Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mom leaves twins in hot car for 39 minutes while she shops at a beauty store --

Okay, so this is a rant-ish post. I came upon this article which reports how a mom of 3 1/2 year old twins (very very close to my own boy's age!) left her children strapped inside the car for almost 40 minutes while she did a beauty run at Ulta. I mean, even if you lost your entire make-up stash, is that really such a dire emergency? And setting aside the fact that a lot of children had died from dehydration and metabolic imbalance because of the extreme heat that can build up inside the car once you turn the air conditioning off, what about the greater concern of security? Any stranger can break in and harm or steal your kids while you are gone.

The children have been rescued by child services and the mom arrested. And I hope other moms know better than this.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I ♥ Philippine Drugstore Makeup Tag (and a lot of blah-blah on why I buy high-end makeup)

Maica over at PinayBeautyinaBudget tagged me in this series months and months ago! I've been owing her this response for ages, and it feels good to finally get around to it. First of all, I found it difficult to answer because she specified that the products I have to answer will have to be local drugstore brands, and I don't have much experience with those for several reasons.

Okay, here's where I warn you that the blah-blah starts here. If you would rather, just scroll down to the actual questions-- I won't mind.

First, I'm a self-confessed makeup snob. I would rather have one Guerlain lipstick than ten Wet n' Wild ones just because makeup is my indulgence. I don't shop really horde clothes or shoes anymore like I did when I was younger because I'm trying to keep my life and my closet as simple as possible. I don't get to wear makeup everyday (I say this a lot on this blog, no?), so on the few occasions that I do, I really long for a more luxe experience. 

Second, I do most of my beauty shopping online, or from trusty direct sellers from Avon, Mary Kay, etc. Whenever I go to the mall, I take my little boy with me (sans yaya!) and it takes a lot of things to go right before I can have time to loiter at a local beauty counter. I never really stay long enough to get tempted by an impulse purchase! And well, online sellers mostly carry non-local drugstore brands e. 

Third, I usually check reviews and blogs before I buy something-- and search engines usually point to non-local brands. Which is why this tag is a really good idea, IMO. So finally, here are my answers below. Take note that given my limited experience with Philippine drugstore makeup, I have to modify the rules a bit: when I don't have a suitable answer in the Pinoy-made local drugstore category, I add some non-Pinoy drugstore brands but only the ones that I know are locally available.

One of the requirements I have for makeup shopping is that there must be space and a seat so the Boy can plunk down while I go a-swatching. Even then, I only get like a ten-minute window before he gets bored and asks for ice cream.

1. What is your favorite local drugstore makeup brand? That will be Nichido and Fanny Serrano. I like Nichido for their cheap lip liners and eye pencils. They're like e.l.f. -- their products can be a hit or miss but they have good prices. Aside from the pencils, I would recommend their loose powder (decent) and this green pancake foundation which is only about P150. If you have redness that you would like to neutralize, apply this wet on your face and then top off with a color-matching face powder.

As for Fanny Serrano, the brand is just amazing. It's actually my favorite local brand as of now. I have a Fanny Serrano lipstick (which I reviewed here) and their compact foundation in Rajah which I use as a matte bronzer. I look forward to buying Organza once I make a dent in the many compacts that I still am trying to use up.

2. What are your favorite face, cheek and lip products? For the face, I love Ellana loose mineral foundation (review here). Up to now, I still use it as part of my everyday simple look. It doesn't break me out and it's very light on the skin, plus I found a good shade match because they send you samples so you can try the powders at home.

For the cheek, I'm a Benefit and MAC girl actually but for local brands, I would say Fanny Serrano again. They have a peachy pink shade that I thought looked a bit like Benefit Bella Bamba (don't know the shade name though, sorry).

For the lips, MAC and Guerlain, but Fanny Serrano did impress me again. Also, I have swatched lipsticks by M&Co which I think is by Mikee Cojuangco and they had great pigmentation and staying power-- my arm was still stained the next day!

3. Least favorite product? I don't like face bases by Ever Bilena because when I swatch them, parang wala namang coverage then it had an oily feel.

4. What is the best makeup bargain? I don't go by sales and markoffs when it comes to makeup e. That's another reason why I buy trusted brands like MAC, because it really comes down to cost-per-wear. For example, a powder foundation only costs P200 per pan, but since you have to retouch several times a day, you use up two pans every month so it's just the same as buying a nice powder that has better staying powder-- less hassle pa. 

5. What is your favorite underdog product? (Something you love that often gets overlooked?) Does it have to be a brand? Because my answer would be a brow spoolie brush-- the ones that is mostly called "mascara brush". Newbies often just throw it out when they buy brush sets but it can really help give you well-groomed brows if you know how to use it.

6. A local drugstore product that is overpriced? Most drugstore products, for me, are overpriced. See #4 for the reason. Especially those poor quality eyeshadow palettes and chalky blushes.

7. Local drugstore product that isn't worth the hype? The copycat BB creams that are nothing but watered down versions of crappy liquid foundation.

