I love beauty stuff. I go crazy over makeup, skincare items, fashion and beauty trends. But since I came to the Netherlands to study, I am back to my university days. Back to my student outfit, and student budget for beauty goods!!

But I decided to pay homage to my new and fortified kikay kit, which, despite the harsh and crazy weather in Utrecht, has kept my skin content and happy!

A testament to my change in lifestyle is my decreasing budget for skin care and makeup items. But I can say for sure that expensive is not necessarily better. Of course, the best brands will slash your pockets empty. But there are worthy, cheaper alternatives out there.

I have been without the swift and flamboyant snip-snap of my ever-reliable stylist/hairdresser/makeup artist, Angelo Justin, for four months now. Angelo has the quickest shears in the biz and he could whip up a fantastic hairstyle in a jiff.  In his absence, I asked for his permission to mess with my hair in cases of emergency. Hence, this weekend, I just went ahead to cut my bangs short. Coz I was getting tired of my hair. It really is the best and fastest way to update a look. Im happy with giving in to this impulse.

I also had the guts to color my hair myself. I had to have a color job every three months, and now, my hair color was changing to a rusty orange shade. Yikes!! So I bought a home coloring kit, L’Oreal Recital Preference in 4.15 Medium Chestnut. I haven’t done this in a while, I mean coloring my own hair. It turned out pretty well. My hair is now in a slightly darker, deep reddish brown tone. I look like a serious gal! hehehe

As for facial care, I got a tip from an aunt-in-law who had flawless skin even in her early forties. So I asked her what the secret was. And so she revealed, it was good old Nivea creme! Yes, that rich, thick cream in a flat blue tin can. It was too cheap to be true. So I tried it out, and it actually works as a night creme, especially in the winter time. I was afraid in the beginning that my skin would break out. Fortunately, it didn’t. Good old Nivea creme is gentle enough to put on your face. And it costs under 2 euros! Well, in Manila, definitely much cheaper!

I’ve also been suffering from very dry skin during the winter. Unfortunately, Nivea creme is not effective enough to keep the rest of my skin normal. The only other lotion that I tried that was effective was Kiehl’s Creme de Corps (I got a sample) but way way expensive. Not in a million years! 25 euros for a small bottle! Being the newly transformed cheapskate that I am, during my last visit to the local Etos, (a pharmacy type beauty store) I snagged a bottle of the new Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Body Lotion. Note: For VERY DRY SKIN! Happily, I didn’t need to buy that expensive lotion from Kiehl’s coz I found what I was looking for in this supermarket brand lotion 😀

I was a full fledged Bobbi Brown Compact Powder loyalist before I came to the Netherlands. I’m convinced it is the best pressed powder for Asian skin. Thanks for the yellow undertones in all of its shades. But now, obviously, I’d rather spend my money on travel than splurge on makeup and Bobbi Brown is not available here. (bummer!) So I had to find a suitable alternative to prevent a shiny face. And so, I introduced myself to Bourjois Compact Powder in Miel Dore.

Compact Powder

Bourjois is a French (obviously!) brand, which according to my reading, is made and developed by Chanel. Okay say no more… I just bought it right away! It is much cheaper here in Europe than in Sephora ( it is listed at $20 on its website) I got it for 10 euros. It’s no Bobbi Brown, but not bad!

After all I’ve said above, you might all think, wow she really has changed… Well, not exactly… Thanks to Kiehl’s, I have not made the quantum leap into my new cheapskate self.  Kiehl’s in Manila opened when I was already here in Utrecht, but I have long heard of great reviews of its products. So when I learned that they had an outlet in Amsterdam, we just had to go! My friend and I hopped on a train to Amsterdam, with one destination in mind, KIEHL’S!

So what were the products that I had to take with me back to Utrecht? The basics, of course!

Kiehl’s Lip Balm No. 1- first on my list! Worth all the buzz! It’s the best lipbalm known to man… or woman! A worthy runner up is the beeswax lip balm I get from Ilog Maria in Silang, Cavite (just P55!)

Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser – The next best thing to Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. It is indeed very gentle, doesn’t dry my face, and u just need a small amount for every use.

Ultra-Facial Facial Moisturizer with SPF15- The perfect primer before putting on makeup. It applies easily without a greasy after feel and is quickly absorbed by the skin. Reminiscent of Shu Uemura’s Total Defender ( I don’t know if it is still available nowadays)

Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner- I don’t usually use a toner. I dont really know what it’s used for. Coz it reminds me of Eskinol, and the sharp, abrasive smell of Eskinol still lingers in my head till now. Eeeeee… But this toner is one of the best products by Kiehl’s. It’s non-drying and removes the slightest residue of makeup 😀

So, this is an inspiration to all that beauty does not always come with a price, or should I say, a high price. A mixture of upscale and cheapy-cheapo brands will do the trick!




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