instagram - Jewel Shalom

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sleeping Beauty 做个水水睡美人

Let your bbf (beauty best friends) go the extra mile while you are role-playing Sleeping Beauty 

I'm guilty!!! I must be one of the most sleep-deprived girls in Johor Bahru as well as Singapore. I wear little or no makeup, so it is obvious just by looking at the big dark circles around my big(ger) eyes. <Thank God it isn't the other way round. >

Dark circles, however, are not only due to lack of sleep. There's a whole host of other reasons which we'll talk about another day.


早上护肤后没上粉底的哔哔肌 (看到黑眼圈啦)
Petal fresh baby skin after my morning skincare 
with no makeup (oh... my dark circles) 

You know how we multitask to manage so many things simultaneously? It's the same when we retire to bed. While we sleep, our body is at rest and our skin cells are in repair mode. Thus that's the time when the creams and potions we apply do their job. But what exactly should we apply? 

While I have a lot of respect for Japanese skincare products, I don't subscribe to the approach 'the more, the merrier'. As with vitamin supplements that we ingest, if skincare products are not absorbed into the skin, or if that particular product isn't helpful for your skin, you're merely wasting time and money, and worst of all, burdening your skin with an extra layer of something. 

A word of caution too: when adding new skincare products to your regimen, do so one at a time, lest there is a reaction and you are not sure what you are reacting to. 

Many people have asked me what's my secret to beautiful skin. Pared down to the basics, my skincare regimen consists of cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Some nights I add on a brightening serum to counter the effects of the sun in our climate, since I'm prone to turning pink and freckled after sun exposure, while other nights I use an all-in-one sleeping mask. But I never proceed further than 4 steps at one go, unless it is before applying a sheet mask. 

A porcelain-pretty complexion can be yours too
even if you are not a Japanese

There are more moisturizers than any other skincare product. Perhaps you're unaware that many are simply clones of one another, albeit dressed up differently. But with so much advancement in skincare know-how, thankfully, we can reap so many benefits from our moisturizers now. 

Today let me share with you some excellent moisture-retaining Japanese products:

睡美人的幕后英雄 My bbf (beauty best friends) 

1. Miccosmo White Label Premium Placenta Cleansing Gel   美白胎盘素洁肤胶

Hmm, this reminds me of baby products. It is colourless, fragrance-free and paraben -free. Being non-oily and fragrance-free too, the Japanese even use it while in the bathtub. I'm amazed by the texture - something so soft and comforting, like jelly, yet cleans thoroughly. It is labelled as a cleansing gel, but once dissolved, feels more like a lotion on the skin. It doesn't give you the squeaky clean sensation that many foam cleansers yield. It works so stealthily that you might even wonder if your skin is clean enough! If your skin is more delicate and prone to dryness like mine, you'll  love this!

This softens and brightens your skin as it contains placenta extract and sodium hyaluronate. If you wear light makeup, it doubles up as a makeup remover too. Take a suitable amount and blend into your face with your fingertips, using light spiral movements. You can use it over lipstick and mascara too. Then splash several times to rinse off. Beautiful baby skin is yours! 

Miccosmo White Label Premium
Placenta Cleansing Gel   美白胎盘素洁肤胶

2. Minon Amino Moist Moist Charge Lotion I 
The selling point of this product is its high glycerin content. Glycerin is useful for more skin conditions than we think, ranging from dry skin to blackheads to scars, plus it is non-toxic. This is a lotion which you apply after cleansing your face and neck. It comes in a pump dispenser. After washing your face, gently dry it. The recommendation is to pump 3-5 times. For me, I find that just 1 pump for the face and 1 more for the neck and upper shoulders is quite sufficient. Then gently massage it into your skin in circular motions. 

It might feel a tad sticky at first. But the stickiness soon dissipates when the product has been totally absorbed. What's left behind is velvety smooth skin that you'll ooh and ahh over...

