Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas guys. XD

I know I'd been busy lately since I had started a business, but I'll make sure to keep this blog going. Merry Christmas to everyone. God is good. ♥

Purederm Mask Review

I had been using these masks since a few months ago, and now I'm finally giving you a Purederm mask review. XD

I saw these masks in Watsons, and the Korean letters in the packaging caught my attention. These masks also comes in different variants: grape yogurt, strawberry yogurt, aloe, green tea, and cucumber, and each gives a different benefit to the skin.

purederm masks
My two personal favorites are Grape Yogurt and Green Tea masks

So without further ado, here's my verdict:

I love the Purederm masks. I use the mask in the morning and at night as a mild cleanser, and the good thing is that it minimizes my breakouts and does not irritate, which is saying a lot since I really have very, very sensitive skin.

I think the most apparent effect of the mask is immediate smooth skin.

The morning after I used it, my sister blurted out that my skin has gone smoother.

Since the Purederm mask has different variants, choose whatever suits you. I'm not really into the Strawberry Yogurt Mask since I find its consistency too heavy, and I find the Moisturizing Cucumber Mask to be milder than preferred, although aside from that these are generally okay.

The Purederm masks are also cheap; for Php39, you can buy a sachet in Watsons.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Goodbye Simon Kim

I'd been reading a lot of posts in the internet regarding the best and most cost-effective salons to get a digital perm, and Simon Kim salon struck me as a good deal. For one thing, they had a permanent Php1,500 promo on digital perm, any hair length, and there were good reviews about the service.

To cut the story short, my friend Ivy lou and I went there today (in Makati Ave.) and were told by a lady that Simon Kim has died last September and that the Simon Kim salon has been closed since then.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Digital perm photos

I'm really interested in digital perm, and I will probably get one but not now, maybe later when I'm not this busy and have enough savings from my meager, one-week-lasting salary.

I had been searching the net, however, and this are the digital perm photos that I like:

digital perm

The hair color complements the curls well. :)
digital perm

digital perm

It's pretty with our without bangs.
digital perm
Pretty, yes? <3

One-sided braid hair style

one-sided braid hair
Photo credit: thebeautydepartment

Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Nanay Rose's Sticks & Pulls honey wax

OMG, this is my first product review. :)

I purchased Nanay Rose's Sticks & Pulls honey wax months ago at the Department Store in Mall of Asia for Php224.00 because I am a late bloomer and had just enough of shaving; it causes dark underarms that take so much effort (as well as products and product testing) to whiten.

Nanay Rose's sticks & pulls honey wax
Nanay Rose's honey wax comes with spatulas and washable pulls

I bought this because the label says "all-natural hair remover," and like I have mentioned before, I am a fan of organic and natural products. This one uses honey, sugar, and lemon juice. The tub contains

  1.  200 grams of all-natural honey wax (there are other tub sizes)
  2. reusable, washable pulls; and 
  3. wooden spatulas. 
It can be used hot or cold, which means that you can use it as is or after heating.

How to use

Nanay Rose's sticks & pulls honey wax
I follow the instructions on the back, from washing the area with soap and water to the proper way of pulling the strip of cloth (against the direction of hair growth). From my experience, Nanay Rose's honey wax works best when heated: the wax is softer and easier to spread, and it removes unwanted hair more efficiently and also hurts less. Using it cold is not bad, but it's definitely way better if you go the effort of heating the wax for a few seconds in the microwave and waiting for it to cool down just enough to be applied.

Repeat the application as needed, and presto, you have smooth and hair-free skin.

The washable strips are also useful and very convenient, and they worked better for me than the separate pack of hair removal paper I've bought.

TIP: A common problem when applying this product is the heating part. Just put it in a microwave for a few seconds and use it immediately when it is cool enough to the touch. Test it first so as not to burn your skin. Also, do not overdry it because if you leave it out for too long, it will be crystalline solid (at least for a small isolated heap).

CONCLUSION: Does this honey wax works?

Nanay Rose's Sticks & Pulls honey wax is good the first few times and I honestly actually loved it, but after several months the honey wax has lost its stickiness, which basically means it has become useless. :( I still have a lot of wax left since I only use it for underarms, but like I said, it won't pull out any hairs anymore, except maybe one or two strands every application.

