Glossier Futuredew Is Glass Skin In A Bottle

I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m really really vain. I wouldn’t pay actual human money to keep this website alive otherwise, you know? There is, however, one thing that drives my psychotic obsession with skin care up to 11.

I’m talking about Korean television.

I don’t know if there’s something in the water over there, or maybe God just loves the peninsula a tiny bit more. Whatever the reason, I think you all understand me when I say goddamn, Koreans have crazy good skin.

I know, I know. It’s not realistic. Korean celebrities spend a lot of time and money getting facial treatments to maintain their glowing faces. We all know no one is getting glass skin from Etude House toners, right?

But logic doesn’t really matter after 6 straight hours of Suzy’s close-ups.

Seriously, though, it’s not like they all have perfect and unblemished skin. I think what really fascinates me is how healthy and glowy they look, like they all took Lizzo’s advice to heart and started guzzling water at every opportunity.

I’m sure it’s a combination of skin care and makeup to get that glass skin look on tv, but I live in a humid country and my skin is finicky. I’m not about to drown myself in five essences and six serums daily.

Which brings me to Glossier Futuredew, aka glass skin in a bottle.

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I’m not kidding when I say it’s everything to me right now. There’s nothing quite like it, and even Glossier is hard pressed to describe what it actually is.

Is it skin care? Is it makeup?

Honestly, who gives a fuck?

It’s magic, as far as I’m concerned.

Glossier says Futuredew should be the last step in your skin care routine and honestly I kind of get it. It’s like saran wrap for your face, if saran wrap was actually good for you and had actual long-term skin care benefits.

The product starts out thick and tacky — you can almost feel the oils in the formula when you rub it between your fingers — so patting is the most efficient method of application. Glossier recommends using two pumps but I find that one is more than enough for my entire mug.

And just like that I’ve got glass skin for days, honey.

The result is immediate. You get that glossy finish the minute Futuredew hits your skin and your face just looks healthy and hydrated for the entire day. 3 PM slump? Never met her. I look well-rested even though I’m operating on two hours of sleep after binge-watching Master in the House all night.

The best part is that my face actually feels… good. It’s like putting on a nice light cardigan on a chilly day; you just feel cozy and protected somehow.

I’ve never felt this loved and comforted by skin care, is what I’m saying.

I love Glossier Futuredew so much that I’ve taken to using it twice a day as my main moisturizer. It absorbs stupid fast and my dry skin has seriously never been happier.

It’s perfect for lazy no-makeup days, but I’m extra so I like to use it with my Laneige Layering Cover Cushion for the ultimate glass skin experience. Honestly, the finish is so good that I don’t even feel compelled to use concealer on my remaining pimple scars and hyperpigmentation.

If any of this sounds good to you, now is actually the best time to give Futuredew a shot because Glossier is currently on sale! (You can use my referral code if you’re feeling generous.)

If you’re very much done with the matte life, I suggest you stop second-guessing yourself and just dew it. Buy Futuredew.

(Sorry.)


Featured image from Refinery29

My Skin Care Routine: 2019 Edition

A year ago, I had really bad skin.

My face was irritated and inflamed, with red pulsing cystic acne all over my cheeks. I could barely leave the house and my self-esteem took a serious hit.

To fix my skin, I did three things:

  • Drop chemical exfoliants and other potential irritants like retinol
  • Switch to a thick, reparative balm like La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
  • Get regular laser treatments and facials to speed up skin decongestion and acne mark reduction

Without these three steps, I never could have gotten my skin back to a healthy default, and I most definitely would not be getting away with the minimal skin care routine I have right now.

I’m telling you this because I want to be realistic. I don’t want to be that bitch who credits her good skin to just 8 glasses of water and a moisturizer, because that would be a straight up lie.

I can’t drop this 4-step skin care routine without context, you know? It just wouldn’t be right.

With that lengthy introduction out of the way, let’s get to it.

Heimish All Clean Balm

If you still don’t know by now, let me tell you: double-cleansing is a game changer.

Your facial wash isn’t enough, especially if you’re coming home with a full face of grimy makeup. An entire day of oils, dirt, pollution, etc and you expect your cleanser to get that all off with one wash? Delusional.

There are many options to choose from for your first cleanse. You’ve got wipes, micellar water, oils, and more. I prefer oils and balms because I find them a lot gentler (no tugging) and easier to use.

Heimish All Clean Balm is a boring little thing, but boring can be good when it comes to skin care. It gets the job done, and that’s all there is to it.

