we join the workshops of Nikki Tiu of Ask Me Whats or Liz Lanuzo of Project Vanity, since I also regularly read their blogs, I think they’re awesome teachers with beauty products and they’re very generous in terms of loot bags. Another contender was Mac’s workshops, but I guess the thought of all those snobbish make-up artists/ sales people in Mac didn’t appeal to my friends. Long story short, Nikki’s Corporate Girl workshop was the perfect fit in our schedules, perfect fit that it’s for us corporate girls and bonus points that it’s just in Ortigas, which is my area.

(Photo belongs to Nikki Tiu)

I consider myself an above average make-up user but not a professional and not a makeupholic. I can do my own make-up on special occasions and have even ‘perfected’ my everyday look. But my biggest challenge every time I do my make-up is concealing my dark under eyes which no amount of sleep, water or eye cream can fix. So aside from the huge loot bag I knew I would receive (hehe) and the bonding time with my girl friends, I wanted to seek Nikki’s professional advice for my dark circles.

Fast forward to 25 March (Saturday), me and two of my friends met up at Robinson’s Galleria and walked towards Eton Mall. I told them I wanted to be early so we could get good seats (eager beaver here) and by good seats I meant somewhere close to the front and an aisle seat for me, since I’ve been sick since last week and needed an aisle seat, just in case I had to cough or sneeze or blow my nose. Arriving about 45 minutes early, we were the first ones. Haha. That proved to be an advantage because we were the first ones to choose which seat we wanted and the first in line for the nail polish session, before the event started.

It was my first time to use gel polish. I never wanted to try it because it was expensive and was infamous for being hard to remove. But during the free nail session using Solique gel polish, I was a convert. The finish was so good. And though for some reason the polish on one of my fingers started to peel on the fourth day, it was relatively longer lasting compared to regular polish. And the nail artist said that gel polish doesn’t make nails yellow so that’s a plus.

 

Going inside the main venue, we were welcomed by tables where each of the 23 participants had a mirror, alcohol and a mini brush set. On our seats were a Cathy Doll cushion pillow – which reminded me of Homer Simpson’s donut – and our personalized loot bag.  

 

In front was Nikki’s make-up chair with all the sponsors as backdrop.

 

Nikki and her team distributed what we thought was a light snack, which turned out to be a rice meal. I really enjoyed Heaven’s Barbeque meal – two huge pork barbeques, egg, rice and bbq sauce. Can’t believe this was my first time to taste it.

 

Right on time, Nikki started the workshop, even though there were still some late comers and though some of us were still eating. Love it! Basically, her workshop centered on how to put make-up appropriate for the corporate or office setting starting from the base, then eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and lips. All the products she used were included in our loot bag.

 

My favorite lessons are:

1. Lightly pat face when drying instead of rubbing face (I always forget this)

2. Primers should only be put where there’s a lot of oil

3. When using sunscreen, put a little amount on the back of hand to warm it up then apply lightly on face

4. Don’t be afraid to use lots of amount of correctors and concealers. The more is better. Put the most amount where it is the darkest and dab, dab, dab on every crevice of your eyes, including on the sides of nostrils

5. Putting on eyebrow powder/pencil should start at the middle. Use two or even three products for better looking brows

6. Contour sides of nose by connecting with your eye make up (hard to explain this)

7. The apple of your cheeks are at the lower part of your nose and right along your iris. When using blush, dab, dab, dab upwards.

8. Apply lipstick up and down, instead of left to right, as this exfoliates lips

9. Seal make-up with face mists (though I do this during retouch, I’ll start doing this also at the start of the day)

10. Dab, dab, dab everything. Haha!

See I learned something? Haha! There’s a lot more but those are some of my favorites. Afterwards, she had us do our own make-up while she went around and readily answered our questions. I had so much questions with regards to my undereyes. Hahaha!

Here’s my personalized loot bag and all of her very generous sponsors.

 

Now here’s all the things we got! Was super excited to open all of them. Haha. Of course, not all of the lip colors or eyebrow products would look good on me so without opening them, I decided to give them away to my cousins. My favorite products were the Nyx Corrector Pallette because really, my dark undereyes are my huge problem, the Poise and Cathy Doll pressed powders, Solique gel polish and top coat and the Pink Sugar lippie I won in the question and answer portion.

 

I went to the workshop not really expecting much but I’m super glad we went there. Learned so much and it was super fun. Nikki is super kulit, funny and very easy to talk to. Me and my friends are again planning to go to another one. Maybe on how to do evening make-up for special occassions?

