So I had this Cory Quirino moment and thought of making some use of ground coffee beans after brewing coffee.  And then I remembered I needed a body scrub — and I figured the smell of coffee would work well with that of shea butter.  So I decided to mix some ground coffee beans into a bottle of Body Shop’s Shea Shower Cream (12 SGD) — and squeezed in some vitamin E (interesting to note that in Singapore, Vitamin E capsules are also marketed as topical ointments for scars and stretch marks and not as stand-alone supplements because they’re usually mixed with some other ingredients.)

After some shaking, I got myself a yummy body scrub — so yummy, I want to chug it while taking a shower.  Yum.


If you want a basic, lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog the pores and won’t cause any irritation on sensitive skin, this fuss-free emulsion from Shiseido Men that comes in an equally lightweight bottle is the right thing to use.

It’s light — but is able to moisturize well, easy to use and is easily absorbed by your skin so unlikely to cause breakouts.  No irritating scent.

But: doesn’t give you sun protection so I’d say this is more for traveling, like when  you’re flying and you just need something light and easy –basic!

Works well with Shiseido Men Toner — a splash-on toner for just-shaved or cleansed skin that works wonders in soothing skin.  One of my favorites — which reminds me, I just ran out of stock.


So Olay just launched a small line for men and I wasn’t really paying any attention to it because (1) the packaging looked plain and ugly and (2) marketing-advertising was just so bad.  It didn’t seem to be making any stand for anything, it looked like any of those run-of-the-mill mass products you could find in the Chinatown discount stores.

But Olay as a brand is quite good, and I’ve been using the Regenerist moisturizers which I’d say are excellent; too bad the marketing for this new product just sucks.  I think they did a pretty good job with the Total Effects brand in the Philippines.

Anyway, I recently got this Smooth Cream Foaming Cleanser.  For 12 bucks, I’d say it’s a bit pricier than the other mass-market brands like Garnier, at par with Neutrogena.  I was expecting one of those foamy facial washes but I was surprised to find a light yummy smooth texture and the scent wasn’t bad.  It’s like Cetaphil, only that the latter is so so gentle, it’s hard to believe it’s actually cleaning your face.  So I like this — not harsh and but it delivers.  And it moisturizes as well.

They got another “variant” for oily skin, so that’ll probably be stronger.

I like this.  But I hope they’d change the packaging – it’s damn ugly.  Or they could give me the account and I’ll take care of the marketing.

I’ve been using this for a long time now, and I’ve already used up about 2 tubes to date.  It’s quite pricey at around 70++ SGD and I must say that it aint that hardworking.  Not too effective against dark undereye circles and it doesn’t even have rich moisturizing properties.  Plus I’ve heard a lot of people say that it causes the underye area feel a bit itchy — which is not uncommon for vitamin C products.

I wouldn’t recommend this at all — i’d say that the only reason I bought it twice was because it’s part of the “dermatologist solutions” line and it’s supposed to be scientifically prove and, well, credible and effective.

One of the most effective Vitamin C products can be found in the Body Shop.   And they’re cheap too.  I’ll write about that in a separate entry.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer is one of the gentlest facial cleansers I have ever tried and despite that, it works well in removing dirt and oil off your face — without drying even the driest and/or most sensitive skin.   Lovin the feel of the rich creamy texture while you’re rubbing it in circles on your face.  Reminds me a bit of Cetaphil but it’s got a thicker consistency that feels more reassuring, sort of tells you it cleans better.

I hear a lot of people don’t like the smell – cause it’s a bit “medicinal” but I got used to it anyway, not too much of a bother.

Here’s another amazing find – a light, tinted fluid that packs solid SPF protection.  Laroche-Posay’s tinted fluid glides and spreads easily on you skin, it is so light — gets absorbed by your skin in a jiffy.  The tint instantly improves your complexion — adds a bit of a color but not in a obvious way.  Your skin looks moist and supple immediately after each application.

Details, lifted from the brand website:

Fragrance-free. Paraben free. Lighter in chemical filters. Non-Comedogenic. Water resistant.


Skin subject to sun intolerance, commonly known as sun allergies. Extreme sun exposure. Prevention of pregnancy mask. Drug-induced photosensitivity.


Very high, broad, photostable UVA/UVB protection. Optimal SPF 50+ protection reinforced against UVA rays (stricter than the European recommendation) thanks to a new filter system that combines Mexoryl® SX and XL and Senna Alata extract, a natural cell protector. In a new, more minimalistic dermatologically-tested formula: fragrance-free, paraben-free, minimum chemical filters, non-comedogenic.
– Tinted fluid texture for a natural, non-greasy glow. Suitable for normal to combination skin.
– Water resistance.


The skin is protected from sunburns and from skin reactions and cell damage from UV rays.

Packaging and content

50 ml bottle

I first came across this product format – tinted moisturizers – back in 2007 I think when I was still in an ad agency in Manila, handling NIVEA advertising locally.  I instantly fell in love with the Nivea Tinted Moisturizers — which come in different shades ranging from light to tan.  It has this light texture that is far from cakey – so it is easy to apply and it blends well with your natural complexion.  Plus it also has moisturizing properties, so it’s not just for covering somethin up.

So when do I use it?  Not all the time.  It comes in handy if you’re hung over and you look like a zombie or if you want to make pimple marks a little less obvious.  Works well on dark undereye circles too — or you if you just want to instantly even out skin tone.  Doesn’t give you that ugly cake face a lot of people get from powder or foundation.

It’s really cheap and a tube goes a long way – you don’t have to use a lot.  I find it puzzling though that they seemed to have stopped distributing it in Manila and I could’t even find it in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta or any other country in SEA.

I’ve been using this since I was a kid – the ultimate lifesaver.  Ideal for these huge, tender pimples full of yellow sticky pus, each tiny bottle of the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil is sold for about 18 SGD.  Smells good too. Dries out your pimple in no time and won’t do peripheral damage to skin.

Back in college, I remember havin one rare episode when several pimples just started appearing on the tip of my nose, spreading to the sides and I wasn’t too happy because that particular area is prone to big, permanent gaping holes post a pimple epidemic.  You see a lot of pimples with scars and huge open pores on the nose — that’s how it all started.   I tried a number of products – astringents, facial washes, toners — and only this baby did the trick.

Check it out – another grooming kit staple for those sad and depressing pimply days.

The Body Shop now has a full Tea Trea line comprised up concealers, a foaming facial wash, a body wash, etc.

I first came across this moisturizer when I was living in Bangkok.  At that time, I was trying to do away with the cheaper and more commercialized mass brands — and was in the mood for something that really works without regard to price.  Something more special, so to speak.  And so I spent some time Googling and found a lot of good reviews for this cream, said to have a cult following among Hollywood celebs.  Mostly women of course.

That was in 2008.  So I got it — and it was a bit expensive and I already forgot the price.  A lot of online rants were about this strong and unpleasant smell – which is supposed to be lavender and true enough, there was this pungent medicinal odor coming from it.  It didn’t bother me anyway.

It has this light and grainy texture which doesn’t leave a thick and greasy residue on the skin.  But you do need quite a few dabs for full coverage.

After a few days, you’ll notice that your skin texture becomes more evened out, like even the bumps disappear.  I think it has some peeling effect.  Read somewhere that it was originally formulated as a treatment for burn patients.  Reviews say it’s for all skin types – and I haven’t encountered any bad side effects like drying, redness or any irritation.

I’d say it’s not THAT great in delivering moisture – other moisturizers like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer or Olay Regenerist have better moisturizing properties.  But it does very well in giving you that perfect complexion, making you look as if you’re wearing make up.  I didn’t notice this at all but when I moved from Singapore to Bangkok, I  had people asking me if I wus wearing makeup — which is great, tangible proof that the product works.

I’m quite fickle-minded so I started using other products as soon as I emptied my first jar.  A few weeks back I found that my skin was in such a bad condition – so I decided to go back to this skin-saver.  I scoured the whole of Singapore to look for this but they don’t sell it here; some of the “specialty” stores that do ran out of stocks so did some googling and found it in

Now I got this skin-saver back in my grooming kit, and I think it’s gonna be a staple.

Hope in a Jar also comes in a formulation for sensitive skin.

38 USD, 2 Oz

Plus 34USD additional Fedex express delivery (5-7 business days from US to SG)