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Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I don’t care what people say: Cetaphil works great and I will use it till the end of time. It’s cheap, it’s gentle, and it’s effective — I have nothing else to ask for.

I know people don’t like Cetaphil’s cleansers for a myriad reasons, but it works for me and I’m not about to mess up a good thing.

(Besides, I’m a serious Cetaphil groupie.)

Weleda Calendula Face Cream

As with most beauty-related things in my life, I discovered Weleda through Into the Gloss.

I started out with the infamous Skin Food but it was just a tad bit too thick for me. I use a tiny bit on my arms if I’m feeling a little extra dry and I can still use it as a sleeping mask if I want to, but it just isn’t the everyday moisturizer I was looking for.

So I switched to the Calendula Face Cream. Yes, the one from the baby line.

Let me start off by saying that yes, it contains alcohol, and yes, it has fragrance — two things that I’ve always been wary of. The good news is that this moisturizer doesn’t irritate my skin at all, and I have to concede that the calendula scent is at least nice and calming.

Weleda Calendula Face Cream spreads easily and absorbs quickly, isn’t sticky, and doesn’t leave me looking weirdly shiny. It makes me look all healthy and glowy, which is all I really want in a moisturizer.

Wink Laser Studio SPF50 Sunscreen

I spent a long time without sunscreen because I simply couldn’t find one that agreed with my skin. Most of the sunscreens I’ve come across are either too oily or too white, and more often than not they straight up refused to play ball with makeup.

When I went in for laser treatments at Wink Laser Studio, they made it clear that sunscreen was a non-negotiable. You could seriously mess up your skin if you go in for laser treatments then spend the next day under the sun with zero protection.

So I picked up their store-brand sunscreen (the same one they use on all clients) and it was fine. It wasn’t anything spectacular and smelled a little weird, but it didn’t clog my pores or break me out, so I stuck with it.

But then. This month they came out with a new version — one with SPF50 coverage. It goes on super smooth, has no weird smell, and dries down to a semi-matte powder finish. On really good days I can get away with just this and no base makeup.

I swear, this sunscreen is so good I simply cannot imagine anything better. I use a lot all the time (all the way down my neck, of course) and my greatest fear is that Wink will run out or discontinue it and I’ll never find anything as good ever again.

Maybe I should head out and get a couple of backups, just in case.

And that’s pretty much how I feel about all of the products in my current skin care routine. I don’t want to run out, I don’t want to switch, and I can see myself sticking to them for a long time.

I guess that’s when you know it’s real, right?

The best part is that all of these things are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the stuff I used to buy. SK-II, anyone?

I’m gonna try and keep this happy equilibrium going for as long as I can, but it would be super fun to check in about 6 months from now to see if I still have the same routine. Stay tuned.

Yes, You Need A Facial

The first time I got a facial was maybe 15 years ago. I had just started working, I had a bit of money, and I figured, why not spend it on my face?

It was some random facial center; I can’t even remember the actual name now. They had a few treatments on offer, but the attendants at the time had no training in performing extractions, so we skipped the manual pricking and just went with some hokey oxygen-based treatments that I didn’t fully understand.

(By hokey I mean they actually hooked me up to an oxygen tank with that nose tube thing — I don’t know why or what for. And a small cockroach scuttled past while I was waiting for the oxygen treatment to end.)

My skin definitely felt cleaner, but all in all — nothing happened. I decided that facials were a bunch of bull and I was better off trying to figure things out on my own.

Until last Monday, that is.

See, I’ve been doing these laser facial treatments at Wink Laser Studio, and I am beyond happy with the results. The treatments got rid of my blemishes and acne scars, taking me from full coverage foundation to just a bit of concealer in ten sessions. Worth it.

I did, however, still have some congestion around my nose and on my cheeks. My nurse at Wink recommended getting a facial just to eliminate these clogged pores and further improve my skin condition.

It took a lot of research before I finally settled on Glow Skin Clinic. I have to admit it was their Instagram account that first caught my eye. Pretty visuals work, what can I say?

glowskinclinic

It did bother me that they didn’t have their own website, though. (Edit: their website is now up and running. Hooray!) I had to go through their IG highlights to find the services they offer. There’s also the confusion with their prices. The HydraFacial, for example, is listed as Php3,500 on their IG and Facebook, but that’s only if you get the package (so Php3,500*5). A solo session costs Php4,500.

