The Body Shop Skincare Q&A with Caroline Hirons

Caroline had a twitter live chat today and of course I had to take part. Not that I’m going to buy anything anytime soon, just that I needed to talk to her. I asked her about moisturizers for my combination to oily skin, sunscreen, muslin cloth, her favorite product, and I looked at her answers to other people too. Here’s to note down what I got.


  • 1st cleanse: Camomile Eye Makeup Remover/Sumptuous Butter
  • 2nd cleanse: Pomegranate Softening Cream Cleanser, Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish

Muslin cloth:

  • It’s written on package that it’s to be used twice weekly, but she personally would use twice daily.
  • Somebody also asked about how often should flannels be change, she said every 3 months.

Moisturizers for my recently-just-have-allergic-reaction skin:

  • Aloe & Nutriganics Creams

Moisturizers in general:

  • Seaweed during the day
  • Nutriganics Day & Night on hand to help out with the dryness

Combi drying out:

  • Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet
  • Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser
  • Nutriganics Day & Night Creams


  • Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

On using sunscreen:

  • Full protection when it’s SPF 30. Reapply when it’s SPF 15.


  • Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask
  • Warming Mineral Mask

Mask in routine (either or):

  • Cleanse, clay, mask, tone
  • Cleanse, exfoliate, mask, tone
  • Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, clay mask, hydrating mask

Minimize lines:

  • Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate

Base product:

  • Aloe serum (couldn’t find it on their UK website though…)

Her favorites:

  • Must have: Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
  • Others: Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, Nutriganics Creams, Bouncy Sleeping Mask, Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser

If ever think of facialist training:


It was a lovely chat and I was very thankful. ♥


Skin-care and make-up.

One of various things I’ve been trying to do is taking care of my skin. It started maybe two weeks ago when I came across Caroline Hirons’ blog from Bloglovin’s email. It’s not like I didn’t take care of my skin before, it’s just that I did without really think about it. It’s funny when I write down like this now, but I used to buy products pretty much based on how they were advertised, with the fancy marketing language and and myths about this and that are good without considering my specific skin. I heard times and times again about ‘everybody’s skin is different’ and only recently it finally clicked. (I’ve been having this “clicked” moments frequently, it’s amazing. Things I heard over and over again and thought I understood but actually I didn’t, I was only aware of it. Now, finally, finally they made total sense. Crystal clear.) I used to buy things that other people said were good, but no matter how much it’s good for them, it doesn’t guarantee it will be good for me too. When a product is widely famous, it only means there’s a high chance my skin will accept it since there’s a large number of people tried and it worked for them and it could more or less reduce the chance of my skin reacting negatively to it. At the same time, it may contain ingredients that only my skin would reject though. So when I use something that everyone praises and it causes me breakouts for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product is bad; it could very well means that the product is bad for my skin only. Knowing this reduces significantly my resentment to outer world. It’s my job to do better research. It’s my own skin, I must be the one who’s responsible. I can’t disown it, it’s with me for my whole life, better take care of it properly.

With this new mindset, I’ve been looking at the list of ingredients (INCI) more actively. Although it’s still hard, I don’t know many ingredients yet, but I already know what I should look for. I have combination to oily skin (acne prone) so I need products where salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and probably benzoyl peroxide (not too high in %) are high in the list or at least there. These things I get to know from a post from Caroline which I usually go back to. It lists what to look out for and what to avoid depending on skin issues. I’m a bit guilty on mineral oil since the ‘Blossom & May’ products I use for my night routine have it, but this thing is debatable and I really like using ‘Blossom & May’ so far and I don’t have money to switch yet, so it is as it is for now.

My current skincare routine is like this:

. morning:

  • Yves Rocher Daily Exfoliating Cleanser (inci has glycerin and salicylic acid)
  • Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence (inci has glycerin, and salicylic acid listed as willow bark extract)
  • Yves Rocher Zero Blemish Gel Cream (inci has glycerin and salicylic acid)
  • Yves Rocher Stop Blemish Lotion (inci has salycylic acid 0.5% as active ingredient, and glycerin too. This one I use only for spots, not for whole face since it would feel a bit greasy)
  • The Body Shop Pomegranate Firming & Refreshing Eye Roll-On

. night:

  • Blossom & May Deep Cleanser
  • Blossom & May Skin Tonic
  • Blossom & May Honey & Calendula Moisturizer

Seems like I was doing a good job on picking up the right products from Yves Rocher even before knowing about the ingredients. In this case, thanks a lot to the right targeted labels (for combination and blemish skin).

