Search This Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 4: I'm Pregnant, Now What?

Congrats! It's a really exciting time!

First thing you need to do:

Schedule a Visit With BOTH Your Autoimmune Doctor & Gynaecologist 

You're going to need them to work together, so make sure they know and are in contact with each other to work together on your pregnancy. You're going to need additional care!

Typically, you're advised to wait 8 weeks since your last period before your first gynae visit, but of course everyone's different, so contact them as soon as you know you're pregnant just to be sure you don't need to see them earlier. I ended up seeing a gynae at 6 weeks, just because I experienced spotting and that doctor gave me a progesterone shot as well as progesterone suppositories given the higher risk nature of my pregnancy. I was advised to have a follow up visit 2 weeks later, but unfortunately, I was in the middle of a move to a different country (it happens to where where all my usual docs are), so I could only visit my rheumatologist (the autoimmune doc) & regular gynae at 9 weeks (3 weeks later). My regular gynae recommended I continue the progesterone suppositories all the way until 12 weeks.

Start Taking Aspirin (If Your Doctor Told You To)

If your doctor recommends you take aspirin as soon as you find out your pregnant, start taking it! You may get flak for taking aspirin daily (I know I did), because some people believe that pregnant women need to avoid ALL medication and stick to "natural" remedies like essential oils and herbs. Ignore them and stick to what your doctor recommends, because every pregnancy is different, especially a Sjögren's pregnancy. Some of those "natural" remedies can even cause more harm than good, so please check everything with your doctor!

What to Expect From Your First Visit....

...With Your Autoimmune Specialist

You'll be told to take a blood test. It's the first of many. If everything's well, you can expect monthly blood tests throughout your pregnancy as they need these to make sure your Sjögren's is under control and your body's not busy attacking your baby. If the results are less than ideal, you may have to have more visits.

...With Your Gynae

My regular gynae had me take a urine test just to make sure my protein levels are alright, but the new gynae I saw in Indonesia (just because of the bleeding) simply gave me an ultrasound and that's it. I actually got a heartbeat during the first visit at 6 weeks! At 6 weeks, it's just a blob, but at 8 weeks, it looks vaguely t-rex like. My regular gynae agreed I should continue the progesterone suppositories all the way until 12 weeks, but she lowered the dosage and I didn't need any more progesterone shots.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 3: What Should I Consider Before Getting Pregnant

So you're thinking about getting pregnant. Congrats! It's an exciting time!

In my last post, I've talked about the Sjögren's risks, but please, please, please don't think that pregnancy is completely out of the question for you. There are plenty of healthy babies born to women with Sjögren's, so please don't worry too much.

Still, there's some things to consider.

Talk To Your Doctor

Definitely talk to your doctor first about your pregnancy plans. Personally for me, I decided to wait until I got my flare up under control before I tried getting pregnant, but if waiting is not possible for you, definitely talk to your doctor about the risks.

Check Your Insurance

Getting maternity coverage from insurance companies if you don't have it before you're diagnosed is nearly impossible. I'm fortunate I'm already covered, because I looked around and most companies refuse to cover a Sjögren's pregnancy or will only do so in the 3rd trimester, after you've submitted all the test results confirming that the pregnancy is fine. Given the increased amount of visits to doctors you'll need, a Sjögren's pregnancy does get expensive. I'm currently at 21 weeks and based in Singapore, and I've spent about $6,000 so far. I'm expecting to spend more since I will be visiting doctors even more frequently now that I'm in my 2nd trimester and need more checks.

Career Considerations

I could just have very bad luck, but I've talked to other women were pregnant with Sjögren's as well, and it is very exhausting. The first pregnancy symptom I got was feeling so tired, I couldn't stay up in the afternoons and I thought I was having a bad Sjögren's flare up. I actually take 2-8h afternoon naps daily on top of my regular sleep schedule ever since I got pregnant. I'm fortunate I could stop working, but if you can't afford to slow down your career, it may be really tough.

Also, thanks to the Sjögren's risks, you'll be going to the doctor very frequently. It's also recommended you go for a checkup once every 2 weeks instead of once a month in the 2nd trimester. It could be challenging scheduling all your medical appointments in if you have a hectic career.

