Pierra Calasanz-Labrador is a writer and editor with earlier stints as editor-in-chief of Meg and associate editor of Lifestyle Asia Travel. Lucky girl that she is, she is also a “road-tester” of beauty products and travels for a living. She is now doing freelance and is the co-founder of the virtual styling site miss-match.com.ph. She dreams of writing a series of children’s books based on her cats floombert and tsubasa.
My indulgence is great-smelling body washes, so I constantly rotate between the comforting Johnson’s Baby Milk Bath (refillable!), Johnson’s Daily Calming Wash (great when I’m feeling sick), Dove GoFresh Energizing Grapefruit&Lemongrass scent (I feel like the smiley girl in the commercial when I shower), The Body Shop Earth Lovers series shower gels, and Human Nature Strengthening Shampoo and Body Wash in Aloe Vera, Pearl Powder & Peppermint (the two-in-one factor makes it great to pack for travel, plus I love the fact that it’s proudly Pinoy, and 100% devoid of SLS and other harmful chemicals). Oh, I also get a thrill out of trying on all the fancy body washes in hotels (here’s the L’Occitane shower gel I swiped from Shangri-La Boracay, so zesty!).
For shampoo, Head&Shoulders and Human Nature are my basic go-to prods. When my hubby Toto and I are feeling really indulgent, we pick up The Face Shop’s minty shampoo or Phyto Gentle Shampoo with Almond Extract. I never have the patience for conditioner, but I do have a shower contraption that supposedly makes your hair smoother! I found out about Aquasana Shower Filter from OCmominmanila, and I got it after reading about the damaging effects of chlorine (which is used to keep our tap water clean) on our skin and hair. The shower filter is supposed to improve your breathing, too, but more than that, I noticed that my hubby’s skin asthma dramatically improved, so now I’m a believer!
Powder: Johnson’s Calming Baby Powder in Lavender & Chamomile para feeling baby
Deo: Nivea Pearl & Beauty Anti-Perspirant (once, when I emerged from the bathroom after spraying this on, a friend asked what bango cologne I was using!), Dove Go Fresh Anti-perspirant/deodorant Spray in Fresh Touch Cucumber & Green Tea, Dove Fresh Grapefruit & Lemongrass scent Roll-On (I don’t typically use roll-on, but once, I forgot to wear deo, so I picked this up at a convenience store on my way to work!)
Face Wash: Garnier Brightening Scrub Wash, Celeteque Facial Wash, or whatever I happen to grab at the supermarket
Pimple Prods: VMV Hypoallergenics ID (for annoying adult acne and bacne), Eskinol Dermaclear-C Overnight Pimple Gel (to zap pesky PMS zits)
Face: Having an oily face, I never thought the day would come when I would need moisturizer! But here it is. I use Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Emulsion for day (whenever I remember, at least) and Estée Lauder Hydrationist for evening. I have yet to start on Estée Re-Nutriv, which I’ve heard works wonders. Pevonia Botanica’s Phyto-Aromatic Mist is a great pick-me-upper on sweltering days, or to take to the beach.
Body: I use Neutrogena Body Oil on a daily basis to keep my skin supple, but for extremely scaly situations, I use VMV’s Know-It-Oil (the bottle with the grotty green label). I also adore the delicious-smelling Aesop Rind Aromatique Body Balm which I discovered at the Park Hyatt Tokyo (here’s my souvenir bottle); I loved the orange peel-pink grapefruit-lemon rind concoction so much, I made a friend bring me the full-size version from Singapore.
UV Protection: Shiseido Multi-Defense UV Protector SPF 50 goes on velvety smooth and doubles as my primer (I kind of make my own makeup rules). Sometimes, I use Guerlain Blanc de Perle UV Shield Brightening Pearl Protection for an ever so subtle sheen.
Tinted moisturizers: I have this thing about foundation clogging my already giant pores, but when I need to look presentable, I use Bobbi Brown SPF15 Tinted Moisturizer, or The Face Shop’s Quick & Clean Blemish Balm (which actually soothes my skin when it’s pimply and splotchy; it just appears a little grayish for the first few minutes upon application, so be patient and blend well!).
