Konglish Beauty


Posted in Offtopic, personal by konglishbeauty on July 30, 2010

Bottled Water
Via: Term Life Insurance

The above shows something close to my heart…. and I guess it’s kinda related to beauty. Here in Korea no-one ever drinks tap water. Why???? Korean tap water is perfectly clean, healthy and safe to drink. Yet there’s an outcry if I happen to try and drink it. People rush up to me with reasons why I shouldn’t. It’s nonsense. True, it’s not the best tasting and if I have a choice I’ll go for filtered water (there are carbon filtration systems in lots of homes and workplaces in Korea) but I’ve no problem drinking tap to stay hydrated. Rather than running around trying to save the environment in weird and wacky gimmicky ways why not start by simply saying no to expensive, overpriced and unnecesary bottled water?

On the other hand, Korea has got the amount of water it drinks right. There’s none of this fallacy here that drinking litres and litres of water will magically help keep your skin clear and make you slim. There’s this weird hysteria in the UK that people aren’t drinking enough water and our health is suffering as a result. People pledge to drink three litres a day minimum and will lug around 1.5 litre bottles in their bags saying that it reminds them to drink it throughout the day, as if it’s an unpleasant but necessary medicine or health tonic. What rubbish. Drink water when you’re thirsty. It’s like breathing and for most of us it’s something that comes naturally and we shouldn’t bother thinking about. I’m not going to add it to a list of things I should worry about getting a minimum daily amount of. Drinking lots of water won’t make you slim, it’ll just make you visit the bathroom more frequently. Eating less food will make you slim (thank me later). Frankly I think people cling to idea that overdrinking water is something helpful you can do for your health as it’s easier than say, avoiding junk food and going for a walk rather than a pie.

To those who say drinking lots of water will flush out toxins….. if I had my way, I’d ban the word “toxins” from any discussion about health and beauty. If you’re trying to refer to something which is bad for your health and beauty, be specific and knowledgable and name the substance. Otherwise shut the hell up. Toxin is a vague and unhelpful term that pseudo-science hides behind to market whichever snake oil or quack procedure they’re promoting this season. If you really have a poison problem then you need to get yourself to a medical doctor – chugging a bottle of Evian’s not going to cut it.


MAC <3<3<3

Posted in MAC, news, personal by konglishbeauty on July 30, 2010

Well blow me down with a feather. MAC… count me one seriously impressed consumer who loves you more. Following from the global outrage from the serious blunder of the names of the products from the MAC/Rodarte collaboration, MAC have now announced that they are going to donate the entire global profits of the collection to the “Women and Girls of Juarez Initiative”. From my point of view MAC have completely redeemed themselves by renaming the products, apologising and following up by donating 100% of the profits from the collection. It’s what I (and many other bloggers and consumers) called for and MAC have done everything they can to make amends for their lack of foresight. The entire statement can be viewed on Temptalia.

It’s not often that a company completely and wholeheartedly apologises and takes charge of their mistakes. I’ve also been impressed at how quickly they’ve responded. It’s not as if there were people picketing MAC counters and stores and the whole affair never made it beyond the internet and onto actual newsprint or TV. This more than simply trying to do damage control, MAC are trying to actually do some real good.

I will continue to be a huge MAC supporter, and buy their products with a clear conscience but I must admit that I still can’t get over Rodarte’s role in all this and it hasn’t warmed me to them whatsoever. It was their initial fashion collection that started all this. I’ve decided not to buy anything from the collection itself as I don’t want to support Rodarte at all, but will donate to the Juarez initiative and buy other MAC products.

MAC makes amends

Posted in MAC, news, personal by konglishbeauty on July 20, 2010

I was so pleased to read via Temptalia the following official statement from MAC.

“We understand that product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection have offended our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We continue to listen carefully to the comments we have received and have the following plans to address concerns:

  • We are committed to donating $100,000 to a non-profit organization that has a proven, successful track-record helping women in need and that can directly improve the lives of women in Juarez in a meaningful way.
  • We are changing the product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection.”

It’s so heartening to see a company respond so quickly and decisively following a blunder like this. It also relieves me personally that it looks as if MAC and I are on the same page again. Of couse I’m not going to agree with the decisions of every single company whose products I buy but having been “my” brand for so long (over 15 years) it was so important in this case to see that my belief and faith in the principles of MAC have not been wrong.

This still leaves the sticky question of how this could have happened in the first place. As many commentators have already said, was there really no point at which anyone in the decision making process put their foot down and said “Hang on, there’s something not big or clever about this…” ? Or worse did they all agree that “This could be cool, edgy, political, making a statement….”

What’s worse, ignorance (of which I myself was guilty of before all this),  incompetence, or insensitivity?

Although the question remains, it doesn’t take much away from the fact that MAC done good with me in the end. After only 48 hours since this exploded online, MAC have changed the product names, committed to making a sizeable donation (although nowhere near the 100% proceeds I would have ideally liked) and apologised.