At first I just wanted to get the regular facial, but I saw the HydraFacial and figured my face could use a hydration boost. All the services offered by Glow Skin Clinic include the regular facial plus a specific treatment like Clear + Brilliant, Oxylight, etc.

We started with cleansing and a facial massage — a great start to any facial, as you probably know. I don’t enjoy massages that much and I know the aesthetician could feel just how tense I was, but I did like having my face cleansed thoroughly. It’s so relaxing, having someone else remove every inch of dirt and grime after a long day at work.

And then the steam machine appeared. I knew the extraction was imminent, and I briefly wondered if I should ask her to skip the manual pricking. Glow Skin Clinic has the BT-Micro wand to gently exfoliate, which is great if you have sensitive skin or if you just want to keep your session relaxing and chill. (Because, as you know, pricking is decidedly not chill.)

I figured I’d be brave for once, though, since the entire point of me going to get a facial was to clean out my pores properly this time. I did tell the aesthetician that I had sensitive skin and could turn red at the drop of a hat, just to warn her in advance.

Of course it was painful. That’s the entire thing with extractions. The good news is that the aesthetician was able to cleanse thoroughly without getting too aggressive, and I managed to leave the place with minimal redness. Magic. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

With the extraction part out of the way, we could finally get to the actual star of the show: the HydraFacial. According to Allure:

It’s a medical-grade hydra-dermabrasion device that carries out a patented three-part regimen — cleansing, exfoliating, and then infusing skin with intensive serums.

The machine uses several different tips, depending on what it wants to do. There’s one for exfoliating and suctioning out congestion, and there’s another for infusing the skin with customized boosters that target specific concerns.

I didn’t get to choose my boosters, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I wouldn’t really know what to get anyway.

We began with GlySal — a combination of glycolic acid and salicylic acid. It scared me, to be honest. I had just gotten an extraction, and now chemical exfoliants? But the aesthetician didn’t keep it on my skin for long and the concoction was neutralized with water after less than a minute.

Next she used the wand to gently exfoliate and cleanse my skin further. I think it sucked up whatever congested stuff didn’t get cleared out during the extraction.

Finally, the boosters. I got Britenol: a mix of arbutin and vitamin C to target dark spots and brighten (duh) the skin. I also got HydraFacial CTGF to fight fine lines and wrinkles.

The aesthetician ended the session with a nice, soothing layer of anti-inflammatory cream followed by a thick helping of their moisturizer. The entire experience was just… wonderful.

I felt relaxed (despite my general aversion to massages) and cleansed and fresh and despite the initial pain of pricking, I still found the facial very soothing and calming. I was asked not to wash my face for 6 to 8 hours, which I did rather grudgingly. I didn’t want to mess up the effects of the facial, you know.

I woke up with no redness (okay, maybe a few spots) and very clean skin. For the first time in a long time, I could touch my face and not feel any bumps. It’s been five days and my skin still looks really good.

I do have a couple of small bumps on my forehead and on my right cheek today. Nothing too awful or obvious, though. I had been worried about purging, but that didn’t happen so I’m super chuffed.

All in all, my experience at Glow Skin Clinic was A+. To sum up: here’s everything I love about them (in no particular order):

  • The aesthetician was thorough but not aggressive in doing the extraction.
  • The aesthetician listened and took my warning seriously when I said I had sensitive skin and wanted to avoid redness. (She added red light therapy to help with skin healing and to tone down redness, specifically because it was one of my concerns.)
  • The place is clean and bright but not clinical or intimidating.
  • The price seems expensive at first, but it’s super worth it given the level of service
  • They have iced tea so you can chill while waiting and it is super delicious. (There are two other flavors to try on my next visit!)

glowskinjuice

Will I be back? Of course. Do you know how magical it is to find an aesthetician who knows how to treat your skin the way it needs to be treated? I might not go for the HydraFacial next time, though. I’d like to try something else like their Signature Facial or the famous Clean + Brilliant.

Their juice, too, of course. I’ll be back for the juice.


All images from Glow Skin Clinic

I Found The Best Body Wash For Sensitive Skin

I’ve tried a few dozen different body cleansers over the years, but I never liked any of them.

It’s not that I have impossibly high standards. All I’ve ever really wanted was to smell like a delicious pastry after showering.

Unfortunately, my skin is so dramatic it can’t handle anything with fragrance. Even good old harmless vanilla can leave my skin red and scaly, especially during eczema season.

I’ve tried a few cleansers made specifically for sensitive skin, but none of them really worked for me. Dove bar soap is a classic, for example, but it leaves a layer of “grease”, I feel, so I never feel truly clean after using it.

