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Growing with vs. outgrowing makeup

It seems a little absurd to me when I realise that my obsession with — or even just consumption of — makeup began about 10 or so years ago. I came out as a lesbian*, was depressed but undiagnosed, with a freelance career that was good on paper, but gave me no routine or stability. Blogging about makeup was one of the things that helped me feel sane. It was a distraction of the best kind, even though it may have led to several impulse purchases and an undeniable overconsumption, the realisation of which led me to kind of let go of engaging in the beauty community. But, still, my stint in beauty blogging helped anchor me to the world so that I did not topple over the edge of my sadness.

I look at makeup and beauty through a vastly different lens now, but I don’t even think I recognised it as a life line at the time. Blogging about beauty was just one of the things I could do where I had nothing to prove. It was simply a show and tell of things I found beautiful and useful, which as far as coping mechanisms go, isn’t all that unhealthy.

My relationship with it has definitely changed, and even though it exists in a sort of peripheral capacity in my life, it is still constantly within reach. It makes me feel safer. I still do not have anything to prove. I use it as I want to use it.

Lately, I have adopted quite a sparse routine, though I will often add a better base, or some blush, or a less neutral lip, if the mood strikes. (It very often does not.) My standard checklist is a little spartan, though: brows, face powder, a wash over the lid, and eyeliner with a little flick at the end. That’s almost always it.

Currently, I use a lot of things from Glossier. I think a lot of people feel a little skeptical or even snobby about their products, but I find that they actually work really well, from the beauty offerings to their skin care range.

1 — BASE

Usually, I use a face oil (to moisturise and also add a bit of dewiness) and set with Glossier Wowder (G8-G10). If I can be bothered, I use a Pat McGrath eyeshadow (Statuesque) that I found on sale in line at Sephora as my contour. It’s a light warm-toned brown that’s grey enough to not look orange. It’s discontinued, apparently, but it’s a perfect colour.

For a slightly tinted base, I’ll use either Supergoop! Glow Screen or Ilia Beauty Super Serum Skin Tint (I think my shade is Paloma). Both have SPF coverage, which I think is fine if you’re not going to be out in the sun all day, like the beach or hiking.

2 — EYES

My brows, I no longer draw in… after having seen old photos. Horrific! I just use Glossier Boy Brow (Black). I use a neutral eye primer (MAC Paint Pot in Painterly or NARS Eye Paint in Porto Venere) and just do one colour all over. It’s usually a warm brown like MAKE Terrazo Bronzer (pre-“reset”, which, more on that later) or Hourglass Curator Eyeshadow (Pro) or Glossier Skywash (Terra).

Then I just swipe on a swish of liquid eyeliner, which is still my old stash of K-Palette from pre-pandemic, lol. Don’t judge me. My products feel like they are excavated from the depths of the earth.

3 — LIPS

Usually nothing. Probably a pandemic mask thing, though lipsticks were never really my thing, regardless of what my lip colour collection may lead you to believe. Sometimes I’ll put on a lipstick from Chanel (Boy), as in from 10 years ago, as influencered by Lisa Eldridge, or Sunnies Face (sorry, but they are cruelty-free, local, affordable, actually really top performing, and also I had already bought them), or Glossier Ultralip (Villa) which is one of my newest purchases.


When I’m feeling less lazy, I’ll curl my lashes, and do one or two coats of mascara. I’m currently using a fabulous one by Hourglass called Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara. I’ll even use blush (old cream Illamasqua blush in Rude or NARS in Sin or Final Cut). Otherwise, that’s mostly it.

(lol, i guess i really like this shirt…)

I still get tempted by palettes especially, but not nearly as much as I had been in the heyday of my beauty blogging life. I don’t think it’s bad to buy new things either, but I do think I crossed a line when I just got into beauty. And even though it was a line that was self-drawn, I’d rather not cross it again.

I really like where I am with beauty now, and I guess I wanted to share it with you, whoever you are, still reading this.

* I identify as queer/bi now, just fyi.

Making space for makeup

Hello. I’ve been meaning to make a comeback on this little slice of the Internet for a while now, but I think I kept getting stuck on the why. It made little sense to resurrect a space that was dedicated to makeup and beauty when I had slowly been, in a way, weaning myself off of it over the last couple of years. Which isn’t to say that I’ve stopped consuming or using beauty-adjacent products… I’ve just reined in the monster, so to speak.

I moved to London to pursue a masters degree in late 2017, bringing along some key items, with full intention on moving back home once the programme finished in 2019. Well, I’m still here, and the collection I’ve amassed is back home in Manila. At some point, I did a “big” clear out, and I intended to bring some more of them back here, but I haven’t been able to leave the U.K. since late 2019.

