Nails: Looking for the perfect neutral

One of the most needed tools of someone who uses nail polish is a good and reliable neutral shade – something that’s not loud, something that’s office-appropriate, and something that works. As I am just starting out in the lacquer world, I tried out two inexpensive brands for my neutral candidates.

First up: Caronia’s Touch of Tan. I found this in Shopwise for Php47.

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Caronia is a pretty solid polish brand, and I have no doubts that this will perform well. The brush and formula are both good and serviceable. Let’s move on to the swatch.

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It’s not a bad shade, and it seems to match my skin tone well. Topped with Caronia’s Top Coat, it was initially glossy but after it dried it turned semi-matte for some reason. I have no problems with that, except I would prefer either a full matte or a full glossy.

The second brand I tried is a rather unknown brand, Colour Trends. I found this also in Shopwise, for an almost unbelievable price of just Php20! It’s not as small as the other Php20 brand I previously featured (Sassy) and I deemed it cheap enough to buy three or four bottles of it (different shades). Unfortunately the brand seems to have only numbers to denote their shades. The one I used for this neutral test is 117.

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I love the formula of the 117 Colour Trends! It comes on creamy and glides on smoothly. The brush wasn’t remarkable. Here is the swatch:

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Compared to Touch of Tan, 117 is a bit less brown and more yellowish. Topped with the same top coat, it came out glossy. I like this shade more than Touch of Tan, mostly because it stands out a bit more out of my fingers. The fact that it’s fully glossy also adds to this preference. The price is the cream on top. I intend to find more bottles of this!

To conclude this post, I think I found two serviceable neutrals. I do like 117 better, but Touch of Tan still has a place in my collection.

Unboxing the Dec-Jan BDJBox

It’s been a long time coming, but finally the December-January BDJBox is here! According to their twitter account, there has been some delay in the processing of their boxes that is not of their doing. As they have been very forthcoming with information about the delay, I don’t really mind it. It’s just been hard to keep the excitement in check! They decided to call this the Dec-Jan box, because I assume this is supposed to have been sent as the December box, but was shipped out in January.

Now on to the unboxing!

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The box of course is the same as my November BDJ box. The nice surprise of this package is the included BDJ Forget-Me-Not Ideas Journal, which is a good-quality notepad with dotted lines instead of the usual solid lines. This notepad is the BDJ team’s way of apologizing for the delay of the December box, which was a pretty nice touch and much appreciated. I would definitely be able to use this for work.

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Upon opening the box, the usual welcome card will greet you. This box’s theme is “Beauty for the Better”. A set of five stickers is also included, each saying “I am beautiful in my own way.” It’s a pretty nice and empowering reminder, and I am definitely putting this next to my november sticker. The box itself holds an enticing bunch of products that I can’t wait to try. As a quick aside, this box feels a little less packed than the november box.

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Full size – 250ml – Php259 (erratum on welcome card)

The first product that will leap out at you is this big bottle of Pantene Pro-V All Day Smooth Miracle Water. It’s obviously full sized. It’s supposed to be similar to a leave-on conditioner wherein you apply this after your bath, and you leave the product on afterwards. I took a quick sniff and was pleased to find a nice scent. I am definitely looking forward to giving this a shot.

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Full size – Php349

The next two items had me tickled. They are both from a brand called Flormar, which the welcome card says is a Turkish brand. This first one is Flormar Longwearing Lipstick, and it’s in a nice shade of delicious pink! I’m very glad they gave me a pink shade, as I’m more likely to go around with pink lips than with red ones. One of the bloggers I follow, Yette, received a red shade.

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Full size – Php99

The second product from Flormar is this Supershine Nail Enamel. A nail polish! I get a nice lipstick, and a nail polish from the same brand! It looks like an appropriate shade of pinkish-red polish that I can wear to the office too. I am already liking this box a lot. Just a side note again, Yette received a blue polish.

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Full size – Php149

I got a second lip product in this box in the form of Snoe Beauty Beso Balm. I’ve always wanted to try out the Snoe brand since I seem to see a lot of raves for it. What perfect timing! It also has very humorous warning for use: “Prolonged use may attract opposite gender and cause intense flirting.” I took an experimental sniff, and immediately liked the scent – a sort of pepperminty smell. Both this and the Flormar lipstick immediately found their way into my purse.

