A couple of months ago Grace asked me to contribute my beauty must-haves in her Divasoria blog. I was cleaning out my desktop and found the original. Here it is again, with some minor additions, in case you missed it. This is a long one. So if you’re not interested in beauty products, please skip this. And do let me know what you think of posts like this. Is it helpful? Do you enjoy it? Or is it a complete waste of time?
For major shoots I work with Christine Duque or Xeng Zulueta. Most of my TV commercials have been with Christine (or Ting). Xeng and I go way back. She used to do my makeup in F, ANCLife and in the early days of Urban Zone. But because all my work for UZ is on location, it’s hard to coordinate schedules with artists, so I just do my own face. I actually really like putting on makeup myself. For events and public appearances I do it myself too. It’s hard to carry professional makeup on your face when there are no studio lights. So I like to keep it natural. Or if there’s time I go to Victor Ortega of Emphasis because he does makeup in a natural way. I actually work with many makeup artists for shoots. Denise Go-Ochoa is also an old favourite.
Salon services are a mix. Emphasis Salon with Victor Ortega, Basement Salon with Joseph Tabile and recently I’ve rediscovered Alex Carbonel of Fix Studio in Greenbelt 5. For big events I get my hair done by fancy blow out with a bit of curl or body. I now refuse to get my hair done up; I find it makes me look old. And because we have black/dark hair, we can never get the same effect of Hollywood updos. Too heavy. I’ve learned that the hard way.
I don’t get my brows waxed or threaded professionally. I don’t like thin, over plucked brows. And I have trust issues with salons. When I’m at shoots, I get bonus brow grooming from Ting and Xeng. But in between I groom it myself with an old-fashioned Tweezerman tweezer. Whenever I’m in Canada I get my brows reshaped by an Indian woman at a salon near my parents’ home. I love the way Indian women arch their brows.
I have a very simple bathing ritual. I use Olay Body Bar ofcourse. If you click on the link, you’ll see my campaign. Olay Philippines website. (Edit: I guess the site is down). I’ve been endorsing Olay for 5 years now and people always ask if I really use Olay. Yes I do. Here’s what my bathroom counter looks like. Sometimes, for variety I switch to Olay Total Effects Body Butter – these have different scents and anti-aging properties. With Olay soaps I find I don’t really need to use lotion anymore. Sometimes I massage a light layer of J&J Light Baby Oil after my shower while I’m still wet. I learned this trick from Angel Aquino. I did this throughout my pregnancies and I’ve kept the habit. It helps lock in moisture. L’Occitane Green Tea Body Milk is good after my evening shower. It leaves a nice light clean scent on the body. When I need to fake a golden glow at shoots, I use Smashbox Body Lights Glowing Lotion. This is my last tube. They don’t make this anymore. The big jar where I keep my soaps in is antique and it belonged to my MIL. A lot of people ask me where I got that. I wouldn’t know where to source that now. You can try kitchen supply stores for huge storage jars that are similar.
My hair regimen isn’tt very exciting. I used to be high maintenance – commercial shampoos would cause me to break out. I was limited to using organic shampoos like Nature’s Gate Tea Tree and Blue Cypress. It’s good for avoiding build up and it would leave a slight tingly effect. But after years of using this I got bored. When I tried the new Pantene, I was so surprised I didn’t break out. So now I use Pantene Total Care. But ever five days I use Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo to make sure there’s no build-up in my scalp. But I also use Kheils Creme with Silk Groom even though I’m paranoid about build up because I have virgin hair – never been rebounded. And it’s not even coloured right now. I have very thick and textured hair. Silk Groom helps tame my hair without weighing it down too much.
For skin care, needless to say, I swear by Olay Total Effects. On a daily basis I use Total Effects with a Touch of Foundation but when it’s too hot I use the one with cooling essence. It really does feel lighter on the skin. At night I use Olay Regenerist Serum lightly all over my face and neck.
Every two weeks I got to Belo Medical Clinic for a facial. This keeps my skin free from buildup and whiteheads. If I have a little breakout I use Chat 2% from Belo, which isn’t available commercially just through prescriptions. I’ve never done any laser treatments at all. Too scared.
I love old lady French perfume. The heavier the scent, the better. But I never dab it around my neck because I’ll make myself dizzy. I just spray a bit on my wrists and on my legs. I usually start the off with a sophisticated heavy scent in the morning. And I never reapply within the day. I don’t like leaving a trail of my own scent. I wear scents for my own pleasure. I don’t want to be obnoxious. I don’t have a problem mixing scents. Usually by late afternoon I spritz a bit of my kids’ baby cologne in the car (Bench baby in Jelly Bean, Chicco or Jacadi). I like my hands to smell like baby cologne. I don’t like the smell of alcogel or mall bathroom soaps.
