Three months ago, Cabrine Solibun Art (Instagram: @misscabrine) celebrated their 1st year anniversary and as a treat to their legion of fans (over 5k of them to be exact!), they organized an Instagram-wide competition.
I’ve been a great fan of theirs ever since they started and have been following closely (though quietly) at their progress as one of Kota Kinabalu’s up and coming make-up artist to watch out for. What started with just Cabrine alone, slowly expanded to a team of three with Claire and Jacinta coming on board.
Not wanting to miss this wonderful opportunity to score some free and exclusive ‘me time’, I decided to give the competition a try.
Caption, wishes and slogan-type competitions are a bit tricky as you never knew what the organizers are looking for, so you got to think outside of the box. I figured, I should take a different spin to my ‘wish’. Perhaps, I should write a poem! Rhyming is fun and I’m good at that, I thought. Also, instead of only praising the team and giving them well wishes, why not I talk about their services and what they have achieved in the past year, it is after all, their one year anniversary and their achievements should definitely be highlighted and celebrated!
So, of I go. I sat in the dining table with my trusty pen and paper and rhymed. Finally, I got it.
The content of the poem was not hard to cough out because as an avid fan, I naturally know what their services are. What was hard was rhyming it and of course, the dreaded wait for the reveal of the winner.
A month later, it was time for the big reveal and to be honest, I was excited! I knew I had it in the bag. It’s a poem! It’s something different, even if I didn’t win, I should at least get a mention! Funny thing was that when the day finally came, I completely forgot about it! It wasn’t until a friend tagged me and wrote, “Congratulations Jasmine!” that I knew what she meant! I was in the car when I saw that comment and quickly checked Instagram and there it was, a video by them revealing the winner and my face was plastered all over it! I squealed in excitement and proceeded to replay the 15-second video over and over again. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
I texted Cabrine Solibun Art and informed them of my existence (and excitement). A date was set.
30th September 2014, 11am.
And so I waited. Patiently.
The excitement built up tremendously, especially on the night before the appointment. I couldn’t contain myself and told my mom about it. To my dismay, 30th September was not a Monday (as I thought my appointment was on a Monday), it’s actually a Tuesday. I got so excited that I got my dates mixed up! Annoyed, I had to contain my excitement for yet another day.
FINALLY, TUESDAY! The real appointment date.
I reached the studio (it was a home-based studio which was a blessing as parking was a breeze!) 10 minutes earlier. I texted them to say I just reached and they replied back inviting me in. The moment I reached the door, it opened up and there was Claire. She invited me in and I saw Cabrine and Jacinta behind the counter. “Ahh these faces! I see them all the time on Instagram! They are Instagram celebrities!” I thought to myself.
They had me settled in and offered me tea as I sit on a plush red cushioned sofa decorated with various patterned cushions. They introduced themselves and congratulated me on winning. I felt awkward at first, being surrounded by strangers whom I had stalked on Instagram and here they are in person, and here I am, in their much raved-about studio! It was weird but very exciting! But as the tea sinked in, I finally got to relax a bit. I think that’s why spas and massage parlours offer you tea – to relax you. Well, that helped heaps!
Claire walked me through what we are going to do that afternoon. 5-hours of pampering was no joke, it’s tough work! The pampering session included spa, massage, facial and kudou (‘eyebrow’ in Kadazan) makeover; I can never get tired of these! I was told to take off all my accessories; my gold earrings, watch, jade bracelet and nose stud. The nose stud was the hardest to take out as it was a screwed-in type of stud and it has been there since the day I put it in – about 3 years ago! Cabrine explained to me that they will be using a high frequency machine during facial later on which negatively reacts to metal.
I shall give you a minute to soak in this picture and the fact that I had this all to myself for a good 20 minutes AFTER a great body scrub to exfoliate the dead skin cells on my body.
The body whole body exfoliate was done by my junior from primary school (PRIMARY SCHOOL, can you imagine!), Jacinta, who shared the same namesake as my sister. She has grown up to be such a lovely and beautiful young lady and I’m glad to meet her again after all these years. We never really talked when we were in school (I don’t think any of us were capable to have a decent conversation on life at just 12) but knew of each other’s existence, so it was so weird to have met again and now she’s touching my body. It’s like, “Hi, how are you! Oh okay, you will see me half naked, cool.“ Haha!
The body scrub was lovely! I enjoyed it and she did such a good job making my skin baby smooth again!
The dimly-lit spa room is filled with soft relaxing music and decorated with huge mirrors and flickering candles to provide its clients with a sense of luxury and relaxation. The beauty consultants make it a point to be silent as they massage their clients so that they can relax, but would not hesitate to talk to them if clients were to engage in a conversation, which was what I did.
I decided to break the silence by chatting with Cinta. She was extremely friendly and fun to talk to, which relaxed me a whole lot (as I am not really used to massages and spas and would naturally get awkward with people touching me).
After the whole body exfoliate, the massage bed was lifted up, exposing a bathtub right underneath it! I got excited when I saw rose petals in the water and they were beautiful! I carefully went into the bathtub and was pleased that the water temperature was perfect; not too cold or warm. They then left me alone for a good 20-minutes so that I could relax.
Note to curvy girls: Be prepared to have a back up plan the moment you get in to the bathtub as ‘islands’ start to form; a.k.a. boobs and belly (neither of which will be covered). So what do you do to cover them? In my case, I got creative with the flower petals and concealed some parts of my body just in case they would come in and check on me. Hehehehe.
Sure enough, Claire went in a few minutes later. Instead of coming in to check on me, she poured milk on me! Claire! What, why?!
However, don’t let her milk pouring moment confuse you, this is purely for beauty purposes and so in the name of beauty, I shall willingly sacrifice. Hehehehe. Milk spa, I was told, nourishes the skin making it smooth and glowy. I ain’t complaining!
After being left for a few minutes again (20 minutes in total in the bathtub), Claire and Cabrine came into the room and adviced me to take a shower. I excitedly told them that I got creative with my petals and put it to full use. Giggles ensued.
After a quick shower, I was presented with warm water. Paranoid of them waiting for me, I quickly gulped the water. “Palan-palan bah. No rush.” One of them said and I did. Noob mistake, I thought on my end. Pfft.
Cabrine brought me to the massage space just outside the spa. I was told to lie on my chest whilest putting my head in the hole on the bed. “Ahhh… This looks familiar,” I told myself; an avid massage goer. They covered me with comfy thick blankets which made me feel right at home. After some boob positioning and readjustments, a must so that I don’t squash myself to death, the massage began.
The massage was foreign to me. After being so used to oil-based massages, this dry and pressing-type massage was completely new! I learned later that the massage was a combination of Swedish massage (head to toe, full body relaxing massage) and pressure point massage where different pressure points on the body are pressed. The whole idea behind the massage is to basically to release stress and relax the body.
The massage was my favourite one of all because I was feeling really relaxed and rejuvenated, I loved it! During the massaging session, I got to know that it was Cabrine who massaged me; the lady who started it all!
Being a huge fan of Cabrine Solibun Art and someone who is often inspired by young female entrepreneurs, I thought that it was be wonderful to have a chat with her; asking her about how it all started as she massages me. Haha!
It was during secondary school that Cabrine’s talent for make-up was noticed as she was constantly called to put make-up for the choir and drama team of her school. It wasn’t until finishing school that she decided to take up Beauty Therapy in the prestigious Australian College of Beauty Therapy.
She said that although many would associate her as a make-up artist, make-up was only a unit she studied in college and that it is beauty therapy that became her main course. However, one cannot deny however that her talents in make-up is just as amazing!
After graduating from college, she came back to Sabah to set up her own make-up artist business where she goes house to house, or events to events or have her customers come to her own house. Her mom then suggested to convert the lower part of their house as Cabrine’s very own home studio. After practically building and renovating her studio by herself with the help of her supportive friends, Cabrine Solibun Art was finally born as of July 2013!
“You should have seen this place in the beginning, it was empty! I bought everything one by one,” She says proudly.
After a fun chat with her, it was on to the next session, FACIAL.
The facial was also definitely one of my favourite too and it is part of the Pamper Me Facial package. It was Claire who did my facial and I have to be honest, I tend to get all panicked whenever people get so close to my face. However, I was a little bit more calm and relaxed in Claire’s hands – Claire, I was told, had more than 10 years of experience in the industry! I like that their facial was not just about putting different types of products on your face – good products too, mind you! – but they also massage your face. Just like my body, the face massage was also an ode to pressure points and relaxation and boy, was that squeeze and tap good!
At one point of the massage, my throat started acting out and I had to cough. I told Claire that and she quickly rubbed the gel off my face and offered me a cup of warm water which helped a lot! I was pleased and touched that she was concerned with my discomfort and was willing to stop half way to accommodate to me. That’s a 5 star service right there!
The facial was followed by extraction of white heads, black heads and oil seeds before heading for the high frequency service which basically uses a machine to sooth skin after the extraction and helps to heal pimples faster. After a quick but lovely neck massage, I was given the eye paraffin wax treatment which helps to increase blood circulation around the eyes and reduce eye puffiness. As they left me alone for a good few minutes to let the wax to sink in, I dozed off.
I was gently awaken by Claire as she wipes off the wax and mask off my skin and Cabrine as she massages the body butter onto my body as a finishing touch to the massage. The body butter is used to hydrate and nourish the skin.
Next, Kudou makeover!
‘Kudou’ means brows in Kadazan language and Cabrine Solibun Art’s Kudou makeover is definitely a much raved-about service!
Cabrine personally believe that thick brows are the way to go nowadays. “It (thick eyebrows) makes you look and feel younger than the thin ones. Over plucking of brows is a major no-no,” Cabrine adviced.
I had the brow wax service. It was my first time to have a wax (of any kind) before and I didn’t know what to expect. Cabrine told me it feels like a cellophane tape being ripped off of your skin and it did feel like that, to be honest! The pain is extremely bearable, though you could potentially be shocked for the first few times. If you have experienced tweezing or better yet, threading, then waxing would be nothing in comparison.
She then taught me how to fill in my brows which I thought was extremely helpful as I suck at drawing my brows. And then, it was done!!
Kudou makeover pain scale: 0.5 over 5! (the pain was barely there!)
The ending of my Kudou makeover marks the end of my 5-hour spa, massage, facial and brow treatment. And just when I thought I was told to go about my merry way, I was presented with a big red bag of goodies!
In it were some of the most raved about products on their site; the Kudou potion and Cabrine’s new business venture, I Heart Makeup’s famous Red Cherry fake lashes. I was overjoyed! I have always seen these being promoted on their Instagram and Facebook pages, but I didn’t know they would actually give me one!
Needless to say, I was a very VERY happy girl.
Home-based services whether spas, massages, wedding houses etc have a bad reputation of being unprofessional and ‘normal’ – that there is nothing special about it. Unfortunately in Sabah, this form of service are very new and thus, are often questioned by many clients of their level of quality and professionalism.
I was however, beyond pleased with the services, quality, level of professionalism and attention that the ladies of Cabrine Solibun Art have given to me during my session with them. They were very quick to reply to all of my Whatsapp messages (seeing that they have over 5k likes on Instagram, I’d imagine that they’d be busy!) and was always available to answer all of my questions that I throw at them, even the silly ones. (Sorry, ladies!)
They go all out to ensure that I have the best experience with them, in terms of comfort and quality. The one thing that I noticed and appreciate very much was the level of noise in the studio to which they keep at the most minimal as possible by talking softly to each other as to not disrupt my relaxing session. Mind you, I was not a paying customer and that my session was a gift, but still, my every comfort and well-being was well taken cared off by these wonderful ladies. In fact, they even SHUT DOWN their whole studio for the entire time I was there so that I would not get interrupted during my session! If that’s not flattering, I don’t know what is!
Cabrine Solibun Art definitely exceeded my expectation. It is one thing to create an image for yourself online (on Facebook and Instagram for example) as a young, fresh and fun team that provides amazing services to your customers but it’s another to really upheld and practice what you preach!
Overall, YES, I really enjoyed my session with them. YES, I would come back again especially for the Kudou makeover, I love that one! And a big fat YES, YOU SHOULD COME AND VISIT THEM TOO!
Location: Easy to find with map provided (though being familiar with the area helps a lot too) /ample parking spaces / a distance away from KK but very near to Donggongon.
Studio: Small yet homey / not as intimidating as many other professional spas or studios out there.
Beauty consultants: Friendly, kind, patient, mindful and sincere / ensure clients are comfortable and relaxed at all times / always willing to answer and inquiries that clients have/ not intimidating
Suggested services to try out: Kudou makeover and Pamper Me Facial (unfortunately, the Swedish massage is only available for their bridal spa package and not for individuals). Also, try out their make-up services for your events!
Overall rating: 10/10 (This rating is only for spa, massage, facial and kudou makeover)
THANK YOU LADIES FOR THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 1ST ANNIVERSARY AND MANY MORE TO COME!!