Which Nail System is best for you? Shellac vs. Gelish vs. Gelish dip vs. Vinylux

Thursday, 18 May 2017

There are loads of different options on the market when it comes to nail applications and it can all be quite overwhelming. I had a request to do this post comparing all the different applications and weighing up what I feel your best bet is, so I hope this answers some of your questions.

I have been getting my nails done every second week for years. It’s indulgent, sure, but it’s one of the few beauty treatments I opt to spend my money on. My hair requires close to zero maintenance and, even though I do go for facials, I tend to do most of these at home myself.

I am going to cover a short blurb on what the application is, how it’s applied and the pros and cons but shout if you have any questions. I must also just note that even though all of the products on the market claim to do no damage, they certainly aren’t particularly good for your nails. As I say, I have been doing this for YEARS and my nails are in pretty good nick strength wise. It is good, however, to take a break every now and again. There is no single product that is that much better for your nails than the next.

Lastly, there are LOADS of cheap salons that use knock off nail systems and call them ‘Gellish’ or ‘Shellac’. If your mani is ridiculously cheap it’s probably because they are using knock off products and these will lift and chip. Also, a lot of how good the product is is down to the application so you may have a poorly trained therapist (I have had one too many) who applies the product terrible and not in the correct way which will always cause chipping and lifting. You have to go to a salon with top quality therapists!

CND Shellac

Shellac is a 14 day wear polish that is very similar to Gelish in many ways. It is painted onto the nail from the bottle and is cured under UV lamps. This is my go-to after trying everything under-the-sun for all the reasons detailed below.

Pros:

  • Longevity – it lasts 14 days (as it promises). I get next to no chips with Shellac.
  • Shine – Shellac maintains its shine better than any other product I have tried and this is pretty important to me
  • Removal – I find Shellac less damaging on my nails. No buffing is required during the removal
  • The white and black – this sounds odd but, as mentioned, I am quite fanatical when it comes to my nails and have tried and tested them all. The White and Black shades from Shellac are the best. Their black is solid and so shiny and their white is also so crisp and the perfect shade of white.
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Colour selection – the colour selection is not as wide as Gelish – Gelish have way more ‘fun’ colours
  • Time – the ‘setting’ time from the UV lamps is around 90 seconds, where Gelish is only around 5/10
  • Salons – it’s pretty hard to find a salon that offers Shellac. Gelish is much more readily available




Gelish

Gelish is probably the most popular nail system on the market and the one that is most well know. Gelish is applied in the same way as Shellac with a much shorter ‘setting’ time under the UV lights. I have had Gelish many times and have often loved it and know it’s a brilliant product. The unfortunate thing is that many salons with poorly trained therapists have been the one’s applying this which has resulted in a super-thick application or a mani that chips on day 3 which has kind of steered me away from this.

Pros:

  • Colours – as mentioned above, the colour options with Gelish are fab. They are so on-trend and pretty much have every colour under the sun.
  • Application time – a Gelish mani is super quick
  • Longevity – when applied correctly, it lasts 14 days but I do seem to get lifting and chipping more with Gelish than with Shellac
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Shine – personally Gelish shine doesn’t last as long as Shellac
  • Removal - there is buffing on the nail to remove the product before the product is soaked off. This shouldn't damage the nail, but I have had poor therapists buff too aggressively causing nail plate damage.

Gelish Dip

Gelish dip is a new system on the market which I know lots of you saw me speaking about a while ago. This is for ladies who have used Acrylic as it is an acrylic based product so for those of you with paper-thin nails, this will be a life-saver! I guess it is best described as a hybrid of Gelish and Acrylic. It’s a much ‘harder’ and more sturdy product and will see you through the 14 days totally chip free – maybe even longer! You may experience some nail sensitivity when getting Acrylic dip, you will know what I’m talking about if you’ve had Acrylic before, but this wears off after a day or so.

Pros:

  • No lights – there are no lights used in this application, better for the hands as no exposure to UV rays which are harmful.
  • Time – it’s a quick treatment which is phenomenal for Acrylic as this is renowned for taking some time (with the old-school application)
  • The dip system – as the name suggests, you literally dip your nail in a pot (see below) so this means the product covers the entire nail plate perfectly
  • Colour selection – fab colours that mirror the Gelish offering
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Very few cons here as it’s a great system but is not meant for everyone. I would personally not do it as I don’t have thin nails but for those who do then this is for you! Also great for a holiday when you want your colour to stay put for an extended period of time, rest assured that there will be no chipping.

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Vinylux 

Vinylux is a normal nail polish with extra staying power. No lights are used here and this can be removed at home like you would remove normal nail polish.

Pros:

  • Time – this is quick to apply (like a normal polish)
  • Perfect for pedis – I love this for pedicures as it lasts so well! I used to get Shellac on my toes which caused damage. This is all you need and your pedi will last a good 5-6 weeks or longer!
  • Nail damage – because of the removal this is the least damaging of the products I’ve mentioned
  • Price – it’s cheaper than the above-mentioned systems (but also totally different)


Cons:

  • The finished look – it’s not as flawless looking as Shellac or Gelish simply because it is a polish and a thinner layer
  • Shine – it doesn’t maintain its shine like Gelish or Shellac would
  • It doesn't dry instantly
  • Longevity – it lasts about 10 days, but as I say, it’s a different product and more of a normal nail polish with a better lasting power
My nails with Vinylux on day 5


I hope this has helped you in some way - shout if there any questions!