There are favorable and not-so-favorable reviews about this wax, so if you want to try it, buy the smallest tub.

In general, what I like about this wax:

  • All natural: your skin is safe from chemicals and irritation
  • Complete package: comes with wooden applicator that, yes, looks like a popsickle stick but effectively spreads the wax unto skin, as well as washable cloths
  • Local: available exclusively in Watsons and SM Department Stores
And what I don't like:
  • Repetition: you have to apply the wax a couple of times to completely clear out the hair, but the pain is minimal and it doesn't hurt much unlike those you see in TV
  • Effing useless after several months: Maybe it was made to be consumable the first few months/uses, but I didn't see anything like that on the label, so *shrug.*

Friday, September 23, 2011

Did you know?

... that it is very easy to know your skin type through the use of a rice paper?

Preferably 30 minutes after cleansing, simply dab a piece of rice paper on different spots on your face. The amount or lack of oil in the rice paper is indicative of your skin type.
rice paper
  • Oily skin - the rice paper paper sticks to various parts of the skin (cheeks, nose, and forehead) and becomes translucent due to oil absorption
  • Dry skin - the rice paper does not stick and has no oily spots and your skin feels dry and flaky after dabbing with the rice paper
  • Normal - the rice paper does not have oil blots and the skin still feels hydrated, healthy, and shows youthful complexion
  • Combination - the rice paper sticks only to your T-zone, which comprises the forehead, nose, and chin. A combination skin type means that your face has both oily and dry parts

Knowing your skin type is very important when deciding on what products to use (such as cleanser, toner, moisturizer, or masks) and what skin care routine to follow. One of the common mistakes in facial skin care is not knowing your skin type.

*There is another skin type, sensitive skin, but unfortunately, this rice paper trick does not show skin sensitivity.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to take care of digital permed hair

If you want your curls to last longer, you should take care of it carefully and religiously. Some women, I've read, maintained their digital perms up to a year, and of course, it is important that the curl still holds and does not limp.

Hair stylists have different opinions on what products to use for maintenance, so you can ask them personally at the salon. I think this recommendations depend greatly on (1) their own professional experience and (2) availability of that product in the country. However, most agree on the basics of taking care of digital perms.

Proper maintenance

digital perm
You can wash your digitally permed hair the same way you wash normal hair. Afterwards, comb only the top part of you head and not the curls; combing pulls out and messes them up. What you can do is finger comb your hair.

Crunch the curls or twist sections of your hair to maintain the curls and let the hair dry naturally.

Curls might get tangled, although not very often since hair after a digital perm is softer and always stays in shape, but to be sure, use a conditioner and untangle the knots, if any, only using your hands.

Condition hair in the shower, use a hair coat afterwards, and get a hot oil treatment once a week. Using curl enhancer gels or sprays is optional.

There's a longer, more detailed article on taking care of a digital permed hair on Niche Topic.


You can style your hair by twisting and separating the knots.

digital permIf you want to straighten them, just brush the curls after showering, and the curls will flatten until after the next time you wash your hair. Can you use a straightener? Yes. You can also use a blower, make sure one with a diffuser. A diffuser locks the curls in and/or makes them curlier and without frizz. Normal blowers create frizz; skip those. Limit using hair straigtheners or curlers because, in general, added heat is not good for permed hair.

Maintain your lovely curls

Based on our experience, every girl who gets a digital perm discovers and has her own special way of styling her hair and  own picks of hair products.

Have you discovered what's yours yet?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Did Shamcey Supsup wear a recycled Alfredo Barraza gown?

shamcey supsup barraza gown 
Photo credit to missology

There are speculations that 2011 Miss Universe third-runner up Shamcey Supsup wore a recycled evening gown, originally worn by Miss Columbia Catalina Robayo Vargas and designed by Alfredo Barraza.

She looks good though, so whatever.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

6 Tips for an efficient TCA cross

The TCA cross is simple and effective, and what you want is to optimize results.

