Skin Care – Body


Lately, I feel like more of my offline friends are getting into skin care and makeup. I couldn’t be more excited!!! One of the reasons why I started this blog is because I didn’t think I had anyone I can talk to about ‘beauty’. Apparently, many of my offline friends are closet beauty product enthusiasts or fellow late bloomers — hello Cheche and Joy!

Last week, my friend Kat and I talked about moisturizers, again. She has been using the classic Nivea Creme on her face and if I remember right, she mentioned that it’s doing great for her (Note: Kat generally has dry skin most of the year).

I’ve used Nivea Creme on my face in the past, but y’all know how that won’t work for my oily skin. I still use it now — for my feet. Ack, I might have given Kat images of my feet dipped into her moisturizer can. Sorry! But really, it’s a great foot moisturizer.

Nivea Creme

I love the sea. I love swimming and water activities. I used to love getting really dark and almost sun burnt until I found out that it’s not healthy. So I learned to accept my medium yellow-olive-toned skin that’s neither pale nor tan.

I take sun care more seriously when I’m spending the day directly under the sun.

I buy the really heavy diaper cream-like zinc oxide sunblocks — the type that’s almost like white body paint.

I’ve accepted that when it comes to sun care, I CAN’T have it all.

I’ll always have to choose between 2 things:
1. Enjoy the outdoor experience; or
2. Fuss about how white and greasy I look like and re-apply sunblock like a maniac.

I never choose the latter. Although I still do re-apply sunblock.

Sunblock Preferences

I opt for the really sticky and opaque high-percentage zinc oxide sunblocks because it’s easier to know when I need to re-apply. If I can still see an opaque white cream on my skin, I know I’m still good. Once it starts to fade, I re-apply.

Chemical sunscreens have a definite ‘expiration’ period when taken out of the bottle and get exposed to sunlight. So even if you still see some cream on your skin, it’s not an assurance that you’re adequately protected. I don’t usually wear a watch when I do outdoor activities and I’m not anal enough to time the re-application at specific intervals.

Good thing most sunscreens nowadays are a combination of both physical blockers and chemical sunscreens. But I still choose products that are predominantly physical blockers.

Favorite Sunblock for Outdoor Activities

I used to alternate between brands until I found one that fits all my requirements: Nature’s Gate Aqua Block.

Nature's Gate Aqua Block SPF 50 Review

If all you care about is getting sufficient protection, you should try this. I use this even on the face and I don’t break out.

On Spray Sunblock…

The formula I avoid at all costs (for outdoor, direct sunlight activities) is spray-type sunblock.  It’s a good concept for re-application but I always get burned when I use it. Since it’s mostly transparent, I don’t actually see if I’m covered enough. Sometimes some of the product are blown away with the wind as you spray it. I feel like it’s a waste.

Removing Zinc Oxide Sunblock

The major disadvantage of using zinc oxide sunblock is that it’s difficult to remove. I discovered a product that makes it easier — Dr. Wood’s liquid castile soap. This is a cheaper alternative to Dr. Bronner’s. What laundry detergent can’t wash off, liquid castile soap can.

Anyway, I’m curious to know what your sun care routine is for outdoor activities and what products you use. I hope you can share them below.

If you missed Days 1 & 2, check the links below:

Day 1: I don’t think I need to use a separate sunscreen.
Day 2: My daily sun care routine.

Up next probably: Experiment: What does a quarter teaspoon of sunblock look like on the face?

I bought more makeup than skin care products in 2013. But I feel like there were more days when I didn’t wear any makeup. I remain to be a skin care girl.

My 2013 life-changing skin care realization was, I was spending so much effort bringing moisture back to my skin with moisturizers, but not so much in preventing moisture from getting stripped off.

Cleanser – Face Wash

I started using cream cleansers and they made a world of difference. My skin has been clear of acne for the majority of the time in recent years; but it never looked as glow-y as it does now — considering I haven’t been sleeping enough.

I started with the no-rinse Lush Ultra Bland but it was too troublesome for everyday use. Then, I switched to two of Olay’s rinse-off cream cleansers, but both has polyethylene micro-spheres (microbeads) which is proven to be causing pollution in the ocean. These beads are made of plastic which means they don’t biodegrade, and since they’re very small, it’s impossible to remove.

So, I stuck with VMV Re-Everything Cleansing CreamIf I remember right, I bought mine at 40% off.  The regular price is Php 930 — it’s too expensive for a cleanser.  I might switch to a cheaper VMV cream cleanser after I finish the tube. I’m eyeing VMV Moisture Rich Creammmy Cleansing Milk.

In the latter part of the year, I started borrowing/ using E’s Olay Advanced Cleansing System. I just use the brush — not the whole system which consists of the brush + the cleanser that comes with it. I only use it on an as needed basis, when I start to notice consecutive days of overall skin roughness. On estimate, I use it thrice a month — at most.

Scatterbraintures 2013 Skin Care Favorites

Cleanser – Makeup Removers

If I wore makeup during the day, I wipe my face first with a cotton pad soaked with either Bioderma Sensibio or Casino Soothing Water Cleanser. Both are micellar water solutions. I still wash with VMV’s cream cleanser afterwards.

