Here’s What Happened When I Used A Korean Face Mask For 7 Days

If I had to choose between skincare and makeup, I’d definitely choose skincare. But no matter how diligent I was with my cleanse-tone-moisturize routine, it wasn’t enough. After traveling to colder climates every few months, my skin hit its limit.

Here's what my skin looks like before the challenge. Dry, red in some areas, and tight!

Here’s what my skin looks like before the challenge. Dry, red in some areas, and tight!

When I got back from Japan last March, my skin was at its worst. It was dry, flakey, and rough—and I didn’t know how to deal. No matter how much I moisturized or exfoliated, nothing was working. So when Watsons asked me to do a 7-Day Korean Face Mask Challenge, I was in because I definitely needed to up my hydration game.

Watsons sent over a bunch of masks and I tried the 23 Years Old Cocoon Willow Silky Mask.

Watsons sent over a bunch of masks and I tried the 23 Years Old Cocoon Willow Silky Mask.

Can you see the little gadget beside the mask? That’s the MiLi Pure device. It hooks up to your iPhone via bluetooth and can check your skin’s moisture level. This way, we can check if the mask I’ll be using for 7 days really works. (Yes, I’m really that O.C. when it comes to skincare.)

This is the first time I'm trying a face mask that covers my lips!

This is the first time I’m trying a face mask that covers my lips! Btw, you guys should follow me on IG via @beautyandsparkl for more behind-the-scenes beauty action!

The mask felt weird and it felt a bit uncomfortable since my lips were covered for about 20 minutes, but despite that, it was very high in quality and very refreshing. It was thicker in texture and soaked in moisture-rich serum. I liked that it was especially made for toning dry, dehydrated skin (so it’s exactly what I needed) and that it didn’t make me breakout the entire week (huge win).

Here are the moisture results courtesy of my gadget from MiLi! The left photo is the moisture level of my face on the first day and the right photo is the moisture level of my face on the last day.

Here are the moisture results courtesy of my gadget from MiLi! The left photo is the moisture level of my face without using the mask and the right photo is the moisture level of my face immediately after.

So in case you’re wondering if Korean face masks really work, here’s your evidence! On average, skin’s moisture level would jump by almost 5 to 7% immediately after using the mask. I really enjoyed using a mask every night for a week since it saved me a lot of time and effort (in my head at least). I just had to slap on the mask—no need to tone or put a separate eye cream. I would just wait 20 minutes, massage it into my skin after, and tissue-off any excess serum on my skin. It became a ritual that I really looked forward to!

And here's a photo of what my skin looked like after the 7-Day Watsons Korean Face Mask Challenge. What do you think?

And here’s a photo of what my skin looked like after the 7-Day Watsons Korean Face Mask Challenge. What do you think?

I still need to work on getting the glow back at this point, but I was super happy that my skin was on its way to recovery. The redness was practically gone, it was feeling a lot smoother, and I could feel the elasticity begin to return. Yay!

But if you truly want to appreciate the before and after shots, take a look at these photos… Continue reading

Guest Post: 5 Things to Help your Flow

ED’S NOTE: Remember my sister, Camille? She’s a certified yoga instructor and a nutrition coach, so I asked her to attend an event about wellness and your monthly flow for me. I thought we could all learn something new about how to handle that time of the month better and see how it can also affect our skin. I hope you like this little addition to Sparkle Bites as much as I did (my fave tip is #3!). —N.

As women, we face many challenges whenever our monthly visitor arrives. The breakouts, the bloating, the crummy mood, and the over all tiredness—it can all be tortuous at times. That’s why it was quite refreshing to learn how to manage Aunty Flo through healthier choices. Here are three of my favorite (among the many!) tips that Jeunesse Anion shared during their 4th year anniversary celebration:

Tip #1: Yoga is awesome for your period.
There are a lot of health benefits that come with practicing Yoga regularly such as increased muscle tone and strength, better circulation, and reduced stress. It’s great for detoxifying the body as well as the mind and the spirit. At the event, we got to experience an Ashtanga Yoga class led by Bubbles Paraiso. She claims that that Yoga “helps to clarify your skin and brings out that inner glow.” All these benefits of Yoga definitely lead to more comfort (and confidence!) during our periods.

Fellow yoga instructor, Bubbles Paraiso, helping me out with Downward Facing Dog. It's a great pose for releasing tension in the back and legs.

Fellow yoga instructor, Bubbles Paraiso, helping me out with Downward Facing Dog. It’s a great pose for releasing tension in the back and legs.

Tip #2: Hide your junk food stash
According to Philippines and US registered dietician Ms. Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RDN, what we eat greatly impacts how we feel, especially during those red days. Apparently, the food that we normally indulge in such as desserts and extra salty snacks are the very culprit of the usual bloating, mood swings, and sometimes, even breakouts. Healthier choices (such as fruits, veggies, and lots of water) can help keep your energy balanced and your mood positive.

