Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jakarta & Herborist Mandi Lulur

I'm in Jakarta right now and when I'm in a new city, I always go looking for new beauty stuff! I picked up this Herborist Mandi Lulur scrub last weekend. There are a variety of flavours (I remember seeing green tea) but I bought the one with milk extract. 
Mandi Lulur is a kind of scrub that is used in Indonesian spa treatments and there are many brands on the market, including Purbasari, which is really cheap. It can cost just barely S$1++ for a tub of Purbasari, but the ingredients list doesn't contain too many natural ingredients. This Herborist Mandi Lulur tub (200g) cost me barely S$3 and I think the ingredients are better. Have a look:
The Herborist Mandi Lulur scrub contains rice starch, milk lipids, ceramide, olive oil... Whereas Purbasari consists of a majority of mineral oil and other chemicals. While Herborist also contains mineral oil, it's much lower down the list and it contains more natural ingredients. Anyway they're both so cheap, the price difference doesn't matter. Just go for the Herborist!
I immediately tried it out - it's a very creamy scrub (no lather) and leaves a light layer of oil/moisture on my skin that doesn't feel uncomfortable at all. It has tiny bits of rice grains in it which are quite small but feel quite scrubby (gentler than St Ives facial scrub). The grains are not as densely packed as St Ives scrubs, but still scrubby enough for exfoliation. It feels a little like a slightly less grainy sugar scrub. I have tried gentler scrubs and in terms of gentleness vs scrubbiness, with 0 being gentle and 5 being St Ives' kind of harsh exfoliation, this would be a 4. 

I like it quite a lot - the price is good and it moisturizes well. In fact, I just purchased a second tub today for my mum. Minus one point, because the grains are a wee bit harsh and not as densely packed as I would like it to be. 

Rating: 9/10
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Anyway, last weekend I went to Central Jakarta's Ambassador Mall and Grand Indonesia. They're so different! Ambassador Mall is a messy place filled with small shops and random stuff, where you can try to bargain. I bought a quirky bangle there for S$3:

Then we moved on the Grand Indonesia, which was so different! It's full of high-end brands. I had a great lunch at Social House, which is a lovely restaurant which offers a mixture of Japanese and Western dishes. 


The stuff at Ambassador Mall is underwhelming and nothing to shout about. I liked Plaza Indonesia because it has some unique brands that can't be found in Singapore, such as this shop called Scoop スクープ which sells craft items and other cute stuff for your home. I was really tempted to buy a fake  shrub in a pot that was pruned into a heart shape! 

I went out today as well and bought some more stuff but it's late so I'll update again soon. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: B.Liv Got Oil Relief and Quench Me

I am currently overseas on a work trip and this is the skincare I brought with me:
 I absolutely adore B.Liv products and had great results with Got Me Covered sunscreen + foundation and Off With Those Heads blackhead gel. I got the Got Oil Relief (oil control toner) as a gift-with-purchase a while ago, and bought the Quench Me (moisturizing gel) recently because my sister loved it and recommended it to me. I've been using these 3 products together for 2 weeks now and I'm loving it!

Got Oil Relief
Got Oil Relief is an oil-control toner in a spray and cost S$27.95 for a 130ml bottle. It helps very much to normalize my skin and control oil, but I will not repurchase it because I personally don't like spray toners because I prefer using cotton pads to wipe away any residue from my face and I also felt this was rather pricey as 130ml is a pretty small amount for the price you pay. If you have oily skin and like spray toners, go for it! The spray mechanism is well made, the spray is light and fine and sprays my face evenly and the toner feels soothing and balances my oily skin.

Ingredients: Purified water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Chamomile Flower Extract, Witch Hazel Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Oligopeptide-44

Rating: 9/10
Quench Me 
Quench Me is a very light moisturizing gel that is a very light blue in colour. It's supposed to be for dry skin, but it definitely works for oily, acne-prone skin as well, because it is very light. It really helps to keep my skin feeling dewy and moisturized in air-conditioned environments, and it doesn't make my face any oilier than it is. The watery gel texture spreads easily over my face and cuts down skincare application time in the morning! I have a feeling it just might not be hydrating enough for really dry environments, like winter weather. 

I can't remember the price, but I believe it is around S$40 for 45ml. Like all B.Liv products, it comes in a sanitary airless pump bottle. I had some trouble with the airless pump for Quench Me - I pumped a million times but the product wouldn't come out, then I turned the bottle upside down for a night, and the next day, it worked! I think it's due to the air trapped in the bottle, so when I turned it upside-down, the product flowed down and minimized the air. 

I love this product and the only problem I had with it was that when I spread it on my face, sometimes it feels like the product rubs off on my face in tiny flakes. This is something I notice with many hyaluronic acid serums like Aquajuju. This may annoy some people, but I can live with it. 

Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Sodium PCA, Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) Extract, Bearberry (Arctostasphylos uva ursi) Extract, C12-18 Alkyl Glucoside, Grape Seed (Vitis vinifera) Extract, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Saxifrage (Saxifrage ciliatae) Extract, Mulberry Bark (Morus alba) Root Extract, Paraffinum Liquidum, Silk Protein (Hydrolyzed Silk), Maltitol, Lemon (Citrus medixa liminum) Fruit Extract, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearyl Alcohol, Burnet (Poterium officinale) Root Extract, Methylparaben, Prezatide Copper Acetate, Allantoin, Propylparaben, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Fragrance.

