Q&A with The Skin Care Curator

Figuring that the small boutique brand was not locally available, I initially ordered my COSRX products via Amazon and had them brought home by family from the US. But I took a stab at Googling “COSRX Philippines” anyway, just on the off chance that some savvy Facebook/Instragram seller carried the brand. Through that search, I found this thread on the Asian Beauty sub-reddit and, eventually The Skin Care Curator.

I was beyond giddy to find out that COSRX was available locally. I was even happier to see that it was available from a clean, professional-looking, easy-to-use website. All my transactions (and yes, I’ve had many) have been easy, items were shipped immediately, and packages received promptly.

They’re also incredibly accommodating when it comes to answering questions from customers, even the more, annoying persistent ones like me. Whether it be on their Instagram or on Facebook message, they’ll gladly respond to your questions about product availability, order status, etc. They are so accommodating, in fact, that Dee and Mark, the couple behind the website, agreed to answer a few of my questions.

What made you start The Skin Care Curator? You initially only offered one brand, CosRx. What made you decide to launch with this specific brand?

Dee: I’ve always struggled with very oily skin with bouts of painful cystic hormonal acne since puberty and now in my late twenties it’s become increasingly frustrating to deal with my “acne beard” (it’s mostly concentrated on my chin and mouth). I was looking for a way to have better skin and wear less make-up, because it’s really hot in the Philippines and everything just melts right off and I end up feeling gross and uncomfortable with my own face.

I started reading a lot of books and researching on the internet and saw that finding a BHA would be really beneficial for my skin, but I couldn’t find a good one locally. There were a lot of products with BHA but they were either filled with denatured alcohol or badly formulated and too harsh for my skin.  I stumbled on CosRx, ordered some from Korea, and I was hooked.

I like trying out different products for fun, and to minimize on the shipping and customs costs I always tried to look for a sale and buy more than one and just sell the extras online or to friends. Mark, coming from a very business-oriented family, wanted to take it a step further and started getting in contact with the brands, registering a business name, making the website and it just kinda happened while I was on the sidelines putting things on my face. If there was anyone who needed convincing it was me, because suddenly my fun hobby was turned into this potential stress. My night time routine was suddenly haunted with the thought of paperwork. But he was having too much fun and I couldn’t stop him so now I guess it’s like a weird couple hobby. We both come from creative industries, he’s an animation/commercial director and I come from the world of art, this venture of ours is really out of our comfort zone but it has been a great way to learn about how to run a small business and also an excuse to keep coming back to Korea.

Mr CosRx

Mr. CosRx

Mark: To me it’s as a great way to think about other things besides videos which can be really hectic and stressful. A lot of my friends really don’t understand it. First being a guy and all, second it being so far from my field of expertise. But I really enjoy it, I like building things on my computer. Most of the time they’re cute animations, now it’s a website, it’s the same thing to me.

Why do you think Korean skincare has been so popular in the Philippines?

Dee: I think Korean skincare is popular in the Philippines because the cosmetics industry in Korea is very competitive and they come out with a lot of good products. You can only sell so much with cute packaging and things that smell nice, but in the end buyers will return because the product was effective, therefore they have to continue to innovate or go out of business.

You’ve already expanded your offerings to include Benton and Lee Ji Ham products. How do you decide what brands to make available on the site?

Dee: I like to put a lot of things on my face and if it works and I see a gap in the market here in the Philippines, we’ll try to contact the brand and see what we can work out. A lot of our customers also give us a little nudge or a suggestion now and then and we take note of that. I also like prioritizing things that help ease acne, because I know how frustrating it can be. There are so many products available for whitening and moisturizing but effective yet gentle anti-acne products are hard to come by.

Mark: Originally, I just wanted to sell CosRx, try to be exclusive and try to distribute it in stores and online. But after talking to them, CosRx suggested and we decided that we should test the market first by selling online. And as soon as we launched the website, people were really excited and bought stuff, which was great. Then came nonstop suggestions on what kind of brands they want to see on the site, this made me realize that they weren’t only excited to see CosRx sold locally. But they’re also really excited on the potential of the website, they’re hoping for Skin Care Curator to be a site where they can find all their hard to find brands. I wasn’t too hot on it at first. But this was an opportunity, and from what I’ve learned, you can’t really choose your clients, just cater to the business that comes your way. So here we are.

