Friday 8 January 2021

mini reviews: trying different soap bars

soap bars in Malaysia

In my attempt to reduce plastic waste for the sake of dearest mother nature, I made a switch from liquid soap to soap bars! Mostly because I've read manufacturing liquid soap produces higher carbon footprint and we know plastic packaging aren't recycled much here. So happen that homemade soap bars are all the rage since last year and to cater to the rising demand, I am definitely seeing a lot of local handmade soap stores mushrooming (before Covid19 happened)! There are even classes which I was tempted to join but alas that didn't happen.

Instead I got myself a variety of soap bars to experiment on including locally homemade ones which can cost up to RM25 per bar from The Hive and Tanamera but the most expensive of them is the Ghar Soap, priced at RM35 per bar. This post is me reviewing each of them, took me awhile to go through them all LOL. Without further ado, let's get started!

#1 Ecostore's Lemongrass Soap

My favorite bar because I'm totally loving the lemongrass scent which smells amazing though unfortunately the scent doesn't stick. Priced at RM10.90 per bar at Aeon Wellness and even cheaper on Shopee.MY, this is about 3-4× that of other commercial brand.

Scent: ★★★★★
Sweat Level: ★☆☆☆☆
Long-Lasting: ★★☆☆☆

#2 Aleppo aka Ghar Soap

This was something I was super excited to try this out mostly because it is so unique and there was quite some hype about it among the minimalist and eco-loving community. Read somewhere on IG that someone even used this in replace of toothpaste and it worked. So die die wanna try and bought one from The Hive in SS2 for RM35 (online on Shopee.MY for RM33.90!). For the price, you get a chunk the size of my tiny palm can hold (Yes, I'm very detailed with the dimensions) wrapped up in a magazine page.

I'm sad to announce I find this bar of soap very disappointing. It's definitely a unique soap with interesting color _ golden on the outside and olive in the inside. Also, fair for the price, it's bloody durable thanks to the proportion of ingredients used and the amount of time to dry it out (up to a year!).

But it is oh-so-o-boring because there isn't a scent. Sure, I feel clean enough after using but because I'm so used to scented soap (think Dove, Shokubutsu and others), I feel the need to wash up with scented ones afterwards just because! On top of that, it doesn't lather on its own so not fun for me. It does lather with the help of a foaming net or used Liese hair dye dispenser (I just found out recently!). Still the foams are boringly scentless so much that I resorted to adding my Muji's Bergamot essential oil...

If you're not so particular about scent and wouldn't mind one-soap-for-all (you can wash your face and hair with them) and think want an economical and super minimalist soap, this is the one. You'd be impressed to know that even after soaking the soap pieces (they broke when I sliced it with a cleaver) in the bottle, they dont melt completely for weeks! 

There are also a bunch of articles that vouch for the benefits of using ghar soaps such as resulting to youthful feeling skin, great for eczema or fungal infection and even dandruff and a hundred other benefits apparently. I just don't think this is my thing... Quite a letdown considering how excited I initially was!

Scent: ☆☆☆☆☆
Sweat Level: ☆☆☆☆☆
Long-Lasting: ★★★★★

#3 Old Sage Soapworks' 
Grape Slushie & Roses on the Porch Soaps

Very fancy names, I know. Again, got them both from The Hive for RM25 per bar. I truly think these are made using hot process from the clumpier texture. I find these kinda messy, the dye stains my soap dish with bits of soaps. They're washable, just messy. I'm not sure if it's the same with cold process soaps but these break down and shapeshift (oh my vocab!), like a slime. I use half a bar at a time because obviously it's too big for my grip. My first half lasted less than 10 days, and the smaller it gets, the faster the bar melts.

Unintentionally, I left the other bar on my table between testing out other bars, during which it had time to dry out further. I found out it lasted a bit longer that way. I guess that's partially how ghar soap could last so long_ they're left to dry for a year after all. The other reason is the composition of ingredients used.

For the price and how fancy they are IMO they're great if you want to pamper yourself once in a while. At least for me because on a longer term, I'd choose practicality, with nice enough scent and without the mess.

Scent: ★★★☆☆
Sweat Level: ★★★★★
Long-Lasting: ★☆☆☆☆

#4 Tanamera's 
Toning Green Coffee Body Soap

Tanamera is a local homemade brands that boast all natural plants ingredients in their products and offer a handful of options of bar soaps. I opted for the Toning Green Coffee Body Soap which scent I find most bearable among the soap bars (their liquid one is quite nice)! This is available in Isetan or Shopee.MY at RM30 (100g).

The packaging definitely screams "luxurious".

