Who wants to win a Gelish mani, pedi and blow dry from Cape Town Beauty Bar?

I was invited to experience Cape Town Beauty Bar in Buitengracht Street the other day and it was a goodie. They’d actually offered me a wash and blow dry but I do my best to avoid putting my head in a rinse bowl. I know, I know. I’m a weirdo. Everyone loves having their hair washed and blow dried to perfection but for me it’s a pain as my hair dries pin straight on its own and getting my hair wet outside of a shower or bath just freaaaaks me out. So, because they’re super accommodating I was given a quick trim and it was very, very impressive in that it took all of five minutes, if even. Najwa, the friendly stylist, simply whipped out her scissors and BOOM, it was all done and perfect too – not too blunt, not too choppy.

Tallulah, the salon’s resident madam approved.

‘Really?! You’re all finished?’ I said? I couldn’t believe how quickly she did it. But as it turns out, Cape Town Beauty Bar prides itself on their express services. It’s not a spa to luxuriate in but the ideal place to pop in and get what you need on the fly. (You’ll still need an appointment though – they’re pretty popular with high-profile clientelle that includes Top Billing’s Jade Hubner and model turned gourmet Ilse Nel. Fortunately, booking is easy. You can either call them or make an online booking via their Facebook page.)


Cape Town Beauty Bar’s Gelish shades are the row at the bottom.

After my light speed cut I moved on to the nail bar where Belinda gave me a Gelish mani and pedi. While they didn’t have as many colours as the bigger salon chains I was very, very impressed with Belinda’s application. This woman is meticulous! No nail is coated too thickly. There aren’t any bumps. Nothing’s lifting near the sides due to getting too close to your skin. Her work is simply boss. It’s now a week later and I’m still sitting with a perfect-looking mani on all twenty digits.


This is Wish Upon a Starboard, a red-orange that I love and adore.

As for the salon itself, Cape Town Beauty Bar is an urban yet cosy and welcoming space with an ‘industrial-chic’ feel thanks to exposed brick walls, chandeliers and an up-cycled divan.


Cosy, cosy…

Aside from offering nail and hair services (check out their menu via ‘booking’ on their FB page – it’s huuuge and includes Brazilians) you can also get your make-up done, nip in for a Vita Liberata spray tan or get your brows and lashes tinted. Oh! And they offer men’s grooming services too!


Not keen on Gelish? You can get acrylics or enjoy a regular paint with Morgan Taylor.

They’re also running some nice specials listed on their Facebook page. Just a few include a Brazilian blow dry for R500 (usually R800); three air brush tans for R900 and TEN signature blow drys and hair styling for R1000! Then there’s Glam Thursdays where you can enjoy an express mani or pedi, make-up and a blow dry plus canapes and drinks for R550.


That’s Belinda working someone’s highlights.

Anyway, let’s get to the part the Cape Town kids are waiting for… I’ve got a wash and blow dry plus a Gelish mani and pedi to give away and entering is easy. Simply leave me a comment telling me the name of your favourite Gelish shade OR hit me up on twitter with ‘Hey @lipglossgirl, I’d love to win a pamper session at @CTBeautyBar’ and include the link to this post. Your tweet is only valid if the link’s included.


Cape Town Beauty Bar – open and ready for business.

This competition closes at 5pm on 29 March 2017 and is open to all South Africans but please bear in mind that Cape Town Beauty Bar is in the Mother City. If you win and live in Durbs with no plans to hit up iKapa any time soon then this probably isn’t for you.

Good luck girls!

Love, love


New reviews: Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion foundation, Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion and SVR Sebiaclear Active

Lancome have always made spectacular foundations and their latest, Teint Idole Ultra Cushion, is no exception.

Hello new friend!

Housed in a handy mirrored compact, the formula promises and delivers on long-lasting natural-looking coverage that, depending on how you apply it, can be sheer or full. Using the sponge it comes with serves up a fuller look but if you use a regular foundation sponge spritzed with water you’ll get a lighter look.

This shade is called 04.