And because the purpose of a tag is to keep it going, I want to tag

Shayne of Queen of All You See -- we seem to have the same makeup brand loves, I wonder how she would answer these questions.

If you would like to participate in this tag, just go ahead. I'm really just shy about getting initiating connections with fellow bloggers, not snobbish :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quick Tip: How to make your Clarisonic look almost new again

I'm on a roll here, posting two consecutive days in a row. This is, frankly, what happens when I don't have to produce or edit pictures for a post. I have no problems coming up with words-- it's really the photography that gets me behind. Anyhow, today is something that you are bound to find useful if you have a light-colored Clarisonic that has been looking dingy now.

My Clarisonic is a boring white, which really shows every bit of dirt on it.

I have had mine for a little over a year now (read my review here) and I still love it. I've changed my brush heads twice and I pretty much use it everyday. As you can see, my unit is white and since it gets wet, it has started to look grayish and a bit moldy. Gross, I know, but there was nothing I could do about it. I tried scrubbing it with shower gel, even tried diluted bleach but the grayish grime was still there. I didn't dare try harsher cleaning agents because I didn't want to risk damaging it.

You know what surprisingly worked? Plain white toothpaste.

I discovered this by accident; I dropped a gob of whitening toothpaste (mine was Arm & Hammer, but I suppose any brand would do) on the back of my Clarisonic one morning and didn't notice it until I needed to use it that evening. I just wiped off the toothpaste when to my surprise, the spot where it sat on was back to its original pristine color! I excitedly slathered toothpaste all over (without wetting it at all) and when I wiped off the toothpaste, the stains were gone. So now I can bring it again on overnight trips without being ashamed of other people seeing it.

So that's it. If you do try it out, do let me know how it works for you!

2 Firsts for me: a Farah Abu bangle and Shopping at AVA.ph

I know, I know-- it's been a couple of months since I posted. I would like to thank a bunch of you who still visited from time to time just to see if I have something new here. I am sorry that you have been disappointed and you won't believe how thankful I am that I still get traffic even if I am remiss. As for the hiatus, I would like to write a separate post for that-- for now, I am thinking of taking this blog in a slightly different direction. Yes, I still intend to blog about beauty stuff, but so far, the Kikaymom has been more kikay than mom and I suppose that's what lies behind the lack of blogging mojo. You see, although makeup and whatnot are things that I care about (and spend money on), my life is so much more. Maybe it is time to share more about the different aspects so that this space, my own corner of the web, can feel more like home where I can just kick my heels off and spend time with friends.

And anyhow, online shopping is one of those things. July is actually my birthday month. I'm not really the type who likes to throw parties or go clubbing for special occasions; I prefer purchasing items that I know I will be using and keeping for a long time. And a piece of chunky handmade jewelry is what I had in mind: a Farah Abu bangle.

Chunky is so pretty :)

Farah Abu is a Pinay architect-turned-jewelry designer. When I landed on AVA.ph, her chunky handmade pieces really spoke to me and I ended up getting my very own bangle. I figured that I could wear this with everything from cocktail dresses and tshirts. You can take a look at her other pieces here. Like most handmade jewelry, there are other bangles that look quite similar to mine, though not exactly alike. I love my bangle so much; it's not too heavy and it feels so comfortable on my arm.

And hats off to AVA too; I ordered this in the very early morning and by afternoon, I received an email notifying me that it has already been shipped (I paid online using DragonPay). Sure enough, the next morning, it arrived at the house. A good thing too because I was really excited to see my bangle in person.

Farah Abu pieces are also sold online at Lazada and Zalora but the nicer pieces are, I think, the ones listed in AVA.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Washable Mascara Review

Maybelline mascaras are my favorite but the "Volum'" part irritates the heck out of me. I think it's stupid. Anyhow, right before I bought this from Bon Marche, (to go to their temp online store, click here) all the mascara I had in my stash was the Rimmel iMax Volume Flash and a waterproof tube of Maybelline Colossal. Rimmel left me un-wowed and I only use waterproof mascara for when it's absolutely necessary so I was in the market for something that could give me vavavoom lashes just for everyday.

A few months ago, I actually tried the much-raved about Maybelline The Falsies formula but it left me with a sour taste in the mouth. I bought my tube from Landmark in Trinoma, put it away unopened for a few days only to find out that they gave me one that's all dried out. I've heard other local bloggers complain about old mascara being sold in malls and such; I buy mine online from retailers and never had a problem.

Anyhow, I was browsing through Multiply (before they went into a major revamp) and saw Bon Marche had one last tube left for only P300:
P300/9ml. Cheap and promising.
The Rocket mascara is being marketed as a volumizing mascara, just like the Colossal is. It promises to amp your lashes by 8x and to give clump-free application to boot. I'm not going to bore you with a lot of product information that you can find on their website anyway. I'm just going to go straight on to the nitty-gritty of this review.

Here's the rubber brush. As you can see, it's rather big and has often been compared to the Cover Girl Lash Blast. I have fairly long and curled lashes naturally and so I dig big mascara wands.

