My Benefit Cosmetic Giveaway!

I’m joining the Benefit giveaway of Clare’s Beauty.ūüôā

Clare's Beauty

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Firstly I just want to thank each and every one of my followers. Especially the people that I now consider friends within this amazing little community we have here! It’s nice to feel apart of something and feel appreciated for what you do. I didn’t realise when I started this blog in May that I would have the reaction I’ve had. It started out as something to do while I was going through a rough time, now it’s something I look forward to doing.

Some of you may know that a couple of weeks ago, I said that when I reached 200 followers that i would do a giveaway. I’ve been racking my brain to try and think of a product that everyone would like… But then I thought, why not let them choose? As benefits is a big brand that everyone loves with amazing quality items, I thought i…

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I’m a Sample Room Fan

2013 is The Year for internet shopping. Filipino consumers have successfully warmed up to the idea of purchasing deals online, beauty products included. I’ve read up on sample-dealing sites like Hong Kong’s Glamabox and Manila’s Glamourbox–Don’t know if that’s a coincidence or an imitation. Anyway, the concept is to send customers curated samples that match their personalized info, so they get products that are most compatible with their skin-, hair-, and body-type.

It’s a good marketing tactic: For a reasonable fee, buyers get to try out sample sizes of premium products instead of having to commit to the full-sized option that may not work for them.¬†I’d like to try it out the local versions sometime, but they always seem to run out of sample boxes. There’s a limited pre-order list!

Another sample-dealing site I discovered in December is Sample Room. It’s genius!¬†While similar to Glamourbox in that it carries premium/newly-launched samples of beauty products, the curating is left to the user. Upon creating an account, an automatic 100 points are given. Those points serve as the “currency” for the samples to be ordered. Each product has a corresponding “price” (e.g. Celeteque Eye Cream for 35 points, Ahava Cleanser for 60 points, etc.), and the user has the option of choosing however many items will fit into the 100-point budget. Once this is done, there is the matter of paying for shipping. (The samples are free, while the shipping is not.) In a couple of days, the products get delivered right at the user’s doorstep. Neat, right?

 

“Try Before You Buy”

 

My first experience with Sample Room was great! I was able to get Celeteque’s regular-sized DermoScience Brightening Eye Tuck plus Dark Cirlces Lightener (retails at PHP299), Celeteque’s regular-sized DermoScience ¬†Restorative Ultra-Lifting Concentrated Serum (retails at PHP899), and Dove’s small bar of soap (retails at PHP25). All for around PHP125. I’m not joking. I had to pay PHP100 for the shipping, as there’s a corresponding delivery rate to the total weights of the products ordered. Then there was PHP20+ service charge that Globe Center charged me for use of their G-Cash payment system. That was it.

 

Sample Room beauty loot

 

Now, here’s the 2nd part of the story: Once the points have been spent, the best way to get them back is by writing reviews for those samples. 1 point is the incentive for writing the review, and the spent points are given back upon approval of what was written. Not a bad price to pay for those items.

It’s a “bloodbath” though. More and more users have been signing up, so samples immediately run out. I guess the only way to get the most products out of the points would be to¬†obsessively¬†check on the site for any new posts. Here’s hoping Sample Room has more samples to give out in future…

Best Makeup Remover by Maybelline

For me, the quest for the best makeup remover is a story of evolution. That is, my habits have morphed over the years into a skincare regimen that I can now be proud of — or at least, be satisfied with. I’ve tried tons of products from cheap to costly, but oftentimes, the best ones don’t have to be expensive. Really, that’s an advocacy of mine. Repeat after me: The best products don’t have to be expensive all the time.

As a teenager, my earliest “makeup remover” was simply soap and water. To this day, I find that any non-exfoliating face wash by Pond’s has similar effects to¬†bareta (laundry detergent bar) on¬†clothes. Hey, I’m not knocking Pond’s! I’m currently using their Pure White face wash because it gets the job done. All I’m saying is that their washes are so sudsy/soapy that light makeup immediately comes off. (But there¬†is¬†some residue left that has to be eliminated with toner and a cotton ball).