If I could offer you only one tip for the future... Sunscreen would be it

Friday, 12 May 2017

I mean it - it is honestly my go-to tip for most skin concerns, wear suncream! It's so incredibly important to include a good suncream in your skincare routine, especially for us South Africans. To be honest, this was something that I used to neglect quite a bit, unless I was having an outdoorsy beach day, I would feel I could forego sunblock as I was going to be in the office and 'protected' - man, how wrong I was! I know I am writing about this when we are heading into winter, but that doesn't change the fact that we should be wearing sunblock daily. Yes, even in winter!

A good sunblock is honestly the single most important thing to include in your routine every.single.day - it's vital to protect the skin from the harsh rays and it's because this is ignored that skin cancer and pigmentation are such real issues for so many. I can't emphasise enough how, unless you are doing this religiously, you can forget about every super active anti-aging, pigmentation or high intensity laser treatment/peel you are spending your hard-earned cash on. Without suncream you will constantly be reversing any good you are doing to your skin.

The main reason I used to leave this step out of my routine was that I never found a sunblock that sat well with my make up; they all felt too greasy, left a white cast over my face and stung my eyes. I always felt like they were blocking my pores and giving me blackheads whilst making my make up slide off my face virtually straight after application.

So I am here to tell you about Heliocare sunblock, I discovered this range about 18 months ago. Guys, this is coming from someone who has honestly tried pretty much every suncream on the market. This product is going to be your life-saver and you won't look back afterwards. I am not being paid for this post and have no obligation to write solely about Heliocare - I just truly think that the product is that life-changing.

I personally use the 'Oil-Free Gel spf 50' on a daily basis, but their entire range is unbelievable. I have recommended this product to countless people of all ages and have only ever got feedback as positive as my own experience. Men and women alike.

What I love about Heliocare:

The texture: this sunblock is oil-free, as it states, so there is no slimy feeling here. It feels lovely to apply and feels like it sinks into the skin. The only way I can describe this is that it feels like normal skincare that glides on and sinks into the skin leaving a dewy glow that I feel makes my skin look amazing. I have a dry skin and oil-free works for me so don't be put off by this description.
The scent: it's got such a lovely scent which is pleasant to apply yet very unobtrusive
The price: it's not dirt cheap, sure, but for R340 it's totally affordable and once you've tried it you will agree how well priced it is for what you get. It also lasts for ages.
How it sits with make up: this doesn't disrupt my make up application in the slightest. I can't feel it on my skin once applying it and it disturbs nothing.

I somehow doubt you need more persuading here and my main point of this post isn't necessarily to persuade you to buy Heliocare products, but rather to emphasise how important it is to include sunblock in your routine. I wanted to tell you about Heliocare as not having a sunblock I truly loved was the reason I was so slack about application, so if you are in the same boat as me then, trust me, this will help you!

Side note: if you are really slack about sun block or perhaps you have kids who refuse to apply it then I see Heliocare also have internals. I haven't tried them myself, but I do trust this brand so it may be worth investigating.

You can buy Heliocare from most Dermatologists (they generally punt this range when it comes to suncare) or online at Dermastore - full range here.

Online Shopping with Pink Cosmetics (Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, Charlotte Tilbury and More}

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

You all know how much I love a good online store - this is the field I work in, and I shop online religiously! Also, half the time I feel like I am getting a complete surprise present when my delivery arrives. It's so exciting to see how fast the South African market is adapting to the growing appetite for online shopping here. Cue sites like Pink Cosmetics - an online beauty store with a wide array of international brands that you can't get in normal SA retailers, as well as their own branded product.
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I did an online haul where I picked up the below items: the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara plus a few of the Pink Cosmetics products - some of their newly launched bath bombs as well as their solid make up brush cleanser.

The site offers a wide array of brands (see some of the many below, just to wet your appetite) and my delivery arrived beautifully packaged and within 48 hrs (for CT orders)! I can also tell you that their branded products are 100% legit with no fakes here - Janet buys the products herself and puts a small mark up on them - much less than you would pay if you ordered internationally and paid customs! The service really was great and, even though the site only has a handful of products from each brand, Janet clearly knows her stuff and only sells the real cult favourites. I am sure if there are out of stocks that you could mail Pink Cosmetics to ask for a certain item - she has a list of products to get hold of and lets customers know when they are arriving.

Here's a mini review on each of the items I chose. My next order will definitely have some Zoeva as well as some Morphe products! So great how easily accessible these brands have become for us.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Can you believe that this is the first ever Too Faced product I have tried - shameful, I know! It is, however, the one product I have had my eye on for ages (this and the Hangover Primer). The palette is made up of 16 shades that are all honestly SO wearable - like I foresee myself using every single shade at some stage and that's quite something coming from such a 'play-it-safe' make up gal like me.
The actual shades are similar to Urban Decay with the incredible pigment, probably even more buttery and very blendable. I adore it and it's already snuck it's way into my top 3 fave palettes, ever. I am SO chuffed that it's now in my collection. Only issue is I want to get my hands on so many more Too faced products after trying this one. R1200 off Pink Cosmetics.

