Review: Natural Aqua Gel

gorgeouslybrokeHave you ever wondered that the ultimate answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is probably not the number 42 but this, a product called “Cure”? I really find the product name quite amusing.

Can’t you just imagine the inventor of this product having eureka moment and screaming at the top of his lungs, “I found the cure!” And then, hearing the news, a flock of curious people from all corners of the world traveleved in carriages for miles and miles only to find out that the cure is nothing but just an exfoliator.

What is this product that people rave about in the internet? And is it worth the internet hype and the cha-ching that’s about to leave your wallet?

20141229_133127 copyI came across this product while I was aimlessly looking around at Beauty Bar. And when you look around aimlessly, you’re very susceptible to a soft sell by a saleslady. Not even a hard sell. Just a super gentle push with the words, “Miss, you should try this product. Yes, you can test it on your hands.”

Seeing how the product gently exfoliates my skin and seeing beads of dead skin cells gently rubbing off, I then realize that I’m at counter with this product at hand.

Application

The Cure Natural Aqua Gel seems like one of those products you see on the Home Shopping Network.  It’s too good to be true but will it blend?

Well, it doesn’t blend but the product works. You just put a small dab of gel on your fingertips and massage it in a circular motion for 1 minute to 30 seconds on a clean and dry face.

Voila! Your face will be full of what looks like eraser shavings. Yes, it’s quite disgusting so don’t forget to wash it off your face. Oh, and don’t forget to apply moisturizer.

Hands are a bit red because I accidentally scrubbed harder so I can make the dead skin cells apparent on the photo. Right: First application of cure. Left: Less dead skills after second application.

Ingredients

From the packaging, the product claims that it is made of natural ingredients so it’s safe to use. Anyway, I trust that this is really made with safe ingredients because it’s made in Japan for the Japanese consumers.

One thing I know about Japan aside from anime is that it protects its consumers through some kind of rigorous cosmetic regulation. So I’m not going to list all the ingredients down. But in case you’re wondering, here’s a photo to enjoy during a toilet break.

ingredients

What I Like About This Product

  • It’s not like a lot of exfoliators on the market that uses beads or scrubs which makes my skin sore after use.  Instead, my skin feels soft and vibrant without redness.
  • You can use it with the rest of your body. Although, I find that doing so can be quite expensive. The label claims that the bottle will last up to four months if used twice a week on the face.  I intend to make it last by just using it on my face.
  • Three months of use and I haven’t had breakouts yet.  That’s always a good thing, right? In fact, I think it helps improve the quality of my skin.

What I Don’t Like Much About This Product

  • I find that the price can be quite hefty. This is the first skincare product that I purchased that’s worth more than 500. In fact, the product cost Php 1,500. Yikes! It’s not so budget friendly.
  • I do hope that Cure can be sold in smaller bottles that cost around Php 600. It would hurt less to part with money if it’s less than its current price.
  • Also, since it’s expensive, I don’t use this twice a week. I also find myself sticking to the twice a week routine if I have an event to go to. Otherwise, it’s just 3 times a month. Because I’m broke that’s what.

Overall

Cure is quite effective in getting the job done and sloughing all of those dead skin cells. If you have no qualms about the price, I definitely recommend this product as part of your skincare routine.

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Review: 1 Day Tattoo Real Lasting Eye Pencil and Eyebrow Mascara (bonus!)

1 day tattoo real lasting gorgeously broke
I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Raccoon. It’s just not working. Ladies just can’t pull it off without looking like a drunk party whore. This generation doesn’t know how to appreciate your avant-garde look.

Just typing “how to not have raccoon eyes” in Google and you’ll get hundreds and hundred of blogs and forums about it. Unless you’re trying to look like Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy in some cosplay, chances are you’re tired of having your eyeliner run or smudge in some way.

So far, I’ve got one liquid eyeliner that worked for me. You can read it here. It still works like a charm but I wanted to try something different and I have a blog so I can mask my impulse purchases with an entry such as this. Kidding. Well…Jokes are half meant.

