Mega Himalaya Herbals Face Wash Review: Neem, Exfoliating, Whitening, and Oil Control

Himalaya Herbals face washesSeveral years ago I got a few gently-used Himalaya Herbals products, and was blown away by how good they were. This line of product is based on ayurveda, or ayuverdic medicine, which originated in India.

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices.  (Source)

At that time, Himalaya Herbals products were not widely available in Indonesia, with only one known store in Jakarta, so I mostly purchased them when overseas. The brick-and-mortar store then closed. But during the last year or so, Himalaya is back in Indonesia, and the good thing is, they are now widely distributed across drugstores (e.g. Watson, Guardian, etc),  supermarkets and convenience stores (Alfa Mart, etc). Initially, the face washes were all that’s available, but increasingly, other products as well, e.g. moisturizers, face mask, etc.

This review is for the face washes that are sold in Indonesia, and I list them in order of preference. You will find the ingredients list for each variant at the bottom of the page.

Purifying Neem Face Wash

This has been the product I consistently used for many years now – I think it has been over 5 years. There are two version of this wash, the gel version and the foaming version. I have tried both a few times. In truth, I like them equally, and happy to purchase either one, and usually price dictates my choice, so will choose whichever is on sale or has a special bundling event. I always stock up when there is a special, as it’s a product that I continue to use.  I’ve found no difference in performance between the gel or foaming Neem cleansers that I bought overseas (Singapore, Malaysia Philippines) with those bought in Indonesia. In the picture above, the tube second from the right was bought overseas.

I use the Neem facial cleanser in the morning, or in the afternoon if I have mainly stayed indoors without makeup. Unlike the other facial washes which are heavily scented, this one has a mild floral fragrance, a bit plasticky to my nose, but not to the point that it bothers me.  I usually put on the cleanser on dry skin and message thoroughly over my face before rinsing off. For those concerned, note that this face wash (as also the other variants below) does contain a surfactant (i.e. a lathering agent, in this case ammonium lauryl sulfate).

Gently Exfoliating Daily Face Wash

This face wash has some small granules, said to be apricot seeds (and the ingredients list does list apricot kernels). The granules are very fine and not very abrasive, so it would be great for gentle exfoliation, although I still would not use this daily. Maybe once a day or every other day would be great. This cleanser also contains neem, aloe, etc. Sometimes I will mix a little bit of this into the Neem Facial Wash to get a bit of polishing action. The scent is very strong though, and not pleasant to my nose, as are the other washes below.

Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash

This one is just ok. I don’t detect any whitening/brightening (and I actually do not expect any – I don’t believe that a face wash can whiten). Again, the scent is very strong.

Oil Control Lemon Face Wash

I dislike this the  most as the scent is very strong. It is advertised for oily skin, but I do not detect any more cleansing power than the rest, though it does not dry out the skin either.

So, bottom line, I would recommend highly the Purifying Neem Face Wash for all types of skin as a morning cleanser. I’ve recommended this numerous times to people, and most do find this great. If you are looking for a cheap yet effective manual exfoliator, then try the Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial Wash for intermittent use, and this should be great for teen skin which don’t need heavy duty exfoliation yet. Both products are cheap and effective.

Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Gentle Daily Exfoliating Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Gentle Daily Exfoliating Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash

Two Cleansing Oils: The Body Shop Camomile and The Face Shop Rice Water Bright

The Body Shop Camomile The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing OilsI recently finished two cleansing oils,  The Body Shop (TBS) Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and The Face Shop (TFS) Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil. Both are widely available in Jakarta and do not contain mineral oil (for those who care – I don’t).

TBS Camomile (Rp199,000 or about US$ 15 for 200ml) has a relatively thick texture with a mild and (to my nose) pleasant floral scent. The main oil ingredient is soy oil.  The pros are that the texture is thick and spreads easily; cleans very well including all waterproof makeup and sunscreen; does not sting eyes; and rinses off relatively squeaky clean with water so I don’t feel a need to rinse off with a foaming cleanser.  The cons: not as squeaky clean as Muji Sensitive Skin Cleansing oil

TFS Rice Water Bright is 150ml and was bought under Rp200,000 during a sale (I’ve forgotten the exact price).  It’s main ingredient being rice bran oil, this indeed has a light texture, and a stronger scent though not unpleasant to my nose. Tried as I might, I could not find a positive thing to say about this. The texture is too runny: you need to quickly message onto skin or it will drip down to your neck. I need to use a lot more to take the makeup off, than other cleansing oils I’ve used and even then, it does not take waterproof eyeliners completely off. It stings the eyes, and leaves a filmy residue after being rinsed off with water, so a second cleanser is needed (not a good sign in my book, as the whole point of cleansing oils is the convenience of cleanse-and-rinse in one go).

Bottom line: Compared to these two, I still prefer Muji Sensitive Skin cleansing oil, but the TBS Camomile  is a good alternative. I was contemplating a permanent switch from Muji to the TBS Camomile when the later was priced at Rp139,000, but now that it is Rp199,000 (about the same price as Muji), I will not be switching. The TFS Rice Water Bright was a pain to use, and I will not be purchasing this again.

