Celebrating 70 years of healthy skin with expanded Cetaphil skin care lines

Cetaphil is 70 years old! That means 70 years of Cetaphil skin care for users like me.

One of the first skincare products I used religiously growing up was Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I had a facial soap brand before that but even if it had a moisturizing element, I noticed that my skin still lost some of its moisture. In addition, being a scented soap, it had fragrance ingredients I did not want on my face. Cetaphil was not only fragrance-free but it also removed dirt without removing the natural oils, from my face.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

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Zenutrients launches its Argan Skin Salve-ation

I’ve long been a user of Zenutrients’ deodorant roll-on made from tea tree so when my friend Tin invited me to Zenutrients’ main branch to check out their new Argan oil line. I immediately said yes.

Arriving at the place, I was delighted to find a store unlike the usual brick and mortar ones. Just look at this facade. It makes you feel like you’re about to enter the forest or some kind of wonderland.

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Coming May 2015: website for all your skin concerns

This is a heads-up for those who love to google all things about skincare.

Starting May 1, 2015, a brand new local website totally dedicated to everything you’d want to know about skin will launch and it will have not only solutions for skin concerns but lots of how-tos and product recommendations. This is

Created in collaboration with Unilever, the Philippine Dermatological Society and an editorial team of skin care experts and writers headed by Editor-in-Chief Nicole Romero, is a site for men and women. Why was it even created? Apparently, according to Google Trends, a significant number of online searches have to do with skin. Mian Datu-David, Unilever Philippines’ Marketing Director for Skin told us at the event “…we saw a need for knowledge and expertise on skin care that is readily available online…We wanted to give our consumers a comprehensive site where they could find the solutions to their skin concerns.”

Here are some photos to give you an idea of the content of

This is the home page.

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Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner: The fastest weapon against hair damage

Women nowadays do so many things with our hair that we are really setting it up for damage — frequent hair coloring, curling, straightening, daily blow drying, and so on. Our scalp receives pile after pile of chemicals that make our hair strands dry, frizzy and brittle.

Pantene has launched its Pantene 3 Minute Miracle conditioner and it’s the newest secret weapon for damaged hair of all lengths and types.

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Kleenex redefines softness with cucumber

There are brands that are passed on from generation to generation. In my family, Kleenex is one of them.

My family is a long-time user of Kleenex of most of its variants. Yes, we are now 3 generations of Kleenex users — from the time of my Mom who always had a Kleenex pack in her bag, to me growing up, and now to my kids who always have a travel pack in their bags. Since some of my kids (and I) have always had allergic rhinitis, tissue was a necessity. Even our cars have a box each too.

But here’s one confession I’ll make.
At some point in my married life, being a homemaker watching the family budget, I tried to switch to other brands that were cheaper. In my mind, tissue was tissue. Brand would not matter. So wrong! During my allergic rhinitis episodes, other brands that were apparently coarser, would create blisters right outside my nostrils so much faster. It really hurt!
So it was back to Kleenex and there we stayed.
When I got an invitation to the Kleenex event, I was really curious because the invitation looked like a cucumber.
True enough, cucumber extract is the main innovative ingredient that has been infused into the threads of all Kleenex products, making it so much softer. I can already attest to the softness because I took a sheet out of an opened Kleenex box with the infused cucumber extract. Then I took out a Kleenex sheet from the travel pack in my bag. Believe me, the new Kleenex is much softer and silkier to the touch. I had other bloggers feel the difference and they too attested to the great improvement.

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My Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment and CND Shellac nail polish

Taming my naturally curly hair has always been challenging. I once tried rebonding. Never again!!! My hair was so unnaturally straight that it looked like walis tingting (wooden broomstick).

So I bought a titanium ceramic hair iron and would painstakingly iron my hair whenever I would go out to events where I had to look better than usual. But regular high heat applied to hair can be damaging. But more than that, I spend an inordinate amount of time ironing my hair. The sides are easy but the back is my biggest challenge! And I almost always never get it ironed the way I want it.