I like Casino’s more because it’s very cheap and works the same as Bioderma. I bought mine from Rustans Supermarket for Php 86 buy one get one deal (regular price: Php 170 for 200ml). Unfortunately, I think Casino is going to be phased out. Not too many people know about it, and I don’t see it at Rustans Supermarket or Shopwise anymore. I’ve only seen it once on a beauty blog: An Artechoke: Casino Soothing Water Cleanser.

On the rare occasion that I use mascara or waterproof eyeliner, I use Laneige Eye and Lip Waterproof Makeup Remover which is sooo good I don’t want to try any other eye makeup remover anymore. It can remove the stubborn-est of all budge-proof makeup, It can remove Japanese waterproof fiber mascaras, waterproof eyeliner/gel liners, matte and retro matte lipsticks, liquid matte lipsticks, and lip stains in one easy swipe — no incessant rubbing and tugging necessary.


I don’t use toner except during that time of the month when I get 1 or 2 pimples. On those days, I use VMV Superskin 3 Toner (not pictured).  The toner is alcohol-based so I avoid it when possible.


On most nights, I go straight to putting on moisturizer after washing. My favorite is Andalou Naturals’ Probiotic + C Renewal Cream (not pictured). I should’ve repurchased this, and I intended to. It just so happened that when I entered a Healthy Options store, with the sole intention of buying the moisturizer, my hand moved on its own and grabbed Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Serum instead. The cream and the serum come from the same brightening line.

Since my skin doesn’t need much moisturization lately, probably because I don’t use foaming cleansers anymore, I don’t feel the need to use a separate moisturizer after the serum. If someday, the latter won’t be enough, I’ll buy the cream again.

Every 2 or 3 nights, I apply tretinoin after the serum. I used to rotate between brands but in 2013, I noticed that I’ve been sticking to Stieva-A Cream Forte 0.1%.

Daily Sunblock

On mornings, I put on Kanebo Allie UV Long Keep Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ right after washing and toweling my face dry. This is the best sunblock I have ever tried. My fellow oily faced ladies out there, you all know how difficult it is to find an everyday zinc oxide sunblock for the face. If you’re still looking for one, please spare yourself the trouble and look no more, THIS is what you’re looking for.

I promise I’ll make an in-depth review of this sunblock in as long a post as necessary. I don’t see myself looking for something else until this is phased out, but I doubt that Kanebo will do that (here’s me conjuring the universe).

Body Lotion

I wasn’t as diligent in applying body lotion as putting moisturizer on my face. That is until recently, when I started using Andalou Naturals Body Lotion.

I don’t like the scent of the variant I bought, Mandarin Vanilla. It smells like an odd concoction of honeysuckle and orange-flavored cough syrup.


This lotion is the epitome of balance in a body lotion — not too thin, not too thick, absorbs well, and is not greasy. It doesn’t leave an oily film but it gives the skin a nice sheen. It makes the skin look smoother too. Think of it as a dewy-fier for the body — like an overall body highlighter without the shimmer.

I’ll try Clementine Ginger next time. I hope it smells better.

To recap, here’s the list of my most loved skin care products of 2013:

  • VMV Re-everything Cleansing Cream
  • Olay Advance Cleansing Brush
  • Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water Solution
  • Casino Soothing Water Cleanser
  • Laneige Eye and Lip Waterproof Makeup Remover
  • VMV Superskin 3 Toner
  • Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream
  • Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Serum
  • Stieva A Cream Forte 0.1%
  • Kanebo Allie UV Long Keep Gel SPF50+ PA++++
  • Andalou Naturals Body Lotion

I am very pleased with my list. I feel like my ‘search’ for favorite skin care products is somewhat over. What it took to reach this point is a different story, but I’ll talk about that in a separate post.

P.S. I apologize for the poorly taken photo, I just want to put this post up ASAP. I’ll try to replace it with close-ups. No promises though. Happy 2014 everyone!!!

In my 30th birthday post, I mentioned the Jason Ester-C Skin Care line which had the best moisturizer I have ever tried. I remember my skin looking alive, and glowy, and pretty, and healthy, and smooth, and even-toned, AND post-acne hyperpigmentation went away so much faster when I was using it. Note that back then, I wasn’t using tretinoin yet.

The line is already discontinued, although technically, it’s not. They reformulated and the moisturizer is just not the same anymore. After that, I switched moisturizers a lot in an attempt to find something that could give me the same effect.

Thankfully, I learned the art of googling with the intention of finding skin care alternatives that have the same actives. Google lead me to Andalou Naturals’ Vitamin C line which the company labeled as Brightening.

andalou naturals

You would think I googled for “Vitamin C Skin Care” but no. I believe it’s not the Vitamin C-derivative that made my skin look great. I think it’s the sunflower oil. Since pure sunflower oil is too heavy for my already oily skin, I looked for a moisturizer that had sunflower oil as an occlusive —

…and look what I found — Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream —

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice (which is basically just water), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, etc…

For reference, here’s the first few ingredients of Jason Ester-C (Face) Lotion —

Ingredients: Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Stearic Acid, etc…

Heck yeah!