It does feel like you're in a spa treat when using this soap LOL. I happen to test their liquid hand soap and think its actually nice. Worth the price for the spa-like experience!

Scent: ★★★☆☆
Sweat Level: ☆☆☆☆☆
Long-Lasting: ★★★☆☆

#5 Sabun Society's
Loofah Soap

I love the scent that reminds me of the beach (literally!) so that feels amazing. However, the soap is super slippery and with more use, the newly exposed loofah can be really rough to the skin. I'm sure exfoliating won't turn my skin so red all over. To minimize this, I used the foaming net (very useful!) to wrap and lather up the soap. This one bar can last about a month.

I got this together with a care pack so I don't know the price for just the soap. I looked up their Facebook page and didn't see this listed so I cannot be sure if this is made specially for the care pack or they have discontinued the loofah soaps edition.

Scent: ★★★★★

Sweat Level: ★☆☆☆☆
Long-Lasting: ★★★☆☆

#6 Maitre Savon De Marseille's
Lily of the Valley 

This French brand soap offers a whole variety of scented soap bars _ Lemon, Rose, Green Apple, Olive, Goat's Milk, even Donkey's Milk, Marine (which smells like the sea water! Beach lovers, anyone?) and the list goes on! in two sizes, the 100g bar at RM18.90 and a larger bar approximately RM25 (I don't remember!) from Isetan.

La Corvette Marseille is another brand that carries similar-looking bars but priced higher at RM23.90 for the 100g and RM38.90 for the 200g bar. You probably won't be able to tell these two brands apart when they're placed side-by-side and looking almost alike down to the packaging! Because they're both like hard candy kind (similar to Sabun Society's) and doesn't sweat, they last a good while. Not too bad but its a bit to the pricey end.

Scent: ★★☆☆
Sweat Level: 
Long-Lasting: ★


When I shared with a friend about my plan of trying soap bars especially homemade ones, she raised a concern about the quality of homemade soap that is unlike commercial ones that have more stable PH value. I've read that depending on how homemade soaps are produced, their PH varies and sometimes may be unsuitable for use such as being overly acidic to sensitive skin. So they're fun to try unless you have super sensitive skin.

After trying so many types of soap bars, I have decided that I prefer something without fancy dyes or scents but not totally scentless like the ghar soap! Scent-wise, my favorite among the ones above gotta be the lemongrass and Sabun Society's! Though the most economical ones and  lasting gotta be the commercially available brands such as Shokubutsu (probably the nicest scent besides Dove!). In fact what I have now are mostly supermarket-available brands.

I've got no idea why I stocked up on so many at a time!

Lux, Dettol & Shokubutsu soap bars

Friday 29 November 2019

Reviewing Bamboo Toothbrushes

So you've heard me talk about minimalism, converting to sustainable and greener lifestyle since last year.  And in case you're wondering, yes, it is still on and the thoughts about how I can contribute to the environment has been the back of my head more often now as depressing news like the Amazon fires and us Malaysians (pljus our neighboting countris) experiencing the worse transborder haze of the century yadayadayada. That aside, this post is about my experience converting to bamboo toothbrush.

Until now, I have only tried three types of eco-friendly toothbrushes _ the generic bamboo brushes from Taobao which cost about RM1-ish each, one from The Hive that cost me RM11 and another available in Aeon called Jordan for about RM10 made of recycled plastic.

Unlike the gentler design of plastic toothbrushes, the bamboo ones are hard. I always find bruises on my the side of my lips after brushing! It doesn't hurt nor obvious but annoys me.

Because manufacturers are so eager to accommodate to consumers' growing demands for greener options, little emphasize are put on the bristles. The ones I got online (no doubt made in China) are course and sharp they hurt my gums. To fix, I simply use a scissors to trim the sharp edges and it was good to use.

Before & after trimming

Another which I got from The Hive has such soft bristles, they were already out of shape after the first use. I get it will be some time before they figure what's a greener alternative to nylon bristles, but I would want better bristle designs.

This is how it looks about a month... Very rarely do my other toothbrushes look like this by the time I replace them.

I have switched 3-4 bamboo toothbrushes over the past few months, which I think is quite frequent. Reason being I found that the bamboo part do not last long because they're very susceptible to molds.Read Natural bristles retains moisture and are breeding grounds for bacteria and malodour EWWW!! That is even though I made sure they're kept dry. I think that's the case because the bamboo part were not treated with chemicals to make them waterproof, leaving it in its au natural state. In other words, you want to store them dry, in  toothbrush holders with more open spaces for ventilation. Maybe out of the bathroom where it can get humid.

See those black spots are molds!

