Skincare (Almost) Empties from 2017

It’s been more than a year since I got acquainted with the 10-step craze in skin care. It started last December 2016 when a saleslady encouraged me to buy a foam wash and a mud pack from Nature Republic. Since then, I’ve researched, read reviews, watched vlogs, and helped friends build their own regimen.

In this post, I will share with you the products I’ve been using in the past year and how it worked (or didn’t work) for me.

Banila Co Clean it Zero 

This is one of the first product I got when I found out that “double-cleansing” is the heart of Korean skincare. I even demoed it via vlog. I’m using a new oil cleanser now and I can say that I still like this one better. I like how the sherbet can easily be washed off, taking with it makeup and dirt. It truly deserves all the accolade. If you’re ready to spend more, and try a new oil-based cleanser, I recommend this one. Tip: use it even if you didn’t wear makeup.

Benton Aloe BHA skin toner

I bought this toner because of its key ingredients–aloe and snail mucin. Both have hydrating properties which I was excited to feel and see on my skin. There’s a slight astringent scent to it, but it really does moisturize! I pump 4 times unto my palms to apply on my face and neck. Instead of making my skin absorb serum better, this prep step feels like an added moisturizing effect.

Innisfree Green Tea Seed serum

I got this one during a promo sale at an Innisfree branch in Singapore. The mystery box included a foam wash, and sample-sized sleeping packs. I even got a balancing kit and a free mask sheet because of their promos! I’m considering to buy this one again because I love how my skin now feels plumper and healthier. Though other products may have contributed, I think this serum has a major effect.

Innisfree Green Tea cleansing foam

This is one of the freebies that I got to consistently use. There’s a slight squeaky clean feel after I use this…which is bad because that means so much has been stripped from my face, including the natural protective oil it produces. Or maybe I’m using too much? Still not repurchasing though.

Nature Republic Bamboo & Charcoal mud pack

I love the tightening and cool sensation whenever I use this. It makes my skin feel smoother after washing. This mud pack perfect for nights you just want to relax and watch a movie at home. It dries like a cement, but don’t wait too long to wash it off so it won’t completely suck the moisture out of your skin.

QuickFX Eyelift Cream

I’ve tried QuickFX’s pimple eraser before which worked on every zit I had then. When another skincare advocate, Ate Maika, shared that she uses this eye cream, I had to try it. It’s also good that it costs less than P100. This is the second pack I’ve used since. Lines under my eyes have faded after consistent use day and night. Might repurchase if I don’t find any another eye cream with better reviews.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

This one is a gamechanger! My skins feels hydrated after applying, and it doesn’t leave a white cast that sunscreens usually do! I reapply during lunch time not just to protect my face from the harsh heat, but also to feel that deep cool on my skin. I’ve bought another tube and it’s almost empty as well!

With all that product for a year… This is how my skin is now:


Big pores, pimple marks, slight bumps on forehead and chin–so many skin issues to target.

A year ago, (see how my skin looked last year). I expected my skin to look waaaay better than how it looks today. Way, way better. I’ve spent so much on skincare that sometimes I wish I spent more on travel instead. I’m still waiting for the ROI. But looking back, I realize that the process of it all–the research, the use, and the wait (for results)–is teaching me something more.

I am learning that what you do now, however small, has an impact in the longterm. My tiny habits like double-cleansing, and exfoliating has evolved into having and making space to take care of myself. When I started, I didn’t know the difference of using oil-based cleansers vs. the water-based ones. Now, ladies would ask me what products I recommend for specific skin problems.

We live in a world that values results. Yes, it’s important. Most of the time, that’s our main goal. But when your heart is set on seeing results, you may overlook the value of the process. Don’t go after perfect results. That’s a never-ending pursuit that will only end with restlessness. Learn to enjoy the process and celebrate progress. Get others to take the journey with you. And help them find their way.

Who knew something that seemed superficial to me before would teach me so much in the long run? How about you? What are the things you didn’t expect to learn from? What can you glean from your current situation?


s h e e t  m a s k s

The first time I tried sheet masks was when my friend Airah gave me some for my birthday (June) last year (2016). I only got to try it two months after I received it which resulted to this snap:

It’s really the funnest part of any beauty routine. After this first try, I would always go to the face/beauty section at department stores and pharmacies to check out the masks they have. Every time we go to malls, I would visit The Face Shop or Nature Republic to make sure I always have stock at home. You can say that I got “lulong” 😂 I even tried the animal masks I found at Watsons. (See snap below)

Haha! See what I did there?? After all that trial and (some) error, sheet masks have become a staple in my skincare. It has also become therapeutic for me, and you can also see how much fun I’m making out of doing it. But what are they really for?

