Some Lip Loving

I don’t know the definitive moment when I became a lipstick addict – but every time I’m stressed and I feel the need to shop but my wallet is on a diet, I would usually end up with a new lipstick shade. I guess that’s the lipstick theory right at work for you.

I have a lot of favorites which I tend to use for days or weeks on end; no particular brand favorite (as long as it’s hypoallergenic) or price point concerns either. Not to be a snob here, but come on, how expensive can a lippie be? Plus, the good brands (read: good for extra sensitive skin) are usually triple the price of the usual drugstore brands.

Currently though, I am obsessed with Mac’s Twig. It leans on the pinkish side of the range of nudes so it doesn’t wash you out.

Perfect for when you’re denied of sleep and in dire need of some brightening. The only downside is, it washes quickly – a cup of my morning coffee and I need to retouch it again.

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For days when I cannot be bothered to check my lips in the mirror (like when I got stuck in traffic and am five minutes late to an early morning meeting), I rely on my all time Clinique lip crayons. But, I recently discovered that one of my favorite brands, Burt’s Bees, have new shades of their own lip crayons. Quite cheap too as they cost less than Php700 each! I alternate between the pinkish Niagara Overlook and the cherry red Redwood Forest.

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Last holiday season, I had the sudden urge to get a wine red lippie. I’ve never been into the blood-red trend but plum/reddish-purple? I can do that. The first counter I ran into was Shiseido and after one trial swipe of shade RS 656, I knew it was a match made in heaven. This shade ranks up there with my all-time favorite but discontinued SmashBox nude shade.

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On other days when inspiration takes hold of me, I try on other shades, although I still lean towards the ubiquitous and universally flattering nude lip. One shade I find easy to mix/match with outfits and can transcend daytime to nighttime is Mac’s  Yash. There’s just something sophisticated about a nude lip that a red lip can’t project.

But of course, I do feel girly at times so I swipe on Lancome Rouge in Love shade 351M, a light pink with enough shimmer that’s perfect for summer/spring. And of course, for days when I just feel the need to be bold, I make a toss between  Mac’s cult fave Ruby Woo and its lesser known sister, Lady Bug. They’re both vivid red and not for the faint of heart, but the former has blue undertones while the latter is more crimson.

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What’s your favorite shade? 👄💄💋

Skin Care Products I Cannot Live Without

Given my very sensitive skin, there are only a handful of skincare brands that I swear loyalty to – French brands Nuxe and Avene, American brand Burt’s Bees, local brand VMV, and Japanese-made SKII. What’s frustrating is that most of these brands are not available locally. Avene has since been available in our trusted Mercury stores and Burt’s Bees is sold in Beauty Bar outlets. But for my Nuxe needs, I would normally hoard during trips to Europe or Hong Kong or order it online (taxing my non-existent patience and EQ to the max while waiting for my packages to arrive).

So imagine my elation when I saw SSI’s post on Instagram showing the Nuxe body oil – I immediately asked if they are now carrying Nuxe and they said yes!  Of course, that very same day I visited BGC Central where most SSI brands can be found. Going there is like being let loose in candyland so I thought I’d give you a rundown of my trusted skincare products from their Beauty Bar (our answer to Sephora and Sasa).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA. Nuxe foam cleanser, shower gel and creme fraiche. Nuxe carries a wide range of skin care and anti-aging products but my favorite would be their creme fraiche (plant milk-based) moisturizer. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t feel greasy. Plus, it is heavy duty – I use this when I have dry patches on my face, especially during the -ber months, when the cold can be unforgiving. I alternate this with my Clinique moisturizer which I use at night.

Among Nuxe’s many variants and product lines, my favorite is their rose petals-based line – I cannot end my day without cleansing with their micellar rose cleansing water (not in photo) and foam cleanser. I use the cleansing water to take off make up, soaking a cotton pad and patting it around my face before washing off with the foam cleanser. My skin feels petal-soft and smells heavenly after. I love roses but a lot of products in the market smell like vaguely scented chemicals; Nuxe smells like a rose garden.

The shower gel from Nuxe Body is a recent discovery. As I said, I have very sensitive skin and I tried using this supposedly hypoallergenic/mild hair and body wash from a leading consumer goods giant. Sadly, my skin got bumps and blisters and itchy all over. So much for a 2 in 1 product. Now, this gel from Nuxe is so divine – it’s a mix of almond and orange blossoms that smells so natural. I wonder how they do that, like they bottle a garden’s natural fragrance. If they ever come up with a perfume, I would not hesitate buying (or do they have it already???). Anyway, the gel is clear and very fluid (actually doesn’t feel like gel at all), lathers nicely but most of all, rinses easily. Yet my skin feels super clean and moisturized after.

But perhaps the most popular product of Nuxe are their body oils. I got the one with shiny sparkles and I use it on my hair and arms for that little sparkle. It can also be used on the face but I haven’t tried it yet – I am already too oily as it is.

B. Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo. Whenever I think of Burt’s Bees, I think of honey and this product looks exactly like a more diluted version but smells like freshly cut grass or vegetables with hints of honey. It’s got jojoba, baobab, and rice extracts, among a long list of natural ingredients, plus, it’s sulfate free so it’s good for your hair and scalp. It is very hard to find sulfate free hair products so I am glad I switched to this one.

C. Messy Bessy Hand Wash and Insect Repellent. I love Messy Bessy. They have no fuss products that smells really great. And they’re all natural too! I think I use all their household products at home –  dishwashing liquid, dish and toy cleaner (for babies), and hand sanitizer (everyone at work loves this). But my favorite is their liquid insect repellent which comes in a spray bottle. It’s not oily, which is great as I hate having oily hands, and is really tried and proven to keep away insects not just from my little boys but from me as well. This is a mainstay in our travel bags. I also love their hand wash which cleanses grease from my hands thoroughly and smells like fresh cucumber. It makes me want to wash my hands all the time.

D. Tatcha Japanese beauty papers. Or oil control film. But this is so much more than that. Trust the Japanese to transform those thin papers used to wrap gold leaf into beauty products. This thin paper, or aburatorigami, removes excess oil without disturbing makeup. It doesn’t contain powder but I noticed that my skin looks fresher and powder fresh after using this. I was not a fan of those rubber-y oil control films but this one product I swear by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy journey to find the perfect body lotion is quite never-ending (as I said, Avene is my go-to but it is too expensive here), until a friend recommended VMV. I tried their four-step line with the cleansing milk, toner, moisture milk (for hands, body and face!!!) and sunscreen but found them a bit too heavy for me. But I love the re-everything lotion which is also a triple-threat: can be used on the face, hands, and body. I only use it for my body and hands but I love that it makes me feel soft and moisturized. It’s fragrance free and of course, hypoallergenic, so my skin is quite safe. It’s also good for travel since it covers all your skin moisturizing needs so this is also a maintay in my luggage. Vmv is not carried by Beauty Bar though, but you can get it at SM counters and of course at their stand-alone stores.

What about you? What are your trusted skin care products?