Burberry Brit. It smells a bit nutty and Oriental. This is my current favourite. Even though it’s heavy, it’s fades nicely in our hot weather. Viktor & Rolf. I find this scent almost similar to Burberry except it has more floral notes and the patchouli lingers long. L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu. I love this scent. It was a gift from Ingrid Go from one of her Paris trips. She made me choose between Timbuktu and another pineapple-like scent which was much lighter. But I chose this – it’heavy and woody. Smells overpowering at first but after an hour it’s so yummy. It actually stays on ’til the next day. Daphne. This is my most precious perfume. There are only 3,000 bottles made by Commes des Garcons. Adora sent it to me as a present. This scent is not subtle at all. It’s very woodsy and spicy – like a combination of different perfumes. It smells different every hour. I wear very little of this at a time. Les Nuit du Hadrien. This is a special bottle, handpainted limited edition I got from Rustan’s. I love this scent – it’s spicy, woodsy and very sensual.
I have a few makeup kits. My main one is in my dresser at home. When I have Urban Zone shoots I bring the red Shu Uemura kit (I just found out that it has been discontinued). It has everything inside. I like doing my own makeup for TV. I can do it inside the car. The black bag is from Muji. It’s smaller so I only keep some essentials here. This bag stays inside my car 24/7. The bronze bag is a freebie from Bobbi Brown. I keep this inside my day bag. But when I find it too heavy and unnecessary I leave it in the car and take Johnsons & Johnsons Oil Control Film in Pink Grapefruit and one lipstick for touch ups.
I get my toes done in Fabio Salsa Rockwell. They know how I like my toes done – semi square, no nipping of cuticles, just pushing. I used to keep my nails with light/natural pink or colourless shades. But now I’m into colour – pinks, dark reds, black. This summer I’m using blues, greens and lavender. I do my own manicure. Salon manicures hurt my fingers. What’s up with cutting the sides of the nails? It’s a recipe for an ingrown and infection!
My own nail lacquers are a mix of high end and drugstore brands. I have a problem spending almost 30 dollars on one bottle of nail lacquer. I only do that as a special treat. Nail colour is something new to me. I used to keep my nails bare (only my toe nails had colour). Liz Uy gasped when she heard me say that. In her words, “I feel naked without nail lacquer.” So now that I’m into this, I enjoy owning a lot of colours. Which means, I can’t spend too much money on them. Besides, there are some really good inexpensive brands – like Face Shop. I use a top coat from Sally Hansen. It dries the lacquer in 30 seconds. I swear!
The Face Shop RD 303, a deep burgundy shade. Poor girl’s Chanel Vamp. Mac Nocturnelle, black without iridescence. I prefer this on my finger nails rather on my toe nails. This was a gift from a 65 year old aunt in Canada. Rimmel London Steel Grey, a pleasant surprise for only $4 Cdn. I got this before Chanel Particuliere became all the rage. I love the brush applicator of Rimmel, it’s flat and wide. Chanel Rose Insolent, the happiest pink nail lacquer. Shu Uemura P927, a peachy pink iridescent colour. I use these on my toes. Perfect for a nearly nude colour. Unfortunately it seems shu uemura has discontinued its nail lacquer collection. Essie Bordeaux, deep wine but for some reason it looks redder on my nails. I rarely go with red nails, but when I do I use this.
For TV shoots I use Shu Uemura Face Architect in both pressed powder and liquid, also La Mer Crème foundation in Honey. I can scrimp on eye shadow and lipstick but not on face powder and foundation. I have yet to find a more economical alternative to these two brands. Lately though I find that I prefer to leave my face bare during TV shoots, so I actually forego foundation and just use MAC Studio Finish concealer under my eyes and a bit of powder to even out my skin tone.
I like using highlighters around my cheek bones and sometimes around my eyes. Guerlain Parure Pearly White Sculpting Highlighter Brush is awesome. It gives a really amazing glow. This is actually a makeup base, but I use it on top of makeup. Guerlain Meteorites Voyage pressed powder. It’s transluscent. I use it as a highlighter sometimes. Or when I’m barefaced, I apply this lightly with a brush.
