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.
Korea will NOT be getting the gorgeous new “Barbie Loves Stila” collection with the gorgeous new Smudge Pots or gorgeous new “All Doll’d Up” eyeshadow palette. Am I bovvered though? Look at my face. Look at my face. Look at my face. Does my face look bovvered?
No. Because in Korea, we will be getting the gorgeous new “Boldly Beautiful” eyeshadow palette instead. Whassat? Same damn palette with a different name and packaging 🙂 Innit though.
I’ll take one of my guesses and say that because Korea already has an official Korean Barbie cosmetics brand, that Stila can’t use Barbie’s name or trademark here to sell their wares. But why waste a great concept, and great make-up palette. Smart people them Stila people.
By the way, these are MY pictures of MY palette wot I took wiv my own camera so it’s proof that this palette is available outside the USA, albeit in a different form, regardless of what Stila are saying.
I shan’t review the palette in full and instead take you to Temptalia’s fuller review and swatches. I would second everything she says except I can’t bring myself to actually use or swatch the darn thing at the moment, so mesmerised am I at the beauty everytime I open the palette.
Barbie Loves Stila? I told you I ain’t bovvered.
The MAC Graphic Garden collection is now for sale in Korea on their website. It’s pretty late after the states but there doesn’t seem to be any particular rhyme or reason to the timing of new collections: sometimes they hit the same time, sometimes weeks later.
The two palettes are worth getting especially for the extremely cute holographic cover. Me? Darling, I got mine weeks ago via other channels. (A friend from the UK who knows my weakness for special edition palettes).
I stopped collecting Chanel limited editions years ago but this is just too yummy to ignore. I love the Union Jack and this would definitely be a collect, but do not use item. +£50 though? Ouch. Bad Chanel.
I arrived back in Seoul last Thursday and make-up was not on my list of priorities when I got back. Shower, food and sleep were all I could concentrate on and I had to be up at 7am for work on Friday morning. However sitting at my computer I thought I’d just take a quick look at the Korean make-up websites to see if anything new had been released whilst I was away and discovered that Banila Co had just released its new Gossip Girl collection.
Banila Co is a Korean make-up brand, which is priced mid-range. More expensive than Etude House, Missha or the Face Shop but cheaper than the department store high end brands, Banila Co is mainly a colour cosmetics range with a small skincare line and a few accessories. It has its own standalone stores on the Korean high street as well as having a few counters in department stores. Beauty counter politics means that it’s never in the same hall as the high end brands, but usually in the streetwear and urban apparel sections, designed to appeal to high school and college students.
Banila Co has some great colour cosmetics and has some great eyeshadow and make-up primers. I find it quite derivative in its packaging, marketing and product names especially from Benefit and I wonder at the sheer cheek of some of their products which seem to be direct dupes or copycats. However when the Korean copy, they usually copy well and Banila Co is a definite must try if you’re interested in Korean cosmetics.
I’m guessing the inspiration behind the Gossip Girl collection is the hit American TV series of the same name which is HUGE in Korea right now. The rich prep school uniform is on trend in Korea with both teenagers and old-enough-to-know better 20-somethings tripping around in plaid mini kilts, argyle knee socks and braid trimmed blazers. The boys love it too as Korean males aren’t shy about being fashion forward and Chuck Bass style flamboyant outfits are all the rage here.
Banila Co’s collection doesn’t seem to have anything obviously to do with the TV series, other than the name. The collection is a range of pretty but not groundbreaking Spring brights. The new items in the range are 3 new baked e/s duos that Banila Co is popular for, 3 lipsticks, 3 tinted lip balms, a baked marble blusher, and a new “natural black” shade of gel eyeliner. The other items are repromotes from the permanent line.
I dragged a co-worker out to dinner with me after work on Friday evening purely to avoid staying home and falling asleep early due to jet lag. We went by the local Banila Co counter and took a look in person at the Gossip Girl collection. The only thing that caught my eye and ended in a purchase was the palette and this only for the packaging. I love the overlapping dot pattern on the case although again puzzled as to the Gossip Girl connection. If anything, Gossip Girl is known for kick-starting the big bow trend as seen on the character of Blair Waldorf rather than dots.