Minon Amino Moist Moist Charge Lotion I

3. D Splash La Bella Carbonated Treatment 
This is number ONE in Cosme.
It is a booster, a product designed to prep your skin so as to enhance the absorption and efficacy of other products. Use it continuously for 7-10 days and you'll be amazed by the texture of your skin. You'll find that other skincare products work better, your makeup glides on better, and your skin looks better naked too. Honestly! 

So what's inside this skin-transforming potion? Basically, it contains carbonic acid which has molecules that are tiny enough to penetrate into the skin in about 5 minutes. After absorbing carbonic acid, the skin is prepped to absorb nutrition more readily. 

It also contains essential beauty ingredients - fish placenta, collagen and sodium hyaluronate - the building blocks of moisturised, bright, balanced and bouncy skin. Armed with these ingredients, it tackles skincare woes like dullness, dehydration, sagginess, acne and darkened pores. 

After cleansing your face, pat it dry. Shake the can gently. Squirt out a small amount on your palm. Press your palms together. You will feel a bubbling sensation. So fun!!  Next, press your palms onto your face and let the product sink into the skin. 

Voila!  Be pleasantly surprised that the product is almost undetectable in under 2 minutes. Glide your fingers over your face. Peer into the mirror and see that unmistakable glow in your cheeks. Lurrve it!!! 

My personal recommendation is to use this product once a day, at night, and if you're new to the product, use it alone at night as the last step, for a whole week to see the difference. See it to believe it. After 7 days, you can add on your moisturizer or whitening serum afterwards. 

Rosy pink cheeks and baby soft skin after D Splash 双颊变得粉粉红红水水嫩嫩

10 minutes later: rose petal soft luminous baby skin 十分钟后见证柔嫩如玫瑰花瓣晶莹剔透的哔哔肌

⚠ WARNING 注意喔!
You will likely feel a painful sensation with the bubbles "popping"  the first few times you use it. That's our skin responding to the carbonic acid. If your skin is more sensitive and delicate, you will see it flushing immediately. 

As you can see from the barefaced untouched photos here, my cheeks turn rosy pink after applying the product. It was very painful for me to use it the first 5 days. But I persisted. And now it doesn't sting anymore and I'm delighted to say that it has made my complexion touchably and visibly smoother and softer. Baby skin, indeed! 


Be a beautiful bedtime baby 做个漂亮宝贝  晚安安

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bare faced glow 想拥有不上妆也上镜的肌肤吗?

On my recent month-long trip to Japan in November/December 2015, I was bowled over to find sooooo many skincare products that are mid-priced but top-notch in terms of efficacy.
I could spend the whole day at beauty specialty shops like Ranking Queen and departmental stores like Tokyu Hands just browsing, comparing ingredient lists and prices, and making a mental note of the uniqueness of each offering.

在韩风炒热之前,日本是众所皆知的美容护肤品天堂。夸别10年,论化妆技术和整容的普及化,韩姐韩妹无可厚非傲领潮流,由于五官打扮妆容都大同小异,走在街上可随手捉一位冒认亲戚。(拥护韩星的朋友们,别生气喔!)相比下,日本人所提倡的美丽是classic 百年不变的:除了一头乌黑亮丽的秀发,美的准则还是以晶莹剔透的肌肤为基础,淡妆只是为了衬托其优越的肤质。

如今科技发达,HD高清化妆品已不再是明星歌星的专利,很多女生会不惜掏腰包购买整山的化妆品,利用这工具猛修容貌。再加上各式修饰照片的Apps, 这边加那边减,然后把写真上载,期盼的是陌生人的赞美:哇,女神,好漂亮!即使她们心知肚明,写真经过加工后跟本身的庐山真面目的差距实在大得离谱。。。

重点是,你我并不是生活在2-D 的照片里。每天卸妆后,在夜深人静只有你跟你的镜子面对面时,你觉得你的另一半在镜子里有什么话要说吗?不晓得大家怎么想喔,不过我的想法是:与其花费时间与金钱在浓妆和Apps上面,倒不如从底层做起,改善肤质,增加自信。我们对肌肤的要求都不同,唯一相同的是:无论荷包有多深,没有人会愿意花冤枉钱的,你说是吗?

