TonyMoly Catchu & Cat's Wink Cosmetics

26 January 2013

Every now and then, I will purchase make-up online. More specifically, Asian cosmetics. I have been a huge fan of Asian cosmetics for years, beginning my collection during University with Etude House and still remaining a loyal customer today. One thing to note is that although the majority of Asian cosmetics are presented in the most beautiful packaging, it's important not to let it be the sole reason of purchase, as I mistakenly did in my University years. I ended up wasting a huge amount of money on make-up that wasn't being used. Now I have to say, the thing that drew me to these products initially were their packaging but after doing careful research as well, I decided that it was worth it to buy a couple things and my my was I right! Although the packaging and bullet itself barely mimics that of the Paul & Joe Cat Collection, it does form some kind of a resemblance in that they are probably the only other cosmetics brand that make cat-themed cosmetics. I'd heard of TonyMoly before, reading rave reviews about their skincare especially but had yet to bite the bullet and try them out until recently and I'm glad I did.

I own two of the Catchu Lipsticks, as I was sent a replacement free of charge to replace a faulty lipstick sent to me before, therefore meaning I only paid for the one - which is fantastic customer service if you ask me. Unlike the awkwardly ridonculous cat-shaped lipsticks by Paul & Joe, the bullets are the standard bullets which make applying the lipstick a lot easier than those of Paul & Joe.

The finish is very similar to the Revlon Lip Butters but less moisturising; they're definitely more of the lipstick variety than the lip balm variety. They're extremely glossy, yet do not possess the slightly sticky finish of the Lip Butters. With only 7 shades available, some may say that it leaves the customer with very little choice which I would have to agree with as the range mainly offer colours in shades of pink. There are no nudes in this range which I feel alienates nude lip lovers and those of a younger generation who are not allowed brightly coloured lips in school.

Also, I've noticed that the #01 Peach Vanilla lipstick is slightly reminiscent of the peachy-pink lipstick used by Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's but with a more sheer and glossy finish than a matte one. If anyone is curious, Pink In The Afternoon by Revlon is said to be the dupe for this particular lipstick and the name itself is an Audrey Hepburn reference to film, Love In The Afternoon. However, although it may be a dupe for the real-life lipstick used in the film, I disagree that it's a dupe for the lipstick colour shown on screen which is more peach than Pink In The Afternoon is.

The lipsticks are unscented much to many people's preference but unlike most, I like my lip products to have a fruity scent. It sort of tricks my mind into thinking I'm putting lip balm on and not lipstick. Now as these products are Korean and therefore the labels are in Korean, I cannot tell you what's inside these lipsticks, whether they have shea butter or natural extracts, I cannot say sadly.

My favourite of the two products though, has to be the Cats Wink mascara. Before this, I had been using the Kiss Me Heroine Make Volume & Curl mascara and then the Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl mascara (what a mouthful!) but I found that the packaging for these mascaras were very cheap, too cheap in fact and in many cases, the screw neck that housed the product restricter would snap off, meaning my brush would be covered in thick mascara all the time. Thinking it was just a one off, I bought more and the same kept happening again. So I moved onto the Long & Curl version which had fibres that stung my eyes and the dryness of it meant it would dry out a lot quicker than most mascaras, even when I added eye make-up remover to the tube. 

I was very sceptical about the Cats Wink mascara by TonyMoly as the last thin-brushed mascara I used was disappointing but upon using this, I can safely say that it won my heart. The small brush makes for accurate mascara application and the tip of the brush can be used to apply mascara to the outer lashes. I have very sparse eyelashes that are poker straight and although the formulation of this product is a lot wetter than I'd normally choose, it's fantastic for holding a curl. The only downside is that as you can see in the photo, it clumps quite easily, but so long as you have a eyelash comb, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. 

All of these products were obtained via eBay as TonyMoly and most Asian brands are not available here in the UK and were also all incredibly affordable with the lipsticks priced at around £5 and the mascara at £6, with the added bonus of free placements if any issues were to arise AND free shipping on most items. I would definitely repurchase the mascara again, it's by far the best performing mascara I've used so far.

Is there a real diamond ring in your candle?

21 January 2013

Diamond Candles is a US brand specialising in innovative candles of a high quality that have unique scents. However, their main USP is that each candle comes with a carefully wrapped ring worth either $10, $100, $1,000 or $5,000. 

The story began when a young man named David, went to buy an anniversary gift for his wife, Brenda. He found a beautiful ring for her and went to find a gift bag to carry the ring. When he couldn't find a gift bag, he opted to buy a candle instead as he knew his wife loved them. Upon leaving the store, he looked down at the ring and the candle and an idea was born.

One of life's privileges is having the ability to purchase luxuries like candles with our own hard-earned money. Sadly and much to many people's surprise, it has been proven by scientists that some scented candles produce smoke laced with almost as many toxins as cigarettes and is likely increase asthma, eczema and skin problems, especially in poorly ventilated rooms which the majority of candles are in, as they are usually lit in the evening when the windows are closed. However, the good news is that beeswax and soy candles don't produce these harmful toxins. The candles that do are cheap candles made from paraffin wax which is a by-product of the petroleum industry. Therefore each paraffin wax candle you buy supports oil giants and in turn is harming your body. Sadly, these immoral companies choose to use low quality ingredients in order to pocket a higher profit.