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Sample size – 150ml – Php628 each in full size

After Php750 worth of full-sized products, we now come to the sample-sized ones. The first one to catch my attention is this Etude House Moistfull Collagen Trial Kit (Emulsion and Freshner). I was quite taken with the review of the Wonder Pore line from Liz of Project Vanity, but was never able to find the opportunity to see for myself. This seems to be a great way to try out a similar product, which also helps tighten pores according to the welcome card. I know it looks like a single pack, but it has two tubes inside it.

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Sample size – 5ml – Php3640 for full size 200ml

Next is a Pevonia Botanica Phyto Gel Cleanser. I’ve heard good things about Pevonia, which is a premium brand judging from the price of the full sized product. Unfortunately I am still in the process of trying out the Shiseido facial cleanser from the november box, so it will probably take some time before I can test out this Pevonia cleanser.

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Sample size – 1.2ml – Php3398 for full size 50ml

Lastly we have a sampler of Britney Spears Radiance Fragrance. To be honest I’m not really a fan of celebrity scents; I couldn’t see the point of it. This is in addition to not being a fan of perfume to start with, so I wasn’t really very thrilled to see this included in the box. The smell coming from the sample tube isn’t that bad though, so I should probably give it a chance.

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Sample size – Php548 for full size 80g

But wait! There’s more! BDJ included bonus samplers (which they also did in the november box actually, but I wasn’t able to mention it in my unboxing). In this case both samplers are from Tony Moly, another Korean beauty brand. This first one is a couple of samples of Tomatox Magic White Massage Pack. I had wanted to see what a “massage pack” is, but the writing at the back of the samplers are in Hangul.

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Sample size – 3g – Php478 for full size 200ml

The second Tony Moly sampler is Broccoli Sprout Cleansing Cream. Unfortunately it’s another facial cleansing cream, and I already have a long line of things to try. It looks pretty interesting though, being broccoli-based. I hope to find time to try this out.

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A BDJ box is incomplete without the generous inclusion of vouchers: 1. L’Oreal X-tenso Moisturist (Php2000 off) and Inoa Hair Color Services (Php1000 off) redeemable at Azta Urban Salons, expires end of Feb; 2. Browhaus Php500 cash voucher; 3. Tony Moly 10% off Skin Care Voucher, expires end of Jan; 4. Etude House 10% off Skin Care Voucher, expires end of Jan. I can see myself using either the Tony Moly or the Etude House vouchers, since I really like playing with Korean beauty products.

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My impressions of the Dec-Jan box: I am happy to see that even though they are running late, BDJ is still able to deliver a kick-ass box. There are no signs of decline in quality of products and brand choice. I’m hoping that this is just a snag caused by the holiday rush, and it’s not going to turn into a habit.

I’m also pleased to feel the degree of personalization in each box, which I am supposing came from the choices I picked in the BDJ quiz. Last month only the Yuka nail polish removers had variations, while this month the Flormar lipstick and nail polish shades vary depending on your choices.

I will definitely buy the succeeding boxes. I am impressed with the team’s choices of products, making me feel that they really put care and thought into the boxes.

Nails: My take on emerald

It’s said that Emerald Green is the Pantone color of 2013. I thought that putting it on my nails is a great way to celebrate it. I found this new brand of polish in Watsons for only Php20, by far the cheapest polish I’ve seen. Let’s see if it’s any good.

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It didn’t exactly have a color name, so I’ll just say it’s emerald green. I used again my Caronia base and top coats.

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I used two coats here. It’s a little streaky, but putting two coats seem to have fixed it. Adding the top coat made it a bit glossier.

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Here’s another view. Not a bad shade of green, I think. As to the Sassy brand of polish, the quality of polish mostly reflects its price. It’s very streaky, and the consistency is a bit runny. The brush is acceptable. The bottle is small. It chipped pretty fast though, even with the Caronia top coat. After only a day it showed signs of wear.

