Best VOUCHER Ever!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

          You read that right, this is a review of the BEST voucher I purchased in 2011. Let me start off by saying I love Ensogo. This company has never failed me since the day I started buying their vouchers in 2010. At first I thought it was too good to be true, that vouchers will never be patronized in the Philippines. Knowing that we Pinoys don't easily trust advertisements or purchase products online without seeing them, I predicted that companies like Ensogo won't last in the market. But I was proven wrong, dead wrong. Vouchers have sprawled over the internet in the past year and is now the most talked about and supported form of advertisement in the country. This is why other companies that offer discount vouchers have sprung from everywhere. So much for that, now I want to get to the heart of this entry, my BEST voucher purchase in 2011, an Ensogo cash voucher for quality imported makeup from Tamera online for Php 399 valued at Php 1,000.

          I feel like Ensogo really makes sure that they offer coupons that are worth their clients' money. Imagine getting 60% off your favorite items that are not even distributed locally.

Shimmer Strips
(Php 443.56)
Perfecting Mineral Concentrate
(Php 620.99)

          In my case, I got Physicians Formula shimmer strips for brown eyes and perfecting mineral concentrate in translucent light. I paid the sum of Php 489 (Php 399 for the voucher plus Php 90 shipment fee) instead of the regular price of Php 1,154.55!

          I am so impressed at the endless possibilities that the shimmer strips can offer. It comes in 9 different shades but are actually grouped together in trios. The top 3 colors comprise of the "Natural" shades, next are the "Playful" strips and the bottom 3 are the "Dramatic" colors. This palette gives you more shades to experiment on so you're really getting your money's worth. It can be applied wet for a dramatic look or dry for a softer result. Again, this allows you to get different looks in just one palette. It comes with an angled sponge applicator which I surprisingly adore since I swear by using makeup brushes when applying eye makeup. The quality is nothing short of amazing. The colors are so rich that only a few gentle strokes are needed to get enough product on the sponge applicator. The texture is equally great and easily blends with your skin. It also gives off just the right amount of shimmer to make your eyes glow. The color stays on decently and doesn't crease the entire time. Had I known this product earlier, it would have won best eye makeup in my recent blog of current favorites.

          If you read my entry of current favorites, you'd know I didn't include foundation as one of the categories. It's because I have never encountered a foundation in any form, may it be liquid, powder or cream, that fits and compliments my face. Well now I do! It's like a dream come true to have finally found the right one after years of failed search and experimentations. My ultimate favorite foundation is Physicians Formula perfecting mineral concentrate. I've read about this product on makeup reviews in different websites and I have to admit they weren't at all pleasant. A lot of the reviews said that the "click pen applicator" as well as the micro kabuki brush were complete disasters and the product itself was a major failure. These reviews have led me to believe that this product wasn't worth trying. But as I was choosing which items to avail using my Ensogo voucher, I found it difficult to decide what else to get aside from the shimmer strips. I ended up buying the perfecting mineral concentrate, hoping it wouldn't be as bad as what others claim.

          When I first used this a couple of days ago, I discovered two important things. First is that, one of the critics' claims is true. The "click pen applicator" and the brush are horrible. They don't give you the "perfect dose flow-through system" that the package says. Instead, it gives you the dilemma of figuring out how to dispense and apply the product properly. I once shook it too hard that it dispensed so much I had to return the excess in the container. Also, the brush is so small that it looks more like an eye makeup brush than a foundation brush. But the nightmare ends there. The 2nd thing I found out is that this product is an amazing foundation that truly delivers its claims of having maximum coverage. It's a very fine formula that blends effortlessly and sets a natural matte finish with a hint of shimmer. It feels so light on your skin and it doesn't cake or crease. It's non greasy and long wearing that the formula stays in place throughout the day. Over all, this product is a very good foundation for me though this may not hold true for others. I will continue using this everyday and will buy more of them for future use. I highly recommend you to look beyond the flaws of the package and give this product a try. Who knows, you might be as surprised as I am when I tried it and found out it works for me.

