Hawaii and Current Beauty Favorites

8:30 AM

Last week I was in Hawaii to present at a conference. Packing for a weekend trip makes you pare your beauty arsenal to just the essentials, and that's just what I did. What's surprising about these products are that they work in both tropical and autumnal weather! Here are some of my current favorites, plus bonus pictures from the trip. :)


Your best base is good skin. After a two-week trip to the Philippines and another two weeks on night float (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.), my skin was breaking out. I got a bunch of stuff from Mario Badescu to balance things out and carefully selected some samples to bring on this trip.

  • Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream. So lovely! An uscented evening cream that, together with good sleep and enough water, rehydrated my skin. A little goes a long way; I'm actually still using it.
  • Mario Badescu Camomile Eye Cream. Similarly rich and rehydrating. The camomile extract is meant to be anti-inflammatory and soothing. Just don't get it into your eye, as it can sting.
  • Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. Depotted, because the actual bottle is gigantic. This smells calming and spa-like. It's a gentle non-foaming cleanser that effectively removes light makeup, and has helped clear up my skin in the past.
  • VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover SPF 45. Can't visit the Philippines without stocking up on my fave VMV products! This is still the best sun protection for my face. One coat evens out my skin tone, and makes an awesome base for powder and liquid makeup.
  • Stila CC Cream SPF 20 in Tone #03. A surprising face base that offers light coverage with brightening properties. You know how much I love natural finishes, and this gives exactly that. My current everyday base. It's more yellow than my old favorite Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, making it a better shade match for me. Together with VMV Armada, it gave me a clear skin look even after hiking up the Diamond Head.


  • Maybelline FitMe Concealer in Sand #20. Blendable, long-lasting, and cheap. It's a shade lighter than my skintone so it's perfect for the undereye area, and doubles as a matte illuminator. Also great for spot concealing when blended well. All my roommates use this lol.
  • In2It Waterproof Eyebrow Color. I've sung praises for this in the past, and it's still the most versatile and natural-looking brow product for me. I use it even now when I've colored my hair a light brown!
  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance eye primer. Eye makeup in the tropics and in dry windy areas needs to be long-lasting and vibrant. So eye primer is a must! This is a deluxe sample from an old Sephora order. Functions as well as the Lorac and Urban Decay primers.
  • Essence eye shadow single in #22 Blockbuster. Got this on sale at Watsons, when I needed a light lid wash to contrast a dark crease. It multi-tasks by setting my undereye concealer, and even powders my nose. All for PhP 75!
  • Sleek i-Divine Oh So Special palette. I wanted a playful palette for the weekend that still had work-appropriate colors. This a great palette for romantic girly looks, with tans and browns for neutral looks.
My eyemakeup withstood a dip in the pool.


I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the sun and suspected I'd get dehydrated fast, so I brought two lip-rejuvinating staples -- not even lipstick!

  • No7 Marble Blusher in Ballerina. This is an old broken blush (huhu) that I cannot throw away because (a) it's still usable, and (2) I can't find a dupe! This is a highly versatile baked blush I got from Boots in Thailand. It has a youthful pink blush on one side and a warm highlighter on the other. Swirl the two together to get a wonderful summer glow on your cheeks.
  • Aesop Rosehip Lip Seed Cream. A pasalubong from my friend Frances when she was visiting Perth, this requires mutiple applications. But once it starts kicking in, you get these soft, non-greasy, supple lips. Perfect for a matte lip! (And for guys who don't want to sport the lip gloss look.)
  • Skinfood Tomato Lip Tint in #3. A coral-red moisturizing lip balm that packs a ton of tint. One of those products that don't require a mirror to apply, which is always appreciated.


Guts and butts, that's where it's at! I want to be gastroenterologist and it was great that this year's meeting was in Hawaii, but I would have jumped at the chance to attend anywhere. 

Future lady GI's!

The roadside shops look just like a museum diorama.

The weather was like the Philippines, but cooler and less humid. And less polluted. Outdoor dinners were so lovely.

Banana drinks after poster presentations!

Ahi poke (Hawaiian tuna tartare), a traditional Hawaiian appetizer. It's raw marinated ahi tuna with onions and seaweed, mm! I missed the wasabi though, lol.

Moco loco, another traditional Hawaiian dish. It's a burger steak on a bed of rice, topped off with fried egg and gravy, earning it the nickname "CHF on a plate." It's like Jollibee's burger steak, only with an egg, and twice as salty. Oh my!

We hiked up the Diamond Head, one of Waikiki's most recognizable summits. So-named because British sailors in the 1800s mistook the calcite crystals embedded in the lava rock for diamonds.

We could see the curve of the earth (a little light house).

So beautiful.

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Majority of the products you see here are purchased by me. Products that are provided by companies for consideration will contain a footnote indicating that fact, as will affiliate links. Rest assured that all reviews are written with my honest opinion.

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