Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Review: Boost Balm Skin Barrier Cream

Storytime with Sarah

Just when you thought you know your skin - it betrays you.

As shallow as it may seem, I only recently discovered and observed that my skin changes in tandem with my cycle. I'm not a science student nor a science graduate hence matters regarding the magical world of science, I'm most of the time - puzzled.

Here are the things I noticed:

Week 1 & 2 of the month, my skin would be at its best behaviour. Clear plump skin, cheeks like peaches which is a heaven-made canvas for makeup. As vain as it sounds, I would gush every time I see a cakeless base with a beautiful glow. I would confidently and foolishly think I got my skincare routine all figured about. Imagine that hair flip for me, would you? Thanks.

Then come Week 3 & 4 of the month. Like an indecisive, little piece of sh*t - my skin decides to flip its 'table' on my skincare routine. Now, imagine a house on fire and I'm running in circles. It is as if those products that used to work wonders decides to be utterly useless when I needed them most. Reminds me of my current WiFi. My skin would experience clogged pores/ closed comedones, pimples with no heads (they're the worse!) and whatever makeup I used previously that looked good - looks like I got run over by a bus or as if I had not slept for a week.

So how did I heal my skin?

Thanks to Boost Balm Skin Barrier Cream.

What is Boost Balm Skin Barrier Cream?

It's a 20ml black, solid gourd-shaped bottle with a pump that is priced at RM120. Its opacity helps stabilise the ingredients, extending its shelf life. It was initially heavily marketed as a primer and they still do but over time, it is introduced as a skincare product because of its healing properties. Here's a snippet of information from their website:
Primes Makeup stays for more than 10 hours post application!
Fills pores, 100% natural & suitable for Oily, Dry and Combination skin.
Protects Patented technology of film forming invisible mask once applied.
Creates a breathable film on your skin so any cosmetic products applied above it will adhere to the film and not your skin! So you now need not worry about NOT wearing makeup products due to sensitive skin, as it will not have direct contact with your skin!
Heals Rich in Anti-ageing properties such as Phytosan K to prevent premature ageing. Bearberry extract is incorporated to create supple, brighter looking skin.
Geranium extract is incorporated to battle combat with any sensitive bumps!

I won't discuss the ingredients because it isn't my forte. I will leave that to the experts but I will share with you the list of experts I follow and learn from in another post. But here's the ingredients list:
Ingredients:Water, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate (and) Glyceryl Stearate (and) Stearyl Alcohol , Octyldodecyl Oleate (and) Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate (and) Polyhydroxystearic Acid (and) Octyldodecanol, Lauryl Laurate , Alpha Arbutin, Glycerin, Salix alba bark extra, Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Olea europaea (Olive ) Oil, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Taraktogenos Kurzii Seed Oil (and) Nigella Sativa Seed Oil (and) Leptospermum Scoparium Branch/Leaf Oil (and) Potassium Lauroyl Wheat Amino Acids (and) Palm Glycerides (and) Capryloyl Glycine (and) Magnolia Grandiflora Bark Extract, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Pulp Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium ) Oil, EDTA.


This may read like a paid advertisement and I do wish that I was paid to write reviews but alas no. The truth is that my journey with this Skin Barrier Cream was not a smooth one. I started using this product circa late 2017. By the end of 2018, I finished three bottles and wasn't satisfied with the results. So I decided to take a break from it and went about exploring various skin care product, seeking the holy grail. Slowly and expensively, I soon realised that there is no holy grail. It all boils down to knowing your skin and study about ingredients as much as possible. 

Early this year, my skin was behaving pretty well. Occasional, annoying breakouts but nothing too serious. But then around March/April, I started to experience breakouts that take longer than usual to heal. I had two pimples that do not have a head, felt like bruises and doesn't seem to go down despite using my usual creams. It went on for about a week or two and I was at my end's wits. Nothing worked. Lo and behold, I reached out for this Skin Barrier Cream again and decided to put it to the test. 

During the testing duration, I made sure to use products that focus on hydration and calming my skin. I stopped using actives such as Vitamin C, Retinol, AHA and BHA. The products I used are listed below. 

Night skincare routine: 
1. Hatomugi Skin Conditioner
2. Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
3. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum
4. AMPM Super Triple HA Lotion
5. Boost Balm Skin Barrier Cream

Day skincare routine:
1. Hatomugi Skin Conditioner
2. Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
3. AMPM Super Triple HA Lotion
4. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum
5. Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Advanced Face Serum
6. Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Face Lotion
7. Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care SPF50+ PA++++

I stuck to this routine for about a week plus and my skin improved tremendously. I had pimples that weren't fully formed and it 'revealed' itself after a few days of application as seen in the pictures below. The ones that have broken were healed within days. If that's not a miracle cream, I'm not sure what's called - hence, the tagline: 'Pegasus Blood Edition'.

Sidenote: I think if I hadn't taken the before and after pictures, I wouldn't be able to tell the massive difference. It's honestly difficult to take a before and after pictures with a phone because of the change in lighting, etc. Do share or recommend cameras that will be good for this kind of work and can also be used for tutorials. I would really appreciate it! 