Here are 6 tips to help you:

  • For many, it is hard to localize the treatment to the scar. What you can do is dip the toothpick in the TCA solution for at least 30 seconds for the toothpick to soak up enough solution and press firmly on the center of the scar. You can also sharpen the end of the toothpick for a flatter point. Other manufacturers of TCA peel give their own customized applicator along with the kit.
  • Do not get frustrated, and more importantly, do not be lazy. Avoid getting a whole drop of TCA at the end of the toothpick so you can put that drop into the indented surface. It will cover a greater area than intended. Instead, wait patiently for the TCA to be soaked up into the end of the toothpick, which is just enough for the size and diameter of acne scars.
  • Some scars are wide. Cover the whole indent but remember to move the toothpick to untouched areas only.
    The plant C. asiatica
    • Consider using products that stimulate collagen production such as vitamin c and EGF (epidermal growth factor)/copper peptides or the herb Centella asiatica as a topical treatment after the TCA cross.
    I've learned about C. asiatica from a girl I've met online. We were discussing TCA cross, as I've done them previously and she planned to also do it DIY style. The herb is easily available in her province, and she swears by it. She has performed just a few sessions of TCA cross and is happy with the results. Granted, hers is a mild case.
    • Aftercare is very important. Avoid sun exposure before and after performing the TCA cross method and always use sunblock. 
      • Do as much research as you can before doing this treatment. You can learn a lot by reading people's experiences and problems when performing this technique. Also, consider consulting a professional for an evaluation.

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011

      FAQ: Digital Perms

      Digital perms are very popular especially in Asia where people have naturally straight hair. Now, you have probably read the term "digital perm" on a list of hair treatments in a salon, in a hair article review, or from your buddies and has millions of questions in your head.

      digital perm
      Well, here's an FAQ to help you.

      • What type of hair suits digital perms?
      If you have thick or coarse hair, then digital perm is for you. Digital perms do not work well on thin hair.
      • Do digital perms work for any hair length?
      You can get a digital perm whether your hair is short or long. However, if you want to have the full look, that is, curls that fall naturally, hair that is a few inches below the shoulder is recommended.
      • Can I ask for different kinds of curl with a digital perm?
      Yes. They have rods of different sizes, which are used for smaller or bigger curls, from ringlets to loose, beach waves. Normally, the stylist will assesses what particular kind of curl fits you, and if this also fits into your hair condition.
      • Are haircuts necessary if I want a digital perm?
      Yes. Digital perm and haircut work together to give you the look that you want. Let your stylist evaluate what haircut suits you. It is not uncommon for your stylist to layer and thin out your hair when you are getting a digital perm, so don't worry. If you are not comfortable with a haircut, you might opt to talk to your stylist about a different kind of perm instead.
      • Are digital perms damaging?
      Yes, like other hair treatments on hair salons, digital perms cause damage to your hair. This is why you should first test if your hair is healthy (here's how) or ask your stylist when you go in for a visit.
      • I have rebonded hair, can I still get a digital perm?
      Yes, but it remains on the discretion of your hair stylist if he/she thinks your hair can still stand another treatment.
      • Can hair coloring and digital perm go together?
      No. Hair coloring always go after a digital perm treatment.
      • How long is the process of getting a digital perm?
      Three to four hours.
      • How long should I wait to wash my hair after getting a digital perm?
      Typically 24-48 hours.
      • How long do digital perms last?
      Depending on the type of your hair and how you take care of it, digital perms can last 3 months up to 1 year. If you want to maintain the look, go back for another treatment when the curls start to straighten, which will happen eventually, or when your hair starts to grow out.
      • My digital perm somehow didn't produce enough curls, what should I do?
      Go back to your hair salon. No, seriously. 

      Shamcey Supsup wins third runner-up in Miss Universe

      Philippine representative Shamcey Supsup brings pride to the country as she was crowned third runner-up in the 60th Miss Universe pageant held in Brazil today.

      shamcey supsup

      The beautiful Filipina was asked ""Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person that you love? Why or why not?"

      To which she replied,
      "If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love because the first person I love is God, who created me. I have my faith and my principles, and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too."


      I like her answer because it is concise and straight to the point and it shows her strong spiritual conviction.

      Today (and will probably be so in the next days and weeks), there have been numerous comments about the question asked by the judge, Vivica A. Fox, and Shamcey's answers.

