Dinna Chan Vasquez

716 posts
Dinna Chan Vasquez is a columnist, writer, mother, wife, HIV awareness advocate and protector of animals.

Beauty tech embraces inclusivity and self expression

Technology is everywhere, even in fashion and beauty, but a new product from French beauty giant L’Oreal, which uses software and hardware to give hope to those who have limited mobility, is truly groundbreaking. I have always wondered what to do if I became too old and feeble to apply lipstick and do my brows with my own hands. I know it’s not that important in the larger scheme of things, but it’s a question I always ask myself. If I become too old to apply lipstick on my own, it is part of the natural order of things. For a 21-year-old who wants to wear makeup but is hindered by physical challenges they were born with, it is a real challenge.

The best beauty discoveries of 2022

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EVERY year, I try to come up with a beauty year-ender, which is basically a list of what I think are the best products of the year. This year is slightly different. My list includes some of my best beauty discoveries for 2022 and I enjoyed using every one of them.

Practical holiday gifts for beauty enthusiasts

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I AM always asked by people about what beauty gifts they can give family members and friends for the holidays and I often suggest that, depending on their budget, they can always create a box that would include a number of products. For instance, if the recipient is someone who loves lipsticks, the giver can include mini lipsticks in the box. That way, the person can try several shades and finishes.

Mitsukoshi BGC houses Japanese beauty brands and salon

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WHEN it comes to makeup and skin-care products, I always say that if they’re from Japan, they must be really good. I love Japanese lotions (Hada Labo) and sunscreens (Anessa). My skin care is mostly Shiseido and my favorites from the brand are Ultimune Power Infusing Serum and Essential Energy Hydrating Cream. For the past year, my frequently-used face base is the Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation.

The best tech holiday gifts, if money is no object

LET’S get the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 out of the way because anybody would love to get those phones for the holidays. There are a lot of tech gifts you can give people on your holiday list. Most of these gifts are quite expensive though, so let’s imagine for a while that our gifting list does not have a budget and that we can give anyone anything.

Reddit’s beauty ‘anti haul’ thread results in drama

There’s been so much talk about budol culture on beauty TikTok and how many influencers allegedly come out with good reviews on certain products, only to do an “anti haul” on these same things a month later. Budol is convincing someone to do/buy/go for something. In the strictest sense, budol means to “dupe.” For context, “anti haul” refers to a video that sort of discourages your followers from buying certain beauty products by pointing out cons.

Making salon visits hassle-free and truly relaxing

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BeautyBuddy is not the first online salon booking system I have tried but it is most efficient one so far and this is not to diss similar other platforms. BeautyBuddy went beyond what was expected of them when I made a hair color appointment at Basement Salon in Eastwood Mall last weekend.

A gallery which combines IT and a passion for art 

Jojo Liao, who cofounded drybrush Gallery with his wife Joweeh, supports emerging artists and is an avid art collector himself. The gallery’s web site currently carries 1,500 works  of 250+ Filipino artists. While many people have the impression that art galleries are elitist, drybrush has provided a platform that allows everybody to be an art collector in the belief that happiness can be shared through art.

Here are some of the best 11:11 beauty picks

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SHOPPING during online sales is not something I usually do now. Living through the pandemic has made me appreciate what I have and most of the time, I still shop through my stash of gifts and PR samples when I feel I need or want something. I only shop for things I use on a daily basis and have run out of.

A holiday tradition is updated

THREE years ago, if you had told me that I could get the Starbucks planner by earning stickers via an online app, I would have laughed at you. But that time has come. You can now get an e-Promo Card from the Starbucks App and earn your e-stickers that way, without ever going to a store. Of course, you’ll need to go to a Starbucks store to redeem your planner or whatever item you’ll choose.

More people now watch YouTube on their TVs; YT Shorts gaining momentum

THE first YouTube channel I ever watched was Fafinettex3’s. The creator was Aubrey, an Asian-American who applied makeup so skillfully. Even before I started to watch Michelle Phan, I was already watching Aubrey’s videos. The channel is still on YouTube but the videos are gone. Aubrey still does makeup for wedding clients. I know, because I’ve seen her Instagram account. If I may say so, Aubrey and Michelle are two people who fueled my passion for beauty and changed my (wrong) perception that writing about makeup and skincare was frivolous. So you could say that in some way, they helped change my life.

Remembering a friend because of Seventeen’s ‘Be the Sun’ concert in Manila

IF you put together a list of the best reviews of Seventeen concerts, it would be an injustice to the memory of Gianna Maniego not to put her name and her article in this paper (bit.ly/3s8iXUz) on it. Gianna, who passed in 2020, was the biggest Carat. She was also an excellent writer and my mentor. We were best friends for over 30 years and in the last years of her life, she did her best to convert me to become a Carat but she did not succeed. I, however, recognize the talent of Seventeen and, thanks to Gianna, appreciate how hard the group worked to where they are now.