As you can see from the pictures above, the improvement is jaw-dropping. The Skin Barrier Cream did help heal and strengthen my skin. It's not as sensitive as it was previously. I'm happy and grateful that our very own Malaysian brand has outdone itself. I didn't need to look far and wide. 

Using it on its own may not be hydrating or moisturising enough. Like my skin, I had to use hydrating products and seal everything with the Skin Barrier Cream. I also incorporated Paris B's Moisture Sandwich technique and my skin loves it. I have used this as a primer but I found that I love it more as my night cream during my skin's troubled days. As the saying goes, "One man's meat is another man's poison." So what may work for me might not work for you but take comfort that you will find your sweet spot. It takes time and lots of experimenting. 

Not all is a bed of roses with this Skin Barrier Cream. I am at my fifth or sixth bottle now and I have consistently faced issues with its packaging. The pump is problematic and I end up having to remove the pump and scoop the product surrounding the tube every time I use it. I have shared this issue with the owner of Boost Balm and she has taken note of it with the assurance that they are looking at improving the packaging which is comforting to know. 

I wished this cream came in a jar because of its thick, creamy consistency. The jar that is of the same quality and material of the current gourd-shaped bottle would be ideal. By doing so, I will be able to see the remainder of the product and I can scoop up every drop. Even more so, it would be great if they have a recycling program where used bottles can be returned with a reward system. I would be encouraged to continuously use the product. 


The product works for me and I'd recommend it to everyone who suffers from acne and you're at your ends wits. Sometimes it's just your skin barrier needs some TLC. Overwashing, over-exfoliation and over-introducing new products can stress your skin out. If you're experiencing serious acne issues, please do visit a specialist. Remember that your hormones or diet can also contribute to your acne problems. 

If you're interested in purchasing it, you can get it directly from their website (Boost Balm Skin Barrier Cream) or their registered agents.  Or if you're not from Malaysia, they are now available on Amazon UK.   

You can follow them on these social media channels for the latest updates:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BoostBalm/ 
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/boostbalm/?hl=en 
Website    : https://boostbalm.com/ 
This post does not contain any affiliate links nor it is sponsored or paid by Boost Balm. I purchased all 5-6 bottles with my own money and was personally moved to share my experience with this product. I wasn't prompted or forced to write a review. If a product works or doesn't, I share about it at my own time. I need facts and to be very certain about what I think or feel about the product before I write as you can see, writing takes up a chunk of my time and effort. More practice needed. 

So that's it, folks. Until next time. Thanks for taking the time to read!

Stay beautiful always, 
Sarah :) 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

[First Impressions + Review] Bell HYPOAllergenic

Last Thursday, to my surprise, I received a parcel via GDEX. While signing for my parcel, I thought hard and long - trying to figure out what I had bought online. I was pretty sure I had purchased something and forgotten about it. With the parcel in my hand and walking up to my room, I continued musing. Since I was on my way out, I decided to let it rest and open it when I get back. As you can imagine, it was at the back of my mind most of the time when I was out. Oh, how I abhor that nagging feeling - I couldn't wait to get back to the parcel. It was like an early Christmas present!  Lo and behold, it was a bunch of goodies gifted from Bell Cosmetics, or also known as Bell Hypoallergenic. 

I'm no stranger to Bell HYPOAllergenic as I stumbled upon them a few months ago in Caring Pharmacy, Paradigm Mall. I actually purchased a few items from the brand and have been trying their products ever since. I purchased approximately 3 items, which consisted of a blush, a lip product, and a concealer. What attracted and prompted me to purchase these products on a whim as I had no prior knowledge of this particular brand, is the word "hypoallergenic" and also the fact that it was manufactured in Poland. Oh yea, super long post ahead! You have been warned.

What is 'Hypoallergenic'? 

As a general makeup user with a zilch background in science, I initially thought that the word 'hypoallergenic' meant that you won't break out or react to the product. But thankfully, I'm surrounded by a handful of women of science background. One of them, who studied genetics in uni, immediately pointed out the error of my assumption when I shared it with her, that the prefix 'hypo-' scientifically and medically means "less than normal or normally". To be honest, as she explained, my little creative brain was stunned for a moment. I learn something new every day. Love it!

To ensure that all of us start off on the right foot, it's essential to understand what 'hypoallergenic' means. Let's break down the word: 'hypoallergenic' = 'hypo' + 'allergenic'.

As mentioned earlier, 'hypo' is a prefix that means "less than normal or normally".

Allergenic is derived from the root word "allergy". Allergy means an unusual reaction towards a substance or situation. Hence, allergenic is medically termed as "having the capacity to induce allergy" - simply put, it means it can cause an allergic reaction.

So when you put both words together, "hypoallergenic", it means that the product or an ingredient/substance is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. To sum up, the chances of having an allergic reaction when you use a product or when exposed to an ingredient/substance is lessnot completely allergy-proof. 

FUN FACT: The word 'Allergy' was coined in 1906 from the German word 'Allergie', by Austrian paediatrician Clemens E. von Pirquet (1874-1929). Allergie is the combination of two Greek root words, 'allos' and 'ergon'." Allos means "other, strange or different" and ergon means "activity". Source: dictionary.com & etymonline

Who is Bell HYPOAllergenic?

