Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Organic aromatherapy for your lips? Maybe not, but Pangea Organics Lipbalm comes close…

pangea organics lipbalms
The January edition of my Bellabox had a full-sized Pangea Organics lipbalm in it, which I dug into almost immediately thanks to dry lips after forgetting to transfer my existing lipbalm over to my work bag.

Fast forward over a month later, and it has earned a solid spot in my bag. So, what is it about this lipbalm that was so great until it ousted my existing lipbalm? Let’s have a look…

pangea organics lipbalms
L-R: Italian Red Mandarin with Rose, Egyptian Fennel Grapefruit and Sweet Orange, Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom

Free of petroleum and synthetics, Pangea Organics lipbalm allows a unique blend of organic oils to sink into the skin, rather than sealing them off from moisture. Organic Tamanu, Sunflower, Jojoba, Hemp, and Shea oils deeply hydrate and protect lips from moisture loss while imparting naturally occurring fatty acids into the skin. Available in three variants.

pangea organics lipbalms
The Verdict:
First off, Pangea Organics was new to me – after doing some research online, it turns out they’re an award winning brand with certified organic products. The company is an advocate of fair trade whenever possible, and their products are free of sulphates, synthetic preservatives, artificial colours or fragrances.

Design-wise, I was quite taken by the design of the lipbalm tube – it’s very minimalist, yet made of sturdy plastic that closes firmly with grooves in the cap to hold it in place. Better yet, the base actually twists out all the way to the end (I tried), so there’s no wastage of the product at all unlike some where you’re left with an irritating bit stuck at the base which you have to dig out.

Now the one thing you have to pay attention to – the scent of this is UH-MAY-ZING!! The variant I got was Pyrenees Lavender and Cardamom, and it smells exactly of spiced lavender…*bliss* Yes, you can all call me nuts, but I would happily sniff my lipbalm for an aromatherapy boost when it smells this good… :P

When it comes down to performance, this has got to be one of the most emollient lipbalms I’ve ever used – quite simply, I’m in love with this! Couple it with the lovely scent, and I’m a very happy camper. As an added bonus, the texture of this lipbalm also means it can double up…as a cuticle moisturiser! Tell me, who doesn’t love double duty products?

Seriously, if there was aromatherapy for your lips, this would be thisclose to being THE One. I haven’t found anything to complain about this product so far, and after daily use for over a month I’ve only used up a couple of millimetres out of a 4-centimetre tube. Awesome, yes? :D

Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, Cera Alba (beeswax)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Lecithin (soy)*, Cannabis Sativa (hemp) seed oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea) butter*, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (tamanu) oil*, Aloe Barbadensis (aloe vera) gel*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender) oil*, Lavandula Hybrida Grosso (lavender) oil*, Elettaria Cardamomum (cardamom) oil*, Citrus Sinensis (sweet orange) oil*
*certified organic ingredients

Pricewise, this may seem rather expensive at SG$14.50 but when you consider that it’s retailing at US$12 overseas, we’re getting it very close to the original price. Better yet, since I get loyalty points from Bellabox for subscribing, I can actually redeem my points for another lipbalm (and other stuff too! I’ve got some thoughts about the Bellabox program after receiving 5 boxes from them, but will save that for a separate post).

Pangea Organics lipbalms retail at SG$14.50 for a 7g tube and is available online from the Bellabox website.

Rating: 5 / 5
Value: $$

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Getting pretty cuticles on the go with OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go…

Cuticle oil – admittedly, a foreign word to me until a few years back…until I started getting horrible cuticles. That said, even after knowing I was supposed to take care of my cuticles, I was terrible at using cuticle oil simply because I hated the greasy feeling it left on my hands.

And then I discovered OPI’s Avoplex Cuticle Oil, which was given to me by a good friend for my birthday. The cuticle oil also comes in a bigger bottle, but the one I got was the “To Go” version, which is much cuter and easier to use on the go.

OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go
Experience soothing, hydrating Avoplex Cuticle Oil on the go! Replenishes essential moisture and lipids with antioxidant Vitamin E plus Avocado, Sunflower, Sesame and Kukui Nut oils. Leak-proof.

 OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go
Can I just say how much I love the leak-proof mechanism? (circled in blue) :D As long as I’ve screwed the cap on properly, the tube will never leak in my bag (short of me accidentally jabbing it with a pin or sharp keys rather hard, god forbid!)

The OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil scent reminds me of grapeseed which I love, despite other oils featuring high on the ingredient list. Using it is also a breeze – as the instructions say, just remove cap and apply to cuticles. Don’t you just love simple instructions?

 OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go
To be honest, the brush does the job applying the cuticle oil well enough, but it’s nothing to shout about considering it can be a little hard to manipulate. What I would usually do is to squeeze the tube (gently!) to saturate the brush and run it along my cuticles, then massage the oil in to my cuticles afterwards. Somehow it seems the best time to do this is when I’m on a plane or in the train, so it’s a good thing this little baby is discreet and small enough to slip into my handbag when I travel.

Does it work? It’s a resounding yes from me – an application of this leaves me with soft, healthy-looking cuticles and it absorbs quickly without any oiliness. I’ve even continued using my phone with this on and didn’t end up with a greasy screen, so this gets two (soft-cuticled) thumbs up in my book! :D

Below is the list of ingredients for those who are interested:
 OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go

At RM48 per tube in KL, this may come across as rather pricey but if you can find them on sale they’re very worth it. I picked mine up at the Smoochiezz sale in Singapore for just SG$9 each (approx. RM22) so I’m sure there are similar deals to be gotten in KL.

OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go retails at RM48 per tube and is available from most nail salons and anywhere you can get OPI polishes.

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Value: $$$ (if you can get it on sale)

Labels: , ,

Friday, 17 February 2012

Care for a spot of tea with the Enavose Black Tea Quench Mask? I would...

A while back, I was contacted by the people at Enavose, a new premium beauty brand to make its way into Singapore. The brand hails from Switzerland, and claims to be free of any SLES, mineral oil or allergenic fragrances, as well as frowns on animal testing.

So when they offered to send me their star products for review, I figured there was no harm to it right? I was expecting a simple parcel delivery, so imagine my surprise when this package landed on my table.

Remember I mentioned I’m a sucker for pretty packaging? :P I caught myself humming "My favourite things" as I opened it...

In terms of packaging and personal touches, the lovely folks at Enavose get full marks – the box was a delight to open, which included their Black Tea Quench Mask. :D

They even sent some sachets of black tea infused with Mediterranean eucalyptus and bergamot oil to drink while trying out the mask – talk about being pampered…

But all those touches aside, the main question would be – is the product decent, and does it work? Well, let’s have a look…

The ultimate hydration haven for thirsty and dehydrated skins, our quenching mask uses Sweet Black Tea to release a profusion of moisture and vitality that deeply replenishes skin’s moisture. It harnesses the power of skin to retain higher levels of water, leaving it velvety soft, incredibly supple and invigorated. Feel the surge of immense moisture and be better equipped to defend against damaging environmental forces.

The Black Tea Quench Mask is packed in a sleek plastic jar, and uses an airless mechanism to dispense the product, which keeps it from getting contaminated and can be easily dispensed. I liked this touch as it’s hygienic and cuts down on the mess compared to scooping it out with a spatula or dipping my fingers into a jar.

The pump mechanism of the mask is easy enough to use, and doesn’t squeeze out too much at one go – about 4-5 pumps of the product was enough for my whole face. To use, I just apply it generously to my face (you can include the throat area as well, although I didn’t), and rinse off with warm water after 15 minutes.

