24 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful festive season! Stay safe, stay kind, stay pretty!


23 Dec 2013

Blogger Secret Santa

I recently took part in the Blogger Secret Santa organised by Kelly Lubbee of Sunflowers and Spears. Such a cool idea for bringing bloggers together (and getting spoiled, of course!)

Well, today I received these lovely gifts from the gorgeous Megan Briant of  antlers & antidotes. Thank you so much for the thoughtful presents- I love them all!


17 Dec 2013

New Perfume: Etude House Princess Etoinette Eau de Toilette!

My (really awesome) husband decided to spoil me yesterday with Etude House's latest fragrance, Princess Etoinette Eau de Toilette- lucky me! The 30ml bottle cost KRW20 000 and came with a lovely, free compact mirror as part of the launch promotion.

The packaging is incredibly cute- and I'd expect nothing less from Etude House! I love the vintage-style atomiser and the lace decoration attached to it. Everything about this perfume transports me to another place in time.The floral scent is lovely, but definitely meant for those who like florals. Top notes include pink pepper, bergamot, pear and raspberry with beautiful peony, rose, jasmine and muguet (Lily of the Valley) middel notes and cedar wood, sandal wood and musk bottom notes.

Like most Etude fragrances, this one lasts for hours and develops beautifully as each hour passes. Be warned though, a little goes a long way! One or two spritzes is more than enough to last the day- anything more and it'll be way too overpowering.

If you like floral scents- especially peony- you'll really love this one. I certainly do!



15 Dec 2013

Review: Etude House Surprise Concealer Kit #2 Dark Circle Brightening

A little while ago I did a review on Etude House's Surprise Essence Concealer which fared rather well in covering blemishes, but didn't cover my dark circles as well as I'd hoped it would. So, I decided to try the Surprise Concealer Kit to combat the side-effects of my sleep-deprived lifestyle. The Surprise Concealer Kit has two types to pick from: #1 for covering imperfections and #2 for covering dark circles.

I got #2 Dark Circle Brightening online for KRW7 000. The concealer palette has two colours: peach, for neutralising dark tones and beige for brightening up skin. The palette also contains a small mirror that doesn't really have a function because it's way too tiny to work with. The Brilliant Light Scattering Formula promises to flawlessly and smoothly cover dark circles for hours. 

Application is very simple and easy. Using your fingers or a small foundation brush designed for the eye area, dip it into the peach colour first and pat or stipple the dark area until it's well-blended. Next, do the same with the beige colour.

The two colors have completely different textures. The peach tone is creamy and oilier, while the beige tone is matt and has a thicker texture. I was really happy with the coverage of this kit- it hides my dark circles very well, but I have to be extremely careful when applying the beige tone as it tends to settle in the lines under my eyes and has a bit of a cakey texture if I use just slightly too much. When they advise to apply only a small amount, they really do mean it! I'd recommend only using it in the inside corners of your eyes (it also works great on pigmentation or other imperfections!). The peach tone, however, is divine and does everything you'd expect from a concealer- I just wish it lasted a bit longer, but having to touch up isn't a deal breaker for me because of the fact that it goes on so smoothly.

This is the best dark circle concealer I've tried to date and will happily repurchase. I do, however, caution those with darker complexions to try it out before purchasing, as the shades might not match your skin tone as well as it should. I think Etude House could benefit by expanding their shades as they have quite a large international customer base. For those with fair to medium complexions who have mild dark circles, this kit will definitely do the trick!

2 Dec 2013

Facebook Giveaway Winners!

I'm so excited to announce the winners of the double Giveaway I hosted on my blog's Facebook page this past month. I waited for my page to first reach 50 likes before running the giveaway, so that more people would be able to enter and share. Well, let me tell you that I've been completely taken aback at how the likes have grown! Kate loves pretty currently has 101 likes and (if I can be perfectly honest) I didn't even think I'd reach 50 when I first started the Facebook page for this blog!

