Play It Cool

Last June 29, 2015, the eve of my 21st birthday, I asked my good friend and photographer, Tarish Zamora to take some photos of me to sort of preserve my youth. I didn’t have a big debut when I turned 18 so I never had one of those pre-debut photoshoots, and I generally don’t have a lot of photos of myself that I would consider ~ahrt~. I wanted to be photographed where I could show who I was as a person.

Right off the bat, I knew I didn’t want to be shot in the soft morning light, which is a common request among my clients and friends who ask to be shot for personal purposes. I am one of  the most non-morning people you will ever meet. While the soft morning light will lend me a certain glow and delicateness, I also know that my grumpiness towards mornings and lack of sleep will definitely shine brighter than the sun. I asked my good friend and stylist, Bettina San Luis, to go through the clothes I had pre-selected as “Nix clothes” aka the clothes that I wear and my friends immediately say, “that is so you.” This meant jeans, 3/4 long sleeved tops, plain tops and dresses.

The end product: an unexpected fashion spread for MEGA’s online magazine,

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The first layout was shot in the streets of Katipunan Avenue, under the shade of the Kenny Roger’s roof that barely provide any shelter from the rain, effectively straightening my hair that I curled for 30 minutes (I also burned the top of my ear!). The second layout was shot in my village, where we asked my friend, Miguel Cu, to kindly turn his headlights on for the sake of the shot. The final layout was shot in an unexplored area of my house, where the color palette luckily matched my clothes. We ended the shoot with a bottle of my favorite drink, Asti Martini, and toasted to my 21st at exactly 12mn.

As a group of friends who are starting out in the creative industry, we often find ourselves itching to do something for art’s sake, something that may not necessarily bring us monetary rewards or published prestige, something to keep us fuelled in an industry that seems to just keep burning us out – but in a good way. Never in my life did I imagine our fun test shoots, especially one that features my face, would be picked up by a publication. It’s an entirely different feeling from when I work in a shoot for magazine editorials because this shoot is something I can truly call ours – concept, effort and final product.

More than a successful shoot and a published fashion spread, the real gift here is my friends who have stuck by me through the good and the best of times. To Team Estrogen, thank you for everything. #StayClingy ;)

Photography Tarish Zamora

Styling Bettina San Luis

Model / Makeup Nicole Ceballos

Assistance Nina Mendoza and Miguel Cu 

For more, we are all for hire. You can see the full set of this shoot here.

#TeamEstrogenIsLegit #TeamEstrogenForHire

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Lipstick Locker: #Mature Collection

We’ve heard it all – nude, natural, MLBB (my lips but better), etc. The pre-strobing and “tontouring” beauty trend was about emphasizing beautiful skin, which is practically the thesis of my makeup career thus far. I’ve always been a promoter of focusing on the skin as compared to any other part of the face. For me, like many artists out there, good makeup starts with a good skin base.

Up until summer of 2014, I wasn’t big on nudes and naturals. I was all about bare base + bold lips, hence my first Lipstick Locker post on KSP-colored lipsticks. It was also in the summer of 2014 that I tried to make a career as a makeup artist, so I had to diversify my kit; it can’t all just be about what I want, it also had to be about what my clients wanted and needed. Not to mention, 2014 was also the year I graduated from college and so a wave of maturity came over me, which leads us to the name of this collection, the #Mature collection.

Back story: I made it a hashtag because whenever my friends and I act seemingly mature for our standards, like choosing to stay in on a Friday night because work was killer that week, we always end our chismis messages with the #mature tag. I dunno about you, but it really feels more validated that way HAHAHA. Okay, moving on, LIPSTICK.Solos-1


L-R: MAC Twig, Taupe, Velvet Teddy, Mehr

MAC Twig is a soft brownish-pink, like an old rose that could look slightly mauve on some people – like me. I think, out of all the lipsticks in this collection, this looks and feels the most mature; not to say, however, that it looks old and dowdy. I’m not sure what it is, but it just evokes that feeling. It’s a satin finish, not too dry and not too glossy/creamy. In my experience, this is a nice pink-toned lipstick that looks good on darker skin tones because it adds some color and sweetness without it looking out of place or floating on the skin. On fair skin, I find that it could cross over to the slightly bold lip minus the brightness. Bottomline: it looks great on both dark and fair skin.

MAC Twig on Jana Stuntz. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin. Styled by Ning Nuñez.

MAC Twig on Jana Stuntz. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin. Styled by Ning Nuñez.

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MAC Twig on Jana Stuntz. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin. Styled by Ning Nuñez.

