Thursday, 21 July 2016

Farewell for now

After four years, I've decided to take a break from blogging.

Due to the rapidly changing Perth dining scene, I've decided to unpublish review posts which made up the bulk of my posts. Many beauty and skincare posts have also been unpublished due to my own evolving opinions and skincare journey.

I will still be 'microblogging' on Instagram (@misspia).

Thanks for coming along with me on this journey. See you soon! 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

How I fade acne, hyperpigmentation and scars

I wrote this for my friend Linda who asked me about the products I use for fading pigmentation and evening out skin tone.  There are two ingredients that I depend on to do this - Vitamin C and Galactomyces.

Vitamin C

I use Vitamin C products to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (pih), also know as the 'scar that I'm left with after I get acne'. It's not really a scar but we'll talk about that another time. The downside is the wait time, I wait 20 minutes after I've put it on before I continue onto the next step. This is fine if I'm not in a rush (which is only at night because I run late every morning). The 20mins is a good opportunity to do life maintenance. I can vacuum my entire house in 20 minutes.

OST Vitamin C20 serum is a rockstar product for me. The downside is that it oxidises easily and it needs to be kept in the fridge. I get this from

Melano Intensive Anti-Spot Essence: I haven't actually used this yet but the #kbeautycommunity tells me it's milder than the C20 but it doesn't need to be kept in the fridge. This is going to Bali in August. I got this off ebay. This is a Japanese product so not available on Jolse.


In terms of general evening of skin tone and brightening, I use products with galactomyces. Galactomyces is a fermented yeast product. It's a must have ingredient in my skincare line-up.

cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence: This is a thicker gel like consistency. It does sink into the skin though. It's a good entry level buy though.

TonyMoly Intense Care Galactomyces First Essence: I prefer this to the Cosrx because of the consistency - it's and I also saw better results. It is double (or more) in price though.

Why I buy from Jolse and why I'd recommend it for you (Linda but the rest of you as well)

So my friend Linda is a Mum of a 10 month old and her husband works a fifo (fly in, fly out) roster. This means she's home a lot on her own and looking after a baby who can crawl and wants to touch everything. For her, I'd recommend Jolse for the following reasons. 

  • Jolse have their shipping costs inbuilt into their prices so there's no playing with your cart to try and maximise your shipping costs. For Linda, this will be a huge bonus because it's quick and easy. 
    • For bigger hauls, you may get better prices from other sites but for little buys, my spreadsheet comparisons tell me Jolse comes out on top.
  • They have a rewards system - when you shop, you get credit in your account which you can use on your next purchase. 
  • Jolse often have 20% off sales on certain brands. Buying at the time of sales is the best time, as prices come down to what other retailers list at before shipping. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Consumption - April

Back in 2012, my friend Zoe and I had a podcast called 'The Zoe and Pia Show'. We only recorded three episodes which we pulled off the internet when we were job hunting because quite frankly, although we were quite entertaining and hilarious, at times we sounded a bit dumb and this was not something we wanted our potential employers to hear. At the start of the show we would kick off with a section called 'Consumption' where we recapped things that we had been consuming in our lives from from food to books to events to shopping and everything in between. It was something that was fun to do so I thought that I'd start up a monthly consumption series on my blog.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

I can't believe I have a 12 step Korean skincare routine

Ampoules, serums, skin, sheet masks, wash off masks, essences… what is this madness?

When I was first introduced to the 10 step Korean skincare routine, I scoffed. Like really, who needs 10 steps? It seemed excessive and over the top, and not something I was willing to get on board with. It went against everything Western skincare and Dolly and Girlfriend magazines had taught me as a teenager in the 90s which boils down to the “less is more” motto. Yet here I am 12 months later and I’m not only on board, I’m the train driver and my routine contains more than the ‘basic’ 10 steps.

There are a few key things to note:
  • not all steps need to be done, sometimes I do a very scaled back version 
  • the order in which you put products on is important. Check out this blog post from Snow White and the Asian Pear
  • just because it's Korean, it doesn't mean it's good - most brands have good products and all brands have very average/bad products
  • expensive and 'prestige' lines do not guarantee quality 
  • price is not an indicator of effectiveness  
  • while it’s great to follow a popular blogger’s regime or buy the ‘must have’ on trend products, it’s also important remember that these products may not be right for your skin type and skincare goals. 