Favorite products from homegrown brand

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Beautéderm is a brand I always write about but I’ve never really reviewed their products thoroughly. I mostly talk about their new ambassadors and what’s going on with the brand but this time, I will review my favorite Beautéderm products.

Smartphone camera tips for K-pop concerts

WHEN I started watching K-pop concerts, it was 2010 and people were not yet obsessed with recording everything. I remember that a few years later, fans would bring their Instax cameras to concerts and the idols would get them to take pictures. Note that this was the time when barricades were not yet in place during these concerts, and idols and fans could freely interact with each other.

How to shop for fragrances online

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THE pandemic has definitely changed us in so many ways. For one, most of us now carry lighter bags because we bring less when we go out of the house. Most of my friends no longer carry big wallets. They just bring small card cases. No one carries cash anymore. Almost every store accepts GCash or Maya and, of course, credit cards.

How Google supports news organizations in the ever changing digital landscape

WHEN I first started in the newspaper industry in 1987, we had to phone in our stories when we couldn’t come to the newsroom. The news organization I belonged to did not own a fax machine yet and there were no computers in the newsroom. The Internet’s official birthday was in 1983 but in 1987, it was but a vague concept for us.

Here are some of the best beauty finds for August

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AUGUST was not a very good month for me personally but in terms of beauty and style finds, it was great. I explored different beauty brands from the United States and France, tried a new hair conditioner, and got a new gadget that offers micro current massage. Work-wise, August was also a busy month with a lot of launches and events. It’s very challenging easing into covering events in person when you’ve been so used to the camera-off mode of Zoom meetings and launches but it has to be done. For me, the easing-into-the-new-normal has been more difficult and less seamless than it has been for others but I know I will get there eventually.

Coffee shop chain partners with ride hailing app for food sharing program

I HAVE always wondered what happened to cooked and prepared food that were unsold by restaurants and coffee shops for the day. I know that some of these establishments dispose of such food for safety reasons. In a way, I understand that different types of food have specific shelf lives and giving them to people could put the recipient at risk for food poisoning. On the other hand, there is the reality that many people are hungry and have no means to buy food while perfectly edible stuff is being thrown away.

Sustainable beauty driven by ‘green chemistry’, innovations in natural biotechnology

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MY Aveda shampoos and conditioners are not kept in my bathroom but with my skin-care products in the bedroom. I cannot imagine them being used by my family on a daily basis just because they are so expensive. But they are so good on the hair and scalp and I trust them so much that when my dog got sick, Aveda Nutriplenish Shampoo was the only one I used to bathe her. If you know me and how I take care of my dogs, you’d know that what I just revealed is a seal of approval for this brand known for its vegan formulations.

Singapore tourism highlights local brands as it reopens doors to tourists: Part 1

IN the past two years, I frequently said that once borders opened, the first country I would visit would be Singapore. It is one of my favorite cities in the world for a lot of reasons. I appreciate how everything is there and how efficiently things work. If you have the energy and the strength, you can walk and take the train or bus. You can also take Grab cars or taxis. The lines are orderly. Everything runs like clockwork.

How TikTok beauty trends translate to real life

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THIS is not the first time I am writing about how TikTok has changed the beauty landscape. Let’s face it, the app dictates what’s trendy not just in beauty but in everything else. The girls on TikTok, who are mostly very young and gorgeous, are the new “It Girls.” TikTok is a very look-centric platform and these rich, youthful and beautiful girls will naturally shine in such an environment.

Practical, useful and inexpensive drugstore finds

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One of the things I’ve really missed about pre-Covid life was going to Watsons on my way home from work or attending events for the purpose of picking out a few necessities like bath soap and tissue. That would soon turn into a mini-shopping spree and I would end up with a medium-sized paper bag filled with vitamins, OTC medications and beauty products.

Products with azelaic acid, centella asiatica from Filipino brand

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ELLANA was probably the first Filipino brand to come up with mineral foundations. Most of my beauty friends swear by their powder foundations. It was just too bad that all their face bases are a bit too light for my yellow-toned skin but in terms of texture and longevity, I like their mineral powder foundation way better than Bare Minerals. I am very sweaty and Bare Minerals has a tendency to cake and clump on certain areas of my face when I sweat. Again, what works for one person may not work for another, so Bare Minerals may be okay for some but it cannot go the distance for me because I’m super sweaty.

Korean actor and idol Rowoon meets Filipino fans again

Rowoon is said to be one of the tallest idols in K-pop. I first “met” Rowoon in 2019 during his group SF9’s concert here and I was face-to-face with him for a second during the hi-touch, a mini event where you get to touch palms with K-pop idols and actors. By my estimate, the top of my head reached Rowoon’s chest. Of course, I was not that close to him, hence the word “estimate.”

Sustainability in beauty: Do you know your carbon footprint?

