Unlike some people who don’t think it’s important, I do enjoy using toner and will never stop using it.

Some use toner for that pH balancing purpose, but I believe my skin is clearer (free from oil plugs and such) when I use one. And I can definitely judge the effectiveness of my cleansers, just by looking at how dirty my (soaked with toner) cotton pads. I found it very satisfying.

Personally I prefer toner with no scent and water-like in texture.

Here’s some of my favorite Fungal-Acne Safe Toner, and I include the ingredients analyzed by (which I thought is more detail than

  • Literally like water with no viscosity, no scent too!
  • Perfect to use with cotton pads. No matter how I cleaned my face, my cotton pads will get dirty somehow when I use this toner.
  • Big size (500ml). Perfect size for toner fans like me, and it’s very affordable.
  • It is a gentle exfoliating toner, so I don’t recommend this for toner masking.
  • Great if you have whiteheads and sensitive skin. It didn’t sting at all.
  • No Butylene Glycol inside, so it won’t trigger comedo.
  • Same thing, literally like water with no viscosity and no scent.
  • Only 4 ingredients inside, which I love.
  • Can be use as first toner with cotton pads, or if you’re using exfoliating toner, use this as hydrating toner with no pads.
  • Or you can use it for toner masking, it is that gentle.
  • Affordable price but not much of my local online shops here carry this brand.
  • Great daily toner, feels just like water with no scent and no viscosity.
  • To be use with cotton pads as first toner. Somehow, I always see dirt left on cotton pads when I use this.
  • Recommended for sensitive skin.
  • It’s a drugstore brand, but they don’t have this officially where I live. But some online shops do carry this from neighbors’ countries like Singapore or Malaysia.



Summer or not, outdoor or not, sunscreen is a must. Even though there are some contradictions out there about how the spray one is not as effective as the lotion one, it’s all about personal preferences.

However, I do keep sunscreen spray for touch up purpose, as it’s more practical, especially on this pandemic situation when dirty hands are our biggest enemy. With sunscreen spray, we can just spray over makeup and no need to blot, let it dry by itself. They won’t mess up our makeup. Just make sure to close your eyes and don’t breathe in while doing so.

And by the end of the day, please take your sunscreen properly with your choice of first cleanser (mine will be cleansing oil). Please don’t just wash them with soap and water to avoid clogged pores.

OK, now on with the review.


It’s a Japanese brand.
Claim: maximum UV protection for complete full-body sun protection. Protect skin and hair from UV damage.
Plus points:

  • waterproof
  • comes off with soap
  • can spray upside down
  • can be used on hair and scalp
  • transparent, no mineral oil and paraben free
  • fragrance-free

How to use: shake the bottle vigorously four to five times and spray evenly at a distance of 10-15cm.
Price: IDR255K for 60gr


It’s a SoKo brand.
Claim: shield & hydrates, enriched with ceramides to impart moisture & ensure sunscreen sticks effectively on skin.
Plus points:

  • also infused with birch tree & spirulina extracts to help nourish & soothe stressed skin.
  • can also be used on body.
  • lightly fragranced.

How to use: after fully shake the bottle, spray for 3 seconds from a distance of 20cm on skin areas exposed to UV rays.
Price IDR370K for 150ml


  • First of all, (unfortunately) both of them are not Fungal-Acne safe. But since they’re sitting on top of everything, I don’t mind at all and both didn’t trigger my FA either.
  • Both come in an aluminium bottle, KOSE has small ball inside for easier shaking purpose. Obviously BANILA CO is more attractive in terms of packaging, just look at that bright orange shade.
  • Both also contain alcohol, which I believe to make them dry faster. But again, I don’t mind at all and they didn’t irritate or dry out my skin.
  • In fact, speaking of dryness, BANILA CO is faster to dry than KOSE.
  • But, in term of shine & glow, KOSE gives more shiny effect on skin (great for dry skin). For oilier skin, I think BANILA CO will work greatly.



Disclaimer: this is not a comparison review, but both are Vegan.

I agree when someone said “Serum is like the Couture of skincare”. And just in case you are still wondering, serum and ampoule are basically the same. Both belong to the same step, after essence and before emulsion/moisturizer. But I believe, ampoules are slightly thicker than serums, so in accordance with the thinnest to thickest rule, always apply serum before ampoule. And according to Director Pi, if you already use Essence in your skincare routine, you can skip the Ampoule.

You know how I love their Liquid Gold, so when Sephora Indonesia had a (rare) sale, I know I have to purchase this too. This vitamin serum contains powerful natural antioxidant Chia to assist in plumping and hydrating, plus Ferulic Acid (extracted from Rice Bran Oil) to help diminish the appearance of uneven skin tone. And of course, it has Niacinamide (you know it’s my favorite too) and Copper Tripeptide (Copper with Amino Acids) to prevent premature ageing and promote elasticity.

They recommend to apply twice daily, but considering the hefty price tag, I’m using this at my PM routine. I can say this is the ‘do it all’ serum for me, for its’ ability to prevent moisture loss, regulates excess oil, boost skin immunity and reduce hyper-pigmentation.

Price IDR787K for 25ml

Full Ingredients List:
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Niacinamide, Methyl Gluceth-20, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Wheat Amino Acids, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Lactobacillus Ferment, Copper Tripeptide-1, Hydroxyproline, CI 42090 (Blue 1)

I guess this launch earlier this year, but stay under the radar. But I believe this deserve some attention, people!

It doesn’t use purified water as their main ingredient, but they use 85% of Neroli Flower Water Extract, known to help soothe and calm skin with its anti-inflammatory properties.

As the name stated, it contains LHA, excellent yet gentle exfoliant (with pH 5.5) to combat clogged pores. So gentle, it can be use day and night everyday.

Texture is thick like a light gel, that’s why it’s easy to use as a spot treatment. But, I dislike the droplet as it’s slightly hard to pick up, and the size (it’s only 15ml). Other than that, I love everything about this ampoule. It instantly calms down the redness of a huge pimple within hours. Might be a bit sticky at the first application but after it absorb, it feels like nothing on my skin. Will definitely repurchase this, and using it only as a spot treatment.

Price IDR252K for 15ml

Full Ingredients List:
Citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower water, propanediol, 1, 2-hexanediol, methylpropanediol, niacinamide, purified water, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, glutathione, hyaluronic acid, capryloyl salicylic acid, hyrolyzed hyaluronic acid, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, panthenol, carbomer, glycerin, raspberry ketone, hydroxyethyl urea, hydroxyethylcellulose, tromethamine, ethylhexyglycerin, allantoin, hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, butylene glycol, benzyl glycol, beta-glucan, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, disodium edta, plant-based ethanol.


  • First timer of using serum/ampoule? Try them as spot treatment first, then gradually apply on the whole face if needed.
  • Use it after cleansing & toning steps. Usually I need 3-4 drops for the entire face, but you can adjust accordingly.
  • If you’re not a dropper expert, just drop them on your hand and gently press onto skin.
  • If you’re using hydrating toner (the viscous one), use serum first than your hydrating toner.
  • You can layer with other serum if you wish. My safest bet is Hyaluronic Acid Serum/Booster.
  • Let the serum/ampoule sink fully into skin before moving on to other steps/layers.
  • Personally, I think it’s best to apply them in an air-conditioned room. Somehow, I feel like they absorb better and won’t sting in colder temperature.



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Since I started blogging diligently from 2012, I’ve been learning a lot about ingredients that (sadly) didn’t work for my skin. I’m telling you, it needs a lot of trial & error to find out (but I guess it’ll be rewarding in the end). But, having oily skin that prone to clogged pores and such, it’s really that hard. Anyway, these are based on my personal experiences.

I’m telling you it is very hard to find a skincare product which doesn’t have Butylene Glycol in it. Apparently, it is needed to increase the skin penetration by other ingredients. Unfortunately, it has comedogenic rating based on

I’ve discussed this with dr.Eche Idrus, Board Certified Dermatovenereologist from Makassar, Indonesia. If you have active acnes, forget this ingredient, as it might trigger more. Some people also might also experience irritation with this natural ingredient. But again, it depends on how our skin reacted to this. Unfortunately, on me, it just can’t.

I’ve been having acne problems for most of my life, and mineral oil can exacerbate it. It’s true what they said that it clog and suffocate pores.

Yes, it is the most common silicone used in skincare products. It’s great for makeup primer and such, but covering my sensitive pores is just not my thing.



They’re confident enough to call this ‘Liquid Gold’. Does it live up to its’ name?

So, I started to buy the travel size (30ml) ones, like last year (and compare to 2020, 2019 was a great year). And because it worked so well on my skin, then I decided to splurge and purchased the 100ml ones.

PRICE? In Sephora Indonesia, 100ml cost IDR673K.

WHAT’S IN IT? Only 9 ingredients (another minimal ingredients winner!): Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract.

CLAIM: Effectively diminish wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage.

Double Cleanse (Oil Cleanse & Foam Cleanse)

MY THOUGHTS: I believe it’s a very clever skincare product. In one easy step, it works as a toner, chemical exfoliator, serum and moisturizer. On a very tiring night, it’s a savior. On this pandemic time, when we can’t visit beauty clinic to do facial, this will be a wonderful ‘overnight facial’. Their hero ingredient is Glycolic Acid, an AHA which works to exfoliate our skin, not just on the surface but on the walls of our pores as well. So it really helps to reduce the build-up of cells in pores that lead to breakouts. That’s why it worked wonderfully on my skin pores. I applied twice a week, but when I feel like a pimple is going to get bigger, I will apply this with cotton pad (recommended to use one because the texture is watery) and it’ll eventually flatten the morning after. Yes, it stings (and still stings after months of using this), but it didn’t cause any redness or irritation on me. It is one strong active, but somehow they say it’s safe to use during pregnancy & breastfeeding. But beware for those who have sensitive skin, try to patch test first. Some people compared this to Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion, but having tried it also, Alpha H works better on my skin, easier to find and more affordable. And yes people, it is safe for Fungal Acne.

Check out my skin before and after using Alpha H Liquid Gold (please note that I use other skincare products too).

On me, it’s great for skin textures and acne scarring.

Check out the used cotton pad of mine (I already double cleanse before, so imagine that dirt and gunk were still there if I don’t use this).



OK, I have to admit that I am one of DIY Pimple Pickers. Especially during these #stayathome period, I am getting worse.

Having all the time in the world to stare at magnifying mirror, and see those pesky pimples/whiteheads/blackheads. And you just can’t help it, but to pop them (especially if you have the tools to do so like me). Well, damages are done, so what can we do next? Read on, folks.

Personally, I consider myself lucky if the puss went out, when I picked them. But if the pores are open already and none came out, clean them right away and stick pimple patch, stat!

If the puss went out and nothing left in there, make sure you dry it with clean tissue (I never use rubbing alcohol to stop the bleeding, because it’ll irritate them more). Then I will apply A’PIEU MADECASSOSIDE AMPOULE on the fresh wound. Made from the infamous tiger grass, I believe it calms the open wound.

Then I’ll top it off with COSRX ADVANCED SNAIL 92 ALL IN ONE CREAM. Made from 92% of Snail Secretion Filtrate, it will help to repair and sooth red skin.

GOODAL GREEN TANGERINE VITA C DARK SPOT SERUM is my HG for older acne scars. Read my review here.

Try microneedle aka derma rolling therapy at home. Read my older post here about it.

It’s super important to remove those dead skin cells away. You may have your own preferences on how to exfoliate your skin.
Daily exfoliation with gentle exfoliating toner (currently using KLAIRS DAILY SKIN SOFTENING WATER).

Weekly exfoliation with ALPHA H LIQUID GOLD, alternating with DRUNK ELEPHANT A-PASSIONI RETINOL CREAM.



Lately, having #stayathome with lots of time to kill, I’ve been watching a lot of YT videos. And there’s one that I’m obsessed with: @labeautyologist.

In this video, she shared The Ultimate Self-Care Skincare Routine for maximum hydration & product penetration. It’s like her version of 10 steps skincare routine. They’re really different from the renowned Korean 10 steps, and personally it gets me because I want my skincare products to penetrate well into the skin. Mind you, this routine will involve 4 times of hydrating toner and only one active in later step.

These are her steps.

    It can be double cleanse (she’s more into oil cleanser for makeup removal than micellar by the way) and continue with second cleanser.
  2. TONE
    Function of toner: to increase absorption. So, she recommends to gently pat the toner (hydrating ones) before the next step (which is exfoliation) to make it works better.
    Not a chemical exfoliation, she prefers the one that we can apply and take off (like peeling gel and enzyme scrub). Do not scrub harshly, just apply gently then rinse off with water.
  4. TONE
    Yes, again to increase absorption of the next step, which is….
  5. MASK
    She chose a hydrating mask, a wash-off ones.
  6. TONE
    She said hydrating toner works best with hydrating serum.
  7. SERUM
    If your skin is prone to irritation, apply hydrating serum before serum with actives like Niacinamide or Retinol. This is the only step that allow us to use one active, so choose wisely according to your skin needs. If you’re using prescribed product from your derm, this is the step.
  8. TONE
    Last toner, to push the actives further down into the skin.
    This goes before oil because moisturizer is a mixture of oil, water and emollient. And heavier oils (except squalane which is lighter) will block the absorption of moisturizer.
  10. OIL
    If you use squalane, you can mix it with moisturizer. But other than that, oil is the last step. If you live in colder climate or you have very dry skin, opt for occlusive to lock in water.


This is why I love skincare and writing about them. There’s always new techniques to try, to learn and made me excited to see the result.

Somehow, this new routine kind of reminds me of 7 Skin Method (remember the toner layering?).

Usually, I do my double cleanse step inside the bathroom and continue the rest in my bedroom (because I never put my skincare products inside the bathroom, except cleansers). As these new 10 steps required 2 more rinsing steps with water (after exfoliate and mask steps), the thought of going back and forth to the bathroom seems daunting and uncomfortable.

I guess I won’t be doing this everyday morning and night, but I’ll try to simplify the steps with my choices of products (mostly FA safe). And doing this in the evening seems more reasonable as we are more chill, yes?

    Trilogy Rosehip Transformation Cleansing Oil – for oil cleanse
    Tatcha The Deep Cleanse – it is an exfoliating cleanser, so I use this as second cleanser to skip step number 3 and 4.
  2. TONE
    Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
  3. MASK
    Freeman Deep Clearing Manuka Honey + Tea Tree Oil Clay Mask
  4. TONE
    Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
  5. SERUM
    Alternate between Me+ Niacinamide & Zinc Booster or Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream
  6. TONE
    Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
    Eau Thermale Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion is my last step, as I try to avoid oil as most of them blocked my pores.



Personally, I always believe in the power of great cleanser. It’s a “Make It or Break It” situation for me.

Yes, serums are great, actives are great, but really what cleanse our skin thoroughly is cleanser. Now, I’ll be discussing about a different type of ‘just face cleanser’, they are called ENZYME CLEANSER.

First thing first, what the heck is Enzyme? Well, I did some research online and Enzyme is a “chemical that speed up the rate of a reaction between two substances without being consumed themselves. Enzyme works by breaking down that keratin protein to reveal smoother skin.”

Do we really need this type of cleanser? Well, as you might know, we all need exfoliation. Some (like myself) might depend only on chemical exfoliation, just because physical exfoliation (traditional scrubs) can be too rough on sensitive skin. But if chemical exfoliation is also too tough on your skin, because you simply can’t take the actives, you might try this enzyme cleansing method. It is noticeably one of the softest way to break down dead skin cells and other impurities. So, if you have oily and easily congested skin but very sensitive to harsh exfoliation, give enzyme cleanser a try. Please do treat this as a second cleanser, use your regular first cleanser to remove makeup.

There are currently two forms of enzyme cleansers out there:


Yes, in a powder cleanser form. It literally contains no water, very concentrated formula that will go farther than liquid cleanser.


Made in Japan, they’re individually packed and contains soybean milk filtrate (for that enzyme action) and silk powder to soften skin.

How to use? When water is added, the powder will become gentle exfoliating foam. Open one package, place the powder on the palm of your hand, add a drop of warm water and work up a gentle lather. Apply on face and rinse off as usual.

Pros: very travel-friendly, and because they come in a dry form, they’re usually have longer expiry period.

Cons: they look like detergent (LOL), can be messy if you have shaky hands and not safe for fungal acne.


Some said that cleanser in a gel form will actually lessen skin irritation, therefore it’s recommended for sensitive skin. And one of the many fews that have enzyme cleanser in a gel form, is MARIO BADESCU ENZYME CLEANSING GEL. No wonder they claim this as their best-selling face wash. Even though they do recommend to cleanse twice daily with this cleanser, but personally I use this as a night cleanser with my Foreo. It contains Papaya and Grapefruit extract which are known for their exfoliating properties to remove buildup (the cause of blackheads and pimples).

Pros: available in Indonesia.

Con: not paraben free & fragranced



And I remember my mom used to say when I was in my teenage years, “don’t worry, once you reach your adulthood, your acne problem will be gone” NOT!

After my 1st fungal acne attacked in 2018, me and acne problems is my kind of “new normal” skin situation. You name it, adult acne, stress acne, and last but not least chin acne.

First thing first, never be ignorant of what your acnes on your face are telling you.

If you see the pic above, acnes on your chin and around lip area, apparently are telling us that we have hormonal imbalance problem. It has been months that I’ve experience this, neglected all the signals that my acnes are trying to tell me.

Until one day, I had terrible tummy cramp for over two weeks. Starting from the first day of my period, which I thought was only an ordinary menstrual cramp. Well, after my period was over, I still have that bad tummy pain for a week. So I went to the doctor and had it diagnosed. After the 4D USG, it turned out, I have ADENOMYOSIS.

So, what the heck is that? Check out the pic below so you can get a pretty good idea.

Basically, it’s a condition of the womb where the cells that normally form a lining on the inside of the womb, also grow in the muscle wall of the womb. Yes, the womb gets bigger. On some, Adenomyosis can result in heavy periods (not on me thankfully). But, it sure can cause terrible period cramps, even before or after menstrual period. And no paracetamol and ordinary painkillers can tone it down. Some said, this condition comes with age (40+) and also C-section surgery (I had two, so yeah).

Chin Acne comes in various form, it can be blackheads, whiteheads, or cystic acne. In my case, they’re usually lots of congestions and some cystic acne. Because they’re caused by hormonal problem, obviously any topical treatment just won’t do. Adenomyosis caused estrogen imbalance, meanwhile we need estrogen to keep our skin clear. That’s why my chin acne just won’t heal no matter what kind of products I use. So, if a normal person’s skin got monthly pimples due to hormonal surges before period, I have them every day because of my hormonal imbalance (thanks Adenomyosis!).


If you’re having the same problems, better check and talk to your ObGyn, so he/she might suggest oral medication options. My ObGyn prescribed VISANNE for me.

When I googled it, it is used for the treatment of the painful symptoms of endometriosis. It really helps to reduce the pain without sacrificing estrogen level. And I saw better improvement on my face too after two months of consuming this. Yes, it took that long for them to clear up.


Talking about consumption, also try to start addressing the food and beverage you’re taking. Personally (even if it’s hard as hell), I tried to consume less dairy and sugar, also less fried food. 1000mg Vitamin C is also a must and I’ve been doing morning sunbathing to get my natural vitamin D. And yes, being at home for more than 2 months without no makeup on did help, too!

Even though this problem comes from the inside, but still you have to do proper skincare routine. Mine is quite simple: Cleanse, Tone, Chemical Exfoliation (with Glycolic, two times a week), Hydrate and Sun Protection (in the morning). And last but not least, Retinol as twice a week treatment. Here are a few of my favorites.

Please note that I also did some research online to do this post. Before taking any oral medication, please speak to your ObGyn.