Category Archives: Beauty

Winter Lips Savers

As the weather gets colder in Melbourne, and in the general area known as the Southern Hemisphere, the part of me that suffers the most is my lips. I am terrible at keeping myself hydrated throughout the day, I just couldn’t make myself drink enough water, which is terrible! Another thing I’m bad at, considering how chapped my lips can get, I can not for the life of me, remember to re-apply my lip balm throughout the day *face palm*

So with the cold weather breathing down our necks, the following are my go-to to help me somewhat hold on to a smooth, plump lips…

I shall review them on the order of the photo, from left to right:

  • Fresh Beauty SUGAR tinted lip balm in Coral – now that Fresh Beauty have finally arrived here in Australia, I’m happy to use this one EVERDAY… it gives my lips a slight tint of coral which makes my whole face looks alive. Lightly scented and has a velvety finish
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Lip Balm – I slightly panic if I can’t find this one in my bag. Comes in this chapstick form or a glossy finish lip balm tube, but I prefer this one because it is so convenient to apply. Always have one somewhere in my most frequently used bags, because this is the only thing I remember to put on my lips as soon as I see it
  • Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Peach – this tube has no colour, but it smells like Peach and I have a slight addiction to peach scented anything! This is my latest addition to my growing lip balm collection, and so far I’m loving it
  • Fresh Beauty SUGAR Lip Serum Advanced Therapy – Not a gloss or balm, this is literally a serum for your lips! I swear by this now because within two days of application, twice daily, my chapped lips is nowhere to be seen… Amazing stuff!
  • Fresh Beauty SUGAR Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy – the balm version to be used after you apply your serum BUT I personally, am not a huge fan. The texture is super thick but I do enjoy a slight mint flavour and scent
  • Fresh Beauty SUGAR tinted lip balm in Honey – obviously, you can probably tell, I am a big fan of Fresh Beauty tinted lip balm. This one gives the best brown nude tint that is perfect to go under my many taupe/nude coloured lipsticks, e.g. MAC’s Velvet Teddy

I should probably do an honourable mentioned, because I have run out of the product, but I have been an avid user of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Repair Lip Balm

What is your go-to lips savers??? Please leave comments and let me know, maybe I could give your fave a try. Don’t forget to follow my adventure on Instagram and I shall see you on my next post ๐Ÿ™‚

-k.m.

Japanese Skincare: First Impression

As a self confessed beauty lover, I believe I’m well versed when it comes to Korean beauty’s skincare or makeup products. When it comes to Japanese beauty however, I am a complete novice. Japanese beauty, for me is the absolute lux SK-II or Shu Uemura, which I have saved up for and tried out. But since SKII Facial Treatment Essence and few other products from them, I have not tried much Japanese beauty brands. So as a curious beauty lover, on a self-imposed spending budget, I want to expand my options! The following are what I’ve been testing out from Japanese beauty line…

Cure Natural Aqua Gel, Muji Light Toning Water High Moisture, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+

Here are my first impressions on each individual products,

  • Cure Natural Aqua Gel – an exfoliating gel, you apply to your face using circular motion. The friction of the gel on your skin will then remove dead skins. I am pretty good with exfoliating, as I use acid exfoliant often which I think is probably the reason why I did not have as much dead skins when I apply this to my face. I have however, tried on my legs and OH BOY… that’s apparently where all my dry skins went to hide! So first impression, this works ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Muji Light Toning Water High Moisture – Applied on cotton pad and it stinks my face a little, which considering there are no ingredients list, I am a little afraid there might be some kind of alcohol in this. I don’t know and I shall look into it a bit further, toner with alcohol is not unusual. If you have dry or sensitive skin however, it might do your skin more harm than good. First impression, not for me but will look into ingredients list and update you as soon as I can ๐Ÿ™‚
  • DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – THIS ONE I LIKEEEE!!! As an avid user of Shu Uemura cleansing oil, this is a heaven sent for me because of the price point! It is a thicker fluid consistency in comparison to the Shu Uemura, however, it does the trick. Takes makeup off my face in seconds. First impression, will buy when my Shu finishes ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Biore UV Aqua Rich SPF50+ – Can I tell you something, I hate wearing sunscreen ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I know, horrible! But I hate the feeling and the scent of sunscreen. I have tried many products non-oily, non-greasy ones before, but I still don’t like the feeling on my skin before putting makeup. This one, took me a while to decide to purchase it, but I have been enjoying using it everyday. The scent is super light and pleasant, the finish is slightly matte and not sticky. My makeup stays on fine therefore first impression, me love ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I thought I will also share with you what I have been using and loved from SK-II and my pal Shu Uemura,

