Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DIY Layered Contour-Blush-Highlight

As part of my series in making DIY makeup for Christmas gifts, this is a layered contour-blush-highlighter I made that lets you contour in one swipe!

The tutorial is available in video version here:

But this is the pictorial version for those of you who prefer reading!

First of all, you'll need: 

  • A contour shade, a blush shade & a highlighting shade (I just used Emina Cosmetics' eyeshadow trio in Neapolitan) 
  • A spatula/anything that can break up the eyeshadow 
  • A pan (or you can even use a regular jar) 
  • Disinfecting alcohol

Crush up the eyeshadow and place them in the pan in layers.

Pour the alcohol in:

Make sure there's no dry spots!

To check if it's ready for pressing, gently place tissue over it, and then carefully peel back the tissue. If there's still stuff stuck on the tissue like in the picture below, it's not ready.

This is ready:

You can press by just layering tissue/cloth over it and then pressing down with your palms.

Or you can get fancy and press patterns into it with a stamp!

And that's it! You can contour your face in just one swipe!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

DIY Cosmetics - How To Make Matte Eyeshadows

Christmas is coming and I thought an awesome gift idea would be handmade makeup! So this is going to be part of my series of DIY Makeup Tutorials!

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make matte eyeshadows, and the same formula can be used for blushes & contour shades too. I created a video of the process, but I know some people prefer reading to watching, so this blog post will be the written version.

So, pigments on their own can't be used as makeup straight away. You'll find that they're gritty, streaky, and won't stick to your face. Even if you're using a loose powder formula, you'll need some sort of base to make the pigment usable as makeup.

Out of all the bases I've experimented with, I found that one of the best formulas for matte products is TKB Trading's Matte Texture Base. If you're starting out with making cosmetics, I suggest getting this. TKB Trading is my favourite place to get my raw ingredients for making cosmetics, just because they offer sample sizes so I can try out a LOT of colours. TKB Trading's sample sizes are generally about $1.50 for 6g, and 6g will get you about 4-8 average eyeshadow pans, depending on how much base you use. That's more than enough for me, since I'm making these for my personal use.

Tools & Ingredients

  • Ziplock bags (1 for each colour you'll make)
  • Small measuring spoons/coffee stirring spoons (as many as you need)
  • Alcohol for disinfecting
  • TKB Trading's Matte Texture Base
  • Matte Pigments

The basic steps for creating matte products are:

  1. Wear gloves & a mask, keep your hair out of your face & sterilize everything. If you look like you're about to murder someone, you're on the right track.
  2. Mix the pigments & base in the ratio recommended below in a ziplock bag
  3. Keep squishing the ziplock bag until the pigment is thoroughly mixed with the base. You may need to grind hard with matte pigments.

Matte pigments come in dyes, oxides, ultramarines, ferric ferrocyanide, manganese violet & carmine. The recommended ratio for the mix depends on what kind of matte pigment you're working with, and these are the ratios that I find works best for me through years of experimenting. Of course, you may prefer a different ratio, so feel free to experiment!

I'm skipping over carmine because I haven't worked with it yet, just because it's so expensive.

Ferric Ferrocyanide, Ultramarines & Manganese Violet

These ingredients are pretty difficult to work with, since they can be gritty and streaky. Make sure you grind them well. They're also more fickle when you're pressing them into pressed products, and that's a reason why a lot of purple eyeshadows just suck.

Mixing Ratio:

  • 1 part pigment
  • 2 parts base


These are all the ingredients that have "Oxide" in Chromium Oxide, Titanium Dioxide & Iron Oxide.

Mixing Ratio:

  • 1 part pigment
  • 1 part base
These are the easiest to work with, and they're so easy, you can even get a good result with just grinding it with sericite mica alone in a 4:1 sericite mica to oxide ratio. I personally prefer the result I get from the TKB Trading base since I find it more blendable, but if you're in the mood for experimenting, you can try out using sericite mica alone and see how you like the formula.


These are ingredients that usually go [Colour][#Number], like Blue #1, Red #33, etc. They're very vibrant & have the tendency to stain. Not all dyes are safe to use on every part of your face, so make sure you read TKB Trading's ingredient info carefully to see where you can use them.

Mixing Ratio:

  • 1 part pigment
  • 2 parts base


Why does some ingredients say that it's safe for eye use in the EU, but not in the US?

Some ingredients have been tested and deemed safe for use around the eyes in the EU, but they haven't gotten tested for FDA approval in the US. So it's not that they're dangerous and will melt your eyes out of your head, they just have not been submitted for testing yet. That's why Urban Decay's Electric palette is officially called a "Pressed Pigment Palette" instead of an eyeshadow palette, even though they're marketed as eyeshadows. It's because some of their pigments are not FDA approved to be used around the eyes yet.

How do you use loose powder pigments?

I got you:

I hate using loose powder pigments. How do I press these?

Not only am I going to show you how it's done, I'll teach you how to make *~fancy~* lace eyeshadows:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Shittiest Product Ever - Berrisom Peel Off Lip Tints

So I remember reading about Berrisom peel off lip tints a year ago, and one of my friends told me they were the best selling K-Beauty product in Malaysia. I ended up buying them on impulse when they were on sale.

Either my friend was sorely mistaken, or there's one sadistic psycho who derives pleasure in torturing people buying them in bulk.

