4 Dec 2014

Review: Glampalm Standard Magic Series Hair Styling Iron

I recently went blonde for the first time in 14 years and after all that bleaching and toning my hair has been feeling super fragile, dry and frizzy. My one-year-old hair iron (a Korean ghd called B2Y) which has been working pretty decently was leaving my hair feeling even worse and a burning smell was emitting from it while doing my hair, which immediately set of warning bells for me. So I went on the search for a new hair straightener- which anyone doing the same can tell you is no simple task as there are so many to choose from! There are pretty much three main competitors out there: ghd, Cloud Nine and a new player called Glampalm.

I knew off the bat that I wouldn't be repurchasing a ghd as their reputation simply isn't what it once was. Online reviews have been consistently negative and after testing my mom's ghd V Gold Series edition, I was left awfully underwhelmed as even my Korean version was doing a better job. I also had the misfortune of witnessing my hair stylist's Eclipse die, right as he was about to do my hair and he informed me he'd been having issues with it since Day 1. I also didn't want to take the risk with a Cloud Nine, because despite their great reputation for quality plates on their irons, they were failing in terms of their mechanical construction and as such many people have to send them in for repairs on a regular basis. My other option was a Glampalm and to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect of this brand as I had never even heard of them before. Almost every review I read online was good- which made me question their authenticity, but after doing a bunch of research and confirming that they are a legit company, I decided to take the chance and so I ordered the Standard Magic Series iron online at their website for R2300 (which is a few hundred bucks cheaper than buying from a reselling agent).

My Glampalm arrived by courier a few days after I ordered and comes with  two hair clips and a cute, black clutch bag that's perfect for when you're travelling. These all come in a lovely box that's lined with a silky fabric. I really appreciate nice packaging, so this was a delight!

What it Promises:

Right off the bat Glampalm creates massive expectations from me as they promise:
  •  "virtually NO DAMAGE"
  • "longer lasting results than competitor brands"
  • "hair is left in almost identical condition to the pre styling state while adding supreme smoothness and shine"
  • "enhances hair color, whether it may be natural or colour treated"
  • "a specialised vibrate mode on the standard stylers that keep hair frizz free for longer and also enhances product penetration so that you get the full benefit of serum’s and leave in treatments"
  • " hair is straight in just one slide with no need to go over the hair many times"
  • "there is absolutely no need to use a heat protector with a Glampalm"
According to Glampalm many of these qualities are attributed to the magical ingredient called Healing Stone, which is apparently found in the mountains of South Korea. I find this very amusing since I lived there up 'till just a few months ago. I never saw a Glampalm in Korea, so I wonder if the company is Korean owned, but only exports to other parts of the world or if (like my B2Y) Korea simply sells the same product under a different name, but I digress..

Features of the Standard Series Iron:
  • Ideal to Straighten & Curl Short to Medium length hair
  • Smooth styling for hair that is very curly at the root or very fine in texture
  • Hair stays straight and retains its style for much longer than any other hair iron on the market. Features unique Vibrate Mode that allows better product penetration (For Home Treatments)
  • 3 Meter Swivel & Pivot Cord for effortless styling and convenience
  • Safety Feature – Hibernation mode: Shuts off the iron automatically after 30 minutes if not in use
  • Emits Far infrared Rays & Anion Technology. Specialised Alumina Powder to enhance your hair color
  • Full two year guarantee and manufactured in South Korea

My Thoughts:

I've used the Glampalm a couple of times now and I must say, I am in love! It takes much less time straightening my hair and (dare I say) my hair is left feeling in better condition than before getting this little powerhouse styling tool! The vibrate mode was quite the strange experience the first time around as I felt like a complete newbie using my iron. I can't really see a difference with and without using the vibrate mode, but I can say that if you tend to press down too hard whilst straightening, you'd definitely want to use the vibrate mode as it prevents you from doing that- or at least that's what I experienced!

I can't really see any colour enhancement and on those humid and rainy days, the frizz still creeps up a bit, but the results of this iron last noticeably longer as I wake up with my hair still looking fairly good. I also like the fact that this is a no-frills-and-bows kind of product- it only comes out in the standard black colour, unlike so many companies that hide bad mechanics behind a pretty casing design. The price is still  a bit steep for my liking and I hope in the future we will see quality products at lower costs, because paying this kind of money still seems a tad excessive, but if this styler ends up lasting many years without faults I might retract that statement altogether ;)

All things considered though, I would recommend this hair iron to anyone who, like me, doesn't mind investing in their hair and appearance and who straightens on a daily basis.


2 Nov 2014

Review: Clicks Aloe Vera & Omegas 3+6 Skin Care Range

Hello pretties! After a lengthy two months of being MIA, I'm finally back with another review- this time from my country of birth: gorgeous, sunny South Africa. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I'd been living and working in Korea since 2011 and recently it was time for me and my little family (my husband and 3 kitties) to move back home. It's taken forever to get our house sorted out and finally last week our internet connection was installed and I can start reviewing again- and my goodness do I have a bunch of things in line for you! In true katelovespretty fashion, I've gone and bought every product that even mildly tickled my fancy, so I'll be working through them in due course.

Since moving back to South Africa, my skin has been in great condition which is partly attributed to the better water quality, dramatic reduction in polluted air and the fact that I was on anti-malaria tablets when I went on holiday to the the Kruger National Park in October. I started noticing how my skin was becoming blemish free around one week into taking Doxitab and after doing some research, I learnt that it is also prescribed for acne. Now, my skin is perfectly clear, with only a blemish or two popping up around that time of the month- not a bad deal!

Today, however, the focus is on Clicks' in-house skin care range. While I still love my Etude House Moistfull skin care products, I've had to start looking for replacement products now that I can't just get my hands on Korean cosmetics that easily. So, when I saw the Aloe Vera & Omegas 3+6 range I thought I might as well try it since it's so affordable; but to be honest, that very same price tag resulted in a lot of scepticism on my part.

The Clicks skin care line consists of six ranges aimed at different skin types, the other five being: Rooibos & Anti-Oxidants, Tea Tree & Cucumber, White Tea & Q10, Jojoba & Shea Butter as well as Soy & Even Tone Actives. The products in each rage vary, but they all have the basic 3-step wash, toner and moisturiser. The Aloe Vera & Omegas 3+6 consists of a Gel Wash, Scrub, Toner, Day Cream and Night Cream of which I bought everything except for the night cream. It is aimed sensitive skins and claims to soothe and refresh dull-looking skin.

Facial Wash Gel
Price: R42.95 for 150ml

This gel face wash is really great. It has a light gel texture and washes off all my eye and face makeup without having to scrub too vigorously, but never leaves my skin feeling tight and dry afterwards. This is a big deal to me as I've found that most face washes out there are awfully drying and they are never supposed to make your skin feel tight- this means the ingredients are too harsh. I've also found that shaving with this stuff is quite nice too since the aloe has soothing properties.

Refreshing Toner
Price: R38.95 for 200ml

The first time I used the toner I wasn't too impressed. It leaves my skin feeling very sticky for a good while afterwards and this kind of grossed me out a little, but it does give my skin a nice glow; so I've made myself get used to the texture. I really like that it is alcohol free as it never dries my skin out.

Day Cream
Price: R54.95 for 50ml

I have a real love-hate relationship going with this cream. Like the toner, it leaves my skin feeling sticky for a while after application and the texture is just way too thick and creamy for my sensibilities... but it makes my skin look so fresh and lovely the next morning! Oh, and I should probably mention that I use this as a night cream even though it's a day cream- I just find it way too thick to wear under my makeup, so I'm still using my Aloe Moistfull cream until I can find a suitable replacement. I really wish this range had a gel type moisturiser as I feel that it's such an essential product for sensitive skins.

Facial Scrub
Price: R37.95 for 100ml

This little gem is actually the first product I bought in this range and it was the one that prompted me to get the others. It's a perfect example of how decent products don't always mean a ridiculous price tag. It is so gentle, yet very effective in removing dry, rough skin and actually makes my skin feel super moisturised afterwards. This scrub is perfect for anyone with sensitive or dry skin and I know it will be a real little life saver during the winter season.

All things considered, I'm really impressed with the Aloe Vera & Omegas 3+6 range. It's genuine value for money and makes my skin look great. Apart from the sticky feeling the toner and cream gives, I feel like I could stick with this routine for while.

6 Aug 2014

Review: Etude House Princess Happy Ending - 'Belle' Purple Rose Lips

So Etude House decided to expand their Disney collaboration (much to the elation of girly girls worldwide!) and a few days ago they launched the Princess Happy Ending collection which sees the addition of lipsticks, blushes, nail polishes, eye shadows, mascara and BB cream which fall under different princess ranges namely: Belle, Jasmine, Snow White and Cinderella. I promised myself that the last time I did cosmetics shopping would be the very last before we fly home in three weeks, but I simply couldn't resist the Belle Purple Rose lipstick, as I'd been looking for a nice berry shade for ages and here it was begging me to try it out! It also comes in a bright Apple Red shade which forms part of the Snow White range. I got it online for KRW9000 for 3.5g.

What it Promises:
"This is a moist lipstick that comes with a clear colour and rich moisture"
-High Glossy Effect
-New Soft Fitting Texture
-Moisture Rich

I like the design of the packaging, but not sure if the baby pink cap was the best choice for a berry purple lipstick? The two don't exactly complement each other and it actually ends up looking a little kitsch to me. I would've gone with a white cap to match the rest of it, but as far as functionality, I can't fault it.

Texture and Scent:
They weren't lying when they said this lipstick is glossy! It goes on lovely and is really moisturising, which is great since lipstick tends to be pretty drying on my lips and as such is a beauty product that I avoided until very recently. The colour is really vivid too, but without having that heavy feeling that many lipsticks tend to have. It has a spicy/floral scent, but it's so faint that I actually had to go double check just now because I didn't notice when I applied it this morning.

My Thoughts:
I love, love, love this lipstick! I've been looking for a berry purple shade for ages and finally found the perfect one! The colour looks pretty rich and dark (almost like a plum shade) when you just look at the product, but it's much lighter upon application and you can build up the colour to be as vivid as you like. Wear time is pretty average at around 3-4 hours if you don't eat something and it leaves a subtle tint as it fades. If you like a glossy lipstick that wears more like a tinted lip balm then you'll love this stuff. I highly recommend it and would definitely repurchase. My only gripe is the absence of an Ariel range- I would have loved to see some mermaid inspired colours for summer!


3 Aug 2014

Review: Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Pact

We're right in the middle of another very humid summer here in Korea (which is also our last, as my husband and I are making the big move back home to South Africa at the end of August!) and things have gotten super oily in the t-zone front. I've never been big on compact or loose powders as they leave my skin feeling smothered and my poor pores very much clogged up, which in turn sends out a grand invitation for little closed comedones (non-inflammatory acne) to pop up on my forehead. It then takes me weeks to get rid of them and -as you can imagine- this is a vicious cycle I really hate repeating every time. However, when I saw the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Pact on one of my all-time favourite lifestyle blogs CityGirl Searching I decided to try it out. I got it online at the Innisfree minishop on Gmarket for an affordable KRW10 000 for 8.5g.

What it Promises:
This sebum control powder pact is designed to portray a soft and powdery complexion.

A dual sebum control system: sebum absorption and sebum control.
It contains Jeju natural mineral and mint and is a 6-free product: paraben, talc, artificial colours, animal ingredients, mineral oil and artificial fragrance free.

The packaging is really pretty and admittedly a big (and somewhat ridiculous) reason I decided to get this. I love the mint colour and the fact that this compact resembles a cute little macaron! It comes with a mirror and low-quality sponge, but I actually prefer applying this with a powder brush as it blends better.

Texture and Scent:
The first time I tried this I noticed a marked difference in texture to the other compact powders I've tried in the past. It's very lightweight and the white powder becomes translucent upon application, so no need to worry about a that dreaded white cast. Those of you who are sensitive to fragrance will be elated to know that this stuff has no scent whatsoever.

My Thoughts:
This compact is by far the best one I've tried to date. It has a silky soft finish and absorbs oil in an instant. I like that it's small enough to keep in my handbag and the powder also lasts a long time. It is a little clogging on my pores, but hasn't caused nearly as many bumps as other powders.

While I agree with claims that it absorbs oil, I must contest their sebum control claims- which brings me to my major gripe with this product. It simply doesn't hold up in very humid weather. I can retouch now, but within 30minutes my t-zone is shiny again. I don't like retouching constantly as it suffocates my pores, so I've opted for blotting papers instead. As for the rest of the year, this compact powder is more than sufficient, so I'd still recommend it and will more than likely be repurchasing as soon as I hit the pan.

{A little side note since I'm talking about oil control: I recently realised that I never repurchased my beloved Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream, so I ordered some again and rediscovered just how amazing it is for oil control and all kinds of skin troubles!}


8 Jul 2014

Review: The Body Shop- Moringa Body Sorbet

I just love me some goodies from The Body Shop! The Moringa range has been my favourite since forever, so when I read about the new Body Sorbet that launched this year, I just had to try it out! I've never used (and to be perfectly honest, even heard of ) body sorbet, so you can imagine my curiosity. There are currently five varieties: Moringa, Strawberry, Mango, Pink Grapefruit and Satsuma. It retails for KRW19 000 for 200ml.

What it promises:
Scoop an industry first with this cool body moisturiser, infused with delicate floral moringa scent! Our breakthrough sorbet texture instantly melts into skin for a frosty burst of fresh moisture.
  • Light and fast-absorbing
  • Leaves body instantly moisturised
  • Up to 24 hours of hydration
Glide onto skin and enjoy the frosted moisture sensation all over your body. Insider’s tip: Put your Body Sorbet in the fridge for an even more refreshing moisture sensation

Comes in a frosted squeeze tube for hygienic dispensing.

Texture and Scent:
Okay, so this is where things get heavenly! The scent is pretty much exactly the same, gorgeous white flower scent as the moringa soap and body butter, which I just love. It can be used instead of perfume as the scent is pretty strong, but will need to be re-applied as it only lasts about 2 hours. But, my goodness, it's the texture of this stuff that was so awesomely foreign to me that it felt like I had been transported into the future or some distant, alien world. How do I even begin to describe it? It's something between the feeling of lathering my skin with an abundance of delicate bubbles mixed with luxurious velvet and finished off with soft powder that absorbs first to a smooth, gel-like, non-greasy finish and then absorbs completely, leaving my skin feeling dry to the touch, yet gently hydrated.

 My Thoughts:
This is the perfect moisturiser for hotter climates and beats any other 'light' lotion I've tried in the past. Hands down. I'm not sure what The Body Shop means by "frosty and frosted moisture" though, because I don't feel any sort of coolness after applying the sorbet. Perhaps they refer to the coolness when you keep it in the fridge as per their Insiders tip- but whatever- I'm definitely not going to be nit-picky with a product that works so well in every other aspect.
If you have some extra cash to indulge in some nice body products, I highly recommend this new sorbet for summer months. I also think this would make a lovely gift for someone special.

20 Jun 2014

Review: Skin79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm- Purple


I'm back with another review of the Skin79 BB cream. If you read my first review of the Hot Pink version, you'll remember I mentioned that I had found a better version for humid summer months. Well, this is it. I have genuinely fallen in love with the Skin79 BB creams and doubt that I'll use another brand again, as these have been so good for my skin. It's not everyday that your makeup leaves your skin in a better condition, but I have found that these BB creams do just that. On my makeup-free days I can feel a noticeable difference in my skin's texture. The irony of the Purple version is that it's aimed at dry skin types, but I've found that it works much better in summer  because it helps with oil control and is much less dewy and moisturising than the hot pink version. It also boasts a much higher SPF40 and is slightly pricier too. The regular price is W35 000 for 40g, but I got mine on sale for W29 750 at the Skin79 mini shop on Gmarket.

What it Promises:
"Multi-functional beblesh balm that protects the skin from the harmful UV rays, prevents melanin production by whitening and wrinkle improvement effect, plus keeps your skin elastic. Abundant moist texture like moisturising essence enables to absorb lightly into the skin.

Moisture Capturing System that promotes cell health, strengthens skin's elasticity, and enhances luminosity. And an Alumina which is main component of the White Sapphire gives light-scattering effect and covers the imperfections at the same time." (sic)

Umm, yeah... Konglish in all its glory.

I had the same gripes with the purple version's pump dispenser as I did with the hot pink. I've found that the pump can be somewhat temperamental at times, not dispensing the same amount of product with each pump and sometimes dispensing no product at all, due to air bubbles that get trapped inside. I should also note that the product tends to dry in the nozzle if you don;t use it for a few days and as such you have a more solid "plug" that comes out with the first pump. For some, this wouldn't be a problem, but I don't like it much, so I always make sure to get that plug thingy out before applying my BB cream.

Texture and Scent:
I immediately noticed a difference in texture with the purple version. It's much thicker and provides more coverage than the hot pink. Its finish is also significantly less dewy and ever so slightly powdery, but not enough to call it a matte finish. It also feels a lot heavier on my skin than the pink version. The shade of this BB cream is similar to the hot pink, but with warmer undertones. It should be just fine for those who have NC/NW20-25 skin tones. As for the scent, it smells a bit like liquorice, actually! That sunscreen scent I'm obsessed with is noticeably absent from this version, but even so, the scent only lingers for a few seconds before disappearing anyway.

My thoughts:
I really like this BB cream, but not for the reasons it is marketed. This version is not the best for moisturising- not by a looooong shot. If you have dry, flaky skin skip this one altogether and go get the hot pink version. Because of the fact that this has a semi-matte finish, it will exacerbate dryness and cause that dreaded flaky appearance. What it is good for though, is controlling oiliness, but not as good as a matte foundation. BB creams will always run the risk of shine due to the SPF and the fact that they are considered more of a skincare product than foundation, if you know what I mean.

As for coverage, this baby will hide many, many flaws and then some! When I'm having a dull-skin day, this really evens out and brightens up my skin beautifully. I does become shiny rather quickly (but not nearly as quickly as the hot pink) in very humid weather, so you'll definitely need to get out those oil-absorbing, blotting sheets or a decent setting powder. For summer days where the air is dry, this will more than suffice. Again, I didn't notice any wrinkle improvement (but then again, when the air becomes humid, every little fine line under my eyes plumps out naturally- thank goodness!) or that whitening they keep plastering all over the packaging- don't even get me started on whitening claims...

But yeah, as I've said before, this stuff is really, really good for my skin and never makes me break out. It leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished and that right there, is what gives it HG status. I don't care how far away I live from Korea oneday or how much I'll end up paying for international shipping, until I am able to find a decent replacement I will continue using the Skin79 BB creams indefinitely.


1 Jun 2014

Review: Etude House Rosy Tint Lips #1 'Before Blossom'

I've been obsessed with lip tints lately and have bought a bunch that I'll be reviewing in due course. Today, however, the limelight falls on Etude House's Rosy Tint Lips. There are eight shades in this range consisting of reds, pinks, purples and one nude shade. Today I'll be reviewing shade #1 called 'Before Blossom'. I got the 7g tube in store for W8500, but they're also available at the Etude House mini shop on Gmarket.

What it promises:
"This velvet type Tint Lips comes with a soft delicate texture and rich colour to express lips of a rosy petal."

This lip tint comes in a hard plastic tube that needs to be squeezed (pretty damn hard!) to dispense the product and has a unique, albeit somewhat unhygienic, sponge applicator tip with a screw-off cap (Screw-off cap? Screw cap? Is that the right word here? lol...The summer heat is obviously messing with my brain today. But anyway...)

Texture and Scent:
When I first tried this stuff I was somewhat perplexed and surprised by the texture. I was expecting a liquid, gel-like formula, but instead was greeted by what can only be described as a partially melted chocolate texture. It goes on beautifully though, so no complaints there. As for the scent, it smells faintly of roses but nothing overpowering and not nearly as scented as the usual Etude fare.

My Thoughts: 
After seeing the texture, I must admit that my hopes for this lip tint dwindled faster than you could say 'I told you so'. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn how nicely this stuff applies. While the sponge tip isn't the most hygienic, I must give it credit that it creates better gradient lips than any other product I've used before. It's super easy to do full-coverage lips too and you don't even need lip liner to neaten up the edges- the application really is flawless. Oh, and don't even get me started on just how gorgeously vivid the colour is! I'm really in love with this shade- it's exactly the femme fatale type red I was looking for. I'm also happy with the 3-5 hours of wear I get. Expect it to fade to a lighter version of itself when eating or drinking and be careful as it tends to transfer pretty easily.

As with most products, though,  this one isn't completely flawless either. Since it gives a matte finish it's a little drying and will crease and flake on lips that are even slightly dry. This tint is better suited for climates where skin and lips tend to be less dry or for those ladies with naturally soft lips. I do recommend using a clear lip balm before applying, to add some moisture and create a smooth canvas for application.

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