When I was younger, I don’t remember asking anything specific from Santa. Though I constantly hounded my parents to buy me something or another throughout the year, I usually didn’t have a specific Christmas list. (They actually teased me with the nickname “bilmoko” because I always say “Ibili mo ako nito!” about a lot of things I saw in the mall. Thank you, parents!) I was always happy to receive gifts, but I was especially ecstatic about getting aguinaldo. I remember keeping my Christmas money well into the new year, making sure I only spent it on something I really, really, really liked.
As I got older, I found myself veering away from buying material things with my Christmas loot—now also known as my 13th-month pay—and spending more on dining out with friends, buying gifts for loved ones, maybe traveling, but definitely taking care of myself during the holidays.
This year, on my Grown-Up Christmas Wish List, are services and treatments I “need” to maintain my hair, skin, and nails. As you can imagine, doing this monthly can be costly. That’s why I keep some of my hard-earned cash for facials, haircuts, threading, waxing, and so on. I always make time to do it, too, especially during the holidays.
I always tell my friends that investing in reliable professional services is just as important as finding the perfect skincare products. Since getting a monthly facial religiously, my skin has improved 200%—and I spend roughly the same amount as I do when I experiment with a new skincare routine. Once I realized this, I became more open to treatments I used to think are just too expensive, like laser hair removal. Some treatments aren’t always “painless,” too. The thrill is also different from shopping for products. You can still do that, granted that the dermatologist or specialist recommends the formulas you put on your face.
If you’re here and you’re thinking of spending some of your aguinaldo or 13th-month pay on some pampering, here are my recommendations for tried and tested services that will help you end the decade with deep-cleaned pores, hair-free underarms, freshly painted nails, and more! I’ve also noted the addresses of my recommended branches below.
SkinStation Hyal-C Facial, P600, and Diamond Peel, P600
These are treatments I’ve sworn by for almost two years now. I never go a month without an appointment and I literally feel it in my skin if I skip a month or two. I also keep preaching to my friends to just quit trying to solve their skin woes on their own. Find a reputable clinic you like, get a recommendation for treatments that work on your concerns, and get it. There’s really nothing like a pro doing the job for you. Tip: If you feel uncomfortable when aestheticians are upselling you, you can politely turn them down. You’re the customer!
Recommended Branch: SkinStation, Level 5, Main Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Edsa cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City. For more information, log on to their website.
Browhaus Browgraphy, P1,428
Before finding out the benefits of brow shaping, I had the worst eyebrows—the kind that didn’t have a thick enough tail so I look like I burned the ends of my eyebrows off in photos. I had Brow Resurrection done about five years ago, and I’ve only gone to maintain stray hairs since. Browhaus’ Browgraphy, which includes brow shaping and color tweaking, is perfect for those who want better brows.
Recommended Branch: Browhaus, Level 5, Building D, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. For more information, log on to their website.
Benefit Brow Wax, P700
If you prefer waxing over threading, Benefit’s Brow Bar is the place to go. Apart from Browhaus, Benefit is the only other place I trust to get my arches groomed in style. They have a unique technique that allows their beauty experts to wax your eyebrows to a flattering shape in under 30 minutes. When my work was still based in Quezon City, I even had my eyebrows done by Benefit Cosmetics Philippines’ former National Brow Artist, Celina. What’s more, they even do your eyebrow makeup for you after!
Recommended Branch: Benefit, 3/F Trinoma, Edsa cor. North Ave., Quezon City. For more information, log on to their website.
Beauty & Butter Nail Lounge Toe-Tally Extra, P2,050
If you’re anything like me, a good mani-pedi can be enough to turn a bad week around. (Thank you, Elle Woods, for imparting in me some of your best femme fatale wisdom.) I’m one of those people who constantly pick on their cuticles and nails because of stress, so my nails aren’t always presentable. The only way I can avoid picking on my skin is to get a proper manicure and pedicure. I go for Beauty & Butter’s No Chip Gel Manicure & Pedicure with Aromatherapy Foot Spa package because of two reasons: 1) there’s no drying time; and 2) they guarantee no chip nails for up to three weeks. I also love Beauty & Butter because they make sure their tools are sterilized and their nail technicians are all super skillful!
Recommended Branch: Beauty & Butter Nail Lounge, 3/F Ayala Malls Feliz, Marcos Highway, Pasig City. For more information, browse through their services here.
STRIP ICE, price available upon request
After years and years of waxing, I was finally convinced to try laser hair removal. STRIP ICE is the brand’s own semi-permanent laser hair removal treatment that guarantees little to no discomfort. There is a recommended 6 sessions to fully achieve results, which is virtually no hair or hair regrowth for a few months. There’s a four- to six-week interval between sessions, depending on how responsive your body is. I’ve already finished about 8 sessions, and my hair has barely regrown. Of course, this treatment is on the pricier side, but make sure to ask the front desk about their promos. I got my package at about 30% off, which is super worth it!
Recommended Branch: STRIP, Level 5, Building D, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. For more information, log on to their website.
These days, the holidays can get super stressful if you let things get away from you. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself! It’s only fitting to stop for a while to welcome 2020 with 100% confidence. Go ahead and pamper yourself! I know I will.