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara

I have been keen to try some of Charlotte's mascaras (I say that like she's my mate). This mascara is the first one I have tried in a while that truly does add notable volume - I do need to curl my lashes to get the full effects out of this (as with any mascara) but adore the results - no flakiness or smudging and jet-black full lashes. Adore it! It's great in the sense that it's very build-able, yet never gets clumpy. It's not particularly lengthening, but definitely adds enough oomph and really is one of the best I have tried. R550 off Pink Cosmetics.

Pink Cosmetics Bath Bombs

The bath bombs are a newer addition to the site and well-priced compared to what I usually pay for my bath bombs. These one's are slightly smaller than the Lush ballistics but are packed with fragrance. They also come with a variety of gift set-type offers and, again, come in a pretty package! The fragrance really was strong (in a good way) and all the bombs made for beautiful baths!

Pink Cosmetics Solid Brush Cleaner

Oh, you guys, I am so chuffed with this! I HATE cleaning my brushes, so avoid this by having a shed ton of brushes, that takes me a while to get through, but I do have my favourites and dread cleaning time! This solid brush cleaner is heaven sent - you wet the brush, swirl it in the pot a few times. Lather it up a bit in your hand and rinse! Voila. This cleaner has cleaned brushes better than I've ever been able to clean them before and in half the amount of time - ummm, what's not to love! R150 - online here.

Hope this post has inspired some purchases - happy shopping! Shipping locally in Cape Town is R50 and anywhere else in SA is between R85 and R100 depending.

Also, a note I wanted to add in re fake products in the SA market:
Fake products are 98% of the market at the moment, there are only about 6 to 10 of us that import originals. The price is normally the easiest way to tell as they are so cheap. And anything sold in bulk. Also good to check suppliers websites and you can see the products don't exist.  Naked 6 and naked 7 are all fakes. Huda and Kylie lipsticks sold at china town, all fakes too. They sell fake Kylie foundations which don't even exist . I do also go to the UK and USA to buy and see the latest trends

Getting #FreshPressed with Clinique

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Clinique’s latest launch is one that really appealed to me as I used to use (and love) the Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C powder in my routine when I lived overseas. This had to be culled from my routine when it got so inaccessible (and so pricey – R2100 from Metropolitan Cosmetics), but I absolutely loved the results I got from incorporating this ingredient, in such a pure form, into my routine. I have since used a number of products that have Vitamin C in them, however, have never got the results I used to get beforehand and actually love the ritual of knowing I am adding an ingredient in its purest form to my skin.

Anyway, that long winded background story explains my excitement when I saw the latest release from Clinique. You would have seen a few updates on my Instagram Stories about this but I know a few of you were confused as to 1) how to incorporate this into your routine (HOW CAN I POSSIBLY NEED YET ANOTHER PRODUCT!!!) and 2) confused about what the benefits of Vitamin C actually are. I’m going to break it down pretty simply for you and explain my experience thus far. The Fresh Pressed range from Clinique is comprised of two products; a Renewing Powder Cleanser and Pure Vitamin C Daily Booster. I will be reviewing the latter.

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%

In order for Vitamin C to remain stable it needs to be packaged in an air-tight vial and only activated when you are ready to use it. The Clinique Booster kit comes with 4 air-tight vials that are easily activated when ready for use. Each ampoule lasts about 7 days (sometimes longer), therefore the pack will last you a month. To activate the ampoule you leave the lid on and remove the foil film. You then firmly press the orange ‘button’ twice which will release the Vita C powder into the emulsion (so essentially mix the two). Shake the ampoule to ensure these mix properly and, voila, it’s ready for use. Clinique advise that you mix two drops into your usual moisturiser each AM and PM. This is the part I really like, as it doesn’t require you switching up any other products that are in your routine, but rather an additional ‘booster’ to your everyday products. I have often just applied the Vitamin C alone as a serum and followed with my usual moisturiser once it sinks in. 

You may now be wondering what benefits Vitamin C actually has and for me, the stand out benefit, is that it lightens and brightens. This stands out to me as so many ladies, especially us South Africans, suffer with pigmentation and this is your ingredient (in its purest form) that will assist you in tackling this issue. There are also other benefits such as helping with your skins texture and assisting with signs of ageing (so firmer, plumper and more radiant skin - yes please).

My thoughts:
Firstly, I am chuffed that there is a product on the market of this potency that is more affordable. I know it’s still pricey at R855, especially as this is a monthly purchase, but if you do have concerns that would benefit from this ingredient then I wouldn’t mess around with moisturisers that contain Vita C, but rather go for the purest form. I paused the skincare routine I was using (more on that later) to try this out as my skin has been freaking out of late, I honestly haven’t had dehydration and breakout like this since high school, and have seen noticeable differences through using this. I am only on week 3 but my skins texture is looking a lot smoother and I compared a photo I took of my skin a few weeks back to what it looks like now, and I’m really chuffed with the results.