I’ve dabbled in shower oils, too, which are great at first but never quite hit the mark. L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil comes closest to perfection because it smells wonderful and isn’t straight up drying. Even so, I can only use it for a few days before my arms and legs start getting scaly again.

(At this point I should address the elephant in the room: lotion. Obviously, things would be a lot easier if I just used lotion, but that’s a whole other thing to address. I’ll need something fragrance-free and very, very moisturizing, which is a burden in this weather. Besides, I feel like getting a body wash that doesn’t aggravate my skin is an important task in and of itself. So here we are.)

The good news is that I’ve finally found something that works for me. I feel like I’ve been singing the gospel of this body wash to people who don’t really care, but that hasn’t stopped me.

Anyone who’s ever dealt with the nightmare that is eczema knows that getting the right body care products can be a challenge. Listen, fellow eczema sufferer: this entire post is for you.

Without any more chit-chat, I present to you: Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash.

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Not the baby wash, to be clear. Don’t get it twisted. I tried that one and it didn’t wow me at all.

This is a new body wash (new to the Philippines, at least) and it’s the answer to all my sensitive skin prayers.

  • It’s fragrance-free. Fragrance additives can be really bad for sensitive skin, so it’s absolutely wonderful that this cleanser is fragrance-free. Even so, it has a sort of clean non-scent that I really like.
  • It’s very thick but lathers up easily. The texture of this body wash is wonderful! It almost feels like you’re applying lotion all over your body, which is obviously incredibly soothing. Then you add a little water to lather up.
  • It leaves no weird film after showering. The cleanser washes off easily in the shower, and you never feel like there’s a layer of grease left behind. We’re not looking for squeaky clean, of course, but actual clean is a good start.
  • It doesn’t leave skin dry. Okay, here’s the testimonial part of this program. I’m by no means an expert, so all I can really tell you is what it has done for my skin. See, I normally have very dry and scaly upper arms. Same thing goes for my lower legs. Ever since I started using this body wash, though? Gone. My skin isn’t baby smooth like it would be if I actually used lotion, but it isn’t dry and scaly anymore, either.

It’s a little more expensive at Php668, but I don’t mind because it’s a huge bottle and obviously my skin adores it. The one major con is that it’s hard to find. I had to go to three different supermarkets before I finally found it.

Next up: finding the best fragrance-free, eczema-friendly body lotion. Any suggestions?


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Best of 2018: My Beauty Favorites

With 2018 coming to a close, I’d like to share five of my beauty favorites with all of you. There are no categories, in case you’re wondering. I don’t really want to do one favorite item for each type of product, because that’s a lot of work and I am way too lazy to do any kind of work during the holidays.

It’s taking away from my ham-eating time, you know?

The only category here is that I like these beauty things, and they made 2018 a lot prettier and happier for me. If I had to KonMari my stuff — which is something I do (or at least feel like doing once a year, usually January) — these are the ones that will survive the cut.

Let’s get started.

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

I’ve talked about this several times because this really is one of those moisturizers that just work. I have very dry skin, so I need moisturizers that can keep my face from cracking but still be lightweight enough to not congest my pores and break me out in this tropical hellscape.

The Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream is fragrance-free, light, non-greasy, and absorbs in like two to three seconds. I’m not a very smart cookie so I don’t know if adaptogens really work as they say, but this moisturizer does help calm down skin redness and irritation. A worthy addition to any skin care arsenal, if you ask me.

Fenty Beauty Cheek-Hugging Highlight Brush

I didn’t mention this in my original post on brushes because I didn’t own this yet back then, but this like, totally came in clutch. It’s one of those brushes that I didn’t think I could like, because the shape is weird.

How do you even use it?

It’s easy, turns out. When they say cheek-hugging, they aren’t lying. The groove really does fit right over the cheekbone, making this an excellent choice for anyone obsessed with highlighters.

Note: this isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s pretty dense, which means that you get a really solid highlight when you use this. I’m running out of words, so I’m just gonna say… magical.

BLK Cosmetics Soft Matte Mousse

I spent an entire post gushing about these, so I don’t really have much to add. The only thing I can say is that I have added the holiday shade Joy to my collection and it is the most wonderful blue-red in the world. It’s the shade I’m wearing in the photo on the sidebar.

I love it, and I have used it almost daily ever since I bought it. It is my most prized possession (not really, but you get it) and I hope never to run out of it ever ever ever.

