Fashion & Beauty Lifestyle

Industry experts share their beauty tips with The Specialist

Industry beauty experts share their tips and hacks on their favorite self-care routine and more. Here, you will discover ways to treat yourself while at home, and how to feel good and look even better for your virtual meetings or get-togethers. 

What is your quarantine beauty routine? What were the changes since the quarantine started? 

Agoo Bengzon: I’ve maintained pretty much the same routine for my skin care, making sure I still wear SPF with UVA protection at home since skin is still exposed to aging UVA rays from the light emitted by gadgets such as cell phones and laptops as well as indoor lighting. What has changed is that I don’t wear makeup as often as I used to since I’m just home most of the time now. 

Dinna Vasquez: I had more time in quarantine for more steps in my beauty routine. It used to be just 2-3 steps for me, excluding cleansing. But being quarantined has given me more time to experiment with new products and textures.

Kate Paras-Santiago: Ever since the quarantine started six months ago, I’ve undergone many changes in terms of my skincare routine. I’m not the type to stick to one routine — I like listening to my skin and what it’s going through at the moment. The basics are still there though, such as cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and SPF. I make it a point to give myself a “mini-facial” every week, and that includes exfoliating, putting on a mud mask, and using a toning device to help the skincare products get absorbed better into my skin. This device also helps tone my face, adding a lifting effect! 

Kim Reyes-Palanca: It’s important to consider your skincare regimen as part of self-care — a way to check-in with yourself while coping with the stress and uncertainties that come with this pandemic. My quarantine skincare is focused on exfoliation, microcirculation, lymphatic drainage and lifting. To avoid any flare-ups or breakouts, I always stick to gentle, sulfate- and fragrance- free, non-comedogenic cleansers. If I put on any makeup, I make sure to use cleansing wipes and a good makeup remover (like Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water or Evoluderm Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin) before washing it off. 

I depend on my Michael Todd Soniclear Elite Cleansing brush now to double as a cleansing and exfoliating tool. You’ll also find me spraying face mists like MAC Fix Plus Setting Spray all day to re-energize my skin. 

Exercising is part of my skincare because we need to sweat out toxins and get our blood running. I do my best to do some form of cardio, Pilates or Yoga or a quick walk everyday. 

Recently just did a foot peel via Baby Foot, and emptied out my L’occitane Hand Scrub and Hand Cream. To care for my nails and prolong a manicure, I use Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. 

Nicole Limos-Morales: My quarantine beauty routine now involves a stricter regimen and more hardworking skincare products to make up for missed derma treatments. I make sure to do what I can to maintain smooth and glowing skin at home so I can delay the need to go out. I mask twice a week and apply products for every concern. I also get derma-grade products from the clinic. As for makeup, I’m down to a bare minimum for daily wear: tinted moisturizer, eyebrow mascara, blush, lip balm or tint. Once or twice a week, I’d wear foundation and eye makeup if only to create a semblance of the old normal.

What beauty must-haves do you swear by? 

Agoo Bengzon: I’m a big believer in skin care products with retinol, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin D. Now that I’m in my early 40s, I need products with anti-aging ingredients that will help me maintain taut, luminous, and smooth skin. 

For makeup, I’m loving tinted foundations (NARS’ new Tinted Glow Booster is a current fave) and multi-tasking makeup for eyes, cheeks and lips in cream formulations like NARS’ The Multiple in the iconic Orgasm shade (a staple in my makeup kit) because they lend a much more natural finish. 

Dinna Vasquez: My beauty must-haves are the following: Cleanser: Cetaphil, Senka Perfect Whip (blue), MAC Cleanse Off Oil; Toner/Essence: Estee Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion; Serum 1: Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate; Serum 2: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex; Acid: The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%; Moisturizer: MAC Strobe Cream for day and La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream for night; Eye Cream: Shiseido Vital Perfection Uplifting and Firming Eye Cream; Mist: Ultimune Defense Refresh Mist; Sunscreen: Cetaphil Sun SPF50+; Mask (once a week for 10 minutes only): The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution 

Kate Paras-Santiago: In terms of skincare, I can’t live without a good cleanser. I need this to strip my face off all the oil, dirt, and grime that have accumulated throughout the day. I also need a good eye cream — I feel like my eye area suffers the most when I sleep late or am stressed; it tends to look dark, tired, and dull. Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum is one of the picks I swear by. Third and definitely not least, I need a good SPF product daily. I don’t ever skip on this, even if I’m at home, because I still get exposed to sunlight when I step out and when I work near a window, and when I’m in front of my gadgets and phone. It’s a common misconception that should be corrected. Yes, we still need SPF even if we are indoors!