I'd just like to thank you again for your wonderful support and kind words- it means so much more than you know! So, without further ado, here are the lucky winners of the South Korea and South Africa Giveaway:

Congratulations ladies and thanks for entering! Please contact me with your details and address, so I can send your lovely gifts to you. Hope you enjoy the products!


29 Nov 2013

Review: Tony Moly Appletox Smooth Massage Peeling Cream

The first time I saw Tony Moly's Appletox Peeling Cream, I just knew I had to try it out, but (I must confess) for the completely wrong reasons. I'm such a sucker for cute packaging- and, really, just look at this adorable, bright green apple! Who could possibly resist? Okay, so I was also in search of a nice facial exfoliator to get rid of dry flakes and and brighten up my complexion, but I usually first research products before buying. However, this time my girly side took over and I went onto Gmarket where I purchased the 80g jar for KRW8 800 (they're currently on sale here for KRW6 160).

Before I get into the review, I quickly want to explain why it's important to exfoliate. I mentioned this in the 20 Grooming Tips I swear By post I did a little while ago too. Our skin is constantly shedding and renewing itself, but it needs a little help now and again to completely shed the top layer of dead skin cells. This is where exfoliator comes in. It helps to smooth and brighten up your complexion and allows for better absorption of skin toner and moisturiser. It also helps to create a smooth, well-prepped canvas for applying makeup. 

Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at what the Appletox Peeling Cream, promises and if it delivers.

According to their website, the active ingredients are Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Apple and Papaya extract as well as vitamins A, B1 and C and it acts as a 3-in-1 product: massage, moisturise, peeling (exfoliation). They instruct you to massage the product on your freshly cleansed skin for 1-2 minutes and then leave it on for an additional 30 seconds and then rubbing it again before rinsing.

When you follow these steps, you're supposed to feel your dead skin cells coming off, but I haven't experienced this at all. I've read several reviews where people do experience this, and like many, I don't think it's actual skin cells being removed, but rather some ingredient that becomes thick and thus mimicking the appearance of dead skin. I've experienced this thickened texture with Etude House's Bubble Peeling Foam and could definitely recognise that it was not, in fact, my skin, but rather a waxy/rubbery kind of substance that forms when your rub it into your skin. But, as I said, I didn't experience this texture at all, so I'm wondering if they've changed the formula or if the hard water in my apartment prevents this from happening? To me, it pretty much just feels like a thick, decadent lotion. However, because I'm used to having some sort of beads/sugar/salt in my exfoliator, I was kind of expecting to see zero results from this 'glorified lotion', and felt so bummed for buying into the cuteness before getting a second opinion, but (luckily) I was wrong!


While the Appletox Peeling Cream didn't actually make my skin 'peel', it did make it feel very soft and incredibly hydrated. I was very impressed. This is also ideal for sensitive skin as you don't run the risk of over-exfoliating your skin (which ends up drying skin and making it peel- the exact opposite of what you're trying to achieve!) It's gentle enough to use daily, which is what I do now that winter is here and I need that something extra for my dry skin. It smells lovely too- like freshly sliced green apples.

If you need a rougher texture in your exfoliator or have stubborn comedones (non-inflammatory acne bumps) and very dry skin on your face, then this might not be the best exfoliator for you. Those of you who require only mild exfoliation will more than likely be happy with this product. I think it is well-suited for any skin type (it certainly didn't affect my somewhat sensitive, acne-prone skin negatively at all.) It's a decent product that provides quick, impressive results, so it will definitely be going onto my re-purchase list!


27 Nov 2013

100 Facebook Likes!

I am so happy today! Something I never thought would happen- just did. 100 Likes on my Facebook page !! Thank you so much! Not long before I do a lucky draw to pick the winners of the lovely Double Giveaway I'm hosting for those living in South Africa and South Korea. If you live in either of these countries and you haven't entered, there's still 3 days left, so head on over to my blog's Facebook page and follow the steps to get your name in the draw!