NARS Fort de France Highlighting Powder

I started my highlighter collection this year, and this one is my favorite so far. It’s not chunky or glittery. It doesn’t really emphasize texture (if you’re not super heavy-handed, of course) and has a beautiful almost wet-looking finish.

I apply it on the top of my cheekbones and i just look like I drink more than 8 glasses of water daily and exercise three times a week. I don’t do any of those things, but this highlighter more than makes up for it.

Fort de France is their more popular shade (I think) because champagne works on practically every skin tone. I still have a few other highlighters in my collection (and I just bought a new one from Ofra) but this is the one I reach for when I need something fool-proof.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

This. Is. Magic.

I don’t know how it does it, but these Ambient Lighting Powders are just… incredible. I have gotten way too many compliments (far more than I deserve, to be honest) and isn’t that exactly what you want from makeup?

I know there are people who dismiss these for being “invisible”, but honestly I can see the difference and given the compliments, I guess other people can, too.

My favorites are Mood Light and Dim Light because they work best with my skin tone. I like Diffused Light, too, but the other two just work 1000x better with me. I know these are expensive, but these powders will last you at least two years with daily use, so they’re pretty worth it.

Also, the compliments. So many compliments. I should write a thank you letter to Hourglass, maybe.

And that’s it for my 2018 favorites! What are yours?


Featured image by Steven VanDesande Jr on Unsplash

I Lasered My Face And So Should You

Here’s the thing: you know how celebrities love to talk about their “minimalist” skin care routines and low effort beauty?

Fuck that.

Fuck all of that.

I’ve finally figured it out.

See, earlier this year, my face decided to be a bitch and mess up my otherwise uneventful life. My face was red, raw, and sensitive to just about everything under (and maybe above, I don’t know) the sun.

It was a disaster.

I know I sound dramatic, but I swear, my face was just absolutely on fire all the damn time. Everything set it off. My cheeks were red and inflamed with huge pustules pulsing underneath the surface. It hurt to smile, physically and emotionally.

Nothing I used was working. I even went to see my regular dermatologist and used prescribed topical medicine, but it only made things worse.

Eventually, I got tired and just figured I’d ride the entire horrendous journey out and see where it took me. I held off on all potential irritants and later on found great skin care that helped heal my face.

But then here’s the problem: I simply couldn’t get rid of the acne marks. Months after the evil breakout, I still had red and brown spots all over my cheeks. So much that it looked like I was still breaking out, even though my skin was back to its usual healthy self.

Initially I tried to seek topical remedies, but eventually I figured out that a more drastic solution might be necessary. Enter Wink Laser Studio.

I’ve seen them around town, with most branches located in upscale districts of the city, but I just never felt like I needed their services. That is, before I discovered their laser facial.

What is it?

It’s a completely non-invasive treatment that uses actual lasers directly on your face.

(Quick note: Wink Laser Studio uses Revlite and QX Max. I’ve had the treatment done 4 times and I think they used QX Max on me each time. I am unfortunately not a laser expert so I don’t know anything about these machines. Just thought I’d mention it in case it’s helpful to anyone else.)

The laser facial takes about 20 minutes, though you do get a quick 5 to 10 minutes of consultation if it’s your first time.

It’s not painful, though you’ll feel flicks (like getting hit in the face repeatedly with a rubber band) everywhere the laser touches you. I don’t think it hurts. It’s just a little annoying and itchy, but nothing major. Besides, the feeling subsides the minute the treatment is over.

The nurse will repeat the process three times:

  • First pass all over the face with relatively mild strength
  • Second pass again all over the face but quite stronger and more tingly now
  • Third pass on targeted areas, specifically for minimizing pore size and eliminating pigmentation

Word of warning: the laser will burn off your peach fuzz. I personally don’t mind the smell, but just a heads up in case you start to panic and freak out when you get a whiff of eau de burnt hair.

What does it do?

The laser facial treats a number of skin issues:

  • Blemishes/acne
  • Pigmentation
  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Dullness

It also helps boost collagen production,  improve skin texture over all, and can even help reduce pore size. Not bad for something that takes 20 minutes.

What else do I need to know?

This is a non-invasive treatment, yes, but there are still a few guidelines to follow before and after treatment to make sure nothing goes awry.

