Skin Deco

Friday, August 27, 2010

Missing In Action

All blogging has to be put on hold and I feel very bad about it because I owe lots of people reviews and I have videos yet to be edited... SORRY!

It's that time of the year again... EXAMS!!
Last paper's on my birthday so there'll probably be double celebrations in the evening?
Actually, I have zero plans for my B-Day since I'm not exactly excited at the thought of turning a year older *groans*
To keep some kind of activity going on, wanna shoot me some ideas?

What should I do for my birthday?
Nothing too lavish or costly, please.
Person who comes up with the best idea gets a virtual hug from me! :D

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! I'll be studying T_T



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Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: The Body Shop Nomadic Goddess Collection

Who wouldn't love Italian baked goods? From biscotti to lasagna and now there's The Body Shop Nomadic Goddess Collection. Their Baked Bronze Powder and Baked Eye Color claim to be handmade and slow-baked for up to 8 hours -- in Italy!

Are these baked goods delicious too? Figuratively speaking, of course. There's a mini-tutorial on how to create a look with these products after the review.

Baked Bronze Powder (RM69/9g)

It does look like a MAC Mineralize Skin Finish, doesn't it? Warm Glow is a golden medium brown with peachy pink and beige swirls. Despite the color in the pan, it's actually more of a nude glow on skin than bronze. That said, I wouldn't really classify this as a bronzer but a glow powder. It has very little pigmentation thus, it'd be best to use this over blush or you can even use it on the entire face. I wouldn't call it a highlight either since it's sufficient only to bring out the high points of your facial features such as your cheekbones.

The powder's finely milled and the glitters are not chunky so you'd get a pretty decent glow that looks natural. Packaging wise, it's a tad boring with the dome-shaped transparent plastic casing. Kinda reminds me of the elf Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder. In fact, so does the effect...

Comparison with a one-dollar-product aside, I do like this "Bronze Powder". The effect is subtle but pretty and the powder doesn't fly all over the place when swirled. Even the price's not too bad compared to MAC (RM115).

Also comes in shade 01 Golden Bronze, which I believe is darker and warmer but I'm not sure. Haven't swatched it yet.

Baked Eye Color (RM52/2g)

Another MAC look-a-like (from the Magic, Mirth and Mischief Collection), it appears to be. Shimmery but not gritty, pigmented but not intense. The texture is not too bad considering that it goes on somewhat creamy rather than powdery. It's also easy to blend. I'm not doing cartwheels over Copper but the color combination is workable for a neutral day look. Staying power is decent when applied over an eyeshadow primer.

Comes in 7 other colors; Moonstone, Jade, Quartz, Sage, Starlight, Sapphire, Amethyst. I quite like Jade though.

Let's move on to the tutorial. It involves only one brush! Stila #7.

Pack the light color onto the lid and blend upwards pass the crease. Pat the dark color into the outer corner and blend it inwards and into the crease.

Apply the dark color onto the lower lash line and smudge it. Place the light color into the inner corners. Apply highlight (Warm Glow) beneath the brows. Define the eyes with black pencil eyeliner (The Body Shop Black Eye Definer) lined thinly and tightly. Complete the eye makeup with several coats of mascara.

Fill in eyebrows with eyebrow powder or pencil. Use Warm Glow Bronze Powder over blush (The Body Shop Mineral Blush in 03 Warm Copper).

For the lips, I used The Body Shop Delipscious Sheer Lip Color in 03 (to be reviewed).

Keep updated of The Body Shop's sales and promotions through their Facebook page and their new Malaysian website is great for viewing product details and prices!

*The products featured in this post were provided by The Body Shop Malaysia for review on Skin Deco



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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Event + Look: SaSa Bloggers' Tea Session

For those of you unfamiliar with SaSa, it is a multi-brand beauty chain store originated from Hong Kong. Sasa has been operating in Malaysia for 12 years with around 30 stores nationwide. Carrying over 300 beauty brands, SaSa offers not-quite-mainstream products that are usually unavailable in any other local retail stores.