I like to apply it by dapping it on with the compact and then sheering things out with a sponge. The end result is a slightly dewy finish that evens out your complexion. I then hide any remaining flaws with a bit of concealer. (For the record, Catrice Camouflage Cream is still my ride or die bestie.)

There’s a fair bit of thought behind the cushion, something Lancome refer to as ‘jel-liquid technology’. Lancome says that their formulation is thick by nature, but when it’s pushed through the mesh of the sponge it loses viscosity, meaning it becomes more fluid. Then, when it makes contact with the skin, some of it evaporates and this causes a slight ‘cooling’ sensation.

A perfect match! (And yes, my face is the exact same shade as my wrist when I’m not wearing self-tan so colour matching is always easy for me.)

Available in seven shades, I thought 04 would be too dark for my cooler skin tone but its a perfect match. I can only imagine 01 being the colour of milk. At R499 its a fair price for a top end foundation and, as refills are just R350 this makes it a luxurious pick many can afford. (L’Oreal foundations, by comparison, are about R200 in the drug store.)

On the subject of the drug store, did you know that French beauty brand Eau Thermal Avene is now available at Dis-Chem? (It’s still at Clicks, by the way, so now it’s even more accessible.)

I’ve always known about their iconic thermal water and that they created other things too, moisturisers and cleansers, but didn’t have any idea as to the range until a recent media event. They offer about fifty different products that target everything from pigmentation to acne. I was given a few of their goodies to try so you’ll be seeing more of them on the blog as the days go by should I find any favourites but so far there are two that I’ve really enjoyed using.

The first is their Micellar Lotion (R185 at Dis-Chem and R199,95 at Clicks where are mix and match 3 for 2 special is running). It’s called lotion, but it’s a ‘water’ and we all know about micellar waters by now. They’re a brilliant way to cleanse your face and remove make-up in one simple step. No need for rinsing!

This takes off literally anything – even waterproof mascara.

I’ve used loads of micellar waters and some are better than others but Avene’s is one of my top picks. It’s made with Avene’s famous thermal water, not regular water, so it’s got a neutral pH and low mineral content. Low minerals is a good thing because if a liquid contains a lot of them, they sit on top of your skin in a microscopic ‘salt’ layer that can dehydrate your skin when the water evaporates.

Another plus? It doesn’t burn your eyes. (Some micellar-waters really do!)

While my skin is sometimes sensitised due to the large amounts of retinol and AHAs I use this doesn’t irritate it in the least. Still, if you’ve got very sensitive skin do be aware that this product contains fragrance that can be annoying to some. (If it’s fragrance-free micellar water you’re after specifically know that Bioderma and Garnier have some nice ones too.)

Last, but not least, there’s an entirely new French beauty brand in town and that’s SVR. Created by a pharmacist duo back in the 60s, SVR is now available in 45 countries and prides itself on concentrated ingredients that have all been tested on sensitive skin. Much like Avene, the range is big and caters to lots of different skin types and concerns. I was given something from their blemish-busting line – Sebiaclear Active intensive care spots, blackheads and anti-marks cream (R250, exclusive to Clicks).

SVR Sebiaclear Active intensive care spots, blackheads and anti-marks cream. (Snappiest name ever, right?)

From a formulation perspective, this baby’s pretty golden. Sure, it contains pore exfoliating salicylic acid, but it also makes use of gluconalactone at a pretty potent 15%. If you’re a fan of Neostrata cosmetics, you’ll know that brand loves using gluconalactone and readers have asked me if I know of anything else that contains it at a much more affordable price tag. Sadly, I didn’t but now can happily recommend SVR.

Gluconalactone is an acid with exfoliating properties that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines but, unlike AHAs, it’s much more gentle on the skin so it isn’t likely to cause irritation. It’s also been proven to have just as good a spot-blitzing effect as benzoly peroxide but caused fewer unwanted side effects.

Another nice ingredient in the mix is niacinimide (vitamin B3). A multi-tasting super star, niacinimide helps even out your skin tone and improve your skin’s barrier function. It’s also got good anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which makes it a nice addition to any product targeting spot-prone skin.

