Remember that era when Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore battled it head to head on MTV/record stores/award shows? Who was your favorite? Mine was Mandy Moore. By far. The least skanky of the four. ‘Coverage’ (2003) is still my favorite Mandy Moore album, where she covered ’70s hits. Classy!
There’s a color palette that I’m loving the past few months. It’s a combination of mauvey purple on the lids (I used Rouge Bunny Rouge ‘Delicate Hummingbird’), with a navy eyeliner (Rouge Bunny Rouge ‘Blue Roan’), bubble gum pink on the cheeks (Illamasqua ‘Androgen’ which translates warmer on my yellow tones) and peachy beige lips (Edward Bess ‘Forbidden Flower’, as close as can get as my HG nude beige color). It’s a fun color palette that is still work-appropriate.
It took me YEARS to succumb to the rave that rippled across Asia. Yes, My Beauty Diary marks created a ripple that shook cities, villages, mountains and beaches. Alright I’m exaggerating here, but not much really. There was a time when you couldn’t browse the internet 10 minutes before some review/rave/mask-wearing phantom appeared to sang sonnets about the MBD masks. Really, it was a few YEARS that I ignored the hype. I mean, come on, with a name like My Beauty Diary?? How could it not be something useless with synthetic ingredients targeted at 14-year-olds?! Sometimes even I am amazed at my pigheadedness.
What made me crumble was offer of a discount. What else?! I remember buying my first few sheets, and oh.my. I was hooked. it was sooo good. I remember using the Bird’s Nest mask, and it was such a relaxing experience that resulted in a bright, glowing, plump skin texture that I was like, DAMN!
These masks are made in Taiwan, and boy those Taiwanese really make good products [MBD, DAAI TV, some NYX and other big cosmetic brands' products. Really, Taiwan is such a model for creating wealth out of everyday products. Not bombastic planes! phones! cars! But basic, everyday products which you buy in bulk, make repeat purchases and can't live without. But I digress]. Now, whenever I see these masks, I hoard. They’re not sold in Indonesia yet, but a few hours to the east will get you some (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur), so no biggie. I have dreams though, of personally bowing down at the altar of MBD in Taipei.
Anyway. I don’t really bother to read what the masks are prescribed for anymore, or even their ingredients, and have accepted that they’ve got magic, they are ALL good. I use them indiscriminately, usually as part of an afternoon treatment after a shower, where I put the mask on my face, and drench the left-over liquids all over my body. I leave the mask on at least an hour, while napping or working, and have been known to sleep with them on (they’d be somewhere around my toes in the morning). When I do remember to take them off, I don’t rinse the liquid off my skin, leaving it overnight until my morning facial cleansing time. So essentially, I leave the liquid on for 12 hours or more, which might be the reason I get such good results with these masks.
So how do they compare with masks from other brands? I’ve tried a few, believe me! Tony Moly, The Face Shop, the generic ones from Watson’s or Guardian, the pricey SKII, etc. What MBD does better is consistency. All the masks are consistently good across variants, with great scent and hydration at the heart of it, and a royal splash of the magic liquid that’s enough to coat your whole body. I don’t even bother anymore with other sheet masks from other brands when there’s so many from MBD to choose from (well, except this Garnier one which I’ll post about later).
Here are a few of my MBD favorites. It’s pretty hard to pinpoint to just a few since they’re ALL good. I’ve not used one without smiling and just chuckling happily afterward. But if I MUST choose the top five, these would be my picks.
1. Bird’s Nest. This one really holds a soft spot in my heart, since it was my first and introduced me to the brand. Great job with this one, which will get you hooked as it’s got a pleasant, soft, clean scent, and results in hydrated, plump and just overall bright skin which will last a couple days.
2. Red Wine. This is one really tightens your skin in addition to hydrating it, with a unique red wine-like smell that I find so relaxing.
3. Apple Polyphenol. This one also tightens your skin, and the scent of apple is so energizing and relaxing at the same time.
4. Imperial Bird’s Nest. To be honest, I have no idea how this one is different in terms of ingredients compared with the Bird’s Nest Mask, but it does give similar effects although I feel the brightening effect is less pronounced, and they hydrating impact is more. This is a good one to use after a day out in the sun and/or the water.
5. Royal Jelly. I like this one mainly for the scent, which is a sweet and warm caramel scent. True, it’s not something you’d like to smell all the time, but so fitting when you’ve got a slight craving for something sweet like a Snickers or two. It is hydrating as all MBD masks are, but I haven’t noticed brightening, tightening, etc. To me, using this one is like getting my dose of veggies – honey is like veggies for the skin, you’ll notice the effect after 20 years.
I’m going to spare you the face-with-mask picture. But don’t be like me, at least try these.
And if you have tried them, what are your favorites?
Every time I head to the Philippines, I always try to visit the counter of Filipino skincare brand Human Heart Nature. I love their varied offerings which are both environmentally and budget friendly. Several weeks ago I picked up their Sunflower Beauty Oil, and I’ve been wearing it ever since as a night cream. Let me tell you, I love how it’s easy to use (one swipe over the face after warming it on my palms) and results in glowing, clear and bright my skin is in the morning!
I’m already a fan of oils as part of my skincare regiment (Trilogy’s Rosehip Antioxidant+ and Burt’s Bees Repair Serum are regulars), and I know sunflower seed oil is often an ingredient in skincare and makeup but I’ve never really researched its content. Turns out that sunflower seed oil is a champ at regenerating skin’s barrier functions and contains a high dose of Vitamins A and E – both frequent ingredient is skincare.
In addition to night applications, I’ve also used Human Heart Nature’s Sunflower Oil in my hair to give a little shine, and in dried-out gel eyeliners to make it glide easier. At Php 275 for 100ml (about US$), this is a real gem! Recommended!
I missed MAC’s Ripe Peach Blush Ombre twice before, and almost missed it this time with the Toledo Collection. I did not like the packaging and that made me indecisive. In the end, I decided to just get it.
First the bad news. There is a little bit of film you have to scrape off until you find the ‘real’ stuff. If you don’t scrape it off, you will find that the color payoff is poor. I’ve read online of people scraping off the top layer carefully, but I just don’t have that kind of patience. My way is to scrape with my nail; once there is enough from the scrape for blush, I use it. And continue another bout of scraping the next day. I guess I’m done with the scraping this morning, as my fingers touched down on the g spot: the soft, pigmented blush that is easily picked up with a swipe of a finger.
Now the good news: the color is beautiful. I really like the pink part, a coral on my cheeks. The orange part is also pretty good, I use it almost like a highlighter, layering it on top of the pink on the upper cheekbones. The staying power is also pretty good for MAC blushes; the other day I was wearing it under gusts of rain, and had to walk a kilometer or so due to bad traffic, and in the evening my cheeks still glow from the Ripe Peach flush.
Bottom line? No regrets.
Remember Nars Rotonde from the Pierre Hardy collection a couple of years ago? I was really lusting after it and its sister Boys don’t Cry. But alas, priced at $41 big ones, plus shipping and other fees, it was too much for my budget. One day a couple months ago, I saw Rotonde on Ebay aka my wonderful enabler, for about $35 including shipping. I did not think twice, and now it’s here rounding up my small, but beloved, Nars family.
Rotonde unblemished, with its full on zig zag pattern, is beyoootiful. I’ve managed to use just one side of the blush to retain the gold pattern on half of the palette. On me, Rotonde is a bronze-y orange; it is not the most pretty-fying blush in my arsenal, but the lasting power, blendability and general awesomeness, makes it a loved piece these recent weeks. It’s a great, neutral color paired with bright lipstick or dark smokey eyes.
I’m still keeping my eye out for a reasonably-priced Boys don’t Cry. Fingers crossed!
James Blunt’s ‘Moon Landing’ album has been my jam the past week. It’s filled with catchy, upbeat tunes, slightly different from his two (?) past albums that tug to your heartstrings (well, you can find those too in this album). I especially love Bonfire Heart. Perfect for a weekend road trip!