The case is lovely, and has a smooth satin metallic finish. It’s the same size and type as the previous Banila Co. palettes released with the Loveholic and Glam collections. (See end of this post for more pictures of these). Inside is a blusher, and three eyeshadow shades.
From the website images, it looked like the powders inside had a pink dot pattern overlay on the surface of the product. However I was a little bit disappointed to see that it was just a protective plastic cover resting on top of the product.
The blusher is a pale pink shimmer, low pigment, with a smooth texture. The eyeshadows are medium pigmented with a smooth texture. The first shade is a shimmer frost white, the second a cool-toned shimmer taupe brown and the third an icing-sugar pink frost.
There is a brush included rather than a sponge tip applicator which is a nice touch, although it isn’t great quality. Overall, this palette isn’t worth getting if you have similar shades already. I really only bought it for the cute packaging and i may be developing a little bit of a Banila Co palette collecting habit (help!).
Overall rating: 2 out of 5.
Here are some pictures and swatches of 2 previous Banila co eyeshadow palettes from the Loveholic collection and Glam collection.
I won’t review these but will instead direct you to the fantastic reviews done by Lotuspalace on these on her blog.
Both these palettes are still readily available at Banila Co counters. Of the two, I really love the dark smokey eyes Glam palette and here is a little eye look that I did featuring some of the shades.
There is another palette from the “De La couture” collection, which I don’t have as it sadly sold out very quickly, which features a selection of lovely taupes and browns. See more at Lotuspalace.
Being away from friends and family in the UK, I missed out on exchanging Christmas gifts last year. Postage rates to Korea aren’t the cheapest and in busy working lives, getting to the post office isn’t always convenient, especially when they’re as crap and inefficient and scarce as the British post office (now officially an endangered animal).
I was delighted when I got back to London to get some belated Christmas presents from friends who are more than happy to enable my addiction to the highest degree.
From one friend I received the following from the MAC Dame Edna collection!
These won’t be anything new to beauty addicts as Dame Edna was MAC’s first post-Christmas collection. The buzz has been and gone for most. However for me, it was as exciting as snow on Christmas day because I had held myself back from buying anything. Yes I had rushed to my local department store after Christmas, yes I had lovingly stroked those eyeshadow trio compacts and glittery red glasses, and yes I had wanted to nibble at those adorable lilac beauty powder compacts, which looked like shiny little macaroons nestled in the display. But ultimately I had taken a deep breath and walked away empty handed with some mighty show of restraint which fails me on most such occasions.
God works in not-so mysterious ways and rewarded me for my austere deprivation in the form of the fabulous and generous friend who gifted me with these. My VERY OWN Dame Edna pieces. She explained that she bought the nail varnish mostly for its fabulous name, “Varicose Violet”. The collection has an added resonance for me because my first name in Korean actually means purple, so obviously a higher power meant for Dame Edna and I to be together.
I was obviously a very good girl last year as on the VERY SAME DAY, I also got another gift from yet another fabulous friend:
The Christian Dior Lady Dior palette!!!!!!
This is one of those pieces that I had read about and seen at the counters but I dared not touch it or even consider coveting. I was not worthy and my impure soul would be punished for daring to hope she would be mine. The Lady Dior palette is a miniature of the classic Lady Dior handbag complete with silver charms on the handle spelling out DIOR.
Inside are two pans of colour: a cheek and lip cream and a multi-purpose highlighter. Dior brings out these beautiful special edition collectible pieces in their make-up range every season and I am lucky to have a few in my collection: the dice shaped Dior Play lipgloss, and spherical Dior pendant necklace. However self preservation has held me back from falling completely into Dior-lust as it’s an expensive past-time which can induce madness in followers who stalk Asia-exclusive shades and sold-out pieces on eBay until their credit cards buckle. A Dior limited edition cosmetic piece is a true luxury and one that my very very very good friend decided to treat me to.
