Le Blanc’s Eyebrow Gel || Product Review + Swatches (UPDATED)

Quick story: The LAST thing I learned how to do might surprise you. Eyebrows. Yes—eyebrows: one of the core basics of makeup. The “frame” of the face. It’s very ironic considering that my brows are my most complimented feature. It took me a while to master pencil and powders; you can imagine how baffled I was when brow pomades became a thing.

Everyone knows about the famous Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. While beauty gurus raved about this product, I branded it as a mere “hype”. I was satisfied with my trusty pencils and powders. Plus, brow pomades are pricey! ABH Dipbrow retails for $18 (on their website), but it’s sold for PHP 1,200 locally at Beauty MNL. Its equally well-known dupe is the Colourpop Precision Brow Colour ($6 USD) which retails for PHP 500.

So, what changed my mind?

Le Blanc’s Beauty & ScentStation is a brand that’s very dear to my heart. It’s a local indie brand that specializes in natural and organic makeup, skin care, and fragrances. I’ve already reviewed their lip creamsBB Cream, duo foundation, tamanu soap & serum on my blog; and, I’ve featured their other products on my Instagram. So far, I have never been disappointed with any of Le Blanc’s products. Keeping an open mind, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try the Le Blanc’s Eyebrow Pro Powder/Pomade.

Wait, what? “Powder/Pomade”? What is it really?

This product was originally formulated as a loose eyebrow powder, but it was reformulated into a gel-to-powder product. It applies so smoothly and sets into a practically budge-proof finish. The new product name is Le Blanc’s Eyebrow Gel (as of 26/11/17). 

There are four (4) shades: Mocha Brown (NEW), Burgundy Brown, Choco Brown, and Deep Brown

  • Mocha Brown – A light, neutral brown. No prominent yellow or red undertones; just a true mocha shade. [Like an answered prayer, this shade was just released 5 days after I originally posted this review!]
  • Burgundy Brown – A soft blend of reddish brown tones and a touch of blonde undertones. This is the lightest shade. It works well for for people with blonde to light brown hair.
  • Choco Brown -True to its name, this shade is a true chocolate-y brown that is universally flattering. [When I first tried this, I thought I had the wrong shade because it has prominent red tones when freshly applied. It subsides as it sets/dries. This is my favourite shade.]
  • Deep Brown – A rich neutral brown with a touch of gray undertones. This is perfect for dark brown to black hair.

See how neutral Mocha Brown is compared to Burgundy Brown? It’s such a beautiful tone!

Ingredients: Kaolin Clay, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Dioxide, Mica Spheres, Iron Oxide, Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Phenoxyethanol

Packaging:
I love the new packaging! It’s so sleek and classy. It is now a glass jar that contains 10 grams of product. A protective lid was also added to prevent spilling, contamination, and drying.

What I love:

It applies as a cream and sets to a soft powder finish that is pretty much budge-proof.
  • Honestly, what’s not to love? The formula is smooth and creamy. If you’ve ever had issues with your gels/creams/pomades drying up and becoming stiff, this will not be an issue with Le Blanc’s Eyebrow Gel. I’ve had my Choco Brown one for almost a year now and mind you, it is as soft and smooth as it was when I first got it. I promise you that.
    UPDATE: This has been reformulated as of its new batch (26/11/17). The texture is now similar to a mousse, but not as thick. It is still soft and easy to work with, but it now has a better hold and staying power. 🙂
  • It is richly pigmented. A little goes a long way.
  • Easy to blend and work with. It doesn’t dry too fast, so you have ample time to blend!
  • You can control the application. Do you want soft, natural looking brows? Apply sparingly and brush through to soften. Want “on fleek” defined brows? Carve out your desired shape with ease using a fine/thin angled brush.

    In both photos, I used the shade “Choco Brown”. The only difference is the application.
  • Great hold without the stiffness. Brow (setting) gel is optional. The formula sets the brow hairs in place without giving them the “crunchy” feeling/texture.
  • Long-lasting. Although, it’s not entirely waterproof, it is water resistant. I have never had any of my clients say that this faded or smudged.
    UPDATE: The new formula is now WATERPROOF! Yay!
  • Affordable. For only PHP 350, you get 5 grams of product, which is a lot considering how little you need for each application. UPDATE: You now get DOUBLE the amount for the same price! It now contains 10 grams.

What I don’t love:

  • I don’t really have any complaints, to be completely honest! Perhaps, some people might wish for a more water resistant/waterproof formula, or perhaps a wider shade range; but, I’m already highly satisfied with this product just the way it is. Although, if I were to give a suggestion, maybe I would want a shade lighter than Burgundy Brown. Something more suited for the lighter blondes (those with bleached/platinum blonde hair).
    UPDATE: As I’ve stated above, the reformulation and new shade are an answer to my prayer. ❤

To say the usual “I highly recommend this product” would be an understatement! Just go to my *Instagram accounts and check my MOTDs and lists of products used on myself and on my clients; I have been using this product almost exclusively since I got it. Need I say more? 🙂
*Personal IG & Blog IG

These products are available at Le Blanc’s Beauty PH.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am not paid to review and promote the brand and products. I paid for the products with my own money and the review is based on my own personal experience. The products that work for me may or may not work for you.

