Tuesday, March 29, 2011

From the Owldrobe: Commence(ment)!

It's wonderful how you can play with words, yes? This first (and hopefully not last) outfit/fashion post is from the day I attended my youngest brother's graduation, hence the title. He's off to college now and I can't believe it. They grow up so fast!

Our family went to the ceremonies in full force, but what do you wear to a graduation anyway, especially if you're a guest? I was bent on wearing a dress but then I changed my mind when I recalled how windy and cold it was during the baccalaureate mass that same morning.
Grey cape blouse: tiangge
Invisible pinstripe slacks: Landmark
Grape double bow "Grant" shoes: Debenhams

I found the blouse during a bazaar back in college and was struck by its uniqueness, and how cheap it was (Php200!) for the style. The generous-looking sleeves are actually part of a cape made in the same thick & comfy material as the bodice, offering an extra layer of warmth. Perfect for the weather.

Wind! Haha. Note the pretty pattern on the bodice.

The heels are my new favorites. The insole is padded (comfy!), they are extra cute, and are very much my style. Also they made me as tall as most of my highschool girlfriends, which rarely happens, I can tell you. My slacks were hiding their detail in the outfit post, so here they are:

What about makeup? I actually went low-key that day because of some "unwanted visitors". :) Apart from the usual powder + lipstick, I only used concealer, mascara, and gel eyeliner to help wake up my tired eyes. Lipstick is seriously the best weapon a makeup-wearing lady can have. It gives you a polished look even if you don't have anything else on.

Aaaand that's it for my first outfit post! Please do bear with me, my experience in these matters consist only of the many hours spent reading fashion-related posts on the Internets. ;P

P.S. I'm going to have to explain why I use "owl" a lot pretty soon, but the first picture should give you an idea. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Mentholatum LipIce Fruity & Sheer Color

I'm very dependent on lipbalms. My lips crack pretty easily be it rain or shine, and it's not a pretty sight. I always bring one with me wherever I go, especially since I've taken to wearing a lipcolor everyday. Mentholatum came to Philippine shores a few months ago, so read on for my reviews! :)

First up is LipIce Fruity.
Photo credit: Mentholatum
Description (from tube): Lipbalm. Sunscreen Protectant. Cooling, refreshing, relief for dry chapped lips. Apply as needed.

Price & Amount: Php89 for 3.5g

Packaging: Simple white tube packaging that takes some effort to open, which means it's not likely to spread balm all over your things. :) I love the design on the tube, it makes me want to collect them all. Like Pokemon!

Review: This is the proverbial "wind beneath my wings". I slick on a layer of this as part of my skincare routine and by the time I'm ready to put on a lipstick, it's settled nicely on my lips. It applies clear, with a cooling effect that is nice and not too harsh. It doesn't feel thick or heavy but it moisturizes pretty well and keeps it that way for several hours. This also has SPF15.

I think I'd go so far as to call this my HG lipbalm! No need to look for another, which is admittedly harder than it looks. It comes in 5 variants: Apple (blue), Grape Blackcurrant (purple), Strawberry (pink), Lemon (yellow), and Orange Mandarin (orange). I'm thinking of trying the orange and purple ones next. :)

I also picked up a second one to try, LipIce Sheer Color. I read reviews of this online and was curious about the color-changing part.
Photo credit: Mentholatum
  • Changes color to a natural sheer pink according to individual lips.
  • A gentle Beeswax formulation suitable even for very sensitive skin.
  • Contains natural ingredients of Shea Butter Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Nut Oil, Jojoba Oil and Aloe Extract to keep lips moisturized, smooth and healthy.
  • Contains effective anti-oxidants of Vitamin E to soften and protect lips against the harmful environment. 

Price & Amount: Php145 for 2.0g

Packaging: Slim pink and silver lipstick tube. Very cute and easy to tote around!

Review: If LipIce Fruity is the "wind beneath my wings", LipIce Sheer Color is the "lady-in-waiting". Sometimes I forget to bring a lipstick, or my lips are in just too bad a condition. Sheer Color looks similar to LipIce Fruity in that it's a white stick of balm, but it adjusts to a nice pink color depending on the lips of the wearer. It saves me the trouble of worrying about how my lips look after a long day, which I normally would do when I use lipstick. I'm assured of a bright, glossy pink that lasts 'til I eat--it stays put through drinking--which I don't mind because it's super easy to reapply.

I picked the Strawberry variant but there's also a fragrance-free option. The Strawberry one smells like Fruit By The Foot, a candy that I love to this day. :D And just look at that color:

Highly recommended, yes? Yes!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do you love your cleansing oil?