Final Tattoo with Frances Arbie’s Tattoo Services

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It’s amazing how I actually pushed through with my plans on all my tattoos. From my first wrist tattoo to my foot (and finger) tattoo and finally, to my last tattoo on my thigh (and finger again). I was initially planning on getting Sarah Gaugler again for my thigh tattoo, after her wonderful job on my foot tat, but since she already went (migrated?) to New York and is currently doing her craft there, I needed to find another female tattoo artist. Yes, I wanted a female artist because my tat placement would be on my upper thigh.

There aren’t that much women tattoo artists so I was glad I found Frances Arbie. Bonus that her shop is just in Robinson’s Galleria. I sent her a Facebook message and she was quick to respond. Visited her in Galleria where we discussed my design – a simple black mandala with red watercolor. She needed a few weeks to finish my design and though it got delayed, I was thankful for that since I actually had to postpone our initial session due to my sudden KL work trip. When she sent me the first design, I requested that she revise it. We then rescheduled our session, she sent me her revised draft design, I requested for some more minor changes and finally the day of tattooing came. I wanted my tat to have enough time to heal before the upcoming holidays since I’ll be going to the beach so second week of March was perfect.

 

I forgot to take a photo of her shop but it’s small as tat shops usually are. A TV is outside the receiving area but I was so grateful that they had awesome songs playing in the background. Frances is very nice and talkative, her way I guess of distracting me from the pain. She would share about her life and answer all my questions. She is very open and easy to talk to, which made my tat experience bearable. I came prepared and actually brought two Archie comic books because I wanted something easy to read (and I missed reading Archie). They also showed me the new needles to be used beforehand. I requested for the thinnest needle that they had because I wanted my tat to be very fine.

I don’t know if it was the needle, the sensitivity of my thigh or the fact that I was a few days away from my period but the tat hurt like hell. I couldn’t remember any of my other tats hurting this much – even the one on my foot tat which they said is the most painful. For some reason, it really hurt. I could feel every line that was being tattooed. This was the first time that I wished it was over already only after a few minutes. This is also the only tat that I had which I would constantly check if we were nearing finishing the design. It hurt that much.


Since this was a bigger tat than my other two, it took 2.5 hours to finish it. I had the mandala done in black ink then had some red watercolor done over it. She actually had a special metal pen with red ink to show me how the watercolor would look like before tattooing it (the pen is only for my use of course since it came into contact on my wound). So imagine, after doing the mandala which already hurt, another needle was going to go on top of that wounded mandala to tattoo more ink. Yes, it really, really, really hurt. Note: that red color is just ink, not blood.

 I took the opportunity to have another finger tattoo, this time on my right ring finger as a black asterisk, which is often considered to be a star. You can even see my ‘ring mark.’ If needed, I can easily cover my tattoo with my ring.

 

Finally, the moment Frances said it was done, I was so happy. I gave her one of the Archie books I had finished reading and she gave me the antibacterial ointment (P200) for free. Talk about a great exchange! After care was the same as my other tats. Here’s another angle taken immediately after the session, posted on her facebook page: 


As of today, I think I am done with tattooing already. =)

Review: K-Palette 24 Hour Eyebrow Pen vs Maybelline Fashion Brow Duo Shaper

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I enjoy buying and using make-up as much as the next girl. But if there’s one part of the ‘make-up process’ that I hate, it would have to be the brows. I hate doing my eyebrows. Probably because I suck at it. Haha! Actually, for the longest time, I wouldn’t even do my eyebrows, thinking that mine was thick enough to pass as ok. I had it shaped before and just clean it up every now and then. But with the proliferation of Instagram brows (which I hate) and seeing how nice brows actually frame the face and help in making you look like a better version of you, I decided that I would give it more attention. And because I’m not good at having my brows on fleek, I need tools that would help me achieve a half decent brow without taking too much effort or time (I can’t believe Maxene Magalona takes 10 minutes to do her brows?!).


(Above photo not my own)

Here enters K-Palette 24 Hour Eyebrow Pen (Y1500 bought in Japan). Honestly, I couldn’t understand why people would buy such an expensive pen for the brows. This costs about P895 in Manila and for the longest time, I told myself that cheaper alternatives could achieve the same look. Finally, when we went to Japan last year, I gave in and bought my first K-Palette Eyebrow Pen, convincing myself that it’s better to buy in Japan where it was cheaper.


When I first used it – lining my brow with the liquid pen then filling and blending with the powder pen – all I could say was wow! It is such an awesome product that even a non-brow-pro like myself was able to achieve pretty brows, if I may say so myself. This is perfect for heavy-handed girls like me, because it dispenses a little product, thus not making your brows too dark. It’s so easy to use and not bulky to bring around. You can definitely do no wrong with this product! Dare I say, this is my HG brow pen!