24 Nov 2013

Review: The Body Shop Honeymania Body Butter, Cream Body Scrub and Soap

During my overnight trip to Seoul at the beginning of this month, I did some winter shopping in the vibey Myeongdong district and my husband spoiled me with some lovely products from The Body Shop's new Honeymania range. My international readers will be happy, I'm sure, as you are most likely able to get your hands on The Body Shop products without much trouble since they're a global brand.

I didn't have my sights set on the Honeymania products at first as, admittedly, I'm a bit of an 'old-faithful' kind of girl when it comes to The Body Shop. I've always loved their Moringa range, but since my guy was buying, I thought I'd let him pick one that smells best to him and so he chose Honeymania! 

I was more than pleased with his choice, because this stuff smells divine! It doesn't have that awfully sweet honey scent that you'd expect, but instead a lovely floral scent as promised in its description. All the products in this range contains 'Community Fair Trade honey made from the nectar of thousands of wildflowers'. I chose the Body Butter, Creamy Body Scrub and Soap, but the range also includes Lip Balm, Bath Melt and Shower Gel.

The Body Butter is really rich and creamy and leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated and smelling just gorgeous! The Body shop promises 24 hour hydration, but I definitely needed to reapply the next morning. However, my skin does need a lot of extra moisture now that winter has arrived in Korea. For warmer months, this product is perfect, but you'll definitely need to apply it twice a day in cold and dry climates. Price: KRW24 000 for 200ml.

I just love this soap! It's so mild on my skin and doesn't dry it out like regular beauty soaps do. It lasts really long too! I've been using mine for 3 weeks now and it's not even half way yet. Price: KRW5000 for a 100g bar.

The creamy body scrub is just that- very creamy and gentle, so if you have sensitive skin this would be perfect as it's not too abrasive. I really enjoy using this, but one thing I'd change is the fact that the granules dissolve a tad too quickly, so I end up having to use more product to scrub my skin. But other than that, I also love this scrub. Price: KRW24000 for 200ml.


17 Nov 2013

Review: Etude House Baby Doll Puff

The Baby Doll Puff is Etude House's version of the popular Beauty Blender makeup applicator. After seeing the Beauty Blender in several makeup tutorial videos, I was curious to try this type of applicator as I'm more of a flat makeup sponge kind of girl. Etude's products are usually very good quality at a way more affordable price and at KRW7000 ($7), this puff is significantly cheaper than the Beauty Blender.

The first thing I noticed is the adorable packaging the puff comes in. I love Russian matryoshka dolls (I even own a pretty Freya bra with a matryoshka print!) so I simply couldn't help myself when I saw this cute box in the store. The Baby Doll puff is bright pink, but slightly different in shape compared to the Beauty Blender. It has a curved/indented center which makes handling very comfortable. The flat bottom is designed to apply makeup to the chin, cheeks and forehead and the pointed tip is meant for blending into the harder-to-reach-areas like the nose and eyes. The sponge itself, however, is very stiff and I immediately knew this might be a problem as it's very hard applying and blending makeup with a stiff sponge. I thought this might be fixed as soon as the puff is damp, so I wet it and dried the excess water with a towel (as recommended) but there was barely any difference in size (it should swell up a bit) and the stiffness remained.

Dampening the puff is also supposed to prevent excess product absorption, but this, too, made very little difference as I had to use a lot of foundation anyway. I also found that the application wasn't good either. Very little makeup was actually transferred to my skin as most of it was absorbed into the sponge and as a result made this puff incredibly hard to clean. It stains very easily and I am unable to get it clean no matter what I do- not cool, Etude House!

All in all, I am very dissatisfied with this puff. It doesn't deliver on its promise and I could have spent my money on something better. In this case, buying the original product is the better option. Even though it's very expensive, at least you'll get your money's worth.

7 Nov 2013

Review: Innisfree Mineral Water Foundation

I recently decided to mix things up a bit in terms of my my foundation/bb cream. I really love my Total Age Repair bb cream, but I needed to start looking for a product that works better for my oily t-zone. After plenty of research, I decided to purchase Innisfree's Mineral Water Foundation as it has a pretty good reputation for working well on combination skin.