Anyway, my point is, I have so much crap and I can’t use them. Which is sad, but probably inevitable, given the amount that I’ve amassed. A big part of why I’d dropped off the face of the beauty blogging world is because I just kept buying shit and eventually, it made me feel gross. Even if COVID—19 didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have been able to work through most of that stuff anyway.

But, I sat down on my desk this morning — fully procrastinating on another project I should be working on — and thought that surely there is a place in the beauty blogging world that didn’t entail doing five million product reviews a week. And it should have been obvious to me, because they’re the kinds of blogs I like reading anyway. Big duh.

So, here I am, crawling back into your lives (if anybody else is still tuned in). To be honest, I’ve been keeping it pretty boring with neutrals because I have a pretty labour-intensive 9-to-6 (!) job, and I just can’t be bothered most days. It’s partly a comfort thing, too, I guess. I know now what looks best on me (after 32 years alive, and 9 years of trying!) but I think I’d like to have fun again.

My friend Gabbie looked into how the pandemic changed our beauty routines, and ultimately, our attitude towards it. I was one of the people she asked (which ? omg!) and it led me to think about what I actually stopped doing and missed. Anyway, I missed having fun with makeup. I missed playing. It’s obviously the least of my (our?) worries, and it shows, as it’s fallen by the wayside and just laid there for five years. But, you know, it’s nice to find pockets of joy where you can.

I remember how diving into beauty helped me cope with an overwhelming anxiety and sadness I had. It sounds made up, I know, but setting up this blog gave me something to do and focus on, and I think that for the time I was most active on here, that was when it was helping me not lose it all entirely.

So, again, hello. I hope I stick around for longer now. I hope you do it with me, too.

Barely any base: BECCA Backlight Priming Filter

So, a few days ago, I led a customer into a fitting room and she took the time to pause and tell me that my skin looked really great. Obviously, I beamed… some more, ha. I’ve been too lazy to wear any type of base, especially during the summer when my skin went very tan and nothing I had matched me.

Anyway, I thought I’d share the base combo I was wearing that day, since I did wear something new that I felt helped give me a little facelift. I picked up a travel size of the BECCA Backlight Priming Filter at SpaceNK¹ for… uh, reasons. I think I wanted a bit more glowy-ness, but having tried the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (in Opal!), I wanted something more subtle. I figured that “primer” meant it was meant to use under makeup or alone (I was right — but yes, I could have read the instructions).

The product is much more watery than the Shimmering Skin Perfector, and I don’t have mine with me at the moment, so I can’t compare, for sure. What I do know is that I feel more comfortable using it because I can sheer it out a little bit and it’s easy to blend.

As per the instructions, you’re supposed to put it on your T-zone, but I’ve chosen to do that (quite a pointless exercise, considering my fringe) and I’ve also been putting a bit of it on the high points of my cheek. After moisturiser but before the rest of my base. Do I still use highlighter? Yes, but I think this makes my face a bit more prepped, if that makes sense. I am possibly rationalising this purchase, but to be honest, I’m quite thrilled with the outcome, so I think that’s all that matters.

Products used for the base:

— BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
— Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (Medium)
— Makeup Revolution Pro Foundation Drops (F13 — ordered online based on the description… uh, decidedly way too dark for me lol)
— Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (Mood Light)
— RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

I know that looks like a lot of stuff, but it’s all just very thin layers that don’t need any sort of precision, which is what I enjoy when I’m rushing about my day. Also, I’m going by the word of a strange lady who said my skin was nice, in case you forgot. I kind of think that maybe she’s on to something.

¹ This is my SpaceNK referral code, if you want to use it! I just get rewards points and £10 off £40 for any referrals, lol.

FOTD: Here comes the sun

So, after a long hiatus from mixing it up and dressing up and making myself reach for non-offensive “everyday” makeup, I’ve lately been making a bit of extra effort to, in my opinion, “look nice.” This particular look was brought about by a suggestion from my housemate, Ale, for me to wear yellow eyeshadow because I had become particularly tan. (Thank you, English summer?)

The days have grown significantly colder, so these are sort of last-ditch attempts at bringing a bit of summer sun with me, I think. I’ve worn yellow eyeshadow before (see: 1, 2, 3), but funny how the overall effect differs with just a change of lip (or, in this case…  haircut, and uh… everything else).

(RE: the title and potentially coming across as crass or doing something in poor taste… I know that it’s very rainy in Metro Manila right now, and I hope everyone’s doing more or less okay.)

