Where self-care and social issues collide: Q&A with 'All Skincare, Sometimes Shade'
At first read, “All Skincare, Sometimes Shade” (ASSS) page looks like any other makeup or skincare blog page.
But take a closer look at the caption and you'll realize that it doesn’t only talk about skincare.
“Sobrang winner eto (This is a huge win) for makeup enthusiasts kc [sic] I also find that this cleansing pad helps remove any residual make-up na hindi natanggal ng cleanser or makeup wipes ko,” ASSS wrote in a March 21 post.
“Kung kelangan mong magtanggal ng (If you need to take off) brownface after mong magpanggap (after you pretend to be) as pre-colonial Filipino,” ASSS added. “This cleansing pad is your friend. The silicone bristles are gentle AF mga babes at the same time it exfoliates. Also, it gently pushes out debris from your pores.”
This particular post, aside from being a legit product review, also threw shade at alleged state-sanctioned human rights abuses, the push for federalism, and Manila’s traffic situation all in one post. It got over 2,000 shares and pushed the page’s following from 51 to over 14,000 all in one night.
We sat down with the creator of the page – who asked to remain anonymous – to talk about everything from how she started the page, what social issues matter to her the most, and what her “holy grail” skincare products are.
How did you start the page?
I just started it just to vent. You know, with the Philippines and US elections, it was so tiring. It’s so exhausting to be angry, so I needed to turn that anger into something more creative. At first, it was a lot of commentary on culture and social issues, calling out people on their privilege. Eventually, it became a bit more political. My friends thought it was funny so they said you should put it all on one page.
Did it start off as skincare?
It already started with skincare products. But it was just like, a way for me to engage in social issues without being too negative and emotionally draining myself. When I started the page, the name “all skincare, sometimes shade” was just something I pulled out of my ass.
I really didn’t think much about it or expect to gain a huge following. It was just for friends and their friends who wanted to follow me. It started out with only 50 followers.
That’s the long — and short — version of the story.
Do you really tambay (hang out) at Watsons?
There’s a Watsons near my office, so I just go there to look at what’s new, or what products I can try.
I’m tired of looking at blogs and YouTube and these bloggers they’re always talking about expensive shit or some elusive skin product that contains volcanic ashes, Antarctic fresh water, or ancestral spirits from the islands of the Bermuda triangle.
I’m like – I can’t afford any of it! That’s just my broke ass trying to find some sort of solace in Watsons where everything is in its place and there’s a place for everything.
Do you genuinely like pharmacy makeup and skincare products?
Is the sky blue? So far, it has satisfied my needs. Because a lot of the stuff I’m using now, a majority of it are really from my tambay sessions. Mostly impulse purchases.
But you don’t get paid to endorse Watsons products, yeah?
Not officially an endorser, though a lot of my followers say I should get paid. But I understand that brands in general don’t want to align themselves with my page because of how political it can be.
There’s this conception that if you’re a company — and you want to get involved in politics or political issues — you’re trying to capitalize on people’s political identities. And that does happen. But it’s also funny when that influencer from Kuwait spoke about how employers normally should have the right to hold their employees’ passports and that whole mess about her feelings regarding the laws protecting OFWS – those beauty brand sponsors suddenly want to exclude themselves from that narrative and dropped her like hot potato.
It’s this weird little game of “we don’t really care about political space – until we do.”
I don’t mind if nobody pays me or gives me free shit. I like the freedom to review what I want to review and at this point I’m more concerned about being honest with everything I write.
What are your holy grail make-up products?
The bad-ass b**ches of my make-up bag? I really like the liquid lipsticks by Ever Bilena, the final powder from Nichido, and Ellana’s mineral powder foundation.
Facial cleansing pad from Watsons which I use a few times a week. Human Nature sunflower oil, you can use it for make-up removal or double cleansing.
I also wanna say aloe vera gel coz it got me through a lot of skin troubles. If you’re buying aloe vera gel, it doesn’t have to be from that store with the FDA-approved products with some serious brand misrepresentation realness okay. Just make sure it doesn’t have fragrance or other bells and whistles mixed in.
DDS o Dilawan?
IN THIS HOUSE, we do not think or speak in political dichotomies!
How would you describe your political leanings and how were your worldviews shaped?
I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you don’t enable incompetency.
During Erap’s time, my parents brought us to a few rallies and protests, which is probably my earliest exposure to a form of political participation. I think they had no idea how much that would influence my curiosity about injustice and why it exists in this world. To keep it short and cute, you can say my views are on the progressive side.
I wouldn’t say we’re completely behind as a country, but I definitely believe we gotta keep the conversation going on issues like ENDO, divorce, SOGIE bill, and same-sex marriage.
What news stories be messin’ up your skin?
Sotto and Pepsi Paloma. Recently, the call for Federalism and the Con-Com’s draft constitution, the process has been opaque AF. (READ: 4 things you need to know about Duterte Con-Com's draft constitution)
There should be more participation and consultation with the public. If I had any say in it, it’ll be “this Con-Com does not speak for me.”
How do you pamper yourself when you get stressed out?
I put on a sheet mask. I just do my whole skincare routine. Then I do yoga. It really helps me calm down. That’s pretty much it.
A sheet mask or clay mask, because it kind of grounds me, if that makes sense?
What’s your take on Belo saying you don’t need to moisturize in the Philippines?
I think my girl Belo — and this is not in any way intended to discredit her career — needs to go to back to the drawing board and reassess her findings.
Skincare YouTubers you follow?
This is weird but I don’t like to follow any skincare vloggers. I watch a video here and there but I don’t live and breathe skincare all the time.
I do enjoy Sailor J’s channel. She’s not a beauty vlogger but she did a couple of make-up tutorials to make a point about patriarchal expectations on women, gun violence, and how makeup is used as a tool for cultural appropriation.
She doesn’t post much anymore but that woman is fierce.
Skincare/makeup tips for fresh grads entering the corporate world ?
- According to Trixie Mattel, my kween and spirit guide: “just because it’s expensive don’t mean it’s nice."
- Start first on finding skincare basics that work for you. Experimenting with makeup is easier, but finding a good skin regimen is harder. If a certain makeup product irritates your skin, at least you have a good skin regimen to fall back on.
- Self-care is very important and it doesn’t have to be exclusively related to skincare. Listen to your body, learn a new skill for fun, summon a spirit, go offline.