I’ve been trying to find a suitable sunscreen for my skin but no luck yet. I used to use Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 50 Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch since it doesn’t feel oily, but it’s difficult to blend and where it’s dry it’s really dry. Maybe my skin wasn’t hydrated enough and/or it isn’t compatible with the Yves Rocher Zero Blemish Gel Cream, in any case it was always a chore to put on. Recently I bought Badger Damascus Rose SPF 20 Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen Lotion which I’ve heard good reviews, yet at the end of the first day I tried it, I felt a bit hot at the face and there were two new red spots. It calmed down the next day but I haven’t been able to bring myself to test it again, to make sure whether on that particular day it was something else that cause the sensation or it really was because of the sunscreen. It has aloe juice and glycerin which are nice, but I may be allergic to one or some of other nice things what were listed. Lavender denatured alcohol, for example? I don’t know.

I’m also on the search for a good eye-cream. Base on Paula’s Choice review, I bought CeraVe Eye Repair Cream from ebay. It hasn’t reached me yet. Hope it will be good when I try.

Anyway, my skin has been great these days. It’s not perfect level but it feels smooth and nice. Apart from the products I put on, I think I should give credits to supplements, fruits and vegetables, and yoga as well. And thanks a lot to places where I can find trusted info and recommended products:

  • Caroline Hirons (love her practical advice! and humor, too :D)
  • Paula’s Choice (I come here for the reviews and sometimes list of ingredients. At times I feel like they are too harsh and nothing ever works, then again, the knowledge is there for me to pick up but it depends on me to make the final judgement)
  • Lisa Eldridge (it’s quite soothing to listen to her. I’m thinking of trying her facial massage routine.)
  • Jen (I’ve been following her for a long time and I picked up some of her make-up routine for myself now. Although I don’t find myself wanting to buy things she recommends as eagerly as before (I mean, seriously, how can I keep up? and again, it suits her doesn’t automatically mean it suits me), I still like her bright personality which at times brightens up my mood too.)
  • Pony (she’s another bright girl that I find comfortable to watch. She focuses on Korean skincare and make-up, and her name is established. Recently I like her Golden Rosy Make-up, it’s gorgeous.)

Oh as for my make-up currently, I keep it really simple, can’t slim down anymore than this. Everything I use:

  • Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara
  • Panasonic Eyelash Curler
  • Lioele Auto Eyebrow (optional)
  • NYX HD Grinding Blush Menage a Trois
  • Lipbalm & A’Pieu Long Wear Creamy Matt Lipstick

Except for the A’Pieu lipstick, all other products are products I’ve used consistently and buy new when the old one was used up. I get to know them from Jen, and they are like my holy grail. The Urban Decay Mascara holds curls really well. The Lioele Eyebrow is convenient to use with one end to fill up your brows and a wand to brush on the other. And the NYX blush, it’s a beautiful peach color with gold shimmer that gives quite a healthy glow. There are two other blushes I used before which were The Body Shop Baked-To-Last Blush and Benefits Dandelion Face Powder, they were okay, cute at times, but the NYX blush is my favorite so far. Love it.

Hmm this is quite a long post with no photo ha ha. It’s okay, I just want to jot this down and make space for other stuffs to come in. It’s kind of like marking a milestone anyway, it would be a pity not to.


i dreamed of missing a flight again

then some sort of pampering love from a group of people that i never experienced before except in this dream

thought about “in a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy”

no, not yet

and maybe not in a dream…

the day was sunny

didn’t turn on my laptop early, i had breakfast while reading oh comely and then taking a bath first

the article about Daniel Radcliffe was inspiring

made me like and admire him more, and made me want to write

another inspiring person i got to know more today was Jung Saem Mool

i suppose she’s been quite big in Korea for a while but i only knew her… yesterday

i watched some videos from her channel of YouTube which is also in english (yay!)

then videos of her giving instructions on some of her make-up rules (1) (2) (3)

and an interview she did for arirang, which was long but worth it

i plan to watch some of these again

not that i have many make-up tools to play around with, but maybe to know the basics better and have some practice

make-up is very interesting

this one for example, not from Jung Saem Mool, but it made me want to try the look

the model is Lee Sung Kyung from YG, she’s currently taking part in it’s okay that’s love

Rose petal.

