Beauty: 14 Holy Grails from 2014

Hi everyone!

I’m finally back with a beauty post and this time I’m going to talk to you guys about my 14 favorite beauty items from 2014.

Here’s a sneak peek:

14 2014

I had a full list in multiple categories but I knew it was ambitious and I probably wouldn’t be able to share my thoughts about all of them since it will need to be divided into a series of posts.  I have to be honest, I’m horrible at series posts.  I can’t finish them, so I scaled the list down to bare minimum to show you the ones that I constantly reached for last year.

Let’s start with face products.

face

Chanel Creme Blush not included in the photo

One of my biggest makeup dilemmas last year was finding the perfect foundation match.  I never had this problem when I was just starting to use makeup because I was fair-skinned and practically any BB cream and light-tone foundations I’ve tried matches me well.  That changed when I started getting more and more tanned.  It was a struggle looking for a yellow tone foundation that would match me.  Most of the drugstore ones I’ve tried (and I accumulated a number of them while searching) were either too ashy or orange once it sets.

Shu Uemura The Lightbulb

Then, along came Shu Uemura The Lightbulb foundation.  I’m not gonna lie, the price made me wince.  It retails for P2350.00 here in the Philippines.  But since it landed on the top of my Holy Grail list, you already know that it is worth the hefty price tag.

This foundation claims to give you good coverage, glowing complexion and comfortable to wear on the skin.  For once, here is a product that does everything that it claims to do.  I love the lightness of this formula.  It almost feels like you don’t have any foundation on but the coverage is really good.  I don’t have any issues with my skin and I mainly use foundation to even out my skin tone. I only use half a pump of this foundation but the coverage is really good, so I can even skip the concealer whenever I use this.  I have it in the shade Moderate Beige (744) and it’s a perfect match for me when I’m really tanned.

One more thing that I like about The Lightbulb is the hydrating formula.  I have dry skin, so I love makeup bases that also helps hydrate the skin.  The formula is a tad more watery than most foundations but it really packs a punch.  It sets into a really nice dewy finish that makes your skin look like it’s glowing from within.  Literally a lightbulb effect! I like to set this with MAC MSF Natural powder (which I will talk about in a bit) and it lasts pretty much all day long on my skin without blotting or retouching.  This foundation is heaven sent.  Good job on this foundation Shu Uemura!

P.S.  I saw some reviews on this foundation and because it has oil in it, it probably won’t work for you if you have oily/combination skin.  If you’re planning to check the Shu counter for foundations, check out the Face Architect range instead.  They have a nice shade range and it works well with normal to oily skin types.

Loreal Lucent Magique

After falling in love with the Shu Uemura The Lightbulb foundation, I started looking for a drugstore alternative with a similar formula and finish.  I found my match in the L’oreal Lucent Magique Light-Infusing foundation.  Do you notice all the reference to the lighting with foundations these days?

Anyway, I have this in the shade G4 (gold shell) and it retails for P845.00.  This shade is a little bit lighter than the Shu Uemura foundation that I have, which is perfect because my tan is starting to fade so I need something that will match my skin during the transition.  I love being tanned but it can be such a pain in the butt!

But I digress.  Let’s talk about the formula of this foundation.  Like The Lightbulb, this foundation feels really light and wears comfortably on the skin.  Coverage is a tad bit lighter but you can build it up to medium coverage.  I’m fine with just one layer of this.  I just apply concealer in problem areas like the redness around my nose and my dark under eye circles.  This foundation sets into a dewy finish.

Once I set this foundation with powder, I don’t even need to blot or retouch but it lasts pretty well throughout the day.  Love the stuff! This is the foundation that I am using at the moment.

Revlon Skinlights

This Revlon Photoready Skinlights face illuminator (P875.00) is one of the many unsung heroes in the brand’s makeup line.  I haven’t tried any of the lighter shades but this one in the shade Bronze light is a life saver!

When I was struggling to find a foundation that would match me, I usually end up with a foundation that was just wrong for my skin tone.  The good thing is, nobody noticed because I always used this handy little product to correct it.  Since it’s a liquid formula I use a stippling brush to apply this like you would apply a powder bronzer and it single-handedly transformed all of my flop foundation shades into something that actually works for my skin.  You might think I’ll look like a shiny bronze ball since this is an illuminator but the shimmer actually fades and is barely visible once the product is blended onto the skin.  It’s like a temporary face tanner.

It stays on well throughout the day, although I usually wear this underneath a setting powder then layer a bronzing powder on top to maximize the staying power.

 Creme de chanel blush presage

Chanel Cream Blush in Presage – I’ve been hearing so many good things about Chanel Cream blushes but I never tried it because boyyyyy it’s esspensiiive! haha!  I’m not sure how much this would cost if you buy it in Rustan’s but I’m pretty sure it will be a little over P2000.00.

I got mine from a blogsale so it was half-priced and barely used.  I actually got two shades but I really prefer this one.  It’s a really nice peachy coral shade that reminds me of the cream blush that Mac came out with for the Prabal Gurung collection.

