Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garden of Wisdom spree?

I'm planning on ordering some skincare items from Garden of Wisdom (aka my favorite all-natural skincare company), and just want to ask if any other Philippine residents would like to join me?

I think it'd be great to pool orders if you'd only like to try a few items, since the minimum for international shipping is $13- this is a USPS Priority Mail Flat rate envelope with a weight limit of 4 lbs. I've ordered from them 3 or 4 times now, and usually receive my Garden of Wisdom package in around 2 weeks. Their products are affordable and if you're gonna be trying them for the first time, I suggest getting the sample sizes. Those last me months, really.

Garden of Wisdom is one of my fave indie skincare companies ever. I have posted about them in the past but realize that I haven't done any reviews for their products (yet). I'd recommend checking out their forum if you're new to this brand and want to try them.

Let me know if you're interested by leaving a comment or emailing me at :)

P.S. I wanted to share the GoW products that I use in my everyday skincare routine since they work well for me (I have dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin):

Anti Pop Up Blemish Gel - do you have certain areas on your face on which pimples just keep coming back? Like for me, it used to be on my temples and the sides of my face. I apply the Anti Pop Up Blemish Gel on these areas and it keeps the stubborn pimples from coming back in that area. I also put this on existing zits to reduce swelling and redness.

Coconut Cream - works great for me as spot treatment. I dab this on the zits that I get and it helps so well woth drying up the zit and reducing it in size. I've read that Manuka Honey is an alternative and I'd like to try that also.

Banana Hydrating Mist - I spray this on before moisturizer if my face feels dry. Also when I feel like applying mmu wet.

Super Hydrating Gel or Blue Mallow HA Serum I use alternately, my face feels hydrated and smooth after this.

Winter Balm - I use this as night cream. It's emollient and does have a balm-like texture to it, pleasant scent as well. Moisturizes me very well, I think it's great for dry skin.

Eye Majik Cream (waxless) - when I apply this on my undereyes, it leaves the skin there with this tightening and firming sensation that I find really cool 'cause it feels like it's working, hehe. This moisturizes my undereyes well but did nothing for my dark circles. I think the fine lines have been reduced a bit since I started using this, but the changes are not very dramatic.

Heather Blossom Cleanser - I think this is the mildest cleaner I've ever tried, so I really like that. It does not irritate my sensitive skin at all, and it's also non-drying. Removes dirt well, doesn't smell too nice but it doesn't bother me.

Exfo lotion - I don't use this on my face (it's really not for facial use) or use it everyday, but I just wanted to say that this is one amazing product. I use it on my very dry, and recently rough and flaky legs. I use it like a regular lotion and the day after, my legs are peeling, but they don't feel tight or dry. After I scrub my legs in the shower, I slather on my usual rich lotion and my skin feels softer than they have ever felt. I swear, it's amazing!

Ive tried other items but those are the standouts for me. I'm looking to try other stuff and restock on items I've run out of :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aromatherapy and Amu'in, courtesy of Askmewhats

Around a month ago, I won some goodies from That was during the aftermath of typhoon Ketsana/Ondoy, which was quite a depressing period for me, so it was perfect timing to find out that I won a giveaway, since that cheered me up nicely! Nikki of Askmewhats (thank you!)was prompt in sending the items, and I was surprised that Xend (the courier used) resumed their services so soon after the storm and floods!

*Photo from the askmewhats website. I'm too lazy to take my own photos right now, hehe.

The giveaway was for an Amu'in gift pack. I'd read about Amu'in before and wanted to try their products so this was just wonderful. I'm into ethnic stuff and love the name- Amui'n is a tagalog word which means (from their website) 'to caress, to tame'. Lovely.

They follow the principles of Aromatherapy, which, before I read more about it, to me simply meant putting any fragrant oil on a burner. It was after I had my baby that I started to get more interested in Aromatherapy. I realized two things, one of which was that it's important to ensure that you use high-grade essential oils (which don't come very cheap), and this (an excerpt from the Amu'in website. In a really lazy mood at the moment):

'although most people have heard of or experienced aromatherapy they do not seem to realise that for aromatherapy to work the essential oils have to pass through the lungs or skin and into the blood stream i.e. they are entering the body.'