          Needles to say that this voucher was a great buy not only because of the 60% off but also because the items I purchased using it were equally great. I would also like to commend Ensogo for delivering the best discounted vouchers from reputable establishments like YSA where I had my diamond peel sessions, Time Depot where I got my Solus watch and Tamera online for my Physicians Formula products. Tamera online also deserves 2 thumbs up for their excellent service and high quality products. Shipment was fast and items were delivered in very good condition.

          As a voucher addict, I still urge you to be careful in choosing the promos you want to avail. Think twice even thrice before you decide on purchasing a voucher. Stick to what you need and what you know. In my case, I needed facial treatment when I first purchased a voucher. Fortunately it was offered by an establishment I already knew (YSA Skin Care Center) so as expected, I was pretty much satisfied with it. This gave me confidence in purchasing more vouchers even from establishments I haven't heard of or promos given by other companies aside from Ensogo. As I said before in a previous blog, some vouchers do suck, so always keep your guard up and don't be blinded by big discounts. Again, stick to what you really need and what you already know. It doesn't hurt to be cautious sometimes.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

         2011 is done and I have to review my skin care and make up products since I've accumulated more than I can actually use. This sort of thing usually happens every year because I love trying new things and unfortunately forget other products when new lines or better versions come along. So I decided to look up every stashed product I own and I'm quite surprised at how many of them I still have but forgot since they have been pushed to the farther end of my storage space to give way to my current favorites. I have yet to decide on which ones I will try using again. I have to really go through them so no product gets wasted.Well anyway, I'll be writing a separate blog about them but right now I feel like sharing the products I've been using a lot lately and are actually my current favorites.

FACIAL WASH: Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser 
          I can't believe it took me years to finally give this product a try. I've heard a lot of good things about it but I shied away from trying it since I had a good cleanser working for me. I finally gave in this year and I am very pleased at how this product seem to prevent my skin from breaking out. I've been using this for a while now hence the nearly empty bottle. Of course I started using this with the Clarisonic Mia but even so, I still think that it works well on my skin.

(YSA Skin Care Clinic)
          I cannot even begin to explain how I truly LOVE this product. I had a bad case of acne in my freshman year in college and this amazing product has saved me then and still does until now. The term lotion might be a little confusing but this is actually in a clear liquid form like a toner or an astringent. It doesn't have a certain scent and it feels quite refreshing on your face. I've also used this for several times to prevent and treat pimples. Just soak a small piece of cotton with this then leave them on the pimple overnight and you will be surprised the next day with a smaller and less inflamed pimple. It works so well that some of them are totally gone in the morning.

MOISTURIZING SERUM: OLAY Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-ageing Serum
          This serum has revolutionized the modern approach to skin care. I've used this since it was first launched and never missed a day applying it. It feels a little oily on your skin for a few seconds after application but as it gets absorbed it leaves your skin very supple, moisturized and not at all greasy. With continuous use you will see a big difference on your skin's texture. In terms of reducing fine lines, I can't say for sure that this product has that effect on me since I started using this in my mid 20's and I wasn't at all that conscious in monitoring the fine lines on my face. Though I can say that now in my 30's, I can appreciate fine lines especially around my eyes but they don't bother me at all which I guess is a good sign.

SUNBLOCK: OLAY Total Effects Day Cream, Normal with SPF 15
          Again Olay bags this category. The non greasy feel with just the right amount of moisture that this product offers is simply amazing. It gives your skin an instant glow with a dewy finish. Other benefits range from UV protection, anti-ageing and skin whitening.

(The Body Shop, Trinoma)
          I wasn't a fan of concealers way back because I didn't know how to really work them on my face and I can't seem to make them blend with my skin. I felt like there were blotches of the product on my face. So instead of concealing the imperfections I was making them more noticeable which was a bad thing. Though I've seen others who swear by concealers, I for one haven't really found the right one for me until I got this product. This has the most manageable texture I have ever tried and the color really matches my skin. Another good thing about it is that it has tea tree which is good for pimples so it works both as a concealer and pimple treatment. It visibly reduces redness and imperfections. Although I still have trouble blending it on my under eye area, I still favor this one over the others.