I asked, because I do! While cleansing oil is most popular in the double-cleansing method, where you use cleansing oil first and a facial wash second, I like to think of cleansing oil as the best of both worlds. It has the strong makeup-removing powers of oil and the ease with which you rinse off any cleanser you may use. It also helps me use less products when washing my face, which I try to do because of my dry skin. If my makeup isn't particularly stubborn or I'm just lazy, I add a half pump to my usual amount of cleansing oil, massage it in, emulsify, and rinse. I am done and ready to sleep.

Today the fangirl in me gushed over these babies that I saw in The Face Shop in SM The Block today:

All photos from Korea Depart

Aren't they gorgeous?? They remind me of the Shu Uemura cleansing oils which I have only been privileged to see in person once, haha. They all smell really nice, too! (Yes, even the prune variant.) The scent of the pink variant reminds me of baby powder. There is also an anti-aging variant but I didn't see this there:

They are all 200ml and priced at Php795 each. The Muji cleansing oils that I use are priced at Php625 (sensitive skin) and Php425 (normal skin, review here) for the same amount so I am finding the TFS ones a little pricey. However, they are still a lot cheaper than what I hear about Shu. I am very much happy with my Muji ones, though I wish TFS had travel sizes! I'd buy them in a heartbeat. I will most likely get these once I run out of the Muji ones since they're more accessible to me, but that's going to take awhile.

My cleansing oils. They work the same, the blue one is just thicker and doesn't have the smell I like in the red variant.

What do you think of cleansing oil? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: Maybelline Hello Kitty X Volum' Express Hypercurl Cat Eyes Mascara Waterproof

Description: Now get stylized lashes with 5X the volume and not a single clump. Our waterproof Curl Lock Formula sets to a seductive 75-degree*** curl. For 18 hours of savagely sexy lashes clump-free.

Price: The HK-themed tube is Php499 while the regular is Php449. Try waiting for sales to get it even cheaper!

Packaging: Metallic hot pink tube with Hello Kitty prints. Very fierce-looking.

Review: Beauty bloggers have been singing praises for this mascara since it came out. I had been waiting for a sale (haha), but when I saw the Hello Kitty packaging in Watsons Megamall, I didn't hesitate and got it right away. Now I have a cute mascara in my stash!

The wand is scary-looking. It's two rows of spiky teeth that I promise will hurt you if you flinch during application, which I have done practically everytime I use this. (In fact, I flinch everytime I use mascara and I have to clean up bits of it from my lids afterwards. The things we do to look pretty...)

This is not to say that this is not a good mascara. It is. It's the most dramatic one I have and I go for this everytime I have a formal event to attend, or on days where I feel like adding more drama to my no-makeup look. It defines my lashes and makes them look thicker. Lengthening power isn't much for me, but then again this isn't a lengthening mascara to begin with, and I've been thankfully blessed in that department. It holds a curl (prepped with a lash curler) and wears incredibly well.

L - no mascara; R - with mascara (and a made-up eye).

Application is tricky and requires a bit of practice when you're not used to wielding a comb-type wand near your eyes. Instead of wiggling them up the lashes like you would normally do with a brush-type wand, you simply swipe it upwards. I do a bit of wiggling at the base for added volume to what the formula already provides and swipe the rest. It's clump city at the second coat, so I always have my spoolie from Marionnaud at the ready for added maintenance. Using the same lash comb (wiped down) should do the same thing, and a mascara guard always helps if you're used to it.

You can see the curl here. Sorry for the dead look! Need to learn how to "smile" with my eyes ;)

With the waterproof formula, you can expect this mascara to be a pain to remove. While it seems like I've removed everything using just cleansing oil, I can usually get a stray bit or two on my lower lids the next day. It's best to use a separate eye makeup remover (I use L'Oreal's) then use cleansing oil to clean up the rest. I'd probably repurchase this, but I'm thinking of keeping the wand when it's is dried up and try using it on other mascaras that I own to see what happens.

Now I'm eyeing that mascara with a wand that looks like a morning star... ;)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Review: MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crème In Your Coffee, and a dupe!

Photo credit: MAC

Description: Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.

Price & Amount: MAC lipsticks cost Php950 (~$22) for 3g and are available in their stores in Glorietta, Shang, Rockwell, Mall of Asia, and Trinoma. However, I bought mine from Duty Free where it's Php750 (~$17). In the U.S., I believe these go for $14.50.

