Dermax Sunscreen Line Review

3 Jun

DERMAX is a Filipino skin care brand that claims to use only the best, the latest, and the safest ingredients at clinical strength, to create products that are at par with the world’s best.

They recently launched a line of sunscreens – UV ACTIVE (for active lifestyle), UV BABY (safe for kids and babies), UV GEL (for oily and acne-prone skin), and UV MILK (to reverse signs of aging) – and I was thrilled to try them out!

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Here’s my review –

SPF

According to consumersearch.com, sunscreens “should have an SPF rating of 15 or higher for daily usage and at least 30 for extended periods in the sun. Most experts say that anything higher than SPF 50 is overkill.”

I like going for at least SPF 30 for daily use to prevent more dark spots from surfacing on my face. SPF 30 is the minimum for the Dermax sunscreens, with SPF 45 for UV ACTIVE (makes sense, as you would theoretically be under the sun longer if you’re doing sports), and SPF 50 for UV MILK (because sun damage is the #1 enemy to looking young)!

Shine factor

After washing my face, I put UV ACTIVE on half of it. Of course, it looked moist at the start, so I gave it 15 minutes and looked for signs that one side was shinier than the other. No noticeable difference. I coerced my husband to judge my face so I could have a second opinion – a pretty safe exercise for as long as he stuck to judging only the shine factor. No noticeable difference.

I put UV BABY on the other side of the face. Waited and compared. Washed my face and then repeated the experiment for UV GEL and UV MILK. No noticeable difference.

Look, feel, and scent

UV ACTIVE, UV BABY, and UV MILK were all white and felt like a light lotion that doesn’t leave your skin looking white. UV GEL was clear, but because it was in gel-form, felt a bit sticky to me.

The scents were all subtle, which is how I like it. UV ACTIVE was fruity, UV BABY hinted of baby powder, UV MILK smelled clean, while UV GEL was fragrance-free.

Ingredients

Dermax is formulated by SkinStation founder and CEO Fred Reyes, an award-wining chemist and recipient of the 2008 Achievement Award conferred by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies, and 2011 Outstanding Professional Award in Chemistry from the Professional Regulations Commission. My interpretation: the man behind the formulas knows what he’s doing. (Since I’m writing a review of his products, is this also where I should declare that we’re related by a few hops?)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report on sunscreens in which only 15% of the products they reviewed were considered safe and effective. So unless you’ve been very conscious and selective, your current sunscreen probably does not make the cut.

The two chemicals noted of particular conern were retinyl palmitate (MAY elevate risk of skin cancern) and oxybenzone (for hormone disruption). UV ACTIVE, UV BABY and UV GEL were clear of these two chemicals.

UV MILK has retinyl palmitate. Going beyond EWG, another cosmetics ingredients dictionary, Paula’s Choice Skin Care, notes that the retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that can be found naturally in your skin. Anti-oxidants improve the effectiveness of sunscreens and have anti-aging properties.

Paula’s Choice cites a publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that says “observations from decades of clinical practice do not support the notion that retinyl palmitate in sunscreen causes or promotes skin cancer” and “years of research suggests that retinoids are helpful in reducing your risk for skin cancer.”

On the natural side, UV GEL has Jeju aloe extract, while UV ACTIVE and UV BABY contain the SPF-boosting nyamplung seed oil extract.

Price

The Dermax sunscreens are pretty affordable, at P720 for the 50 ml bottles and P475 for the 30 ml bottles.

Compare these with two sunscreens from another local brand, VMV, and The Body Shop:
– VMV Armada Baby SPF 50 (50 ml/1.7 fl oz) – P2,080
– VMV Armada Face Cover SPF 30 (3 oz/90 ml) – P1,350
– The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso UV Protector (50 ml) – P1,395

The verdict

So what do I say overall?

I would have preferred more natural ingredients but I have not seen an all-natural sunscreen I would use. I bought something from Echostore last year – it smelled too natural, like oil, and left white grains all over my face. Human Nature launched a sunscreen this summer but it is only SPF 15. The Body Shop’s White Shiso UV Protector, which I do use, has a long list of unpronounceable chemical ingredients.