I am truly an undeserving wretch who has the best taste and luck in friends. But let it be known that I swing both ways and that I was both a giver AND receiver of gifts. I won’t pretend that my paltry offerings matched what my friends gave me but I hope to make it up to them in the future.
What did I give? Why, make-up of course.
Chapter 3: it was meant to be
So I have the beginnings of a small Laneige eyeshadow collection. I had a few lovely e/s singles and a couple of new palettes I could play around with. So far, so good. What happened next I couldn’t have predicted and is just one of those things I have put down to sheer luck.
I met a friend for a film and dinner in Seoul. After dinner, we walked to the subway station, which is one of many in Korea which has an adjoining huge underground shopping mall. We weren’t out to go shopping, I promise (!), but we were walking past anyway so we stopped and browsed. We walked past an Aritaum, which is a cosmetic chain shop in Korea, selling amongst other things, Laneige. I dragged my friend in to show her the palettes and e/s singles I had just bought. Walking to the Laneige stand, I spied something that probably only the eye of a beauty junkie could spot or take notice of. It was a Laneige palette tester, not of the new Spring 09 palettes but of a past one.
I practically sprinted to the stand, probably knocking over people on my way (I didn’t stop to check). The palette was gorgeous: it was a blusher palette and had a beautiful holographic snowflake illustration on the front. Practically hyperventilating, I asked the manager of the shop if she had the palette in stock. She looked very apologetic and said that it was sold out, from an old collection and that the tester had been put out by accident. She tried to show me the palettes from the new collection instead.
I explained that I was a collector (yes, in the minute that had passed from spotting the palette, I had gone from Laneige palette admirer to collector – truly the behaviour of an addict) and asked whether she would sell me the tester. To her credit she didn’t look at me like I was a madwoman, but simply smiled and said she would… and then asked me to wait for a second. She went back to the stand, got some things from a hidden drawer and came back to the counter. She had a handful of palettes in her hand. They were testers of older Laneige palettes, all in really good condition. She explained that she had held onto them as they were all new or in good condition, but had been about to throw them out.
It was fate. It was the beauty equivalent of a fashionista finding a vintage Hermes Birkin bag in a thrift store or a bottle of vintage Coty Chypre at a garage sale. It’s THAT moment where you find hidden treasure, completely by chance, when you’re least expecting it and not even looking for it. The shop owner sold me the 5 palettes for 25000won and threw in a bunch of freebies and samples. An absolute bargain as new, one palette costs 35000won.
The discovery of the palettes for housing single eyeshadows, this random finding of a trove of past palettes, it all just seems so timely! I don’t usually believe in fate but there’s definitely something bigger than just luck happening here. I’m convinced.
Here’s one I made earlier! This is a neutral palette I’ve made up from my Laneige shadow collection.
Oh, and ANOTHER thing, the products in the palettes are beautiful too. The two top products, the powder and striped blusher were brand new testers so safe to use. The bottom three, I sanitised by spraying with alcohol and then removed the top layer of powder with sellotape and I’m happy to use them. I tossed the applicators (which I never use anyway). As testers they didn’t come with the original boxes, but I won’t be losing any sleep over that.
Chapter 2: falling in love
I was really impressed with the Laneige eyeshadows I had bought when I first arrived in Korea. I knew that I wanted to start collecting more of them, but I couldn’t find specific Laneige brand palettes to put them in. I’m not keen on single eyeshadows anymore. Longtime beauty collctors and make-up junkies will understand this, as for die-hard addicts, single eyeshadow colours just aren’t enough. Once you’ve felt the thrill of filling MAC palettes with 15 eyeshadows or 120 colour palettes, single eyeshadows are only good for depotting and paletting.
I became distracted by the other Korean cosmetics I was discovering and I fell for the charms of Etude House, Banila Co, Missha….somewhere along the way, Laneige got pushed onto the back burner. Not for long….