FOTD - Yellow, Make Beauty Illamasqua - 1

The eye look’s pretty simple: cool, reddish mid-tone brown in the crease with a warmer terracotta brown on the outer crease and a bit on the lower lashline, aaaand a matte yellow on the lid. Then, add a bit of swoopy black liner and mascara on top and bottom lashes.

Make Beauty - Terra Eyeshadow

The cool mid-tone brown (more of a transition shade in this case than anything, really) I used is this really nice one by MAKE Beauty — a Terrazzo Matte Eyeshadow called Strawberry Hill — which I don’t think I’ve posted about before. I also use this for a cool-toned all-over lid shade when I’m too lazy.

Make Beauty - Terra Bronzer

On my cheeks: the MAKE Beauty Terrazzo Bronzer in Tower Isle (not intentionally a MAKE tribute post, but here we are). For contour and highlight, I used a new favourite (Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette) and an old favourite (RMS Beauty Living Luminizer).

FOTD - Yellow, Make Beauty Illamasqua - 2

Also been easing myself back into wearing darker lipsticks… which I realised I missed a lot? This one’s by Illamasqua called Moth. It’s a gorgeous cool matte medium-dark brown. The formula is so good, I’m gagging a little bit.

(By this I just mean that I ate a spinach-ricotta quiche and had a double espresso and didn’t have to touch up once!)

Speaking of easing back into things… I hope this isn’t a boring post. I knew I wanted to come back but I didn’t want to just keep posting reviews for some reason. Anyway, I hope this is alright and that I get back into the swing of things. Hope everyone is well.

Products used:

— NARS Matte Concealer
— MAKE Matte Eyeshadow (Khaki)* (eyebrows)
— Illamasqua Brow and Lash Gel
— MAC Paint Pot (Bare Study)
— MAKE Beauty Celeste e Verde Palette (Palermo, Brick)*
— MAKE Beauty Terrazzo Matte Eyeshadow (Strawberry Hill)
— K-Palette 24H Real Lasting Liquid Liner*
— Illamasqua Masquara (Raven)
— MAKE Beauty Terrazo Bronzer (Tower Isle)
— Illamasqua Gel Sculpt (Silhouette)
— RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
— Illamasqua Lipsitck (Moth)

* PR samples

Tales from the top shelf: skin care update

Hello, friends. Today, we talk about skin care. Contrary to how I titled this post, I don’t actually reach for the top shelf when it comes to skin care (off to a great start, aren’t I?) — if it works, it works.

I do enjoy trying new things, though I’ve scaled back the trying a lot. These are the skin care things currently in my rotation, in case you want to try new things, too. A caveat: I don’t currently have the best skin situation, though I can say that these have more or less taken care of my skin, under the stress of moving and changing temperatures, among other things.

(I’m moving in a few weeks, and I thought it would be nice (lol) to say ‘hi’ from my current student halls bathroom. I have an ensuite — hallelujah.)


On my very tiny shelf, I’ve got:

  • micellar water and a face wash from the drugstore — nothing to write home about; they get the job done! I also have a face scrub in the shower from this brand. Unsure if I’ll repurchase, or find cruelty-free alternatives.
  • MAKE Moonlight Brightening Serum — something I’ve repurchased since it got rid of the hyperpigmentation around my nose due to stress acne. Not the cheapest… but again, if it works, it works.
  • & Other Stories Moiré Anti-Stress Serum — nothing super great, just trying to get through the bottle, honestly.
  • The Ordinary 100% Plant-Dervied Squalane — squalane oil, which works really well for me (I have dry skin). I know this breaks other people out, but it’s the first layer of moisturiser I use, especially when the air feels especially dry. (My first intro to squalane oil was Indie Lee’s!)
  • The Ordinary “Buffet” — I use this pretty sparingly, because I think my skin can’t take handling too many things at once. It’s a “multi-technology” peptide serum which targets “aging problems,” if I’m not mistaken. Honestly… I shouldn’t’ve, but I did. So here we are.
  • Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream — layer 2 of moisture. Almost out of it, and I’m scared about that because I want to repurchase but I also have to pay my rent and feed myself, so. I don’t know. It’s an amazing lightweight moisturiser that combats dryness and sinks in easily. I think it’s a great pre-makeup moisturiser.
  • Superdrug Tea Tree Anti-Spot Stick — purchased to replace my Human Nature Tea Tree gel thing, which worked great. If I had money, I’d repurchase the Indie Lee Blemish Lotion. Alas, this works okay, if not as well.
  • Glossier Super Glow — I don’t even know what this does, but I can’t see it. Just using it up!