So when Azta Urban Salon contacted me about trying out the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment, I immediately googled it to find out what to expect. Initially, I was hesitant to go through with it. If it looked anything like rebonded hair, I did not want it. But the different blog posts I read up on wrote about Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment as leaving their hair not just straight but naturally soft as well. I was ready to take the plunge!

Last November 19, I headed on over to Azta Urban Salon at SM Jazz Residences along N. Garcia St. (formerly Reposo St.), Makati City. I was actually quite early and most of the mall area was still closed so I killed time outside a cafe. At 10 AM, I headed on back to the salon and was greeted by their very friendly staff.

For posterity’s sake, here’s my BEFORE keratin treatment look!

Before we even started, Meg Lachica of Azta Urban Salon and Lynne Ona of Cynos Inside Hair Care took me through the treatment procedure.

There are 4 different Cynos Kerasilk bottles (aptly numbered 1 to 4) that are used with every treatment.

The Kerasilk Purifying Shampoo (#1) is a pre-treatment deep cleansing formula that not only clarifies hair deeply but also removes residual build-up. It also opens up the hair cuticles to better prepare for the Keratin Treatment.

The Kerasilk Hair Reconstructor (#2) is the actual Keratin Treatment. It eliminates the kink and friz from hair, leaving it straight, healthy and shiny.

Azta and Cynos Inside Hair Care had an extra surprise waiting for me — cupcakes and a piping hot mug of green tea to keep me company (and full!).  And….. they had also printed out a fun photo I posted on Facebook a long time ago and put it in a frame. Everything was personalized. My hair was in their hands!

The cupcakes, the hot tea….and my photo in a picture frame!

First, they washed my hair with the Kerasilk Purifying Shampoo. Then applied the Kerasilk Hair Reconstructor. This was left on my hair for about 30 minutes to allow the formula to penetrate deep into the hair strands. Afterwards, my hair was ironed with a heated iron to seal in the Keratin Treatment so it would last longer. I was told not to wash my hair for 48 hours to allow the treatment to really penetrate and do its work. I also got 2 more bottles of the treatment, a Kerasilk Daily Shampoo (#3) and a Kerasilk Daily Conditioner (#4) which they told me I should use in order to make the keratin treatment last. If done according to instructions, this keratin treatment could last as long as 3-4 months, they say.

The final touch to the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment – sealing in the formulation with a heated iron
My take-home maintenance treatment

Another take-home gift – Morocco Argan Oil for my hair!

And here I am with my hair after the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment! I love it!

My soft, shiny, straight hair courtesy of Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment.
Thank you, Azta Urban Salon & Cynos Inside Hair Care

And that was not all!
While all that was going on, my nails were treated to CND Shellac. Those of you who know me know that I do not put nail polish on my fingers because I am a heavy laptop user and do a lot of physical work around the house. Nail polishes don’t last 3 days with me.
But when I was told that CND Shellac was good for 14 days, I just had to put it through the test. Here’s what they did.
Three different coats were applied to each nail: a base coat, the color coat, and a top coat. But wait. That’s not all. After every coat, I had to put my entire hand inside this contraption called a CND UV Lamp to immediately dry and harden the coat.
After every coat, I had to insert my hand into this UV lamp

Here’s what my CND Shellac-covered nails looked like right after application.

After 7 days of typing on my laptop and physical housework…it’s still looking good!

Still looking like new!

…And after Day 10, the only thing that looks different is my new nails growing out. The polish is still intact! Galing!

I would have wanted to keep it for the full 14 days but my nails were growing too long and it made putting on and taking off my contact lens very difficult. So I was forced to have it removed. Remember, with CND Shellac, you cannot use ordinary nail polish removers as they could damage your nails. You need to have the polish removed by a reputable nail salon. They will wrap each nail with foam soaked in shellac polish remover and wrapped with aluminum foil. Like this.