It was in Osaka that I chanced upon this new-generation facial cleanser:
SANA Hadanomy Aquaplacenta Esthe Foam.
Nothing fanciful about its packaging, but what caught my eye was the promise "facial effect after merely washing your face with this". This product ranked number 2 in its category, and I thought, oh well, another sales gimmick with empty promises. But I couldn't resist purchasing it, as the thought of covering my mien with mousse like foam sounded like F-U-N! 

在大阪地下铁购物街我偶然的踏入外表喧闹的店面Ranking Queen, 哇,其琳琅满目的护肤品多得令人乍舌,我在这里花了足足4小时研究产品!所售卖的护肤品大多是排行榜上头10名的,这里介绍的是排名第二的Sana Aquaplacenta 炭酸洗颜泡,是新一代的洁肤方法。包装简单,但是承诺可一点也不简单喔!据说,用后的效果等于做一次facial喔。真的吗?让我亲自来见证吧!
SANA Hadanomy Aquaplacenta Esthe Foam
moisture retention formula made in Japan

bare faced glow, untouched photo: after cleansing 洗脸后看镜子:白里透红滑溜溜水嫩嫩的美丽肌肌马上登场,好开心喔,此照片完全没经修饰
a dollop of magic 挤出一小泡泡污垢死皮马上洗掉

If you have nil or light makeup on, you can apply this straightaway as a cleanser. However, if you have oilier skin or heavier makeup on, I would suggest that you use a makeup remover prior to using this cleanser. But first, wash your hands first. Most of us remember to wash our precious faces but forget that it all starts with clean hands! You wouldn't want to be transferring germs from your hands to your face, would ya? Ready? Let the magic begin:
1. Wet your face with water. 
2. Shake the bottle a few times and gently squeeze a dollop onto your palm. It looks and feels like hair mousse.
3. Apply an opaque layer over the entire face, avoiding the delicate eye area.
4. Gently massage all over in circular motions for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Rinse. Pat dry.
6. Admire. 


Notice how clean your face feels, but minus the tight feeling that some cleansers give you.
Slide your palm over your cheeks and savour the plump, smooth sensation.
Look closely into the mirror and observe a light glow. (Seriously!)
Afterwards, continue with your usual skincare regime.


ESTHE FOAM contains placenta extract, three kinds of hyaluronic acid and acerola extract. The chemistry among these ingredients yield moisturising, whitening and brightening effects.

炭酸泡含有胎盘素,三种玻尿酸和针叶萃取 。综合后发挥深层保湿,美白和亮肤的明显功效。

Personally, I prefer to use this ESTHE FOAM once a day, at night before I sleep.
After using it once a day for a week, I find that my skin is super smooth, with an au naturel glow.
As I don't use much makeup, and I dislike the look of blushers, it's a pleasure to achieve this sans cosmetics.   


My skin type is pretty sensitive and prone to dryness. I have tried and tested many other products on the market, both high-end as well as drugstore brands, and some doctors' brands as well...and I must say, that ESTHE FOAM exceeds my expectations, yeah!
I'm unable to use many other products because of the alcohol content and other skin sensitizing agents. I hope to share information on skin sensitizing ingredients with you later on.

有敏感易干燥皮肤的我,学会了在购买护肤品时读标签了解成分,也用过很多不同品牌的洗面霜,当然也有其它功效特佳的牌子,但这款Esthe Foam 真的是物超所值。

In the day, I am alternating between two other made in Japan gentle cleansers. I'll reveal those wonderful products in my next review.  


So, which is the BEST cleanser you've ever used? and the WORST, ever??


