Friday, March 07, 2014

Dapper threads from Hugo Boss

Vince and I have been attending a lot of weddings lately. We love dressing up, especially for weddings, because it's not just a reflection of our style but a show of respect for the wedded couple and the occasion. But it's really hard to look perfect  in a a suit and a dress when you're chasing after two little boys. I just tell myself that we're going for the British look lately—stylish but disheveled.

Then I saw these at Vanity Fair's Oscar after-party.
Reese Witherspoon in a black-and-gray paillette embroidered silk dress from the new Fall/Winter 2014 BOSS runway collection. I love her hair! But if I'm to wear this (and not to a wedding hehe), I need to not eat for a month.

Adrien Brody in a perfect Hugo tux. Sigh! He reminds me of Vince! I really like skinny guys with prominent noses!

Stylish but disheveled just doesn't cut it anymore at weddings! Vince, since we're at that strange time when people are getting us to be ninong and ninang sa kasal, I think we need to go get new clothes from Hugo Boss. And leave the kids at home so we can look like movie stars!

*Images courtesy of HUGO BOSS.

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Post-Oscars fashion thoughts

While the OK! magazine staff have all gone our separate ways and are all the better for it, when something big happens in Hollywood (like a hook-up, a marriage, a divorce, a birth, a death), we all still discuss it like we're still making a living out of it! The current discussion was, of course, on the recently concluded Oscars red carpet fashion, and started, of course, by our former red carpet columnist, Jay Santiago, with this video.

I am oh so glad that my fashion idol, Hal Rubenstein of InStyle, finally said what I've been thinking all along: that the red carpet is oh so boring!
"The myth is that the Oscars is the biggest fashion show in the world. Not true. When we go to a fashion show, what we're looking for is innovation, fresh ideas, new concepts. The red carpet is about familiar garments, the glamour that we were brought up on in the movies. Do something odd, do something different, do something tilted, and the viewers get shocked."
I couldn't say that when I was still a Hollywood celebrity magazine editor haha. I mean, what kind of editor would say, "Oh hey, guys, it's red carpet season again and guess what? It's all so boring!"

Since the rise of the stylist, there is no personality on the red carpet anymore. Save for fashion-forward stars like Tilda Swinton, Kate Bosworth, Sarah Jessica Parker and my favorite Cate Blanchett, there's just glamour on the red carpet. Just glamour. Style is gone. Gone are the swans of Bjork, the men's shirts of Sharon Stone, the safety pins of Elizabeth Hurley, the threads of Rose McGowan, the homemade designs of Demi Moore.
Ok, these are not all from the Oscars red carpet but just wanted to point out that style can be crazy!

Everyone looks gorgeous and glamorous and divine. Well, that's what movie stars are supposed to look like! I'll just watch the Grammys then. You can always count on musicians to be authentic (Rihanna! JLo! Lady Gaga!) and to give us all a spectacular show!

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Topaz Beauty: Shiseido Ibuki review

I started using Shiseido Ibuki in mid-September last year when BDJ Box sent me samples. I was encouraged to use the line after Project Vanity's glowing review. And you know what? I'm now an Ibuki girl! I love it sooo much!

Ibuki is the new skincare range from Japanese beauty giant Shiseido. They launched it mid-last year. I started using the samples from BDJ Box in September, was wowed so much that I bought the full-size products in October. I've been using it exclusively since.

Ibuki is meant for anti-aging so its market is young women (and men!) in their mid-20s who are working too hard or too long, live in the polluted city, and enjoy life a wee bit too much. You're still young enough so that your skin can take all that abuse but once you hit your 30s, BAM! You'll look awful. So Ibuki aims to build the skin's resistance to our daily stress, protecting it from pollution, UV rays, dryness and unhealthy lifestyles. Now, I'm 37 years old, 36 when I started using Ibuki, so I'm not the target market but I tried it and loved it! So I decided to do a review!

Important note: This is not a sponsored review. All the products featured here I bought with my own money. Here's proof!
Haha, defensive! Sorry, this is my first real beauty review ever and I don't want it to be tainted just because I'm sooo in love with Ibuki!

Okay, here are the products that I got. The only one I didn't get from the Ibuki line is the eye cream. I know, I know. I should use an eye cream. I'm nearing 40, for heaven's sake. But I keep skipping it! So, knowing my beauty habits, I didn't get the eye cream since I didn't want to spend an extra P1,800 for something I'm definitely not going to use.

Gentle Cleanser - P1,495 for 125ml tube
Most beautiful lather I've ever experienced. Ever! It's almost poetic how such a small pea-sized amount can transform to something so soft and creamy and light but dense and cleansing and perfect. My skin loves this cleanser! My skin feels really clean but not tight and dry.

If your skin is oily or you wear a lot of makeup, Ibuki has another facial wash, the Purifying Cleanser.

Softening Concentrate - P1,600 for 75ml bottle
"What is it? Is it a toner?" That's what people keep asking. Since we Filipinas are more familiar with the Western way of skincare (wash-tone-moisturize), a softener is confusing because it's another product to add to your regimen. But to Asians, especially the Japanese and Koreans, a skincare regimen has five to even eight steps (read this mom's skincare routine, for example!). Crazy, right? But their skin looks perfect!