Let me take you through the bullshit application process first....

First, it's like applying Elmer's glue on your lips. It's hard to get an even layer and the edges get patchy as they dry as you apply. At the same time, the middle bit? They never dry fully, even after 5 minutes, because your saliva keeps it wet. And I have Sjögren's, a disease that keeps my mouth bone dry, so I have no idea what it'll be like for normal people.

So it takes 5 minutes for most of it to dry. WHO THE HELL HAS 5 MINUTES TO WAIT FOR THEIR LIPSTICK TO DRY???

Oh, and the scent. You know how those "fruit-scented" plastic toys we had as kids always had that cloyingly artificial scent? Now imagine setting them on fire and mixing the scent of melting plastic in. That's how these smell like. Various shades of melted plastic.

If you get them on your teeth, you're going to have to rebrush your teeth because just wiping them off with a tissue won't work.

Certain colours also sting as you wait for them to dry. I legit started tearing while doing a swatch video:

Oh, and they leave this gross, sour, acrid taste on your lips. You know how dentists put acid on your cavities to really clean them before putting in the filling? THAT taste.

After all that shit, you would at least expect it to be long lasting. Nope. It faded in patches in less than 4h, before I even ate anything or drank anything other than water. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT??? After everything I've been through, I expect this shit to be not just bulletproof, but nuclear bomb proof. As in, when the nuclear holocaust comes along and I have to eat my husband for survival, my lips are still a lovely shade of pink as I gnaw on his remains.

Did I mention that since it's hard to get an even layer on, the stain left behind ends up looking patchy? It looks like I just bit my lips and they're lovingly stained with blood. In fact, I think I'd have a more pleasant experience if I just bit my lips and used my own blood as a lip stain.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Video: Fingers Only Challenge - Glam Look

Yes, I did a full face glam look for my fingers only challenge...check out the video here!

I got the Korean Cosmetics from Cosmetic Love! You can use my code "MONOLIDS" for 10% off! 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ristra 4-Step Skincare & House of Ristra Facial Review

Ristra sponsored me to try out their products & spa treatment, and write a blog post & post on IG about them!

I got to try out Ristra products, which are designed for tropical weather like Indonesia and are pH-balanced for your skin. Apparently, the pH of their products ranges between 4.5-5.5, which is the ideal pH for your skin. Ristra claims that their products are "Cosmetodermatologically Tested", cosmetodermatology being a term they coined for dermatology with a focus on aesthetics.

Before I go on, here's a....

...short summary of my skin condition.

I have combination skin, with an extremely oily T-zone that's, while oily, still dehydrated from within since I have Sjögren's. I'm also very prone to breakouts, and at the moment, I have a breakout with a lot of painful cystic acne on my cheeks thanks to finding out too late that ferments break me out. Since I'm turning 29 next month, I'm also dealing with aging skin, and I'm already seeing age spots and fine lines!

The set I received contains 5 products and this is how you use them:

Step 1: Extremely Gentle Cleansing Milk & Med Soap

Ristra groups these 2 steps under 1 step, but if you're wondering what order to use them in, the Extremely Gentle Cleansing Milk should be used before the Med Soap. The Extremely Gentle Cleansing Milk sis a cleanser that you use first and foremost. It's meant to remove dirt, dust & makeup, and feels like a body lotion over my face. Don't worry if you don't like the feeling of lotion all over your face, this is meant to be washed off next.

The Extremely Gentle Cleansing Milk is really gentle, so I had problems getting rid of my more bullet proof makeup. I guess that's one of the trade offs if you want makeup that can last through anything!

The Med Soap foams a lot, but I like how it doesn't make my face feel dry and sticky like some facial soaps. Definitely something I'm comfortable using twice a day!

Step 2: Toning Lotion

After you're done cleansing, soak a cotton pad with this toning lotion and wipe your face down with it. This is created for normal to dry skin and I didn't find it astringent or drying at all. The purpose of toner is usually to correct the pH of your skin so it's more receptive to your next few products.

What I normally do with my toner is that once I've wiped my face down with it, I apply it once again all over my skin with tapping motions, just to make sure my skin really absorbs it in.

Step 3: Moisturizing Cream

This is the final step of the routine! Moisturizer! This is definitely a thick moisturizer, so it may take some getting used to for those of you not used to using moisturizer daily. For me, I usually use my moisturizers twice a day, but if that's too much for you, you can always stick to once a day. Baby steps count!

Step 4: Scrub Cream

Ristra puts this as Step 4 since you're only supposed to use this 1-2x a week, depending on your skin, but this should actually be Step 2.5 as you're supposed to use this scrub after washing your face. Scrubbing is important to get rid of the dead skin build up on your face, that can cause clogged pores. It's important to find a scrub that's gentle for your skin though.

The way I used this is that I slather it all over my damp face, rub gently, then wash it off. Make sure your face is damp and you rub really gently. Scrubs shouldn't hurt. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong.

If you'd like to buy these products, the Med Soap is available in Watson, DanDan & Alfamart. The full range of products are available online at at Lazada, JD.ID and Tokopedia.