Not only are the eco-friendly Diamond Candles made from natural soy but their wicks are made from cotton. Now, there are many candle manufacturers that claim their candles are all natural but a lot of these companies then coat their wicks in the very paraffin wax that is used by these low cost, high profit giants that endangers your health. Diamond Candles coats their wicks in soy wax and promises to use only the highest of ingredients. This is reflected in their price but is considered almost irrelevant if you value your health more than your bank balance. The candles from Diamond Candles are a product of the Earth, and once burned - the ingredients that have entered the air return to the ground through precipitation. Diamond Candles support American farmers by making their soy wax from soy beans produced locally in the US.

Eco-friendliness aside, Diamond Candles produce some of the most unique scents I've ever come across. They make scents such as Fresh Cut Grass, Mistletoe and Pecan Pie. The candle I purchased was the Cinnamon Pinecone scent and I can't describe the aroma any better. At first I wasn't too keen, probably because I'd never smelt such a thing but now I'm very much in love. It is a sweet woody fragrance, with the pinecone being the base note and the cinnamon being the top note. I purchased it to coincide with winter, it has proven to be a match made in heaven and very reminiscent to a winter cabin. Diamond Candles also produce a candle called Cozy Cabin, which I hear is more of a vanilla scent than cinnamon. I am not sure if this is limited to this particular candle scent or if I have a faulty candle but the candle deposits wax down the side of the glass, other than that - it burns very evenly.

The added excitement of this candle is the fact that each and every candle comes with a ring, not just any ring but a ring worth either $10, $100, $1,000 or $5,000. There haven't been a substantial amount of $5,000 rings but there definitely has been some. For $100+ rings, check out Diamond Candles' Pinterest album here. The interesting thing is that although some rings may not be stamped, it might still be worth it to get it valued as the stones may be real. The ring I got has not been appraised but as I discovered on the Diamond Candles Facebook page, it is unlikely to be more than $10. Sadly, I don't wear silver but it's a stunning ring with the purple stone appearing violet in the daytime and a pale lavender under indoor lighting. 

However, there is a mighty drawback. Diamond Candles only ship within the US. If you're lucky, you'll be able to find one of these candles on eBay from an American seller who is willing to ship the candle to you from the States. The problem with this is that you will not be covered for any damages to the candle, any faults or problems with the ring by Diamond Candles themselves and you may be charged a Customs Fee to receive the candle as the seller will have stated its value when shipping. Although you can request for the seller to state the value of the candle as much lower, the seller is unlikely to do this because then they will not be covered by the postal service they use if a problem does arrise. Unfortunately, I had to pay the extra Customs Fee which I was not too happy about, but I'm glad I finally got to try out one of these infamous candles after pining for one for a about a year. Although an addictive affair, I will not be purchasing these too frequently due to the cost. They cost $24.95 which is currently a reasonable £15.74 but expect to pay up to the equivalent to £40 for one from eBay including the p+p and Customs Fee charge. These would make great gifts and treats for special occasions. The next time I purchase a candle, I will choose an all natural candle such as this so I don't risk damaging my health. I would love to buy more Diamond Candles in the future and when I do, I'll be sure to share my thoughts with you. 


5 January 2013

It may be a very 80s thing to have but I thoroughly believe that having idols is good for you. They don't necessarily need to be celebrities or even members of your family, just people that inspire you to become the best possible version of yourself. In my and many others case, the idol in question is the wonderfully talented and deeply beautiful; Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn was born as Audrey Ruston and is best known for her acting; from the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's to the lesser known but still hugely popular Roman Holiday and Funny Face - and she was inspiring in more ways than one. She was a truly unique fashion icon in that she exuded glamour through her simple and reserved, classic style. More notably, she was a performer - one with such great talent that her performances are still moving, 60 years on. She was also known to be a great purveyor of charity, especially towards the end of her acting career, offering aid and publicity for many charitable organisations, chiefly for UNICEF. From this, she became an outstanding humanitarian.

Audrey grew up in an uncomfortable and difficult environment, being passed between troubled countries at war and living in poor conditions. What I admire the most about her is how she remained her true and honest self throughout the entirety of her lifetime, never succumbing to vanity or bitterness. She had a fantastic view on life and in particular, marriage - once quoting how marriage wasn't a label but merely a connection, a feeling and how she and her partner were already 'married' even though they were not officially done so by a minister. She had an outlook on life that any individual today could only dream of, especially in such a superficial world consumed by war, titles and overbearing vanity. Upon return from giving aid in Somalia, Audrey died at 63 from Appendiceal cancer in her Switzerland home. A children's fund was set up in her name and is currently being run by her youngest son Luca Dotti after her elder son Sean H. Ferra retired from the position after 20 years. He now runs the Audrey Hepburn Society at the US Fund for UNICEF.

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