Na định mua Benetint lip and cheek stain, mình mua nhầm thành Benetint lip balm. Na có vẻ không thích lắm, nên mình mượn dùng thử, và thích ngay tắp lự. Màu đỏ trong suốt như sương đọng trên cánh hoa hồng buổi sáng. Hương hoa hồng nhè nhẹ, dịu dàng, mà kiêu hãnh. Môi mềm, tươi tắn. Cả Na và Trúc đều khen là rất hợp với mình. Thế là thêm một niềm vui nhỏ xinh.

Lust list.

Fairydrops Candy Bar BB Cream. Photo taken from prettyandcute.

Foundation doesn’t work for me (I learned it the hard way). BB cream is the only option I have left, which is actually not bad. After trying different ones, Fairydrops BB cream is the one I would go for. It blends easily, and it leaves a smooth result. Ocher is said to be a bit dark for my skin tone at the moment, so I will probably buy the Light Ocher. Only probably, because summer is coming, and my skin will get darker pretty soon. Furthermore, this BB cream doesn’t have SPF. I might stick to the BRTC Jasmine Water. This one is lighter which is said to match better to my skin tone. It has SPF 30. It has reasonable look on my face with help of powder touch, although Fairydrops is definitely still my favorite.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. Photo taken from frmheadtotoe.

For my short time knowing about make-up, I’ve been using only 2 blushes. The one I’m absolutely in love with is NYX HD Grinding Blush in Ménage à Trois. It gives the natural peachy look with a highlight of healthy golden glow for the cheeks. I like it a lot. Especially during the long and cold winter in Finland, I always feel somehow warmer when I put it on. Its color is still suitable for the current spring. However, with the feel of summer being so close, I’d like something more… tanning (do I use the right word? -.-) and less pinkie. Therefore I’ve been pondering over the idea of buying this blush which is so loved by Jen (my guru in this make-up field). She has been putting it on in quite many of her videos. She said she has to force herself to use other blushes now that she knew about this Tarte Blush in Exposed. The color doesn’t look attractive to me, but it was like that to her at the beginning, too.

Benefit Benetint. Photo taken from benefitcosmetics.

I don’t remember exactly since when I knew about gradient lips. It must have been for a while already. The one I remember the most, however, is from We Were In Love MV. Jen also had it in a couple of her tutorials. Then what hit me real hard some for weird reason, is from this video. I’m still considering. I have the bad habit of eating anything that stays on my lips (lipstick, lip gloss, etc), so this might not stay for long. Furthermore, I supposed I also need lip gloss to use together with it (right?). And I’m not sure I would apply it well on my cheeks. So yeah, still considering.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter. Photo taken from target, edited by little.november.

This, again, is from Jen. The colors I choose are mostly to deep and red shade, simply because my natural lip color is more on that side. When I choose light colors, my face would look pretty pale. Sweet Tart is the only color that is more on light and pinkie side. I feel it will be pigmented enough on my lips.

Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara. Photo taken from sephora.

Another recommended product from Jen. My current favorite is Fairydrops Platinum Waterproof Mascara. However, it’s difficult to get a hold of it. Moreover, last time I bought from ebay in the middle of January, and it’s running out already. I don’t know whether it’s supposed to be like that, but it’s rather a short period of time even with the fact that I use it mostly everyday. Buying from a trusted site seems to be more secure, at least for my mind.


I don’t have much money now, so this is just a list for me to remember. It’s not wrong to say I’m in quite a love-hate relationship with this make-up thing.

No energy.

I get stomachache again today. Although it feels familiar, I’m not sure what would be the exact reason for it. It started when I was sleeping, then it has been continued until now. I hope it goes away soon, because I don’t feel like moving myself at all in this state. I can’t even stand up straight. And it’s not like I don’t have anything to do other than staying in bed and waiting.