      Some say that Shamcey should have elaborated more, her answer was too short, and some applaud her for being direct and true. Honestly, I think that the question is a sensitive one, and one that cannot be judged without even a little bit of bias, as people almost always have a solid say on religion or lack thereof.

      shamcey supsup

      shamcey supsup

      In the end, even though she did not win the grand title for Miss Universe 2011, Shamcey Supsup made women and her kababayans proud as well as her fellow University of the Philippines schoolmates, and Christians.

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      Must-read reminders before doing a TCA cross

       Here are a few reminders if you plan to do a TCA cross:
      • If you want to try this, I suggest that you start at a lower concentration (15-25%) and leave the 100% TCA to professionals.
      Even if the TCA cross method is simple, remember that TCA is still an acid and can do further damage to your skin when used improperly or when accidentally applied to healthy skin. You want to be on the safe side and do safer applications.
      • Make sure to buy from a trusted seller. Are you getting the right percentage you ordered? Where do the supplies of TCA come from? Is the manufacturer reliable and follows standards and local regulation? These are very important questions. Buy only from trusted sellers.
      • When expired, the TCA's concentration strengthens. Ask your seller for the expiration date of the solution. Otherwise, you might be using one with a higher concentration than the one you opt for and not know it.
      •  TCA cross is not for removing raised or keloidal scars. It is also more effective on scars that are deep and narrow rather than shallow.
      • Consult your dermatologist first if you are taking any medication or antibiotics. Some medications can affect skin sensitivity, which may cause bad reaction, or thin the blood, thus spoiling proper coagulation of the blood.
      • As with other treatments, there are potential complications for the TCA cross method, such as hypo/hyperpigmentation and formation of keloids, although these are unlikely to occur. Skin types are important in determining the risk for potential pigmentation.
      • The TCA cross method is not recommended if you have active acne on the area to be treated, as well as cold sores, dermatitis, or psoriasis, and if you are prone to keloid scarring. Smokers should also be cautioned, as smoking affects the body's ability to produce new collagen. 
        •  As far as I know, the TCA cross method still requires much research in the part of the medical community, meaning, it is still in the experimental stage. Also, from what I've read, doctors have different views in certain areas of this procedure (e.g., to use vaseline/moisturize, effectivity of collagen-inducing creams or products after the cross, pressing firmly with the toothpick or pressing repeatedly, etc.). Further studies are needed, so do this at your own risk.
        One last thing: please read everything, every material you can find before doing this treatment including the scientific basis and explanations and precautions because the worst thing that you can do is to start without a clear view of how this process works.

            Performing the TCA cross method

            The TCA cross method is simple but should be done with extreme precaution. I cannot emphasize this further. Like all other procedures, you might achieve negative results, i.e., further damage to your skin, widened pitted scar, when done improperly. So read everything first and be patient.

            A sample of TCA peel solution

            Thus saying, if you feel like you cannot carry this out, then seek out a professional to do this for you.

            What you need: TCA, anti-bacterial ointment, a steady hand

            1. Prep you skin by washing with soap or gentle cleanser. Cleanse with alcohol and air dry. 
            2. Dip a toothpick in the TCA solution and pressed firmly (not too hard or too soft) on the depressed area until frosting appears. This will only take, literally, a few seconds. There will be mild and temporary stinging, but this is tolerable. No local anesthetic is required, and TCA is self-neutralizing. Remember to treat only the depressed part; you do not want to affect the normal skin surrounding it.
              tca cross using a toothpick
              Photo credit to Bhardwaj and Khunger, on their study on the efficacy and safety of TCA cross
            3. After treatment, use an ointment-based antibiotic until scabs form. You can go to any generic drugstore and ask for a triple anti-bacterial ointment. Others suggest Vaseline petroleum jelly for the same moisturizing effect.
            4.  Scabs will form a few days after. This will naturally fall off, so be careful not to prematurely detached the scabs. You can also use emollient ointments (such as Vaseline) until the scabs fall off.
            5. Use a facial sunscreen daily thereafter. This is an important after care to avoid damage caused by sun exposure.
            6. After the scabs have fallen off, you may wash your face with a gentle cleanser and resume your daily routine for skin care as well as use make-up.
            Wait for at least a month to allow skin reconstruction. Production of collagen is slow and on-going. Multiple sessions of the TCA cross method are required before you can see significant improvement.