MAC Taupe is a muted warm brown lip color, also my current #1 favorite lipstick because the 90’s are back!!! I think when people hear “brown” lips, they immediately think of a chocolate brown, or eyeshadow crease color brown, and while that may look good as lipsticks as well, MAC Taupe is a different kind of brown – the wearable kind. It has a very strong warm/red undertone, no grays here (which I find ironic), but it doesn’t lean too orange either. At most, it looks a like a darkened peach on fairer skin tones. On darker skin tones, it may appear skintone, or can brighten dark lips without being too light. Luckily, I’ve been using this lipstick on everyone so you can see how it looks on different skintones! :)

MAC Taupe on Janeena Chan.

MAC Taupe on Janeena Chan.

MAC Taupe on Tola Orendain

MAC Taupe on Tola Orendain

MAC Taupe on Angel Aquino. Photo by George Arguelles. Hair by Aries Manal. Styled by Aldrin Ramos

MAC Taupe on Angel Aquino. Photo by George Arguelles. Hair by Aries Manal. Styled by Aldrin Ramos

MAC Velvet Teddy is a pinkish beige/pinkish light brown almost nude matte lipstick that never fails to deliver, except on me. I don’t know why it looks good on everyone I put it on, but it never looked good on me. Maybe it’s cause my lips are naturally pigmented such that when you put nude on top of it, it just makes me look sickly :( I normally add a little bit of taupe to make it more wearable. On to better news, whenever I use this on models/clients, they always ask me what shade this is. On everyone else, it looks nude without looking corpse-like since it has that tinge of pink. This is my favorite lipstick to pair with smokey eyes, on the rare occasion I am asked to create a smokey eye. I also use this for natural looks that have a more lived in, just-rolled-out-of-bed vibe rather than the sweet, dainty vibe. I hope I painted a good enough picture for you all lol.

Blue Smokey Eyes + MAC Velvet Teddy on Franchesca Floirendo. Photo by Ben Beringuela

Blue Smokey Eyes + MAC Velvet Teddy on Franchesca Floirendo. Photo by Ben Beringuela

MAC Velvet Teddy on Jessica Yang. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno. Styled by Meg Manzano

MAC Velvet Teddy on Jessica Yang. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno. Styled by Meg Manzano

MAC Velvet Teddy on Jessica Yang and Jackie Milner. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno. Styled by Meg Manzano

MAC Velvet Teddy on Jessica Yang and Jackie Milner. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno. Styled by Meg Manzano

MAC Velvet Teddy on Franchesca Floirendo. Photo by Tim Arafiles

MAC Velvet Teddy on Franchesca Floirendo. Photo by Tim Arafiles

MAC Mehr is a neutral pink with a matte finish, and the love of my life. You guys have to know that I searched four continents, twelve countries and I don’t even remember how many cities to find this lipstick only to find it in a MAC store in Trinoma, and I bought the last piece. I first saw this on Temptalia (of course), and immediately fell in love with it and considering this is a pink lipstick and I’m partly allergic to pink lipstick (lol), that’s saying a lot. I needed this lipstick so bad, I had all my close friends who traveled search for this too. Once I reached the halfway mark of my lipstick, I stopped using it on myself and reserved it for very important clients/shoots… I’m a little crazy like that. And that is also why I’ve been using Taupe so much lately. I recently restocked so I can use this guiltlessly again. ANYWAY ABOUT THIS LIPSTICK. It’s another one of those chameleons that looks ridiculously good on anyone and everyone. On me, it’s undoubtedly pink but it’s not the distracting kind. On fair skintones, it comes off a bit brighter but not neon/fluorescent. On darker skintones, it sometimes dusty pink. It’s pa-sweet without being pabebe (aminin niyo nagets niyo yun).

MAC Mehr on Steph Ayson. Photo by Tarish Zamora

MAC Mehr on Steph Ayson. Photo by Tarish Zamora

MAC Mehr on Maan Marquez. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno

MAC Mehr on Maan Marquez. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno

MAC Mehr on Hye Won Jang. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin. Styled by Ning Nuñez

MAC Mehr on Hye Won Jang. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin. Styled by Ning Nuñez

MAC Mehr

MAC Mehr

And that is the last of my solo lipsticks for the Lipstick Locker series. Up next are the different lipstick shades I like mixing together to create a more customized color. :)

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Lipstick Locker: Once-A-Year Lipstick

So there’s a special occasion lipstick, and there are lipsticks so special you can only use it once a year. I’m one of those people who have lipsticks just to have them, and not necessarily use them because there is a hardly ever an occasion worthy of its beauty. I’m weird that way.