My foil-wrapped nails

It’s been two weeks since I got my Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment and I am enjoying the new freedom. I’ve washed my hair several times and just air dried it (without ironing my hair) and it’s still soft, silky and straight! I can even step out of the house with wet hair knowing that it will still look good and straight once it’s dry. Such a time-saver!

How much is the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment? As of this writing, the prices start at PhP 2,000 for short hair; PhP 3,750 for medium length hair; and PhP 5,500 for long hair. As for the CND Shellac, it is PhP 600 for the hands and just a bit more for the feet.

I’m really so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to try the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment. No regrets at all. 

Connect with the Cynos Inside Hair Care team:
Facebook page: Cynos Inside Hair Care
Twitter: @cynoshaircareph
Instagram: @cynosinsidehaircare #cynosinsidehaircare #cynos


Moms, think #WeAreBeautiful so your daughters will think so too

Moms, your influence on your daughters is greater than you think.

We’ve heard it said that more important than what we say to our kids is what we do because even as small kids they watch and imitate us. We may not know it but as mothers, we also communicate fears and impressions of ourselves onto our daughters. If we are not careful, they will grow up mirroring our thoughts and actions.

How many times have we said aloud “I don’t like my (fill in the body part)”? This self-deprecation rubs off on our daughters who grow up being self-critical or lose their sense of self-acceptance or self worth.

Dove, in its previous #IAmBeautiful campaign, found out that only 7% of Filipina women saw themselves as beautiful. That is a staggering 93% who don’t think they are. In another locally-commissioned study by Dove, the results showed that 2 out of 3 girls feel pressured to look beautiful and this external pressure comes from peers and friends. The redeeming factor? 81% of them still consider their mom as their role model, much higher than the global average of 55%.

That means that if Moms feel good and beautiful, they have the potential to be catalysts of change. They can change their daughters’ image of themselves and turn them into a future generation of empowered women.

Dove is at the forefront of pushing Real Beauty instead of the worldly notion that beauty has only to do with one’s weight, figure, shape of eyes/face/mouth, and so on. It enlisted the help of celebrity moms Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, Christine Jacob, and TinTin Bersola-Babao who were with us at the launch of the #WeAreBeautiful movement to discuss their relationship growing up with their Mom and their current relationship with their own children. Dr. Honey Carandang, a leading psychologist, was also present to add her own professional insights to the discussion.

A video entitled Dove Legacy featured moms who were asked how they felt about their bodies. Surprisingly when their daughters were asked the same question, the answers were very similar. What the Moms did not like about their bodies, their insecurities, their daughters also manifested. But, where they were happy about their bodies, their daughters were too. So a Mom’s attitude can really be very important for her daughter. Watch this video to see how you, as a Mom, can be a life-changer for your own daughters.

Join the rest of us Moms and support the #WeAreBeautiful movement by starting within your own family — your daughters.  From there, you can also bring in the other mothers in your sphere of influence (siblings, cousins, friends) who can work on their own daughters as well. Before we know it, we would have widened the circle of this movement to empower as many Filipina mothers and daughters as possible to feel good about themselves.

To learn more about the #WeAreBeautiful movement, visit Dove’s social media sites:

Facebook page:
Twitter: @DovePH
Instagram: @doveph


An empowering moment — being free in one’s skin — with Physiogel

I was luckier than most growing up. I had oily skin. But at my age now, reality is setting in. I’m losing my oily skin and finding that many parts of my body are more dry. Once, I went to church without putting lotion on my upper arms and to my horror, I found my skin was dry in some places. Ewwww!

The first thing that people notice when they meet you is usually your eyes and your skin. The skin is an organ and… the largest one in our body!!! Your state of health and well-being is shown not only in your eyes but also in the skin. Smooth and supple skin is a sign of health and youth.

While there is nothing we can do about aging, there are a lot of things we can do to keep our skin from premature aging and even postpone the symptoms of aging like dry skin, brown spots, wrinkles and the like. With dry skin comes not only ugly scales but oftentimes, the discomfort of itchy and sensitive skin.