            As long as you follow the protocol and take precautions, you should be fine.

            Also, don't forget to read a few reminders before doing this.

            Effective way to improve your pitted scars: TCA cross method

            I wrote this series of articles because (i) I have pitted scars myself and know how depressing this can be, (ii) I think this approach to improving pitted scars is effective and provides hope, and, (iii) to my knowledge, this is not widely known in the Philippines.

            The TCA cross method is a hope for people wanting to improve pitted scars. The good thing about TCA cross is that, unlike other products or treatments, it completely focuses on the pitted scar and offers as much as 70% improvement (according to the original study which I will briefly discuss below). This, of course, still depends on your skin condition and the treatment itself.

            I broke down this topic into several parts to make it simple and readable. There is a study and scientific explanations about the TCA cross method, and I will try to talk about them in layman's term. Okay, read on.

            Dr. Jung Lee and the original study

            TCA cross before and after
            A before-and-after TCA Cross treatment photo from
            The TCA cross (chemical reconstruction of skin scars) method allows pitted scars to be filled in through new collagen production. The best result that you can achieve is for the scars to be barely noticeable unless you look closely or viewed in a certain angle or light.

            The TCA cross method was discovered by a Korean doctor (surprise), Dr. Jung Bock Lee, and this study was published in 2001. All in all, 64 patients that have acne scarring were studied, and all of them showed significant improvement. The observed results were better when using a higher concentration of TCA (65% versus 100%).

            Read the abstract of the study in Cosmetic Skin and Surgery Center. There's also a follow-up study regarding the efficacy and safety of using 100% TCA in NCBI.

            TCA cross

            Basically, the TCA cross method uses a high concentration of trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which is applied locally on pitted scars. Reported complications are rare because of the localized and focus treatment; unlike other kinds of treatment, only the pitted scars are treated and not the whole face, which means that you spare the healthy skin tissues.

            The TCA cross method reconstructs acne scars by inducing new collagen production and dermal thickening. The scar is treated with TCA, a scab forms and will eventually fall off, and the weeks of collagen regeneration begins.

            The TCA cross methods works best on ice pick scars. According to the study, the TCA Cross method can also normalize deep rolling and boxcar scars. However, I have yet to see a testimonial on its effectiveness on the latter scars mentioned.

            How does it work?

            The TCA causes cell death to several years of the skin cells. These layers will then slough off and new tissues will form. Dermal collagen remodeling then follows and will continue for several months. The TCA cross method results in cumulative effect; since the skin is filled in gradually in each treatment, result improves with the number of treatments.

            This procedure is conducted by professionals but can also be done at home. This is because the steps are quite basic and simple.

            Ready? Read the basic steps here.

            PS: Once formed, pitted scars will be hard to remove; in fact, with the current technology that we have now on skin care, I think that it would be downright impossible to bring back the old smooth skin. But you’re thinking, “I saw this testimonial, this advertisement, this comment on a forum…” well, that's just marketing folks. You can, however, improve the scars and make them less noticeable to the point that it's only visible in certain angles and lighting condition.

            Friday, September 2, 2011

            Mercedes Cabral

            mercedes cabral
            mercedes cabral in bikini

            Mercedes Cabral is one Filipina to be proud of.

            Dubbed the "Princess of Independent Film of the Philippines," she has appeared in various indie films including Serbis, where she starred as the girlfriend of Coco Martin; Kinatay; and the latest 2011 indie films Ligo na U, Lapit na Me, where she played the main female lead, and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.

            She was also voted as the most beautiful woman in Cannes in 2008.

            Unbeknownst to many, the model-turned actress is a Fine Arts student who majors in Sculpture in the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

            What I like most about Mercedes Cabral is that she fully embraces her native Filipina look, that brown exotic color most Asians are famous for. She doesn't give in to the pressure from the show business, where most actresses are mestiza.

            She's also excellent in acting (have you watched her in the South Korean film Thirst?) and definitely someone to watch out for, especially now that she is making her name in the mainstream television.