Finishing Powder: Shiseido Translucent Powder is the finest I’ve found. Most days, I skip the moisturizer/foundation and go straight from sunscreen to this! When I’m tan, I also add a dusting of Paul & Joe’s sparkly Pressed Powder in 003 (but mostly it’s on my dresser just ‘cause it’s pretty).
Blush: Etude House Proof 10 Aqua Tint (so high school girl) or my super pudpud Benefit Dandelion for day, and Nars Super Orgasm for going out.
iPod Nano: Because I need to get dressed to happy music
Scar relief: La Mer The Concentrate—everyone who knows me knows I have learned to live with the keloid right smack in the middle of my chest, plunging necklines be damned, but it’s the itch that bugs the hell out of me. I’ve tried everything, including countless really painful steroid treatments, to no avail (think 20 injections in one sitting). Thank goodness for Ina Casas of La Mer, who let me try this and said that it wouldn’t erase the keloid, but it might lighten it and give me some relief. So far, it’s the only thing that has miraculously tamed it and keeps me from scratching like mad!
Eyes: Benefit Eye Bright; The Face Shop Face It Clear Mascara (wish I could use regular mascara, but I unconsciously rub my eyes all the time); Etude House Proof 10 Brush Brow—I’m really clumsy and heavy-handed with brow stuff, so this is the only thing that agrees with me since it goes on feather-light to fill in my patchy brows; fun tweezers from my friend Bea; Shu Uemura Lash Curler; Benefit Velvet Eyeshadow in Bikini Line for subtle sparkle; Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Mystic Eyes, which is simply the perfect eye compact; and the very crumbly but well-loved Nars Eyeshadow in Fathom for when my lids need to twinkle (“pang-date,” as the hubby would say!).
Makeup remover: Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Fresh, which is lasting forever. I also use this in place of face wash when my skin feels extra sensitive
Fragrances: Philosophy Baby Grace and Herbas de Ibiza, because strong scents make me dizzy. I also like Estée Lauder Pleasures Bloom, though it sometimes makes me, uh, dizzy. In the Hello Kitty bottle is Bath & Body Works’ Honeysuckle, which I used to use in high school, but now only sniff when I’m feeling nostalgic.
I’m a lipgloss fiend, so I have tons of lippie in the whole range of pinky-brown shades, mostly from Bobbi Brown (for non-goopy consistency, and it lasts ever so slightly longer on my lips). I also like Nars, Estee Lauder, Laura Mercier, MAC, The Body Shop Honey Bronze Lip Nectar, Becca Beach Tint for cheeks and lips, and CoBigelow’s Mentha Lip Tint. I count on Benefit’s Full-Finish Lipstick in Wanna when my look or occasion calls for properly lipsticked lips. Smith’s Rosebud Salve and Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 are lifesavers for chapped lips, especially when I travel. Despite this beauty stash, however, my mom scolds me to this day that I don’t put on enough makeup. Sigh.
I prefer wearing teeny bags, so I only end up toting these two beauty prods wherever I go: J&J Clean & Clear Oil Control Film in Pink Grapefruit (my friend Charlene introduced this to me, and I love how it zaps my oil slick and smells so refreshing—everyone asks for some when I pull it out of my bag) and Etude House Apricot Stick (this decade’s version of my 90s obsession with Clinique’s Black Honey).
**Headache and stress remedies
I am migraine girl, so scattered throughout the house is a collection of aromatherapy and very “lola” headache remedies: Echostore Body Basics Spa in a Bottle, VitaOils Be Calm&Relax Lavender Mist, Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy (the label said “Perfect fit for jaded travelers and weary workers” and I was sold!), Bench Menthol&Peppermint Breathe Easy Vaporizing Balm (to my dismay, they no longer carry this), the classic White Flower, and Salonpas liniment. OK, so the Marks&Spencer Lemon, Ginger &Ginseng tea isn’t exactly a beauty product, but I threw it in anyway because it’s part of my de-stressing, forehead-unwrinkling routine (and the packaging is super cute).
as told to divasoria