SokoGlam shares that sheet masks are the soul of Korean skin care. Infused with concentrated essence, sheet masks adhere to your skin to target various skin concerns—from dryness to pigmentation, you name it, there’s a sheet mask for you.

So here, I’ll be sharing some of the ones I’ve tried (so far).

The Face Shop

What I love most about The Face Shop is they have buy-five-take-five promos (making it at PhP30 per sheet) that let me try every variant that I think is relevant for my beauty routine goals. My favorite from their Real Nature line is the Mung Bean one. The first time I tried it really felt refreshing and there’s a cool sensation on my skin that feels like the essence is really being absorbed. Another fave is Kelp. After using it, it felt as if I just washed my face in a cool spring. The Rice and Acai Berry are the ones I didn’t like as much, mostly because of the scent and the hot sensation when I use them.


Whenever we go out of the country, I also check out the beauty stores there to see what masks they have. I got this one from our Singapore trip last April.

I love anything that I can use as a container for my “kuringkudings” so I was really excited when I saw this 16SGD 5-pc. mask set. I felt that my face was extra oily at that time, so I chose this green tea mattifying variant. The packaging is so cute! I think its curved shape really helps concentrate the essence on the mask. Their sheet has a texture that’s supposed to lock in more of the essence but it’s a bit rougher than the usual sheet mask texture. It also has a very perfume-y scent that I’m not a big fan of.

Etude House

Their sheet is the thinnest out of all the brands I’ve tried and I love it!! It’s so light, true to its name—Air Therapy Air Mask! I’ve only tried one variant (the lemon for its brightening effect) but I will definitely go back for the others. It’s also just PhP78!

Dr. Jart+

This one is sooooo thick! It’s like I put on a shirt for my face, but it felt surprisingly more relaxing. And the essence delivered visible results! I tried it on while I had a big pimple on my cheek, the next day it looked smaller and with less redness. This one is on the pricier side though. I bought this in a beauty retailer in Hong Kong for 165HKD.


You know how there’s so much excess essence in every pack? You can still use that for your next routine! Just take all the essence out of the pack, put it on a zip-lock bag, take a few cotton pads, then seal it in. You can even use the excess to moisturize your neck or heels!

At the end of the day…

Important P.S. Taking care of yourself isn’t necessarily being vain or self-centered. God has blessed you with beauty, all your quirks and flaws included. So as good stewards, we must cultivate what He gave so that in the end we can bring back the glory that belongs to Him. Yes, skincare routines are fun, but taking care of what’s within, what’s in your heart is still more important. May God’s beauty always, always shine brighter than your dewy, glowing skin.

L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

m a k e u p

My journey into the big world of beauty only started last year. I got ushered in when I took the Makeup Techniques short course at SoFA Design Institute. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to join the class. I’ve never really seen makeup as something I’d like to learn. Yes, I appreciate beauty editorials in magazines, and I’ve watched makeup artists do their magic during shoots; but I’ve never thought of doing something like that. So if you told me a year ago that I would, in fact, DO something like that, I would laugh and shrug it off.

I enrolled for that class thinking why not? I’ve never done it before and trying wouldn’t hurt. I can treat it as learning another creative skill. This time, the face will be my new canvas.

Those thoughts eventually made way for a shift in perspective. From seeing makeup as a showcase of vanity, I now see that it can also be a form of creative expression. From seeing it as superficial to being a way of caring for yourself. I learned that makeup isn’t all about the glamour. It’s not just about looking good to feel good. I even used to look at putting stuff on your face as tampering on the “natural” beauty that God gave. Now I see it as a means of being a good steward of what He created.

sir bobby
My MUA mentor, Bobby Carlos

That’s not all. Through the class, I got to learn from one of the best in the industry, Bobby Carlos. He always encouraged us that we can never be like him when it comes to being a makeup artist; because we can always be better. With his passion for the art and teaching, learning became fun and exciting. I also met people from different backgrounds—an immigration officer, a microbiologist, a nursing student, and many others—who have the same passion for makeup. I gained new friends and I got to work with people who excel in their craft (shoutout to Neeca Duncil and Wilmark Jolindon). My character was stretched especially when it comes to interacting with people. The journey wasn’t easy, but I’m so grateful I tried.