It’s a shade that is universally flattering and while I will remain loyal to more affordable makeup options, I cannot deny that designer brand makeup are expensive for a reason. This cream blush has a very unique velvety feel and it is not tacky like most cream blushes are.  Chanel Cream blushes are known for are their cream to powder finish, incredible pigmentation and lasting power.  You only need a tiny bit of this, so swirl your fingers on the pan real lightly, dab the color on your cheeks and blend. I like to apply this before setting my foundation so I can diffuse the color intensity when I over apply.  It also lasts longer when worn beneath setting powders.

Will I pick up more of these?  Well, maybe.  I love my drugstore stuff (and prices) too much, but I love this product so much I just might shell out 50 dollars for one if this runs out.

MAC MSF Natural

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural – I know everybody and their mom has been long over the hype of this powder, but man, that doesn’t make this any less amazing.

I love this powder because it doesn’t look cakey no matter how much you pile on your face.  This is something that I’ve been reaching for EVERYDAY since I bought it last August.  If you have dry skin like I do, I always struggle with products that are too drying on the skin  (yes MAC Prolongwear foundation, I’m looking at you).  What I really like about this powder is it makes matte foundations look glowy/dewy as well.

I was lucky enough to score this at a beauty outlet store in Canada last year.  I think I only paid CAD 32.00 for it.  I’d pay full price for it and repurchase when this one runs out.  Which it probably won’t do for a loooong time because MAC products just seem to last forever.  I think this retails for P1700.00 or P1800.00 in local MAC stores.

MAC Trace Gold

MAC TRACE GOLD – this is a blush but it looks more like a rose gold highlight that is bordering on the bronze territory.  It might look intimidating for some people, but it’s actually a really nice product.  I like to use it on its own as a blush when I have heavy eye makeup on, but if it’s not dramatic, I like to use this either as a highlight or a base color for more pigmented blushes.

MAC blushes retails for P1350.00 in local MAC stores.

group

So now that we’re done with the face makeup, let’s talk about the eye and lip products.

Happy Skin Brow Pen

Happy Skin Eye Love View Double Duty Eyebrow Duo –  Can I just quickly mention that I love love love Happy Skin?  It’s such an amazing local beauty brand! ❤

This Eyebrow pencil is dual ended.  One end has the retractable pencil, the other one is a liquid brow pen similar to k-palette brow pens.  While I love the K-palette ones as well, I chose this over that because (hello, support local!) you get more value for your money.  The K-palette brow duo (pen and powder combo) retails for P1059.00 if I’m not mistaken and it just dries up so quickly.  The powder also turns sticky and pasty for some reason.   Boo.

So going back to Happy Skin this is only P799.00 and the pencil part of this duo is just amazing.  I pick this up every time I am in a hurry to do my brows because it’s just so easy to work with!  The pencil is soft enough that it makes filling your brows in a total breeze, but it’s also hard enough that it will not give you scruse brows.  It’s amazing!

The liquid pen on the other hand is great if you want your eyebrows to look really precise without looking too drawn on.  You can use it to draw brow hairs so it looks more natural.   Did I mention that it claims to be waterproof? I’ve tested it out and it really is! I also noticed that my brows looks a whole lot healthier when I use this because it has argan oil and it nourishes your brow hair while it’s on your face.  Amazeballs right?

I bought this on impulse but it now has a permanent spot in my beauty arsenal.

   Dollywink

Dolly Wink Brow Tint in Dark Cocoa – I bought this on my last trip to Hongkong last year after reading a review that it is similar to the MAC Brow Set.  Well ladies, it’s even better than the MAC one and the best part is, you only have to shell out P300.00 to P400.00 for it.  I’ve been using this every. single. day. since I opened it  March last year and it still feels the same and works the same way it did when it was newly opened.  Amazing right?

Lucky you, you don’t have to go all the way to Hongkong or Japan to get it anymore.

You can order it at beautymnl.com or from Dolly Wink booths in SM Dept. Stores, Watsons or The Ramp.

Try not to buy this from other online stores or bazaars because most of the Dolly Wink stuff sold in bazaars are fake.  I like a good bargain as well as the next person, but if it’s makeup, I am never going to use counterfeits.  I’ll buy from dirt cheap brands because at least, they really declare the stuff that goes into their products.  With fake items, you just don’t know what’s in it.

 Heroine Make

Heroine Make Long & Curl mascara – This mascara is amaaaaazing.  Seriously one of the best mascaras I’ve ever tried!  It’s dirt cheap (buy it in Japan or HK) at just P300.00 per tube.  It’s rather liquidy when it’s new so it’s a challenge to keep it from making your lashes clump.  I usually wipe off some of the excess on the lid then brush it on.  It’s a really jet black mascara that wouldn’t smear or flake off.  It dries really fast so make sure you work quickly and if you accidentally smudge it on your eyelids or under eye area, it’s best to remove it right away because this mascara is stubborn and it’s a total bitch to remove.

Does it sound like a troublesome mascara to work with?  Honestly, it takes a bit of adjusting to get used to this mascara, but once you get used to it, you will love it.  I got the lengthening one but it still gives an incredible amount of lift and volume to my lashes.  Even with the watery formula, this mascara keeps my lashes curled all day, which is no mean feat.  I have a hard time looking for mascaras that keeps my lashes curled.  I have found quite a number of them over the years but none of them keeps my lashes curled all day like this mascara does.