This SPF15 liquid foundation is formulated with Jeju mineral powder as well as 100% organic green tea water in stead of distilled water that is typically used in this type of foundation. It contains no parabens, bezophenone, mineral oil, artificial fragrance or talc and the product comes in a 35ml bottle with a screw cap and pointed nozzle for easy, hygienic dispensing. It costs KRW15 000 ($15) so it very much falls under the affordable category.

There are three shades to choose from: #1 Light Beige #2Natural Beige and #3True Beige. I bought mine online and opted for the lightest shade, i.e. Light Beige and was surprised at just how light it is! If you're one of those porcelain skin beauties, you'll be delighted with this shade- it really is gorgeous. However, it's a tad too light for my skin tone, so next time I'll get it in #2 Natural Beige instead. This foundation provides very light coverage. In fact, it almost acts like a tinted moisturiser, but with a dry finish. It's your natural skin- only better, if you know what I mean? Personally, I would have liked a little bit more coverage as this doesn't hide my blemishes or dark circles even a tiny bit, but at least I have concealer, right?

A unique feature of this foundation is the ball inside the bottle. You have to shake it a few times for the stuff inside to mix- I'm not quite sure why or how this works, but it's pretty interesting nonetheless. The texture is watery and runny, but once it's on your skin it dries very quickly, so if you like buildable coverage, you're gonna want to skip this one. While I love applying my foundation and bb creams with a sponge, I would caution against using any tools with this one. Your fingers are your friends when it comes to this stuff as sponges or brushes will absorb most of the product and also make it dry faster than it should. Using my fingers gives an even, smooth finish and helps to minimise the appearance of dry skin or flakiness.

Which brings me to the biggest downside to this foundation: it's not kind to dry skin. In fact, it exacerbates any dry areas and flakiness, so your skin needs to be thoroughly prepped before applying this foundation. I highly recommend using a makeup primer- I use The Face Shop's Face It Skin Primer and it works really well with this foundation. While this would normally be a complete deal breaker for me, I am able to work my around it as the staying power of this product is unsurpassed. My oily t-zone always, always, always 'melts' within a few hours after applying my makeup, but with this product, it not only stays put, but my skin remains oil-free throughout the day- and I'm talking 7AM-5PM perfection. Now, I'm not sure if this can be ascribed only to this foundation or whether the Face It Skin Primer also plays a major role, but I can vouch for the fact that these two products are soul mates- they work so well together!

If you have very dry skin, I would highly advise against this product. Combination skins need to be prepared to do a lot of prepping beforehand, but I find it's worth the trouble. And for those with very oily skins (I envy you right now!) this foundation is made for you. I've had a lot of compliments since I started using this foundation and I've been very pleased with how it controls my oily areas. I'm still searching for my perfect foundation/bb cream, but this one can definitely compete!


It's Giveaway Time!

My Facebook page has reached 50 likes, so the kate loves pretty Facebook Giveaway is now running! If you live in South Africa or South Korea and you'd like to enter, please follow these steps:
1. Go to my Facebook page and click the 'like' button.
2. Comment on the Giveaway photo of the country you live in. 
There's a picture for Korea and one for South Africa.
3. Share the photo.

The competition ends on 30 November 2013 and the winner will be announced on 2 December 2013. I'm hoping to spread the word about my blog en generate more likes and ultimately more followers. Thank you so much for the support and interest that you've show already- it really means a lot to me! Good luck and have a wonderful week!

30 Oct 2013

Facebook Giveaway Preview!