Lotions and moisturizers are a-plenty in the market. There are all kinds of brands and types to choose from. Many lotions moisturize skin on the surface but only for short while. They also do not really address what is going on UNDER the skin.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), makers of Physiogel, recently launched the Free In My Skin Movement that aims to free women like me who are now starting to experience the onset of dry, sensitive skin. Physiogel variants all have the patented advanced BioMimic Technology which mimics our skin’s matrix-like natural lipid layers of skin that help lock in moisture. This allows Physiogel to repair dehydrated skin, rehydrate the essential barriers and revitalize the skin.

Physiogel incorporates lipids from plant sources that are similar to those found in our skin

Present at the launch of the Free In My Skin Movement was model, TV host and entrepreneur Patti Grandidge, who was just the right person to lead this movement, having been a woman who also experienced sensitive, itchy, red and dry skin.

Patti Grandidge

Have you ever experienced applying moisturizing cream or lotion on your skin only for the effect to wear off before your day is over?

Just check these shots I took of my hand when a Physiogel lady gave me the Moisture Check.

Before doing anything, she told me that I had to score above 40 if I had well-moisturized skin. I thought I’d be okay. After all, before coming to the event, I had applied lotion on my skin after my bath. Well, well, well, this was my initial score after she tested me with the Moisture Checker…

…and the verdict is…
…an embarrassing 26!!! Aarrgh!

So from the time I applied the lotion, to the time I got to the event, given the strong airconditioning inside the hotel’s function room, my skin dried up again!

Next, the lady applied Physiogel cleanser on my hand. What’s fascinating about this cleanser is that it can be washed off with water or simply wiped off with cotton so it acts as a leave-on skin moisturizer! I didn’t know THAT!

Immediately after applying the cream, I was checked again. My Moisture Check score jumped.

10-pt improvement right away!

Next, she applied the Physiogel cream over the area just cleaned. The cream is good for overnight applications or on days when you have nowhere to go and you just want your skin to bask in moisturizing goodness. It feels a bit oily because it is meant to keep your skin bathed.

Not as big a leap but still, an improvement!

Lastly, she applied Physiogel lotion on my forearm. The lotion variant is greaseless so it is best when you need to go out and do not want to feel gooey or oily. But the effect on the skin is powerful.

43.1 — fully moisturized!!!

This is what GSK has to say about the Free in My Skin Movement:

The Free in My Skin Movement aims to empower women to fully embrace and participate in life by freeing them from dry and sensitive skin, because having dry and sensitive skin can serve as a hindrance for women to fully function to their best abilities. This movement also aims to honor smart, strong, sensitive women who have faced their insecurities (physically and emotionally) and are now embracing and living life to the fullest.

I cannot name all the smart, strong and sensitive women who have been, and still are, a part of my life. But I honor them. Their circumstances are all different but what binds them together is the determination to rise above their circumstances.

I join all the women who have experienced dry and sensitive skin at one time or another. Feel ko kayo! But now that I am using Physiogel daily, on my face, neck, and arms, I really feel the difference. You should try it also and see how it empowers you and raises your confidence level knowing that your skin is constantly nourished, repaired and kept from premature aging.

Visit Physiogel’s website and social media accounts
Facebook page:
Twitter: @PhysiogelPH


Teens can now face up to acne better with Safeguard’s Derma Sense

Many times we think of teen-aged angst over pimples and acne as superficial — that teens are just going through a phase where they are simply overly concerned about fashion and how they look. I come from a family with good skin genes. And my kids don’t seem to have that much of a problem as yet. But there is always that ‘wrong’ moment when you need to go somewhere and a zit (pimple) appears. For teen-agers, when that moment comes, it can be very distressing. The damaging effects of acne and pimples go beyond the skin.

As the Mom of 4 kids, I have had my share of “MOM!!!!! I HAVE A PIMPLE!” moments. No amount of reassurance would do when that ugly zit reared its head, many times at the wrong time – just before a school affair or a party. They stare at it forever, fuss over how ugly they are and have the most difficult time avoiding touching it every so often or worse, pricking it.
Worse than simple pimples is the condition acne vulgaris, simply known as acne. In a white paper released by the Skin Health Alliance, acne in adolescents aged 15-25 years old were documented to be as high as 91%. Skin Health Alliance is an independent not-for-profit organization working with international dermatologists, researchers, scientists and industry with the common interest of promoting healthy skin.