Pre-treatment:

  • No retinol, peels, chemical exfoliants at least a week before treatment
  • Avoid tanning or spending long hours unprotected under the sun
  • No serums or toners the night before
  • Be like TLC, because no scrubs
  • If you have eczema, you’ll have to sign a waiver before proceeding

Post-treatment:

  • Don’t wash your face for at least four hours
  • Stick to cold showers for at least 24 hours
  • No excessive sweating for 48 hours
  • Moisturize regularly
  • Wear sunblock!

Does it work?

This part is entirely anecdotal, so take my experience with a grain of salt.

I have had the treatment done four times so far. I have dry and sensitive skin, but I have not experienced redness, dryness, or irritation after each one. Sure, there’s a bit of redness immediately after the treatment, but it subsides in about fifteen minutes.

The acne marks on my cheeks are significantly less prominent. How do I put this? It looks like my blemishes are blurred and though you can sort of see that there’s a hint of pigmentation on my cheeks, they aren’t as obvious as they were before. I can now go out without makeup on lazy weekends without feeling very self-conscious of my acne marks.

I had a slight “purge” after the first treatment, which is common with laser facials. I didn’t really mind though, because these were the annoying bumps I had under the surface finally coming up for air. The purge for me was just a bunch of whiteheads and they were gone in a couple of days.

One of the most significant changes for me is that my skin feels a lot healthier and less dry. I used to have dry, dehydrated, and irritated skin that would flake and crack regularly. Now it just, well, feels like skin.

(I still have a super oily nose, though.)

How much is it?

It’s pretty spendy.

Celebrities like to talk about their minimalist skin care routines. When asked about their ultimate beauty secret, they always have this to say:

Just drink more water!

How helpful.

When you have money to burn on regular facial treatments, your skin care routine would end up pretty minimal and low effort, too.

I started the laser facials a couple of months ago and have pretty much pared down my daily regimen to just cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Who needs toners and serums and potions when a laser can give you better results in just 20 minutes?

To be honest, I never would have considered getting laser facials if I didn’t have a bit of extra cash. Imagine just how beautiful your skin could be if you had all the cash to burn and various skin care treatments to undergo every week?

Just goes to show how celebrity beauty is unrealistic, but I digress.

Wink Laser Studio is a bit more high-end, because there are other places that will offer laser facials for less. However! I do think they’re worth the money because they employ actual nurses, they have top-of-the-line machines, their locations are beautiful and spotless, plus they have excellent customer service.

Wink nurses message you the day after the treatment just to make sure everything is fine. It’s a small thing, but I really like the attention to detail. (And the attention, in general. I am shameless.)

I still have 6 sessions left in my package, and given how my face has turned out so far, I figure I might just keep this going.

Besides, how cool is it to have actual lasers on your face?

Science, bitch!


Featured image by Wink Laser Studio

Treat Yo Self: What To Get From The Sephora Private Sale

We don’t have a physical Sephora in the Philippines but that hasn’t stopped me from getting a package from them at least once a week.

It’s an addiction and I’m not proud of it.

I made Black earlier this year without really meaning to, and every week I’m inching my way closer to Gold. I’m not there yet but let’s just say… I’m on track.

The good news is that being a Sephora member does have its perks. Gold members (heh) get 20% off on everything, and they get to shop one day early.

For the rest of us plebs, the sale starts tomorrow, October 4. Black members get 20% off, while White members get 15%. Not bad, all in all.

Except it can get a little overwhelming, especially with a lot of the hot items selling out at the speed of light. (It’s true; I’ve been trawling the site since yesterday.) You have to be quick if you want to get your hands on the popular products.

Here’s a tip: put the products you want on your wishlist now, so you can load them in your cart ASAP and checkout like a pro tomorrow.

To help you get started, I’ve got a few recommendations for you to check out. These are a bit pricey, I admit, but that’s why you should pick them up during a sale! Get on it, people!

HOURGLASS Ambient Lighting Powder

I spent a long time resisting the siren call of the HOURGLASS Ambient Lighting Powders, but I finally gave in.

To be honest, I was worried that the powders wouldn’t actually do anything obvious, like the infamous GUERLAIN Meteorites. Don’t get me wrong — I love Meteorites, but it’s just a tiny bit too subtle sometimes, and I think for the amount of money involved, I wanted some assurance that the Hourglass powders would be, well, more visible.

Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating (I don’t like pudding, so I don’t know why I went with that phrase, but whatever), and I can gladly vouch for these Ambient Lighting Powders.

I went from owning none to owning a palette. That’s how much I love this. I have Diffused Light, which gives a clean and bright finish to the face, but the winner for me, hands down, has to be Dim Light.

