Konglish Beauty

B-day presents… the lost joy of postal packages

Konglish is not just a flippant name I thought up for my blog. I actually AM Konglish in so far as I’m both Korean and English. I was born in Seoul, South Korea and my parents are ethnically Korean. We then upped-sticks and hot-footed it across the globe when I was a wee thing and settled in the UK, South West London. And there I festered for the next few couple of decades. Although I officially started speaking Korean first, I consider English to be my first language: I think, dream, bitch and moan in English and I’m most comfortable speaking it. I do speak very good Korean (thanks to mum for refusing to learn more English than it takes to say hello), fluently in social conversation but I falter slightly at formal language especially in work-related situations. I’ve been living in Korea for the past 18 months and am planning to stick around for a little while longer before heading back to England. Anyway, all this ramble is basically to explain the “Konglish” in the blog title and what I’m doing in Korea.

Whilst here, I’ve had a couple of birthdays. I don’t tend to make a big fuss of birthdays and they’re usually just an excuse for me to justify a night out at a fancy restaurant. I don’t expect presents… which is why it’s all the more delight when I get them. Raise the delight by an exponent greater than one when that present arrives unexpectedly by post, from across the world during the midst of the worst aviation crisis in years (thanks a lot Eyjafjallajökull) and you can understand why I was hopping around my hallway like a bouncy ball when I discovered a birthday package from BFF1 waiting for me in the postbox.

I love post especially in Korea where the postal service is efficient, safe and cheap. Unlike Britain. I went through a big eBay phase years ago which soured after a few months due to run-ins with Royal Mail and their demons from hell. But not so in Korea. In fact my local postie knows that I’m not in during the day and rather than leave one of those infuriating “I called when you were out (no not really I decided not to knock or ring the bell even though you’re in and specifically waiting for this very important package from the gods)” cards, he leaves the package with my trusted neighbour who will let me know that the package has arrived so that I’m saved a trek down to the local sorting depot. I love such common sense and courtesy so lacking in most of modern life.

Within the package was this birthday card with Kitsch London-a-bilia….

… and this darling little bag. As a beauty addict I pride myself on recognising products from the mere silhouette and outline of packaging in the distance. So I knew what this was instantly.

The 2009 limited edition Shu Uemura Tsumori Chisato face palette! You know you’ve got a BFF on your hands when she can anticipate exactly what your heart desires the most and then buys it, packs it and ships it to your doorstep to commemorate the 365 days since your last 365 days. SQUEEEEAL.

There’s always a risk when buying more make-up for a make-up junkie that a) they’ve got it already and b) you’re rubbing crack into their mucous membranes. To those risks I say a) make-up junkies are junkies. They like back-ups and b) make-up junkies are make-up junkies. We’d only be mainlining the stuff anyway. BUT actually….. neither risk was true in this case. I had lusted and drooled after the palettes when they were released in Korea but withered away empty handed as there was just no way I could justify it (along with 100 other Xmas release products). Kismet, serendipity … whatever. This is the same girl who got me this (the Dame Edna stuff) so she knows a thing or two about my dirty secret urges.

This is no longer available to buy at Shu counters as it was released at Christmas. If you run across it on eBay or up for swap then grab it. There are swatches around online but I’m not going to do them for you. Maybe by my next birthday I will have stopped gazing at it and actually used it.


Japanese Drugstore mini haul

This is another very belated haul pic post from months ago when I went on my first ever visit to Japan! As there were many more important things to be done than shopping (lounging around in hot springs and lots of eating) I only managed a 10 minute visit to a drugstore but had enough time to pick up some things that I’d read about and had been lemming… namely Majolica Majorca and Kate eyeshadows and some mascaras.

Also I couldn’t resist these KitKats in off-beat flavours: Green Tea & Yuzu, and Sweet Potato. I’m not a chocolate purist so I enjoyed these a lot 🙂

Demeter Sanrio fragrances

Posted in Demeter, fragrance, Hello Kitty, Japanese brands, lemming, news by konglishbeauty on June 18, 2010

I WANT THESE so much. The scents sound pretty ghastly (simple, thin, teenybopper scents) but I’m a sucker for anything Sanrio. Whilst Hello Kitty is always lovely, she’s been whoring herself out a lot recently so I’m not so interested in her but I AM going nuts over My Melody and Little Twin Stars. Like many asian kids I got bought some My Melody and Little Twin Star character stuff when I was wee so I have a soft spot for these under represented Sanrio characters. I think the bottles would look lovely with red (for My Melody) and pastel blue (for Little Twin Stars) coloured juice inside.

