Cult/Pinoy Cosmetics of 2015

Last year, I’ve been to a lot of bazaars and I’ve been sent a couple of pinoy/indie/cult cosmetics & toiletries that we can’t find in the huge department or drug stores. I like supporting these entrep brands or products (almost all are Filipino in this list) especially if they deliver beyond my expectations. So below is my list and some of my thoughts on their attributes and performances.

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  1. Nippon White Ginger Hand Wash* – I’ve come to really appreciate hand washes because as we age, we tend to lose hydration and our hands are one those parts of the body that we can’t really treat when the time comes that wrinkles and lines appear. Nippon Esthetic Solutions, known to produce pro makeup products and promote proper hygeine in makeup and skin care, made this non-drying formula. I consumed the travel size already and aside from I really like White Ginger (both as food, ingredient and scent), I noticed it made my nails stronger which is a good indication of its performance.
  2. Smell Chic Sanitizers & Room/Linen Fragrances – This brand has always been present on bazaars I go to or participate in so their simplistic packaging yet captivating scents attracted me so much. If you are a fan of scents like Eclat, Elizabeth Arden, etc, they have infused similar scents in their sanitizers and sprays without making them come off as strong, while giving a long-lasting scent. My favorite lines are Sophisticated Grace,
  3. Beach Born Sea Salt Spray* – I’ve never tried one before until blogger/entrep/traveler Sarah Tirona sent me this fuss-free all-natural volumizer/tezturizing leave-in. I like curling my hair and often times, culring/flat iron can make it look dull. We all know sea salt to remove oil and moisture to achieve gorgeous beach-waves which we always see from models and celebrities. I really like and recommend this one because it doesn’t dry hair unlike the chemical-based ones!
  4. Nekkid Sugar Lip Scrub & Balm* – Owned by fellow blogger Sabs Hernandez, I like her brand of natural skin and body care! I’ve been sent these two items and I really like the lip scrub because it’s all natural (just be careful of the ants) and I’ve been avoiding using products with micro-beads as we all know those to contribute to our wastes.
  5. Zennutrients* – I’ve been in love with this all-natural Pinoy brand that ever since I tried their All is Well balm and roll-on (I’m a sucker for anything eucalyptus, peppermint, green tea, ginger and lemon which they’ve all combined), I have adored almost all of their bath and body care products. The candle above is hand-poured with coconut, while the Gugo hair strengthening serum is just an innovative idea for an abundant plant in the Philippines.
  6. Desire Signatures Scents* – I’ve tried a lot of scents that smell like my favorites like Eclat, Clinique, etc but nothing is more powerful (in a good mild kind of way) and long-lasting than these fragrances. I think they have a very nice concentration of oil – not like the others that will just face away easily!
  7. C Beauty Oils* – A fellow beauty enthusiast, Cristina Madara, produced a line of coconut oils, which is nice to hear because this is very abundant locally. But also, we don’t realize how we have so much to get from what we call “Coconut beauty”. I tried 3 variants 2 years ago and until now, I use them whenever my body/skin needs to moisturize or treat. I usually place them in excess on weekends at bed, then I get super soft and silky skin the morning after,
  8. Kala Milk Soaps* – I’ve once bathed myself with Milk products to soften my skin when I was in college doing active work and I like how this one is the first ever specialty bath soap from local carabao’s milk (sourced from local farmers in Bulacan), with the highest content of good butterfat + essential oils like lavender, green tea and lemongrass (favorite variants!!). But also, this family and community endeavour has been helping the Baliuag agricultural sector. These are available at Philippine Carabao Center in Nueva Ecija (my mom’s hometown!) and BeautyMNL
  9. Simplify Argan Oil* – I loved the good oils ever since I tried it 3 years ago. I like argan oil so much for my hair, but I also got to try it on some of my imperfections on face and body and this product specifically has nice cleansing and moisturising properties.

 Can you share what indie/pinoy brands/products you loved last year?