The Japanese makes some really amazing beauty products even if it’s just for the drugstore.

Heroine Make is available in select SM Department stores and the prices are a bit higher. 

Maybelline Color Tattoos

Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadows in Barely Branded and Bad to the Bronze

I’ve been hearing so many good things about these cream shadows for years, however due to my aversion to cream makeup anything, I haven’t tried these amazing pots of goodness until November last year.

These eyeshadows are amazing and they seriously deserve every rave review.  I am going on a limb and say that these are even better than those overpriced MAC paint pots. You guys know how much I love MAC.  You only have to scroll back up to look at the evidence, but man, why do they make the paint pots that dry?

The color tattoos cost about a third of the price of a MAC Paint Pot but they are really lovely to work with.  It’s easy to pick up the product from the pot (I like to apply these with my fingers) and it just blends so easily on the lids.  Pigmentation is a hit and miss for the brighter colors, but the neutral colors are pretty much solid.

If you’ve been hesitating about picking these up like I was, well girl, better get them now.  You won’t regret it.

MUFE Aqua Eyes 

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Pencil Liner in L2

I guess you can already tell that I love this eyeliner because it’s already super short. haha!  It’s one of those eyeliners that doesn’t smudge or budge no matter how sweaty you get.  It fades gradually but you will not notice any smudging, which is why I aways bring this with me on vacation trips.  The dark brown shade makes this eyeliner look more natural than regular black but it still gives your eyes definition.  This eyeliner has an almost gel-like feel.  It glides on smoothly and once it sets, it is not budging until you remove it with a waterproof makeup remover.

I’ve had this for a while so I can’t really remember how much it was.  I think it’s a little over P1000.00 now.

      Jackblack

 Jack Black Lip Balm in Mango & Mandarin – I know this is a lip balm for guys but this is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used.  I love that it’s not greasy but it’s not too thick either.  It can be a bit heavy if you’re not used to the texture but once you get used to it, you will love how it gives your lips an almost velvety feel.

It has SPF 20 which is really handy if you’re going swimming or heading to the beach because this baby is waterproof. We tend to forget about putting sunblock on our lips, so this is something that can keep your lips hydrated while giving your lips protection from the sun.  I wore this lip balm the first time I went wakeboarding.  I was at it for 8 hours, and even without reapplying and I could still feel it on my lips afterwards.

Jack Black is now available in major SM Department Stores.

Rimmel Kate Moss 107

Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Matte Lipstick in 107 – Ah, where do I even begin?  I love my MAC lipsticks, but when something as inexpensive as this comes along I have to take notice.

This is available locally but it is rather hard to find.  It’s usually priced between P220.00 to P350.00 depending on the online store.  I got this on a trip to Canada for CAD 5.00.  This lipstick is very affordable but it is the best drugstore lipstick I’ve ever tried.  I love the black ones from this range as well, but I have a soft spot for matte lipsticks and this shade.  107 is a subdued blue toned berry that I think will go well with almost any skintone.  It pops nicely against darker skin tones and it also looks wonderful on people with lighter skin tone.

All of the lipsticks from this range have really nice texture.  It’s smooth and the lipstick glides on the lip with full-on opaque color in one swipe.  It’s also very hydrating and it stays on very well.  They really meant it when they said it’s a “lasting finish” lipstick.

Bite Rhubarb

And finally, we’re on the last item on the list.  This is the Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in Rhubarb.  This is a lipstick that you will buy because of it’s really unique texture and all-natural ingredients.  This smells really delicious.  It smells like fruits and this will make your lips feel smooth and hydrated like lip balms do while giving you the color and lasting power of a lipstick.  It’s just an outstanding lip product plus they have a really wide range of shades.  You just can’t go wrong with Bite lipsticks.

This post was like, 2 months late because I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and not enough writing.  Even I have to admit that, so I hope that this post will get the ball rolling so I can start posting more this year.

I know this is really long post, so if you stayed with me up to this point, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope this was a helpful post somehow.

I will talk to you guys again on my next post!

Cheers,

Erika

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Canada x Alaska Travel Beauty Haul

  Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to share this HUGE HUGE haul with you guys.  I went on a trip to Canada and Alaska last August and I have to admit that I sort of went crazy with the makeup shopping.  On a side note, I can’t believe that it’s been more than two months since the trip!  Time is seriously flying by!

Back to the haul, here’s a peek at the massive, wallet burning haul.Primary Collective

I know.  I feel guilty just looking at it.

Okay, maybe not. haha!

But hey, in my defense, I only splurge like this on trips because I’m on a trip.  I mean, how many times do you get to visit Canada or Alaska in a lifetime?  Right?  Besides the travel factor, I always look for hard to find items or good deals.  In this haul, I’m including some gifts, good drugstore and beauty outlet deals a plus a Canadian brand you can’t get anywhere else.

Let’s start with the Sonia Kashuk 15th Anniversary Limited Edition brush set from Target.

SK 1

I didn’t know about this brush set until I was in Canada already.  That means the collection has been out for almost a month by the time I heard about it.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a set anymore, and almost almost caved and ordered a set from an online store here in Manila.