House of Ristra Facial

Oh, I also got to try out a facial treatment in the House of Ristra spa in Wahid Hasyim! Here are the locations for House of Ristra spas:

Ristra Klinik Wahid Hasyim
Jl. Wahid Hasyim Raya no. 74, Menteng, Jakpus.
Phone: 021-3102001 
Ristra Klinik Radio Dalam
Jl. Radio Dalam Raya no. 5B, Kabayoran, Jaksel.
Phone : 021-7226673 
Ristra Pondok Indah Mall
South Skywalk Lt. 1 No. S106 & S107.
Phone : 021-759 20803 
Ristra Klinik Bandung
Ruko Gallery Cimbeleuit No.3/42, Cimbeleuit, Bandung.
Phone : 0878-2586-1926

I got the Platinum Facial, a microdermabration, and a Yellow Light Treatment for my hair. The platinum facial was really awesome and relaxing, I fell asleep almost straight away and woke up to really soft skin, so it's awesome. They also extracted some white heads and blackheads, but left my cystic acne alone.

The microdermabration is really gentle, and so much dead skin came off my face. It was sooo satisfying!

The Yellow Light Treatment is meant to boost hair health & growth, and it feels really warm and relaxing, and I'm thinking of signing up for a package since I'm going bald. Look out for the results in a few months time!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Swatches & Review: Fenty Beauty Shimmer Stix

I got to swatch all of Fenty Beauty's Shimmer Stix! So I have a light, cool and yellow toned Asian and I use Fenty's Soft Matte Long Wear Foundation in shade #130.

I've been using them for several days now, and so far, I'm happy with them as a blush –they're very smooth and blendable, the pigment is rich, they don't streak......BUT the two colours I got, Yacht Life & Unicorn, ends up with no hint of shimmer when you apply them on your cheeks. I was expecting a highlighter instead of just a blush, so I did end up disappointed.

To see these Shimmer Stix in action, check out the video here where I did arm swatches, face swatches, and wear tests of the Shimmer Match Stix, Matte Match Stix, Pro Filt'r Foundation & Primer, Gloss Bomb, Trophy Wife & Kilawatt Highlighters:

Untuk review dalam bahasa Indonesia:

So here are the ingredients:

Mica, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Octyldodecanol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, C20-40 Alcohols, Tribehenin, Paraffin, Polyethylene, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Vp/Hexadecene Copolymer, Diisostearyl Malate, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire Microcristalline, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Isostearyl Alcohol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Malic Acid, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Tin Oxide, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

I checked the ingredients with CosDNA and they're all good. The only thing that I find amusing is that they use Phenoxyethanol as a preservative, which is as controversial as certain preservatives. But seriously, not all preservatives are bad. You know what's worse? Mold. Mold in your makeup. Yeah.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tutorial: Emina's Colorful Palette

I made a really easy tutorial with Emina Cosmetics' Colorful eyeshadow trio! This is perfect for monolids, and also almond shaped eyes or Asian eyes with a small crease!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Review & Recommendation: Pyewacket Potions (All 10 Scents!)

I was offered free samples of all of  Pyewacket Potions scents and I said yes since I haven't tried new perfumes in ages. My collection is just unmanageable right now, so I've been on a strict no buy. I think my current perfume collection can last me a decade or two. >.<


General Perfume Overview

The throw of the perfumes vary greatly depending on what notes are in it. Their citronella notes are definitely intense, and you can easily fill an entire room with it. Generally, these scents are usually around casual conversation distance and it lasts about 1 1/2 hours before they fade and leave lingering traces on your skin.

In general, I think  Pyewacket Potions is great at creating these clean, herbal scents that makes you think of romanticized cottages and castles by a meadow, where everyone is naturally scented with herbs (the clean and fresh kind, not the medicinal, earthy kind)  or soap. Basically, scents that bring you here:
Gorgeous photo by Francesco Riccardo Iacomino

The scents that smell like you've just washed in soap instead of wearing a perfume are definitely their forte.

Unfortunately, they do have some foodie, fruity scents, and those are the scents I'm personally not a fan of since they lean on the artificial side. Then again, some people do like the artificial fruit scent, so I get their inclusion in the scent catalogue. They're just not for me.


Review Notes

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.


Cola Bottles

"Just what it says on the bottle; natural citrus fruit and spice essential oils, popularly used for a caffeine-free energy boost, with a sweet nature-identical caramel fragrance and real vanilla absolute, all makes a cola with a good kick!"

You definitely smell that Lipsmackers "cola" scent as soon as you open the bottle and that's the scent that dominates when I first applied it on my skin. There's a lemon cream scent too, and while it's the most delicious cream scent, I really don't like this artificial cola mixed into it.

After about 5-10 min, the cola scent starts taking on a camphorous smell and the cream mixed into it ends up smelling like those artificial, cloying cream scents that smells almost "play dough-ish". I'm trying to power through this scent but it's hard.

At around 15 min, I'm getting this sour curdled milk sort of scent...I think the lemon is actually a vanilla or cream scent going sour on me. Luckily, by about 30 min, the sourness finally disappears. Now it's just cool, camphorous artificial cola with hints of something creamy. It's not bad considering how bad it was, but I'm still not a fan.

When it fades, it actually leaves this gorgeous sugary marshmallow scent on my skin that I just love, but it takes so long to get there. I think I'll age it and see if I get more of the marshmallow.

TL;DR: Camphorous artificial cola with something creamy.

Final Verdict: Age it.


Hand-Drawn "Cassy"

"Delicious chocolate and banana milkshake with lashings of vanilla cream, gooey butterscotch sauce, chopped hazelnuts, a dusting of nutmeg, and a sweet cherry on top, with just a hint of woody cedar pencil and paper in the background."

The first thing that explodes is that artificial strawberry candy scent. There's hints of something that's possibly chocolatey, but it's mostly strawberry bubblegum at the moment. I like it, and I'm craving strawberry bubblegum right now, but it's not exactly what I'd go for in a perfume.

After about 3-5 min, the tartness subsides slightly and now there's an artificial banana scent too. It smells like a banana-strawberry chocolate bubblegum, which sounds like an awesome idea and someone should make that flavour now.

Around 10 min in, I'm getting this light, icy coolness that I've started associating with this brand after trying out all their perfumes. It adds a complexity to the scent, but it's still bubblegum – chocolate, strawberry, banana mint flavoured bubblegum. That sounds epic and I need someone to make it ASAP.

The bananas are sadly gone by 15-20 min. That banana note always disappears so quickly on me, so this is something I expected. Now it's just strawberry chocolate minty bubblegum.

It's a really cute scent, and something I find absolutely delicious, but it's not exactly what I'd want to smell like. I really do want a bubblegum that tastes like this though. My husband loves this, but he thinks with his stomach. I don't want him chomping me in his sleep, so I'll have to remember not to wear it before bed...

TL;DR: Chocolate, strawberry, banana mint flavoured bubblegum

Final Verdict: Interesting

Overview: Don't get me wrong, this smells like the most delicious bubblegum ever, so that's great. Unfortunately, I'm too old to smell like bubblegum.


No More Monsters

"...a dark woody background of patchouli, cedar, and dill, lit up with a gentle glow of fresh bergamot mint"

Ok, the first thing that hit me was minyak kayu putih, or cajeput oil. If you're Indonesian, you'll recognize this scent because you'll smell it wherever there's young kids. The scent is similar to tea tree oil –icy, herbal and sharp. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I personally find minyak kayu putih sharper than tea tree OIL.

After about 10 min, I get a cool, very sweet minty candy scent too. If you're Indonesian, it smells like Relaxa (it's a sweet mint candy). Relaxa and minyak kayu putih. It's so Indonesian. The minyak kayu putih definitely dominates, and it's so strong, my entire car is filled with the scent. I left the bottle in my car by mistake, and the car smelled like minyak kayu putih for at least 2 more days.

20 min in, I'm unfortunately getting a slightly herbal, medicinal scent, so now it smells like a sick Indonesian baby with scents of minyak kayu putih & jamu (traditional Indonesian herbal medicine). The sweet mint candy scent is gone for now, but it returns about 1 1/2 hours in. As the scent dries down, it smells like woody Relaxa with hints of minyak kayu putih.

I think it's hard for me to separate my cultural associations from this scent. I think it's probably a pleasant scent to a lot of people, but to me, it's like the American equivalent of dousing yourself in baby oil and eating some mints, and calling it your signature scent.

TL;DR: Minyak kayu putih and Relaxa.

Final Verdict: Ok.


One Groovy Room

"Our most popular blend so far! Real cannabis oil (non-psychoactive, sorry) boosted with a lightly musty trace of vetiver, blended with earthy patchouli, rich dragon’s blood incense, and a juicy mix of orange, dewberry, and a hint of strawberry. Psychedelic! Try it if you like Lush’s Karma; it’s not a dupe, but it has the same orange-patchouli theme."

This is the scent that somehow doesn't really show up against my skin and I have to get close to an intimate whispering level before I catch a whiff. That works out though, because this is smelling so weird on me. It smells like anise & tobacco, two things I hate on their own, and hate even more together. It smells like a sickly old man popping cough drops while smoking like a chimney. After 2-3 min, I think I smell hints of something chocolaty, but it's still mostly cough drops and tobacco.

Oh wow...after about 10 min, this fresh, citrus water scent emerges and the anise and tobacco scents are fading. I may start to like this scent.

I do like how fresh this citrus water scent is –it really just smells like water lightly scented by citrus peels –but 40 min into this scent and that liquorice scent is still domineering.

As it dries down, it becomes this cloyingly sweet, musty tobacco and liquorice liquorice and tobacco that have been left in a musty, hot room for too long. Not a fan.

TL;DR: Liquorice candy melting over musty tobacco with hints of citrus.

Final Verdict: Destash

Overview: What is causing the liquorice scent???



"An all-natural blend of oils traditionally used to promote wellness. Both refreshing and soothing; lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense, clary sage, lemon, tea tree, and mint."

Ok, this is another perfume that smells like minyak kayu putih, only it's less spicy and I'd put it closer to eucalyptus oil. That's the scent that's dominant so right now so it's hard to identify anything else. The scent clears my sinuses like crazy, so that's great. I think I smell hints of something sweet, but I can't really pick it out since the eucalyptus oil scent is dominating. I have a knot in my neck right now and I have an urge to massage it with this oil. 

