Holy Grail

20 Apr

no photoshop involved.

A recent (yesterday, actually) conversation happened between the BF and myself.

Him: You look really good lately. Guess that means I’m doing a good job, taking care of you.

Me: Sadly, no. Don’t flatter yourself. I take care of myself.

Yes, I’m cold. But that’s another story I’d like to keep to myself. It’s the truth though; unless you’re a celebrity with a cosmetic surgeon, stylist and MUA on speed dial, you take care of yourself.

Admittedly, I was a late bloomer in the skin care and make up department. As far as I was concerned, I graduated from college thinking that all I needed was facial wash, the occasional toner, powder and lip balm. Eyeliner came a little later. Then I started working. At 21 years old, I was employed as a college lecturer so I was in front of people – of different ages –  most of the time. After a while, I discovered my face was reflecting the exhaustion, lack of sleep and stress I had to deal with.

2008. zero makeup. zero photoshop.

That’s when I began to pay closer attention to my face, But t’was only recently that I’ve really familiar with it, well enough to know what works and what looks off on me. Especially when it comes to makeup. It’s one of the perks of knowing how to paint – you know how to control your hand when applying colors. I also happen to know what I like and don’t like.

So despite amassing a bunch of products these past few months, I finally have my “essentials”.

Note: these products work for me. Can’t and won’t say it will on others. I’m not endorsing them either.


I was fortunate enough that I’ve never experienced acne and I get pimples very rarely. I’m not oily and I only go for facials once in a blue moon! But even though I have pretty agreeable skin, I still have to take care of it. Sadly, I won’t stay 24 forever. Sigh. Eternal youth.

skin care

This is my typical routine:


  • Pond’s Pure White Deep Cleansing Facial Foam – I use this twice a day to wash my face. Sometimes, I even have a sachet of this product in my vanity kit for emergency. At first, I was intrigued with the whole activated carbon thing, which is the primary ingredient and claim to fame. I discovered for myself just how effective it is as a facial wash. With just a tiny bit of the product, it can remove all traces of makeup without the use of a remover. My face feels soft and moisturized after washing it off. It’s almost as good as the Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam which I alternately use when I put on too much junk on my face. It cleans and it moisturizes too. Pure White is also pretty cheap.  My only issue with this is that sometimes the perfume smell (yes, it has a smell) is pleasant at first, but it can get a bit too strong sometimes. Other than that, it works
  • Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam – I use this whenever I feel like I put too much stuff in my face. It’s an awesome heavy-duty makeup remover, facial foam and moisturizer in one bottle
  • St.Ives. Apricot Scrub Blemish & Blackhead Control – Maybe I have this to thank for my acne/pimple-free face. I use this twice a week, mostly in the evening (after quickly washing my face, removing all traces of makeup) to exfoliate my face, applying it in circles for a full minute before washing it off. It feels uber soft afterwards.


  • Pond’s White Beauty Pore Conditioning Toner – Again, I use this twice a day. It’s soft to use and it doesn’t sting. It doesn’t smell either.

STEP 3: Moisturize

  • Myra Daily Sun Protect Facial Moisturizer – Out of all the moisturizers I have, I love this the most. It does it job (which is to moisturize the skin), it has SPF (so it’s something of a pseudo sunblock), it’s cheap and best of all: it’s not sticky! It sinks into the skin quickly enough, so that gives it leverage over, say Olay Moisturizing Cream which I only use at night. I use Myra as my “day” moisturizer.
  • Olay Moisturizing Cream – I use this as my “night” moisturizer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feel of it on my face. After it sinks into the skin though, which takes longer than I would like, hence using this only at night because I don’t have time to wait for it in the morning.
  • Clinique Superdefense – I use this sparsely mainly because it’s pretty expensive. Haha. Clinique has better products in the skin care department than their makeup line, and this is no exception.

STEP 4: Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Cream – At the age of 25, when you’re stressing about everything imaginable, you’re definitely not too young to use anti-ageing products. The key is prevention. As much as possible, you try to avoid those lines from forming in your face because later on, no amount of makeup can hide them. This doubles as my eye cream too, until I find a really good one.

holy grail


See the first picture? These are the products that made it possible. And they’re listed in the order I normally apply them.