Good thing my friend who lives in Canada was able to nab a set for me 2 days before I left for Manila.

You might be wondering, what’s so bad about ordering this locally…

Well, this set is USD 39.99 or CAD 39.99 plus tax.  Mine was about CAD 50.00, which is roughly P2000.00 in the current exchange rate.

The online sellers were selling this for P5000.00, which is 2.5 times the original price.  CRAZY.

sk 2

But it’s so pretty I would have paid P5000.00 for it.  Good thing I didn’t have to.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the next item.

Hourglass

Everyone and their moms have been raving about Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, so when Hourglass came out with a palette, Hourglass fans got even crazier.  The Sephora exclusive palette is now a permanent in their line and they even came up with a customizable palette for the ambient lighting powders and the blushes.

To be honest, I wasn’t convinced about these powders, no matter how many rave reviews I’ve read or watched on Youtube.  I’ve had this for a couple of months and I’ve been using it on and off.  So far, I am very unimpressed.  I don’t mind spending a good amount of money on makeup, so long as it delivers, but in this case, I can’t justify the fact that this palette is almost USD 60.00 and costs P3500.00 if bought from local online stores.

I’ll be posting a full rant/review when I find the time.

And no, I am NOT getting the blush palette.

Joe Fresh Collective

.I researched about beauty brands I should try in Canada and Joe Fresh was the one that caught my eye.  The liquid lipstick, lip balm, mousse blush, mat lipstick, and cream blush looked really promising in the reviews.  The packaging is also nice and really emulates a “fresh” look.  Very brand appropriate.

You can only get these products in Joe Fresh stores, Canadian Superstore or Loblaws.

  I dropped by the Joe Fresh store in Robson Street at downtown Vancouver and made a trip to the Superstore near Richmond just to get these.  They were in the middle of restocking during my visit so some items were out of stock and a lot of them were on sale.  I did get the items I wanted and some other things on sale.

Let me show you the items I got.

Joe Fresh Cream Blush

I’ve been obsessed with cream blushes lately and these were on sale so I got all the shades they had.  Great deal at CAD 3.95 each!  I haven’t played with these yet, but I’m currently testing the dark red shade on the left.  It works well with my tan and as a lip tint.

Review to be posted as soon as I get to try all the shades.

Joe Fresh Matte Lipsticks

Matte Lipsticks were CAD 6.00 each.  I had a hard time picking colors because they had so many shades and they even have ones with satin finish.

I picked up 3 colors, Bordeaux (dark berry at the back), Raspberry (bright red) and Mocha(nude).

The formula is very light and comfortable on the lips, pigmentation is incredible too.  Love these!

Joe Fresh Mousse Blush

Mousse Blush in Rose and Melon

CAD 6.00 each

They had 6 shades but I picked the 2 most delicious colors.  I say delicious because looking at the tubs makes me want to scoop them out.  They look like ice cream!

Jury is out on these.  I went on a blush splurge on this trip and it’s taking me a while to try everything.  *oops*

Joe Fresh Plum Prune

Joe Fresh Liquid Lipstick – these were CAD 6.00 each, and hands down, this is one of the best liquid lipsticks I’ve tried.  Very similar texture to the limited edition creme de mat from Lancome.

Can you blame me for getting a back up tube? haha!  This is in the shade Plum or Prune.  Most of the shades were in pinky nudes and brights.  This was the only shade that I would actually wear.

Joe Fresh powder blush

The lone powder blush in the rack.  I love the sleek clear plastic packaging.

This was a total steal at CAD 3.00!

I wasn’t able to photograph the Bronzer duo on it’s own, and the nail polish is in a separate photo at the end of this post.  Needless to say, I really hoarded Joe Fresh makeup on this trip. :))

I totally recommend checking out this brand if you ever find yourself in Canada.

MAC haul

But of course, a trip to Canada won’t be complete without MAC!

I am a self-confessed MAC girl, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

I found the elusive MAC Harmony blush and the limited edition Lingering Kiss lipstick in MAC Eaton Centre for CAD 22.00 and CAD 18.00 respectively.  Contrary to popular belief, MAC is not cheap in Canada.  It’s actually more expensive to buy it there because they have 14% sales tax for retail items.

The good thing was we went to an outlet shopping center near Toronto and there was this beauty outlet store that sells MAC at lower prices.  They don’t have the whole line, just a couple items from the permanent line and a whole bunch of stuff from previous limited edition collections.

I got the Mineralized Skinfinish in Medium Dark and MAC Soft Sand Bronzer from the Hey! Sailor collection 1 or 2 years ago I think? Both were only CAD 29.00 each :0  I wanted to get more stuff but we went there on our last day in Canada (which means I am almost out of cash! haha!) so I had to pare down my purchases and ended up with these two.

The paint pots (Quite Natural and Layin’ Low) were purchased right before I left for the trip, so I decided to include them anyway. haha!

MAC Lipsticks

Oh, new MAC lipsticks.  You make my heart flutter. haha!