Review: Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara

Posted in Japanese brands, Majolica Majorca, mascara, review by konglishbeauty on May 21, 2010

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Japan earlier this year (first time!) and whilst I was too busy to really do much shopping, I did manage to sneak into a Japanese drugstore and pickup some of the famed Japanese drugstore make-up products. I love exploring Asian make-up brands because ideas of beauty and beauty ideals are different between countries and this means that I see real new innovations and gadgets I haven’t come across before. In Korea and Japan, you’ll be hard pressed to find bronzers, fake tan or undereye concealers which you get in the West. What you will find are a vast superior range of sunscreens, BB creams, fiber mascaras and variety of baked mineralized eyeshadows and blushers that MAC can only dream of.

Majolica Majorca and Kate are the most popular of the Japanese drugstore brands and so I did a quick swoop of the aisles and grabbed a few things. I literally only had about 10 minutes to do my shop. Luckily being an avid reader of Musings of a Muse and Lotus Palace, I was able to hone in on a few things I’d been interested in trying.

I bought two MJ (as Majolica Majorca is popularly refered to) mascaras, the Lash Expander Frame Plus and Lash Enamel Glamour Neo. The Lash Enamel Glamour Neo is supposed to on its way out, to be replaced with a new version which is a damn shame as it’s a fine fine mascara and all reports suggest the new one is significantly and unsatisfactorily different.

I tried out the Lash Expander Frame Plus for a month giving it a good run every day. The main things about this mascara are that it’s a fiber mascara, it’s got a comb applicator and it’s very very tenacious.

If you peer carefully at my close-up of the comb applicator you might be able to see the fibers sticking out. The formula isn’t overly stuffed with fibers and as such I didn’t find wearing it irritating or uncomfortable. I would still advise caution if you’re a contact lens wearer but compared to MAC’s Fiber Rich mascara which I couldn’t stand, it’s completely wearable.

My favourite thing about this formula is that it’s a lovely intense black with a beautiful glossy finish. Even one light coat adds significant definition to the eyes purely from its depth of pigment. I also like the comb applicator particularly with the fibers in the formula as it means you can comb through, separate any stuck together lashes, remove clumps and also line up the fibers clinging to your lashes so they aren’t stuck at odd angles.

However I have no love for this mascara due to the quick drying formula. It’s so fast that I barely had time to comb through the lashes before it set hard and woe betide my lashes which happen to be lying in an undesireable position as it dries. Once dry, the finish on lashes is stiff and rigid so that’s that until you remove the mascara. If you dawdle for even one minute, getting a lash comb out of a make-up bag, you’re done for. It also means I couldn’t apply more than one or two light coats. Normally I like to load my lashes up but there was no option to do that here.

This mascara is definitely a lengthening not thickening mascara. I got next to no thickening with this so I turned to a different mascara for evening or bright eyeshadow looks. Unfortunately due to the stiff nature of the formula, layering with another formula was no go for me as everything formed a stuck together mess.

Removal of this baby is hardcore. I’m a cleansing oil user (Holy Grail: DHC) so most long-wear make-up doesn’t phase me but this mascara tested even my patience. Usually one step with the cleansing oil gets most make-up off but I had to get out a dual phase eye make-up remover to use on my eyes prior to using cleansing oil to get everything off. Even then occasionally I could feel bits of mascara still clinging on to my lashes. The Lash Enamel Glamour Neo is the same deal and I think MJ must employ car paint polymers in their mascaras or something to get them so shiny and so durable.

+ points:

  • Holds a curl well. I had no need for my usual HG Shiseido Mascara base with this.
  • Very black  pigment
  • No smudging, smearing or flaking whatsoever. It looked pristine at the end of the day.
  • Great comb applicator (which I’ve saved and rinsed to use with other products).
  • Shiny glossy finish to lashes.
  • No clump smooth formula.

– points:

  • No playtime whatsoever so very unforgiving in application.
  • Lack of playtime can lead to stuck together lashes.
  • No chance to layer with another product.
  • Leaves lashes stiff.
  • No thickening at all
  • A complete pain in the ass to remove.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5. I’d skip this and try the Lash Enamel Glamour Neo if you can get your hands on it.

Final note: am I the only person who thinks the name “Majolica Majorca” is a strange strange name????