  1. Cover Girl TruBlend Liquid Foundation with Blendable Minerals – Lightweight liquid foundation that’s non-sticky or greasy. It sinks into the skin and adjusts to your shade. I find this very easy to apply and blend. Normally, I dot this all over my face before blending it either either a damp sponge (so it doesn’t absorb the foundation; I use Victoria Vogue cosmetic wedges – 32 pieces for P150!) or a flat foundation brush.
  2. MAC Studio Finish Concealer (in NW30) – Tiny pot, huge price tag. But it’s practical because you only need just a tiny bit of the product to cover the blemishes so this should last a LONG time – like 3 years (according to the MAC MUA who uses this everyday and has yet to finish a pot). The NW shade is a concealer with warm (pink) undertones, and it does an awesome job hiding my dark under eye areas (which is my main problem). Concealers with yellow undertones tend to make the under eye area look gray. It’s lightweight, but provides heavy coverage. It’s worth the money you spend for it.
  3. Ellana Translucent Mineral Finishing Powder (in Almond Coffee Cream) – This is another product I bought on a whim and it turned out to be one of my best buys. Finishing powder is often applied to set and prevent liquid foundation and concealer from melting. However, when too much powder is applied, it can make you look like a clown. Not with this product though. It gives a dewy and natural-looking finish, despite it being loose powder.
  4. Ever Bilena Cheek Blush (Honest) – It’s a peach/coral/pink blush. It’s cheap, it’s pigmented and it’s an excellent dupe of NARS Taos. Plus, the packaging looks just like a MAC blush. Haha.
  5. Wet n Wild ColorIcon Trio (in Walking on Eggshells) – To tell you the truth, I’m not big on eyeshadows. If I do wear them, it’s often for the sake of adding a hint of shimmer to the eyelids. This palette is perfect for giving a very subtle color to the lids and an it does an excellent job when highlighting the browbone. Color payoff is nice, considering I don’t have a primer to go with it. I don’t wear this everyday though.
  6. Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner (Black) – My HG eyeliner. It’s up to par with the MAC fluidline but at a MUCH lower price. It’s uber creamy and it doesn’t budge, smudge, crease or fade; it lasts the whole day. Unlike before when I used to line both the upper and lower lash lines, I usually just line the upper lash line now. This product comes with a brush that’s super reliable but I prefer using an angled eyeliner brush to make clean lines. Most of the time, I extend the eyeliner and add a subtle wing, but whenever I have time to spare, I flick the wing upwards for a cat-eye look. Granted, it takes me a good 10 minutes to apply this, but it’s worth the time and effort. I absolutely love this product.
  7. Avon Simply Pretty Eyebrow Defining Pencil – Defined brows are important. Who’d want to look like a Neanderthal? I get my eyebrows shaped every month and I do my weekly plucking to remove stray hairs. I can’t tolerate threading yet. Haha. This product is very pigmented so I use a light hand when applying it.
  8. Clinique High Impact Mascara – I usually don’t have time to curl my lashes so I rely on these.
  9. The Body Shop Born Lippy – Dry lips? Ew. Every day, it’s a part of my bath routine to scrub my lips with a soft towel to remove the dead skin. And to moisturize it, I often use this product. As of late, I alternate this Nivea Lip Care Sun Protect with SPF30. Oh and I apply lip balm before going to sleep.
  10. Wet n Wild ColorIcon Lip Liner (in Willow) – I used to skip this product, but now I find it to be invaluable. A nude lip liner is a must. It defines the shape and outline of your lips and most importantly, it makes your lipstick last longer!
  11. Lipstick – Where to begin? Haha. I have 12 tubes in total and so far, 4 of them are my HG lippies. Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick (in Crystal Baby) is my current MLBB shade. Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstick (in Brick Rose) is my HG red, MAC Cremesheen (in Creme Cup) is pale pink and my latest buy, MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick (in Gotta Dash!) is a pale coral. Gotta Dash! is my current favorite and it’s the one I’m wearing in the picture. Pale coral against my NC42; who knew, right?! Still, with all these lippies, the color is awesome and the staying power is pretty decent.

Yes, I put atleast 10 things on my face EVERY MORNING. I make it a habit that I spend a day or two (saturday and/or sunday), completely make up free.

So anyway, that’s my HG for skin care and make up. It might change, it might not. Who knows, eh?


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