1. First cleanser (oil/sherbet cleanser): Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cleansing Oil 

I really like this. A lovely smell and quite a thick formulation. I would repurchase this. I'm not sure if I had a defective bottle but the Innisfree oil would get some run off down the neck when I pumped it.

I bought this in Busan and with the currency conversion in January 2016, it cost $21.44 AUD. Jolse often has 20% off Innisfree sales which makes is around $15US / $20 AUD (which includes shipping). When not on sale, it's $19 US/$24 AUD.

1. First cleanser (oil/sherbet cleanser): Banila Co Clean It Zero (not photographed) 

I use this one at night because it does a better job removing my makeup and sunscreen and it's so messy. The oils can get a bit drippy and messy. Love this product and not really on the hunt for anything better/different. It does what I need it to do. 

2. Second cleanse (foaming cleanser): La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming Gel 

This is not a Korean or Asian product. Bought from Priceline in their 50% off sale which they have twice a year. It's a gentle 5.5pH cleanser that doesn't really foam and doesn't smell great but is pretty good and really easy to get.

It retails for $26 AUD. I would never pay full price for this so thankfully Priceline constantly have this range on sale ranging from 20%-50% off so this is the time to buy.

If you want to know more about why pH is important - head to Snow White and the Asian Pear's post Skincare Discovery: Why the pH of Your Cleanser Matters

3. pH balancing toner: Mizon AHA BHA toner (photographed in the wrong order) 

Because actives are most effective when skin is at a certain pH level, you can either use a pH balancing toner like the Mizon AHA BHA toner or you can wait until your skin naturally regulates. On the evenings I am using actives, the entire routine takes about an hour and a half, so if I can use something to speed up the process, I do.

I got this from RoseRoseShop because they offer free postage* on Mizon product for $14 AUD ($12.80US).

*While postage is free, you do have to pay $2 for registration.

4. Actives - Vitamin C serum: OST C20 

I use this most days once a day. It needs to be stored in the fridge and I wait 20 minutes after using it before I continue on with my routine. When I first put it on, it does sting a little bit. It's been great for fading hyperpigmentation scars. It is a little sticky and shiney.

I got this from Jolse for $20AUD which included postage.

5. Actives - BHA: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid 

At most, I use this every second day but because of the wait time (20 minute), I usually use this 2-3 times a week.

BHA is a chemical exfoliant that is great for dealing with blackheads and clogged pores.

I bought this from Jolse for $25AUD ($18US).

6. Actives - AHA: Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion 10 AHA 

Another non-AB (Asian Beauty)/Korean product. I use this after I use my BHA product because 20 minutes wait is a long time and I have things to do. Also I don't want to overexfoliate because apparently this is a thing that can happen.

This is another chemical exfoliant that helps to breakdown the 'glue' that holds dead skin cells together. This can sometimes sting my face but I do get very smooth and brightened skin from this product.

This is usually $52.99 AUD at Priceline. UM NO THANKS - luckily I bought it during the 50% off sale.

7. Hydrating toner: Mamonde Rose Water toner 

A beautiful smelling toner and very moisturising for a toner.
I bought this as a 1+1 from Arituam in Geoje for around the $20-25 AUD mark (so $12.50 each)

This is available from your usual Kbeauty haunts (Jolse, Rose Rose Shop, eBay) for about $ 25AUD which includes postage.

8. TonyMoly Intense Care Galactomyces First Essence 

I adore this product. It is the only galactomyces product I've used but when I had a much simpler routine, this was the only product that I can attribute to the brightening and evening out my skintone.

I got this as a free gift when I bought other products at TonyMoly in Geoje, Online this is around $40-45AUD.

9. HolySnails Shark Sauce 

A handmade product from blogger Holy Snails. Along with a few other products, this has attributed to assisting hyper-pigmentation scars fade.

Shark Sauce is a hydrating serum that features 5% Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and 3% N-Acetyl Glucosamine, which are an ideal combination for fighting hyperpigmentation.
It has licorice root (brightening), green tea (anti-inflammatory), and sea kelp bioferment (hydrating) as well as hyaluronic acid and sodium lactate for additional hydration.
Available from the Holy Snails store which is restocked every Sunday: 
$39AUD ($30 US) + postage.

10. Essence - night: COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 


According to The Cut, snail mucus
... contains a potent combination of elastin, proteins, anti-microbials, copper peptides, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid — all known beauty enhancers. Snail mucin is said to do everything from fading dark spots and scars to plumping creases and battling acne.