20% off at DHC

Posted in DHC, Holy Grail, Japanese brands by konglishbeauty on December 4, 2009

It’s 20% off all products at DHC for the month of December! The olive oil cleansing oil is my Holy Grail night time cleanser so I’ll be stocking up. There’s also free delivery on all online purchases too.

Jill Stuart and missing NARS

Posted in Japanese brands, Jill Stuart, NARS, personal by konglishbeauty on September 16, 2009

MiuMiu alerted me to the fact that Jill Stuart cosmetics are now available in Korea and the USA bloggers are all buzzing with the fact that the Jill Stuart cosmetics line is now available in her New York flaghip store. Jill Stuart is a brand I’ve only become aware of since coming to Korea. In fact, I’d never even heard of the designer in the UK. As far as I know, her clothing line isn’t stocked in any UK stores and she’s not an advertiser or high fashion enough to make an appearance in the UK based fashion magazines. That’s not a criticism on my part, I’ve no experience of her clothes to make such a judgement, but like designers such as Nanette Lapore she doesn’t get write-ups in the UK fashion press and I’ve just not been aware of the brand’s existence.

However YouTube and beauty blogs have alerted me to the make-up line and it’s one of the most hyped asian available brands. I’m planning a big Japan trip next year and it was on my list (up there with Majolica Majorca) to cruise when I was in town. You all know what a lemming I am, so if there’s something my fellow beauty junkies love, chances are that I’ll love it too.

I did take a long hard look when I was in Shinsegae (JS’s sole Korean stockist at the moment) at the weekend. Hmmmmm. Not completely sold. The packaging has a very dainty uber princess vibe, all mirrored decorative frilly patterned cases, and isn’t really my thing. It reminds me of a mirrored version of the Anna Sui line, which I also don’t love despite having tried. The eyeshadow quads, which have gorgeous packaging, don’t appeal to me with their shade selection as the majority are pale, shimmery shades. There were no bright or intense shades or duochromes which would have won me over. I’ll also heard some gripes about pigmentation issues, although the shades I swatched were fine, although oversparkly and glittery.

The only things which I considered buying were the blushers, which come in a square pan with 4 shades to blend and customise. I got a bit confused as to which shade was which as the majority of the shade selections were similar (containing a bright pink, pale pink, coral and highlighter in each pan). I will buy and try one of these soon so I can get a feel for the products.

It may be that it’s a line that I initially don’t dive into but end up falling in love with gradually (usually accompanied by major hauls) but it may also end up being like Anna Sui and Paul & Joe for me, both brands which are beloved in Asia but leave me a bit cold.

Unrelated issue: I really really really miss NARS make-up. I’m craving the eyeshadow duos, special edition 6 shade eyeshadow palettes and the blushers. I don’t know why they haven’t been introduced in Korea, I’m sure they’d do well. Korean women love their high-end make-up and so many niche and artist brands do well over here (e.g. Fresh, Giorgio Armani, Makeup Forever) so there’s definately a market. Please come to Korea! I once interviewed Francois Nars himself for a profile in a UK fashion magazine and despite his reputation, found him to be charming and accomodating. I’m such a pathetic fan girl that I kept him on the phone for nearly an hour, gushing like a numpty and he patiently sat through it all.

Fibers, tubes, more ramble and Review: Dejavu Fiberwig mascara

Posted in Dejavu, Fiberwig, Japanese brands, mascara, review by konglishbeauty on June 11, 2009

Fiberwig was a mascara that I’d never heard of when I was in the UK. We don’t get many Japanese release products over there and the British beauty press doesn’t cover niche foreign products much.It first reached my attention via other blogs, mostly from MiuMiu‘s. It’s HG status for her and there was a slew of positive reviews on Makeupalley. It’s supposedly the best selling mascara in Japan so with these endorsements ringing in my ears, I made up my mind to try this mascara. It wasn’t available in Korea for a longtime. But in January I was browsing (OK loitering guiltily like a shoplifter) in Olive Young, my favourite drugstore, and saw a Dejavu promo stand with the newly arrived Fiberwig. Yay! (Incidentally, Olive Young has just started selling Fairy Drops and Fairy Drops platinum in Korea too). I immediately swooped and bought a tube. I was so eager to try this out. Millions of Japanese women can’t be wrong right? I swooped in.

Crash and burn. I ended up being so disappointed.