I wore Dim Light for a week straight, and in that span of time I had people complimenting my face non-stop. That right there’s the pudding, no?

These Ambient Lighting Powders blur out imperfections and make you look just a little bit more together. A light dusting over my foundation gives me that airbrushed, almost Photoshopped look and only a dummy would not fall head over heels for it.

MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Enamored Hydrating Gloss Stick

I have to be honest with you: the real reason why I bought this was because I thought the packaging was insane. The good news is that the product inside that packaging is pretty good, too, so still a win for magpie me.

The name says it all: it’s a lip gloss in stick form. Personally, I think of it as a glossy balm, since it’s pretty moisturizing, too. This is pretty sheer, especially for the nude-tone shades like Sugar, Sugar. For a pop of color, you’ll be better served by the bright and punchy Candy Bling.

Word of caution: this stick doesn’t twist back down. Don’t go twisting all the way up to check the amount available because you won’t be able to reverse the product back into the packaging. Just twist up however much you need.

URBAN DECAY Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid

When it comes to base, you want to work smart, not hard. The last thing you want is a thick layer of foundation. Nobody like’s cake face!

Color correctors can target discoloration so you don’t have to go overboard with the foundation and concealer. Use a green corrector to camouflage red spots, or peach to cover up brownish dark circles. (For blue or purple circles, go with pink.)

The URBAN DECAY correctors are lightweight but very pigmented, so you only need a little to cover up specific blemishes or discoloration. They’re also very easy to blend — I just dot it on my face and tap the product in with my ring finger.

Apply the correctors first (after primer) and you can get away with just a light layer of foundation and barely any concealer. No more cake face for you.

FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb

I’m a 90s kid, so obviously I spent a large chunk of my teenage years re-applying lip gloss. My aesthetic was lechon realness, and it was poppin’.

The FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb is lip gloss 2.0. It’s moisturizing, it’s non-sticky, and it’s very, very, very shiny.

The original Fenty Glow is a universal rosy nude, while new contender Diamond Milk is straight up glitter. Both are beautiful and worth your coin.

SUNDAY RILEY Luna Sleeping Night Oil

I managed to get two (yes, two) deluxe samples of this face oil at 5ml each and I’m telling you: this stuff is bomb.

I was going through a rather unfortunate breakout earlier this year and by the time I received the samples, I felt like my face had pretty much calmed down but still wasn’t in its usual healthy state.

I didn’t have any new pimples (thank goodness) but I could still feel so many of them lurking under my skin. Big, cystic pimples that were just wasting for the right moment to surface. Ugh.

So I warmed up a couple of drops of the Luna Sleeping Night Oil on my palms and pat it all over my face. I swear: it took barely 60 seconds for everything to absorb. The next day I woke up and the cystic pimples were gone.

Seriously.

Many of those under-the-surface pimples became tiny whiteheads and disappeared from my face in two to three days. Now that’s magic.

Luna Sleeping Night Oil has a milder, less irritating form of retinol, which accounts for the results I got. I’ve used Differin for years and though I like the acne-clearing effect, I’ve always found retinol and its ilk very irritating. Luna is the solution to that very drying problem, and I’m glad to have found it.

The only reason I haven’t bought it yet is because the deluxe samples are going to last me a very, very long time. The minute those run dry, you can bet I’m scooping up a full-sized one.

To borrow from The Sound of Music, these are just a few of my favorite things. The reason I’ve gotten obsessed with Sephora in the last couple of years is because it offers a lot of new brands that we don’t get locally.

Your beauty options don’t have to be limited, and when sale season comes around, you better be ready to make the most of it. I know I am.


Featured image from Retail In Asia

It’s Not Me, It’s Youth To The People

“I got good genes, and I’m aging well. Is the bitch 13? They can never tell.”

(Awkwafina. “Pockiez.” In Fina We Trust, 2018.)

I’m not saying people think I’m 13, because that would be absurd. I’m 35.

That being said, I do agree with Awkwafina’s assertion. Us Asians did luck out with the gene pool lottery, because we tend to look a lot younger than we really are. People think I’m in my early 20s and I haven’t been 20 in more than a decade.

(My sister has it even better — or worse, I guess, depending on how you look at it. People think she’s a pre-teen; she’s a high school math teacher.)

I think that’s why I’ve never really been that into anti-aging stuff. It’s also why I was hesitant to check out a brand called Youth to the People at first.