Friday, February 12, 2016

LA Rose Hair Mask, Body Soap, EDT: Review玫瑰花护肤美发花露水

A Rose is as sweet by any other name. For some inexplicable reason, I've been in love for the longest time ever... with the ROSE. 

莫名我只喜欢你,深深的爱上你,从见到你的那一天起。这是我对万花之后 - 玫瑰花 - 的宣言。

Wait! Let me correct that... I've loved roses for as long as I've loved cats. And I think they're similar too in several ways.


Cats, regardless of how you might feel towards them, are unarguably one of the most graceful and elegant creatures to be prowling the face of the earth. They are fiercely independent and won't hesitate to show you a paw or claw when the occasion calls for it. But once you have gained their trust, they offer you their friendship and loyalty for life. And yes, they smell good too! 


Roses, on the other hand, are widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful and sought-after flowers, if not THE flower. They're delicate and pretty but careful! Watch out for those thorns. Rose essence-infused skincare and haircare products smell simply HEAVENLY, yeah, make that in capital letters. Rose oils are so precious that rose based perfumes are always amongst the most expensive. Roses are thus the epitome of unrivalled feminity, fragrance and fantasy . 



So what's the connection here? You might be pursing your lips and tapping your fingers impatiently. 


You see, once a cat-lover, forever a cat-lover. Once you've fallen in love with the rose, no other flower will come close. 



Today, let's turn our attention to this trio of rose-based products from LA ROSE, HOUSE OF ROSE, Japan. I managed to squeeze just three products into my suitcase from this tiny but amazing shop in Namba Station, Osaka. 


BTW, the range of restaurants (low-mid-high priced), cafes, and itsy-bitsy shops here with all sorts of paraphernalia will take up a full day of browsing, buying, eating, snacking and instagraming. I'm a Singapore girl but Orchard Road pales in comparison...


From childhood to puberty to adulthood, I must have sampled hundreds of rose-infused products, ranging from shampoo, hair conditioner, hair mask, facial cleanser, toner, sheet mask, jelly mask, body wash, bath soak, body scrub, foot scrub, mascara,  eau de toilette & eau de parfum. My mum is averse to body odours and foul smells so... 


What sets this trio apart from the competition is

(1) they really do what they're supposed to do! 

(2) they don't cost you an arm or a leg!!


Are you sold yet? 

(I)  La Rose Hair Treatment 玫瑰花护发膜

This 200g tube has lasted me for 2.5 months, which is value-for-money, considering the fact that I wash my hair once a day, everyday. My hair is straight and fine, and reaches to the middle of my back. I've never coloured or permed my hair before, so I don't have an issue with split ends. But due to its length, it is still prone to dryness at the ends from time to time, if I don't condition it regularly. 

仅仅200g, 物超所值,为什么酱说呢?因为我本身头发长至半背,每天都洗头,可是竟然可以用了足足两个半月才用完叻。跟您分享一个小秘密喔,我从未染发或电圈圈,真的,有时候有股冲动想试试,可是到了美发院,理发师把我的长发托起,捧在他手里,然后跟我说:像妳酱的发质要绝种了,去染或烫掉真的太可惜...我又打退堂鼓了。


La Rose Hair Treatment smells as fresh and sweet as the real flower itself and even Kashmir, my sleeping partner, has become addicted to the uplifting fragrance. She loves to bury her furry feline head into my hair when she lies on top of my head to sleep. 


It leaves my hair silky smooth and marshmallow soft. And i can blow-dry my hair sans serum or leave-in cream if I'm lazy. 


(2) La Rose Body Soap玫瑰花沐浴露

Unfortunately, where my body is concerned, I've very sensitive skin on my legs prone to eczema attacks. Well, nobody's perfect, right? Most commercial brands leave my skin feeling dry, tight and itchy, so I was skeptical about this body wash at first. But I survived, yeah! No tight and dry feel at all! I'm fact, my skin feels so comfortable and tofu soft. 