So what's the Ibuki Softening Concentrate? It's a lotion that softens your skin after cleansing (and toning, if you do that) so that the next products you apply will be better absorbed. If you notice, skin can get a bit tight after cleansing and toners tend to close pores so the softener is the pre-moisturizer because it helps prepare your skin for the serum/treatment and moisturizer. Wow, right?

If that all sounds unnecessary, it isn't. Trust me! This is my ultimate favorite Ibuki product. My skin really drank this up and I'm so soft and smooth because of it! If I don't have any budget, I'll still scrape together something just to buy this again!

(Day) Protective Moisturizer - P1,950 for 75ml bottle
I like that this is light on my face and is easily absorbed. But I don't think I'll buy this again. It only has SPF 15. How is that supposed to protect me from the Manila sun?! So I always need to add sunscreen on top of this and I really don't like piling on products. I'll finish this whole bottle but I'll switch to a moisturizer with a stronger sunscreen (SPF 30 at the very least) before the summer months come rolling along.

(Night) Refining Moisturizer - P1,950 for 75ml bottle
I love this moisturizer! I use it at bedtime and the scent is so relaxing. I feel like I'm giving myself a spa treatment. I love that it's light and easily absorbed, too, since I don't like pulling and tugging my skin just to get the product absorbed. This one penetrates quite quickly.

My skin really became refined. I also don't feel the need to exfoliate anymore, probably because this moisturizer already does that really well. I used to have dry spots on my cheeks and sides of my nose but those are now all gone. My skin looks finer yey!

If your skin is dry, you can use the Refining Moisturizer Enriched cream.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of what I looked like before and while using Ibuki:
Though my skin looks whiter in the right, Ibuki has no whitening effect. The reason why I think Ibuki doesn't whiten is because (a) my foundation shade for both Bobbi Brown and Happy Skin is still the same and doesn't need to be changed, and (b) my acne scars and sun spots are not fading at all. So my skin looks whiter in the right photo because... well, must just be my hair turning really red. That's what happens when my hair is super red—my skin looks whiter. Or maybe my camera's white balance is off? I didn't adjust these photos, you see. No Photoshop! Just my naked face!

It's not really seen in the photos but my skin changed dramatically in just two weeks' use. I started in September. It's now February and my husband has since been constantly saying how soft and young I look. Guys, I just turned 37, and I'm pregnant and exhausted. I'm supposed to be looking rougher and older but I look great! It's not the "pregnancy glow" because my skin always freaks out when I'm pregnant, a combination of angry pimples and dull, dead skin. But with Ibuki, my skin is softer, smoother. I'm not oily at all. I'm not breaking out, except for the occasional pimple now and then that I know is caused by my hormones. My skin does look refined. And though I'm a busy, tired mommy, my skin doesn't look it!

Here is my most recent photo with my favorite Ibuki product, the skin softener. Like, I took this pic a few minutes before publishing this post. I'm wearing no makeup, just eyebrow powder. As you can see, my skin looks great. Not flawless—my acne scars are still there (sigh!) and I really do need eye cream for my dark circles and crow's feet.

I LIKE... 
  • My skin is really so nice now! It's firm and yet soft, moisturized yet not oily. I look so much better now! 
  • Ibuki is not cheap but it's not as expensive as Lancome, Kiehl's and Estee Lauder either. Plus, just a little product goes a long way. I've been using my Ibuki for 4 months and I'm just halfway through my bottles.
  • Every review I read complains about the "strong floral scent." I think the Ibuki line has a delicate fragrance. Quite elegant actually, unlike products from some French and Italian brands which are infused with nauseating perfumes. I love the smell of Ibuki! It relaxes me and makes me feel rich haha. 

  • Though I really think it's not expensive, I'm aware that for a lot of girls in their 20s, the price of each product is still painful. Just look at it this way: The basic products (cleanser, softener, moisturizer) is like a nice pair of shoes or a good handbag, but the products last for months and months and make you look fabulous every day! That's a great investment!
  • It didn't fade my acne marks and sun spots so boo. 
  • The protective moisturizer has SPF 15. That's ridiculous in the tropics! Not protective at all!

MY TAKEAWAY: I've found the basic skincare range for me! I know it's targeted to younger women (it's supposed to prevent aging and I'm already there haha) so I guess I can still use this for a couple of years or so before I need something more potent.

I'll just use the cleanser, softener and refining moisturizer from Ibuki. Yup, just the basic products. I think I'll need to use my SK-II Facial Treatment Essence again (after cleansing) then add a brightening serum after the softener (I'm looking at Lancome) if I want my acne scars and sun spots to go away. And I'll need another moisturizer with higher SPF for the day (maybe go back to VMV Armada). And even though I hate applying eye cream, I know I need it. I just haven't seen enough reviews of Ibuki's eye cream to plunk down almost 2K for it.

WHO'S IT FOR: Anyone looking for a basic skincare regimen but is willing to graduate from drugstore brands. They're marketing this towards young professionals so if you're in your mid-20s to early 30s, this should do nicely.  

You can buy the Ibuki line from Shiseido boutiques in Greenbelt 5, Greenhills, Glorietta 4, Power Plant Mall, Shangri-la Plaza, Trinoma and Eastwood.

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