(The Body Shop, Trinoma)
          This product has been my ultimate favorite since it was introduced. The colors are very wearable and the texture is so unique that you only need a few strokes to really get them on your brush. Staying power is equally good and they only give off a reasonable amount of shimmer so it can be used for everyday look. The lighter colors can be used for highlighting as well.

(Beauty Bar)
          I love powder blushes like my Physicians Formula happy booster in blush and L'oreal true match super-blendable blush in neutral but recently I've been reaching for my Smashbox O-glow cheek stain. It looks like a translucent paste but can be easily applied on the cheeks giving them just a hint of blush that looks natural, dewy and fresh.

LIP BALM: MAYBELLINE Baby lips, Anti-oxidant Berry
Maybelline Babylips lip balm I was so impressed by the formulation that I use it everyday. It feels light on your lips and keep them moisturized without the sticky feeling. It's best used to prime your lips before application of any lipstick.

TINTED LIP BALM: REVLON Lip Butters, Cherry Tart
(SM North)
          These are the best tinted lip balms I've ever tried. They glide smoothly on nude unconditioned lips and give you just the right amount of color that's more sheer than a lipstick and less sticky than a lip balm. They come in a wide variety of shades that will truly match your every mood. I love this product so much that I wrote a separate blog about this just recently.

LIPSTICK: MAC Amplified Lipstick in Double Shot
(Duty Free)
          I was never a fan of lipsticks simply because I feel like my lips weren't cut out for it. I have creased lips (I swear I've never seen on anyone else) that any lipstick would look awful on them especially the creamy ones. It was only after I realized I can use them over lip gloss or lip balm that lipsticks became an essential to my everyday look. I love MAC Amplified lipstick in double shot. It has a rich creamy finish that glides on smoothly. I can't really describe the shade but it looks like a lighter shade of brown, almost like a neutral shade but less sheer.

FACE POWDER: CLINIQUE Derma White Brightening Loose Powder
          This product has won me over since the first time I saw and bought it at a Clinique booth in Trinoma. I remember having second thoughts about getting it beacuse I was quite overwhelmed by the price but after trying it on my face I knew why they had to charge quite an amount for just a face powder. The quality of this product is something I have never seen before in other brands. It feels light and soft on your face. It has a sheer and translucent coverage and it immediately brightens your complexion with just the right amount of shimmer. What's really unique and amazing about this is that the powders are water-encapsulated and release a cool, soothing sensation on application. The technology behind Clinique derma white loose powder plus the quality and quantity (20 grams) make this product stand out from the rest. I really do need to mention that I have been using this everyday since I purchased it in 2011 and I haven't even consumed much, probably just 1/4 of the container since a little goes a long way.

          Well, that concludes my "Current Favorites" which is basically the products that I use everyday and are at the top of my list. I was tempted to include runners up but that would only make this entry longer. You may have noticed I didn't include foundation to my list. This is because I don't use any for my everyday look. I only get to wear foundation during special occasions done by make up artists. I have yet to master the art of blending foundation with my skin in the future.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

     Finally, a review of my current favorite cleansing system, the Clarisonic Mia. This product was given by my boyfriend a year ago but  I wasn't able to use it as often as I wanted to.  I had break outs then and was afraid this system might worsen my pimples so I just kept it for a while and postponed making a review. It was only recently that I used the Clarisonic Mia daily. After a few days of religiously using it, the Clarisonic Mia  has become an indispensable tool in my skin care routine. 

     The good thing about this system is it's simple enough to be used by anyone yet it gives an outcome comparable to the benefits of having facial cleaning done in a skin clinic. All you have to do is attach the brush head in one rotating motion, apply a small amount of any facial cleanser on your face or directly on the bristles, push the power button on and use on your face in circular strokes. The device automatically turns off after a minute. The user manual suggests to cleanse the forehead for approximately 20 seconds, 10 seconds on each cheek and 20 seconds on the nose and chin. 