I prefer lipsticks over lipglosses. I don’t like having sticky lips – my hair gets stuck on my lips and I can’t kiss my kids. I love pink lip colour. I feel it makes me look younger and fresher, haha. I can only pull off nude lips when I have heavy eye colour. My current nude is Smashbox Exquisite. My current pink favourites are (L-R) Estee Lauder Rubellite, which I can’t exactly find online because I think it was a limited edition issue from their Breast Cancer campaign, The Body Shop #55 Pure Blush, very rich consistency and I feel like it moisturizes my lips, and Chanel Rouge Allure Insolente – which leans towards fucshia. My other Chanel lipcolours are Matador, Mademoiselle, Legende and Precious. For times when I want a rich red stain but nothing too opaque, I use CO Bigelow Tinted Lip Balm in Merlot Mint – it feels medicinal and makes lips look wine stained.
I also like using MAC Pigment instead of powder eyeshadow. I feel like a real artist when I blend pigment. I have a few but I end up using Dazzleray and Reflects Gold more often. But as it turns out, upon research I found out that MAC pigment isn’t recommended for use around the eye area. Gasp! You may risk scratching your cornea. Okay, so that’s the end of that. (I still use them though. Gosh, I know my eye doctor Dr. Alnette Tan reads my blog. Ooops.)
The only time I use gloss is when I’m shooting something close up. And when I do I prefer something with shimmer. Right now I’m into Bobbi Brown Rose Sugar 3 and MAC lipglass New Flame. Otherwise, no gloss for me. I can’t kiss my babies.
I’m probably the only one in the industry who hates waterproof mascara. I don’t like how difficult it is to wash off. I have very little lashes left after years of wearing waterproof mascara. I prefer easy-to-remove mascaras like L’Oreal Telescopic Clean – it lengthens really easily, but it’s not a mascara you can reapply over. It has tendency to get dry and hard fast. I love that all you need is soap and water to wash it off and it comes off in flakes, doesn’t smudge. The other mascara I use is Cover Girl Professional Super Thick Lash, it really does make your lashes look thick. And with this you don’t even need eye make up remover. Just water. Kuh Ledesma tipped me off on this one.
Joe Fresh Eyeshadow Trio in Forest, I love this! Only 6 dollars. Joe is a brand created by the original creator of Club Monaco who then introduced Joe Fresh inside Loblaws, a giant chain of supermarkets. I blogged about this a few weeks ago. Victoria Jackson Mystic Eyes, this is so easy to use. Good for every day. No need to blend the multiple hues, I usually just use one colour and spread it across my lids. Mac Cheek & Cheerful Mineralize Blush, this has a nice sparkle. Good for highlighting cheekbones. Guerlain Ombre Eclat Duo Liner in Heuere Bleue, my no-fail product for smokey eyes. I use this for my on-cam work. I find it easier to do a smokey eye than natural/bright eyes. Mac Eye Shadow Haunting, I use this for daily non-occasions. It can be applied with an opaque effect but I like it transluscent, with just a hint of blue. Credit goes to Xeng Zulueta who introduced me to wearing eye colour (as in real colourful colour) during her Shu Uemura days. Shu Uemura (the code is in japanese). This is a great shade to cover the entire eyelid. It makes your eyelids appear dewy and glossy. Bobbi Brown compact, I always have this with me. The problem is it doesn’t have a brush or applicator. So I still have to carry brushes. But the lip colours are great in this palette.
I don’t have links and specific names of these eye pencils (too tedious). Basically, I’m a major user of eye pencils. I can get away with not wearing any eyeshadow and just a bit of eye pencil because my eyes are already pretty strong. I was stuck on black eye pencil but about ten years ago I discovered how lovely dark green and light blue can be. It’s tricky at first, but with practice you’ll know how little you’ll need. I like using a dark pencil on the upper lid and a lighter colour like blues or moss green on the bottom. The three middle pencils above are from MAC. They were a special edition issue. The pencils have shimmer on them. So awesome! I like using them in the outer part of my lower lid and it gives a little sparkle. I used to use Chanel, Estee Lauder and other prestige brands. But lately I’ve learned that drugstore brands also work well – like Maybelline, L’Oreal, Cover Girl.
So that’s all for now. Whew! With all these crazy products, you think I’d look polished everyday. Truth is, I rarely have more than 5 minutes to spare for makeup and grooming. And yes, sometimes I dare go out without a hint of makeup. Like this…
Hope I didn’t scare you. Honestly, before spending gazillions on cosmetics, take care of your skin first. You’ll be amazed at how little you’ll need after.