            Sunday, August 28, 2011

            Digital perms: the current hottest hair trend

            Have you always wanted that soft, natural-looking loose curls on you see on Hollywood actresses? Then digital perms are the treatment that you are looking for.

            digital perm before and after
            Digital perm before and after

            Digital perms are just starting to make its name especially in the West. Also called the "hot perm," it was invented in Korea and is popular in southeast Asian countries. It gives more natural-looking waves on your hair. You have probably seen someone with beautiful soft curly tresses and wondered, "wow, her hair is so pretty, I wonder if it's natural?" Well, unless that person has been gifted with really beautiful hair, that is probably a digital perm.

            Digital perm versus normal perm

            digital perm
            Digital perm (left) versus normal perm (right)
            • Digital perms are called a hot perm because the process requires perm solution and heat, whereas a normal perm, or a "cold perm" only requires perm solution.
            • If you want looser and bouncier waves, digital perms are the way to go. Normal perms, meanwhile, brings out tighter curls.
            • Digital perms are general a bit more expensive than normal perms. :p

            Get that effortless feminine waves

            A digital perm will give more volume to your hair and leave it softer and shinier. You can wear it simply with your hair down or in other hairstyles. My personal favorite style for a digital permed hair? A bun, with soft curls hanging loosely and elegantly!

            If you are leaving in the US or in other western countries and your local salon does not offer this treatment, try looking for Japanese or Korean hair salons. 

            Saturday, August 20, 2011

            Friday, August 19, 2011

            Did you know?

            hair float trick
            ... that you can determine whether your hair is healthy by taking a few strands of your hair and putting them in a glass of water? Healthy hair strands float, while damaged ones sink and need to soak up moisture.

            This "hair float" trick is particularly useful when you are planning to go to a salon for a hair treatment that involves chemicals (such as hair rebond, relax, perm, etc.). If the hair strands sink, you'd better skip that treatment for a while.

            You can also use this to try if a hair color product suits your hair, health-wise. Try the color first on a few strands and see if the hair still floats.

            Thursday, August 18, 2011

            How to burn 600 calories with 4-5 minutes of exercise

            Now I will talk about a revolutionary exercise that burns a lot of calories in just a manner of minutes and will leave you asking, "why didn't I know of that before?" This program is introduced by coach Jim Saret, the fitness instructor of The Biggest Loser in ABS-CBN, trainer of Philippine teams, and a known specialist in sports medicine.

            (I learned about this from a friend of mine, whose mother, who is a doctor, happened to listened to one of the coach's talks.)

            jim saret
            This work out consists of four steps and can be done in a matter or 4-5 minutes. The unbelievable thing is that it burns about 600 calories—extend this to 20 minutes and burn up to 2000 calories. Do you know how many calories an hour of running burn? Only about 100-200.

            The reason why it is effective is because it is a metabolic work out. Imagine yourself riding a bicycle. You're pushing the pedal for the bike to run, but notice that even after you stop pushing the pedal, the bike continues to run for a while. That's how it works. It engages different muscle groups in the body, so even after the actual exercise, the metabolic effect is still active up to 24 hours.

            HERE ARE THE STEPS
            How to do lunges

            • 10 basic jumping jacks
            • 10 squats, arms raised
            • 10 push ups
            • 10 lunges for each leg
            • Repeat these steps until the 4 or 5 minutes is up

            As you can see, these are very basic. Coach Jim Saret said that you can do this exercise any time. You can visit Coach Jim Saret's website if you want to know more.

            Sunday, August 14, 2011

            Why you should drink green tea

            I found a great simple infographic on why you should drink green tea. Here it is:

            It's simple and it summarizes the health benefits of green tea. See how a cup of drink can improve your body's health? :)

            Wednesday, July 27, 2011

            How to improve the taste of green tea (tea bags)

            We all know that green tea is healthy and all that, but there's one problem. You've probably tried drinking green tea from tea bags and found out it tastes bitter. Who would want a bitter drink everyday. Sort of like taking medicine, isn't it?