My only gripe? This product has a lovely, light fluid texture but they’ve been heavy handed with the mattifiers so it’s great at controlling oil but makes make-up really application tricky. Thus, I wouldn’t consider this a good partner for foundation (tide marks and pilling) but it works well when I wear it on its own with just a little concealer applied with a patting motion after its dried. If you don’t wear make up (hello boys!) or intend to use this solely at night you don’t have anything to worry about.

Again, I have to say I’m so impressed with the high concentration of actives in this product. For less than R250? It’s an absolute steal!

Love, love


Smashed up your cell phone? I’m giving away an iDevice screen fix with Platinum Repairs worth R3 100!

Is there anything more kak than knocking your phone off the table only to have its screen smash into a thousand smithereens? It’s happened to me – more than once – so I know this pain well.

Fortunately, you can repair it and in a way that isn’t crazy inconvenient thanks to Platinum Repairs. They’re iPhone and iPad repair specialists based in Rivonia who literally pop into your home or office (if you’re in Jozi or Pretoria) and fix it on the spot. iPhone’s typically take just 30 minutes to fix and iPads are about 45 so you can sort it out on your lunch break. They’re literally the only on site iDevice repair peeps in the country.

Don’t live in Jozi? Not a problem! They’ll send a courier to collect your smashed up li’l darling and fix it at their offices and then send it back to you good as new. And they cover the cost of the courier both ways! And don’t worry, your phone will be in good hands. Platinum Repairs have been in the iDevice fixing biz since 2008 and have worked with all the biggies (think ABSA and Discovery) as well as the country’s leading insurance providers.

Currently, Platinum offer repairs to all models of iPhones and iPads. They also offer three different repair options – budget with a quality screen that serves up a three-month warranty, premium which gives you a 12 month warranty and the big kahuna they refer to as The Real Deal. The latter has a lifetime warranty (oh yes!) and you get an original quality LCD screen. The price varies by device but to give you an example, fixing the screen of an iPhone 6 is just R1 499 on budget, R1 899 on premium and R2 499 on the The Real Deal options. All of these options include the free courier service or call out if you’re in Jozi.

Now, for the very good news… Platinum Repairs have kindly given me a screen fix to give away to the value of R3100 to a lucky reader! You don’t even have to have a broken phone to want this lustable prize. You can bank it with them for up to 12 months, giving you a year to live la vida loca like a reckless, devil-may-care honey badger. (Ice skating with my phone in my hand? I’m in!)honey-badger-dont-care

Entering is easy! Simply leave a comment below telling me how you managed to once destroy your poor phone or iPad, be it via a screen crack or worse. (We’ve all done it!) Alternatively you can enter via twitter. Just hit me up with ‘Hey @lipglossgirl! I’d love to win a iDevice screen repair with Platinum Repairs’ and be sure to include the link to this post.

This competition closes at 5pm on Wednesday 22 March and is open to South African residents only.

Good luck guys!

Love, love


This competition is now closed. A big congrats to winner Robyn Pughe-Parry. 

Reviews: Urban Decay Urban Defense SPF 30 and De-Slick complexion primers

Urban Decay recently held a launch to celebrate the fact that they’ve recently revamped their prep, prime and set collection. But first, can we take a moment for the event’s food? It was held at Life Grand Cafe and they served up the yummiest food including sushi made with BLACK rice.

This was sooo good you guys!

And the colour crazy didn’t stop there…

Red burger buns for the win!

Anyway, let’s get back to talking product! Before, Urban Decay’s infamous setting sprays were in white bottles but that meant it ended up covered in foundation and grubby is not a good look. Now, thanks to darker packaging, they’re always going to look mooi in your make-up bag.

Black is the new white!

Urban Decay have also added four new primers to their line-up (R450 each) – one that’s tinted (Self-Adjusting), another that contains soft focus pigments (Optical Illusion), a third that mattifies (De-Slick) and a fourth that contains an SPF (Urban Defense).

Can you spot Urban Defense hiding in the back there? It’s in the clear tube.