1day tattoo real lasting eyepencil

1 Day Tattoo Real Lasting Eye Pencil

I have seen this brand again and again at Beauty Bar but never really tried it. However, I’ve been watching a lot of Korean make-up shows like Get it Beauty and After School’s Beauty Bible. Boy, they have truly mastered the no make-up, make-up look and serious about it too.

Anyway, in those shows they use a lot of brown eye pencil since black is considered harsh. I know that pencil eyeliner doesn’t last as much as gel liners do so I wasn’t keen on trying the Korean look.

But when I saw this again at Beauty Bar, I was like, “Hey, why not? Let’s test this thing and see if it lasts a day with my oily eyelids. After all it’s only Php 750. Challenge accepted.” (A dialogue of an impulse buyer.)

eyes and eyebrows befrore and after Well?

My sister and I went to the mall and stayed there for about 6-7 hours. Well, it didn’t really budge. When we went home, I thought of challenging this product even further so I exercised for about 30 minutes and let all the sweats and oils out. Lo and behold, the product stays put. It’s effectively crazy.

1 Day Tattoo Real Lasting Eyebrow Mascara

eyebrow
I’ve enlarged the pink brush on the packaging so you guys can see. 🙂

I’ve dyed my hair into a light brown a few months ago. And so, the black eyebrows is not just working. It just looks terrible. This product really does a good job of matching your eyebrow color with your hair.

What I like about this product is, like the eyeliner, it lasts for a long time too. You can exercise with it and it won’t trickle down your forehead. See the before and after picture above.

The product comes with a pink brush-like applicator. You can use the brush to comb the product from the outer to inner eyebrows to  and finish it off with another coat from the inner to outer eyebrows.

Well?

For what it cost (Php 595), it does its job well. Even though it lasts for a long time, you can rinse it off easily with soap and water. Overall, not a bad product.

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Here I’m using my 1 Day Tattoo Real Lasting Eyepencil and Eyebrow Mascara.

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My Bath Soap Alternative

ruberduckie copyIf you, by any chance, happen to encounter a curiously small stall usually surrounded by inquisitive mothers and a couple of  young ladies browsing shampoos, conditioners, dog shampoo, dish  washing liquids and what-have-you, then you probably have encountered the Sesou Nature Source stall. At first glance, it’s nothing out of the ordinary and interest can only be piqued by the buzz of the small crowd.

The stall offers an assortment of everyday products made of safe ingredients and free of harmful chemicals. Nothing really stands out for my attention as far as packaging goes but it’s, honestly, tempting to try everything as far as my limp wallet would allow.

With my inadequate self-control, I have a few items waiting on my shelves to review. A few days ago, I’ve reviewed Human Nature Natural Conditioner that I’ve purchased there. This time I’m going to review Giga Both Botanics Aromatherapy Bath Bar.

Giga Bathsoap frontAt first glance and feel, the packaging looks quite posh. Although you may not feel it, the packaging that it comes in has a nice texture and it’s a joy ripping it.

The one that I have now is Peppermint. However, in my opinion, the Lavender was much more aromatically pleasing to use. Peppermint is just something that I have to get used to.

If you look at their Facebook page, you’ll see that there are more variants of this soap. With Lavender and Peppermint, only the aroma changes but the quality is about the same.

As for the soap, it’s not heavily moisturized like Dove bar so a quick rinse will do. It’s not heavily scented in the sense that I can’t smell it on my skin after I’ve rinsed and stepped out of the shower.

It’s twice the price of normal soap with its hefty Php 105 price. As with all things handcrafted, price is something you just close your eyes to. Fortunately, for what it’s worth, this soap last as long as Olay soap bar.

Giga Bathsoap Lable

As with the ingredients, I’d say I’m no chemist. I’m assuming that these are all plant/ mineral based and safe as Sesou claims. I’m truly hoping it is. However, some websites do point out the danger in some of these ingredients and I’m just recently made aware of it.