     I've been using the sensitive brush which is a little softer than the regular one. It feels good to have the bristles touch your face without applying much pressure since doing so can impede the motion of the brush making it less effective. The circular motion when using the Clarisonic coupled with the rapidly rotating brush head give the feeling of an invigorating facial massage. After a minute, your skin feels clean and well pampered. The best thing I notice after each use is the absence of visible dirt in the pores of my nose. You don't always get that from just washing your face with your bare hands even if you  use a deep cleansing facial wash or scrub. This way, you don't end up manipulating your pores by squeezing the dirt out of them, at least that's what I usually do. What I also love about the Clarisonic Mia is it gives you the same result regardless of what brand of facial wash you use. I've used Olay, Neutrogena, The Body Shop, L'oreal and St. Ive's with the Clarisonic Mia and the results were satisfying.

L-Sensitive brush (white); R-Normal brush (gray)

     The Clarisonic Mia comes with a trial size gentle hydro cleanser, a pouch, charger, a regular and a sensitive brush head. It has a power button in front and a battery indicator on the back. It magnetically attaches to the charger and can be used for 3 days after being fully charged.

     Some of you might think that using a device just to clean your face everyday may take up time and a little effort. I know this 'cause I've thought of that myself in the beginning. But getting the best result each and every single time compensates for the "extra work". This might not totally replace your usual visits to skin clinics but it will surely lessen the need to get professional facial cleaning done.

After much thought, here are the pros and cons of using the Clarisonic Mia.
*Cleanses your face thoroughly without leaving visible dirt on your pores.
*Leaves your skin feeling softer, smoother and more invigorated.
*It can be used with any facial cleansing wash.
*Prepares the skin for better absorption of moisturizers, anti-aging or whitening products.
*Gentle enough to use up to twice a day
*The size makes it travel friendly so you can use it at home or take it with you during travel.
*It comes with a universal charger so you don't have to worry about replacing the batteries.
*Comes with an additional brush head so you won't have to buy a spare brush right away.

*It is quite expensive, the price ranges from $119 for the regular Mia to $129 for the limited edition.
*Additional expense on replacing the brush over time.

     Overall, the benefits you get from using the Clarisonic Mia outweigh the disadvantages. I will continue using this and I do recommend this to those who are willing to spend a little extra to maintain a beautiful and healthy skin.


REVLON: ColorBurst Lip Butters

Friday, January 13, 2012

     After a few months of waiting, the most talked about product in youtube and various blogs has finally arrived in Manila, the Revlon colorburst lip butters. 

     I've been looking for these since I watched Miss Emily Eddington's review on her youtube channel last November 2011. Knowing full well that not all products released in the U.S. are available here in Manila, I didn't keep my hopes up until yesterday when I came across a facebook page claiming they're already available in SM Mall of Asia. I reviewed the swatches online and listed 4 of the colors that appealed to me namely Peach Parfait, Berry Smoothie, Sweet Tart and Red Velvet. This morning, I went to SM North Edsa and bought two since I couldn't make up my mind between the shades Red Velvet and Cherry Tart. Sounds crazy but try choosing from their array of lovely colors and I bet you'll buy more than one. 

L-Red Velvet; R-Cherry Tart

L-Red Velvet; R-Cherry Tart

     My lips tend to dry easily and I can't do without applying lip balm before any other colored lip product may it be lipstick or lip stain. But since most of the reviews I saw said that this product is so moisturizing it can be used alone, I tried applying them without priming my lips and I have to say BRAVO to Revlon for coming up with this innovation. I have tried overly moisturized lipsticks and tinted lip balms that can be used in the same manner, but so far nothing comes close to these lip butters. They glide more easily, feel softer and give off a more sheer color than a lipstick but definitely more pigmented than a tinted lip gloss or lip balm. It's sort of a cross between the two, like a sheer lipstick with the texture of a gloss but not as sticky. What I also love about them is that they have many wearable shades for morena skin like Creme Brulee, Sugar Plum and another shade I can't remember but resembles Burt's Bees tinted lip balm in Fig. 

     In choosing a color, I suggest you to really try them on your lips because the shade that they give off is more sheer than the color of the actual product and the sample color printed at the bottom of each stick. Red Velvet appears to be dark red but when applied looked a shade or two lighter. It's not too glossy, gives just the right amount of moisture and has no shimmer. Cherry Tart also looks more sheer than the color of the actual stick but it has more moisture and shimmer than Red Velvet.



     They come in full size and are packaged beautifully like lipsticks which for me is also a plus factor. They cost around $7 to $8 at different outlets in the U.S. and though I got mine for Php 525 ($12), I still think that I got my money's worth. Needless to say that I am pretty much impressed by Revlon colorburst lip butters. I will be using them in the next months or until a better lip product comes along. I also recommend them to those who are looking for a lip product that gives you total satisfaction at a reasonable cost.

YSA.. You're Simply Amazing!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

     My college friends could all attest to the fact that I had a bad case of acne during sophomore year. I used to have break outs in high school and would just use a drug store astringent and they were gone in just a few days without leaving scars. But in college, my pimples got way out of hand. They were appearing in crops and the usual astringent didn't work at all.
     Months passed and my entire face was covered with new and healing pimples. Needless to say that I felt so hopeless and insecure since everybody was noticing how my face has collected quite an amount of scars, bumps and red marks.
    My savior was my mom's friend who took me to Dr. Isabel Lopez-Nazal's clinic in Ortigas. I was scheduled for acne surgery which sort of scared me at first not knowing how that went. I later found out it was just a facial cleaning procedure, the usual facial we know today. But it wasn't at all a walk in the park. The procedure was so painful for me since my pimples were everywhere. It got a little more tolerable in time though.
     I was scheduled to have facial cleaning every 2 weeks which I really dreaded because of the pain and the results afterwards. Don't get me wrong, the final result was close to a miracle but the first few procedures shocked me. I came out with a swollen face and it looked as if I had more pimples than before (I swear!).
     Aside from the facial cleaning, I was also given the task to religiously apply several products on my face day and night. Then after a few weeks my face started to clear up. It was indeed a miracle. From then on I've used the same products as of today.
     After that ordeal with pimples, I've had a few bad years in med school and residency training when I had break outs almost similar but not quite as severe as my first in college. Good thing Dr. Nazal already had several branches back then in Q.C., particularly in Fairview (YSA Skin Care Center) where I usually went for treatment until it closed a few years ago. Just yesterday, I had a facial and diamond peel at their Congressional Avenue branch and I have to say that their service still gives me that wonderful feeling of satisfaction. I've been loyal to YSA for more than ten years now and I have seen/experienced how they evolved and kept up with modern times. 
     Recently, with the advent of different skin care products in the market, I haven't been too faithful with YSA products. I strayed away from using them and substituted a few popular and expensive brands only to find out I'll be going back to my original regimen in the end.

What I learned so far about dealing with pimples are quite simple but easily overlooked:

*First is NEVER touch your face without cleaning your hands. Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap before doing your daily skin care routine like applying a toner or moisturizer. In the middle of the day, if you need to touch up on your make up, simply use a wet tissue or sanitizer to clean your hands before you do.

**Second is don't be taken by promises of overly popularized skin care products. But I have to admit guilty on this one. I have been using other products though I made sure I tried them on my jawline first for a few days before using them on my entire face. So far, what works for me are Olay, The Body Shop and L'oreal products.

***Third is never miss a facial. Because no matter how deep cleansers claim they can really clean your face to the core, nothing beats a good old manual cleaning at least every 2 to 3 months.

****Finally, when you're dealing with pimples and are not successful treating them on your own, don't play doctor! Get help, 'cause the longer you wait, the bigger the problem gets. If I didn't seek help within the year I started breaking out, the treatment process would've been longer, hence more painful and way more expensive.

     The things I've learned and deemed important to maintain a healthy skin may not be the same with you. There is no SINGLE effective treatment for everyone. What works for me may not be that effective for you. In the end, you have to find out what works best for your skin and if in doubt, get help. Seek consult and leave the problems to an expert. That's why we have them in the first place.

* I'm currently using YSA's Post Acne lotion and Whitening Solution, Olay  total effects day cream spf 15 and total effects serum.
* Other products that work well with YSA products are Olay Regenerist line, The Body Shop Tea Tree line and L'oreal Dermagenesis line (replaced by a new line I haven't tried).