I was out in Myungdong, one of the busiest central areas of Seoul, with a bunch of girlfriends this week. We were lingering in various fashion and cosmetics shops and stumbled into the Laneige flagship store where the sales assistant showed us the charming new Laneige Spring 09 Art Play collection, just in that day. I had seen the collection previewed on Musings of a Muse and in person the palettes were even cuter. Laneige palettes are really well made, very sturdy, and I love the artwork on the cover: very whimsical and pretty but with a slightly gothic eastern European flavour rather than Asian Kawaii. I ended up buying the 2 shadow palettes, which have a selection of lovely shimmer pastel and highlight shades.
The palettes are a little big bigger than credit card size. They are very sturdy and have a mirror and double ended sponge applicator inside. The eyeshadows are really smooth and silky and have buildable medium pigmentation.
The first palette, has the following shades (swatched below):
-very pale blue/silver/white irridiscent shimmer
-light pink gold, with warm tones (my favourite shade)
-matte black with silver glitter
Whilst playing around with the palettes, I noticed that the shadow pans were attached to a black plastic tray in the palette but that the tray itself was not joined to the outer part of the palette. Curious, I tried to lift the tray out. I’m always fiddling with make-up to see if it can be customised or depotted. To my surprise and delight I was able to lift out the black tray, at the hinged part where the lid is attached to the palette.
Once lifted out, it’s obvious that the palette is actually designed like this: the palette has a large magnetic panel which holds the black tray in place so it can be removed and replaced at will. Can you see where I’m going with this? I got my eyeshadow singles and tried them inside the palette. They fit perfectly. The palette neatly contains 6 shadow singles.
I’m sure other palette lovers will be able to recognise my silly joy at this new discovery. A well-designed, customiseable eyeshadow palette system with beautiful palettes and superb eyeshadows! I love the fact that the beautiful palettes are reusable so that they’re not empty after using all the product inside.
I haven’t come across this bit of information before and no-one at the Laneige store or make-up shops have told me about this. They really should let customers know this so that they can re-use their palettes.
I started googling Laneige palettes and saw some beautiful palettes from past collections on different beauty blogs. They were gorgeous but I didn’t want to go down the route of trying to track them down via eBay. I’ve been a collector of hard to find products for years and whilst it’s fun, I don’t have the time or patience to do it anymore. However I did want to get some more palettes to house single eyeshadows so decided to keep an eye on upcoming new palettes to join my new Spring 09 palettes from now on. I somehow felt that fate was pushing me to become a Laneige eyeshadow devotee….
First looks at the new Stila Spring collection Pearl palette! This wasn’t on my to buy list but then my local Stila counter sent me a mailer on the new collection and I felt compelled to go and take a closer look.
The palette is soooo gorgeous. The packaging has mother-of-pearl segments on the lid and the case is slimline and sleek with a mirror on the inside. There’s no included applicator, which I don’t care about but might be a pain if you want to take it out and about with you.
The shadows are the great pigmented, soft, smooth texture we’ve come to expect of most Stila eyeshadows. All the shades are shimmer, with no chunky glitter. The palest shade is a pale gold shade on the skin. I love the colour combination but it’s not the most idiot-proof selection which might scare off some people but overall I think it’s great for spring. I’m really pleased with it and think it’s so pretty. The palette was the only thing I got from the collection. I tried the pearl lipglosses which were pretty – I almost got the peach coloured one. However they’re quite pricey and I’m trying to stay away from high-end lipglosses at the moment. The pomegranate cheek stain is a nice colour but I’m not a fan of the pen applicator. The smudge pot in pomegranate is beautiful: a really unique shade of shimmery plummy red. There’s also a new dual ended Convertible Mascara which seems to be Stila’s entry into the “tube” mascara arena (like the Kiss Me/Clinique Lash Power).
Stila eyeshadow fans will love this palette and I’m sure it will sell out soon.