Snail slime leaves me a little shiney so I save this one from my night routine.
I bought this one from Jolse for $21AUD ($15US).

10. Essence - day: Laneige Water Bank Essence 

I'm a little nonplussed by the product. If feels like a light moisturiser. I don't think it's working miracles but it doesn't break me out so I'll continue to use it but won't rebuy it.   I like to use this in the morning.

This was bought in an Arituam VIP pack for 30,000w (about $35AUD) which had a full sized Water Bank Essence, a mist and some deluxe samples of other products.

11. Cream - night: TonyMoly Prestige Wild Jeju Wild Ginseng Cream 

I wouldn't repurchase this. It doesn't smell like ginseng and is a little bit rich for my combination skin. I got this as a gift when I bought the cream and eye cream set.

At maybe $60AU, I think it's expensive for a product that is just ok.

11. Cream - day: Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser  (not photographed) mixed with Holy Snails Snowbang

As its name suggests, this is a very simple nothing moisturiser. I boost this by adding a few drops of Snowbang, a handmade essence packed with ceramides and hanbang (Korean herbs) extracts. 

Snowbang retails for $36US which is about $45AUD, while the Simple Moisturiser is around the $10AUD mark. 

12. Eye product - night: Hera Waterin Roll-on Eye Serum 

Another product that I wouldn't repurchase. It is a very light gel and apart from a cooling feel, I don't really feel or see any obvious benefits.

$47AUD bought from the Busan International Airport Dutyfree store.

Special care 

  • If I'm going outside, I wear sunscreen. Always. No exception. My current favourites are the Biore Watery Essence and for a waterproof sunscreen, I like the Missha All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk. 
So as you can see I have a 12, sometimes 15 step skincare routine. I'm not really sure how I got to this place but now that I'm here, I can't see myself scaling back to the old 3 step cleanse, tone, moisturise routine I grew up doing. Will I always have an elaborate skin care routine? I'm not sure.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

"On Trend" - Asian beauty and skincare

In a recent post, I recapped some of the conversation that took place at the "On Trend" session at the Perth Writers Festival - From Paddock to Print. It was one of those great conversations that left me thinking for weeks and had me telling multiple people all about the things I'd learnt.

There are two things that I'm avidly consuming at the moment... Food and Asian skincare. With food trends covered, it got me thinking about the writer's festival conversation and how it applied to the Asian (but particularly Korean) beauty and skincare scene.

My current sheet mask collection

So what are the trends in Asian Beauty and Kbeauty?


In terms of ingredients there's a bevvy of things that the AB (Asian Beauty) community can't get enough of. It seems like the more weird and wonderful, the more hooked the true die hard Kbeauty fans are.

Some common headliner ingredients I've noticed are:
  • Snails 
  • Bird's spit nest
  • Horse oil 
  • Teatree 
  • Honey 
  • Propolis 
  • Hyaluronic Acid 
  • Galactomyces
  • Rice 
  • Ceramide
  • Centella 
  • Ginseng 


There's also a number of 'on trend' products. Just have a look at the #skincareroutine posts and you'll see so many of the same products being used. Things I'm seeing a lot at the moment include:

Holy Snail's Shark Sauce and Snowbang

It's easy to think that because these products are popular, they're going to be great for you. Unfortunately the old 'your results may vary' chestnut applies. Reading, research and some product trialing is the only way to find your holy grail products unfortunately.

One of the main differences with Asian skincare users and Western skincare users is that the former are not as brand loyal. They will not have a 3 (or 10) step Cosrx skincare routine* in the way that people have their Clinique skincare packs. It's also interesting to note that people with high end taste and budgets to match tend to mix and match their products. Sulwhasoo and History of Whoo (which are both high end brands) are often slotted into a skincare line up next to a $20 serum.

*Although in saying that - I have seen people who use all Cosrx products from their second cleanser right through to their cream. However from my observations, most people will have a variety of products from different brands. 

Who drives the trends? 

It's interesting to think how trends come about. Are they driven by consumer interest, or are they driven by the skincare and cosmetic companies? How does consumer interest get sparked? Is it organic, through cleverly marketed and packaged designers, or is there a trailblazer who drive a trend to become mainstream? While I don't have definitive answers, I do have some thoughts.