(Left to right) Shu Uemura x Murakami Limited ed. Cleansing Oil, SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, SK-II R.N.A. POWER Radical New Age

  • Shu Uemura cleansing oil – I think many, who have tried Shu’s cleansing oil, will agree that this is one of the best cleansing oil out there. The price point is on the steep side, but I do have to admit this last forever. They have variety on the range depending on your skin type, so make sure you get yourself the right one ๐Ÿ™‚
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion – not the Essence, this one is their toner that contains salicylic acid which helps to gently exfoliate your skin. I don’t use them every night as my daily toner, but I use them when I’m breaking out or after whole day of makeup and my skin feels slightly dull
  • SK-II R.N.A. POWER Radical New Age – my go-to night time moisturiser in the colder month

Do you have go-to Japanese beauty products that you would like to share with me?? Please do let me know, I’m curious to explore more and perhaps discover exciting new favourite skincare or makeup brand from Japan ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Don’t forget to follow me on my InstagramUntil next time everyone…

-k.m.

It’s finally here in Australia!

Let me take a second to contain my excitement…

Okay! In case, you haven’t heard, Sephora Australia has FINALLY stocked Fresh Beauty!!!

I will take another moment to gather my thoughts…

Right! At the moment, Sephora Australia stocked Fresh Beauty‘s most popular products. Obviously, if you go to Fresh Beauty official page, you can definitely grasp the vast variety of the beauty offerings. What’s available right now in Sephora is definitely a very curated selection of top sellers. I have been buying Fresh Beauty whenever I traveled overseas, and off course I have not tried everything. But I’ll give you a little insight on what I’ve tried below…

Skincare…

Soy Face CleanserWater based, gel cleanser. Second cleanse with a subtle and fresh cucumber scent. I have repurchased this cleanser twice cause I love it so much. This is my favourite cleanser in my AM routine, because of the fresh cucumber scent somehow wakes me up in the morning. This cleanser is rich in amino acids, so what you might ask, well Amino acids…

  • Promote collagen production
  • Helps to improve sun-damaged skin
  • Provide protection against free radical (highly reactive molecules that can have a negative impacts on our skin and body when they oxidize
  • Aid in wound healing, for minor skin injuries
  • Natural moisturising factor is amino acids’ primary components which facilitate proper skin barrier

Off course, cleansers probably would not do all that, because of the short duration it stays on our skin. But any little thing adds up to help and my skin does feel hydrated and supple after

Rose Deep Hydration Facial TonerThe main ingredients in this toner are glycerin, rosewater, angelica leaf extract and hyaluronic acid therefore no surprise that this toner is especially hydrating…

  • Glycerin is a common ingredients in hydrating skincare products as the acid helps add water to skin
  • Rosewater helps to maintain your skin’s pH balance, hydrate, revitalise and moisturise the skin for that refreshed look
  • Angelica leaf extract is a special plant that have the ability to retain water or moisture
  • Hyaluronic acid off course, our good friend that helps to attract water from your surrounding and binds moisture in your skin

It has actual rose petals inside the bottle. I definitely purchased this one because it looked pretty on shelf. I love to pump few drops on my hands and pat on my face, rather than on cotton pads

Rose Face MaskPossibly my most favourite out of everything I have tried from Fresh Beauty so far. It has actual rose petals in it with gel-like textures. The mask both hydrates and soothed your skin and because it is so gentle you can use it everyday if you want. The best thing is this mask contain both cucumber and aloe vera, which sooth and calm any flair up you might have

Beauty…

Fresh Beauty don’t do make-up but they do have their amazing tinted lip balm. Their SUGAR tinted lip balms are amazing! They give such natural colours, with yummy scents and my favourite is CORALfor it’s light burnt orange, peachy colour. The SUGAR Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy that I have is at this time, not available in Australia, but similar version called the SUGAR Lip Treatment Advanced Therapyis available. The one I have is a thick balm which melted on your lips because of your natural body heat. It has a light mint scent and I swear it works so well for dry, chapped lips. I know a few people who swore by this lip treatment for their dry and chapped lips.