Last Friday, I walked aimlessly and asked for directions twice to get myself to SaSa's first Bloggers' Tea Session held in Delicious Cafe at Marc Residence.

The dress code asked for something pink... Oh dear.
Read on for details of the event and the look I wore for the occasion.



Remember Bob? His "It's not difficult to fall in love with I Nuovi" quote was revolutionary... to me, at least. He was invited by SaSa to do a makeup demonstration for the event and asked if I wanted to go. It was a chance for us to catch up so, of course I said "Yes"! Unfortunately, the others couldn't join us but I was lucky to have Bee as my plus-one and I hers.

Food and cosmetics makes for a perfect combination. Some of the products displayed were new offerings at SaSa including theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer and Cyber Colors Gemstone Compact Two-way Cake Foundation. I look forward to trying out both products, which were very generously included in the goodie bag. Look out for the reviews!
Oh, I just realized something. There was no tea at the tea party... or was there? *shrugs*

Bob demonstrated a clean and defined natural look for everyday

Group shot with the other bloggers who have attended and camwhoring was, for sure, a must

In case you were wondering, I got the pink on my nails!
Yes, I'm wearing faux lashes (I Nuovi Pro Lash EX03) during the day. It was my way of paying homage to Bob!
There will be a tutorial coming up for this look under the Summer Tutorials series so I won't be listing all the products I've used out in this post.
Before you ask, the foundation is Graftobian HD Creme Foundation (I know. Awesome, right?) and the lip color is a combination of several OCC Lip Tars (Grandma + Uber + Hush + Conquest).

SaSa Malaysia is on Facebook!


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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

One night. Two drops. Younger-looking skin by morning.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate gives my skin the good night's sleep that it yearns. I can imagine how overworked my skin must be everyday, fighting off aggressors and repairing damaged cells... Sometimes, all the skin needs is a chance to rest and the benefits of well-rested skin will simply follow suit.

Full review after the jump...

"The potent 99.8% naturally-derived and paraben-free botanical elixir works all night to regenerate, repair and replenish the skin barrier for younger-looking skin by morning. The rich blend of naturally replenishing botanical oils including Squalane, Evening Primrose, and a blend of essential oils known for their therapeutic, balancing, and antioxidant effects, works with the skin's natural nocturnal activity to dramatically restore skin by morning. This lightweight, readily absorbed elixir effectively restores skin's healthy appearance overnight, resulting in smoother, more radiant complexion by morning. Enriched with Squalane, a botanical lipid similar in molecular structure to natural skin lipids, Evening Primrose Oil, rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Essential Oils including Lavender, our formula provides a boost of intensive moisture to depleted skin. These natural oils instantly penetrate the skin surface to help replenish it. Our recovery concentrate works at night when skin is most receptive to repairing itself from daily aggressors. With skin hydrated, supple and soft, rest assured you can say goodnight to tired-looking skin." -- Kiehl's

Packaging that looks like laboratory apparatus has a way of tickling my fancy. As it is, there's a certain luxury and exclusivity that comes with a glass bottle, what more one with a dropper! So, it was no surprise that I was physically drawn to the dark blue glass bottle of the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. To pipette the oil, you simply press the plastic tab at the top of the cap (I do this before unscrewing the cap) then, apply slight pressure to the tab to dispense two drops of oil. This dispensing method is controllable thus, I never worry about dispensing too much oil, which may lead to wastage.

Now, on to the content.

Two drops (maybe three, if you have very dry skin) of this concentrated blend of botanical oils is all you need. Seriously. The texture of the crystal clear oil is a dream to work with. Unlike most oils that are thick, gooey and sticky, the Concentrate is fluid and spreads easily onto all areas of the face. I'm serious. Two drops will cover your cheeks, forehead, nose, chin and under eye area. I've used my bottle for months and it still looks full. It'd be hard trying to get through this bottle in 18 months! I may consider using this on my neck and body when it's almost expiring. While most serums evaporate almost instantly after it touches skin, this oil allows a few minutes for massaging before it is absorbed. I can understand how many people would be concerned about putting oil onto their faces but trust me when I say that this oil is not stickier or greasier than a regular moisturizer.

As you massage, the aromatherapeutic scent will start to fill your nostrils and if you close your eyes as you do it, it won't be hard to imagine that you're on a massage bed... at a spa... in the middle of a herb garden....


The Midnight Recovery Concentrate is reserved for days when my skin and myself feel especially worn out. Of course, you can use the Concentrate everyday but I'd like to think of it as a holiday for my skin and utilize it when I need it the most -- when I'm dead tired, in need of sleep and can barely keep my eyes opened to apply skin care. I've developed a designated brief skin care routine to make my skin as comfortable as it can get and soothe any irritations:
  1. Hada Labo Tamagohada AHA + BHA Cleanser to get rid of any gunk that can congest my skin
  2. Madara Deep Comfort Toner to rehydrate and soothe irritations
  3. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate to relax and soften my skin
  4. Madara Regenerating Night Cream to moisturize
For as long as I have this "rescue routine", I don't think I'll ever have to worry about tiredness and stress showing on my skin. If you have an oilier complexion, you can probably skip the moisturizer. I've tried using it alone and it does keep my skin from drying out but I personally prefer more moisture.

Let's talk more about the Concentrate. Oh yes, there's more! This review is starting to get draggy, isn't it?

My skin with zero makeup

Although I can't quite put my finger on what the Midnight Recover Concentrate is supposed to do, I know one thing for sure -- I love how my skin looks the morning after. It wouldn't matter that I only had four hours of sleep because my skin doesn't show it (my constant yawning and half closed eyes give it away though). The Concentrate doesn't try to combat wrinkles or battle dehydration. I swear I'm getting more wrinkles from combating wrinkles! Like I said in the beginning, stop stressing out about your skin, give it a chance to rest and eventually, all the good stuff will come your way.

My skin got its good night's sleep and in the morning, my skin looks uber smooth with tightened pores and fine lines all plumped up. Instead of pale and parched, I get rosy cheeks and well-hydrated skin. With good circulation going on, my skin is starting to look more energized and less sallow.

Story:
I was tucked into bed and The Boy wanted to give me a goodnight kiss but hesitated. "You have skin care on your face..." he said, because nobody wants a mouthful of synthetic ingredients and parabens. "It's 99.8% natural!" I said. "Okay then" he smiled and planted one on my cheek.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a stressed-out person's solution to gorgeous skin.

Retails at Kiehl's counters and outlets for RM200/30ml or USD$42/1 fl. oz. at Kiehls.com. It seems expensive but since you only need to use two drops, the price is rather justifiable. Kiehl's is usually quite generous with their samples so if you're interested in trying out this product, see if you can get yourself a sample.

Ingredients list

*The product featured in this post was provided by Kiehl's Malaysia for review on Skin Deco


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Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Tutorials: Krabi

Krabi, located in Thailand, has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands -- that's what I hear. I'll need to get my butt there the next chance I get! The last time I wanted to book my flight ticket, Air Asia bluffed me.

This look is inspired by a sunset in Krabi.

Read on for the tutorial and description of items used...



Items Used:

Face:
Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse in 01
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #123
Graftobian HD Creme Corrector in Soft Orange
Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer in Sand
Ben Nye Banana Visage Luxury Powder

Eyes:
elf Mineral Eyeshadow Primer
Make Up Store Blush in Oh So Fresh
I Nuovi Trucolor Eyeshadow in Yellow Flash
MAC Eyeshadow in Fig. 1
MAC Eyeshadow in Ricepaper
MAC Eyeshadow in Thunder
MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
I Nuovi Pencil Eyeliner in Black
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brow (set with MAC MSF Natural)

Cheeks:
Make Up For Ever HD Blush in #8 PDA

Lips:
Benefit ColorPlump in Yoo Hoo
Urban Decay Pocket Rocket Lipgloss in Max


Would this be classified as a natural look or a dramatic look? :-/




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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: Underarm Whitening Skin Care from Wakilala

There are thousands of skin care options out there for the face, hundreds for the body, and a handful for the vah-jay-jay. How often do you come across skin care for the underarms?