I also love the little ritual of incorporating this in my routine. It’s quick and easy to use, but also quite therapeutic cracking open my new ampoule each week (I need to get out more). The only downfall here would be the price for some, but I feel it is money well spent and the results are worth it. I have also found the little ampoules super handy when it comes to travel, as they are so light and small, so you can just pop one or two (depending how long you are away for) into your toiletry bag, so easy!

You can buy these in Edgars stores or online with Clinique

The Fragrances that will be seeing me through winter

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

I always love this time of year for the fragrance launches as my taste in fragrances is way more the wintery/autmnal type scents rather than the light and sweet one's. I have so many new scents in my collection - some gifts to myself, some PR gifts and some old favourites which have resurfaced:

Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'eau

This is my new 'favourite child' of my scent collection. I got this off the online store, My Perfume Shop. I hadn't actually heard about them before, but they sell a wide array of amazing fragrance brands in the 'tester' format (which is totally legal. Don't worry, I did my research).

Buying a tester basically means you get the exact fragrance and bottle as you usually would, but just don't get the box (you get a plain white box) and this saves you up to 40% off the normal retail price. It's a no brainer! The box always ends up going in the bin anyway, and it saves you so much money. Plus the service is super-slick! I really encourage you to go and have a look at their offering.

Onto the scent - I'm not going to bore you with the obvious, which is what a die-hard Diptyque fan I am, but this is my 5th scent of theirs and probably my favourite of them all. It's sophisticated, quite androgynous and just exudes luxury. The actual juice also lasts really well and 2 sprays is all you need. I will continue to repurchase this when it runs out as it really is just my perfect scent! R1500 on My Perfume Shop.

Sisley Izia

This is a brand new scent from Sisley which you have seen me raving about on my Instagram Stories already. I hadn't actually tried a fragrance from Sisley before but, given how I feel about this one, I don't think I ever have to stray. Now this one is really hard for me to describe as it's sophisticated yet not overly mature (I hate old lady scents).It is essentially a rose based scent but this doesn't stand out to me as the combination of the musk, cedar and amber notes makes it beautifully feminine whilst never being too floral nor sweet. I cannot get enough of it and am so delighted to have discovered this gem. Do yourself a favour and go and spritz it on when you next in stores! You will also have seen I am planning a summer holiday for next month - this is going to be my scent of choice for the trip :) R1245 - R2710 available at Edgars.

Alaia Blanche

The original Alaia fragrance, and their first one at that, was launched in 2015 and I fell in love instantly. I have since recommended it to so many of you who have mailed or messaged for fragrance recommendations as you simply cannot go wrong with it. Blanche is their latest launch and the perfumer describes it (comparing it to the original), "In this new adventure… I aimed for a white, milky florality, a bit more solar, adding a powdery element, as well as the wealth of vanilla and a musky addition, in a timeless creation." I had high expectations and I really was not disappointed. The bottle is simply beautiful and the juice is different to the original; more musky, less heavy and I would call it a more 'day time scent' with the original being a sultry, sexy evening scent. It's light, fresh and floral without being sweet and is most definitely still unique, which is what I love so much about Alaia's scents. R845 - R1835 (link).

CHANEL Coco Mademoiselle

This is by no means a new scent but is new in my collection and I adore it. I feel so classically classy when I wear this one from CHANEL. Mademoiselle is their best seller and I can totally see why. I get so many compliments when I wear this! I know this scent has been around for a while but growing up I was more of a CHANEL Chance gal and, whilst I love those scents, I feel Mademoiselle is so much more 'me' now - guess that shows I'm growing up, right?! R1600 - R2270 (link)

Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc

This bottle caught my eye straight away. Fair enough, I always love Narciso scents (and their classic bottles) but I just adore this bold pink bottle, still in their classic, minimalist shape. I really fell for the NARCISO by Narciso Rodriguez that launched a year or so ago. This version is very different to that one, but still has the musk notes and I guess that's a pattern when it comes to scents I warm to. The notes you will find here are pink peppercorn, rose, peony, musk, patchouli and amber. R1400 - R1960 (link)

Elie Saab Nuit Noor

On my recent holiday I decided to take this scent with me as I thought it would be perfect for snowey, wintery conditions, and it definitely was! I got sent it in the travel size mini version (pictured below) so it was very handy! I hadn't really used the scent before the trip and, my word, this juice is something seriously special. There is nothing 'light' about this fragrance in the sense that it may not be for everyone, especially those who like a light, girly easy-to-wear scent. This one is intense, it's dark and it's seriously opulent. It's inspired by Beirut in the Middle East with notes of heady rose, dark accord of spicy woods, ylang-ylang from Madagascar, Indonesian Patchouli, Black Pepper and Incense which all add to the feminine yet spicy mysterious edge.
This is a definite evening scent - it's incredibly sexy and very concentrated so a little goes a long way. Please just do yourself a favour and give it a sniff. I now need the full size! R2880 for 90ml (link).