I was given Urban Defense to try and thought I wouldn’t like it. Being oily-skinned, silicone-based primers generally just don’t work out for me. They tend to look amazing at first but then, as the oil builds up on my skin, things start to get muddy and everything ends up sliding right off. Thus, my plan was to hand it over to my flatmate, my designated dry skin test monkey, but now she’s going to have to wrench it from my cold dead hands ‘cos – SURPRISE – it’s awesome!

Sure, it’s silicone-based, but it’s not the first ingredient and the texture is super-duper sheer. You only need the teensiest li’l drop to smooth it all out over your face so the bottle will last forever. Once its on, you’ll immediately see the difference. Fine lines are gone and pores look a lot less visible. It’s you, just five years back in time.

The best bit, however, is that you’re now wearing an SPF of 30. BOOM. Just like that, you’re your dermatologists’ favourite client. And now you don’t have to worry about ensuring your moisturiser or foundation contains an SPF. You’re free to use the other things you love and not have to worry whether they contain sun protection or not, although in saying that you can never have enough sun protection. It’s still your best line of defense against premature ageing.

Anyway, as far as the ‘wear’ goes, I found that, because I only needed so little of it and because it’s so, dare I say, ‘finely milled’, it didn’t sit like an occlusive pool on top of my oilies nor did it aggravate them. As the day wore on, I merely needed to whip out an oil-blotting sheet here and there, the same as I would wearing just a daily moisturiser. Nice one, Urban Decay. Very, very nice.

But we’re not done yet. Let’s talk about De-Slick.

This is the De-Slick primer nestling next to the De-Slick setting spray.

I was also given the De-Slick primer and thought it would be a slam dunk into BFF territory but, at first, I found it tricky to use. If you use too much of it, it sits like a thick, white paste on your skin so you’ve got to apply it VERY sparingly and use a light patting motion. This is the method I used first, applying it to just my T-panel, and even though I gave it ages to set, I found it ‘caught’ my foundation and left me with tide marks.

I then tried a second approach and now its working like a bomb. Instead of using it before applying make-up, I now use it afterwards, meaning I literally make up my entire face and then gently pat it onto my forehead and around my nose. This way, it doesn’t ‘disturb’ anything and boy oh boy does it work. Oilies? Forget about them. Your face will be as matte as blerrie Kylie Jenner’s lips. As the formula contains loads of oil-absorbs, silica and the like, everything kind of just gets sucked into that and, miraculously, it doesn’t end up going muddy. You can also apply any powder on top of it (once its bone dry) if you want to, but you’re really not going to need it. Another winner from Urban Decay, provided you use it cleverly.

Keen to buy? You’ll find it in the Urban Decay store in Sandton as well as Foschini For Beauty.

Love, love


Reviews: Kiehl’s Pure Vitality skin renewing cream, Optiphi Hand Therapy hand cream and Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Fibre Force

Calling all honey badgers! Kiehl’s have just launched a new facial moisturiser called Pure Vitality skin renewing cream (R895). It promises to smooth and strengthen your skin and makes use of several great hydrators including glycerin, Shea butter and even bees-wax but the hero ingredients are Manuka honey and ginseng.

Winnie the Pooh would approve!

All the way from New Zealand, Manuka honey contains the highest levels of polyphenol (a top-notch antioxidant) of all the honey you can get and has good hydrating and antibacterial properties. Along with all the other hydrators in this particular mix, it’ll do a nice job of improving your skin’s barrier repair function.

Watson & Son made this Manuka honey in a limited edition pot just for Kiehl’s. (It tasted delish!)

As for ginseng (another well-known antioxidant and natural energiser), a few studies have shown it to have a brightening effect. Kiehl’s have also made a point of using Korean red ginseng. Much like Manuka honey, it’s the best in its class, having the highest amount of ginsenoides, the compounds responsible for its benefits.

Also, while it’s not punted as a hero, Kiehl’s new cream also contains a good amount of quinoa seed oil extract, another hydrating antioxidant rich in vitamin A and E.

Having an oily-combo skin type, I’m not an ideal candidate for this cream as it’s got a medium-weight gel-creme texture. Still, I’ve used it a few times at night and really liked that it made my skin feel instantly soft and velvety, almost as though it was full of silicones, but I can’t find any in the ingredients list. Then, when I woke up, my skin looked well-rested and plump.