Acne vulgaris
(photo taken from a white paper by David Khoo of Skin Health Alliance,
“Acne Vulgaris: Causes, Consequences and Potential Treatment”

But as a mother who has had to pass through my kids’ teen-age phase four times, I can say that the greater concern for me is not just the external look of acne and pimples but its more damaging and permanent effect INSIDE — the self-esteem of teens.

To be permanently or temporarily scarred on the face is probably one of the worse things that could happen in a teen-ager’s life. I’ve seen teen-agers with really bad acne and I think of so many scenarios that can affect them. Bullies, for example, have been known to pick on looks as an excuse to bully. Height, weight or facial features — they could pick their victim based on any of these reasons. And in our society where great importance is put on looks, a teen or young adult whose face is scarred with acne can suffer from serious loss of confidence whether he is in an organization or in a job. Dr. Susan Estanislao, a Counseling Psychologist from the De La Salle University Manila says, “There is probably no single disease which causes more psychic trauma, more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feeling of inferiority and greater sums of psychic suffering than does acne vulgaris.”

I agree with Dr. Estanislao. This is why I have always tried to remind my children of the importance of a daily skin regimen such as washing the face thoroughly and removing all makeup before sleeping. From my own experience, I also know that sleep deprivation and excessive stress cause pimples so the better the quality of sleep and the less stress, the better the skin. Of course, a diet full of fruits and vegetables give the skin a healthy glow as well.

Now that we’re on the topic of skin care regimen, I also want to share a recent discovery at a media event. Safeguard, the body soap that I’ve used since I was single up to this day, has just recently released a product called Derma Sense – an anti-microbial facial soap that helps reduce levels of skin bacteria and acts as a preventive measurement against pimples and uncontrolled acne. Finally!!!

Derma Sense comes in two forms: liquid Face and Body Wash and solid Face and Body Bar. For both forms, they have two variants as well – one for sensitive skin and another for acne-prone skin. It contains 20% less soap and no additives or dyes, making it very tolerable and suitable for the face.

The different Derma Sense variants

I was actually surprised by the prices because they were quite reasonable. The smallest bar goes for only PhP 55. The bigger bar retails at PhP 75. The 200 ml body wash is PhP 99. And a 2-pack version of the small bar costs PhP 100 (saving you PhP 10). I’m happy about this because skin care should not be a privilege only for those who can afford more expensive treatments or dermatological consultations. If acne and pimples can be prevented early on, at an affordable price, more teens are likely to have much better skin and therefore, a more confident life.

Derma Sense is available at Watson’s and leading supermarkets.


Three Extraordinary Women, One Extraordinary Moisturizer – Physiogel

One of the side effects of having cancer is the drying up of skin. I was told this during the time hubby was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo oral chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiation, in particular, was what tended to have an immediate drying effect on his skin. Our doctors told us that this would happen specifically in some areas of the body like the extremities and in the area that is irradiated.

But Physiogel, a leading dermatologist-prescribed moisturizer from GlaxoSmithKline, is what three extraordinary women turned to when they were going through their cancer journey. One of these beautiful survivors is a SoMoms friend of mine, Patty B. Balquiedra, 44 years of age, a mommy blogger, online entrepreneur and a loving mom of 2 beautiful girls. Two other cancer survivors also used Physiogel. One is Alya B. Honasan, a veteran editor and writer for newspapers, magazines and books, a certified Iyengar yoga teacher, avid scuba diver, occasional theater actress and doting mom to her dog Kikay. The other is Michee Cadhit, head of customer service and international relations department of The Medical City, a mother of three.

(L-R) Patty Balquiedra, Michee Cadhit, Alya Honasan

Each one had her own extraordinary story.

