NOTW: When What I Really, Really Want is Guerlain ‘Blue Ocean’

collage guerlain blue oceanAlas, I don’t have it. So off to the lab I went, and concocted my own version using what’s in my stash. It’s a lot of trial and error (the end result is a base of For Audrey with a little bit of others mixed in), and my craving for Blue Ocean is a bit under control, for now.


In the process, somehow I craved for more pastels, so on with Essie ‘Turks and Caicos’, which I haven’t worn for the longest time. Now I’m sated with pastels, and craving something dark, maybe a navy…..

notw turks and caicos essie (2)

THE Best Thing even Ahead of Sliced Bread: National Public Radio

nprVisitors of this blog probably saw a few times my link to the US National Public Radio (NPR) website, but this post is dedicated especially to honor this institution that’s been the best window to the world in my life for many years.

The NPR site is just chock full of wow stories. Take today, when I visited, I was greeted with the story of a seed vault, out in the Arctic, that has just gotten its first request – from Syria – for a seed withdrawal. A few clicks later, I was told that pasteurized milk that’s gone sour is actually good for pancakes. Finally, the sleep pass for kids is such a simple, no-brainer solution that I can’t believe parents took so long to figure out!

And we’re not even talking about the music, from every genre, that is filled to the brim on the site. I credit NPR for introducing me to many of the bands I currently love, e.g. The Frames and The National. Right now, I’m finding that I kinda like the latest album by Eagles of Death Metal. With that name, I never would have.

Really, if you haven’t visited this site, you’re missing out on life.

[Local] The Importance of Reading the Ingredient List (or, How Mustika Ratu is Fooling You)


I have been using virgin coconut oils on my scalp and hair for a few years. My current favorite oil is made by Blue Stone Botanicals; it is deliciously fresh and rich in aroma, although no additives are added.

Recently, however, I wondered whether I should diversify the oils I use, and picked up the Mustika Ratu Cem Ceman Hair Oil. This oil has been in the market for a while, but one time I took a whiff of it and decided the scent is not appealing, so never purchased it. The other day, on a whim, I picked it up, thinking that I might add some orange oil to make the scent more pleasant. I am already using the Mustika Ratu Cem Ceman Hair Mask, and it was ok, so I thought why not have variety and try the Cem Ceman Hair oil.

Here’s a surprise. Even though this product has been around for years, making the same claims (as far as I remember, as this is a very popular product), Mustika Ratu has actually been misleading consumers. The product touts coconut oil as its ingredient, and even put a picture of coconut on the packaging, but looking at the ingredient list, I don’t see any coconut. What is there is palm kernel oil (the first ingredient, Elaeis guineensis). True, in Indonesian that would be called minyak kelapa sawit, but really, I think it is still misleading to say that oil palm is the same as coconut. Frankly, I think it’s a conscious effort to mislead by Mustika Ratu, since obviously they know that Cocos nucifera is coconut, as it is a content in the Cem Ceman Hair Mask.


A closer look at the claims and ingredient list

Bottom line: lesson learned! Always read the ingredients list, as even big companies can get away fooling you. What is the Indonesian food and drug agency (BPOM) doing when they put their stamp of approval on this product? This episode strengthens my suspicions that BPOM is only administratively reviewing products (and not actually testing products for touted ingredients). And they’re not even doing these administrative reviews well, if this is an example. Perhaps they should focus on their job more, instead of whining and refusing import by individuals of well-known foreign products (on the premise that they are not imported by those licensed to import). BPOM seems to be interested only in protecting businesses (e.g. in this case Mustika Ratu), rather than the interests of consumers. Bah!

So, tell me, do you think Mustika Ratu at fault here, or is this a normal marketing ploy that I shouldn’t be making a big deal of?

Review and Swatches: Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick in ‘ Venezia’


Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick ‘Venezia’

The Stila All Day Liquid Lipsticks have been getting positive buzz in the blogosphere, and as a self-proclaimed makeup junkie, I could hot help but feel left out having not one of these lipsticks yet. Face with the opportunity came to purchase one, however, I was at lost of which to get. The fiery red Beso? The orangey Tesoro? No se cuál comprar!

After a few back and forths, I finally settled on Venezia ($24), one of the newer summer edition. Described by Stila as ‘bright red’, it is more of a bright coral on my lips. It is indeed what others have written about the Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick: opaque, true to color, long-lasting. However, I also like Venezia as a stain – on its own or topped with gloss. In a jam, it is also good as a blush. It is slightly drying if you wear it sun up and sun down, or a few days in a row, but that isn’t a deal breaker for me, as I very seldom use the same color lipstick a few days in a row.

I truly like this lipstick, however, it is about on par with my loved NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, at about quadruple the price. So I will not be buying any of this lipstick anymore, but Venezia is a keeper.


Habis! Used-up Hair Masks

Hair products review Sept 2015 (2)bI’ve somewhat simultaneously finished a few hair products these last few weeks. Here are four which I’ve been using in the last year or so. Yes, it takes me a while to use up products as I usually have a few in rotation at any given time. The four products are reviewed below in order of preference, from most preferred to less preferred.

As a reference, my hair is fine and curly, currently shoulder length. I typically use these hair products in lieu of a conditioner, leaving them on the lengths of hair for a few minutes to a few hours, depending on what I’m doing at the time. And I think silicones are a very good thing for the hair.