Ingredients list - The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing oil and The Face Show Rice Water Bright
Ingredients list – The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and The Face Show Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil


Review: Muji Cleansing Oil for Sensitive Skin [or An Ode to the Best Thing since Multi Grain Sliced Bread]

20141106_143036Sometimes the best products are taken for granted and you end not forgetting to review it for your blog. Well not this time! All hail the Muji Cleansing Oil for Sensitive Skin. It is the best invention since multi-grain sliced bread!

It is a viscous, thick oil that cleans all my makeup however waterproof/resistant/non-budge they are.

There’s no tugging as the thick oil does the work for you, just help if along with a little massaging. I couldn’t even imaging going back to cleanser and cotton square which feels harsh now.

After sufficiently spreading the oil all over your face, and massaging all around, it rinses squeaky clean with water and very minimal effort. This is my main gripe with other cleansing oils – they all seem to leave a thin film of something-something. And believe me, I’ve tried many, many brands, especially those more accessible in Indonesia.

Go to town with eyeliners as this thing don’t ever sting my eyes! Of course you shouldn’t squirt it into your eyes, but I’ve never found it to sting or give blurry visions if I get a little into my eyes while cleaning up remnants of tight-lining.

Priced competitively and gives the expensive products a run for their money, e.g. Shu Uemura’s over-hyped snake oil. I’ve encountered at least 4 people who switched to Muji from Shu. It is about $20 for 200ml; a 200 ml bottle lasts me at least 6 months. I only use it on days I wear makeup. Calculating, if per use is 1ml, then a bottle is 200 uses (or about $0.10 per use), so 6 months is about right.

For those so inclined, find the list of ingredients here. If you read Japanese, obviously you can read it on the bottle; I don’t, so I’ve crossed check that list with what other bloggers/sources say and indeed the list seems accurate. The sensitive skin one is olive oil-based, just in case you’re one with an actual sensitive skin, though no guarantees it will 100% with your sensitivities.

Anything not to like? That it’s not easily available, and not at all available at Muji stores Indonesia. Recently, even the whole island of Singapore don’t stock it, it seems. In Manila, three stores were called up before I located six bottles. If this thing got discontinued? I will swear myself of multi grain sliced bread. 🙁

What about the other variants? For many years I did not even try the other variants because the sensitive skin one works so well already, I couldn’t imagine anything working even better. It’s that good. Then I decided to buy a travel of the mild one. It cleans as well, but the squeaky clean feel after rinsing that I love? Not as satisfying as the sensitive skin one.

Go try and thank me later.


Edit 14 January 2015

Here are ingredients for two variants:

muji sensitive skin cleansing oil
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polysorbate, Sorbitan Oleate, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-51, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract

muji mild cleansing oil
C13-16 Isoparaffin, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Ethyl Oleate, Sorbitan Oleate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Triolein, Dipropylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Water, Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Tocopherol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Juice, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Glycerin

Review: Mir & Ryvi bar soaps made in the Philippines

Mir & Ryvi Banana (left) and Tomato (right) Soap
Mir & Ryvi Banana (left) and Tomato (right) Bar Soaps

Burt’s Bees used to make a tomato soap that was really nice – it clarified the skin and cleared up blemishes and acne. There’s a friend who’s addicted to that soap, and then…. Burt’s Bees discontinued it. On one of my trips to the Philippines, I saw this soap at the Beauty Bar (a beauty drugstore chain): Mir and Ryvi Tomato Soap Acne Cleansing Bar. I bought one for her to try, and they reportedly got along very well. On my recent trip to Manila, I brought back a few more for her, and also for myself. In addition, I also got the Mir and Ryvi Banana Soap, which I will review in a separate blog post.

There’s a lot of vegetable-based soaps sold in the supermarket in the Philippines, from papaya to tomato to lemon, etc. But I do not fancy most of their ingredients. As you can see, Mir and Ryvi’s ingredient list for the Tomato Soap is short and sweet. It’s made in the Laguna area in the Philippines, a hill station sort of like Bopunjur area in Indonesia. Some ingredients are organically produced (certified and otherwise).

How does it compare with Burt’s Bees tomato soap? I’ve used Mir and Ryvi’s soap for a couple of weeks, and found that it’s gentle and provides a through clean, though for makeup you need to use cleansing oil/milk/micellar water. Don’t forget to moisturize afterwards, otherwise the soap can give a tight feeling. My blemishes are at a minimum anyway, so I can’t really vouch for the soap’s efficacy in this respect, but these past two weeks I’ve not had any. The bar itself is colorless and I do not detect any scent. It is quite big, so I cut a sliver for use and store the rest in a dry, cool place for later use. At Php250 (about US$6), it’s good value and worth a try if you are prone to blemishes and acne.

Mir & Ryvi tomato soap ingredients list
Mir & Ryvi Tomato Soap ingredients list
Mir & Ryvi banana soap (bottom) & tomato soap (top), side packaging
Mir & Ryvi Banana Soap (bottom) & Tomato Soap (top), side packaging label
Mir & Ryvi Banana Soap (top) and Tomato Soap (bottom)
Mir & Ryvi Banana Soap (top) and Tomato Soap (bottom), side packaging label
Mir & Ryvi Tomato Soap
Mir & Ryvi Tomato Soap; a sliver is all you need (cut easily with a kitchen knife)

Review: Kracie Naive and Rohto Hada Labo Cleansing Oils

Naive kracie and rohto hada labo cleansing oils
Kracie Naive (left) and Rohto Hada Labo (right) cleansing oils

Before I tried the Muji Cleansing Oil for Sensitive Skin, i tried others and found that they require double cleansing (following up the cleansing oil with a mild foaming cleanser), so it is not a superior cleansing method compared to others, e.g. the cleansing milk + foaming cleanser. This all changed when I tried Muji Cleansing Oil for Sensitive Skin, and I’ve been a convert ever since: one step cleansing (as the Muji rinses away squeaky clean) and no need for cotton balls!

But not all cleansing oils are created equal (duh!), and unfortunately Muji is not sold in Indonesia. I always keep stock of some Muji (they are sold elsewhere in Asia, e.g. Manila and Singapore), but I’m always in search for a substitute that is more easily available in Indonesia.

Kracie Naive cleansing oils are sold at the Watson drugstores here, and I’ve heard they’ve been available at least since a year back. I rarely go into malls, and the ones I’ve been too never stocked these, until I briefly went into Artha Gading Mall a few days ago. There was a Watsons, and quickly I scanned the skincare section and voila! There it was.

Like most cleansing oils, the Kracie Naive cleansing oil is clear, and to be used as per usual way with these things: apply on a dry face and rinse off with water. There is a very soft fragrance that is not at all overpowering. The cleansing ability is ok, and I found it removed most makeup, although there was still some eyeliner around my under eye area when I tried this.

The first ingredient in the Kracie Naive cleansing oil is mineral oil, although it does contain olive and sunflower seeds oils. It’s made in Japan, is 250ml and costs about Rp100,000, a very good price as cleansing oils go. A couple of interesting things that I noted. The label outside says it can be applied with wet hands. I did try that, and of course it is not AS GOOD as if you apply with dry hands and dry face, because water will just dilute the cleansing power soon. Also, the instructions said to pump 4 times for one use. I DID NOT try that. What are you kidding? Even one full pump is too much for me. Four is just draining, unless what they mean is four tiny squirts.

The second cleansing oil I tried is from Rohto Hada Labo. The Hada Labo line has just entered the supermarkets in Indonesia, and you can find cleansers, lotions and creams in most supermarkets (I buy mine at Giant). However, the cleansing oils I never could find until that eventful half hour visit to Artha Gading Mall, where I found this at Century, and cost about Rp67,000 for 100ml. The size of the bottle is quite small compared to other cleansing oils, so it’s quite handy for travel, as there is no pump that could break and the bottle is secure (I’ve taken it on one trip). This cleansing oil is made in Indonesia (under license and control by Rohto Japan).

The Rohto Hada Labo cleansing oil does not contain mineral oil, and the first in the ingredient list is Ethylhexyl Palmitate (a derivative of palm oil), and there are olive and jojoba oils in it. Well, at least I think it’s jojoba – Simmondsia chinensis as the list is so small I almost crossed my eyes trying to read it. Haba Labo’s signature ingredient, the hyaluronic acid, is also present.

The cleansing ability of Rohto Hada Labo is quite good, it clears away all makeup and oils off my face. It is slightly thicker in texture than the Kracie Naive one. But one thing they both have in common: they do not rinse off squeaky clean with water. So the verdict: Muji still makes my favorite one and I will keep looking for an alternate. However, if I’m asked to choose between Kracie Naive and Rohto Hada Labo I’d choose the former because of its price.



Skincare review: Nature Republic cleansing oils

Left: Chamomile Cleansing Oil; Right: Olive Cleansing Oil
Chamomile Cleansing Oil (left) and Olive Cleansing Oil (right)

My favorite facial cleanser is the cleansing oil, and Muji makes my favorite (cleansing oil for sensitive clean). That doesn’t stop me to try other brands, just to see if there’s anything better. A few weeks ago Nature Republic Forest Garden cleansing oils were on sale at Qoo10, and bought them. They were about $25 together, not a bad deal since a bottle contains 200ml.

There are several variants of these Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oils, and I got the Chamomile and the Olive ones. They are both about similar in consistency, texture and in cleansing ability. As with other cleansing oils I’ve encountered, you message the oil on your dry face; do not wet your face prior to messaging or you’ll dilute the oil’s cleansing ability. Once done with the messaging, rinse the oil off with water.

All my makeup came off with these, including waterproof ones. The Chamomile version rinses off slightly more squeaky clean than the olive one. BUT not squeaky clean enough for me. I do not like that feeling of having a film over my face after washing, thin as the film seems to be. Also? They both smell too sharp for my nose. If you practice double cleansing (i.e. use another cleanser such as a foaming one after cleansing oil), this might work for you.

Bottom line: Muji still makes my favorite cleansing oil.