What’s been the best-selling product so far, and why do you think it’s been so popular?

Dee: Our bestseller by far is the CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch, followed by the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and the Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol. I think they’re popular because finding well-priced and well-formulated products for people struggling with acne that works is very hard.

Best Sellers

The Skin Care Curator’s bestselling products

If you would recommend just one product to your customers, what product would that be and why?

Dee: Oh, that’s haaaard. But I’m an AHA evangelist and preach the wonders of exfoliation. The AHA can help with a lot of skin concerns, from closed comedones to premature wrinkles, so if it was only one it would be that.

Exfoliants

Are you planning to expand your brand offerings further? Can we get a hint as to which brands you will be launching next?

Dee: Right now we’re just trying to stay afloat amidst the cost of shipping the products here and maintaining a competitive price. Haha! But seriously, I would like to see if we can bring OST to the market, we’re bringing in a few next week and see how it goes. It’s such a volatile product so we need to continue to bring it in fresh and it probably won’t fit in our fridge. J Also we’ll have more Taiwanese masks soon and the oil control line of Leejiham is coming in soon as well.

Mark: Yeah, OST is great. It was actually second on our list, I don’t know what happened, why we still don’t carry it (ed’s note: They now do, but it’s currently sold out). Right now though, we want to focus on our relationships with our current brands and letting more people know how great they are. We also need to focus on serving our current customers,  that means making sure everything is on-stock all the time. We also want to make these products more accessible. Like the Acne pimple patch, I would love to see those over the counter and in stores. But we’re learning that it takes a lot of time to get to that point. We’re still pretty new to this and there are a lot of things we need to learn but we’ll get there.

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My Updated (again!) skin care and make-up routine

I know, I know, I just wrote about my updated skin care and makeup routine recently. How could I possibly have a new one three months after that post?

Well, for one thing, that routine wasn’t really “new.” It just took me a while to get to write about it. For another, I’ve since fallen into a K-beauty hole that’s resulted in new skin care steps and products being introduced into my routine.  While I was already quite happy with the improvement with my skin then, I’ve seen even more improvement now, that I thought it was worth another post.

New: Chemical Exfoliants

The idea of applying acid on my face conjures images of telenovela villainesses splashing acid on their enemies’ faces to disfigure them forever. But the more I read about exfoliation as part of my skincare overhaul research, I realized I had to give chemical exfoliants a try, flashbacks to Samantha’s chemical peel on Sex and the City notwithstanding. There were too many benefits to using AHAs and BHAs for me to ignore.

When it came to which specific AHA and BHA products to use, it was a no-brainer. Yes, part of it was because the other popular brands (Paula’s Choice, Stridex) were inaccessible and/or too pricey. But I chose COSRX’s AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and, eventually, BHA Blackhead Power Liquid mostly because of their cult status in the world of K-Beauty. Yes, even the notorious, dumpster-adjacent scent of the AHA liquid has not put off its loyal fans.

All my researched advised that actives should be introduced one by one, and even then, gradually. I started with the AHA, using it once a week for the first two weeks, then slowly built up to twice, and then thrice a week. I then introduced the BHA via the same pattern. I now alternate the BHA and AHA daily.

My skin is now generally softer and smoother, and I’ve had fewer and less frequent blemishes appearing. I now also have fewer sebaceous filaments (commonly mistaken for blackheads) on my nose, and the pores around on and around my nose are less visible (i.e. less clogged). And that’s just with two months of using AHA and one of BHA. I’m so happy with the results that I actually look forward to this step in my skin routine, even with the notorious stench of the AHA.

Replaced: Physical Exfoliant

I’ve finished the last of my St. Ives Apricot Scrub and will never look back. I was stubborn about it, as I loved the way my skin felt after a good scrubbing with it, but articles like this one have finally convinced me that there are better ways to work off my dead skin cells. Enter Skin Food Black Sugar Strawberry Mask Wash-Off. Not only is it gentler than the giant granules in the St. Ives, it also leaves my skin feeling so much softer and moisturized. It also smells very, very, very good, like a jam you’d want to spread over a bagel with cream cheese. Kerry of Skin and Tonics gives a comprehensive review of the product, if you need more convincing.