MAC lipsticks 2

Three out of 5 were gifts to me.  I bought Lingering Kiss and Pure Heroine myself.  I am on the fence about keeping the Viva Glam Rihanna and Please Me.   Don’t get me wrong, the colors are nice and I actually wanted to buy these shades before they were gifted to me.  But after trying them a couple times, the colors just don’t sit well with me.

Hmm. We’ll see.

Is it weird if I get excited over drugstore makeup?

milani

Because I feel seriously giddy over these Milani baked blushes.

Milani 2

Gorgeous aren’t they?  These are very pigmented and easy to blend on the cheeks.  The colors are gorgeous too!  My favorite is Bellarosa and Red Vino.

I’m seriously kicking myself for putting off buying these.  These are amaaaazing.  The quality is very much at par with MAC Mineralize blushes at just a quarter of the price.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting these, I highly recommend that you go over that fence and buy one already.  You won’t regret it!

rimmel haul

You’re probably thinking crazy Rimmel lady right when you saw this photo.

Rimmel is one of my favorite drugstore brands, and it totally sucks that it’s so hard to find a local online store that stocks Rimmel.  Good thing they were having a sale when I went to superdrug in TO.  Hooooarded lipsticks like nobody’s business.

Rimmel lipsticks

See what I mean?

rimmel lippies

But the colors are just too gorgeous!  Compared to other lipsticks in similar price range, Rimmel beats the other brands by miles when it comes to quality, texture and staying power.

I love my MAC lipsticks but man, these are awesome for P200.00++ per tube.

I did a full review on the Rimmel 107 matte lipstick in my previous post, just in case you want to check it out. 🙂

 rimmel brow pencil

I also got a couple of other items from Rimmel, like this eyebrow pencil.  This is the perfect ashy brown pencil for my brows!  Got these at CAD 4.99 because of the sale.

rimmel wakemeup foundation

Been hearing nothing but good reviews about this foundation so I decided to give it a try.  This wasn’t on sale so it was CAD 13.99.  Quite expensive for a drugstore foundation, but if it does turn out to be a good dupe for the YSL Touche Eclat foundation, it’s actually a pretty good deal.

rimmel wakemeup foundation 2

They have a limited shade range though, so you’re lucky if you have a match for your skintone.

I got the True Nude shade which is a little gray-toned for me.  Will use it some more before doing a full review.

apocalips

The Rimmel Apocalips is another one of the brand’s seriously raved about product.  I’m not a big lip gloss fan so I only got one shade to try.  This is CAD 4.99 (sale again) in the shade Galaxy.

Full review soon.

samples

Sample and travel size products

I got the MAC moisturizer in Eaton Centre for CAD 12.00 🙂  They also had pigments, mascaras and lipglass in small sizes.

The other samples in the photo came with the Hourglass and Caudalie travel kit I ordered from Sephora.

 caudalie travel set

Speaking of which, here’s the Caudalie travel kit.  Great deal at USD 32.00!  It has my favorite beauty elixir, cleansing water, moisturizer, hand cream and lip balm.

This set is a Sephora exclusive.

Clinique

Clinique was sooooo cheap on board the cruise ship so I decided to get the All About Eyes eye cream.  USD 27.00 only! 😮

I was tempted to get a backup of the DDL moisturizer but I haven’t touched this new bottle a friend got me from Korea yet, so I held back and included it in the photo instead.

eos

Technically, I didn’t buy these on the trip.  I bought them on a recent S&R sale and I freaking love them!  I think they still have this in S&R stores.  P799.00 or P749.00 for all 5.

Oh, you’re welcome.

Great Lash

Ah, the world famous Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.  I’ve been putting off purchasing this iconic product for yeeears.  I tried it recently and it is mind bogglingly good!  Now I know why it’s one of the fastest selling mascaras worldwide.

I hoarded the remaining waterproof variants from the superdrug stores near our hotel. HOHO.

Did I mention that they were only CAD 3.99 each?

Oh, here’s a little something from Alaska.

GS Soap 1

Glacier silt soap!  Glacier silts are the sand particles in the glaciers.  These are seriously fine granules of sand that gives the glaciers a grayish tinge.  When the glaciers melt during the summer, it also releases the silts into bodies of water.

The silts are so fine that you can’t see it in the soap.

GS Soap 2

This was supposed to be USD 10.00 but I got it on sale in Ketchikan for USD 8.00 🙂

They have so many variants for the scent, but I picked Sea Pickle because the others were mostly floral and fruity scents.

One of the locals said this soap is a very gentle exfoliator due to the silts.

We shall see.  It looks like it will melt very quickly though. haha!

Unto my last few drugstore finds:

loreal

L’oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara – my lashes don’t really agree with L’oreal mascaras, but I’ve heard so many good things about this mascara that I just have to give it a try.

Picked up random eyeliners too!  The blue one is gorgeous! ❤

manic panic ultraviolet

Want to dye your hair purple?  Don’t panic, we have Manic Panic! haha!  Sorryyyyy, I couldn’t resist!

I finally got my hands on this hair dye!  This is ultraviolet and it looks much more violently purple in person.  I don’t know why it looks blue in the photo.

nail polish

I love Revlon topcoats! Especially the quick dry one.  It’s no longer available in Manila so yes, I had to buy 4 bottles when I was in Canada.  I also found a bottle of the Essie bar glitter top coat, and two Joe Fresh nail polish.