After about 5 min, the stinging eucalyptus calms down and I can finally smell the other notes. There's soothing, honeyed lavender in it too, and clean, fresh herbs I can't identify. It smells like a romanticized countryside kitchen. The kind that people shoot engagement photos in and appear in interior design magazines, but not the kind you cook in because there's no way it'll smell this great once you use it. 
For posing purposes only.
Awesome pic by Maksim Mashnenko

It's so clean and soothing and I love it. After about 20 min in, you even get this watery scent that's so gorgeous. It's not a blue scent, it's this metallic cool scent that makes you think of cool, crystalline waters. If you're familiar with Possets' silver note, it's like that. 

Wow...I really love this scent the longer it goes on. It's just a cool, natural elegant scent that smells more like you've been working with dried flowers and herbs the whole day instead of wearing a perfume. It's just gorgeous!

TL;DR: Honeyed lavender with clean, fresh herbs and cool, crystalline water.

Final Verdict: Love


Sleep Well

"Magnolia leaf, honeysuckle, cananga, and ylang ylang."

Oh this is gorgeous! Honeyed ylang ylang with minty lemon tea. Yes, it's that same minty scent that's so signature of Pyewacket Potions. I'm not sure if it's just the cultural associations I have with ylang ylang, but I think I smell hints of wood too. In Indonesia, you usually smell ylang ylang in traditional Balinese spas that are usually in wooden houses. It really makes me think of some elegant movie mom, probably played by Nicole Kidman, tucking kids into bed.

Arranging babysitting with elegance..
Elegant shot by Olena Zaskochenko

About 10 min in, everything is melded together and you can't really pick out individual notes. It just smells like a powdery, cool yellow florals scent that you can find see an elegant mother wearing.

By about 20 min, it's a clean watery scent that makes me think like you've just washed yourself with a really expensive, high end soap bar instead of wearing a perfume. It's gorgeous and really subtle. I'm a fan.

TL;DR: Powdery, yellow florals scent that's perfect for an elegant, serene lady.

Final Verdict: Love.

Overview: I looked up cananga and it's just the tree that produces ylang ylang flowers.


Star of the County Down

"Lots of fresh green grass with hazelnuts brown as her hair, sweet honey (non-vegan, sorry), and a lush mingling of chamomile, blooming roses, and marjoram."

I immediately got something green and fresh, like the perfumed interpretation of young shoots, but it's mixed with this odd, savoury scent that makes me bacang –glutinous rice wrapped in leaf –that's been left out for too long.
Image courtesy of
Luckily, by about 5 min, my skin amps up the green, so now it smells like a fresh, unisex green scent that makes you think of prancing around in a forest in the morning. There's hints of this wilted scent that clashes with the overall scent to me. I'm hoping it'll go away.

By 15 min, the scent is amaaaazing. It's a fresh, clean scent with a subtle hint of fruity sweetness that makes me think of mangoes, but you can't really identify it. It's really great now. It's light, cool, and the sweetness is subtle and elegant while still being fresh. Makes me think of a forest sprite with a crown of berries. 

As it dries down, it just gets this fresh, clean scent like the lingering traces of scent a soap leaves on your skin. A fancy soap that's meant to capture the scent of a lush field of grass surrounding a forest. The kind of fancy soap masquerading as something so rustic and down-to-earth, but you know costs a bomb. The kind that would be advertised this way.

You know that can is empty. No way her mom would risk mud splattered on her picture perfect baby.
Adorable pic by Ekaterina Efremova

TL;DR: A forest sprite with a crown of berries. 

Final Verdict: Like. 

Overview: Would be love, but the first 5 min scares me. I don't know if aging will amplify the first 5min or reduce it. Looking at the notes, I think this will age amazingly so I think this may change to "love"!


The Sculpture

"A leather-and-stone, creepy, raspy brown musk with cinnamon, vetiver, and cruelty-free civet, splattered with raspberries oozing mysteriously from nowhere. Recommended for those who prefer something a little unusual."

I got this odd mix of cinnamon candies, camphor and dirt at first whiff. There's a hint of something nutty too. It definitely takes a while for the scent to settle, and for the first 5-10 min, I just keep getting whiffs of individual notes that seem to clash with each other –sandalwood, camphor, sickly sweet candy...

Finally, it settled to a scent that makes me think of old wooden chests and cinnamon soda. The cinnamon soda bit is a tad sickly sweet to me.

My skin tends to amp up the old wooden chest bit, so it's not that bad by 20 min, but the cinnamon soda scent wafts up every now and then. I don't know about this scent...I really want to destash, but I just get the feeling this may turn into something awesome with aging. I think I'll try aging it.

TL;DR: Old wooden chests,  and sugary sweet cinnamon soda.

Final Verdict: Age it.

Overview: Ok, after reading the notes, I don't think this would get better on me so I may be destashing it. 


Yamato Nadeshiko 

"The Wildflower of Nippon; the wise, gentle, and dignified ideal of traditional Japanese womanhood. A perfectly poured cup of fresh green tea touched with soft lemon blossoms, iris root, peony, and pink rose, with a subtle but strong backbone of myrrh."

Omg this is lovely. There's a very light rose in this, but not the heavy, heady rose that makes you think of old lady perfumes. This is a very light rose that makes you think of young women and a fresh bouquet. There are other florals I can't identify, that just turns this into a clean, elegant, pink floral scent that's very light and young. There's a hint of something woody that gives the scent a stately elegance, balancing the scent out so it doesn't get too bright and young. 