Well, on the bright side, I received the package from my sister in France (which was originally from my mother and “little mom” in Vietnam, then it went to my sister’s friend in Paris, and my sister had to pick it up because they live in different cities, which led to my brother-in-law sending it!). The funny thing is, I realize there’s something from the package I should send back to Vietnam. I don’t know if this can count as “merry goes round”. : D

I also received Makeup Forever Mat Velvet Foundation in shade 65. For the moment, I don’t really like it. The color is weird, which I can’t define whether it’s a bit too dark or a bit too yellow (remember I have yellow skin tone). It doesn’t have these results: “Hides imperfections, evens out skin tone, and mattifies with a non-oily, perfectly powdered finish. The result is flawless and lasts for hours.“, which most people agreed to. I expected it to help my skin look less oily, smoother and less acne (at least not too obvious, since it’s supposed to be full-coverage), but it doesn’t feel much different with the Nivea foundation I was using. It does look somehow better some hours after I first applied, but it still doesn’t match up to my level of expectation. If it doesn’t show more improvements when I use it some more and also try to mix it with moisturizer, I’m not going to re-purchase, especially with its price.

The third thing I received was an envelop from Tulli (The Customs). I guess it has something to do with the complaint I filed a while ago, but I don’t understand anything from these 6 pages. They are all in Finnish. I will need to ask somebody to translate it for me. Google translate won’t help this time.

All in all, it’s not a good day for me, considering I also couldn’t go to Tampere with Dean, Antti, Linh & Nhung, and missed out the Welcoming Party in Hervanta. I will go to sleep early today and wish me better luck tomorrow. :-<

My story about make-up, Jen from frmheadtotoe, and what I’m going to buy next.

As a small girl, I got to know about make-up quite early. We girls used to be dolled up a lot by our parents and the teachers, especially when we had performances at school or in groups of a district where we lived. However, we were not encouraged to use any kind of make-up whatsoever. I used to hear a lot of stories in which people suffered badly from using make-up products. If I were to wear any make-up at all to school, I would expect to receive lots of stares and teases and badmouths about me trying to get attention and/or trying to be unnecessary pretty. My mother herself doesn’t wear make-up. I think it can be because of numerous reasons. One of them can be because she didn’t want me to spend money on things that were not suitable for my age, plus I didn’t have good background information to determine which products were good for me if I based my judgement purely on advertisements on TV. (She actually asked me to do the make-up for her in my sister’s weddings in France and Vietnam, so I guess she thinks it’s now time for me to know this kind of stuffs : D). It was quite weird because the appearance of a person was paid extremely high attention in Vietnam. In fact, when I came to Finland 4 years ago, I found myself surprisingly at ease when nobody seemed to care how dark my skin was, how skinny I was, and so on.

So yeah, I was not directed to be comfortable with wearing make-up. I can remember very rare times when my sister and I (or was it just me?) wore áo dài, powder, eye shadows, lipsticks, and heels from my mother (she didn’t wear make-up but she did receive make-up products as gifts) when we were very small.  And perfume. (My father has passion for perfume. Probably I “inherited” it from him : p. I still remember one time my mother once received a box of powder with peach scent that I was so head over heels with its sweet and soft smell. When I think about it now, I still like it a lot. I mean, a lot.) From these very little things, with how few people around me who were interested in make-up (let alone use it, and look beautiful with it on), it’s difficult to explain why I have this special fondness in make-up.

This “fondness”, however, wouldn’t have chance to develop if I hadn’t met and talked to my sister in winter 2007. She said she wanted to know how to wear make-up. She – like my mother, didn’t wear make-up at all – wanted to know about this specific how-to. I instantly got flashbacks of her showing signs she was against it throughout our childhood when we were both in Vietnam. You can imagine how surprised I was. But then, I gave it some thoughts, and some more thoughts. It felt like, a mat covering my eyes was removed. I was able to leave the bad impression about make-up I carried with me for such a long time behind. When it happened, I was much more willing to see it as a good thing in life and got curious to know how to make-up, too. Moreover, my Finnish classmates looked totally gorgeous and natural with make-up on.

Unfortunately, the willingness didn’t come immediately with practice. I don’t remember exactly when and why I suddenly asked my friends to go to Sokos to buy a set of make-up for me, but it was quite long after I met my sister. With the help of Ngoc who, at that time, was our expert in this area, I spent about 60€ to get me the basics. You can see them here in this photo most of the stuffs I bought: foundation, concealer, powder, some blushes, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, lipsticks, and some brushes.

Even more unfortunate, I didn’t get to use them at all. I think it was because:

– I didn’t know the basis. Although I did read a lot to get the basic idea, it was still difficult to apply, e.g. how the process goes, foundation first or concealer first, which brush to which purpose, etc.

– I didn’t have time. I need at least 45 minutes every morning to get ready to go out without make-up. If I were going to do it, I would have needed an hour more (as I said, I didn’t know how to wear make-up at all). During the whole previous year, I was waking up at 5:30a.m, and I was already always lack of sleep. From where could I get more time? Simplest solution: don’t make-up.

– I haven’t get used to having make-up on my face yet. Or maybe I didn’t do it properly. I don’t know. I wore it very lightly, even Nhung had to take time to spot what I did, but I have the feeling it’s too harsh on my face. At the same time, there’s something missing also.

I don’t know how long it would take me to get back to make-up if I didn’t know about Jen – frmheadtotoe. I first knew her when I watched a featured video of her on YouTube, which was a hair tutorial.

She appeared to be super nice and friendly. Her English was clear and easy to listen to (I knew she’s from US later on). The first impression was really good, so I wandered around her YouTube and came across her website also.

Apart from her being very cute and pretty, this is what caught my attention:

“It’s my personal belief that true beauty comes from the outward expression of humility and truly loving and accepting yourself. Makeup should be used as a tool to express and to feel good about yourself, not as a mask to hide what you are afraid of. We have the freedom of change and to be who we want to be so let’s have joy in playing with that gift.” – from Jen’s YouTube.

Enough reason to stay, right? I think make-up is also a way to show respect to people we meet, for example to an interview.

Furthermore, her videos and blog posts are thoroughly informative. I find myself to be inspired every time I watch her videos and read her blog posts. One of my favorite blog posts from her is this one and the video that went together with it:

I guess the fact that Jen is an Asian and she’s also petite brings me closer to her. I’ve been following her for about a month and I’ve come up with a list of things which were introduced by her that I’m interested in. Now that I’m going to renew my visa and I’m not working, my budget is currently pretty tight. I’m not going to purchase all of them at once, but I will get them gradually according to my needs. This list is to help me keep track, because obviously Jen has tons of products that I won’t need them all.

1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel

2. Makeup Forever Mat Velvet Foundation

Jen has it in 40, but maybe mine should be 65. My skin is darker than hers.

3. FAIRYDROPS Candybar BB Cream in Ocher

While I consider to take the foundation that is darker than Jen’s, I take the same BB cream as she does because the other option is even lighter : D. When the winter comes and my skin gets lighter, I supposed I can put it to good use.

4. Lioele Automatic Eyebrow pencil

I’m also thinking about Anastasia Brow Powder Duo II, but I’ll have to see if I really need it.

5. I’m considering between Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion (carbon black) and Eyeko Graffiti Eyeliner in Jet Black. The Urban Decay has waterproof which I think I would need (I often have water that comes out from my eyes. Maybe I yawn too much? :”)), but the Eyeko Graffiti (no waterproof) seems to be firmer for a beginner like me…

6. FAIRYDROPS Platinum Waterproof mascara

7. NYX HD Studio Griding Blush in Ménage à Trois

Its color is so adorable! Really, so adorable! (See Jen’s July favorites video to see how adorable it is).

8. Makeup Show Brushes

Most probably one for applying foundation? 😕

9.  Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

I haven’t used much of eye-shadows because I don’t really know how to match them to my face. Both of my favorite actresses (Im Soo Jeong & Yuko Takeuchi) don’t seem to wear eye-shadows (at least, not much, since I don’t see it at all…)  in their movies/dramas but they still look totally gorgeous. So this palette will need more consideration, too.

I think about some false eye-lashes (get effected by Jen : D), but I have to take a look closer to it. I will need something short enough to get used to my look with it first. Any ideas from where should I start with?

That’s pretty much it. I will need to check again if they are possible for me to purchase, not only because of money, but also because links are given by Jen and she lives in US… And it’s not like I can find them in Finland, right? :”(

I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish this post today, but YAY! for me now that I do : D. I have lots of things I want to write about. In this sense, it’s a good thing that I’m still on my summer vacation.