Lately, I’ve been going through my makeup collection and felt the need to use them once again. Wearing makeup has become my daily mood lifter! I don’t want to wait for the day when we are all out of quarantine to be able to enjoy my makeup. I want to treat each day as a special one, so I wear makeup, wear accessories, and even perfume even if I’m just at home!

Kim Reyes-Palanca: Supplements to work from the inside-out— pre- and pro- biotics for gut health which is closely linked to skin health among others, antioxidants/ anti-inflammatory NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) and Quercetin, green algae spirulina. Clarins V-Shaping Facial Lift Contouring Serum and V Facial Intensive Wrap to depuff and debloat. Lastly, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intense Reset Concentrate and Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer to combat skin fatigue.

Nicole Limos-Morales: I do a one- to two-month product rotation to be able to try all the new skincare products I have. My current skincare favorites include The Inkey List’s Glycolic Acid Toner, which I bought from Beauty Bar; Shiseido’s Ultimune Serum; and my Patchology masks. And for makeup, M.A.C’s Powder Kiss Liquid Lip Colour, a formula like no other, really, and Nars’ Cool Crush Eyeshadow Palette, a super gorgeous color selection perfect for video calls or events.

As a beauty expert, what is/ are your favorite hacks you’ve discovered and integrated in your beauty routine? 

Agoo Bengzon: Micellar water is something that I’ve really grown to love. I used to triple cleanse with a makeup remover, exfoliant, and foaming cleanser but nowadays, I can actually cleanse with micellar water alone, and it does the job just as well. It saves me a lot of time too! 

Dinna Vasquez: Wash your face mid-day even if you’re just at home and always re-apply sunscreen. Be more ingredient-conscious and look at the ingredient list of the products you use. If you want to try new skincare, buy the trial packs so that you won’t regret it if the products don’t work on you. Wait a few minutes between applying products. Always warm products on the palm of your hand before application.

Kate Paras-Santiago: Being at home has helped me regulate my diet. I get to eat way more home-cooked meals, and my water intake has been off the charts! I feel like what we put into our body is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to our beauty routine. What we put over our faces is just the next step. 

If a zit pops up, use a pimple patch. COSRX has one that I absolutely swear by, and this is available at Beauty Bar! Getting enough sleep is also a “hack” or a tip I live by. I really see the effects of lack of ZZZs on my face, so I make sure to get enough of it, now that I can enjoy it in this work from home set up (no traffic!). 

I also like taking luxurious baths or shower time these days. I light a scented candle (Jo Malone and Diptyque have great ones), listen to a podcast or relaxing music while I’m at it, and indulge in my favorite bath products of the moment. I’ve started using Lush shampoo bars and I love how simple yet effective they can be. 

Kim Reyes-Palanca:  Using skin refiners like Clinique ID Dramatically Different Moisturizing Tone-Up GelLush bath bombs and bubble bars for me and the kids (it makes bath time lots of fun—made you sing there). Adding sheen on skin through shimmer like NARS Afterglow Eyeshadow Pallete, Smashbox Crystalized Shimmer Drops, The Balm Lou-Manizer’s Quad. Lighting my precious Diptyque Baies and Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily candles for scent serenity.  

Nicole Limos-Morales: I learned how acids and maybe a great mask can really replicate a treatment or a facial at the derma. I’ve also learned how to do my own gel nails, and how it’s possible to get pro-level quality if you get the right products. You can get a gorgeous foot peel and spa right at home too with just a foot soak (Patchology, for instance). Now is also the time to use all your cushion foundation products — they’re light, easy to use and blend, quick to apply, and perfect for every day at home. 

What are your tips on doing virtual meeting grooming/ make up look? 

Agoo Bengzon: I think it’s best to lay off the highlighting products because there’s a tendency for skin to register as oily on-cam when there’s too much highlighting going on. A matte t-zone will make you look presentable so invest in a translucent powder that you can pat on prior to a virtual meeting. It’s also a good idea to use concealer on dark areas like the area under your eyes so that you look refreshed and well-rested. A tiny bit of blush will also lend a youthful vibe to your appearance. 

Dinna Vasquez: If you want your blush to show on the screen, you need to apply it with a heavy hand. It has to look very intense in person. The lipstick you wear has to have a tinge of red so you don’t look washed out. I normally just use any brow gel I have, a blush (NARS Orgasm or Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek) and lip product (current favorites are Benefit ColorBalm in Berry or Tom Ford in Casablanca)

Kate Paras-Santiago: Simple — you don’t really need that much! I say pick a good blush (one with shimmer is usually great for creating a glow; I love NARS cheek palettes, they’re absolutely great investments as they last you for so long), groom your brows, curl your lashes (add mascara if you must), then pick a face-brightening shade of lipstick to top off the look! Good thing most conference call apps have appearance-refining options now, so you look good all the time!

Kim Reyes-Palanca: First off — test your light! I learned early on as a beauty editor that makeup application, type of makeup, shades and textures will all depend on the lighting environment we will be shooting our subject or model in. Next is keep it simple. Nothing wrong with doing a full-on makeup routine. Conceal only where it’s needed, groom brows, add color to your face by wearing blush and lipstick. Use cream or liquid bases that blend easily. When pressed for time I find cushion compacts like Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation can do a great job at evening out skin. Define and add shine! 

It’s easy to look pale and ashy on-cam so make sure to use shades that make you look awake, healthy and glowing. You need added definition — softly contouring with a bronzer or sculpting palette would be enough. Finally, manage your mane. I have thin and limp hair which is why I welcome volume (lots of it). Spritzing a hair texturizer is the easiest way to style your mane, sans blow-drying. I like texturzing sprays like Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray to get tousled tresses — stat!

Nicole Limos-Morales: The computer light or ring lights can make your face look rounder on video, so it’s nice to blush and contour where you need it. 

Beauty advice you can give to someone who is exploring to create his/ her beauty routine. 

Agoo Bengzon: Start with a simple skin care routine you know you’ll be able to commit to. All you need to do is cleanse, tone, moisturize, apply an eye cream, and use SPF. For makeup, always remember that it can be your way of having fun and expressing yourself. So whether it’s a statement lip or standout peepers, makeup should be your choice and hopefully, make you feel inspired in the process. 

Dinna Vasquez: Always go to a dermatologist first before making your first purchases. Skincare is very personal. You don’t need to buy the exact products that your dermatologist tells you to buy but at least, you’ll have an idea of what ingredients will work for you.

Kate Paras-Santiago: Experimenting with beauty should be fun, not stressful, or pressure-filled in any way. At the end of the day, you want to feel good, and by feeling good, you end up looking good too. Also, don’t be pressured to have ALL products right away. Slowly build your kit by investing in the ones you absolutely need at the moment, then just add whenever you feel like you’re ready to explore other products. 

Kim Reyes-Palanca: Place equal attention to exfoliating skin as much as cleansing and moisturizing it. You need to fully prepare skin for proper absorption and effectiveness of the products that follow.  It’s also a good time to ask your derma about retinol and the right dosage and use for your skin type. It will do wonders for your quarantine skin. 

Sleep more, sleep better. Easier said than done in the midst of an economic crisis and a global pandemic but it is a must. Sleep is crucial to your overall health. Set a bedtime routine too — prep yourself for quality rest. And let me tell you, don’t wait for a special occasion to whip out all your precious bath soaps, bought or gifted. I always feel rejuvenated after a luxurious bath (Try Jo Malone Body and Hand Wash and you’ll see what I mean). 

It’s easy to get excited and explore beauty products at this time. Don’t bombard your skin with multiple beauty products as this will do more harm than good, even be counterproductive. 

Don’t let staying in, wearing a mask, or working from home keep you from fixing yourself up. While there’s nothing wrong with going barefaced and letting hair rest from styling products, motivate yourself and feel uplifted and energized by getting up and getting made up even just a bit. 

Maskne is real. Wash/disinfect your mask and if possible, sterilize regularly. The same goes for your beauty tools. 

Nicole Limos-Morales: First, know your skin type (I follow the Baumann Skin Type Indicator, which is more accurate and specific). Second, buy products with ingredients suited for your skin type. Third, wait and be patient for products to take effect. When it comes to ingredients, I think acids really do wonders for the skin and I believe there’s an acid that can work for every skin type, even sensitive skin. Many who have glowing, smooth skin attest to using AHAs, BHAs, or PHA as part of their skincare routine.

Shop for your favorite make-up and skin care products online at the following sites: Beauty Bar (beautybar.com.ph), Lush (lush.com.ph) Or contact The Specialists to help you check out the best products suited for your skin! 

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