The formula is a bit wet but that's alright. I find this to be true with most Maybelline mascaras anyway. The wand bristles are a bit shorter than the Colossal's, which meant that I found it a bit clumsy at first. However, I soon got the hang of it and eventually managed to coat both top and bottom lashes (including the shorter hairs on the sides) without making too much mess. Here are some before and after shots:

Bare lashes

With two coats

Two coats, no curling
I'm sorry but I don't have full face-on shots of me wearing this; I'm still figuring out how to do those. But can you see how crazy long this product made my bottom lashes look?

The formula does not weigh my lashes down and I haven't noticed any flaking or smudging-- which is quite a feat in this awful summer weather we have been having. The pictures above were taken the first time I tried on this product and so it's a bit more clumpy and wet. I've been using this mascara for over a month now, and just like every other Maybelline mascara I've tried, I love it even more now that it's dried a bit. I would even dare say that it performs just as well, if not better, as the Colossal in that I've had people I got false eyelashes on when I use this with gel eyeliner and lash curlers.

Overall, I love this product. 

How about you? Are you in love with Maybelline mascaras too, or is your heart elsewhere? Feel free to share your favorite in the comments below; I'd love to expand my lash horizons!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

All Used Up: Lush, Krave, Celeteque, Kiehl's, etc.

Hello, ladies! Since becoming a product junkie, finishing up something has been something of an accomplishment. I've been wanting to start this series for some time now, but somehow, I always forget to save my empties. Or I do, then someone goes into my bedroom and starts to throw them out. Empties reviews are always so useful, because too often, you can only judge whether something is really good after you've finished it all up.

I finally figured out that the best thing to do about it is to stash my empties in one of my dresser drawers. Last week, the drawer finally became too full so I took them out and got clicking. So, without much further ado, here's a mini-review of products I have recently gone through:

1. Septo-care Contact Lens Solution (P70/ 375 ml) - I'm a prescription lens wearer and I run through bottles of this stuff in a month. I used to spring more expensive brands like Sauflon or Bausche & Lombe but I realized that this works just as well. And because it's very cheap (other solutions cost about five times as much for the same amount) I don't need to scrimp at all. Definitely a repurchase.

2. Olay Oil Minimizing Toner (P299/ 212 ml) - I ran out of Etude House Amalgem toner and I grabbed this in a hurry from the grocery shelf. It stings my eyes when I swipe near the area plus I ended up with so much product wasted because the mouth of the bottle doesn't have any stopper-- it's just one big opening once you twist off the cap. Not repurchasing.

3. Dove Essential Nourishment Body Lotion for Dry Skin (P250 ml) - It was a run-of-the-mill body lotion as far as I was concerned. It claims to provide 24h moisture to the skin but I didn't notice anything special. Not repurchasing.

4. Lush Snow Fairy Limited Edition Shower Gel  (P450/ 250 ml) - As I said in my post about my Lush Holiday Haul last January (click this link), Snow Fairy is one of my favorites. It smells like candy and it's pink, so.... But I have to be honest and admit that it's really more about the scent than any skin benefits. It's pretty much just a great shower gel, but it only smells good in the shower and I find that the scent is easily overpowered by any lotion. It does double as a fairly decent shampoo; in fact, son is now using my 500 ml back up bottle for hair washing.

Not included in the picture but which I also want to mention is the Lush Snowcake soap. (Obviously, I don't have empties for that.) It smells good and lasts fairly long if you cut it up and keep it as dry as possible when not using it. Again, the kiddo ended up using it and it made him smell like vanilla cupcakes, which made hugs extra sweet. Will definitely repurchase both Snow Fairy and Snowcake the next time they come around.

5. Garnier Light Complete Multi-action Whitening Cream (P199/ 40 ml) - I started using this when my skin began to need more moisture but I didn't want to use 'real' moisturizers yet. I think I ran through four or five tubes of this. It does provide moisture but not the intensive kind. What I loved most about it was that it gave your skin a powdery finish right after application. As for whitening, I didn't really notice any effects because I didn't apply regularly. Not repurchasing anymore though.

6. FCUK Her perfume (30 ml) - It was a somewhat non-girly scent that had a hint of sexy. Sorry, but I'm not really that great at describing perfumes because I believe it's such a subjective product. This perfume got finished simply because I have had it so long. Not repurchasing.

7. Vitress Heat Protect Cuticle Coat (P90/ 30 ml) - I like putting this in my bag to smooth flyways when I'm out of the house. The bottle is small and the pump very convenient. Definitely repurchase.

8. Revlon Photoready Sculpting Blush Palette (P550/ 4g) - This is actually not an empty; it's got about 90% of its contents left but I'm throwing it out (not even giving it away) simply because its such crap. I ranted about it here. No way in hell am I repurchasing.

9. Bellagio Pour Femme perfume - refer to #6.

10. Celeteque Ultra-Lifting Restorative Serum (P599/ 30ml) - I got this from Sampleroom and I loved it. It felt so much like #11 bareMinerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum (sample) which I received a with a Sephora order. Both of them are light, easily absorbed, and really makes a difference in how my skin looks and feels. Of course, the Celeteque version wins because it's locally available and less pricey. Have already repurchased and this has become a staple in my routine.