YSL Black Opium Floral Shock

This is the 4th addition to the Black Opium collection from YSL. This version was introduced as a fresher version with more floral and green aromas and the first one to possess the “iced coffee” accord (the original had black coffee accords). This juice opens with zesty lemon, hawhite floral character in the heart with gardenia and iced coffee and white musk at the base. It's quite a different scent for me but I really love it for daily wear and love it for winter as it still has the oriental appeal that the Black Opium scents originally won me over with. R1245 - R1630 (link).


Side note: My Perfume Shop have a competition running where you can win perfume for a whole year - see details here.

The Instagram-famous Cult Beauty Oil - Farsali Rose Gold Elixir Review

Friday, 28 April 2017

I got messages from readers that started over a year ago asking for my thoughts on this product and, at that stage, I had never even heard of it but it spiked my interest and I have since been lusting after it. It’s the Instagram-famous Farsali Rose Gold Elixir oil and you cannot believe the hype that surrounds this product! At that stage the oil seemed pretty impossible to track down, that was until Muse Beauty bought it into South Africa.

For those who don’t know, Muse Beauty are a local online store . These gals seriously know their stuff when it comes to beauty products and are always ahead of the trends getting their hands on the most desired beauty products on the market in good time for us usually-backward South Africans. I love following them on Instagram to see what their latest launches are. The array of products Muse Beauty stock is quite unreal and definitely the best offering in South Africa – they are basically our local Sephora. Think Huda Beauty, Anastasia Beverley Hills, Hourglass, Mabel & Meg, Milani, RCMA and Tony Moly (to name a few!). Not every single product is stocked from each brand, but rather a hand-picked selection of the best-sellers. You can also drop them a mail if there is a particular item you need, but you can trust these girls – they have tried and tested everything!

Onto the Farsali products, which I am so chuffed to finally be able to review for you! I got the famous Rose Gold Elixir (as mentioned) as well as the Farsali’s The One Cleanser which I hadn’t heard that much about so was keen to try too. Let’s get into this…

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir

This is a fast-absorbing dry oil that can be used as a daily moisturizer, or in conjunction with your makeup routine. It’s become insta-famous as this stuff makes you glow like no other – the whole ‘lit from within’ is pretty much what this oil is all about.

This oil has 24-karat gold infused into the oil which, to be honest, always sounds a tad gimmicky to me and is not what I feel makes this product as amazing as it is. The part that appeals to me is that it is packed with vitamins (linoleic and linolenic acids, vitamin C and vitamin A), anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids so the skin drinks it up on application, seriously! The Rosehip oil makes the skin plumper that any oil I have ever used – I generally don’t like the sound of dry oils because of my past experience but this one doesn’t sit on the skin at all. My skin felt supple and generally plumped up. It also smells insanely amazing – the cleanser does too, like you want to slather your whole body in this stuff! Oh, and Vegan girls, this one is safe for you to use too – win!

The way I choose to use this, and going on how all the Instagram beauty gals swear by, is pre-foundation application as well as mixed in with my foundation. Do you remember when Jaclyn Hill started raving about mixing oil into her foundation for the ultimate glow? Well, this oil is the one you want to be doing that with. It is the perfect combo with foundation and works way better that other oils I have tried this with. It doesn’t disrupt the make up in any way and causes no separation, in fact it betters every foundation formula with the addition of two drops of the oil. You also don’t ever feel or look like an oil-slick – it basically looks like you have that 'post-2hr-facial glow' all day long. This product is really beautiful and I cannot find one reason to tell you why you wouldn’t enjoy it. It has gained cult status for good reason and if you are a beauty junkie like myself, you have every reason to be persuaded to purchase this – it’s brilliant!

There is also the newer launch that I’ve seen on Instagram – the Farsali Unicorn Essence. Ummm, Muse gals, when can we get this!? Below are some Instagram videos where you can see the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir in action. R650 on Muse Beauty – 15ml and R950 for 30ml (which you need the teensiest amount of)

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Farsali The One Gentle Cleanser

Firstly, I don’t think I have ever used a cleanser that smells this beautiful. The aroma is described as citrusy and vanilla. It’s sensational! I was so impressed with this cleanser as it addresses two things that often times a cleanser does one or the other well, seldom both; it is gentle, doesn’t strip the skin AND it removes make up like a dream! The cleanser is a runny milky fluid and you really don’t need much – it has a slight bit of foam, especially on your second cleanse. It feels comforting to use and my skin doesn’t feel vaguely parched or stripped after using this. It does the job and is packed with 8 organic plant extracts that are sure to protect, nourish, soften and soothe. R450 on Muse Beauty

Some new discoveries that I won't be without!

Monday, 24 April 2017

I love discovering new beauty products. Honestly, I think that's why I love this industry SO much - there's always something new and exciting on the market and, much to my bank balances dismay, I never fail to get fully caught up in the hype. Ever.