I was going to grab the full size tub, but I thought it was too expensive (almost 1k php) for something I might not like. I got the Brightening Kit sampler instead.

I take product claims with a grain of salt but if you’re interested to know, here they are:

andalou naturals

I already finished all of the samples except for the Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask. The latter was too strong for my tretinoin-treated skin.

andalou naturals

Here’s a road test review of the products:

Meyer Lemon Cream Cleanser
My assessment — not for full size repurchase.
It’s a more expensive version of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. I say, just get Cetaphil. But if you liked Cetaphil and have now turned your back on regular skin care products, you’ll be glad to know that it’s labeled non-GMO, natural, and everything-free. BTW, it’s also cruelty-free.

Clementine + C Illuminating Toner
My assessment — not for full size repurchase.
Because I don’t use toners anymore — except if it’s topical acne medication in liquid solution. I did use and finish this and it’s alright. If you’re looking for a toner with a vitamin c-derivative and glycolic acid, you might want to try this out.

Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream
My assessment — not for full size repurchase.
Only because it doesn’t have sunflower oil. Plus, I don’t know where to squeeze this into my skin care routine. I’m currently streamlining the products I use on a daily basis. This is a good moisturizer though. It’s just right — not too heavy, not too light. It absorbs quickly and smells so good, like sweet berries.

Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
My assessment — not for full size repurchase.
I can’t really say something useful about it. Since I use tretinoin, I already have all my exfoliation needs met. The mask made my skin red which is to be expected. That said, I don’t think it irritated my skin.

andalou naturals  

Left to right:
Pumpkin Glycolic Mask, Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream, Probiotic + C Renewal Cream, Meyer Lemon Cream Cleanser

Last but not least.

Probiotic + C Renewal Cream
My assessment — I will get myself a full size tub.
I use this as a night cream and I like it a lot. It’s almost gel-like and is oily skin-friendly. I love that it absorbs so fast and it doesn’t look like grease on top of skin. I’m finished with the tube and I think I’m almost at my Jason Ester-C lotioned-face phase.

Minor gripes would be that it induces extra-sweat in non-airconditioned environments and that it comes in a tub. I’m not usually bothered with tub packaging but since this is a natural product, it uses a preservative system other than broad spectrum preservative, parabens (yup, I do like seeing parabens in my cosmetics, esp if it comes in a pot or tub).

I’ll make a more in-depth review when I finish a whole size tub.

In case you’re wondering why the photos suddenly look so professional, they weren’t stolen. They were shot by my friend, Manzi. The product shots were taken in a dining room on a glass table. Awesome, right?

A conversation between me and E sometime last week:

E: When is your next Macho Monday post going to be up…?
Me: Uhmmm…
E: You should already write one, people are going to think you’re a fluke.
Me: Been really busy at work.
And B, I think you meant flake. :P

But I have to admit, I am kind of a flake. I’m working on it, I promise.
* * *

I bought this soap for me initially because it’s peppermint. But I had a feeling that E is going to like it too for the same reason.

As of this post, we’ve already used around 4 bars and I think this will forever be in the roster of soaps we will rotate.

Human Nature Pure Strength Soap

I don’t buy natural soaps regularly anymore because they melt fast. This one’s quite hard for a natural soap though. Still relatively gets used up faster compared to most mainstream bar soaps but it’s good enough for me. A bar usually lasts about 2 weeks with me and E using it on our bodies.

I had a little laugh when I first saw the soap’s label on the Human Nature website.

Black Diamond?

I can imagine a taglish-speaking version of Grace Helbig saying “Black Diamond? — more like… Black Uling”

Hi Grace Helbig, I’m a big a fan.

This black uling* is supposedly special though because it’s made from bamboo (still not diamond in my books).


But despite it not having real diamonds, we like it. Especially E.

Apart from the peppermint, E likes it because it’s black. What man doesn’t like a black handsome-ifying product?

We thought we were going to feel a cooling sensation from it, but we didn’t. Maybe it didn’t have enough peppermint oil or maybe we’re just too thick-skinned to experience the minty-ness. It’s the scent that gives it that cool and refreshing experience so all in all, not bad.

There’s not much to say about this other than that. It cleans, it smells great, and it is non-drying to our normal to oily-skinned bodies.

Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, aqua, sodium hydroxide, sodium lactate (sugarcane-derived), sodium gluconate (sugarcane-derived), coco glucoside (coconut-derived), glyceryl oleate (coconut-derived), stearic acid, decyl glucoside (coconut-derived), Mentha piperita (peppermint) essential oil, Mentha arvensis (corn mint) essential oil, charcoal (bamboo-derived)

A bar costs Php 79.75 and you can get it from Rustans Supermarket, Beauty Bar, and online through the Human Nature website.

Do you have other peppermint product recommendations we can try?

P.S. The beautiful photos were taken by our friend Manzi.