12. Olay Age Defying eye gel - this was actually not mine but my mom's. She left it behind during one of her vacations. I tried using it but I didn't really like it because it had a somewhat slimy texture and made the eye area look like you smeared snot all over it. Not a pretty picture. Obviously not repurchasing.

13. Avon Simply Pretty Jelly Belly lip balm (P120/ 4g) - one of my favorite cheapo lip balms. Not as moisturizing as my recent balm discoveries (Jack Black and Clarins!) but it does well enough when I just need something to add a bit of moisture during the day. Will repurchase whenever it goes on sale.

14. Krave Oil Eliminator and Skin Hydrator (P285/ 3g) - it's a silica finishing powder. I found that it didn't really work for me as a primer but because of its fine texture and white color, it's perfect for retouching foundation that has oxidized a bit after a few hours. Unfortunately, it's a loose powder which means that it's a bit of a hassle to bring along and use for retouches. Will probably not repurchase.

15. Kiehl's Acai Damage Correcting Moisturizer (sample) - Again, one of my Sampleroom picks and when used with the Celeteque serum, it made my skin so much better. Definitely repurchasing once I finish the other creams I have in rotation.

So there you have it, a pretty lengthy post because of all the empty stuff I've accumulated. Now off to dispose these containers...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Benefit Bathina Take a Picture Body Balm Review and Swatches

 Let me just add my hot weather rant to yours: this humidity is killing me. It's so hard to get the motivation to get out of the house, especially when you don't really need to. Anyhow, now that skin season is here, I thought I'd share a product that might come handy to some of you: Benefit's Bathina Take a Picture it Lasts Longer Body Balm. Whew!

Simply put, it's a cream highlighter especially intended for the body. The color is fairly similar to Benefit's Girl Meets Pearl-- pink with gold shimmer. It's supposed to give your skin a luxurious sheen. Does it? Continue reading below.
Benefit Bathina (P1600/1.5 oz.) is a pretty solid balm with a cloth puff for buffing into the skin. As you can see, the tin has a charming vintage vibe. This product is not at all new, (although it has been revamped a couple of years ago) but so far, most of the reviews that I have read about this product were written by bloggers colder climates than ours. I wanted to see for myself how it would fare in humid Manila.

The back of the packaging says: 
Gorgeous legs & arms when you dare to go bare. This irresistible golden-pink balm glides on sheer, glimmering body finish. So go ahead, take a picture... it lasts longer...

To apply: For glimmering results, apply evenly with velvet puff. To accentuate the glow, buff in a circular motion.

The product has a baby lotion-y scent which is noticeable for an hour or so. If you're like me who wears perfume on a daily basis, pick a complimentary scent to avoid clashing. It does not feel heavy or sticky as long as you don't touch the areas where you put it on. But if you make the mistake of wearing it on a very humid day, it can feel uncomfortable. Today I put some on my arms but just wiped it off ten minutes later. Too bad because it looks pretty nice too.

Sorry but no pictures of what it looked like on my arms-- I was running late as it was. But here's a swatch to show you:
The circled portion shows you where Benefit Bathina was applied. Can you see the sheen?

Bare hand
Hand applied with Benefit Bathina
Can you see the difference? Note that in the bare hand photo, my arm is held horizontally so the natural light makes a sort-of 'bloom' effect. In the hand swatch, my hand gleams even though it's directly facing the lens.

A lot of reviews (including Temptalia!) complained that Bathina is just too subtle. That was my first impression too, but I realized that you really had to swipe the balm a bit more generously to see the effect. Even then, it's not full-on shine but a lit-from-within glow. It's quite beautiful and subtle; in the right light you can even fool people into thinking that you just have gorgeous skin.

But... (of course there's one) but unfortunately, the effect will only last an hour or so before you have to reapply again. Plus, there's the humidity factor. You know the feeling when you wear a very rich lotion or body butter in the summer? That's exactly what you will get. Plus it does not have any SPF.

So the pros:
  • Cute tin
  • Pretty effect
  • Easy to apply
And the cons:
  • Expensive
  • Can feel heavy for summer
  • Not long lasting
  • Scented
I would say that this is not a must-have but a nice-to-have. Before I finally got Benefit Bathina I tried to look for similar products but found none.

Do you think you're going to be getting Benefit Bathina anytime soon? Do you already have it? What do you think?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fanny Serrano Lipstick in Peri Sherry vs MAC Cosmo Review and Swatches

Not all of my lipsticks have to be worth more than a thousand bucks, you know.

I have a fairly reasonable lipstick collection. Enough to have some good selections for a variety of looks but not so extensive that I could pull various intensity of shades and finishes. This is not such a problem because I like mixing lip products to create different effects (I have an amazing combo that will let you get three popular MAC colors from just one lipstick. When I'm not so lazy I will take photos and show you. But don't hold your breath because in case you're not in on the secret yet, me not being lazy or legitimately busy occupies a very narrow window of opportunity.)