This is a very restrained nail polish haul.  Believe me.

I got some clothes and shoes from the outlet stores in Toronto, but it’s probably better if I don’t include them here.  I feel like I’ve been typing about this haul forever. haha!

So let’s end this with a shot of the souvenirs I got from the 3-week vacation

random alaska stuff

I collect pins like the ones you see in the photo.  It started when I went on a Eurotrip.  I pin them all on a military green beret, which is now seriously heavy. haha!

I also got a hackysack and a mug with a pop out moose and “I Moose Have My Coffee” quote.  I thought it was really funny. :))

So that’s it for this super huge and long haul post.  I felt it was neveeeer gonna end.

I’ve been super busy since I got back and there’s barely been enough time to just sit down and test my new babies.

I really am trying to post more often lately, and I have draft posts for the reviews on the way, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Until my next post!

XX

Erika

Beauty: March 2014 Favorites

Hi everyone!

Can you believe it’s already April!?  It feels like the first quarter of the year just flew by and it’s almost summer time.  Crazy right?

Anyhoo, today I’m sharing with you my favorites for the month of March!  I’ve been switching products a lot the past month and while I liked all of them, I had to taper it down to the ones that I’ve been using practically everyday.  You’ll probably notice that most of my favorites are already for the summer season.

Oh and I should warn you, this is a really lengthy post, so brace yourself.

01 primary

So let’s begin with face products!

02 Face Products Primary

I started wakeboarding late last year and because of that, I’ve been getting more and more tanned. Which also means my favourite BB creams and foundations are already too light for my current skintone.   Then I remembered that I bought a couple of Revlon Airbrush foundations on sale last year.

04 Revlon Foundation

Revlon Photoready Airbrush Foundation in Vanilla and Natural Beige

They no longer had my shade back then but since it was a 50% off sale, I decided to get two shades that I can mix to get my shade and these are just perfect!

05 Revlon swatches

Here you can see the swatches are a bit smeared. It is bubbly due to the “airbrush” packaging. The foundation is dispensed like a hair mousse, which honestly doesn’t make much of a difference.  I really love the formula of this foundation though.

It has superfine shimmer in it that makes you looks dewy and radiant right after it sets. I’ve worn this foundation out a lot the past month, and even after walking in the sweltering heat and sweating buckets, it doesn’t smear or transfer.   It doesn’t make me look greasy as well, despite the shimmer and dewy finish. That is pretty darn impressive since I don’t even touch up with a powder or a blotting paper the entire day.

I tweak the ratio depending on my skin tone and it works out pretty well! I seriously love this foundation! ❤

For reference, I have dry combination skin. 

03 Ben Nye Buff

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Buff

I’ve talked about the Banana Powder before, which is Buff’s more famous sister.  It is very popular with Filipinas because of it’s yellow tone.  While I love the Banana powder, I’ve been reaching for Buff more often now especially when I use a darker shade of foundation.  I find that using the Banana powder makes me look to dark and yellow.

Buff still has a yellow undertone but it is a more neutral color that wouldn’t darken your makeup base.

06 Zero Kuma Concealer

K-Palette Zero Kuma Concealer Type 1

I’ve been reaching for this concealer a lot because it’s one of the few face products I have that still matches my skintone. It’s the darkest shade in the line and it oxidizes so be sure to swatch all 3 shades and wait for a couple of minutes before purchasing one.

This concealer doesn’t crease or fade on me even though I tend to wear it for over 10 to 12 hours.

08 Blushes

Clockwise: Sleek Blush in Sunrise – MAC Mineraize Blush in Love Joy – Makeup Academy Blush Shade #6

I’ve been loving peachy toned blushes recently but for summer I felt like warm earth-toned blushes are so much better.  It gives you a healthy warm glow as well as abronze-y effect that makes it look like you just came from a trip to the beach.

 09 blush swatches

Blush Swatches (Top – Bottom) MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Joy,  Sleek Blush in Sunrise and MUA Blush #6

As you can see in the swatch, all of the blushes have the same warm and bronze tones in varying shades.  I like to layer these blushes to get a beautiful glowing effect.  I love the MUA blush the most because it’s so flattering.  It gives your skin a nice glow so I sweep that color all over the top of my cheekbones before adding one of the darker blushes on the apples of my cheeks.

Ahhhh.  This blush routine is making me love the summer heat.  Well… Not really.

10 Sleek Contour Kit

Sleek Contour Kit in Medium

This is the product that started my love affair with highlighters.  I won’t recommend this to makeup beginners as it takes a bit of practice to get used to working with the pigmentation of this product.

However, if you’re looking for an affordable contour kit, this is one of the products you should try. The Pixiwoo sisters once mentioned that this is a good dupe for the Make Up For Ever contour kit.

12 Sleek swatches

Swatched highlighter and contour powder

As you can see, the highlighter has a yellow undertone and looks metallic.  I love how this blends into the skin and sort of disappears.  It makes your skin look naturally radiant all day.