My homeworks from top left: contouring, eyeshadows, glam looks, fashion runway, wedding, wing tips, no-brows, high brows, makeup for black and white photos, and avant garde

That try led to the creation of this book.


This is my makeup manifesto. I remixed an original poem by Bunny Ty called Some Women. The poem was part of my thesis during my 4th year in college. It still surprises me how my battle cry against makeup changed.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can really bring you into a whole new realm of intimidating and amazing. But that step can also be God’s cue to start orchestrating the unimaginable in your life. And it all starts with trying AND trusting. Try without knowing lies ahead. But trust that the try will result to something—something wonderful, something you’ll learn from, something worth telling over and over. Nothing is wasted with God.

battle scars

May we always have the courage to try and trust, and to always believe the Maker of all good things can create something beautiful out of us.


s k i n c a r e #1

My priorities in spending have changed. From spending so much on art materials, I am now splurging on skincare products. I’m a changed woman. Haha. But!! It’s not as impulsive as buying a 12 x 18″ rubber and a set of chisels (na inaalikabok na sa shelf sa kwarto ngayon huhu) because I do my research before selecting what to buy. So here’s what I learned plus my first-impression reviews on my recent BeautyMNL haul.

Our skin is our largest organ. It gets exposed to a lot of things—sun, smoke, dust, etc. Acne starts when pores get clogged with too much sebum and dead skin cells. So it’s important to remove all the dirt our skin gets exposed to. Using Bioré’s cleansing oil is a good start. It has an apple-y scent that I really like. It becomes milky when you wash it off, making sure that all impurities get washed off with it.

I did a bit of reading on what works best on skin with acne marks (which I have a lot of). I found the 2 key ingredients to look out for when you want to bid bye-bye to blemishes:

First one’s vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, this was our go-to vitamin growing up. Turns out it’s good for you—inside, and out! This ingredient has antioxidant properties that play a vital role in the production and maintenance of collagen (the main structural protein that gives the skin strength and structure). When used on skin, it helps brighten and prevent UV damage.

I wanted to buy Freshly Juiced Vitamin C from Dear Klairs but it’s still out of stock and I already bought Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum (which I will also review in another post haha yes, ang daming aaralin!)

And then there’s snail mucin

Can you imagine putting snail slime on your skin? Read on before turning away in disgust, because it’s an ingredient that packed with all the right nutrients for clearer skin. It contains hyaluronic acid that will keep your skin glowing, and anti-aging properties that help soothe skin, repair damage, and lock in moisture.

Products with snail mucin from my haul:

Mizon Snail Repairing foam cleanser: It has a mild scent and a soft cream-like texture that easily works into a lather. My skin doesn’t feel so tight after using this which is good because it means it’s not stripping off needed moisture.

Mizon All in One snail cream: BeautyMNL said this cream is good for supercharging your skincare routine. It stings a bit on some parts of my face when I apply this. I’m guessing that those areas are a bit problematic.

Wait, did I say 2 ingredients? Because I’m adding this one: aloe vera

Just as the plant is a staple in our lolas’ gardens, this ingredient can be found in almost every type of beauty product—from shampoos to lotions to makeup removers. Its healing properties is good for treating acne marks, and reducing redness and inflammation. My tub of Nature Republic’s aloe vera gel that’s almost empty says a lot on how good this ingredient is.

The only product from my beauty loot with this ingredient is Benton’s Aloe BHA toner: the aloe x BHA combo is perfect for removing dead skin cells without dehydrating the skin. The snail cream that I use after easily gets absorbed, thanks to a few pats from this toner.

Lastly, more than the ingredients or products I mentioned, it’s important to have a better lifestyle for your skin to clear up. Sleep better, eat better, look better!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)

This is my face (with natural lighting from the window) looks like as of April 25, 2017:

My face

I started using the products on April 27, so I will update this post after 2 weeks to see results. See you then!

May 11 edit:

There’s almost no noticeable brightening on my blemishes. I also broke out a few days ago, (most likely because I tried a different toner the days before) hence the big acne spot on my left cheek (see leftmost photo). I’ll keep using the products though! I’m still hopeful! I also added the Innisfree Green Tea Seed serum to my night routine just this week.

Skincare update

Stay tuned for updates!