Patty Balquiedra

My friend Patty just discovered her cancer last year, went through chemotherapy, and ‘graduated’ just February of 2013. Asked how she felt after first being diagnosed, Patty says:

“Each day is a gift –  I don’t remind myself about my breast cancer when I wake up each day. It’s something that stays with you forever and it’s like a thought that’s always in the back of your head. Since that’s the case, I now wake up each day, thankful for the chance to get out of bed and do what I need to do. Every day that I’m alive is a chance for me to do right, serve and please God, take care of my family, love myself, show people how much I appreciate them. I’m 10 times more thankful for every little thing that happens and I now want to make the most of every single day, as a way to show my thanks to God for this second chance at life.”

If you see Patty these days, you won’t even recognize her as a cancer survivor. She is always bubbly, positive and never fails to thank God for each day that she wakes up. Her shoe business is what’s keeping her busy besides attending SoMoms events with us.

Alya Honasan

At the Makati Shangri-la function room, I spotted Alya and immediately sensed a ‘naughty’ streak in her. She was vibrant and cracked jokes with Patty and Michee. I struck up a conversation with her. Not long after, we drifted to discussions about yoga and while we were chatting, I could not help but think how amazingly brave she is to face her cancer while still doing everything she loves – yoga, sports, acting, etc. Alya, who still has another round of chemotherapy to face, jokes about dreading the loss of her eyebrows but ends by shrugging it off. Here is her brave testimony:

“I can already say, unequivocally, that cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Really. It has taught me to take it easy and live again, in the true sense of the word. Although I ate healthy and exercised, my stress levels before I got diagnosed were bordering on the insane. There never seemed to be enough time to do the things that had to be done. Cancer gave me the gift of perspective, and realizing that some things are just more important than money and achievement It gave me the gift of humility to realize that I cannot always be in complete control of my life and my future, and that’s fine. And it gave me the gift of gratitude, really, for all the love that has been shown me, for the good things I have, and for knowing with renewed certainty that God has been holding my hand throughout all this.”

Michee Cadhit

Michee considers herself lucky that she works at The Medical City. Somehow, being in a hospital environment made it easier for her to handle the loss of her hair because she was not the only one who would be seen around her place of work with a bandana on her head.

“Cancer taught me the value of life in its simplest and most beautiful form. It taught me to appreciate the simplest blessings each day brings. That family, friends and relationships are the most important in one’s life. Hence, we should treasure as many fond memories and fruitful relationships with them.”

The 3 Physiogel brand ambassadors with GSK executives including my friend, Cathy Babao (2nd from left)

All three said that they use Physiogel for their dry skin. Patty has been a Physiogel user long before she started chemotherapy. Alya says it was endorsed by her personal surgeon and she attests to its efficiency. Michee said Physiogel eased her scars and rashes from radiation. Being the 3 beautiful and strong brand ambassadors for Physiogel during this month celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness is most fitting for these brave women warriors.

What, exactly, is inside Physiogel? It is made by Stiefel, a GSK company. Formulated with Derma Membrane Structure (DMS) Technology, Physiogel closely resembles the natural building blocks of the skin. Moisture on the skin easily evaporates with both heat and in airconditioned areas, leading to try, dehydrated skin. But because it has natural lipids similar to the skin’s physiological lipids, Physiogel effectively helps repair the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss.

I never had very dry skin but as I grew older, I noticed that my skin would flake if I did not apply lotion right after taking a bath. Many skin care products simply apply a superficial, oily layer on top of skin without really working on it deep down to repair damaged skin. Physiogel is one of the few brands that actually make me feel like I can walk around the whole day, exposed to sun and airconditioning, without losing my skin’s natural moisture.

At the Physiogel event celebrating the stories of these 3 breast cancer survivors, the SoMoms showed up in full force to support Patty and her friends. But of course!

Physiogel is available in leading drugstores and supermarkets nationwide. It also comes in handy 10ml sachets – perfect for short trips, handy to store in women’s bags, and for traveling.

For more information about Physiogel, visit or