I’m not looking to recapture my youth, so I just assumed that the brand wasn’t meant for me. Besides, one of their primary ingredients is kale. Can you say hipster?

I know this sounds pretty mean, but I have this weird aversion to brands that harp on and on about how organic and natural their products are. It just reminds me way too much of that infamous Portlandia chicken sketch, and not in a good way.

But then people on the Into the Gloss Facebook group just wouldn’t stop talking about the brand, so I eventually gave in to peer pressure and decided to give them a shot.

I now own three of their products and will repurchase when I run out. I guess if I have to eat my words, I’m glad that they’re at least organic and pretty easy to swallow.

A little background before we proceed: my skin is generally cooperative, with a few blemishes here and there every now and then. I have dry, sensitive skin that reacts poorly to coconut oil and its derivatives, plus maybe a few other ingredients that I still haven’t quite sussed out.

Earlier this year I had the worst breakout of my life. My cheeks were red and inflamed, with huge cysts jostling for space. For the first time in my life, full coverage foundation was something I considered necessary just so I could get out of the house.

People with generally nice skin won’t understand, but your self-esteem really takes a hit. I know, acne isn’t life-threatening, but it’s not something I would wish on anyone.

My face is now in much better shape, though I still have to deal with the acne marks that are taking their sweet time before leaving my face for good. For all my aversion to kale, I do believe that Youth to the People played a huge part in calming my face down and getting it to a much healthier place.

Superberry Hydrate & Glow Oil

This is the first product I tried from the brand because strangers online just wouldn’t shut up about it.

It’s a very lightweight oil that absorbs lightning fast. You don’t even have to work it into your skin. I just pat four drops on my face and my skin laps it all up. It doesn’t feel oily or sticky at all, which is a major plus when you live in a country as hot and humid as the Philippines.

For an entire month, my skin care routine consisted of this oil and the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. On the first application alone — I kid you not — the stupid cysts on my face started shrinking. I swear on my entire makeup collection — the results were beyond fast.

The Superberry oil wasn’t as effective on the cysts underneath the surface, but it at least made them significantly less noticeable. The ones already out in the open shrank and healed quickly. That’s more than anyone can ask for, where skin care products are concerned.

This oil on its own isn’t moisturizing enough for me, although at that time I didn’t mind so much. I was all for dry patches if it meant the cystic acne would leave my face alone.

(It also smells really, really nice.)

Superfood Firm and Brighten Serum

I’m just gonna go ahead and address the hipster in the room: this has kale in it.

I do want to clarify and say that the good thing about Youth to the People is that they combine science and nature in their products. Your zodiac sign will not factor into the efficacy of these products, though you’ll still have to deal with the kale.

The serum has vitamin C, peptides, sodium hyaluronate, and vitamin B5 — ingredients that are tested and verified for their skin care benefits. You can side-eye the kale all you want, but this serum’s got the goods.

I picked this serum up (despite its rather hefty price tag) because I saw “vitamin C”. I needed something to help with the acne marks, and I figured this serum was a good fit.

The good news: it works. The marks are looking slightly less obvious and I can get away with a light layer of foundation now.

The bad news: it works… very slowly. I get that we shouldn’t rush things, especially topical skin care. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a petty and impatient child, though. Of course I want results, and I want them now!

I only use the serum in the morning, because I have a rather unfortunate history with vitamin C products. My skin is sensitive and can turn red and scaly at the drop of a hat, so I’m staying on the safe side and using the serum just once a day.

Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

When you live in a humid country, “too much moisturizer” becomes a real problem, even for people with dry skin. You have to moisturize the parched landscape that you call your face, but applying just a tiny bit too much could straight up deliver you to pimple city. Not a good look.

The Adaptogen cream eliminates that concern, because I honestly don’t think you could ever over-moisturize with this cream. I’ve accidentally applied too much a few times, and I just massage it in a little more until the product’s absorbed.

It’s very rich but never heavy, and it sinks in quite easily without ever feeling like the product’s just sitting on top of your skin. Even with the shea butter it contains, the moisturizer doesn’t feel greasy at all.

Real talk: I’m not sure the mushrooms in this actually do anything. I haven’t tested it against inflammation or irritation, so I simply can’t testify to that yet. What I can tell you is that it’s a good moisturizer that handles dryness like a pro.

I know that Youth to the People isn’t cheap, but neither is my face so I don’t mind dropping the money. Besides, the products do exactly what they say on the tin and they work for me, so what’s not to love?


Featured Image by PHÚC LONG on Unsplash