Anyhow, most of my lipsticks are from (surprise!) MAC. A couple are from Guerlain, and Revlon. And I have one from FS (Fanny Serrano) which I will share with you today. I cull my collection regularly, and as my aunts and cousins will attest, I'm ruthless about culling be it shoes or clothes or makeup. If they're not earrning their space in my closet or train case, they have to be evicted and re-placed. They always find willing homes though: I have a lot of cousins.

Anyhow, the above blather is meant to show you that this inexpensive lipstick holds its own against some great contenders in my collection:
Fanny Serrano Moisturific Lipstick in Peri Sherry (P300/4g)

I'm not sure but I think it's being touted as a dupe for MAC Twig. I don't have Twig myself but I do have MAC Cosmo and Peri Sherry is pinker than Twig so they may just be right about the dupe thing. Here's Peri Sherry and Cosmo side by side:
That's Peri Sherry on the left, Cosmo on the right. As you can see, the FS bullet is a bit thicker than the MAC one.
And here's arm swatches of the two:
MAC Cosmo below, FS Peri Sherry above
I don't really buy intentionally buy lipstick dupes myself not because I'm a snob but because I feel like I have already earned the right to some good products. You see, when makeup junkies get older, we tend to be less forgiving of products that don't perform or feel as good as they should. Plus, I think I already mentioned that I'm a WAHM and I don't get/need to wear makeup everyday. On the infrequent days that I do, I look for a good experience.

And that's what I get from this lipstick: beautiful color, great pigmentation, smooth texture, semi-glossy finish and pretty decent staying power. I would even go so far as claim that it feels like a MAC Amplified to me.

Peri Sherry

Peri Sherry
Peri Sherry arm swatch

  • not drying
  • comfortable to wear
  • great pigmentation
  • decent staying power
  • sturdy packaging
  • inexpensive
  • proudly Filipino made
  • the printing on the packaging and the bottom sticker ruins what could be an elegant look. 

You couldn't see the printing in the picture above because I turned it over but MOISTURIFIC LIPSTICK is printed right on the sides of the lipstick cap. If you look closely, you may be able to see an M right above the  cut. As for the bottom sticker, have a looksie:

Too bad, because the metallic blue packaging really got my fancy. Maybe one of these days the packaging could get a tweaking. Maybe they could just eliminate the bullet printing and refine the bottom sticker fonts to up the ante. But that's just me nitpicking.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lipstain in Darling: Review, Lip Swatches

I've been wanting to get one of these since last year when they first launched but since I was going through a MAC lipstick obsession at the same time, I just overlooked getting one. Until one day, I realized that I didn't even own a single lip stain.I'm really not so much into makeup shopping nowadays because I have so much that I won't be needing to buy anything for a couple of years but the rave reviews really drew me in. Plus, there was some Paypal balance that was just burning a hole through my (electronic) wallet and the Bon Marche shop in Multiply was offering a deal that was just too good to resist: P350 instead of the regular retail price of P575 at the local malls.

Anyhow, I ended up with the shade Darling. I wanted a lip stain that will look absolutely natural, for those occasions when lipsticks or lipgloss would be trying too hard. I also needed something that won't likely fade easily. From the many reviews online, this product was what I needed:

The product doesn't quite reach down the end of the tube but  it has a harder consistency than lipsticks so you won't wear it down as quickly.

Here it is, fully extended. Just the other day, Bea of The Dalaga Project wrote a suggestive 'chubby' post that just keeps coming back to my mind when I see the image above *insert leery smile here*.

Here are some lip swatches; I know that's why you're here. First, my boring bare lips for reference:

Then with a few layers of Darling (you really have to layer the lighter shades like Darling because this product is sheer)

Told you it's sheer. The balminess should stay on the lips for an hour or two, just like your average sheer lipstick. That is, unless you're like me who just can't leave her lipstick alone and must keeping rubbing her lips together when there's nothing better to do.

The color for me not that phenomenal.It rather reminds me of my Guerlain Rose Barbare except that the latter just looks more luxurious on the lips. However, I did say that I bought this product for the stain; after letting it sit on my lips for a few minutes, I would wipe it off to get this:

I know that there's still some left on the half of my lips. The point of the shot above is to show you that the stain left behind is really different from the color of the balm. I love the color of the stain better, but there have been some complaints about the color shifts. As for me, I'm perfectly fine with what I get, although the picture below showing my stained lips may seem to be too subtle for some. However, remember that I needed an effect that can just pass off as something I was born with and this it it:

The effect is my-lips-but-healthier. This product is lightweight and comfortable to wear and as you can see, it didn't dry my lips. Darling now permanently resides in my handbag. With swimming trips and overnight vacations, my tube of Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lipstain is going to be working earning its keep in the next few months.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who wants to be a Sampleroom partner blogger?

Drats, drats, drats!

It's no secret to my family and friends that I love Sampleroom. I got most of them to join this awesome website for free and I regularly stalk it when I should be working :) I even blogged about it here and here. I just visited their blog and saw that this month, they are expanding their blogger's circle to include 24 more!