I would've preferred a more intense fragrance. Here, the rose fragrance is more subtle - not as rosey-sweet as the Hair Treatment. But neither does it have an artificial plastic smell either, thank God. But I know that too much perfume in skincare products is sensitising, so this is actually good for me. 


(3) La Rose Eau de Toilette玫瑰花花露水

I can head out the door without makeup but not without my signature rose fragrance. (Look what you've done, Mum!!!) 


If you've sensitive skin on your body, you can still get away with fragrances by spritzing on strategic spots, such as your wrists, the crook of your elbow, the small of your legs, as well as mist your underwear and clothes from a short distance. This EDT lasts around 6 hours on me. Even when my nose can't detect it after a good many hours, people ask me, hmm, Jewel,  why do you smell so sweet? 

即使有敏感肌肤也能用花露水,只要喷在小小的部位,例如手腕,弯头,小贵腿,或者轻轻喷在内衣和衣服上,香气可以维持6 小时耶!

I highly recommend this for a daily dose of calorie-free sweetness! 


 La Rose Trio makes bathtime a real pleasure 天天都能宠一宠自己

With Nakajima -san at La Rose Osaka
有幸与中岛女士在她超可爱的大阪La Rose 店面合影

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lunar new year blues

It's the 1st day of the Lunar new year and I felt rather detached from all that celebratory jazz. From the third storey of my bedroom, I could hear the slamming of car doors and the chirpy voices of my neighbours and their guests resonating in the crisp morning air.

Before I moved to Johor Bahru, I, too, was caught up with the mandatory rituals: spring-cleaning the house, shopping for new apparel and stuffing the kitchen cabinets with new year goodies. Of course, visitation was  de rigeur too. But all that is alien to me now.

To avoid the crazy Causeway jams, as well as to avoid clashing with my parents' duties at the temple on the eve of the Chinese new year, our reunion dinner was held one night before. I was glad to see most of our family at the dinner table, but disappointed at the same time, as everyone was far too polite. I had wanted to seize the opportunity to share with them my experiences in JB, and to air my anxieties. After all, they're family, aren't they?

But each time the topic was broached, it was stealthily swept under the carpet within seconds. And as everyone continued to chew, swallow and comment on the dishes laid in front of them..."ooh the curry's really tasty... You like it? I simmered it for hours... " etc etc. , I felt like I was seated among strangers.

The situation was exacerbated by the fact that almost everyone was chained to their I-phones or Androids. While I understand that we cannot be uncontactable (so we will need to check for messages and such periodically ), it is really annoying and hurtful to not be able to hold eye contact with your beloved ones for more than 5 seconds each time! And it's not what you might imagine  - the seniors are just as distracted as the juniors.


Given all our crazy schedules and varied commitments, it's a feat to be sitting and eating together in the same room, annually. But is eating peacefully together more important than communicating and caring, conflicts and arguments notwithstanding? Do we really have to choose between the two??

Is this true of just my family, or is it just because of our culture? Anybody out there... enlighten me please?

This feels more like reunion dinner

Psst!!! I'm talking to you, are you listening?? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The four K's in my life: KAKA

Forever Friends

Welcome to Eco BnB! It's your lucky day if you step in and see a chubby (okok, fat) cat with pointy, white whiskers and large, mesmerizing eyes, gazing in your direction. 
This beauty with glistening, jet black fur and a long tail is KAKA, our mascot (cat) at Eco BnB. 
She loves all the attention she can get from us homo sapiens, and is one of the gentlest cats ever. I named her KAKA as she doesn't ever mew, she only utters ''ka...ka". 
Our paths crossed when KaKa sneaked into the laundry room at Eco to give birth to two handsome boys in December 2014. She was a really skinny little cat then, malnourished and with dull, flaky fur.
All of us dote on KaKa as she is such a loving, responsive, people-centered cat.

Alas, she lost her kittens tragically one after the other last year. KitKit, the more adventurous of the pair, went out one evening and never made it home. He was only 4 months old. We combed the whole neighbourhood but to no avail. KatKat, whom I had developed a really deep affection for, was mauled by stray dogs on his evening stroll soon after. He returned home to Eco one late evening, with a gaping hole in his thigh, blood oozing from little holes punctured in his tiny furry body, omigosh!!!...recalling it brings back the anguish. 

I was desperately calling up every animal hospital listed in JB, but none of them was willing to attend to KatKat, as it was almost 9 pm. Finally, I was so grateful that Dr Edwin @Wondervet arranged for his staff to attend to KatKat. But the infection had gone too deep. Even after hospitalisation and treatment, KatKat was called home to be with the Lord. We buried KatKat in our garden. All of us were devastated. And KaKa could not eat for three whole weeks.

To coax her to start eating normally again, we fed her...and fed her...and before you could say ''whamslambam", KaKa went from size XXXS to XL. So guests at Eco would inquire, "oh, she's so pretty, but is she pregnant?'' The answer is no, she's been sterilised, and that's part of what we do here at Eco BnB: whatever funds we raise is ploughed back to feed, nurse and neuter the street cats and dogs. But we don't call them strays anymore, as we manage and care for them. We call them Community cats and dogs.

Monday, February 1, 2016

about me

Hi, my name is Jewel Shalom, born and bred in cosmopolitan Singapore, but based mainly in Johor Bahru, Malaysia now.🐝As one of the three founding hosts of Eco Bed & Breakfast, I've several hats 🎩 to wear. Thus this blog is my personal documentation of my highs and lows, my discoveries, my loves and peeves while bee-sy 🐝 multi-tasking.

I'm so EXCITED, coz I've so much to share... And I'm delighted that YOU are here with me!One of my fav hobbies is star-gazing. I often imagine if we were all twinkle twinkle little stars - how brilliantly bright we would s h i n e and light up the entire night sky!

And you know what? We can shine and light up the path for everybody else. As George Eliot reminds us,'What do we live for? If it is not to make life less difficult for each other? '

Life is challenging enough, why not care enough to share - information and experiences - so that it is less stressful making the little everyday decisions? So... c'mon inside to my world...

We can talk about enhancing our beauty, beauty of the face, body & hair, which is more than skin deep, definitely. We can discuss how to build breathable, livable, everyday spaces. We can exchange culinary tips that we'll be proud to put on the table. We can also share helpful nuggets of advice on caring for cats and dogs. The possibilities are endless!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Clean & Clear Canvas

The SKIN is the   l   a   r   g   e   s   t    organ in our body.
Our facial skin is the first thing that greets us in the mirror when we wake up in the morning.
Unmade up, it tells your uncut, uncensored story of the day before -
1. clogged pores & pimples... STRESS!! You've had a rough week at school or work.
2. whiteheads... constipation troubling you? You're probably not getting enough fibre.
3. sallowness & dullness... too many marathon meetings in sub-zero office buildings.
4. dewy radiance... fabulous date(s) with your beloved.
5. blotchiness... you've had too much to drink.
6. lines of dehydration... naughty, naughty! You haven't drunk enough - water - i.e.!

With high-tech gadgets and apps, it's all too easy to filter what we don't like seeing in the mirror.
A tap here, a touch there, and voila! all our skincare woes are magically  g o n e  with the wind.

Don't misunderstand me - I think they're great.
But Grandma - my maternal grandma - taught me to appreciate what God has blessed me with, and make the most of it too.
And she has always advocated skincare over cosmetics, natural over digital enhancement.

So...STAY WITH ME. I'm not a skincare guru or dermatologist.
But I hope to share what I've gathered with you, and may you and I both emerge with more beautiful skin afterwards - empowered by knowledge, emancipated by confidence.
Repeat after me, God bless my skin!

Happy New Year Happy New Skin