 

On the other hand, as much as I love this pen, it is not sustainable. I can’t keep on buying this with its Manila price (frugal me) and it’s not like I go to Japan every year. Of course, I would definitely hoard this when I go to Japan but in the meantime, I needed an alternative, which can pass in terms of performance, price and availability. Here enters Maybelline’s Fashion Brow Duo Shaper. The two main reasons why I even tried this was 1) it was on sale for P199 from P299 and 2) it also had the powder pen, which made me think it might be like K-Palette. I also hate using different products to line and then fill it so this looked like a winner.

 

(Top swatches: Maybelline, bottom swatches: KPalette)

Upon trying it, for me it could definitely pass as my second go-to brow pen. It’s easy to use and I love how it’s 2-in-1, just like K-Palette. It doesn’t give me the soft brows as K-Palette on the first try but will definitely practice more. Not bad for the price! 


Totally recommend this for those looking for a budget-friendly brow pen (bought two more while on sale).

Review: ELF Lip Exfoliator

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I am a fan of exfoliation because I think it really helps in keeping your skin fresh-looking and healthy. I’ve shared before my chosen face exfoliation techniques – both with the peeling gel type and with the face brush – as well as my weekly DIY body scrub made up of coffee grounds. But what about the lips?

I am one of those women who have constantly chapped lips even with religious application of lip balms. Though I’m not proud of it, one of my bad habits is actually peeling the dry skin, leaving my lips with splotches and yes, blood (eww I know). So regular exfoliation is required. As much as the good ol’ toothbrush works well enough, I happened to chance upon the great discounted ($3.5 from $5) set of ELF during my trip to the US, which included a maroon lippie and their lip exfoliator, which I have been trying to get a hold of for years.

The one I got was the Cherry Tart flavor. Had to stop myself from constantly licking my lips because it smelled (and tasted) good. I probably won’t die from tasting it but better not to do that since it’s still made up of chemicals. I love how the exfoliator is in a tube for very much easy application, unlike other scrubs which are in pots, making it messy and unhygienic to apply.

 

It doesn’t automatically slough off your dry lips nor does it immediately make them soft. But what I do is after showering, I swipe it on my lips and leave it on for a few minutes, something similar when you use petroleum jelly. Afterwards, I wipe it off and my lips’ dryness somehow lessens. I think for the price and convenience of this exfoliator, it’s a great buy. I probably won’t buy one again unless discounted (plus it’s not available in the Philippines yet) but it’s a fun product to add to your beauty regime.

Addicted to Olay, okay?

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It may seem like I am addicted to Olay but really it’s simply because it’s a product that works for me and I have been loyal to it for years. I may sometimes be curious and try other brands but I always end up going back to Olay. My skin really loves it. Take it from me who has also tried Clinique, said to be one of the best, but even that high end brand doesn’t work well with my skin (my mom loves it though and attributes her young-looking face to it).


I love Olay so much that when they go on Buy 1, Take 1 sale (P789 for two products!), I definitely buy and stock up on my essentials, especially since expiration dates are 3 years from now (2019). My favorites are the body lotion, face moisturizer (yey for SPF) and recently added the night moisturizer to the list. Not to mention, I’m all praises for their face brush. Not to mention, their body washes.  I also love how their products  smell so clean & generic.

Though I love Olay as a whole, some products still didn’t work out for me namely the Overnight Serum (red bottle) and Eye Cream (in pot). I tried adding serums in my regimen though honestly I haven’t seen any noticeable difference. The day serum is quite better than the night serum because it’s easily absorbed by my skin (but I told myself I’ll only buy one on sale). The overnight serum is too watery and doesn’t get absorbed, so I don’t like it and won’t repurchase. It’s a good way to thin out my BB cream for my DIY BB Cushion, though.

For the eye cream, I hate that it’s in a pot and that I need to dip my fingers into it. I bought it on sale and thought it would be a great way to try it out. Truth be told, I like the Revitalift Eye Cream Tube by Loreal. The metal tip provides a cooling sensation to my eyes to somehow reduce puffiness. Unfortunately, still haven’t found a product to address my darkening undereyes. 

Overall, I will stick with Olay products for the years to come. Reminder though that what works for me may not work for others. So find out which products your skin likes and a good way to start is with Olay. Hopefully, you’ll like it as much as I do. Ehem, on a side note dear Olay, this is the time for you to send you loyal customer some good ol’ Olay products =)