Solos-8 L-R: Guerlain Rouge G in 25 Garconne, Guerlain Rouge Kiss Kiss in 325 Rouge Kiss, Kat Von D Studded Kiss in Underage Red, MAC Riri Hearts Mac Holiday in Bad Girl RiRi

Guerlain Rouge G in Garconne is the most beautiful red lipstick I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, using, and owning. It’s a rich blue-based red that is neither too bright or too dark. When I think of the color red, this is exactly what red is to me. The texture is beautiful, you only need to apply it once with no need for touchups throughout the day. It lasts forever. I’ve only worn it a few times; my 18th birthday (for which it was given to me), my graduation photo, and my 21st birthday. 

Guerlain Rouge Kiss Kiss in 325  Rouge Kiss bright coral-red on the warmer side. Normally I’m not inclined to warm-toned lipsticks but I do like coral. The texture of this is beautiful, but not quite as rich as the Rouge G (well, it’s also not as expensive so..). It’s still opaque with one swipe, but my lips are quite pigmented and I like my lipstick fully covering my natural lip color so I used about 2-3 passes with this. It’s very moisturizing without the high shine. And the packaging is super cute. I’ve only used this once for a shoot (for myself lol, I don’t think I’ll ever use this on a client).


A few pounds ago. Photo by Tarish Zamora and Nikki Ruiz

Kat Von D Studded Kiss in Underage Red is a bright blue-based red with the most matte finish I have ever tried. It’s color is almost like Ruby Woo, but not as pink. The finish is more matte than retro matte, but not nearly as dry, although it does dry out after a while. It’s more reminiscent of the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, but this feels thicker on the lips. More than the color and the texture, what I really like about this lipstick is the packaging. They don’t call it studded kiss for nothing. I’ve only worn this about 3-4 times, all of which weren’t photographed. I’ll make sure to wear this for my next shoot if I ever model again cause I doubt I’ll ever use this on someone else LOL.

MAC Bad Girl RiRi is a matte taupe-y nude with cool undertones. It’s very on trend right now that “greige” or grayish-brownish-beige is making a comeback. I bought this January 2014 when I was depressed over some personal issues and I blew an extra 300pesos for this lipstick from an online re-seller. I originally wanted RiRi’s Pleasure Bomb instead of this, but this was the only shade available and I’m a big fan of Rihanna. Who knew it’d be so trendy just a year later! I’ve only used this shade once for my 21st birthday shoot and I love how it looks, but unfortunately it makes me look grunge/gutom if I wore this to the mall.


Pagod Face featuring MAC Bad Girl RiRi. Photo by Tarish Zamora

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Lipstick Locker: Lazy Chic Collection

If you know me personally, you would know that my go-to “fashion” getup is the pambahay/pantulog chic. Shorts + tank top, loose pants + tank top, joggers + v-neck, skinny jeans + sweater, all with sneakers or for extra lazy days, flats, are my default ensembles. I’m not much for a fashionista, I’m as basic as basic goes. Half of my closet is Uniqlo, and the other half is from Uniqlo-esque stores.

Considering I already have the resources, I try to dress up by wearing makeup. But even then, I don’t really wear makeup when I go out. On a work day, I’d put on sunblock and do my brows. On a night out, I add some lipstick into the mix. On a special night out, I add concealer. On a night out when I think I’ll have the patience to remove my mascara when I get home, I curl my lashes and put mascara.

The lipsticks in this collection, therefore, are the lipsticks I use to “dress up” my lazy outfits. They’re one of those insta-glam lipsticks that just make you look put together even when you barely have anything on. It seems to work well enough for me as a diversion, people don’t notice my shorts + tank ensemble when I’m out in a bar. Or at least, I don’t think they do..Solos-4


L – R: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Sensuelle, MAC Viva Glam I, MAC Diva

Yes, they are all red lipsticks. I find that red lipstick is the easiest way to look dressed up and put together, especially when everything else is kept to a minimum. I don’t believe anyone who tells me that they don’t look good with red lipstick. There is a red lipstick out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of picking the right kind of red. In my case, I like reds that are blue-based. You’ll see more of that on my upcoming posts. :)

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Sensuelle is a dark berry red lipstick. It’s supposed to be matte finish since it’s under the velvet matte line, but it’s not quite as matte as my other matte lipsticks. It’s like a cross between cream and matte, but more on the matte side. It works well for me because I have dry lips, and this keeps my lips hydrated longer than my MAC matte lipsticks. On my arm swatch, it looks quite bright, but on my lips it usually registers much darker since my lips are quite pigmented. I use this for more special occasions, like friends’ birthdays or press events.

MAC Viva Glam I is a medium brick-red lipstick with a matte finish. This shade is one of my first MAC lipsticks, but this is my second tube as I lost my first one last year. This is a non-negotiable shade for me. It’s a classic – not too bright, not too dark. And no matter how many times I’ve worn this, it never fails to bring me at least two people asking me what shade I’m wearing. I swear by this lipstick and I have influenced many of my friends to buy this lipstick, and they’ve fallen in love with it as much as I have. I wear this for nights out, work, family events, everywhere! Except for maybe the grocery.