Here are a bunch of new products (mostly just new discoveries to me, not necessarily new on the market). Either way, I love them all and have used them non-stop:

The Skin Creamery Everyday Cream 

I know SO many of you have recommended this to me but I have had so many other body creams to get through that I never got around to getting my hands on this one. The cream is made up of omega-rich baobab, coconut and jojoba oils so is packed with goodness. I also love the 100% natural scent - it smells natural, yet so pleasant. One of my readers likened the smell to marshmallows, which is so spot on! I haven't used this on my face, even though they say you can. I have opted for use on my decollete and arms. I was lathering my entire body in this but my cream was going down way too fast for my liking, so I've decided my legs aren't special enough.
It's lovely; absorbs easily (my best part) and ticks all the boxes I look for in a good everyday body cream. I will DEFINITELY be re-purchasing. Only down-fall IMO is that I don't find it travel friendly as it's in a glass pump bottle, however, the plus is that they do sell refills which is lovely. Buy yours online here. R285.


Avene YstheAL Eye and Lip Contour Care 

This was love at first try - you may have seen me raving about it on my Instastories. Since I got this product I truly have used it EVERY single day and night. I love this product so much as it has an immediate tightening and firming effect so on application, your under eye area will go from crepey and tired to taught and fresh. I have also been using it on the lip area in the evening and love that concept of treating this area at the same time. It definitely gives me immediate results of soothing tired eyes and making the area appear much more fresh and radiant, which is good enough for me to keep in my routine! Buy online here. R349.95

The Body Shop Facial Peels

I'm not going to bore you AGAIN, as you have all heard me harp on about these for a good few weeks now. These facial peels are applied to the skin as a gel and after a few seconds of doing little rotations on the skin, you will see the dead skin cells forming little clumps. revolting to some, super satisfying to others/me. I want to add here that these must be used with caution and not too regularly as they do strip the skin, so maximum once a week. I used it twice a week and developed a dry patch on the side of my mouth so I have cut this back even further. It totally depends on your skin though, so if you are sensitive then steer clear. R220.


Sisley So Curl Mascara

This isn't new, but it's a re-purchase (read SPLURGE) as it really is just that divine. After my dreaded lash extensions that I got when I was a bridesmaid mid-last year combined with my lash curls (urgh) my lashes were in dire need of some love. This mascara has ingredients in it which treat your lashes whilst also making them look fabulous. The price tag is hefty and I simply cannot tell you that you have to spend this much on a mascara, ever. BUT I know there are a handful of you devoted Sisley users around here, so here's your heads up about this :) It's fab R700

OUAI Texturizing Spray

My Mum picked this up for me from SPACE NK on her latest trip and I am so chuffed I got it. To be honest, I am SO slack with my hair. It's actually bad and I need to start doing proper styling of some sort. I think I am this way as my hair is so low maintenance. It dries naturally and is very presentable that way, so I have that 'can't be bothered' attitude. I have, however, done the odd at-home attempted blow dry (attempted being the operative word) and then followed with this texturizing spray - it adds texture, as one would assume, and body to the hair that makes it not look that perfect and this is why I love it. It's also great for livening up a day (or two) old blow dry. I also just love the branding of this range - so simple and chic. You can order this online with Cult BeautyR340.

O Lief Body Oil - Green Rooibos

I actually got this from a friend of mine who swears by it, she gave me her nearly empty bottle to try out and a week of using it had me hooked. I generally don't like body oils as so often they make me feel greasy. This, however, doesn’t do that as I have been squirting a few pumps into my Skin Creamery body cream. That way it gives a further boost of hydration and my skin doesn’t feel oily or sticky for a second. I plan on going to Wellness Warehouse soon to pick up a new bottle for myself – it smells lovely and really does leave my skin looking hydrated and soft, especially on my upper arm area which has been a tad dry of late - R175 and you can buy online here, although looks quite complicated so I will be buying from store instead. (sorry I have no pic here, I threw the bottle away before I remembered to take a photo).



Candles You Absolutely Cannot live without

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Ok, you most definitely can live without them but these are a few candles I wanted to tell you about...

It's no ground-breaking news to you if you have been following KBT for a while, but I tend to lose my mind slightly when it comes to candles. It all started when I decided that a luxury candle would be a nice item to purchase whenever I went on an overseas trip, the only problem is I am unable to stick to buying just one (and basically just buy them at any given opportunity - overseas trip, or not!). Because of this obsession, I simply can’t burn these candles fast enough, so have started a rotation system depending on the time of year, my mood and the weather (yup, I have officially lost my marbles).

The bottom line is a beautifully fragranced candle just brings me so much joy and makes my home (which is a very dear space to me) feel tranquil and smell beautifully; all helping me relax after a long day. I have different scents suited to different parts of the home and get as much joy out of the beautiful packaging as I do about selecting the new scents I want to try.

This is a round-up of some new candles I have recently bought that I think you would all love; some are only available internationally but some are local gems that you absolutely have to hear about:

AMANDA JAYNE CANDLES

I am so excited to tell you about these candles as they are new on my radar and locally made right here in Cape Town. The candles are hand poured  in small batches and use only the best quality natural oils as well as a beautiful premium 100% soy wax..