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The new guard

Replaced: Sunscreen

I still love the Clinique Even Better City Block Anti-Pollution SPF40 PA+++ and still reach out for it when I’m too lazy to apply foundation on top of my sunscreen. But given that I live in the tropics, SPF40 just won’t cut it for me. I discovered the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 PA++++ through milady Fiddy Snails, whose review of the product started with the announcement of her engagement to… the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 PA++++.

And, really, I can’t blame her. This creamy sunscreen lives up to its “Aqua Rich Water Essence” (Kao really wanted to get the “hydration” message across, no?) name. This is the most hydrated my skin has ever felt after applying sunscreen, probably thanks to the sodium hyaluronic (i.e. the salt version of hyaluronic acid) in it. It dries clear despite the slight white cast when initially applied. Another plus? It’s cheap! I can buy three 50ml bottles of the Biore with one small tube of the Clinique.

New: Foundation

As much as I loved my new Biore sunscreen and the extra protection it delivers, I also wanted the cosmetic benefits of the tint in the Clinique. I loved how it evened out my skin tone and made any blemishes or dark spots less prominent. The easy solution, of course, was foundation. After some research, I settled on NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Punjab as my first ever (yeah, I know) bottle of foundation. I was happy with how it tested on my jawline at the counter and bought it, thinking I could try something else if I wasn’t happy with it in the long run. A few months in, though, I’m thinking I might never have to try any other foundation. For some reason (probably the 90s) I always associated foundation with cakey finishes; thick, gloopy liquids; and mismatched faces and necks. But then again they probably didn’t have NARS Sheer Glow in the 90s. The liquid is incredibly light, I don’t feel it at all on my face even when I’ve dispensed too much. It has a semi-matte finish and blends beautifully into my skin and with my skin tone.

The one annoying con I have for this product is that it comes with a screw-on cap by default. Not only do you have to buy the pump separately, the pump doesn’t come with a cover. The kind SA at the NARS boutique gave me a plastic cover (that they use for the counter samples) but it still had a small opening. So even with that cover, the foundation is still not entirely protected from the elements. Get it together, NARS.

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My growing COSRX family

Additional: Moisturizers/Overnight Masks

I love my SK-II Essential Power Cream, but I knew I needed something more substantial for my trip to the London and Paris in the middle of fall. And so began the frantic buying and testing of Korean moisturizers for my trip. I bought three in quick succession and all three made the 18-hour trip to Europe with me. I then purchased another one after the trip because I apparently have a problem.

First was the Benton High Content Snail Bee Steam Cream. I needed something lighter to wear under my sunscreen AND foundation for day. Given that the Benton Steam Cream was Lady Fiddy’s “summer” moisturizer, I figured it might fit the bill. And it sure did. It was occlusive enough to keep my skin soft an moisturized even in the cold and windy Parisian weather, but light and fast-drying enough to comfortably wear under two more layers of product. It didn’t leave an oily or greasy finish or cause my sunscreen or foundation to dry longer. It’s also a fantastic night moisturizer if you don’t have to deal with a radiator sucking the life out of your face. It’s chock full of ingredients that do wonders for your skin. For one thing, it’s 64% snail secretion filtrate (SSF). And if that wasn’t good enough, sodium hyaluronic, niacinamide, EGF, and bee venom are pretty high up in the ingredient list as well. All that good stuff comes together in a cream that is not only very hydrating, but is also great at calming down any redness/irritation, and keeping breakouts at bay.

The rest of my other new moisturizers are all from one brand, COSRX. I wasn’t able to purchase the  COSRX Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask in time for my trip, but in hindsight, it would not have made it with me anyway. Not because it’s not a good product, but because the light, golden gel was probably not the best option for my cold-weather needs. But despite its relative “lightweight” status, with 85% propolis extract (and, despite its name, no honey), this “honey” mask has a lot going for it. Its gel form and slight cooling effect makes it particularly suitable for humid, tropical climates and for people with oil-control issues.

The COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask did make the trip with me, literally. It was with me on my carry-on bag as part of my in-flight skincare arsenal. Because a sheet mask was too scary/creepy/weird, I had to rely on this cream to protect my face from the drying cabin air. And that it did. Even a thin layer of this velvety cream was enough to keep my skin hydrated over my 11-hour flight. It also leaves my skin supple and bouncy even after I’ve wiped (in-flight) or rinsed (on land) the cream off.

The last cream that made it with me to France and the UK was the COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream. It was the richest and thickest of all them, so I used it exclusively for nighttime. Unlike the honey mask, this product actually has honey in it, and as the first thing on the list, it’s the most concentrated ingredient in the cream. And as I’ve found with the Etude House I Need You, Honey! mask, my face loves the moisturizing qualities of the sweet stuff, and this is no exception. It was the perfect thing to nourish my skin with after a day of exposure to the stiff fall breeze outdoors and the drying, heated air of indoors. And while it is the heaviest of all the moisturizers in my collection, it’s still comfortable enough to wear at night back home. It’s my go-to when my face feels even a little tight and dry, like on days I end up sitting right under the air conditioning vents at work.

I’m still new to the world of Korean/Asian beauty products so my skincare regimen could still change as I discovered even more new, fantastic products. I already have products that I’ve either just started or will be using soon, and I’ll definitely keep you posted on the ones I really like!

I got my CosRx products from either Amazon or locally (hooray!) via The Skincare Curator.

The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 PA++++ I also got via Amazon, but is apparently available in the new and improved beauty section of SM Department Stores. I’ve yet to see this specific product personally, but the rest of Biore’s sunscreen lines were there (Perfect Milk, etc.) with this product out of stock, according to the saleslady. 

The Benton Steam Cream was purchased via Amazon as well. 

My K-Beauty Gateway Drug: Sheet Masks

In case it wasn’t obvious in my last post, I am obsessed with sheet masks. Sheet masks were my gateway drug into my budding Korean skincare addiction, and while I have since expanded my interests, I still get as giddy trying out a new one as I when I tried my first.

What’s not to love? First, they’re cheap. Most sheet masks range from PHP 60-120. Second, they’re really, really, really good for your face. Sheet masks are soaked in concentrated essences infused with skin care favorites like hyarulonic acid, fermented honey extract, propolis, or snail secretion filtrate (SSF). The cloth mask helps ensure that the essence does not evaporate into thin air and is instead absorbed by your skin. And the last reason to love sheet masks is that there’s something for everyone and every skin complaint. One brand alone has probably two or three dozen kinds, so everyone will definitely find one to address every skin situation and a few that their skin will absolutely love.

Which brings me to my favorite masks from the variety I’ve tried so far. These masks are now part of my regular rotation and are the constants in my ever expanding mask pile.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack
This might be my favorite mask of them all, in terms of immediately obvious results. When I took off the first one I tried, I actually went “Ooooooooooohh!” My skin was noticeably brighter, more even, and, if this makes any sense at all, calmer. That’s likely to do with the high concentration of SSF, the second ingredient in the list. It’s followed by a host of other things good for your skin like hyarulonic acid, arbutin, and aloe leaf extract. I got my box of 10 via Amazon, but the masks are now locally available from The Skincare Curator.

Etude House I Need You, Honey! Mask Sheet
First of all, I feel the need to clarify that I am NOT Etude House’s target customer. It still freaks me out when I get greeted with “Welcome, princess!” every time I step into a store. But my dearest Lady Snails convinced me to give their masks a try. I chose their honey mask since it was labeled as “Richly Moisturizing” and I needed to amp up my moisture for the cold weather for my trip to Europe. I knew it was risky trying something for the first time while I was out of town, not the ideal time and place for a possible allergic reaction, but my stubbornness paid off. The mask delivered on its promise to “richly moisturize” my mug. It didn’t come with the usual clear essence, but with a thick, white cream. It was a little sticky on the mask, but didn’t leave my face icky. Instead, it left my skin smooth and very, very moisturized up until the next morning. I actually felt bad  washing off any residual goodness from the mask when I cleansed.

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Tony Moly Pureness 100 Hyarulonic Acid Mask Sheet
When I was still new to all these “exotic” ingredients (I still am, actually), I was confused as to how an acid could provide hydration. I’ve since educated myself on the matter, of course, and slap on this mask whenever I feel that my skin needs a boost of moisture. The first few times I’ve used this mask, I could still feel the effects of it two days after I’ve applied it.

Tony Moly Pureness 100 Snail Mask Sheet
Now what’s a list of sheet masks without a snail one? If I had to pick one specific sheet mask that opened up the world of Korean beauty products to me, it would be this one. There are probably better snail masks out there (the Benton one, for instance), but this was the product that got me over my intial “ewwwwww, snails, yuck!” reaction to the use of SSF. It’s pushed me headlong into the world of Korean skin care with its snails, bees, rice, and donkey milk (although I haven’t taken the plunge with that last one), to the infinite improvement of my skin, so it will always hold a special place in my sheet mask pile. As for the mask itself, my skin feels soothed and calmed after application.

I may well find better versions of these masks as I keep hoarding and trying sheet masks that tickle my fancy. But for now, these are my go-to masks, the ones that helped improved my skin since I decided to take my skincare seriously.

And I really, really, REALLY want to know. What are your favorite sheet masks? Any ones I should track down like a crazy person and try? 

 

My updated skincare and makeup (what?!) routine

It’s been almost two years since I was featured as one of divasoria’s Glossy girls. While the core of my beauty/grooming regimen has stayed the same, there’s been a lot of changes and additions to it, too.

The changes were mainly driven by a promise I made to myself years ago that when I turn the big three-oh, I would really start taking skincare seriously. I’m not entirely sure why I chose to wait until I turned 30, but considering how my beauty routine somehow expanded to makeup, maybe it was good call, budget-wise. The, errrrrm, “investment” seems to be paying off, though, as I’ve received compliments about the improvement on my skin. It only became “official” to me, though, when even my dermatologist took note of the change while examining my bare face through her giant magnifying glass-slash-light. If my skin held up through that level of scrutiny, then I must be doing something right, no?

My cleansing routine is still the same. I use my Clarisonic most days, scrub with St. Ives once a week, and I give my skin a break by just cleansing with my hands once or twice a week. It’s what happens after that’s gotten a bit more complicated.

I started using MAC’s Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion as a toner about a month ago. But within a few days of use I could already feel the difference on my skin. It feels softer, and I’ve been less prone to dry patches on my t-zone since.

I follow this up with my trusty Dark Spot Corrector from Clinique. After that comes another newcomer to my routine, SK-II’s Essential Power Cream. It’s pricey, but it only takes a little for it to do the job. It’s firmed up my skin over time, although I’m not sure it will hold up in very cold weather. If I haven’t nodded off immediately after applying the SK-II, then I’ll spray Clinique’s Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief just to up the hydration. For day, I’ll swap out the SK-II with Clinique’s Even Better City Block Anti-Pollution SPF 40 sunscreen, which replaced my old Neutrogena standby. This lightly-tinted sunscreen is non-sticky, leaves no white cast, evens out my skin tone, and reduces redness. I used to wear a CC cream on top of it but tried it out on its own one day and never looked back. My only complaint is that I wish it were SPF50, and not 40.

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Once a week I apply a DIY SK-II Facial Treatment Essence mask, by dampening cotton pads with the essence and covering my face with them. I’ll keep them on my face until the pads dry out and start falling off my face. The essence leaves my face feeling smooth and hydrated.

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I also apply a Tony Moly sheet mask once a week. I’ll stick one in the freezer for a few minutes while I cleanse, then apply the cold mask. I don’t throw out the packaging and apply the left over essence to my face once the mask starts feeling a little dry. I also squeeze out the essence from the mask for one final lather on my face before I finally throw the mask out. The Hyaluronic Acid mask sheet leaves my skin so hydrated, that I can feel the difference even days after I used the mask. Meanwhile my skin feels so soft after the Snail mask sheet that I tend to forget where all that essence comes from. My sheet mask obsession is slowly building, so I have a few other masks that I’ll be trying soon and am excited about. But these two are on regular rotation with me.

Along with my skin care routine, my make up ritual has also expanded. Of course, I had nowhere to go but up, given that my previous “routine” probably doesn’t qualify as one. The one big change was lipstick. Whereas I used to dislike lipstick and how heavy it was, I now almost never leave the house without it. From owning one measly lipstick that was a gift, I now own nine. Not a lot compared to girls who seem to own the entire MAC display rack, but given that I only owned the one a year ago, it’s significant..

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I apply MAC’s Prep + Prime Lip before application. It prevents feathering and flaking, which has always been a problem with my chappy lips. It does give lipstick a slightly pinker tone, though.

My lipsticks from left to right: NARS Audacious in Barbara, a light pink nude; MAC Pro Longwear in ‘Till Tomorrow, my perfect match MLBB; MAC Taupe, a brownish nude; MAC Retro, a darker, pinkish brown and probably my favorite; MAC Dangerous, to me, the perfect red-orange shade (sorry, Lady Danger); MAC Russian Red, my original red; NARS Audacious Sandra, a muted brick-red; MAC Diva, a deep wine; and finally MAC Sin, an even darker, deeper burgundy. I swear these shades are prettier than my poorly-lit photo suggests.

I do love my MACs, but I will say that the NARS Audacious line is fantastic. The payoff is great, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are actually hydrating, they are definitely not drying, even without primer. They also last the longest of all my lipsticks and withstand a work day’s worth of meals and drinks.

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I’m not really faithful to mascaras, I don’t actually remember buying the same tube twice. My current Tony Moly Double Needs Pang Pang Mascara (yes, that’s what it’s really called) is a little prone to clumping. Although I will say that it definitely delivers on its promise of “no panda eyes!” Even through the longest of work days, my mascara never ends up in a semi-circle under my eyes.

I’ve switched from old eyebrow pencil to MAC’s Lingering, and now also apply MAC’s Brow Set in Beguile.

Blush was the last thing I wanted to use. But my sister had other ideas and gave me MAC’s Pink Swoon for Christmas, knowing full well that I would feel guilty about letting her present go to waste unused. So now I use blush.

I spritz the Clnique Moisture Surge spray on top of everything, and then I’m good to go.

While my current skincare and makeup routine is still probably in the “simple” end of the spectrum, I still find it to be a huge change versus a year ago, when I just applied one thing on my face before going to bed. Now it takes a little more time between bath and bedtime or me rushing out the door for work. But as my burgeoning sheet mask addiction suggests, I am quite enjoying discovering new products, learning about ingredients and formulations, etc. Though plunking down the cash for something un-tested (boooo for no testers and samples!) does stress me out sometimes.

Hopefully I’ll get to write more about any new favorites (did I mention sheet masks?) soon, and maybe you’ll share yours, too (what’s your favorite sheet mask and why?)!

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

I’m not sure if you already know this, but I a bit of a lip balm addict, and no lip balm addict hasn’t tried Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s a universal favorite, lauded by beauty magazines and beloved by the likes of Nicole Richie, Chloë Sevigny and Leighton Meester. So I would be amiss not to give it a try.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve is the flagship (and more popular) product of the same company that makes my favorite lip balm to date, Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm. So does it deserve all the praise it gets? Or is it just all hype?

Smith's Rosebud Salve

Price: Same as the Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm. About $6 in the US, PHP 450 in Manila for a 0.8 oz tin. A little pricey, but it is a LOT of lip balm.

Appearance: Pretty. There’s really no other word for it. Like it’s strawberry-flavored sister, the tin’s design has a dainty, vintage-y feel to it. The blue against the white and the pink flowers (that match the color of the balm inside) is just… pretty.

Glide: Smooth, but a little too smooth for my taste. It feels a little too close to petroleum jelly, and while a lot of people like that in lip balms, I don’t. I prefer my balms to be a little heavier and thicker.

Flavor/Smell: I can’t really tell what it smells like, I don’t think it smells like roses. But whatever the scent is, I like it. It’s light and fresh-smelling, a little sweet but still not overpowering.

Lasting Power: I guess it has to do with the fact that it’s not as thick and solid as the strawberry balm, the Rosebud Salve doesn’t last as long. That being said, it still lasts longer than most lip balms, around two-three hours for every proper application.

Other Pros and Cons: I’ve discussed my issues about balms in tins before, so I won’t go through all that again. I will, however, go through the pros the Rosebud Salve’s got going for it. And there are a lot. The thing is, it isn’t actually lip balm, it’s a salve (whatever that means) that you can use in a multitude of ways. You can use it on your fingernails and cuticles, on babies’ diaper rash, on insect bites to reduce swelling, on minor burns, on your eyelids to set eyeshadow, on your hair to tame flyaways… and the list goes on and on and on.

The Verdict: Smith’s Rosebud Salve hasn’t dislodged the Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm as my favorite lip balm ever, as I prefer the latter’s texture and glide more and it also doesn’t last as long. However, it’s long list of other uses cannot be ignored, and ensures its permanent place, if not in my handbag, then on my bedside table.

Have I found the one? Lip balm, that is

After years of searching, I think I’m quite close to finding my lip balm for life.

From the makers of the legendary Rosebud Salve, comes Rosebud Strawberry lip balm a.k.a the lip balm I’d marry if I could. I know that sounds a little nuts-o but for someone who has gone through tube after tube, tin after tin, there is relief in knowing that the search may finally be over.

To prevent me from rambling endlessly on how great this lip balm is, I’m borrowing Chaptastic’s scientific lip-balm evaluation system to list the merits of this little tin of heaven.

Could you be the one?

Price: About $6 in the US, PHP 450 in Manila for a 0.8 oz tin. If you know someone going to the US, ask them to buy this for you since the local price is a bit of a rip off, IMHO. But it’s A LOT of lip balm, though, so I would probably still buy it at the local price if I was desperate.

Appearance: The tin has a lovely, vintage-y design. It’s dainty and girly, without being twee.

Glide: Beautiful. Smooth and silky. Even in the warm Manila weather, it doesn’t get greasy or too shiny. And it’s not sticky at all which is critical for lip balms in tins or tubs.

Flavor/Smell: I prefer more subtly scented balms as I find stronger scented ones distracting. I hate it when all you can smell is the balm, especially when you’re eating/drinking. This balm has a clean, sweet aroma that is light and not overpowering.

Lasting Power: It lasts forever. Ok, maybe not. But it sure feels that way. A proper application could last between three to four hours, almost twice as long as most lip balms.

Other Pros and Cons: I’m partial to tubed balms as it is obviously a cleaner and more convenient way of application. With tins, you need two hands to apply, plus there’s the whole clean finger situ. But given the un-stickiness of this balm, this isn’t as big of a problem as it could be.

The verdict: The only thing standing between perfection and the Rosebud Perfume Co.’s Rosebud Strawberry lip balm is its packaging which I’m willing to let go since it’s so cute and I don’t get sticky fingers afterwards anyway.

So this may actually be THE ONE. Up until I try my Rosebud Salve and Mocha Rose lip balms (they’re all from the same company) that are standing by.

My Search for the One

When I like something, I want to find the best possible version of it to the point of obsession. Whether it be cheesecake, Elizabeth I biographies or chocolate cake . I usually take a rational approach to these searches, meaning I don’t order 4 slices of cheesecake at the same time and actually read reviews first before I buy my 4th book on Elizabeth I. With lip balm, though… not so much.

I’ve been known to order tubes of lip balm online to have them delivered to the hotel rooms of colleagues on business trips in the States. I’ve wasted hours and hours reading lip balm reviews in the awesome Chaptastic. I haven’t used two tubes of the same balm in years. And now, I currently have eight (EIGHT!) tubes/tins of lip balm opened or waiting to be opened.

My current stash

I have come across disappointing balms (Born Lippy from the Body Shop, Lip Rescue from Desert Essences pictured above, the much lauded Kiehl’s) and some surprisingly awesome ones (the Chap Ice one I got free from the KLM overnight kit, Chapstick Ultra pictured above) but I still haven’t found the one lip balm I could fully commit to.

And while I would really, really, love to find THE ONE, the myriad of choices and the unavailability of Crazy Rumors products where I live seems to have doomed me to loooong, tortuous search.

Well, I suppose that’s fine, as long as the same isn’t true for the search for the other non-cheesecake, non-lip balm THE ONE.