Monday, November 17, 2014

Introducing Natural Artisan Skincare: Witchery Bath & Body

I've just started my own natural artisan skincare!


But first, let me thank all of you who read my blog. By coming to this blog, you guys enable me to cash out some cheques from ad earnings on this blog. It is not a lot, but I managed to save it up to start Witchery Bath & Body. Thank you so so much for reading this blog. From the stats, I know you guys been following my blog and if you have been really quiet, do drop me a hello on the comment.


I'm so excited to tell you guys about this and I don't know where to start. Should I talk about the brand first? Or should I talk about the products? Or should I start with the collaboration? My mind is all over the place.



The name was the hardest part of the setup. I was looking for an icon that uses herbs & plants because the nature of the products is plant-based. At first the idea was to brand it like hippies (hippies always preach on being close to nature and live their lifestyle the basic way). It isn't a bad idea to package the brand as hippies but later I had a lightbulb moment. I thought it would be more interesting to brand it in a wizadary fashion. It sounds more fairy tale and I can play with the product names.


The products are 100% handcrafted and made from 100% natural ingredients. Whenever it is possible, we will use organic ingredients. 


For the debut, I've started with Nut Over Nutella Lip Balm. Like the name suggest, it is all about Nutella. I'm a Nutella fan, so it is no surprise when I choose Nutella as the very first flavour for my lip balm. You can read all about the product on the product page.



I also made an unflavoured, unscented, and uncoloured lip balm for those with very sensitive skin. This lip balm is specially dedicated to my friend who has very sensitive skin. She can't put on any lipstick, her lips turn red and itchy everytime she put on lipstick. The Back-to-Basic Lip Balm works as a protectant for your lips. It creates a layer of barrier that works as a base to protect your skin.



Coming up very soon, I will be launching Joey's Peanut Butter Lip Balm. I'm not sure if you have tried Joey's Peanut Butter yet. It is an artisan peanut butter, available in creamy and crunchy. You can get it from Jaya Grocer. I will also be launching aloe vera gel, but I need to get to my house in Melaka to harvest it from my backyard garden. Next month, there will be mood soap where you can enhance your mood with essential oil soap.


I'm so lucky to have my partner helping me to develop the products. She works as chemical engineer in a skincare factory and has all the expert knowledge in product development. She's like an angel sent from heaven because she really knows her stuff and that's something I really need to have Witchery started. 


As a 100% natural artisan skincare brand, we are very transparent. Most of the products are developed from ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen or garden. We have all the ingredients listed and also the making method on the product page. If you are interested, you can make it yourself. Of course it is much cheaper to purchase from us because we buy the ingredients in bulk and we (the partners) share out some of the costs.


Thank you once again for making this a reality for me. I really appreciate all of your support. Do continue to support me in this new project. Head to Witchery Bath & Body and subscribe to us. We will be making more interesting products soon and we'll also share a lot of natural beauty tips on the page. I hope that soon we have enough products to join artisan markets and flea markets on the weekend. I'm so excited already!!! You can also follow us our Facebook page for short snippets and beauty tips on the go.

Tips for Working from Home


Hello Monday! It's the beginning of working week again and let's talk about work today.


With the rise of technology, more and more companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. It saves cost, save time and increase productivity (if you use the opportunity properly). I've been working from home for almost one and half years. I hope I can share with you some tips that I learn along the way to make your experience working from home an enjoyable one.


#1 - Wake up normal hour
It is so tempting to sleep in, especially when you have a flexible hour. Avoid the temptation. Wake up as usual, like how you wake up when you have a 9 to 5 job. It is to train your body on your awake-and-sleep pattern. My dad told me anything that has got to do in changing your body is the hardest but when you set a pattern to it, it becomes a normal thing to do.


#2 - Make yourself available during working hour
Set your working time and chain yourself at your work desk (not literally). Let's say your normal working hour is 9am to 5pm, you have to put your job as your top priority during those hours. If you want to take an hour off to run your errands, make sure you bring your phone along and answer every call. Make sure all your important tasks are done before you take your time to do your house work. I always reply my emails early in the morning. While waiting for the replies, I'll take 10 minutes to do my laundry or to sweep my floor. The most important thing is to make yourself available to your job at working hour.


#3 - Allocate a work space
Get yourself a work desk. Or if you can afford, make a room into a work office. Make sure everything in the vicinity of your work place is only related to your work. This allows you to separate your personal life from your work life. And it helps you concentrate better, especially when your bed, tv, kitchen, pool, etc. are constantly tempting you to slack off.


#4 - Stay connected
Although you're away from office, remember to stay connected with your colleagues and especially your bosses. Discuss with them about work during office hour (this is also a good way to show that you're actually working at home). Whenever you have to make decision, make sure you get approval from your bosses or discuss it with your colleagues first. Always remember that working from home is a big disadvantage when it comes to communication and communication is the key to maintaining relationship with others. In a situation where your boss has a chance to promote someone, the person sitting in office has double the chance compared to you. This is why you need to stay connected with everyone in the office despite not being there in physical form. Remember, out of sight out of mind.


#5 - Hangout with your team
This is part of #4. Do make time for lunch with your team/boss/colleagues at least once every fortnightly. This gives you the opportunity to catch up on what's happening in the office. Be included in your team. Remind them that you are part of their team so that you're not left out in any opportunities available. When you're not around, your presence can be easily slipped off their minds.


For a positive vibes for working from home, always separate your personal life from your working life. The most import thing is to separate your time, space and mind. Remember to stay connected with those whom you are working with. When you're in the comfort of working from home, you might forget that relationship is very important. Stay connected with everyone.


I hope you appreciate these tips. If you are working from home and have more tips to share with me, do comment below so I can learn from you as well.


Happy working week everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

[Weekend Edition] Alexa Chung's IT Book


Do I need to introduce who Alexa Chung is? I guess not. But if you don't know, she's one of a top self-made model. Some of her major appearances are face of DKNY & Lacoste, music video appearances for Westlife, catwalking for Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Pepe Jeans and many more. Recently she launched her range of bags for Longchamp. Flip any beauty magazine, and you'll see her face.


Unlike most of the fashion models, Alexa is one rare phenomena, putting her in the same category as Kate Moss & Cara Delevingne. She's gotten the nickname the "It Girl" for being original, beautiful, clever and modern girl. That's the right definition for "it" girl by the way.


And so.... she wrote a book titled "IT". I've been looking for it for a  long time, unfortunately I couldn't find it anywhere. Surprisingly, I found it in a bookshop in Indonesia. So I quickly grabbed it.


It quickly became a good travel companion. Basically, the reading is light, fun and short. The content is very original, somewhat like reading a diary of a very interesting piece of mind. The topic that she covers is very wide - everything under the sun. From fashion, her family stories, growing up experience, being a groupie, summer rave party, weird tips and tricks and many more.


This book is perfect for lazy weekend and travel. It's not very educational per se, but it's definitely mind-opening. Every girl age below 30 should have this on your coffee table. It is fun to read. I find myself turning page after page, and I finished the entire book in less than an hour. I wanted more, except there's nothing more to it, so I turned back the pages and enjoyed the photos instead. Most of the teaching sounds like what your mom would have told you but she never did...


Note that if you're a serious reader you might find this book pointless or a waste of time. This is why I put this book in the category of lazy weekend or travel. It is those kind of books you will want to read while enjoying your coffee or suntanning on the beach. Don't take it too seriously. Don't judge the language or anything beyond the words. Just enjoy the pun.


Weekend Edition posts are short blog posts that not related to beauty. And it's published only on weekend, duh!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Proper Way of Using Mud/Clay Mask


If you ever get breakouts from using mud/clay mask, maybe you are using it the wrong way. If use in a proper manner, mud mask works like wonder. But it is also a product which requires a little bit more attention when using it.


When applied on the skin, the mud mask covers the skin area completely, leaving your skin trapped underneath. It also covers all the pores and there is not oxygen that gets into the skin. It creates a barrier on top of the skin, if you don't use it properly, it might cause infections underneath your skin.


Here are some of the tips to consider before you put on your mud mask:


1. Go through your cleansing as usual. Make sure you apply your toner before putting on the mud mask. Reason being, your skin pH level get to the alkaline side after you cleanse your face. The toner will balance up your skin pH level. If you don't do this and straight away apply the mud mask, it will cause condition such as eczema.

2. If your skin is extremely dry or if you are using the mud mask during winter, add a little bit of oil to prevent the mud from cracking. Add your ordinary face oil, essential oil, olive oil or grapeseed oil. It will keep the mud soft.

3. Don't use mud mask if you have open wound on your skin. When it dries up, the layer of mask shield up the wound and might cause infection if there's bacteria trapped underneath. For less severe cases, it might cause sudden breakouts.

4. Don't leave the mud mask dry up on your face for more than 15 minutes. When it dries up, the mask tend to pull your skin. In a long run, it might cause premature wrinkles or fine lines.


The main purpose for applying mud mask is to exfoliate your skin, for deep cleansing or to withdraw toxins and impurities out of your pores. If your skin lack of hydration, it is best to stay away from mud mask. Put on hydration/moisturizing mask instead until the moisture level goes back to normal before you start using mud mask. However, there are so many mud mask available in the market these days. There are some mud mask that has hydration purpose in it. Make sure you read the product description first.


Here are some of the mud masks that I love:


1. Freeman Facial Clay Mask Avocado & Oatmeal
This is a hybrid clay mask where they mix hydration properties (avocado) into it. It gives a lot of benefits in one tube - hydration, exfoliation, deep cleansing and removing impurities.

2. GlamGlow
I only tried the sample pack before and I think it is worth a try. The main purpose of this mask is to exfoliate, hence it is able to give you the glow on the skin. The price is a little steep though.

3. Himalaya Clarifying Mud Mask
I love this mask as staple. I like to put it on until it's dry, then add a few drops of water in my hand and slowly rub it off in circular motion. It draws out most of the sebum in my pores and it makes extraction a little easier.

4. Lush Mask of Magnaminty
Although claimed as the multipurpose mask, I feel this mask works more on deep cleansing. It does dry and crack up like most mud mask though. Because it is made of 100% natural ingredients, this product is pretty safe to leave on for a longer time.

5. Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
Disclaimer, I've never tried this. But I keep hearing all the good things about this clay mask. And I even saw a lot of before-after photos with huge improvement after one use. This is one of the top product that I want to try. I've also been eyeing this on Hermo.my for a long time but they don't seem to restock it yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top 10 Must-Buy Korean Beauty Products When in South Korea



I get this question all the time... "I'm going to Korea. What beauty products do you recommend I should get?" Personally, I've never been to Korea (and it's not even on my top list of places to visit). But I do have a list of products that I would love to get if I ever go to Korea. All the products I recommend below are not easily available in Malaysia market. C'mon... If you're traveling all the way there, why don't get something which you can't get back home, right?


Here are the top products/brands that I am interested (in descending order)

Top #1 - By Handmader



This brand uses natural ingredients to develop their products and you guys know how much I love natural beauty products. If I'm rich, I will import this brand into Malaysia because I really love it!!! The packaging is super cute as well (something like Etude House). The product that I would love to try is the Sonyu Skin (23,000 won). It is a toner + moisturizer in one bottle. All you need to do is apply the product with cotton pad and you can skip the moisturizer if you wish to. A holy grail product for lazy girls.


Top #2 - Hope Girl


It is so easy to spot Hope Girl's cosmetic from afar. The packaging is in leopard print. I heard a lot of good things about their Woner Magic Mascara (17,000 won) (far left). It is made from natural wax and it has lash-nourishing ingredients in it. I also love to try their Waterproof Gel Eye Liner (17,000 won each) (middle). Anyway I've never heard anything special about this, but I would like to compare it with the MAC Blacktrack. Another product I want to have is their Keratin Nail Care Set (10,000 won) (far right). By the way, HiShop has a few Hope Girl products on their list, but the product option is very limited.


Hope Girl also has premium skincare range called the Huksamsoo. My mom has the Black Ginseng Cream (110,000 won) and it works like wonder. It is very expensive, but a little goes a long way. Each jar contains precious ginseng extract (Korea is famous of its ginseng).


Top #3 - Banila Co.

Banila Co. is another cutesy cosmetic brand. I would love to get the It's Moist Seoul Tint (16,400 won) for souvenir. I'm not a fan of tint, but the "I <3 Seoul" packaging on the tint is apt for souvenir for girlfriends if you don't want to give them the standard t-shirt, fridge magnet or keychains. It comes in 6 different shades and can be applied on lips and cheek. Their best-seller is the Radiant CC Cream (25,000 won). I've read somewhere that the Banila Co. CC Cream is rated the best CC Cream in the market.


Top #4 - Amore Pacific


Amore Pacific is a huge parent company (I call it L'Oreal of the East) that owns a lot of smaller beauty brands such as Laneige and Sulwhasoo. They have their own skincare range as well under the brand Amore Pacific itself. Amore Pacific is a big brand that is available throughout the world. I'm not sure why they're not available in Malaysia but their sub-companies are growing like mushrooms here. Not many Asian brands produce tinted moisturizer (for some reason, Asian brands prefer making BB creams) and Amore Pacific has a perfect formulation for it. The Moisture Bound Tinted Treatment Moisturizer SPF15 (USD70) is one of the top product that I have always wanted to try. The have shades that suit Asian skin better. And the Future Response Age Defense Dual Eye Cream (USD150) is worth a try if you are experience aging around the eye area. It has day eye cream, which protects your eyes from external aggression, and night eye cream that repairs.


Top #5 - Innisfree 


Innisfree is one of the top skincare brand in Korea. I particularly want to try the Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (12,000 won). It helps deep clean and tightening the pores, which I need the most. The seaweed range skincare also look interesting. If you want to a value-for-money product, you can get a pack of variety sheet masks to try its different products.


Top #6 - Labelyoung 

Heard of ZZ Cream before? Nope? Then you should try the Labelyoung one. By the way, Labelyoung also owns the brand By Handmader (above). They use different botanic extracts in their products. The ZZ Cream (11,000 won) is a prep product for face. It is a combination of BB + CC + DD + pore primer that helps build a perfect base before your foundation. The main ingredients for the ZZ cream are argan oil and olive oil.


Top #7 - Secret Star Girl



Normally I don't use nail wraps because the designs sucks although it is the most convenient thing ever created. Secret Star Girl Nail Wraps (5,500 won) has the prettiest nail wraps (as compared to other brands available). I really wish to lay my hands on some of their designs. I really love their watercolour designs. Apparently their eyelash is nice as well but I'm not a fake eyelash person.


Top #8 - Mizon


Mizon is famous of its snail mucin skincare. The Black Snail All in One Cream (63,500 won) looks really tempting. If you have skin concern on wrinkles and lifting, you should try using some of the snail products. What is even more interesting is their Returning Starfish Eye Cream ( 32,888 won). The product has 60% starfish extract in it. This is the first beauty product that I've ever seen contain starfish. It helps repair and regenerate new skin cells. Sounds weird, but I think it is effective.


Top #9 - Danahan

If you are into premium Korean skincare such as Sulwhasoo and UGB, you should try Danahan. The products are made of premium ingredients such as hyoyong liquid and pure gold, but the price is a fraction of what you pay in Sulwhasoo. The packaging is also exclusive. It's like you're paying for Skinfood price, but gets the value of Sulwhasoo. It is totally worth it. I recommend the Hyoyong Cream, which is also their best seller. Or you can opt for their skincare set which you can try the entire product range.


Top #10 - Jeju Island Orange Beauty Product

If you're going to Jeju Island, do try out their orange beauty products. Orange is one of the local produce in Jeju. I tried to look for the photo online, unfortunately I can't find it. Few months ago, I received a orange gel mask as souvenir from my friend, and I love it! It's cooling and refresh the eyes after using it. You should also get their orange essential oil and orange perfume. It's exclusively available on the island. The orange sheet mask, orange potpourri, orange face mask and orange face gel make a perfect souvenir.


Those are the Korean products and brands that I recommend if you want to try out. They're my preference and not necessary you have to get it. For brands that are available in Malaysia already, I would recommend you to get:

  • Tony Moly (Product range in Malaysia is limited, you get more option in Korea)
  • Face Shop (It is dirt cheap in Korea. Stock up items that you use on daily basis and you'll save a lot)
  • Etude House (They have exclusive range that is only available in Korea, such as Minnie Mouse Collection)
  • Too Cool For School (The price in Malaysia is extremely steep. It is worth it to buy in Korea than locally)

Brands that not worth your luggage space:

  • Laneige (The price in Malaysia is compatible to the one they sell in Korea, unless you can get discounted)
  •  Skinfood (The availability of option in Malaysia is compatible in Korea)
  • Nature Republic (The Malaysia outlet often have sales, so don't bother to get it unless you can find extreme price reduction in Korea). 

I hope you'll enjoy this post. If you're traveling to Korea soon, have a safe flight and enjoy your trip. And if you have any favourite Korean products that you think I'll love, do leave me a comment. I would love to check it out.


***Prices indicated above are online prices and may differ from retail prices.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shower Gel That Prevents Mosquito: Korres Fig Shower Gel

I don't always blog about shower gel. There's nothing much to talk about shower gel anyway. But this one is worth sharing.... If you're an insect-magnet like me, you'll appreciate this shower gel. The shower gel is not specifically made to prevent insect bites. But I personally discovered its hidden benefit and I thought I can share it with those who shares the same problem... getting



Soft moisturising showergel, ideal for everyday use. Wheat proteins form a protective film on the skin, maintaining its regular hydration level. A juicy scent of freshly cut figs

Earlier, I've introduced the brand Korres, which is a Greek all-natural beauty brand. Among all the mainstream natural skincare brand, I love Korres a lot. With their pharmacy experience, Korres combines homeopathic remedies to develop effective skincare from natural ingredients.

 

I find that the shower gel has a spice scent to it (I've never smell fresh fig before, by the way). I think that is the main factor for driving the mosquitoes away. 

 
When I use this shower gel, somehow it feels like I have a shield protecting me from insects attack. I usually get a lot of mosquito bites before I sleep and insects love harassing me all the time. My dad told me it is because some people have temperature slightly higher than other people, so the insects get attracted to the warmer body. 


Here's a tip... If you decide to try out this shower gel, I recommend you to leave the lathered shower gel on your body for 5 minutes. Let the scent seep onto your skin. After apply the shower gel thoroughly on your body, leave it on and spend your time doing other things like wash your face or brush your teeth. Rinse as usual. Don't apply moisturizer or body oil that has scent. That will drown the smell of the shower gel and it won't be as effective


Unfortunately for those who are staying in Malaysia, Korres is not available here. You can get it in Singapore or you can order it from Luxola. The price is around 13Euros per bottle of  250ml.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

SK-II x Hatta Dolmat Haute Couture Fashion Show

One of Malaysia's hottest designers, the award winning Hatta Dolmat, unveiled a stunning haute couture Festive Collection at the launch of SK-II's Limited Edition Festive Facial Treatment Essence Collection at a prestigious event at the SK-II #ChangeDestiny Garden in Suria KLCC this week.

Inspired by the beautiful and vibrant colours of the flowers of the Tulip, Hydrangea, Freesia and Green Cypress, the flowers used by Taiwanese artist, Poh Chih Huang in his designs for the SK-II Limited Edition Collection, Hatta weaved his magic to design 10 signature couture gowns including a breath-taking bridal gown as a finale to his showcase.


Hatta's creations reflect the haute couture interpretation of Poh's creative technique of working with flowers to bring out the different aspects of their beauty and vitality through transformation - a celebration of everlasting beauty as a tribute to Pitera's transformative power.

Hatta said, "I feel that there's a lot of synergy working with SK-II as it is a prestige skin care brand and my designs are prestige statements. SK-II transforms a woman's skin to be beautiful while I make a woman beautiful through my designs.

I was particularly inspired by the flowers and the garden theme from the SK-II Limited Edition Festive Collection which was so refreshing and gave me such a positive vibe with the colours and textures from the flowers used."

SK-II Brand Ambassador Fauziah Latiff
SK-II Loyal User Carla Soong

The captivating limited edition Facial Treatment Essence will be available at all SK-II counters in Malaysia from 1 October 2014, as part of SK-II's festive coffret sets. Will update you guys on the SK-II festive conffret sets.
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