If you’ve got a drier skin type and want a hydrating antioxidant-rich cream with a gorgeous velvety texture – one that would pair beautifully with foundation – then this could be a new friend. I’m usually quite vocal about disliking products in jars, but seeing as this products more of a moisturiser than an anti-ager and doesn’t contain unstable ingredients like retinol or vitamin C I’m not too fussed. Just make sure you use it up in about three months.

Now let’s chat about Optiphi’s Renew Hand Therapy hand cream (R302). I’m not sure if this is a new product or not but I hadn’t tried it before and have really liked it. It ticks all the boxes for the things you’d want from a hand cream including the fact that its got an SPF of 20. That alone will help protect your mitts from premature ageing.


It smells like sunscreen but that’s a fragrance I like so we’re all good.

Other great ingredients? The power house antioxidant duo that is vitamin C and niacinimide (vitamin B3), both proven collagen-boosting brighteners.

As far as pigmentation goes, vitamin C works by inhibiting a particular enzyme your skin needs to create pigmentation and niacinimide slows down the transfer of melanin (the pigment that causes dark marks) to the upper layers of your skin. Together with the sunscreen, you’re looking at a very safe bet to prevent age spots on your hands. If you’ve got them already, however, chat to your dermatologist who can suggest something like a peel, laser or something topical that’s super-duper sterk or possibly prescription.

Spot-prevention aside, Optiphi’s hand cream also hydrates thanks to Shea butter, glycerin, and cetearyl alcohol (relax, this isn’t a drying alcohol, it’s a ‘good’ fatty one). Despite containing an SPF, it doesn’t feel greasy or heavy and absorbs fast to leave your hands feel supple and soft.

Lastly, I got to try a few of Schwarzkopf’s Professional BC Bonacure Fibre Force products and really, really like them. The line’s geared towards over processed hair in need of a little fortifying and while mine’s hardly in terrible shape it does take a beating from regular highlighting and my curling wand. Also, my hair’s super-duper fine which makes it significantly more fragile.


New friends for fragile hair.

The products all aim to strengthen your locks (up to ten times stronger, they say) by creating bonds within your hair’s matrix and then sealing the cuticle to keep them put. Ideally, you’re supposed to use it after having a Schwarzkopf Strong Bonds treatment, the brand’s answer to Olaplex, but there’s nothing stopping you from using it sommer so.

I really, really liked the shampoo (R243). It’s sulphate-free so I made a point of using it after another in-salon bonding treatment I tried to help preserve its effects. Like everything in the range its got an addictive soft, sweet scent and I liked that it still foamed up to my satisfaction (SLS-free shampoos often don’t and I like a foaming shampoo) and my hair felt cleansed but not stripped when I rinsed.

I then used the Fortifying Mask (R305) as though it were a conditioner and adored its ultra lightweight texture. There’s really no need to put it in a tub. It’s so ‘thin’ you could easily pump it out a squirt bottle. This spread beautifully through my hair but I felt like I did need to use a generous amount to cover all of it. After about ten uses the mask was gone but the shampoo isn’t even a quarter way used up. As far as results go, I was left with hair that was easy to brush while wet but bouncy and light yet soft and shiny-looking when dry.

This is the mask. You can’t really see it but it’s slightly shimmery.

Anyway, both these products are lovely and worked well for me, but I do wish the line included a straight up wash-up conditioner as opposed to a mask. I mean sure, you could essentially use the conditioner as a mask like I did. But then you’re rinsing it off before it’s benefits can kick in (they say wait five to ten minutes – not ideal if you wash your hair every day like I do) and its going to use up four times as fast as your shampoo.

There are two other conditioning products in the range, however – a lovely light leave-in spray con they confusingly refer to as a ‘primer’ (R320) that I’ve been using as a detangler and a Fortifying Sealer (R440) which is essentially a leave-in cream conditioner for the lengths. This was too heavy and felt unnecessary for me to use on top the mask and I wouldn’t use it to replace it as I need conditioning all over, especially in my crown area where my hair’s the most prone to tangling. However, if you’ve got a drier hair type you’ll probably find it very useful to help add more moisture. It’s also got loads of silicone in it so it’ll do a great job of taming frizzies while serving up heat protection too.