Bell HYPOAllergenic is a new innovative line of Bell Cosmetics, which was introduced in 2014. It is the first hypoallergenic line of colour cosmetics on the Polish market. Click here to view an introductory video.

Bell is a leading Polish manufacturer of cosmetics, whom successfully sold products for over 30 years in the markets of several dozen countries, in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in Western Europe. They are present in such demanding and competitive markets as:

Republic of South Africa
Middle East

The circle of recipients of Bell cosmetics has been recently expanded by the addition of Singapore, Hong Kong, Estonia, Morocco, Iran, Taiwan and the Scandinavian countries. Last but not least, Malaysia. As a result, their products are now exported to about 50 countries.

The high quality of their cosmetics is ensured by their R&D laboratory, where their specialists make sure that the cosmetics not only enhance beauty but also care for the skin. The microbiology laboratory has control over the quality of products that are delivered to their consumers. They also independently design and manufacture the packaging of their products. The high quality of their products and attractive, affordable pricing enables them to compete with foreign brands. By using modern technical and technological solutions, they constantly strive to perfect their cosmetics.

Edited from the main source: Bell Defines Beauty 

HYPOAllergenic Products 

From left to right: Anti-Redness Primer, Pore Correcting Primer & Mat & Smooth Makeup Base


Before we dive into the first impressions and reviews, I have a problematic skin. It's dehydrated and oily. Making it extremely prone to closed comedones and since the best way to treat it is with active acids such as AHA/BHA, my skin barrier isn't exactly at the best state. Hence, I occasionally experience patches of redness. That's why I chose to start off with the Anti-Redness primer.  

Bell HYPOAllergenic Anti-Redness Primer | RM52.90

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this primer: 
  1. "neutralizes redness and conceals skin imperfections, making the blood vessels and discolouration almost invisible". 
  2. "moisturizes and smoothes the skin and visually extends the life of the foundation". 
  3. "light formula that offers an easy and even application". 
Used the Anti-Redness Primer in this picture.

I was sceptical when it came to primers that claim to neutralize redness. It either gives you a white cast or doesn't reduce redness at all. Based on the "Before and After" picture, I'd confidently say yes to "neutralizing redness" part of claim No.1. When I took the "Before" picture, I had zero expectations. After applying a pump or two with my fingers, I wiped my hands clean and took the "After" picture. That was when a glimmer of hope returned to my eyes. You can see that I had a little smile in my "After" picture. I was that impressed. Upon further scrutiny, I do see a difference. Most of the redness has been neutralized, even the two big spots on my forehead looked less angry. The most obvious parts would be my nose and cheeks. My skin tone looks a little more evened out. As for the "concealing skin imperfections", "making blood vessels and discolouration almost invisible" claims may be stretching it. But it might work if you have a normal skin type. 

Honestly, I have not found an anti-redness primer that actually works well with my skin. It's either they are too emollient, cling on to my dry patches or look green and patchy. I'm so glad that I did not experience any of those. It felt like a lightweight moisturizer that smoothes over easily without cling onto my acne or dry patches. Therefore, claim No. 2 is partially spot on. It does "moisturize and smoothes the skin". As for "visually extends the life of the foundation", I can't say whether it does because I used Dior Undercover 24HR Full Coverage Foundation. Will update when I have tested it with a less longer-lasting foundation.    

The primer doesn't feel thick or silicone-y, which are two big plus in my books. Since Nov/Dec 2017, I have been actively using sunscreens every day. So primers that I use have to sit well with my sunscreens, no compromise. I'm happy to report that it went on top smoothly and I did not experience pilling. The sunscreen I used was the famous Shiseido ANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen Mild Milk SPF50+ PA++++. Hence, claim No. 3 is true

Bell HYPOAllergenic Mat & Smooth Makeup Base | RM52.90 

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this primer: 
  1. "extends makeup's durability" 
  2. "eases makeup application"
  3. "moisturises and smoothes fine wrinkles" 
  4. "after application, skin becomes matte and silky smooth to the touch" 
I have not gotten the chance to test this primer out yet but when I swatched it, it has a similar consistency to the Anti-Redness primer. It does not feel thick nor loaded with silicones. It does feel promising and will update with a review when I have tested it.  

Bell HYPOAllergenic Pore Correcting Primer | RM52.90

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this primer: 
  1. "noticeably reduces the visibility of pores"
  2. "has a light formula and non-greasy consistency that does not weigh down the skin"
  3. "enables even spreading and visually smoothens the skin"
  4. "moisturizes - prevents the skin from drying out"
  5. "evens out and firms the skin for many hours"
  6. "ensures easy application and prolongs makeup" 
  7. "perfect for anyone (women) with sensitive skin, susceptible to irritation"

I have not gotten the chance to test this primer out yet but when I swatched it, it has a similar consistency to the Anti-Redness primer. It does not feel thick nor loaded with silicones. It does feel promising and will update with a review when I have tested it.  