Stock Up On Aspirin

Your doctor will probably tell you to start taking aspirin daily as soon as you find out your pregnant to reduce the risk of blood clots. Definitely stock up!

Start Taking Folic Acid

It's great to start taking folic acid even when you're just trying.

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 2: What Are The Risks?

So in part 1, I mentioned Sjögren's pregnancies are riskier pregnancies. So...what are the risks?

First of all, if you've read up on the risks of Sjögren's pregnancies like me, I'm sure you went through the same phase as me where I was freaking the eff out. All my doctors have assured me that plenty of healthy babies are born to women with Sjögren's though, so please don't stress yourself out too much.

So, the most serious risk of a Sjögren's pregnancy is...

Heart Defect In The Baby

Also known as congenital heart block (CHB). I don't want to put a number on how high this risk is, because I have no medical training and reading up on the literature available online, the rate goes from "oh that's no big deal" to "holy crap I'm f***ed". I suggest talking to your doctor about this, but my doctor is personally very confident that with frequent check ups and early detection. this is nothing to worry about.

Neonatal Lupus Rash

The baby may be born with a lupus rash. Again, talk to your doctor. My doctor reassured me that this doesn't mean the baby has lupus and all the symptoms usually go away after a few months with no lasting damage.

Blood Clots

Sjögren's does make you more prone to blood clots, and unfortunately that also increased the risk of a miscarriage. Your doctor is likely to put you on a daily dose of aspirin to minimize this risk, so it's not as scary as it sounds.

Higher Risk Of Miscarriage

There is a study that found that there's a higher risk of miscarriage in Sjögren's pregnancies, but even the study notes that the women with Sjögren's in their study group tend to be older, so it could be an age factor as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 1: What's Sjögren's?

Yes, this isn't part of my usual beauty posts, but I'm currently pregnant & suffering from Sjögren's and I thought I should document my experience because sometimes, reading up online on Sjögren's pregnancies can be scary. No two pregnancies are the same, and everyone's symptoms may present in different ways, so this is just my personal experience and yours may not be the same.

First of all....

What is Sjögren's?

It's basically a type of autoimmune that basically just means that my immune system tends to attack everything producing liquids in my body and dehydrating me.

How do YOU experience Sjögren's?

So, I grew up with it and only found out when I took a detailed health exam along with my husband because he never took one ever in his life. The exam included a test of my liver functions, and they found a possible autoimmune reaction and told me to get further tests. I honestly thought it was a false positive because I grew up with it, so I guess I never felt like anything was wrong with me. Only after I tested positive, a lot of things clicked and I realized there's some stuff about me that was "weird".

So here's the symptoms I have...

  • "Medical Bad Luck"
I'm prone to all the medical worst case scenarios. I caught mumps after my MMR vaccination, and caught rubella years later as an adult. I caught typhoid fever from one exposure to someone with typhoid. I've gotten amoebic dysentery. I'm prone to infections & can catch a cold from a baby. A flu can morph into a serious sinus or ear infection that requires specialist care. 
  • Slow Recovery From Illnesses
Typically, it takes me weeks to months to recover from the flu. The longest it took me to recover from a flu was 6 months.
  • Chronic Exhaustion
I used to fall asleep everywhere. I could even fall asleep standing up in a club. Never thought something was wrong though, I just thought that I was lame and get tired easily. 
  • Chronic Constipation
Up until I was 24, I thought it was normal to poop only once every 4-5 days. I mean, no one ever goes up to you going, "Hey, how often do you poop?" So I never knew it was weird. I only found out this was not normal when my friend  was freaking out over her baby not pooping that day. I asked her, "Do babies poop every day?"
She went, "Er, people poop everyday. How often do you poop?" 
She told me to go to a doctor ASAP when I told her, so I was given magnesium, digestive enzymes, probiotics & HCL supplements.  I still only poop once every 1-2 days, but that's way better than usual. 
  • Swollen Saliva Glands
I've gotten really bad swollen saliva glands since I was a kid. They're typically treated with antibiotics or in really bad cases, the doctor has to make a small incision to relieve the swelling.  
  • Chronic Muscle Pain
I never even realized I had chronic muscle pain until I got medicated and realized my shoulders, neck and back feels so light and amazing. 
  • Dry Mouth
When my doctor asked me if I had dry mouth, I said no because I genuinely believed I didn't have it. Turns out I did. I only found out a few months ago (2 years after my diagnosis) that normal people didn't need to drink water to help them swallow their food. Again, it's one of those things you don't think of asking because it seems normal when you've always done it all your life. I mean, I know I drink more water than most people, but I've always thought it was a preference thing. And I assumed that's why you're served drinks with your food: to help you swallow it. 
  • Dry Skin
Even though my skin is so oily, I can see it's dehydrated from within and it often gets to the point where my lips and the sides of my nose will crack and split. My skincare routine is basically that of a 40 year old's. I've always had to use body butter on my legs, because just using body lotion gives me crocodile skin.
  • Loads of Cavities
Sadly, I'm very cavity prone. I always thought it was because of my love for desserts though. 