I do encourage you to do a lovely trip to Sephora near you and see what’s in store, have a play, try the testers. I heard that their Black Tea line, especially the masks are especially beautiful. I can’t wait to explore more from Fresh Beauty soon now that it is so conveniently available here, down under. So Aussies are you going to give this brand a whirl?? If you’ve used Fresh Beauty before do leave a comment and let me know your favourites…

Thank you for reading everyone… I shall chat to you soon over at the comment section. Don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram

k.m.

New in-store: L’Occitane Aqua Reotier

If you happened to follow me on Instagram lately, you would have seen aqua coloured bottles on many of my posts recently. A little over three weeks ago, I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to try out three out of five products from a soon-to-be-release new skincare line from L’Occitane called Aqua Reotier.

Before I tell you all about the products, let me tell you a little beautiful story attached to this new product line. So the name itself, Aqua means water off course, and Reotier happened to be the small town in which the water came from. Reotier is a small town in Provence and a place where L’Occitane found a thermal water source rich in calcium, ten times more than any other thermal water source in France, that help to locks in moisture in your skin. Long story short, the creation of Aqua Reotier came about.

The line consists of Water Gel Cleanser, Moisture Prep Essence, Ultra Thirst-quench Gel, Ultra Thirst-quench Cream and Fresh Facial Mist. The first three that I tried from this line are the cleanser, prep-essence and the gel. Finally, I get to try all products within this line and let me tell you, as an oily dehydrated skin human, I am impressed.

Why Aqua Reotier?

All products within this range excluding the water gel cleanser contains these three hydrating ingredients,

Calcium: Helps to circulate and retain water content in your skin

Hyaluronic Acid: Binds water in your skin as well as attracting water from the air to your skin

Glycerin: Add water to your skin, they are usually added to many cleansers out there

What does that mean for your dehydrated skin???

Well… first of all your skin will be well hydrated throughout the day. Unlike face mist that can end up taking moisture or oil away from your skin as they evaporate, Aqua Reotier line is all about locking water in with no need for touch ups. These means, dry skin will no longer be flakey and oily skin can go all day with little blotting. Sounds good???

Here’s what I think and what’s worth for you to add on to your existing skincare routine…

Cleanser – love the gel to foam texture, the scent of the cleanser is fresh. But cleanser stays on your skin for a good 5 seconds, so unless you run out of yours, we can skip this one (AUD 31.00)

Prep Essence – WORTH IT!I would think this is the hero product within this line. Use after cleansing, straight from your hand to your face. This definitely feel like instant surge of refreshing water on your face. I love this! Highly recommended this one, because I can see results after 3 weeks of use in my AM routine. My skin throughout the day become less oily and my skin feels comfortable all day (AUD 36.00)

Gel Moisturiser – I love the cool air bubbles pumped into this gel moisturiser making this the perfect after gym or summer moisturiser. For me on a hot weather, cause I don’t go to the gym HAH!, this will be good but not a gel moisturiser person (AUD 56.00)

Cream Moisturiser – WORTH IT!This has fast becoming my AM moisturiser. It is light and comfortable on the skin. I had been using a different hydrating cream prior to this one, and I have to say, this one works much better in preventing oil-shiny face I get throughout the day (AUD 56.00)

Face Mist – Mist finely and do a good job adding quick hydration throughout the day (AUD 18.00)

L’Occitane Aqua Reotier is available in all Australian stores starting Monday, 26 of March 2018. As per usual, every new product launch L’Occitane have the best gifts with purchases or amazing Box Set savings in-store. If you’re looking for a hydrating skincare line, definitely visit one of L’Occitane store and give this line a try.

Thank you for taking the time from your busy day to check out this post. If you have any questions, you can reach me on the comment section. Tell me, what else do you want me to cover about skincare??? Be sure to follow me on my Instagramand see you on my next post ๐Ÿ™‚

-k.m.

A Hydration Nation

As a Beauty Advisor in a skincare boutique, I am faced with the challenge of identifying clients’ skin condition/type on a daily basis. We never asked, “What’s your skin type?” Because I can guarantee you most of us have no clue, while the rest of us make assumptions. If you want to know more about skin, the largest organ of your body, there’s an amazing animated video by TED-ED on Youtube that talks about the science behind skin,

https://youtu.be/OxPlCkTKhzY

So what are the main answers I get when I asked about client’s skin? Dry, Sensitive or Combination…

Many have no idea about dehydration, which can be mistaken as dry, combination and sensitive skin. Dehydration is a condition in which you skin lacks water. Answer Yes or No to the following questions to help you determined if your skin is dehydrated;

1. My skin feels differently in the morning when I wake up, depending on my sleeping (or not sleeping) habit

2. My skin tone feels dull and lack of radiance

3. After sleepless nights, I notice some serious dark circles action

4. I only really drink water when I remember

If you answer mostly YES, you most probably have dehydrated skin. You can always get your skin hydration level measured in a skincare boutique or clinic to be sure, but remember dehydration is a skin condition that can affect any skin type, dry or oily. Dehydration can also come and go depending on diet, environment, wrong skincare products and numerous other factors.

Personally, I have an oily/dehydrated skin and as recent as end of last year, is when I first find out about it. Because I always assumed I’m oily, now that I have used the right skincare products to address both issues, my skin feels much better and less oily. Here are products I have personally tried and loved,

Serums are my most needed items in the skincare routine. Serums have smaller molecules in comparison to cream, which helps the nutrients penetrate deeper into your skin. The best hydrating ingredient is hyaluronic acid, as this particular acid helps to bind water in your skin as well as attracts water from the air into your skin. If you’re on a budget, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5 is a good basic products with gel-like texture, no scents. Next week, L’Occitane will be launching their new Aqua Reotier line, which I have been trying out for 3 weeks. I have to tell you, the Prep Essence (a toner/serum) in the line is amazing. I will do a more in-depth review on the whole line very soon.

My personal favourite hydration serum is the Clinical Concentrate Hydration Booster from Dr. Dennis Gross because of its effectiveness and light texture. Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum is a maximum luxury product. It combines hyaluronic acid, red algae with 23-karat gold! Algae is known to be a firming ingredient used by many skincare brands such as La Mer and L’Occitane in their Divine Harmony range. It has a slightly gel-like texture compare to Dr. Dennis Gross serum.

Moisturising is an important follow up step to serum, as the cream helps to seal your serum in to the skin. Without moisturiser, your serums will basically evaporate out of your skin very quickly and won’t have the time to be absorb and properly nourished your skin. I won’t write too much about the L’Occitane Aqua Reotier range pictured above, like I said whole range review coming up, so… watch this space!! But I have been loving the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, It formulated with blends of African oils, that helps to delivery nourishment and instant relief to dull, dehydrated skin. On the ingredients lists, coffee is also included which helps to wake up your tired skin. This cream also contain glycerin which helps to add water into the skin. Texture of the Lala Whipped Cream is quite thick, but don’t be afraid, it absorbs quickly and hydrates your skin without the shine. On a budget, the Light Hydrating Cream from Avรฉne is wonderful, contains their famous thermal water and glycerin. It is light in texture which is great for my oily skin type friends.

I shall stop here before this post turned into a novel. Like I said previously, make sure you consult a beauty advisor you can trust, and not the one that only want to sell you their products, and get your skin condition and type check correctly. Why is it important? So you can create a skincare routine that will help you maintain a healthy, beautiful and glowing skin. Skincare is an investment in yourself.

Now, I have been testing L’Occitane new range called Aqua Reotier which will be launched in stores worldwide in Australia on Monday! I have been trialling the products for 3 weeks now and have been so impressed. I will do a full blogpost on the whole line next week. Until then, I hope you are having a great weekend. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and I shall chat to you soon. Don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram. Do leave comments if you have any questions…

-k.m.

My Current Go-to Foundations

Personally, I believe that the main and biggest investment you should make when it comes to beauty is a good skincare routine. The second one will be an amazing foundation. Whether you prefer low-med coverage or high coverage, a good foundation will get you through even the worst day of your life… well, not quite, that’s probably a job for lipstick. I digress, but colour-matched foundation is important. So here are my top three that I find myself reaching out for every morning…

In terms of foundation, personally, I always pick light to medium coverage, especially for my daily make-up. Anything too high coverage feels very thick and cakey on my skin and I hate that feeling of wearing make-up. I spent so much time looking, searching and trying every foundation imaginable. Few I used to wear feels heavy and not sitting comfortably on my skin. The worst is when they settled into my lines, good gracious! I should probably mention that I have oily skin, with a slight dehydration and occasional hormonal breakouts.

The first one I found and love is SHISEIDO Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation with SPF20. This one has more of a watery texture, very light and feels very much like a second skin. I find this one stays on all day and I do powder at the end to ensure additional support for its all day “lasting” ability. Initially, because I have oily skin, the lady suggested a different one with even lighter texture and coverage. But I decided to go with the Synchro Skin because of the unique packaging (I know… I roll my eyes at myself too).

What took me so long to try this one, I don’t know, maybe cause I don’t want to be carried away by the hype. But finally, I picked up NARS Sheer Glow foundation at the end of last year. I do tend to use my hands when applying foundation, so this brand is perfect, apparently the brand’s founder and I have the same philosophy in applying foundation, with the two hands we’re given. I get the hype, everyone… Got the memo. Compare to SHISEIDO, this one is heavier in texture, however applies well onto the skin and you can gradually build to higher coverage if need be. I always use loose powder in order to set the foundation, as I believe the Sheer Glow formulation does not control oil. The annoying thing with NARS foundation, is the seperate pump that you can buy, why can’t they make one that already come with a pump in the Sheer Glow formulation, please…

Last but not least, my most recent purchase, ESTฤ’E LAUDER Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup with SPF10. I purchased this one at a discount store, hence the difference in packaging, for a cheaper price compared to Department Store. It was a little bit of an impulse buy, because I’ve always wanted to try the Double Wear foundation. But after trying this one, I will definitely re-purchase as this one is fast becoming a favourite of mine. The foundation is very light texture and sheer coverage. Without knowing, and I read about it after my purchase, this one actually helps to control oil BONUS! I don’t necessarily need to powder, in order to set the make-up because this foundation makes my skin looking dewy, even at the end of a long working day! I am so amazed because I have never find foundation that does that without powder to set. Trying this one makes me want to try the original ESTฤ’E LAUDER Double Wear Stay-in-Place foundation even more.

What is your current favourite foundation and why? Make sure to share with me your favourite in the comment section, maybe I could try others for next time.

Have a great week ahead everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ Make sure you follow me on Instagram @karina.mandala and I will catch you next Saturday for another post.

-k.m.

Tatcha, The Essence


“May enduring beauty and the wisdom of centuries now be yours.” – Tatcha


Tatcha Institutes formulated The Essence to help plump the skin with hydration and maximize the performance of any treatments that follow, according to its founder Victoria Tsai.

First Impression… The Essence has similar texture to SKII‘s Facial Treatment Essence. What I love about this one is the fact that it does not have the strange scent that I personally not a huge fan of in SKII.

How I’ve been using The Essence… I’ve recently discovered the Korean beauty method of layering your toner or essence. The method supposedly suggest to layer minimum of SEVEN times! Ok… firstly, ain’t nobody got time for that! Second, this baby is precious and has a precious price tag attached to it as well. So I still layer them, three times instead of the suggested seven, and use it in my night-time routine. Keep in mind, Tatcha suggest to place Essence on palm and press all over your face/neck ONCE, so yes… do that ๐Ÿ™‚

After the two weeks of use… I am so impressed by Tatchaย The Essence. I have tried SKII and its more affordable K-beauty counter-part, Missha First Treatment Essence. I personally love Tatcha The Essence the most. Personally, the no-scent scent is a positive indication for me that Tatcha do not add random fragrance into their products. My skin definitely loves The Essence. I experience no reaction to the products either, which is a positive sign. Tatcha The Essence really do plump my skin and hydrates it properly, which helps even out the balance of water and oil in my skin during the day.

Do I recommend my family and friends to try… I personally have recommended The Essence to few work friend and they have personally purchased and enjoy it so so much. I must say, I will encourage you to go and get Tatcha The Essence if you’re not a fan of SKII scent and wanting a more affordable alternative. Not exactly a ground breaking must-have product for a lot of people, however personally for me, Tatcha The Essence have been doing positive improvements to my skin, so I LOVE it!

-love K.