Texture-wise, the Black Tea Quench Mask is a bit gel-like, and cooling on my skin with a faint but pleasant scent. I kept it on for closer to 20 minutes, and by that time, part of the mask had disappeared (I’m assuming the liquid evaporated or was absorbed by my skin). Now comes the tricky part - removing it was a bit of a problem. The minute you add water, the mask becomes very slippery and difficult to rinse off cleanly since your fingers just slide over your skin without actually getting the mask off.

Scared you for a bit eh? ;) Personally though, I found that using tissue to remove most of the mask before rinsing with warm water makes it a LOT easier to take it off (the same concept can probably be applied to most cream or gel masks too)

Does it work? Well, my skin did feel a lot more ‘boing boing’ afterwards, not to mention incredibly smooth and cool to the touch. Followed with my usual night routine, the ‘boing boing’ effect lasted well into the next day, which scores serious points in my book.

Do I like it? It does the job beautifully, so yes. In terms of pricing though, the mask is slightly pricey but worth getting if you take advantage of the promotional price (details at the bottom of the post).

For those interested, some of the active ingredients in the Black Tea Quench Mask include sweet black tea, Swiss glacial water, Arnica Montana flower and Lecithin. The rest of the ingredient list can be found below:

Interestingly, Enavose also has a 30-day money back guarantee on all of its products. If you’re not completely satisfied with what you purchased, you just have to bring it back to the Suntec outlet (above) to get your money back or an exchange (determined after consultation), provided not more than one third of the product has been used.

Enavose Black Tea Quench Mask retails at SG$59.50 for a 50ml jar and is available in Singapore online at www.enavose.com (free shipping islandwide) or outlets at Suntec City Mall (Tower 3, #02-079/081) and the Beauty Hall at Tangs in Vivocity.

Facebook Promotion:
From now until 4 March 2012, you can buy the Enavose Black Tea Quench Mask at SG$35 instead of its usual price of SG$59.90, as well as enter a Facebook contest to win products worth up to SG$140 by clicking the respective buttons below.


Labels: ,

Monday, 13 February 2012

Random Weekend Browsings…

While meandering around town in Singapore over the weekend, I thought I’d just share some random items and promotions I came across. It was a fruitful weekend, although I didn’t actually spend that much… :P

As most of you would have heard, Vichy is pulling out of Malaysia but in Singapore, the brand is still going strong (so far). Their Thermal Spa Water sprays are pretty decent, and now at a sale price of just SG$14.90 for 2 x 150g bottles, going for a bargain at Guardian outlets.

Dove is now joining the ranks of the self-foaming pump cleansers with at least three variants – I’m really liking the citrusy scent of the ‘Go Fresh’ one (in orange), but since I just started on a bottle of a different variant in the Dove range, I think I’ll have to wait a while…

L’Occitane’s Limited Edition Cherry Princess is out – smelling of cherry blossoms! As Daphn3t said on Twitter, this is SO up Tine’s alley… :P Haven’t had the chance to check out the whole range yet, but the couple of products I sniffed were quite nice!

As if it wasn’t enough to have Hello Kitty masks, now we have a whole range of My Melody masks available. They’re now packed in a promotional box of 15 pieces if I’m not mistaken, but if you want to try them before buying there are individual masks available at SG$2 each. Personally, I thought the Chamomile Mint one was rather interesting. :D

Did you know The Balm did nail polishes? I think I’ve been living under a rock, because I didn’t! I only saw them in Sasa over the weekend, and it turns out they’re having a Valentine’s special for the Hot Ticket 5-pc set which is going for half price at just SG$29.90.

And last but not least is this odd Whitening and Oil Control Black Foam cleanser from Garnier, which is now being sold at an introductory price of SG$7.90. BLACK foam?? Okay, I’ll admit I’m somewhat intrigued by this…

I also found a nice storage solution for my nail polishes (can you tell I’m obsessed with organising my nail polishes?) from none other than Daiso – best place for picking up cheap and cheery storage solutions, but I’ll save that for a separate post.