San San Eyebrow Powder Duo and Eyebrow Mascara || Product Review + Swatches

San San is a brand that has been in the makeup market for a very long time. I remember seeing my mother use their old lip balm in the classic light blue packaging when I was just a little girl. A few of my very first makeup products were also from San San. I practically grew up with the brand! Even now, I still love their products. I love their HD Foundation; and their Age Defense Two Way Cake is my HG pressed powder. [I have 5 extra compacts in case I run out of my current one. That’s how much I love it!]

This review is dedicated to two new additions to their line of eyebrow products: the eyebrow powder duo and eyebrow mascara. I’m surprised I haven’t seen a lot of reviews of these! They have been out in the market for about a year now.

San San Eyebrow Powder Duo in Light-Medium Brown
Price: PHP 150

This came with a brush applicator, but I disposed of it.

I have a love-hate relationship with brow powders. I love how natural they can look; but, I’m not fond with how poorly pigmented some eyebrow products are. This one is not lacking in pigmentation, though! It is also buildable; so, if you also prefer bold brows (or if you like to switch it up sometimes), this is a good product for you! You can use it dry for a soft definition or you can apply it with a wet brush to get better colour payoff and more defined strokes.

The duos come in two variants: Light-Medium Brown and Chocolate-Dark Brown

The brow powder is easy to work with and it is blendable. It has very good staying power, too. Sometimes, I use this as eyeshadow or as a contour powder!

The only thing I don’t like about this is that it can be a little too powdery sometimes. Expect a bit of product fallout; so, tap off any excess on your brush.

Ingredients: Talc, Mica, Magnesium Stearate, Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Truglyceride, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) May contain: CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499

San San Eyebrow Mascara in Light Brown
Price: PHP 135

This eyebrow mascara is surprisingly pigmented! You can even use it on its own if you have naturally thick eyebrows. [You can use an angled brush to apply this as you would with a brow pomade or brow gel.] It sets the eyebrows in place and holds very well. I’ve worn this during workouts and this does not budge even when I’m drenched in sweat. Oily skinned people, this will be your best friend!

It comes in two shades: Light Brown and Dark Brown.

This product is really good for adjusting the colour of your eyebrows to match your hair colour or to simply lighten/darken the tone. Make sure remove the excess product on the spoolie applicator because it tends to pick up too much product.

Notice how much product the brush picks up? A little goes a long way with this eyebrow mascara!

The only things I don’t like about this is that it makes the brow hairs a little stiff (but not overly so), and it’s a little tricky to remove. You would need a makeup remover for it. It’s a little frustrating when I just want to wash my face and be done with it.

Ingredients: Aqua, Cera alba (Beeswax), Paraffinum Liquidum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Copenicia cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dicetyl Phosphate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) May contain: CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499

Here are some product swatches:

These were applied using an angled brush. The swatches on the right (hopefully) show the difference between dry and wet application of the brow powders.
Now, that’s what I call budge-proof!

This is what they look like on the brows:

Overall, I highly recommend these two products! I was a loyal user of their eyebrow pencil before when I was in high school. San San knows how to up your brow game!

Would I repurchase?

Yes! Well, when I use them up, that is. A little does go a long way and there is a lot of product! Plus, they are both very affordable.

Everything Wrong With “Small” Bloggers/YouTubers

Now, now, before anyone sets me on fire, the misleading title was intentional. (Sorry for the clickbait.) Just a fair warning, this is a rant post up ahead of you; so, if that’s not your thing, this may displease you.

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of new “small” bloggers and YouTubers. Don’t get me wrong, technically speaking, I also categorize as a “small” blogger, considering that my follower/reader base is actually very small. So, there’s nothing wrong with being “small” — everybody starts somewhere; however, not everybody seems to understand that.

If you scroll through YouTube’s comment section, you will often see comments that say something like this:
“Any small youtubers out there that want to support each other? Subscribe to my channel! I’ll sub you back! I promise!” (Usually accompanied by an unnecessary amount of emojis.)

Companies, brand owners, proprietors, and sellers often get messages that say something along the lines of:
“Send me a PR package.” 
“If you send me free products, I will review your products on my channel/website.” 
“Hi! I really want to try your products! But I can’t afford them. I was hoping you can send me your products for free?” 
“How many likes, comments, and shares do I need to get on this post to get free products?” 
“I can promote you for free! Just send me free stuff!” 

Understandably, the perks that “big time” bloggers and YouTubers have can make most people green with envy. They get paid to promote and feature products, they get coupons and discounts, and they get sent free products to try out. Now, who wouldn’t want that? However, what many people fail to see is that these people WORKED for their perks and privileges. Yes, honey. They didn’t wake up one day with a PR package at their doorstep. No, they did not beg for free products. That is NOT how it works.