As the name clearly states, this is a Fiber mascara. For those not in the know, Fiber mascaras are a specific type of mascara which contain tiny little nylon fibres in the forumula. If you pull out the wand on a fiber mascara you can usually see the tiny little fibers sticking out all over the brush. These fibers cling to lashes and act like extensions to your lashes, building up for length.

This type of mascara has not become very popular in the west. For one, the formulas for these are more lengthening than volumising, leading to a very thin spindly look to lashes. Generally in the Western mascara market, drama and volume sells more than pure length. Also, whilst great in theory the way these fibers build up in length on the lashes is not even. The same way that they stick out in all directions on the wand of the mascara tube, fibers can often cling to lashes in the same irregular non-uniform way which can give a strange look. The main complaint with fiber mascaras though comes from the way they feel. If you’ve ever tried a fiber mascara and then spent the whole day feeling like you want to rip your eyelashes off and pull your eyeballs out then you’re not alone. If you have even the slightest sensitivity in your eyes (er, that would be most of the human race then) then fiber mascaras can make for an extremely uncomfortable experience. You feel the fibers digging and pricking on your lash rims like teeny tiny invisible subatomic sized needles around your eyelids. Anyone who wears contact lenses would have been foolhardy indeed to go full steam ahead with a fiber mascara and then run out the door.

Unbelievably, these things are eyesafe…..

Like all things though, fiber mascaras have come a long way and the first generation of fiber mascaras I tried many years ago have been improved upon. The one I remember most distinctly trying is MAC’s Fibre Rich which many loved and proved to be a good seller for MAC so there was obviously some people for whom fibers worked.

For more information check out Chef Caffy’s introduction to Japanese mascaras video on YouTube.

I really don’t get on with Fiberwig at all. First thing, this does not irritate my eye like the older fiber mascaras did. It feels very comfortable on and the only vague pokiness I got was when I went overboard applying it to my lower lashes. The length I got on my lower lashes meant they got tangled with my upper lashes. Completely my own fault. But it’s the finish of the mascara that irritates me.

Fiberwig, as well as being a fiber mascara is a tube type mascara. This means that the formula utilises a polymer technology which means that as the product dries it forms a tube like structure on lashes. This means is you get no smudging, smearing or flaking in normal conditions. Oily lids, humidity, daily wear – tube mascras will not smudge. Removal is easy; using warm water, completely saturate the lashes and the tubes of mascara will slide off easily with your fingertips or light pressure. This mean that the product is not waterproof, or suitable for showering or swimming but everything else is fine.

I love Tube mascaras. I used to have a huge problem with mascara smudging due to the shape of my eyes and face. I first used Kanebo 38, then Blinc Kiss Me. After that lots of tube mascaras hit the UK: Lancome Magicils, Clinique Lash Power and even reached mass market: L’Oreal Beauty Tubes. They’re essential for many asian girls as due to the way our faces are shaped, our undereye area is padded and sticks out more, leading to lashes brushing against it leading to smudging, smearing and panda eyes. Also the summers in Japan are terribly humid which I’m sure created a market for the ultimate in smudgeproof mascaras.

Tube mascaras don’t give much volume and need a good base or primer (or another mascara underneath). I knew and accepted this when using Fiberwig. But despite many different bases, the finish on my lashes are just horrible.

With Fiberwig I get uneven, stuck together lashes which can’t be separated with a metal lash comb. It’s not exactly clumping, as the formula is very smooth. But the natural way that my lashes lie just led to my lashes sticking together. The fibers also stuck to my lashes sticking out at strange angles.

I don’t hate on all fiber mascaras. There’s a great one that I’ve discovered from a Korean brand that I’m in love with that changed my view on fiber mascaras. The distinctive thing about that one, and the thing that let’s down Fiberwig in my opinion, is the applicator. Fiberwig has a traditional brush style wand, with the bristles arranged in a spaced out spiral formation. I’m not a fan of this type of bristle arrangement and much prefer the densely packed bristle arrangement like the DiorShow wand. Dense bristles prevent clumping and comb out excess product from between lashes . I think an alternative applicator could possibly help Fiberwig.As it is though, I really dislike Fiberwig and have not found anyway for it work. Even layered with another mascara. I run into the same problem of stuck togther lashes. I’ve looked at the instructional video, read all the reviews and suggestions, and looked at all the YouTube guru advice but to no avail.

Only bonus point for me: no smudging. Easy removal.

Anyone reading this who has tried and loved Fiberwig, would you mind telling me your experience? I’m still wondering why I’m not getting anything from this much loved and feted mascara.
1 out of 5