I find the poll in Temptalia’s post interesting: at the present time, just under 20% of people have said they have turned in MAC’s favour following the decision whilst nearly double that number appear to have been unaffected by the whole fuss, saying they would have purchased from the collection anyway. The statistics don’t sit pleasantly with me in my feelings towards the make-up buying public. But I offer thanks and congratulations to all the beauty bloggers who took up the cause and discussed and publicised this issue whipping up the storm in the teacup of the beauty business. I didn’t agree with all the opinions offered but I am thankful all the opinions were out there and that they didn’t ignore the situation or take the stance that “it’s just make-up” or “let’s leave politics out of it”.

British Beauty Blogger

Beauty Mouth

Lillian Low

Mizz Worthy

Oogle Makeup

Makeup Advice Forum

Perfectly Polished

Le Petit Jardin de Liloo

There were more blogs, but I’m just mentioned the ones of those which I read, discussed and commented on. For my part, I think I’ll limit myself to buying one item from the collection and making a cash donation of anything else I would have spent to a Juarez non-profit organisation. I’m not considering ever becoming a Rodarte customer in the future.

MAC, Rodarte, the controversy and why we care

Posted in MAC, news, personal by konglishbeauty on July 19, 2010

“M·A·C Cosmetics honors the beauty in everyone – all races, all sexes, all ages. Upholding the rights of everyone for creative self-expression, M·A·C offers an extraordinary collection of professional quality cosmetics. Eschewing the high-price “face” of traditional fashion marketing, M·A·C lets its products speak for themselves through seasonal runway debuts and its commitment to providing customers with sophisticated retail environments that in design, ambience, and artist-based service, lie outside the mainstream. Beyond a brand, M·A·C is a culture that extols the provocative, and upholds high style, while staying real. It’s efforts on behalf of AIDS, cruelty-free testing, and recycling programs remain an integral aspect of the culture, ethos and identity of M·A·C.”

The above is taken directly from MAC’s website about their philosophy.

If MAC is just another make-up company to you, then you might be wondering what all the fuss is regarding the upcoming MAC and Rodarte collaboration make-up collection. To get the lowdown on the situation I’m going to direct you to BritishBeautyBlogger’s post on the whole affair. It’s thanks to her and her network of beauty bloggers that the news of this controversy has spread throughout the beauty blogging community. I first came across it yesterday whilst on Temptalia catching up with upcoming MAC and make-up news. In short, the upcoming MAC & Rodarte collection is supposedly inspired by the landscape and imagery of the people, events and geography of Ciudad Juarez, a bordertown city in Mexico across from Texas. Tragically the town is infamous for poverty, high murder count and ‘feminicidios’ – female homicides and las muertas de Juarez (the dead women of Juarez).

Controversy and dodgy “inspirations” in fashion imagery in the name of art is nothing new. Rodarte are just another fashion house to me, beautiful clothes, but their collections  and inspirations don’t concern me. What has saddened me is that MAC are behind this. To many many many people MAC are not just a make-up company. They are supposed to be for everyone, all races, all sexes, all ages. They are political in their creation and their causes. Their first brand spokesperson was Ru Paul. They signed up K.D. Lang for their 2nd Viva Glam lipstick. They are supposed to be aware of issues and sensitive to the world beyond make-up, and fashion. They are the brand famous for giving 100% of the proceeds of Viva Glam lipsticks to their AIDS causes, and promoting this cause at their own expense.

Time and time again when make-up enthusiasts name MAC as their favorite make-up brand, it’s not just about the make-up. It’s about their philosophy, their politics, their causes and the thinking behind their decisions.

I’m glad that this issue has brought up discussion and awareness. I was not aware of the situation in Juarez before this. MAC please make it right. I don’t care about Rodarte, but I expect something more, something different from the company behind Viva Glam, Back to MAC and Kids Helping Kids.

  • Change the product names.
  • Give 100% of the collection proceeds to Juarez causes.
  • Be aware that, like you set out in your philosophy, to your fans you are more than just another make-up brand.

It’s my birthday and I’ll boast if I want to

Posted in Birthday presents, freebies, Hello Kitty, lipgloss, Offtopic, personal, Thierry Mugler, YouTube by konglishbeauty on July 12, 2010

What’s better than a birthday present ?

A load of birthday presents. Thanks BFF2, you’re a LEGEND for knowing what a greedy cow I am. None of this “less is more” crap for me. MINE… ALL MINE.


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.

Basic info: I’m an amateur blogger

Posted in personal by konglishbeauty on July 9, 2010

I’ve had a couple of enquiries as to the status of my blog regarding where do I get my products from, are any of the links I provide affiliates… that sort of thing. So I thought I’d better clarify things. If it’s not apparent from the very bare bones look and feel of this blog, this is strictly a fun endeavour for me and I have no agenda or mission statement except to get some info out there, in English, about Korean brands and make-up. Ofcourse I do cover non-Korean products too but seeing as I live in Korea I started blogging mainly to get the frontline word out about the stuff I see as a consumer in the stores.