Will I buy Sassy again? Possibly. The price is hard to beat, and I don’t really mind buying cheap stuff especially as I am still on the learning phase.

Review: Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream

I received a 5-ml sample of Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream (what a mouthful!) in my November BDJ Box. Here’s the product from my unboxing article:

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Here’s a shot of the sample tube only:

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The price of the full-sized 50-ml product is Php3100. It’s definitely a premium product (it’s Shiseido!), so I’m quite happy to be able to try out this product.

This is a day cream. I usually put this on after my Celeteque moisturizer (yes I have a separate dedicated moisturizer; can’t have too much moisturizer at my age), which effectively makes it a redundant product except for the happy fact that it has SPF15.

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As you can see, I squirted out a little too much product in this shot. It looks like any day cream, and has a pleasant mild scent. I concentrate applying this product in the areas where I would most likely develop wrinkles: temples and forehead. I also put  more on my cheeks for the SPF effect.

After roughly only three weeks of use, I have to admit I don’t see any big difference with using just the moisturizer. It’s hard to tell, since I’m probably a little too young to use an anti-wrinkle product. On the other hand, maybe in the long run it does resist the development of wrinkles and I just had too short a time to see the effects.

Will I buy? Probably not yet. I plan to start seriously considering anti-aging products when I hit 40.

Review: Digital Traincase

I’ve been hearing a lot about Digital Traincase from various beauty bloggers as a great place to shop for hard-to-find beauty products. They specialize in products not usually released or sold in the Philippines, and they do so at a very fair price. I decided to try it out and catch their promo: buy Php1000 or more worth of products and get a Nyx Matte Lip Cream free.

Image courtesy of Digital Traincase Facebook Page

What I really wanted to get are the following: the much-praised Lucas Papaw ointment and Bioderma Sensibio makeup remover as well as a Swissco glass file (since I’ve started a serious hobby of nail coloring). Unfortunately DT was out of the Bioderma makeup remover at that time. I entered an order of one ointment (Php450) and one glass file (php300), but I only came up to Php750 which was not enough for me to score the free lip cream. I decided to throw in two Nyx eyeliners to round out my purchase and still be eligible for the freebie.

It was my first time trying out the Multiply shopping system. It was not a very difficult process, and I chose an over-the-counter payment option (BPI). Unfortunately as I ordered during the holiday season the lines at BPI were insane and it took me about half an hour to finish paying.

After two or three business days my package arrived. It came in the usual courier envelope, and inside are my orders wrapped tightly in a roll of bubble wrap. I also received the freebie (yay!) wrapped separately in another bubble wrap. Here are my orders:

L to R: Lucas Papaw Ointment, 2 Nyx Eye Pencils, green Swissco glass file
L to R: Lucas Papaw Ointment, 2 Nyx Eye Pencils, green Swissco glass file

And here’s the freebie I received: Nyx Matte Lip Cream

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I aim to do a review on each of those products once I am able to use them thoroughly. Stay tuned!

My New Year nails

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to nail polish!

I wanted to have appropriate nails to welcome 2013 in. These are what I used:

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Caronia Nail Hardener and Base Coat, Chic Nail Color in Blue Velvet, Chic Nail Color in Wish Upon a Star, Caronia Fast Dry Top Coat

Upgraded! I now have a base coat, again from Caronia.

I used the blue Chic nail polish first and checked if it is enough. This is how it looked like with just the blue polish:

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It seemed nice and shiny, but somehow it didn’t look sparkly enough. I added the Chic glitters and here’s what came out:

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Not bad! I like how sparkly it is, just right enough to welcome the new year in!

Have a fruitful and prosperous new year everyone!

Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX

Another product review! I’m on a roll! XD

I got this 20-ml sample from my new best friend, Sample Room. It comes in a nice little blue tub that is probably reusable (great place to store earrings maybe!) once all the product is consumed. The full size of 80-ml is a fair Php 1250, which means this nice little tub costs around Php300 (pardon me, I really like playing around with numbers). Sample Room is really generous!

Check it out:

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It’s a very classy container, and very sturdy. I must have dropped this several times, and I still see no signs of damage. Inside the tub I was surprised to see a blue fluid.

