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Top Shelf: Quarantine Edition

When I wrote my Top Shelf in November 2018, my list included make-up, fragrance, and and skincare products. My lifestyle now is no longer similar to my November 2018 lifestyle, so naturally, the products and items I reach for have changed.

Here are my current go-tos.

Home Care

In Apartment Therapy’s 5 Quarantine Cleaning Personalities, I straddle between The Stress Cleaner and the “I Need Space” Cleaner. When I moved back to my apartment in June after quarantining in my parents' house, I observed fingerprints along hallway, which led to a cleaning frenzy of wiping walls, doors, and shelves. This has evolved into a pattern: I see a small stain… say I’ll wipe that one little stain off… and four hours later I’m still scouring and scrubbing stains, mildew, and dust. I’ve ordered shelf organizers, thrown away expired snacks/condiments/spices, and organized items that no longer ~spark joy~ or function into piles mentally labelled as “give away” and “recycle."

My top shelf cleaning gadgets are all Xiaomi: the ever-reliable Roborock robot vacuum, Deerma mop, and dust mite cleaner (five stars for all). My top shelf cleaning products are mostly Human Nature and Messy Bessy because of the environment-friendly and plant-derived ingredients and social impact. I'm using Human Nature’s laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid (they’re also refillable!) and Messy Bessy's Chamomile Surface Cleaner, Sports Spritzer, Room and Linen Spray, Odor Absorber, and Fabric Freshener. For tiles and toilet bowls, I’ll take toxic shit, please: Mr. Muscle in Lavender and Domex Classic.


Before I have breakfast, I change into workout clothes. It’s usually a sports bra from Moving Peach and pekpek shorts from WOD Bottoms. Moving Peach is an activewear brand on Shopee for 1/4 to 1/3 the price of Lululemon / Alo Yoga / Lorna Jane, but comparable quality. My workout is always somewhere between 8:00-9:30AM, then I shower and change into another set of workout clothes. This means that I’m always ready for my 30-minute walks with my dog, Egg... or a four-hour cleaning frenzy. If I have a conference call that requires a video, I slip into a tank top that looks decent in front (but it’s most likely backless because it's been so hot and humid lately). I’m on the lookout for a Lazada/Shopee account that sells nice loungewear a.k.a. pantulog/pambahay. The stuff on Instagram are overpriced AF.


When I used to travel for work (sniff sniff), I loved buying products from different countries. This resulted in a wide array of opened but slightly used products. Quarantine has caused me to commit to finish these before going through new ones. I created a table of all my personal care products organized by type and their expiration dates on Evernote as a handy reference.

Morning/day routine: Human Nature’s Pollution Defense Wash (not a favorite but it expires in August); Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado; Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate; Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer (only if I remember, nakakatamad kasi intayin ma-absorb yung oil); and sunscreen (rain or shine). My work desk has the Rosewater Moisture Mist from In Her Element, oil blotting film, four kinds of lip balm (Supergoop! Acai Fusion Lip Balm, Glossier’s Balm Dot Com, In Her Element’s Tala, and Benefit’s California Kissin' ColorBalm in Wine) and sunscreen (for midday reapplication).

Evening routine: Garnier’s Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Water, Human Nature’s Pollution Defense or Human Nature’s Purifying Facial Scrub (3x a week only - been using this since 2014), Glossier’s Solution (still the best acid for me, would choose this over the usual HGs P50 and Pixi Glow Tonic), Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum, and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil (been in a two-year relationship with this one). I’m trying to finish my Summer Friday Jetlag Mask (I used to apply it on flights to seal moisture on my face) and the Innisfree Green Tea Sleeping Mask that was gifted to me at an event last year. My “lotion" is coconut oil from Papua New Guinea. When I did fieldwork there in 2018, I mentioned that I loved the coconut oil they made and they surprised me with TWO 1.5L bottles of coconut oil. I not only know who made it, but also which trees they got it from. How’s that for fair trade and artisanal?

Body/hair care

Currently going through my stash of bar soaps, all gifted by friends, event organizers, or SPS partners. I’ve always liked body washes and scrubs more. The most divine one I have is Dove’s Crushed Macadamia and Rice Milk. Gusto kong dilaan yung sarili ko pag ginagamit ko 'yon. I tried it in my bff Jam's place in New York and bought two tubs for myself after. My current shampoos are Human Nature’s Clarifying Shampoo (a staple) and Lush’s Seanik Shampoo Bar. I must have bought this shampoo bar in 2018 and it's probably expired, pero hindi pa naman nangangati scalp ko. Push lang natin.



I can count with one hand how many times I’ve used my mascara (Benefit Bad Gal Bang), eyelash curler (Shu Uemura), lipsticks (CT Bond Girl and Sunnies Face 143), and concealer (Glossier Stretch Concealer) since mid-March. I miss my red lipsticks and how I looked and felt in them (i.e. unstoppable, confident, powerful, malandi). It just doesn’t feel quite right to wear them now. No one will see it behind my face mask anyway.

I really miss my eyebrow threader, Lyka. I tried shaping my brows with those little blades from Watson's and gave myself nicks all over my brow bone. Mahapdi po.

COVID-19 essentials

I have two full weave masks from ANTHILL which are breathable and have adjustable ear straps. I now use hand cream, because my hands get so dry from sanitizing. I have a small bottle of hand sanitizer by the entrance of my apartment, Egg’s dog walking bag, in my home office, in my bag, and by my bed (exagge ba?). One of them is Human Nature’s Zesty Pomelo, which was given to me by Human Nature. I don’t like it because any grapefruit-scented item brings me back to my underage drinking days where I'd drink cheap gin pomelo to oblivion and vomit everything the next day. (Wow.)


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