Misc. Notes:

  • I’ve emptied my Glossier Super Bounce, which was way more useful than Super Glow, in terms of my skin needs (dry, dry, dry). However, I think it’s probably mainly just hyaluronic acid, which is pretty accessible in most places, so you don’t need to have that stuff shipped, probably. The bottle’s really pretty, though.
  • I’ve got a bottle of The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane, which I don’t use because I think my skin gets upset (lol) when I try too many products at once. Plus, I’ve been really lazy about sun protection, so I’ll save it for when I’m in a better place. (Not… dead, just like, more diligent about sunscreen.)
  • I have a few wash-off/wipe-off hydration masks that I use occasionally. Very rarely, though. Mostly because I forget.


And, that’s it! Apologies if this wasn’t terribly helpful. I’m looking for an acid scrub, too. I used to use One Love Organics’ which was made from pineapple enzymes, but I have yet to find a U.K. stockist. Any suggestions?

Softly, again

Uh, hi. You might (?) remember me from years ago when I wrote a lot about beauty. Likely in a curious, albeit misguided way. I locked this account away at some point for various reasons I don’t feel like getting into now, but the beauty bug. It has bitten me once again. Not in quite the same way, and certainly, the first initial sting never left me completely. But, I was over it for a while (it felt too consuming, if you can believe that), and now I’m not. So, hi.

I’m in the process of cleaning up house here, but I wanted to just say hi, a bit. I guess? I don’t know. This all feels very strange…

First thing to get out of the way is that I’ve moved continents on account of school. So, I don’t have a lot of makeup with me and I don’t plan on accumulating a lot more (although I did a spot of shopping here and there, of course).

I look like this now:


While I was away from here, I mostly look like this…


… but then I guess I felt like I needed a haircut, so. Here, another one just for kicks:


I’m actually in the process of so many things such as uni and moving and a show, among personal crises etc. etc., but I always find myself thinking about how I wish I could write about so and so beauty thing, so here we are. I’m not sure if I’m going to be leaving this up as sort of an archive and just update sparingly about beauty over at my main blog (which is Nothing Spaces, if you didn’t know) or whatever. We’ll see.

I think the question is, also, what else do I have to say that people would like to read about? Beats me, honestly, but we’ll find out soon enough. (Obviously, you can ask about certain things you know I use, or like, opinions on shit? I don’t know. WHY AM I BACK HERE, AGAIN?)

For now, have this long and convoluted hi-saying! I hope this is more fun than my first try at it.

FOTD: Hello, Rome

Hiya, I finally managed to take good photos of my makeup before it got too dark out! I’ve been feeling pretty bored and repetitive, so I ~tried~ to play with my eye makeup this time around. Still neutrals, though, but I cracked open my Makeup Revolution I Heart Chocolate palette* (a supposed dupe for the TooFaced Chocolate Bar palette) and tbh, I’m still quite impressed by it. Realized, too, that I haven’t posted any looks using this palette.

FOTD - 03082016a

Face & Cheeks

Rediscovered my y.e.t. Cosmetics Fill It Up Primer… And I kind of don’t like how it ended up working with my makeup. My initial review of it was kind of glowing, lol. But maybe it’s the face oil I used.

For this look, I used MAKE Soft Focus Foundation, powdered down with Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Pressed Powder.

I used Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder for my contour, and am wearing a beautiful MAC blush (!) called Breezy, which I got from Laura as a gift. 🙂

FOTD - 03082016c

Eyes & Lips

Eyebrows courtesy of my MAKE matte eyeshadow in Khaki* which I applied with a MAC 266 brush. My eye base is a MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. I used these shades from the I Heart Chocolate palette: You Need Love, Thank Friday, More!, Smooth Criminal, and What a Way to Go. Then, I thought I’d give the wings a rest and went with a simple line using the MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy.

My lipstick, Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge in Rome*, is something I got from Sephora! It’s similar to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (which I ended up didn’t loving as much as everyone seemed to) and it smells like candy. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I like it so far. I think the shade washes me out a little, though, but it might be my tan.

FOTD - 03082016 - Eyes Brows

AHHH I wore mascara after the longest time. This one’s the K-Palette 1Day Tattoo 24H Lash Perm Volume Curl Mascara* which I’m liking quite a lot. Not much I can do with my stubby lashes, but I love the formula of this one.

FOTD - 03082016 - Products

Anyway, that’s it. I hope you’re doing well! As you may or may not have noticed, on top of being busy, I hit a makeup slump, but I’ve got some ideas, so… let’s see how far I get with that. WISH ME LUCK, I HAVE MISSED MAKEUP SO MUCH?

* Items marked with an asterisk are PR Samples.

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