Frances Ong is the editor of Tahanan Books where she oversees the production and publication of children’s books as well as Philippine Culture Books like “The more the manyer” and stationery products.
The most important thing that I do for my skin is to sleep well. When I feel like a hag, I go on a sleep fiesta. When I don’t have time for that I grab naps whenever and wherever I can. Physical activity is also pretty important. Like yoga, walking to Greenbelt to meet my best friend (hi Therese!), or pacing restlessly around the room.
A. Physiogel Hypoallergenic Cleanser
Cetaphil was too gentle. Everything else was too harsh. This works just fine.
B. Leyende’s Out of Sight Eye Cream
I haven’t used a lot of eye cream so I can’t compare this to anything else. That said, I think I look a teensy bit fresher when I remember to dab this on.
C. Arnica Cream (little green pot from my derma)
My dermatologist is very upset about the little patches of broken capillaries on my cheeks. I’ve been too lazy (and cheap) to get them fixed so she’s making me use this arnica cream to calm down the inflammation. I dab a teeny bit on each patch.
D. Licorice Cream is another one of my derma’s attempts to quell the capillaries. But it’s also a nice moisturizer so I might keep using it.
E. Sunblock for Oily Skin
Everyone and their mother waxes lyrical about how important sunblock is but everything I tried caused me to break out. And I’ve tried just about everything. (I won’t name brands na because it’s not their fault that my skin is so persnickety.)
But THIS (Hallelujah) works.
After the licorice cream, I apply a thin layer on my face and neck with an ELF Foundation brush (that I clean right before each use.) It looks a little pale when you’ve just applied it but the color evens out eventually. I was told that for as long as I can still see it on my face, I don’t have to reapply it. (I’m grateful for that because other sunscreens have to be reapplied every 2 hours. Hassle.)
F. Virgin Coconut Oil
I like using this to remove eye makeup. I just press a pad of cotton soaked in VCO against my eyelids and everything slides off. (And sometimes it doubles as eye moisturizer so I don’t bother using the Leyende eye cream.)
II. BATH & BODY
A. Haircare: Shampoo
My hair is the one thing I never worry about. Not because it’s naturally perfect but because I never go for a haircut until someone takes me aside and says: Girl, you have a problem.
I get a good haircut once a year. And each year the stylist bemoans my lack of color, treatment, and product. Each year, I vow to be more kikay, more committed to my upkeep and my femininity. Each year I forget.
Vaseline shampoo is what I’ve been using. I’ve also used Mane and Tail, Pantene, L’Oreal (in the little travel sachets), the brand doesn’t really matter to me as long as my scalp feels clean.
B. Bath and Bodywash
My friend Terry introduced us to Island Baby Shampoo and Body Wash (you can find it in Echo Store). It smells like vanilla cupcakes and baby powder. Most of the time I use Dove soap. Therese and I found these lovely soaps in Ritual at the Collective called My Little Secret (smells like Halls honey lemon) and Queen of Egypt (it just smells fresh).
I’ve been using bath mitts when I need to feel extra clean. The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is what’s left from a 2010 Christmas splurge. It works well for the face and I keep it in the shower in case I’m pressed for time and need to one-stop-shop myself.
(I also like using coffee grounds as an exfoliant. I collect them after we’ve brewed some coffee and use it as needed. Reduce, reuse, recycle.)
I don’t usually wear makeup unless I’m going out or I have meetings outside the office. When I have to…
ELF Blush in Candied Coral is supposedly a dupe for Orgasm or Deep Throat but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been brave enough to splurge on Nars. I use it on my cheeks and my eyes.
Palgantong Theatrical Powder (Beige Ochre). My friend Issey from Tokyo introduced me to this finishing powder. It’s a nice warm peach color and I sometimes pat this on instead of blush.
Gloss and Balm! It’s like walking around with candy on your face.
• Perfumeria GAL Madrid (Apricot) A relic from the 90s that has survived (much like myself har har).
• C.O. Bigelow Cinnamint
• Yuzu Lip Balm from Yojiya in Gion
Lipstick. (I don’t like the way lipstick looks on me but I like these colors. I apply the thinnest layer that I can so it looks like a stain. Or I mix these with balm so that they go on sheer.
• Red 10 (Bobbi Brown) -true red
• Red Wave (Avon) -happy, punchy, orangey-red
• 208 Long Last Lipstick (Clinique) -an earthy plum (but not full on violet or purple so hindi nakakatakot)
(I’m looking for a nice pink-gold lipstick. My favorite lipstick used to be 24-Carat from Kiss My Face but they don’t make that anymore.)
• Prestige Eyebrow Pencil in Taupe (I used to apply brown eyeshadow with an eyebrow brush but this is more convenient.)
• Maybelline Hypercurl Volume Express (I don’t really have lashes so I’m grateful for any help I can get. This works but it does end up under my eyes after a few hours so I don’t use it that often.)
• Maybelline Gel Eyeliner (01 Black)
• For super special occasions, I use the Urban Decay Naked Eye Palette that Therese gave me for my birthday.
I don’t use these but I thought you’d get a kick out of the “ancient Chinese beauty secret” stash that I found in my house.
• Pearl Powder. Crushed fresh water pearls in tiny ceramic vials. Taking this is supposed to give you nice skin and hair. I have no idea how OLD these are so I’m not going to risk it. I just like how decadent it sounds. “I drink fresh water pearls.”
• A jade face massager. Empress Dowager, ikaw ba yan?
as told to divasoria