(You have probably already figured out by now that if you click on the images on my posts you can see them bigger.)

Unfortunately, I can't present this site even for consideration because this blog is not even a year old. Oh well. This is a pretty awesome opportunity though; and if you qualify, then lucky you. For more information, follow this link.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kikaymom Find: Makeup City in Tsimshatsui, Hongkong

One of the reasons why I wasn't able to blog much last month was because I took a week off to fulfill one of the things I said I will do before I got too old. This:
I finally got to go to Disneyland! And even better was that I got to share the experience with a fellow Mickey Mouse die-hard, whom I lovingly (and sometimes ironically) call the Wonder Boy. And as for Hongkong, well, the place is really a haven for beauty product junkies because they have beauty shops every few steps. Everywhere you turn, there's a Sasa, or a Bonjour, or a Watson's. The distribution of these shops were so crazy, it's not unusual to find them placed right across the street from each other.
But the great find that I'm talking about is none of these, but a shop called The Makeup City right in Cameron Street, Tsimshatsui.
It's that shop with the orange signs featuring Chinese writing. Ok, so here's where I slack up as a blogger: I don't have any pictures of the shop from inside (really sorry about that, truly) but this is the go-to place for authentic designer perfumes and makeup. They stock brands like Guerlain, Armani, and almost everything that you could think of.

It's not a fancy place, but their perfume inventory is impressive. The best part? You can buy your favorite scents for as much as 50% less than retail. Let me reiterate that these are authentic, department-store quality perfumes, and no knock-offs are allowed.

Towards the back of the store, they also carry some random cosmetic items. I only discovered this on our last day there when I had already spent my shopping budget elsewhere. I'm telling you this really bummed me out because I saw limited edition MAC lippies selling for roughly the equivalent of P800; there were a couple of Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks that were tagged for only P1300.

Rouge Gs.
Selling for much less than the local price tag of P2500. You bet I was hurting.

We did get to buy some cool stuff from Makeup City though. Here's a small but pretty decent haul:

As you can see, it's mostly perfume. There are three bottles of Liz Arden Green Tea in there because it's crazy cheap in Hongkong for some reason. A 100 ml bottle is only about P650, and you know that it sells for about P1300-1500 locally. The cK one, is virtually free, because the price for that AND the Bvlgari is just equal to the local price for the latter. The hologrammed box is actually a violet-colored primer that I bought on an impulse at Bonjour, which I regretted when I found that it was heavily scented. I regretted it even more when I realized that for the same price ($168HK) I could have gotten a Guerlain lippie instead. Oh well.

See that pretty violet bottle? That's Covet Pink Bouquet by Sarah Jessica Parker, and if I'm not mistaken it's been discontinued already. Funny story about that: I don't usually go for celebrity fragrances but I just gotta have this one despite the many bottles that I still have to go through in my cabinet. I got the original Covet for a gift and I loved the scent so much that it got me curious enough to try the Pink Bouquet flanker when I saw it in Makeup City on the same day we arrived in HK. They smell different, actually. The flanker is more fruity floral than the original. I really tried to stop myself from buying it, for real. Not like the times when I say I'm not going to buy it but deep inside I knew I would anyway.

Except that whenever I was in the store (I was there like three times, on different days because I was helping buy perfume pasalubongs) I gravitated to it. I would spritz some on a paper swatch and just keep sniffing. Finally gave in (I swear I really didn't mean to) on our last day. This is the first bottle of perfume that I have ever bought; I'm lucky enough to be gifted so much perfume that I have a collection without any expense on my part so that's saying something about Pink Bouquet.

As I was telling fellow blogger Maica before the trip, I was on the lookout for some smudge-proof eye pencils that I could use for tightlining. I heard that Japanese brands were cheaper in HK, and we all know that the Japanese know what they are doing when it comes to makeup. I didn't manage to buy any though, because I was literally overwhelmed by the number of choices (and because it hurts my head to do math when I needed to convert HK dollars to pesos). I also realized that I would rather read some reviews first before buying anything. (The violet-colored primer purchase came at a moment of weakness: I was hungry, I was in a hurry, and I didn't know what I wanted to buy.)

So, if ever you're in HK looking to score some high-end makeup bargains, you now know where to look  :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

I am Sampleroom's January Commenter of the Month! Awesome, right?

It's no secret that I love Sample room. In fact, since I blogged about all the wonderful products that I got to try here, I have continued to grab more.

One night, when I was checking my email, I came upon a message from Sampleroom entitled January Commenter of the Month winner. I only opened it out of idle curiosity to see who the lucky gal was when to my surprise, it was not a standard newsletter at all but a message asking me to confirm my shipping address. It took me a few moments to fully comprehend that I won!

I was surprised (and delighted) to have been picked because I don't like commenting just for the sake of having posted a comment. If you'll notice, a lot of bloggers who run a Commenter of the Month contest are mostly about increasing their daily traffic which is why they include the number of comments as a criterion. But I have only posted one (maybe two?) comments on the Sampleroom blog and they did make good on their promise to base their decision based on the quality -- not the quantity-- of the comments.