Maybe this would sound annoyingly chirpy, but honestly, I thought my diagnosis was a bit of a relief, because I've always thought I was just "weak". I kept thinking I was doing something wrong, so my diet became healthier than most people and I still blamed myself whenever I got sick because I assumed it's because I don't exercise or ate too much desserts. Sure, my health check results usually found that I have very a healthy BMI, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and very low cholesterol, and that should tell me I'm doing something right, but I still kept blaming myself. The most frustrating thing is when people unhealthier than me still tell me there must be something I'm doing wrong to deserve all my "medical bad luck". At least now I know it's not my fault.

Once I got medicated, I also ended up with so much energy and felt so light. For the first time in my life, I didn't have my chronic muscle aches and because I was so used to them, it feels like I'm practically bouncing. Life got amazing. 

What medication are you on?

I'm on 1 tablet of Plaquenil daily. It used to be 2, but luckily I've gotten my stress levels managed and I can move it down to 1. I'm very lucky my Sjögren's is mild enough that I don't need steroids.

I suspect I have Sjögren's. What do I do?

Go to a specialist and get tested. Just warning you, the blood test requires 8 vials of blood, so if you have low blood pressure like me, you may want to bring someone with you. I was really dizzy afterwards.

I've been diagnosed with Sjögren's. Now what?

Talk to a specialist! Personally for me, if I have to have an autoimmune, Sjögren's is mild enough that it's tolerable. Your doctor will prescribe the right medication and it may take a while to figure out the right amount. Here are some things that I personally feel is important to talk to your specialist about once you've been diagnosed with Sjögren's:

Supplements You're Taking 
Some supplements react badly with autoimmunes. I was taking colostrum supplements, which is really useful for boosting your immune system, but unfortunately, Sjögren's gets worse with a boosted immune system. I was also taking these Japanese collagen drinks that tastes soooooo good...but turns out some people with autoimmunes have bad reactions to collagen supplements, so I had to stop drinking that just to be safe.  
Pregnancy Plans 
Sjögren's pregnancies are riskier than normal pregnancies, so definitely let your doctor know what your plans are!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Review & Swatches: Focallure Everchanging Palette (Focallure Part 2/11)

Recently, I hauled hard from Focallure. I've been resisting buying this brand because I don't trust it, but it's getting really popular in Indonesia thanks to several sponsored videos from big beauty bloggers, so I thought I should buy their products and give my honest review. I bought my Focallure products straight from the official Focallure store on Aliexpress. This is part 2 of my 11 part review.

Video review here:


Everchanging Palette

Ok, I admit this palette has gorgeous colours. The duochromes are a dream. Here's the swatches:

It's also really cheap at $11.28. I bought these from the official Focallure store on Aliexpress, which has perpetual sales and sometimes list 2 different prices for the same item, so the price may have changed.