Most of the popular bloggers and YouTubers we see today poured years of time, effort, and money into their craft or hobby. Their passion and dedication brought about business opportunities such as promotions and discount/freebie privileges. Bloggers start out with blogs that nobody reads. YouTubers start out with videos that people don’t watch. Both start out buying products with their own money. Their blogs/channels grew through time as they kept creating content and consistently kept improving the quality of their content. The really DID start small.

It saddens me that a lot of newbie bloggers and YouTubers (especially the younger ones) have this blown-out-of-proportion sense of entitlement. I hate to break it to you, dearies; but, being a blogger/YouTuber really requires a great deal of investment of time, money, and effort. Don’t get me wrong, asking for support and promoting yourself isn’t necessarily bad. However, there’s a fine line between that and being a “freeloader”.

So, here’s everything that’s wrong with being a “freeloading” blogger/YouTuber:

  1. You are not helping yourself grow.
    – Sure, your follower/subscriber count is growing; but, you are not learning how to grow your community using your own effort. You are simply freeloading on somebody else’s established success. ‘Ika nga, nakikisawsaw ka lang. 
  2. You are disrespecting the content owner of the blog/channel you are commenting on to promote yourself.
    – Connected to No. 1, self-promoting on somebody else’s blog/channel shows disrespect towards the owner of the blog/channel. You are not following them and commenting on their content to express appreciation for their craft. You are using their popularity to boost yours. You are forgetting that they, too, had to start from nothing.
  3. You are disrespecting the brand owners/proprietors/sellers.
    – Come on, this is pretty obvious. Companies/brand owners/proprietors/sellers strategically plan their business promotions. So, they select content creators based on their follower base AND content quality to feature and review their products. This is actually a mutual deal. The discounts/freebies/privileges are sort of like rewards or promotions for a job well done in the line of work. WORK HARD if you really want privileges and perks. DO NOT ask for them.
  4. You are lowering the value of your fellow content creators.
    – Companies/brand owners/proprietors/sellers actually INVEST a lot in content creators. Content creators are either paid of sent PR packages because being a “big time” content creator is actually a JOB. These people are making a living; and, by asking for free stuff even just as a “small” content creator is like demanding your boss for a salary raise that is equal to those who have worked really hard for many, many years in the company.
  5. You are establishing yourself as someone who is bad with business.
    – In relation to No. 3 and No. 4, self-entitlement reflects who you are in business. You would not be seen as fit to work with brands for promotions and business related content.
  6. You will prevent opportunities from coming to you.
    – Again, related to No. 5. If people see that you are an entitled freeloader, who would want to work with you? Who would want to collaborate with you? YOU are shutting the doors to opportunities.
  7. Your “freeloader” attitude reflects your lack of control over your personal life.
    – A common reason why “small” content creators ask for free stuff is because they don’t have money to afford the products that they want to have. Well, here’s the deal: you obviously do not have the means to sustain your hobby. That might be a good wake up call for you to set your priorities straight. Being a content creator is a huge investment, so invest. Find a way to be able to financially fuel your passion. If you can’t afford it, maybe being a blogger/YouTuber is not for you (yet). Make do with what you have; and, if it is still not enough, work harder until you have what you need. 
  8. You are being unfair.
    – Shallow point? I think not. Dearie, they/we had to WORK for what we have. I started blogging as a hobby in 2011. I started getting serious with it in 2014. I upgraded to a website in 2016. I only started getting discounts, promos, and freebies in 2017. It took me 6 years, and in those 6 years, I shelled out money, I allotted time, and I exerted effort. My progress was slow; but, at least I can say that I was never a freeloader.
  9. You are being downright selfish and inconsiderate (whether intentionally or unintentionally).
    – This is basically it. Plain and simple. Maybe, your intentions are not bad; but, this is why I’m writing this article. The entitled “freeloader” attitude is just so wrong on so many levels — it’s not just some pet peeve of mine.
    Just think of this: “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.” Do you want people to randomly ask you to give them free stuff? Do you want others to avail of your services for free? Do you want people to take your job for granted? No? Then, don’t do it to your fellow content creators. Don’t do it to companies/brand owners/proprietors/sellers.
  10. You have the wrong motivation.
    – Back then, being a blogger/YouTuber was not very common. Nowadays, plenty of people have gained the confidence to become content creators. That’s great! However, a lot of the newer content creators did not start because of passion. They are in it for the money and fame. Just as with any field, money and fame should NOT be the root of your motivation. Create content because it is your passion to share your craft and/or opinions with the world. Don’t do it because you have your eye on the monetary prize. If you have the wrong motivation to begin with, the foundation to your success is very weak to begin with.

It is not my intention to discourage smaller content creators. I only wish to eradicate (or at least minimize) the freeloader entitlement because it negatively affects a lot of people in the industry. There are many ways to grow as a content creator. Being a freeloader is not one of them. To new/small content creators, please, do yourselves and everyone else a favour. Respect the work and dedication that goes into being a content creator.

On that note, I hope nobody sets me on fire.

 

Cheers.