Ok, so long story short, my prize was delivered straight to my door, and boy, is it great! Here's what it contained:

I got Ahava samples (the very same ones I grabbed with my own account a month ago, which is awesome because I loved both), a tub of Davines hair masque, a 7-day Yves Rocher Hydra vegetal pack containing a cleanser, toner and moisturizer, and full-size ones of the ff: Leyende Clean Slate cleanser; Moringa-02 toner, lotion and bath soap; and my very own squishy pink Sample room throw pillow. With the exception of the Ahava All-in-One toner, Ahava Hand Cream, and Moringa-O2 lotion, all other goodies have not been offered to regular Sampleroom subscribers which is why I'm feeling very special indeed. Lol

My favorite of this bunch? The Moringa-O2 products which smell exactly like my favorite daily scent: Elizabeth Arden Green Tea. I am going to be layering this so I can smell fresh and light all day long  :)

If you want to know more about this contest, see their blog post here.

If you were curious and want to see my winning comment, see it here -- obviously, my username is thekikaymom

Have you joined Sampleroom's Commenter of the Month contest yet?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everyday Simple Look

I'm a work-at-home mom so I don't really wear makeup on a daily basis. However, there are times when I do have to step out of the house for some errands and sadly, the absolutely bare-faced look doesn't work so well for me. (Ha!) The fact that I need at least five products to look natural is a running joke I share with my teenaged cousins. All I say is that in a few more years, they would too get to where I am and when that time comes I'll be laughing and gloating *insert evil laugh*

For those of you in the same 30-something boat, here's a shot of the products I use for my everyday simple look

So we have a pressed powder by Garnier,, NYX Above and Beyond Concealer, Maybelline Collosal mascara, MAC Pink Swoon, Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, and Avon Simply Pretty lip balm. The three tools you see there are the Ellana angled kabuki brush, the ELF stippling brush and a cute animal print powder puff I bought from Suesh.

So here are my thoughts on this daily go-tos:
Garnier pressed powder - it's pressed so it's easy to use, no mess. I like applying it with the Suesh animal print puff rather than use the standard powder puff that it came with, because that one doesn't hold up to weekly washing. As a plus, this powder has SPF 15, not really enough to rely on for good sun protection but better than nothing, I guess.

NYX concealer - Since I've been following a fairly decent skincare regimen complimented with my Clarisonic, my skin is the best it has ever been! I can now get away with no foundation, just concealer for the undereyes and around the nose where redness is.

Maybelline Collosal mascara - I know that Maybelline created the Magnum version for Asian lashes but Collosal works better for me because I have a slight natural curl and decent volume. I would say that this is my HG but then again, I haven't really used that many mascaras so I don't know if there is something better. My only rant is that the Collosal version is not that easy to find locally.

MAC Pink Swoon blush - I just prefer pink blush over peach and MAC blushes are fairly decent. Pink Swoon is matte, so no glitters and all the better for everyday.

Benefit Girl Meets Pearl highlighter - I bought this because of AskMeWhats and I love it! I stock up on the deluxe sizes whenever I find them just because they are more travel-friendly and less fussy than the original packaging.

Avon Simply Pretty lip balm - I try to wear lip balm when I'm not wearing lipstick and I guess it works because I have smooth lips.

Ellana Angled kabuki brush for buffing in powder and ELF stippling brush for the blush. These are pretty much the brushes that I always leave out on my vanity and when I'm not doing eye makeup or contouring, I don't need anything else.

How about you, what products do you use everyday? Do share!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reader Question: Can I use a stippling brush with loose mineral foundation?

First of all, I would really like to thank you lovely readers, who for some reason or another, happen to land in my blog. I am not the best when it comes to blog promotion and networking and despite spending several hours a day bloghopping through my favorite beauty sites, I just somehow don't find the time to reach out as much as I want.
So anyhow, in my review for Ellana loose mineral foundation fellow blogger Dinna left this comment:

Hi, have you tried applying your Ellana foundation with a stippling brush? French Vanilla is also my recent purchase and I've been thinking of buying a stippling brush for mineral makeup application, but I've been dilly-dallying about buying the brush 'cause most YouTube vids and blogs I've come across with mostly use the stippling brush for liquid or cream foundation. Can you share me your thoughts? Thanks! Your blog and reviews are really nice, btw. :)


I actually started replying to this comment and what I intended to be just a few sentences turned into a few paragraphs before I realized that I may as well create a new post about it. That way, I can give a more comprehensive answer.

So in response to the lovely Dinna's question, here goes:

Hi, Dinna! Thanks for the compliment. So the deal with stippling brushes is that the duofiber has thinner bristles at the tip, which lets you apply products lightly. You can actually use stippling brushes for powders too, especially when your intention is to avoid using too much-- for example, when you don't want to go overboard with applying a very pigmented blush or bronzer. This YouTube gurus love using it with liquids and creams-- liquids and creams tend to have heavy formulations and a stippling brush is perfect for applying just a thin layer so you get an airbrush finish (well, depending on how good your technique is).