And that’s it for now – did you spot anything interesting while you were out over the weekend? :D

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, 10 February 2012

Keeping track of nail polishes with nail wheels…

I thought I’d save this for a Friday since it would make a fun weekend project. :D

Remember how I mentioned previously that my nail polish collection had grown rather alarmingly over the course of the past few months? Well, the evidence can be seen above...and with that came the problem of remembering what shades I had and an increasing risk of buying the same shade twice (because I gravitate towards them like that). Anyone have the same problem? (please convince me I'm not alone...)

Nail Wheels
The solution? Nail wheels – those wheels/ strips of plastic nails you normally see nail polish swatches on at the shops. Can’t believe it took me this long to actually get them (it was a passing fancy previously, but with the growing number of polishes well, the urgency grew!)

I picked up my nail wheels from a small shop at The Arcade in Raffles Place, but I believe these are quite widely available from the small kitschy beauty equipment shops around. Worst case, you could always try your luck with your regular manicurist. *wink* Mine cost about SG$5.20 for 4 pieces with 12 ‘nails’ each – 48 in total.

After sorting my polishes into piles of colours by hue, I realised I’m quite consistent with my nail polish choices – blue/greens, red, blue/purples and ‘other’ (which includes golds, silvers, crackles and sheer shimmers). Grouping them together also made sense, since I usually pick my polish by hue as well as makes it easier to choose.

The fun part comes in cataloguing all your polishes (there’s a white panel for you to write the colour down beside each nail) and painting them – in this case, I opted to get the white wheels instead of clear ones so that I have a better idea of what they’ll look like on my own nails instead of being slightly translucent.

And voila! After 2-3 coats of each polish per nail and leaving them to dry for about 10 minutes, I have my catalogue of nail polish colours below:

Without flash

With flash

Has anyone else tried this out, or are you planning to? If you have/ are, share! :D

On that note, happy weekend everyone…see you on Monday!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Bailey Shops – Cheap Nail Polishes and Makeup at Smoochiezz Sale @ Tanjong Pagar…

Smoochiezz, a local nail and beauty products store in Singapore, is having a bazaar sale at Tanjong Pagar Xchange (located just above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station) from now until Friday (10 Feb), 8am – 8pm.

Nail polishes are abundant from the OPI, China Glaze, Orly and Essie, with prices going from SGD$7 onwards. There’s also a whole range of NYX makeup available, as well as some products from ELF, Ecotools and MAC.

My personal favourite picks from this would be the OPI polishes at SGD$10 each, and the Avoplex Cuticle Oil to Go at SGD$9 each.

I picked up two OPI nail polishes as well as two tubes of the OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil to Go for a bargain total of SGD$38. Score!

About Bailey Shops:
Bailey is a soft toy dog who will be bringing you little blurbs on promotions he spots while wandering around with his little shopping cart. Apologies in advance if the photos for this section are a little blur though, since his paws can’t work the camera on the phone very well while keeping an eye on his cart.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, 6 February 2012

New Section: Bailey Shops – Revlon Lip Butter Promo…

“Hi, I’m Bailey and welcome to Bailey Shops! I’ll be bringing you little blurbs on promotions I spot while wandering around with my little shopping cart. Apologies in advance if the photos for my section are a little blur though, since my paws can’t work the camera on Bee’s phone very well.”

The new Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters are going at promotional prices at the moment in Malaysia, with Watsons selling them at RM25 each.

However, if you wander around the larger Guardian outlets with Revlon sections (I was at 1 Utama), you may just find the Lip Butters as well…and they’re going at RM24.90 each – with testers for you to try before you buy. :D

Only 10 sen cheaper you say? Hey, every little bit of savings counts toward my kibble, plus I can get a stamp towards a comfier Diadora bag to travel in…

No indication on how long the promotion is going to last, but with all good things you’d better hurry on down and grab yours before the promotion ends!

PS: Like my little shopping cart? I do too - it was a gift from Bee's bf but she's kindly letting me use it for my shopping excursions... :) If you want to get your own though, head on down to Candylicious to pick one up!

Note from Bee: I’ve been wracking my brains trying to figure out how to put up the small finds and bits of news that I come across from time to time, simply because (1) they don’t exactly warrant a post of their own, and if I did it would be a text blurb; (2) the promotions are for a limited time only; and (3) by the time I’ve mulled over how to post it up, the promotion would have already expired!

So after some thought, I will be putting Bailey to the task…hence the new addition to the blog – Bailey Shops! :D Who’s Bailey you ask? He’s a soft toy dog that I got in Melbourne last year, and has been my travel buddy ever since. And since Bailey is well on his way to becoming a globetrotter, he’d better earn his keep and contribute something! LOL…

Labels: ,

Monday Blues? Not with A-England’s Tristam…

It's the start of another week – for those in Malaysia, enjoy the public holidays. And to those who celebrate, Happy Chap Goh Mei! :D As for me, it's just another working day...but I'm not feeling blue!

Remember I mentioned my A-England polishes arrived while I was back in KL for Chinese New Year? Well, the colour I want to share with you today is one of my absolute favourites from their Mythicals Collection – Tristam.

In an absolutely gorgeous blue with fine silver shimmer, Tristam is likened to the night blue sky with starlight…or if you’re more of a jeans kind of girl, your favourite dark wash with bling. *wink*

Just check out that blue! How could anyone get the blues looking at that? :D According to legend, Tristam (or rather, Sir Tristan) was one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, but did you know there’s also a mercenary called Tristam in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest? Well, now you do!

A-England Tristam indoors under artificial light

A-England Tristam in daylight

As you can see from the photos above, in artificial light or indoors, Tristam is still a lovely shade but it’s under direct sunlight that the shimmer really pops. The formula for A-England’s shimmer/glitter polishes are excellent and easy to work with (I used two coats in the photos above). To be fair though, their solid/ crème shades may take some getting used to in application as they’re not as easy to apply smoothly as the shimmer polishes, but they still have great coverage nonetheless.

Their lasting power is also nothing to sneeze at – I topped mine off with Seche Vite, it’s been almost a week since I first applied this (you can see the growth at the base of my nail) and I haven’t gotten any chips yet despite chowing down on crabs with the ladies over the weekend.

Price-wise, A-England is rather pricey at £9.00 a bottle although admittedly I got mine at 30% off during their anniversary sale last year. However, when you think about the quality and wearability of the polishes plus the free shipping A-England offers, they’re really not that outlandishly expensive after all. After all, even OPI is within the same price bracket, right?

So will I get more of these? Despite the hefty price tag, you bet! The new Legend Collection was just put up on their website recently, and I already know which ones I want! :D

A-England polishes retail at £9.00 a bottle, and can be ordered from www.a-england.co.uk. International shipping is currently free.

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Value: $$

Labels: ,

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Pretty360 @ Singapore Shopping Centre – Lovely result, but I won't be going back…

Fresh from a manicure and pedicure from the Pretty360 salon, I just had to write about my experience I had with this salon before I forget the details. This is going to be a rather long wordy post, so consider yourself warned should you want to proceed!

I had bought a voucher for a classic manicure and pedicure with hand and foot mask back in June last year off Streetdeal.sg, which I thought was a pretty good deal at SG$25. The transaction went through smoothly, but what ensued after though, was anything but smooth.

The fiasco started when I called to make an appointment in July – I’d bought the voucher in June and the expiry was in October, so there shouldn’t have been a problem finding an available slot, right?


When I called up, I was told that the three options I wanted were not available. After a lot of going back and forth and being ‘waitlisted’ several times, I finally got so exasperated that I asked for ‘any available slot on a Saturday (they’re closed on Sundays) or any weekday after 6pm between July and October. And the answer was NO!