11 Kylie Lip Kit Dupes

I am fascinated by King Kylie’s glam, specifically with how clean, sexy and on point her makeup is, such that her own brand of  liquid lipsticks and lip liners got sold out immediately after 30 seconds. But what really interests me is how she has found and marketed her own signature colors which i’ve been loving lately because they’re the kind of neutrals that suit my tone and lips well. So here’s a list of dupes availably locally (not at all about textures though) that I’ve studied. It took me a while to figure out Kylie’s colors, really! They’re tricky!!

Kylie Lip Kit dupes

Kylie Lip Kit dupes

I’ve read a lot of good reviews about Kylie’s lip kit, which comes with a lip liner and liquid lipstick – a format I’ve been loving. I love the comments about its formulation (they say it’s even better than its rumoured manufacturer, Colour Pop). But what I love most is the set of neutral colors and how they adapt to different lips as you can see in this viral Buzzfeed review featuring 3 women with different skin tones.

Candy K is described by Refinery as “a dusty rose; I’d describe it as a light ’90s brown”. My favorite is Dolce K which appears darker and more warm neutral brown  or toffee than Candy K. Of course, True brown K is self explanatory and you can see how real the hue is and how it complements all skin tones.

I don’t have the $29 lip kit but I’ve pretty much spent a day or two just looking at swatches, reviews and blogs and comparing them with mine and what I have. I must admit that they’re pretty much unique such that even if I have 12 products here (mix of gifts and buys), I that I i’d have to still mix some to be able to arrive at the exact color.

Kylie Lip Kit dupes

Kylie Lip Kit dupes

The Liquid Lipstick dupes from brands Sleek and LA Splash

The Liquid Lipstick dupes from brands Sleek and LA Splash

In my opinion, King Kylie’s Candy K and Dolce K are quite the same, except that Candy is more rose than Dolce. As such, I’m going to compare both in the below swatchfest. Most of these are matte and liquid lipsticks that I love lately, exposed in a warm light.

Swatches of Kylie Lip Kit dupes

Swatches of Kylie Lip Kit dupes

In order of the dupe-st (is there such a word lol), see the reviews below: 

Identified 6 Closest dupes to Candy K (neutral/dusty rose). This was much easier as there are lots of rose shades in the market, but still, the level of its “brownness”is hard to find. 

  • Sleek Matte Me in Birthday Suit (matte liquid lipstick)* [PHP 450 ] – I think this will be the closest to that beautiful adapting neutral rose color, and to the finish and feel as well, based on the reviews. The color is almost exact and unlike the others, it has this faded rose color which prolly explains the “dusty” description of the product’s color. Also, there’s this instant volumizing/plumping effect due to the not-so-drying and pigmented formula and great brush. Plus, probably the cheapest in this line up. I highly recommend this product and spot this on your next department store visit as these run out quick!
  • Inglot in 405 (matte lipstick) [PHP ] [PHP 800 approx]- Next would be this shade, but this appear darker and a bit more orange under warm light. It’s finish is matte, but not like the liquid lipstick formula. I’ve almost finished this tube because I love its color despite its quite drying formula.
  • LA Splash in Ginny (matte liquid/mousse lipstick) [PHP 600]* – I just bought different LA Splash liquid lippies last year but I also received some from DTC online like this one. I will not discuss this new brand formula yet, but this color is also a close match, with nice pigmentation and consistency.
  • LA Splash in Belle (matte liquid lipstick) [PHP 600] – I bought this one abroad, and while the finish is different (very Nars Orgasm!), the rose brown color is evident. 
  • MAC in Kinda Sexy (matte lipstick) [PHP 1000]* – This famous MAC shade looks more peach under warm bright light, but under flash at night, it looks more pink on me. I heard Whirl is a better dupe for Kylie’s line

Dolce K (toffee brown/neutral shade) is a bit harder. Most neutral brown shades have an orange under tone but these are closest that I have found. Regardless as dupes, I like these colors very much especially for my warm skin tones.