But here's why I can't recommend this palette:

  • The ingredients lists are sketchy

This shares the same ingredient list as the loose pigment in Blue Brown & the 9 Colors Eyeshadow Palette in 05. Completely identical, down to the colourants. 3 different products with different colour schemes have the same identical list of colourants. One single loose pigment colour supposedly contains ALL the colours that exist in a 14 & 9 colour palette. That's right.

It does not say "May Contain", which is the common thing brands do when they don't want to print different ingredients lists for different shades within the same collection. It listed all of the colourants in, which makes me think that either they don't understand what ingredient lists are, can't give a fuck about creating proper ingredient lists, or both.

To be fair, I haven't had any adverse reactions to this palette yet, but I'm still not sure if I'd like to push my luck.

  • The palette's description at the back is a mess

It says Everchanging at the front of the box, but the back listed the palette as the Tropical Vacation palette. There's also a glaring typo where "eyeshadow" is spelled as "eyeshaodw". I know this is a minor thing, but I feel like if the brand can't give a fuck about checking things like typos, I don't know what else they don't give a fuck about.

  • Eyeshadows are ABH Subculture level of crumbly

Like the Twilight palette, this is just a mess of kickback and fall out.

  • The darker matte shades are terrible

Mystery is especially streaky and it took a lot of praying to the eyeshadow gods to make it work in this tutorial:

Would I buy this again?

Nope. I feel like a 5 year old would put more care into creating this palette. 

Review & Swatches: Focallure Twilight Palette (Focallure Part 1/11)

Recently, I hauled hard from Focallure. I've been resisting buying this brand because I don't trust it, but it's getting really popular in Indonesia thanks to several sponsored videos from big beauty bloggers, so I thought I should buy their products and give my honest review. I bought my Focallure products straight from the official Focallure store on Aliexpress. This is part 1 of my 11 part review.

Video review here:


Twilight Palette

This pallete's price ranges on their official site. Officially, it's $15.99, but I got it for $7.36 on sale and as I'm typing this, it's on sale again for $10.71. So yeah, it's pretty cheap for a palette of 18 shades, but is it worth it though?

So here are swatches of the colours:

This eyeshadows in this palette are really, really soft. Especially the shimmers. There was just loads of fallout & crumbling. As in ABH Subculture level of crumbling. I think this could be worse, but I didn't get the Subculture palette after all the terrible reviews so I'm not sure.

I've never had a pressed palette pigment be this crumbly before. I feel like I'm sharting fairy dust around whenever my brush hits the shadow. I opened the palette on my bed while trying to write down the shade names in the swatch picture, and I shimmer bombed my husband. Our entire bed is covered in eyeshadow.

I think the eyeshadows would be better placed in secure containers and labelled as loose pigments instead. When I worked with this, I have to work the way I would with loose powder eyeshadows. I love working with loose powder eyeshadow, and there's a couple of palettes that have plenty of kickback but I love anyway (Absolute New York's Icon palette, Makeover's Smoky palette) but this is way worse than anything I've ever encountered. After just 1 swatch session, the palette looked grimy and dirty, like a ravaged drugstore tester palette after Black Friday.

The mattes aren't as crumbly, but as you can see from the swatches, you definitely need primer for these. While they're ok blended in softly with a fluffy blending brush when I was applying them, it's slightly harder getting an even layer when you're using a flat brush trying to get a pigmented, opaque layer. The darker colours were especially painful to work with and just swatching them was a frustrating ordeal that made me nearly scream, "SCREW. THIS." while throwing the palette across the room, so many times.

There were also a lot of colours that are too similar too each other, that you can barely tell the difference once they're on your eyes. These are the colours that are close too each other, that you they turn into the same shade with some blending, or you could easily interchange the colours without anyone noticing:

Naked & CamelNaked is white, Camel has a slight yellow tinge. 
Tiramisu & Rose ValeTiramisu is Rose Vale with a slight brown tinge. 
Magic & Chili (sic)Magic is a warm toned version of Chili, but both look almost identical over primer. Chili performs worse over primer though. 
Need Fire & SunriseShould've swatched this side by side in the same row, because any difference you see in the swatches is due to lighting. In real life, I can barely tell them apart. 
Party, Copper Rose & SummonThe only difference is the duochrome sheen. Summon & Party are basically Copper Rose with a blue duochrome & bigger red shimmer respectively. You can tell them apart when you pack them on hard with your fingers, but once you're using brushes or blending them out, they're the same shade.