I tried pure Lavender essential oil first, which I tried to relax my then colicky newborn baby with. I would put a drop of it on my shirt, and though I'm not sure if it calmed my baby, it sure did relax this frazzled, panicking newbie mom.

So it's no suprise that my favorite item among the Amu'in goodies is from their Hulay (which means Relax) line, which uses a blend of lavender and ylang-ylang. I love the Hulay Body Mist. I don't think it's like most body sprays in the sense that it's not used primarily to smell good, but to feel good! It's not that the scent doesn't smell good, on the contrary, it's very good--clean, sweetish, mild, and does not smell exactly like lavender--but the scent isn't as long lasting as as typical body mists. There are instructions on the bottle to spray the mist on your face and body, then inhale the scent deeply to feel the relaxing effect. I use it as room and linen spray too. Even hubby likes this wonderful product.

I don't like the Sigla (Energy) Body Mist as much because the scent is stronger, and smells very citrusy, but the smell really does wake me up a bit and it freshens up the air nicely after one of baby's diaper changes. The Alaga (Soothe) Hand Sanitizer and Alaga Insect Repellant we both use regularly and they work well. They smell similar to the Sigla Body Mist, but slightly milder.

The pouch that came with these items is very plush and soft- great to know that it was made with through a traditional Ilocano process of weaving. My mom is an Ilocana! There was also a reusable small tote in the package, which isn't included in the photo.

I think these items will be great as stocking stuffers. I'd love to try their other products and their Gayuma (Romance) line of items! You can visit the Amu'in website here, and thank you again to Askmewhats for giving me an opportunity to try these!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A small blog sale

Hi! Please buy from my blog sale! :)
1. Sale is open for Philippine residents ('Cause shipping overseas would probably cost more than the products themselves?).
2. Items will be shipped through Xend Express, just add P50 for Metro Manila shipping, and for areas outside Metro Manila it's around P100- will compute exact amount.
3. Payment methods are Gcash and BDO bank deposit (for this option, must email me a scan or photo of the deposit receipt. Please bear with me as I don't have online access to this account nor do I get to check it often).
4. You can email me at if you'd like more information about any of the products, or buying them.

The items for sale (all photos can be enalarged by clicking):

ELF Studio Powder Blush in Tickled Pink. Swiped with blush brush 3-4 times. P100. *SOLD

This photo taken with flash.

This one without flash.

<><>NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Iced Mocha. Used about 5 times. P100. *SOLD


NYX Round Lipstick in Cream. Tested once. P100. *SOLD

Everyday Minerals new and completely unused Foptic brush(P250) and Everyday Eyeshadow BrushP199). -Everyday Minerals 1g sample pots of Peach Concealer (85% left) and Back to School Blush (95% left) come for free with these 2 brushes, if you want them.*Both brushes SOLD

Venus and Mars Bliss of A Nymph Body Oil. 80% left. P99. You can learn more about this body oil here. *SOLD.

Maybelline Mineral Power Concealers in Medium shades - Sand (70% left), and Beige (90% left). P150 to get both. *SOLD

Also added:
Milk and Mixture Crumble (Moisturizing Body Scrub) in Blueberry Muffin, 300 grams. P100. This is barely used (about 90% of product remaining). I bought it around 2 months ago and it still smells the same- like butter and blueberries.

Photo taken in our bathroom.

It's a big tub. :)

I washed my hands each time before dipping into the product.

P.S. One of my newly discovered beauty blogs (and I'm glad to have discovered it!), A Boquet of Beauty, is holding a giveaway for a gift certificate to be spent on your choice of either Aromaleigh or Fyrinnae (love them both). You can also join it by leaving a comment on her post. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Erzulie Cosmetics Mineral Concealer and Cream-to-powder Foundation

Let me start off by saying that Erzulie Cosmetics has great customer service! I ordered from them a couple of months ago, and only remembered to leave my feedback on Etsy much much later on. Through my Etsy feedback, I let them know that I liked the product I got, but was looking for something which gave more coverage, and that the concealer I got was too light for me (see this post). Rhonda of Erzulie Cosmetics almost immediately offered to send me a sample of their cream-to-powder foundation which she said gives heavier coverage, and a concealer in a darker shade of my choice. Yay!