More tips on how to handle your monthly flow and avoid those PMS-related breakouts after the jump! Continue reading

Would You Wear Press-On Acrylic Nails?

Looks like I’m not the only girl who’s addicted to rocking fab nails!

camille-santiago-chalk-magazine-fashion-stylist

I asked the very sweet Camille Santiago (she’s a fashion stylist and Chalk magazine’s managing editor) if she’d do a little Q&A with me for the blog today—and she agreed! Yay!

The moment I saw her post a TDF mani on IG, I knew I had to blog about it. I really think it’s something you guys might want to try, so read on for the lowdown!

Me: Tell me all about your nails!
Camille: They’re press-on acrylic nails and I got them at the Landmark Department Store. They’re only Php39.75 (about $1), too!

Didn't I tell you her nails were TDF? So cute!

Ugh, so cute! I totally have nail envy right now.

Me: Can you walk me through the process? How did you stick them on?
Camille: Before you apply the artificial nails, you have to try different sizes to find the ones that fit your natural nail shape best. To make sure the glue sticks, you have to file, buff, and clean your nails with alcohol to remove excess oil. Oh, and make sure that your hands and nails are thoroughly dry, too. After that, just apply glue on the fake nail and gently press it over your actual nail for about 10 seconds.

Me: What are some of the pros and cons of using glue-on nails?
Camille: For the pros, they’re convenient, reusable, and not to mention cheap. They’re also long-lasting and perfect for #NOTDs! For the cons, some of the fake nails don’t fit the shape of my real nails well, so I had to cut and file them to adjust. Press-on acrylic nails can also damage your nail bed and make them brittle, since there’s little room for your natural nails to breathe.

Another pro: flawless looking designs and no chipping! Just make sure you remove them properly or you might damage your nails. 

Another pro: flawless looking designs and no chipping!

Keep reading, guys! Camille teaches us how to remove them properly to lessen damage and shares her final verdict on whether press-on acrylics are worth it or not. Continue reading

How I Get My #Strobing Game On

I am loving the latest makeup trend that’s trending on IG because it is so e-a-s-y!

The beauty world is gaga over strobing right now—and I likey!

The beauty world is gaga over strobing right now—and I likey! Now gals have a reason to ease up on harsh (and complicated!) contouring techniques.

To score this look, all you have to do is use a skin illuminator to highlight the areas where the sun would naturally hit your face. The hot spots: your cheekbones, the center of your forehead, nose bridge, and maybe a teensy bit over the arch of your brows and chin.

It's an ethereal glow you're after!

It’s a warm, ethereal glow you’re after. Be careful, though! Using the wrong strobing techniques can leave your skin looking chalky or oily.

As gorgeous as the major strobing photos are on IG, I feel like it can look a bit OTT in real life. What you want to do is add a subtle, natural glow to your skin by using strategic highlighting (and powdering!) techniques. Here’s a look at how I like to do it:

Here's how I like to do it! Just a natural-looking, luminous glow that makes my skin dewy and fresh. Didn't use any special lights here either. I'm lounging on the couch in my living room.

Just a natural-looking, luminous glow that makes my skin appear dewy and fresh. Didn’t use any special lights here either. I’m just lounging on the couch in my living room. Haha!

If you want to get your #strobing game on too, you have to use the right products. No, wait. I’ll tell you a better secret: You have to prep your skin properly first! My tips and the products I used after the jump! Continue reading

Sunday Sparkle

I’m really bummed (and sorry!) that I haven’t been able to post a lot this week. Aside from the fact that most of my products are in boxes (read why here and here), this little guy has been keeping me busy.

I've been babysitting round-the-clock while my sister is away!

I’ve been babysitting round-the-clock while my sister and her hubby are away!

I’ve been taking him to school, putting him to sleep, trying to get him down for naps—and all while working. Seriously, I don’t know how moms do it. Everyone in my family is pitching in to help also, but between that and moving, I haven’t had time to sit in front of the computer. Haha, I enjoy giving him my undivided attention too much.

Here's how I get him to nap. Hahaha, don't tell his  mom! I don't think she'll approve of my sleep mask. LOL!

Here’s how I get him to nap. Hahaha, don’t tell his mom! ;)

So while he’s asleep in the afternoon, I do work stuff or try to move into my room. More progress has been made and I finally had my first night in the fabulous “Sparkle Suite” (yes, I’m calling it that, haha!). After not being able to sleep in my own bed for over a month, it felt really good to have a whole night to myself.

Well somebody's happy! Haha, I finally have my own space again.

Well somebody’s happy! Double yay for having my own space again!

After my first night, I realized that I have to start unpacking. Workers have been going in and out of my room to fix a few things, but if I’m really going to be honest, I’ve been procrastinating. There’s just so much to unload—especially when it comes to beauty products!

A peek at all the get-pretty loot I had to sort through after the jump! Continue reading

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