Now with mineral foundation, you really have to pack it on in order to get the coverage and a stippling brush is not the best tool for that, unless you are going for a barely-there look.I do use a stippling brush with my Ellana foundation, but only if I'm already wearing a full-coverage BB cream underneath. That's because I only need to use a little powder to mattify since I'm getting the coverage from another product. Using the stippling brush actually helps me avoid caking. When I use a stippling brush with French vanilla, I get very minimal coverage-- yung parang biglaang retouch ng face powder ang peg, if you know what I mean. You won't be able to build the product up enough for the foundation to do its intended job. Flat top brushes are still my best bet for mineral foundation.

A stippling brush is still a great investment anyway. You are bound to get a lot of uses, so if you have the budget one of these days, get one too, even if it's just an inexpensive one from elf (only P250, if I'm not mistaken).

Hope this helps, Dinna! Feel free to drop by anytime.

Your die-hard flat top brush fan,
The Kikay Mom

Friday, January 18, 2013

I won an Avon bra!

First of all, forgive the seemingly overacting excitement. It's just that I never win anything. Or if I do, somehow the Universe conspires to prevent me from claiming my prize. You wouldn't believe how many times I held an "almost' winning raffle ticket in my sad, sweaty, frustrated hands. It often happens that the winning number is just one count off from my number.
Then, just a few minutes ago, I receive this:
When the maid handed it to me, I was surprised because I knew that the packages that I was expecting from online shopping have already arrived yesterday. When I opened it and saw what was inside, I knew that I had won Avon Philippines' contest where they give away an amazing 35 bras DAILY until the end of January. This is to celebrate their 35 years in business.
It was so easy to join too-- just have five friends like their page (lucky for me, I already have five friends who like their page anyway, so no more need to invite anyone else to do so), then fill out the info sheet so that they will know your bra size and the address where they can ship your prize in the event that you should win. And I have to say, I was impressed by their promptness. I belatedly checked the winner's list and just saw now that my name was drawn as a winner for January 18-- which was just yesterday.
The cool part? They did not even need to notify me that I won. The first thing I knew about it was when the prize arrived at my door.
I wonder if this is a portent of things to come... Is the tide of my luck finally changing??? LOL
Why not try your luck too?

P.S: This is by no means a sponsored post or an advertorial. I'm just a happy gal who felt the need to blog about this because I really and truly just never have any luck with raffles and draws  :)

Oh, and good morning to you too! Off to fit my new Avon bra,
The Kikay Mom

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NOTW: Orly Snowcone

About fifteen years ago, baby blue nail polish was so cool. Of course, being the rebel that I am, I refused to wear it then. It's not that I didn't like the color-- I just didn't want to be like everybody else.

Of course, these swatches of Orly Snowcone do show that I do love baby blue nails.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lush Holiday 2012 Haul at 50% Off

Are you a fellow Lushie? If so, then you may already know that Lush is holding their annual post-holiday sale. The sale includes only those limited edition goodies which they roll out towards the end of the year, so year-round bestsellers like the It's Raining Men shower gel and Karma soap is sadly still selling at full retail prices. On the other hand, their yearly holiday collection does include some awesome products like the Snow Fairy shower gel (my fave!) and the Snowcake soap, among others.

Last December, I have been very good and only bought one 250g bottle of the Snow Fairy, telling myself that I will pick up the rest of my wishlist when it goes on sale. And as a reward, I got to save myself quite a few pesos. Let me share with you my small haul:
The Snowcake soap just came in two blocks. Since this is a rather creamy bar, using individual smaller slices helps it last longer compared to wetting the entire chunk. You can have it sliced like that at the store, but I enjoy doing it myself because it's like cutting butter  :)
I got the 500g bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel (the biggest size), a pot of Popcorn lip scrub, and two chunks of Snowcake soap. I actually called ahead and reserved two bottles of Snow Fairy but upon checking the labels and seeing that the entire batch of Snow Fairies expire by Feb 2013, I only bought one. The regular prices versus the discount is as follows:

Snow Fairy shower gel: P945.00 at 50% = P472.50
Snowcake soap, 185g: P453.25 at 50% = P227
Popcorn Lip Scrub 25g: P495.00 at 50% off = P247.50

The total bill should have cost P1,893.25, but because of the sale I only paid P946.63 after taxes. Yay! That's like getting the lip scrub and the solid soap for free.

This chunk weighs a little under 100 grams.

The Lush sale runs from January 10 to 31. The salespeople at Lush Trinoma are always lovely, and they would gladly answer inquiries or even reserve certain items for you if you call them at 9153016. They also have other branches at SM The Block, Shangri-la, Megamall, etc. They will soon open in Robinson's Magnolia too, so watch out for that.

I wish I could link you to the Lush Philippines website or Facebook page but sadly, both seem to have been neglected for quite some time now. You can head on over to Lush.com to see the list of products for reference. Local Lush stores also carry complimentary printed copies of The Lush Times, which contain their complete products and prices list.

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