MAC Diva is a dark blue-based red with a matte finish. This matte dries my lips out faster than majority of my matte lipsticks, but I always wear it anyway. This is the shade I wear when I want to feel most dressed up, makeup-wise. There’s no subtleties to it, it’s dark and it’s rich, but it doesn’t try too hard to get your attention. I guess in some sense, it really is a diva HAHA. 

MAC Diva over NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Deep Red

MAC Diva over NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Deep Red

MAC Diva on Jaz Reyes

MAC Diva on Jaz Reyes

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Lipstick Locker: The KSP Collection

I was 16 when I first started buying lipsticks. I was young, clueless and kulang sa pansin (attention-seeking), and to me, buying “natural” lipsticks were pointless. Why would I wear a color that looks like my natural lip color? My motto then was, if I was gonna spend a thousand bucks on a lipstick, it better be seen. I wasn’t much for subtleties and minimalism, once upon a time. I promise I’ve changed.

Succeeding my first three MAC lipsticks I mentioned in my previous post, I bought MAC Girl About Town. About a year later, I bought Impassioned and Watch Me Simmer, and the Viva Glam Nicki Minaj was given as a gift. Last year, I bought Heroine when it became part of the permanent line. These 5 lipsticks are hereby categorized under my KSP collection because these are the lipsticks I hardly get to use, except for editorials, client requests, or for mixing to add a pop of color on my natural colors. Solos-3


L-R: Heroine, Watch Me Simmer, Viva Glam Nicki Minaj, Impassioned, Girl About Town

MAC Heroine is a violet lipstick with a blue undertone and a matte finish. I haven’t personally used this on myself as I have nowhere to wear it to, but I’ve used it in three shoots. I try to bring it out to editorials whenever I can. My favorite color is violet, and this is the most violet lipstick I’ve seen in the commercial market. It’s not a pink-violet, red-violet, (color)-violet, it’s violet. If I lost it, I’d probably violet. (Hehe get it?)


MAC Heroine on Jana Stunts. Candy Magazine June 2015. Photo by Rxandy Capinpin


MAC Heroine on Jaz Reyes. Photo by Arthur Tan


MAC Heroine on Kate Bautista on Young Star. Photo by Bardo Wu

MAC Watch Me Simmer is a limited edition lipstick that came out in the Shop MAC, Cook MAC collection 3 years ago. I was undergoing a coral addiction phase at that time, and I remember seeing this on Temptalia and it just called out to me. I didn’t get to buy it in the stores here in Manila since it’s limited edition, which means it’s almost impossible to get your hands on it through retail. I bought this with a ridiculous markup price on Amazon a year later, only to find out that it’s way too bright for my tan skin BUT NO REGRETS. I haven’t used this lipstick on it’s own in a shoot, so I don’t have any samples to show. I’ll remember to use this for my next shoot if I can.

MAC Viva Glam Nicki Minaj is a limited edition lipstick that came out 3 years ago. It’s a bright pink with a yellow undertone. This color does not look good on me at all, and I’ve only worn it once to a party where the theme was to dress as one of the celebrants so I donned an all-pink outfit and this lipstick. I haven’t used this to a shoot yet since I didn’t used to bring this around my pro kit, it was in my “too-special-don’t-use-on-other-people lipstick drawer” until earlier this year when I actually needed it but didn’t have it.


Three years ago when I didn’t know how to put on makeup that well yet. And the other half of my face wasn’t done by me. It’s a long story. Just look at the lipstick HAHA

MAC Impassioned is a pink-red lipstick with an amplified cream finish. This used to be one of my favorite lipsticks for night outs until I stuck with using reds. It’s actually quite a wearable shade, not as KSP as the rest of the colors in this set. Trend-wise, however, this isn’t so on point, which is why it’ll veer on the KSP side of things until the next 2-3 seasons probably. I like mixing this color to brighten up my nude- rosy-pinks though.

youngstar shoot-5859

MAC Impassioned on Kate Bautista for Young Star. Photo by Bardo Wu

MAC Girl About Town is a bright fuchsia lipstick that I really wish I could wear more often. It’s such a rich color and the texture is amazing for an amplified cream, it’s so comfortable to wear even for long periods of time. I’ve worn this a few times but I can only find one photo from 4 years ago of me wearing it. I guess now you can infer how much my lipstick wearing habits have changed in the last few years.. LOL.

Hi Ian! Photo by Tim Arafiles

Hi Ian! Photo by Tim Arafiles

So that’s my first set for the Lipstick Locker series. Right now, I have three more sets lined up. If you have any suggestions on what sets I should do, let me know. :)

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