Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez has forged her way in and around the beauty industry. Starting out as a model at 15, she’s now started working as an entrepreneur and VIP sales manager for Stores Specialists Incorporated, one of the top names when it comes to bringing international beauty brands to our local counters.
With such a background and how she continues to grow her opportunities (she’s now started a scented candle business called Mink), you would think she’d have a million things in her everyday makeup stash, but the reality is quite the contrary. She still keeps it easy with tried and tested products that do their job efficiently. How else would she be able to keep up with all her work on top of being a mother and wife?
On a Thursday morning, Mika was kind enough to squeeze us into her busy schedule to share her favorite makeup and skincare products and how she doesn’t believe in going over-the-top when it comes to beauty.
Describe your approach to beauty
I’ve always been drawn to effortlessness. For me, beauty is in simplicity and comes in the most natural form.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received from your mother?
Always put lotion on! Ever since I was a kid, I knew that after every bath came lotion application. I was never allowed to get dressed without [applying lotion first.] I can say I was officially brainwashed until this day!
If you had to prioritize skincare or makeup, which would it be?
Skincare, definitely. When you take good care of your skin, makeup is secondary. Plus, I literally feel the weight on my skin when I have makeup on. It’s not the best feeling.
What is one beauty item you would always repurchase?
What is the first beauty or makeup item you even bought for yourself?
I think it was makeup remover when I started modeling.
Name five grooming items you would recommend to any man.
After-shave, hair gel, moisturizer with SPF, a good bottle of perfume, and hand cream.
What are five makeup items you never leave the house without?
Moisturizer, bronzer or blush, brow mascara, lip balm, and my favorite nude lipstick.
What is one makeup trend do you always do I always follow?
What is one misconception about the beauty industry people should know about?
One brand fits all—it isn’t necessarily true. Most of the time you really have to take into consideration your skin type, lifestyle, skin sensitivity, etc. You really have to try them out and see what works best on you.
Who are your beauty icons? Why?
Cheryl Cole aka Cheryl Fernandez Versini. I never get tired of staring at her. She’s one face that never bores me.
One a regular day, which tube of lipstick do you reach for?
Make Up Forever in Mat 2.
On a night out, which shade of lipstick goes with any ensemble and occasion?
MAC Ruby Woo.
What are your top three favorite perfumes?
Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Hermes Pamplemousse Rose, L’eau Par Kenzo
Smoky eye or dark lip? Why?
Dark lip. Not a fan of heavy eyes.
Can you tell us about your nightly skincare routine?
Wash face with my gel cleanser. Moisturize and done!
What are the five best skincare products you’ve tried?
Every time I’m pregnant I run to my ever reliable Clarins Tonic Oil for my tummy and breasts. It’s the best and most effective product for firming and avoiding stretch marks! Next would be Murad’s facial cleansers. I alternate between the foaming wash and gel cleansers because they’re the best. Third would be Benefit’s Boo Boo Zap for treating zits! Fourth, Maui Babe’s browning lotion. Fifth, Kérastase Powder Bluff dry shampoo!
What is one thing that you think is lacking in the beauty industry?
Personally, I think everything we need is already available. What else do we need?!
Who is in your beauty black book (hair, makeup, skin, body)?
For my hair, I go to Alex Carbonell. He knows how to manage my wavy hair with the right layers, length, and color.
For makeup, my favorites are Gela Laurel-Stehmeier, Juan Sarte, Steven Doloso, and Angie Cruz. They know exactly what to do with my face and how much I dislike foundation. (Laughs)
For my body, I go to Marie France. I started going to them ever since I gave birth to my daughter almost 12 years ago. I actually enjoy their treatments because they work so well and I don’t even have to break a sweat.
When did you feel your most beautiful?
On my wedding day. It’s really the only time when you feel like you’re the prettiest in the room!
Which product is your latest discovery?
Erno Laszlo’s Hydro Therapy Sleep Mask
If you had a signature beauty trick, what would it be?
Instead of foundation, use tinted moisturizer. That’s the best way to get that dewy and fresh “no makeup” look. No need for eyeshadow; just some really good mascara and nude lips. My fave look!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Lazy days watching my favorite TV series, with my favorite junk food and green mangoes with sriracha salt! (Laughs) Yes, basically pigging out in bed all day!
Name one beauty faux pas that women should stop immediately.
How your concealer should be “two shades lighter” than your skintone. I see that a lot in photos nowadays. It’s usually too white and it doesn’t look flattering at all. Concealers should not be visible!
Favorite shops: Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, Adora, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Hermes Maison, Rustan’s, LCP, Zara, Beauty Bar, Healthy Options… Oh my list can go on!
Favorite vacation spot: Japan and Hawaii. Any beach, I’m happy.
Favorite dish and restaurant: I like the Crispy Catfish & Green Mango salad at People’s Palace, Wagyu at Buta Wagyu, Sashimi at Hanakazu, Buffalo Tenders at Bugsy’s. I also like Antonio’s for the ambience and literally everything on the menu. On the other hand, I like going to Lusso for their spinach taglierini.
Favorite person on Instagram: @garypeppergirl and @mamawatters
Favorite person, period: That’s a difficult one because I have my husband and my kids. They’re all my faves.
Photos by Paolo Tabuena
Product photos by Patrick Segovia
With additional reporting by Chryssa Celestino