I’m happy that we have more local brands introducing products that I believe are just as potent than the more expensive international products. Congratulations to Skin Station for launching this sunscreen line!

Dermax products are available at Skin Station branches, which are conveniently cropping up at malls all over the nation.

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Happy International Women’s Day – Now Keep that Beautiful Chin Up!

7 Mar

As many of my women colleagues celebrate International Women’s Day at a company-sponsored event, I find myself facing two ultrasounds as I attend to my own, uhm, women’s health matters.

I used the waiting time to finish Lean In on my iPhone. It’s a book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that encourages women to lean into their careers, instead of holding back because of conscious and subconscious biases on their part and society’s.

IWD-y enough, I must say! It’s a good read for those who have doubts about balancing work and careers. It doesn’t say you should have a career, but that you have a choice and you should go for it if you want to!

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I find that a lot of inspirational advice for women also apply to men, not really gender-specific. The Philippines has been called matriarchal and our company’s office here have female executives outnumbering males a wee bit. In this context you wouldn’t think that women needed extra career encouragement. What this book made me realize is that, even despite of our achievements, we have a distortedly low view of ourselves. We constantly doubt our capabilities and fear that we will be exposed as someone who doesn’t know squat.

This is not just true in the corporate world. Moms feel guilty about their parenting even when their kids think the world of them. I got a few kind adjectives from my 6yo last week as his assignment asked for a description of his mother. In Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches ad, women described themselves in far less flattering ways than other people did.

And so yes, even when things are outwardly fine, giving a woman an honest, sincere affirmation of her competency/beauty/whatever or being there for her when she is feeling insecure about it, can help bring her view of herself closer to reality, reducing the mental and emotional pain she needlessly goes through.

Happy IWD to all women, whether you are in the corporate, business, or homemaking world, married or single. May we all lean into whatever pursuits fire us and do so with our beautiful chins up!

A Pranking Lesson

5 Mar

B2 read the story The Boy Who Cried Wolf  out loud tonight.

He concluded by saying, the lesson of the story is that you should not prank anyone many times with the same prank.

Uhm… I hope he’s pranking me.

Anti-Dandruff Beauty in Bran

15 Jan

Most of my toiletries and cosmetics are already locally produced, eco-friendly, and manufactured with fair trade principles. I had finished my tiny bottle of a leading anti-dandruff shampoo – I like using one weekly for preventive purposes – and decided it was worth a little effort scouting for an alternative that would fit the above criteria.

My go-to brand for toiletries is Human Nature because it’s convenient enough to restock – a minimum of PHP700 gives me free delivery in my area plus there’s a membership discount. Unfortunately, as of this writing, they do not carry any anti-dandruff shampoo. I went to Body Shop, which is my go-to store when I can’t find anything local. They had a ginger anti-dandruff shampoo but after getting used to Human Nature prices, I couldn’t bring myself to shell out PHP800 for it.

I told myself I’d check out Echostore first and only get this ginger thing as a last resort. I don’t frequent the malls with Echostore so it was a little more effort. I wasn’t hopeful since it has been a few years since I’ve seriously scoured their toiletries. Was I pleasantly surprised to see so many more brands in stock! With a salesperson’s help, I found what I was looking for in the form of Oryspa Rice Bran Gugo and Aloe Vera Shampoo. Oryspa uses rice bran and rice bran oil in its products, and so I learned that rice bran oil has anti-fungal properties, which helps it prevent dandruff. The 250 ml bottle was ~PHP300. Good enough for me! I grabbed an Oryspa conditioner too. 🙂

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It was the first time I encountered the brand, but it turns out Oryspa already has branches in several Philippine malls and one in Singapore.

A Salon Homecoming

7 Dec

While walking around SM Aura a few weeks back, a familiar logo caught my eye. TONI & GUY!!! Isn’t this timely? My mom has been bugging me to have a haircut. This is, literally, a sign!

