Make Up and Me

I didn’t discover make up until I was 24. Even then, I only had the budget for ordinary drugstore brands–Revlon, Maybelline and sometimes Mary Kay (a coworker started getting into it on the side). I followed a  moisturizer-foundation-concealer-lipstick routine, nothing fancy.

I’m gonna come right out and say I am not a make up expert, but I enjoy buying and putting them on, reading up on beauty blogs and browsing make up aisles. I’m still learning so most of my stuff are cheap. I don’t have an exhaustive array of make up paraphernalia either; I’m an amateur at best. I’m one of those who devour make up tutorials on YouTube and follow make up stylists on Instagram. I read beauty articles as well, and try to synthesize all the information I come across into a doable, affordable regimen that I can easily follow, adopting the best ideas and discarding those that doesn’t fit into my lifestyle and personality.

A bit of a background–I used to cringe at putting on make up because having grown up in the province, my notion of ‘make up’ is composed of 80s to early 90s looks–white cakey face, blue or green eye shadow, heavily-lined eyes, thick bushy brows, red ‘sinampal‘ cheeks and red or mauve lips. I thought make up was a sort of face mask you put on for special occasions. I feel a little lucky that I won’t have to be a bride in the early 90s or earlier. In the province. On a budget. With a baklang parlorista for a make up artist, who is heavy on the white foundation and light on the blending. I feel sorry for my aunts and their peers whose wedding photos now show that their make up artist missed applying as much foundation to their necks as they very obviously did on their faces. To my very provincial mind fed on mainstream movies, the female villain always has the thickest make up in town. To us provincianas (most, not all as I don’t deign to speak for everyone else), wearing make up meant you are a woman of the world and that is not a compliment. It literally means you’ve been around.

However,  when I realized that make up need not be atrocious, I found that I actually liked it. I identify as an artist at heart and found that make up is just another form of artistic expression. Whereas it was paper and watercolors when I was younger, now it is eye shadows and bronzers and foundation.

Foundation does wonders to brighten up my face, evening up a patchy skin tone and hiding most blemishes. It was fantastic! The first time I put some on, I thought to myself–I’m not that ugly after all! I wasn’t into eye make up-still isn’t, as I struggle a lot with it. Most of the time I end up looking like a raccoon but I’m on friendlier terms with the eye liner now. I use it to line my upper lash line, which is to say–to hide a scar left over from a childhood sty that went bad. (Story on this later).

Lipstick. I love lipstick! It is very hard to visit Target or even CVS and not check out the cosmetics aisle. More often than not, I  eventually leave the store a lipstick or two richer. My favorite shades are usually browns and pinks and nudes. Those are the shades I feel look best on me. I am very acidic so whatever I put on my lips (or skin) end up being a shade darker that they appear on the tube. I’m not into gloss though. I like matte lip colors best, don’t mind creamier formulas but abhor shiny lips of whatever color. It just looks so galing-sa-fiesta-ngumasab-ng-lechon, you know? I don’t know, I guess it just doesn’t work for me.

The Philippines is famous for its energy-zapping face-melting humidity so I had to choose make up that won’t evaporate in my commute to and from work or school. Which is a bad thing because I never found sunscreen that stayed put under the Manila heat. And that is a catch 22 because that’s definitely the place where you wanna be sunblocked to the hilt. Powder versions of make up seems to be the best at this, and since my face is combination dry and oily, I guess I can rock both formulas–powder, cream, liquid. I usually used a cream formulation of Revlon Photoready foundation and a cheap tube of cheek tint cream. I used to love the Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint (cost PhP700 during my time), but then moved on to cheaper catalog brands sold by Sophie. I find that cheek tints did not need to be expensive or high end. It serves its purpose as well no matter the price tag.

I’ve recently learned about contouring and strobing and have incorporated the basic ideas of these two techniques in my daily routine. I don’t always do my makeup when going out because my husband gets all antsy waiting for me to get ready just to go get groceries or catch a movie. In his universe, a Walmart trip does not call for an hour long ceremony to get ready. He’s right,  I won’t argue. So now I usually look gross when getting groceries. Hello, People of Walmart. Face it though, I used to get my fruits and produce in the market back home because they’re cheaper than Puregold so I usually went in my sister’s old scrub pants, flip flops and a t-shirt. And that is how I get treated badly by Chowking cashiers. They see I’ve let myself go so they don’t bother being polite to me.