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This fluid is made of magic! It glides on smoothly on the skin, and settles into a very thin mask that you will not feel after a few minutes. A little goes a long way with this, so no need to slather on a thick layer. I felt a slight sensation of tugging after the mask has settled on my face, which I thought was the fluid starting its work on my face. As the name suggests, this should be used at night just before sleeping. Come morning, you’ll feel your facial skin soft and supple.

This product has a scent that is not unpleasant. It reminds me of a combination of powder and some herby balm. I think it actually aids in a more peaceful sleep, as I find myself sleeping better at night with this moisturizer on.

Would I buy this once my sample runs out? I think it is a definite yes.

My Christmas nails

What better way to show my newfound enthusiasm for nails and nail polish than painting my own holiday themed nails! Here’s mine:

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Sparkly! I used a nice girly pink Etude House nail polish for the base and Caronia glitters for the, well, glitters! Topped with Caronia top coat.

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You can see the glitters much better in this picture:

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I like that the top coat is really tough and protects the polish and glitters. It’s been four days since I painted these on, and it’s only just starting to chip at the base.

Merry christmas everyone!

Review: Yuka Nail Polish Remover Wipes

At this late an age, it might seem weird that I’ve only recently started experimenting with nail polish. I used to think that it’s a waste of time and effort (I probably had other things to do at that time), but now I see it as a way to release stress while expressing creativity. This is why it is great to see a nail product in my November BDJ Box. I received a full sized Yuka Nail Polish Remover Wipes, grape-scented. I tried it immediately after I got it, but for this review I waited until I was ready to remove the polish I got from a professional manicure service.

Check out this cute packaging. I am an anime fan, and anything that smacks of it is automatically a plus in my eyes. It’s also in this delicious grape scent that makes me want to taste it. (I didn’t. XD) I also like the fact that this is very reusable. I can see keeping small things (rings, erasers, flash disks) in this after I consume all the wipes.

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Opening the container, you’ll see the 35 wipes all in one stack that is almost the same size as the container. This is unfortunate, because it makes it a little difficult to get only a single sheet. More often than not I end up getting a second sheet when I only wanted one.

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Let me show you my nail polish. I got this done at Pacific Nails in Makati, a pretty nice nail salon. This is the fifth day I’m wearing the polish, and it only just started showing wear and tear. This is the state of my polish before I used the Yuka Wipes.

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I used a wipe on my index nail, using one swipe only. It seems that I have a pretty strong top coat, as it barely dented the polish.

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It took about three or four swipes before I got all the polish off.

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Here’s the polish from my index nail on the wipe.

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I used a total of two and a half wipes to get all the polish off ten nails. I could have used less, but the product dries up fast from the wipes and I didn’t realize it soon enough.

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In conclusion, this seems to be a good product. Php68 for 35 wipes comes to almost 2 pesos per wipe which does seem a bit expensive for a nail polish remover. If you take into consideration the nice recyclable packaging and the convenience of the wipes, I’d say that is a 68 pesos well spent especially if you regularly use nail polish. Just take note that the product evaporates fast, so keep your container closed and work fast with the wipe you’re using.

Review: Calvin Klein Beauty

I’ve been using the Calvin Klein Beauty Eau de Parfum sample ever since I received my first BDJ Box. Here’s the picture of the sample from the unboxing post:

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Here’s a better close up shot of that tiny sample:

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This is a 1.2-ml sample held in a glass tube with a plastic spray nozzle. It has no cover, therefore it’s very prone to accidentally dispensing product if not stored securely inside a bag. Its full size of 100ml costs a little under Php 5k.

Prior to trying out CK Beauty, I’ve been mostly using body sprays from Victoria Secret. I’m quite used to 2-3 sprays of product at a time, since body sprays are very diluted and the scents are not that strong. CK Beauty, though, is a much more concentrated scent. One spray from the bottle is more than enough, and lingers for a longer time compared to body sprays. It’s a pleasant, fruity scent that’s not offensive (as long as you stay to one spray!).

The cost of the full size bottle is definitely beyond my means. I’m very thankful to have received the sample through BDJ Box so that I could get to try this out.