            But listen: Green tea doesn't have to taste bitter. You can improve the taste of green tea by trying out these practices:

            • Temperature is very important. Boil the water and let it cool to prevent the bitter aroma. Add the tea when the temperature is around 60 degree celcius. Too hot a water will bring out the bitterness of the tea. If you've been doing this for a long time, you'll get to learn to estimate when is it time to steep the tea bag in without the use of a thermometer.
            • Use only one tea bag per cup of water.
            • Try adding sugar or, if you're feeling a bit sosyal, honey. You can also add milk (adding milk is optional; some people think that milk only enhances the bitter taste or green tea, while others think it helps the taste) or lemons.
            • Chlorine in water alters the taste of the tea, so you might want to use pure spring water only. 
            • Steep the tea bag for about 2 1/2 minutes, which is just enough time to give your tea a balanced flavor.
            •  Last, look for quality tea bags! There are lots of tea bag products out there, and like other products, there are good-quality brands and just cheap ones. Good-quality tea bags have a better taste.

            As you can see, preparing green tea is an art itself, much more when you preferred it brewed and using tea leaves.

            Finally, I have to tell you that drinking green tea is really an acquired taste. My sister, for instance, simply doesn't like green tea no matter how it is finely made. Honestly, I wasn't too keen on it too, but later on I got familiar with the taste, and now, I heavily preferred it than coffee (yes, even mocha-flavored ones).

            So I suggest you try it as well, and do not forget the steps I mentioned above. ;)

            Sunday, July 10, 2011

            Green tea: A traditional health drink

            Chinese have long since recognized the benefits of green tea, leaves from the plant Camellia sinensis; it has been used as a medicine about 4000 years ago. Koreans, too, incorporate drinking green tea into their daily lives. Green tea, as believed traditionally and spiritually, cleanses the body and gives a calming and soothing experience.

            As a morning-coffee people, Filipinos are only just being familiarized with green tea because of endless commercials of bottled tea.

            Green tea is a miracle tea, and this is not an overstatement. Health researchers have found not one thing harmful about drinking green tea daily, except sleep difficulty from green tea’s small dose of caffeine.

            However, generally speaking, green tea is all health to the mind and body.

            First of all, green tea is a powerful antioxidant. It is rich in catechin polyphenols, in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (more commonly known as EGCG). EGCG inhibits cancer cell growth without affecting the healthy tissues in the body.

            Harvard conducted a scientific study on the benefits of green tea. iVIllage lists the beauty benefits of green tea.

            It also improves metabolism and helps in keeping weight balance.  It lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, helps against heart and cardiovascular diseases, boosts the immune system, protects lungs from smoking and liver from alcohol, and rehydrates and rejuvenates the body.

            Aside from this, Chinese are known to drink green tea to cure headache and depression. Like I said, drinking green tea has a calming effect on the body.

            So you probably got overwhelmed with all those facts like I did when I first read them. But here’s the bottom line, green tea is healthy. A few Asian and European countries have known and harvested from these knowledge many years before, and the Internet and television have made this information available to us.

            Don't like the taste of green tea? See how to improve its taste.

            Monday, June 20, 2011

            Organic soap: Why it's better than commercial brands

            Following from my previous post, I'm going to talk about organic soaps, which are all the rage nowadays. There are a lot of emerging brands, small businesses selling this, especially online.

            cyleina tomato soap
            Cyleina tomato soap

            ilog maria carrot soap
            Ilog maria carrot soap

            spa ingredients mango soap
            Spa ingredients mango soap

            Organic soaps are an alternative to market-brand, non-organic soaps. The main difference is that organic soaps are made with natural ingredients, which means that there is little synthetic and chemical ingredients used, or none at all. Instead, organic soaps rely on essential oils (or honey beeswax, you really have to check websites to see what they use), which are rich in vitamins.

            Here in the Philippines, most of the organic soaps can be purchased online. (As it happens, I just rummaged Watson and they do have a brand for organic soaps, but one costs more than P100, which is really, really overpriced if you ask me.) Just try Sulit; there are organic soaps that are branded and unbranded, and most of them hand-made.

            There's Cyleina, Spa Ingredients, Zen Zest, and Ilog Maria, to name a few.

            Normally, organic soaps are made in small batches. The soaps are fused with various herbs and fruits such as papaya, strawberry, mango, kiwi, green tea, carrot, pineapple, and so on. Essential oils are added, as previously mentioned. The good thing about organic soaps is that you can experiment and be creative on what ingredients to use.

            Unlike commercial, non-organic soaps, organic soaps are perfectly harmless to your skin; your skin will feel nourished and smooth without all the chemical stuff. (Note: an exception is when you have an allergy to the main ingredient used, i.e., almonds, so obviously you should not use that soap variant.) It also solves specific skin problems such as rough or spotty skin.

            Monday, June 6, 2011

            Fruit masks: Food for your face

            I'm a big fan of organic products, and even more of raw, organic fruits and veggies. We've all heard of the benefits of eating fruits to a healthy and beautiful skin, but did you know that you can also use these produce as facial fruit masks? The really good thing about a facial fruit mask is that it is natural and does not contain chemicals but can still give you that smooth skin you see in commercials.

            Here are the things you have to know about a facial fruit mask:

            • You can try different fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes, and avocados. There are a lot of fruits to choose from. Strawberries can be used for oily skin, bananas for moisturizing, papaya for removing dead skin cells. The list goes on.

            • A facial fruit mask has a lot of wonderful benefits. First, it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Also, the mask serves to gently exfoliate the skin to remove black heads and dead skin cells and, at the same time, hydrates the skin. It can also be used to fight wrinkles.
            • A facial fruit mask is also good for acne and blemishes. These masks are all natural and safe, so you won't have to worry about outbreaks. These nourish and heal the skin and help control oil excretion on your face.
            • Generally, you need to mash the selected fruit into a pulp (try using a blender) and apply it all over your face, especially on problem areas. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then wash with warm and cold water, respectively.
            • You can add other ingredients in your facial fruit mask such as honey, oatmeal, sugar, or clay powder.

              ESSENTIAL INFO when applying a facial fruit mask:
              • Avoid using metallic bowls or spoons since metal oxidizes (i.e., spoil) the fruit.
              • Always read up on the fruit to use for your mask, especially if you are looking for a specific effect, e.g., you are looking for a solution to flaking skin, in order to obtain maximal results. Also, avoid acidic fruits because these might cause allergic reactions.
              • Apply the mask immediately after preparation or, at most, within the day.

              WHAT TO EXPECT from using fruit masks: Healthy, smooth, and glowing skin. I know that there are a lot of convincing products out there, but you should really give facial fruit masks a try because these are all natural and healthy

              PS: Do not eat your fruit masks. :(

              Tuesday, May 31, 2011

              Causes of acne you didn't know about

              Do you wonder about the zits that recur only on particular spots on your face? When pimples appear on certain spots only, it is likely that they are not caused by heredity or insufficient facial cleaning but habits.

              If you want to know what causes them, observe the parts of your face where they appear.

              Around your mouth

              There are claims that toothpaste froth causes acne because of fluoride, and some people swear by this, saying that changing brands solves the problem.

              You can read about a dermatologist's observation in Fluoride Action Network and a more detailed article in Real Acne Help.

              To be fair, though, a general consensus is still lacking regarding the role of toothpaste in causing acne, as it is more popularly used as treatment. Chicago Tribune wisely sums up this issue.

              What to do: Switch brands or try a non-fluoride toothpaste for a few days and observe if there are any improvements.


              If you have unsightly blemishes on your cheeks, one of the first things you can do is think about how you sleep: do you lie with your cheeks against your pillows or hands? 

              What to do: Make sure that your hands are clean (or better yet, try another sleeping position) and your pillows regularly washed. Facial skin is so sensitive to dirt that even a little amount can cost you pimples. 

              Also, check your cell phone. Is it clean? Cell phones pick up bacteria from your hands, food, and places or things (such as a table or bag) where you place your phone. Also, the mere skin friction caused by using cell phones may cause pimples (called "acne mechanica"). Know more about acne mechanica in AcnetNet.

              What to do: Sanitize your phone. Simply get a cloth, dub it with alcohol and wipe the casing of your phone. Use cotton buds to reach the in-between spaces.


              This is already a general knowledge but might as well include this in the list.

              Pimples in the forehead are likely caused by contact with bangs. Hair gets all kinds of dirt and pollution from outside that may be transferred to the skin. Hair products may also be a factor.

              What you should do:  Tuck your bangs behind your ear or wear bobby pins, clips, or a headband.

              If you already have pimples on your forehead, don’t irritate them further by trying to hide them using your bangs. The pimples will get redder and bigger, and it may cause scarring. Believe me, it's better to risk embarrassment for a few days rather than having pockmarks.