The importance of wearing sunscreen

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This summer is hotter than ever, and all we really want is to cool down. It’s no wonder why our weekends and holidays are suddenly dedicated to beach trips and pool parties. These really are the best ways to beat the heat, not to mention are loads of fun, until someone come home with a bad sunburn. The reality is most of us forget that applying sunscreen (and reapplying after every two to three hours) is an essential part of our trips and should be used continuously every day.

If you think about it, a sunburn isn’t just a minor burn that goes away—it has long-term, irreversible effects on our skin that can lead to premature aging and even skin cancer. This is actually pretty serious. The sun’s rays are more dangerous than ever, as they deliver three types of radiation: UVA has known to cause premature wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and sagging skin; UVB results in skin reddening and painful sunburns; and UVC rays leads to the formation of skin radicals.

We need sunscreen that protects us from all three types of radiation, and that is where SPF comes in. In case you didn’t know, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and is actually the measured ability of a sunscreen to protect the skin. This is not an amount of protection, but an indication of how long it will take for UVB rays to redden your skin, as compared to if you didn’t apply sunscreen. For example, an SPF of 15 will take your skin 15 times longer to burn than without the sunscreen.

Of course, choosing a higher SPF does not mean less of the product can be applied on the skin. Its efficacy depends on its application—an SPF 15 sunscreen will shield against 93% of the sun’s UVB rays, while SPF 30 will provide 97% protection, and SPF 50, 98%. This seems like very little difference, but believe me, this makes a world of difference once you’re baking under the sun. That’s why we should opt to use a minimum SPF 30 sunscreen when we gfo to the beach or swim in a pool. And remember to apply and reapply generously. And like all other products, sunscreens aren’t created equal. The rule of thumb is to look for one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. These are usually labeled “broad-spectrum” or “multi-spectrum”. Once you have that down pat, you can look for other qualities that suit your skin type and needs.
This article was written by me for http://www.watsons.com.ph. Check out their site for more beauty tips. 

Happy Skin Beauty in Bloom

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HAPPY SKIN has come a long way since they launched a year and a half ago. The local makeup brand (founded by Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo) has been making huge milestones, launching one collection after the other and including new products to their impressive roster (they just launched an incredible primer and mascara).

I personally LOVE their lippies called Shut Up And Kiss Me–they glide so well and deposit plenty of color without drying out lips. I have ALL the colors, from easy nudes to punchy pinks to sultry reds! Another favorite of mine is the Lip And Cheek Mousse, which I wear when I don’t want to apply any makeup on. This wonder product doesn’t immediately dry on contact, but allows you to blend the mousse into your skin until you get a natural flush of color on your cheeks. It leaves a powdery finish, and when used on lips becomes silky matte (again without drying lips).

That is why I was SO HAPPY when I found out Happy Skin was launching a Spring collection called Beauty In Bloom, and it includes a gorgeous collection of my favorite products, plus powder blushers and as I mentioned earlier, a primer and mascara. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one excited about this because the prettiest ladies in the industry all showed up at the launch, eager to try their latest products.

I arrived with hardly any makeup on, except for my favorite Lip And Cheek Mousse, which was fine because Jacqe and Rissa tapped two of the best makeup artists to demonstrate how to use their newest products. They are, of course, Jigs Mayuga and Lourd Ramos. I went to Jigs, who showed me the new Insta Beauty Blur Cream Primer Foundation. All he did was apply it on my face and I was sold. It is one of the best primers I’ve tried, and since it is a primer and foundation in one, it is really all I need (I don’t even have to apply powder after). It is actually a correcting product enriched with anti-aging ingredients like retinol and peptides, collagen-boosting vitamin C, and skin-protecting vitamin E. The product leaves a matte, powdery finish and just melts into your skin, creating a flawless effect. I love this product, and I didn’t leave the event without it.

The Eye Am The One Holy Grail Mascara in Perfect Black is another new addition to the permanent collection. It is a high-performing mascara that can also be effortlessly removed with warm water (WIN). No need to struggle with eye makeup removers and oils for this one!

The Beauty in Bloom collection was just so pretty and fresh. They make great additions to any makeup kit, because they are so wearable. Happy Skin’s Shut Up and Kiss Me Moisturising Lippie came in two shades in the collection: Bride-to-Be, which lends rosy pink color, and Hold My Hand which is a nude mauve shade. For the Lip and Cheek Mousse, Happy Skin made a version of last year’s Summer Crush and The Morning After from their lippie range.  And the Get Cheeky with Me 2-in-1 Blush now has two amazing pink and peach shades, that were both made to flatter all skin tones.

This is definitely a collection to stalk! Happy Skin is available at Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-La, Beauty Bar, Plains & Prints, The SM Store Makati and Mall of Asia, and Watsons Mall of Asia.

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In the navy

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I’m finally wearing a maternity dress! I’m not sure why it took me this long to wear one–I think it was because I was dead set on wearing my regular clothes for as long as I could. Also, I couldn’t find any that I liked, until I saw this effortless navy blue dress from Elin (www.elin.ph). It is incredibly comfortable and is perfect for summer! And it doubles as a nursing dress, as its low neckline allows easy breastfeeding access, which means I can wear it months after I give birth. For my accessories, I wore this gold layering necklace from Hey Jow! and a rose gold watch from Esprit Timepieces. These blush heels are from SM Parisian from SM Shoes and Bags.

 

Tricks of the Trade: The best makeup primers for your skin

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I have a little problem with my oily skin. How can I keep it matte and fresh when I wear makeup throughout the day? I remember in your past articles you recommended primer. What brand is the best?—Marge Lee

Oily skin can be difficult to control, especially with the kind of heat we’re having right now. Powder alone won’t cut it, and neither will a thick layer of makeup on your face (it may only make your problem worse). Makeup primer is the likeliest solution to your oily skin woes, as it will allow you to wear makeup minus the melting, streaking or blotchiness brought about by a hot day. In a way you can consider the primer as both a skincare product and  makeup, as it works to nourish skin, minimize oiliness, and allow makeup to adhere better to skin. It may seem like an extra step that’s tedious or redundant. But I can attest that it makes all the difference in terms of giving skin a smoother appearance and lending makeup a fresh look that lasts for hours.

Many makeup brands carry primers that come in many forms and are made for different skin types. These can be in the form of rich balms, light foams, invisible creams and lightweight gels with shimmery, matte and skin-like finishes. With so many brands to choose from, I have to admit it was difficult to narrow down my choices to the best one. So, instead, I am happy to share three of my favorite primers: MAC Prep + Prime Skin Smoother, Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse and Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer. I chose these because each one offers slightly different results, which means I use a different one depending on where I’m going and what look I want to achieve. Of course, these still deliver what’s expected of a primer, which is to minimize oiliness and keep makeup fresh. But I wanted you to be able to choose the best one based on your needs. Read on to find out more about my top makeup primers.

MAC Prep + Prime Skin Smoother Compact Primer. If you need a primer to smoothen skin imperfections, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and basically give your skin a more perfect look, this is the one to use. The unique solidified primer in a handy compact promises to reduce the look of wrinkles by 28 percent. Its creamy and balmy consistency gives skin a hydrated feel without being oily, and stretches your foundation’s life by many hours. Worn after applying moisturizer and under your foundation or powder, this product allows your makeup to look flawless and finished.

Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse. I’ve been a fan of Shu Uemura Underbase for years, and this one is an improvement from earlier versions. This primer really does its job to mattify skin, but it also gives skin a nice sheen so it still has a luminous finish after applying. It feels matte, and you notice the difference after application, but it doesn’t make skin look or feel dry. After you’ve applied foundation and/or powder, skin looks more finished and fresh. The UV is a plus, as you always want everyday sun protection underneath your makeup.

Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer. This primer is formulated to give you picture-perfect makeup when worn underneath your foundation. Fine lines are smoothened, pores disappear and skin appears even. My favorite thing about this is you can wear it alone, so it works well if you want to keep your skin matte without wearing makeup. Of course, expect the product to deliver, too, after you’ve applied your makeup.

 

My Mothercare Baby Shower

This pregnancy is going by fast! I can’t believe I am now on my 29th week, which means I only have 11 weeks to go before this baby boy comes out. Pretty soon Ill be counting the days before d-day, which quite honestly gets me a little anxious, a little nervous and a lot excited just thinking about it. There are still SO MANY things we need to prepare for this baby–the nursery is nowhere near ready, and we are only starting to buy the necessities.

Thank God for baby showers! This is a must for every mom-t0-be, as family and friends pitch in to gift you with what you need for your baby and shower you with love and great baby advice. (If you have a baby on the way, I suggest you give your best friend or sister a nudge to throw you one, or pay it forward and throw one for a close friend or family member–they will surely appreciate it.) My best friends Bianca Fernandez (who is also my sister-in-law), Bianca Santiago-Reinoso and Nicole Hernandez-delos Angeles planned this shower with Mothercare, who was generous enough to sponsor the venue, food, refreshments and gifts. (THANK YOU, Mothercare!!!) My girls ironed out all the details and threw me the most amazing baby shower: Bia was in-charge of coordination, sponsors and logistics; Banks handled party styling, games and the guest list; and Nicole worked on all the decorations for the event. The result: a beautiful, unforgettable baby shower.

It really was such a happy event. It was held at PAUL Boulangerie at the Bench Tower last Sunday, and was attended by my close family and friends. I was so touched that so many of them came out to celebrate with me–it really means so much to me that most of my loved ones were there. Of course, the food was extraordinary! I’ve always loved the food at PAUL, and this time was even better as they prepared my favorites. There were games, prizes, baby advice and plenty of presents! Baby showers may just be my next favorite event, after my birthday and Christmas. I felt so loved, and I’m sure our baby boy felt it, too. We really cannot wait to meet him and shower him with love and plenty of TLC!

Scroll down to see photos from this awesome baby shower.

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 THANK YOU!!!

Huge thanks to Mariel Bartolome of Mothercare for throwing me this amazing baby shower. It went beyond all my expectations and I absolutely love all your gifts! My husband Carlos and I thank you!!! And our little baby boy thanks you as well. Also, BIG THANKS to Niko de Leon and Ben Chan for making this all happen.

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I am grateful to PAUL Boulangerie for providing us with the perfect venue for this baby shower. The food and refreshments were just delicious. Everyone enjoyed themselves at the event. Thanks also for taking care of some of the prizes for the games, your macarons are the best.

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Thank you again to my girls, Bianca Fernandez, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso and Nicole Hernandez-delos Angeles for going above and beyond with planning this baby shower. I feel so loved!

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Thank you Pond’s, TRESemme and Dove for pampering me and my guests with your products.

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Thank you, Ryan Ong for taking time from your busy schedule to document and shoot my baby shower. Your photos are fantastic!

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Thank you to all the brands who were so generous with their presents:

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Choose Beautiful

A staggering 96% of women do not choose the word ‘beautiful’ to describe how they look.

That’s a huge number, and if you think about it, is pretty alarming, especially since this experiment was shot in five countries across the globe. This means that women all over the world don’t feel they are pretty enough, which can ultimately affect decisions they make in life. They don’t feel they are good enough to claim the things they want, because they think they are average. This is so wrong. We all should feel beautiful and empowered, and not let society dictate the standards of beauty. I personally know how true this is because growing up I’ve always shied away from certain social situations, hobbies and sports. I was very thin all throughout grade school and high school, and I thought I was ugly. I didn’t think I deserved to be part of something good, and I was ashamed to show people the real me. It took me years to get over this kind of thinking, and I have to admit, sometimes I still struggle with it.

I have to give props to Dove for producing a candid, eye-opening film to encourage women to not only accept that they are beautiful but be able to use the word ‘beautiful’ when describing themselves. It is a great reminder to us that yes, feeling beautiful is a personal choice and we can decide on this every day when we wake up. The Dove Choose Beautiful film captures real women choosing between two words that would best describe themselves: the socially acceptable ‘average’ and the frequently avoided ‘beautiful’. The film reveals that women often struggle with calling themselves beautiful. “Although the majority of women don’t describe themselves as beautiful, 80% agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful. It’s time women think differently about this choice,” said Steve Miles, SeniorVice President, Dove. “Dove Choose Beautiful urges women to embrace this choice, and inwardly challenge their tendency to not ‘choose beautiful’ because when we do it unlocks happiness and confidence that impacts women’s self-esteem.”

“While we were filming, it was so clear that the women who chose to feel beautiful shined with a positive, empowered outlook,” said Paul Dektor, Film Director of Dove Choose Beautiful.  “We all have the personal  and powerful ability to rise above others’ points of view, social media, and pop culture, and I hope the Dove Choose Beautiful film inspires women around the world to reconsider how they view their own beauty. ”Dove has long been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. Dove hopes to inspire women to develop a positive relationship with beauty, because when women recognize that they are beautiful, they bring out within them a powerful ability to positively impact the next generation of women. The brand has set a goal of reaching 15 million young lives with the self-esteem program by the end of 2015 and has reached over 14 million to date.

Watch Dove Choose Beautiful at Dove.com/ChooseBeautiful and make your choice @Doveph with #ChooseBeautiful.Choose what makes you feel beautiful, choose it often, and share it with the world. Learn more about the women’schoices and the Dove Choose Beautiful global experience by following @Dove on Tumblr.

Black to basics

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Since none of my bikinis fit anymore, I had to go out and get a couple of pairs for a beach trip. I have to say, it is weird to buy swimwear (or even underwear) two sizes up. It doesn’t feel like my body at all, which I’ve already expected since I got pregnant but never really realized until a few weeks ago. I guess seeing it for myself inside the dressing room, when I asked to try a swimsuit in the next size up and find it out it was still too small made it all real. I’ve always worn a size small for pretty much everything, so to wear a large (these days I need more fabric to cover my booty) was a surprise for me, but in the end I was just thankful I had something to wear that fits well. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing this black bikini from ETAM a lot this summer. It just feels so snug and comfortable, not to mention it holds everything in place. This coverup from Sfera is so cute, I wear it to the beach and the city–it pretty much goes with everything.

 

Tricks of the Trade: Get summer-ready with these hair removal tips

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WHAT hair removal treatments can you recommend for me? I want to be smooth and body hair-free this summer. 

Allowing hair to grow wild and free on certain body parts (think: underarms, legs, bikini area and upper lip) seems downright illegal when you’ve got plans to show some skin. Transitioning into summer usually gets us into this bewildered state as we seem to forget basic grooming and hair removal rules, coming from the cool weather brought about by the past months. A shift to sweltering temperature and stifling humidity demands a wardrobe of skimpier, looser and sheerer clothing, and thus begins our dilemma: How do we maintain a smooth, hair-free exterior without having to resort to a last-minute run-in with the old razor? Thankfully, hair removal now comes in many different forms and procedures, both temporary and permanent. Let’s break down these options.

Threading. If you haven’t thought much of your facial hair, maybe now is the right time. Many of us don’t realize that we have perhaps developed a little moustache over the years, and it may be darker than we think. In threading, a therapist quickly twists thread together to strategically pull unwanted hair. It has been known as a great way to have your eyebrows shaped, too, and works equally well for the moustache and sideburn area. Overall, this should be part of every girl’s grooming habit, as it beats patchy do-it-yourself plucking, and is effective and delicate enough for your face. To first-timers, a warning: This isn’t exactly pain-free. You may feel a slight pinch, but rest assured it is swift, precise and neat. Results last over a week longer than a wax.

Waxing. Still one of the most effective ways to get rid of stubborn hair, it is probably also one of the most painful. Though it varies from person to person, waxing sensitive parts tends to warrant a little yelp, but it gets the job done. The key to less painful waxing is to have a professional do it for you, which makes pulling hair out a little more bearable (as opposed to doing it yourself). Ideal for hairy arms, legs, bikini area and underarms, it promises a smoother, less dense hair growth, and being hair-free for about a week and a half. If you’re prone to ingrown hair, try exfoliating the area more often, except during the first 24 hours after you’ve been waxed.

Intense pulsed light. Working with high-speed, pulsing flashes of light that burn hair follicle, intense pulsed light (IPL) is virtually pain-free. The IPL laser targets melanin pigmentation of the hair and singes each strand until it stops growth completely. Its attraction to melanin means darker hair gets better results, as its strands contain more of the pigment. Depending on the thickness and color of your hair, results can be seen in three to five visits, but can usually be continued with your therapist or dermatologist until all the hair is gone. Minimal regrowth can occur in time, which requires only a maintenance blast to make it all go away.

Laser hair removal. Laser beams focused at the hair’s follicle cause long-lasting thermal damage to the hair, causing it to fall off after the second or third session. This procedure has been proven quite effective, especially for all types of hair and in all shades, too. Painless and quickly done in massage-like strokes, laser hair removal sees clear results in five to six sessions. However, to have the area completely hair-free will require ample patience (about six months) and a strict break from the sun (absolutely no tanning) due to skin sensitivity from burning. This also includes fake tanning products. This one may need some planning if you want it done in time for your vacation.

 

SM Parisian Summer 2015

It’s time to update our summer wardrobes with these affordable bags and shoes from SM Parisian! I am in love with these stylish and wearable pieces. This proves that being fashionable need not come with a hefty price tag. Check out my favorites from their summer collection:Parisian(1) Larisa in Salmon, P1,199.75; (2) Olisa in Nude, P1,199.75; (3) Nymia in Mustard, P999.75; (4) Sierra in Cheetah, P599.75; (5) Nabila in Rose Gold, P599.75; (6) Nadia in Magenta, P1199.75; (7) Shira in Black, P899; (8) Neryssa in Tan, P1,199.75; (9) Nichelle in White, P1,199.75; (10) Selma in Peach Floral, P799.75; (11) Norlyn in Plum, P499.75; (12) Nina in Tan, P1,199.75; (13) Tia in Green/Tan, P799.75; (14) Nidia in Magenta, P1,199.75; (15) Sky in White, P1,199.75; (16) Lallia in Burgundy, P1,199.75.

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