HYPOAllergenic Creamy Rouge Glow Stick/Stick Blush (01, 02) | RM49.90

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this stick blush: 
  1. "stick form provides convenient and precise application" 
  2. "light formula for easy application and leaves no streaks"
  3. "adapts perfectly to the skin and does not deprive it of its natural look"
  4. "durable and does not rub off, so that the skin remains radiant, illuminated and relaxed throughout the day"

I have not gotten the chance to test these blush sticks on my face yet as it's cream formulas isn't exactly my favourites. In the swatches above, the middle swatches were swatched heavily and the swatches beside them were swatched twice only. I personally forsee this working well with dry skin as it has a creamy formula that doesn't dry matte. Will provide more information once I have tested it out. 

HYPOAllergenic Modelling Rouge/Modelling Blush (1, 2 & 3) | RM35.90

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this powder blush: 
  1. "contains ultra-micronized talc, which ensures easy application and leaves skin silky soft"
  2. "gives silky, sensual finish and optically smoothes out roughness" 
  3. "pigment particles coated with jojoba oil esters moisturize the skin, leaving it to feel pleasant and creamy for a long time" 

Left picture: Modelling Blush 01 (Top), Modelling Blush 02 (Bottom left), Modelling Blush 03 (Bottom right)
Right picture: (from left to right) Modelling Blush 01, Modelling Blush 02, Modelling Blush 03

 (from left to right) Modelling Blush 01, Modelling Blush 02, Modelling Blush 03
 (from left to right) Modelling Blush 01, Modelling Blush 02, Modelling Blush 03
Aesthetically, these blushes look good. I love the prints on the blushes. It definitely does not look 'cheap'. The formula of these blushes seems to feel solid, not exactly soft or buttery nor it's dry or powdery. It's an entirely strange, new formula to me. It reminds me of Clinique Cheek Pop blushes but Clinique blushes aren't as dense as these blushes. Due to its dense nature, I'd recommend using blush brushes with natural bristles to apply them rather than synthetic bristles. I didn't have any luck picking up the product with synthetic bristles. After using all three shades - truth to be told, I wasn't very impressed. Maybe it is because I'm spoilt by other formulas and finishes. 

According to the claims, only Modelling Blush 01 and 03 fits the bill. Unfortunately for Modelling Blush 02, I had to scrape the first layer in order to achieve the level of pigmentation I was satisfied with. It's an odd formula, but don't let that deter you from trying them out. Modelling Blush 02 strongly reminds me of Clinique Cheek Pop in Melon Pop. So if you had always wanted a similar shade to Melon Pop but have extremely sensitive skin, you can give Modelling Blush 02 a try. Just be prepared to gently scrape the first layer to 'activate' the blush. These are basic powder blushes, which I personally think is great for young skin, teenagers or makeup novices. It's really difficult to overapply these blushes. 

HYPOAllergenic Matte Lip Liquid Lipstick | RM35.90

 According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this matte liquid lipstick:

  1. "provides great coverage"
  2. "long-lasting, matte effect after the very first use"
  3. "liquid formula allows for easy and precise formula" 
  4. "does not leave the lips dry and prevents chapping" 
  5. "lip remain smooth, soft and full of intensive colour all day long" 

Ah.. matte liquid lipsticks. One of the biggest trend in the makeup community. There was a time it was all about matte liquid lipsticks. Almost every brand I could think of came out with one. It was 'matte'-ness, I tell you. Geddit? Teehee. Anyway, when it comes to matte liquid lipsticks, I'm extremely fussy because my lips tend to dry out and flake at the end of the day. So the matte liquid lipsticks I use have to feel comfortable throughout the day, look decent after a meal, and I can reapply without having a crusty or flaky-looking ring on the outline of my lips. 

Anyway, I couldn't find a description of the shades. So here are descriptions of the shades according to my eyes. I used this colour thesaurus as a guide: 
  • Shade 01 - nude tan, sepia with neutral undertones
  • Shade 02 - soft berry with cool undertones
  • Shade 03 - pale, baby pink with cool undertones
  • Shade 04 - bright, deep pink with neutral undertones 
  • Shade 05 - candy red with yellow undertones
  • Shade 06 - coral watermelon pink with neutral undertones

The liquid formula does allow for an easy and precise application but I noticed that the formula for these liquid lipsticks is interesting. At the initial application, it went on like a gloss and I found it difficult to apply an even coat of colour, specifically with the lighter shades. About a minute or two, it dried down matte and that was when I had the epiphany to apply another layer once the first layer has dried down a little. That was when I was able to achieve better and even coverage with the lighter shades. 

Claim no. 4 & 5 isn't entirely accurate. My lips do feel noticeably dry once the lipsticks have dried down to a matte finish. But not extremely drying, where it feels like my soul is being sucked out through my lips. Will update more details on the reapplication and how it looks like after a meal. 

In my personal opinion, I found Shade 01 and 03 to be extremely weird. I could pull of Shade 01 on its own but I have to pair it carefully with my eye makeup. As I was messing around with the shades, thinking how I could pull them off - then it hit me. The Shade 01 is extremely neutral, which makes it an excellent mixer! So I proceeded to mix Shade 01 with the rest of the shades and here's the end result: 

I mixed Shade 01 with the rest of the shades and voila, gorgeous nudes!
What do you think? Gorgeous nudes, isn't? I can't wait to use combo 1+3 with a heavier eye makeup. Combo 1+2 and 1+6 looks like something I would wear on a daily basis, paired with a simple makeup. Do give this a try and share it with me. I would love to see your personalised shade!