All this kinda makes you think twice about using bamboo toothbrushes... I'm persisting is because I do think they do their part in reducing plastic waste. If I have to decide which, I will get more from China because the bristles are better and they're cheap so I can change whenever molds start growing. Tho still hoping there will be more ergonomic designs available soon!

Wednesday 1 May 2019

my green journey

malaysia cloth sanitary pads, safety blades, soap bar

My transition to green & sustainable lifestyle is slow but gradual. I have been trying to use what I own before restocking new toiletries or body care products. The first thing I wanted to reduce was the use of disposable sanitary pads and I dedicated a lengthy blog post to tell you why you too should try cloth sanitary pads and where you can get them in Malaysia. As of now, I have not converted 100% because I still have some disposable ones. Plus, I am still worried about leakage especially when wearing cloth sanitary pads during the day. I can vouch I love them so far!

Malaysia cloth sanitary pads

The other thing I bought was this safety blades. I have heard of them and found there were a number of overseas sites selling really atas shaving razor but they do not come cheap! About RM200 for the holder and about RM50 for a set of replacement blades. They probably cater for more comfort and safety especially since the dudes need to shave their face.

I got mine when a vintage-themed store called 'Childhood' which specializes in selling vintage Malaysian snacks, toys, miscellaneous products (even rotan!) had a pop up store in KL. Don't quite remember the price but both the razor holder and a set of 6 blades cost less than RM20.

The safety blade box comes together with a mini mirror which is really cute but I don't have any use for LOL. So far I have been using it for a few months and the blades are still super sharp. They're definitely sharper than those plastic razors that usually also have a protective strips with lubricants for easy shaving and soothing the skin. I have accidentally cut myself (it didn't hurt) but otherwise, I have no problem using this shaver for my legs and underarms. Apparently the blades are rust proof but I still want to be safe and store it out of the washroom.

One discovery was this thing call loofahs. I first heard of it from a friend who suggested loofah compare to sponges which seem to have a short lifespan in my house with so many people using them! Before I found out you can find this dried gourds online and in some specialty sustainable lifestyle shops which has been mushrooming around KL, my friend had to get it from his hometown. They're super worth it! For just less than RM10, you get a long loofah which you can cut depending on the length you need and that can last for months! While they do trap some food, they're easily cleaned and do not smell with prolonged usage. Just for hygiene purpose, I hang them on the window panes so they get sun-ned just to kill some germs hahaha

I did found loofahs in the toiletries section of Aeon but I don't know if they're chemically processed to maintain the shape and remain hard but mine is holding the shape real well! Works amazing in the bath though I wished they have a version with handle because I cannot reach the back properly...

As part of this whole green lifestyle, I decided to convert back to using soap bars which uses less packaging. I am super tempted to get those artisan soaps bars but they're much more pricey, about RM20-ish! There are more economical ones but I am too lazy to go all the way out just to shop for soaps. I have been relying on off-the-shelf brands in Aeon like Dove (under RM4 per bar) and I recently found Ecostore available in Aeon Wellness for RM10.90 for the 80g bar. It's lemongrass scented and I'm crazy eager to use it because it smells so good, almost yummy! Obsessing over scents like this or citrusy ones these days, they make me feel happy #allthelittlethings

Also from Aeon Wellness, I got this for about RM10 because everything about it caught my attention. Later I regretted my purchase. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE how the toothbrush and packaging are made of recycled materials. Totally supporting the idea! Unfortunately there is still lack-to-none recycling programs here in Malaysia, except for Penang (Penang rocks!) which meant after I am done with this, it will end up in the landfill FML So I guess for now I don't have an option but to order my bamboo toothbrushes online.

Saturday 30 March 2019

The Complete Guide on Where to Thrifts Shop in Klang Valley #ThriftingInMalaysia

Recently, out of sheer determination and some desperation to zero out clutter (mostly clothes), I made an effort to look up places I can get rid of my things. During the process, I discovered that thrift stores actually exists in Malaysia. I have obviously been living under the rock! You probably may have come across several of my posts about these places but if you haven't here is the summary of them all plus the links to the respective blog posts mentioned earlier.

Coming to the where question, here are the list of places I discovered you can thrift shop besides selling or donating your pre-loved, some provide platforms or apps you can even use to sell your stuff! The first two are exactly the platform I have been using for a while now.

I think this is the biggest go-to site for pre-loved lovers in Malaysia! Not only you can sell or purchase apparels, there are tons of products ranging from electronics and even furnitures! Some users are even open to swapping items but the decisions lie with you.

#2 Jalan Jalan Japan

Someone mentioned this place and when I heard most stuff are from Japan, that piqued my interest. In fact, I have an entire post dedicated for Jalan Jalan Japan

Facebook: @JalanJapanJapan.Malaysia
Instagram: @JalanJalanJapanMY

Sky Park @ One City
Level 1A (Block A),
47650, Jalan USJ 25/1A,
One City, 47100 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Daily (10AM - 10PM)

#3 Bazaars at The Curve

I cannot be sure if the bazaars are available on weekdays since it isn't my usual rendezvous. A lot of their clothes are of larger sizes so nothing for me! The clothings look worn but I'm sure you can find some gems with a bit effort. They're the smaller version of Jalan Jalan Japan but only limited to apparels and some kimono cardigans which can look really chic.

#4 ReFash

ReFash is one of the better places to hunt for gems. For one, you can find branded pre-loved in better conditions for a bargain! I have dedicated a post about my experience with ReFash.

Facebook: @ReFashMY
Instagram: @ReFashMY

Sungei Wang Plaza
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Bukit Bintang, 55100
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Monday - Thursday & Sunday (11am - 9pm)
& Friday & Saturday (11am - 10pm)

KL Gateway Mall,
Lot UG11/12, 2 Jalan Kerinchi,
Bangsar South,
59200 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Monday - Sunday (11am - 9pm)

#5 Kedai Bless 

While I have been shopping at One Utama for years, I only just discovered it recently! The store is a floor down using the escalator beside Old Navy (opposite Fossil / the Body Shop / Chaps). You can also find other branches at several hot shopping malls including as Mid Valley and Citta Mall. Check out more about Kedai Bless in my blog post.

Facebook: @BlessShopSIBKL

Midvalley Megamall
Unit CP-01,
Level P1 Center Court Midvalley Megamall,
59200 Kuala Lumpur 
Daily (10AM - 10PM)

One Utama
LG126 (one floor down from The Body Shop),
Lebuh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Daily (10AM - 10PM)


The next few thrift stores are places I have came across online but have yet to visit. In case you're living nearby, feel free to check then out.

#6 SellEZ@Oval Damansara

Klang Valley has lots of little malls and this is just one of them. Just learnt recently it is accessible via the Petaling Jaya free bus, PJ06 you can board at One Utama. SellEZ mostly carry preloved Zara apparels so it may be worth the trip!

Facebook: @SellEZOfficial
Instagram: @SellEZOfficial

The Oval Damansara
Unit 6, Level 1, Oval,
685, Jalan Damansara,
60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Monday to Friday (9am - 5pm)

#7 Bargain Basement @IOI Mall, Puchong

Facebook: @BargainBasementIOI
Instagram: @BargainBasement_IOI

IOI City Mall
Lot B3-10, ( Basement 3), Putrajaya
(Travelator next to Homepro, two levels below)

IOI Mall
EB2-01, (Basement 2), Puchong
(New wing, escalator near Nandos)

I found they have their version of thrift stores called Kedai Jimat in Penang, Ipoh, Malacca and Kuching.

#9 Vintage Moonriver

Facebook: @VintageMoonriver
Instagram: @Vintage_Moonriver

98, Jalan Dang Wangi,
City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

#11 Chia's Cotton Chic

Amcorp Mall
Lot 209, Persiaran Barat, PJS 52,
46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

#12 Luxury Vintage 

Instagram: @LuxuryVintageKL

No. 114 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Monday – Saturday (10.30am – 06.30pm)

Great Eastern Mall Address
G20, Ground Floor
Great Eastern Mall
Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Monday – Sunday (10.30am – 09.00pm)


Not everyone likes wearing old (or hand-me-downs), my BFF who has been much open to thrifting and have done so when she was working in Europe told me. I don't know how I feel about that yet, I had responded. Now that I own a few thrifted pieces and have been frequenting Kedai Bless and ReFash, I find myself enjoying thrifting. I just love shopping! However, I am particular about the quality of the items I bought since I am expecting myself to wear what I buy and I want to maintain a proper image if the pieces are meanth for work. 

On whether I would thrift my entire wardrobe from now on, I do not think it is possible. For one, sometimes I'm just looking for something specific and I cannot find something I like from these stores alone. At this stage, thrift stores items are still rather limited. Thrifting is also partly luck and partly effort. Thrifting can be a great place especially if you are experimenting in styles or pieces you do not wear very often and would not want to invest so much on.

For you girls and guys who are new to the concept of thrifting, hopefully you'll discover a new passion. If buying pre-loved items is still not your thing, you can simply contribute by donating your unworn, no longer used apparels to either the places listed above. Everyone can play their role 

Saturday 17 November 2018

2018 Minimalist Achievements: Decluttering my life

Hello fellow netizen! October has been hectic and stressful for me but it was also quite a productive month. One of the many things I have been working on was to declutter my life.

If you have been stalking this blog long enough, you have heard about me attempting to minimize my life because I feel that I have a lot of things and at times it gets on my OCD nerve. One of the main reason I'm stepping up on this is because I want to focus more on things that matter, and spending my time cleaning things up is not one of them. But the thing with the whole decluttering process is it a time-consuming. Over the years, I have managed to clear up but hit a bottleneck, until now. In this post, I am sharing with you where I got rid of things I haven't been utilizing _ mostly clothes but I do have gadgets and random things as well.

#1 recycling with H&M

Clothes that have terribly discolored, with moth holes and terrible fabric, I brought them to H&M to recycle. Throughout 2018, I think I have recycled a total of 3-4 bags of apparels and distribute the coupons among my friends since I do not use them.

Total items decluttered: 3-4 small bags of clothes
Gains: 3-4 H&M 15% discount on one item coupons

#2 selling on Carousell

Carousell is an online platform which I have been using to post my unworn or pre-loved items. Got lucky this month when I managed to sell my unworn Harry Potter tie and my used point-and-shoot camera. I have also people requesting to trade apparels but usually I reject cause I don't find anything I want from other people's page.

Total items decluttered: A Casio Exilim ZR1200 Camera (RM350), a Harry Potter Tie (RM10), Hsu Yu Hair Colour Refreshment Mask (RM50)
Gains: RM410 sales within October to first weekend of November'18

#3 donating to Kedai Bless

For the unsold items on Carousell, I decide to let them go for a cause. More on that in my separate blog post.

thrifting in Kuala Lumpur

Of course there are other charity organizations who accepts old but wearable apparels for donations such as Kechara Soup Kitchen. Feel free to donate to any organizations which cause you feel strongly about if not convenient for you to drop by.

Total items decluttered: 6 dresses, 8 tops, 9 bottoms, 1 outerwear, a small bag of random accessories & a handbag
Gains: few bags less of unutilized 'harta benda' in the room

#4 sustainable movement 
with ReFash

For things that I wasn't willing to let go for free, I brought them to ReFash to exchange with gift vouchers you have seen above. Unfortunately, the returns are little but this is the fastest way of decluttering clothes. I will be writing a review on ReFash sometime soon!

Total items decluttered: 5 dresses, 4 tops & 5 bottoms 
Spoils: RM39 for a top and a skirt (RM50+ each if purchase on their own)
Gains: RM30 KL Gateway Mall voucher + RM20 Lot 10 voucher

#5 out of sight, out of mind

One of the other thing that have been annoying me besides the many things lying around on the floor and my box of unworn apparels is my open bookcase. When I bought it for the sake of getting my things organized, it didn't occur to me the dust will accumulate and the open space concept would be such an eyesore. If I could turn back the time I'd bought one that's fully or partially covered.

Fortunately, I found a solution online! Bought a curtain hooks from Daiso for RM5.55 and curtain from Akemi Uchi at half-price for just RM24! Wanted something in cream or earthy tones but this is the lightest and most affordable curtains I can find.

No, I'm not vain. The tiara's from my sis' bachelorette in case you're wondering!

Closeup on the Daiso wire rail and clips, so far they work amazing! Seeing that the hooks looks really fragile, the curtain seems fitting since it is of light material (^^)

Tip #1: Hook one of the clips together with the hook to keep one side of the curtains in place or both ends to keep the curtains completely covering the cabinet.

Tip #2: Get a light material curtain or shower curtains which won't weight the sliding down the center.

Total items decluttered: None, really. I need everything on the bookcase. For now.
Spoils: RM5.55 for the curtain rail plus clips and RM24 for curtains, wire & hooks
Gains: Less mess to see and hopefully, less dusting needed


Overall, I am super happy to be able to get a lot of things off my mind even though I still have more cleaning to do. As of now, I still have two bags to send to Kedai Bless and ReFash each. For the remaining items, currently, I am putting my stuff in designated spot so that I can find  easily find the things I need when I need them. For some beauty and body care products, I am planning to use them up. The rest of my things, I will need more time to decide if I still want or need them else I will just donate or something.

I just noticed that Uniqlo & 1 Utama's Isetan are both jumping into the sustainable living bandwagon which is GREAT NEWS! I strongly think consumer brands need to step up their responsibility when it comes to adopting sustainable initiatives. It is still so hard to find a place to recycle batteries or used soap and shampoo bottles or milk cartons, you get the drift. Crossing my fingers we will be seeing more of these soon!

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