My Journey to Korean Skincare


Source: Evydraws

For a very long time, I have always been skeptical with the Korean skincare/makeup products. Living in the States for so long I was only being exposed to western products. Even when I first moved back to Indonesia, my hubs (then boyfriend) was going for a trip to Korea when he asked if I wanted any makeup/face products for him to bring back, and I was like nope, I’m cool with my current so-called “western” products.

At the time I was so into Lancome, Chanel, YSL, MAC and the rest of high-end western brands. However, as I live longer in Jakarta, buying these high-end products are getting cumbersome and becoming a real task. Not only that the counters don’t carry the same kind of products (they have asian version of almost everything), but also the sales person is not the most friendliest like I encounter in the States. I mean, I read people in the States are complaining about the sales person in the States too, but in Jakarta.. they’re worse. Not only they’re not knowledgable about the products, but they push you to buy things just to make a sale. It’s either that or they would just ignore you altogether.

The struggle is real.

Along the way, I intentionally starting to look for alternative products. I used Obagi skincare for the years (recommended by my derm), but after I gave birth to Eric, my skin condition changed. It became less oily and more on the combination side with some dry patches here and there. I wasn’t able to use the entire Obagi system anymore because it totally dry out my skin. I slowly was skipping one skin product to another until I was left with only using my holy-grail Obagi cleanser. Let me tell you, I am on my …  maybe 15th bottle, I can’t remember but I use this cleanser since 2013 and never look back.

Obviously, arriving with the big 3-0, I consciously aware that I would need somewhat a better skincare system. As the fine lines starting to appear, I search more and more high-end skincare products. I was eyeing the SK-II  FTE that everyone is raving about, but I wasn’t raving about their prices really. I did however, get a hand to their samples and tried it for two weeks. I didn’t feel anything special. Maybe because it was only two weeks and/or I was just not able to bite the bullet and buy the full size products. It was just too damn expensive.

As I was searching online, I found many great reviews about the SK-II dupe, a Korean brand called MISSHA with a quarter of the SK-II price. I didn’t hesitate to look and bought them online right away. So now, I’m almost done with my first 150ml MISSHA FTE. I’m pretty happy with the results, not only my skin is brighter (not whiter), it made my skin soft and supple in the morning (not oily).


So the other day, I was looking to buy my second bottle of the MISSHA FTE and I saw this MISSHA gift set that include the FTE and night serum (2 bottle of each full size and travel size). I wasn’t aware of this pairing, so I went ahead and do a quick search and it turns out that the MISSHA night serum is also a dupe from the Estee Lauder night serum. Again, the reviews were great and I was intrigued – I didn’t think twice to make the purchase right away.

Also last month, I was watching videos on youtube on Korean beauty skin care and saw this oil balm cleanser product used as the first cleansing step to wipe off your makeup. The demonstration on the video was incredible, like the balm literally melts off the makeup without rubbing and scrubbing. Of course I immediately looked online and bought a full size pot. The balm is called Clean it Zero by BanillaCo. Needless to say I’m on my second pot now.


PM Routine

So what I do now these days for my face skincare is to start with my BanillaCo balm to clean my face, followed by my holy-grail Obagi facial cleanser, then I applied the MISSHA FTE (let it dry for few minutes), then applied the MISSHA night serum. I do this complete routine before bed.


AM Routine

In the mornings I would skip the BanillaCo and the MISSHA night serum. Instead I would use the Biore UV Aqua Rich Essence SPF 50 after the MISSHA FTE, then I would apply my daily makeup accordingly.

If you know THE KOREAN SKINCARE STEPS, you know that my version is missing many other products like toner, cream, moisturizer, etc. The real korean skin care steps are extensive to say the least, I think it has like 10 steps altogether. I’m not looking to have all 10 steps but I am still on the lookout  for a night cream that I could add after the night serum.


The 10 Step Korean Skincare

Now on the weekly or bi-weekly basis I sometime like to use sheet masks (not in the picture) and regular masks. Here are my two masks I currently have. The Dead Sea Mud Mask is a black clay mask that will get rid impurities and clean pores, while the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is supposedly to be used as part of the PM Routine on the face after the serum, but I find that this particular mask makes my face itchy in the morning, so I’m salvaging this pot to be used on my neck instead.

The Obagi bottle on the left is what I use for spot treatment if I have any active acne bump, usually during PMS. I’ll take a cotton sheet and dab this solution to the affected area – works like a charm.


There you go, that’s my take on the Korean skincare craze. I’m coming from a very practical person and I think my version skincare regime is still somewhat manageable.

What’s your take on the korean skincare?





Flatlay Workshop

Yesterday I had a very exciting workshop day at Tanamera Coffee. The workshop is about Flatlay Photos in the social media and everything that it entails. Love the idea to be able to tell a story and/or communicate your message through a flatlay photo. It is a small private workshop with a group of 10 girls.

Few important key points:

Natural Light

Obviously natural lighting is very crucial in order to create a clear clean photo, therefore it was suggested to only do flatlay photos in the morning before 10AM.

Color Scheme

I’m not very good at this, but the speaker did quiet an extensive explanation about the different types of color coordinations / combination including complementary, so on and so forth. This one is very theoretical because although you think the colors dont match or go well together, but when the photos were taken, you will see how the color actually are perfect match.


Apart from the product or main item that you want to highlight in the flatlay photo, it is essential to always have other props to complete the whole photo. The idea is to fill in the void and enhance the main product that you want to show. For example: flowers, leaves, cinnamon sticks, small glass bottle, etc.

Here’s some few shots I did during the workshop

Not bad eh?



The Holy Grail Skincare Routine


When I finally moved back to Indonesia 2 years ago, my skin had a hard time adapting the hot and humid weather. I had rashes, redness, oiliness, and acne due to the sweating and clogged pores. Don’t get me wrong, I never had great skin to begin with ever since puberty kicked in, but this phase of adjustment was bad and I decided to see a dermatologist for treatment in Jakarta. The derm examined my skin and recommended me a number of products to try (some are over the counter and some are by subscriptions), but what had stuck with me for the past 2 years are these three that kept my skin on point.

1. Obagi Nu Derm Foaming Gel

First of all this bottle is huge! At 300ml (4.7 oz), it usually lasts me for about 2-3 months time with regular twice a day wash in the morning and evening. It leaves my skin clean without irritation. I’m on my 6th bottle now and have no plan of changing to any other cleanser. My true HG. I recommend this for anyone with sensitive skin.

2. Balatone Calming Toner PH Balancer (AM)

Next, this toner is paired with the facial foam. I use this after washing my face in the AM. The toner is applied directly to my face with a cotton pad in an outward motion. It calms the skin and leaves my face soft and smooth ready to start my morning make-up routine.

3. Obagi Cleanziderm Pore Therapy (PM)

This second toner is also paired with the facial foam for the evening. The same application concept with the Balatone toner, but works more as an overnight treatment to clear out any clogged pores or acne. It contains 2% Salycylic Acid to unclog dirt, oil and make-up applied during the day and leaves the skin clean and treated.

I had been using these three products religiously and I have to say that my skin has been the best it has been in years. Note that this is coming from a girl who has battling with acne since the age of 13. At some point in time back then I can’t even remember when I ever had good skin. It was a sad time but I had put all that bad memories behind me and embrace the my new skin.

For all of you battling with acne, I would very much suggest you to go to a dermatologist. Each person have different case of acne and it’s not a simple treatment process as the media would claim by using over-the-counter acne products. Trust me, only the right product and treatment will clear your skin.

Hope this helps!



Best Mascara and Eyelash Curler

Dynamic Duo

I’d like to take this moment to tell you the ultimate eye combo that will make your eyes awake. Yes, it’s no secret that this Shu Uemura eyelash curler has been around for over a decade and yes, I may be late on to the eyelash game, but it’s better late than never. These eyelash curler combined with my all time favorite Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara has given me an awake pair of eyes every single morning without fail. It made such a huge difference that I can’t go out without it.

What are your dynamic duo combo?



My Everyday Favorite Lip Product

Everyday Lip


Quick post on my latest everyday lip products. These 3 musketeers are the only ones I have in my hand bag. I use them interchangeably depending on my mood. All are in the neutral pink nude tone which is perfect for everyday use.

What’s your go-to lip product?


Colored Hair

I have been battling with grey hair for years. I started growing grey hair in an early age roughly during my senior high school, which becomes more prominent throughout the years to the extent where it stays growing on the same spot.

Since the last time I had my hair colored (ombre) in Delaware back in2012, I haven’t really done much to it other than the regular trims and treatments (not enough obviously). At some point I realized that my hair had gotten so damaged and dull that it was a struggle to even do a day-to-day hair styling at home.


My New Year resolution this year is simple: getting my hair under control, which means anything that can make my hair “better” is a way to achieve that goal.

As part of the resolution, I decided to color my hair with a darker color to fix the dullness as well as covering the grey hair, and then chopped it to a shoulder length for easier styling. The hairstylist chose the color for me from the catalog that he felt the most suitable to my skin tone but I’m not 100% in love with it. I have always liked a cooler and brassy tone and this one is leaning more to red. I’m reconsidering to have it re-colored in few months.

Regardless I’m glad the new color has turned my dull and messy color to be uniformed and shiny. I’m enjoying the shorter hair and I can totally see my hair texture is healthier and easier to manage.


Sari Soepono