A common problem that many Asian women face is underarm darkening and there’s not much we can do about it. I only became hopeful again that I can lighten my underarms after using LUSH Porridge Soap. And then I got greedy.

When I was introduced to the Wakilala Clear Wash and Bright Up Essence for underarm whitening, I caved.
Read on...

Although you can purchase the Wakilala Clear Wash and Wakilala Bright Up Essence separately, they complement each other and since they were on sale, I got them both.

The citrus-smelling cleanser is a thick foaming cream with exfoliating micro beads. Following the on-pack instructions, the cleanser is applied on dry underarms and then massaged with wet hands. You’ll get heaps of lather so only a pea size is needed for both underarms.

The micro beads are not very abrasive compared to the Porridge Soap. After cleansing, my underarms feel fresh, smoother and visibly brighter. Since using this cleanser, I’ve experienced less ingrown hair bumps, which I often get from shaving.

Think of the Wakilala Bright Up Essence as a toner for your underarms but it really does much more than that. I was advised by the SaSa salesperson to alternate the cleanser and essence because using the essence directly after the cleanser may cause some stinging.

This essence is also supposed to double as a deodorant and antiperspirant. Swipe a cotton pad soaked with the essence on the underarm area and you’ll be able to see some gunk on the cotton pad. It’s gross and surprising at the same time just as you thought that you’ve cleaned yourself well enough, you still get gunk on the cotton. There’s a cooling sensation that lasts for about an hour.

At the end of the day my underarms don’t feel *coughs* moist or stinky so I guess it does work as a deodorant and antiperspirant. Not too bad right?

Nivea Ad

I’m quite impressed with both products overall. The whitening effect is only to a certain extent as it is a result of the effective cleansing rather than making the skin fairer than it originally is. Nonetheless, having cleaner and brighter underarms, I feel more comfortable wearing sleeveless clothes. Flashing my underarms with enthusiastic waves (think whitening deodorant commercials) would require further whitening so I’ll not be doing that anytime soon.

Wakilala Clear Wash (RM40.90/90g) and Wakilala Bright Up Essence (RM43.90/120ml) can be purchased from SaSa outlets and Aeon Wellness outlets.
Also available from Bobodave for USD$20.90 each.





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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Western Mascara Review: Lancome Virtuose Precious Cells + Urban Decay Skyscraper

You're probably wondering why I bother trying Western mascaras when I'm almost always complaining about them. This pair is not that bad but all the same, I would not pay full price for them. Just bare with me on this. The next pair of Western mascaras will be getting a great review.

This time, we're looking at two lash-caring Western mascaras, the Lancome Virtuose Precious Cells Mascara and Urban Decay Skyscraper Multi-benefit Mascara.

Read on for reviews by a very picky mascaraphile with high expectations.

Ugh, I can't spell. Sorry. It's Virtuose

So, I don't think the Lancome Virtuose (length) Precious Cells mascara is all that "Western". Yes, the brand is Western but I believe this particular mascara is Asian. There were a lot of Japanese words on the packaging and it's nowhere to be found on the Western Lancome website. There's Hypnose (volume) Precious Cells in the UK and Definicils (high definition) Precious Cells in the US *shrugs*. The added "precious cells" basically means that the mascara contains ingredients that nourish the lashes and reduce fallout.

Does it perform? I can't say yes but I can't say no either. While the mascara did give me length, it wasn't the kind of insane length that I'm used. It coats every lash but did little for volume. The curvy brush lifts up lashes but doesn't hold the curl. That's only if you allow it to dry significantly before adding another coat. Because I can't stand skinny lashes, I use A LOT of coats which means more drying time in between. The effect below took about 4 coats and 15 minutes. Still not spectacular. Ok, it'll probably hold up the curl if I didn't use so many coats. Nevertheless...

If you don't allow the mascara to dry between coats, your lashes will look totally whacked. We're talking clumping and the top bits will come off making your lashes look disgusting.

This formula is non-waterproof and washes off with warm water. However, I find the formula to be a tad sticky and doesn't come off properly with water alone thus, I prefer using a makeup remover. Getting this off is no picnic for me because the formula seems to irritate my eyes when it gets in, making them water.

Suffice to say that while the effect is not that bad, it's not worth RM93. Retails at Lancome counters.

Because I believe in second opinions: ParisB's review on Lancome Virtuose Precious Cells

There are many reasons to like this mascara. Firstly, the packaging's sleek and funky. I love that it has this weird matte rubbery feel to the tube and don't get me started on the purple squiggles. The brush is the silicone type and it's slim. Doesn't that look like it'd be perfect for Asian lashes?

Unfortunately, the formula fell short. You do get everything that the mascara claims to do -- lengthen, strengthen, separate, curl, brighten, and thicken. Except on a much much smaller scale. Like the Lancome Precious Cells, the Urban Decay Skyscraper too contains lash-caring ingredients.

The brush is a joy to use and I like how my lashes look with this mascara even though the effect isn't va-va-voom. I can coat every single lash and they look neat, making it a pretty good natural mascara for everyday use.

Retails on UrbanDecay.com for USD$22.

Because I believe in second opinions: Muse's review on Urban Decay Skyscraper


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Review: The Face Shop Green Tea Blackhead Remover Gommage Pack

Blackheads are one of those things that are quite impossible to get rid of. You can scrub, mask, use pore packs, squeeze and those oxidized whiteheads will still be there. Try to refrain from squeezing though. It can lead to an infection and some major scarring. I had to learn that the hard way! Now I have this huge scar on my nose...

After hearing about miraculous before and afters, I picked up The Face Shop Green Tea Blackhead Remover Gommage Pack.

Read on to see if it works...

Typo: Gommage

Out from the tube is a thick powdery cream that is not green at all. The directions say to apply an even layer onto clean skin. Leave on for 1-2 minutes then start rubbing in circular motions. After that, rinse and follow with a cleanser. Sounds simple enough right? Yet, it took me many tries throughout many months to get this mask to work.


Here's what you really need to do:
  1. Cleanse your face
  2. Scrub your nose with a physical scrub
  3. On dry skin, apply a THIN layer of the mask. Seriously, any thicker and it won't work
  4. Leave it on until it's completely dry. That would take about 10 minutes
  5. Rub on your nose until you get all the bits off. It'll feel like your nose is about to come off but don't wet the mask when you're rubbing. I would not recommend using this on anywhere else but your nose
  6. Rinse with water and cleanse the nose area again
If you follow those steps, you will see some difference. Not a lot, unless you have a very congested nose. With continuous use of at least once a week, I did see much better results.


Verdict -- it's effective if you use it frequently and correctly. It does work better than regular clay masks. So, no miracle for me but it's good to have The Face shop Green Tea Blackhead Remover Gommage (why must they give it such a long name?) around to keep my blackheads at bay.

Retails at The Face Shop outlets for RM36.90/40ml. It's not a very big tube but it'll last you for awhile considering you don't need more than a pea size to mask your nose.


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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: Badger Cheerful Mind Balm + Badger Balm

There's something nostalgic about tins of balms that I don't think many people can relate to (because I'm weird like that). The application is literally hands-on and warming up the balm is somewhat therapeutic.

I tote around with me four tins of balms, each for different purposes. They include the Badger Cheerful Mind Balm and the original Badger Balm.

Read on for the review of these organic multi-purpose balms...








Badger Cheerful Mind Balm

"The essential oils of Lemon and Sweet Orange cheer and uplift the mind. Spearmint is refreshing and bright and works great to dispel that cloudy day mood. Ylang Ylang offers a beautiful, sweet flower scent that brings a smile to your lips. Citrus aromas always encourage a cheerful mood - imagine peeling an orange and the lovely scent that fills the air. Badger Bill says that all you have to do is look at the tin and it will make you more cheerful! This is one of his favorite balms because when he rubs it on his temples, it never fails to bring about a fresh new perspective on whatever he is pondering.
Just rub a little on hands, temples, forehead, or anywhere that needs soothing. Breathe it in." -- Badger Balm

The cheering begins with the tin's adorable combination of colors. It didn't take long for it to catch my eye amongst the rows of other balms. The Cheerful Mind Balm got me very curious at the very name of it. So, it's a balm that's supposed to make me happy. The idea that it would initiated a little smile. Taking a whiff of the sweet and tangy scent, I started to beam. I could sniff on this addictive antidepressant forever.

I'd stick my nose between the lid and the balm, inhaling the scent deeply as I'm about to fall asleep in the middle of a lecture. To calm myself from frustrations or unhappy moments, I'd rub the balm under my nose, on my temples and behind my ears. Although The Boy and I were both hopeful, Cheerful Mind doesn't work on irritability just before that time of the month. Perhaps I need the Stress Soother for that. Nevertheless, the mere thought that happiness could be found in a colorful tin sparks laughter and merriment. Take a whiff and ask yourself, "Do you feel happier?".

The skin caring ingredients makes a great moisturizer and I especially like using this to massage my hands especially when they're feeling a tad stiff.

Retails for USD$8 at BadgerBalm.com
Available in Malaysia for RM49.30 (1oz). Please refer to the list of retailers

Ingredients: *Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Golden Yellow Beeswax, Essential Oils of *Sweet Orange, *Lemon, *Rosemary Verbenone, *Spearmint, Neroli, *Ylang Ylang, *Cinnamon, and CO2 Extracts of *Calendula & *Rosehip.


Badger Balm -- For Hardworking Hands

"Badger is the best organic salve for your cracked, chapped, rough, weathered and dry skin. This is the stuff you want with you if you are lost in some vast, uncharted wilderness. It has the mild, wintergreen-like scent of Sweet Birch, which has been traditionally used as an antiseptic, a muscle rub, and to ease the occasional symptoms of skin problems like psoriasis and eczema. Healing Balm is tough enough to soothe rough, dry skin, but gentle enough to use every day." -- Badger Balm

This balm smells like root beer and it's not a bad thing. So, I didn't have much of a story-like experience with this balm but it nonetheless, is a fantastic moisturizer. Since I can't use beeswax on my lips and some portions of my face, the Badger Balm is reserved for my hands as well as other dry areas like my shins and my elbows. It's quite challenging to moisturize a large area with a solid balm from a tin...
The balm may feel greasy upon application but it absorbs readily.
I can attest that this balm works on eczema because I currently don't have any flare-ups but it does help to relieve chapped fingers.

Retails for USD$5.50 at BadgerBalm.com
Available in Malaysia for RM32.80 (.75oz). Please refer to the list of retailers

Ingredients: *Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Golden Yellow Beeswax, *Castor Oil, *Aloe Vera Extract, and Essential Oil of Sweet Birch.

One of the most popular Badger Balms is the Sleep Balm, reviewed by ParisB. She also reviewed the Foot Balm. There are soo many of the balms that I'd like to try, especially the lip balms, but my lips react to the beeswax in the products *sighs*.

About the price...

If you compare the price in USD and RM, there's obviously a huge difference. Of course, buying it from the US would be a lot cheaper thus, if you have someone who'd be able to get it for you, that'd be great.
I came across this comment by Tiny Tapir on ParisB's post:

"erm. there’s a reason badger balm is not widely available in Malaysia and will not be widely available here any time soon. Too many middlemen basically.

I suspect Hong Kong has a direct line and invested in the volume – so the products will be cheaper.

Not to mention Malaysia’s super crazy customs import tax system which drives up the price of so many products here. It totally doesn’t make sense that a product costs twice as much here as it does in Hong Kong where the earning power of the average consumer is many multiple times that of Malaysians. We struggle with this every day.

Kudos to the Malaysian distributors of Badger balm, they’re really nice people and deserve support, but knowing a little bit about the local retail market… i think it will remain a niche product here."

To pay or not to pay almost twice the price is up to your judgment. The product will definitely last you a long time and if the value you get from it being effective and readily available locally is equals to or more than its price then perhaps paying in RM is not that bad.




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