When I learned to use waterproof mascara and foundation, the story inevitably changed. Improper eye makeup removal would cause leftover mascara to smudge and feel sticky round the eye area, while the foundation would clog the pores and cause breakouts. I opted for the classical Pond’s Cold Cream or baby oil. While makeup was removed successfully, it did take a lot of effort to ensure a makeup-free face. Especially for waterproof mascara, I had to dab the cold cream on TWICE and wipe off with a few sheets of facial tissue. The main issue at hand was all the rubbing, followed by the icky greasy feeling! Wrinkly, raw, and oily skin made me worry. Even when I got to¬†try out Shu Uemura’s famous cleansing oil, the same rubbing and massaging motions required made me anxious. Was there no product that let makeup¬†easily¬†come off with minimal rubbing and scraping?!

Holy Grail of Makeup Removers

Finally, I bought a bottle of Maybelline’s Makeup Remover (PHP99.00/40mL and PHP199.00/70mL; no idea why it’s more expensive per mL to buy the bigger bottle than to just buy 2 smaller bottles) and it worked like a charm. Shake the bottle to mix the white and blue liquids inside, soak a cotton ball, and press gently onto the eye area for a couple of seconds. I was sold on the fact that it didn’t hurt my eyes AT ALL and the makeup dissolved well onto the cotton ball. You can use it for regular to heavy makeup.¬†What’s more, it required the least amount of rubbing. And while the bottle states that it’s good for Eye & Lip makeup removal, I use it on the eye area as well as all over the rest of my face, though I’ve never tried it on my lips as I don’t want to accidentally get any in my mouth–just my own personal OCD thing.

Funny thing is that Maybelline Philippines hasn’t really highlighted its makeup remover so much. They keep focusing on lipsticks and BB creams, but I honestly think that this product is such a gem to their lineup. Seriously. Try it ¬†and find out for yourself.

Ellana Lip Gloss Review

I haven’t fully gotten into the mineral makeup trend yet, but I am for natural-ingredient cosmetics. I’ve replaced my old lip balms with ones that contain natural oils, and I’m a big fan of¬†argan oil. It helps put my mind at ease, knowing that I’m skipping all the nasty chemicals whenever there’s a chance.

Last week, while I was in SM Megamall’s grocery store (the old one), I stumbled upon the makeshift bazaar just beyond the cashier counters. There was a tiny area devoted to non-food items, and that’s where I found Ellana Mineral Cosmetics.

Because of their reasonable prices and simple packaging, I decided to check their testers out. The lip palettes seem to have a good amount of coverage and are, obviously, convenient to lug around, but I didn’t like the color combinations much. I’d love to try the loose powder next, since I get such a nice, natural look from using that vs. the pressed variety. But that day, I settled on their lip gloss (PHP 150) instead.

The tubes look simple yet classy with their clean packaging (no box) and their gold lids. I definitely prefer that to those over-the-top labeling schemes where you can barely see the actual product inside.

The color I chose is called Snuggle, a vibrant raspberry-magenta with some slight shimmer.

On the tube

When I picked up a tube from the display, I noticed some oily residue leaking from the tube and onto my fingers. The salesperson assured me that the glosses tend to leak naturally, so I should keep the tube upright when possible. She also said that the leaking only happens in the beginning, so I shrugged it off and paid for my gloss.

Color Swatch on the Ellana website

Smeared on my hand, the color looks bright but comes on quite sheer. Personally, I prefer a lip gloss with high pigmentation/thick coverage. I’m talking about the kind that can pass off as an ultra creamy lipstick. But for the “everygirl”, sheer gloss is foolproof for a touch of color to the pout. It’s a no-brainer option and a quick way to alter your look, even if you don’t want to use a lot of makeup.

Almost perfect

However, I do have Cons for this:

First, the leaking never stopped. The tube made a mess whenever it got tilted. Formulation-wise, I’m happy that the gloss isn’t sticky on the mouth. Alas, that same runny factor has caused it to leak from the container and bleed when on the lips. You can’t over apply, or you stand to make a mess. Second, I’m not sure if perhaps the product just isn’t right for me (in Filipino: Hindi hiyang sa akin.), but I’ve been having a reaction to it. My lips get a bit itchy after a couple of minutes. Though I haven’t suffered a bad irritation, the itching has made me wary of using this.

Leaking away

After all the leaking though, what remained was a thickly pigmented paste that more resembled liquid lipstick. The newly concentrated color resulted in this:

A darker magenta color

Um, perhaps the leaking was a bid to improve it?

The Verdict: Personally, maybe the product just isn’t compatible with my skin. I wouldn’t swear off this brand just yet as I want to give mineral cosmetics a chance. Hopefully, my next purchase will yield better results.