Here are some of the ingredients I’ve researched  and thought to share this with you.

  • Sodium Hydroxide is just lye.
  • Sodium Silicate is safe when formulated to avoid irritation.
  • BHT is a little bit iffy. One site claims that it’s something to be completely avoided at all cost as it’s a known carcinogen, disrupts the endocrine and all other things. Another site claims it’s safe.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA a site claims that it is safe to use in small amounts. Another site claims that it’s to be completely avoided. Top 5 Chemicals to Avoid

As consumers, I think we should really be more discerning about the products we buy off the shelves. The internet is knowledge at your fingertips. Use it to your advantage.

UPDATE: I did ask the store clerk about all the potentially hazardous chemicals contained in the bath soap. She said that it does contain all those things but in a low quantity. As with all soaps, you can rinse it with just water. (And pray that it doesn’t get into your system)

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Review: Thoughts and Review on Somewhat Organic/ Natural Products for Bath Time (Long Title! Do I care? No.)

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While everybody else was pouring cold ice buckets on their heads during the past few months or some until now, I unconsciously started switching to somewhat organic products.

What’s the correlation? Well, I did my little research about ALS. Although gene mutation plays an integral part with the possibility of acquiring this ailment, scientist had theorized that it can also be acquired from some environmental factors such as chemicals among other things.

My subconscious decided to torment my already anxious soul a little bit further with words such as “chemicals,” “disease,” and an acronym “ALS.” Thus, unknowingly, I’ve been slowly replacing my everyday skincare with somewhat organic products one by one during the past few months. (Do understand that you can’t get ALS from shampoo and conditioner, but some do contain carcinogens.I am an overly imaginative person.)

What do I mean by somewhat organic? Somewhat organic in the sense that i don’t think that there’s one true organic product out there in supermarkets. Otherwise, we’d be stuck with rotting products that has a shelf life of a fruit.

To be truly organic, I might as well go back to Victorian times and use a vinegar hair rinse as a shampoo and mayonnaise as a conditioner. Although some live happily this way, I just can’t. As I am now, I’m admittedly too hipster enough that I can be a guest star in the TV show Portlandia.

human nature natural conditioner body shop antidandruff

Hair Care Routine 

For my shampoo, I’ve been using The Body Shop Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. The scent is very “herby” for a lack of a better word and I can definitely get a whiff of ginger. The packaging gives off an old school Chinese herbal tonic vibe.Compared to shampoo products on the shelves, this is made to be clear and gel like. I was doubtful that it could actually do any washing but it can.

swatch

Does it work? Well, no. I’ve seen reviews that rave about this shampoo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t clear the flakes. Well, at least for me. I’ve been using this for two months and I still have dandruff. Of course, dandruff can be caused by a lot of factors, however, shampoos that I’ve used before works far better.

This product contains birch bark, white willow and Community Fair Trade honey and panthenol. This sounds so natural and all but it can also be a bit misleading to assume that it’s just made with that. Remember to take labels with a grain of salt.

Peeling the back label, reveals more magical ingredients.
Peeling the back label, reveals more magical ingredients.

After shampooing, I’m using Human Nature Natural Conditioner. I think among all organic products on the shelves, Human Nature is priced reasonably well. This product cost Php 175 for 200 ml. A little goes a long way. I’ve been using this for about a month and I still have some left. Do have in mind that I’m a heavy user of conditioner as I have curly hair.

Unfortunately, when days are exceptionally humid, this doesn’t keep my hair frizz free. But I’m giving this product some slack because nothing can really control my hair much not unless I use a product containing silicone.

It smells great and fruity. As such, it does combat the herbiness of Body Shop’s Anti Dandruff Shampoo.