See anything you like?

Love, love


Fragrance reviews: Elie Saab Resort Collection, Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc and Giorgio Armani Si Rose Signature

Two years back Elie Saab launched a Resort Collection fragrance, a white floral with a big dash of fig, and now another one has hit the shelves – Elie Saab Resort Collection le parfum EDT (R1 110 for 50ml and R1 535 for 90ml).

While the first one was in a breezy blue bottle, the latest addition is a pretty coral and a lot more citrusy. Officially, the notes are red mandarin, frangipani, pomegranate juice, orange blossom, Sambac jasmine and Indonesian patchouli and the overall effect is lovely.

Elie Saab Resort Collection le parfum EDT

On my skin, I immediately pick up on the orange blossom, which I adore. This soon dries down, however, and something juicy and sweet comes through – probably the pomegranate – and then I can smell the frangipani and patchouli. While it’s a sweet scent, it’s not cloying in the least. If anything, it’s fresh and uplifting and makes me think of a kaftan floating in the wind on a tropical island full of flowers where the pink drinks are plentiful.

In a way, it reminds me a lot of Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please, another easy-to-wear fruity floral with loads of patchouli in the mix. If you’re a fan of light yet sweet fragrances with a musky trail that lingers then this is a very nice pick. Also, the staying power is great.

Another flowery patchouli fragrance I’m enjoying right now is Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc For Her EDP (R950 for 30ml, R1 400 for 50ml and R1 960 for 100ml). I’m always excited when a new Narciso comes out as the original is one of my favourite fragrances, something I’ve repurchased over and over to wear every winter as well as at night.

This new addition to the Narciso family doesn’t disappoint but is very different to the first. Sure, you’ve got that ‘sweet Narciso musk’ taking the lead, but now its mingled with pink pepper, rose and peony on a bed of patchouli, violet and amber.

Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc For Her EDP

To my nose, I get a burst of pink pepper then the rose and pachouli come through within seconds followed by a gentle breath of musk. You can immediately tell its part of the Narciso family but it’s a bit lighter and ‘rosier’. While the original, like I said, is a good night time/cold weather scent, you could easily wear Fleur Musc in the day. While the original is a ‘cloak’ you’ll smell from several feet away, the latest addition is a ‘veil’ with a bit less ‘throw’. In saying that though, the staying power is truly excellent.

If you’re a Narciso fan like I am then this is most definitely a ‘must sniff’.

Last, but not least, Giorgio Armani Si fans will like that fact that Eau de Parfum Rose Signature EDP (R1 634 for 50ml and R2 262 for 100ml) has been relaunched in a new limited edition bottle. This time, the ribbon isn’t wrapped around the bottle. Instead its wearing it like a medal with a ‘Si seal’ holding it in place. (Apparently it was inspired by the neckline of an Armani gown.)

Giorgio Armani Si Eau de Parfum Rose Signature EDP

As for the fragrance itself, it’s still the same scent you know and probably love, an elegant, ultra feminine mix of bergamot, mandarin, blackcurrant, freesia up top, a heart of roses (Turkish and May), iris and Osmanthus on a bed of musk mallow, vanilla and patchouli. (Lots of patchouli today, right?)

Of all the Si fragrances, Rose Signature is probably my favourite. The opening is sparkling and fresh thanks to the citrus, sweetened by a juicy blackcurrant. After a minute or so the rose notes sweep in and they’re fabulously lush. You’ll pick up on every dewy petal. Then, when things start to dry down you’re left with a warm, creamy, sweet (but not too sweet) blend of the base notes. Again, this is another fragrance with serious staying power.

You could easily wear this fragrance in the day time, but its also a romantic date night fragrance that will thrill anyone who likes sophisticated rose-focused scents like those whipped up by Chloe and even Bvlgari Rose Essentielle, albeit much more lush and less powdery.

See anything you’d like to try yourself?

Love, love