  • MAKE UP FOR EVER in MAT 3 [approx PHP 1500]* – This Rouge Artist Intense line is almost always sold out too (a fav of Maggie Wilson!), because it has this nice neutral shade that fits any kind of tone. It’s a bit warmer than Dolce K, but I can see some hints of the kind of brown present in Kylie’s. The product is a bit drying and less matte than others but the color is just nice!
  • SPARK in Naked Desire [PHP 800] – purchased this baby at Passionfly Bazaar last year. This line is owned by actress Karel Marquez, who perfected this shade of orange-brown. It’s quite hard to transfer at first (product is quite hard so balms are needed) but it’s all worth it in terms of consistency and pigmentation, with little drying of lips.
  • MAC in Spice (Lip Pencil) [PHP 1100] – I bought this pencil last year and figured it doesn’t have a lipstick counterpart, but its fits all of the shades below (and above rose colors as well) when outlining and contouring my lip, with a shade that’s very Dolce

Lastly, of course, True Brown K is much easier to match. I found these shades earlier than the Lip Kit launch LOL and they suit me very well! More details on my dark lippie blog post soon but below are previews.


So there it is! 11 possible dupes of the Lip Kit Kylie brand that I recommend!! Best awards go to Sleek, and the True Brown K dupes (MAC and LA Splash) because they resemble the colors very well. Do you know of any more lipsticks that mimick these colors? Let me know!


*Products which astericks are given as gifts by brands


Post-Christmas Unboxing

I got super busy over the holidays preparing for a pageant, and for this site, that I almost forgot to open my Christmas gifts from friends in brands, and gifts from relatives. I will be unboxing some below (and giving away some as well!) and will be sharing my thoughts on some packages or gift packs which I think are great sampling opportunities as a beauty enthusiast, because you get testers or full/sample sizes at discounted prices. So let me share what I got, and my likes below:

First, MAKEUP FOR EVER! They sent me a package which contains a nice orange pouch with the iconic logo of the brand. This is one of the many holiday kits that they’re promoting, but I really like this one because it gives variety, in sample/travel sizes of their best-sellers. I love the Step 1 primer, specifically, this gray variant. I have a full size of this and just consumed the tube last year. Thumbs up also for their super pigmented eyeliners (pencil and liquid) – they just have the most staying ones as well – and the lip liner.  If these are still available, I suggest this one to people who are starting to use the brand, because it’s just a nice introduction to their powerful products.

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We all know THE BODY SHOP as something we give and receive (Body washes that i love!!) from our relatives especially during Christmas.

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But this time, The Body Shop is partnering with international charity WaterAid to help transform lives through access to safe water. For every specially selected gift bought *labelled with a drop symbol, WaterAid can provide a family in Ethiopia with one day of safe water! This is really good good news!

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I got the chance to donate when I shopped at their new modern store at Megamall (love the new look!).

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They gave me a few of their boxes and my favorites are below, boxed in this nice Christmas packaging. They have an Olive set (my favorite body line, aside from the Shea Butter – so buy these at packaged rates while they’re at it) which I got for the donation. I also like the Frosted Plum collection which are complete special edition set of lotions, washes and scents with fruity-floral Plum extracts from the orchards of Turkey!! Lastly, they have a color set and my fav is this Grooving Gold palette (I have always loved the pigment and shimmers of their eye colors).

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I also have my favorites from ETUDE HOUSE which is making Christmas the cutest ever! They launched the Snow Dessert collection for the holiday, which are all about cuteness and sugary sweetness. I got a cheek and lip tint which looks so yummy and cute and pigmented, but i also see these hand cream packs and Collagen kits which I definitely need at this point in time. I just love Etude skin care!

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Hi BURT’S BEES! if there’s as skin care brand that I wanna give to all my girls, it would be this because they’re 90-100% natural. I’m so happy that they’re packaged in nice boxes, especially the lip balms, which i highly recommend! If there are still stocks, I suggest you hoard these babies!