As for ingredients, most of the chemicals used are vegetable-derived. I’m really no chemist and I’m not so well-read in the art of deciphering laundry list of ingredients in a shampoo bottle. But for those of you who have nothing to do or sitting down in your toilet, I’ve attached the back of the conditioner bottle. Enjoy!

human nature

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Brows before Hoes: Benefit Brow Bar

benefit

Backlogs, backlogs, backlogs everywhere. No one to blame but me. Me and my sister went to Benefit Brow Bar at Greenbelt 5 eons and eons ago, but I’m just going to blog about it now.

I usually dye my hair a lighter color. I just find that curls and light hair go together. Unfortunately, black eyebrows disrupts the harmony and peace. My sister wanting to also dye and shape her brows suggested that we visit Benefit’s Brow Bar. Honestly, up until then, I didn’t know that you can safely dye your eyebrows. A lot of hair dye packets really emphasize that I can’t dye my brows with their products. I also remembered that my eyebrow color didn’t change went I went to a local salon to have my hair dyed.

P1040300 santa

They apply a cream on top of your eyebrows. It’s probably a bleaching cream since I wanted a lighter hair color. Usually, they remove this cream for about 15 minutes. Since mine was so stubborn I had to wait for 30 minutes. My sister was having hair eyebrows waxed at this point. (No photos for that)

I did not opt to wax my brows because I’m a huge chicken.Bok! Bok! Book! But check out the lighter brows. The benefit staff said that this will only last one to two weeks. It depends on how fast you shed your eyebrows.

beforeandafter

After your visit, they give you a loyalty card with free makeup and free brow arch after certain return visits. It’s a good idea since I think those services cost around Php 500 or more.

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I would definitely come back and probably try eyebrow waxing the next time.

Lime Crime Red Velvetine

limecrimeart

During World War 2, in the hopes of making the war more bearable, soldiers would carry a memento of their loved ones with them. Folded and tucked in their pockets would be a letter from their beloved sealed with a kiss and a locket of her hair.

I would like to imagine that if Lime Crime’s Lip Stain was invented during this era, it wouldn’t be the top choice of our grandmothers as it barely leaves any marks on any surface.

Of course World Ward 2 is over and technology has made writing letters almost obsolete. As such, Lime Crime is the most practical lipstick out there. It is long-wearing, and that is the most important thing to me because I hate reapplying. I really prefer no t to go to overcrowded restrooms and wiggle my way through a small spot in the mirror’s prime real estate. No, thank you.

limecrime velvetine

What the product claims as seen on their website:

Ground-breaking formula that goes on liquid and dries completely matte. Touch-proof, transfer-proof, long-wearing and utterly addictive!

Let’s touch on this. The first point is absolutely true. I don’t know which came out first or who is imitating who, but it does remind me of NYX’s Lip Cream that I have reviewed. Of course, this is pricier and even more so than MAC by a hundred peso. I believe it costs about Php 1,153. Ladies and, uh, gentlemen, that is why I’m broke.

Second point is that it is all what the second sentence claims. However, it’s not all it claims. If you apply lip balm before this, Lime Crime would definitely transfer and smudge. The best thing to do is to apply it without lip balm, which would in turn dry your lips. Also, the product would remain transfer-proof up until you’ve drank in which case it starts smudging by a bit.

lipstick smear cup
The first cup on top is a lipstick smudge from an ordinary lipstick used by my sister. Second cup which I’m using has almost no traces of Lime Crime. Picture on the right shows how transfer-proof Lime Crime is.

Lastly, the color is rich and matte. There are some days that I just apply it even when I’m not going outside so it is addicting, I guess. Or I’m just weird. I find that it really does compliment my skin color. My boyfriend doesn’t generally like strong lip colors on me, but this has been boyfriend approved.

lips

Where can you buy this?

Sadly, this is not available in the Philippines yet. You may buy it online, but good luck  on paying extra charges at customs. My eldest sister got this for me in Thailand and that’s the only branch they have here in Asia, which is unfortunate.