So I asked the owner what I was supposed to do if there’s no available slots at all – she offered to extend my voucher expiry by a month to November, which was fine…until when I asked her the same question on availability and her answer was STILL no and suggested that I come over at 3pm on a working day (hello, the reason you have slots at 3pm is because most people have to work!)

After getting most frustrated with her, I finally insisted she give me a slot on a weekday at 7pm, didn’t matter when and extend my voucher to that date. She gave me a slot in January, only to call me three days before to ‘reschedule’ because she had overbooked.

FINALLY, I got a slot on 1st February (after almost 8 months!) and headed down to the place. To their credit, they sent me a reminder SMS the day before to confirm…but spelt my name wrong. Small matter.

After the standard registration where the staff insisted on speaking to me in Mandarin despite me addressing them in English, I sat down for my manicure and pedicure.

Straight off, the manicurist I had started pushing back my cuticles and trying to cut them. When I told her not to cut my cuticles (you should never ever cut your cuticles!), she shrugged and moved on to the next step.

To be fair, I did really like the manicure and pedicure service there – the manicurists were decent, they did a LOVELY job on my fingers and toes and they use Seche Vite as a top coat.

The part I didn’t like however, was what happened with an Indian lady seated next to me who had used a JuzToday promotion similar to the one I had. She pointed out that the conditions stated there was a foot scrub included, to which the manicurist said she would have to check with her boss.

With the receptionist table right next to the mani/pedi area, I heard the boss’ reply saying “tell her if she wants the scrub it’s SG$10 extra” in Mandarin, despite the manicurist pointing out that it was written clearly on her voucher.

When she replied the lady, the response was “Oh, there’s a typo on the voucher, we don't actually offer a scrub but if you want the scrub you’ll have to add SG$10. We already told the writer to change the error.” (err...isn't that statement contradictory in itself?)

For one, it was clearly written in the description as you can see above. And secondly, even if there was a typo error in the copy, they still should have honoured the voucher terms instead of trying to make her pay extra for it.

In my case, I had already given the voucher to them so I wasn’t in a position to ask for the scrub. However, when I went back and checked last night, it turns out that mine ALSO had the scrub listed in it (above) – and this was from a separate deal that was done in June 2011, while hers was just posted up on JuzToday. So what cockamamie is “we already told the writer” when you clearly didn’t?

The best part was, I noticed that there were only TWO chairs available for manicure/ pedicures. If you only have two slots available and are selling 105min manicure/ pedicure sessions, for goodness sake don’t bite off more than you can chew! When the deal on Streetdeal ended (seen in the first pic), they had sold 821 vouchers, and the JuzToday one had sold 220 when I checked it just now.

I actually did the math (yes, all for the sake of calculations!) so just have a look below:
Duration per mani/pedi – 105mins
Total opening time of salon per week – 3,780mins
No. of vouchers sold (using the Streetdeal example since it's already completed) – 821
Duration of promotion – approximately 18 weeks
Therefore, assuming that they did ALL the mani/pedis in pairs, back to back NON-STOP for the duration of the promotion timeframe, they would still need roughly 11.5 weeks to fulfil all 821 of the vouchers.

When you consider the reality of it, there is NO WAY they could have honoured all the vouchers within the time frame. Yet, they not only oversold the vouchers, but have also started another one with JuzToday that is poised to be a repeat of the last deal.

Plus, they purposely jacked up the price of their services in the promotion to make it sound like a better deal than it really was. After my session was over, they tried to sell me a package of 8 mani/pedi or gelish manicures at SG$360, which works out to SG$45 per session and NOT SG$91 as listed in their price. While I do understand that the package deal will definitely be cheaper than buying an individual mani & pedi, I have a hard time believing that they can easily offer packages at more than 50% off the original price.

So no, I will NOT be going back to Pretty360 even though the mani/pedi itself was good. It’s a pity, but I’d rather find a decent salon and pay a bit more than buy a package that I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use up considering the management and limited slots.

Labels: , , ,