Rating: 9/10

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: Hada Labo Tamagohada AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash Foam

Here's another facial cleanser that I just finished using up. I remember I bought this Hada Labo Tamagohada AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash Foam (phew, long name) at a discount for $12.90. It comes in a 160ml bottle, filled with the face wash liquid, and a pump produces lots of luxurious foam. I love the pretty blue bottle. Hada Labo markets itself as a simple but effective skincare line (which is slightly pricier than regular drugstore lines like Biore), and I find its products are all of very good quality. 
I have a good impression of the Hada Labo brand, because I had a good experience with one of its other face washes. I just realized I haven't posted a review of it, but I'll put it on my to-blog list! This face wash is no exception. "Tamagohada" means "egg face" - the face wash is supposed to leave your face as smooth as a hard-boiled egg. The foam feels really luxurious and gives a gentle cleanse because it "cushions" the face:
I usually use a generous 2 pumps for each cleanse. I managed to finish the bottle within a month by using 2 pumps twice a day, which is faster than I use other cleansers. I find such liquid cleansers less value-for-money because the cleansing solution includes a lot of water, while other gel/paste type cleansers are concentrated and we add water to work it into a foam. According to my logic, 160ml of a foaming cleanser might be only equal to maybe 80ml of regular gel cleanser. Of course, the selling point of foaming cleansers would be that the foam produced is finer and fluffier, which feels more gentle on the skin. 

I like this cleanser because it's really convenient, the foam feels really lovely on the skin and it does cleanse very well - I feel my skin becoming smoother over time. There is AHA/BHA, but it does not sting my skin at all - conversely, it feels very gentle and the fluffy foam goes on like a dream. It does not give my face a tight feeling when I wash it off - my face is left really smooth and comfortable. My only gripe is that it's very, very foamy and I have to spend a longer time washing it off my face. The ingredients are as follows:
You need to use sunscreen after, because of the AHA/BHA.

The plus: Foam is fluffy and feels like a dream. It leaves my face feeling smooth.
The minus: More expensive and per ml/ounce, doesn't last as long as other regular facial cleansers. The foam is a little too soapy/foamy and requires more time to rinse off. 

Rating: 9/10

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Dr Wu Acnecur

Dr Wu Clinical Skincare comes from Taiwan. "Clinical" makes it sound really good for the skin, and the packaging looked quite classy and... clinical... so when there was a 20% discount on the Acnecur range, I grabbed these! Acnecur Oil Control Lotion with 5α-avocute and Acnecur Pore Refining Lotion with Evermat. They're supposed to work better if you use them together. They're pretty pricey. (I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure each cost $40 or thereabout.)
Acnecur Pore Refining Lotion with Evermat (30ml)
This is a typical clear serum that goes on like other hyaluronic acid serums, except with a slightly less slimey feel. It's supposed to refine pore size, smooth skin and heal acne. 

Ingredients (per Dr Wu website): EvermatTM , P-Refinyl® , Oceagen®, DL-Mandelic Acid , Sodium Hyaluronate

Does it work? Well, it does smoothen my skin somewhat, but it doesn't help too much in unblocking pores. (I still prefer B.Liv Off With Those Heads Sebum Gel for unblocking pores.) By unblocking pores, I mean softening whiteheads/blackheads such that they dislodge easily when I do a facial scrub or deep-cleansing mask. The good thing is that it helps keep the moisture in my skin while treating it (due to the hyaluronic acid), and it doesn't irritate my skin. I feel it's overpriced though!

Rating: 8/10
Acnecur Pore Refining Lotion with Evermat (50ml)
This is a slightly tacky, creamy lotion that feels like a more fluid version of Eucerin Dermopurifyer Creme-gel.  The texture for Dr Wu is a lot more spreadable and feels lighter than Eucerin, which is a plus. It helps control oil pretty well, but I avoid using this when I'm at work and always in air-conditioned areas, because it's not moisturizing enough on its own. I usually use it on weekends, when I'm outside and it's hot and humid. This moisturizer would not fare well in dry winters! 

Ingredients: 5α-Avocute® , Sebaryl® , DL-Mandelic Acid, TotarolTM , Sodium Hyaluronate

Overall, a nice, basic moisturizer for oily skin, but overpriced. 

Rating: 8/10
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Ok, one thing that I wanted to rant about was that I thought the company wasn't being very transparent about the ingredients. What the hell is Evermat (with a TM, no less)? What is P-Refinyl? What is Oceagen? Surely the ingredients can be broken down, or are they patented trade secrets, like that fabled secret ingredient in Coke that nobody knows about and is kept under lock and key?

So I went to google the ingredients and actually got results! Apparently, P-refinyl is extracted from lentils and its oligosaccharide content stimulates the process of keratinocyte maturation, eliminating nucleated cells from around the pores. From gmzinc.com, I found a data sheet on Oceagen, which apparently a marine collagen that helps to moisturize skin. From Sederma.com, I realised that Evermat is used to reduce sebum flow. I still don't know what the actual ingredients are though, and that annoys me. Anyone feel the same?

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