Packaging: Easily recognizable bullet-shaped lipstick with the M.A.C. label printed on the cap and tube. Has more heft than my drugstore lipsticks and closes with a more reliable-sounding click.
Review: When I first approached the MAC counter in Duty Free with the intention of buying a lipstick, I didn't really think about the finish. I was more interested in getting something that I'd use everyday, to get my money's worth from spending so much on a small tube. I first looked for Twig, which I've read from various beauty blogs as a good everyday shade, but it was out of stock! I decided to go with my gut feel on what looks nice and ended up with Crème In Your Coffee, which is a creamy mid-tone pink brown. On my lips the pink shows up quite nicely!
CIYC as seen on the MAC website.

Crème In Your Coffee is a cremesheen finish. I found this description from scandalousbeauty: "Ultra sheer and uber moist, it features flat pigments and a creamy high shine finish to lips." I wouldn't say CIYC is sheer, because I find that I get a healthy amount of color from this lipstick. The shine doesn't hurt it either. It is very creamy and easy to apply. Best of all, it wears comfortably and looks beautiful on the lips for a much longer time than any of the lippies I've tried so far. I often exfoliate my lips in the middle of the day because for some reason it already looks a bit bad by then, and it's harder to prep them for a reapplication of whatever shade I'm sporting that day. The freshly applied shade looks uneven and unappealing. This lipstick is the only one that doesn't do that. 

My other everyday lipstick (before my NYX ones) is noticeably sheerer in comparison, but both have high shine that looks very pretty on the lips. It's noticeably pinker in the swatch above than in the shade from the website, which is a more accurate rendition of how it looks when I slick it on. Crème In Your Coffee wears better as well, of course. Either there is a reason why good lipsticks are expensive, or I'm just really impressed with this finish. This shade is a good introduction to MAC lipsticks, especially when you can't find the more popular shades in-store. Highly recommended!

However, if you're just after the shade, strapped for cash or can't get MAC where you are, might I suggest an alternative?
L-R: EH LUCIDarling No. 10, NYX B52, MAC Crème In Your Coffee

NYX's B52 is a close dupe! Less shine, more color, and just as pretty.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Review: The Body Shop Flawless Skin Protecting Concealer

When I started to get more into makeup, I first had a Body Shop phase. I would save up my allowance so I could spend the minimum of getting my voucher stamped every time I bought something. It didn't hurt that their makeup is of very good quality and that their choices were not as dizzying as their skincare ones :p I still count myself lucky, though, that all the makeup I've ever gotten from them has worked wonderfully for me. I first shared the All-in-One Face Base with you girls (click here for the review), and next up is their Flawless Skin Protecting Concealer.

Photo credit: The Body Shop UK

Description: A stylish cream-to-powder concealer enriched with baobab oil, naturally rich in vitamins and moisturising agents to care for your skin and zinc oxide to help combat impurities. The product features a sophisticated delivery system with clear active essence suspended in a special core structure.

Price & Amount: P695 for 2.3g. The Body Shop has regular sales, though!

Packaging: Shiny silver plastic stick with the TBS logo on top and a sticker with the shade number and color at the bottom. The case is very fingerprint- and scratch-prone, but it clicks closed pretty well. I've never had problems with this accidentally opening in my bag.

Review: This concealer is available in four shades and I have it in shade 01, which is very yellow-based.   The concealer comes in stick form and is moulded around the "clear active essence", which I suppose is the medley of moisturizing ingredients meant to help your skin. The core reminds me a bit of a glue gun stick, haha :) There is a bit of a crayon/wax-like smell, but isn't very strong and is hardly noticeable once applied.

Concealer swatch (L) and how it looks when blended (R). Click to enlarge!

The concealer is creamy and easy to use, though it tends to dry up if I've left it in an airconditioned room or when the weather is cool. For times like these I roll the stick between my palms several times to warm it up. Coverage is light to medium. Putting more layers or a thick layer all at once might look a little too patchy, so gentle patting/blending is a must. To apply, I first make a thick layer at the back of my hand (this warms it up as well) and use my finger to pick up some of the product. This allows me to control the amount used. When I'm in a hurry and the concealer doesn't look too dry I dab it straight on and pat it in. I find this a little too drying for the undereye area, but it does a decent job of covering blemishes and redness.

Writing this entry made me remember why I like this concealer so much. :) The combination of this plus the Face Base gave me a flawless, matte look that held up well throughout the day. I recommend this, but I also recommend moisturizing very well before applying the concealer. This will allow a smoother, more even base for it, and hopefully that will help you avoid the patches. You will only need a little at a time as well, so the price is pretty fair.