I think they're a waste and one of them should be replaced with a different colour, so it feels like I'm actually getting 18 shades instead of just 12.

Would I buy this again?

Nope. It's a waste of space given how there's more like 12 colours instead of 18, and the mattes are terrible.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: iUNIK Peeling Gel & Toners

I recently got contacted by the iUNIK team and they asked me if I'd like to try 3 of their products and of course I said yes, since I'm in perpetual search for my next holy grail skincare item. Most of their products contain ferments, which break me out, so I settled on the 3 products that don't contain ferments: Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner, Tea Tree Relief Toner, & Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel.

This is my usual skincare routine (I've added Vitabrid's Dual Serum to the routine since then):

Here are the items I replaced with the iUNIK products:

  • All Hada Labo serums
  • CosRX BHA toner
  • Holika Holika Lazy & Easy Smooth Egg Peeling Gel

Brief background on my skin, I'm very breakout prone and often combating terrible cystic acne. I have a really oily t-zone while being very dehydrated from within, and I'm also aging. Basically, my skin hates me.

For those of you who prefer watching to reading, here's the video review:

Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Steartrimonium Methosulfate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Caprylyl Glycol,Allantoin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita(Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pentylene Glycol , Aspalathus Linearis Extract
Price: $12.99
This peeling gel is meant to be used right after you wash your face, on a dry face. Just slather this all over your face, wait 10 seconds, then start rubbing and watch all the dead skin rub off. I've been using peeling gels for several years now, and I credit them for getting rid of the frequent whiteheads I used to get.

This is definitely the harshest peeling gel I've ever tried. I got that squeaky clean feel on my face after I used this, and that feeling scares me since it usually means that whatever I'm using is way too harsh on my face. I have to wash my face multiple times before I stop feeling things peeling off my face. It doesn't hurt me, but it definitely scared me. I used this only 3x over 3 weeks, because I felt it was far too harsh.

I'm now using it for my body instead of my face instead. If your face isn't as delicate as mine, maybe this is a product you'll like, but my face is sensitive so it's not for me.

This product contains a lot of citrus extracts, which increases your photosensitivity, so be sure to wear sunscreen religiously and avoid excessive sun exposure if you're using this.

Tea Tree Relief Toner

Ingredients: Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Water, Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Water, 1,2-Hexanediol, Centella Asiatica Extract,Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Caprylyl Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Extract, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Powder, Ormenis Multicaulis Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
Price: $21.99  

This is the first step after cleansing for me. I apply it to a cotton pad, and then wipe my entire face with it. I do think the ingredients are great, but I think it wasn't a good idea replacing CosRX's BHA with this. Thanks to my lack of BHA, I do notice that I ended up with way more blackheads and my pores seem to have gotten larger. I think this product is probably good, but I'm not sure how to squeeze it into my routine, especially since I really need CosRX's BHA. I'm thinking I'll just use it after I pop my pimples because it does contain a lot of soothing ingredients.

Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner

Ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate, Water, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Trehalose, Caprylyl Glycol, Thuja Orientalis Leaf Extract, Zanthoxylum Schinifolium Leaf Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Pentylene Glycol, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract 
Price: $21.99 

This product made me realize how AMAZING Sulwhasoo's First Care Activating Serum is. Without the First Care Activating Serum, this just doesn't work with the Tea Tree Relief Toner. At first, I tried applying this right after I've wiped my face down with the Tea Tree Relief Toner, patting it in like I would with any other toner. What happened was that it won't get aborbed, and created this sticky, foamy white stuff instead. I thought at first that I didn't wash my face wash off properly and that's where the foam was coming from, but after this consistently happened 3x in a row, I decided to try adding my Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum back into my routine. Lo and behold, the white foam disappeared. Turns out, I need the First Care Activating Serum to get my skin to absorb this.