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I’m so happy that they have more lip balm scents and variants. Also, they’re now in Zalora!!

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For BENEFIT COSMETICS, they want holidays (and even ordinary ones) to be fun and extra sparkly. From the success of the Swarovski x Bling Brows, comes a limited edition They’re Real mascara with crystals on the packaging! But I also like that they have these limited edition Party Poopers that come with the best travel sizes. If they’re still available, I suggest getting the one with Porefessional and all the highlighter products!

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Now, MAC, which is of course a nice gift suggestion to girls who like makeup. Now theyir holiday sets are nice because they have the best-sellers alongside some special branded merchandise and items that look nice too! Value for money indeed. I got this set from a  friend and I’m loving the Fluidline and Dual brush 242 /209!

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Lastly, a LANCOME set which we always get every year from my aunt who loves hoarding from this brand. Now this package is really big as it contains special pouches, brushes, and limited ed/holiday eyeshadow pallettes, lippies and of course, testers!! Not really a fan of all the products but my favorites here are the Bi-Facil and the pallettes (blush and eyeshadow), recommended to be given to solid Lancome fans!

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So there! Quite a long unboxing but what seems to be nice deals for you here?

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The Union Station Barber

I am always on the run, in between events and meetings left and right. So whenever i need to glam up for an important event or party, traffic and distance won’t allow me to go home to dress up and  refresh. Salons have become my best friends and one of them is custom-hair expert, millenial-oriented, Old New York barbershop style, The Union Station Barbershop.

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At first, I was hesitant with the modern instagrammable interiors (and dapper Instagram and photos!) that’s more masculine but the shop has services for women. My good friend Cai, who’s Operations Manager of this place, allowed me to try out their services.

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Started in September 16, 2014, The Union Station Barber Shop For Men and Women has provided customers throughout Makati City and the borough with affordable , stylist haircuts both for Men and Women.

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The shop has more services and products for men and grooms-to-be. One day, i was surprised that my one of former batchmates  were there (among the other 3 I heard going there regularly), being groomed by their expert barbers. There are also cult products for men’s styling and hair care. It’s also the Barbershop in the country that also offers technically singeing which is the removal of excess hair around the ear by tapping a small lighted wand against it.


I tried their services a couple of times (see different selfies below). Because it’s very accessible to my events, I usually drop by The Link (in front of Anson’s in Glorietta area) to have my nails and hair done. I love their blow-dry services. Truly, the stylists (and barbers as well) are well-trained in their styles and methods. 

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Below is one of my favorite work by Bryan cruz, a celebrity and expert stylist at The Union.

I also like that the shop has cult brands that I like: like the original, Happy Socks!!

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Happy Socks in the Union station Barber

A side from the services, The Union Station also offers complimentary drinks like no other like the “Blend of The Union”, a 100% pure Arabica from the Sumatra region and “TEA by Tipple and Slaw” brewed gourmet tea leaves fused with exquisite elements for truly unique iced tea flavor. I really like hanging out in this place too while having my nails and hair done ( they do both very clean and professionally)

Overall, I would rate this salon/shop a 4.5/5. Definitely going back to prepare for events. FYI: this is not a sponsored post. I only get discounts normally as others during certain periods. =)

Visit their salon to try their other services and let me know how it went?


8 Dark Lipsticks For My Mood

I never thought I’d wear a dark lippie until I tried it on my lips a few years ago. I had one dark lippy purchase before – the MAC RiRi Talk That Talk – which ended up in my friend’s pouch and became easy to let go because the cool toned lippy didn’t suit my skin, and a dark lippy in general just exagerrated my looks which often go with the smokey eyes. It was also uneasy to be called “ready for halloween”, or “member of the Adam’s Family”.