 

Le Blanc’s Beauty & ScentStation: Ultra Healing BB Cream and Duo Cream Foundation || Product Review

This is such a long overdue review. I’ve been using these products since last year. Please, do take note that the photos in this post were taken a long time ago. So, if anyone would wonder why I look (slightly?) different, that’s why. Anyway, let’s jump to the review. I will be featuring two products: the Ultra Healing BB Cream and Duo Cream Foundation.

Le Blanc’s Ultra Healing BB Cream remains one of the ultimate bestselling products from the brand — and for many good reasons.

Product Claims:
“Full coverage cream foundation that has many skin benefits and helps reduce acne and scars as it contains the wonder effect of Tamanu Oil and Argan Oil. Specifically made for severe sensitive skin and skin suffering from many different kinds of problems such as psoriasis, skin asthma, acne, severe dryness, and a lot more. Made with 100% pure organic ingredients with super healing properties.”

This product comes in 9 shades (as of June 2017), perfectly suited to Pinay skin tones. I have the shades “LBS1” and “LB01”, which I alternate or mix depending on my (current) skin tone. It is available in two sizes: 10ml Trial Size (PHP 350) and 30ml Full Size (PHP 650).

True to its claims, this BB Cream really does work wonders to the skin! I previously reviewed the Le Blanc’s Tamanu Ultra Healing Face & Body Soap and Serum and I discussed the benefits of Tamanu Oil to the skin. The Tamanu Oil content in this BB Cream makes it a 2-in-1 product, makeup and skin care all in one. It yields full coverage that looks absolutely flawless in person and in photographs. I noticed that the two bottles that I have (bought at different occasions) have different consistencies. One has a thicker, more cream-like consistency; while the other has a thinner, fluid consistency. I don’t know why; but, they both offer the same amount of coverage. On a daily basis, I use only half a pump of product to cover my entire face. That small amount gives me a good medium coverage. My favourite tool to use in applying this product is a paddle brush because it gives a very flawless, seamless finish to the skin. Oh, and speaking of finish, this has a semi-matte/demi-matte finish that sets quickly on the skin.

Pros: To be honest, I love almost everything about this product! It’s my favourite BB Cream. I use this more often than foundation. As for the skin healing properties, I notice that whenever I use this, my active breakouts heal a lot faster. Seriously!
Cons: To keep this product non-comedogenic, it was formulated without waterproof/water resistant ingredients; hence, this comes off easily with sweat or water. (Surprisingly, though, it holds up extremely well against facial oil.) No worries, though, as this can easily be resolved by setting it with a good powder (I highly recommend the Le Blanc’s Mineral Loose Powder or the Le Blanc’s Mineral Finishing Powder. I will review these soon!) and/or a setting spray (Le Blanc’s Matte Drizzle Makeup Setting Spray has just been released this May. I don’t have it yet. I will definitely purchase it and try it out!)

Now, the Duo Cream Foundation is fairly new. It was released in August 2016. It is a cream foundation and concealer in one product. It has a dewy finish and was formulated to be semi-waterproof/water resistant to cater to the customers’ demand for a longer lasting base makeup.

Just like the BB Cream, this offers full and flawless coverage. The only difference is that it is in cream foundation form and has a dewy finish. This comes in 5 shades (as of June 2017). It retails for PHP 599. I find that this one is best applied with a damp beauty sponge/beauty blender because it yields an airbrushed finish.

In this photo, you can clearly see the difference between the Ultra Healing BB Cream and the Duo Cream Foundation, both in terms of shade and finish. You can also see that the Duo Cream Foundation holds up against water.
BEFORE: Bare skin
AFTER: Duo Cream Foundation on the left half, Ultra Healing BB Cream on the right half

As you can see from the before photos, my skin has an uneven tone. I also have a lot of blemishes to cover up. In the after photos, I applied the Duo Cream Foundation to one side of my face and the Ultra Healing BB Cream to the other. Hopefully, you can tell by the photos that the Duo Foundation has a dewy finish while the BB Cream has a semi-matte/demi-matte finish. The BB Cream is also a little bit more yellow/warm compared to the Duo Foundation. The coverage of both is amazing!

Overall, I highly recommend both of these products. My recommendation is that if you have dry/normal skin, go for the Ultra Healing BB Cream. If you have combination/oily skin, go for the Duo Cream Foundation.

These products are available at Le Blanc’s Beauty PH.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am not paid to review and promote the brand and products. I paid for the products with my own money and the review is based on my own personal experience. The products that work for me may or may not work for you. 

 

Skin Savers: Le Blanc’s Beauty & ScentStation Tamanu Ultra Healing Soap and Serum

I had clear skin for most of my youth. Unfortunately, in my junior year of high school, I had a really bad acne breakout. It really affected my self-esteem. (Those who follow me from my old blog would know that I refrained from posting photos of my face because of this.) I tried many different anti-acne products. Unfortunately, my acne is cause by hormonal issues. So, topical remedies can only go so far with curing my acne. As I got older, my skin has been on a rollercoaster ride. One moment, it’s clear. The next, I have a bad acne breakout. It’s really tough.

One important thing to note is that as a beauty blogger, I have to try different products for me to be able to review them. So, I don’t really have a solid skin care routine. (I never mix brands, though. It takes me a long time to review products because I like to write my final thoughts once I’ve finished using them.)

Two products that really stood out to me are both from Le Blanc’s Beauty & ScentStation: the Tamanu Ultra Healing Face & Body Soap and the Tamanu Ultra Healing Serum.

Prior to discovering the brand, I was not familiar with tamanu. So, I did my research on it before trying the products.

“Tamanu oil comes from the inside kernel of the fruit bloomed by the tamanu tree, which leads to a pungent, nutty scent and a weird blue-green color. But I wasn’t put off by the aesthetics of the oil once I learned all the amazing ways it can rejuvenate damaged skin.
1. Treating Blemishes
2. Fading Stretchmarks
3. Treating Ingrown Hairs
4. Healing Rashes
5. Soothing Dry Skin
– from Bustle.com 5 Tamanu Oil Uses That Will Heal All Your Derma Woes

Le Blanc’s Beauty & ScentStation actually has an entire Tamanu Ultra Healing Set which consists of the following:

  • Soap – PHP 180 (130 grams)
  • Serum – PHP 550 (15ml) /PHP 800 (30ml)
  • Face Cream – PHP 700 (30ml)
  • Lotion – PHP 350 (120ml)

Product Description:
“Tamanu Ultra Healing Set- A natural treatment for acne and acne scars, eczema, psoriasis, toenail fungus, stretchmarks, age spots, skin rashes, general scarring, dermatitis through to anti-ageing, skin asthma, and other skin problems and irritations.” 

Now, let’s proceed to my review. The Tamanu Ultra Healing Face & Body Soap is very gentle on the skin. It cleanses my skin thoroughly and it helps to speed up the drying of the pimples. I love how this leaves my skin feeling fresh. It does not leave any weird soap residue like some soaps. Personally, I prefer using this on my body, though. It has a slight tendency to give me dry patches on the face. (Do take note that I have dry-combination skin. I have a lot of very dry patches.) Overall, I do love using this on my body where my skin is not fussy. On the face, I use this when I have breakouts. On a daily basis, I use a different soap (also from Le Blanc’s, it is the Chocolate Milk moisturizing soap).

The Tamanu Ultra Healing Serum is my favourite. I use it for a lot of things. I apply it twice a day (morning and night). I use it to prep my face for makeup. I mix it in with my foundations and concealers to thin out their consistency and also to add skin healing benefits. I add this to moisturizer, lotion, and eye cream. I would probably bathe in this stuff. It’s just so good! It also helps with my dry patches, which is why it is a great complement to the Tamanu Soap.

Here’s what my skin looked like after a week of use:

Now, notice how my skin looks much calmer and more refined? Most of my active pimples have dried up and some of the old scars have started to fade. It works very well when it comes to healing my existing skin issues. However, it is important to note (again) that because my acne is caused by hormonal issues, topical treatments can only do so much. These products don’t entirely prevent new breakouts from forming (in my case). The black circles indicate the active breakouts that healed from the use of the products. The red circles indicate new breakouts starting to form.

Final thoughts:

Overall, the Tamanu Ultra Healing Soap and Serum greatly improved my skin’s condition. It truly did the job. I will say that they worked. However, as expected from my acne prone skin, my skin issues have not been resolved completely; and, I do not blame that on the products. (Hormonal acne has to be dealt with using medications, change of diet, etc.)

I highly recommend these products to anyone with skin issues. They really do work! Also, they are both bestsellers here in the Philippines and in the US. So, you can bet that these are really good! I would definitely repurchase these along with the rest of the Tamanu Ultra Healing Set.

Maximize Your Splurge: How to get the best value for money on expensive products.

Every once in a while, you find yourself lemming for some much raved about expensive product. However, the price puts you off from buying it. “Do I really need to spend one thousand pesos on a lipstick? Do I really need it?” And we all know that nothing haunts you more than something you didn’t buy! So, how can you justify your spend? Here’s how:

