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I absolutely love the cold months except for one obvious thing. I suffer from cracked or chapped lips. How can a woman look so fab with lips like zombies? Thanks to these tried and tested lip balm brands. My lips are as luscious and healthy-looking year round.

Burt's bees is a staple in my cosmetic bag, particularly the Honey lip balm. Made with natural beeswax, coconut and sunflower oil which soothe and moisturize the lips, I use it practically all the time. Kiehl's is another cult favorite. I like it because it has SPF 15 aside from relieving chapped lips. Bath and Body Works carries another lip balm which remains to be in my top list- C.O.Bigelow Mentha Lip Balm. It is matte-finished and has that minty burst which I adore. Fight the drying effect of the cold wind. The season is no reason for cracked, ugly lips. Believe me.



For many years now, I have been a fan of Estee Lauder's Holiday gift set, an exclusive eye candy from Macy's. To me, this is one of the best value-for-money gift set perfectly wrapped for the makeup junkies like me. This promotion falls under the "qualifying purchase", meaning you have to buy at least $30 worth to avail this entire set (valued at $300+) for only $55. My trick is to buy a small perfume in order to meet the required minimum purchase. So what's so special about Estee Lauder's gift set? Unlike other bundled products you will see from Macy's, this one is the closest you can get to complete your makeup collection. It comes with 18 coordinating eye shadows, powder blush in 4 shades, 4 long wearing lipsticks, 1 double ended lip gloss, 3 eye pencils, 1 Gentle Makeup Remover, 4 Makeup brushes (powder, blush, lip, eye), book with tips on how to apply makeup, posh cosmetic stand-up mirror, golden cosmetic case, and a fabulous makeup case. The eye shadows are pigmented, the lipstick is amazing, and the eye pencils are perfect to achieve the smudge effect. This is definitely in my Christmas shopping list this year. What about you?

I have to be honest- I was quite adamant when I first saw Bareminerals from the Sephora aisle two years ago. I wasn't sold with its infomercials. I mean how can I get that flawless complexion achieved only by my tried and tested liquid foundation (ahem, Laura Mercier). But then again, why don't I give it a try. There are days that I don't wanna hassle applying foundation. Days like a quick trip to the grocery store, morning jogs or even just staying home. With a little bit more self-persuasion, I headed to the counter to buy my first Bareminerals powder foundation. The long and short of it: I'm hooked.

Bareminerals is a trailblazer in the much hyped "mineral foundation" field. Its revolutionary formulation makes you look polished and flawless sans the cakey and heavy feel that you get from using traditional foundation. Bareminerals boasts of its all-natural ingredient which makes it non-comedogenic and skin-friendly. And did I say that it has staying power too? I am impressed that I don't need to retouch the whole day I was wearing it. The application is so basic, anyone can do it with ease. With a brush, swirl a small amount until you see some powder tucked in the bristle. Tap excess powder. Buff onto your face in a circular motion. If you want your foundation last even longer, try using the Mineral veil powder. It's the perfect finishing touch to make your skin glow. Bareminerals is sold online, Sephora, Macy's, stand-alone retail stores. It has different shades to match your skin color. Best part, it is ideal for all skin types.

"There is no excuse not to look good. When you look good, you feel good." This has been my mantra for as long as I can remember. It could be in the genes. I grew up admiring my grandma's perfectly coiffed hair and my mom's vast makeup collection when she was working at Avon back in the 80's. "People treat you with respect when you look good and dress decent", that's what my grandma used to tell me when I was approaching puberty. She was right. It is not biased  but just plain human instinct. We get attracted to beauty and grace .Now the question- Does looking good equate to being stellar beauty? What if you are not endowed with svelte figure, fine features or other characteristics glorified by Hollywood? Nobody is born perfect. And this is precisely the reason why cosmetics and skincare products are invented. To address troubled skin. To enhance a woman's best features. To camouflage unsightly blemishes. Welcome to my world.

Growing up, I had my fair share of acne. They appeared when I needed to look good- girls' night out, dates, school programs. Raging hormones + unhealthy eating habits + stress = pimples. I have oily skin so that makes me prone to breakouts even in my 30s. This unending quest for the miracle product led me to try and experiment different skincare brands and makeups. When I was still working for a renowned dermatology company in mid-2000 as Product Manager, I learned different skin conditions, problems and treatments. I then understood why washing my face with soap is a no-no. Why oily skin needs to be moisturized. The difference between a cream and lotion. The UVA and UVB in sunscreen. And a lot more.

The goal of my blog is to give you insights on my personal skincare and cosmetics preference. Remember that my skin type is different from yours so I cannot guarantee that some of these products will work just the same for you. As in real life experiment, it's a trial and error experience. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with these manufacturers. Here's a preview of skincare and cosmetic brands that worked well with my skin through the years.

Nighttime Regimen: MURAD
I have been a fan of Dr. Murad for years now. I start by washing my face with Time Release Acne Cleanser. I like this product because it solves two main issues I have. It treats occasional breakouts and prevents pre-mature wrinkles. The "time release" factor makes it work for hours even after rinsing. It has salicylic acid, a clinically proven ingredient that treats acne. The amino acid & hyaluronic acid effectively moisturize the skin. I swear my face feels supple!  I then compliment this with Clarifying Toner to control oily skin. I like this product because it doesn't make my skin feel overly dry. Lastly, I apply with a pea-size Skin Perfecting Lotion. Didn't I say oily skin needs to be moisturized? Moisture is all about water, not oil. Washing face  frequently strips off skin's natural water component. A moisturizer holds the skin's water content in place, making your face look hydrated. This product is non-comedogenic (meaning won't clog pores). Twice a month or depending when I have big pimple, I use the Clarifying Mask. I apply it for ten minutes and rinse off as directed. I buy Murad two ways: At Sephora stores or Murad online. 
No matter how tired you are, always remember- Never sleep with your makeup on! 

Daytime Regimen: Cetaphil, MURAD, Clinique
 My daytime regime is basic whether it is followed by makeup or not. I start by washing my face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Cetaphil is a popular skincare brand sold in drugstores and groceries. It has a celebrity cult following. I have been using it for years, way longer than Murad. This brand is ideal for all skin types,  hypo-allergenic, and mildly scented. Again, I tone my face with Murad Clarifying toner. Finally, I apply Clinique Sunscreen which also serves as a good makeup base at times.
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