My skin loves amping up sweetness, so after about 10 min, the scent is getting pretty sweet. I still like it though. It just smells like you're scented naturally with soap and a bath of rose petals. 

Unfortunately, by 15 min, the roses started getting heady and heavy so it's a tad too much for me. It's still pretty, but I start getting that headache strong rose scents give me. The heady rose keeps getting stronger and stronger, but they stop getting headache inducing about an hour in. It's still the dominant scent though. I'm kinda sad my skin amps up the rose, because the original scent is really gorgeous. I think I'll try aging this.

TL;DR: Heady rose soap. 

Final Verdict: Like. 

Overview: Ok, I hate the heady rose, but I really, really love the first 10 min so I end up at "like". I think if the rose wasn't so strong on this, I'd go nuts over this scent. I'm not surprised it's so complex, given how amazing the first 10 min is. But the rose just went crazy on me, and it could be a skin chemistry issue. I'll still recommend it, unless the rose does go crazy on every skin chemistry. 



"An all-natural blend of oils commonly used as natural insect repellents. Flies, mosquitoes, spiders, snails; will bash any bug, big or small! Sharp, fresh, light, and green fragrance, unisex, great for summer. Mint, thyme, marjoram, cedar, and citronella."

Very strong citronella mingled with lemon candy. There's something tingly in this too. This definitely smells like something I'd like to slather all over my body. I'm not sure if it's supposed to happen or I'm imagining it, but the spot I applied the scent on feels cool & tingly.

I think I've just associated citronella so much with mosquito repellent, that this smells like one of those natural mosquito repellents. I like it because it feels cool and tingly instead of hot and itchy like a lot of mosquito repellents, but given how expensive perfume oils are, I'm not sure if I'd pay this much for a better mosquito repellent. 

Don't get me wrong, I do like it, and it smells more complex than plain citronella oil for sure –I get more mint and a hint of something herbal after about 5 min. After 10 min, it smells like summer time –mosquito repellent, greenery, and a sugary lemon tea. It makes me think of children running around while women in light, yellow summer dresses drink sweet, lemon tea in a immaculately clean patio......but I still smell mostly like an all-natural mosquito repellent. Especially since around 25-30 min in, the herbal scent intensifies to give this a medicinal feel.

Pet safe natural mosquito repellent!
Adorable shot by Elena Shumilova

45 min in, the sugary lemon tea and greenery scent has gone, leaving behind herbal citronella. Ok, all natural mosquito repellent for sure. Oh, and I'm definitely not imagining the cool, tingly feeling. Maybe there's a strong mint in this? Definitely something to watch out for if you're allergic, but for me, this makes it so perfect for a hot summer day.

This will definitely be my scent of choice when I'm going outdoors so I can repel the mosquitoes, but I think psychologically, I can't get over the mosquito repellent association so I can't see myself paying perfume prices for it. 

TL;DR: Natural mosquito repellent, improved.

Final Verdict: Like

Overview: Honestly, if this is cheaper, in larger quantities and lasts longer, it'll be my holy grail mosquito repellent.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Euroskinlab DESTROYED My Face (RESOLVED!)


After I uploaded this, my friend contacted me saying she knows someone from Euroskinlab who could help me out. Her friend connected me with one of their shareholders & and someone from top management, and we had a meeting on Aug 9. The meeting went very well, fortunately.

They apologized on behalf of the team, since there was a communication screw up and what happened should not have happened.They say upper management have discussed this since 2 weeks ago (so around July 22-29) and planned on reimbursing me. Unfortunately, they were waiting on their legal team to draft up the agreement and they apologized for not updating me during the process.

They've reimbursed me for the cost of getting this treated with a doctor I trust, so I'm really happy with their shareholders & management team.


So. Let me detail my nightmarish experience with Euroskinlab, a member of Euromedica....if you prefer a video, you can watch here:

May 16

Got invited to try a facial with Euroskinlab. They offered a cortisone injection for my cystic acne. I've been treating my cystic acne this way since I was a teenager and never had an issue before, so I went for it.

1-2 weeks later

Started noticing a slight dent. Thought it was in my mind or it'll go away, so I didn't worry. It kept getting larger.

1 month later

The dent is very noticeable and getting worrying. Planned a trip to Singapore to ask Dr Yong what's causing it. Still thought it was aging related at this moment.

29 June

Saw Dr Yong, he confirmed it was caused by the acne injection and it's because they used too high of a dose. I immediately contacted Euroskinlab, but the salesperson said she needed to check with the doctors and they were currently on leave thanks to lebaran. I was fine with waiting until the holidays are over, so I didn't contact her again.

Good evening, is it a hole like from an acne scar or something else?
The clinic happens to be close until July 3, and I'm only in on July 8..I'll have to check first and ask the doctor if it's really from the injection from Euroskinlab.

Me: The dent is larger than acne scarring. I've checked with a doctor and this is from a wrongly administered injection.
Her: Sorry in advance Ms. Francesca, none of our doctors have caused scarring from the injection before. I have to ask the doctor and check your data first. As far as I know, acne injections are just normal injections and nothing complicated.

Translation: Morning Ms Francesca, ok, I'll check first on the status...
But the clinic is only opened on the 3rd, and I'm only bak at work on July 8, so I'll ask the doctor about it then ok..