The candles come beautifully packaged (these are the real deal with no expenses spared) and have the most incredible array of scents to choose from. I got the Pink Petal (Rose, Grapefruit and Rosewood) and Cedar Chest (Mandarin, Petitgran & Cedarwood). It's seriously hard to pick my best here as they are both UNREAL, but Cedar Chest would have to be it. Go check out all their other options on their site (I also hear they are launching some new winter scents soon!).

These candles make the ultimate gift on every level; the packaging, the scent (options and the longevity when burning) and just how luxurious they feel. R350 and they have an online store - yay!


As I side note, I also got the glass dome (seen above) to cover my Amanda Jayne candles - I hate it when dust settles on the candles so this preserves the scent as well as keeps them dust-free (and looks chic in the home) - you can get it on her site for R140.

Diptyque

Probably my all-time favourite candles but, alas, they do not come cheap. My recent additions are the extra large black Bais and the extra large Ambre. I have owned a large Bais before and love the scent (I actually bought the room spray too on my recent trip). Both smell incredible and fill the room with the scent after 5 minutes of burning - they are exquisite. I also got myself the limited edition Rosa Mundi - I must admit, I fell for this one because of the simply beautiful packaging but am also a huge fan of rose scented candles, so knew I would love it. I also adore these candles as the jars look beautiful reused as cotton wool holders or make up brush holders. R1200 each for large.
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Charlotte Rhys 

Charlotte Rhys candles are locally available and very affordable (as far as luxury candles go). I love the fact that the candles come in a black glass jar with a silver lid, which looks lovely as well as keeps dust from settling on the candle. My favourite of her scents has to be the No 17 and the Spring Flowers.
Charlotte Rhys candles are also really accessible - they can be bought online or in any of her stores, with beautiful packaging to make it feel very gift-worthy. The candles burn beautifully and have a good scent that doesn't smell generic or too over-powering - these are probably the least 'potent' when it comes to scent distribution in a large room but I know some people prefer this. Buy online here.

Cotton On

I wanted to mention Cotton On candles as these really are brilliant value. I picked up a few a while back in the 'Firewood' scent. I absolutely love them and can't tell you how good the quality is. They burn evenly and perfectly, the scent is pretty good and they are around R150 each! The only down-fall here is a lot of their scents are a bit 'cheap' smelling, but there are a few that are really lovely! They really are good value for money and generally come in very understated, pretty packaging. I'm a fan!

Cire Trudon

These candles are super pricey and not for everyone. I do realise that R1600 on a candle is excessive but each to their own! I got two of the Abd el Kader scents as this really is my favourite - think hot mint tea. Ginger, Clove, Jasmine and Vanilla. I mean!!!
I also know that when I finish these two candles I will definitely be re-using the beautiful packaging; their signature bottle green glass vessel with the gold plaque is so elegant!

Jo Malone

I absolutely love Jo Malone and everything that comes out of this brand - their candles and diffusers are some of my favourites and I'm currently contemplating when I am going to splurge on their Red Roses diffuser (my other one has just finished). Their candles are the perfect gift as the Jo Malone packaging is just so indulgent! Fab scent range, brilliant quality and simple packaging - as one would expect with their super high price tag!!! R800 per candle. Jo Malone stores can be found at selected shopping malls (V&A and Canal Walk in Cape Town and Sandton & Hyde Park in JHB - plus a few more malls but those one's stick out to me).

I also wanted to touch on candles that I haven't pictured here but want to mention - the Soy Lites candles are really lovely. They have good scents but can sometimes burn a bit messily (which I think soy wax can sometimes do). They are R195 and readily available - online and Wellness Warehouse. Also the Country Road candles in my opinion are rubbish - I have bought and burnt SO many now. They aren't cheap and do have lovely scents and simple packaging but the scents don't last long or diffuse well and the candles burn in a narrow tunnel, leaving so much wasted wax.

Lastly, you may be wondering what the difference is when it comes to high-end vs your more affordable candles - a lot is to do with the quality of the fragrance used - so when burning the above-mentioned candles, you really don't need much burning time before the entire room is filled with the scent. I also think a lot of the money you are paying for is the brand so that may seem ridiculous for some, which I totally get. I do know, however, that there are readers of mine which have this obsession just like me, so wanted to share this for you ladies. Also, candles are amazing gift ideas for those women in your lives who seem to have everything under the sun, so I hope this can assist you next time you are stuck for present ideas.

It's all about the blush!

Monday, 27 March 2017

I have said it a few times, but I'm probably the biggest sucker for a good blush. It's a product that I buy WAY too frequently but one I feel really does tie a look together. My standard work-day look is tinted moisturiser, a slick of mascara, a touch of brow gel/tint and whichever blush I am in the mood for. All finished off with a spritz of rose water.

These are my faves of the moment:


Smashbox Contour Blush Trio - Peach - R500

I bought this trio about 6 months ago and initially didn't love it, but after playing around with the various shades it has become a staple in my make up bag. I am a big fan of the peach and highlighter shade - I find the pink shade a bit much on it's own, however, all three combined is a great combo. I love the fact that the trio has a large mirror and is so travel friendly. I find myself using this so often and loving how long the colour lasts. This blush trio is seriously beautiful with a tan (which is non-existent for me these days!). Buy online here.

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso - R80

Julia from All Dolled Up spoilt me with the best-seller from Milani, their baked blush in Luminoso. This blush is notoriously hard to get your hands on, and for good reason! Thanks for hunting this down, Jules! The shade is the perfect sun-kissed healthy glow. It's the type of shade that would flatter 90% of skin tones and is said to shape, contour and highlight in one which I truly feel like it does do! The shade is super pigmented and has an added highlighting element that compliments pretty much any make up look. This is fool-proof and just beautiful. Out of all my blushers, this is the one I am planning on taking on holiday with me as I know it will work for any occasion. Only available in USA.

HOURGLASS AMBIENT LIGHTING EDIT – SURREAL LIGHT – R1100

I am not going to bore with my fifth rave review on this palette but I really do just have such a soft spot for Hourglass products. You can see my full review here.

Hourglass Mood Exposure - R800

I have also spoken about this numerous times on the blog and truly just love this shade - it's definitely my best our of the all the Hourglass blushers I have tried. It's the perfect 'soft plum', as it's describes. It has the veins of the the Ambient Lighting Powder though the plum shade which gives the skin that perfect, flawless Hourglass sheen - never looking shimmery or overdone. This blush is more pigmented that one would think and is super build able, yet can just as easily be worn with a no-make-up look. Probably my favourite high-end blush, ever. Side note - it lasts FOREVER.

CHANEL JOUES CONTRASTE ELÉGANCE - R720

I spoke about this the other day when I discussed the new launches from CHANEL, and I knew instantly that this was going to be a firm favourite. It has been the only blush I have used for the past month; day and night. The shade doesn't look like much in the pan, but it's the most gorgeous peachy golden bronzed browney nude shade (how's that description?!). The part that I love most about this blush is the shimmer it leaves - no glittery cheap shimmer (obviously, it's CHANEL we talking about!) but rather a real glow like no other! My only criticism was that I wish the pan was larger in shape (not amount of product) as that would make it easier to swirl my large brush in, but I can look past that when we talking about a blusher this beaut!

A day spent being pamper at Babylonstoren Spa & Healing Garden

Friday, 24 March 2017

I had a day from heaven the other day. Honestly guys, it was one of the best days I have had in a while – a ‘me day’ that I really needed and at a location that I deem to be one of the best spots in South Africa: Babylonstoren. I spent the day at their Garden Spa which I actually hadnt visited before. I’ve done plenty of day trips to Babylonstoren and had a few meals at Babel as well as the Greenhouse and a stay at their hotel is very high up on my ‘my do’ list.

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The reason for the spa day was introduce me to their brand new Healing Garden which has just opened. The Healing Garden requires bookings for 6-8 people (R290 per head) and is a holistic, peaceful space where you get the chance to pick from the huge array of fresh herbs and plants to create your own customised herbal tea. We were walked through the garden where each plants healing properties was explained to us, my tea was made up of Peppermint, Rose Geranium, fresh lemon and lemongrass. We then spent time dangling our feet in the fresh water pond which had a bunch of the dead-skin-eating fish in them – the strangest sensation! This was followed by a few hours of relaxing in the bamboo house that is built on water and feels super tranquil – we mixed and strained our teas here and were treated to a tasting menu of the most unbelievable flavours imaginable, see below some of the many dishes:


The spa was also absolutely unreal, honestly. It was a spa experience I would highly recommend and one that I already plan on re-booking for my 30th. It was THAT special. It’s all very much incorporated into nature with little wooden paths through the trees to get to the various sections. There is also the best pool area where you can hang in-between treatments – I never wanted to leave this spot!

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We had a pedicure to start off – the detail of everything from the brass pedi bowls to the Aesop hand wash just makes for the most unreal experience.

We then moved onto the Hammam – a Turkish steam room made of beautiful marble. We were able to give ourselves body scrubs with natural salt and honey, as well as a body mask. My skin felt so hydrated and cleansed after this and I felt super detoxified!

In between the Healing Garden and a lot of pool relaxation, we finished off with a 90 minute ESSE treatment which started off with a Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage and finished with a 60 min facial – it was possibly the best treatment I’ve ever experienced in my life. The scents, my therapists unreal technique and the way my skin felt afterwards. I am 100% booking this again. Mind blowing!

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The pictures do this day more justice and I know so many of you saw my Instastories from the day. It says it all that I have already enquired about booking for myself and my friends. Thanks so much for having me Babylonstoren, I am your biggest fan!

Booking Details:

The Healing Garden

Tea rituals take place at 09h30, 10h30 and 14h00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
Our healing garden is a restful place for quiet reflection and tranquillity. Regrettably children under the age of 10 years are not permitted.
The tea ritual costs R290 per person for groups of 6 to 8 people and a 50% deposit is required to secure your booking. Should you wish to bring a group of more than 8 people, please note that your group will be divided to attend the different ritual times.
Reservations are weather dependent and booking is essential. Reservations open two months in advance and can be made between the hours of 8h00 and 17h00 on +27 (0)21 863 3852 or enquiries@babylonstoren.com.
Priority will be given to hotel guests for tee ritual bookings.

The Spa: