Friday, 6 March 2015

REVIEW Clinique Take The Day Off Balm

First off, I am a cleansing balm convert.

When I used to see balms in blog posts or articles, I'd just skip past it, convinced it could never work on my crazy oily, temperamental skin.

Ah-how wrong I was!

I love this stuff. I wish it smelled pretty, but otherwise, it does a great job.


I love you TTDO. I really, really do. 

I picked mine up at the Clinique counter at Plaza Senayan for IDR 450k, or just under 40USD. It's not cheap, but it's a really good product IMHO. 

You do get a lot of product, in fact, it contains 125 grams of product. So this should last you at least 3-4 months, or maybe more. I've been using it for a month, and I've barely dented the surface. 



Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol

I ran this product through cosdna, and two products were flagged for acne and irritation. The first was Ethylhexyl Palmitate, which rated pretty high for acne, and the second was Tocopherol. I have a tendency to break out or get bumps under my skin when I use products that don't suit me, and I've been doing fine with this. Just make sure you really get all the product off your face when you're done cleansing. 

I like that it doesn't contain mineral oil. Now, I don't hate it like others do, but it's a cheap filler, and at this price tag, I'd be pissed if that's what they used. But they didn't. So it's all good. 


I always apply this on my face while it's dry, and the balm quickly turns into a silky oil, just like it claims to do. It removes my makeup really efficiently, and even my eye makeup too, because sometimes I can't be bothered using a separate eye makeup remover. I like that even though it turns into an oil, it's not messy and runny, and it doesn't feel overly greasy on my skin. I massage it into my skin and then I remove it by using a tepid face towel. I use both sides to make sure it's all off.  

And voila! Clean, refreshed skin, ready for a second cleanse, or other products. 

I've been using this product for a month, and it hasn't irritated my skin or made it break out. Win!


Yes. This is a cleansing staple. 

FYI- I love products in jars. Feels fancy. I love feeling like I'm rich. Ha!

Talk to you all soon!xoxo

My Skin and Stuff

Adult acne, tick.
Super dry and rough cheeks, tick.
Oil-slick nose, tick.
Massive pores, tick.
Showing a few wrinkles, tick.
Hormonal acne, tick.

Is there anything my skin doesn't experience?

I thought I should just give up.

Thankfully, I didn't.

Recently, I've been experiencing the best skin of my life. Soft, supple, hardly any breakouts, my nose hasn't been turning the rest of my face into an oilslick. Hooray!

I've been going to my derm to get peels, and she prescribes an 0.05% tretinoin for me. She has her own formulas though. The cream that I apply to my cheeks is a richer, more emollient formula, and the one for my T-zone feels lighter, and is a slightly yellow color.

But it's not really just tretinoin that's made a difference to my skin. I'm convinced it's my overall regimen.

First, I followed Caroline Hiron's advice and cut down on foaming cleansers. They really strip your skin of moisture. Your skin then works harder to compensate, turning your face into a personal oil-ravaged playground.  Some of the cleansers I use still have some kind of surfactant in them, but they're not so harsh. In turn, my skin has been thanking me. In short, I stay far,far away from cleansers that give me a "squeaky clean" feel. Skin should feel clean, but still soft after cleansing. I've found that foaming cleansers make my oily areas a mess, and my cheeks feel so rough, you could grate cheese on it. Lovely, I know.


Yes, beauty bloggers and magazines wax lyrical about the benefits of this. It's basically using one product to clean away your makeup, and then doing another cleanse after to make your skin feel supple and hydrated, ready for your next steps.

I double cleanse after a long day outside. If I stay home and am makeup-free, one cleanse is enough, unless I just want to feel like I'm doing a home spa.


One of the biggest fallacies I fell for is avoiding moisture for all my oily areas. Oily skin needs moisture too. In fact, now that I sandwich layers of moisture onto my skin, my oiliness has been under control. My skin no longer is an oily mess by afternoon. Yes, there's oil there, but it's mild, as opposed to oil spill disaster levels.


This. This is the most important thing ever. I get it. Sometimes you're beyond exhausted. But getting into a habit of cleansing in the morning and at night is the best thing you can do for your skin. My routine takes 5 mins. It's only 5 minutes. When I see that my skin has been so happy lately, it's totally worth the 5 minutes it takes.

I know there's beauty bloggers out there who are getting fab results by waiting up to 30 minutes for the product to really sink into the skin before moving on to the next step. I haven't developed that kind of hardcore devotion to my skin yet-or maybe never. 5-10 minutes most nights is what I can manage, and I'm happy with the results.


I started really reading into what ingredients work, and reading from different sources. Don't take anyone's word as gospel. Figure out what could possibly irritate your skin. Then look at what works for me. Skincare doesn't have to cost a fortune, and as much as I would love to spend all my hard earned cash on pretty products, I just can't. Obviously. So I spend what I can. Although I have to admit, I am most excited about cleansers,serums and acid products, and not so excited about facial oils and regular moisturisers:). I still carry an old phobia about that, which I am most definitely getting over, but still takes time.

I figure that even the most expensive foundation won't sit well on skin that isn't at it's best, so I might as invest my skin, first and foremost.

And I'm convinced there are great products at every price point, so unless a product really,really excites me, I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on it.

Right now, I love Western products, Korean and Japanese products, and there's a few local organic skincare online shops that offer good quality for great value. Just find what works for you:).


Right now, I get peels every month or so, I plan on getting another non-ablative laser treatment, and other than that, I just look after my skin the best I can.

In the mornings, I cleanse-tone-acid product-serum-moisturise-sunscreen then apply makeup. In the evenings before bed I cleanse/double-cleanse-tone-acid product-serum-moisturise. Sometimes I skip or add steps as necessary.


Skincare is important to me, but it doesn't control my life. Being with my bf, friends, family, my pets and pursuing things I love makes me happy. I try to keep my stress under control:).

Talk to you all soon! xoxo

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Week of The Chemical Peel

Last Friday, I walked into my derm's office determined to get a medium-deep peel done.

I'd only had light glycolic peels done up until then, and I wanted to see if it would make a marked difference in my skin.

FYI- in order to qualify for this kind of peel, your skin has to be in good condition- so a good derm won't just agree to this straightaway. Your skin needs to be prepped and nourished beforehand. If you have any kind of breakout, derms won't agree to this, and if they do-RUN!

Some background:

My skin has never been my greatest asset. I'd had acne as a teenager, and my mother always tried to help me out by taking me to dermatologists, buying me any kind of skincare that might help, and taking me for regular facials. I'd tried different doctors, loads of different products, peels, masks, extractions and pretty much anything you could think of.

As an adult, I'd discovered a few products that worked well, and found a derm I liked. I got some non-ablative laser treatments done. But I still had breakouts fairly regularly, hormonal acne, large pores, some redness and really oily skin.

I gave up on the derm after a while and the products, and started experimenting again. Sigh. Super oily skin. And then I hit 35, and besides the hormonal acne along my chin and sometimes around my T-zone, the skin on my cheeks became really,really dry.

Anyway, bringing it back to the peel. I'd recently went back to my derm, and I discovered the joys of double cleansing via Caroline Hirons, a UK skincare expert. That's a whole other post. I digress.

Back to my derm's office, Nurse Patricia rubbed anaesthetic cream on my face in preparation for this peel.

That's me, upside down. With cream on my face. Niceeeeeee. 

The derm came in and after explaining to me what she was going to do, we started.

I was lying down, and she applied two layers of glycolic acid on my face, which didn't really sting my skin because of the anaesthetic cream, and also because I'm fairly used to it. The nurse fanned my face in-between each layer to keep me comfortable.

The third layer was the TCA peel. That stung a little, but it wasn't unbearable. My derm explained that she was going to see how my skin reacted to it. She applied the TCA peel to my cheeks, nose and forehead, and avoided my chin, which had a small spot.

After a couple of minutes, she applied a neutraliser and the nurse kept on fanning me to reduce the burning sensation. I would say that it was uncomfortable, but not really painful. Or perhaps I'm just masochistic like that. Meh.

My derm and the nurse explained that my face would feel tight and uncomfortable for a few days, and would seem as though I had laminate on my skin. They told me that the skin would turn black-ish before it peeled off. I was to avoid sweating, as it would cause irritation, and to always wear suncreen if I had to go out. I received an after peel cream to apply at least three times daily, use a cold compress on my face frequently, and they then explained that I should wash my face frequently as that would help the process. They recommended Avene spray for my skin as that would help the healing.

They emphasised how important it was for me to NOT tug my skin in anyway, and allow my skin to peel off naturally.

Armed with my after-peel cream and Avene, I went home to wash my face. My face was tight and uncomfortable.

Feeling meh about 4 hours later. My face was a little plastic-y looking and slightly red. Felt a little tight. 

I discovered that the only cleanser I had on-hand that was safest for my newly peeled face was my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. Hmm. But not ideal. I wanted to go out a buy a face wash, but traffic was insane, as is normal for a Friday evening in Jakarta.

After a few times washing my face, and compressing with cold water, I went to bed.

Woke up on Saturday with my skin feeling even tighter, and all hard on the surface. My cheeks were slightly darker also.

I decided to head out for lunch with my flatmate since our fridge was empty and we were craving Chinese. Probably not the best idea. I broke out in milia along my chin. Sigh. I did read that acne and millia wasn't entirely uncommon after a peel.

Saturday evening 

The next day, my skin was still hard and leathery to the touch, and was darker still. I still had small pimples. I went and bought some Cetaphil, although Clinique's TTDO wasn't irritating my skin. I just didn't want to take any chances. I noticed my skin was starting to peel a little. 

Just for fun, I'd send the the BF photo updates of my skin. Because love is when you can send the other person photos of your peeling skin complete with whitehead breakout. We'd then chat about it:

Him: What if your face falls off?
Me: LOL. Hmm. I hope not. 
Him: You've only got one face!
Me: Exactly.
Him: Exactly!
Me( I don't think my exactly means what his does). 

On Monday, my skin had started to peel in strips. Sorry if I'm grossing you out. My breakout had cleard up  though, thankfully. 

Still meh. 

On Tuesday, I headed out for some meetings. Yep. With this face. As you can see in the above photo, my skin was starting to peel, and there was still some spots on my face. The dead skin on my face was almost black, and it felt dry, rough, thick and leathery. 
My skin was peeling off in strips, and I used a small scissor to cut off the skin that was hanging off my face. I know, I know, it's lovely and not gross at all. 

Cut to Thursday: Most of the dead skin had come off, and my new baby skin was there. My skin felt really soft and supple to the touch. I did have one pesky spot on my chin, but otherwise, my skin was pimple-free. 
Although my skin felt awesome, it looked almost the same as prior to the peel. A little bit smoother, but the difference wasn't as significant as I was hoping for. 

Close-up taken on Thursday. 

that's the side of my face Thursday. There's only a small amount of skin along my jaw that has yet to peel off. I did notice my giant nose pores looked smaller though. 
Overall, I am fairly happy with the results. It's not as marked as I would like it to have been, but my skin feels really good. 
I'll do do a part two to show what my skin looks like after healing fully:)