Archive | September, 2009

JUARA Product Videos – Metta Murdaya

25 Sep

If picture tells a thousand words, imagine what a moving picture can do. Well, I guess it only tells however many words the speaker says (duh.) But I find in the world of skincare, sometimes words just aren’t enough. How many times have I explained to people “this is what it is, this is what it does, and this is why it’s great for you,” and only the moment when they see/touch/apply/slather/splash (you choose) it on, do they then get it. And by “get it,” I mean REALLY understand what it means, what it feels like, what the product is really truly about and why they fall in love with it. The same way that you read a description of an ice cream flavor, and all the poetry just doesn’t do the same as giving you a quick taste.
Although I, Yoshiko, and Jill all love meeting people and talking shop about products, sharing skin concerns and helping recommend what’s best for them, unfortunately we have to often rely on our samples and lengthy descriptions on the sides of boxes and such to impart to our passion and the real benefits of the product. (And just because our packaging is in French and English doesn’t exactly mean that we’re hitting 2x the crowd, belive me.) And although descriptive, words on a page may not as easily convey how the products are used and their real benefits, since we do use unique Indonesian ingredients and have a different twist on traditional products (like our Tamarind Tea Hyrdating Toner, for example – no cotton ball needed!) To share our own enthusiasm for our products and bare it all for you in the next best way if we can’t give you a hand massage in person, we decided to make some home-grown how-to videos of each product in our own, candid words, with no scripts, no editing, just raw, unadulterated us. In our quirky or dorky modes, we show it as it is. Consider it a sister-to-sister ‘this is what this goodie is about’ quick video. (Assuming you wanted to talk about products, of course 🙂 ) The videos are found on the individual product pages of our website (or on youtube if you search ‘juara skincare.’) Not all products have a video yet, but we’re getting there…
You’ll notice we don’t have a hollywood budget, (not even microphones!) Our ‘set’ is Yoshiko’s apartment. Our ‘makeup’ is well… none, really. Our ‘lighting’ from the windows before noon, and the ‘super high-tech recording gear (ha!)’ is my trusty little $125 flip video camera and imovie software in my mac. You won’t see me in as many videos as my partners Yoshiko and Jill, but that’s because yours truly is working the camera. But we don’t think you don’t need superstar production quality to explain how our products work and why we’re in love with them ourselves; we just hope you appreciate the ‘down to earth’ production quality, shall we say…
Why even do this? Girls, let’s face it – at the end of the day, this is not a power tool we’re selling, or a really cool kitchen appliance (love them!) This is an intimate product (and I don’t mean that kind if intimate, ahem…) We’re talking about taking care of the biggest organ on our body, this porous, living, breathing surface we call skin. We want to make sure you understand our JUARA products, have the right expectations and understanding so there’s no disappointment but instead a curiosity and joy to try, and happiness with the results, and if we can’t tell you in person with our bag of JUARA, video is the next best thing to showing you. Keeping skin healthy is not only important to our physical health, but also affects mental health – things like self confidence, feeling youthful – all these can be affected by how we look. I’m not going to tout the importance of outer beauty to being the key to happiness, but quite the opposite – beauty comes from within, having confidence in yourself, and great, glowing skin can really bring out your inner radiance – so however we can make that happen for you, let us know and we’ll do it! But now, it starts, one homeade video at a time.

If you have a product you’d like to see a video on, or any suggestions on them, please let me know at!



Get your skin in shape, literally, with Skin Fitness Specialist Julie Lindh – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

14 Sep

YOSHIKO ROTH-HIDALGO’S FACIAL EXPERIENCE: I am quite the skeptic when it comes to facials, perhaps because of how sensitive my skin is, but when my business partner Metta came to work one day with buttery soft skin and feeling like her face had been “magically lifted a couple of inches”, I was intrigued. Metta had gotten the facial with Julie Lindh, who is considered one of the most sought-after natural facial rejuvenation experts in NYC. Of Indonesian and Swedish descent, Julie prefers to call herself a skin fitness specialist rather than aesthetician, since her specialty is to add a fitness dimension to her clients’ faces.

I met Julie at Yelo Spa in NYC on 57th Street near Columbus Circle where she sees most of her clients. The first thing you notice about her: Killer skin! The second thing: Julie is brutally honest… no euphemisms there. “You have a lot of calluses on your skin,” she remarks after feeling my skin. Excuse me? “I’ve stopped calling it dead skin cells because my clients don’t really understand. When I call it callus, which is what it really is, they think of their feet and really understand how important it is to remove it.” Indeed, the visual of my cracked heels makes me anxious to exfoliate…

“I call myself a skin fitness specialist because I incorporate machines in all my facials and because like a personal fitness trainer, I teach my clients and their skin. I am not about applying a couple of masks, massaging your skin and making you just feel good. My skin fitness approach is about targeting all 3 layers of your face:
1) First: correct imperfections on the surface: acne, discoloration, wrinkles, etc.
2) Second is prevention: repairing your collagen, strengthening your fibroblast.
3) Third is renovation: Perk things up, build muscle, correct the contours of your face. Here is where I use my photon light current machine which helps stimulate the muscles and create the lift. I start with a low current and increase with subsequent sessions, the same way that a personal fitness trainer will get you started on 5 lb dumbbells and increases the weights to keep your muscles challenged and stimulated. When I do repeated treatments on a client, I may even advise her to eat more protein to feed the muscles. It really is a fitness approach.”

About Julie’s candidness: “If you’re afraid to hear the truth, then Julie is not the person for you. But if you’re ready to get inspired by my approach, I will educate you more deeply, teach your body, your skin and most importantly tell you why I do what I do. I asked her what she considered the most common skincare mistake: “Most people just follow the latest trends, focus on quick fixes, get impatient when they don’t see instant results and then overdose on pretty much anything that promises a short cut. I tell my clients ‘Look at yourself in the mirror everyday of your life and ask yourself everyday how do I want to look in 5 years.’” This common mistake does apparently not apply to Asian clients. “Because Asian skin is so sensitive and takes so much longer to heal, Asian women are very risk averse and won’t try as many new things. For example, they will only use Asian skincare lines but don’t realize that there are differences amongst Asian skin types, too, and they don’t really consider how their individual lifestyle and emotional state has an influence as well. Because Asians are so risk averse with their skincare, they need to find the right person they can trust, in order to try a new approach.”

Freshly inspired by Julie’s philosophy, I laid down on the facials table. Due to my pregnancy, Julie was not able to use the micro current machine on me, but instead targeted the bumps and “calluses” on my skin. She resurfaced my skin with crushed diamonds, followed by a milk acid peel which stung quite a bit. “Breathe… be strong.” She ordered. I took a deep breath and tried to recall Metta’s buttery soft skin. She finally relieved the stinging with a neutralizer, continued with extractions and completed the process by lightly scraping over my face with what felt like a smooth blade. It felt strangely therapeutic. “This is one of my most popular resurfacing treatments, called epidermal leveling. Not a lot of spas offer this service because you have to be exceptionally skilled.” Epidermal leveling is a unique and ancient resurfacing method considered a great exfoliating option for sensitive skin as it does not break capillaries or compromise healthy skin tissue. It not only removes dead skin cells, minimizes fine lines, depth of scars and slowly sloughs off discoloration on the skin, but it also removes unwanted facial hair, which results in a much brighter, even complexion. When Julie was done, not only was my skin buttery soft, but my cheek and chin area looked a couple of shades brighter, since all that fine facial hair was gone. “Don’t worry, it’ll grow back soft, not stubbly,” she said, as if she read my mind.

Enjoy a Complimentary Lindh-Juara Mini-Lift Facial @ Yelo NYC (Sept 2009 ONLY.) Based on Julie Lindh’s Skin Fitness method, the anti-aging specialist incorporates JUARA with her secret techniques which deliver immediate results you can see and feel. This mini-lift facial will revive tired skin, detoxify pores and make you look years younger in one session. This special offer is only available for the first 50 people to redeem this offer in September 2009. Reservations required. Call Yelo Spa at 212-245-8235 to make a reservation. For questions about the facial, please visit or contact Julie Lindh at

Indonesian facial acupressure = let’s look younger! – Metta Murdaya

8 Sep

A friend of mine once told me she saw a woman in a mall in Indonesia who looked remarkably like a much younger version of another friend of hers, known to look the part of an overdone party-goer. You know that look; it’s the “too much sun, cigarettes, alcohol, (and you can imagine what else) – with probably way too little sleep and recovery maintenance” look. I believe the term was ‘she looked 25 going on 40.’ She didn’t think twice that it could have been the same person – until a common friend said she was. How did she turn back the clock from years of partying to look younger and healthy over only a few months? Egads. Cosmetic surgery? Apparently not. Her secret? She had been getting the Totok Aura Wajah treatment regularly, which is a form of a traditional Indonesian facial acupressure. Upon hearing that, I of course, thought “I have to try me some of that!” In Jakarta, I found a place that was owned by a family who’s father is a master at this craft, Totok Aura – which is a combination of traditional acupuncture + Javanese massage that works to optimize your body’s energetic pathways, stimulating your body’s organs and nerves so they can work at its optimal levels, leaving your body at its healthiest. (No needles are used, just fingers of the therapist.) This treatment can be for your face, body, and other specialized areas to bring out inner beauty through bringing out your healthy energy in a natural way. In a small, clean building in the Bekasi area of Jakarta, this no-frills, professional, local establishment had several trained therapists to perform this treatment – which is nothing like I’d ever felt before. My therapist, Anita, started with systematically working on key pressure points on my face, starting with my chin, going around the outside of my face, then towards the forehead and around – I wasn’t familiar with the pattern her fingers were moving in around my face, but it was indeed relaxing and energizing at the same time. I felt my skin and the muscles below stimulated. Her fingers were amazingly strong; she was about half my size but boy, the power emanating from her fingers was deep, calming, and intense. The facial treatment was 45 minutes long, and it included (at the end,) a homeade fresh strawberry mask that was applied to the face to ‘infuse the skin with vitamins,’ she said. It was delightfully refreshing. After the treatment – how did I feel? Imagine how you feel after a good workout, but without the out-of-breathness or sweat. That’s how I felt. Pretty awesome. My skin felt tighter because I felt the muscles below were more awake, and I couldn’t help smiling about it. I could see how regular sessions could make a difference, as with many other Eastern medicine inspired treatments. The holistic benefits of the Totok Aura Wajah are as follows, according to traditional claims:
– Increases circulation, (increased fresh oxygen brought to the area makes skin radiant and glowing.)
– Helps maintain a youthful appearance and helps prevent wrinkles.
– Increases/restores skin’s elasticity and suppleness (no skin sagging!)
– Decreases insomnia, strengthens muscles in the face.
– Helps treat headakes, migranes, and vertigo from sinusitis.
– Naturally increases/brings out natural beauty.
(By the way, there are other Totok Aura treatments focusing on the body, breast area, vaginal area (fer real!) and for men, well you can guess where. No dirty thoughts please, it’s all for inner health benefits.) This treatment doesn’t replace regular facials, but definitely complements them.
I spoke to Dita (daughter of owner) and Ririe (cousin of Dita) about how one trains to be a therapist. She said the first part is to learn how to meditate and control your breathing, as it is in the power of breath that the steady strength and effectiveness of the accupressure (done by the fingers) is controlled. She said one of the requirements is with strength of breath alone, these therapists have to be able to dent a green (not red!) apple with their fingers without nails, and without bending fingers for levarage. (Reminds me of the wax-on, wax-off Karate Kid exercises that train for real battle, ha.) But it’s true. Different fingers are used to press on the client depending on the size of the nerve or area targeted. The complexity of the treatment was clearly way deeper than what I could feel on the table, but the effects felt pretty extraordinary. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s available in the US, so I resort to a healthy diet, yoga, and taking care of my skin with the JUARA Back to Basics set. But if anyone is in Jakarta and wants to give it a go, I recommend where I went:

Name: Grya Aura (pronounced: gree-ah ah-oo-rah)
Address: Jalan Jatiwaringin, Komp. AURI Waringing Permai, Blok A No. 11, Jakarta Timur.
Tel: +62.21.8616184 (I suggest you call for reservations and directions.)
Email: (And they have a facebook page)
(There are other places that are fancier and costlier, but I thought this place was pretty much the real deal. Good stuff.)

The Most Natural Exfoliators, not for the squeamish. – Metta Murdaya

2 Sep

So much of the time we talk about how to best exfoliate skin, how get rid of the dead skin and impurities without drying out or scratching and irritating the skin, etc. Technology and natural botanicals can play together in the form of peels, scrubs, washes, etc. But if you’re an adventurous soul, come to Asia and try something different – experience the Garra Fish. Little fish that nibble on you and remove your dead skin cells. Your trash is someone else’s treasure, and not to mention, food. This, I thought, was the ultimate in sustainability and symbiosis. When I first put my feet in the pool swarming with these fish, I admit I was a bit skeeved. (That’s my leg in the picture!) Seeing fish swarm around, gravitating to an incoming leg the way goldfish swim to the surface when they see food was a bit disarming. I had an Empire Strikes Back flashback to the trash compactor scene where Luke and Lea have to contend with creepy crawlies swimming in the dark water they were wading in – except the walls weren’t closing in on me (oh yay.) I went with my cousin, and after taking a deep breath, we plunged our feet into the pool of these mini-piranha looking creatures. Yes, I cringed. Yes, I burst out in uncontrolled operatic yelps. Yes, I had to remind my cousin, “keep your hysteria down and for the love of not embarrassing ourselves, scream on the inside!” But after 5 minutes of thinking of pretty clouds and cute puppies, counting to 10 forwards and backwards to stop hyperventilating, I actually got used to the fish and quickly became fond of them. I was cheering them on, “More more! Eat more dead skin! Clean me up!” My cousin was looking fresh skin on her legs, dipping them deeper to attract more fish. After a while, it was really fun. We could see the fish nibbling on our legs, gobbling away, and they did look like they were kissing us rapidly. Admittedly, they were kind of cute. We were laughing and mesmerized. And after we left, our skin was not only incredibly wonderfully smooth, more so than if we used a body scrub – but was is not dry at all! That’s the best part. Body scrubs can either be drying or oily, but this gentle and FUN experience left our legs comfortably smooth. All we did was rinse our legs, put on our sandals, and be on our merry way.
Garra Fish / Fish Spa quick facts:
Origin: Hot springs near Kongal, Turkey
Good for: People who want to exfoliate skin, especially people with eczema, psoriasis. People who want a different experience. (Not good for the squeamish, but I still say worth a shot!)
How it got popular: Japanese and Koreans popularized the fish in the form of fish spas. Fish spas can be found also in Singapore, (where I was,) Malaysia, and China.
Where I went: Singapore: Kenko Fish Spa.
You can find these spas in other parts of Asia. If you have gone to one, tell us of your experience and where you went!