The contour powder is great and crazy pigmented so watch how much you’re picking up with your brush.  It has a reddish undertone too, which can be problematic if you use too much.

13 Brushes

MeMeMe Blush Brush (from blush box), Makeup By Toni Duo Fibre Brush, Makeup By Toni Angled Blush Brush

14 stippling

This Duo Fibre brush is part of the Makeup By Toni Hope Series brush set.  You can get the set here.

At first I didn’t like this brush because I was expecting it to be good for stippling foundation.   It isn’t dense enough for that purpose but it is perfect for applying powder and cream blushes.  It picks up just the right amount of product and the density is perfect for diffusing very pigmented blushes like La Femme.  I’ve been reaching for this pretty much whenever I’m applying my blush.

I won’t say this is an excellent duo fibre brush but it’s pretty good for the price.15 Blush Contour Brush

Makeup By Toni Angled Blush brush

Another very abused brush from the Hope Series set.  I love this brush because it is multipurpose.  I love contouring and highlighting with this brush.  The tapered angle cut makes it perfect for applying products on the cheekbones and the hollows of the cheeks.

I use this mainly for highlighting.

16 MeMeMe Blush Brush

MeMeMe Blush Brush

I used to ignore this brush because the block shape makes it horrendous for applying blush.  But now I love this for contouring!  I got the idea from Lauren Curtis.  I was watching her makeup tutorial and she used a Nars Ita Kabuki brush to contour which is similar to this but with a longer handle.  Click this link to view the Nars brush.

Anyway, when I saw that video, I remembered this brush and I tried using it for contouring.  It works like a charm!  Just make sure to blend the contour product well and use a light hand to avoid creating streaky lines.

17 Eye Makeup

Now we’re on to eye makeup!  This is probably my favorite category in my favorites.

18 Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Naked 3, Maybelline Lumineyes Quad in Rose, MeMeMe Goddess  Eyes Quad 02

Naked 3 – if you saw my haul post <see previous post> you would know that I bought this because it has a mix of pinky neutrals and taupe neutrals.  When this first came out, I thought Urban Decay is overdoing the whole Naked line already so I wanted to pass on it.  But now I just love it!  The bronzy pink hue in the palette is perfect for summer!

19 MeMeMe

MeMeMe Goddess Eyes Quad 02

I love this tiny quad because it can fit into my emergency beauty kit! I just love how you can create multiple looks with a compact quad like this.   What makes it even more perfect is the incredible pigmentation.  The swatches are applied without a primer.  It’s that pigmented!  I am seriously in love and in awe of UK drugstore products.

20 Maybelline swatch

Swatches of Maybelline Lumineyes Quad in Rose

This was a gift from Nikki, and my first thought when I opened it was it is so Naked 3.  I didn’t have the Naked 3 at that time, but I’ve seen reviews of the palette.  This is something you could try if you want to get pinky neutral eyeshadow without splurging on the Urban Decay palette.

As for me, it made me decide that I need the Naked 3 in my life.

21 Fairy Drops

Fairy Drops Lengthening Mascara

I used to hate mascaras with vengeance because most of the ones I’ve tried did absolutely nothing for my lashes.  If it adds volume, it makes my lashes lose the curl.  If it retains the curl, it doesn’t volumize.

That was before I met Maybelline Falsies and this amazing Fairy Drops mascara.  The unique shape of the wand is reminiscent of Giorgio Armani mascara wands and it works well with the formula.  This mascara is so much better than The Falsies though.  It adds volume and retains the curl even with just one coat.  It’s incredible!

When you’ve had this for a while, it will dry up and thicken.  I’m not gonna lie, it will make your lashes clump.

My tip?  Pull the wand out of the tube and using a tissue paper, gently squeeze out all the product from the wand.  Dip it back in the tube and apply on the lashes.  It will be good as new.

If it doesn’t work, it’s probably time to toss your mascara tube.

22 Brow and Eye Liner

Dolly Wink Brow Pencil in Dark Chocolate & Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes pencil

Dolly Wink is my life saving brow product.  I use this to outline my brows before filling it in with brow powder.  This pencil reminds me of Shu Uemura’s hard formula brow pencil.   It is a perfect match to my brows though so I can use it to fill in my brows as well.  I do that when I’m in a hurry.

The Make Up For Ever eye liner is another lifesaver this summer because it does not smudge, crease or transfer.  I use this to tightline and line my lower lashes.  I love that I don’t have to worry about it smudging even in the sweltering heat!  It is worth every single penny.

23 Lip balms

Lipbalms

24 Hurraw

Hurraw! Earl Grey Lip Balm

25 Hurraw Details

I love my Jack Black lip balm, but I’m beginning to obsess over this lip balm.  I mean really, what’s not to love about this tiny tube of goodness?  It’s organic and made with raw ingredients.  The formula is perfect for Philippine weather too.  It’s thick but not slick which is my preferred texture for lip balms.  Plus it smells HEAVENLY.  It smells exactly like CBTL’s Earl Grey tea and I freaking love that stuff!

Confession: I find myself pouting whenever I use this just so I could get a whiff of this lip balm.  Yes.  I am that obsessed and far gone over this thing.