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I used to go to their 6750 Bldg. salon when I worked in the same building maybe 10 years ago. When I changed office, it became inconvenient to travel just for a haircut. Turns out they had recently moved to SM Aura.

A few days later, I called for an appointment. I asked for a Sr. Stylist but they were all booked so my appointment was with the Style Director.

When I went, I looked for Harold, my old colorist. I was sooo happy to see him again! I do my own coloring now with natural hair color from Healthy Options though. Still, he took care of me, turning on the back massage feature on the chair while I was being shampooed and getting some tea for me.

As the Style Director, Jmarc, was cutting my hair, he asked if I was an old customer. I said yeah, Richard used to cut my hair. And then he said he was Richard’s old assistant. Oh my gosh, I feel like I’ve come back to my salon home!!!

Toni & Guy is a UK-based salon. All their stylists and technicians go to the UK for training. Click here to book an appointment at one of their Manila salons!

April 2017

I just called to book an appointment and was really saddened to hear of Jmarc’s passing. 

Dear Jmarc, thank you for taking care of me again these past 3 years. Kiera Knightley, check! Really glam digital curls, check! Milestone birthday, check! We had other plans. High school homecoming. And you wanted to try a short hairstyle on me after. Sigh. God speed. 😦

Juggling Family and Volunteer Activities

18 Nov

Between errands, my husband’s and kids’ events, and the URGENT, URGENT need to help Typhoon Yolanda’s victims, what’s a soccer mom to do?

Here’s how last weekend played out –

Saturday Morning. Early. Canon Photomarathon at BGC.

Accompanied hubby for the first time. We had the kids in tow. B1 was registered. B2 and I just tagged along.

Waited at a coffee shop for the opening program. Ordered a breakfast dish to feel worthy of seats. As B1 was playing with the iPad he said, egg. I automatically fed him some. I then made sure he realized he was so lucky. All he had to do was say egg and egg went to his mouth, while Typhoon Yolanda’s victims had gone hungry for days and still have to do with rationed relief goods. Don’t worry, this is not how it happens everyday. I made sure I lectured them about how lucky they were to be having another meal even before lunch.

We only stayed through the first challenge, which ended at 1 pm.

Saturday. Mid-afternoon. Memorial Park.

Visited the dear baby we lost to congenital heart disease.

Saturday. Late. Colleague’s celebratory BBQ.

At least late for moms like me who get sleepy when it’s the kids’ bedtime! The kids had a lot of energy and were running all over the place though.

Sunday. Morning. Cram homework.

Sunday. Noon-ish. Oplan Hatid prep.

This included dumping our kids at a classmate’s house so they could still attend their late afternoon soccer clinic.

Quick lunch with my side of the family. We gathered at our place where my brothers could dump their kids so we could all go to Oplan Hatid. Except for my youngest brother, who had been up with his web developer friends putting together a site to match volunteer options with needs. He got the enabler part of babysitter and command center manager, in case any of us got lost, etc.

Somewhere among the usual commotion of having all of us in one house, my mom cornered me by the pantry to admonish me about my weight and my hair.

Mom: You’re too thin. Don’t try to get any thinner.

Me: I’m not trying to get thinner. I’m trying to be more fit. *pointing to some flab* I need to tone up.

Mom: Whatever you’re doing or not doing, stop getting thinner. You need to go to the parlor.

Me: Yeah, I’m due for a haircut.

Sunday. Mid-afternoon – early evening. Oplan Hatid.

Went to Villamor Airbase – my parents, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, my hubby, and I. How many were going to St. Ives? We decided to buddy up by couple so that each car had a navigator.

Waited hours as evacuees got processed and matched to the drivers who were there ahead of us. Finally got Lola Berting’s family, whose story I still have not gotten to. But see, it’s way past my kids’ bedtime and I am too sleepy to write more. Drove her family to Muntinlupa.

Sunday. Late.

Again, late for me. Don’t I sound like fun?

Claimed our kids. Went home. Everyone from St. Ives was already there. Shared stories about our passengers.

