Milky Tomato cleansing lotion

Posted by Teresa Foo seet Wei on

Fancy a Milky Tomato cleansing lotion on your face? You should try it if you have oily and combination skin and the ingredients are easily available. My entire face is covered with it as I am writing this blog post.

Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A, B and C, potassium and magnesium and the antioxidant lycopene which gives the tomatoes the colour. It is high in fruit acid (AHA) which offers gentle exfoliation on your skin. Milk (diary) has lactic acid which also gives you a mild peeling action and offers skin softening properties.

• 1 medium very ripe tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes
• 1-3 tablespoons of fresh full cream-milk or almond/rice milk (for vegetarians & vegans)
• Green Tea infusion to be used as toner (green tea infusion is great for oily and combination skin because of the tannins in the tea has astringent and pore tightening properties)

1. Blend the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Strain the pulp and retain the juice.
2. Add equal amount of milk to the juice and blend well.
3. Apply the cleansing lotion with a cotton pad to your face and neck and leave on for 10 mins.
4. You may use it once or twice a day.
5. Remove the cleansing lotion with the green tea infusion and pat dry.
6. Moisturise as usual.

Store the remaining cleansing lotion in a clean and dry covered container. Use it up within a day. This recipe is not suitable for sensitive skin due to the acidic nature of the ingredients.

I hope you will enjoy using this Milky Tomato cleansing lotion. 

Additional reading:
• B-carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053552
• Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8784274 
• Herbal treatment for Dermatologic Disorders: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/

For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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Meet the Skinpreneurs – Esthetician

Posted by Teresa Foo seet Wei on

This October we are kickstarting the month with a series of Meet the Skinpreneurs in the skincare industry. Starting with the first is Meet the Esthetician. This is a fairly new term as most of us are more familiar with beauticians. Meet Aleksandra Andrade from Masla Skincare as she introduced us to her world of Esthetics.

Aleksandra is a licensed Esthetician and an Organic Skincare Formulator with a passion for natural skincare. She founded Masla Sensible Skincare to formulate high-performance skincare addressing various skin concerns by focusing on using high quality botanical ingredients as an alternative to harsh traditional skincare and practices. We are honoured to have her as our first guest for this series of Meet the Skinpreneurs.

• • •

Aleksandra, can you tell us what does an Esthetician do? Is there any difference between an Esthetician, facialist and a beautician?

Esthetician (sometimes referred to as Facialist) is a skin care professional who has undergone a professional training and is able to perform in-depth skin analysis, various skin treatments and recommend proper products for home care. Treatments performed by estheticians typically include facials, body treatments and hair removal services as well as other treatments such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion. There are many aspects of esthetics that a therapist can specialise in such as acne treatments, oncology esthetics, laser hair removal, lash and brow extensions and even make up application.

The requirements to becoming an esthetician vary from country to country and even from state to state here in the USA. To become an Esthetician in the US one must receive training in a special institution and pass state board examinations to receive license that would allow them to practice skin care in the state the license has been issued. Many states require Esthetician to complete continuing education classes to be able to renew the license. Some states have a two tier licensure that includes professional esthetics and master esthetics. Master estheticians are required to complete more hours of education and are trained to perform more invasive services such as LED, laser treatments, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. These are the specialists you may often see working with a doctor in dermatology clinics.

Beautician is a Cosmetologist. Cosmetologists are trained to perform hair treatments, as well as manicures and pedicures and some skin related treatments. People usually obtain Cosmetologist license when they intend on becoming a hair stylist.

What are the services that you specialise in?

My passion has always been in holistic skincare approach and organic skin care. I must admit though that since I’ve started my skin care company I have been taking a break from practical esthetics and shifted my focus onto formulating and establishing online presence. Back when I had my private practice however I did specialise on facial treatments especially tailored for sensitive, stressed, rosacea-prone skin, as this is exactly what I am suffering from myself. That is also how my own product line was born. I do not believe in one-size-fits-all type of treatments, and think that each client has to be approached differently. So an in-depth skin analysis and consultation has always been a big must in my practice. As a matter of fact I plan on offering virtual services through my online page very soon. I think in the age of internet and digital media everyone should be able to have an excess to professional skin care services, at least by means of a professional consultation.

Is there a correct method to applying skincare products like toner after facial cleansing, etc?

It depends on the toner that you use. If your toner is a hydrating mist composed of hydrosols for instance, you may spay it directly on face and pat it in. If let’s say your toner contains AHA’s or Salicylic Acid then I would recommend pouring some on the cotton ball and applying it to the face with swiping motions. This is usually the way estheticians apply toners during facial treatments. Applying toner with a cotton pad after cleansing or exfoliating would ensure that no rinse-off product is left on the skin, restore skin’s pH and prepare skin for the next step.

You are also an organic skincare formulator. What are your favourite products and why everyone should have it in their beauty cabinet?

Yes, that’s right Teresa. I have become a full-time formulator now that I run my company. Practical esthetics is only a very part time activity for me. Being able to experience the world of skin care from different angles has helped me to “open my eyes” and really see things from different perspectives: as a therapist, as a formulator, as skin care business owner and of course as customer. Things that I have considered essential in the early esthetician days, don’t seem to be that important anymore. Being so fascinated and curios about skin care I like to try new products all the time. The skin care I use is not always of my own creation, I like to try other brands too. There is so much out there in the world of skin care.

Despite of me having a ton of things in my cabinet, I really think I am a low-maintenance person when it comes to cosmetics. I don’t use 55 different potions in my daily routine. I am a momterpreneur and due to lack of time and energy I like to keep things simple. So my #1 essential is a cleanser. I have recently made a switch from an Aloe facial cleanser by a well-known cosmeceutical line to an accidental creation of mine - Rose & Jasmine cleansing balm. My #2 essential is a face oil. I have a rosacea-prone oily skin and ever since I’ve switched to using oil, my skin has improved in so many ways.

I don’t stick to the same one as my skin may feel very different depending on the weather or even the food I ate the day or 2 before. So I daily pick one of 3 of my oil serums, depending on the condition of my skin and even my mood. If I had to pick just one it would probably be the Radiant Night Treatment Serum that would make a perfect aroma couple with my Jasmine & Rose Cleansing Balm.

What advice would you offer to everyone regarding looking after our skin?

The main advice I would like to give is “Don’t neglect your skin!” As tired as you might be in the evening (I am a mom of 2 young busy boys so trust me I know the struggle), do not skip on properly cleansing your face. Cleanse + feed your skin at night. And my second most important advice would be “Stop picking on your face!” Seriously, this bad habit is so addictive and very dangerous. It can lead to inflammation, more pimples and even a chance of contracting infection. Constantly messing with your face may also lead to enlarged pores and scarring. Instead of torturing yourself make an appointment with an esthetician for a deep pore treatment.

Thank you Aleksandra for sharing with us and for friends in the US, hop over to Masla Skincare and her Facebook and connect with Aleksandra.

Stay tuned for our next guest post on Meet the Skinpreneurs – Herbalist

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Is oil bad for your skin?

Posted by Teresa Foo seet Wei on

Have you tried using oils on your face? Yuck! No! Never! No way! It will cause my face to break out with pimples! It will make more oily skin more greasy! Not in this hot tropical weather!

I hear you. And I have some very good information why oils, particularly plant oils which are not only BENEFICIAL for the health of your skin and are ESSENTIAL in maintaining the hydration levels. I use a blend of facial oils as a moisturiser and for facial massage too. I literally coat my body with body oils every morning and night. I swear by oils as a body moisturiser for my children too especially after their swimming lessons, you know how dry our skin gets after a swim in the heavily chlorinated pools!

The usage of oils (plant or animal) have long existed in ancient times. Oils were used for religious and beauty purposes. Olive oils are the most commonly used plant oils in ancient times and records included the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, used the oils for cleansing and as an emollient to protect their skin from the harsh weather. Cleopatra loved coating herself with olive oils which she also used as hair removal with an ancient blade-like tool. Herbal oils are a big part of Indian Aryuvedic, Indonesian Jamu, Thai Herbalism holistic healing and the list goes on. 

Plant oils provide us with Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) and these are building blocks for our immune health. We can get EFA through our food and also by applying topically on our skin to replenish our deficiencies in the fatty acids. Here is a simple breakdown of the essential fatty acids for optimum skin health:

Oleic acid (Omega 9) is a monounsaturated fatty acid. It is commonly found in Sweet Almond oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil, Acai, Buriti to name a few. Oleic acid helps to maintain the skin's suppleness. It offers anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties.

Linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Safflower oil, Evening Primrose oil, Passion fruit oil are some oils that contain Linoleic acid. It helps to nourish the skin with it's quick absorption into the epidermis.

Alpha-Linolenic acid (Omega 3) is a super-unsaturated fatty acid. We can find them in Chia seed oil, Flax seed oil, Perilla seed oil, Walnut oil, etc. The alpha-linolenic acid with it's anti-inflammatory function helps to relieve itchiness, redness and also irritation on the skin. It is a protective and nourishing EFA.

Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) is an Omega 6 fatty acid. Borage oils, Evening Primrose oil and Black Current seed oil are some oils high in GLA. This fatty acid is highly prized for it's regenerative properties and offer much relief to problematic skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

How do you use the oils on your skin? You can use it as a facial moisturiser, cleansing oil, body oil and massage oil. A few drops will do the trick to hydrate your skin and maintain optimum skin health on a daily basis. Once you have discovered the beauty of using oils on your skin, you will never leave home without them!

[ Our Super Fruit Defense Oil Serum has a good balance of Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Alpha-Linolenic acid for promotion of well-hydrated and healthy skin barrier. ]

Extra reading:




For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Raw Cacao Mask

Posted by Teresa Foo seet Wei on

We are sharing our favourite super anti-oxidant mask – Raw Cacao Mask! YUM! It smells divine! Make extra so that you can use one part of it on your face and the other half to boost your antioxidants intake!

Raw organic cacao powder is loaded with polyphenols which is a super antioxidant to help fight environmental stress. Always use raw organic cacao powder as it is unprocessed, free from pesticides and the main chemical compounds are kept intact. 

Honey or maple syrup acts as humectant for the skin.

Yoghurt is full of probiotics and also acts as a gentle exfoliation for your skin.

1/2 cup yoghurt (soy/dairy)
2-3 tablespoons honey/maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

1. Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl.
2. Use part of it on your face. Share the mask with your family members.
3. Apply on cleansed skin. Leave on for 5-10 mins. Wash mask off with warm water. Tone and moisturise as usual.
4.Consume the remaining mask! Yum! 

Note: Use the chocolate mask on the day you made it.


For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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What's in the name?

Posted by Teresa Foo seet Wei on

'Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel) oil, Camellia oleifera (camellia) oil, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil (and) Daucus carota (carrot) extract*, Polyglyceryl-3 palmitate (derived from coconut), Glyceryl caprylate (derived from coconut), Sambucus nigra(elderberry extract) fruit extract, Arnica montana (arnica) flower extract, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, Anthemis nobilis L. (roman chamomile) oil*, Citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil, Cananga odorata (ylang ylang) oil, Tocopherols (vitamin E)'

These are names of the ingredients which can be found on our bath/shower oils. Do you have difficulty in pronouncing the names? I'm sure most people do as these are latin words (the italic ones). These are the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) names for cosmetic ingredients. It is a requirement by the ASEAN Cosmetics Directives (is modelled after the EU Cosmetics regulations), EU Cosmetics regulations and many others that all cosmetic ingredients to include both the INCI and English names on the product labels.

Do you have doubts when you do not know how to read the names and it conjures up images of chemicals that you're not familiar with? Don't be afraid. The INCI names are necessary and I will elaborate more. Have you read our previous post on chemophobia? If not, we highly recommend you to read it up. (link)

We will take an example of Lavender essential oils. The widely used Lavender plant has over 30 species with sub-species and hydrids too. If we were to use the English word Lavender essential oil, you will have no idea what species does it come from. If we include the INCI name for example, Lavandula Angustifolia, you will have an idea the essential oil is distilled from this species of the Lavender plant. There are also Lavendula officinalis, Lavandula Spica, Lavandula Latifolia, Lavandin and the list just goes on and on. 

Even water is also defined with the INCI name as Aqua. This is how they are called in scientific terms. 

In fact when you do a search on the internet with the INCI name of the ingredient, often you will get an accurate description of what it is and you can even find a scientific or clinical study on it. Here at Balm Kitchen, we want to empower our customers with the knowledge of knowing and to separate myths from facts. With that note, look at the ingredients' list on the products in your household and search the INCI names on the internet. Have fun!




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