Final  Thoughts

Overall, it’s a good product worthy of your hard earned cash. Yes, there’s a probability of me hoarding it while my sister stays in Thailand.

My Minimalist Journey – Baby steps

I just want to take a break for a moment with beauty blogging and talk about something I’ve been trying to do for the last year and half. I have been trying to become a minimalist. The word “trying” should be emphasized because minimalist goes against the very nature of being me. I love to collect cute novelty items useful or not. (Who could say no to erasers that looked like food?) And no matter how much I denied this. I was a spoiled brat. I dropped the attitude thank goodness. The sweet moniker bestowed upon me by my parents was Ms. Bili Moko (Ms. Buy me that).

Me as a young hoarder in my natural habitat. In my defense, some of those toys are hand-me-downs from my sisters.
In my defense, some of those toys are hand-me-downs from my sisters.

My minimalist journey started when I was looking at pegs for my office clothes. I used to work in a magazine. At my line of work, the office aisle seemed like a catwalk where women are fashionably clad and the restrooms are the backstage. This pressured me to look for my style. I want to look for something that is not too dressy but still is presentable. And during this search, I’ve encountered capsule wardrobes on the web. Basically, the idea is to have a collection of essential classic items. From just basic but smart pairings of items, you can look fashionable and classy. I urge you to look at various websites online to develop your own style. And I emphasize this:

“Being minimalist is not only looking like Simon Cowell. You can customize it to apply to your personality with your own color palette.”

A year and a half of my minimalist journey, I’ve reduced my clothes to a quarter of what it was. I’ve donated most of it and disposed some ratty ones.  To be honest, I’m still nowhere near what I wanted. I did reduce my clothes but I don’t have a strong foundation for the basic items like the little black dress that suits my hipster taste.

Body Shop Essential Smokey Eye Collection

I have been avoiding Body Shop because nothing annoys me more than a tailing sales lady with straight faces. They move wherever you go barely speaking anything aside from a forced, “Yes, Ma’am?” I tried politely brushing them off with the reply “Oh, I’m just looking around.” However, they never leave you.

As much I dislike the shop’s attendants, my sister loves going there. While my sister merrily browse new collections, I stood at the middle of the store looking around with just my eyes careful of not making any eye contact with any of them. I would never know how awesome their eye shadows are if my cousin from UK haven’t gotten me this Essential Smokey Eye Collection in Spring Bronze. (Isn’t she great?)

packaging

Opening this wonderful kit makes it feel Christmas in this humid May weather. Listed below are the amazing goodies that belong to the set.

bodyshop

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  1.  Carbon Eye Definer is pretty great but when you’re not careful, you’ll tend to look like a raccoon. I definitely need to practice more with eye pencils or probably getting used to its look. It definitely takes some art compared to simple eyeliners. My sister has been using this for months and she highly recommends this product.  This is pigmented and can go a long way since you’ll only need a thin line before you smudge it. The only downside I see is that the tip is very creamy that it crumbles easily.
  2. Eyeshadow Brush is pretty handy dandy. I’m not sure that this is the best in the line since I own midrange brushes; but, this is highly effective with what it needs to do. Plus, I accidentally found out that it stands on its own. Awesomesauce.
  3. Super Volume Mascara is gentle.  Being gentle on the eyes is one of the biggest things I look for in mascara. My eyes burn whenever I wear mascara for a long period of time.  I can wear this for five hours without sting. Not so protip: I dab mascara brush on a tissue paper until I feel that there’s less liquid clinging to it before applying on my eyes. It lessens the sting and gives a more natural look.
  4.  Shimmer Cube Palette is highly pigmented and oh so fancy. This comes in separate cube containers with lid. I’m guessing that you can refill or mix and match the set. It is easy enough to apply with the eye shadow brush that comes along with it.  I feel that the bronze shade in this set pops up more than Benefit’s eye shadow bronzer. Favorite shade is definitely the champagne one; perfect for the no make-up make-up. Without eye primer in this hot weather, it’ll last maximum of five hours before it seeps through the eye creases.

eyes

OVERALL

This kit is a good way to introduce someone to trying Body Shop’s Eye Collection. I would definitely try to visit the store more and give it a chance.  Happy 😀

The Cult Classic that is Black Honey

blackhoney

 

 Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is the little black dress of the make-up world.  With their universal quality to flatter every woman, both are considered essential and a staple to every Must Have list.  But then, is the reigning cult classic since the 1980s worth the hype?

Unlike other lipsticks where you have to consider if you’re the right tone for the shade, Black Honey relies on the natural shade of your lips. It has a universally flattering sheer plum color that you can build up through layering. The color is very reliable on days where you just don’t want to put too much make-up but still look put together. It does go well with the minimalist vibe I’m trying to establish.

 

lips copy

Based from a lot of reviews and my own usage as well, this lipstick doesn’t last as long. I’m not too fussy to reapply my lipstick every time I see it wears off. Thus before work, I make sure to apply Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint underneath this. But since I’m always seem to be rushing for work, I skip this step often.

Aside from constant reapplying, the products’ shortcoming would be its price. I got this as an ex-deal for a small job I did; but if I’m not mistaken, the original price is Php 1,200 at Rustan’s. This is Php 200 more expensive than M.A.C. I know that both formulas have different consistency and sheerness, but the hefty price tag makes me a little bit hesitant to purchase .

Overall, I’m 50/50 with this product. I guess at the end of the day, it all boils down to opening your dresser and saying hello to a cult classic.

Testing the Waters, High End Cosmetics Benefit

When I first started my blog, my goal was to review cheap run-off-the-mill drugstore make-up. I believed that cosmetics, unlike designer bags or clothes, does not really equate to much when it’s lathered on your face. Do I practice what I preach? Not entirely.

While browsing a beauty section of  a magazine, I saw Lancome Absolu Voyage Complete Make-Up Palette. Its like a sampler of all their basic make-up rolled into this tiny case with a lesser expensive price tag; well, compared to buying those items in original packaging. Sadly, it’s only available on Duty Frees and on in-flight catalogs. I’m no rich jet-setter but it definitely got me thinking. What other high end brands offer such a good deal?

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Benefit’s Beauty Kits

I discovered Benefit’s beauty kits after hours of searching online and walking stores-to-stores, asking if they’re offering a travel kit. To be honest, I was so thrilled that they offer such a good deal. For Php 1700, you can sample some of their best sellers with other items. They do have a lot of good sets. I highly suggest, you look at their website first. Decide on what kit you want before heading to the store, cause I’m telling you…their cute packaging will melt your hearts and empty your wallets.

Since it was my birthday, my amazing sister decided to treat me to one kit- the Bronze of Champions! Dun dun!

 

benefit copy

Benefit call their products with weird names, so it’s hard to decipher when you’re new with their brand. The kit basically contains

  1. eye cream and bronze eyeshadow
  2. matte bronzer/ contouring powder
  3. highlighter
  4. mascara
  5. a f***king lipgloss

The Verdict

I love how everything in the kit works together to create a very natural summer look with exemption to the lipgloss. The lip gloss is nothing noteworthy and I’m not a fan of any lip glosses in particular.

The eye cream and bronze eyeshadow are meant to be used together. Both wonderfully complements each other. However, I realized that my 24 hour eyeliner tends to smudge with this after a day’s work.

They’ve added two award-winning products, Hoola bronzer and They’re Real mascara. Hoola bronzer can be used as an over-all powder or for contour. It’s matte and it does not make you an Oompa-loompa. They’re Real Mascara does unbelievably lengthen my eyelashes, but wearing this for more than 8 hours hurts my eyes. I don’t know why.

Overall, I think that this is a good collection. Hope they toss out the gloss and replace it with brown eyeliner or a nice pink lipstick.