Here is the Progress Mineral Concealer in Medium:

It's made of all-natural ingredients, is non-comedogenic, comes in a tube, and costs $6. The medium shade is just right for my skintone. It's got a creamy feel, and is easy to apply. I use my ring finger and tap it on lightly on my undereyes, then set it with mineral powder concealer. This is not sheer, and covers my dark undereye circles, but not completely. At first it seems to leave a bit of a greyish cast on my undereyes which is typical of many concealers, but the good thing about this one is it kind of adjusts to my skintone after a short while and the greyish cast just goes away. I really liked that about it.

The lasting power in our very hot, humid weather was good, it fades after about 4-5 hours, but I'm glad it doesn't leave the concealed areas shiny like the Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer. I like the feel of it on my dry undereyes, and it didn't settle much in the fine lines on my eye area, only a bit in the inner corners of my undereye where most of the fine lines are. It also didn't cause any irritation to my skin.

Overall, I like this concealer. I've been using it a lot lately! The finish is quite natural and I would repurchase this, and also get myself their color correcting concealers, most especially green (for the red areas on the sides of my nose), and yellow (to experiment on my undereyes again).

Here are before and after shots of my undereyes, by the way, I'm not sure they're gonna be of much help but I'll post them anyways...

Before photo. It's a little blurry- taken in natural light, with no flash, in the late afternoon. Whoa! You can really see how bad my dark circles are here.

And after. The lighting is different becaue by this time, there was no more sun outside. My skin looks shiny because of the flash.

I also tried the Cream-to-powder mineral foundation:

*Photo from the Erzulie Cosmetics website.

I received a sample of this foundation in Medium Light. It is also all-natural and non-comedogenic like the concealer, and is on sale at $14. This shade is too light for me, though I find that the difference is only very noticeable in photos. In actual I thought it looked all right but would still prefer a darker shade.

My first thought after putting this on is that it didn't really 'turn' to powder. The finish was not matte nor did it have a powdery feel as I was expecting, instead the finish was dewy. Now this is no problem for me since right now, my skin is very dry and dull, so I actually prefer a cream or liquid foundation with a dewy finish, but if you're looking for foundation with a matte/dry finish, this is not it.

It could be that our hot weather affects the product and the outcome, but I've used this a number of times now and the finish is always the same. It retains its cream form and doesn't really become powdery. It doesn't feel greasy though, and I love that it feels so lightweight.

I like it for my dry skin, and as long as my skin is properly moisturized before application, this doesn't emphasize any flaky areas. I'm not sure how it would do for oilier skin types in our hot weather though.

Regarding coverage, it definitely has fuller coverage than their Flawless Finish Clarifying Liquid Foundation. It evens out my skintone very nicely and covers blemishes well. I like this foundation's coverage a lot. I also find it easy to blend (I use a sponge) and apply. No itchies or breakouts either! I will definitely purchase the full-sized product, perhaps in the medium shade or even darker.

Have you tried any products from Erzulie Cosmetics?

Friday, November 6, 2009

A soap that saved me from bacne (yuck)

Yeah, I know, it's disgusting. Bacne started for me around puberty, then flared on and off, and when I turned to natural bath and skincare products, I resolved to find a solution to it. For some of you who have the same problem, you might want to try Venus and Mars' Javanese Lulur Soap.

(Photo taken from the Venus and Mars website)

I purchased this soap via the Venus and Mars (a local seller) website many months ago simply because I liked the product name. I've always longed to experience a Javanese Lulur treatment so this prodcut sounded really good to me.

The ingredients of this soap are: emu oil, tea tree essential oil, turmeric, tea tree leaves, shea butter, arbutin, calamansi, papain, olive oil and coconut oil, mango.

I have sensitive skin so I tested the soap on my arms first, and when no adverse reaction occured, I lathered it all over my back. I noticed that there was a stinging sensation on my skin, especially if I waited too long before washing it off. But it didn't make me itch, nor did it leave rashes, so I continued using it. It had a very mild scent which to me smelled kind of like oatmeal.

After using it everyday on my back for less than a week, I noticed that my bacne was miraculously drying up! I was really surprised. I noticed though, that while it dried the pimples, it also left the skin on my back rather dry, so after bathing I applied a few drops of emu oil on my back, then a bit of lotion. I followed this routine and it improved my back very noticeably. I loved the results.

I remember that I had some zits on my face at that time, so I tried using it on my face as well. This for me turned out to be a no-no because it didn't help with the pimples on my face and dried my face up terribly. I haven't and won't use it on my face again, and definitely prefer my liquid facial washes. I use this soap on my back only.

The skin on my back cleared up entirely at one point so I didn't get myself any more bars of Javanese Lulur, but recently I started getting zits on my back again. So it's back to the Javanese Lulur soap for me and it's improving my skin again just like before. I don't want my skin to become 'immune' to this product though, so I'm still searching for more natural products that will work just as well and which I can use with this alternately.

I don't know if I sound like an ad, but just to let you know, I'm not affiliated with Venus and Mars - I'm just one of their regular customers. Do also keep in mind that products don't have the same effects on every individual, so I cannot guarantee that this would have the same effect on anyone else, but if you suffer from bacne, I highly recommed that you give it a try! It's pretty cheap too at P100 or P195 depending on the size of the bar.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lauress mineral foundation and other samples

I've heard many raves about Lauress's mineral foundation, so I was very excited to try them when I received my samples.

Their foundation comes in loose powder form and is available in 3 formulations- Minimalist, which contains only 4 or 5 ingredients and is recommended for sensitive, normal to oily skin, Elemental, which contains an antioxidant called Lauroyl Lysine and is suitable for normal to dry skin, and Ethereal, which is supposed to give the heaviest coverage out of the 3 formulations, has a glowing finish, and is okay for all skin types.

I got 3 foundation samples, one for each formula, in different shades.
Top row - Elemental foundation in Pure Yellow, Ethereal foundation in Pure Gold, Minimalist foundation in Fresh Gold, Luminesce powder in Lustrous. Bottom - Matte blushes in True Love and Perky, and my freebie, Pearl Light eyeshadow in Serene.

Regarding the foundation colors, I find that I have to mix Pure Yellow and Pure Gold (with more Pure Gold in the mix) to match my skintone. The difference between Pure Yellow and Pure Gold is that Pure Yellow has a lot more yellow tones in it than Pure Gold does, and I find it to be a shade lighter.

I think Lauress's foundation really is worth raving about! Finding the right formulation depends on your skin type. Mine is sensitive and dry and I love the Minimalist and Elemental formulas.

Minimalist feels light as air, and did not make my face itch even after I started sweating. It has a matte finish, and I was pretty surprised that it didn't make my skin feel dry and tight like most matte foundations do. I'm satisfied with its coverage, which can be light to heavy depending on application. I also like that it doesn't make my t-zone look shiny in photos.

Elemental is also lightweight, and feels creamy while being applied. This did not make me itch either. It has the same coverage as Minimalist, made my skin feel silky, and really didn't dry my skin out at all. I think they're right to recommend this to people with skin that tends to be dry.

The Ethereal formula I don't like so much because it made my skin itchy once I went out in our hot weather. I 'm not sure what ingredient in it I reacted to, perhaps it was the Boron Nitride? Its finish was also a bit shiny for my taste. I think it offers just the same coverage as the 2 other formulas.

I adore the True Love blush which on me is a cool, soft pink. Perky blush is a bit darker and is described as a dusky rose. The Luminesce powder is for creating a soft and natural glow. I don't find it shimmery or sparkly, and I think it's okay, though I would like it to be more 'glowy'. I like to use it as a finishing powder. Lustrous is a soft tan color which is actually darker than my actual skintone, I use it when my foundation seems a bit light. My freebie eyeshadow, Serene (soft, dusky mauve), is lovely- a subtle color and easy to blend.

If you'd like to try their products, now is probably a good time since Lauress currently has their powders on a 10%-20% off sale. I also ordered during a sale and my order was shipped in about 2 days. International shipping cost about $3. Love how they shrink-wrap everything too, so that nothing spills!

Looks like everyone had a great halloween :) Me, I spent it in the province with my family and in-laws the whole long weekend and I missed being online terribly!
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