It was a hectic, fulfilling weekend. Especially Sunday. Who cares that we didn’t have time to do our groceries and so tomorrow we have to squeeze it in after work?

Before leaving, my mom walks up to me again and says, make time. She still means my hair, of course.

Haiyan Oplan Hatid – a Driving Drive

17 Nov

Relief good drives are relatively common in the Philippines, what with the 20 or so typhoons that hit us every year. Last week, we got hit by the strongest storm on record that made landfall, Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. The devastation is so extensive that shipping relief goods out to the affected areas does not quite cut it. Troves need to be evacuated to Cebu and Manila as whole cities and towns, now erased from satellite images, will take time to rebuild.

This resulted in a new kind of drive – Oplan Hatid. Volunteers go to Villamor Air Base, where hundreds of evacuees arrive at a time via C130 planes. The volunteers then hatid (escort) the evacuees wherever they need to go. Hence, it is a driving drive. A kind of People Power, the call for drivers popularized through Facebook.

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How does it work?

When the evacuees arrive they are settled at the grandstand for a kind of decompression period. Ushers guide them to designated areas where food is distributed. They are given a chance to eat and then volunteer counselors chat with them. Volunteers find clothes that match their sizes. They are registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and then volunteer dispatchers take them through Oplan Hatid.

Each volunteer driver is given a number upon registration. A coordinator with a megaphone then announces the details of the next group who needs to be transported.”Group of 2 to going to Cavite.” The drivers interested in taking passengers to the announced area raise their numbers. The driver with the lowest number wins. The coordinator jovially calls this out, e.g. “#43, the lady with the white shirt and glasses, wins!”

My family got the privilege to drive Lola Berting’s family of 5 to Arandia, Muntinlupa. I’ll share their story in another post.

If you want to volunteer for Oplan Hatid, just show up at Villamor Airbase and tell the guard why you’re there. You’ll be given instructions on where to park and register.

You can also check out Rappler’s compilation of ways to help Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda’s victims.

Another Stiletto Parking Adventure

10 Aug

I parked along the sidewalk, got out, and was surprised to see this gaping hole to the underworld (ok, I exaggerate) in my way. Moving the car was too much trouble and the next available spot was far. Going around it would mean sticking my silver patent-toe stilettos in mud. I walked along its edge instead, leaning on the car for balance.

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The thought that stilettos were made only for those who can be dropped off the driveway by a chauffeur cross my mind as I recall my previous stiletto parking misadventure.

Mental note: avoid this parking spot moving forward.

Stop, Step, Crunch

10 Jul

I’m pretty much holed up in the office from the time I get in to the time I head home. I bring my snacks and lunch so there’s no need to venture out in the tropical heat in search of grub. In my cubicle I sit, oblivious to whether it’s a sunny, cloudy, or even stormy day.

We had a team building lunch recently that forced me out of hermitage. As we were walking back from the restaurant, I noticed these brown things scattered on the sidewalk. They reminded me of a simple high school joy – stepping on these crunchy things (not quite leaves… pods?) that fall from I-don’t-kn0w-what-kind-of-tree. There’s a satisfaction in feeling the right measure of resistance and giving in under your feet as you hear the c-r-u-n-c-h.

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Some people stop and smell the flowers. I now make it a point to stop, step, and crunch as I walk to and from the parking area. 🙂

Choosing School Over Family

29 Jun

Our company offers opportunities for international assignments. I have said I wanted to stay put for now, so as not to uproot the kids when I feel like they have just entered grade school and adjusted.

I asked the kids this week, what if Mom and Dad need to work in another country again? You’ll have to go to another school in another country. The responses were quick, and reflective of their different personalities and priorities:

B1: You can just leave me with Lolo and Lola. (Ouch. He has too much of a good thing going with his soccer varsity and friends.)

B2: I’m ok with a new school. (What? But you’re just two weeks into your new school! The school did say you were as adjusted as an old student. The familiarity with B1’s friends surely helped.)

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