Carol's Daughter

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask Ingredients

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask (~US$32  for 7oz/200gr)

I am enamored by the whole Carol’s Daughter range, and want to try ALL of them. However, they are not cheap, and since they are bulky, transport cost adds a substantial premium. I splurged on this hair mask as it’s received many favorable reviews, and I love the scent of Monoi (a mixture of coconut oil and tiare flowers – kembang kamboja).

The first thing to be noticed about this product is the scent, definitely, which is quite strong. You need to love it, or at least be indifferent to it, as the scent can linger for a few days. I love it, and on days I have this on, I don’t even bother with perfumes or any kind of body scent any more. This mask has a very thick consistency, and will not drip when used on relatively damp (not dripping wet) hair. It is very good at retaining curls, does not weigh hair down, and helps control frizz. I also like this to wash my hair (the so-called a conditioning wash or co-wash, sans shampoo), as it really rinses off the scalp very clean. I am now eying the complete Monoi set, and I am sure I will repurchase this mask in the future.

Neutrogena Triple Moisture

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask ingredients

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask (~US$7.50 for 6oz/170gr)

This product also has very good reviews online, and I ordered it on a whim of an Ulta Sale. It really is deeply moisturizing. I use this after coloring my hair (bubble hair color is a favorite, lately), and it really helps minimize the crunchy, dry feel of hair after  the process. Triple moisture is for the trilogy of olive, which “penetrates to the center,” meadowfoam seed which “helps moisturize the middle,” and sweet almond which “wraps the surface”. Whatever.

You require very little product of this for the whole hair, and I probably have used this tub the longest amongst the four reviewed here; dare I say even two years? I found, however, that it’s not great for co-washing as it does not rinse off the scalp completely, leaving a filmy residue. The scent is a floral clean one that is very strong when used, but rinses off and is quite subtle for about half a day, disappearing after a day or so. I will probably repurchase this one as well one of these days.


Syoss Moisutre Intensive Care Treatment ingredients

Syoss Moisture Intensive Care Treatment (less than Rp100,000 or about US$8 for 200ml)

This one is available locally, at a reasonable price, so I tried it. Generally, it’s pretty ok, does moisturize and retain curls well, though I need quite a bit more product compared to the two above (perhaps because silicones are lower on the ingredients list, so the coating effect on hair can be achieved only with more product). I also found the scent somewhat plasticky – it does not bother me but also does not give pleasure.  I would probably not repurchase, and prefer to try other similar products available locally.

Rudy Hadisuwarno

Rudy Hadisuwarno Ginseng Creambath

Rudy Hadisuwarno Ginseng Creambath (less than Rp50,000 or about $4 for 200ml)

This works ok, and is cheap, but the moisturizing effect on hair is minimal, and there’s no silicones to coat and give shine to the hair (which might be a good thing for some people). I think it’s targeted at scalp care with ginseng extract at 3%. I actually quite like the scent, and it’s  acceptable for co-washing though a bit more runny compared to the Carol’s Daughter Monoi or the Neutrogenal Triple Moisture masks. You might be interested to know that this is advertised as having UV filters –  which it does with 2% Octyl Methoxycinnamate.  I will probably not repurchase as it I still need to put on more product to moisturize and control frizz on top of this – not an efficient way of going through my hair wash day.

I’d love to hear your favorite hair masks, especially if you have similar hair as mine.

[Music] Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande Being Actually…. Lovely?

Skanky is usually the word that comes to mind when I hear either Miley Cyrus or Ariana Grande. I don’t know why they choose to present themselves as if they’re hanging out in the red light district but hey, whatever get their juices going. They CAN be perfectly lovely selves reflecting their age, as the video for the song Don’t Dream It’s Over demonstrates below. Their voices really mesh together beautifully, and this is a perfect song for them to sing together. The key to enjoying their music, I have finally figured out, is to never see a video of the music. Just enjoy the music. And I am off checking their albums – who woulda thought.

Review: Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel

illamasqua hydra veil2As an Illamasqua fan, after having tried various products, the one remaining item I really, really wanted to try was the Hydra Veil. Described as “part hydrator, part primer”, Hydra Veil essentially collapses moisturizer and primer into one step. I love me some time saving, especially when it comes to makeup and skincare. So when the chance to grab the Hydra Veil at about half price came across my way, go grabbing I did.

Now I know this product was not a good fit for me right from the starts, because my skin is oily, and this is not a product that claims to control oil. But for the sake of research, I have to try this product which is one of Illamasqua’s flagship product. I thought I could just layer something else atop this to control the oil. The list of ingredients for this product can be seen here.

The format of the product is interesting; it is a gel, but rather than put it into a squeeze tube form, Illamasqua places it in a pot, albeit furnished with a spatula. That is a strike against hygiene and convenience, in my opinion. The feel on the skin is nice and gives a slight cooling effect. It absorbs right away, so that’s a plus when one is in a rush. While it does not smooth skin as well as silicone-based products (e.g. the famed Smashbox primers or even the Monistat anti chaffing gel), it does the job of evening out the skin’s surface bumps quite well, I thought. Oil control is indeed very poor, even non-existent.

Bottom line: not for oily-skin gals, but those with normal and dry skin should at least give this a try if the price does not deter them.