HYPOAllergenic Intense Colour Moisturizing Lipstick/ Pencil Lipstick | RM**

According to Bell HYPOAllergenic, this moisturizing pencil lipstick:
  1. "has a velvet, creamy consistency of the lipstick covers the lips with a uniform colour without the sticking-together effect." 
  2. "thick pencil allows for uniform application of the product." 
  3. "moisturizes - softens and smoothes the delicate skin of the lips thanks to the content of emollients." 
The picture on the right: Stains left after using Garnier Micellar Water Even For Sensitive Skin to wipe it away

I do like pencil lipsticks in general because it's easy to apply. There's no need for lip liners and I can apply it in a moving car without worrying about drawing in my face or getting it on my teeth. That happened a couple of times with a liquid lipstick. Sigh. This pencil lipstick makes it easy to apply and the formula doesn't leave my lips feeling sticky nor too slippery. I also like the fact that it stains because this means that I don't have to reapply it often. Muahaha. *evil laugh*

If you're not keen with liquid lipsticks or pencil lipsticks, fret not. Bell HYPOAllergenic got you covered. They have other formulas for you to choose from. They have Bell HYPOAllergenic lip tints, HYPOAllergenic Creamy Lipstick, HYPOAllergenic Soft Colour Moisturising Lipstick and HYPOAllergenic Liquid Lip Lacquer - to name a few. They also have other lip products such as HYPOAllergenic Lip Liner, HYPOAllergenic Regeneration Lip Balm and HYPOAllergenic Lip Primer. 


Bell HYPOAllergenic is a cosmetic line that looks and sounds extremely promising. The brand's refreshing approach towards makeup by caring for the skin has successfully roped me in. If time permits, I would love to look into the ingredients and understand what makes this brand stand out and apart from the other brands. When I do find out, I will definitely share about it here.

The products that I foresee myself continuously using are the Anti-Redness primer, Liquid Eye Concealer, Modelling Blush 02 & 03, the matte liquid lipsticks and the moisturising pencil lipsticks. I can't share a favourite yet as I need more time to test them out in different situations and different products. Do follow me on Instagram - @lashesandstrokes to see what products constantly shows up in my day-to-day routine. You can also ask questions about makeup or skincare and I will try my level best to answer.

Based on this post, which product caught your fancy? Share with me.

Follow them on: 
International Website: http://en.bell.com.pl/

Until next time.

Stay beautiful always,
Sarah :)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

[Skincare] Current Night Skincare Regime

If you have been following me on Instagram, I shared a snap on my Instastory about layering my moisturisers and hoping it won't cause my skin to breakout. So here's a post about it. 

So these are the products I used on the 03.04.18 and I'm happy to report that I woke up to a not-so-irritated skin despite using AHA and retinol. 

As usual, I did a "little" manual extraction to physically remove closed whiteheads and blackheads. To clean and calm my irritated skin, I cleaned my face with cotton pads soaked in Cosrx Clarifying Treatment Toner (RM45; 15ml). After the toner, I applied Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Boosting Ampoule (RM89, 25ml) with Cica and Firming Effector (RM23 each; 7ml) to hydrate and prep my skin (functions similarly as the Innisfree Green Tea Serum). I'm happy to report that the ampoule does not leave a sticky residue and it is absorbed into the skin in less than a minute. 

To hydrate my skin further, I tone my face with cotton pads soaked with Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin (RM62; 200ml). After this step, my skin looks and feels plump. To keep my closed comedones in control, I apply Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (RM56; 100ml) with my finger focusing on areas where I have pimple/acne scars and breakouts. This powerful bugger does sting and the scent isn't exactly enjoyable but heck, it works and that's all that matters. Once I have applied AHA, I will let it sink in for about 20 - 30 minutes before continuing with my next step. 

After 20 - 30 minutes, I continued with First Aid Beauty Retinol Serum (RM278; 30ml) - focusing on areas where I have fine lines such as my forehead, malar area and nasolabial folds. I would try to apply a thin layer on my marionette lines (near the mouth) because that's the area I tend to experience dry patches, which shows prominently whenever I use foundation or powder. Based on my current experience, retinol or actives tend to leave my skin feeling tight and sometimes a sharp, stinging pain if I don't hydrate or moisturise sufficiently. To counter that, I sealed my skin with a layer of Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion, which cools and leaves my skin oh-so-plump. 

Not taking any risks, I add another layer of Innisfree Bija Cica Essence (RM118; 50ml), which contains bija oil and D-panthenol that helps reinforce and rebuild weakened skin barrier - something my skin desperately needs. After using this essence for about 2 - 3 weeks, I noticed that whenever I remove my sunscreen and powder/foundation at the end of the day, my skin does not feel taut and uncomfortable. So I'm guessing this essence does help rebuild my skin barrier. Will definitely do a thorough review when I have finished it.  

Since I used AHA and retinol, I added Innisfree Bija Cica Balm (RM106; 40ml) to my layering but I only applied on areas where I needed more moisturising such as the forehead, breakouts, malar area and marionette lines. I might want to switch to Innisfree Bija Cica Intense Balm once I have finished using this. 