  • All the products featured in my blog are chosen, bought and paid for by myself (with a little help from Mr Visa, Mastercard and Amex along the way). I don’t get sent free stuff… the only freebies I might mention are personal gifts from friends such as birthday gift, or free samples and gifts I get as a customer. I’m not engaged with any PR people from Korean brands whatsoever. I’m just a customer and consumer.
  • I do write for and operate as a Beauty Editor for Because Magazine. However I don’t receive any free samples or product from them so all the stuff you’ll see there under my name (Bora) is written from stuff I’ve paid for or tried personally.
  • I get no income from the blog at the moment, and it’s likely to remain that way for the forseeable future. No adverts, no click-through advertising, paid for links or affiliates. I’m not against clear adverts on blogs at all, I’d just prefer to keep mine simple and free from that so I can write about what I like.
  • Any links I provide to outside sites are just because I want to be helpful 🙂 Really. I don’t get any money or kickbacks from link click-throughs.

I have worked in the beauty industry in the past for many years. My experiences could fill several posts, but for the moment I’ll summarise and say that I’ve been

  1. a freelance make-up artist (fashion, advertising and music videos),
  2. brand make-up artist on counter and sales assistant (Bobbi Brown, and Estee Lauder companies incl. MAC, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Prescriptives, Stila)
  3. beauty writer (and complete “Ugly Betty”/Devil Wears Prada fashion butt monkey) at a trendy highbrow fashion magazine
  4. consultant to beauty brands

My fulltime current day job has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with beauty so this blog is an outlet for my passion and obsession. My musings at Because Magazine are the most “pro” I get with beauty these days. I may jump back  into the world of beauty in a professional capacity in the future but I’ll let you know if that happens.

Anything else? Send me an e-mail or drop me a comment below.

Lipgloss organisation and my love for Enkoremakeup

Posted in blusher, lipgloss, organisation, personal, stash, YouTube by konglishbeauty on July 7, 2010

I love Koren Zander a.k.a EnKoreMakeup from YouTube. He’s one of the most important and best beauty gurus on YouTube and one of the first I ever subscribed to. Even more than Lauren Luke (aka Panacea81) he is the reason that the whole YouTube beauty guru thing took off. One of the reasons I love him is that he’s extremely generous with his knowledge of pro or insider product knowledge. He puts it all out there for free on YouTube. Yes he’s a partner and probably rakes in lots of money from the advertising and click-through ads on his channel but he didn’t in the beginning and some of his most helpful and practical videos are the early ones.

Watching a YouTube video doesn’t even being to replicate years of hands-on experience, artisitic vision or talent that a make-up artist needs and I’m not suggesting that anyone who watches a few YouTube tutorials can go out there and be a professional make-up artist. But for in-depth product knowledge, hygeine and sheer ingenuity when it comes to make-up storage and organisation he’s unbeaten. I’ve worked with so many brilliant make-up artist who have shoddy working practices when it comes to basic kit hygiene, maintenance and product knowledge. You’d be shocked at how sloppy some top names in the industry are when it comes to double dipping lipgloss and mascara wands, working on a shoot all day without washing or sanitising their hands and even (I died a little inside) licking Q-tips and then cleaning up around a model’s eye.

It’s Enkore’s  DIY make-up storage ideas that really got me hooked on his channel. I actually prefer DIY solutions to storage as they can be adapted to any room, space or change of situation. My stash is always growing, changing and often moving homes so I need flexible solutions. Like any obsessive collector I’m also picky about how my precious booty is stored and displayed and I want to know where everything is for when I need something particular for a look. This video is currently what I use to look after my lipglosses.


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 🙂

Random haul pictures….

Posted in fashion, haul, Offtopic, personal by konglishbeauty on June 20, 2010

Non-makeup haul pictures…..Korea is the land of silly decorated socks. I don’t normally wear patterned socks but I picked up a few of these thermal warm socks because I sometimes wear them to bed to let my heavy foot cream moisturiser soak in. It’s definitely sandal time here so I’ve stepped up the footcare a notch. The gloves serve a similar purpose. I’m a compulsive hand washer and in the winter get cracked hands, hangnails and cuticles from dryness. I actually bought these back in January (I’m a leeeetle bit behind on posting on this blog…..) which explains the ear-muffs and leg warmers. Whilst ear-muffs might seem silly, the Korean winters are so bitingly cold that having arrived from relatively mild England, I was completely unprepared. In the beginning I tried hats but I have a massive head so any hat that fits squashes my hair down onto my head so I look like a …. I don’t know what but I look pretty stupid for the rest of the day. Ear-muffs keep my ears warm but also leave my hairdo in place.