But gosh, what a catharsis to realize that dark lippies suit my moods whenever I’m feeling sad, dark, sexy or whatevs LOL, plus the fact that I’ve found the right colors that suit me! Yes, that’s how important it is because wearing the right color and undertone of lippy (warm or cool) will make you look bright (and blooming). We don’t want to look odd and “darker” when we already wear those dark and intense pigments.

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So, I got really interested in this color pallete – and we’re not talking about deep reds even here – a blog post coming soon. Last year, I bought shades of so deep and so dark shades of browns, plums, and neutral that I like and wanna share to you.

dark lippies 5These are combinations of matte and semi-matte liquid and solid lipsticks that are just so pigmented – one quality that’s common with brands LA Splash, MAC, and Sleek. I will not discuss so much the feel and finish because that’s one separate post coming up!

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In order of my favorites which are mostly browns and deep brown reds:

  • LA Splash in Raven (matte liquid lipstick) [PHP 600] – A warm red-brown. Coming from a popular launch of lipstick line originally called “Harry Potter lippies” which got so famous online, this shade is my top pick in the collection, but also prolly from the brand. I bought this vampy shade online and was shipped from USA, but this is almost sold out locally, and I’m so sad that mine is drying out already (almost finished the tube) so I just have the arm swatch above. It’s super opaque on lips and might appear black which is Ok to some, but I like wearing it a day more.
  • MAC in Antique Velvet (matte lipstick) [PHP 1000] -A warm dark chocolate brown. This is very much like the Kylie True Brown K (as discussed here) because it’s more muted (90’s brown!) and has mahogany undertones. It looks opaque but with light or flash, the brown color is very astonishing.
  • LA Splash in Untamed (matte liquid lipstick) [PHP 600] – A warm dark brown. This is redder than above but still has true brown color. This is more opaque so it tends to be darker and more intense than Antique Velvet though they are very similar.
  • LA Splash in Mistress (matte liquid lipstick) [PHP 600]* – A deep burgundy. This was sent to me recently by DTC Makeup which now distributes LA Splash officially. This is such a unique dark version of this color!
  • MAC in Instigator (matte lipstick) [PHP 1000] – A “deep blackened plum”. For me, it’s slightly cool, but not really completely as it has more berry-pink undertone. This may be a bit patchy than the usual MAC formula, but this color looks beautiful especially at night/flash.
  • Sleek in Smoulder (semi-matte lipstick) [PHP600]* – A dark warm red-brown. The finish is semi-matte but it’s true and full color with a muted red-brown shade that reminds me of the 90’s colors! For me, this is a actually a dupe to the always OS Sin as you will know below.
  • MAC in Sin (matte lipstick) [PHP 1000] -A deep dark cool red described by MAC. This is always sold-out / limited in stores so I bought it from Tupped boutique in a bazaar last holiday. I’ve been searching for this and I know this is a blue lipstick, but I mix it with Antique Velvet and this really looks nice on me. At night, it looks red than black.
  • LA Splash in Vampire (matte liquid lipstick) [PHP 600] – A deep red. Vampy indeed!  At night, it looks a bit black because it’s too opaque and matte, but I like how  it’s very striking and a bit wearable red at day. 

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How about you? What dark lippies are you loving lately? Remember to find the right shade of dark and match it with eye and cheek makeup that’s minimalist!


Balayage On Fleek!

Lately, I have become tired of my dull and thinning hair but I didn’t want it to be so drastic as I experience falling hair whenever I’m stressed (and that’s usually always) or when my hair receives a lot of heat, chemicals and stress as well. So when I had the chance to try a different coloring experience, I decided to try the infamous Balayage that we see from famous global and local bloggers.

But aside from this hyper trend, and while I tried the this kind of “ombre” already before (meaning, highlights that aren’t proportional), I haven’t gone so far to really have an obvious gradient on my hair. Also, I just wanted to find a salon that’s so relaxing and pampering, after all the stress and toxic days I’ve had the past months.

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The newly opened Cedar Salon in San Juan attempts—and succeeds— to fit the bill. Relaxation seeps through each nook in the salon, designed with Asian zen elements reminiscent of spa resorts in Bali—upon entering, I automatically felttransported to a serene world away from the bustle of the city. As client are put to ease by their surroundings, “Cedar Salon staff come ready to assist them, with their signature personalized service, offering the best in hair services. In Cedar, technical skills in hairstyling are always coupled with making guests feel that they’re in good hands in a serene, spa-like environment. That way, clients are treated not just as another head to style, but valued guests who deserve to be holistically pampered.”

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I also noticed that most of their products are Schwarzkopf, which i first tried here. I really like their hair care products, and most especially their brown colorants because they’re true and they last for long. The above photo features my hair which was last colored using the brand, and the fading was very minimal, after months and 3 beach trips.

So I had my hair colored, styled and balayag-ed. I instructed Jake that I want a different look, a more true brown color for my base, and a well-blended balayage. He told me the process of doing it, and told me that it’s like blending and layering makeup. The colors and the placement of lighter colors should be very well blended and mixed properly so it had a lot of hand work on (coloring and bleaching) with the products, which by the way didn’t have a strong scent. I think this technique takes a lot of practice and skill.

A few hours later, I saw a good kind of brown that suits my tone, and a well-blended  and placed highlights that enhanced the volume of my hair (again, concept of contouring and highlighting!!). I nearly screamed with joy after seeing the final product, which was enhanced by soft curls and a good blow-dry. I was so happy with the results I had to go out that night!!

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More photos of my fabulous hair below.

A hair color and balayage would cost around P3500-P4000 for mid-length. It’s actualyl affordable if you ask me, and I believe they achieved my hair goal with flying colors (my peg was Katy perry! haha)

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Owner Christine Rodriguez who’s also a makeup artist, recalls the very reason why she thought of reconceptualizing the salon experience with Cedar: “I felt like my life was boring, routinely and dull, and the idea hit me to start a unique concept for a salon.” Congratulations, Tin. The salon delivered my hair wants!

A few months after, I came back to the salon to have my hair retouch. Of course, any hair color would fade and become a bit yellowish especially when not maintained with products for colored hair. And I don’t use those because I really simplify my hair routine due to falling/thinning hair. But as you can see above, the highlights can still be seen and still suits the base color. Nonetheless, it has become dry too and rough because of the bleach.


Japanese brand Milbon delivers the answer for standout smooth hair: named Linkage Meu, this deep-conditioning treatment takes three steps to soften the hair: amino oil to smoothen the hair’s surface, a veil that seals in moisture, and a smoothening collagen as a top coat. The salon treatment is reinforced by home care vials to sustain the effects on hair. Each step is punctuated by a particular scent note, making the treatment experience relaxing as it is enriching for the hair.

When I came back i told them I needed to repair and enhance the contrast of my balayage (because I wanted a holiday look!) and below was the result, after a great treatment from Japanese brand Milbon that has collagen and hyaluronic acid (power ingredients for 2015!!) to repair hair.

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All throughout the week, my hair felt reborn. It was so smooth and silky, but still volumized (I really need that!). After, I also had my nails done and I like how they have nice pigmented and long-lasting polishes from The Makeup Store, and this color is just love. This lasted for two weeks.

It’s the season! #NOTD feat. @themakeupstore polishes available at @cedarsalon ?? #metimeatcedar #mikkigalangbeauty

A photo posted by M I K K I G A L A N G (@mikkigalangdotcom) on

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Overall, I highly really recommend this salon because of how expert, creative, skilled the salon people are (I recommend Jake when you want to color or style your hair). Aside from them being so hospitable too, the place is just instagrammable and relaxing as well!

Cedar Salon is located at 200 A Wilson St., Addition Hills, San Juan. Follow them on social media via Facebook at and follow @CedarSalon on Twitter and Instagram.