After following @makeupbypapot for some time, I learned more than a thing or two about "sealing" your skincare. She does a great job of simplifying and explaining complicated stuff, especially when it comes to ingredients or skincare. To seal in my 'hard work', I used Bobbi Brown Hydrating Gel Cream, which retails for RM200+ (can't recall the exact price, will update once I have referred the receipt). I initially planned to use it as a day cream but since my night cream (Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream) finished, I decided to use it as my night cream instead. I have been using it for about 1-2 weeks now and I was expecting breakouts and a whole load of drama on my skin. To my surprise, I woke up to a hydrated skin with my pores minimised and plump-looking skin all the time.
YASS (* o *) 

As for the Stratia Liquid Gold, I purchased it at RM125 (60ml) from @makeupbypapot. This was my second time using it and since I did not experience any adverse reactions from the first use, I thought - hey, why not layer on top of my Bobbi Brown Hydrating Gel Cream? I mean, what could go wrong? Right? Ehehehe. So with crossed fingers, I layered it on top of my first moisturiser and prayed. Guess what, NO BREAKOUTS! HAH. Might try this again and see how it fares in a long-run. Will update this post if I'd ever breakout from this combo. Heh. 

For my eyes, I have been using this duo combo for a month now and I'm liking the results. I discovered this Clinique All About Eyes Serum during my honeymoon last year when I was oddly experiencing extremely dry under eyes. Retails at RM157 (15ml), it's pretty steep for me but I am glad I took the plunge because it does help de-puff my eyes, especially in the morning. It's not sticky or oily and it absorbs into the skin fairly quickly. The roller does leave a cooling sensation, which helps to reduce the puffiness. I use this mainly to help with the puffiness, not fine lines or dark circles.  

I don't believe in eye creams/serums that claim to reduce dark circles. If you read up about it, dark circles are caused by:  
  • Allergies 
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema) 
  • Contact dermatitis 
  • Fatigue (lifestyle/sleeping patterns) 
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) 
  • Heredity (genes) 
  • Pigmentation irregularities 
  • Rubbing or scratching your eyes 
  • Sun exposure 
  • Thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen 
Source: Mayo Clinic

So until you have narrowed down exactly what causes your dark circles, try to hold back from splurging on creams that promise magical effects on dark circles. However, I do believe a good eye cream/serum can help with fine lines. After much research (googling lah), I decided to lay my hard-earned money on Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix. This luxurious-looking bottle retails for RM315 (15 ml), which was why I held back for so long but as I was desperate to rid of the fine lines under my eyes - I took the plunge. I have been using it for about 4 weeks now and I can feel and see a difference. I am planning on reviewing this eye cream with before and after pictures, so keep your eyes peeled. Or simply, you can just follow me on Instagram for the update.  

Welp, that all for now. Toodles! 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sharing: Celebrating Althea's 1st Birthday! #AltheaTurns1

WHAT? IT'S ALMOST THE END OF JULY ALREADY?! Somebody stop the train! D:

*blink blink*
*rubs eyes*
..... *sinks into the chair*

As dramatic this entry may seem but without a doubt, in a blink of an eye or two, we have reach the third quarter of 2016. BUT, this post is not going to talk about the progression of new year resolutions..

This post is specially dedicated to... *drum rollsssssss*

A Heartiest Congratulations on turning 1 years old, Althea! 💜
Looking forward to many years to come :) 

Yep, you saw that right. Althea is celebrating it's first birthday TODAY! I am super happy for you, Althea and not forgetting, kudos to Tammy and her team of amazing Altheans! 

If you went, "Huh?" "Who's Althea?" or "What's Althea?" - fret not. I am slightly embarrassed to share the fact that I was a little late in joining the Althean bandwagon. After seeing Arisa and Laura going on about Althea, I knew I had to try it.  


They are Korea's premier online beauty destination providing the lowest prices to our consumers and strive to introduce K-beauty to the world. - source. In addition to that, here are a list of Althea's promises.

Okay, Althea in my own words: 

I have shopped about 3 times at Althea and had little or no trouble with all three of my orders except one tiny problem which was professionally solved. #customerservicebestweh. That's another story to tell next time but for now, be rest assured and know that you are in safe hands :)
Besides the extremely competitive prices, I love their shipping provider. Like, capital 'L-O-V-E'. My parcels always arrived on time or if not, earlier than expected. The delivery guy had the initiative to call to check my current whereabouts and to see if I was available to receive the parcel (unlike Sephora's delivery provider. *rolls eyes*). To add on, ALL of my POWDER/GLASS items ALWAYS reaches me INTACT and in PERFECT CONDITION. So yes, not only you are in safe hands but your 'babies' too! 😍 

So what I have experienced with Althea, I want you to have an experience at Althea too! Now if you have been holding back shopping at Althea's, THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO CHECK THAT MONTHS OLD CART OUT!. 😂 Why? Althea's Birthday Celebration starts (TODAY) on the 20th - 31st July, 2016 with friggin' awesome line ups of goodies and deals for YOU: 

Limited Edition Birthday Box + DIY Party Kit
*For orders placed on 20/7 onwards. While stocks last.*

If you are an in-denial-box-collector like lil' old me, these boxes are must haves. The box is super pretty, I tell youuuu.. (*auntie mode*). Not kidding weh. I managed to get my hands on their CNY version and boy, it's like Pokemon GO. GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL! 😜 I know some of you may think that it's just a box but I must stressed on the fact that this box is the closest you can get to touching Seoul, Korea's air particles/dust/microorganisms. That is, if you are a Korean beauty product fanatic and can't afford to fly to Korea. Like me. Teehee.

Free Goodies for first 1,500 shoppers
*Full size beauty products. While stocks last.* 

YEP, you saw these beautiful words right - it is F.R.E.E. Free what? FREE FULL SIZE BEAUTY PRODUCTS for the FIRST 1,500 shoppers. Uh..what are you waiting for? Go. Go now. Check that cart out. P.S. If you feel guilty purchasing, buy something for your mom/sister/girlfriend. Without you realizing it, the guilt will magically melt away 🎁 You generous woman, you. 😉

Birthday Giveaway. 
Pick 3 Top Sellers for 100% REBATE!
*Rebate will be credited into your account.*

Okay, how this works - When you purchase 3 items under the 'Best Sellers' category, you are entitled to a 100% rebate which will be credited into your account in a form of Althea Reward Points. Do note that it is non-cashable nor transferable. The rebate will be credited into your Althea account once the order has been successfully completed and delivered. If you would like further clarification, please do not hesitate to double-check with Althea. You can connect with them via Facebook :)

#AltheaTurns1 Instagram Contest
  • Got your Althea party kit? Wish us a happy birthday with #altheaturns1 and stand a chance to win amazing prizes such as Macbook Air, Ipad Air 2, iPhone 6S, Galaxy S6 Edge, Canon EOS M10 Selfie Camera, Althea credits and beauty hampers from Althea! 
  • Prizes total worth KRW10,000,000 to be won.
  • Contest starts from 20th July - 15th August, 2016.

Calling all mah selfie queens! Time to look FABULOUS *flips hair* and WIN YERSELF SELFIE-WORTHY PRIZES! What? How? It's simple. If you managed to get Althea's party kit, put the kit together and wish Althea happy birthday (be creative!). Don't forget to #altheaturns1 that picture to stand a chance in winning prizes!   

So.. what are you waiting for? 😉

See you at Althea!

Sarah 💜

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Sharing: What's Your Love Language?

Picture taken from Google.

It may be late to be blogging at this hour but I guess its better now or never especially when it comes random thoughts or emotions.What I would like to address now is the baby steps in getting to know oneself better, which is, do you know what's your love language? Knowing this little part of yourself may help you understand why you do the things you do or feel.

I got to know about this love languages back in 2012 and I really cannot recall how I stumble upon it. To be honest, when I took the test for the first time in 2012, all I thought was "ok, cool" and soon it faded into the archives of my brain.

The thing that brought this back was the conversation with my friend which somehow revealed to me what a horrible and awful person I am, Irresponsible with my emotions and actions which caused grief or bitterness in people around me, especially the people I love, When I thought I got it all in control or covered, it is things like these that comes knocking down on that ego throne I have made myself comfortable in. I guess it is true that He works in ways we cannot see.

I shan't talk much about the founder of this love languages test but I have attached a link to his profile with his name. Just click on it if you would like to read more about him.

Gary Chapman revealed that there are 5 types of love languages:

  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Receiving Gifts
The definitions are: 

Freakishly enough, it has been exactly 4 years and 13 days I last took the test. The same month but 4 years later! What are the odds. Hmm. Anyhow, here are my results: 

So here's the summary (actually I did this table so that it is easier for me to summarize, LOL): 

Acts of Service811Acts of Service
Physical Touch85Physical Touch
Quality Time79Quality Time
Words of Affirmation64Words of Affirmation
Receiving Gifts11Receiving Gifts

Based on the table, Acts of Services and Quality Time turns out to be my highest form of receiving love or perceiving love from someone and I had a mini epiphany that may also be my way of showing love to others as well. Yep, an 'Ah' moment happened when I saw the results. 

Let me try to explain. I did receive comments throughout these four years on how I am 'motherly' or I exude that 'motherly' vibe that can be good but also bad if I don't keep it in check. How?  

Good = caring, loving, etc.
Bad = possessive, bossy, etc. 

Being the eldest of 5 children, I guess doing things for people have been wired in my brain since young. Examples: Helping my siblings (indirectly helping my mom) such as helping them to take a bath/helping them get dressed/helping them read or with their homework means = I love my siblings. This could explain why the "Acts of Service" ranks high on my list of love languages as I grow older, wider, and hopefully in maturity as well. So if I offer to do something for you, know that I like you enough and I am glad to be able to help. Please don't mistaken this as an opportunity to ask people of this love language to do things for you when they did not offer to help. HAHA. 

Next on the list is 'Quality Time'. This is quite self-explanatory. As you grow over the years with good and bad experiences that makes you see and decide who and what is important in your life. Prioritizing. Also something that is still quite new to me. Quality time also requires commitment. One example could be, 'keeping to the agreed time' so that you will have more time to spend with one another instead of waiting on each other that may lead or encourage the simmering of contempt if not dealt with healthily. 

Okay, it is best for me to stop typing now before I start spouting utter rubbish or go on some random sharing as my eyelids are starting to feel heavy. Anyway, before I end my post, I would just like to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated with the website. Just sharing it as I found it helpful in understanding myself better and those around me. You can give this love languages test a try at this link: 

Take the test and share your story in the comments below. 
I would love to hear from you. 

Till next post,

Sarah :)

Thursday, 18 February 2016

News: Physicians Formula Media Launch

If you are a hardcore beauty addict, I guess you will know all about who and what this brand is. 
If the name sounds foreign to you, fret not. I shall story you.

I have personally known of the brand, Physicians Formula (PF), for about 6 years now ever since I started going serious with makeup. But back then, it was extremely tough to get their products as it was only available in the US and other parts of the world except Malaysia. One of the ways I am aware of on obtaining PF products are through US Sprees which was quite popular on Lowyat forums back then, or if you have a relative or friend visiting or living in the US, then you can get them to help purchase. Anyway, away with the tedious and painful long waits! PF has finally graced our humble shores and into one of our most popular pharmacies/local drugstores, exclusively at Watsons. 

Who & What is Physicians Formula?

It is said that the birth of Physicians Formula was from, the seed of love. According to PF's website, Physicians Formula's founding father, Dr. Frank Crandall, was an eminent allergist. His beloved wife had sensitive skin and probably most cosmetics back then terrorized her poor skin. It is because of her and his love for her, he created a unique line of cosmetics that changed the face of cosmetics. Fuh, drama. 

PF's claim

Physicians Formula's Media Launch in Malaysia

On the 21st of January 2016, Physicians Formula had their media launch at EIG. The event area was fairly spacious and the decorations were put together prettily and they had food, oh yes. Food. I mean, refreshments. Food is important, ok. 

I did not manage to get great photos and catch the names of the important people who officiated the event but I will leave them for the newspapers/magazines to cover. I shall cover the most important part, the makeup itself. Teehee. 

FYI: All photos were taken with my One Plus One hand phone camera. 

After the pink balloons were released.

To be honest, I was glad that Physicians Formula took the effort to set up makeup stations filled with their products for us to try and swatch to our heart's content! But unfortunately, the lighting was bad and it didn't help that my phone's camera couldn't pick up the colours well or do it justice. So no swatches this time round darlings. Sorry! I will try to invest in a good camera when I see a good deal. Any recommendations? :) 

About their products, I helped Jessica from JessytheKLChic with her makeup using Physicians Formula products. The products used were: 

  • Organic wear® 100% Natural Origin CC Color + Correction Cream SPF 20 in Light/Medium.
  • Youthful Wear™ Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Concealer in Light/Light.
  • Youthful Wear™ Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Illuminating Face Powder in Creamy Natural.

  • Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow
  • Eye Booster™2-in-1 Lash Boosting Felt-Tip Eyeliner + Serum 

All I can do is give my first impression on the products I have used. This is not a review but my initial thoughts of the products. 

ProductsShadesInitial Thoughts
Organic wear® 100% Natural Origin CC Color + Correction Cream SPF 20 Light/MediumThe consistency is light but not very runny. Light coverage but enough to even out the skin if your skin does not have a lot of imperfections. I would use this on my good skin days but that rarely happens.
Youthful Wear™ Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting ConcealerLight/LightIts consistency is fairly thick. Not thin and runny which is a good thing because you want coverage for dark circles under your eyes. You will have to warm it up first at the back of your hand for an even and smooth application. You will need to be careful to not apply too much as it can be quite cakey or look like an eye mask gone wrong.
Youthful Wear™ Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Illuminating Face Powder Creamy NaturalThis powder was love at first sight. I love how the powder is finely milled and it goes on smoothly on top of the CC Cream. It didn't leave the skin feeling extremely matte. It felt silky and gives a soft-looking finish. I was so in love with it that I bought one for myself!
Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye ShadowCan't recallThere wasn't any eyeshadows around so I used this as eyeshadows on Jessica's eyes. Boy, this needs brushes because I tried using my fingers and it didn't budge. So I had to use my little finger's nail to scrape a little off the surface to get some powder out. But the shades are beautiful if you love shimmery eyeshadows. The shimmer is made of fine particles, it looks more like a sheen. It is not like the Japanese/Korean kind of shimmery where there's fallouts.
Eye Booster™2-in-1 Lash Boosting Felt-Tip Eyeliner + SerumBlackOne of the liquid eyeliners that actually looks black. It's a pretty okay liquid eyeliner but I wouldn't recommend it if you don't like huge felt tips or have small-shaped eyes. Nothing to shout about. 

I'm on Snapchat! @lashesnstrokes

I made new friends!
From the left: Jessica, me, Aliza Sara, Jessica's friend (sorry dear, I forgot your name!! T^T)
ERMAGD, you gotta love the app B612! Made my skin look extra glowy! So ridiculous.
My #eotd of the day.
Was supposed to be inspired by the Pantone colours of the year but it ended up looking like a unicorn inspired look. HAHA.
Find out what products I used for this look from my Instagram: @lashesandstrokes

Have you tried Physicians Formula's products? 
Which one is your favourite?
Share with me in the comments below! :D

Sarah :)