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BEING a beauty enthusiast, I am guilty of accumulating more makeup and skin-care products than I should. For instance, owning 10 lipsticks is too much for the average person but when I am down to just 10 lipsticks, I panic. I am also guilty of not reusing many bottles, jars and other containers of beauty products.

After over two years of streaming, movies in cinemas are back

I DON’T remember the last time I watched a movie in a cinema but I’m sure it was in 2019. Sometime in February or March of this year, I tried to watch one at SM Aura but there was a woman who always put her mask down and I had a panic attack and left right away. I guess we’re all used to streaming movies at home that being inside a theater is something that’s unfamiliar and disconcerting.

Today’s facial cleansing devices are on a whole new level

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FACIAL cleansing devices are something I got into quite late, just early this year to be exact, but I really love them. My first one was the Foreo Luna 3 Plus, which also doubles as a firming face massager. I recently got the Foreo Luna play smart 2, which looks like my first device’s younger sister but is quite different really.

Thailand hopes to attract more digital nomads as it opens country to tourists

THE pandemic did not give birth to the digital nomad concept but there is no doubt that digital nomads multiplied in the past two years. Many Filipinos sought solace from being confined within the walls of their house by going to Boracay and Siargao. There is indeed something very appealing about a “workation” where you work during the day and spend the rest of your day on the beach.

Revisiting old bath and body favorites

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IT used to be a joke among my friends that if we’re going to meet for lunch or dinner, it should not be anywhere near any The Body Shop branch. That’s because I had this habit of saying, “I’ll just go to the restroom” and then come back with a shopping bag filled with my favorites from the store.

Why Japanese and Korean sunscreens reign supreme

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IN 2021, I had a eureka moment about sunscreens. I realized that the best ones for me were those from Japan and Korea because they did not make my eyes tear. Even at home, I still use sunscreen because in 2020, right before the lockdown, I went on a trip to Europe where it was winter and I (mistakenly) thought I only needed to apply sunscreen once a day. Guess what? I am still dealing with the dark spots that resulted from that mistake.

Why beauty shopping in Hong Kong is the best thing ever

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THE first place I would probably visit when I travel again is Hong Kong. There’s something about the city’s energy that’s really very different but still very Asian. You know how it is when you shop in, say, New York, and you have fun but it’s different when it’s in Hong Kong.

A non-political look at election automation

THE other day, our house helper asked me if I was going to vote in the May elections and I said yes. She has not been out of the house since 2020 except for her vaccinations because she has allergic rhinitis and is very afraid to get Covid. I said we could probably rent a car so we could all go together and she replied, “Okay, Ate, mag ambag na lang ako sa bayad [I will contribute to the cost].”

How e-commerce has evolved in this pandemic

WITHOUT a doubt, shopping online is no longer just the domain of the privileged and moneyed. Thanks to e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee, Filipinos do not need credit or debit cards to shop online. These channels accept cash-on-delivery and GCash, and this is how even teenagers on allowance from their parents can now shop online. Shopping online is now less intimidating for most people. I will admit that pre-pandemic, I barely shopped online because the whole process seemed too much.

How to navigate the ‘messy middle’

According to Google, 80 percent of consumers today are having difficulty making decisions because of the deluge of information or options available to them. This has had a tremendous effect on the path to purchase and created what is called the “messy middle.” The messy middle is a noisy space between triggers and purchase, and this is where consumers are either won or lost.

‘Euphoria’s’ makeup looks are more than just about sparkle and glitter

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IF you’re a parent with teenage kids, watching the HBO series Euphoria would probably shock and scare you. But beyond the sex, drugs, alcohol and dysfunctional families, Euphoria takes a realistic look at high-school students and what goes on in their lives and minds. It is, to me, more realistic than stories where a girl, who is deemed unpopular in high school, catches the eye of the handsome quarterback who has a gorgeous girlfriend. The part where the quarterback leaves the girlfriend for the girl (again, in my opinion) sets up other girls to have expectations that don’t equate to real life.

A different kind of light with 10 ‘hybrid’ products

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of MAC Cosmetics and while I do get press samples as part of my job, I have also been a customer of the brand since the 1990s. My favorites are the lipsticks and the face powders, especially the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. I also love their Lightful C line, which is called a hybrid.

What did people talk about on stan Twitter in 2021?

IN 2021, many people stayed home and became K-pop and K-drama fans and that was exciting as our previously “civilian” friends got into the things we love. The Philippine entertainment scene also got a boost, thanks to blockbusters like He’s Into Her, featuring the popular loveteam of Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano (known as DonBelle).

501 is the number that changed everything

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IF you’re still calling your blue jeans maong, you were probably a teenager in the 1980s and 1990s and if you were, you’d know that the coolest jeans then were the Levi’s 501. You’d know a fashion item is a classic when they’re still cool now, and the 501 is as cool in 2022 as it was in the 1990s.