This product is also extremely sticky, even with the First Care Activating Serum. The serum helps a lot though. If you watched my video, you can see how much the First Care Activating Serum reduces the stickiness at the 08:06 mark. I applied the First Care Activating Serum to half my face only, and you can see that the tissue on that half doesn't get stuck that long, compared to the tissue on the half without the serum.

So yeah, I guess I'm going back to my Hada Labo hyaluronic acid serums. They're more effectively absorbed by my skin AND cheaper as well. This iUNIK serum is $21.99 for 200 ml, while my 170ml bottle of Hada Labo costs about $14-17 depending on which country I buy it from. That makes it about $17-20 for 200ml. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review & Recommendation: Vitabrid C¹²

If you watched my skincare routine video, you'll know that I looooovveee Vitabrid:

It's really the best. I thought I should write a review for those of you who prefer reading to watching. For those of you who prefer watching, here's the video review:

Anyway, full disclosure, the Vitabrid team sent me the Dual Serum, Dual Eye & Face Cream, and 3 boxes of sheet masks to try out. I've actually regularly purchased the Vitabrid FACE Brightening Powder on my own for more than a year, and I also bought a box of their anti-aging sheet masks on my own a few months before I got this offer.

Vitabrid  C¹² FACE Brightening Powder

I don't know if they rebranded this, but I could've sworn it just said Vitamin C powder when I first bought it. I've been using this for over a year now, and it's my holy grail skincare item. I've tried so many brands of Vitamin C products and this is my favourite by far.

So, Vitabrid has a patented Vitamin C formula that releases their Vitamin C continuously over a period of 12h instead of all at once, so your face is exposed to a constant dose Vitamin C 24/7 if you're using this twice a day, instead of just one huge dose, twice a day.

This comes in a powder form, which you can mix into any serum or moisturizer you're already using. Now, this is BRILLIANT, because here are the advantages of this powder form:

Keeps the Vitamin C stabilized

If you have a Vitamin C serum, you're actually supposed to use it up within 3 months, because Vitamin C oxidises and becomes less effective. I've even had my skin turn yellow from an old Vitamin C serum. This powder form lets you freshly mix your vitamin C right before you use it, so you get the most effective dose.

Less chances of a bad reaction

Sometimes, there are ingredients within a serum that we're allergic or sensitive too, and it's not even one of the active ingredients we want. It could be a fragrance, a preservative, or even a stabilizer. That's why it's awesome when we can incorporate this into a serum we know for sure we're not allergic to.

Cuts a step in you skincare routine

I use LOADS of serums (3) before my face oil, creams, masks, etc. The hard part about that kind of routine is that your face sometimes can't absorb that much products. Sure, my Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum helps me absorb a LOT more products, but being able to combine 2 steps into 1 really helps.

The only disadvantage to this powder version that I can think of is that some people may hate the idea of mixing your own serum every single time.

I found my skin ended up looking better on Vitabrid than any other Vitamin C product. Since I can mix it into Hada Labo –my favourite, holy grail, super comfortable hyaluronic acid serum–this is the most comfortable formula-wise too. And I'm not sure if I just got used to Vitamin C, but I've never experienced any stinging with this product, unlike with other products.

So far, everyone I've introduced this too have liked it, and I've bought a total of 11 bottles of this since I discovered it a year ago, just because people keep taking them from me. So now I make sure I always have spares.

Anyway, of course such an amazing product comes with a's expensive. $60 for 3g of product. 3g of product usually lasts me 2-3 months though, so I think the price isn't that bad.

Vitabrid  C¹² Dual Serum

This has vitamin C too, as well as peptides. Peptides are something I've been meaning to incorporate into my routine since they're awesome for anti-aging, so the offer from the Vitabrid team to try their peptide serum for free came at a right time. Now, one thing about peptides & vitamin C is that they're not that stable together and best used within a month after mixing. That's why this serum's design is brilliant. The serum comes in the form of a bottle where the vitamin C and peptides are kept separate. Twisting the bottom of the serum releases them into each other and you'll just have to shake to mix. Each bottle is meant to last you a month, and a pack of the dual serum comes with 3 bottles.