  1. Buy something you know you would use.
  • Ah, so you’re eyeing that fancy high-end eyeshadow palette? Well, do you see yourself wearing the colours the palette has to offer? If not, chances are, it will just be stored in your vanity drawer, waiting for an opportunity to be used. Don’t be blinded by the beauty of products. Don’t be deafened by the loud raves of beauty youtubers. Know what you like and try to stick to that. If you want to experiment and try new things outside of your comfort zone, try a cheaper alternative first to see if you like it; so, when you end up not liking it, you wouldn’t feel too bad about not using the product ever again.
  1. Choose a multitasker.
  • I have mentioned multipurpose products plenty of times before here on my blog, and that’s because I think it’s one of the key rules of makeup. Did you know you can use your brown eyeshadow to add colour to your lids, serve as eyeliner to define your eyes, serve as your contour powder, fill in your eyebrows, and adjust your lip colour? Well, now you know! Select products that can be used in many different ways so that you actually get a lot of use out of your expensive purchase.
  1. Go for something pigmented.
  • I know not everybody likes rich colours and heavy coverage; but, hear me out. A sheer foundation can offer minimal coverage. Although, that’s what some people want, it’s not very versatile. A full coverage foundation, on the other hand, can be thinned out for a natural, sheer coverage, or you can build it up for a full, flawless effect – you wouldn’t even need to buy a concealer! A rich, bold lipstick can be dabbed on lightly for a soft lip stain effect, or applied full on for a daring pout.
  1. Be on the lookout for sales, coupons, and promos.
  • Although, expensive/high-end brands don’t hold sales and promos as often as drugstore brands do, they usually have seasonal sales every couple of months – or at least, thrice a year. (Usually, they’re held during the summer, the brand’s anniversary, and during the Christmas season. You can thank me later.) Try to be patient and wait for the opportunity to come around. Who knows? You might be able to save a bit more for when the sale season comes and you might be able to buy more than what you had originally intended on purchasing.
  1. Treat your expensive makeup with extra care.
  • Keep them away from direct sunlight, store them in a cool and dry place…you know the drill. Some people opt to store their makeup in the fridge as they believe that the cool temperature helps to preserve the makeup and prevent them from going bad/spoiling.

 

How do you maximize your splurge? Share your thoughts below!

 

Skin Savers: Aimee’s Premium Soaps

Price: PHP 70 – PHP 350 price range (varies per product)
Place of PurchaseAimee’s Soaps IG Account (Order Form link at the end of this post)
Also Available at: Hello MNL Store, Amiee’s Soaps FB Account, Pop-Up Stores at local bazaars (Katipunan Weekend Market, Marker’s Market)

Quick backstory:
Since early 2016, I became a fan of organic products, especially skincare and makeup. Since then, I have always been on the look out for organic brands — particularly, local indie brands. So, when I attended Craft MNL’s Product Photography Workshop with Jery C. Garcia, I met the founder and proprietress of Aimee’s Soaps, Amy Colanta, I just had to ask about her brand and products.

After the workshop, I asked for her business card and contacted her the day after to order some of her bestsellers to try and review them here on my blog. Surely enough, she was very accommodating!

Now, on to the review.

I ordered 3 of the bestselling products: OMG! Oh My Gourd Acne Fighting Soap, Premium Olive Avocado Soap, and Premium VCO Soap.

It took me a long time to post this review because when it comes to skincare products, I like finishing the products first so that I can experience the full effect — both initial and long term. Now that I have used them all, I am ready to give my thoughts.

OMG! Oh My Gourd Acne Fighting Soap

I was mainly interested in this one because I have never heard of bitter gourd (ampalaya) being used to make soap! Also, I’m always on the look out for anything to help with my acne.

What I love about this soap is that unlike most acne fighting soaps, this one does not dry out my skin. It’s very gentle on the skin; but, tough on fighting breakouts. This dries up my active breakouts quickly without stripping the rest of my skin with its natural moisture. It helped so much in controlling my back and chest acne! Also, don’t worry about the scent! It actually has a nice, mild, fresh scent. This retails for PHP 100 for 100 grams of product.

Cons: The only thing I don’t like about this soap is that just like most natural, “clear” based soaps, it is sensitive to moisture. So, it tends to melt easily or form a thick, opaque layer of hardened soap (it’s still usable, though). It’s not really a big deal. It’s a common issue with these kinds of soaps. If you don’t really nitpick on what your soap looks like after a couple of uses, there’s no problem at all! (Tip: After using the soap, wrap it with a dry washcloth or face towel to absorb the excess moisture and soap. You can now use that washcloth/towel to scrub your body during your next bath. Replace it with another dry washcloth/towel after every use.)

Overall, I highly recommend this to sensitive, acne prone skin. It also worked well with my dry-combination skin!

Premium Olive Avocado Soap

Ah, now, this one is my favourite! I mainly used this as my bath soap. I purchased this because I heard that it has a nice, mild fragrance. I’m all about that because I prefer milder scents (or none at all) in my soaps because I don’t want any soap fragrance mixing with my perfumes. Anyway, true to the claims, the scent is very, very mild and fresh; but, what I loved the most is the actual formula. It’s super moisturizing! I have very dry skin on my body and dry, flaky patches are a huge concern of mine. This soap totally got rid of those pesky patches. My skin was noticeably glowing after using this! My normally dull skin had a nice bright “sheen” to it. (Not the oily kind of sheen. It was more of a healthy, glowing from within kind of sheen.)

If you have dry skin like me, this soap will really be a skin saver!

This retails for PHP 80 for 100 grams of product.

Premium VCO Soap

Being a heavy user of makeup, I usually need to double cleanse my skin. I personally use virgin coconut oil to melt the makeup off first, and wipe it off with makeup remover wipes or a damp towel. Then, I go ahead and cleanse my face with a facial cleanser or soap of my choice. With this Premium VCO Soap, my facial cleansing routine has been cut to just one step! Trust me, this stuff can melt off even my stubborn waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Bonus? It leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized! I love, love, love this one! No need for special makeup removers anymore! And for the price of 0nly PHP 70 pesos for 100 grams? It’s super sulit! A little goes a long way.

Overall, I highly recommend all of the soaps that I have tried. Aimee’s Premium Soaps also has other products such as their Cream Soaps (…which double as wash-off face masks!), Balms/Salves, Liquid Body Wash, Body Scrub, and even natural herbal pet soap! I would definitely repurchase and even try some of their other products. I’m currently eyeing the Charcoal Cream Soap! (I love charcoal products, haha.)

To place your orders, here is a direct clickable link to their order form!
ORDER FORM: Aimee’s Premium Soaps Order Form 

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am not paid to review and promote the brand and products. I paid for the products with my own money and the review is based on my own personal experience. The products that work for me may or may not work for you. 

 

Skin Savers: Zenutrients Softening Body Scrub (Argan, Chamomile, & Lavender) + Skin Firming Cream (Kelp & Ginger)

Summer is here and the weather has been scorching hot! It is important that we amp up our skincare routines to protect ourselves from the heat – and not to mention, the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun which could lead to skin damage. Yikes!

I’m starting a new blogging series called “Skin Savers”, wherein I will share the skincare products that I have been loving lately. I was never really into skincare up until recently. I’m rather lazy when it comes to sticking to a routine. However, I’m not as young as I used to be and my skin issues are becoming more and more difficult to ignore. So, early this year, I made a resolution to myself to start taking better care of my skin. I hope I can fight my laziness and adhere to a strict regimen. Wish me luck!

To start of the series, I’m beginning with two of my ultimate favourite skin saving finds: the Zenutrients Softening Argan, Chamomile, and Lavender Body Scrub + Skin Firming Kelp & Ginger Cream

For reference, the skin on my body is very dry and dull. I have plenty of rough, dry patches on my skin. I also have uneven skin tone. My skin is also sensitive, which makes it difficult for me to find products that work.

Let’s start with the scrub. The Softening Body Scrub smells so comforting and relaxing! The actual “scrub” is made from apricot kernels. The body scrub is milder than the salt scrubs that I typically use; but, it is abrasive enough to slough off dead skin. It exfoliates very well and it helps me get rid of my troublesome dry spots. The argan oil also gives my skin some moisture and a healthy glow!

As for the Skin Firming Cream, I’m generally not a fan of using lotions or body creams because I find that they don’t really do anything for my skin. I prefer the heavier formulation of body butters. Although, body butters are great for locking in moisture, they feel too heavy and “hot” on the skin during the summer.

When I first opened the Skin Firming Cream, my initial thought was that it was way too thin in consistency. I didn’t think it would actually moisturize my skin. Oh boy, was I wrong! The thin consistency makes the cream very easy to spread. My skin also absorbs it very quickly, which is a plus for those who hate that sticky feeling! It’s very lightweight and highly moisturizing and nourishing. It gives my skin a healthy glow! As for the firming claims, I have yet to see any added firmness to my skin; however, the ginger provides a tingly sensation that is great for soothing tired and sore muscles. I use this after workouts.

Overall, this duo has greatly improved the state and appearance of my skin.  I highly recommend these products, especially if your skin is really “picky”. I would definitely repurchase these two (I’d probably buy an extra tub of the cream because I use it up quickly).

Project Vanity 9th Anniversary: Guts, Glam, & Glory Forum

Project Vanity, The PH’s Top Beauty Resource, had a two day event celebrating their 9th anniversary. On the 1st of April, the Guts, Glam, & Glory Forum was held at The Podium Mall. Four powerful and inspiring female entrepreneurs, Angela Reyes Dinglasan (General Manager of Zenutrients), Darlyn Ty (founder of Belle de Jour), Rosario Juan (founder of Commune Cafe+Bar), and of course, Liz Lanuzo (founder and Editor in Chief of Project Vanity) answered questions and shared their stories as to how they built their brands and names in the business industry. Also present at the forum were two lovely ladies from Cosmopolitan Magazine PH, Gaby Ignacio and Chandra Pepino. They discussed the issue of makeup shaming and why we should break the habit. Ms. Liz herself also told us three stories: one wherein she had to have bravery and guts to take a leap of faith, on where she explained what it means to find the definition of beauty and glam, and one story wherein she basked in the glory of her success — hence, the forum’s name “Guts, Glam, & Glory”.

This has been my second year attending Project Vanity’s anniversary celebration. I was present at their 8th anniversary wherein they held a Basic Makeup Workshop and a Blogging Workshop (I attended the Blogging Workshop). I wasn’t able to blog about that one because at that time, RolandeKarla.com was still in the works. Anyway, this time, I made sure to write about it. Besides, I probably wouldn’t be writing this entry if it weren’t for Ms. Liz Lanuzo.