I think there are some brands who are very in touch with their customers and are very active and responsive on social media like Cosrx. Emails between blogger Holy Snails and Cosrx about their White Power Essence (nicknamed 'Racism Essence') is a great example of a consumer driven change. While humble Chel doesn't credit the name change to her email, you can imagine someone bringing it to a staff meeting, the gasps that must've taken place and the swift game plan to change the packaging for the next production run (or at least that's how it is in my mind). Whether this translates into consumer driven products though, I don't know. I certainly didn't see anyone raving about birch sap prior to their Oil Free Birch Sap lotion was launched. However it's important to note when the Birch Sap lotion announcement was made a few months ago, Cosrx was (and still is) the popular kid at school that everyone loves. I feel the brand is currently at a place where they could launch almost anything and the Korean Beauty fans would be lining up for the pre-release.

I think it is definitely true when it comes to specific products, the Asian Beauty sub-reddit group and #abcommunity on Instagram are driven by trail blazer bloggers. This can be seen with products like Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream that Snow White and the Asian Pear plucked from obscurity, the Mr Honey and Ms Flower range, as well as the Shark Sauce phenomenon that Fifty Shades of Snail has created and the LJH Tea Tree Essence fandom and buy up that Fanservice-B's was largely responsible for.

Social media and blog trends

There have been some trending social media themes in the KBeauty community on Instagram. Peeping Pomeranian's #abnewyearstashchallenge posts took over my feed in January and really connected the #ABcommunity on Instagram. I know from my own posts using the hashtag, I found an enormous amount of people that I followed and also gained about 200 followers in the month.

My #abnewyearschallenge lip product post

Since then, other hashtags that the Instagram community have partaken in include:

The Korean Beauty blogging community are also taking the lead in terms of blog content and format from some more popular bloggers. While packaging and product porn photos still feature heavily, bloggers are becoming more ingredients focused. While not all go into intricate detail and depth, most at the very least will post a list of the ingredients and a link to CosDNA.

Predictions for the future?

There are products which come 'en vogue' and have proven to have staying power. The Banila Clean It product line is a good example of this. This product was released at least in 2013, if not before and continues to make the holy grail list on many an Instagram feed and blog post.  There are also products that generate a loyal following and then for some reason get discontinued like the Mizon Returning Starfish Cream.  In terms of products that will have similar long lived popularity and loyalty fans, I suspect that products that get thrown into the spotlight from the Snailcast such as the previously mentioned Beauty of Joseon cream, Shark Sauce and LJH Tea Tree Essence will continue to remain 'on trend'.

  • Hanbang (Korean traditional medicine): Already very popular, I feel we'll see more hanbang products being released 
  • Masks: We've seen modelling masks, wash off masks, hydrogel sheet masks, biocellulose fibre sheet mask, kelp sheet masks. I don't know what is next but I feel the evolution of both sheet masks, and other types of masks will continue 
  • With the popularity and mainstreaming of Korean beauty products, I think we will see more 'Western beauty' bloggers write about Korean products. I hope this will have a roll-on effect and products will be easier to obtain domestically (for those of us not in Korea), with prices that are more aligned to the prices in Korea 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Back at Soul in a Bowl, Sanur Bali

I visited Soul in a Bowl again on my most recent trip to Bali. The menu and service were much the same as previous visits with a few tweaks. Something I did notice was that an air conditioner had been installed in the very tiny one stall ladies toilet.

The menu is predominantly meat forward with some really decent vegetarian offerings. They're not particularly gluten free friendly and it was a little trick to work out what was gluten free but after chatting with staff, we got there in the end.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Korean cosmetics and skincare in Bali

Bali blogger/instagrammers hera.skincare and jcliani had warned me that Korean products were expensive in Bali and that I was better to shop online. They weren't wrong!

I was in Japan and Korea two months ago and was totally spoilt by the 1+1 deals and sales that even online shopping with postage feels a little pricey sometimes. I don't think anything could've prepared me for the store prices in Bali though... Apparently there are shops in Australia who are doing similar markups which I find extremely disappointing. Part of the allure of Korean skincare is quality products at affordable prices.

So what brands can you find?

Discovery Mall 

  • Dr Jart (at Sephora)
  • The Saem
  • TonyMoly
  • The Face Shop


  • Missha

Shop front store (but moving soon to Discovery Mall)

  • Etude House