Ever since I started using this serum, I noticed that there were less tired looking photos when I take my selfies for instagram. I didn't realize how big of a difference this made to my skin, until I took a look at the picture I took before I started using the new Vitabrid products:

Yup, the change happened in just 45 days. My skin looks plumper and tighter.

This is now a forever item in my skincare, I need to buy more of it, I LOVE it.

Vitabrid  C¹² Dual Eye & Face Cream

So this is meant to be used as both a face cream and an eye cream. If you watched my skincare video, you may remember me raving about how my Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream EX is so awesome, it makes great eye creams look terrible because nothing can work the magic it works on my face. Seriously, once I switch to a different eye cream, the hollows under my eyes return. I've tried it with 4 different eye creams already and got the same results with all 4. Sulwhasoo is just that great. So I tried this as an eye cream without too much hope and....yup, the hollows under my eyes returned within 2 weeks. I don't think it says anything about Vitabrid's product, it's just that Sulwhasoo is wayyyyy too good.

As a face cream...unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. Now, the FACE Brightening Powder, Dual Serum, and Dual Eye & Face Cream all contain adenosine, adenosine is yeast derived, and yeast breaks me out. I knew this coming in, but I thought since I'm ok with the FACE Brightening Powder, Vitabrid may have manufactured a type of adenosine that doesn't break me out. So I went for it. And I broke out.

The breakout stopped when I discontinued this, but was still using the Dual Serum, so I think my face can handle a certain level of adenosine. Just the FACE Brightening Powder & Dual Serum is fine, but once I add this moisturizer, my face throws a tantrum and erupts in a bazillion pimples to show it.

I don't think I'm missing much though, because I don't really like the texture of this product –it feels heavy and greasy. My face has been spoiled by too many lightweight but effective moisturizers, so it feels really uncomfortable on my face. I'm now using it on my elbows and knees though, and they've gotten wayyy softer and smoother, so I do think it's relatively effective. Just not effective enough for me to tolerate the breakout or the greasiness.

Vitabrid  C¹² Sheet Masks

I got to try 3 types of sheet masks!

  • Peptibrid Dual Mask Brightening Luminous 
  • Peptibrid Dual Mask Soothing Balancing
  • Vitabrid Dual Mask Age-Defying Firming

Yes, these masks are awesome. I have no complaints quality-wise. They're extremely generous with this serums too, so I easily have enough leftover serum to coat almost my whole body. The catch is that these masks are about $35 for 5 pieces. $7/mask is still too expensive for me, especially when cheaper $1-3 masks still work just as well. I think I may see the need to splurge on these once I'm older, but at this moment, I don't think I'd splurge on them yet. Don't get me wrong, I love these. If someone offers to send me a lifetime supply of these with the condition that I wear one each day, I'd totally jump on the offer. But spending my own money? I need to make more first...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: M.O.B Cosmetics (BAHASA)

Aku barusan nyoba Ulti-Matte Lip Cream & Luxury Faux lashes dari M.O.B Cosmetics! Ini review & swatches nya!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Tutorial: Makeup Wisuda

This graduation makeup is done completely with all the makeup products you can find in Indonesia! Unfortunately, I forgot to film the part where I applied setting spray...whoops >.<

Remember to use setting spray if you're doing this...

This is a tutorial requested by one of my followers, and if you have any tutorial request, feel free to leave a comment! And so sorry my Indonesian sucks! XD

For the oval brush & Etude House Drawing eyebrow, you can head to Zilingo

Kay Collection Discount Code: KBAFrancesca for Rp 50,000 off purchases above Rp 200,000

Products used:

* Innisfree blush (13), eyeshadows (24, 25, 32, 39), eye primer
* Absolute New York primer & setting spray
* Make Over colour correcting palette, highlight & contouring palette, Smokey palette, foundation (Maple)
* Noryuki Sporty lip cream
* NYX Duochromatic Illuminating Powder (Synthetica)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tutorial: "No Makeup" Makeup For Hooded Monolids

There’s this myth that the only option for a “no makeup” makeup for hooded monolids (single eyelids/Asian eyes with no visible crease) is just one sheer wash of a beige all over your lids or a big dark eyeliner block that looks like “no makeup” only if you keep your eyes wide open like some creepy murderous doll. 

