Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stuff Like That (Over) There: A Preview of the New Beauty Stash

The one good thing about this particular trip to the Philippines - besides the fact that I'll be staying there indefinitely - is that I don't have to worry about the shopping any more, and not just because we finally got our own Gap. Most of the major brands, after all, are available in the big city of Manila: the big malls have the high-end heavy hitters like Lancome, Shiseido, MAC, Shu Uemura, Chanel, and Lush; the drugstores are catching up with Revlon, Maybelline, L'Oreal, and Nivea; and Kerastase is the brand of choice for many of the best salons in town. (Don't even get me started on The Face Shop - our first branch had just opened during my last visit three years ago, and now it's all over the place!) That's not even to say that our local beauty brands have a long way to go; the last time I checked, some of our local brands have started catching up to innovations from our neighboring countries in Asia.

Even so, however, it's still tempting for me to stockpile on things that I'm afraid I'll run out on by the time I get there. Foundation, for instance, is a major sticking point for me: no matter which brand I use back home, I always end up with something that's way too light for me... and if it's not too light, then it's too obvious either way.

(Insert grumbling here about how dark-skinned Southeast Asian women - even a sunblock-slathering morena like myself - are forced to conform to the long-established cultural standard of "white skin," and how even the major global brands in the Asian market have yet to realize that they are leaving out a huge chunk of the market by not expanding their shade selection enough. Say it with me now: GRRR ARRGH.)

Imagine my response, then, when I found out that Walgreens had a BOGO special on L'Oreal foundation last week.

As a drugstore-makeup junkie, I'm not afraid to admit that L'Oreal's Sun Beige is the only shade that has matched my skin perfectly over the years. I've tried it as part of the True Match line, and I raved about it nonstop when Sun Beige became part of the shade selection for the Bare Naturale mineral makeup line. So of course I just *had* to stock up on two new formulations for my beloved Sun Beige: Infallible Never Fail Powder, which can be used wet or dry, and the pressed version of Bare Minerale, which couldn't be more portable.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also took my MAC empties for the Back to MAC program, where 6 empty containers will get you a free product of your choice at the nearest MAC counter. (Refresher: Most department-store counters will give you a free lipstick, but your local free-standing MAC store will give you a choice between lipstick, gloss, or eyeshadow. How fun is that?)

And this is what I got:

This is Dare You, which looks tomato-red here but is actually a deep brown red (swatch here, courtesy of Makeup and Beauty Blog). Believe me when I say that this lipstick is shiny, shiny, shiny - one swipe makes your lips look soft and hydrated, and the deep red makes the look fresh instead of antiquated.

And, speaking of MAC: I was one of those folks who really wanted to get something from the Style Warriors collection that just came out this month, and as soon as I saw that eyeshadow in Bright Future (the bright yellow one) I brought it upon myself to add a bright yellow to my existing eyeshadow palette.

This is what I got instead:

Yep, L'Oreal's HIP Bright Shadow Duo in Flamboyant. No surprise, considering that the HIP line is a perennial favorite 'round these parts (even my sister is in lurve with them!) but I dare you to look at that yellow-and-purple combo without drooling. Not to mention that I got this for just $7 at Longs instead of spending $29 en toto for the two separate colors from MAC's Style Warriors that these two shades were meant to duplicate in the first place, down to the saturation of the pigment and durability in wear. Score!


The Mrs. said...

What I miss about Manila is the customer service. And the spas!

meimei said...

Yes, the SPAS!!!! I can't wait to have a proper spa day when I get there... or, at least, a session with my Mom's masseuse and a proper mani-pedi :)

Beauty Addict Kristen said...

Ah! We are definitely of the same mind on the HIP/Style Warriors comparison, too funny! :)

BTW, when are you moving - and where to? I'll be back in Honolulu next month.

meimei said...

@Kristen: Man, I'm actually not going to see you when you come out here! I'm actually moving to the Philippines at the end of June - I'm moving to be closer to family, so I'll be there for quite a while.

But yeah, the HIP vs. MAC comparison was practically dead-on. Still haven't tried on the colors yet, but I'm predicting a near-equal level of shimmer and color saturation.