I first met Ms. Liz when I was just 16 years old (at a Basic Watercolour Workshop she held, actually). At that time, I was already a regular reader of her blog, Project Vanity, which she used to run on her own. I was still in high school then and I looked up to Ms. Liz as an inspiration. I was really drawn to her professional writing style. Even just through her written words (or typed, rather), I could already tell that the face behind PV was a strong, independent, and confident woman. I wanted to be just like her. Fast forward to present times, I already have a website of my own, I get sent products from beauty brands to review and feature their products, and I have a big project coming up for RolandeKarla.com (It’s a surprise! Ms. Liz knows about it, haha.) She, along with other influential Filipina beauty bloggers, greatly contributed to who I am today.

Anyway, back to the story about the actual event, the panel of speakers gave helpful insights about starting a business, creating a brand, and taking risks. It’s inspiring to know that even successful business women have had their low points and failures. It goes to show that everybody starts from somewhere, and success will come as effort is exerted.

“We all have the same amount of time everyday — 24 hours; but, with bravery, mentorship, and inspiration, we can become more than what we thought is possible.” – Liz Lanuzo 

It was truly an honour to be at the presence of such inspiring women.

Now, part of the Project Vanity 9th celebration was the Project Vanity Guts, Glam, and Glory Kit sponsored by Pink Sugar, Zenutrients, Happy Skin, Inglot, Ellana Minerals, Jordana, Christian Faye, Essence, Catrice, K-Palette, Flormar, My Amazing Hair Secret, Browhaus, and Strip Ministry of Waxing. The kit itself cost PHP 995, but the goodies inside were worth a whopping Php 8,000! Super sulit, ‘di ba? Also included was the Belle de Jour 2017 Planner, Perks of a Bella coupons, and BDJ Lifestyle Card 2017. There were also many exciting makeup booths that offered generous discounts!

The Pink Sugar booth was my favourite. They had so many new products! On a side not, what’s a Project Vanity without a swatchfest?

Here’s what we got in the Project Vanity Kit:

Sulit! (Note: I purchased the Browhaus Bi-Liner separately at 40% off and I received the Zenutrients Coco Honey Mask as a prize for participating in the Q&A segment.)
We were given coupons to receive a free foundation from Ellana Minerals! There was also a shade matching booth for ladies who didn’t know their shades yet. (Please don’t judge my nail. It’s discoloured from using nail polish, lol.)
Coupons and discounts from Strip Ministry of Waxing and Browhaus!
Belle de Jour 2017 Planner. Ah, I can finally look like I have my life together. Haha.

The Project Vanity 9th was a complete success for Ms. Liz and the entire PV team. Congratulations to them! I’m sure that next year will be even bigger and better. See you then! Cheers!

 

 

Pink Sugar Eye Candy Eye Shadow Palettes || Product Review + Swatches

Drugstore makeup has leveled up significantly in the past few years. Gone are the days when cheap products equated to cheap quality. Eyeshadows are particularly difficult to perfect in terms of formulation – even high-end brands have hits and misses. Luckily for us, a local drugstore brand has pretty much nailed it with these sweet palettes.

The Pink Sugar Eye Candy Eye Shadow Palettes made it into my 2016 Favourites list – and how could they not? For only PHP 699, you get a well curated selection of smooth, blendable, and richly pigmented eyeshadows to suit your colourful needs. With 10 shades per palette, you can take your makeup looks from day to night.

The eyeshadows come in two colour palettes: EC-01 and EC-02.

 

Eye Candy 1 Eye Shadow Palette is inspired by the romantic colors of spring, this palette is ideal for fresh and refined smoky looks. Perfect for a day to night look. – product description from Pink Sugar’s website

EC-01 is a blend of cool toned hues that are mainly from the pink and green colour family. The shimmery mint green shade is my absolute favourite because it’s very difficult to find a shadow in this colour that is actually pigmented. The lighter matte shades don’t show up too well on my skin, though.

This palette is perfect for those who want to experiment with some bold colours.

Eye Candy 2 Eye Shadow Palette is inspired by the exciting city lights, add some glam to your life with this neutral chic and elegant palette. Perfect for a day to night look. – product description from Pink Sugar’s website

EC-02 is my favourite palette. The shades here are foolproof. It is a blend of warm and neutral shades that are very versatile for daily use. My favourite colour out of the bunch is the deep plum shade – again, this shade is very hard to produce. A lot of eyeshadows don’t delivery this colour in full pigment.

This palette is reminiscent of a warm sunset. I used this in my GRWM: Smokey Sunset Eyes video! This is a great palette for anyone. The colour selection is simply perfect. On a side note, it sort of reminds me of the Viseart Minx Theory palette.

Photo credits: The Beauty Look Book (www.thebeautylookbook.com)

 

Overall, I highly recommend these palettes to makeup lovers of any skill level. For less than a thousand bucks, you get a drugstore brand eyeshadow palette with a very high-end feel and quality. Also, these palettes are sold at a sale price every now and then; so, keep an eye out for them during sales and grab the opportunity!