Today however,  I felt  a hankering to hit up Ulta to check some products out. I’ve been wanting to stock up on new foundation and a simple eyebrow fix. I’ve used up my Maybelline BB cream and I didn’t really like the Revlon Photoready Airbrush Mousse makeup that I got a year ago. It might even be time to toss it at this point. It was too thick–I didn’t like the overall look it gave to my face. To be fair, it might just be me and my inexpert application, but even with my Beauty Blender sponge the product still sat on my face like stubborn sludge and that’s one of the things I hate.I want my foundation to disappear into my skin and never ever advertise its presence under natural light. Also, the smallest pressure on the spout sends a giant dollop of product sloshing out. I think it’s because it is sort of aerated. Now I really only needed a small dot on each of the four corners of my face as I’m always worried of looking cakey, and this flaw in the container design wastes a lot of product. I guess it wasn’t an issue as I rarely go out with the full works on but I just hate the idea of waste. It’s the Asian in me I suppose.

I made plans with one of my Filipina friends to go make up shopping back in October 2015 but it never materialized since she cancelled and we never rescheduled. It’s been a while since I went so I told my husband slash chauffer to take me to the store as we were both not working. I ended up getting these three items:

  1. URBAN DECAY’S NAKED ILLUMINATED Shimmering powder for face and body, Lit.


I have been looking for a good bronzer to put over a contour line and this was a good time to buy since I’m about out. I’ve been using an Australian brand called Lacura, a gift from my sister in 2014. I don’t even know if it’s still good but 2 years is probably more than sufficient time to ditch an old jar of bronzer, don’t you think? Also, my sister has lighter complexion so her bronzer barely showed on my darker toned skin.

Price: $30


The packaging is so pretty! I tried it on my cheeks at the store using a sponge and I liked the results. Shimmery without being too glittery (which I hate) and the shade just blends beautifully into my skin. I couldn’t not get it.




I ended up not getting any foundation and instead got this tinted primer. I like that it has SPF 30 formulation as I always try to sneak in SPF as much as I can in all my products. The reason I got this was because I was impressed at how light it was. It was a perfect shade on my skin. I don’t think I’ll need more foundation on top of it unless I was trying to go all out Kardashian-contoured. I’m hoping it will be perfect for day wear. It evened out my complexion without having the appearance of being caked on. Also, it is a welcome addition to my Bare Mineral starter kit that I got last year.

Price: $26




I have an eyebrow situation. I have been see-sawing between unruly and untended to overplucked by baklang parloristas. The last time I had them done was in Victoria, Australia when I visited my sister. It was at this little salon manned by Asian girls in the middle of a bustling Asian market center in a township called Springville. Asians know their beauty stuff, methinks. They also had a hoot and a half with my squealing while the waxing was going on. They definitely thought it was hilarious.

My constant complaint is I can’t maintain them on my own! My problem is that I don’t have a naturally thick pair of eyebrows. They’re just all over the place and tends to thin out towards the tail. So whenever a stylist tries to fix them,  I always end up looking like I have half an eyebrow if I don’t fill in towards the tail with a pencil. And how I hate the penciled-in look. It reminds me so much of my high school teachers who shaved all their eyebrows out and tattoed a hideous looking upside-down Nike logo in place. I think that is one of the most horrible thing a woman can do to herself. It’s all up there with botox and collagen injections to the lips. What were they thinking??!

I’ve been looking at products to add to my meager collection to finally get my eyebrows on fleek (as all you Instagram citizens are fond of saying), and I’ve decided that an eyebrow penci isn’t it. I need brow lifting highlighters and powder, and a brow brush. So I got this starter kit to get me going. We’ll see how it goes.

Price: $36

On the way home after hubby and I picked up some Chipotle, I couldn’t help but complain about how much they cost me altogether. I have filled 5 shopping bags full of clothes on sale from H&M and Papaya in less than what I paid for 3 items at Ulta! I sort of wallow in buyer’s remorse until my husband told me to shut up and enjoy my stuff.

“Do you want them? Are you going to use them? Then stop regretting it and enjoy it. They’re yours now. If you’re just gonna regret it then you shouldn’t have asked me to take you out here in the first place only to come right back and return them.”

I’ve done that before too, returned $150 worth of makeup that I impulsively got. US retail store’s return policy is heaven-sent though. I was able to take any stuff back for as long as I had the receipt and the items remained unopened. So yay!

Anyway, my take away from this is that–I’ll stick to drugstore brands next time and only shop for high end stuff once a year, if at all, and only if I actually needed to get more foundation or what have you. I hope I stick to that resolution!

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