You can actually actually still make your eyes look larger while keeping it looking natural, like you’re not wearing any makeup and here’s the tutorial:

Here’s a pic to show the difference it makes on my eyes. Left is bare, right is with the makeup:

And this is how looks with my eyes closed!


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: Enchanteur Body Lotions

Guess what I got from Enchanteur!

It's quite an awesome haul! Enchanteur sponsored me to review their products, but as always, all opinions are mine. Enchanteur is a multi-national personal care brand that's distributed in the Middle East, as well as Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In Indonesia, Enchanteur can be found in several supermarket chains including Giant, Transmart and Carrefour. Check out Enchanteur's site to see their full product range! And you can follow them on social media:

  • FB: Enchanteur
  • Twitter: enchanteurID
  • IG: enchanteurid

In this review, I'll focus on the body lotions since I received all 3 scents it came in. All 3 are floral scents, so if you're a fan of floral scents, you'll definitely want them.

For this review, I actually stopped my husband before he went to work so he can help me test the scents out. There are 3 scents, I've already put on my jeans, and I only have 2 arms....I need a 3rd limb to test the 3rd scent.... :P

Being the world's best hubby, obviously volunteered to help. Look at him, he's so happy to do it.

So recently, my husband and I went on a dive trip to Timor Leste, and ignoring my warnings about the importance of sun protection, my husband went and got himself sunburnt (sigh...boys.). He's been peeling like crazy so he's looking like a fuzzy lizard at the moment. Since the body lotions contain aloe vera which is great for healing sunburns and highly moisturizing olive butter, I convinced him to lend me his arms...for his own good, of course.

I didn't think it would actually work for healing sunburns, so I didn't take before shots, but it actually did! He's not so fuzzy now! The lotion absorbs fast, so you don't end up with that sticky lotion feeling, it feels light and not greasy at all, but at the same time, it really moisturizes! It's definitely great for applying lotion on the go.

My husband likes the feel of it so much, he's asking me for massages with it every night now...with the pretext of healing his sunburns. Honestly, his sunburns are pretty much gone now, but I think he's enjoying being pampered.

Scent Reviews


"Rose and Iris enhanced with creamy Vanilla"

The scent is a sharp but light, vibrant rose scent with a hint of powderiness that comes from the vanilla. Out of the three scents, I find that this is the one that's the most attention grabbing, and intensely floral. Even with the vanilla, it's not a gourmand scent at all. I think this scent is the most mature out of the three scents.

Personally, I find it too floral for me since I'm not a big fan of florals, but if you're a floral fan, you'll go nuts over this. This one is my husband's favourite scent!


"Rose, Muguet and soft Cedarwood"

This is one of those clean, powdery yellow floral scent that makes me think of a clean, white bar of soap. The florals are definitely the top notes that hit you first, but underneath, you can definitely smell the luxurious cedarwood base note grounding the scent. I'm a huge fan of woody scents so I wish the cedarwood is stronger, because it smells soooooo gorgeous! Even with the cedarwood, this scent is a cool, light scent that's feathery rather than heavy.

If you want a clean scent that makes you smell like you've just stepped out of the shower and freshly scented yourself with nothing but soap, this is it. It's an ageless, classic scent. As the scent dries down, I get more of that cedarwood I love and the scent just makes me feel like I'm lounging in an elegant, wood-panelled study, curled up with a good book on a leather, wingback chair.


"Bulgarian roses with White Jasmine"

This one is my favourite. Normally, Bulgarian rose as a note scares me since Bulgarian rose scents tend to be heavy, heady rose scents. Not this one, though. It's a velvety, yet light rose scent with that clean, elegant white floral scent jasmines bring. There's the stereotype that roses are heavy, "old lady" scents, but this is definitely young and light, without being little girl-ish. It makes me think of a young girl in the first blush of youth, starting to become an elegant young lady. It makes me think of ballerinas in flowing tutus, gracefully gliding across the room while soft, pink rose petals shower them.