 July 10

Checked on the status since I haven't gotten a reply, and was asked to come in to the office. Got an appointment for July 11.

July 11

So far, everything's kinda chill. The first person I met is the saleslady I normally talk to and the doctor that injected me. I like the doctor, she's nice, and I think it's a goof up anyone can do. She was honest about how I just needed time to heal, but she suggested a laser treatment to reduce the redness. I told her I wasn't comfortable with anymore treatments with Euroskinlab, and wanted to stick to Dr Jonathan Yong in Singapore, because he's been the one making my skin look amazing for the past 2-3 years.

What kind of annoyed me was her insistence that this has never happened before. Look, you messed up, apologize and offer a solution. Don't try to act like the patient you messed up is some kind of crazy exceptional case.

They brought in another person, I'm not sure if she's a doctor as well, but she's from Singapore. She apologized again, and this was when I proposed that if they were truly sorry, can they reimburse me to cost of treating this? She immediately told me that the only solution they can offer was that I get further treatments from Euroskinlab. I told her that I'm not going to trust Euroskinlab with my skin again. What if they mess up my face again?

She left and brought in someone from management and this person was the worst. She was apologizing effusively and was all smiles, but kept interrupting me while I was talking and pretty much went along the lines of how they will not compensate me for any treatment, unless I do it with them.

I repeated my point again. And this is where the service got really bad. She tried implying that since it's been so long since it happened, there was nothing they can do. I interrupted her and gave her the chronology.

She asked Vera if they took pictures of my face, if there was pictures of the acne. Great. Now they're trying to weasel out of admitting it's their fault again. Fortunately, thanks to beauty blogging, I took pictures of my face daily, so I can actually show them many, many pictures of my skin, before,and after the treatment to corroborate my story.

No dent so far.

Dent started appearing and kept getting deeper.

This is where I'm really pissed. What if I'm just some normal customer who isn't a beauty blogger and doesn't have pictures of my face daily? Would that mean they'll just shrug and say, "Too bad! Can't prove it!"


Anyway, she threw the responsibility back at me by saying that there's nothing she can do until I get a letter from Dr Yong stating what's wrong, how my face can be treated and how much it'll cost. Only then, we can move forward with our conversation.

July 12

Sent the letter from Dr Yong. Waited for a reply.

July 20

Asked about what the status is since it's been a week and there's no reply from them. I was told I needed to wait another week for their manager to call me, because s/he is in Surabaya and I'll have to wait for him/her to return to Indonesia. Obviously, I got upset since it turned out they haven't even talked to their management. I asked her if it would be faster if I called them out publicly, and that's when I got 2 phone calls from them.

The first phone call is from the rude lady I dealt with before. She was very rude, defensive and sarcastic. She insisted they already offered to make it right by offering further treatments at their clinic. I repeated to her again that I'm not comfortable returning to their clinic when they've messed up such a simple procedure.

The second phone call is from a very sweet woman and I feel bad for her. I told her that I understand her hands are tied, and I don't blame her personally for this. She insisted she wanted to see me in person, but I told her I busy and would be traveling soon, so I told her she could just talk to me over the phone. She insisted it would be better to speak in person. I asked her if she could guarantee that Euroskinlab's position will change if I met her in person, and she couldn't.

She then told me she wanted to see me to check out the damage. I told her I've sent a picture since June 29, and I've already gone to Euroskinlab in person and met 3 different people. She seemed surprised about that and told me she'll look at my files to see the picture.....which annoyed me because it meant that no one bothered giving her my files. Does Euroskinlab destroy faces so often that it's not a big deal?

July 21

Euroskinlab finally sent an official response:


Thank you for your trust in our services at Euroskinlab (ESL), Iskandarsyah branch. 
With regards to the information about your skin condition (right cheek) that you experienced after receiving treatment, the Euromedica Management would like to extend our apologies for your discomfort and will take this into consideration to improve our service quality.
With this letter, we also wish to offer a solution to fix this issue by inviting you to drop by our clinic. Our team will wait for your earliest availability so we can resolve this at once. 
We greatly hope you will confirm soon. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact our Customer Care call center via xxxxx.

Here was my reply:

I've already gone to your clinic on July 11 and met your doctors. Is there anything different planned for this visit? I don't have time to keep traveling to your clinic, especially when no new information or resolution comes out of the meeting.  
I've alerted you to the issue since June 29. I was informed everyone was on holiday, so I didn't mind waiting until July 11 until I could meet the Euroskinlab team. I met 3 people who all told me the same thing —that Euroskinlab will only offer further treatments in Euroskinlab to fix the crater you put on my face. The 3rd person I met even questioned why it took me so long to contact Euroskinlab & whether the crater was already present in the first place. Fortunately for me, I had pictures to prove my story.  
I am NOT comfortable receiving further treatments from Euroskinlab, especially since laser treatments and fillers carry higher risks than the cortisoid shot you messed up. I rather go to my own doctor and reimburse the costs with Euroskinlab.  
I was told that any decision from Euroskinlab is dependent on a letter from my doctor, which I got and sent the next day on July 12.  
I received no update until I contacted Euroskinlab again on July 20, 8 days later. I was informed that management was in Surabaya, and I'd have to wait another week for any decision. Only after I threatened to take the story public did I finally get 2 phone calls. 
The first was from the same rude and racist woman who kept interrupting me and telling me that I could pick one of Euroskinlab's foreign doctors to fix the crater on my face. As if Indonesian doctors are somehow subpar. I kept stressing that accidents can happen, but what matters is that you take responsibility for them. Yet Euroskinlab refuses to do so, and it even took you took another day (23 days after I informed you of the problem & 10 days after my visit to the clinic) before you even issued an official apology? Does Euroskinlab destroy their clients' faces that often, that this is something that does not concern you at all? 
The 2nd lady who called me was lovely and she wanted to meet in person. I informed her that my schedule is currently packed and I do not have time to meet her in person, but she's free to talk to me over the phone or over email. I also informed her that I do not see the point of another meeting if Euroskinlab will simply reiterate the same points.  
Yet here is the apology email you sent, asking me for another meeting. I will only attend the meeting if Euroskinlab offers the solution I initially proposed, which is to reimburse me for the cost of fixing the crater you put on my face, with a doctor I trust.  
Now it's no longer about the money. I'm just horrified by the terrible way you treat your customers, and I really want to go public with this story to prevent more women from getting their faces destroyed by your clinic.  

July 26

Everything was silent until this day, when they asked me to send me their ID. They cannot offer me a good reason for why they need my ID, and it's sketchy as hell.

Good evening Ms Francesca, if you're not busy, can you send me your id..we really need it for our data. Thank you

I just need your government ID, because it's needed and it's now one of our requirements

The ID is one of the requirements so the process will be easier

We're looking for the best solution for Ms it can be a win-win solution

We don't have any other intention, it's purely for our data.

Ok, Ms.

Meanwhile, the dent just keeps getting deeper.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review, Swatches & Recommendation: Limnit Lip Gloss

DISCLAIMER: I got these for free, but I was in no way obliged to post a public review & all opinions are mine. Trina did give a 10% off code I can share (WORKINGWITHMONOLIDS), but I do not make any money out of it. :)

Now with that out of the way.....

As you all know, I'm a diehard fan of Limnit and have recommended them before on this well as many, many, many times on Reddit. I love this brand. So when Trina, the owner, asked me if I'd like to be one of the first few people to try out her new lip glosses, obviously I said yes. 

Atomic Azalea, Fearless Firecracker, Everyday Effervescence

These lip glosses only come in 3 colours at the time being, and here's the description from Limnit:

  • Everyday Effervescence: true yellow-orange lip gloss packed with a mixture of copper, gold, and red shimmer  
  • Fearless Firecracker: red orange lip gloss packed with a mixture of gold, red, and pink shimmer 
  • Atomic Azalea: a slightly warm, watermelony lip gloss with cool pink, purple and red shimmer

So let's get on to the good part first...the swatches!

Atomic Azalea, Fearless Firecracker, Everyday Effervescence

First of all, I'll put a disclaimer right here. I generally don't like glosses since I find them messy and my hair gets stuck in them, but at the same time, Limnit is my favourite brand, so it's hard not to be biased. With that being said, I'll be as fair as possible with my review!


Ok, my camera isn't doing them justice. They're really sparkly and in real life, I can see the duochrome highlight, especially in Atomic Azalea. These are sheer glosses, and while I normally don't like sheer glosses since my lips are often peeling and sheer glosses highlight this in an unflattering way, this is great for creating that blotted, messy lips look that's so popular in Korea right now.  Here's an example of that look using Fearless Firecracker & Stop And Smell The Roses (new shade!)

Limnit, swatch


Like all glosses, these aren't really long lasting and I don't expect them to be. They also transfer easily, which again is common for glosses and why I hate glosses. The great thing is that these do NOT bleed and they're not sticky at all, which impressed me. I find that brands have a hard time striking the balance between non-sticky and non-bleedy, and Limnit got it right. So yeah, I'm impressed.


10/10. They totally win for this. I mentioned they're non-sticky, but they're so comfortable on your lips too. They're not drying at all, but they don't feel greasy either. For my swatches, I messed up during the video and had to reapply everything all over again. Even then, my lips were ok. It just feels like you're using a lip balm so I'm a huge fan of it.


And comes a slightly boring part that I've decided to start doing in my reviews...ingredient analysis. Here are the ingredients:
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene (and) Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer (and) Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric/Stearic Glycerides, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Microcrystalline Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ozokerite Wax, Fragrance, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetyl Alchol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C); May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 40 Lake (CI 16035), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Mica (77019), Tin Oxide (778161), Synthetic Fluorophylogopite (77019), Silica, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate

As you can see, these are vegan and as always, cruelty-free. Quick check with CosDNA shows that everything's safe & non-irritating, though some of the more acne prone may want to watch out for the cocoa seed butter. I'm acne-prone myself, but I've been using them for a week and haven't had any issues so it's not something I'd worry too much about.

These glosses are definitely rich in butters and oils, and I suspect that's why they're so comfortable to wear. So A+ for formula!

Would I repurchase? Yes.

So for those of you who prefer watching a video and want to see videos of face swatches, here's the video I posted on YouTube:

Oh and bonus swatch of a new Limnit lipstick shade, Stop And Smell The Roses: