Make Your Own Mouthwash

Do you use store-bought mouthwash? If you do, you must have noticed how pricey a bottle of, say, Listerine can be. Since my new year resolution is to lead a healthier and more sustainable life, I decided to make my own mouthwash. So, I googled for a suitable recipe and found this.

Here’s the recipe.

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(Herbal) Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner / Acne Spot Treatment

The main ingredient of this toner is of course, apple cider vinegar. I suggest using raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar for this, like this one below for example.
Raw Unfiltered ACV

If you have difficulty acquiring the raw(unpasteurised) unfiltered kind, you can get the regular(pasteurised) filtered kind, like Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. Just make sure that it’s not the distilled or flavoured kind, like apple cider flavoured distilled vinegar. Save the distilled vinegar for washing windows. Read the ingredients list to be sure. It should only have apple and water as its ingredients. Also, be sure that the vinegar has at least 5% acidity.

I use a homemade herbal vinegar made from my choice of herb and apple cider vinegar for this toner. I will post the guide for making herbal vinegar later.

If you don’t have time to make herbal vinegar, just use the non-herbal kind, like those I mentioned above.

The benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar when applied topically are:

  • It is rich in Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) which help dissolve fatty deposits on the skin, which appear as little flakes or dry patches
  • Helps balance the PH of your skin
  • Because of the high amount of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) it contains, apple cider vinegar can also help lighten sun and age spots
  • Wonderful spot treatment for blemishes

Now, for the recipe,

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Rose & Witch Hazel Facial Toner

Rosa damascena

I use rose hydrosol as the main ingredient for this facial toner. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, hydrosols are sometimes called floral waters. A hydrosol is the condensate water that is left over after the process of extracting an essential oil by water or steam distillation. This aromatic water contains the very essence of everything that was contained within the plant when it was still alive and growing.

Like essential oils, the aroma of a hydrosol may vary from season to season even when it comes from the same geographical location. This is because the weather can have a dramatic effect on the plant whilst growing, and during seasons of extreme heat, rain or drought, the plants delicate chemistry is changed which in turn affects the fragrance of its essential oil.

In addition, the chemistry of a plant is affected by the soil that it is grown in, therefore the aroma of a particular essential oil or hydrosol will be different according to its country of origin. These slight variations can often be an indication that a hydrosol is natural, and not man-made.

Buyer beware! Only buy your hydrosols from reputable sellers.

You may be surprised to learn that many of the ‘floral waters’ available today have been made with synthetic compounds which have no therapeutic or beautifying qualities. Others are produced by adding essential oils or absolutes to water by using alcohol or some other type of dispersant or solvent. This may appear to be perfectly acceptable, since the finished product contains essential oil and has a pleasant fragrance similar to a natural hydrosol.

However, this type of reconstituted product lacks the wealth of vital healing properties present in a true hydrosol, – remember, many of the plant constituents were dissolved into the water whilst extracting the oil, so they were never present in the essential oil in the first place! Therefore adding an essential oil to water will never create a product with the same range of healing benefits as a true hydrosol. There is simply no substitute for a true hydrosol, so don’t let anybody try and fool you.

Pure hydrosols can be more fragile than their essential oil counterparts. Hydrosols do not have the same concentrated anti-bacterial properties that essential oils possess and are subject to much more rapid degradation, especially when improperly stored.

Direct sunlight and UV rays are especially damaging to hydrosols. Repeated exposure to any light source may be damaging to hydrosols as well. So, dark bottles is essential.

For small quantities of hydrosols that will be used up within a couple months, purchasing and storing your hydrosols in plastic (i.e. plastic bottles with sprayer tops) is fine. However, the ideal bottle type for hydrosol storage of several months or more is dark glass.

This is the guidelines for storing and handling hydrosols.

  • Store your hydrosols in dark glass bottles.
  • Store hydrosols away from direct sunlight and ideally in a cool, dark location.
  • Keep bottle caps tight.
  • Keep bottles full by transferring hydrosols to smaller bottles as needed. When a bottle of hydrosol is left only partially full, the oxygen that also lives inside the bottle reacts with the hydrosol and begins to oxidize it. This process can cause the hydrosol to deteriorate more quickly. Oxidization can harm the fragile aromatic and therapeutic consistuents of the hydrosol.
  • Don’t allow unsterilized items like your fingers, cotton balls or other items to come into direct contact with your hydrosols. Instead, pour off the quantity that you need or measure it into a different container. Then, work from that container, leaving the integrity of your original hydrosol intact.


What do you need?

  • 50 ml of Rose Hydrosol
  • 50 ml of Witch Hazel Extract (I use Witch Hazel extract from mountainroseherbs which has been double distilled in only a 14% alcohol base. Contains 86% Witch Hazel Extract and 14% grain alcohol)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerine (a bit more for dry skin)
  • a few drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)
  • a dark glass spray bottle (picture’s in this post)
  • a funnel

How to do it?

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Clove & Wasabi Clay Mask


What you need:
(all measurements are very approximate; use your best judgement)

  • 1-2 tbsp of Kaolin (White) Clay
  • 1/4 tsp or less of Wasabi powder (not wasabi-flavoured powder; pick those that contain at least 75% of pure wasabi powder)
  • 3-5 tsp of Pure Clove Powder (freshly grind would be best)
  • 1 tbsp of Honey
  • 1/2-1 tbsp of Plain Yoghurt/Milk/Lemon Juice/Lime Juice/Green Tea
  • 1/2 tsp of marjoram-infused olive oil (optional; you can use extra virgin olive oil instead) –> I made this myself. Tutorial for this will be post later
  • A glass/ceramic container or bowl (I usually use a chinese rice bowl. Picture’s here)
  • A small spoon/spatula

How to make it:

  1. Mix all the ingredients throughly in a glass/ceramic container or bowl with a spoon/spatula. Make sure there’s no clumps of clay left.
  2. Start with 1 tbsp of clay and 1/2 tbsp of yoghurt/milk or whatever liquid you use.
  3. If the consistency is too watery, add more clay. If it’s too thick, add more yoghurt/milk/whatever liquid you use (not honey though). Although honey is liquidy, if you use too much, the mask will be too hard to apply (too messy). 1 tbsp of honey is more than enough.
  4. Every time you finish adding more clay or liquid, you have to mix them thoroughly.
  5. Continue adjusting until it reaches your desired consistency. You can try to apply a small amount of it at the back of the hand first to make sure.
  6. Your end result will be enough for a few applications, so transfer them to an airtight container (try not to use plastic or aluminium; glass/ceramic is best) and put the rest of the mask in the fridge for your next use.

How to use it:

  1. Clean your face with your favorite cleanser and warm water. Dry.
  2. Apply the mask on dry, freshly cleaned face and/or neck using your finger or a mask brush. I converted an unused foundation brush to a mask brush.
  3. You will feel some stinging sensation on your skin depending on the amount of wasabi powder you use. If you put a lot of it, you’ll feel the eye-watering sensation just like when you eat a wasabi paste. Don’t worry, that means it’s working, and that sensation will dissapear after a few minutes. If you can’t stand the “hotness”, reduce the amount of wasabi powder, or add more clay and yoghurt/liquid.
  4. Remember to avoid eye area!
  5. Leave the mask on for as long as you like, or you can wash it off soon after it dries. I recommend to leave it on for at least 30 minutes for better result.
  6. Wash it off thoroughly with warm water. Then splash some cold water again after the mask is gone to close your pores. Dry.
  7. You don’t need to use a face cleanser again after this mask.
  8. Continue with toner and moisturizer of your choice.

Results (will vary):

After using this mask a few times a week, you will probably notice that your skin feels brighter, smoother and supple. Acne will also be tamer. For those of you that has oilier face and more acne, I recommend to use this mask 3-4 times a week and leave the mask on for an hour, if you live in the tropics like me. However, if you have drier skin, once or twice a week is enough. Remember to tone and moisturize after washing off the mask.

To sum up, this mask is for those who want to detoxify their skin for brighter and clearer face. Those with oily and acne-prone skin will benefit from this mask.


Clove and wasabi should not be used alone on the skin.



White Kaolin Clay

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Current Sample Collections

I received a lot of samples from KoreanBeautyShop yesterday. Thank you so much ^__^

Below is the picture of all the skin-care and bb cream samples I currently have.

skincare & bb cream samples

Starting from the top-left, not exactly in order, they are:

  • Innisfree Green Tea Pure Deluxe Kit
  • Innisfree Almond Sugar Scrub
  • Innisfree White Tone Up Sleeping Pack
  • SKINFOOD Red Orange Jelly BB SPF20 PA++ (No.1 Light Beige)
  • L’Occitane Milk Extra Gentle Soap
  • It’s skin PRESTIGE crème d’escargot B.B cream SPF25 PA++
  • L’Occitane Angelica Exfoliating Gel
  • Innisfree Eco Natural Green Tea BB Cream SPF29 PA++ No.2
  • The History of Whoo Hwa Hyun Cream
  • The History of Whoo Seol Whitening Intensive
  • Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream
  • SKINFOOD Black Sesame Hot Mask
  • SKINFOOD Black Sugar Wash off Mask
  • ElishaCoy Vitamin Pore Cleanser
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-free Cleanser
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-free Toner
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-free Gel Cream
  • MISSHA M Signature Real Complete B.B Cream SPF 25+ PA++
  • The History of Whoo Ja Saeng Essence
  • The History of Whoo Seol Brightening Cleansing Foam
  • The History of Whoo Seol Brightening Gel
  • The History of Whoo Seol Whitening Essence
  • The History of Whoo Seol Whitening & Moisture Cream
  • The History of Whoo Seol Whitening Sun BB cream SPF45 PA+++

Some of these samples are for my preteen sister and some of them –like the Hwa Hyun Cream and Sulwhasoo Ginseng Cream–, I plan to share with my mother. I actually think she needs them more than I do, since her skin is obviously much more mature. However, they are just so irresistible I have to try them at least once before handing it over to my mum.

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Skin Care Regime

Like most asian women, I have my own skin care regime that often consists of several steps, starting from cleansing and ending with moisturizing. Below are the picture of the products I’m currently using.

skin care regime for the first quarter of 2013

skin care regime for the first quarter of 2013


As you see, I have two kind of cleansers. The pink one is Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil in a 150ml pump bottle. The pump can be locked by turning it to left or right, so I don’t have to worry much about it spilling when I put it in the travel luggage. I love this thing so much that I plan to repurchase the bigger-size (450ml). Recently, Shu Uemura has just released two limited edition versions of this cleansing oil for this upcoming spring, which is the unmask edition and the travel collection limited edition. Both of them only come in 450mls. I can’t help but want to purchase them both because of their pretty bottles. I hope I can find these LEs on my upcoming trip to China.

I use this cleansing oil only when I want to remove BB creams or make-ups. If I don’t wear any BB cream or make-up, then I use the Kiehl’s Rare Earth cleanser only.

MASK (not in the picture)

At night, after removing make-ups with cleansing oil, I often apply face mask a few times a week. It’s not in the picture because I make the face masks myself right before using it, to keep it as fresh as possible. Any leftover is stored in the fridge immediately. My current favorite is Clove & Wasabi Clay Mask. If you want the face mask recipe, just click here.

The reason I only apply mask after washing off the cleansing oil is because I usually have contact lenses on that particular time. If I need to use cleansing oil, that means I have bb cream on. If I have bb cream on, that means I feel the need to look presentable, which means I’ll lose my ugly glasses and put on the contact lenses.

I can’t put on the glasses when there’s a thick layer of mask on my face. I like to leave the mask as long as possible on my face (usually for 1 hour or more), so having contact lenses on is a must. Otherwise, I’ll be practically blind during the hour that the mask stays on my face. In conclusion, I only apply face mask when the contact lenses is already on. I’m too lazy to put on contacts just for the sake of a face mask session.


After the cleansing oil or mask, sometimes I wash my face again with Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser to ensure there’s no residue of unwanted thing left. Or, as I mentioned above, this is my standalone cleanser if there’s no bb creams/make-ups to remove.

I’m actually not a big fan of this cleanser because of the smell. It cleanses well, doesn’t dry the skin, is sulphate-&-paraben-free and produces plenty of foam. It also has those little scrub particles that I prefer to exist on my facial cleansers. However, the alcohol smell is too strong, which puts me off. No wonder, since Alcohol Denat is the fourth most ingredient on the list, after Aqua, Kaolin & Glycerin. I will not repurchase this product in the future.


I currently use two bottle of toners, one for daytime-use and another for nighttime-use. Both of them are made by me. For daytime, I use Rose & Witch Hazel toner. For nighttime, I use Thyme-infused Apple Cider Vinegar toner. I love my rose toner so much. It smells good, tones wonderfully, and doesn’t dry the skin. Most importantly, it doesn’t contain any of those nasty chemicals that most commercial products have.

I use the ACV toner at night because I’m trying to lighten my acne scars caused by recent breakouts. ACV contains high amount of natural AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), which helps lighten sun spots and acne scars. Usually after the scars become virtually invisible, I’ll stop using the ACV toner and switch back to the floral water toner. For Rose & Witch Hazel toner’s recipe, click here. For Apple Cider Vinegar toner’s, click here.


I also have 2 moisturizers. One is ElishaCoy Skin Repairing Snail Essence, and the other one is its cream counterpart. The essence contains 80% snail extract & the cream contains 91% snail extract. For daytime, after toning, I use the essence only. Then I dab a little of the cream on my eyes to moisturize eyes area, since the essence stings my eyes. It probably contains a fair amount of alcohol. The cream is ideal for eyes area since it’s pretty gentle and more natural than the essence. I don’t use the cream during daytime because I feel it’s too rich for my skin type, so I use it after the essence at night before sleep. The cream is too expensive for daytime use anyway.

I actually like them both, especially the cream. Since using the cream, my skin looks and feels smoother and brighter every morning after waking up. However, there’re just too many moisturizers out there I haven’t tried yet, so repurchasing is out of the question.


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Why beauty exists?


“I want to know, for example, why beauty exists,” she said, “why nature continues to contrive it, and what is the link between the life of a lightning storm with the feelings these things inspire in us? If God does not exist, if these things are not unified into one metaphorical system, then why do they retain for us such symbolic power?”

~Anne Rice
from The Vampire Lestat

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Savage Garden

Wild Forest (Yakushima, Japan)

In spite of all the refinements of civilization that conspired to make art ~the dizzying perfection of the string quartet or the sprawling grandeur of Fragonard’s canvases~ beauty was savage. It was as dangerous and lawless as the earth had been eons before man had one single coherent thought in his head or wrote codes of conduct on tablets of clay. Beauty was a Savage Garden.

~Anne Rice
from The Vampire Lestat

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