Here's a little preview of the lovely products that'll be up for grabs as soon as my Facebook page reaches 50 likes. Only 8 to go 'till I run the competition, so please keep on liking and sharing :)

Double Review: Etude House Collagen Moistfull + Aloe Moistfull

The Moistfull collection is one of Etude House's most popular skin care lines and comes in three ranges: Collagen Moistfull, Aloe Moistfull and White Moistfull. A few weeks ago I received a free trial kit and some extra samples of the Collagen Moistfull range when I purchased my Aloha V-line Slim Maker and some makeup brushes that I'll be reviewing soon. After using it for a few weeks, I decided to get my two favourite products in the Aloe Moistfull range, too. Here's what I thought:

The Collagen trial kit and samples I received are as follows:

- Facial Freshener     
- Emulsion           
- First essence    
- Cream               
- Enriched cream 
- Sleeping pack  
- Firming eye cream  
I could review each one of these samples individually, but I feel this would be a waste of your time, because you're going to want to buy only two or three of the above products. Allow me to explain why. You see, I have come to the conclusion that the facial freshener, emulsion, first essence, cream, enriched cream, sleeping pack and eye cream are pretty much the same thing with only a minor difference in concentration or with an added ingredient that simply does not change the fact that they all perform exactly the same. This is not a bad thing though, I have been very pleased with the results on my skin, but (in my opinion) you only need the first essence, the cream/enriched cream and the sleeping pack ( if you have very dry skin.)

The range is intended to be used in this order:
peeling wash -->first essence -->facial freshener -->essence -->eye cream --.emulsion -->cream -->mist
As you can see this is a bit much (even for an enthusiast like myself) and I can't help but wonder if it's a bit of a money-making scheme. Either way, the three products I mentioned above are all you're going to need to achieve results.

The Collagen range promises firmer skin, better moisture retention and deeply hydrated skin. Its key ingredients are baobab extracts and marine collagen and contains no parabens, talc or ethanol. The first essence has a watery, but slightly gel-like texture and is a little sticky after applying, but the stickiness disappears as soon as it absorbs into the skin. The cream also has a gel-like texture, but it's not runny like the essence and gives a velvety feel to skin (it reminds me of Clinique's Total Turnaround visible skin renewer). The Enriched cream is less velvety, and the texture is more like a regular face lotion.

After the first application my skin immediately felt moisturised and incredibly silky smooth! I was very impressed. I applied the first essence with a cotton pad (but you can use your hands to press it over your face too) and followed with the cream (I jumped between the normal cream and the enriched cream, but couldn't really tell a difference, except that the normal cream feels more silky than the enriched cream.) On days that my skin feels extra dry, I use the sleeping pack, which is basically an overnight intensive moisturiser that you wash off the next morning. It doesn't leave any residue, so I can't imagine it would be a problem if you don't wash it off.

I am very happy with these products and they've actually impressed me enough to move my trusted Cetaphil to the side and go for designated face care again. My skin didn't break out at all and felt very soft and moisturised for hours upon hours, but I wasn't surprised to see it made no difference in firming the skin as collagen is pretty much useless on top of skin, because its molecules are way too big to be absorbed, so don't be fooled ladies! The only real downside to this range is the fact that it makes my skin a little bit oily in my t-zone, so I can't use it under my makeup, but it works amazingly as a night regime. I imagine as the weather turns colder here in Korea, my skin will become drier than usual, so then I might be able to use it as my day regime too.

For now though, I'm better off with the Aloe Moistfull first essence and cream as this is marketed at those with an oily to combination complexion. These two products conveniently come in a set for W13 000 (The Collagen set is a bit more expensive at W15 000 for the regular cream set and W18 000 for the enriched cream set.) This range is noticeably more lightweight and leaves skin looking matte and feeling fresh- perfect for daytime use. It also contains baobab extracts as well as soothing aloe, which is great for anyone with oily skin that's prone to breakouts and redness. I also noticed that the aloe first essence is a bit sticky at first, but this also disappears after drying. The gel-like cream almost feels like water (it's that light) and absorbs quickly into my skin, giving enough moisture without exacerbating the oiliness.
The Collagen range is ideal for normal to dry skin while the Aloe range is great for oily to combination skin.

Using these two ranges concurrently has made my skin feel wonderful. I've been having a lot of ups and downs since quitting the pill, so I'm happy to finally have a balance when it comes to my skin care regime as my skin can go from really dry to really oily in a matter of days. I'm more than pleased with the quality of these products and the lovely scent of the Collagen range is a great little bonus for me. If you're looking for good skin care, without the insane price tag that so often accompanies it, look no further.


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