Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scrub Love

My daughter is in danger of becoming a spa addict.  She's only six, and she loves massages, aromatherapy oil burners and scrubs.

I try to get the most natural and gentlest scrubs for her.  She alternates Ahava Gentle Body Exfoliator and VMV Pampering Peony Skin Softening Supple-Scrubbing Body Smear for her body, depending on her mood.  

Ahava Gentle Body Exfoliator and VMV Pampering Peony Scrub

The Ahava is almost like cream.  The Peony scrub, on the other hand, has bigger granules.

Both products are not harsh on the skin, but very effective.  I'm not really a fan of scrubs, but I enjoy using them.  They leave my skin feeling very soft and smooth.

If you prefer fragrant beauty products, these may not be for you.  They smell clean, just the way I like my toiletries.

My daughter uses Giga Foot Scrub for her feet.

Giga Foot Scrub

It rejuvenates tired feet, and it has an appealing peppermint scent.  I love that it's all natural.

My daughter has to finish off with this after her foot scrub.

This was given by a friend a few years ago.  I don't know what it's called but I know it came from Beauty Bar.  This foot thing feels SOOO GOOD!!!  It relaxes tired feet.  To use just pour liquid soap on it, then rub your foot.

My daughter says if I'm The Vain Mom then she must be The Vain Kid.

I couldn't agree more  =D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Melissa: Plastic Dreams

Do you have sleek high-heels that are so comfortable you can wear them all day and are really sturdy you can walk in the rain with them?

I do =D  Got them from Melissa.

This pair can take me from formal meetings to cocktails.

Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon II

And these can take me from casual to dress-up.

Scarfun in Black and Mermaid in Pearl

Perfect for jeans and dresses.

And if their heels are THAT comfortable, how do I describe their flats?

Ultragirl and Campana Favela

Not to mention pretty  =D

Forgot what the peach pair is called.  Silver pair is Ultragirl.
Their flipflops?  It's comfort plus style.

I can't have enough of them.  I WANT WANT WANT these Jean Paul Gaultier stilletos.

I love that Melissa shoes are eco-friendly.  According to, they're made from "MELFLEX plastic, a patented, hypo-allergenic, recyclable, and extremely flexible PVC. The shoes are totally cruelty free and devoid of animal products. The Brazilian-based company is totally rad in its recycling of 99.9% of factory water and waste, and they also go the distance by recycling overstock styles into next season’s collection." 

I'm lifting a few FAQs from for those of you who 'don't really like plastic':

      • 1)  Are Melissas hot and do they make your feet sweat?
        Only the most comfortable and ‘breathable’ types of PVC are used. As is the case with all shoes, an important factor to consider regarding this question is whether the style being worn is appropriate for the season in which it is being worn. With the open styles, there is no difference between wearing melissa and a normal leather shoe. With the more closed-in styles, melissa ensures that ventilation is incorporated into the design of the shoe. melissa customers frequently wear the more closed-in styles during summer, for example Ultragirl.  ‘melissa Australia’ has NOT had one complaint about melissa being too hot.

      2)  Are they comfortable and do they stretch?

    • They are incredibly comfortable. The most common feedback received relates to how comfortable the shoes are. No one really believes this until they put them on – so get them onto your feet!  melissa does not really stretch – any type of give will be negligible.

      3)  Why do they smell like bubblegum?
      A few years ago, to add to the melissa experience, the decision was made to infuse all melissa shoes with a sweet bubblegum smell.  The smell will not last forever - but it does remain for quite a few months and is one of the most talked about features of melissa.

      4)  How well do they last and how do I look after them?
      They will last very well but obviously this will depend on how well they are looked after.  They can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap.

My daughter who's six gets frustrated she can't buy Melissa shoes in her size.  She wants me to buy her these Melissa Lady Dragon Heart II in purple  =D Vivienne Westwood just came out with Melissa baby shoes, but still no styles/sizes for her age.  I tell my daughter Melissa shoes are so sturdy she just might just be able to wear my shoes when she grows up.  And I'm not kidding =D

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Best Foundation Brush

I use Guerlain Parure Gold liquid foundation on weekdays when I have work, and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer on weekends. 

Some people use their fingers to apply these.  Others prefer to use a sponge.

Me?  I like to brush them on my face.

I've been on a quest for the perfect foundation brush for the longest time.  So here's a review of brushes I actually bought and which I have been using regularly.

My first foundation brush was the regular paddle-shaped synthetic type that is chiseled at the tip.  It's best for liquid foundations and can also be used for cream blushes and skincare cream products.

This foundation brush is from the Suesh 10-pc. brush set.

It's used like a paint brush.  You dip it into the liquid foundation and spread the product in your face using broad, downward strokes.

Use the chiseled tip to blend foundation into hard-to-reach areas such as the nose, hairline and around the lips and mouth.  I use this brush when I'm in a hurry, because foundation can be applied with it FAST.  The only downside is that it leaves streaks on the face, but these are easy to blend with your fingertips.  I also find that pressing the foundation into your face with the palm of your hands after brushing it on helps set the product.

My second brush?

The flat top foundation brush.

According to Suesh, this brush is made from a combination of natural goat hair and synthetic hair for the 'precise application of emollient cream or liquid foundation and cheek color.'  To use just dip the brush in the foundation and spread the product in small circular motions to blend into the skin.

This brush actually applies and blends foundation very well.  The only downside is that you tend to use more product than usual.

I find that it makes the application of  my  VMV Big O'Glow on my cheek really easy.  This product has a very pretty, sheer dewy effect but its sticky consistency makes it difficult and tricky to apply.

I also tried the brush on my cream and powder blushes.  Same verdict.  It blends very well but uses up a lot of the product.

Now let's talk about my third and newest brush.  The stippling brush (similar to the MAC 187 brush) is also made of synthetic and goat hairs and can be used for both powder and liquid makeup.

You don't 'brush' on the foundation with a stippling brush, you STIPPLE it.  And how exactly is this done?  The best demonstration I've seen on the internet is by Koren Zander of EnKoreMakeup.  Watch this video and see for yourself.

What Koren said about this brush having an airbrushed effect on the face while using less foundation than usual are ALL TRUE!

When I stipple my foundation and tinted moisturizer on my face, the coverage is sooo good!

I have one observation though.  You've got to put the foundation on a palette or any flat surface that won't absorb it.  Stippling foundation from the back of your hand is harder because of the uneven surface.  The skin on your hand also absorbs the product which results in wastage.

The stippling brush is a great applicator for my pressed powder.  It distributes the product evenly on my face and I find it easy to use.

My pressed powder actually came with a nice sponge applicator . . .

But I just prefer brushes.  Even when I'm on the go.

I use this retractable travel powder/blush brush.

I chose it over the kabuki because I have a lot of powder brushes, and it's not so wide you can still use it as a blush brush.  Plus it's retractable, so just throw it in your purse.  No need to worry it'll get squashed.


Anyway, let's go back to the stippling brush.  I find that it works very well with my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, which I use for highlighting my cheekbones.

It's also the best brush for my Bobbi Brown pot rouge.  If you use this product you know how tricky it is to apply it.  But the end results are great.  It makes you look dewy and fresh.  I tried using the regular foundation brush with this but it's quite difficult.  So for the longest time I've been using my fingers.  I'm really thankful for the stippling brush. 

It's also great for applying powder blushes.  

Before I used to dip my blush brush into the product and blow or tap the excess off so the blush wouldn't look too concentrated on my face.  With the stippling brush I can apply the blush directly to my face, minus the tapping and blowing.

My friend Ann, who has just learned to appreciate makeup, has a hard time applying blush evenly with the regular blush brush.  But she swears applying powder blush with her stippling brush is a breeze.

I also use it for my MUFE HD powder and my Guerlain Meteorites.

I love the stippling brush so much I got the mini version, also from Suesh.  Here it is with the regular stippling brush, so you'll have an idea of its size.

A closer view.

Which foundation brush is best for me? Obviously I'd go for the stippling brush.  It has the BEST blending ability and it's a multi-tasker, plus it minimizes product wastage.  If you're someone who invests in makeup this is definitely a must buy. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Aromatherapy Oil Burner

I love aromatherapy oil burners for their healing and deodorizing properties, but I don't like using tea lights because they're fire hazards.  

Recently I purchased this electric oil burner for P580 (around $13) from the Giga kiosk in Megamall.

I love that it's so easy to use.

Just fill the dish with water, add 6 to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice, plug and enjoy.

Here are my favorite essential oils and where I use them:

For the bedroom - 6-8 drops lavender or a blend of 3 drops lavender and 3 drops chamomile.  You can also add 3 drops clary sage if you want.  This blend is soothing and calming.  My kids love it.

For the living room - 6-8 drops peppermint or a blend of 3 drops bergamot and 3 drops geranium

For the kitchen - 6-8 drops vanilla or 3 drops orange and 3 drops rosemary

For the bathroom - 6-8 drops orange or a blend of 3 drops tea tree, 2 drops pine and 2 drops lavender

For the garden - 10 drops citronella or lemongrass or a blend of 3 drops citronella, 3 drops lemongrass, 3 drops peppermint and 2 drops lavender.

The oils evaporate when heated, so just add more if you feel like it.

You can make your own blend of essential oils, just be mindful of their properties.

Enjoy  =D

Monday, September 20, 2010

Glam Ponytail

I don't have time to blow-dry my hair everyday, so I just tie it up in a ponytail.  But I love stuff that can transform my ponytail from boring to pretty.  Here are a few of them:

This headband doubles up as a ponytail holder, and I use it over Goody no-slip bands.  My six year old daughter uses it as a necklace to complement her boho-inspired maxi dresses.

This chunky ponytail holder is perfect for jeans and summer dresses.  It can also be used as a bracelet for that beachy feel.

These double combs are great for ponytails, half-ponytails and even french twists.  They have rhinestones and crystals, so they're perfect for the office or for dressier occasions.

All accessories mentioned are from Evita Peroni.  I bought them years ago, and I must say the quality is good, because the pictures above are recent ones.  My one complaint is that when the rhinestone of one of the double combs went off, the Evita Peroni store in Rockwell where I bought it couldn't replace the small piece that was missing.  I just feel that if you're selling hair accessories for P1,750 a pop (or around $38 at the current exchange rate), at least have some good post-purchase service.

A few weeks ago I bought this comb set from Suesh Makeup Toolkit.

I threw away the box, so I couldn't show you.  But all the characters were in Korean.  Sheryll, the owner of Suesh, patiently taught me how to use it.

My friend Sheila purchased these combs but couldn't quite figure it out, so I asked Jason (the pretty guy in white) to help me with the picture demo.

So here's a step by step guide for Sheila and for all of you out there who'd be interested:

First section your hair as shown below.  Then insert the bigger brown comb, longer teeth facing forward, to your hair close to the scalp.

Make sure the comb settles snugly in your hair, right below the sectioned area.

Next pull back the sectioned hair so that the brown comb is completely covered.  The resulting effect should have volume similar to teased hair (like Imelda Marcos' hair but a lot more casual).

Next use the smaller comb to secure the sectioned hair as you would a half-ponytail.  Again make sure it settles snugly in your hair.  This will hold the whole day.

You can leave this as is and wear your hair down.

Or tie it in a ponytail like I usually do, because it's so hot these days.  Notice the volume on top.  Makes your everyday look more interesting. 

Just a little makeup and you're good to go.

No need to put hair products, and the combs hold up all day.

Do you have tips on how to make simple hairstyles more interesting?  I'd love to know.  Please leave a comment or two  =D

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Palette

I LOVE Bobbi Brown!

Need I say more?

But I DO buy other brands  =D  I'll talk about them another time.

Anyway, a few days ago my daughter and I were in Rustan’s Shang and she requested for a ‘makeover’ at the Bobbi Brown counter.  Dennis, as always, was kind enough to indulge her.  

And while he was applying the prettiest shades of pink on her, I saw it . . . the Denim & Rose Collection.

It’s finally in Manila.

The Limited Edition Denim & Rose Palette is packaged in a chic denim zip-up case.  

Bobbi Brown describes this palette as ‘the beauty equivalent of dressed-up denim’ which can take you from day to night.

The colors are all new except for the Navajo eyeshadow which is a creamy pinkish white shade.  I have this in my Pink Raspberry Face Palette.  It’s also being sold as a regular shade in the individual square casing.

The  Navajo and Grey Denim shadows are the usual Bobbi Brown basics, but the Pink Granite Sparkle and the Dark Rinse Shimmer Wash are gorgeous! 

From left to right:  Navajo, Grey Denim, Pink Granite Sparkle and Dark Rinse Shimmer Wash Eye Shadows

The Pink Rose blush is very pretty and goes well with the eyeshadows.

It's actually nice paired with just lip gloss.  I hope they make this a regular shade.

The lip creams and glosses are lovely, especially the Hot Rose Lip Gloss.

From left to right:  Cool Rose Creamy Lip Color, Hot Rose Lip Gloss, Iced Lilac Glitter Lip Gloss, Indie Rose Creamy Lip Color

All in all the palette is a great addition to anyone's makeup collection.  It's got that Bobbi Brown signature wearable basic colors plus her perfect take on shimmer, which is pure glam and not tacky and overdone.  

And, as their website says, 'whether you’re in the mood for flushed cheeks or a sparkling, smoky eye, you’ll have plenty of options for day or night.' 

I absolutely agree.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Natural Insect Repellents

There have been numerous studies that the DEET in insect repellents can be absorbed through the skin and can cause neurological damage.  It can result to seizures and death, and can be especially harmful to children. I stopped buying insect repellents with DEET when I became a mom.  That was six years ago.   From Off Lotion I shifted to this product called 'Quit Bugging Me' by Jason (available at Healthy Options).  Then two years ago I shifted to the locally made natural insect repellents, which were just as effective.  Lately I've been making my own. 

Homemade insect repellents are very easy to make.  I promised some friends I'll share some recipes, so here goes:
  • Recipe 1:  Combine 15 drops each of lemongrass oil, citronella oil, lavender oil and eucalyptus essential oils with 150ml of distilled water.    
  • Recipe 2:  Mix 90ml of distilled water with 12 drops of citronella, 10 drops each of lavender and eucalyptus, and 8 drops of lemongrass essential oils.   
  • Recipe 3:  Combine 20 drops each of peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass and citronella essential oils with 80ml of distilled water  
Easy, right?  Use a clean spray bottle with a fine mist setting.  Please do not use bottles that previously contained products with chemicals such as cleaning agents or hair sprays.  Shake well before using.  This will have a shelf life of about two months. 

You can go natural all the way and use witch hazel or tea tree oil on your insect bites to minimize swelling and infection.  One drop on the affected area will do.  If you want to make your home mosquito-free, here are ways to do it naturally:
  • Add 6-8 drops of citronella oil diluted in water into an oil burner to repel mosquitoes. 
  • Add 10 drops of citronella oil and 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to a bucket of water.  Use this to mop your floors and clean your bathroom tiles and walls.  I use this in our garage and in our garden walls as well.
Please exercise caution when using essential oils if you are pregnant, or if you have a medical condition.

Remember the tea tree oil I bought from Giga in Robinson's Galleria?  It's pure, and P100  for a 15ml bottle is very reasonable.  So I went to Giga Megamall this afternoon and bought some citronella and vanilla essential oils.  I also got an electric oil burner which I'm using right now, as I write.  It's another great purchase, but I'll tell you about that next time.      

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homemade Non-Toxic Cleaning Alternatives

My stock of white distilled vinegar is running out, so the hubby and I drove to Clark yesterday to replenish it.  White distilled vinegar is one of the major ingredients in my homemade cleaning agents.  I go through all the trouble because I'm scared the commercially available ones are too toxic for my kids.  Let me share with you some tried and tested recipes which I have been using in the past three years. These are from the book Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan, which I absolutely love.

Here are the basic ingredients and where to get them:

1)  White distilled vinegar.  I use Four Monks or Bakers & Chefs, which I get from Puregold Duty Free in Clark. I think these are also available at Rustan's Supermarket, but it's more expensive there.

2)  Baking soda.  I use Arm & Hammer, available at most supermarkets.

3)  Essential oils.  I buy these from The Citromint Co., a kiosk near True Value at Shangri-La Mall.    

I also bought Tea Tree oil at a very reasonable price of P100 from the Giga kiosk in Robinson's Galleria just last week.  I have yet to try it though.  

Can I mention Giga's foot scrubs are great?  But I'll talk about them another time.

4)  Liquid soap.  I use Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap, available at Healthy Options.

5) Dishwashing soap.  I use Ivory, available at most supermarkets. 

6)  Borax.  Available at True Value Rockwell. 

7)  Spray bottles.  Available at supermarkets.

Ready?  Here's how to make the alternative cleaners:

Fabric softeners.  Just add 30 to 50 drops of the essential oil of your choice to one gallon of white distilled vinegar.  Personally I like peppermint.  Add a cup to the last rinse when you do your laundry.  Always shake before using.

Did you know that fabric softeners are the most toxic products around?  And so are commercial detergents, bleaches and stain removers, all of which contain chemicals that could cause cancer and brain damage.  The alternative mentioned above is actually cheaper, and very safe for sensitive skin.

Disinfectants.  Combine the following ingredients in a sturdy spray bottle: 16oz. purified water, 3 tablespoons liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint or lavender castille soap) and 30 drops or more of tea tree oil for that natural antiseptic power.  Shake to mix.  I use this on newly-bought groceries, specially on my kids' diaper packs, milk cans and snacks.  I also use this to clean my kids' toys, shelves, doorknobs, countertops, car interiors or just about anything that needs disinfecting.

All-Purpose Cleaners.  In a 16-oz. spray bottle, combine 2 tbsp vinegar with 1 tsp borax, then fill the bottle with very hot purified water.  Shake until the borax is dissolved.  Add 1/4 cup of liquid soap or 1/8 cup of liquid detergent and 10 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice (I use peppermint or lavender).  I use this on kitchen counters and bathroom tiles.  Spray and wipe dry. 

These cleaning alternatives are actually cheaper in the long run, so you make your homes safer and you save money doing it.

Let's go green.