Instant Glow Morroco [sic] Argan Oil Review

Morrocan argan oil is now officially a “thing” in Manila. Three months ago, I couldn’t find a bottle for sale in the malls. It was quite frustrating. Now, there’s argan inserted into every other sentence.

My discovery of a product stemmed from my own research on beauty products. I saw Josie Maran’s argan oil line in Sephora and thought to myself, “Wow, premium oil.” Then I went home and read that it was Jenna Dewan’s must-have product and, let’s face it, the girl has insanely gorgeous skin.

Unfortunately, weeks passed and my quest for argan oil in Manila’s big beauty stores were in vain. I eventually found small health/natural beauty boutiques peddling the miracle product for an arm and a leg. But to shell out almost PHP 1,000 for something that would possibly last me 2 weeks?… I don’t think so.

Luckily, I was shopping in Watson’s SM Megamall when a pleasant sales person approached me and got straight to the point. At the mention of PURE argan oil, I knew I wanted to hear the sales pitch.

The lady led me to the Instant display. –Yes, the brand name is “Instant”. It was pretty much the first time I took interest in their products, since the ladies there are usually busy peddling slimming solutions, which I’m terribly skeptical about. She took out ¬†a tester bottle of said oil and dispensed a few drops to the back of my hand.

100mL of “Liquid Gold”

My first reaction was that of apprehension. I’ve tested my fair share of beauty oils intended for either body or face. Most are just greasy, and I end up worrying that they’ll only stain my clothes. This product seemed no different. The second thing I noticed was the pleasant scent. I read reviews ¬†about how natural oils tend to smell nutty and raw, but that wasn’t the case here. Third, and to my surprise, the oil ended up getting absorbed into the skin with minimal greasiness. After a couple of minutes, I was amazed to find that it simply looked and felt like I applied a thin layer of lotion.

For a girl on a budget, PHP1,199 for a 100 mL bottle of Instant Glow Morroco¬†[sic]¬†Argan Oil (or PHP599 for a 30 mL bottle) isn’t an easy decision to make, especially considering that this is just oil we’re talking about. I gave myself 2 weeks to mull it over and canvas for anything more affordable out there.

Well, after much research and comparison to brands like Josie Maran or The Souq, on a per mL basis, the best deal so far was Instant’s 100 mL bottle. (It costs PHP 11.99 per mL, to be exact.) It’s even cheaper than the same brand’s 30 mL bottle, so I finally gave in and bought 100 mL.

I’ve been using it for about 2 months now, and my praise goes to its moisturizing properties. I’ve been hooked on moisturizers since I was 12 (no exaggeration!), and this was the first time I used a product that was not at all greasy! —To think that this is a non-greasy OIL.¬†About 2 weeks in, my mother and aunt started making remarks about my face getting lighter. (Note: Initially, I never told them that I bought and used this product.) When I did happen to mention that I had this oil in my possession, they went to SM and checked out the display.

My beauty-conscious grandma got it as an impulse buy. She used it for a week or two and agreed that her skin did feel much softer after religiously applying it twice a day. My mom and aunt came next, buying 30mL bottles marked 10%-off when Watson’s had a beauty blowout sale.

We’re all on board about the wonders of its moisturizing effects. Jury’s still out on its supposedly miraculous anti-aging properties, but we did notice that some fine lines softened. As for scar lightening, the oil does help fade pimple scars faster, but I’m also big on exfoliation, so that probably had a hand in it as well. If you’re in it to get rid of freckles, then you may be disappointed. Finally, don’t forget to layer sun block on top of this when you leave the house.

Another find would be Body & Face Thairapy (PHP 1,450 for 100 mL) at Rustan’s Department Store, which has the same scent and thickness as Instant Glow.

Overall Rating: Instant Glow Morroco Argan Oil

Moisturization = 9/10

Anti-aging = 7/10

Lightening = 8/10

Eliminating Dark Spots and Freckles = 5/10

Value for Money = 9/10 = At the very least, it’s a damn good moisturizer and a simple, straightforward product.

Update: I got to try the new Naturelle d’Argan Pure Argan Oil Elixir (at around PHP 1,400 for 50mL) at Beauty Bar. Their oil is much more liquid than that of Instant’s and the scent is more raw and comparable to that of cooking olive oil. I’m guessing Instant’s and Body & Face Thairapy’s oils have gone through some sort of deodorization process, while Naturelle d’Argan may be more natural.

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