26 LCDM Lip Balm

Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip balm

27 LCDM texture

Nothing will make you think of Provence as much as L’occitane and Le Couvent des Minimes (LCDM) products. One whiff of this lip balm will transport you to the lush French countryside.

Made with honey, honey extract, shea butter, and royal jelly this is a really rich and thick lip balm that is best used in the evenings.  I think this was formulated for use in colder climates because it has a warming effect when applied on the lips.  I love to use this when my lips are in need of intense hydration and repairing.

It tastes just like honey though so I have to find a way to keep myself from licking it off my own lips.

28 Skincare

Skincare favorites!

29 Bioderma

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water

I know I once extolled the virtues of Bifesta and claimed it is a better and cheaper option than Bioderma.  Well please let me retract that statement.  While I still like Bifesta, I realized that Bioderma IS better.

Why?  It has better skincare properties.  Bifesta removes makeup better but it does nothing for my skin.  One time I randomly decided to use this instead of Bifesta since I thought it shouldn’t go to waste.  I forgot to apply moisturizer that evening, but when I woke up the next day, my skin was so clear and hydrated.  It has almost the same effect as the Kiehl’s Midnight Recover Concentrate.

Needless to say, I’ve been using this to remove my makeup ever since.

30 Cure

Cure Clear Aqua Gel

This was gifted to me last year and because I’ve never heard of it, I had no idea what it was.  Since the label is in Japanese, it didn’t help either.   So I googled it and found out that it’s a water based exfoliant.  I thought it odd until I tried it out.

It cleared my skin up right away and it feels like my skin was so healthy and glowing.

I use this once a week to unclog my pores and whatnot.

31 Caudalie

Caudalie Grape Water Face Mist

I love love loooove Caudalie. It is the only pricey brand that I don’t mind splurging on when I have the chance.  Perhaps it’s because it brings back memories of my trip to France?

I don’t know.  But I love anything Caudalie.  So when my boss gave me this face mist, I was over the moon.  It sprays a really fine mist that is perfect for setting my makeup in the morning.  It is expensive so I reserve this for setting my makeup before I leave the house.  I use Avene or The Face Shop spray mist throughout the day.

But this, if it was readily available and less expensive, I’d use it all day!  As it is, I have to save it so it will last a little bit longer.

32 LCDM Cleansing Milk

Le Couvent des Minimes Gentle Cleansing Milk

What do I love about this?  hmm.  I don’t have a negative thing to say about this product because I love everything about it.  The light rose scent, they way it removes makeup like a breeze (except for waterproof mascara) and how it leaves your skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

After trying this, I understood why Julia of Bless My Bag sings praises about this makeup remover.

See it in action here:

33 LCDM Before 34 LCDM Emulsify 35 LCDM After

See what I mean by fresh and hydrated skin?

36 ZA

ZA Cleansing Foam

We’re finally down to my last favorite skin care product!  Za is a the more affordable brand under the Shiseido umbrella.

This is s a light cleansing foam that effectively cleanses skin without stripping it of moisture.  It doesn’t leave your skin feeling squeaky clean and dry like Pond’s facial washes do and I just love that.

37 Scents

Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2 and Le Couvent des Minimes Lavender Pillow Mist

I’ve had the RL Big Pony for a year already and even though I rarely used it before, i know it is a really nice fragrance.  It has the perfect blend of floral and fruity notes so it isn’t overpowering.  It’s the perfect summer scent though so I’ve been using this practically everyday.

38 LCDM Pillow Mist

LCDM Pillow Mist

I refrain from spraying this on my pillow during weeknights because it makes me late for work. lol!  It just smells so damn good.  It will make your pillows and sheets feel and smell crisp and clean once you wake up, which also means you would never want to leave your bed.

This makes me want to dive back into my duvet and pillow in the mornings.

Who would have thought pillow mists have this power?

39 Nail Polish

Clockwise: Revlon Gel shine Top coat, Cutex Emergency Nail Remedy, Revlon in Dreamer, RBL Scrangie, American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Cameo Blue and  H&M I am not a Kiwi

40 Polish

Not much of a neon nail polish fan so I opt for bright yet more sedate shades for summer.  Just between you and me, I think neon nail polish make my hands look dark.

41 Top and Base Coat

This has been my go to top and base coat combo for a year now.  I can vouch that Revlon topcoat can make my manicure look impeccable for almost 2 weeks. No chips at all!

The Cutex nail remedy is perfect for when you need polished looking nails minus the nail color.  It seals off damaged nails and makes it look healthy as well.

42 Hair

Paganini Velcro Rollers and L’oreal Elnett Hair Spray

I swear by these hair products when I my hair needs volume and taming.

I use the rollers to pull my hair into shape, add volume and body.  I just roll them on before applying makeup then remove afterwards.  A couple of sprays from the Elnett and my hair is set for the day.

***

WHEW!  My gosh!  This was one LONG lineup of favorites.  I swear I tried to whittle it down as best as I could, but I just couldn’t part with any of these.  The length of this post probably explains why I’m so late in posting this.  haha! But there you go!

This concludes my March Favorites post.  I hope you guys found the mini reviews helpful!

Thank you so much for reading! ❤

xx

Erika